Monday, November 20, 2006

A Formula Revealed. Can the Eagles Counter It?

As I wait for Space Rangers 2 to download to my computer via Stardock, I figure now is as good a time as any to expound on a few items that still linger in my growing concern for the Eagles, their season and their direction.

As for the Season...they are 5-5 after 10 games, and to be brutally honest, they deserve to be exactly where they are at. Good teams do not give up the type of plays that the Eagles have this year. They make more plays, don't routinely get hammered on special teams, and they don't revert back to pass-wackiness a game after running the ball effectively (and actually winning a game by doing it...

One of the posters on the chat made an interesting observation: the Eagles have lost to three teams starting young or relatively inexperience QBs...The Bucs with rookie Gratkowski, the Jaguars with David Garrard, and now the Titans with Vince Young....In NONE of those game did the QB do anything more impressive than HAND THE FRACKIN' BALL to his running back and make about 2 or 3 scrambles and 2 or 3 passes in each game to keep the chains moving (which speaks our defense's disheartening inability to get off the field in key situations).

Where is the vaunted, fly-to-the-ball, turnover-causing, hard-hitting defense that we'd come to know and love. Has the game caught up to Jim Johnson's defensive schemes? How in the ever-loving FUCK can we lose to rookie QBs. Isn't our defense supposed to confuse the hell out them? Aren't we supposed to have this master blitz scheme to nail unsure QBs? Not getting to a mobile vet like Drew Brees all that much because Sean Payton implements a short-passing game plan is one thing...losing contain on a rookie QB who's primarily a running threat and doesn't look like he can scan the field all that well is inexcusable.

Yet the formula for beating the Eagles is surprisingly simple, and we've seen it repeated all too often of late, no matter how inexperienced or wet behind the ears the opposing QB. It goes something like this: run the ball a lot (knowing that eventually the Eagles will forget how to tackle) and call plenty of short passes to negate the Eagles pass rush. This formula seem overly simplistic but what it is aimed primarily to NOT ASK the QB to win the game. Piss-poor opposing teams (like the Bucs and Titans), armed with greenhorn QBs should not be able to dictate the style of play to us. As you know, for the most part our D did pretty well in each game, the Bucs won because Donovan gift wrapped not one but TWO TD to Ronde Barber, but they couldn't make the key plays necessarily to FORCE opposing team to abandon their conservative strategies. Part of that is slow starts by the offense (no need to take risks when the game is tight) but also this defense, for whatever reason, routinely gives up big third down conversions (Vince Young on the first drive of the game, Bruce G. on the last drive to set up the miracle FG).
I cannot remember a season in which I had so little faith in the Eagles D to close out an opponent. I fear that this is only going to get worse as the season reaches it toughest point. We'll face a couple of good veteran QB in the next two weeks: Peyton Manning and Jake Delhomme. The defense needs to snap out of it and start kicking some tail. I mean, we survived the 2002 AJ experiment primarily because the defense rose to the occasion. (we manhandled Kurt Warner and the Rams that year, winning 10-3, keyed by a Bobby Taylor INT return for a TD.
(don't get me started on INTs...evidently we blew not one but TWO potential INT TDs yesterday...another reason why we are getting beat by shlubs...we're not making them PAY for the mistakes that they DO make)

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