Common theme following the Eagles 20-12 dud on Monday which dropped them to 0-2: If the Eagles had retained the services of both QB Jeff Garcia (currently 1-1 with Tampa but looking very sharp) and WR Donte' Stallworth (currently running under the radar - and behind Wes Welker and Randy Moss at wideout for a strong Patriots team).
After two games the offense looks out of sorts. Yes, McNabb looked awesome in the preseason (further confirmation that the preseason is NOT a good indicator of future returns), but he clearly is struggling right now.
Let me say this: If Garcia and Stallworth were both wearing Eagles uniforms, I do believe the Eagles record would currently be 2-0.
That said - I do not lay the blame solely on Donovan McNabb. He deserves some blame - he is the QB afterall - but the rush to judgment on McNabb is both premature and wrong. Why you ask?
1. Wasn't everyone fairly cognizant of the fact that McNabb was not going to be "old" McNabb in September. I mean its been what 9 months since his ACL injury? Lest we forget, the last QB to come back from something like this was Carson Palmer. Did he play all year. Yup. Did he look like his old self in Sep? Nope. What was the Bengals record last year? 8-8.
2. Given that, perhaps expectations that McNabb would be an MVP-type QB this year were a bit premature.
3. We had what 50 called pass plays (including sacks) Monday night, and less than 20 runs? What the hell kind of balance is that. Even with Garcia, I don't believe we'd be successful under that sort of run/pass ratio. With Garcia, however, the coaches seemed much more committed to running. With #5 back there, the Birds' coaches seem to get a collective amnesia. So instead of using the run to open up the pass, they just keep dialing up passes. Pass after pass after pass, even on a night when its obvious that McNabb is struggling AND the O is doing nothing to adjust to the defensive coverage.
4. Stubborn Act of Hubris, Part II - I can't let this go. The coaches did nothing to adjust to the defensive scheme of the Redskins. Nothing.
- No one was put in-motion
- The Eagles did not use any formation to make the press-man coverage more difficult (stacking WRs etc
- I saw very few routes designed to help break from the coverage (crossing routes primarily)
- The Eagles went deep all of once in the first half. Without challenging the opposition deep at least a few times, the 'Skins had no reason to respect the deep ball. They could just keep their guys up close because the Birds showed no inclination to try and burn them.
- Finally, the Eagles kept choosing to pass. Even of a night when Westbrook was carving up the run defense. They used no one else. Buckhalter got maybe 1 carry. Tony Hunt was de-activated. What the fuck?