Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Was the Future of the Eagles

These are some starters that are supposed to be long term fixtures at the positions (or are now).
QB - Kevin Kolb
WR - DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin
RB - LeSean McCoy
FS - Macho Harris
RT - Winston Justice

I want to start off the article by saying that McNabb's job is NOT in any form of jeapordy. But Kevin Kolb played pretty damn well. He is the first QB in the NFL to throw for 300+ yards in his first two starts. He and Jackson clearly have a chemistry going. He hit Maclin several times for decent gains. He is giving Brent Celek the opportunities necessary to become the pass-catching TE in the NFL (he has the most receiving yards for the NFL so far). He even ran for a touchdown! He is moving the ball up and down the field. While he may not be starting when the Eagles play Tampa Bay (McNabb should be back by then) he has shown that we can trust him to be the Quarterback of the Future for the Eagles.

LeSean McCoy played an outstanding game. While Westbrook will remain the starter for the remainder of the season, McCoy clearly is the long term solution. He showed great vision, and was able to hit the holes quickly. Had McCoy juked slightly harder on one play, he could have had a 30 yard TD run. Eldra Buckley is a nice back up, but McCoy showed that he can carry the ball as often as necessary.

DeSean Jackson- Need I really address this? The past two weeks he has 71, and 64 yard TDs. The week before he returned a punt 85 yards for a TD. The kid has the penchant for the big play. He is the best receiver since the Eagles had Terrell Owens, and he's only a sophomore.

Jeremy Maclin - He played well. He had 4 receptions for 33 yards. What's important to remember is that that could've been 5 and a TD had Kobb throw the ball slightly in front of Maclin. Maclin and Jackson should be tearing up opponent's secondaries for years to come.

Macho Harris - You want to know what makes me happy? The fact that Brian Dawkins, by far and away one of the greatest players to ever don the Eagles uniform and a seven time Pro-Bowler, left town and we're not worrying about his rookie replacement. Harris is making tackles when he needs to, and has not given up the big play yet. Eventually he will make a mistake or two, but he looks leaps and bounds better than Demps ever looked last year.

Winston Justice - The kid has simply played. No one expected him to come in and make a Pro-Bowl, but he is playing for his life. He is simply dominating while run and pass blocking. I'm glad that Andrews got hurt early on, so Justice could improve vastly during the preseason. He is only going to get better as the season goes on.

Notice I said nothing about Vick. He played well, didn't turn the ball over, but nothing that memorable. Simply not turning the ball over does not win you a salary in the NFL, and definitely with the Eagles. While I'm glad the Eagles made the move, until I see a payoff in the regular season I'm not going to fully understand the move.

The Eagles go into the bye 2-1, and the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Redskins (they looked terrible today) the Eagles could realistically start 5-1. Much better than last years 3-3. Today was just a brief glimpse of what the Eagles will be in the future, and it looked pretty good, even if it was just against the Chiefs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What To Make of the 53 Man Roster.

The Eagles Waived-
B Trae Williams, CB Jack Ikegwuonu, DE Bryan Smith, DE Josh Gaines, LB Tank Daniels, FS Reshard Langford, WR Danny Amendola, RB Lorenzo Booker, C Dallas Reynolds, G Paul Fanaika, G Mike Gibson, TE Rob Myers, FB Marcus Mailei and FB Kyle Eckel. These players are now subject to waivers.

Ikegwuonu simply hasn't recovered from that knee injury which allowed him to slip to the 4th Round in 2008. He lacks the speed necessary to play CB with the Eagles, and he continuously got beat during the preseason, against second string WR's.

Bryan Smith was a project. The Eagle's failed at turning him into a successful player.

Danny Amendola was a favorite of mine going into the preseason. I loved seeing him make plays in the receiving game and return game. But we are already holding 7 WR's on the roster (will get to that later). I hope that he gets signed to the Practice Squad, but he may get picked up by another team first.

Booker has been on his way out of town for a while.

Myers and Bright were projects. Unfortunately neither could show any talent at the TE position.

I loved Kyle Eckel last year. There was simply no space for him on this year's roster though. The addition of FB Weaver almost sealed his fate.

The Eagles Cut-
DT Dan Klecko, LB Matt Wilhelm and TE Matt Schobel. These players are now unrestricted free agents.

Wilhem was simply a Training Camp Body. Schobel hasn't really done anything for this offense in recent history. And Klecko was the reason that a jet's rookie running back accumulated so many yards.

Important Retentions
Quarterback- McNabb, Kolb, Feeley.
Vick is on the commissioner's exempt list. Right now the Eagles are keeping Feeley on the roster so they don't lose anything they could gain out of a trade. If he isn't traded within a few days expect him to be cut. There are also rumors of Kolb getting traded, but I don't see that happening.

Running Back - Westbrook, McCoy, Buckley
No surprises here, except maybe for Buckley. Buckley absolutely played his way onto this team though.

Full Back - Weaver
No surprise.

Tight Eend - Celek, Curtis
Celek is the obvious starter. Curtis has proved he can block in Dallas. He also proved in the Jet's game that he has the ability to catch. Look for the Eagles to maybe add a third TE early on.

Wide Receiver - Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Hank Baskett, Reggie Brown, Brandon Gibson
The Eagles cannot keep seven WRs. Eventually either Basket or Brown will be cut or traded. Gibson has played his way onto the squad.

Offensive Line - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Max Jean-Gilles, Nick Cole, Mike McGlynn, Winston Justice, King Dunlap
While the Eagle's like to have lots of linemen, don't expect everyone to stay. I just don't know who the Eagles will give the boot to.

Defensive End
- Victor Abiamiri, Jason Babin, Chris Clemons, Trent Cole, Darren Howard, Juqua Parker
I'm not sure if all 6 will stay in Philadelphia. While they are quality ends, unless Trent Cole is going to be switched out a lot more often than last year I can't see them all getting field time.
Note on Babin: Great Preseason, man absolutely played his way onto the team. Hopefully returning to his rightful position will allow him to excel.

Defensive Tackle - Brodrick Bunkley, Trevor Laws, Mike Patterson
I expect them to add one more sometime soon. Only three DT's is concerning. Especially if Bunkley or Patterson goes down for the season (or even worse both)

Linebacker - Moise Fokou, Omar Gaither, Chris Gocong, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Tracy White
We all knew this was going to be the lineup. Tracy White and Moise Fokou played their way onto the squad. I can't really envision this changing. The backups pretty much have the ability to play any of the three positions.

Cornerback - Sheldon Brown, Joselio Hanson, Ellis Hobbs, Dimitri Patterson, Asante Samuel
No surprises. Dimitri Patterson is the gunner on special teams so that really helped his case for making the team.

Safety - Quintin Demps, Macho Harris, Sean Jones, Quintin Mikell
No surprises again. Jones and Demps are still battling it out. Harris' play has caused some rumors that he may even be in the mix now. I doubt it. I envision Sean Jones starting the season at Free Safety.

Specialists (3) - David Akers, Jon Dorenbos, Sav Rocca

Again this roster is ANYTHING from final. There will be lots of changes in the upcoming days.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Happened in Indy?

Andy Reid called the performance in Indianapolis " embarrassing, absolutely ridiculous on both sides of the ball and special teams, and unacceptable." Reid was clearly trying to send a message: "The regular season is coming real fast, it's time to get our selves in gear."

While Reid is absolutely allowed to be mad, the performance was about as embarrassing as it gets in the preseason, it just gives the Eagles more to focus on.

1. Getting the Offensive Line together.

Donovan McNabb was originally slated to play an entire half, but then Reid became aware of the offensive line situation. King Dunlap simply could not block Dwight Freeney. Although Reid will never say it, McNabb was pulled out after the TD pass because Reid did not want his Franchise Quarterback to get injured in a meaningless preseason game.

2. Ellis Hobbs doesn't know the system yet.

That Reggie Wayne touchdown was completely unacceptable. Hobbs thought that he had safety help over the top but he didn't. This is all because of a misunderstanding of the play. While we know that Sheldon Brown knows the system, Hobbs needs to get on the same page.

3. Maclin is not Jackson

He looked hesitant while returning kicks. He dropped a third down pass that hit him right in the hands. We can only hope this is because of the missed time and it will get better as the season goes on.

But here are the good things about the game.

1. Skill Position Offense looked good.

That TD throw to DeSean Jackson is exactly what was missing last year. McCoy looks great while running, and will only get better as he adjusts to the speed of the game. McNabb looked on target with most of his passes, the problem was a couple of dropped passes on third down.

2. Hobbs looked good as a Kick Returner.

He had a return for 35 yards with poor blocking. He looks like he will be a plus from Demps last year.

3. Babin looks good.

He's had 4 tackles and one sack in both of his preseason games. And this game was going against the first team offensive line. He also forced a fumble on Peyton Manning, a feat that is not easily accomplished.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Remains To Be Fixed in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles are a team that is on the brink of success. There a couple of things that are holding them back... and here they are.

The Offensive Line

This is the most publicized problem with the Eagles right now. In May the Eagles had the following projected starting lineup.

RT: Jason Peters

RG: Todd Herremens

C: Jamaal Jackson

LG: Stacy Andrews

LT: Shawn Andrews.

When the Eagles played last thursday only Peters,who went out of the game with an injury anyway, and Jackson even played. While the back ups didn't do a TERRIBLE job, the game definitely would have gone better had they played better. Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters look on pace to return either this week or next week. Todd Herremens is expected to return in the season opener. The biggest question mark is Shawn Andrews and his ability to recover from some back muscle issues. Winston Justice, the former second round pick, is currently playing Right Tackle. The Offensive Line needs to sort itself out before the Eagles head to Carolina for the season opener.

Depth at TE

Right now Celek, Bright, Schobel, and Mayers are the only TEs on the 80 man roster.

- Celek is the obvious starter.

- Matt Schobel has been here for several years, knows the system, but has never really produced during the regular season.

- Robert Myers is a project the eagles are working on.

- Bright is a converted defensive end who looks like he needs another year on the practice squad before he can play at this level.

If the Eagle's ever want to line up in a dual TE set and hope their opponents take them seriously they need at least another TE. If Celek is ever seriously injured the team is going to be in dire need of one.

The Linebackers

If you took one thing away from the Patriots game it should be that a TE was allowed to score 2 TD's with relative ease. Covering the TE is the LB's job. While I don't know which LB had the specific assignment on Baker that problem needs to be fixed. I think that this will be fixed as the preseason goes on and the LB's get better chemistry, but it cannot happen during the regular season.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Practice Update: Michael Vick arrives and more!

A Couple of Big News Items
1. Michael Vick
Yes Michael Vick practiced today. He originally practiced in offensive only drills, completing slant patterns and regular routes. He worked studiously with McNabb and Marty Mornhinweg: trying to get his footwork and basics back in place. What is notable about this practice is that
a) He handled the media well, spoke very little,
b) He was the first one on the field and the last one off
c) He hooked up with Maclin twice for 50 yard throws down the field.

2. Sheldon Brown
Sheldon Brown was injured his ribs today while defending Kevin Curtis. His ribs are bruised and I Don't Know how long he'll be out.

3. Shawn Andrew's Speaks!
Yeah, a lot of you guys with the ink pens question my mental toughness. I know a lot of people are trying to keep their jobs and do good for their paper, so I guess it’s OK. It’s tough when a guy can’t defend himself. People just kind of make me out to be a nut case. It’s all right. I’m content with myself and where God wants me to be."

Get back on the field PLEASE!

4.Westbrook Practiced.
Philly.Com had this to say about Westbrook
-- Westbrook ran during intalls, but not during team drills. The running back looked very sharp.

Gcobb had this to say about practice.
Brian Westbrook was out getting some work during the individual drills. We went in after those were over and I'd estimate that he looked about 70%. You can see that BWest still has a ways to go before he's all the way back. He doesn't put all of his weight on that injured ankle. It's understandable. It's good to see him out here so far ahead of the first game.

Friday, August 14, 2009

PreSeason Without Michael Vick (Offensive)

So I know that everyone wants to talk about the signing of Michael Vick right now, but let's keep this discussion as uncontroversial as possible. PreSeason is an incredibly important time for rookies and a few veterans as they are fighting for a spot to make the team.

Here a couple people I'm going to talk about quickly and absolutely encourage anyone's views on these players or anyone else I don't mention.

1. Jeremy Maclin - It took Maclin a drive or two to get acclimated to the environment but he played well during the game. He had 2 catches for 44 yards, which made him the Eagle's leading receiver behind Eldra Buckley (more on him later). He also drew the pass interference which obviously gave the Eagle's great field position inside the 1 yard line. He also played incredibly well as a punt returner; returning 2 punts for over 20 yards each.

2. LeSean McCoy - He averaged 5.5 yards/carry and was very explosive. He made his way through some tough holes. He gained 19 yards on one reception, but then lost 7 yards on another. Those 7 yards are NOT his fault. Donovan McNabb was being pressured and he just dumped it off to McCoy when McCoy was still standing right next to him. McCoy attempted to scramble but there is only so much you can really do.

3. Eldra Buckley - This is the player who I was by far the most impressed and surprised by. I expected Buckley to make a push for a roster spot, but he blew me away. He had 2 touchdowns (1 receiving 1 rushing) and was the Eagle's top receiver. Definitely the best contributor on the offense.

4. The Entire Offensive Line - They looked pretty good without 3 of the projected starters. Not the best offensive line in the league, but they were effective.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Injury Update: (As of Sunday June 09)

Injuries have plagued the Eagle's this offseason, making a once optimistic camp seem dark and dismal (it's really not, but I'll get to that later).
Let's start with the worst first, and then move into less severe.

Stewart Bradley - Torn ACL: Out For Season

This may be the worst injury that the Eagle's have suffered in the offseason. Bradley was the starting Middle Linebacker and primary signal caller for the Eagle's Defense. After Dawkins left it seemed that Bradley was tapped to become the Defense's new leader as well.
In regards to the X's and O's, his replacement will either be Omar Gaither, who is currently competing with Akeem Jordan for the Weak Side LB position, or Joe Mays. I like Joe Mays in this battle. Gcobb wrote a very good article about Joe May's recent progress. Here's an excerpt:
But Mays had a good day today. He made some very good open-field tackles. He had one on LeSean McCoy where it was just the two of them out there in space. He got McCoy to the ground. He did a great job of taking away McCoy’s cut-back lanes and using the sideline as a defender. It was a very nice play.

And On Omar Gaither:

There are plenty of leader's on the Defense to replace Bradley's spirit. Mikell has always been an assumed leader, and he will continue to rise in that role. Asante Samuel has been making some noise every day in camp. Trent Cole is the unquestioned leader of the line. There are plenty of good people that will step up.

Cornelius Ingram - Torn ACL: Out For Season

This is a big loss for the Eagles. They were expecting Ingram to become the X-Factor in the red zone. His height, and athleticism would have been invaluable for Donovan McNabb had he been available. He was injured in a goal line drill on Thursday. The Eagles thought it was just a small amount of swelling until they conducted an MRI. Last Year Ingram tore the ACL in the same knee and was out for the season with the Florida Gators.

Shawn Andrews - Back MUSCLE Soreness

This injury doesn't have me overly concerned. According to Andy Reid Shawn Andrews is having some issues with the muscles in his back. Andrews reported to camp and completed the flexibility and agility drills required but then started complaining. Andrews has been seen around Lehigh rehabing and staying in shape by doing cardio. Filling in for Andrews at Right Tackle is Winston Justice.

DeSean Jackson- Hyper Exteneded Knee: Already Back

DeSean Jackson is already back on the field as of Sunday Afternoon. Andy Reid said he would have been back earlier had it not rained Sunday Morning. I really only included this here because I got several frantic texts last night about this showing up on sports center.