We have reached the halfway point of the regular season and there is a lot of evaluating going on. At this point, a lot of it is negative because of the disappointing loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night. Despite that, there is a lot of football left to be played. At 5-3, the Birds are sitting in a decent spot although you’d like to think they could be sitting a bit prettier. There are plenty of areas for concern however. Right now I have two big areas that are bothering me.
The injury bug bit the heart of the linebacker corp before the season even started and just keeps nagging. Chris Gocong was unable to play last week and Akeem Jordan left the game with an injury on Sunday. That finished the rotation of having injuries to all our projected starting linebackers from the beginning of the season. We all know the trouble the Eagles had filling the middle and the carousel that went around before Will Witherspoon stepped into the middle. He’s not a true middle linebacker but has done pretty well filling the role.
The question for the rest of the season is who will actually be playing. We’ve seen a lot of different players fill the spots due to injury and inconsistent play. Their play will need to be solid as the Birds will see some teams who can effectively run the ball in the second half of their schedule. We saw the team fail to stop Marion Barber at the end of last weeks game, and if a team can consistently run on the Eagles they are going to have a real hard time winning football games.
Their line has been solid and although there have been some struggles at the safety position, their secondary has played pretty good as well. The big question the defense will face is whether or not the linebackers can play consistently enough.
2. Offensive consistency
The Eagles have such play makers on the offensive side of the ball; however, they seem to sputter here and there. We know the Eagles aren’t going to pound the ball down your throat with the run game. Even if they could, they probably wouldn’t. That’s just the way the play calling is and we’re just going to have live with that I suppose. However, as potent as our pass game can be, we can only be as good as Donovan McNabb allows us to be.
In the two losses he has played in, there was just something about his play that just wasn’t there. It’s frustrating because he played well in the previous games going into these losses. Sure his protection has been kind of spotty, but he has made a lot of poor throws even when he’s had sufficient time. DeSean Jackson was quiet against the Cowboys so I hope to see him get back in the swing of things. He is going to see a lot of double coverage with a safety helping over the top but I think he’s smart enough to know this and be able to find open spots on the field. Once the ball is in his hands, he has the ability to break open a big play from anywhere on the field.
If the offense starts clicking in the second half of the season, you better look out for this team. They can put up points in a hurry. McNabb needs to have an MVP-like second half of the season. Our offense will go as far as he can take us.