Do you think anyone wishes they could turn back time more than Vince Young? Dream Team. Two little words that put the media in a stir and has kept them spinning through the first four weeks of the Eagles season.
When Young spoke those words, it put a target on the Eagles backs. However, as Eagles fans, I don’t think anyone minded it all that much. After acquiring such a wide array of talent in free agency, it was hard not to believe this team being something out of a dream.
Quickly, we found out that things were much more along the lines of a nightmare. Talent can only be effective if it’s used the right way. You have to play talent to all of its strengths. Let those with more talent hide talent that others may lack. With one quarter of the season in the books, the Eagles have yet to do this.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. You can place it on both sides of the ball. You can place it on special teams. Maybe more so than anywhere else, you can place it on the coaching staff.
This team has just about everything you can look for. They have young emerging players. They have proven Pro Bowl players. They even have a guy with a Super Bowl ring. So why does this team fail to win football games?
Let’s look to our fearless leader, Andy Reid. Before free agency started, before the lockout began, before prepping for the draft, what was priority number one? Priority number one was to find a defensive coordinator. This team needed a guy to come in and get the Eagles defense back on track. Get back to the way things were when the late Jim Johnson was at the helm.
Where did Reid go to find the person to fill these big shoes? Not far. He chose his current offensive line coach to become defensive coordinator, a move that nobody predicted. How could you? What’s the logical thought process behind converting a guy who has coached the offensive line position for countless years to the defensive coordinator?
Trick question. There is no logical thought process there. It was as confusing to those who work in the football industry full time to those who love to get hammered on Sunday’s and regret every moment of it at work on Monday. There was no better option?
Good news though, the Eagles bring in a great defensive line coach in Jim Washburn who can conceivably hide some of the flaws Juan Castillo may have in his first year in a new role. He brings in a new scheme along the defensive line. A scheme that may look a bit odd, but a scheme that can produce results.
To go along with that system, they put together a group of lineman who should find success in getting up the field and pressuring the quarterback every play. They just forget about one minor detail. Linebackers.
With these wide splits, it creates big gaps on the line, allowing offensive lineman to get out on linebackers, and making it very important for these linebackers to get off the blocks in order to make plays.
Not that big of a deal, right? It seems like even the bad teams in the NFL have at least one pretty talented linebacker on their roster. However, it is a big deal. It’s a real big deal when your head coach doesn’t see the importance of the linebacker position and neglects it year in and year out.
Does Reid expect that every team will throw the ball as much as the Eagles do? Does he believe that teams will throw the ball even if they have success running the ball like the Eagles do?
I’m not sure what he thinks, but I’m sure that other coaches think they can run the ball on the Eagles. Why? Well, we’ve seen a healthy dose of teams running on the Eagles with success so far this season.
At the same time, we’ve seen teams have success through the air as well. What’s up with that? I thought we had an infinite amount of Pro Bowl corners? Did the Eagles not sign the most prized free agent available this offseason? Did they not sign one of, if not, the best cover corners in the NFL? That’s right, they did.
So what gives? By Nnamdi Asomugha’s standards, he’s not having a good season. He’s been in the position to make a few plays this season where he simply failed to step up. That’s true.
At the same time, he’s not being used to the best of his abilities. He’s a dominant cover corner, but he isn’t getting that opportunity as much as he should. Instead, he gets asked to play zone in certain situations, and it’s pretty clear that this is out of his comfort zone.
That’s just a failure to maximize the talent you have on your roster.
Speaking of talent on your roster, how good has LeSean McCoy become? It appeared the sky was the limit when he was asked to play a lot as a rookie, and things have only gotten better. He’s a tremendous all-around back.
He runs the ball hard, has great hands out of the backfield, and has really improved as a blocker. He’s the Eagles best offensive player in my eyes. Yes, I believe he’s a better offensive player than Michael Vick, and that’s saying a lot.
Through his first three games, McCoy was averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground, on pace for the best season of his career. So how do you only give this guy nine rushes? Especially in a game where you had a 20 point lead. You wanted to continue to be aggressive? Give me a break.
Are there other areas I haven’t mentioned that have contributed to the Eagles horrendous start? Absolutely. There’s been a lack of execution from many players on this roster and a lack of leadership to keep the head on the shoulders of this team.
However, it all trickles back to the top. It points to head coach Andy Reid. He’s showing us all that you can still fail miserably, even when you’re handed the Dream Team.
People are calling for his head. I’ve always felt that my negativity towards Reid has never been at the same level as most others. I’m there now. I really am. There’s still a lot of football to be played this season, but the Eagles haven’t shown that they’re taking any steps in the right direction.
So for now Andy, times yours. However, it may not be that way for much longer.