Coming into the season, there were a lot of questions surrounding how well the offensive line would be able to protect the Eagles new $100 million asset. They had a new offensive line coach and were attempting to throw rookies into the starting lineup right out of the gate.
All things considering, I’d personally say the offensive line has played above my expectations. So entering last weeks game against the Dolphins, my biggest concern was seeing Michael Vick get hit while scrambling, not in the pocket.
However, the offensive line was abysmal. Vick saw pressure in the backfield all game and has missed practice this week due to soreness in his previously injured ribs. The Dolphins have some talent up front on defense, but I didn’t think it was anything the Eagles offensive line couldn’t handle.
The good news out of last weeks game is that Vick didn’t get seriously hurt and the defense carried them to a victory.
The same thing can’t happen this week against the Jets. It really can’t. The offensive line needs to step up and play like they have been throughout the season.
LeSean McCoy had two touchdowns last, but he didn’t have the running lanes he’s been seeing all year. He was bottled up and often had defenders hitting him before he could even cross the line of scrimmage. The Eagles run blocking has been very good for the most part this season and they need to get back to that.
On defense, the Jets have two talented corners in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie who are very physical. When corners play physical, it can take longer for a receiver to run their route. This means the quarterback needs more time in the pocket.
Vick was getting barely any time last weekend, and the Eagles only saw success when they adjusted the play calling and started running short routes and screen passes. These plays work, but the Eagles have a lot of talent that can stretch the field and that’s not something they want to have taken away from them.
Another thing that concerns me is Vick’s health. He proved to us last week that the whole “I’m going to start sliding more” thing was a lie. It doesn’t surprise me. The guy plays the game hard and you have to give him credit for that. However, it has resulted in many injuries for him in the past.
The Eagles playoff hopes are slim, but I’m not holding my breath. They may not go to the playoffs, but I want to see Vick finish out the season and play well. His play has been very inconsistent this season and I’d like to see him finish 2011 on a high note.
In order for Vick to do that, his line can’t play like they did against the Dolphins. They need to step up and it all starts this weekend against the Jets.