Sorry for the much delayed post, however, I have been sitting in the corner of my basement for the last several days staring at the Eagles fathead on my wall sobbing like a little girl. Here are some depressing realities regarding your Eagles:
1. The Eagles cannot win at home:Since last year’s miraculous Miracle at the Meadowlands victory in Giants Stadium the Eagles are now a hard to believe 1-6 at home (including playoffs). Yes, that’s 1-6. Seriously, that’s just plain embarrassing. The Eagles are not the Jacksonville Jaguars for god sakes, playing in a half empty stadium, in a 2nd class city, with passionless fans (btw…the putrid Jags are 5-3 at home in this span). Eagles fans circle the wagons every week, pack the house, bring noise on 3rd downs, etc. This team has 10X the weapons and talent as the Jags, or even most teams in the NFL, and they are 1-6 in their last 7 home games!? This is inexcusable and a terrific example of the heartless nature of this team. Btw…these losses were not exactly against world beaters either: 1) a Joe Webb led Vikings team, 2) an Alex Smith led 49er team that spotted them a 20 point lead, 3) a Giant team the Eagles led going into the 4th quarter with Eli Manning throwing his patented moon balls, and 4) Obviously, just this past week against a rather average Bears team whom they had buried, but let right back in the game yet again.
One particular moment comes to mind. The Eagles had just scored a 2nd TD in a row to take a 24-17 lead. The stadium was absolutely rocking at this point. The Eagles had the Bears pinned on the 12 yard line. The Result? First play: incomplete. The stadium becomes even louder, sensing blood in the water. Second play: 17 yard draw play to MARION BARBER?! Also, included on this mind numbing drive was a 28 yard completion to Earl friggin’ Bennett on 3rd and 8 followed by an 18 yard completion to fraudulent Roy Williams. How does a team NOT get a stop in this situation? I mean, if they cannot do it there, with the crowd blasting, all the momentum in the world, against a rather mediocre offense (remember, the Bears offense was 22nd in the league in offense coming in), and against a rather erratic QB in Cutler, they are never going to be able to stop anyone, ever. Certainly they won’t be able to get a stop in a big spot. I think this goes beyond scheming and talent btw. All teams have some level of talent in the NFL, and any can beat the other on any given Sunday, especially in today’s league of parity. I think winning has something to do with an intangible factor: a team’s ”dog”, pride, “want-to”, moxie, whatever you want to call this. It is obvious now that this team is completely devoid of it. Have some fucking pride and win a game at home for god sakes. If not for us, but for yourselves.
2. Speaking of no-heart, the Eagles are also incapable of engineering a late scoring drive: I imagine you all watched Eli Manning do his moon ball routine against the Pats late Sunday, beating them in the final minutes with another late scoring drive. (See what I mean about a certain intangible it takes to win games?) Well, again, this largely young core of Eagles clearly does not have this intangible. Over the last two years with Vick at the helm the Eagles have had numerous chances to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Miracle at the Meadowlands Part II aside, the Eagles have failed each time:
2010 v. GB (down 27-20, ball with 4:30 left, turnover on downs when they failed to convert a 4th and 1 in GB territory)
*2010 v. WASH (Down 17-12, 1:33 left, interception) *Kolb was playing in this game due to Vick injury
Wildcard Playoff 2010 v. GB (Down 20-16, ball with @2:00 left, infamous end zone interception to end the season)
*2011 v. ATL (Down 35-31 ball with 4:38 left, Maclin drops a 1st down pass on 4th down directly in his hands) *Kafka was playing due to Vick injury
2011 v. SF (Down 24-23 ball with 3:00 left, Maclin fumbles while sprinting in 49er territory)
2011 v. BUFF (Down 31-24 ball with 5:39 left, Crazy flipped up INT by Avant)
2011 v. Chicago (Down 30-24 ball with 3:51 left, Turnover on downs due to a poor pass by Vick that caused Maclin to fall over short of the 1st down)
So, by my count, that is 1-7 in the last two seasons late in games with a chance to win or tie on the final possession. Remember also, in the Miracle at the Meadowlands Part II it was a horrendous decision, and lucky break, that the Giants actually punted to DeSean Jackson in the final seconds. So, the offense did not get it done in this situation. If given the chance, perhaps they would found a way to lose this game in a heartless fashion as well. (Note to Eagles- I think it is time to stop playing these highlights before the game in an attempt to get the fans fired up, since everything since that Jackson TD return has been a total unmitigated disaster, including all of Jackson’s punt returns. Thanks). Back to the point, the Eagles cannot step up an win games late. This includes all their time with McNabb at the helm, small exceptions aside. Their absolute futility in these situations is actually somewhat remarkable in the Andy Reid era. Concidence? I think not. After 10+ years, this is most certainly a trend. Actually, Vick needs to start sharing in this blame. Remember how much Eagle fans killed McNabb for never being able to win games late? Well, Vick has mysteriously escaped criticism in this town, and perhaps it is time for a change.
3. Juan Castillo, Juan Castillo, Juan Castillo….Why?! Why?! Why?!: Again, why is this guy the defensive coordinator? It is so obvious that he is utterly and completely overmatched and incapable, it is screaming at you from every direction. As we have covered at least 9,000 times, the Eagles biggest problem last year was defense, so they decided to hire someone even LESS experienced than the former coordinator, who was also largely a disaster. To Sean McDermott’s credit, at least he was able to lead a much less talented defense to a 10-6 record, beat Payton Manning, and hold the juggernaut Packer offense that shredded through the league last playoffs to only 20 points. Case in point: how does Castillo not know how to mix up his defensive looks? The Eagles ran vanilla schemes all night and largely only rushed four, kept getting beat on 3rd downs, kept not putting pressure on Cutler, over and over and over again. It was completely and totally obvious that change was in order, in other words, FUCKING BLITZ!!! The few times the Eagles were able to put pressure on Culter, he looked extremely flustered. Still, no change, no blitzing. Really, nothing. Completely lifeless, as if a computer simulator stuck on Cover-2 was running the defense. As I have mentioned before, when you cannot stop an opposing offense, it’s kitchen sink time. You cannot be afraid to fail, throw anything and everything at the opposing offense. Change looks, coverages, blitz, drop everyone in coverage, etc. Do whatever you can do to knock them off their rhythm or force them into a mistake. Was this done? Of course not, since the Eagles have a high school level defensive coorinator and hired him despite knowing this. Again how in the world was hiring Castillo the decision? I still cannot figure this out. This is Joe Paterno level negligence on the part of Andy Reid, and you know what just happened to Joe.
Well, what now? I have no idea. Guess I’m going to have to start drinking more at the games just to forget (if that is even possible). Oh yeah, btw, our old friend Kevin Kolb is coming back to town this week. What a perfect way to bring the misery to unforeseen epic levels, no? It’s almost too perfect. History is upon us folks, this might be the most miserable Eagles season in history, and that is saying a lot.