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Monday, September 13, 2010

Ugly Football by Eagles in Opening Loss

Once again the Philadelphia Eagles find a way to turn a loss into a miserable loss.

Down 20-3 to the Green Bay Packers early in the third quarter with their new starting quarterback out with a concussion and having only raised questions about his abilities, the Eagles managed to comeback. With Michael Vick at quarterback, the Eagles had narrowed the deficit to 7 points, 27-20, and were driving to for a potential tying touchdown with 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The 2-minute warning brought a 4th-and-1 for the Birds at the Green Bay 42-yard line.

And then we were reminded that Andy Reid is still the head coach of the Eagles.

Vick had proven he was the fastest guy on the field throughout the half. A 1-yard pickup to keep the game alive should have been no problem. Spread the field and let Vick run wide, much like he’d been doing throughout the half.

Instead, Vick is put into the shot gun with a tight formation and ran straight into the line for no gain.

Of course, the Eagles had squandered timeouts earlier in the quarter – including a completely inexplicable one when the officials had called timeout to measure for a Green Bay first down, which they got, and Reid took his timeout anyway. They were out of timeouts in a close game with 5 minutes left to play. As Eagles fans know, Reid can waste timeouts better than anyone.

There were plenty of things to be disturbed about for Eagles fans. Here’s the rest of what I caught:

• Praise the Eagles defense if necessary, but they came up small in the third quarter. They looked like they quit for a while, getting pounded by the Packer running game just when Kolb was officially out and it looked like the “D” might need to win the game. Instead, if they had just kept things where they were, the offense might have won it. Giving up 14 points in the third quarter was weak, even with one Packer drive starting at midfield due to an offensive fumble. Maybe I should give Stewart Bradley, who went out at halftime, more credit.

• Aren’t the Eagles supposed to have a guru special teams coach in Bobby April? They looked horrible, giving up great field position multiple times, and they weren’t doing anything on their own returns.

• I actually didn’t hate the Eagles having Vick at wide receiver, which is the type of thing I think they should be doing with him, but doing it on the first play seemed questionable. I still say that if they are committed to Kolb – and for the first time, I’m taking the “if” a little seriously – they need to let the guy just play the regular offense without the Vick experiment going on around him.

• Fox announcer Joe Buck actually said that first-round draft pick looked “gassed” in the first quarter. If true, that’s ridiculous by the player and coaches. What the hell was he doing all summer?

• It’s a huge story now, but even when it was going on I was stunned that Bradley was allowed to return to the field almost immediately after cameras caught him staggering after he tried to get up on a play late in the first half. Reid actually defended the team on this one, suggesting Bradley (and Kolb) passed sideline tests to return to the game. Why in the world were they testing Bradley? He staggered after getting hit, and fell to the ground! Don’t test the guy when it’s that obvious that he has a problem – hide his damn helmet so he can’t go back in. Kolb’s concussion wasn’t obvious on television, but both occurred near halftime yet both players returned before the half. It’s another indication that the Eagles sideline is unprepared on game days. Whatever happened to evaluating players at halftime? Eventually the Eagles figured this out, and both guys were pulled.

• Leonard Weaver is about to become a Philadelphia folk hero. He did some nice things last year, incurred a gruesome injury yesterday, and is done at least for the season. I feel bad for the guy, but I know what’s coming. Philly fans will be giving the fullback legendary status. He’s a fullback; let’s not get crazy. (Yeah, right.)

• The 2-minute drill looked as bad as usual at the end of the first half. For now, Kolb’s concussion makes it hard to judge, but it’s not a good sign.

• They were slow again with Vick in the game in the fourth quarter. With 7 minutes left, down 2 scores, I didn’t see nearly enough urgency in the offense.

Finally, the debate over who should start at quarterback is clearly “on” for the foreseeable future. While I continue to support Kolb, Vick certainly offered a good argument for himself in the second half yesterday. But it wasn’t perfect.

Before the Eagles settled for a field goal a little more than halfway through the fourth quarter, Vick threw back-to-back passes and had a chance to run for a touchdown on the second one (third down). Did he choke? And regardless of what was called on the Eagles final offensive play, why didn’t he run wide?

He also didn’t show himself as much of a leader after the game, saying, “I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters, maybe we would've had a chance to win the game,” Vick said.

It was a hell of an impression of Donovan McNabb, but not very helpful to his team. Of course, that only enhanced the impression.

2 comments:

MDefl said...

Rob,

Good Synopsis of the game. Disappointing but I was not expecting a win. I am not even close to ready to give up on Kolb after 1 half of play. I suspect a lot of Vick's success was due to the simple fact that Green Bay did not game plan for him as the primary QB. Still, he played well and we can't take that away from him.

As for Bradley, I replayed that part of the game numerous times now and I think I know what happened. As Bradley took that awful hit, the Dr and trainer were looking at Kolb. It also seemed like Reid had his eyes elsewhere as I slowed up the video. It is a short shot of Reid so who knows?

I have to believe that if the Dr. or trainer had actually seen or had knowledge of how Bradley was stumbling, then there is simply no way he goes back into that game. I think what they saw was him lying on the ground. He answered the questions on the sideline with accuracy because he probably had shaken off some of the cobwebs. However, the brain can continue to swell for 45 minutes (or longer) after the initial trauma. I really don't think they had a good look at that. The trainor for the Eagles is known for his caution. As for Kolb, I just think it was less obvious.

It is a shame that Weaver and Jackson are done for the year. Jackson is the bigger loss although Weaver is a very good FB. Reid was actually counting on him this year.

If Graham was really "gassed" in the 1st q, then his entire camp was a waster. However, it was Joe Buck speaking so I don't give that a lot of creditablity.

Clock Management? 11+ years and I am still waiting for Reid to acquire that basic skill. Let's see - Clinton was POTUS, The Nasdaq was at 5000, I have never heard of the term blog and an Ipod was probably some place where a frog lived when I noticed that clock management was an issue for Reid. It is nice to know that some things will never, ever change. It gives me comfort.

MDefl

Rob Quinn said...

Players from both teams saw the way Bradley fell. There is little chance the trainers and doctors didn't know about it.