Monday, September 21, 2009

Top 10 Eagles-Saints takeaways

> The most disquieting way to have a bad defensive game is when you know that the opposition is going to run the ball, they run it, and you can't stop it anyway. And the image of Mike Bell running is the real disturbing point of this football game -- not the usual Drew Brees excitement. Because the Eagles pass defense usually comes around, and the special teams rarely stays bad for more than the first month or two. But bad run defense, in Week 2? That's disturbing.

In the Reid Era, big point blowouts like this one almost always lead to a defensive player or two losing their starting job. If I had to guess who was going to find themselves benchward after this game, it'd either be rookie safety Macho Harris, or perpetual linebacker disappointment Omar Geither. But honestly, outside of Akeem Jordan, I don't know if anyone really played well in this game, including supposed stars like Asante Samuel and Trent Cole.

> Kevin Kolb's final numbers (31 of 51, 391 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) really don't represent the kind of day he had. For most of the game, he was operating under Game Manager mode, with an inordinate amount of Tricksiness going on; it seemed like every drive had some Wildcattery, with some out and out spread offense weirdness thrown into the mix. He pumped up his numbers with some throws against the prevent, and the final pick was just a pointless Hail Mary pick after a curious Reid timeout.

If you want to be encouraged, there was very good two minute work at the end of the first half, and a half dozen or more good throws into tight spaces. But you also have to note his Feeley-esque interception lapses (both of the first two were pretty awful, and the second wound up being a TAInt), which is a chilling recurring issue for the Birds under Reid when McNabb isn't available. The only backup in the McNabb era to not have this issue was Jeff Garcia, and Kolb showed enough that I doubt we're going to see any meaningful number of snaps for Garcia this year.

> I've officially lost all patience with punter Sav Rocca. I understand that he's got a big leg and will stick his nose into a tackle with his oversized self. But the inconsistency is just maddening, and I just don't need this much excitement from the punter. I realize that he's got compromising photos of Reid, and that we're going to be putting up with him until next year at least. But he's not a strength, and not going to become one.

> If you want to beat the Eagles secondary, you don't do it with the small fast speed guys, a la Carolina Steve Smith, or even the deep burners like Randy Moss. Instead, you go for a big possession receiver type, which is usually a tight end... or in the case of the Saints, Marques Colston. Add up his numbers with the loathsome Jeremy Shockey, and you've got 12 for 147 and 2 touchdowns today, though when the QB completes passes to nine different receivers and spends most of the second half waiting for the game to end, it's hard to really point to a single issue.

> The hidden villain of this game was the Eagles offensive line. Too many missed assignments, and an erratic running game against a defense without a great amount of pedigree, at home. After last week's game where big running numbers were pasted on the road in Carolina, curious. And disappointing.

> DeSean Jackson remains the most intriguing young offensive player in the Reid Era. And yes, I know that Brian Westbrook developed during Cap'n Andy, but the thing about B-Dub is that he came on quietly, in the shadow of Duce Staley. Jackson's been the best at his position for this team from the day he joined the squad. He just makes everyone else seem slow, and old.

> Brent Celek is white, physical, reasonably healthy, sure handed, and has saved Eagle Fan from ever having to look at LJ Smith again. If there were a stock market on jersey sales, I'd buy shares in his laundry.

> A mildly encouraging moment: kickoff returner Ellis Hobbs bouncing back from an opening second half fumble to post a solid return and set up the second half touchdown. It's not really a mitigating performance -- the turnover set a terrible tone and put them in too deep of a hole -- but at least Hobbs didn't go into a shell.

> Here's what life is like under Reid right now: you see plays like Westbrook trying to complete passes to Leonard Weaver, and so much Wildcatting that it's a little unsettling. I spent my formative years as an Eagles fan dreaming of a more innovative offensive game plan, mostly because we knew we didn't have the line or talent to win straight up. Now, we dream of a coach that actually lets the line and talent try to win straight up, but since he loves The Tricksy so much... not gonna happen. And when Michael Vick is active next week against the Chiefs? Yikes.

> I can't say I was all that upset by this loss, for one simple reason: the Saints are a (much) better team right now. Maybe they won't be later, especially if they keep losing RBs (Mike Bell went down in this game, Pierre Thomas really doesn't look right, and Reggie Bush might be the most overrated player in the league), and they are going to need home-field in the playoffs, since they are a passing dome team. But right now, they are just too much. Way too much.


constant gina said...

Am I the only one counting down until Vick returns...??

Dirty Davey said...

My two takeaways:

(1) For all his failings, Kolb actually looked like a professional quarterback yesterday--which is something new and different.

(2) Kevin Curtis has lost a half-step, which for receiver with a reputation as a "speed guy" is really troubling.

DMtShooter said...

Agreed on Curtis. I'd rather see Maclin get those attempts now, or even (ulp) Reggie Brown. Curtis is 30, white, and injury-prone, which basically means he's really not long for the league...

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