Sunday, October 2, 2011

I'm Done With This Eagles Team

Today in a home game, the Eagles blew their third straight game that they led in the fourth quarter. The span of the comeback was actually 20-3 in the third quarter, against a team with an embattled soon to be journeyman QB that was briefly pulled for a rookie, in front of a home crowd that started openly rooting for the baseball team instead of the team that was in front of them.

All of these things, by the way, are more or less unprecedented in the history of the franchise.

Now, I have watched very, very bad Eagles teams before. I have watched Monday night games against Seattle in miserable weather, where the team looked beyond helpless. I have watched Bobby Hoying and multiple Detmers. I have watched Rich Kotite and Marion Campbell. I have watched turnstile offensive lines, porous secondaries, bad red zone performance, weak-armed QBs and utterly indefensible clock management. I know bad football. I can tolerate it, I can keep my head during it, and I can avoid giving in to talk show radio style outrage and doom and gloom reactions to it. I don't need my team to win a Super Bowl to be happy, and my expectations for this team were not unduly extravagant; I simply hoped they would be better than last year.

But this Eagles team? I can't abide it. I'm not even sure that, in good conscience, I can continue to root very hard for it.

It's not Michael Vick. He's clearly the best QB they've had in the past several years; watching Donovan McNabb in Minnesota, or Kevin Kolb in Arizona, shows they made the right choice. While I'm not thrilled about his past, I also believe in rehabilitation and Christian charity, and wonder why his crimes are so much less forgivable than anything that anyone else in the NFL has done. It's just not logical to hate him on the level that some people hate him, or to blame him for what this team is now.

It's not the talent level. They have talent. It's not the coaching. As poor as the talent evaluations have been, as little as they are getting out of this year's draft class, that has generally been good in the Reid Era, if not maddening. It's not even the play-calling, despite the plainly insane desire to keep the ball away from LeSean McCoy, especially near the goal line.

Rather, it's their insufferable and inexcusable arrogance, this utterly unwarranted sense of self-worth and attitude, this feeling that just from having the players they have, and by making the plays that they make, the other team should just give up...

You see, this Eagles team doesn't think they should be 1-3. They think they should be 4-0. They don't think that they've blown 3 straight fourth quarter leads because they have been gutless and careless; they think they've been unlucky, that the refs haven't given them flags for late hits on their QB, and that everything is going to be just fine, if they just keep doing the same thing.

They think they can run into the line and try to throw the ball for an impossible highlight score, without regard for turnovers. They think they can show the defender the ball, because they are just that fast and skilled, and that fumbles won't ensue from this. They think they can scream at the refs for pass interference calls, rather than tackle the defensive back that made the interception. They think that in a nightmare game where it's all going south due to offensive turnovers and sloppy tackling, that laterals on punt returns and more ball strip tries are the way to go.

They don't think they have a problem stopping the run; they think that's just the scheme. They don't think they are undersized, because they think that everyone they play will want to go for their 2 passes to every 1 run playcalling. They think that emulating the Indianapolis Colts of Peyton Manning, rather than the Pittsburgh Steelers of Ben Roethlisberger, is the way to go, regardless of what the team's fans would really respond to.

They feel that offensive playcalling should be consistently titled towards the passing game, rather than adjusted to the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. They believe that pulling players in and out of the starting lineup on a week to week basis will fix things, and that linebackers aren't important.

They don't think that special teams are critical, that an offensive coach can just go be a defensive coordinator because he really really really wants to, that they can just pick up waived players from other teams and plug them in the starting lineup and everything will be OK, because they are just that smarter than everyone else.

Well, here's how smart they are. Here's how good they are. Here's how talented they are.

Vikings 24, Eagles 14
Cowboys 14, Eagles 13
Packers 21, Eagles 16
Eagles 31, Rams 13
Falcons 35, Eagles 31
Giants 29, Eagles 16
Niners 24, Eagles 23

That's the last 7 games that count. In those games, they were favored in every game. In those games, they are 1-6.

They aren't going to the playoffs. They aren't going to be .500. They are going to lead the league in turnovers, finger pointing, media blowups, camera shots of injured personnel, and so on, and so on. They are paper tigers, absolute pretenders, old enough to not get much better, devoid of leadership and substance.

And sure, they could still turn this around. They could still make people believe in them, get the rush defense up to mediocre, make a playoff run. Seasons don't end in the first week of October, no matter how you lose.

But they will never, ever, make me believe in them again.

(Oh, and one last, final kick in the teeth? If the Bucs cover the spread against the Curtis Painter Colts tomorrow night at home, this Eagles collapse will have cost me $265 on two different parleys. Freaking joyous.)


snd_dsgnr said...

Frustrating start I'm sure, but it's still early and it's not as if anyone else in the division has looked all that great.

I'm starting to develop a serious soft spot for the current incarnation of the Giants, but the second half of their schedule is still pretty murderous, Eli has traditionally struggled when the weather turns, and the short depth chart is likely to grind down active players as the season goes on.

The Cowboys are still the same mercurial bunch they've been for years now, and the Redskins are still counting on Rex Grossman to carry their offense.

I still wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Eagles take the division. Though, to be honest, I would be beyond shocked if they made the SuperBowl given the weaknesses they've shown.

DMtShooter said...

SD, my disgust with this team is such that I'm not sure I *want* to see them win the division. Maybe a good 4-12 stinkbomb will finally flush Reid, and get us an organization that understands that football is won in the trenches, not the perimeter...

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