Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Green Shoots?

Kelly Green
In the day-after post mortem of the Eagles win over the Giants, the green media (one of the worst in the country, honestly) talked about the following Encouraging Signs...

1) How the secondary looked better and came up with picks to close out the game. Which is all fine and dandy, and I don't want to throw them under the bus for giving up big yards to a QB who was under 50% with 50+ attempts... but it's not as if the Giants weren't open all day. With the exception of CB Brandon Boykin's remarkable pick, these were gifts and luck, more than coverage.

2) That Nick Foles should be the QB. Well, maybe, I suppose... but Foles didn't beat QB Michael Vick in preseason, and the team lost the lead while he was in the game before they gained it back. Sure, he played a clean game on the turnovers and threw two great fourth quarter touchdowns, but the run game evaporated with him in there, and he had a very soft pocket much of the day, with a defense that didn't take away anything. Seriously, the Giants defended a two-minute drill against a back-up QB without defending their star running back in the flat. We should all find opportunities in life to be so abundant.

3) For actual green shootery without reservations, I'll go to the kicking game. After a weak effort in Denver, P Donnie Jones was as good as it gets, and K Alex Henery hit on all five attempts and induced touchbacks all day. It's not overstating the case to say that with this current crop of players and talent, the field goal kicker and kickoff guy is going to be more important than most kickers, and his weak work in the first four games has been a cause for concern. If Henery is back on track and can be good, it's fairly meaningful for the won-loss record.

4) Again for possible real green shoots, I'll go with the work of the lines. The offensive line kept the QB clean most of the day; the defensive line got to QB Eli Manning late, and induced a number of intentional grounding flags. And that leads me to the final point...

5) We might be seeing the evolution, if not the capitulation, of HC Chip Kelly. Blur Offense was not in evidence for much of the day, and it even looked as if Foles was annoyed at not getting the play called quicker from time to time. I suspect that after the Denver game, he's come to the realization that he's just got to protect that unit, and that he's also noticed how his offensive line hasn't been able to dominate late in games, which means they just aren't conditioned enough to play the way he wants. It will be highly intriguing to see what the tempo looks like in Tampa this week, especially since, well, that team has a defense, despite being winless. And they are coming off a bye.

Which leads us to the final point...

6) Um, guys? It's nice that the team is going to play relevant football for a little while longer, but in the immortal words of the Wolf from Pulp Fiction, let's not go out and buy popsicles.

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The Eagles are 2-0 against winless teams, 2-0 against the NFC East, and 0-3 against everyone else. They've lost so many games in a row at home, it's borderline insane, and until they fix that, road wins don't mean very much. Foles has a road win in Tampa last year, but the Bucs are coming off a bye, and rookie QB Mike Glennon isn't going to have quite the deer in the headlights look as he did in the first few games. If they lose that one, the game on Sunday doesn't matter, and for the record -- 2013 does not matter. There's no way this team develops so much between now and January as to win a playoff game.

But, hey, green shoots? You take 'em where you find them...

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