Giant Killers – EaglesFanCast 136

In an emotional and amazing game, the Philadelphia Eagles beat NFC East rivals New York Giants 19-17 in the final minutes of the game.  This leaves the Eagles at 3-1 on the early season, and once again alone at the top of the Division.  The game ended in heart-stopping fashion as Andy Reid tried to ice Giants’ kicker Lawrence Tynes by calling a timeout a split second before the ball was snapped… yet the ball went wide left.  With the entire stadium now watching a second 54-yard attempt, Tynes kicks it away only to drop it short, and handing the Eagles their third win on the year.  Part of what made this game special was beloved former Safety Brian Dawkins was there as the Eagles retired his number, and had a special halftime ceremony for BDawk.  He was an amazing player, always put his heart in every play on that field, and was loved by all Eagles fans.  Guest-hosting this week was Emoney, of Philly Sports Cast fame, and also Steve Brown who stops in to talk about his week-long trip to Philly and his experience at the game.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles win in dramatic fashion at Lincoln Financial Field
  • Offensive play calling completely balanced
  • Brian Dawkins number retirement and amazing halftime tribute
  • The Eagles going 3-1 at this point is a very good thing, and allows for even better things moving forward
  • Special teams coverage was horrible
  • No turnovers!
  • Andy Reid icing the Giants kicker – probably will never be called again
  • Steve Brown from the UK also joined us and talks about his Philly adventures this week

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Messed Up – EaglesFanCast 135

The Philadelphia Eagles fall apart, mostly on the Offensive side of the ball this week, and lose to the Arizona Cardinals, 27-6 on the road.  Many things went wrong, and we pretty much blame quarterback Michael Vick, the Offensive Line, Coach Andy Reid and Coach Marty Mornhinweg.  Alas, the Eagles are now 2-1 on the season, and if they fix the issues plaguing them now, are on a solid track moving forward on the season.  Speaking of moving forward, rival New York Giants drive down the Turnpike and show up at Lincoln Financial Field for some Sunday evening festivities.  The Eagles crowd will surely be there to welcome them with open arms, and mouths.  Also at the game Sunday night will be a tribute to one of the greatest Eagles, Brian Dawkins.  His number will also be retired in a much-deserved ceremony.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles lose to the Arizona Cardinals in embarrassing fashion
  • Michael Vick is again under attack and on the turf often, getting almost no protection from his Offensive line
  • The New York Giants come to down in a rivalry showdown on prime time television
  • Eagles great Brian Dawkins will receive a tribute and the Eagles will retire his number
  • The NFL’s replacement referees are thankfully gone, and the regular refs are back after the dispute with their union is finally settled

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post These Birds Carry Heart of 2004 Eagles

After about the most agonizing and at the same time possibly most satisfying wins to open a season in a long time, the Eagles find themselves in an interesting spot. Not since 2004 (yes that was really 8 years ago) has Andy Reid’s Birds started 2-0.
While the first two games have been at times excruciatingly difficult to watch, they have proven that this team has it where it counts, they have heart and they refuse to just give up. I give immense credit to the Defense for taking a leadership stance in the second half Sunday. They rose up and allowed only two field goals, giving a sputtering Offense the opportunities it needed to score.
Le’ts not mince words here. Michael Vick must get better. He must make better decisions and if this is to be a Super Bowl year he cannot continue to expose himself to all of the hits he took against the Ravens. It only gets tougher with the loss of Jason Kelce, but that is all the more reason to get rid of the ball quicker. These Eagles will only go as far as Vick and LeSean McCoy can take them, and they both must take care of the football better than they have.
If the Offense can manage to play more mistake-free, its scary to me how good these guys have the potential to be. The bottom line is that they and only they can decide how good they want to be. The members of the 2004 team are watching. They see the potential for these Eagles to finish what they could not, and I see it too. I believe that after two ugly wins, they have shown that inside, the heart of 2004 is beating.
Time will tell if there is a heartbeat in February.


post Alone On Top – EaglesFanCast 134

Our Philadelphia Eagles play the home opener against the Baltimore Ravens in a slugfest and the Eagles come out on top, banged and bruised, but winners.  This leads the Eagles to be 2-0 on the season, and sitting at the top of the NFC East Division.  We saw the team pick itself up and continue to fight the entire game, despite more turnovers that would have done most other teams in on the day.  To make it even better, the team fought from a deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead late, and the Defense once again did a phenomenal job to keep the Ravens Offense from scoring.  Unfortunately the Eagles lose center Jason Kelce for the year when he tore is knee’s MCL and partially tore his ACL.  He will surely be missed on the Offense.

Cody Benjamin from Bleed Green joins us this week, and we talk about the Ravens game, coaching efforts, improvements, and the coming Arizona Cardinals game on the road.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-23
  • Michael Vick shows confidence and determination that we didn’t see a lot of when Donovan McNabb was under center
  • Brent Celek had an amazing game, and helped the fans go crazy with acrobatic and enthusiastic display
  • DeMeco Ryans is emerging as the powerhouse leader of the Defense
  • The Eagles Defense looked especially good this week, and the Defensive coaching schemes were great to handle what the Ravens threw at them
  • Coaching all around in this game was impressive… adjustments were key
  • Eagles travel to Arizona to take on a tough Cardinals team
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post The Value Of A Win

Each win is worth the same at the end of the season, but this one means so much right now. Despite turnovers and penalties, the Eagles are finding a way to win and, as we all know, winning becomes a habit. The performance last week was embarrassingly poor, but it all changed on Sunday.

The Ravens are genuine Super Bowl contenders. It may sound a bit backward, but I’d have almost been more content had we narrowly lost than I was with the win at Cleveland. That week one debacle felt like we had picked up a win by the Browns beating themselves, rather than our sparkling array of Offensive talent actually doing anything.

I criticised Andy Reid and the Coaches last week for not making adjustments during the game, but this week appeared to be different. The second half was better than the first with fewer mistakes and better play calling. There are early signs that everything may just be coming together.

However, if it wasn’t for two late drives, the Eagles would be 0-2 today and facing a very long season. If the turnovers continue, defeats will happen. There is some basic coaching to be done to eliminate schoolyard errors. It’s hard to criticise Shady, but two fumbles in two games? Come on man, you’re better than that!

Michael Vick is making some poor decisions, but he has pulled it out when it counts. Of course, the counter argument is that it is somewhat down to #7 himself that the team has been in a position where those game-winning scores were needed. Vick must improve his decision-making on his “quest for greatness.” Having seen the mic’d up video last week, his leadership and confidence is not in question.

And how about those receivers? DeSean looks like he’s finally happy to play, Maclin is playing great, Jason “Hands” Avant is as reliable as ever and there have been really important catches made by Harbor and Celek too. A couple of injury worries, but not as serious as Jason Kelce. The bearded warrior is out for the season, yet we still put together a game winning drive against a very good Ravens Defense without him. This is a team with a lot of fight.

The Eagles Defense looks light years ahead of last season’s unit. Juan Castillo took a massive amount of criticism all through 2011, but today he deserves high praise. He has his guys playing and needs to keep them on top of their game. If he can do that for an entire season, it will turn an Andy Reid “goof” into a master stroke. It is often said that Defense wins Championships, well the Eagles Defense has certainly played a huge part in the 2-0 start.

Cut out the penalties and turnovers, then we’ll see just how good the 2012 Eagles are. Get down to Arizona and beat Kolb, then we’ll show the Super Bowl Chumps… I mean Champs… what we’re all about.

Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!


post Moments of Mediocrity – EaglesFanCast 133

The 2012 NFL and Philadelphia Eagles season kicked off, and the result of a win was what we expected.  The WAY in which they won was not what was expected.  With QB Michael Vick throwing four interceptions, all but one of our Offensive line committing penalties, and a fully unbalanced play scheme, the Eagles barely win against a below average Cleveland Browns.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns 17-16
  • There were way too many mistakes in coaching, play calling, and fundamentals
  • DeMeco Ryans played great and is exactly what the Eagles had hoped for
  • Andy Reid recognized that his play-calling should have had more runs
  • Ray Lewis and the Ravens Defense is going to be more than a test for this Eagles Offense
  • This week is all about the coaching
  • Our safeties and cornerbacks did the job they needed to shut down Brandon Weeden

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post Back To Eagles Football

Ah, the smell of burgers on the grill and the sight of leaves changing colors. The familiar chant of E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLESSSS rising out of the Linc is about to deafen opposing teams again. Yes, people. It is September once more, and football season is finally here.

As we get prepared for another season filled with hopes of a Super Bowl for our Birds, it’s easy to look past all of the transformation this team has undergone over the past couple of years. It seems crazy now to think that Brian Westbrook, the mainstay of Eagles teams over the past decade is now RETIRING.

However, one man who has been here since 1999, and hasn’t changed (ok maybe his weight has) is Andy Reid, who will be entering his 14th season. In what will be perhaps his most pressure-filled season as Head Coach, Reid has already dealt with the pain of burying his son and the looming comments from owner Jeffrey Lurie that anything less than “substantially better than 8-8” will most likely result in his firing.

The “Dream Team” fiasco from last year, combined with the turbulent offseason the Eagles have endured hasn’t seemed to affect analysts, many of whom are predicting a Super Bowl run for these Eagles.

I hate to be a downer, but my opinion was last year and still is this year that the Eagles, while surely talented, are not a Super Bowl caliber team.

Blasphemy, you say?

Or have WE, as fans, overlooked the key deficiencies of this team? Lets explore together, shall we?

First of all, lets look at passing and third down conversions. The Eagles were 9th in passing last season, but the only team in the top ten who completed less than 61% of their passes (59.6%).  They converted on third down 41.5% of the time, good enough for 9th in the league in that stat as well. I look for both of these numbers to remain around the same as last year, UNLESS Michael Vick suffers an injury.

The bottom-line with passing numbers? Keep Vick healthy, and the Eagles are unlikely to have as many turnovers as last season, and they won’t have to play a rookie backup quarterback who, while impressive in the preseason, probably won’t be able to win but maybe two of the four or five starts he might have to make if Vick gets sidelined.

The running game is the biggest area I expect the Eagles to decline in this year. Although I love Shady McCoy’s talents as a runner and receiver, the loss of Jason Peters will become very apparent early in the season. They should drop from 6th in the league to somewhere around 10th adding in Vick’s running ability. That may seem like an insignificant drop, but I believe that the ability of the receivers to stretch the field is going to be predicated on play action passing, which Andy Reid is quite fond of. Bottom-line? The inconsistency of the running game (and of calling running plays) will show up this year again and be an Achilles heel of the team.

The running, passing, and receiving game all go hand-in-hand with offensive line play, which is the other area I expect a lot of struggle this season. The lack of Jason Peters on the left side not only closes huge running lanes, but forces the Eagles to use young players at other positions, and although I am quite a fan of Jason Kelce’s beard, he (to me) is too small to be a center. This group will have great games and horrible games this season.

The ONE area that this team is going to improve a lot on is Defense. Not necessarily an improvement in talent (outside of Demeco Ryans) but in cohesiveness and in maturity. After a year of learning Juan Castillo’s system, they will still be undersized and a little slow in the middle, but hopefully won’t make as many bonehead miscues as last season, and should finish around the same spot in total defense, or at least in the top ten.

Overall, expectations are very high for this team. Are they merited? Absolutely. This is clearly the most talented roster in the NFL. However, I don’t believe they will win a Super Bowl.

Call me a typical negative Eagles fan, or call me crazy.

Whatever the case may be, I see them going 13-3, splitting with the Giants and losing to Pittsburgh and New Orleans. I see them getting to the Super Bowl, but sadly I think the season will end with another Super Bowl loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I THINK that is what will happen. But who am I, and what do I REALLY know? Not a whole lot more than any other passionate fan. I’m hoping that this is the year. Only God knows what will happen. But not knowing is all the fun right? It’s a new season, and we are blessed to be fans of the greatest team playing the greatest game in the world.

So sit back, have a beer, and relax. Football is back.

 

Older Posts

Foles Continues to Shine – EaglesFanCast 132

Quarterbacks – EaglesFanCast 131

Vanilla – EaglesFanCast 130