The Eagles got off to a winning start, but I'm not sure if you'd call it a good start. The scoreboard read Eagles 17, Browns 16 and there is no question that winning is critical. Unfortunately, the Browns don't look like a very good team and struggling to beat them doesn't set the right tone for the 2012 season.
The defense was outstanding. Special teams play was pretty good. Quarterback
What has me most concerned is his decision-making. Vick is a veteran quarterback with a strong track record. In his first 25 games as starting quarterback of the Eagles, he threw 20 interceptions. On Sunday, he threw four. That total should have been even higher. He was lucky that Browns linebacker L.J. Fort didn't hold onto one easy one late in the game or the team didn’t their hands on a couple of other questionable throws.
Andy Reid isn't hitting the panic button. Vick is his quarterback and Reid sticks with his guys. I think that is a big reason that players love playing for Reid. He won't pull them at the first bad game. Reid gives his players a chance to play their way back into form. That said, players don't get a blank check. Vick can't afford to play as sloppily as he did on Sunday. Consecutive games like that would test even Reid's patience.
It might help to put Vick's struggles into perspective. He was 29-of-56 for 317 yards. He threw a pair of touchdowns and four interceptions. Go back to 2008. Remember the tie game with the Bengals? Donovan McNabb was 28-of-58 for 339 yards. He had one touchdown and three interceptions. McNabb almost got that team to the Super Bowl.
Vick wasn't the only player to have some issues.
While the offense did have a lot of problems on Sunday, you could also see the potential. The Eagles gained 456 yards and scored 17 points on an off-day. McCoy ran for 110 yards. He looked to be in midseason form. He showed good speed in getting to the outside. I also thought he read his blocks well and moved well in traffic. Maclin and
|Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com and was a contributor to the Eagles Almanac.|
The job now for the coaches and players is to eliminate mistakes. Turnovers killed drives. Penalties killed drives. You can't win by playing that kind of football. You must make the defense stop you. The good news here is that the Eagles don't lack talent. There are weapons all over the place. Vick must work out the kinks in his game. The line must play better. The skill players need to clean up a few things, but overall they were the strength of the offense in the opener. I was especially happy to see Jackson play like the guy we remember from early in his career. The last couple of seasons he let contract worries and other issues distract him and affect his play. I think Jackson is set to have a big year in 2012.
The defense was a ton of fun to watch. That unit lived up to the hype. You can argue that the Eagles got lucky by facing a rookie quarterback, but I'd counter that by showing you that the Eagles absolutely dominated him. Brandon Weeden currently has a passer rating of 5.1. That is one of the lowest figures you'll ever see.
The Eagles gave Weeden fits in a couple of ways. They got regular pressure on him. Juan Castillo didn't dial up many blitzes. He relied on his defensive line to get pressure and they did a great job. The stat sheet only shows a couple of sacks, but there were plenty of hits and plenty of plays where Weeden didn't have a good pocket to throw from.
While the Eagles were good up front, they were even better on the back end.
All the people who had doubts about
The Eagles had a terrible habit last year of blowing fourth quarter leads. On Sunday the Eagles got the lead late and then the defense sealed the game with a takeaway. That was nice to see for a change. Heck, the defense came up big in the entire fourth quarter, allowing just 25 yards on nine plays. The defense kept the offense in it and then Vick and company were able to come up big when it counted.
The Eagles got away with a sub-par performance and were able to still pull out a win against the Browns. The Ravens are up next. That means the Eagles better get their act together in a hurry. A sloppy showing won't win that game.