The rest of the defense has been spotty -- outstanding for long stretches of time. Special teams? Not bad at all, although let's have a big return to celebrate soon.
Up, down and all around. This has been an extremely uneven 1-2 start to the 2011 season. The Eagles have not yet discovered what kind of team they are, and in the meantime they've lost a couple of very winnable games.
So, we turn the page in this marathon and wait to see how the Eagles respond with San Francisco coming to town. Which needs to improve the most -- offense, defense or even special teams?
- Don't count out Michael Vick playing on Sunday against San Francisco. The Eagles are working on reducing the swelling in his right hand, and once they get that down, it's all about pain management. There is no need to put a cast on Vick's hand or to immobilize it. The big question is practice time with Vick. He needs to get his rhythm back. He could use the reps on the practice field.
- How will the Eagles cover tight end Vernon Davis, who leads San Francisco with 15 receptions for 179 yards. He is far and away the 49ers' most lethal offensive threat in the passing game, especially with Braylon Edwards sidelined. Could this be when we see Nnamdi Asomugha move inside and deal with Davis, who is an explosive player? San Francisco's running game has struggled and the offense is averaging 23.3 points per game, good for 12th in the NFL.
- Placekicker David Akers returns to Philadelphia on Sunday in the midst of one of his finest seasons. He is 7 of 7 on field goals, with a 53-yarder and a 55-yarder included. Akers is part of San Francisco's outstanding kicking game that is giving the 49ers favorable field position. Punter Andy Lee is averaging 52.8 yards on his kicks, with a 46.3-yard net average.
- Does Nate Allen get his first start of the season at safety after replacing Kurt Coleman during the New York game? Have the Eagles ever been this unsettled at the safety positions?
- That the Eagles lead the league with 12 quarterback sacks and have still given up eight touchdown passes through three games is mind boggling. Those statistics usually work in sync. You have a good pass rush and that generally means you have a good chance to limit big plays. Not the case with this team. Not yet.
- How to solve the issues in the red zone? I'm not sure I have an answer, but the Eagles have not thrown the ball into the end zone a whole lot this year. They did it once against New York, and the pass intended for Steve Smith was tipped and incomplete. Lining up in tight formations as they did against the Giants hasn't produced the desired results. It may be time to spread the field and give Vick some run/pass options. Vick had 9 rushing touchdowns in 2010. He has zero in three games this season.
- Who plays quarterback if Vick can't go? If he is healthy and comfortable in the offense, it should be Vince Young. He is a more-experienced quarterback with a greater track record of success. Plus, Young's ability to create plays with his legs gives him an advantage over Mike Kafka.
- Watched the Redskins-Cowboys game on Monday night and am convinced that most of the NFL -- except Green Bay at this point -- won't find itself until we are five or six weeks into the season. Both Washington and Dallas struggled in the offenisve red zone on Monday night and the play calling and lack of confidence looked similar to the Eagles' performance on Sunday.
- Where has Antonio Dixon been this season? The Eagles have gotten great play from Cullen Jenkins and a lot of productivity from Mike Patterson, but Dixon, an up-and-coming player, has been quiet.