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Fan-Demonium: Mr. Fix-It


This is a tough time to be an Eagles fan. The team is 1-3 and has blown fourth quarter leads in each of the three losses. A lot of fans are really upset with the team. Understandably so. The team has a lot of talent. There is no way this group should be 1-3.

I'm down on the team, but I still have hope. I believe in Andy Reid. I won't bore you with the stats. We know he's been a winner in Philly. He's led teams from slow starts in the past. He's brought the Eagles back from some brutally tough losses in the past. Reid has the track record that shows he can turn this team around.

More important than me believing in Reid is the fact that Reid believes in his team. He said in his press conference that he's "seen this thing work." I can't stress enough how important that comment is. There are stretches of games where the Eagles look very good, both on offense and defense. Reid's challenge is to find out what happens to make the team go from clicking to struggling.

This is a losing team right now, but it isn't a bad team. The 1999 Eagles didn't have the talent to win. The 2005 team was mediocre all year long. The same was true for the 2007 team. The 2011 Eagles have the talent to be a really good team. There are times in each game when things work and you see just how good the Eagles can be. Unfortunately, the past three games have been losses due to fourth-quarter meltdowns.

Reid can fix the situation. He must identify the specific problems and come up with solutions. Fans would love a magic bullet, but there isn't one. There is no simple scheme change that will make the defense better. There is no linebacker to trade for that will come in here and be a star. There is no easy fix to the red zone problems on offense. Reid and his assistants will make some schematic adjustments. There are things that can be done to help the situations, but don't expect instant solutions.

Fans would love to see changes made. Scrap the wide-nine. Bench this guy. Trade for that guy. Reid is a smart coach and he knows that you don't make changes for the sake of making changes. You make changes that will help the team. I understand the fans' thinking. Changes are visible actions that show the coaches agree that there are problems. Coaches say very little in the media and sometimes fans think the coaches think like that. Not so. Coaches see problems. They just don't air dirty laundry, so to speak. Ripping players in the media rarely helps anyone. The coach also isn't likely to talk in-depth on schematic issues because he doesn't want to provide information to opposing teams.

My biggest frustration with the team is the incredible amount of sloppy play. Dropped passes, missed blocks and ball security have hurt the offense. Missed tackles, getting stuck on blocks and missed assignments have hurt the defense. These are solvable problems, but good teams rarely have this many basic issues. That does make you question the team.

The fact that there wasn't a normal offseason I think has greatly affected the situation. You normally work on fundamentals in the mini-camps, passing camps and at training camp. The regular season is all about preparing for the upcoming opponent. The Eagles have to adapt. They must mix in some fundamentals with the game prep. The only way to improve bad tackling is to work on it. Same for ball security and the other issues.


Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He was a finalist for Philadelphia's Most Influential Blogger Award and is the Editor of

If the players buy in to what the coaches say, the team can turn things around. The players must realize that it is the little things that are causing the big problems. This isn't about running faster or jumping higher. This isn't about talent. The players are making mental and physical mistakes. You hear about "details" in football. This is the kind of stuff we're talking about. Players must play smart.

I used the phrase "buy in" because sometimes players don't understand what the problems are. They blame the coaches or the other side of the ball. They blame bad luck or officiating. The Eagles players must realize that the old joke is true, "We have met the enemy and it is us." If the players will take the coaches' message to heart and truly focus on the little things, this team has time to get things turned around and headed in the right direction.

This season changes if Reid, the assistant coaches and the players all get on the same page and move forward. Talent isn't enough. The team has to show heart and play with a true sense of urgency. Attitudes like "we'll score a touchdown next time" or "we'll stop them next time" aren't acceptable. Every play is important. You don't have to be perfect, but you must strive for perfection. Being "good enough" isn't good enough. That's how the team is 1-3. Unacceptable.

This team needs leadership to make sure things do change. I think Michael Vick is the right quarterback for the situation. I'm not sure who to mention on defense. Some leader has to emerge and become the face of that unit. Cullen Jenkins is a guy to watch. Andy Reid is the right coach for the situation. He isn't a rah-rah leader like Rex Ryan, but you don't have the kind of success that he has without being a good leader. He just does it in a different way. 


1. I was happy to see Clay Harbor play so well on Sunday. He showed good speed on the seam route when he caught the pass for a 27-yard gain. He also showed good hands on that play. Harbor's touchdown catch wasn't anything fancy, but I liked the fact he didn't go crazy trying to show he was open. He trusted that Vick would find him. He also made the catch. Sometimes the hardest catches to make are the ones where the receiver is wide open.

2. Brian Rolle had a good showing in his first start. He flew around the field and played with confidence. He did have a couple of rookie mistakes. Rolle got a facemask penalty that extended a drive in the second half. He also missed a tackle of the fullback over near the sideline. We can live with those plays in a guy's first start, but Rolle must clean up those plays in future games.

3. One thing encouraged me about Alex Henery's kicking on Sunday. He missed both kicks to the right side. That showed me that he trusted his motion and didn't over-correct after the first miss. You need kickers to be mentally tough and to trust their mechanics. Some kickers panic after a miss and the next kick will go wildly to the other side. Henery had his nightmare game. Now he's got to make sure that doesn't happen again.

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