We're at the quarter pole of the season and the Eagles are in the same spot as the vast majority of the league: they are 2-2 and don't have a real sense of what kind of team they have right now. They have an idea of what they think they can be, but they also know that inconsistency has doomed the team in two games and, well, here we are.
Observations from the opening four games? I've got a few ...
LeSean McCoy is the real deal. He is tough, he is shifty, he catches the ball and sets up his runs so much better than he did a year ago. I think McCoy will be the next outstanding Eagles running back, providing he stays on the field. That McCoy played the second half on Sunday with a fractured rib speaks to his toughness and his love for competition. The Eagles didn't run out and sign anybody on Tuesday. I don't know whether McCoy will practice or play this week, but the kid is a gamer.
- The Eagles need a fast start in San Francisco. The talk out there is that the 49ers are a desperate team and that they will be a tough team to beat on national television, and I agree with all of the above. But the Eagles sure as heck better play urgent football from the get-go and put the 49ers on their heels. The defense has to start fast and the offense has to get into a rhythm immediately.
- Whether McCoy plays or not, it is time for Mike Bell to get into the mix a bit more. I didn't think he would have only 12 carries (for 20 yards) through four games. Let's see if Bell can get the job done as the Eagles search for some positive answers running out of one- and two-back sets. They have had a lot of success in the shotgun, and not nearly as much success with the one- and two-back set behind the quarterback.
- Why are the Eagles having problems against the run? Clearly, the front seven needs to make more plays, tackle better and play more disciplined football. I'm not sure it is fair to point out individuals. Let's just say that everyone is responsible. The Eagles have to be much more physical at the point of attack, and they have work not to over pursue and they must tackle better.
- All of the complaining about the team's time management is really not very accurate at all. The Eagles, as I look back through four games, had only the one delay of game penalty, and on that one against Washington, they were the victims of a referee's handling of the situation. Otherwise, the plays have come in quickly, the team has gotten in and out of the huddle fast and there have been no delays. The Eagles have used their timeouts well, too. Where is the foundation for the criticism?
- I'd love to know why these special teams haven't broken one big yet. There is too much talent and too much excellent coaching for that not to happen very, very soon.
- Great matchup for the Eagles defense: Running back Frank Gore in both the running and the passing game, tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Michael Crabtree. All three are elite talents, although Crabtree is only in his second NFL season.
- Randy Moss to the Vikings? If it happens, it is a great move by Minnesota, and it means that the December 26 game against Brett Favre and Co. will become a lot more difficult.
- The Eagles need to mandate going forward that they get the ball into the hands of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin at least 4-6 times from the line of scrimmage each every game. Those two players cannot be taken out of the offense. Where is the bubble screen, anyway? Why did I expect to see that this season?