One week we're seeing "Can anyone beat us?" and the next we're seeing the masterpiece JoeD wrote. I'm really sick of going from one extreme to the other after every week. 5 weeks into the season, we're ready to put Andy Reid's head on a stick outside the Linc. 8 weeks into the year he's a coaching genius who is a great people manager that is suddenly leading one of the hottest teams in football. 9 weeks in and I've got no idea how I feel about Andy Reid anymore.
So, in an attempt to avoid this constant up and down I'm going to reason with myself.
First Point Of Reason: The Chicago Bears were coming off a bye week
-As Eagles fans, we all know the value of a bye week. The Bears were coming off of one and it showed. They had a great defensive game-plan that confused Vick and adequately defended LeSean McCoy.
Second Point Of Reason: Perhaps Our Expectations Were Too High
-Perhaps, even though we completely despise it, we let the "Dream Team" moniker get to our heads. Just the simple fact that it was reasonable to mention such a thing had to affect us on some level, right? Well perhaps we got ahead of ourselves. Perhaps our Eagles biases were compounded beyond reasonable levels amongst all the Eagles hype and dramatics.
We already thought Michael Vick was a great player, suddenly he was the player with our championship hopes all on his shoulders. Did we get ahead of ourselves? Was Michael Vick just an aberration last year? Statistically, that argument is a complete and total fallacy. But as we've so painfully learned, games aren't played on paper. His decisions this year are worse. He is more inaccurate. The spectacular big plays downfield that he and DeSean became notorious for, have disappeared. He doesn't consistently display touch on downfield throws. He doesn't come through in the 4th quarter, we've failed to win games late, if there was no 4th quarter the Eagles would be 7-1. He looks rattled. He doesn't appear to have the same moxy and flair that he had last year. If I was a betting man, I would bet that Michael Vick will never win a Superbowl, with any team at any point in his career. Just look at the rapid decline of Michael Vick, in his first 10 starts he had 19 TDs and 5 INTs, in his next 10 he has 12 TDs and 10 INTs and the Eagles are 3-7. That's scary because we just invested 100 million in that guy.
DeSean Jackson isn't the same player he was. Anyone who can't see that isn't watching the games. He looks disinterested, he is short arming catches, he is hearing footsteps, he is dropping passes and quite frankly he isn't getting separation. He doesn't look like he is trying. He isn't a top 20 receiver in the NFL. That, is fact.
And then there is Jeremy Maclin, what in the world happened to him? He went from clutch receiver extraordinaire in his first two years to suddenly being a guy who is dropping passes on critical 4th downs, fumbling footballs on game winning drives and slipping on game deciding 4th down plays. What happened? Bad luck? Who really knows, but he isn't the same either.
Those silly FootballOutsiders' stats told us Asante Samuel was an elite corner last year. What we failed to account for was the fact that he was playing across from Ellis Hobbs and Dimitri Patterson. We completely ignored how bad Asante Samuel is in the red-zone. We excused his terrible tackling. He wasn't beaten deep so we said his river boat gambling tendencies were overblown. Now, 8 weeks into the season and he's already allowed more yards than he did last year and he has allowed just as many touchdowns. Elite player? Hardly, Asante is a good player who has limitations.
We're a good team, don't get me wrong. We've got a BUNCH of talent. When we're on, we might be the best team in the NFL. But THAT's the problem, we're so inconsistent. One week we shut down Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and the next we get burned by Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett.
Third Point Of Reason: So how good are we really?
We're not as good as we looked against Dallas but we're not as bad as we looked in the first 5 weeks of the season. We're closer to the performance we saw tonight against the Bears. We're not superbowl good like we looked against Dallas, we're a team that is almost good enough to beat a team that was in the NFC Championship last year. So we're playoff team good but our early season struggles are going to hinder our playoff chances.
Lets just establish a hierarchy of the NFC really quickly:
Tier 2: New York Giants
Tier 3.5: Philadelphia Eagles
Why are we lower than those teams? We lack toughness, we're soft, mentally and physically. Its why we can't close out games or stop the run. We've had the lead heading into the 4th quarter in 7 of 8 games. Yes, you read that correctly. Who do we put that on? I say that it's because our players lack a killer instinct and are soft. That's the only explanation. We're a bunch of chokers and the most talented 3-5 team ever (which is like being the tallest midget, but hey whatever).
Fourth Point Of Reason: Our season is over.
Barring a spectacular series of events, a wholesale change in mentality and a bunch of stuff breaking in our favor (which hasn't been happening), our season is over. These guys better get a good travel agent because after the beating they're going to take from fans and media over the next couple weeks, they're going to need a very relaxing vacation. I guess we can root for LeSean McCoy to go to the probowl and root for him to lead the NFL in rushing? That's about it.
I'm done with thinking we're going to change. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, oh well. I'm setting my expectations low.
We're not the awful team that ESPN is going to tell us we are this week but we're also not the second best team in football behind the Green Bay Packers like Deion Sanders told us last week. Take that for what it's worth and do with this information what you please. I'm just trying to get away from the extremes that this team has us going swinging back and forth towards. Does this mean Andy Reid should be fired? No. Does this mean Andy Reid should be kept? No. All I'm trying to do is accurately discuss this team and avoid the drastic initial reactions that we're all prone to.