After a year full of lackluster halves followed by dominant ones, slow start followed by great finishes, and big start followed by collapses.. The Eagles finally put a up a consistent effort for an entire game.
Well, "effort" may not be the right word...
The Birds came out flat, continued to be flat, and finished flat. Not exactly the "consistency" Eagles fans hae been clamoring for.
So what's up? No doubt the biggest problem that is being talked about today is the way the Jags manhandled the Eagles at the line of scrimmage and ran on them at will. Now, while I in no way excuse the defensive effort this team put up yesterday, let's look at reality... The Jags put up 13 points. For all the 207 rushing yards the Jags gained and for all the fantastic field position they enjoyed all game, it only translated to 13 points. To put that in perspective, only one team in the NFL is averaging less than 13 points a game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(lol right?). They average 12.6 ppg, if you round that up even they average 13 points a game.
What this means is that 13 points is enough for literally any offense in the entire NFL to outscore. So how did the Eagles with their "#1 ranked offense in the NFL" not beat a team that scored 13 points?
Brian Westbrook had a thought...
DireRadiant nominated Westbrook for offensive coordinator after pointing that quote out. Westbrook has it nailed. What happened to the actual "offense?" You know, the system of plays that the coach calls to execute an actual "game plan?" It's gone. The idea of using the run to set up the pass or vice versa, the tradional West Coast philosophy of quick drops and getting the ball out quickly, the idea of getting first downs and moving down the field... It's all out the window. The Eagles' offense has lived and died on the big play. While big plays are great, they can't be an offensive philosphy! You can't possibly assume that you'll be able to throw 3 60 yard TDs in every game.
Everyone has heard the stat the Eagles have almost twice as many scoring plays of over 20 yards than any other team in football. Until yesterday, I saw that as a positive. However, it's now apparent that those big plays only masked serious problems with this offense. Sure, they have great playmakers in McNabb, Westbrook, Stallworth, & Brown that are capable of doing great things with the football... but have they shown that they can move the football down the field other than with a 50 yard bomb or amazing Westbrook 60 yard screen? Not really.
What beat Dallas? The Reggie Brown bomb in the end zone, the Hank Baskett 80 yard TD. What beat San Fran? The Westbrook 60 yard run, the Reggie Brown flea flicker play... The Texans? A 37 yard Westbrook TD, and a 37 yard Stallworth play that set up a TD. The Packers? 2 TD passes to Greg Lewis for 45 & 30 yards. What gave them a shot to win last week's game? The Westbrook 52 yard TD screen.
If they don't get the lucky or spectacular play, they just can't score. Andy needs to get back to basics with this team and his offense. He needs to get into his own head and McNabb's that a few first downs in a row isn't a bad thing...