Well, that's all folks. Another Eagles season in the bag and the Birds finish with 3 straight wins to end up 8-8. No playoffs, but still a somewhat encouraging finish with some definite bright spots going forward.
Not the most thrilling season finale
Brian Westbrook only ran the ball 7 times, obviously Reid felt no need to give him his usual 30 or so touches in a game that meant nothing. The most exciting play of the game was another flukey fumble recovered in the end zone by Kevin Curtis... All in all I just found it very hard to be really entertained by this game. I didn't think McNabb was bad, I thought Curtis & Brown had solid games, but there really was not a lot of offensive flair. I've said it, every fan has said it... we need another offensive playmaker. There are solid pieces on the offensive side of the ball, but there's just not enough.
The defense is who we thought they were
I'm not going to criticize the defense too much here... because the fact is they were pretty stifling and didn't even allow a TD. That said. O takeaways, 0 sacks. To be fair, they only gave up 133 yards through the air and stifled the run on every play but that one 56 yard Marshawn Lynch romp.
So while we clearly the have the foundation of a real solid unit here, again I have to make the plea for playmakers. They're significantly better and more physical than last year, but they still lack the killer. The guy that delivers the final blow. The defense is overall more solid than the offense, but they don't have a Westbrook. It used to be Brian Dawkins, but at this point we need to face facts that he likely won't be that kind of player anymore. This is a good defense, we can with with this defense... but it could be great and that's what we always have to be striving for.
More solid play from the youth
Not many complaints about the young guys yesterday. I was very happy to see Winston Justice get another game this year to redeem himself from that Giants debacle. I'm not sure whether he was more comfortable working from the right side where he played in college, or whether he just wasn't facing the talent he faced with Umenyoria... either way he looked better. To be fair though, it's not that hard to play better than he did against the Giants and "better" in this case doesn't neccisarily mean "good." Brent Celek had a TD which was nice to see.
Akeem Jordan was a lot more visible this week than last, but was really solid both weeks. I'd still like to see a WILL that can creat some havoc in there, but as depth goes Jordan looks pretty good. Ditto for Stewart Bradley, actually I think could be a starter at some point here. He really makes for a big physical presence in the middle and he could move a bit. I was very much in the "keep Gaither in the middle" crowd... but maybe Bradley in the middle with Gaither at WILL could work even better? At the least, it's a nice problem to have. We actually have a bunch of young talent at LB as opposed to last year... when it looked like we had none.
I actually thought Joselio Hanson had yet another good game. He's quietly done a real solid job over the last half of this year. He's certainly a better palyer than Will James at this point and I'd be happy to see Hanson return as the 4th corner next year.
One guy I was dissapointed to not see was Tony Hunt. He was active for the game but no carries and I can't off the top of my head even remember seeing him on the field at all. In a game where Buckhalter got more carries than Westbrook, surely Tony Hunt could have at least gotten a look? It seems like he has a whole lot of learning left to do and could possibly even have a real fight to make the team next year.
That guy who isn't one of the top 75 Eagles of all time broke a record
Brian Westbrook is now the holder of the Eagles all time single season yards from scrimmage record. And yes, the Inquirer didn't think he was among the 75 best Eagles of all time. But Ricky Watters was... Hmmm...