Where are the Philadelphia Eagles one quarter into their season?

Thanks to a  soft opening schedule they are sitting pretty at 3-1.  They have beaten:  Carolina (a playoff team last year who just got their first win this season week 5)  Kansas City (who’s team picture is in webster’s next to the word “rebuilding”)   and this past week they took Tampa Bay behind the woodshed.   All three sound victories.  The offense looked good.  The defense looked good.   And really?  They should, because all three of those teams are bad.  Very-VERY bad.   Good teams make the most of playing bad teams.  Their lone loss?  To the New Orleans Saints.  Who many well paid experts list in their respective top 3 teams in the league.  And are either the best, or second best team in the NFC, depending on where you place those dastardly New York Giants.  Oh… and they didn’t have Donovan McNabb for that game.  But their QB in waiting,  Kevin Kolb threw for 400 yards in a losing effort.

Stat O’ the Blog:  Kolb is the first QB in NFL history to throw for 30o+ yards in his first 2 starts as an NFL QB.  That and a quarter will get you 7.5 minutes from a Philly Parking meter… yeah… REALLY.

What I’ve seen?   I’ve seen a team that’s mixing it up.  I’ve seen more focus on the run.  Granted, its been a lot of Wildcat, but its still the Eagles running the ball.   They have had no less than 5 guys line up in that formation:  Maclin, Jackson, McCoy, Westbrook, Vick.  They still throw the ball… lots.  With the weaponry they have to catch it, its been incredibly effective.  If you roll a safety over Desean?  Maclin or Celek make big plays.   You dropping back in a zone?  You have Westbrook, McCoy, or dare I say it… FB Leonard Weaver there to catch a checkdown.   What I’ve seen is a highly potent offense, and one that I could see scoring with New Orleans if the two met again with the Eagles at 100%.  I’m not being so bold as to say the Eagles WOULD beat them… but they COULD.  It may be a game that plays out that the first team that punts, loses.  Lets take a look at the thumbs up, thumbs down, and I’d rather my thumbs be cut off for the first four weeks:

Thumbs Up:  The wide recievers.  A long maligned group in Philadelphia (remember when Reggie Brown was supposed to be the savior?)  Like I said in my preview.  Lots of weapons, and depth.  Maclin made his first career start.  Caught his first career TD, and then caught another later in the game.  Teams are starting to fear and gameplan for Desean. I saw Tampa rolling doubles towards Jackson numerous times, and it showed in his numbers.  It also showed in Maclin’s numbers, who ended up single covered, and open a lot.

Brent Celek –   won’t lump him in with the wideouts.  But he’s been one of the 3 best tight ends in the league so far.  Great hands.  He’s great running after a catch, and great at yards after contact (YAC).  He’s athletic as hell (see:  him leap frogging Ronde Barber this past Sunday.)

Their Youth.  The guys I’m talking about:  Desean, Maclin, Celek,  are 3rd year or younger.  This is a nucleus they can retain and utilize for the next 2-6 years.  This is something they can grow and hopefully keep around.  You throw in the young back ups like:  Kolb and Lesean McCoy and you are looking very good on the offensive side of the ball for a while.

Jeremiah Trotter.  The Birds brought back the “Axe Man” to be, not only a force at middle linebacker, but also a defensive leader they needed since they let Brian Dawkins go this past offseason.  (tangent:  Dawkins has been nothing short of amazing for the 5-0 Broncos.  A team I all but pron0unced dead in pre-season talks with friends.  The Philly/Denver matchup could be a lot better than I initially envisioned.)   Trotter played a lot against Tampa, specifically in running situations.  He’ll bring an onfield presence/coach with a deep knowledge of this defense and many years inside the league.

Mike Vick’s use.  Which hasn’t been much.  Hasn’t been a distraction.  This is like his NFL halfway house.  Its kept any whispers of controversy completely stifled.  Even the media interest was dead when he made his return to NFL regular season action.

Thumbs down.

Defense:  Just hasn’t looked as sharp as it did last season.  Key injuries.   Loss of the teams heart, brain, and soul in B-Dawk. A new coordinator replacing a defensive legend.  They were severely outmatched against the Saints.   Outclassed terrible teams, but even Tampa managed to move the ball, and their QB threw and ran effectively, and had 2 scores despite a lack of anything resembling a running game.

Sav Rocca.   Thanks to some comercial I have started calling him a shank-apotomus.  His kicks are becoming an adventure and its starting to cost the Eagles.

Penalties.  So far this team has been insanely undisciplined.  Is it the lack of veteran leadership?  But the defense especially has been dreadful when it comes to untimely, and backbreaking penalties.  On numerous occasions they have made nice stops defensively only to have laundry on the field which allows the opposing offense another  shot.  No team wins in December, January, or February with stupid, unnessesary penalties.

Cut My Thumbs Off:

Nothing… yet.  But the season is young, and I’m sure when I check in at the halfway point there will be something that will make me want to mutilate my opposable digit.

Till then?

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EAGLES!