One of the worst feelings known to man. Well, in my opinion at the very least. That feeling was the one I felt after the Eagles’ putrid 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns, where nice routes by tight ends saved the team from its most shocking loss in years.
Let me first say that I am appreciative that Michael Vick and the Birds were able to squeak out a Week 1 victory against the Browns and the final drive hopefully is a sign of things to come. I am not going to take anything away from the fact that we are 1-0 to start the season, but the performance the Eagles displayed on the field on Sunday was atrocious.
A couple days after biting off half of my fingernails—and losing my voice and some hair—I want to share what I took from the most stressful and concerning regular season victories I have ever witnessed. Congratulations to Andy Reid for getting his season opener record to .500 by the way (7-7).
With Mike Vick receiving 2 x-rays in just 2 preseason games, I expected a little rust from the veteran quarterback. With that being said, I expected OC Marty Mornhinweg to lean on Shady and attack a weak Browns rushing defense early and often in order to prevent wear and tear on the his QB—the Browns finished 30th in rush defense in 2011.
If you take away Vick’s 7 rushes—they were passing plays not designed rushes—the Birds rushed the ball only 23 times and passed the ball 56. The first five play calls of the game were pass and the first designed rushing call was to DeSean Jackson. It took six plays until Marty called the best RB in the league’s number. So absurd, but yet so typical. Why keep passing the ball with a struggling Vick and suspect Browns rush defense?
Simply perplexing that Mornhinweg and Reid haven’t learned anything from the last seven seasons.
Let me first give credit where credit is due because Vick did an excellent job during the 91-yard, game-winning drive. The Eagles struggled heavily in the same game situations last year.
I knew Vick would come out rusty, but I didn’t expect the stink fest he displayed Sunday. Rust is overthrowing a receiver or throwing at his ankles a couple times throughout the ball game, but what Vick showed was more than rust. A veteran QB should not commit the fundamental errors that Vick displayed-throwing across your body to midfield-sliding head first-completely misreading a linebacker in coverage and throwing the ball right in his arm. In the 2010 season where Vick devoured horrible defenses before the Giants game, I truly believe he broke free from his Atlanta ways and developed into a much stronger pocket passer.
However, as of last year and the first game of this season, I am building up more skepticism by the play, and even more by the turnover. That’s a lot of skepticism. Four interceptions is unacceptable in this league with one exemption-when you play the Browns. Besides Vick, the other skill players had solid games. I am not saying that Vick isn’t our best option at QB, but he better pick up his play or he will be the signal caller holding the clipboard come week 8.
I want you to close your eyes and picture that linebacker actually intercepting that throw in the end zone. I don’t know about you, but I just got the chills.
I may sound like the bird of bad news here, but let’s not forget I gave credit to the entire playing and coaching staff for earning a week 1 victory. However this game exploited potential holes in the team that can pertain to the rest of the season. Will Vick cut down on the turnovers and fundamental errors? With Baltimore coming to town next Sunday I can only hope.
Maclin is questionable for next game, which adds extra pressure on D-Jax to be more consistent throughout the game, along with Avant. Throughout his career, Maclin has been pretty durable, just look at the shot he took on Sunday, only to return to have a highly productive game.
Not only does Shady need to get more handoffs, but Brown does as well. Brown earned his backup spot, and with him being a rookie he needs to gain the NFL experience of being a back in this league. Marty needs to consistently give touches to his RBs rather than call 7 pass plays in a row with a rusty Vick. The Ravens still have a daunting defense along with a well dimensional offense, so the Birds must be run the ball in order to keep the their defense off the field and fresh, as well as keeping the Ravens defense on their toes.
The defense played great, and I won’t take anything away from the fact that they finished number 1 in the NFL this week, but they did play the Browns who had a rookie QB and RB. Next week hosting the Ravens should reveal whether last week was a fluke or whether the Birds haven’t changed any of their bad feathers from last season.