Posted: October 13th, 2018 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »
I like looking to history when trying to figure out what is happening in the present. Was the Eagles dominant win over the Giants a turning point in the 2018 season?
Go back to 2007. The Eagles had a star QB coming back from an ACL injury. Donovan McNabb was healthy enough to play, but didn’t look all the way back. He certainly didn’t play that way early on. The Eagles started 0-2 and were struggling to score points (only 25 after two weeks). There were a lot of questions.
Then the Lions came to town.
The Eagles had one of the greatest days in the history of the franchise. They won 56-21. McNabb was 21-26-381 with 4 TDs. Brian Westbrook was 14-110-2 on the ground and 5-111-1 as a receiver. Kevin Curtis (remember him?) had the game of his life, going 11-221-3. That was fun.
The Eagles were then 1-2 and we thought they might go on a run. Oops. The next week was the Winston Justice debacle, with McNabb getting sacked 12 times and the Eagles losing 16-3. That team was up and down all year. They fought their way back to 5-5 only to lose three in a row. They won the final three games to finish 8-8.
2011 was the group labeled as the Dream Team (I always hated that). There was a lockout and all the new faces had an abbreviated time to come together. That team started 1-4 and had some painful losses. They beat the Skins 20-13 to get to 2-4 and then hosted Dallas coming off the bye week. The Eagles dominated that Sunday night game, winning 34-7. Shady was 30-185-2 and looked unbelievable. Michael Vick had a good game and it was easy to think the team had turned things around.
The 3-4 Eagles then lost two tough games in a row. They fell to 4-8 at one point before winning out to finish the season at 8-8.
Are the 2018 Eagles doomed to be a .500 team that will be maddeningly inconsistent?
There are some reasons to think that won’t be the case. Carson Wentz is a star QB in his prime. McNabb turned 31 in the 2007 season and life in the NFL had taken a toll on him by then. He was hurt in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Vick was 31 in 2011 and a declining player. Each of those guys still had amazing moments, but age affected them. Wentz is just getting started.
There is also the point that he looks like a player on a different level. McNabb and Vick were great at times, but they also showed some limitations. Wentz is putting up numbers that neither of those guys ever did. Having a legitimately great QB makes it easier to get over some struggles and start winning games.
Neither the 2007 or 2011 teams had anyone like Fletcher Cox. You can argue Trent Cole vs Brandon Graham, but Cox is in a league of his own. He can make game-changing plays. That can be the difference between winning and losing.
I think you can argue the 2018 Eagles have the best coaching staff of the three teams. There is no question this group is better than 2011, when you had Juan Castillo running the defense and Jim Washburn pissing off more than a few people inside the building. Bobby April had become a terrible STs coach by then. The staff didn’t have good chemistry, to put it mildly.
The 2007 team did have Jim Johnson running the defense, but all the success of the early years of the Reid era had led to jobs for many key assistants. Reid struggled to replace them and the staff was an odd mixture of coaches. The 2018 team did have to replace a couple of key guys, but Doug Pederson remains the key voice for the offense. There are strong assistants like Duce Staley, Jeff Stoutland and Justin Peelle. The defensive staff remains intact and Dave Fipp is still one of the best STs coaches in the league.
The 2018 Eagles have better leadership and chemistry than the 2011 team. I don’t think anyone will dispute that. The 2007 Eagles had good chemistry and leadership. That team had talent problems. L.J. Smith was the starting TE. I’d say Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are better than him. Omar Gaither and Takeo Spikes were the primary LBs. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham are a better duo. The 2007 team didn’t have a pair of WRs like Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. They didn’t have a group of pass rushers like Graham, Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long.
Time will tell if the 2018 Eagles are truly different than the 2007 or 2011 teams that were so maddeningly up and down.
For the win over the Giants to mean anything, the Eagles must go out and play well against the Panthers. Instead of enjoying success, they need to build on it.
It would help a lot to get some good injury news.
Doug Pederson said he thinks the news on Jason Peters will be positive. He said Sidney Jones will be week to week, which isn’t such good news. That seems to mean a guy will be out a few weeks. Ugh.
Getting Darren Sproles and Haloti Ngata back would help.