Friday, September 18, 2009

Eagles: Week 2 Happenings and Prospects

Philadelphia Eagles v Carolina Panthers

The Eagles started out the season with a dominant defensive performance that helped to ease concerns about having a new defensive coordinator and losing Stewart Bradley and Brian Dawkins. Unfortunately, their win against the Panthers was dampened by losing Donovan McNabb to a rib injury. Most of the news and discussion since then have been about things other than "x's" and "o's."

Events of the Week

Although the Eagles won in a blowout in week 1, the immediate focus after the game was the health of their starting quarterback, and then a series of personnel moves and a couple NFL office rulings. I guess you can throw Dr. Phil's visit on top of that since his comments certainly made their way to the Eagles locker room.

By game's end on Sunday, word had already been disseminated that McNabb had suffered a broken rib on a 3rd quarter touchdown scramble. This led to a series of personnel moves and a ruling by the NFL office (see NFL Office Needs to Re-Examine Its Priorities and Logic for more on this paradoxical decision.)

The Eagles quickly signed recently released (by Oakland) Jeff Garcia to bolster the QB position and moved Michael Vick to the active roster to allow him to practice with the team. To make room, the team released wide receiver (and Hugh Hefner's rival) Hank Baskett and put former Pro Bowl player Shawn Andrews on the Injured Reserve list. The former was a mild surprise. The latter was a major surprise.

With McNabb doubtful to play this week (and probably next), Andy Reid has reinforced that Kevin Kolb is the starter "right now." This is coach speak for "Kolb is on a short leash, so don't be surprised to see Garcia or Vick next week."

Placing Andrews on IR appears to be throwing in the towel on his physical and mental health for 2009, and possibly beyond, to remove weekly distractions and uncertainties. It also would seem to be a decision made out of frustration and could come back to haunt the team against opponents with big pass rushes like the Giants or Vikings, and might limit some of their aggressiveness overall. Of course, that assumes that Andrews would have made it onto the field for at least portions of the season.

The NFL determined that no penalty or fine was in order for the late hit that injured McNabb. However, the NFL office did take extreme exception to the Eagles end zone celebration circle in the same game and handed out $60,000 in fines for this gratuitous act of elation.

Prospects for Week 2

Kevin Kolb may look fairly good against a less than stellar Saints defense, but it is probably going to take a great performance to out score the high powered Saints offense. The Saints have picked right up where they left off last year, when they were the NFL's most prolific offense, scoring 45 points in the season opener. Of course, there is a vast difference between the Eagles defense and the Lions defense that they faced last week.

Look for Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy to lead a strong rushing attack on Sunday, and for the Eagles to keep things short with Kolb. The Eagles pass defense will be effective, but will not be able to totally contain Brees. In the end, the Eagles will miss McNabb, give up a cheap touchdown due to a turnover and fail to be able to put together a winning drive in the 4th quarter.

Saints 27

Eagles 23

No comments:

Post a Comment