The Eagles head to Oakland for tomorrow's game with a 3-1 record and a relatively healthy group of players. The two teams are moving on opposite paths with the Eagles turning in consecutive large margin victories while the Raiders have simply gotten trounced the past three weeks. Additionally, the Eagles have lit up the scoreboard against some lesser opponents while the Raiders offense has been horrific.
Sometimes this type of scenario makes for a challenging game and a totally unpredictable outcome. Last year's Bengals game is a recent example. At this point, it would be difficult to imagine this game not following conventional expectations, especially considering the turmoil surrounding the Raiders coach and organization, as well as the poor play of high draft pick QB JaMarcus Russell.
But that notwithstanding, it might be a good week for the Eagles to bag the Wildcat experiment. The much anticipated Michael Vick Wildcat has been a bust despite playing against weak teams. So far, the offensive scheme has been 2.95 yards and a cloud of dust. Besides being unproductive, it continues to detract form the overall offensive continuity and virtually throws away better opportunities to use the Eagles growing array of playmakers.
The reason that this is a good week to throw away the Wildcat, or at least limit it to a couple plays, is two fold. First off, there is very little to learn from anything that might happen against this Oakland team, as very little correlation can be drawn between them and any other team in the league. The Raiders currently appear to be the "Dunder Mifflin" of NFL franchises, marching to the beat of a different drummer. Secondly, the Eagles have been lucky to be playing against inferior opponents and have gotten away with throwing away plays on the Wildcat. But, why play down to the competition by making your offense less effective this week, and why continue to use it in the future when you won't have the luxury of throwing away plays?
The Eagles should go ahead and bag the Wildcat right now. Instead, they should focus on how to better use playmakers such as DeSean Jackson, Brian Dawkins, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek (not to mention Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb) within their base offense. The team has a wealth of offensive talent and they would be clearly better served by teeing it up head-to-head rather than continue to use sandlot touch football plays, especially with a sluggish Vick being featured. Heck, Vick doesn't even like it.
The NFC East as well as some other tough teams are lurking after the Raiders. Lets get back to NFC East football and stop trying to prove the "genius" of signing Vick. The Eagles have the pieces to make a serious run this season. And, Andy Reid has done a terrific job with the Eagles in his tenure, but he can tend to be a bit stubborn at times. This has served the team well many times, but in this case, not so much.
In all likelihood, the Eagles will persist with the "WildVick" tomorrow and still emerge with an easy victory. Still, the odds of a big win would be greater without the scheme and would start to set them on the most beneficial course for the balance of the season. Down with the Raiders....Down with the Wildcat!