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Random Eagles Thoughts: 1-2, Time of Possession, and Mike Vick

Sep 23, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT


On Being 1-2

Expectations are on a roller coaster. They started low before the season got underway, climbed exponentially after the Eagles throttled Washington in Week 1, now we’re down in the dumps after consecutive losses. All the while, how good this team actually is likely still lies somewhere in between.

That said, their 1-2 record isn’t as bad as it seems. They lost to San Diego on a last-minute field goal, which any number of single plays could have prevented from happening—Alex Henery missed a field goal for the Birds; Mike Vick made a poor throw to James Casey in the end zone that the tight end couldn’t handle; DeSean Jackson had one long touchdown called back on a penalty, couldn’t quite haul in another, while his momentum carried him out of bounds on a third.

Then despite turning the ball over five times against Kansas City, it took the Chiefs until the fourth quarter to put the Philly away. These were both winnable games, which is good from the standpoint that at least the Eagles are competing.

And if you look around the NFC East—which some would dub the worst division in football—the Birds are not in bad shape. Dallas is 2-1, but New York and Washington are both 0-3, and have looked completely pathetic in the process. When you factor in both of Philly’s losses were out of conference, those actually might not matter much if they turn things around in upcoming weeks.

Chip Kelly’s offense is working. The Eagles’ offense is ranked second in the NFL with 461.7 yards per game, and would take over first if the Broncos don’t eclipse that number on Monday night. The defense not surprisingly remains a work in progress, but they’ve held up their end of the bargain in two of three games so far, taking advantage of a rusty RG3 in Week 1, and keeping Kansas City out of the end zone until the fourth quarter last Thursday.

Chances are the Birds are staring at 1-3 with a trip to Denver this weekend—yet another out-of-conference matchup—but given the state of their division, not to mention the fact that they haven’t looked like pushovers by any means, and there’s little reason besides their record to feel any worse about the Eagles than you probably did coming in. Remember, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year anyway.

On Time of Possession

No, losing time of possession was not to blame for either of the Eagles’ back-to-back losses, at least not directly. Philadelphia has been doubled up in TOP for two consecutive weeks, which has led to many reminders that head coach Chip Kelly doesn’t care about this particular statistic, thus he must be wrong.

Well, I’ve got news for you, but most teams probably aren’t going to win time of possession after they turn the ball over five times the way the Birds did against Kansas City. It wasn’t an issue of Chip’s offense moving too fast, preventing his own defense from catching a breather. Michael Vick and co. couldn’t go more than a few plays without coughing up the football or punting it away.

Versus San Diego, the defense couldn’t get itself off the field. The Chargers were going on long scoring drives from the opening kickoff. The Eagles couldn’t stop them late, but they couldn’t stop them early either.

I don’t agree with Kelly that time of possession doesn’t matter at all. It certainly can make the difference, and the fact that the clock was not on Philly’s side these last two games certainly didn’t help. However, people are seriously jumping to conclusions about the up-tempo offense hurting the defense. What’s hurt the defense are Philip Rivers and a lack of consistent execution by the offense.

Context is important with any stat. If the defense is wearing down because they’ve been on the field too long, there are reasons other than because Chip wants to go fast.

On Mike Vick

I was a little surprised at how quickly many were to jump off the quarterback’s bandwagon after last Thursday’s performance. Vick was responsible for three of Philadelphia’s five turnovers by himself, including a pick-six that his team was never quite able to recover from, and the 11-year veteran looked indecisive and erratic. There was nothing reassuring about his passing line: 13-of-30 for 208 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.

This was the sort of game I came to expect from Vick long, long ago, so that certainly wasn’t what caught me off guard. It was that some were already posing the question how many more chances would the four-time Pro Bowler get?

It’s odd because most would agree Vick played well in the first two games, certainly good enough to win either one. He hasn’t been perfect this season, missing some throws here or there—it’s not nitpicking, his underthrown pass to James Casey in the end zone against San Diego might have cost his team that win. But prior to Thursday night, Vick hadn’t tossed a single interception either, and you certainly wouldn’t lay their first loss at his feet.

Then there’s the fact that the Eagles’ offensive line was pretty abysmal against Kansas City. It doesn’t account for all of the poor play under center, for instance the pick-six at the game’s outset. It’s a lot harder to mount a comeback though when the other team is dominating the line of scrimmage.

Could Vick’s job be in jeopardy? If he starts stringing together a bunch of poor outings like this last one, then sure, but it’s a little soon to be calling for Nick Foles’ number. Anybody can have one bad game, and as of now that’s all it is for Vick as far as Chip Kelly is concerned. Let’s see how No. 7 responds to the adversity in the weeks ahead.

  1. Chip's sinking ship - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Ok, so Dallas wins the division with an 8-8 record. Football is made up of 3 parts, offense, defense & special teams, what happens when 150 pound, rapper wanna-be, Desean Jackson gets hurt? The other little receiver Maclin made it 2 days into camp before being done for the season, then what, Avant & Cooper going to strike fear in secondaries across the league? And speaking of secondaries, ours is non-existent, as is the rest of this no name, talentless defense. This team played 30 minutes of mistake free football against an even worse Redskins team. This team will never win anything until Laurie, and the rest of the no football experience crew are out of this town. What team did Howie Long, ooops, I mean Roseman play for again? Oh yea, it was Rosey’s Wreckers, they won their Yahoo fantasy football championship last year.

    • Chutley - Sep 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Wow what a miserable comment

      • Chip's sinking ship - Sep 23, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        “Wow what a miserable comment”

        Yes, it is & I made it. I’ve been an Eagle fan since I knew what football was, so basically 40 years and a season ticket holder since 1995. I’ve probably spent more money on this organization, which includes tickets, clothing, tickets to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, yearly road trips all over the country, living in Cali for 2 years and flying back for games the past 2 years and only seeing losses, than most people make in 5 years. So yes, I am miserable & scorned with this current organization, they have ruined my passion for this team, from letting the best WR we had in a long time go (TO) because he & Andy’s baby couldn’t get along, to letting Dawk walk, to signing that POS QB Vick….Had they not seen all the games in which we used to dominate him, and take away his one dimensional game? Let alone what he did, I won’t even touch that, as it’s still disgusting, whether he paid his debt to society or not. You think Laurie cares about winning, he cares about making money, not spending it. Look at every draft and every superstar we passed over for picks that left us scratching our heads! Andy Reid has run this team into the dirt & he sure had the last laugh on Thursday night with a team that won 2 games less than our pathetic 4!!

        What money did they spend this year on defense, a non factor CB from the Ravens & an old NT from the Niners, and that was going to fix this team? Does that look like the “Gold Standard” to you? Instead of worrying about making our stadium the “greenest” in the league, how about spending the money to make it the best team in the league. I’m not the type of clown that’s going to suddenly be a Pats or Broncos fan, because my team sucks. I’m sick of hearing from the cowgirl & giant & skins fans about how many championships we’ve won….So yes, it was a miserable comment. What, should I be happy for regarding this team of selfish nobodies, and a front office full of novices? Sorry if I’m sick of having my team be the laughing stock of the NFC East for decades!

        I laid $5000 that this team won’t win more than 7.5 games, and my only regret is that I didn’t make it $10,000!

      • sfsu - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:35 PM

        “I’ve probably spent more money on this organization, which includes tickets, clothing, tickets to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, yearly road trips all over the country, living in Cali for 2 years and flying back for games the past 2 years and only seeing losses, than most people make in 5 years.”

        So, its YOU who most Philadelphians refer to when they explain to out-of-towners….”yes, its a small minority of Eagles fans who have earned the entire city’s negative reputation as football fans”.

        And in regards to your O/U bet, you know deep down youre extremely lucky this team doesnt have at least 2 wins, and youre even MORE worried about how bad WAS and NYG have looked so far (might as well throw Dallas in there too. They couldnt beat KC either, and Dallas was lucky as hell to beat NYG week 1. No way Dallas wins at the Meadowlands).

        Let’s assume the Eagles split with NYG and DAL, and beat WAS at home. That means they have to go 3-5 or worse over the other 8 games for you to win your terrible bet.

        Obviously they will lose to Denver and GB, and beat Oakland. That means they have to go 2-3 against Minnesota (a team that just gave up 34 points to Kent State), home vs Arizona Cardinals (a team whose QB wasnt good enough for Oakland), home vs Chicago (I’ll give you a loss there), home vs Detroit (a team who couldnt beat Arizona and shouldve lost to WAS yesterday), and @ TB (ummmm….that team is in worse shape than anyone, and they couldnt even beat Nick Foles last season).

        So youre obviously sweating this bet already, and if youre not…then your lifetime gambling losses will probably see little change if you win this 5K.

        — also, you went to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville 2 years ago? Dude, why not use your time machine to, you know, make sure the Eagles win that game?

      • Chip's sinking ship - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:08 AM

        Reading comprehension,, use it! I said, ” I’ve probably spent more money on this organization, which includes tickets, clothing, tickets to the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, yearly road trips all over the country, living in Cali for 2 years and flying back for games the past 2 years and only seeing losses, than most people make in 5 years.”

        Where did I say I went to the Super Bowl 2 years ago Dope? READ AND COMPREHEND, and learn what commas mean, another Philadelphia moron! “Living in Cali for 2 years and flying back for games the past 2 years and only seeing losses.” I just moved back from Cali this summer, being there for 2 years and flying back to see home games” Another product of a failed Philadelphia educational system. Read and comprehend…Where do you see I said I went to SB 2 years ago?

        Vegas put the over/under at 7.5, and Vegas wasn’t built by losers. I been doing this a long time kid, come back when the Birds finish 7-9 if they’re lucky. They won 4 games last year by 4 points, with 95% of the same clowns…..I’ll be hear at the end of the season ;-)

      • sfsu - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:38 PM

        Damn, I was wrong — it was CLEVELAND who beat Minnesota, not Kent State. Common mistake. And they only scored 31, not 34.

        So yeah, youre right — Eagles def go 3-13

      • 2sentz - Sep 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Dude, you claim to be an Eagles “lifer”, yet:

        1. You actually had expectation that this current team would excel?
        2. You dismiss out of hand guys like Shady, Peters, Cole, Kendricks? The entire team is useless?
        3. You use the name “Chip’s sinking ship” after the guy’s coached for 3 games?
        4. You expect us to believe you flew home from CA for every single home game over the past several years just to see the team play in person?

        Dude I get your frustration, but losing hold of all your faculties isn’t helping anything. For the love of god man, snap out of it! We need you!

    • stop crying - Sep 24, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      I could fill an olympic swimming pool with your tears. You’re the same fan that when they’re winning will flaunt your 40 year fandom, faded Freddie Mitchell jersey and season tickets in the face of all the skinny jean ,rearend sex loving California kids you moved out west to be with. Since you like to cry so much, so does Philip Rivers. You two can be besties out there on the west coast, get matching ankle tattoos and see whose gag reflex is worse than McNabbs. It’s 3 games, not the end of the orginization. Be happy that they’re playing well and not sitting 0-3 like we all kind of figured they’d be.

      • Silver Surfer - Sep 24, 2013 at 9:53 AM

        Sorry bud, no Freddy Mitchell jerseys here, the only ones I own are Jerome Brown, Jaws & Dawkins. And sorry rain on your parade, but Cali was a 2 year stint, back home in NJ now, although I did buy a few investment properties out there. But I’m sure you wouldn’t know about things like that, or not missing an Eagles game in over 18 years ( are you even 18?), no matter where I was living. Can you say that? So no, no “fair weather fan” here, I’ve seen more losses, than you’ve seen wins in my time. And not much for ankle tatts, I prefer full sleeves. So never been a fair weather fan, I speak my mind, whether good or bad, sorry you don’t like the bad. I don’t drink and I don’t “throw snowballs”, and I have all my teeth, so I’m not one of the baffune Eagle fans that have given this city a bad name. I sported my Eagles colors proudly while living in Cali, as I’ve done for 30+ years, win or lose.

        I’d be glad to invite you to one of our tailgates, to meet some real fans, some great cops even, enjoy the creature comforts of our 25″ Winnebago, some of the best food in the WF lot, and I’d say enjoy watching some games on our flat screens, but EVERY home game this year, besides KC is at 1pm….Maybe next year ;-)

  2. Jay D - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I always say wait til after week 3 to see what you got….
    I think 1-2 very much fits this team….that thursday night performance was soooooo sloppy.

    Special teams coverage besides the opening return by the chiefs has been pretty damn good….kicking needs to improve .

    Offense…moving at this kind of speed you are bound to make mistakes. Vick is still the better choice to run this offense because of his legs, but good lord he really does lock onto one receiver all the time . Cant go through his progressions. Shady is NASSSSSSTYYYYY, and will eventually get hurt.

    Defense is what it is….young and not too talented. I think Boykin has potential but Nate Allen is awful…hes had enough time to try and mature in this league. i think by end of year defense will come together pretty well…not great…but pretty well

    still sticking with my 9-7 prediction

    • sfsu - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      So, to recap:

      “1-2 very much fits this team”

      “Vick is a terrible passer”

      “Their best offensive player is going to get injured”

      “Defense is neither experienced nor talented”

      “Yeah, they’re definitely going to go 8-5 the rest of the way, including games at Denver and GB.”

      I appreciate your optimism, but 9-7 in this division is basically 12-4. The division winner will either end up with 8 or 9 wins. 7 is totally feasible, and honestly, i think a 6-10 division winner is not out of the question. The only team the NFC East has beaten this year is the St Louis Rams.

      • Jay D - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        thank you for recapping my opinion

  3. willh888 - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    3 games in 11 days is no excuse, but it’s something to consider when the team got considerably worse every week. Once the season levels out I still think they’re on their way to a 7-9 type season. The once powerful division now stinks, so you never know what 8-8, 7-9 might get you

  4. Syan - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    at this moment the Eagles are currently the #6 seed in the NFC, which just goes to show how weak this conference seems to be this season. If they can just step it up a bit more, they can get into the playoffs or even win the division.

  5. Dpm - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Wow, finally a level-headed, pragmatic account of the eagles offense.

  6. erzug - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    A quote from Howie Roseman in today’s Daily News:

    “We’re not trying to rebuild, we’re trying to retool.”

    Big difference between the two.


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