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Eagle Eye Observations: Week 1


Another season means the return of the Eagle Eye. There was plenty to see in the dominating Eagles victory yesterday. Here it goes.

  • I’ll start with McNabb. An injury-free 2008 2009 was too good to be true. His third quarter rib crack came on a red zone play that was designed to be a pass. Ever the warrior, Don tucked it under and bulldozed his way across the goal line. A late hit that wasn’t called contributed to three Panthers sandwiching him. It looked painful. Again, why was he running? At the three-yard line, they called a pass. No one was open. Hand it to the running backs. They get paid to rush for touchdowns. The Birds went 3-3 in the red zone, but at the cost of losing McNabb for an undetermined amount of time.
  • The officials were atrocious. They blew the late hit on Don, called a fumble on Shady even though he was clearly down, and missed Quintin Demps getting shoved into the punt returner. Demps probably could have slowed a bit, but he was pushed. I watched several other games Sunday and noticed a host of poor calls. Refs seem to be getting worse and worse since replay was instituted. Thankfully, Reid was able to challenge the Shady fumble.
  • The FOX coverage of the game was abysmal. The audio was out of sync and cut-out completely on at least three occasions. The DirecTV feed also dumped to the CowboysBucs game twice, and tossed to commercial early three times. What the hell is going on in Charlotte? Was it the heat? I don’t know, but it was beyond annoying.
  • Why did the Eagles trade for Jason Peters? It wasn’t for his two false start penalties. It was to run behind him. They exclusively sent Westy and Shady off left tackle with great success. From 2005-2008 there wasn’t much running behind Tra Thomas. Tra was a pass protector, not a road grader like Peters. Look for this trend to continue.
  • Three guys who played their best games in midnight green: Abiamiri, Jordan and Gocong. The coaches have been promising for two years that Vic was a player. Well, for one game he was phenomenal: 5 total tackles, 1 fumble recovery for TD and a QB hit. Nice. Jordan was a friggin’ beast: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit and 1 PD. That’s called stuffing the stat sheet. Gocong’s goal line pass defense made me happy. I’ve been waiting for him to start flashing during games. I hope he can build on this.
  • Darren Howard played like he was possessed: 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits and a forced fumble. I guess his groin is okay. Basically, he was unblockable, if that’s even a word.
  • Trent Cole made the defining play of the game when he lined up as a Joker and blasted Jake Delhomme. He and Howard gave Jordan Gross fits all afternoon.
  • Quintin Mikell blew backside containment on the DeAngelo Williams opening drive score, but was excellent the rest of the game. He led the defense with 6 tackles.
  • Asante and Sheldon were brilliant. Three picks and one easy one dropped by Samuel. Along with Joselio, the top three corners accounted for 7 passes defended and 4 INTs. More importantly, they limited Steve Smith to three catches for 21 yards.
  • DeSean‘s punt return highlighted an otherwise quiet day. Only two catches but he was effective out of the Wildcat formation and rushed for 33 yards on two carries. Opposing special teams and defensive coaches will be losing sleep trying to prepare for Jackson’s triple threat playmaking.
  • Westbrook didn’t seem to be slowed at all. He cut well, shifted gears nicely and turned the corner. Amazing when you consider the guy hasn’t really been hit since January. The lopsided score benefited him greatly as he was able to exit early.
  • Shady showed why the Eagles drafted him. Nine carries for 46 yards. He was running at a different speed than everyone except DeSean.
  • Where are thou Jeremy Maclin? I didn’t see him and they didn’t need him.
  • Is it just me, or is Akers getting a lot of kicks blocked the last two years? Is it his trajectory or is the line not getting the job done? Whatever the case, Ted Daisher needs to fix it, pronto.
  • Winston Justice had a nice game. He got schooled by Julius Peppers late, but proved his worth the rest of the time. Why did the Panthers line up Peppers across from Peters in the first half? It made no sense, but I’m not complaining.
  • Juqau Parker‘s face mask on 3rd and 15 was foolish. Gotta get off the field when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Jim Johnson was famous for using an opponent’s opening drive to gauge how to attack them. McDermott took the same approach on Sunday. After the 13 play, eight minute drive to start the game, McDermott unleashed the hounds and they didn’t stop hunting for 60 minutes.
  • Get used to Brent Celek having solid games. He has soft hands and gets open. Oh, and he CAN block. He sealed the edge and chipped defensive ends all game long.
  • Why the hell was Chris Clemons offisides on that punt? He’s gotta use his noodle. Can’t be giving teams a new set of downs.
  • Macho didn’t have to do much. He will next week.
  • Kevin Kolb may finally get his shot to start a game from the beginning next week. Maybe then we can get a read on his ability, because in mop up duty he is erratic. He holds the ball too long.
  • Jon Beason’s interception of McNabb was sweet. He climbed the ladder and snatched it out of the air. The Cats didn’t have many good plays, but that was probably the finest.
  • I cracked a rib once. They can linger for months. Just saying.
  • 5-13 on third downs needs to improve. As does 9/76 on penalties.
  • 185 yards rushing and 5.8 ypc is incredible. As is 86 yards allowed on 2.9 ypc.

If only Don hadn’t gotten hurt, this would have been the best opening day since the 2000 “pickle juice” game in Dallas. On the bright side, he didn’t suffer a catastrophic injury. That being said, we all know how Don can struggle when all his parts aren’t in working order. Of course if the defense continues to crush, a fractured rib might not matter in the short run.

The Saints will present a major challenge next Sunday at the Linc. Drew Brees is playing better than every other quarterback in the league. If the Iggles can slow him down, this team could be special. Fingers crossed.

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