Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) throws while under pressure from Arizona Cardinals defenders during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Although the Philadelphia Eagles are 5-2 and could possibly win the NFC East for the second year in a row (especially after the Washington Redskins laid out a blueprint to beat the Dallas Cowboys this past Monday night), there is something that is unsettling about this football team. Not as unsettling as the 2012 Eagles that went 3-1 through their first 4 games with quarterback Michael Vick–then finished at 4-12.
The 2014 Philadelphia Eagles are a good team that will end up with a winning record, and most likely a playoff-berth, but they are not a dominant team–there is definitely uncertainty. In fact, the argument can be made that just a few plays, and/or referee calls, could have enhanced the Eagles record to 7-0, or obversely diminished them to 2-5.
Without getting too carried away with negativity for the Eagles, opposing teams must absolutely respect what Philadelphia brings to the table. If need be, head coach Chip Kelly will keep the Birds competitive down to the last second of every game.
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Additionally, the Eagles special teams unit is tops in the league, and the defense is applying pressure to contending quarterbacks. Helping to bolster the Eagles offensive line, the nearing return of offensive linemen Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce should translate to more points being scored.
There is one player that will not be returning to the Eagles, and although Jeremy Maclin is a top ten receiver (in total yards), Desean Jackson is as well. More impressively, Jackson has continued to shine while playing with three different quarterbacks this season. There is just no denying that Desean is one of the best weapons in the NFL–the little man can run like the wind and catch everything within his reach. His absence from the Eagles offense becomes more glaring each week.
Writing about the poor play of Eagles defensive backs Nate Allen, Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher is extremely redundant–these players are liabilities. Rarely do they make great plays, but often they make costly mistakes.
Where is Chip Kelly the “offensive guru?” Kelly needs to be more creative with his play-calling. Each week we are seeing more unique and clever highlight-plays from around the league, but Kelly continues to use those long, awkward-looking, fake handoffs from the shotgun that do not fool defenses in the slightest.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was never going to replicate his stats from last year. Through 7 games so far he has 12 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions, with a quarterback rating of 80.7 (119.2 last year). The superb decision-making that we saw from Foles a year ago is no longer apparent. We know Foles can not launch the ball like Detroit lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, nor can he deliver lightning-fast strikes like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and he definitely is lacking in the mobility department.
So if Foles is no longer being smart with the ball in his hands, what reasoning does Kelly have to keep him in the driver’s seat?? Why does Foles continue to take so many unnecessary hits each game?? Why does Foles hardly make any pre-snap adjustments?? Why isn’t Nick Foles looking over printouts on the sidelines when the defense is on the field like Denver’s quarterback Peyton Manning??
The Eagles offense is struggling. They have yet to kick it into gear. Still, there are 9 games left to play and the Eagles should win at least 6 or 7 of them. Thankfully the Birds would not have to play the unstoppable Denver Broncos unless they go to the Super Bowl.