It’s true that this 2012 Philadelphia Eagles team has played more like the prey, rather than birds of prey, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving I thought it would be better to take a look at the positive side of things.
There hasn’t been much to cheer about this season, unfortunately. And, we’re facing a future with the most uncertainty since after the 1998 season. However, if we really really try, we can come up with some things to be thankful for about this team and our situation going forward (or at least putting a positive spin on some things)…
Players that are performing well:
DeMeco Ryans hasn’t been exceptional, but he’s been a significant improvement at the middle linebacker position. Ryans has played very well this year and he’s certainly been worth the price we paid in the trade (a 4th round pick and swap of 3rd-rounders).
In fact, Pro Football Focus has him as their 4th-best inside linebacker so far this year.
LeSean McCoy is easily the Eagles’ best player and is an elite running back. I’m certainly thankful that we have him on our team and he has many more good years ahead of him as he’s just 24 years old!
Fletcher Cox has been playing well and although he’s not making a big splash with the sacks (though he has three), he’s been getting solid penetration and has been generally disruptive in the offensive backfield. Plus, he seems to be getting better as the season goes.
PFF has him ranked as their 14th-best DT/NT and credits him with 17 “stops” (described as “number of solo tackles that constitute an offensive failure”).
Bryce Brown has been a pleasant surprise this season. He’s played well in spot duty as relief for McCoy and is now slated to make his first NFL start this week. Brown is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has shown some power and speed in his running ability.
He and McCoy should make a nice tandem for the foreseeable future.
We can certainly be thankful for Evan Mathis. He is the last man standing out of our starting offensive linemen this season and is the only one of the bunch playing well. In fact, PFF has him as their top-rated guard so far this year.
That’s impressive since the rest of the line is full of a bunch of turkeys.
Other various things we can be thankful for or at least look forward to:
I’m not necessarily “thankful” for this (though some might be), but the fact that Andy Reid will be gone after this season will at least relieve the negative atmosphere around Philly…for a little while.
Andy can be thankful that this will be his last year in Philly because he doesn’t need all the negativity that’s being aimed at him. The man has done more for the Eagles than any other coach in the history of this franchise.
He needs a change in venue and the fans need a coach with a different philosophy. At the least, things will be interesting around here when the official coaching search is underway.
We can be thankful that we have an owner in Jeff Lurie that is the anti-Jerry Jones and genuinely cares about winning. There are those who think he is somewhat “weak”, but overall he is a good owner that has taken this franchise out of the gutter.
Just remember how things were before he arrived, when the penny-pinching Norman Braman was running the show. Philadelphia was not an attractive place to come for free agents due to the crappy stadium and facilities. Lurie is responsible for the complete makeover of this team and how this organization is viewed around the league.
We can be thankful we’re not fans of a perpetually losing team. Imagine if we were fans of teams like Kansas City, Jacksonville or Cleveland. Those fans have been mired in an atmosphere where they expect to lose every year.
Here in Philly, we still have expectations of winning every year and the only reason that can be is because we’ve had a long run of success. Though we’re amidst a severely disappointing two-year stretch, we still have a certain expectation for success moving forward.
If you didn’t realize it, this will be only the third time in the past 24 years that this team has missed the playoffs two years in a row. Since 1988, the Eagles have made it to the postseason 15 times.
In that same time span, the Browns have made it four times, the Redskins have made it six times, and the Bengals have made it five times. So, just imagine how miserable it has been for fans of those teams.
Though we have yet to win the Super Bowl, at least we’ve been a competitive organization for as long as we have. I’d rather be pissed off and shocked when we don’t have a winning season rather than being shocked when we do.
And for that, I’m thankful.