The Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the putrid Arizona Cardinals can be described in one word: disgraceful. This Eagles team is a disgrace to a city that loves its football and is passionate about its team.
Philadelphia fans have more heart and desire to win than does the team that gets paid handsomely to do it. The Eagles are putting on a display of lifeless football and playing as if they are forced to do something they’d rather not be doing.
I don’t know how else to describe it. Jim Nic, a reader here at Eagles Addict, gave a good description when he said the Eagles are:
Uninspired, lifeless, indifferent, poorly coached, sluggish… man, I could go on and on…How do you destroy the Cowboys on national television and then lose to the lowly, second string QB’d Cardinals a couple of weeks later??
This truism is ringing in my ears… ‘uninspired coaching produces uninspired play’.
And that’s what the Eagles are this year: uninspired and lifeless.
Let’s recap the game against Arizona where everything that is wrong with this Eagles team was put on display at Lincoln Financial Field:
1. DeSean Jackson.
It started even before kickoff on Sunday. DeSean Jackson was deactivated for the game because he missed a special teams meeting on Saturday morning.
Jackson hasn’t been having the kind of year we’re used to with him. No big plays, no dazzling touchdowns. However, even if he’s just a decoy, he does bring value to the Eagles’ offense.
His contract situation has clearly affected his play, though. He started the season off by playing well and it seemed as if he wasn’t going to let his lack of a contract stop him from playing up to his caliber.
Obviously, it has. It’s no coincidence that the week following the deadline for deals to get done (and have them count against this year’s salary cap), Jackson violates team rules and ends up getting benched for a game.
Instead of paying the likes of Vince Young, Steve Smith and Ronnie Brown–all of whom bring virtually no value to the team–the Eagles should have extended Jackson.
I’m not saying that what Jackson did is okay or that he shouldn’t be acting like a diva, but the Eagles should have paid one of their own star players before bringing in other “names”.
2. Michael Vick is having a terrible year.
The Eagles decided to make Michael Vick a rich man (again) when they gave him a $100 million contract. However, he has not produced anywhere near what was expected when he signed on that dotted line.
In Vick’s last 11 starts, he has thrown 13 TDs, 13 INTs and has led the team to a 3-8 record.
He has regressed to the point where he can’t find his receivers, can’t make a clutch throw, can’t lead a comeback, can’t take over a game, leaves the pocket too early, and throws the killer interception.
He’s making bad decisions and playing like a man who just doesn’t know what to do. He’s lost.
3. Steve Smith’s boneheaded play.
This one play can symbolize this entire Eagles season. With the score tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles faced a 3rd and 20 from their own 20 yard line.
Smith caught a pass from Vick over the middle and proceeded to go down voluntarily one yard short of the first down. If he would have just kept running until he was actually, you know…tackled…he would have had the first down.
That play showed how the Eagles have been playing dumb and soft. What kind of player just goes down in that situation? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
4. Juan Castillo and the defense.
Jim Johnson must be rolling in his grave right around now. Between last season and this season, the Eagles’ defense has just been putrid.
There is no leadership and no heart in this group. When it’s time to step up, this defense steps back.
Bad penalties at crucial times, terrible red zone defense, allowing back-breaking drives in the fourth quarter, giving up leads late in games, can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass and lack of a killer instinct are what describe this defense.
This is also not to mention the lack of effective utilization of talent by Juan Castillo.
For the 8th time out of nine games, the Eagles again turned the ball over in the red zone. It’s almost like clockwork now.
The Eagles are now -7 on the season in turnover ratio. Michael Vick was actually intercepted three times yesterday, including twice in the red zone but one was called back by a penalty.
You simply can’t win when you turn the ball over as much as the Eagles.
The Eagles were penalized a whopping 11 times for 97 yards against the Cardinals. On the season, they average almost seven penalties per game and many of them have come at critical times.
The Eagles defense has been penalized on third-downs far too often this season. Against Arizona, Nnamdi Asomugha was penalized for a neutral zone infraction on a third-down play in which the Cardinals failed to convert.
However, the penalty gave them new life and they went on to score a touchdown on the drive. These are the types of penalties that have haunted the Eagles all season.
7. The Eagles only play three quarters of football.
The Eagles have been outscored 73-27 in the fourth quarter this season, including 24-3 in the past two games. This is the stat that shows the Eagles’ lack of a killer instinct all-together.
The Eagles have now lost five games this season where they’ve led going into the fourth quarter only to squander their lead. The offense fails to score or control the game with time-consuming drives and the defense heads to the concession stands.
Fourth-quarter football is when good teams are at their best and bad teams are at their worst. Guess which one the Eagles are?
8. Total lack of preparedness.
Perhaps the biggest problem the Eagles have this season is the fact that they are playing like a team that has no idea what they’re doing.
I’ve maintained all along that this team would need time to gel, and it seemed things were beginning to do just that about four weeks ago. However, they have not and whatever progress they appeared to be making has disappeared and instead, the team actually seems to be regressing.
This all falls on the coaching. The Eagles threw too many balls up in the air this year with all of the changes they made. Unfortunately, Andy Reid has proven he is not an adept juggler as all of the balls are smashing on the ground one by one.
We can all now go back to our initial impression when Andy Reid decided to make Juan Castillo the defensive coordinator. Back when they first announced it, everyone…and I mean everyone single person’s reaction was, what the hell are they thinking?
Andy Reid and the Eagles then went on to put a positive spin on this seemingly idiotic decision and over time people began to accept it and think “well, maybe Castillo will do good”.
Nope. Our first instinct was the correct one. Juan Castillo has no business coaching defense. I hate to say that because it is his first year, but this is more about Reid’s decision to hire him–not as much about Castillo’s abilities as a coach.
In essence, Reid’s decision to put Castillo in that position set the team back and is perhaps the single biggest reason why this year’s team is failing.
All in all, there are too many things to list for what ails the Eagles this year. There is so much wrong that, at times, it is hard to pinpoint any one thing.
And when things are that bad, the only place to look is at the main man in charge.
Whether or not the Eagles actually fire Reid at the end of this season is unknown. Should he be fired? Right now, the answer is yes. But will he?
That is a topic we will be talking about at length over the next few months.