At 3-1, The Eagles Are Still ImprovingBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, October 5th, 2012
Here we are already with one third of the 2012 season complete and the Philadelphia Eagles stand at 3-1, surprising to some but perhaps right where many expected. But the way the Eagles arrived at 3-1 is what has everyone baffled, “experts” and fans alike.
After setting an NFL mark with the best start of any team after four games by a cumulative four points and with the greatest point differential in NFL history at -17, Philadelphia is at the top of the Eastern Division in the NFC.
Crazy? For sure. Lucky? If you believe in luck. Do the Birds have good fortune on their side? For now at least but do you want them to win more convincingly? Of course, but surely you take 3-1… you’ll take it, right? A win, is a win, is a win! Do you want them to win more convincingly? Of course. There’s a lot to be critical about still if you’re the critical type but there’s so much to be optimistic about. The Eagles are not done improving; in fact they seem to be fixing some of the problems that plagued them as far back as last season, particularly the amount and the timing of turnovers.
Quarterback Michael Vick, not yet the leader in all aspects the Eagles need him to be but he’s headed very much in that direction, based on one game of course. But he seems likes he’s getting the cobwebs out of his head (or rust out of his game) along with the voices telling him that he is Johnny Unitas or that he can be Joe Montana. Those voices that tell him what he should or should not do, like stay in the pocket. The voices belong to Coaches Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg, and the media at large.
For at least one game the turnovers have ceased and the ground game has been revived. Even with a 3-1 record and in first place there still is much more to improve on, the cohesiveness and pass protection of the offensive line for instance. But unseen, unknown or unappreciated by many fans is that the Eagles offense is fifth in the league with 417 ypg, seventh in rushing with 145 ypg and 10th in passing at 272 ypg. But with all of that offensive yardage, only the Cowboys, Jaguars and Colts have scored fewer points (65, 62 and 61 respectively).
The defense has come together wonderfully and is still gelling. Led by first year Eagle, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, Philadelphia is among the league’s best in most categories. They are seventh in total yards giving up only 827, seventh against the run allowing 91 ypg and only one touchdown, fourth against the pass, 207 ypg and 4 touchdowns. The stat sheets will say that the defense has allowed 83 points but don’t forget that 2 touchdowns are attributed to two turnovers by the offense.
The oddest statistic right now I think is the 7 sacks which place Philly near the bottom of the barrel. But without the huge sack total we were expecting from the league’s best defensive line, they still are bringing enormous pressure that has been significant in the overall play on the defensive side of the ball, like pass coverage.
The first quarter of the 2012 season has not been a technical success by any means but because of a winning mindset which has translated into a winning and tenacious attitude so far this year the Eagles have been what many have expected them to be… in first place. This Eagles team so far has shown that they have not given up and will not give up. Regardless of the fickle media stars and even more fickle fans, that has been the difference (in four games) that has set this team apart.
There are two more games left (Steelers and Lions) before the Bye week. So much depends on if this offense and Michael Vick is finally, really coming together. If the special teams can find a cure for what ails them and if the line and Coach Reid can keep Vick’s jersey from getting dirty and his body from being broken. We will know much more after seven games… perhaps. But there’s still Atlanta and New Orleans before we actually reach the halfway mark. We should know by then who this team is and where we should be by season’s end.
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