Eagles-Panthers Pregame ThoughtsBREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Eagles, News Sunday, November 25th, 2012
At this point in time, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost nearly all of their legitimacy as an NFL team.
The Eagles are dead in the water.
Most of the players have checked out mentally, and the failures of this team’s leaders have allowed the club to develop a losing culture.
The head coach and his staff have repeatedly pressed the panic button in search of a way to spark this lifeless football team, and they’ve come up empty every time.
Every week, the Eagles find more new and unbelievable ways to lose. From blown fourth quarter leads against the Steelers and Lions, to allowing the Falcons to score on their first six possessions, to failing to score a touchdown in five redzone opportunities against the Saints, to special teams breakdowns against the Cowboys, to the abominable mess that we saw last week in Washington, the Eagles have treated their fans to one of the most frustrating brands of football ever conceived.
And the amazing thing is that this situation can still get worse.
The Eagles are now preparing for life without the services of their best player, LeSean McCoy. Although Andy Reid and Marty Morhinweg enjoyed keeping the ball out of the hands of their star running back (unless of course, they’re down 31-6 with less than two minutes remaining in the game), McCoy has been one of the only bright spots of this team in 2012.
Just take a look at the projected starting offensive lineup for Monday night.
Quarterback: Nick Foles
Running Back: Bryce Brown
Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin
Tight End: Brent Celek
Left Tackle: King Dunlap
Left Guard: Evan Mathis
Center: Dallas Reynolds
Right Guard: Jake Scott
Right Tackle: Dennis Kelly
As bad as Carolina has been this year, can anyone see this offense putting up more than 13 points? Although he was put into a bad position by his pass-happy coaches, Nick Foles didn’t do much to inspire confidence in his first start. Bryce Brown has had his share of nice moments this year, but he’s not going to keep Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott awake tonight. And of course, opposing defenses practically salivate at the opportunity to attack an offensive line that is completely inept.
How The Eagles Can Beat The Panthers
The Eagles will need to have a simplified offensive approach that is designed to set Nick Foles up for success.
A good start for this offense would be to build off of the few things that they did well against the Redskins. One element we saw return to the offense with Nick Foles under the center was the use of the screen play. The Eagles used to be one of the most efficient screen teams in the league, but the play almost completely disappeared from the offense while Michael Vick has been the quarterback. Vick’s height made it difficult for him to effectively execute the play, but Foles was able to use the screen to counter a number of Washington blitzes last week.
Foles needs to do a better job at getting the football to his top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The rookie completed only two passes to his starting wideouts against the Redskins, and its going to be important that these two receivers become much more involved in the offense this week.
Defensively, the Eagles will go head-to-head with Cam Newton, who plays a very similar style of football to Robert Griffin, who torched Todd Bowles defense a week ago. Bowles’ unit will need to learn from the mistakes they made a week ago. When Newton attempts to take off and run, the Eagles can’t get caught overpursuing. There were several instances in last week’s miserable affair that the Eagles’ defenders ran straight at Griffin, only to get burned by the speedy quarterback. They’ve got to understand the importance of staying disciplined, taking away Newton’s running lanes, and waiting for help to arrive.
Why The Panthers Will Win
The Carolina Panthers are a bad football team. They’ve struggled throughout the season, and they can’t find ways to win games. But the difference between the Panthers and Eagles is that Carolina hasn’t quit. Even though things have gone badly for them, they’re still putting in enough effort to make their games competitive.
The Panthers defense doesn’t exactly have a daunting task in front of them this week. We all know that Reid and Mornhinweg aren’t going to run a balanced offense. They dropped Foles back to pass over 40 times in his first start, and they could just as easily drop him back 50 this week. What are the odds that the two brilliant offensive minds try to run the football with Bryce Brown in his first career start and Dion Lewis who hasn’t seen the field all year?
On the other side of the ball, Cam Newton should have no problem putting up big numbers against this defense. The Eagles are so poorly coached, and they’ll continue to make the same mistakes that they have all year long. We can count on the defensive line failing to generate pressure. We can expect missed tackles. We can look for Nnamdi Asomugha to miss a few tackles and turn a receiver loose for a big play while expecting him. This has been the Philadelphia defense all season.
Prime time football on Monday night at the Linc. Remember when these games used to mean something?
Unfortunately those days are just distant memories right now.
Watch this game to get another look at Nick Foles. Watch this game to (hopefully) get your first real look at Vinny Curry, who may finally dress for his first game of the season. But don’t watch this game with the hope of seeing a 3-7 come together and show signs of improvement.
Watch this game for the now comical antics of the head coach. Laugh off every bizarre play call. Don’t even react when there’s a questionable time management decision. This team is a joke, and should be treated as such.
The only other question I have is when do the “Fire Andy” chants break out? Before the end of the first half? After the first three and out?
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