Revisiting My Predictions About The 2012 EaglesBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Back on September 3rd, I wrote an article with four predictions about the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles.
Now that the season has come to an end, let’s take a look back at those predictions and see which ones I hit and missed on.
Prediction #1: Michael Vick Will Not Improve In 2012
What I said:
“I’m not a fan of Michael Vick’s game, and I never have been. The Eagles (and Vick himself) spent the off-season telling everyone that Vick understood he needed to play a much smarter brand of football in order to keep himself healthy and cut down on his high turnover rate from 2011.
The idea behind this thought process was that Vick would benefit from finally having a full off-season to work with the coaching staff and correct his various flaws. But the off-season has come and gone, and even though we’ve only seen a limited sample of the quarterback in training camp and the preseason, he’s given more reason for doubt, and provided no evidence that there have been significant changes in his approach to the game.
Vick’s mentality is to be as aggressive as possible, and never give up on a play. That means that instead of throwing the ball away, or protecting himself from unnecessary contact, he’s going to make reckless decisions that will provide opposing defenses with turnover opportunities, and leave himself open to crushing hits.
Vick’s physical talent and potential will always be through the roof, but he’ll always be his own worst enemy because he’ll never be a smart player. I think his play in the preseason spoke volumes about just how little he’s changed and developed since 2011. If the former Falcon wasn’t willing to throw the ball away, slide instead of dive on runs, and take his aggressiveness down a notch in meaningless preseason games, why should anyone believe that he’ll be any different in the regular season?
A player over 30-years old just isn’t going to be coached out of bad habits that have been with him for his whole career.”
In 2011, Michael Vick finished the season with 3,303 yards with 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and two lost fumbles in 13 games.
In 2012, Vick finished with 2,362 yards, 12 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and three lost fumbles in 10 games. Improvement? I don’t think so.
Vick was a disaster in 2012. He was horribly inconsistent and erratic, and there was absolutely no evidence that a full off-season with the coaching staff was able to help him improve the flaws in his game. Vick never stopped turning the ball over, and never learned to properly read a defense. He played the same reckless style of football he’s played for the majority of his career; leaning on his raw athletic talent to get the job done while routinely making backbreaking mistakes that hurt his team’s chances to win.
Vick’s poor play cost the team throughout the season. He did everything in his power to give the game away on Opening Day to the Cleveland Browns, and his turnovers and inability to recognize a blitz cost this team dearly in losses to the Cardinals and Steelers.
Before the season, Vick ran around telling everyone that this would be the start of a dynasty and that he had corrected his flaws from the 2011 campaign. As I said in my prediction before the season, a player that is already over 30-years old can’t just drop bad habits that they’ve had throughout their entire career.
Vick is not, never was, and never will be a championship-caliber quarterback. And being placed into an offensive scheme that asks him to put the offense on his back was a recipe for disaster from the start.
Prediction #2: King Dunlap Will Be Just Fine At Left Tackle
What I Said:
“Not many people trust Dunlap at left tackle, but I’m going to give the King a vote of confidence. While the fifth-year tackle hasn’t enjoyed an overwhelming amount of success in his career, I think he’s made great strides since the 2009 preseason when he looked like a turnstile against Colts’ star pass rusher Dwight Freeney.
Dunlap has had a good amount of time to learn and develop with this team. When Howard Mudd arrived as the team’s offensive line coach, he purged the team of all of their previous backups in favor of new players that fit his attack style. Solid players like Jamaal Jackson were sent to the bench. Players who had been serviceable starters like Winston Justice, Max Jean-Gilles, Mike McGlynn, and Nick Cole were all phased out of the offensive line picture by the end of 2011 training camp. But Dunlap survived, and proved that he could play both tackle and guard for Mudd.
The Eagles didn’t plan on Dunlap being their starter. They wanted Demetress Bell to be the guy, but things just haven’t worked out for the former Buffalo Bill. But though he wasn’t Plan A, I think the team is confident in Dunlap, and they believe he’s earned an opportunity to show what he can do after developing and improving for several years. I believe he’ll start the entire season at left tackle, and that he’ll do a good job.”
Well, this prediction wasn’t exactly fulfilled.
While Dunlap started the majority of the year at left tackle, he was far from a stabilizing presence. He was just as bad as any other member of the offensive line, and the only reason he was out there was because the team just didn’t have any better options.
I was obviously much more optimistic about Dunlap than most people were, but unfortunately he proved me wrong.
Prediction #3: Everyone Gets A Shot At The WILL
What I Said:
“Weakside linebacker is going to be a revolving door for most of the season. Steady Akeem Jordan gets the nod to start the season, but his job security is on a week-to-week basis. The veteran has had several opportunities to start during his six years with the Eagles, but he’s never been anything special. He certainly isn’t a liability, but it won’t be long before the team will be tempted to give opportunities to other players on the roster in hopes of getting more out of the position.
Jamar Chaney was supposed to be Brian Rolle’s competition, but injury has prevented the third-year linebacker from making a serious run at the job. He’s shown some flashes in the past, and may thrive more in a position where he can be free to focus more on attacking the ball. He’ll need to get healthy first, and impress the coaches in practice.
Rolle may also get another crack at the job, but he’s going to have to handle his demotion well and keep working hard. He was the lone bright spot of the 2011 linebackers, and has shown that he can make plays on the field, but something went wrong for him during this preseason that caused him to regress.
Casey Matthews may even get some consideration to start again. Juan Castillo has been a big fan of Matthews since he arrived on the team last year, and if the second-year player shows some serious signs of growth, the coaches would love to give him another opportunity to prove himself.”
Akeem Jordan wound up starting most of the games, but Jamar Chaney and Mychal Kendricks also got several starts at the position. Brian Rolle was released several weeks into the season, and Casey Matthews spent the year playing special teams.
The weakside position was really irrelevant in 2012 because the Eagles spent so much time in their nickel packages that whoever the WILL starter was didn’t even see the field for the majority of the snaps.
Prediction #4: The Eagles Will Not Make The Playoffs
What I Said:
“I don’t see this season ending with much of a different result than 2011. While the 2012 team is improved, the team’s key issues from 2011 (unreliable quarterback play and an overwhelmed defensive coordinator) remain and will cost the Eagles once again.
Last year this team didn’t respond well to adversity, and couldn’t stand up to the tougher teams on their schedule. This year they’ve got 10 games against teams that were .500 or better in 2011, and also have a game against one of the teams on the rise in the Carolina Panthers. There aren’t a lot of layups on this schedule, and given this team’s recent track record against quality opponents, I just can’t see them winning 10 or 11 games like so many other analysts seem to think.
I have the Giants winning the division, which means that the Eagles would have to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. The NFC is a deep conference, and Philadelphia would need to finish with a better record than the Bears, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, and Cowboys to earn one of the two Wild Card seeds. I think it’s a very tall order for a team that hasn’t proven it can sustain a high level of play and thrive against quality competition.”
It’s safe to say that I was justified in my belief that the Eagles wouldn’t make the playoffs.
When I looked at this how this team was constructed in the preseason, I just couldn’t believe that so many people believed that 10 or 11 wins was a given, and that a division title was there to be won.
I always saw this team as one of the most overrated and overhyped groups in the NFL. To me, this roster just wasn’t that different from the one that started out the season 4-8 in 2011. While I liked some of the talent that the team had brought in (DeMeco Ryans, Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks), I just didn’t see it necessary translating into more wins.
The biggest flaw I saw with this team was that they love to do a whole lot of talking for a group that was coming off of a disappointing season and had never really won anything. As soon as Michael Vick had the audacity to talk about this team being the start of a dynasty, it set off the red flags in my head that let me know that this team was not going to be what everyone thought they would be.
That being said, I certainly didn’t expect things to be this bad. I had the Eagles at 8-8 again. I thought that this would be a team that would tease people with their talent while never sustaining a high level of play for multiple weeks. I thought their schedule was much more difficult than people realized, and considering this team’s past struggles against quality opponents, there was just no way I could objectively expect them win 10 games. I thought this team still had some backbreaking flaws, from a head coach putting his players in a bad position with poor playcalling, to a turnover-prone quarterback, to an unqualified defensive coordinator, I just never believed that this team would survive the regular season in such a competitive NFC.
What I didn’t expect was for this team to quit, roll over and die by the end October.
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