Sunday, November 16, 2008

Right in the lumber yard

That's where our season just went. Don't get the reference? Pop in Caddyshack and all will become clear. Plus it will cheer you up on a miserable Sunday.

We just tied the 1-8 Bengals. I spent much of the game staring at the TV with a sense of disbelief. We've all seen a good team struggle against a bad team. The good team normally wakes up at some point and pulls out the win. That's what I was waiting for.

Never happened.

McNabb had a bad game. He struggled to find open receivers. He made bad reads and bad throws. He threw 3 INTs and fumbled deep in our territory. He also had several passes deflected right at the line of scrimmage.

Naturally when your QB is having an off day the smart thing to do is to lean more on your running game. The Eagles did just that. They turned Brian Westbrook into Earl Campbell and gave him 14 carries in the 5-quarter game. Correll Buckhalter got serious action as well. He was handed the ball a Walter Payton-like...1 time.

5 full quarters of football and our RBs had 15 total carries. That is simply unacceptable.

Andy believes that the way a QB overcomes a bad game is by throwing the ball a lot. There is logic in his theory. He always points out that you don't tell Larry Bird to stop shooting because he's in a slump. True enough. HOWEVER...maybe you get the ball to Kevin McHale a few times and lean on him more than usual. No one is asking for you not to pass. Just dial it down a notch. It is possible to throw more than 15 passes and less than 50.

Every offense in the entire NFL is best when it is RB-centric. Run the ball. Throw play-action passes. Throw screen and swing passes. Throw dump-offs to the RBs. We used to be good at this. Duce was the key to the offense early in Reid's tenure. In 2003 we had the 3-headed monster with Duce, Buck, and Westy. Even the 2006 team went through the RBs.

I miss those days. The current offense is productive, but lacks something. All the packages and looks are interesting, and sometimes successful, but they come up short at key moments. You need to get the ball to your best players in key situations. We don't do that. Not enough, anyway.

5-4-1. This is brutal. I'm starting to get apathetic with this team. What is the point in getting to the playoffs if we're going to get bounced immediately? We can't win a close game. We don't come through in clutch situations.

Normally I'm of the belief that you get to the postseason and anything can happen. We've seen a few teams come alive in January. The problem is that those teams normally are coming together late for a reason. We're healthy. We're experienced. What the hell is there to come together?

I'm still pulling for this team to win because that is just how I'm wired, but this season gets less fun every week. I don't ask that the team go undefeated, but watching a talented group of players underachieve is about as frustrating as it gets.


Stephen said...

It's funny you mention the apathy you're starting to feel, I got that right after the Giants game. It hit me as I was walking out of the bar that it just didn't much matter what we did for the rest of the season, we weren't a serious contender.

Todays tie was miserable. The anti-reid angst post you had before is going to come into play even moreso now than ever.

My personal feeling is I never want to lose, but at the same time I don't want things to continue as they are. Something needs to change. Reid is just sinking the ship. This has been years in the making, and for myself at least the time to allow a pass on things has come and gone.

Regardless I still couldn't bring myself to want us to lose any way you look at it, even if that might be the catalyst to change.

Tommy Lawlor said...

This team is really weird right now. They aren't very likable. They don't play up to their potential. They don't make nearly enough clutch or winning plays.

We've seen other teams overcome a lack of talent by making plays (1995, 2000, 2003). This group is one of the most talented teams in the entire league.

Part of the underachieving is on the players and part on the coaches.

They can still turn things around, but after 10 weeks I'm reluctant to believe that will happen.

I still don't know what to think about the future. Getting rid of Reid and/or McNabb would be drastic change. That might be a good thing, but it is hard for me to conclusively say that when we still are in a playoff hunt. I guess in that sense a disastrous turn of events would make the decision more clear and easier to make.

Christian said...

I'm still stunned that McNabb and many others didn't know that a regular season can end in a tie. I'm flabbergasted by that, to be honest.

I was also unbelievably depressed that Andy didn't go for it on 4th and 1. He was playing for a tie! That just seemed like a white flag. I realize that the tie may be preferable to the tie in terms of tie-breakers, etc...but come on. Settling for a tie? It's a total loser's mentality.

Today may have marked my AR breaking point. I think a change may be in order and I'd much rather part with AR than part with Don, personally.

Tommy Lawlor said...

McNabb not knowing about the tie possibility is incredible. However, I don't know that it affected anything. Our strategy wasn't affected.

I'll be writing about the 4th/1 decision in my DGR. Probably the right decision, but it did bug me.

Mark H. said...

Tommy, do you think the Eagles have become utterly predictable with their playcalling? Several analysts on TV have started using the "p" word when describing the Eagles.

From my non-practiced eye, it appears to me that the Eagles are throwing nothing but short-to-intermediate passes. I saw one attempted deep ball to Jackson late in the game, and you already noted the lack of rushing attempts.

Stephen said...

One of the things I've noticed is that Donnie doesn't connect on the deep routes nearly as much as he used to. I remember the much maligned Todd Pinkston used to be on the recieving end of a bunch of Donovan bombs.

I don't think he's completed a single strait up go route this season, always is overthrown or underthrown.

Tommy Lawlor said...

We throw deep more than people realize. We threw the flea flicker to Curtis yesterday and a deep ball to DeSean as well. Both were INCL.

We hit DeSean for the "almost TD" vs DAL. We hit Greg Lewis for a long pass early in the year. We haven't hit on enough deep balls.

We do stretch the field with vertical routes even when the ball isn't thrown deep.