Some teams like the Cowboys and Raiders are born to be loathed.
Other teams like the Eagles work hard to be despised.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles stocked up on talent, ran their mouths, and finished the season 8-8—they blew five fourth-quarter leads. Running your mouth and underachieving is a perfect way to gain detractors.
This year, the Eagles have made improvements on both sides of the ball and they’ve bragged. While they will reach the playoffs in 2012 they still have no chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. For a team with as much talent as the Eagles that’s another huge underachievement.
Below are five reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles won’t get their ticket punched to Super Bowl XLVII.
Michael Vick is the first reason on our list not because of his past transgressions but his style of play. In fact, I think it would be great for the NFL if an athletic quarterback led a team to a championship. However, there’s a reason why Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and the Manning brothers have won Super Bowls and Vick has not. They can consistently stand in the pocket and complete passes when their team absolutely needs a play. Vick can’t. He’s exciting and fun to watch but lacks the pocket presence to lead a team to a championship.
Andy Benoit of the New York Times blamed the “Dream Team” moniker the Eagles picked up last year on former backup quarterback Vince Young—in other words, VY was cocky not the team. If that’s true, then why did Vick recently throw out the “dynasty” word? With all due respect to Benoit, no one on the New England Patriots would ever utter such nonsense. Try as you might to blame arrogance on a small fraction within the team, it’s fairly obvious that the Eagles are more talk than action—and always have been. They have the attitude that since they have a lot of talent they should win. Super Bowl teams have the mindset that if they work hard and stay focus they will win.
In 2011, the Eagles relied too much on LeSean McCoy and big plays. Defensively, they misused defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha by lining him up in the slot and overplayed their hand with a nine-man front. All indications point to the team not making those mistakes in 2012. For example, they traded away Asante Samuel so Asomugha (as well as Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie) can stay on the outside. The issue with the Eagles though isn’t the mistakes they need to correct in 2012 but why they made them at all in 2011, the 13th year of Andy Reid’s reign. After that amount of time in the league mismanagement shouldn’t be a concern. Reid has proven time and time again that he’s a coach who can’t compel his team to break the threshold of greatness.
Vick and big playmakers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are, in a word, inconsistent. The team can be up and down during the course of a game as well as from week to week. Vick turns the ball over way too much, Maclin drops way too many passes, and DeSean often plays the village idiot. Furthermore, Reid can one week look like a genius and the next look like he coaches the Cleveland Browns. Inconsistency is the companion of disappointment. The Eagles offense can make your eyes pop out of your head just as easily as they can make you pull out your hair.
Left tackle Jason Peters is out for the season after rupturing his Achilles heel (twice). Right tackle Todd Herremans is up and down. Jason Kelce doesn’t like it when defenders lineup directly in front of him, which is bad for a center. Left guard Evan Mathis is adequate. Right guard Danny Watkins is still a project even as he enters his second year. A suspect offensive line might be tolerable for a team with a scrambling quarterback but it’s not good if you’re also looking to control the ball more and rely less on big plays. Coach Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg would rather Vick not run around all day but with their current “O” line they may not have another option.
We wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles won the NFC East (although their schedule is fairly tough). Their defense should be very good and their offense will score points. Yet, even with home field advantage and a bye, which is a long shot, we doubt they could get by the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, or New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. The Eagles, and not the Eagles the band, are too inconsistent and lacking in mental toughness to advance to the Super Bowl.