The city of “Brotherly Love” has been anything but for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. The one-time force in the NFC East is undergoing a tough season, and from the looks of their schedule and the suddenly rock em’ sock em’ NFC East, things don’t look like they will get much better for the birds in 2007. Sitting at 2-4 and with tough games coming up at Minnesota, vs Dallas, at Washington and November 25th at New England, the season may already be lost for Philly before the Thanksgiving turkey even hits the table.
So where did things go wrong? And what does at this point the team do to get it turned around? Those are difficult questions that the organization must face as they plunder their way through the final 10 games of the 2007 season. Unless there is an amazing turnaround, it looks as if Philly will be watching likely the three other teams from their own division in the 2007 postseason. With their worst start facing them since 1999, it’s up to Andy Reid and the teams savvy vets to start living up to the preseason Super Bowl talk hype and start playing much better than what they have.
One prospect facing this team though is the serious thought of going in the other direction and rebuilding. Let’s face it, many of the teams vets are only aging quickly, and unlike fine wine they are not exactly getting better with age. The most obvious case is QB Donovan McNabb, who will be 31 in November. It’s been a rough go for McNabb in 2007, and he is not the same QB he was even two-three years ago. While the numbers don’t paint him as a player that is slowing down (7 td’s, two interceptions and a QB rating of 88.4), all you need to do is watch an Eagles game from start to finish to see he’s not that threat he once was.
While McNabb is just part of the issue, the other is the fact that the team has failed to address the issues that have hindered the offense for sometime – the lack of true playmakers. Sure Brian Westbrook can be an impact player, and he is, but no defensive coordinators in the National Football League are losing sleep over players like Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant or Matt Schobel. Not since the Terrell Owens Super Bowl season has the team had a big-time player that can come up with a big play when needed.
All you needed to see about what the Eagles offense was all about in 2007 was the teams Monday night game in week two against the Redskins. The team had numerous chances to take the lead or put away the Redskins, and everytime they got in the red zone it was settling for field goals, and when it was crunch time, McNabb had no success getting the team to the promise land and the lost the game 20-12. The haunting of not being able to score TD’s and settling for field goals has been there ever since that night in Philly. 20 red zone possessions – 6 TD’s and 10 field goals.
While the defense has done their part, allowing just seven TD’s this season, they appear to be snakebitten by an offense that can’t put teams away. That was never more evident than Sunday, nursing a late lead against the Bears when they allowed Chicago to march the length of the field and score the winning touchdown in the final seconds. 97 yards in the final 1:52 with no time-outs. It sounded good, but by the time it was over it was just another case as to why the Eagles appear to be grounded in 2007.
The final 10 games of this season may be the final straw for some Eagles that need to either become backups, or find work elsewhere. The team began that thought with the shocking release of popular linebacker Jeremiah Trotter late in the preseason, and may be forced to make more moves like that come the end of 2007 and beyond. Whatever happens over the next two and a half months, the Eagles need to decide quickly on what overall direction they want to take in 2008.