Senior writer jclombardi presents Eagles scouting report.
Behind enemy lines Eagles scouting report: Rushing Offense-–The Eagles have one of the best run games in the NFL statistically. His running inflate their rushing statistics and the threat of his bootlegs keeps defenses honest and creates running room for halfback McCoy. McCoy is elusive, good in space and finished No. 14 in the league in rushing though he’s a poor blocker in blitz pickup. The Eagles mediocre-at-best offensive line. Passing Offense–The Eagles are 8-3 with Vick as their starter. The offense took off when he replaced Kolb. Vick is a more refined passer. He finished the regular season with the NFL’s fourth-best passer rating (100.2 points), a career-best plus-15 differential in touchdown passes to interceptions (21 to 6) and will be the NFC starter in the Pro Bowl. He has one of the NFL’s strongest throwing arms and his accuracy has improved dramatically. He has excellent speed at both outside receivers with Jackson and Maclin. Tight end Celek isn’t overly fast or athletic but gets open, even downfield, and usually catches well. The Eagles need Vick’s scrambling talent because their offensive line struggles picking up blitzes and stunts. Rushing Defense–Second-year coordinator McDermott runs the 4-3 scheme. but isn’t as exotic or aggressive with his safeties and cornerbacks on blitzes. In McDermott’s defense, he lacks game-changing talent on his side of the ball. Passing Defense–The Eagles rank No. 14 in yards allowed per game and per pass, but their ability to take the ball away has saved them. Their 23 interceptions ranks second in the league behind only New England’s 25. Cornerback Asante Samuel, who’s headed for the Pro Bowl, is a quality cover man. Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson are liabilities at the other starter and nickel corner for a secondary that’s allowed 30 touchdown passes. The best rusher is defensive end Cole who is a big and athletic end. He has 10 sacks this season. No one else on the roster has more than four sacks. Special Teams–The Eagles have one of the game’s most respected special-teams coaches in Bobby April, a premier kicker in David Akers, and the league’s scariest punt returner this side of Devin Hester in Jackson. He’s averaging 11.6 yards on his 20 returns this season. He has four punt-return touchdowns in three NFL seasons. Akers, the NFL’s all-decade kicker of the 2000s, still has a strong legand has made 84.2 percent of his field goal attempts.