Thursday, October 05, 2006

First Quarter Grades

QB - A+ - i think this goes without saying. in my mind, he's a clear leader for NFL MVP right now. can you believe the inquirer gave mcnabb a thumbs down on his performance against the packers? what game are they watching?

RB - B+ - all things considered, these guys have done pretty well. the blocking has been good, the big plays are there, pass catching has been good. power running still leaves a little to be desired, but overall this has been an effective group.

WR - C - lots of big plays from this group (no team in NFL history had as many 20+ yard plays through 4 games as this year's eagles team has), but too many drops across the board. i understand that don throws the ball damn hard, but come on, these are professional receivers. having our starting tandem of stallworth and brown only catching 46% and 42% of the passes thrown at them is not acceptable. incidentally, greg lewis is at 75%

TE - C+ - pass catching has been ok, but blocking is downright awful. LJ may the most productive TE with the least impact on a game that i've seen on the eagles. at least keith jackson made some big catches in big moments. LJ hasn't shown an ability to make even the simple catch in the clutch. schobel is a non-factor -- certainly less than i was expecting coming into the season.

OL - C - pass protection, which should be their forte, has been good but spotty. 3-4 defenses still give them problems, especially the zone blitzes that the niners threw at them. don has bailed these guys out with the occasional scramble. run blocking seems suspect to me, but the numbers say the run blocking has been very good. basically it boils down to whether or not you want to give the OL credit for successfully blocking on a misdirection. they have to get some of the credit, obviously, but i believe the coach should really get the credit for those runs (e.g. the 71 yard run westbrook had against the niners). thus far, the o-line has blocked well on sweeps and misdirections, but has been unable to get much movement on power runs.

DL - A - d-line has lived up to its advance billing for both their play and their depth. i still find it hard to believe that in this salary cap age, the eagles have amassed this much talent in one unit -- and a critical unit at that. losing freak hasn't really hurt the team yet, but it will. you can't lose a guy with those kinds of physical gifts and that motor and not be affected. this upcoming game against the cowboys might be the one of the games where we'll miss him.

LB - B - pleasantly surprised about the play of the LBs. heck, even dhani jones is throwing in the odd play here and there. looks like the birds finally hit on a LB draftee as mccoy looks like a keeper. a guy who plays incredibly fast and seems especially good at blowing up screens. shawn barber is a making a ton of plays in nickel situations (which they apparently play something like 40% of the time).

DB - D - injuries have taken their toll, there is no doubt, but aside from b-dawk's consistent stellar play, there hasn't been much to like in the play of the d-backs. michael lewis continues to get lost in coverage, sheldon has given up some big plays, and hanson and wynn are not frontline players. considine looks pretty good though, and appears to be the likely and possibly worthy successor to b-dawk.

KR - B - return teams have been pretty good overall. wynn looks like the player we saw in preseason a few seasons back (prior to getting hurt), and mahe is starting to grow on me now that i don't see him on offense during critical possessions.

K - C+ - a C for akers and a B for johnson. akers' struggles probably have as much to do with johnson's holding as anything else, but as an overall package the field goal unit has been iffy.

Coaching - B+ - aside from a few tricks that didn't work and a couple of 4th down attempts that didn't work, there isn't a lot to complain about when it comes to coaching. many people have pointed a finger at coaching for the collapse against the giants, but i don't think that is where the blame really lies.



Anonymous Phil said...

I think you might be a little harsh on the WRs (why do I always end up defending them?). At least they're getting open, which is a huge difference than several years back.

Everything else looks spot on though.

10:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I agree with Pete. With the west coast offense, and no power running game to speak of, our WRs need to be catching 65%+ if we're to be successfuly against the better teams.

I do think that we'll actually have a better time running this week (if Westbrook is back in the lineup) because Dallas is weak up the middle. I'm also VERY concerned that Stallworth's hamstring is hurt. They take a while, and against a team like Dallas, we need him...

- Joe

10:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cannot argue a single point Pete. I am underwhelmed by the O line and thought they'd be a strength. They just don't move bodies and allow too much penetration for a unit that should maul people. I like the D line and am pleasantly surprised with the LB. The secondary has sucked and I wouldn't bring Lewis back next year (judging by the fact the Birds didn't extend him, they feel the same.) Donny is MVP but we'll see how he does vs an aggressive D which he'll see a lot of over the next 6 games. He also took some terrible sacks Monday so he is not A+ for the year.

The WR are a huge disappointment. they lost the Giants game when LJ and Stallworth dropped passes that hit their hands in OT. They should've blown Green Bay out earlier but couldn't hang on to the ball. This group really hold sthe key. If they hear Roy Williams and Terrance Newman footsteps, then Sunday will be a long day. i'd actually give these guys a D for dropping so many gimmes.


12:12 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Lewis might be back. He wasn't extended because he was adamant about not doing a cheap deal early, not because an offer wasn't made. He was willing to take the injury risk for the financial upside.

How can the WR be a huge dissappointment considering we weren't expecting a lot out of them to begin with? Yes the drops are frustrating, but it's not like we thought we had several Steve Smiths or Holts or Harrisons out there.

1:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone else think they should suit up Hugh specifically for a hit on Me-O?

- Joe

2:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Yeah, whatever happened to the team ambassador?

2:34 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

that's bad-ass-ador

2:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good call Phil. I actually didn't mean that and wrote in the 5 minutes I had free at work.

What I meant was the WR are actually an A for output and an F for drops hich would be a C, not the D I gave. Huge disappointment is a bit strong. Very frustrating is more accurate. If they dropped half as many balls, they'd be B+. Not shabby with a group of perceived nobodies.


10:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Though it's also tough to separate the performance of the WR from the QB's play. Maybe they really are playing at a D or F level with the drops and are pulled up to a D or C level due to 5's MVP season. I'm also think a part of that is from phenom pass protection that he's getting. He took some sacks in the past game, but most of the time he's still got a huge pocket to play in after 4-6 seconds.

8:14 AM EDT  

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