Brand New Season, Same Old Walrus

A win is a win is a win, right?

Well then why does today feel like a such loss?

The Eagles somehow, someway pulled out a “thrilling” late fourth quarter comeback – the first of Vick’s Eagles tenure – against the feared competent somewhat-conscious Cleveland Browns… possibly the worst team in the NFL, and by far the easiest game on the Birds’ 2012 schedule. But does anybody truly care?

What happened today was almost as pathetic as what transpired in 2011. It was yet another, in an increasingly long line, of sloppy, penaltly-laden, poorly-coached games under The Walrus. Yeah, they won, but they won so ugly they don’t deserve the ‘1’ in the win column.

In his fourteenth season, Andy Reid still doesn’t know how to make in-game adjustments, nor has he relinquished his stubbornness one iota when it comes to utilizing the run game(*). LeSean McCoy is a top-3 Running Back in the NFL. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry in this game and was in the Browns’ secondary about as much as Joe Haden. Yet he only carried the ball 20 times?! Even more ridiculous was the way The Walrus and Mornhinweg spread out his carries (6,6,2,6). Guess what? That was their game plan.

(*)Miraculously, Andy managed his timeouts and the clock as if he’s been an NFL Head Coach for fourteen years.

Meanwhile, every Eagles fan watching this game was screaming at their television for Andy to give Shady the ball. But here’s the thing… it was never going to happen. That wasn’t in the plan, no matter how effective he was with the ball in his hands. And Andy doesn’t waver from his plan. Ever. Didn’t you know… he’s a genius!

So while the Eagles’ best player – repeat, BEST player – only had his number called 20 times, the team’s most inconsistent player got 56 chances to make insane, mindblowingly asinine decisions. As bad as Browns’ rookie sacrificial lamb QB Brandon Weeden was – and he was absolutely putrid – Michael Vick looked equally as amateurish. He couldn’t read the pre-snap coverage if the Browns spelled it out for him. He was so indecisive when under pressure, that indecisive is an understatement. He had happy feet at one point! After more than nine years in the league, he still throws the ball across his body, off his back foot and into double and triple-coverage, as if he was a JUCO Quarterback.

All four of his interceptions were his fault. They were all terrible decisions, poor, rushed and forced throws. And there were at least three other balls that should have been easy takeaways for the Browns. And how many times do we need to see him put his receivers in danger, underthrowing balls over the middle or leading them into oncoming safeties? He got Maclin walloped on a poorly thrown out route, just one play after Maclin injured his groin.

For all of Donovan McNabb’s faults – and there were plenty – at least he was careful with the ball and didn’t force throws and put receivers in dangerous positions. Vick is as reckless with his passes as he is with his body.

But back to The Walrus… This game got out of hand. The Eagles could have, and should have, routed a lesser-Browns team, but as always, played down to their competition. Once it became obvious that Shady could do anything he wanted, and Vick clearly needed more prep time than 12 preseason snaps, Andy and Marty should have adjusted their gameplan accordingly. But they didn’t, because that’s something Andy Reid doesn’t do. You know… like winning championships.

The game wasn’t all negative though, as the Defense – the biggest question mark going into the season played a phenomenal game. Sure, let’s keep in mind that they were playing against an Offense that could barely be considered “professional,” but man, the Run D looked great! DeMeco Ryans was a beast in pass coverage! DRC, Asomugha, Coleman and Allen played the best Secondary we’ve seen since the days of Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent(**)!

(**)Can’t stress this enough… Rodgers-Cromartie was REALLY good today. Two picks – and another that was gift-wrapped for him, but slipped out of his hands – and four passes defended. Asomugha, besides the Browns’ first play from scrimmage, was on lockdown. And we may actually have a pair of Safeties in Allen and Coleman.

The rookie class looks like it will be a productive one, as Kendricks, Boykin and Cox all made contributions. Shady is Shady, the receivers looked really strong, and the Special Teams – atrocious in 2011 – appears to once again be a strength(***). But as it does every season, it all comes down to the Head Coach and the Quarterback.

(***)How good was Punter Chas Henry? You never want to rely on a punter, but he had some booming kicks today!

Michael Vick was at his very worst today. Andy Reid was the same shitty gameday coach as he’s always been. The schedule only gets tougher from here. If this team is going to succeed in 2012, adjustments must be made. Is Nick Foles really the answer? We don’t know. But we do know that LeSean McCoy could have made today’s win look a whole lot easier… So why doesn’t Andy Reid?

The Eagles may be undefeated, but it already feels like it’s going to be a long season.

Fire The Walrus.

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