Monday, November 05, 2007


The Dallas Cowboys put a thorough whomping the Eagles last night- from the first play of scrimmage until the last. There were many horrors. Philadelphia spotted them fourteen first half points off mindless, unforced errors by McNabb. That unfortunateness- combined with a sharp performance by Tony Romo- resulted in a game over early in the second half. Right now, Dallas has the better quarterback- and their front people, on both sides of the ball, are better, frankly tougher and more engaged, than the Eagles’ squad. Julius Jones, along with the tight end position, really played superbly: reacting to the Eagles looks, blocking the right people or ambling to the right places on the field on hot routes, catching the ball and getting up-field. Dallas had only one dumb turnover- promptly given right back to them by McNabb. Stronger up front, better quarterback, bright skill-position pay, win the turnover battle… many ingredients for a rough night for Philadelphia.

Rarely, nothing is really as bad as a blow out looks. To paraphrase an old saying the the NFL: you are what record says you are. And the Eagles’ record is 3-3 since their poor start. Six weeks of okay is a trend of sorts. Looking at the Eagles record so far- they’ve largely beaten the bad outfits (Jets, Vikes), lost to the winning teams (Dallas, Washington, Giants, Packers), and played a little “any given Sunday” (Bears, Lions). Beat the bad teams, lose to the good ones- play .500 for better than a month… feels like okay, mediocre, win one- lose one.

I picked the Eagles to win nine games this season- a little less than the national consensus- largely cause I could never shake the feeling that this is still year two of rebuilding from the 6-10 disaster in 2005. As evidence of the said rebuilding, I offer a semi-obvious observation: the little impact talent the Eagles have tried to add via the draft the past two years. One reason there are no young impact players, particularly on offense, is the Eagles haven’t tried to select any.

Only DT Bunkley- last year’s first rounder- probably fairly figured as a contributor now of this early selection collective: OT Winston Justice, DE Chris Gocong (now a LB project), QB Kevin Kolb, DE Victor Abiamiri, LB Bradley Stewart, RB Tony Hunt. None of these guys is a bust yet- but they are either all projects or without a place to play. The Eagles last two drafts- the seven picks in the first three rounds itemized above- have, however logically, put the team in a situation where even wild success selecting talent means one or two guys at most can currently contribute. Maybe this will work out, but if you draft for the future that much, you can’t expect to be adding impact talent now.

That is hurting them now. Good teams figure they can win merely by controlling Westbrook and hoping McNabb continues to limp along.

So, add it up: a .500 team, saddled with a poor start, that has rightly or wrongly deferred its impact young players’ potential contributions... and well, I guess that does it for this 2007 version of the Eagles. There is still a lot of season yet- so the focus can’t shift to “next year” yet. Enough time for that in December.

But there is one rebuilding question that has to be addressed now. Cries for Kevin Kolb are not helpful. McNabb and the Eagles have not been good together for almost three years now; the only period of sustained success has been with Jeff Garcia. At 3-5, there need to be changes. Some sort of decision needs to be made- is McNabb done as a franchise quarterback? You can’t take a quarterback with your first pick- and let him languish if the incumbent is merely kind of okay for years at a time. This decision that can only be made clearer by giving McNabb every single possible look, every possible throw left. Forget evaluating Kolb; we’re stuck with him by virtue of his draft spot. It is McNabb that needs to be judged.