Initial observations on Eagles-Browns, Week 1

• Anyone that saw this game could immediately recognize that Michael Vick was horrid.  If you didn’t watch this game, his numbers were the following: 29 of 56, 317 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT.  He was actually far worse than those numbers would indicate, as he could have easily thrown at least 2 more interceptions.

I’d like to preface the following statement by saying that I’m not the kind of person that is quick to panic when things are going badly in one particular game, but had I been Andy Reid, Vick would have been pulled.  Tommy and I discussed this a bit in our podcast last night, and Andy Reid was operating under the thinking that a QB is like a shooter in basketball.  You have to keeping letting your shooter shoot to work his way through the slump.  I can get on board with that logic.  However, in the NBA, the season is 82 games.  You can afford to lose one here and there while trying to get your most important player back on track.  But in the NFL, with a 16 game schedule, decisions sometimes need to be made with the thought in mind of, “Who gives my team the best chance to win this game?”

The answer to that question yesterday was Nick Foles.  The end result, of course, wound up being a W for the Eagles, so the non-switch worked out to some degree, but the QB play from Vick did not get any better, in my opinion.  And it won’t get any easier – The Eagles play the Ravens next week.

• Oddly enough, despite what everyone would likely agree was a bad performance for Philly yesterday, the Eagles are the #2 offense in the NFL right now, and they’re the #1 defense:

That’s because the rest of team played really well.  The offensive line struggled early, but it played a lot better in the second half.  Otherwise, I’m really having difficulty finding much fault with the rest of the roster.

• The defense was outstanding.  It’s easy to point to the Browns and say, “Rookie QB, rookie RB, rookie RT, bad receivers.”    The Eagles’ offense turned the ball over 5 times, and the defense only gave up 9 points.  They only gave up 210 yards, and 25 of those came on a meaningless scramble by Brandon Weeden in a Hail Mary situation at the end of the end, in which the Cleveland fans booed. In fact, here were the Cleveland scoring drives yesterday:

  • Started at their own 49: 6 plays, 26 yards, FG
  • Started at the Eagles 43: 7 plays, 19 yards, FG
  • Started at the Eagles 22: 6 plays, 18 yards, FG

The lone TD was a INT return by D’Qwell Jackson.

I don’t care who the offense is that you’re facing.  If you can hold your opponent to 210 yards (185 if you want to get nitpicky), turn them over 4 times, and only give up 9 points despite your offense doing everything they can to give them good field position, that’s an outstanding day.  Gold star for the D.

• Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News spoke with a scout recently, and asked him to give a rundown of the Eagles.  It’s a great piece by Domo, but here’s what the scout had to say about DeMeco Ryans:

“I watched the tape of the Cleveland (preseason) game. Ryans played something like 15 snaps and didn’t make a single play. Meanwhile, Ryan Rau goes in there and blows up a running back on the second play and forces a fumble. Ryans bites on everything he sees. And when you do that, you take yourself right out of the play a lot of times.

“DeMeco just isn’t the same player he was before the injury, and I don’t think he’s ever going to be. I can’t see any scenario where he’s going to be successful, particularly behind this line.

“The only linebacker they’ve got who can play in this scheme right now is Mychal Kendricks. Because he’s got unusual speed and unusual instincts to really get through traffic and sort things out and get to the ball carrier.

“Can’t see any scenario where he’s going to be successful.”  Hmmm… At least for the first week of the 2012 season, survey says:

Ryans was excellent yesterday.

• Kurt Coleman is one tough motherscratcher.  We all saw what happened to him yesterday, I would assume:

I talked to Coleman in the locker room after the game.  He had a gash on his nose and another one above his lip, as well as a fat lip, all from that play.  He never came off the field.  And you know what else?  The next play on that drive, on a 3rd and 1, the Browns ran the ball with Richardson again.  He got nothing.  Punt.  And oh by the way, he had a couple picks.

• Anyone that attended training camp for more than a day or two could pretty easily see that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a special talent.  Two picks, and both were impressive, athletic plays.

• Nnamdi Asomugha gave up a big gain early on a quick slant.  He was in off coverage and was beaten pretty easily.  The rest of the game the Eagles moved almost solely to press coverage, and I’m having difficulty thinking of a play where he was beaten from there on out.

• First carry on the season for LeSean McCoy – fumble.  I’ll have to take a closer look to see if that was a case where he was carrying the ball away from his body as he likes to do, but that is a major concern of mine this season.

• Looks like the Eagles made the right choice at punter, if Week 1 is any indication.  Chas Henry hit bombs all day.

• Play calling in this game was maddening.  At one point it was 50 pass plays to 19 rushes:

On a day in which your QB is terrible, the opposing defense is without 2 starters at LB, you have one of the best RBs in the league, and a lead for most of the day. you’d think the Eagles might run more.  Nope.

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  1. teltschikfakeout88 says:

    Why you gotta be a flamer man….enjoy the Skins win. Also it is week 1, if your D gives up 25 points the rest of the year you should be concerned as the O will not score 40 every week. As Jimmy said. no Eagles fan is impressed with the offensive performance and most look at the Eagels offensive and defensive ranking from week 1 as more fools gold than a predictor of how the season will end up. Just saying brother…

  2. Derf Diggy says:

    …and the baby!

    Mrs. K aint having that!

    1. Mrs. K definitely ain’t having that.

  3. NFC East Fan says:

    Eagles fans are sad. This was a horrible game against the BROWNS!!! Keep talking about the #1 Defense, you guys played the BROWNS with a ROOKIE QB, ROOKIE RB, and Bad receivers!!! and still only won by 1 point. #2 Offense??? Only scores 17 points with a last minute TD with 5 turnovers (which ranked near the top of the NFL by the so call Dream Team or Dynasty).

    Eagles played the worst game against the weakest opponent compare to other NFC East teams.

    Jimmy mentioned the Cowboys fans need to Relax…. It was one win… Eagles fans need to relax on your so call #1 Defense and #2 Offense.

    And where is the Redskins game? They upset the Saints. Which was a lot better game to watch than the Eagles-Browns. Worst Secondry? Brees completed 71.2% of his passes last year and the Redskins held him to only 46.2% with 2 Ints. How about RG3 and their rookie RB and their O-line?

    Giants lost but the team still looks better as a whole than the Eagles.

    1. Seriously, dude? You see any Eagles fans crowing about that game as a whole? Comprehension.

      Haven’t watched the Skins game yet. Eagles and Redskins both played at 1, and I was in Cleveland for Eagles-Browns. Drove 7 hours from Cleveland back to my house today. Not to mention, my website was down for about 4 hours. I’ll get there. Thanks for the tip that I should write about the Redskins-Saints game though. Hadn’t thought of it.

  4. Triple J says:

    Vick will never take the Eagles to the Super Bowl. He is not even in the top 20 QB’s in the league. Take a look at each team’s QB and determine if you would rather have that QB or Vick. Bet there are at least 20 that you would wnat. Unfortunately, Foles is not the answer this year but should take over in 2013.

    1. James says:

      Please name 20 that are better than him then? This should be good. Is definitely a top 20 QB.

      1. triplej says:

        Here are 20 QB’s that I would rather have than Vick:
        – Romo, RG3 & Eli M.
        – Ryan , Brees & Newton
        – Stafford, Cutler & Rodgers
        – Smith, Bradford
        – Brady,
        – Shaub, Luck
        – Flacco, Dalton, Rothlesberger
        – Peyton M., Palmer, Rivers

        Count em and weep. There’s a solid 20 QB’s that I would rather have than Vick. And that’s not even placing those that might be on the fence as being better….Sanchez, Fitzpatrick, Cassel, Freeman. So he barely makes the top 25.

        1. James says:

          Sorry you said that he’s not in the top 20. So RG3 and Luck are?? Dalton? One good season, wow. Did you actually list Alex Smith? Palmer?? This is hilarious.

  5. JOe D says:

    Jimmy this is why your site is becoming #1… I pretty much hare 90% of yoour views if not more, but get killed over at BGN for them.

    Jimmy… Any idea what Vick’s collective stats are after MM2????? It can’t be great..

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      I dont know about stats, but in 2011 and so far 2012 the Eagles are 8-3 in games where he isnt injured

    2. I know I’m going to be embarrassed for not knowing what MM2 is, but… What’s MM2?

      1. Stevo says:

        Some divisional game b/e the Giants and Eagles.

        1. Ha, duh. I actually think of that as MM3.

      2. JOe D says:

        miracle @ meadow lands 2… I even thought about writing it out, should have lol

        1. Vick only played 2 games in 2010 after MM2/3. Vikings game was bad. Packers playoff game wasn’t great, but the numbers weren’t bad. But yeah, you could call that game the cutoff of where he stopped being Superman.

          1. mjoedgaard says:

            In 2011 the Eagles was 7-3 when he was healthy. Might not be superman but I take 11 wins every year with no problem

      3. mjoedgaard says:

        Miracle at the medowlands 2 was the Brian Westbrook punt. The Vick one should be MNM because it was the new stadium

  6. SteveH says:

    I really hate that “shooter” mentality that Andy has. I think if someones having a really bad day its not going to suddenly get better within the timeframe of the game at hand. Best bet is to figure out who’s playing well that day and let them be the focus.

    I mean 50 called passes to 19 called runs on a day when Vick was shitting the bed? This is a problem that just isn’t going to go away with Andy Reid captaining the ship.

    I love how the offense instantly got better once we started handing it off to Shady there halfway through the 4th.

  7. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    #1 Defense in the NFL.
    #2 Offense in the NFL.

  8. seanchilada says:

    To Andy Reid’s reference of the NBA and “letting your shooter shoot his way out of a slump”: In the MLB, if your starting pitcher is having a bad outing, there’s never a holdup for pulling him in favor of a pitcher who gives you a better chance of winning the game. I feel the Eagles should have pulled Vick after that 4th interception. If not for the game winning drive, we would have lost to a rookie QB, who threw four INT’s and finished with a QB rating of 5.1!

  9. teltschikfakeout88 says:

    PB, My thinking is that if Reid does pull the starting QB, its not for a game…its for the rest of the year. Does it have to be that way….nope….it could in fact play out the way that you have described. However, Andy is stuboorn to a fault. He will go with his guy until he can’t anymore. Only one time have we seen Andy bench the QB and that was Mcnabb in 2008 and even then it is believed he was forced too do that by other powers. I am glad that Vick was not pulled and don’t want Foles in until the season is lost for sure. If they do put Foles in at QB in the middle of a game, it will be in a bad situation for him and I doubt the outcome will be what we want anyways. Just my thoughts in that I don’t think game 1 is the time to bech your QB although the way he played I certainly thought (fleeting thoughts that is) about it as well.

  10. philsgoodman says:

    If Foles went into that game, there’s a distinct chance the season could have been ruined on the spot. That’s not a can of worms you want to open Week 1.

  11. Common Sense says:

    Skins And Da Boys beat good teams da eagles beat da Brownies!

  12. ameero2 says:

    “Rookie QB, rookie RB, rookie RT, bad receivers.”

  13. AJ says:

    I think too many people are assuming Nick Foles would have fared much better yesterday. Yes, he played the Browns in preseason and did well, but, as we saw from Ryans, preseason defensive play and regular season play are completely different. Look at how Luck fared against the Bears. He looked really good against them in preseason and not so hot yesterday, and I think we can agree Luck is better or at least more ready than Foles. At the end of the day Reid made the right call cause he won. It’s easy to say, “Vick could’ve easily been intercepted if Fort hangs onto the ball”. However, what if Maclin makes that catch or Shady doesn’t fumble on the opening drive when Vick had a nice rhythm going? I too would’ve liked to see more run plays, but Shady did fumble. Also almost every time he had success there seemed to be a penalty. Maybe Reid passed for the sake of the O line but didn’t want to throw them under the bus. Bottom line is Vick came through, and he is confident going into next week. I’d much rather him get the rust out throwing 56 passes vs. the Browns over Ed Redd & Co.

  14. tst29 says:

    I can think back to 3 plays were the Eagles defense was really fortunate.

    1. A decent throw from Weeden to his WR in the red zone that was dropped by the receiver and picked off by Coleman. If the WR catches that, the Eagles give up a TD.

    2. Breakdown in coverage in the 3rd quarter. Weeden had his WR open at the 23, Nate Allen was 5 yards away of the receiver but Weeden overthrew him.

    3. Alex Smith beat Kendricks in the redzone and was wide open for a TD, Weeden overthrew him and I think the Browns had to settle for a FG.

    I know the Eagles played well yesterday, but they could have given up more points if Cleveland had better QB play. I liked what the defense did, but it only takes a few plays to change the course of a game. They won’t be this lucky against Flacco next week.

    Mike Vick’s performance was awful. Reid said it was because he was “rusty”, but that’s a piss poor excuse. Unfortunately, there is something fundamentally wrong with Vick’s game. He can’t read blitzes and he makes bad decisions such as throwing into triple coverage or being baited by LBs. He also can’t out-run on CBs on their blitzes or make the right throw in time. . This is Vick’s 4th year with the Eagles, these problems should have been fixed by now.

  15. I think it would have been NUTS to pull Vick. He still was the best chance to win the game. And even that is false, and it would have been Foles, you are sacrificing the rest of the season for one win. That is a move of a desperate person, and a huge mistake.

    The best thing to do is to readjust the playcalling- which they finally did after the fourth interception.

    1. Why does it sacrifice the whole season?

      1. Trent Perry says:

        Doesn’t “sacrifice” the season. But lets say Foles go in and has a monster drive and seals the game with a TD. The media will go crazy, and a QB controversy is the last thing we need this season, a season that is the last for Andy Reid is he doesn’t get to the playoffs.

        1. Team gets a lot more heat from the media if they lose to one of the 5 worst teams in the league. And more importantly, a loss in the ledger instead of a win.

          Now obviously, the loss isn’t how it played out, but in that moment I had zero doubt that the Eagles had a better chance to win that game with Foles than they did with Vick. Still believe that. Play out the rest of the game 100 times with Vick and 100 times with Foles after that 4th pick, and in my opinion, Foles wins more of them with the way Vick was playing.

  16. Roy says:

    Anyone notice who’s got the #1 offense?

    1. David_Does_Dallas says:

      The team that played the Browns.

      1. Snow says:


    2. Horatius says:

      Anyone notice you can’t get to bloggingthebeast anymore? It keeps redirecting me to this new site bloggingtheeagles. Anyone know when the switch happened?

  17. Dan in Philly says:

    Weird that some seem to think a QB who was less well thought of than Weeden or Tannyhill should be seen as giving the Eagles a better chance than Vick to win. Would you really have felt comfortable with Foles leading that final drive? Based on what actual football?

    I know Vick looked horrible, but let’s give the Browns a few more games to see if maybe they had something to do with that. Every blitz they dialed up worked in the first half, and that just may have had as much to do with Vick’s poor play as any rust. A rookie would have held up better? I doubt it.

    1. tst29 says:

      Based on what Foles did in the pre-season.

      I don’t normally advocate benching QBs (I’ve always stuck up for McNabb and Kolb during their struggles), but Vick was abysmal yesterday. If Vick had been getting 3-outs the whole game, you could make the argument for keeping him in. However he was hurting the Eagles yesterday. The Eagles won in spite of him, I can’t think of a time when McNabb played this bad and didn’t get benched. If Vick plays this poorly by mid season or even next week, I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy benches him.

  18. teltschickfakeout88 says:

    Jimmy, can you really say that the OL was good in the 2nd half….better I agree but good….Sheil and Tim have a breakdown of all the hits on Vick and not all were the fault of the Oline but most were and all hits on him did not happen in the 2nd half. I am thankful that we did not put Foles in as we are stuck with Vick here on out and I would rather live with this. Putting in a rookie while benching your starter will certainly signal the end of the season for the Eagles….no way could Foles get us to the playoffs or deep for that matter. BTW, your analysis of the NFCE teams was sound…predictions…no comment as you are a brave sould but still would like to here your stock tips. Long time reader of Tommy’s stuff and love your blog man. Can’t wait for you to breakdown the skins game a little. Keep up the great work.

    1. poolboy87 says:

      Why would Foles have to get you to the playoffs? Did they suddenly change the rules on QB swapping? I was under the impression that if you benched a player, you could bring him back the following week.

      I don’t think Jimmy was campaigning for Foles to be the new starter…just to come in on a day when your starter was not only ineffective, but actually hugely damaging your chances to win.

  19. Todd B says:

    The scout’s comments then and now just seem too biased to be a scout. I don’t know who that is but my guess is that it is someone who was a scout but is now a journalist or a journalist who tells everyone he is a scout/analyst….like Gary Cobb.

  20. Steag209 says:

    Shady did have the ball away from him the way you hate, I watched the replay closely after it happened to see if it finally got him. It wasn’t very far away from him but in the NFL only an inch or two is enough

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      Problem is, the SS had free shot on him in the backfield. This wasnt a Wilson like fumble where he was running in traffic.

      1. Christian Vigna says:

        The issue with the fumble though was that Shady unnecessarily tried to reverse field on a play where backside pursuit was unblocked. he should have stayed true to the play and follow Havili through the hole and take the 0-5 yds that were there. Problem you run into when you have a back that thinks he can always create the big play. Anyone else see Duce Staley giving Shady a talking to presumably about just that.

  21. Balln says:

    If the undrafted inebacker holds on to Mike PICKS pass to endzone it is game over.
    Should have been an Eagles loss.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      dont forget that DRC also dropped an easy INT in the endzone.

    2. Todd B says:

      If both those players hold on to the ball, the game would have ended 13-13 and they would have gone to OT.

      1. AJ says:

        But if Henery makes his FG it’s 16-13. We can play what-ifs all day, but it does nothing.

  22. I have this theory about opposing D’s that has been marinating for the better part of a year now. I really think they are intentionally baiting MM and AR into attacking with low percentage plays, all the while knowing that they can’t help themselves.

    Am I crazy?

    It just happens so frequently that it can’t be by accident.The other team strategically leaves the deep areas(read: low percentage plays) of the field that we love to attack “open”?

    1. Tracer Bullet says:

      I really think it’s the opposite. The opposing defense stations the safeties 35 yards off the ball, betting that Vick isn’t accurate enough and Reid/Mornhinweg won’t be patient enough to keep hitting 10-20 yard routes. Mix in the occasional blitz off the corner and you can bait Vick into bad reads and bad throws, while beating him up because he holds the ball too long. It’s the same formula we saw when McNabb started his decline.

  23. Derf Diggy says:

    I only watched bits and pieces of the game, and from the bits I caught, the OL wasn’t plyaing well…Was Vick’s terrible day at the hands of the OL, or him just having a off day?

    I know Weeden had a sub 6 passer rating….which would indicate he was pretttyyyy bad…but did you see anything that would indicate he could succeed in the NFL? Out of all the rookie QB’s, I felt like Weeden was the most “NFL Ready”….or at least that’s what I was fed by the football experts.

    Is Nmandi on the decline?

    1. Once they stopped playing him in “off- man” after the initial slant, he basically shut down his half of the field the rest of the game.

    2. Jimmy Kempski says:

      OL bad 1st half, good 2nd half.

      Nnamdi had a good game.

    3. Smitty2K3 says:

      I felt the same way about Weeden. He showed flashes of being really good. But then he throws a ball a mile over the head of his receiver and it just makes you scratch your head. I still think Weeden could be good, but he has a lot of learning to do and he needs a lot of help at receiver.

      1. JohnGiaM says:

        I sat thru weeks of craziness in Philly, the sky was falling, everyone from Baldinger to didinger were saying that Dameco was DONE! I went on a local radio tour trying to tell anyone that would listen that Dameco was going to be fine, and everyone called me a fool. I watched every single preseason snap of his multiple times…and this is what I came up with before this game:
        Different players approach the preseason in different ways. Rookies play hard to make teams. It was easy to tell that Dameco was simply going thru the motions, trying to be in the right position, without getting himself hurt. It was obvious. I dont know how anyone watched him and thought he was actually trying and that he was done. absurdity!

        Dameco was Bawlin lol yesterday! He had about 3 tackles on 3rd downs stopping his opponent short of the 3rd down and forcing the team to punt. He did it against Trent Rich, making his first game a NIGHTMARE, he did it to the tight ends, he did it to the recievers. Its been what, 6 years sdince we seen that type of linebacking play in Philly?

        1. RealFan says:

          Great, glad you called “Dameco bawlin”. Might want to get his name right though…

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