View Full Version : Eagles understand how good they can be

Hawaii 5-0
10-01-2012, 01:44 AM
Eagles understand how good they can be

October, 1, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com


The Eagles defense held up and Philadelphia committed zero turnovers in its Sunday night win.

PHILADELPHIA -- They are 3-1, which should stand for itself and require no further explanation. NFL games are tough to win, and the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles' three victories so far this season have come by a combined total of four points should not matter in evaluating what they have accomplished over the first quarter of the season.

Yet it does, right? We look at the Eagles' season so far, and what stands out is the imperfection. Even after Sunday's turnover-free 19-17 victory over the New York Giants, they are still a team that has turned the ball over 12 times and are a couple bad bounces away from being 0-4. The fact that Michael Vick has led three game-winning fourth-quarter drives -- three more than he led all of last season -- doesn't change the fact that you always feel as though he's one bad decision away from total disaster. They are The Most Interesting Team in the World: They don't always win games, but when they do, they give you heart palpitations along the way.

What's important to understand, though, is that the Eagles do not feel this way about themselves. Yes, they are aware how close their games have been, but they do not share your doubts. They know they have problems to correct, but they do not live in fear that the bottom will fall out at some point because the problems are not correctable. The Eagles have tremendous confidence that they can win every time they set foot on the field, and this confidence is born of what they see when they look around their locker room.

"We're a talented group," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said. "We've got all the weapons you need. We've just got to go out and do the job."

McCoy is the perfect example. All week, in the wake of a road loss to an Arizona Cardinals team that still hasn't lost to anyone this year, the talk was about the game plan. Why didn't they run McCoy more? He might be the best running back in the league. The offensive line was banged up and obviously couldn't protect Vick, who himself was turning the ball over at the dizzying rate of three times per game. A pass-heavy game plan in Arizona was the epitome of the kind of stubbornness that has cost the Eagles too many games in the Andy Reid era.

Sunday night against the Giants, McCoy gained two yards on six carries in the first half. But the Eagles stuck with him, and things opened up wide in the second half. McCoy would finish the game with 123 rushing yards on 23 carries, and the Eagles' willingness to hand him the ball was a critical part of their ability to avoid turnovers and, of course, win the game.

"I think it's easier on everybody when the run game is clicking," said Vick, who chipped in 49 rushing yards on six fairly judicious carries of his own.

But it's not as simple as committing to the run, and the Eagles know that. For this team, it's about understanding the number of different ways they have to win a game. If they have to throw to beat you, they have the weapons with which to do that. DeSean Jackson showed that Sunday, while Jeremy Maclin stayed quiet. But Maclin was the star of the passing game back in Week 1, and Brent Celek played that role in Week 2. On defense, the Eagles won Sunday's game without getting a sack. But they showed that even if the opposing offense is determined to chip and help and do whatever it takes to keep the speed-rushing ends away from the quarterback, they can still get disruptive pressure up the middle from guys such as Cullen Jenkins and Fletcher Cox.

"We've got talent all across the board," defensive end Jason Babin said. "I think that's pretty apparent."

They're not cocky, necessarily, because you really can't win games the way they're winning them and feel cocky. They aren't the 2007 Patriots, blowing teams out and setting remorseless records. This is an Eagles team still finding its footing in this season, but it's one that draws tremendous confidence from the fact that it's been able to win three games without playing to potential. It's one that remains completely impervious to the outside perception of its problems. Asked what it felt like to finally play defense in a game in which his offense didn't commit a turnover, Nnamdi Asomugha said he was not aware that the Eagles' offense had not committed a turnover.

"As long as the offense is moving the ball and eating up the clock, I think, as a defense, we're fine," Asomugha said. "The turnovers, we can get those back. As long as the offense is taking time off the clock, that's all we need."

The Eagles' defense believes it will hold the opposing offense, even if it's Eli Manning running it and their coach is going to give them two chances at the game-winning field goal. The Eagles' offense believes Vick will lead it back in the fourth quarter, even though he didn't do it once last year, because this year he did it three times in September. The Eagles believe they can win ugly, win pretty, win on the ground, win in the air, whatever it takes.

"I like the personality of this team," Reid said. "I like the grit. They're willing to fight."

A big reason for that is that they know how good they can be, even if they have yet to convince the outside world of it. This time last year, they'd played pretty well for huge chunks of their games and were 1-3. This year, they've slogged through four brutally tough games, and they're 3-1. It doesn't take an Ivy League mathematician to figure out which one of those scenarios is better. And when the Eagles look around their locker room, what they see is a 3-1 team. And they're not surprised.


10-01-2012, 02:02 AM
Philly played a perfect game and still barely won.

10-01-2012, 03:16 AM
Philly played a perfect game and still barely won. It takes a good game to beat the Giants...The are the Defending Champions!

Atlanta Dan
10-01-2012, 10:29 AM
If this game was in Philly I would give the Steelers little chance, but it is at Heinz

Eagles barely beat Cleveland and were smoked by Arizona in their 2 road games this year

Add to that this being virtually a must win for the Steelers as they come off the bye while the Eagles are coming off a division win and it sets up as well as can be hoped for

10-01-2012, 10:38 AM
yes, next week's scenario favors our team

the Steelers D better come out with something to prove

10-01-2012, 11:36 AM
Had the Giants played better situational football in the last series of that game they could've won. Down by 2 points, instead of trying to get into range for their kicker, the Giants insisted on trying to take shots downfield. Their kicker has been good so far this season, but asking him to kick a 55 yarder after a few failed shots downfield is pretty unfair to him.

10-01-2012, 02:41 PM
How about that! Another close game.

Hawaii 5-0
10-01-2012, 05:37 PM
Ed: Eagles Game Now a Crucial One for Steelers


Good morning,

With everyone else but the Steelres and Colts at the one-quarter pole of the season in the AFC, it’s time to take a look at where things might be headed.

For one, the Steelers do not find themselves in good company. Of all the teams with just one victory in the AFC, they are the only ones anyone might consider a contender. Here are the others with just one victory: Miami, Indy, Jacksonville, Tennessee,

Oakland and Kansas City. The Browns are the only winless team in the conference. Anyone see a contender among the bunch?

It may be too early for any game to be crucial, but the one the Steelers play at home against Phildelphia Sunday approaches that for them. Cincinnati and Baltimore are each 3-1 and look to be what was predicted for them in the preseason, division contenders. The Steelers cannot afford to fall two or 2 ½ games behind them with a loss to Philadelphia. A victory pulls them even at 2-2 with a quick turnaround game in Tennessee the following Thursday night. It’s a chance to go 3-2 heading to Cincinnati for an Octoberfest division showdown.

That at least would give them a fighter’s chance. However, lose to the Eagles – who just beat the World Champs last night to lead the NFC East at 3-1 – and it might be over quickly for the Steelers. A 1-3 start? It’s not insurmountable, but it’s also a hole difficult in which to emerge.

The 2006 Steelers started 1-3, then 1-4. It was a small miracle they finished 8-8.

The one which did make it was the 2002 Steelers. They were 1-3. They inserted Tommy Maddox during the third game for a struggling Kordell Stewart and he led them to a comeback victory at home against Cleveland in overtime, 16-13. After losing 32-29 at New Orleans, Maddox and the Steelers won four in a row, had that epic 34-34 tie against Atlanta at home, lost at Tennessee in another epic in which Maddox was temporarily paralyzed and then finished with five wins in six games.

They made the playoffs, came from behind again to beat Cleveland at home in another memorable game 36-33, then lost in overtime at Tennessee 34-31 on a controversial penalty that gave the Titans a second chance after missing the first field goal try in overtime.

Notice anything about those scores? There were plenty in the 30s, on both sides. In their final three games, the Steelers allowed 98 points.

In their two losses this season, the Steelers have allowed 65 points. Perhaps we’re heading toward the same kind of scenario that developed 10 years ago. They did it in 2002 with a high-flying offense and a defense that generally couldn’t stop much.

That 2002 team showed it could be done, starting 1-3 and nearly reaching the AFC championship game. It’s not the model way to go.

--- YOU: Ed, I'm not among those questioning LeBeau. He has nothing to prove to me. I do question the players effort. It seems there is a sense of entitlement of sorts. Because I am a Steeler defender, I will be respected. Thats not how the Steelers defensive reputation was earned and maintained through the years. Are the Steelers lacking someone to set the tempo? If not, what? I buy that James And Troy playing will go a long way to help the overall defense but what does it take for Hood and Timmons and others to step up and own their contribution to success. They seem to very methodically run through plays with no personal investment. No sense of pride to perform. No drive to be the best at what they do. They don't seem to represent what we have come to expect from Steeler defenders.

ME: You can’t say there’s a lack of effort. You can call them old and slow, if you want, say there is not enough talent, but there is no lack of effort. They rank again among the top 10 as a defense. What they’re not doing – again – is making Mike Tomlin’s fabulous “splash” plays. They have five sacks, one fumble recovery as a defense and one interception. That’s not going to cut it.

--- YOU: Sounds to me from your post today that you are pointing in the direction that Harrison’s season and potentially career are coming to a close. I myself, started to think this way during training camp as due to age, and mileage great players like Harrison can see the sun set on seemingly minor injuries (See Jack Lambert). Do you think retirement is on his mind? Would the Steelers try to retain him for next season if he does not play, and play at a high level at some point this season? At his salary level, along with some of the players well over 30 on defense, I would like to see the Steelers mindset of the middle of the previous decade take force and clear out the salary cap space for players teetering on the end.

ME: All athletes hit the end of the line, some earlier than others. James Harrison is 34 and with his knee problem, it does not look as though the line is far off.

--- YOU: Ed, is Saunders return day on Oct 7th?

ME: No, Oct. 8. He was forced to miss five weeks instead of four because he had to miss four games and the Steelers had a bye week. Both Saunders and the Steelers originally thought he would miss only three games and four weeks.

--- YOU: It's interesting this commissioner wants to put a franchise in London when the last commish, Tagliabue, stated his biggest mistake was L.A. not having a franchise. The Jaguars can't sell tickets and the Vikings have a stadium falling apart in a red state(if that Matters).

So Ed, what do you think will ultimately happen here? And, what kept L.A, that has offered to build a nice stadium, has not been awarded a team?(politics, league rules, etc.)

ME: They are moving toward having one and perhaps two teams in Los Angeles. They are waiting for that city to put the finishing touches on plans for a new stadium before that happens. Who will move there? You mentioned two possibilities. Others would be the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams. And never count out the Raiders, even though Al Davis is no longer around. How coincidental would that be if Los Angeles would get both the Rams and Raiders back?

--- YOU: Count me as one who likes Haley's O. A quick check shows our 3rd down efficiency (53%) leads the league, our TOP is 2nd in the NFL, and our Red Zone efficiency is 64% (7th in the league), as compared to 51% last year (17th). Are Haley's schemes/play calling that innovative or is Ben just healthy and on target more this year?

ME: It’s a combination of a new emphasis on high percentage passes and not throwing deep as often. Also, Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers are among the best in the league.

--- YOU: NOW can we panic about the defense?

ME: Have at it, many are.


10-01-2012, 06:46 PM
If this game was in Philly I would give the Steelers little chance, but it is at Heinz

Eagles barely beat Cleveland and were smoked by Arizona in their 2 road games this year

Add to that this being virtually a must win for the Steelers as they come off the bye while the Eagles are coming off a division win and it sets up as well as can be hoped for I agree, Dan....I think we are in a good spot for a win too...:tt03:

Hawaii 5-0
10-02-2012, 08:45 PM
It hasn't been pretty, but Philly is 3-1

Originally Published: October 1, 2012
By Ashley Fox | ESPN.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Less than seven minutes remained and the Philadelphia Eagles trailed the New York Giants on Sunday night by one point. Michael Vick stepped into the huddle before the Eagles began their final drive and delivered a message:

"Let's go score," he said. "Let's stay calm. Run the plays that are called. Everyone do your job. And let's go score."

Score. Stay poised. Play within yourself. And perhaps most important for this team in that situation was what Vick didn't say: Don't turn the ball over.

We're one-fourth through the NFL regular season, where occurrences have led to trends that have morphed into identities. Four games into the season, teams are taking shape. If something happens once, it can be chalked up as an accident. But one game has led to another and another and another. We have an adequate sample size.

We know that Houston and Atlanta appear to be the most complete teams, that New Orleans is missing its leader, that Arizona's defense looks really good and that Tom Brady to Wes Welker is still a connection New England will use. We know that the New York Giants are Eli Manning's team and it doesn't matter who his receivers are, he will get them the ball. We know that if the Giants are going to succeed, it will probably come down to Manning's making it happen.


Michael Vick has orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks so far this season.

And we know that the Eagles aren't going to quit. They won't be intimidated by a situation. They might make mistakes but they also will make plays, because their quarterback fears nothing. Not a player, a defense or a situation. Vick might make a mistake, but it won't be because the moment overcomes him.

It didn't overcome him Sunday night, when Vick led marched the Eagles 75 yards in 12 plays to set up the game-winning Alex Henery field goal that gave Philadelphia a 19-17 win over the Giants.

This Eagles team is a product of the one that failed so miserably a year ago. Starting 4-8 and missing the playoffs by a single game, being a laughingstock, having "dream team" rubbed in their faces -- it all humbled these players. It was embarrassing. It motivated them not to allow it to happen again.

And because the quarterback has been remarkably clutch late in games this season -- an accolade widely reserved for the Giants' starting quarterback -- the Eagles are 3-1 and atop the NFC East standings pending the outcome of Monday night's game between Dallas and Chicago.

Just in the month of September, Vick orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives -- at Cleveland, against Baltimore and then against the Giants. Last season, Vick had zero fourth-quarter comebacks and zero game-winning drives. In 2010, the season he supplanted Kevin Kolb as the Eagles' starter, he had four fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives.

Say what you want about all of the turnovers -- nine in the first three games, and zero last night -- but Vick has been clutch. His confidence has trickled down to the offense, the defense and the special teams. The Eagles have won three games by a combined four points. They have played well at times and horrendously at times, but the end result is what ultimately matters.

"Last year, there's a good chance we would've lost that game," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

"I don't know if it's we're winning games we didn't win last year or not," said wide receiver Jason Avant, "but I think we're just a lot different mentally."

That certainly appears to be the case, given how fragile the team was a year ago. This team hasn't quit, even in the blowout loss to Arizona in Week 3. Against the Giants, Philadelphia struggled to create a pocket for Vick. It couldn't get its run game going, and it struggled to get into the end zone.

After leading 7-3 at halftime, the Eagles committed to running LeSean McCoy. They controlled the clock. They moved the ball. Vick made plays with his legs when he had to and Andy Reid leaned on McCoy. The offense was able to make plays, and the defense held the Giants to 17 points and drew a crucial offensive pass interference penalty on New York's final drive. That helped make the potential game-winning field goal a 54-yarder rather than something shorter.

"I like the personality of this team, and I like the grit," Reid said afterward. "They are willing to fight."

Their quarterback certainly is. He was under fire last week in Philadelphia after all the turnovers and what looked to some like lucky wins. Vick took too many chances. He looked careless at times. Reid and Vick both said it took a little time for Vick to shake off the rust of missing much of the preseason, and maybe that's the case. Maybe the turnovers really will even out. Maybe the Giants game, where the Eagles had no turnovers, really is more indicative of how they will protect the football.

"Ya'll give me enough flak about it; I'll take care of it," Vick said.

This is one quarter, four games, of a long, 16-game season that will ebb and flow. But one thing is evident: This team will not quit. That is part of their identity. They can win in the fourth quarter, and not every team can.

"We have a never-say-die attitude," Vick said. "We never allow things to get out of control like last year, and we believe in one another. Always have, always will. … That was evident tonight. I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the guys that we have in this locker room, and I appreciate them. I've still got 12 more games, and we've got to keep pushing."

Keep pushing. Keep winning. If the defending Super Bowl champion taught us anything last season, it is that being clutch and having the ability to win in the fourth quarter are invaluable attributes.