Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A few things I learned watching the Eagles/Vikings game last night

Number 1:

The average age of the Eagles most prolific offensive weapons is a little over 24.5 years old. I'm including Mike Vick, Brent Celek, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin only. Take out Mike Vick and it's a little over 23 years old. Either way, if these guys stay together they could have a run of at least 5 more solid years if they're healthy. Staying together is probably unlikely in this age of free agency but depending on how the collective bargaining stuff turns out it may be more likely. That should be a scary thought for the NFL.

Number 2:

All that Mike Vick MVP talk has to go away now. Leading up to this week it was plausible to say he had a shot at winning the MVP, but after the performance last night, it's a wrap. Go ahead and give it to Brady now. I've heard the arguments about how Brady is gonna win it regardless because he's Brady and his reputation is better than Mike Vick's in general and I agree with that to an extent. But combine winning an MVP with Mike Vick's story and it is far more compeling, motivating, and means a lot more than Tom Brady putting up big numbers this year or (for that matter) Mike Vick putting up big numbers this year. Vick's story transcends the sport and is about life's mistakes, consequences, and subsequent recovery and return to respectability. No matter how much you may hate what Mike Vick did or was involved in, you have to respect how he came back, showed humility, and performed well at what he's paid well to do. So while Brady will win the MVP this year, Vick's story is more valuable than just a trophy.

Number 3:

If Andy Reid is worth the money the Eagles are paying him, this win should galvanize the Eagles for a solid playoff run. The timing of the loss is almost perfect in that a team that's playing well toward the end of the season knows they're good and may be a little overconfident going into the playoffs. Losing a game in the last couple of weeks can help to humble them. Remember when the Patriots ran the table and lost in the Superbowl? That's all I'm saying. Sometimes a loss is a good thing. For weeks now the Eagles have been riding on a cloud of Mike Vick fairy dust and it seemed nothing could go wrong. Last night proved that Vick is most definitely human and the Eagles need to execute better and more importantly, learn how to stop the corner blitz coming from Mike Vick's left.

Number 4:

I understand why no defenses have been able to effectively make Mike Vick roll to his right rather than his left. It's because he's FAST AS HELL! He'll just dodge someone coming from the left and then continue left if there's room. By doing this he can easily square up and make his normal left-handed throws. When he rolls to the right he takes a little more time to set-up and throw the ball and is more likely to run. The commentators mentioned this last night and I've heard it before several times and thought the same exact thing I've always thought: "Ya'll must not realize just how elusive and quick this guy is. He will dodge that shyt and go right back to his left." Vick managed to do just that several times last night but not enough. And it also seemed like he and DeSean Jackson just weren't on the same page at all last night and I think that also played into it. But either way, the Vikings blitz schemes last night were effective and I expect that to be the blueprint for anyone that faces the Eagles from here on out.

Number 5:

LeSean McCoy may be the closest thing to Marshall Faulk in the NFL in terms of his ability to catch and run with the ball. He's not as good at running the ball between the tackles as Marshall Faulk but on dump-off passes and screen plays he's about as elusive as anyone in the NFL and plays with that sort of silky smoothness that Marshall Faulk had. I think lots of people expected Matt Forte to assume the Marshall Faulk role in Chicago this year because of Mike Martz being there but McCoy leads all RBs in receptions this year (and I bet it's by a landslide) and there was one pass he caught last night where he probably ran for 30 yards or so but he looked about as elusive as anybody ever has (Barry Sanders notwithstanding) in the NFL.

Number 6:

Mike Vick deserves a raise. I honestly don't think the Eagles are going to sign him to any sort of long-term deal as a starter. He's 30, Kevin Kolb is 26, and this is Mike Vick's shot to win a title in Philly. This year only. I bet the Eagles will use him as trade bait for a team like Minnesota who will need a solid QB next season if they can't draft one. I would throw Washington in that mix but Andy Reid isn't that stupid. There are a lot of teams that could use a solid QB so even though I don't think Vick will be in Philly he's earned a solid contract somewhere in the NFL next season.

Number 7:

Joe Webb might already be a better NFL QB than Tavaris Jackson. No disrespect to Tavaris but Webb showed a lot of poise and composure and the ability to make plays last night. Everybody's talking about how he was drafted as a receiver blah blah blah but dude was a QB in college so the position is not foreign to him and that showed last night. And if you look at what he did in college (albeit at UAB) you'll see that he's quite the athlete and put up rushing yards a la (ahem) Mike Vick. With that said, maybe the Vikings should start thinking about a future with AP, Webb, and Lesley Frazier as their team's nucleus. They've got two solid wide-outs in Rice and Harvin and a solid tight-end in Shiancoe. Grab another good wide-out, a lineman or two where you need 'em, a couple solid defensive players, and they're right back to being competitive with the Bears and Packers.


iamyancee said...

Great post. I agree with you whole-heartedly on most of what you said, namely #'s 1,2,4 and 5. I'm hoping you're right about #3 because they'll need a great effort in a 1st round match-up with the Packers or Giants.

Now #6 is where I hope you're wrong. I'm figuring that they'll franchise Vick (if it still exists in the next CBA) and keep both QB's for another year since Kolb's salary next year is just over a mill. I just don't see Andy and the front office letting go of such a dynamic force, unless he continues to look "Falcon-esque" during the playoffs and into next season.

As far as Joe Webb is concerned, he has some promise. However, I never get too hype over a QB's first start because routinely, opposing teams just don't take them seriously. That and there's no tape of him to go on. I need to see him play against a few teams that actually gameplan for him before making an assessment about him. I do agree that T-Jax just isn't the answer in Minny.

Sorry for the long comment but you know the Eagles are near and dear to me and I respect your opinions on football.

Anonymous said...

Funny you mentioned that you hope I'm wrong with #6. My boy @Apuje said the same thing. Didn't know Kolb was only making that little next year. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Good point about Joe Webb. Teams don't take them seriously and teams don't have time to really figure out their tendencies on the field either (you mentioned no tape to go on).

M.C. said...

I agree with most of this post as well. Philly needs to keep Mike Vick though. If they trade him and he does all of those magical things for another team, the media won't let them forget it, no matter how Kolb plays. Even on his best day, Kolb isn't better than Vick!

I really agree about Joe Webb! Minnesota will have their work cut out again with the Favre drama as soon as the season ends, so better to make power moves now.

Anonymous said...

Seems like everybody thinks Vick will be in Philly next year. I hope so. I'd like to see him get a shot again with the same weapons if they don't win it this year. I'm rooting for him (not the Eagles mind you), lol.

If Favre comes back again next year he will literally end up dying on the field. Oddly enough, I think he wants it that way so we can all forget about his previous drinking, current sexting, and all-the-while-we-ain't-peep-it ego issues.