Despite a resounding 27-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Eagles could be poised for recovery this weekend, just in time to face their infamous rival the New York Giants. Here’s why.
“We never did get a rhythm,” Reid said at Monday’s post-game conference. “We need to make sure our mix is better than what it was yesterday. And that’s my responsibility to make sure that happens.”
Let’s take Reid at his word. He is working on the mixture. As an experienced and oft-touted coach, Reid should already know the necessary ingredients for a winning game-time mix. But just in case, based on the Eagles performance in Weeks 1-3, here are a few suggestions for Reid to make sure he has in his recipe for an Eagles victory.
- LeSean McCoy. Despite McCoy ranking 10th in the league in rushing yards with a total of 261 , last week he was given the ball for just 13 carries where he pulled down 70 yards. Since McCoy holds the all-time team rushing record and the best rushing average in Eagles history at 4.7, why wouldn’t Reid be handing the ball regularly to McCoy saying, “Run, Shady, run”?
- Faster play execution. Reid acknowledged at the press conference that the valuable Vick is getting hit “way too much.” While pundits everywhere debate how many of Vick’s blows are his fault and how many are due to a failed offensive line, there is no doubt Vick ends up on the ground more frequently than most passers. The median sack time in the NFL is between 2.7 to 2.8 seconds, according to research done by J.J. Cooper at Footballoutsiders.com. Last week, Vick was clocked at holding the ball for 3.24 seconds before he released it. If the Eagles stand a chance at using one its best weapon’s — Vick’s arm — the ball has got to be launched faster.
- Zero tolerance for turnovers. In only three games, the Eagles have produced a league-high 12 turnovers, an even dozen. It’s not a record any team wants to hold. In 9 of the 12 cases, Vick has been involved either passing (six interceptions) or fumbling. Reid must get Vick to clean up his play.
If Reid can get just some of the right ingredients into his team blend, the Eagles will have a fighting chance to dominate not just the Giants but the 12 teams on their schedule beyond New York.
This week the team is propelled by two distinct forces: A recent humiliating thrashing in Arizona and a 79-year-old team feud that ranks at the top of all-time sports rivalries.
Since they first met in 1933, the Eagles and Giants have battled for dominance and no matter how many victories lie in the past against their objectionable opponent, each comes to battle for just one more.
Therein may lie part of the tonic for the Eagles’ recovery. Motivated to defeat the Giants in Philadelphia, a struggling Eagles team may find just the medicinal mix of game lessons learned and challenges that embolden.