Closer Look at 2013. Not Good News

I MADE SOME INSERTS TO THIS ARTICLE FROM KWY. The writer hit some legitimate concerns but missed two. The 24 to 21 win over the 10-6 Arizona Cardinals and the ACL from Jeremy Maclin in training camp.

Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — It’s easy to ruminate and jostle around all the hypothetical ‘what ifs’ that followed the Eagles’ 10-6 NFC East title and first-round playoff ouster to the New Orleans Saints. I keep think about the penalty and the blitz which forced Alex Henry to attempt a field goal from further out. In addition, Riley Cooper would have gone a long way with the football-had he caught the ball.

A major part of Super Bowl build up is talk. And a lot of that talk will be about what teams could possibly be in the same position as the Broncos and Seahawks next year.

No doubt, the Eagles will certainly be in the discussion. They made a stunning about-face from their horrid 4-12 finish in 2012. That’s reality. As there’s no doubt Chip Kelly is a quality coach and the staff he put together are a group of very capable guys.

But as the NFL narrows its prism toward the 2013 Super Bowl champion, the prevailing thought around these parts is that the Eagles really aren’t that far off from the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. A closer look at the NFL’s Final Four reveals that the Eagles still may have a longer way to go before they’re truly considered Super Bowl contenders.

Good teams beat good teams. Looking back at 2013, the Eagles really didn’t beat anyone. The 10 teams the Eagles beat had a combined record of 59-84-1. The combined record of the six teams the Eagles lost to were 53-42-1. The Eagles beat one playoff team, Green Bay, sans All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Eagles were a combined 1-3 against playoff teams and were outscored in those four games 124-93. THE EAGLES DID DEFEAT THE 10-6 ARIZONA CARDINALS.

In crucial games against Green Bay and Dallas, those teams were without difference-making starting quarterbacks (and I know it’s Philly, but Tony Romo is still an impact player that can win a game).

Nick Foles improved beyond anyone’s expectations, possibly even his own. His 27 touchdowns against two interceptions may never be touched by another Eagles’ quarterback. But can Foles break free of his self-imposed cautious cast? Can he or will he free comfortable with an impulsive twinge to be a gunslinger on occasion?

Super Bowl champion quarterbacks take risks. In time, Foles hopefully will know when to choose those times We still don’t everything about Foles. He can win in the NFL. But is he a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback? He showed great poise in bringing the Eagles back from a 20-7 deficit in a playoff game to go ahead, 24-23, with 4:54 left to play. He also struggled against Dallas in the last game and had issues letting the ball go for three quarters against New Orleans.

There are still more glaring holes that need to be addressed. The necessity for an outside pass rusher has been broached ad nauseam (and rightfully so), so has a safety (or two), and further depth at wide receiver and on the offensive line may be needs as well.

Will the Eagles go another entire season almost injury free? HE DOES MENTION THAT JEREMY MACLIN HAD A ACL A FEW DAYS INTO THE TRAINING CAMP. Not likely. Left tackle Jason Peters and right guard Todd Herremans turn 32 this year. Left guard Evan Mathis, coming off another fine season and who seems to actually be getting even better with age, will turn 33 during 2014. Defensively, the Eagles improved. But in big games, namely the playoff loss to New Orleans, they stumbled. And who knows if the Eagles would have even been in that position had they faced Romo in the regular-season finale?

Are the Eagles really just a few players away from where the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Seahawks and Broncos arrived this year? Or are they really a bloated 8-8 team that received some fortuitous breaks?

Next season will provide the ultimate answers. Though the Eagles made vast improvements, they’re still quite a bit away from being Super Bowl contenders.

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS.

The Shamrock Five

Many fans can argue who was the best team in the 70s. There are three measures:

Most consecutive Super Bowls, Miami Dolphins with 3. Lost to Dallas Cowboys 24 to 3 in 1971; defeated Washington Redskins 14 to 7 in 1972; defeated Minnesota Vikings 24 to 7 in 1973.

Most Super Bowl Victories, Pittsburgh Steelers with 4; defeated Minnesota Vikings 16 to 6 in 1974; defeated Dallas Cowboys 21 to 17 in 1975; defeated Dallas Cowboys 35 to 31 in 1978; defeated Los Angeles Rams 31 to 19 in 1979.

Most Super Bowl Games, Dallas Cowboys with 5; lost to the Baltimore Colts 16 to 13 in 1970; defeated Miami Dolphins 24 to 3 in 1971; lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21 to 17 in 1975; defeated the Denver Broncos in 1977 27 to 10; lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 35 to 31 in 1978.

The Dallas Cowboys had one of the best offensive lineman in the 70s. Just ask Roger Staubach about his great pass protection or the space that opened for Calvin Hill, Tony Dorsett, Robert Newhouse, or Duane Thomas.

The line was known as the Shamrock Five.

Jim Cooper
Pat Donovan
Andy Frederick
Burton Lawless
Tom Rafferty
Tom Randall
Herbert Scott
Rayfield Wrigt

Malcom Floyd Brings Out the Best

When a football player gets in trouble, some bonehead says how bad it is because they are role models for young people. There are not now, nor were, nor will there ever be role models. Each person has to set their goals. Your best friend is the one can help you chart your own course in life. No one should ever seek to mimic another. Try this and your life will not be your own. Many people claim that defining their goals is too much trouble. The pressures of daily living and struggling with the family budget makes this sort of self analysis impossible. I can appreciate this idea. Just do not rely on others to do it for you.

Having said this, there are moments when a better side of the players and the game itself becomes evident. Malcolm Floyd from the San Diego Chargers sustained injuries at Lincoln Financial Field this past year. He required a stretcher to get off the field. Immediately after the injury, players from both teams gathered around Floyd with words of encouragement and concern. Some Eagles and Charges even had tears rolling down their faces.

Each player realized that he might be injured next. The players showed their deep camaraderie which transcends the team and the final score. Leading by example, as both the Chargers and Eagles did in that game, makes a deep impression on young people. It is far better than lengthy lectures from parents and teachers.

Bottom Line-Caring and Compassion for others is in your own self-interest.

Losing to New Orleans 26 to 24

There is allot of bad but well deserved criticism of the Eagle defense in yesterday’s game with New Orleans. The Saints have a great offense we expected them to score allot of points. There were three plays that turned the game away from Philadelphia.

1. At the midpoint of the first quarter, Philadelphia had moved to a first down at the Saints 20. Our boys lost 10 yards stemming from a blitz and a penalty. Alex Henry missed a 48 yard field goal.

2) Third quarter. Riley Cooper, all alone, dropped a pass at the Eagle 38. Had he been more exacting, Cooper would have gone a long way. The score here was 20 to 14.

3) The Eagles early in the fourth quarter had to settle for a field goal after getting a first inside the New Orleans. Alex Henry kicked a chip.

Eagles Defeat Cowboys 24 to 22-But There are Problems

Both media and fans at one time judged a good defense if it held the opposition to two touchdowns or 14 points per game. Now with all the rule changes favoring the offense, analysts use 21 points or less. I consider the 22 points an all right day. There were only two plays, one offensive and one defensive, that kept Philadelphia from getting a much easier victory.

Buy far the biggest play of the two was the Cowboys holding on 4th and less than a foot away from their End Zone. Add to this was a completion which pulled the Cowboys away from danger. Both the offense and the defense messed up in this time frame. The next misfire had Kyle Orton throwing a 30 yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant, on fourth and nine. Things got jittery to say the least.

The other area of concern was the pass rush on both sides of the line. Nick Foles was under tremendous pressure the entire night. The Cowboys sacked him five times for 34 yards in losses. Hurries lasted all night and this forced Foles to continually move out of the pocket. Not one time did Eagles get to Kyle Orton. He performed well especially considering his limited playing in 2013. Having said this, the Philadelphia defensive line made things easy for Orton.

Now come the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles will be playing against an opponent, the New Orleans Saints, much better than anything they faced during the season. They have got to make the big plays, keep pressure on the Quarterback, and protect Nick Foles. All of the things that were missing on Sunday Night.