Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Only One Pig: Philadelphia Eagles

Welcome back Gavin!

I'd like to thank Colin for absolutely carrying this blog while I was out of the country, and for doing so while juggling "work" and moving. Group blogs are definitely better than individual efforts.

Anyways, enough with the praise. Time for our final installment of the "Only One Pig While Need to Fly" group. Again, this means that there's only about a 10-20% chance this team can reach the postseason. At least one of the teams in the group will probably be a surprise, showing you, our faithful readers, yet again why sports are fun.

I want to start all this off by stating that there is one main reason why the Eagles are ranked this low, and it has everything to do with being in the NFC East. Colin and I were talking last night about the whole AFC/NFC rivalry, with most pundits believing the AFC is far superior. We think that's overblown because from top to bottom the NFC has more "good" teams and fewer "Houston" teams. The NFC East is quite representative of this fact. Any one of the four teams (Philly, New York, Washington, Dallas) could win the division. One of them will be last, and since they all play the NFC South (Carolina, Tampa Bay, Atlanta...) as well, the schedule is too tough for all of them to be included one level higher. We believe Philadelphia is the weakest of the four, and so here they are...

It is difficult to do a straight statistical analysis like I've been enjoying on the Eagles, because of the number of momentous events they had, especially offensively.

Here's what I think we do know about this team.

- Brian Westbrook is not an every-down back. He's already a little dinged up in the preseason, and 2004 seems to have been more of a fluke than a coming out party.

- The rushing offense is difficult overall to point to as either good or weak, mainly because Andy Reid always panicked and went to the pass, even when Donovan was out (see: game against Seattle). In case anyone cares, they don't rank very high in offensive line performance at Football Outsiders. The Power Success was a decent 68%, but the line was Stuffed 26% of the time (tied for 23rd). When all you do is pass, you will not have sustained offensive success.

- When all you do is pass, you should have a #1 receiver. I know all the pundits are salivating over Reggie Brown, but I'm not sure why. I didn't see anything out of the guy to believe he's ready to enter the elite league of WRs. Now, just because Donovan McNabb is out there Brown is going to put up some numbers... he's not a bad 2nd WR fantasy pick. Still, the talent is not there to force opposing defenses to change what they do. Take Dallas for example and the talented secondary they have. They will be able to stop Philadelphia.

All this to state that Philadelphia has an absolute load of question marks offensively. They've been able to get through it in the past (see: years before T.O.) but I would still be concerned, especially again, considering the difficult road they have.

Will the defense show up or let them down again?

The answer to that question mainly rests on two offseason additions, Darren Howard and 1st round selection Brodrick Bunkley. This is basically because the defense collapsed around their shoddy rush. That's how a secondary that sent three members to the Pro Bowl one year can look so bad the next. Their adjusted sack rate of 5.6% was 26th in the league. That's with a Jim Johnson blitz-happy defense. Pathetic. If Howard and Bunkley can help revive that, there are enough playmakers to take the Eagles back to the upper echelon defensively.

The Eagles will be at least a .500 team. They have one of the best QBs in the NFL and some terrific playmakers on the defensive side. Unfortunately, I believe the offensive shortcomings coupled with a difficult schedule makes a trip to the playoffs a remote offering. Don't worry, Eagles fans, the drafting and such is still good, this won't be a long stay away from glory. It's what happens when you lose the luck lottery (instead of being Seattle in the NFC West).

Next, on to the near-playoff teams!

posted by Gavin @ 10:46 AM  0 comments

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