Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Eagles preview

The Eagles kick off their season Sunday in Cleveland with much at stake, including the futures of head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Mike Vick. The two are likely tied together.

A disappointing 8-8 season a year ago in which they needed to win the last 4 games to get to that mark left Reid on the hot seat. If the coach is there, so is the quarterback.

The Eagles' success pretty much hinges on how much Vick can stay on the field over the course of a 16-game schedule -- and he took only 12 snaps during the pre-season because of injuries.

AP Photo
Eagles head coach Andy Reid expects
to improve on last year's 8-8 record.


Despite some upgrades on the much-maligned defense from 2011, there are still question marks, particularly at linebacker and safety. And defensive coordinator Juan Castillo has much to prove in his second year after moving to the other side of the ball from offensive line coach.

I've lost confidence in Reid as a head coach. The Eagles have regressed in each of the last 3 seasons; their last playoff win was in January 2009. Reid bears a good portion of the blame for poor coaching and talent acquisition. their last playoff win was in January 2009.

I don't believe Vick is a Super Bowl quarterback, either, and not just because he has trouble staying on the field. When he is behind center, he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and last year he turned the ball over 24 times in 13 games.

While there are plenty of skill players on the offense, the loss of left tackle Jason Peters to an Achilles' injury will be difficult to overcome.

So what do I see in the my crystal ball? Maybe just a slight improvement over last season. A double-digit win season is possible with a few breaks, but I forecast a 9-7 record and a playoff spot. Whether it's as NFC East champions or as a wild card will come down to the season's final game against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

And one more thing, Eagles. I guess I took it for granted that you'd win a Super Bowl before I turned 50. Well, guess what? This is your last chance for that to happen.

As far as the opening game goes, the Birds should have no trouble with the Browns. Final score...31-13.