The Philadelphia Eagles 2011-12 Season in Review: The Good, the Fads and the Ugly

With the Philadelphia Eagles impressive 34-10 win over the hapless Washington Redskins last Sunday, the game was essentially meaningless as the Eagles could not make the playoffs.  The Eagles end the regular season with 8-8 and third in the NFC East.  Meanwhile, the New York Giants won over their local AFC rival New York Jets 29-14 two weeks beforehand, and with the win, the Giants saved their head coach Tom Coughlin’s job once again.  The New York Giants upped one even further by winning the NFC East title over the Dallas Cowboys and securing the last coveted spot in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Sadly, the Philadelphia Eagles are left contemplating their 2011-12 regular season on their couches and chalkboards.

The Good

Running Back LeSean McCoy Goes to the Pro Bowl and One of the Leading Running Backs in the NFL. It was a matter of time before LeSean McCoy matures as a running back and dominates.  As said previously, he progressed faster than Brian Westbrook did with the Philadelphia Eagles as statistics showed from the last few seasons.  In this season, he surpassed former Philadelphia Eagles running back Steve Van Buren and the entire league this season with 20 total touchdowns.

Former Pro Bowl Kicker David Akers Leaves. When former Pro Bowler David Akers left for the San Francisco 49ers, there was a hole left in the Eagles special teams.  Coach Andy Reid resorted to rookie Alex Henery, and he has been a surprise as he ranks 5th in extra-points made.

The Fads

Quarterback Micheal Vick Matures But Doesn’t Improve. The Michael Vick mystique had all but disappeared within Philadelphia.  His mediocrity has shown like he was with the Atlanta Falcons.  However, this time, he lacked the brashness of his youth.  In fact, with his overall quarterback rating of 82.9, he’s only slightly better than he was with the Atlanta Falcons with 2004 at a 78.1 quarterback rating. His 2011 quarterback rating obviously fails in comparison to his 2010 rating of 100.2. The Donovan McNabb Experiment with Michael Vick has been less than successful.

Tight End Brent Celek Gel with Michael Vick. One of the better tight ends in the league finally gels with Michael Vick.  However, this is a double-edged sword. Michael Vick has been mediocre this season compared to last season, and despite the increase in the number of targets per game, Brent Celek’s numbers has actually been worse than the previous season. Compared to last season, he has 200+ more yards, but he has the same number of touchdowns as he did last season when he should have had more.

Implementation of the Wide 9 Defense. The wide 9 defense hasn’t been entirely bad for the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was distorted by the Eagles turnovers.  In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles have nearly 1,000 less total yards gained by opponents and gained four positions to 8th this season in total defense.  Compared against the run last season, they are about comparable, ranking surprisingly at about 15th. This defensive formation has been astonishingly effective despite how it looks on the field.  Numbers don’t lie.

The Ugly 

Head Coach Andy Reid and Office Politics. Head coach Andy Reid has been on the hot seat this season as the team continuously lost despite having the talent on the roster.  The inconsistent offense, undisciplined defense and the coach hirings and firings ultimately bit Reid this season.

Juan Castillo’s Promotion to Defensive Coordinator. Juan Castillo, the defensive coordinator this season, has been on the hot seat as well.  With St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnulo looming on the horizon, Castillo may not be the defensive coordinator no longer.

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Goes Diva. DeSean Jackson still has been contending for a better contract all season.  However, this season, his numbers have not been that productive.  He has only 3 touchdowns to date compared to 6 last season, and he has less than 1,000 total receiving yards this season unlike the past two.  Whether he or the Philadelphia Eagles want to trade him in the off-season, that remains to be seen.  There’s no doubt he’s valuable to the Eagles franchise, but his attitude may sour the team.

Defense Lacks Discipline. Dealing with a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo was hard enough, but even harder, when the defensive coordinator doesn’t press discipline on the players.  Some of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs have been causing commotion on the field by hitting above the shoulder pads and after the tackle.  This is not the professional team that once was when Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and David Akers were here.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. The Philadelphia Eagles offense has been lackadaisical as the Eagles are ranked first in turnovers in the entire NFL.  Having the first in turnovers won’t win games, particularly when compounded with a porous run defense.

Cornerback Asante Samuel Unhappy as the Safety Position Crowds. With the acquisition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel felt that it was three’s a crowd in the safety position. Compared to last season, he’s been a more effective tackler, but he hasn’t nearly had the number of interceptions.  And with the Eagles already considering selling him as trade bait, Samuel is definitely not happy here in Philadelphia.  It is anything but sunny.

Wait Until Next Season…

This season has not been one of the better seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles.  With Vince Young’s announcement the Philadelphia Eagles as the “Dream Team” to the media and general public, the hype fell flat, and it fell hard.  There has been some rumbling about changes in personnel position. Former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo has been mentioned as the Philadelphia Eagles’ replacement as defensive coordinator, but nothing has been decided yet.   There will be more media chatter once a decision has been made or not. Until then, Eagles fans, we will have to wait until next season, and perhaps the Eagles will return to playoff contention once again.

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