18 September 2007

2007 Week 2 Recap, Part 2

Eagles versus Redskins, Monday, September 17, 2007

In attendance: just lil ole me, stuck up in the suburbs of NYC for a training class.

Menu: not good. Room service. And this ain’t exactly a 4 star hotel.

So does it all come down to the fact that the receivers can’t get open? Is it really that simple? Maybe. Stick with me here.

OK, so if the receivers don’t get open, D-Mac has nowhere to put the ball. He scrambles, but on a surgically repaired knee, and this isn’t 2001. So he takes a sack or dumps it off to one of the checkdown guys, because the receivers aren’t paying enough attention to see that he’s in trouble and cut back their routes. Occasionally, Big D gets frustrated enough to try the bomb anyway, and he throws too hot (which he tends to do until he gets into a rhythm), and Kevin Curtis, who was supposed to stretch the field for us, is consistently NOT stretching the field. Turn on the afterburners, dude! Or AR gets frustrated with the dink and dunk, and dials up the big pass play. And our young receivers drop passes they should catch, perhaps because D-Mac’s fired it a little too hot. Either way, we have short offensive series.

So Sav does his almighty best, but the opposing team still gets decent field position. The D starts out the game strong, and we have very few points scored in the first half (only 10 in each of the last two weeks). Since the other team starts with good field position, when we get the ball back, we tend to start with an awful lot of green in front of us regardless of whether or not they managed to score. And because our receivers aren’t getting open, our D is back on the field again before they’ve had a chance to rest. Sooner or later, the D starts to get tired, and the other team is able to score. Not a lot – topping 16 or 20 points has, in the Big Red/Big D era, not been a tough hurdle for us to clear. But so far this year, it’s enough.

So what was good about last night? I feel pretty good about what I saw on defense, even with Lito out for the whole game and Dawk – who was having a great night - out after the first series of the 4th quarter. Chef Spouse’s boy David Akers was perfect, nailing it from 22, 24, 26, and 39, providing ALL our points. Reno didn’t muff a single punt. Welcome back, baby! Westy broke some good runs.

But our offense as a whole just can’t seem to pull it together. The haters are going to blame their favorite whipping boy, #5. But I don’t see how you can pin it on him. As Jaws pointed out in his always excellent analysis (when Tony K and Charles Barkley shut up long enough to let him talk about football, that is, and could ESPN PLEASE kill the damn celebrity interviews? Sheesh!), the receivers were not getting open. Was that attributable to great coverage by the Skins, as New Boss suggested? Possibly, but a lot of times our receivers drew single coverage. I’m sorry, but in single coverage, a receiver’s JOB is to create enough space for the QB to sneak it in. And D-Mac doesn’t need a big window.

Tony K, when we stopped jabbering about dumb stuff for a few minutes, did point out that Philly’s had a Hall of Fame-level QB for the last 8 seasons, and the Front Office has supplied him with bargain bin receivers. And most years, he’s managed to make something out of that anyway, putting his own body on the line to do it, and sustaining serious injuries in 3 of the last 5 seasons as a result. He’ll be 31 in November, and maybe it’s time the rest of the team stepped it up. Maybe the Front Office needs to spend a little coin on some decent receivers. Maybe Donovan doesn’t have time to wait on another crop of rookies to see if any of them develops into something. Maybe he – and we – deserve better.

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