Thursday, December 22, 2011
Other side: Inquirer's Jeff McLane
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- It's a little later than normal, but we bring you Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer with all that you need to know about the Eagles in this week's version of The Other Side:
Archer - What's the vibe in Philly this week? There is a feeling down here that the Eagles are dangerous and could end up winning this division after all.
McLane - The Eagles certainly can't think they're going to win the NFC East because not only does a lot have to happen for that to occur, but they really don't even deserve to be in this spot. And that's probably beneficial to how they'll play Saturday if the Jets beat the Giants and they're still alive. They really aren't taking themselves seriously and thus they don't have much to lose, which is probably why the Cowboys sound a little nervous.
Archer - Say the Eagles fall flat in their final two games, is there any real possibility that Andy Reid could be in jeopardy?
McLane - There's a possibility but all signs point to Reid returning for his 14th season. He still has two years left on his contract - at $5 million per - so the Eagles aren't likely to eat that. And the front office probably feels he deserves one more shot to finally win a Super Bowl. Michael Vick will definitely be back for one more reason and a regime change at this point would probably make little sense.
Archer - For all of the talk about Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson in the passing game, Brent Celek has become the go-to guy. Is that because of the attention to the guys on the outside?
McLane - There are a number of reasons Celek's numbers are up. Vick, for one, is throwing the ball to him a little more and some of that has to do with the attention Jackson and Maclin are drawing. And two, Celek isn't dropping as many balls thrown in his direction as he was last season.
Archer -Jason Babin has been a terror with 18 sacks. Is it simply a case of Jim Washburn knowing how to use him best?
McLane - Babin, a speed rusher, is tailor made for Washburn's wide-nine. He's also a little too focused on getting sacks at the expense of the run. But that's what Washburn asks out of his ends. Having Trent Cole, who does make more of an effort at stopping the run, on the other side of the defensive line has also benefitted Babin.
Archer - I know it's a QB league, but how good has LeSean McCoy been this year? Twenty touchdowns is just ridiculous
McLane - He's been excellent. Some people like to say he's just a system running back, but that is just plain ignorance. McCoy, on many occasions, has simply made something when there really wasn't anything there. He's a superstar in waiting and may already be at that level.