<
>

Midseason Report: Eagles

11/11/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Power Rankings: Preseason: 4. This week: 11.

2009 Schedule/Results

Where they stand: The Eagles (5-3) only trail the Cowboys by a game but it's impossible to know where this team is headed. The Eagles have some great offensive weapons, but they're capable of flopping at any minute. The Oakland loss was inexcusable, but they bounced back with convincing wins over the Redskins and Giants. The offense didn't play well against the Cowboys. Quarterback Donovan McNabb made some shaky throws, including two interceptions. This is still a dangerous team, but it's hard to go out on a limb and say Philadelphia is a definite playoff team. Questions abound at running back and on the offensive line. They're also thin at linebacker, where they've had to bring reinforcements such as Will Witherspoon and Jeremiah Trotter.

Disappointments: There have certainly been several disappointing injuries, but the healthy player who has to frustrate Andy Reid the most is Stacy Andrews. He was signed in free agency to help solidify the right guard spot. And that's not what's happened. He was beaten routinely by the Cowboys' defensive linemen in Week 9. And it took him several games to even crack the starting lineup. I think left tackle Jason Peters would also have to be considered a disappointment based on our lofty expectations for him. This was supposed to be an elite left tackle but he's looked uncomfortable in Reid's blocking schemes.

Surprises: We knew wide receiver DeSean Jackson was capable of putting up big numbers, but tight end Brent Celek has emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He's studied tape of Jason Witten ever since he entered the league -- and right now he's putting up Witten-type numbers. Celek's averaging over 12 yards per catch and that's pretty impressive for a tight end. He's learned how to set up defenders at the top of his routes -- and he's getting plenty of separation. He's become a trusted target for quarterback McNabb.

Outlook: The Eagles still have to make trips to Arlington and the Meadowlands. It's not going to be an easy December. And that's why this Sunday's game in San Diego is huge for the Eagles. The Chargers are riding high after a last-minute win over the Giants. The Eagles can't afford to drop into a tie with the Giants at 5-4. They'd like to stay within striking distance of the Cowboys. In order to get on a run, the Eagles desperately need McNabb to be more consistent. He was under a lot of pressure from the Cowboys' defense, but he still needs to be better than 16-of-30 with two interceptions. The interception to Mike Jenkins changed the game. The Eagles need to figure out what's going on with Brian Westbrook at some point. I think he could certainly help them, but right now he's impossible to count on because of the injuries. Anyone know what Michael Vick is on this team? Just asking...