Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Eagles regular-season wrap-up
By Matt Mosley
Arrow indicates direction team is trending.
Final Power Ranking: 7
Preseason Power Ranking: 15
Michael Vick revived his career in leading the Eagles to the playoffs.
Biggest surprise: Perhaps the biggest surprise in the league was the breakout season for quarterback Michael Vick. The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb because they were convinced Kevin Kolb was ready to be the franchise quarterback. But when Kolb suffered a concussion in the first game of the season, Vick came in and performed brilliantly. By the time Kolb was healthy enough to return, Eagles coach Andy Reid had named Vick the starter. I don't think anyone saw this coming. The Eagles went from what looked like a transition season to becoming Super Bowl contenders. In fact, their entire season now hinges on Vick's health heading into Sunday's game against Green Bay.
Biggest disappointment: The secondary allowed 31 passing touchdowns. I realize that the pass rush has a lot to do with giving up passing yards, but the Eagles' group of nondescript cornerbacks (outside of Asante Samuel) didn't do its part. Aaron Rodgers could torch this group if the Eagles can't figure out a way to apply some pressure. It was also disappointing that Brent Celek went from being one of the best tight ends in the league in 2009 to an afterthought in this season's offense. Vick has looked for Celek more in recent weeks, so perhaps the tight end will get hot in the playoffs, as he did in 2008.
Biggest need: The Eagles need to bring in reinforcements at cornerback. I always felt like trusting Ellis Hobbs to start at cornerback was a mistake. He had an awful game against the Tennessee Titans and then he had to be placed on injured reserve. Now the Eagles have had to bench corner Dimitri Patterson for poor play. I said before the season the Eagles needed more depth at cornerback, but they didn't do enough to address that issue. GM Howie Roseman has done a really nice job in other areas, but it always seemed like the Eagles were going to be exposed in the secondary. The good news is that rookie safety Nate Allen played really well before suffering a season-ending injury.
Team MVP: Do I really have to say it? It's none other than Vick, who should finish No. 2 behind Tom Brady in the league MVP voting.
Worst moment: I'd have to say that "effort" against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16 ranks near the top. The Eagles were still playing for a shot at a first-round bye, but they didn't act interested in playing that game, which was postponed until Tuesday night because of a snowstorm. When the game started, it was obvious that Vikings coach Leslie Frazier had prepared his team for battering Vick. I thought the overall lack of effort against the Vikings in a meaningful game really stood out this season. And the defense made Joe Webb of the Vikings a household name around the league.