It's a Beastly weekend before us with the Cowboys visiting the Giants Sunday afternoon and Eagles in town to face the Redskins for Monday Night Football. We turn to our Philly friend and Bloguin colleague Thomas Jackson of Eagleseyeblog.com for some Iggles insight.
Redskins Hog Heaven: Who are the MVPs of the Eagles offense, defense and special teams?
Eagles Eye: MVP of the Eagles Offense so far in 2010?---I guess it has to be RB LeSean McCoy...this 2nd-year pro out of Pitt has actually given the Eagles a semblance of a running game...Lifting weights and strength-conditioning over the past off-season has been a first-time-ever experience for the young McCoy...and it has paid off big-time.
MVP of the Defense? It has to be CB Asante Samuel...he has shut down the left corner on every big-rep wide receiver so far this year...and has a bunch of picks to show for it. It's gotten so nobody throws his way anymore...The word is out: stay away from Asante...
Special Teams? Placekicker David Akers is still money after 45 seasons in the league...I kid, but in his 12th year out of Louisville, it seems like Akers has been here forever...and will still be nailing 45-yarders in the cold wind 12 years from now...he is that good.
RHH: Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb?
EE: Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb? Guess what---the NFL is evolving into a 2-QB league....It's getting so you need two QB#1's on the roster in order to assure a legitimate shot at a playoff berth. Vick currently holds the edge in mobility, arm strength and experience...but Kolb has proven he can step in and run the West Coast Offense to great advantage (as in the Eagles' 31-17 win over Atlanta)... Think Lamonica and Blanda... that's kind of what we have going on in Philly right now. Andy Reid calls it "a beautiful thing..."
RHH: Why is Andy Reid still there?
EE: As for Reid's job security? Half of all Philly fans are constantly calling for Andy's scalp, to wit: "He can't manage the clock", "Andy doesn't have control of his players", "He doesn't execute his challenges wisely", "He spends his time-outs too early", "Andy doesn't run the ball enough", "He can't call the right play on 4th-and-1"....and so on. But the fact is, real football experts in the know say Reid is a great coach who is loved by his players and does everything by the book of Smart Coaching Decisions. Owner Jeff Lurie loves his head coach--- they are on the same page, now more than ever. I think Reid stays on as head coach for the Eagles as long as he wants to. It would take a 3-13 season to change that premise, in my opinion.
Nobody anymore blames Reid for trading McNabb. They have finally realized: it was a "business decision"... Of course, if McNabb and the Redskins triumph on Monday night, it will be a different song.
RHH: What concerns you about the Washington Redskins?
EE: What concerns me most about the Washington Redskins on Monday night will be their incredibly smart and opportunistic defensive spirit. I just don't see anyone on the Redskins' defense taking plays off anymore. You used to be able to say that about the 'Skins. No more. Mike Vick sure remembers who knocked him out of play for three weeks. The Washington defense is a beautiful thing that morphs and flexes like an amoeba. You never know when the door will get slammed in your face as an offensive opponent...and God forbid should you momentarily think "we've got this one in the bag"... Any real breakthrough at all in the Redskins' running game or in McNabb's pocket protection could result in a statement game for the Washington defense.
RHH: What's your game prediction and score?
EE: Game prediction and score? Well, I correctly predicted the Eagles would lose to Tennessee--- and to Washington in the first matchup---so this is a scary proposition. Tough, tough game...Vick is spied all night and can't get anything going downfield or outside the edges...Shanahan reverses McNabb's read progression from deep to short, and suddenly #5 is lighting it up on third down conversions...but settling for FG's. Eagles only get possession for 20 minutes...but somehow get the game tied at 12-12 and into OT. That's when the Beer Truck (FB Owen Schmitt) hits the play of the night with a 30-yard rumble on a checkdown. Hearts are broken in OT: Birds 15, Redskins 12...
Woooo! Somebody get me a brewski... that was an out-of-body experience! Sorry to be a downer...and I may be completely off base. But that was my vision of what will go down beneath the Beltway on Monday night. The main point is: it will be close...and could go either way.
RHH: BONUS QUESTION - Philadelphia or New York Giants for the division title?
EE: Philly or New York for the Division Title? I've gotta say "Way Too Early to Even Pretend To Know"... because (A) the Redskins are still in control of their own destiny in the NFC East; (B) Philly still has 5 divisional games to play and is currently 0-1 in the Division; and (C) Dallas is now motivated to spoil all three of its divisional rivals' hopes with a second-half turnaround. ---I've been around long enough to see crazy things happen---and it would not surprise me if Dallas (currently 1-7) rallies and finishes 8-8, basically turning the NFC East into a lottery for the title. I anticipate a wild, mathematically determined finish, regardless of what Dallas does. It will probably be based on tiebreakers. And it could very well involve all three teams--- the Giants, Eagles and the Redskins. The bigger question to me is: can our Division get a wild card entry, too? Now that would be something!
Thomas Jackson is a long-time blogger colleague covering the NFC East since our days with the old Most Valuable Network. He and his Eagles Eye team provide excellent analysis of the Philadelphia Eagles and are always an enjoyable read. Find my answers to Tom's questions about the Redskins at Eagles Eye here.
Go take a look. We'll be here when you get back.