The 2008 Philadelphia Eagles season has been a colossal disaster. Yes, they're 5-5-1 and everyone in Oakland, Detroit, and Kansas City would love to be us. However, it's hardly that simple. This team has solid talent top to bottom and all the playmakers needed to make a run at the Super Bowl. Yet, this team continues to underachieve and disappoint on every level. The team is damaged with injuries that have diminished the seasons of a few star players like Shawn Andrews (out for the year) and Brian Westbrook (hasn't been himself for 4 weeks now), but that is hardly the problem. The problem has two heads, the Quarterback and the Head Coach.
First things first, we'll start with the quarterback. Donovan McNabb started this season on fire and like the superstar of old. He was strong, poised, and accurate. Then, a few weeks ago, the wheels fell off and the happy feet returned. You can always tell how the game is guying by watching Donovan drop back in the pocket and withstand the rush. Currently, he looks like a scared freshman getting his first varsity start. And just as importantly, McNabb's worst habit has returned: he's throwing bouncing balls again. The short-hop pass was a McNabb staple for years until he finally improved and became a somewhat accurate passer. Right now, he's making bad decisions, he's inaccurate, and he's panicking; a quarterback's recipe for disaster.
As for the coach, Andy Reid has attributed the worst coaching season of his previously strong career. Reid has been one of the best coaches in Eagles history and more often than not appears to know what he's doing and have an edge on most of the have-not coaches in the NFL. Now, Reid seems overmatched in every game the Eagles play. Clock management has always been an issue, but this year, Andy is taking it to another level. Couple that with his complete inability to judge whether or not a play should be challenged and things have been a little rocky. For most of his career, Reid prided himself on being an introvert and a somewhat mysterious personality. Reid's philosophy has been screw everybody else, we're going to keep doing our own things, "our way or the high way." While that lead to years of NFC Championship runs and a Super Bowl berth, the magic seems to be gone. It appears as if the other team is constantly one step ahead of him and has caught on to his gameplan. The hybrid west coast offense the Eagles run is failing big time.
In my opinion, at the end of this season, one of them has to go. I like Andy and I like Donovan,
however, their time together is up. Donovan appears to have lost the ability to run the west coast offense because he simply isn't efficient enough and doesn't read defenses quickly enough. That doesn't mean that he can't be successful in another system, in fact I think he will have tremendous success for atleast a few more years before he's done. McNabb can throw the deep ball and improvise when things get broken. Somehow, Andy refuses to realize this and continues to chug away and run his stalling offense into the ground every Sunday. I also think that Andy will be successful again, but not with Donovan. He needs an efficient passer who can systematically march the team down the field and not make mistakes. Reid needs a vetern who knows when to take the risk and when to play it safe. I have to imagine that sometime soon he'll find the right guy.
2008 is a lost cause, because with a hampered Westbrook and this QB/Coach controversy, we aren't running the table, but there is no reason that the Eagles can't turn it around for 2009 and make a run at it again.