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What Went Wrong With The 2011-12 Philadelphia Eagles?

Michael VickBefore I get going on this blog, I hope everyone who celebrates had a great Thanksgiving, and survived Black Friday, and the pepper spray that went with it at some stores evidently. I wonder if we are going to need bodyguards for next year’s Black Friday if customers are going to go THAT far. Anyway, as we enter the holiday season, I hope everyone will try to have as nice a holiday season as possible.

Things are not so festive in the frustrated sports town of Philadelphia right now. It is bad enough their favored Philadelphia Phillies got eliminated right off the bat in the playoffs, and I don’t know what is going on with their Flyers right now as I don’t follow hockey THAT closely, but I don’t hear much about them, but unless you don’t follow sports (and that’s cool), or you have been living under a rock, folks in Philly have been very upset about what is going on with their Eagles.

[adinserter name=”366 right”]Every year, it seems that the Eagles have talent, and promise to bring home the Lombardi, but something always seems to happen, and no World Championship happens, and no ticker tape parade, and Eagle fans have to deal with “there’s always next year.” once again. Eagle fans are quite demanding, as most sports fans are. Eagle fans get a bad rap because of things done in the past (throwing snowballs at Santa, cheering a seriously injured Michael Irvin in Philly, booing Donovan McNabb at the draft), but I feel that EVERY FAN BASE has done terrible things as well, so no fan base has clean hands.

As I said, many Eagles teams have had promise as far as winning a Super Bowl for the city, but come up short. There was a team lead by QB Ron Jaworski who made it to the 1981 Super Bowl, but they got beat by the Oakland Raiders. Later on, the Eagles would have playoff success with Donovan McNabb who during his tenure with the Eagles, broke several over Jaworski’s records. McNabb lead the Eagles to 5 NFC Championships (4 NFC Championships in a row 2001-05, and in 2008). He led the team to it’s second Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl 39, and lost to the Patriots.

In the past few years, the relationship between the Eagles, and McNabb deteriorated, as did his play, and in the offseason before the 2009 season, the Eagles signed Michael Vick who was just released from prison after serving time for dog fighting charges. After the 2009, season , despite Head Coach Andy Reid saying McNabb would be the starter for the 2010 season, McNabb was traded to the NFC rival Redskins. McNabb now is the clipboard holder in Minnesota.

With McNabb gone, and Vick having a resurgence in 2010, the Eagles signed Vick for a 100 million dollar contract, after the NFL’s 4-5 month lockout was over. The Eagles also put together during the brief offseason a team of free agent super stars including players such as: Nnamdi Asomugha from the Raiders, Cullen Jenkins from the Packers, Vince Young from the Titans, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Cardinals, in addition to the power house talent that Michael Vick was playing with , such as Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, etc, etc. (McNabb through his Eagle years hardly ever had any weapons like that. What, T.O . for a year, and Brian Westbrook?? Seriously?) All this gathering of high powered free agents by Philly caused ESPN (who over does everything) and the usually more level headed NFL Network to hand the Lombardi to the Eagles, before the first practices. There was talk of this team going undefeated.

Well, as everyone who follows the NFL knows, that hardly happened. That’s why they play the games. As a horse racing fan, I know all too well that anything can happen once the starters open those gates. Even though I am NOT an Eagles fan by any means, in this blog, I will be discussing, as an outsider what went wrong with the ill fated “Dream Team” as back up QB Vince Young foolishly called them. I hope you will enjoy it.

* THE SUPER GROUP MENTALITY

You are probably wondering what I mean by this term, “Super Group Mentality.” I hope most of you reading remember the band Whitesnake in 1987 where David Coverdale pretty much recorded the eponymously titled “Whitesnake” and it believed he fired everyone, and hired Rudy Sarzo (bass), Tommy Aldridge (drums), Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Andrian Vandenberg (guitar) to appear in the videos and tour with the album. Super Groups are bands who have top rock stars in their own right forming a band together. The reason they don’t last very long or eventually fail to get along is the ego clashing.

Well, as I previously said, the 2011 Eagles had all these NFL superstars (Asomugha, Vick, D. Jackson, etc), and they all have massive egos, especially that DeSean Jackson. They all want playing time (See Asante Samuels), and are worried about their contracts, and such. Andy Reid has to manage all these egos with all different agendas. They have to learn to play as a team, and during the season, it just didn’t seem like it. The shortened pre season didn’t help either. A team like this has to gel. They have to get used to playing with each other. DeSean Jackson’s recent behavior is very disturbing. He was benched for being late for meetings. In his next game against the Giants, he wipes out a 50 yard play by throwing the ball in Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’ face. So disrespectful. He got benched in the Patriots game, and that is just one example. I don’t think they know how to use Asomugha either. Of course, that’s what happens when the offensive coordinator is made defensive coordinator. Overall, the team doesn’t seem ready to play either. Sunday’s Patriot game was a microcosm of why the team is 4-7. Dropped passes. Don’t have much of a pass rush, despite getting to Brady early, but once Brady figured them out, he sliced the Eagles’ defense up all day long. In other words, they don’t seem to play like a team.

*IS IT TIME FOR ANDY REID TO GO?

This is going to be a weird comparison, but it is the best I have. The “relationship” between a team and a head coach is like a marriage. They have the honeymoon period, and then they have the ups and downs. However, at times, the relationship sours, and like 50% of marriages in the United States, the “marriage” between the team and the coach ends in divorce. Perhaps, Andy Reid’s message is not getting through to the players. I am not a fan that calls for the firing of a coach. However, at this point, perhaps the Eagles should go in a different direction. Some of the calls in the Patriots game this past Sunday was very strange. They were going for it at one point in the game at 4th and 1. Now, they had McCoy at RB, so the logical call would be RUNNING THE BALL. What does Reid call? A PASS, and of course, the Patriots’ defense squash it. I have noticed over the years, that Reid has been conservative when he should have gone for it, and gone for it when he should have run the ball. He loves to throw the ball despite the circumstances calling for run. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is one of the most winningest coaches in the NFL, and has been a great coach for the Eagles, considering that he got that team to the playoffs several times, and to a Super Bowl. He’d be picked up by a team if let go in 5 minutes.

However, if the Eagles DO get rid of Andy Reid, who is going to come in? Bill Cowher, for example, would want a lot of demands including taking full control of staff, etc. Jon Gruden would have a lot of demands. A subpar year with a very talented team with all these new pieces who , to be honest, didn’t have a full off season to gel. It sounds like getting rid of Reid would be more trouble then it’s worth. There will be changes like moving Juan Castillo back to being an offensive coach, and getting a defensive coordinator, but even though it is possible that the Eagles and Reid could part, they probably won’t.

*MICHAEL VICK’S REGRESSION AND INJURIES

Well, if you remember, the talking heads on ESPN and on NFLN went nuts over this one great game that Michael Vick had against Washington in the 2010, and were ready to crown him the MVP of the NFL that year. Well, Vick eventually would have an excellent year, but he cooled down a bit, and 50 of the 50 AP voters voted Tom Brady the MVP. In 2011, I don’t know if he is affected by the 100 million dollar contract, but he just doesn’t seem to be the player he was in 2010. His accuracy doesn’t seem to be as good as in 2010. He is reverting to running whereas in 2010, he was developing the ability to stand in the pocket, and run a little less, at least that is how I see it. He is now getting injured more. He did lose out on 3 or 4 games last year due to ribs, but he has lost 2 games due to ribs, and I believe he suffered a concussion this year. Anyway, he is clearly not the same as 2010.

*VINCE YOUNG’S BIG MOUTH

During the 2011 preseason, Eagles Backup QB Vince Young was being interviewed and during the interviewed, he called the Eagles, “the Dream Team.” Well, this little nickname that Young gave the team made quite a bit of people in the Eagles organization uncomfortable, I am sure. It is bad enough this label was put on the team as it was, but it came from someone new to the team, and the backup QB at that. Of course, Vince Young isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer either in giving interviews either.

[adinserter name=”366 left”]This “Dream Team” moniker put a lot of unneeded stress on the team, being that the team was an NFL version of the aforementioned “Super Group” in the eyes of the media and the fans. Of course, opposing teams were going to target the “Dream Team.” After all, opposing teams hear all the hype the Eagles got, so why not. Of course, when the Eagles’ season started sinking like the Titanic, the media had their fun with “The Nightmare Season,” and other things.

In conclusion, the team this year didn’t seem to gel due to the shortened off season, and the egos. Vince Young’s dumb comment put a lot of undue pressure on the team, and really wasn’t needed. Andy Reid may need to go, but during his 13 year tenure, he only had one losing season, 2005, so after this year finishes, I am thinking there will be changes, but Reid does stay. They may have an outside shot of the playoffs, but I doubt it. This team does have a lot of talent, and the team will have to make a lot of decisions after this season.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an M.B.A. from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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