Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Bad. Not Bad at All.

The Eagles thrashed a roadkill team in the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday. The thrashing was not unexpected. The Chiefs are just awful, perhaps as bad as last year's Detroit Lions (congratulations to the Lions on breaking their massive losing streak, by the way). Something would have been wrong if the Birds hadn't beaten them badly.

The bigger questions were whether the defense would perform and how Kevin Kolb would do. The answers to both questions, fortunately, were excellent. The defense swarmed, put a ton of pressure on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell, and bottled up the Kansas City offense. The Birds held Cassell to 14-18 and only 90 passing yards, while sacking him three times. They also held bruising running back Larry Johnson to 38 yards on 19 carries. "The main thing we needed to do was we needed to take [Johnson] out of the game," said safety Quintin Mikell. "That was our focus all week--kind of make them one dimensional."

More importantly, the blitz--missing against Drew Brees and the Saints last week--was back. "Everyone in there today, I guarantee you, was still thinking about what happened last week," said Mikell. "We don't want that to happen again, so we had to out there and...get our swagger back." Let's hope that the swagger--and aggressiveness--is back for good.

Kevin Kolb proved me wrong--I admit it. It does, indeed, appear that he has the ability to be a successful NFL quarterback. He went 24-34 foe 327 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception, making him one of only a handful of NFL quarterbacks to throw for more than 300 yards in his first two games as a starter. He hit moving targets, including a nifty 64 yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter, and Brent Celek had a bunch of catches for more than 100 receiving yards. Jackson and Celek have demonstrated that they are legitimate offensive threats.

Michael Vick played a few downs, and looked uncomfortable. He simply didn't look like he really wanted to be out there.

LeSean McCoy played his first game as a starter at running back after Brian Westbrook's ankle sprain prevented him from playing. McCoy had 84 rushing yards on 20 carries, did not lose the ball once, and scored a touchdown. He's still very young and very inexperienced, but he demonstrated that he has the basic tools to be a successor to Westbrook. With all of his injuries, I fear that Westbrook is about finished, so I tip my cap to the Eagles for being proactive and seeking out a successor to him in the draft.

The Birds are 2-1 going into the bye week. They play another bad team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in two weeks. Tampa is 0-3 and just benched its starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich, and they're in disarray. Andy Reid has indicated that he expects Donovan McNabb back for the Tampa Bay game, four weeks after breaking his rib. I have gained confidence in Kolb, as he has earned it, but given a choice between Kolb and McNabb remains a no-brainer. I would rather see McNabb out there leading the team, and he will be a welcome sight once he returns to action.

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