The Philadelphia Eagles are nothing if not consistent, albeit in aggravating ways. For years, Eagles fans like myself are left amazed when the team throws 40-50 times - even on bad passing days - while the running game is forgotten. Given that LeSean McCoy is in the backfield and Michael Vick is turnover prone, one would think Andy Reid would finally adapt and change tactics at some point.
Instead, Reid let Vick throw 56 times against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 9 - with four of those throws going to Browns' players. One of them finally went back for a Cleveland touchdown that would have won the game, if Vick hadn't thrown a touchdown to Eagle Clay Harbor with a minute left. But despite the 17-16 victory, the notion of a balanced attack was a huge loser in Philadelphia yet again.
Given that McCoy frustrated the Browns and ran for 110 yards with just 20 carries, one has to wonder what he could have done with five or 10 more. Maybe if Vick threw the ball 10 fewer times, it might have erased one or two of his four interceptions - even the one returned for a go-ahead Browns touchdown.
Vick waited until the end of the first and second halves to finally play mistake free ball. Even in his game-winning drive, he was inches from a fifth pick on the play before his touchdown to Harbor. With that kind of performance and Vick's turnover history, very few coaches would have trusted him to throw 56 times anyway. Unfortunately, the Eagles are led by one of those coaches.
Reid's job is on the line this season, to say nothing of Vick's future in Philadelphia. With the stakes that high, one would think that Reid would make things much easier for Vick. Easy - and logical - would be about 15-20 fewer throws for Vick so he wouldn't have as many chances to turn the ball over. And a much more easy and logical way to win is to keep feeding McCoy the ball so he can work his magic, which means Vick doesn't have to get hit or throw picks as often.
Considering how McCoy had close to 300 carries last season, the hope was that Reid and the Eagles were starting to learn their lesson. Instead, they flunked their first real test of 2012 and nearly ruined their season right as it began.
This may be Reid's last chance in Philadelphia, so he really can't afford to leave any idea on the table. Even the radical notion of having as many McCoy rushes as Vick passes may be crazy enough to try. But if Reid keeps letting Vick throw 40-50 times, even on days where he can't keep the ball, it'll be clearer that he really doesn't want to do everything possible to win.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Michael Vick
- Cleveland Browns
- LeSean McCoy