Some incoherent thoughts, some off-the-mark conclusions and one or two astute observations as we mourn the passing of Week 3 of the NFL season:
* If you have David Garrard on your fantasy team, please step away from the cutlery.
* Eagles schedule observation of the week: The Eagles aren’t going to be catching the 49ers at a good time. Niners are 0-3 and probably are going to drop to 0-4 next week when they play the Falcons in Atlanta. They’ll be just about due to finally get their $!%# together when the Eagles go out there for a visit in 2 weeks. Pencil in an Eagle loss there.
* Speaking of the Niners, while I always stand behind everything I write, I just want to say that I was taking some very strong cough medicine when I predicted before the season that Mike Singletary would be the NFC coach of the year.
* Perhaps no pass he’s thrown as an Eagle is a better example of the ``new’’ Mike Vick than his 16-yard touchdown throw to Jeremy Maclin late in the second quarter Sunday. He stayed in the pocket with pass-rushers all around him and waited, waited, waited for a receiver to get open. The ``old’’ Vick would’ve beaten it out of there long before he found Maclin. Though the fact that time was running out and Andy Reid already had squandered the Eagles’ last timeout on a replay challenge of a spot probably limited Vick’s running options.
* Two key things about the Eagles offense after 3 games. One, they haven’t been turning the ball over. They have just one giveaway – an Eldra Buckley fumble in Week 1 – in 12 quarters. Vick still hasn’t thrown an interception in 89 attempts. Only one other team has just 1 turnover through 3 weeks – the Jets. The second thing about the offense is their play on third down. They’ve converted 40.0 percent of their third-down opportunities in the first 3 games, including 5 of 13 Sunday. They’re 13th in the league in third-down efficiency, which is much better than last year when they finished 23rd (36.2).
* The biggest third-down difference has been the productivity at quarterback. Vick has an impressive 122.6 third-down passer rating heading into Week 4. Only the Falcons’ Matt Ryan has a better third-down rating. Donovan McNabb usually was somewhere around the middle of the pack in third-down passer rating during his career. Was 14th last year (86.4). Vick gives the Eagles two things on third down. His legs make the Eagles more dangerous on third-and-short because defenses can’t bring the safety up in the box without leaving one-on-one coverage on the outside. And his arm has made third-and-long much more makeable than it was last season. The Eagles already have converted 6 of 17 third downs of 10 yards or more, including 2 of 4 Sunday. Last year, the Eagles converted just 12 third downs of 10 yards or more the entire season and didn’t convert their first one until Game 6.
* Despite heavy blitzing by the Jaguars, the Eagles again operated mainly out of 3- and 4-wide receiver sets Sunday. Thirty of the 48 offensive plays they ran in the first 3 quarters included more than 2 wideouts. All 3 of Vick’s touchdown passes came out of a 3-wide receiver, 1-running back, 1-tight end set. He completed 7 of 15 passes for 207 yards and 3 TDs in the first 3 quarters out of a 3-1-1.
* Ten of DeSean Jackson’s 13 receptions have gone for first downs, including 4 of his 5 catches Sunday. Jeremy Maclin has 8 first downs on 11 catches. Tight end Brent Celek has 5 on 9 catches. Slot receiver Jason Avant, who had 26 first downs on 41 catches last season, has just 2 on 7 so far this year.
What Andy Said, What Andy Meant
* On game-planning against Donovan McNabb
What Andy said: ``His arm hasn’t gotten any weaker. He can still sling the football and has guys that can go get it.’’
What Andy meant: ``I wonder how many Tylenol Extra Strength tablets Santana Moss and Chris Cooley are taking for their aching backs bending down to catch those low throws of his.’’
* On Mike Vick’s improved work ethic since his days in Atlanta
What Andy said: ``You know about his study habits. I mean, he’s really cranked down on those and we have to kind of kick him out of the building here. He’s here all the time, and that’s a good thing.’’
What Andy meant: ``Mike spends a lot of extra time at NovaCare. As part of his deal, Jeff lets him moonlight as a night security guard so that he can make a few extra bucks to help pay off his creditors.’’
* On his thoughts on the play of fullback Owen Schmitt
What Andy said: ``(He’s) a big, tough kid that can catch the ball a little bit and blocks okay. So, I mean, he fit in OK.’’
What Andy meant: ``Seriously, dude. Are you so short of story ideas this early in the season that you’re asking me about a frickin’ fullback that touched the ball 2 times on Sunday?
To read our earlier posts from today, click here.