Eagles quarterly report: The offense

LeSean McCoy has been a bright spot on offense through four games. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

If you missed it yesterday, here's the quarterly report on the defense.

Today, the offensive side of the ball.


Bright side: Michael Vick strung together 11 quarters of football that no one saw coming, taking over the starting job. He hit big plays down the field (10 completions of 25 yards or more), escaped the pocket when pressure broke down and was outstanding in the red zone.

Vick's 108.8 QB rating trails only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He's accounted for seven touchdowns and has not turned the ball over (zero interceptions in 96 attempts). Vick's previous career high for yards per attempt was 7.2. This year, he's averaging 8.3. Only Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers are averaging more.

Down side: I thought this year was all about developing Kevin Kolb as the quarterback of the future. I was wrong. Kolb suffered a concussion in the first half against Green Bay and was benched for the next two games. He took over against the Redskins and will get the start this weekend against the 49ers.

Last week, Kolb moved the ball with short throws and check-downs. But 24 of his 33 attempts were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. He looked hesitant at times and afraid to make mistakes downfield, even though replays showed Kolb had DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin open.

His confidence is a huge issue. Kolb signed a $12.25M contract in the offseason and watched the franchise trade away Donovan McNabb, seemingly handing over the offense to him. But it didn't turn out that way after he suffered a concussion in Week 1.

Now he gets another chance to prove himself and show he still has a future here. Even if it's only for one week.


Bright side: Through the first four weeks, LeSean McCoy looks like he's taken a huge leap in his second season. He talked about strengthening his lower body, and it's shown as he's averaging 5.46 yards per carry. Last year, McCoy averaged 4.1. He's been excellent in the red zone and has four touchdowns on the season, tied for first among running backs.

In the second halves of games, McCoy is averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Only Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson are averaging a higher number.

McCoy's proven capable as a receiver also with 23 catches for 172 yards. Only San Francisco's Frank Gore has more receptions among running backs.

Down side: The Eagles' depth behind McCoy is horrible, and that falls on Andy Reid and Howie Roseman. The Birds signed Mike Bell as a restricted free agent in the offseason to complement McCoy, but he has not looked capable of filling that role in limited action so far. Behind him are Eldra Buckley and Joique Bell.

McCoy looks like he'll play this weekend, but if he misses any significant amount of time, the Eagles are in trouble.


Upside: I'll admit it was tough to find something here, but the line deserves credit for its performance in the run game. The Eagles are averaging 5.5 yards per rush, which is tied for best in the league. Is part of that due to Vick? Of course. But the ground game with McCoy looks significantly better than a year ago, as I mentioned above.

Downside: Nine different offensive linemen have had to play this season for the Eagles.

Continuity was an issue going into Week 1, and it remains an issue going into Week 2.

At right tackle, Winston Justice has been OK. Right guard has been a disaster. The Eagles broke camp with Stacy Andrews as the starter and then dealt him to Seattle. Nick Cole was next, but he's been hampered by a knee injury. Reggie Wells stepped in for Cole against Jacksonville, did not look good and was benched against Washington as Andy Reid explained that he could only play the left side. And then Max Jean-Gilles got his turn last week.

Mike McGlynn has had ups and downs at center. It's only been four games, but my guess is he'll struggle against better competition and be OK against mediocre and lesser competition. It's reasonable to assume McGlynn will improve with the mental aspect of things, but the physical aspect remains a question mark.

The left side has been disappointing. I've written at length about Jason Peters and the penalties, but Todd Herremans has lacked consistency also.


Upside: DeSean Jackson was bottled up against Washington, but overall is playing at a high level. He's averaging over 21 yards per catch - third-best in the NFL - and has six plays over 25 yards or more, tops among receivers.

Jeremy Maclin has played a big role in the red zone. His four touchdowns match the total from his rookie season and are good enough for second among wide receivers.

Downside: Brent Celek has been quiet, averaging just 32 yards per game. Celek is averaging almost two fewer targets per game than a year ago and has two drops.

I don't think it's panic time yet. Celek had a stretch last season where he had less than 50 yards receiving in five of six games. Don't be surprised if he has some big games in the next month as teams continue to try to figure out ways to limit Jackson and Maclin downfield.

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