Before I get to the breakdown, just wanted to thank everyone for reading all season.
Hard to believe, but this was MTC's third full season writing about the Eagles. I'm happy with the direction the blog has gone in, and readership grew by 45 percent in 2010.
So thanks to all who have read, commented, Tweeted, e-mailed, etc. I'll still be posting on a daily basis all offseason. There's plenty of analysis to do and many questions to answer going forward.
If you have specific things you'd like me to write about/analyze, feel free to e-mail me.
Michael Vick- I'll have the full breakdown in Mike Check later this week, but it's funny how much one play can affect overall numbers and impressions. Had Vick completed that last pass to Riley Cooper, he would have had a QB rating of 106.1. But, obviously, he didn't. And that's what we'll remember. For the record, I have no problem with him calling a play there instead of spiking the ball. It's not like the offense was fatigued. They had only run one play since last huddling and two plays since their timeout. Don't have a huge problem with Vick's decision either. It would have been pointless to dump the ball off to LeSean McCoy with Charles Woodson nearby, although he could have hit Jeremy Maclin for a nice gain over the middle. But Vick's pass was underthrown, and he didn't give Cooper a chance to make a play. Much more to come on his performance later this week.
LeSean McCoy- The final numbers were not great: 12 carries for 46 yards. During the regular season, McCoy had 28 runs of 10 yards or more. Against Green Bay, his longest carry was for 9 yards. The biggest factor might have been Woodson. He was outstanding in the run game. Whatever he did last offseason, McCoy should do the same this year. And he also needs to get better at protecting the ball. Overall, though, a breakout performance in 2010.
Jerome Harrison- He played two snaps and got one carry for 3 yards on a 2nd-and-1.
Owen Schmitt- He played 10 snaps and wasn't really a factor.
DeSean Jackson- He left after the sixth offensive play and didn't return until the 15th. When he did come back onto the field, Jackson was not his usual self. I really wonder if he would have scored on that 29-yard gain on the final drive had he been 100 percent. Linebacker Desmond Bishop barely tripped Jackson up. If he would have stayed on his feet, it looked like Jackson had a lot of open field down the far sideline with one man to beat and Maclin in front to block. Earlier in the game, he had a drop in the red zone, and Jackson's first catch did not come until the 8:46 mark of the fourth quarter.
Jeremy Maclin- He finished with three catches for 73 yards. Maclin had a chance on a deep ball in the first, but couldn't come down with it as the defensive back did a nice job of breaking the play up. It would have been about a 40-yard gain. Vick made a nice throw to him on a 2nd-and-6, but Maclin couldn't make the catch, instead asking for a flag. He had nice catches and runs for 44 and 18 yards, respectively.
Jason Avant- I didn't get much right in terms of predictions, but I did say I thought Avant or Brent Celek would be the team's leading receiver. It was clear after watching the Packers' game against the Bears that they were vulnerable in the middle of the field. Avant took advantage, catching seven balls for 93 yards and a touchdown. He was Vick's most-targeted receiver. He caught the touchdown that got the Eagles back in the game. But on a 3rd-and-8 in the third, he couldn't come up with a catch that he should have made. The throw was behind him, but Avant prides himself on adjusting his body and having good hands. The Eagles could have used a play there. Later, he made a classic Avant grab over the middle for 21 yards on a 3rd-and-14, absorbing a big blow from two Packers defenders.
Riley Cooper- He saw extensive playing time (23 snaps) - first replacing Jackson and then in four-receiver sets. I guess it says something that Vick trusted him on that final drive, but Cooper didn't have much of a shot on the last play. He finished with two catches for 18 yards.
Chad Hall- He only played one snap.
Brent Celek- He was called for a holding penalty in the first. Celek picked up 16 yards on the scoring drive in the fourth. Overall, two catches for 25 yards on four targets.
Clay Harbor- He played 12 snaps and was not a factor.
Winston Justice- He had a bad stretch in the third quarter that resulted in the coaches deciding they had a better chance to win the game with King Dunlap at right tackle. It started with a false start. On the next play, Justice was called for illegal formation and holding. On the play after that, Clay Matthews beat him off the edge and forced Vick to escape the pocket. To be fair, I'm not sure why the coaching staff didn't think to give him some help in that situation. On the final play of the drive, Justice was beat by Matthews on a 3rd-and-1 carry by McCoy that forced the Eagles to attempt a field goal. Earlier in the game, Justice was called for a false start, and Matthews bowled him over before crushing Vick from the blind side on a 3rd-and-7 play in the second. This was surely not the kind of performance Justice wanted to go into the offseason with, and he'll have to rebound because the Eagles will need him at right tackle in 2011 (assuming there's football).
King Dunlap- He came in for one play in the first when Peters lined up as the fullback, and then Dunlap replaced Justice for the final 19 offensive plays. He's certainly improved, but I still think he's a backup.
Nick Cole- I thought Cole held up OK. He was excellent in the run game. Good blocks by Cole on a 3-yard Harrison run in the first; Vick's 3-yard carry on 3rd-and-2 in the second; and McCoy's 3-yard run in the red zone in the second. In protection, he had ups and downs. Cole failed to pick up Matthews on a delayed blitz on a third down in the second as he slammed Vick to the ground for a sack. But for the most part, he was alert in picking up Matthews on stunts. He did so on the 3rd-and-8 incompletion to Avant in the third and the 16-yard completion to McCoy in the fourth.
Mike McGlynn- I was really impressed with McGlynn. The Eagles needed him to turn in one of his best performances of the year, and he did that. McGlynn did a nice job on McCoy's 7-yard run in the first. He and Herremans had a nice double-team on Vick's 3rd-and-2 carry in the second. McGlynn did a good job to pick up Matthews, who rushed up the middle on the touchdown to Avant in the third. And he was able to push a blitzer to the side on Vick's 11-yard completion to Maclin in the third. McGlynn picked up a blitzer on Vick's 2nd-and-8 incompletion to Avant in the third also. I thought protection in the interior held up as well as could have been expected. I also liked that McGlynn seemed to be taking the lead down the stretch in terms of communicating with the rest of the offensive line.
Todd Herremans- I really only counted one time where Vick was pressured from the left side. That was when B.J. Raji beat Herremans in the second; Vick escaped and ran for a first down on the play. Herremans made a nice block on McCoy's 7-yard run in the first and his 5-yard run in the fourth.
Jason Peters- He was nearly flawless. I don't remember him getting beat in pass protection once. Peters picked up a blitzing A.J. Hawk on the 44-yard completion to Maclin. And he did a good job on McCoy's 7-yard run in the first. Peters lined up as a fullback on a 3rd-and-1 play in a formation I don't think we've seen before. Overall, a very good season for Peters. He was the Eagles' best lineman.
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