What they're saying: Blame on Vick?

How much blame does Michael Vick deserve for Sunday's loss? (Charles Fox/Staff Photographer)

If you missed it earlier, I posted Man Up on the Eagles' defense.

Meanwhile, here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Michael Lombardi of NFL.com says the Eagles have a number of issues, and one of them is Michael Vick's play:

The biggest offensive problem for the Eagles is Michael Vick not playing as consistently as he did when he first became the starter early last year. Now, I am not blaming Vick for all of the Eagles problems, but rather making a point that there is a difference between Vick in September of 2010 and Vick in September of 2011.

I realize Vick is not getting the protection, taking too many hits and, as he has said, normally ending up on his butt once releasing the ball. However since the DeSean Jackson punt return game against the Giants last December, when the Eagles mounted a huge fourth-quarter comeback, the Birds are just 2-5. Vick is missing open receivers, his overall percentage of completions is down and when the Eagles don't make big plays down the field, their offense struggles to score touchdowns. Take away the deep ball or the big play, and the Eagles are not consistent in their execution on offense.

Adam Rank of NFL.com says the Ronnie Brown fumble was one of six plays that had people talking on Monday:

What exactly was Ronnie Brown thinking when he tried to lateral the ball at the goal line. A fitting description of the season all in one play, perhaps? But here is the thing -- I am kind of bummed that I am not enjoying this collapse as much I figured that I would.

SI.com's Peter King takes aim at the Birds:

The Eagles, the greatest team assembled since the '27 Yankees, are 1-3. Some things are just plain weird, like Ronnie Brown, a very smart football player, turning around in the middle of the line of scrimmage and throwing the ball away as if it had herpes. He did that Sunday in Philadelphia's 24-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. After 16 quarters, they're tied, 101-101, in points scored with the opposition. One more scene none of us ever thought we'd see: A free agent from UMass, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, beat and out-leaped Nnamdi Asomugha to grab the winning touchdown pass last week. Smart cap money can't buy everything. It's early, and the Eagles are talented enough (on both sides of the ball; new defensive end Jason Babin is on pace to get 28 sacks), but maybe the moral of this story is the same as it's been for the uneasy 18-year marriage of pro football and free agency: Money can't buy championships. More bad news could be coming today. Ace defensive end Trent Cole limped off against the Niners with a calf injury that had the Eagles concerned last night.

SI.com's Don Banks says he wouldn't want to be Juan Castillo right now:

The Eagles had not lost three games in a row since late in the 2007 season, but now you've got to wonder where bottom is for a Philadelphia team that looks incapable of playing defense and protecting a lead. I wouldn't want to be Eagles' newly promoted defensive coordinator Juan Castillo about now. Can anybody on the Philadelphia defense tackle in the open field?

And it's not entirely on the defense, because the Eagles' short-yardage offense is a joke, and who knows what in the name of Wilbert Montgomery went through the mind of running back Ronnie Brown when he tried to throw that ill-advised pass as he was being wrapped up and tackled near the goal line in the third quarter? That was a Wildcat move indeed by Brown, and it ended up being ruled as a critical lost fumble.

Ashley Fox of ESPN.com identifies what she tihnks is the Eagles' biggest problem:

But no problem is bigger for the Eagles right now than this one: The players think this team is better than it is. They are all gloss, and so far little substance.

As Bill Parcells famously said, you are what your record says you are. The Eagles are 1-3. They need to accept it, deal with it, and then go out and fix it, because the problem is not going to fix itself.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com is not so sure the Eagles' problems are fixable:

The issues with this Eagles team run deep and fundamental. They don't tackle well. They don't grind out extra yards under tough circumstances. They don't beat up the other team physically. They can make big, showy plays, sure. Their quarterback and their receivers and their pass-rushers are all capable of making you hop out of your seat with excitement. But the Eagles aren't big on the kind of solid, boring football plays that win games when you stack them all on top of each other -- especially once you have a big lead.

Clark Judge of CBSSports.com places blame on the Eagles' defense:

I'm telling you, the protection of Michael Vick is not Philadelphia's biggest problem. That porous defense is. The Eagles have been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter of their last three ballgames -- all losses -- and in the second half Sunday surrendered three second-half TDs, three drives of 62 or more yards each and 289 yards. Welcome to the sauna, Juan Castillo.

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