What they're saying about the Eagles
Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles as they prepare for Sunday's matchup against the Packers.
What they're saying about the Eagles
Since it's playoff week, I'm going to try something new with the What they're saying piece.
Instead of rounding up all the links later in the week, I'll try to do a nightly links post leading up to Sunday.
Here's the first roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:
SI.com's Peter King expects Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to be a candidate for the Cleveland Browns head-coaching job:
I expect Holmgren to strongly consider Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as the next coach. Holmgren, as a high school head coach 30 years ago, coached quarterback Mornhinweg at a San Jose school. John Fox is also interested, a friend of Holmgren's, and may have the man to coordinate the West Coast offense the way Holmgren wants it in Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. I think Fox could bring McCoy with him.
ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha tries to answer the question: Will Michael Vick be contained in the playoffs?
Don't be discouraged by Vick's disappointing effort in a loss to Minnesota in Week 16. He's coming off a rest during Week 17, and his bruised quad should be in better shape by the time the Eagles welcome Green Bay on Jan. 9. What can't be overlooked is Vick's motivation. Now that he has taken his game to a different level, it's time for him to prove that he can lead the Eagles to heights he never found in Atlanta. With weapons like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy surrounding him on offense, Vick has his best shot ever at winning a title.
Chadiha calls LeSean McCoy the biggest offensive X-factor in the NFC, and he predicts the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl:
The Eagles have been scary since Vick became their starter, and they could be even better once the postseason begins (as long as he stays healthy). Head coach Andy Reid -- who knows a thing or two about coaching at this time of year -- has done his finest job with a squad that nobody saw reaching these heights so quickly. At this point, we'll say Vick leads the Eagles into Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game. When he leaves that town again, he'll have added one more chapter to what already has been a storybook season.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com thinks Eagles-Packers could be a shootout:
This is a rematch of a game played in Week 1 that the Packers won. But the Eagles are a far different team since then when Mike Vick was on the bench watching Kevin Kolb. Now the Philadelphia offense is all about Vick. He has struggled some against the blitz, which is not a good thing against the Packers. Vick against Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be battle to watch. The Eagles led the conference in scoring offense, while the Packers were tops in scoring defense. That means it could come down to the Packers offense against the Eagles defense. The Packers sometimes have an explosive offense that can score quickly. The Eagles have some issues defending the pass, which might show up here. They are young in the back end. Aaron Rodgers could have a big day. This might be a shootout.
King has the Eagles eighth in his Fine Fifteen:
Interesting nugget on the Sal Paolantonio/Ron Jaworski/Merrill Hoge NFL Matchup show Sunday morning that says much about the Eagles' playoff chances: Mike Vick, through 15 games, led all NFC quarterbacks taking sacks in the shotgun formation, with 20. We all saw the Minnesota game Tuesday night. Leslie Frazier had a brilliant game plan, rushing corners and safeties from all over the map; the biggest play of the game was a strip-sack by Antoine Winfield on a corner blitz, which Winfield returned for a touchdown.
Hoge's point was a valid one: Winfield was the rusher the blocking scheme didn't account for. There are those kinds of rushers that come on many pass plays, and those are the plays Vick is struggling to master. That's what you should expect to see out of Green Bay in the playoffs. And Vick, and the Eagles, had better get better at recognizing and evading the outside secondary blitzers. "If they can't handle it, they'll be one and done,'' Hoge said. Excellent, prescient analysis.
And King has Vick fourth in his MVP race behind Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Troy Polamalu.
A stunning presence, a threat unlike any other in the NFL, and one of the great comebacks in the history of the league. So you think this is too low? Several reasons. He missed five starts and 21 of the Eagles' 64 quarters overall. The Eagles won the same number of games as they won a year ago. And one of the signature wins of the season, 31-17 over Atlanta, was quarterbacked by Kevin Kolb. The name of the award is most valuable player, not most exciting player or best story of the year.
Michael Lombardi of NFL.com names the Packers as his most dangerous team:
Every year there is usually one playoff team that is feared. The makeup of those teams is always the same -- a great quarterback combined with a defense that plays well in front and can create turnovers. The Cardinals and Giants reached recent Super Bowls with this formula; this year it is the Packers. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and a talented group of receivers to go along with the right combination of speed and pass-rushing ability on defense, no one wants to play the Packers, who are Super Bowl contenders.
Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports says the Eagles' defense could prevent the Birds from reaching the Super Bowl:
Philadelphia’s defense isn’t very good. Throwing out the meaningless season finale against Dallas, the Eagles’ D has allowed at least 17 points in 12 consecutive games, and have allowed at least 20 points in nine of those games. In fact, the Eagles had only one game (again, the Dallas loss aside) where they allowed fewer than 17 points. If the Eagles don’t get early leads, they are going to have serious problems.
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