Where the 2014 Eagles Stand After the Thanksgiving Day Massacre

eagles-13I’d like to issue a formal apology to LeSean McCoy. He has no idea who the hell I am and never will, but I feel obligated to eat a heapin’ helpin’ plate of crow for my misguided criticism of him over the last several weeks. I called him slow and hesitant. I chastised him for dancing way too much. I blasted him for going to the turf too easily. Basically, I trashed him for not being the same guy he was in 2013.

I knew the battered and bruised offensive line was a major factor in McCoy’s struggles, but that didn’t stop me from nitpicking his performances. I mean, every damn starter along the line started every damn game in 2013. Of course that’s going to maximize the running game’s production. That’s football common sense.

For Pete’s sake, the Cowboys were being lauded all season because their vastly improved offensive line was opening gaping holes for DeMarco Murray to explode through. Last week’s victim, Tennessee, can’t run the ball worth a shit because their offensive line is abysmal. Same for the Bucs and Falcons. Bottom line: the O-line matters. A lot.

I knew all this and yet I still went after Shady. Why? Because I’m a reactionary idiot, that’s why. I have no excuse, really. He was an easy target, so I pounced. Well, McCoy is now second in the league in rushing, behind only Murray, who he proudly outgained 159-73 in yesterday’s dismantling of Dallas.

McCoy has amassed 289 yards and two touchdowns in the last games. Are the Titans and ‘Boys horrible at defending the run? Yes, but that should take nothing away from Shady’s efforts. Because the Panthers suck at run defense too, but he still went for 19 pathetic yards on 12 carries back when the line was still in flux. And hey, the same five offensive linemen have started the last two games. Coincidence? I think not.

The test next Sunday against Seattle’s fifth ranked run D will be tough. So there’s a good chance Shady will struggle. If that happens, you won’t find me pointing the finger of blame. I’ve learned my lesson.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia EaglesAnd while I’m handing out mea culpas, I might as well send one in the direction of Casey Matthews. He’s already set career highs in tackles, sacks, and recorded his first forced fumble in three-plus seasons. His sack of Romo on third down early in the third quarter after McCoy coughed it up was gigundous. Does he still take the occasional bad angle? Yes. Does he still get torched in coverage from time to time? Yes. That said, for the most part, he’s been steady in relief of DeMeco Ryans.

Hell, even Mark Sanchez was competent in Big D. Andrew Gardner bailed him out on another boneheaded fumble, but Sanchez is beginning to look comfortable operating Chip’s attack. As long as he keeps the negative plays to a minimum, the offense should be fine. However, the red zone flops need to stop. I love Cody Parkey, but I’d much rather see him booting PATs than field goals.

This Eagles team still has work to do. The next two games will go a long way in deciding where they will be at season’s end. So far, so good.

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