Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent questions about their team and the upcoming game. Today’s Q&A comes from outside the FanSided Network and comes courtesy of Mike Burke from BirdsFan.com, and he provides some insight into the Philadelphia Eagles. He also discusses matchups to watch during the game Sunday and offers a prediction on the outcome.
Here’s our Q&A…
1. While most fans outside of Philly didn’t expect to see a “Dream Team” with the Eagles, they did expect to see a team with a record better than 4-6. What has been the Eagles’ biggest issue this season?
It honestly can’t be pinpointed on just one thing. However, there are a clear number of things that have hurt them.
One of the biggest has been the coaching. Andy Reid is notorious for the quote “I have to put my players in a better position to make plays.” He’ll say this about 100 times per season. This is something that he and his staff have failed to do consistently this year.
They brought in some pretty big names on defense, but they failed to utilize them to the best of their abilities. Juan Castillo is a big piece of this. That has been an experiment that has definitely failed.
You can’t put it all on the coaches though. The players have to take a lot of blame as well. They’ve taken the lead into the fourth quarter in eight out of ten games this season but only have four wins. A lot of this is simply because they failed to make standard plays. In times when players just needed to make easy plays, not great plays, they failed to do so.
2. Vince Young was able to lead the Eagles to a victory over the Giants on Sunday. Is there a QB controversy in Philly?
Absolutely not. Sure, you have to give credit to Vince Young for getting the win, because that’s the only thing that counts in the end. However, he didn’t play all that great overall.
Michael Vick hasn’t been superb this season either, but as I mentioned earlier, they have failed to finish a lot of games. Some of this can be blamed on the offense, but the defense has really struggled in the fourth quarter, taking wins away from Vick.
3. Most fans in New England have memories of Asante Samuel making big plays and didn’t want to see the corner leave. With trade rumors floating around earlier in the season, why hasn’t it worked out in Philadelphia?
I don’t think it was anything against Asante. It was more about having an abundance of talent at the position and deciding who to move in terms of business sense. The Eagles felt good with DRC and Asante, but you’re not going to pass on a player like Nnamdi Asomugha if you can get him.
They also have Joselio Hanson who is a very underrated slot corner. Asante has a large contract and the Eagles shopped him to see if they could improve their team overall. At the end of the day, it has to be hard for any player to have those types of rumors flying around. However, I do believe the fact that there were no hard feelings.
4. Prediction: Is Andy Reid still the coach of the Eagles next season?
Unfortunately, what I want and what I think will happen are different here. I think Reid needs to go. He’s had plenty of opportunities here in Philadelphia and has had success. However, he was never able to get over the final hurdle and I think it’s time for some new blood. I appreciate all the success he has brought to the city, but I’m ready for a change.
However, I think the Eagles will end up doing just enough this season for the front office to retain him.
5. What scares you the most about the Patriots’ offense?
The Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski connection. The Tom Brady part of the equation is pretty easy. I hate his guts, but there’s no denying that he’s one of the greatest to ever play the position.
Gronk is a monster meathead and I love it. However, I don’t think I’m going to love what he does against the Eagles. I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles use Nnamdi Asomugha on him a lot on Sunday. He’s been a huge target for Brady and I don’t think the Eagles can completely stop him. I’m just hoping they can stop him from having a monster day.
6. Where do you see the Eagles having a big advantage over the Patriots?
The Eagles run game. LeSean McCoy has been an absolute monster this season. It’s so ironic that as Eagles fans, we constantly complain about the Eagles commitment to the run game. However, they have the NFL’s leading rusher in McCoy.
At this point, you could ask me that question where you fill in the Patriots for any other team in the league and I’ll give you the same answer. As long as the Eagles give him his touches, McCoy will put up numbers.
The Patriots run defense ranks pretty much in the middle of the pack, but I think McCoy and the Eagles have the ability to make them look like they have the worst run defense in the league.
7. Game prediction?
Even coming off a win against the Giants, I have zero confidence in this team. I think the Patriots will take this one 34 – 24.