Monday, August 21, 2006

Reid, McNabb Profess Faith In RB's and WRs

What is Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb supposed to say? They were asked on Monday about the Eagles receivers and both professed to have faith in these maligned groups.
"We're comfortable with the skill position players," McNabb said. "With the receivers, tight ends, the running backs, I think we can do some good things this year."
Again, McNabb can't be ripping his teammates, but wouldn't somebody like to give him a lie detector test? While tight end L.J. Smith and Matt Schobel are looked on as positives, the receivers as a group might be the worst in the NFL.
And if Brian Westbrook isn't healthy, the running back situation will be dire.
If the Eagles were so happy with their skill position players, why would they work out Stephen Davis, who has battled knee injuries and now old age (32). Once an all-Pro, Davis is no longer of the elite status. Whether he can squeeze another effective season remains to be seen.
The fact that the Eagles are looking for reinforcements, shows they indeed aren't satisfied with the skill players, nor should they be.
The receivers had an awful hard time getting open against the first-team Baltimore defense in Thursday's 20-10 loss to the Ravens.
Reggie Brown is the No. 1 receiver who seems more suited to be a No. 2. There really isn't a legitimate No. 2 receiver among the rest, including Todd Pinkston, who still has plenty to prove coming off last season's ruptured Achilles tendon injury.
Reid was asked if there is anything about the running back situation that made him bring Davis in.
"No necessarily," he said. "We had planned to bring him in later in training camp to take a look at him and if he was still available and just make sure we evaluated him without people and see where he is at."
Teams don't bring in 10-year NFL veterans just to evaluate them. Obviously the Eagles are concerned about their running backs, especially since Westbrook has questionable durability.
So Reid and McNabb have to keep stating the company policy, suggesting that the backs and receivers will be fine.
They can't insult their players in public, but privately, there has to be plenty of talk about upgrading both positions.

Eagles Defense Humbled Against Ravens

While the Eagles offense, or lack of it has gotten a lot of the preseason attention, the defense didn't have its finest moment in Thursday's 20-10 loss at Baltimore against the Ravens. Sure, the first-team defense only gave up 3 points in half, but that doesn't tell all the story.
While the Eagles didn't show very much and played a basic defense, they were carved up by Steve McNair, who helped Baltimore account for 192 net yards in the first half.
What was alarming was how wide open the Ravens receivers were, especially Derrick Mason, who had seven receptions for 72 yards in the first half.
The Ravens also got big plays from Musa Smith, who had a 36-yard reception and Todd Heap, who added an 18-yard reception.
The fact that Baltimore botched things up in the red zone, shouldn't take away from the fact that the Eagles defense didn't have a stellar performance.
Part of it was that McNair was the first quality quarterback the Eagles faced this preseason. And even though coordinator Jim Johnson isn't going to show his hand in an exhibition game, nobody likes to see receivers running around so freely in the secondary.
This will give the Eagles something to work on. The defense has a chance to be one of the better units in the NFC, against the Ravens, the Eagles took a minor step back and must show that it won't be as easy for receivers to get open as Baltimore made it look.