Monday, August 30, 2010

Time to panic about the Eagles' offense?

Kolb was 0-7 on third down. The OL can't block anyone. Jackson's injured, Maclin's dropping passes, and red zone execution is awful. So we should be seriously worried, right?

Maybe. I don't know, look around the rest of the division. The Cowboys have looked even worse, in spite of an extra week of pre-season preparation. The Giants are listless and piling up injuries.

I might be more susceptible to panic if only the Eagles were struggling, but I find it hard to believe that all three of these teams will be lousy. Elsewhere in the NFC, the Vikings are in flux, and the Bears are stressed. Meanwhile, teams like Buffalo, Cleveland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Denver, and Detriot have shown a lot of promise.

That pretty much says it all.

History has proven over and over again that preseason team performance, even if you extrapolate the starters' performance against other starters, isn't predictive of regular season results. This should be a no-brainer, as the starters play only one full game, maybe a game-and-a-half worth of snaps in the preseason. And every year we see NFL teams - good and bad - perform much differently on a week-to-week basis. We can't accurately predict how NFL teams will finish the season after the first real game of the year, so how can we predict how they'll do after a game's worth of practice?

Sure, the Eagles will struggle at times, but we knew that before the preseason. They're one of the youngest teams in the league, trying out a new starting QB. They might have problems on the OL, especially with Jackson injured...exactly as we saw last year. But the Eagles have playmakers on both sides of the ball, and *cough* good coaching, and over the span of sixteen games, those characteristics will be worth more wins than losses. Same with the Cowboys, Giants, Vikings, and...well not the Bears, I just threw them in my example because I have Jay Cutler as my fantasy QB and he makes me nervous.

The excellent news for the Eagles is that they've survived the preseason without any injuries of note, which can't be said for the rest of their NFC East rivals.
The bottom line is this: don't read too much into the preseason. It's the only game going in the NFL right now, and we've been starved for football for so long, that we want it to be relevant...but it isn't. After the first week, half the league will be 1-0, the other half will be 0-1, and the four games before that won't mean a thing.


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