An offseason full of big-name free-agent acquisitions has failed to yield early returns. You'd think this was a Red Sox article circa April 2011, but at 1-3, the early returns on the "dream team" Philadelphia Eagles are eerily similar to the "best team ever!" Boston Red Sox.
Much of the media scrutiny has been focused on Michael Vick. He caused some controversy and sent every analyst in North America into a frenzy over his comments last week, bemoaning what he considers to be flag-worthy hits he's been taking this season.
This week, there are no excuses. The Eagles have no one to blame but themselves for giving up a 23-3 third quarter lead to fall to the 49ers 24-23 at home. Now, Vick is at a loss for words.
"My feelings? Do I really have to explain that?" he said to a reporter after the loss. "Do I really have to explain how I'm feeling right now, sitting at 1-3? You want me to explain that to everybody here? It's frustrating. I don't know how I — I can't put that in words."
Philadelphia's slow start can be summed up in just two words: fourth quarter. In three losses, the Eagles have blown three fourth-quarter leads and have given up a combined 36 points in the fourth quarter. In consecutive losses to the Falcons, Giants and 49ers, they have given up leads of 10, two and 20 points respectively.
A quick breakdown of the Eagles' second-half drives explains it all: blocked field goal from the 27, punt, missed field goal from the 21, missed field goal from the 15, fumble at San Francisco's 34. Philadelphia can't finish drives, much less finish games.
Eagles fans might have choice words for their team, but most of those words could be focused at a pass defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the league on the strength of key free-agent pick-ups Jason Babin and Nnamdi Asomugha. The defense has done some damage with 15 sacks in four games, but a secondary that includes Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has given up 884 yards and 10 touchdowns through four games.
If they can't finish drives and can't finish games, could the Eagles finish outside of the playoff picture? The immediate future doesn't look promising, with the upstart Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins next on the docket. On paper, the Eagles look like they have too much talent to miss the playoffs. Red Sox fans will be the first to tell you that none of that matters.