No defense for this ugly home opener for Birds

There two big reasons why the Eagles got blown out in their home opener yesterday against the Saints.

Neither of them is named Kevin Kolb.

Guess what? That wasn’t the Panthers the Eagles were facing yesterday.
It was the Saints, with Drew Brees at quarterback, not Jake Delhomme.

Last week we wondered if the Eagles were that good or the Panthers were that bad. We started to get some answers yesterday.

Brees dissected Sean McDermott’s guys. Speaking of the Birds’ new defensive coordinator, Week 2 of the post-Jim Johnson era did not go nearly as well as Week 1. Too bad you can’t face Delhomme every week.

The Eagles’ defense, as is now their custom, did not show up for the first drive of the game. Just as the Panthers did last week, the Saints took the opening drive and marched right down the field. Kolb was in a 7-0 before he stepped on the field for his NFL starting debut. To his credit, Kolb responded, hitting DeSean Jackson with a 77-yard strike to even the score.

That’s the last time anything about this contest was even. The Eagles defense did not put nearly enough pressure on Brees. They didn’t tackle, they didn’t cover.

Starting cornerback Sheldon Brown, maybe looking to replace the emotional entrances of the departed leader of the defense Brian Dawkins, ran onto the field during the introductions wearing a “Jason”-style mask. What unfolded was a horror for Eagles fans.

Nearly as culpable in this fiasco were the Eagles special teams, which were anything but.

In maybe the key play of the day, kick returner Will Hobbs coughed up the second half kickoff. The Saints recovered and scored. Kevin Kolb made one of his few mistakes on the next possession, tossing a pick along the sidelines, and the rout was on.

After the game, Andy Reid described the Birds’ effort as “horrendous.”

The same might be said of Reid’s constant tinkering with Wildcat formations. The Eagles ran nine of them yesterday.

Finally, there is one more final troubling aspect to come out of the game. Those who were worried about the health of Brian Westbrook had good reason to be. Westbrook was held out the entire preseason. He looked fairly pedestrian last week, and yesterday he left the game, complaining of pain in that right ankle he had surgery on in the off-season.

Reid had one thing right yesterday. It was a horrendous showing.

First and foremost by the defense, followed closely by special teams.

Don’t blame Kevin Kolb for this one. And if Donovan McNabb can’t go next week (and it might be wise for the Eagles to hold him out, then get the luxury of the Bye Week to get him healthy), look for him, not Garcia or anyone else, to be under center.

Unless, of course, Reid wants to introduce Michael Vick and another host of Wildcat formations to what will likely be a fairly impatient home crowd.

Forget the offense, Andy. And while you’re at it, forget some of these gimmick gadget plays. The problem with this team is on defense.

Better get that fixed before throwing more gas on the fire.


constant gina said…
Am I the only one counting down until Vick returns...??