Les Bowen: Further Review: With this line, can't blame Vick

Michael Vick seems to be the victim of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Stephen Tulloch in the second quarter.
Michael Vick seems to be the victim of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Stephen Tulloch in the second quarter. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 17, 2012

SOMEWHERE out there, somebody has a solid, competent offensive lineman who isn't starting. Howie Roseman's bye-week project should be to find that guy and get him here, for a draft pick or whatever.

Monday, when I started rewatching Sunday's wrenching Eagles loss to the Lions, it wasn't with the notion of defending Michael Vick. The QB keeps talking about eliminating turnovers, continues to turn the ball over. That is, to borrow Andy Reid's term from Monday, "ridiculous."

And after rewatching, I still won't defend either of Vick's interceptions. One was a prayer thrown up under intense pressure, on first down, hardly a situation that called for such a gamble, especially in the middle of a season that is being ruined by turnovers. The other was just a real bad throw; Vick said afterward a gust of wind got the ball. Maybe so.

What I saw rewatching the game, particularly the first half, was just how "pathetic" - another term from Andy on Monday - the Eagles' offensive line looked, how brutal the hits were Vick took. Maybe watching live, I've gotten so used to seeing No. blasted, it no longer registers like it should. But good lord. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday his team hit Vick 15 times. It seemed like that many times in the first half. And Vick wasn't inviting the hits by holding the ball an absurdly long time, as he often was earlier in the season.

The Eagles have scored one first-quarter touchdown this season. Reid said one of the things he will evaluate during the bye week is, "Are we giving the guys the right plays to get that done against whatever defense they're playing against?"

Nobody on this OL is having a good year. A couple of weeks ago, it made sense to keep Demetress Bell at left tackle instead of going back to King Dunlap, because Bell is the guy you signed in the offseason to play there, and it seemed maybe all Bell and sub center Dallas Reynolds needed was to settle in, gain some continuity and cohesiveness with the rest of the line. The last two games have shown no progress. If anything, teams are picking apart Bell and Reynolds on film, finding new ways to exploit them.

Maybe Vick should be thankful for the pummeling. The QB-killing play of the o-line might be the biggest thing standing in the path of a switch to rookie Nick Foles.

Developing story lines * 

On the first play after the first-half 2-minute warning, Michael Vick took an uncalled helmet-to-helmet hit from Stephen Tulloch, who was blitzing late. Jacob Lacey was flagged for pass interference on the play. It will be interesting to see if Tulloch is fined.

* It got lost in everything that happened after, but the Eagles were in big trouble before Nnamdi Asomugha smoothly intercepted that bomb to Calvin Johnson early in the second quarter. The Birds were down 6-0, Dallas Reynolds had just snapped the ball past Vick's ear, then Cedric Thornton was called for encroachment, setting up the Lions' first-and-5 at the Eagles' 38.

* The Lions often used an extra tight end, actually an offensive tackle, Riley Reiff, who played 22 snaps and helped both protection and the run game.

* Wouldn't be surprised to see the Eagles acquire a safety somehow before practice for Atlanta begins next week. They've been playing Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman every snap, keeping their fingers crossed, knowing they had only special teamers Colt Anderson and David Sims on the bench. Anderson had to play when Allen pulled a hamstring Sunday in the fourth quarter, and it wasn't pretty. Andy Reid said he thinks Allen will be back next week, but still, this is untenable. Coleman played all 78 defensive snaps and 12 special-teams snaps Sunday.

* Despite what Fox kept saying, that was not Vick's fumble, when Dallas Reynolds snapped the ball in the shotgun while Vick was looking away. It goes down to Reynolds, as it should.

* Hate to disagree with the much more learned Mike Pereira, but on the TD that was taken away from Brent Celek, I didn't see Celek do anything a tight end doesn't do on just about every play. Also, Fox never showed the view we saw on the Linc video screen, which seemed to show Celek making contact with the linebacker with the ball still in Vick's hand. Doesn't the ball have to be in the air for pass interference?

Who knew?

You could lose to a team that commits 16 penalties for 132 yards?

Obscure stat

The Eagles are outscoring opponents 35-10 in the third quarter. They are being outscored 26-7 in the first quarter.

Extra point

The Eagles started the season with this impossibly deep, imposing defensive-line corps that was going to terrorize the league. It didn't look so imposing down the stretch Sunday.

Rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was ejected for throwing a punch at the bottom of a pile following a Lions extra point with 10:30 left in regulation. Veteran Derek Landri, who frankly hasn't excelled this year, was playing with a bad knee and looked really creaky.

More under the microscope, though, are the three veteran starters who lead the group - defensive ends Trent Cole (30 years old) and Jason Babin (32), and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (31). Babin has 2 1/2 sacks this season, Cole 1 1/2, Jenkins none. Cole played 58 of the Eagles' 78 defensive snaps Sunday, Babin 56, Jenkins 55.

"The majority of the time, they were singled up," Andy Reid said Monday. "Wasn't as much double-teams or as much six-man, seven-man protections [as in Pittsburgh the previous week]."

As Comcast SportsNet.com's Reuben Frank noted, the Eagles last went three games in a row without a sack in 1983.

"I don't think they're old . . . I don't think that right now," Reid said, when asked about that possibility. "We've got to get a little better. But I don't think that's the reason, no."

Reid said activating second-round rookie defensive end Vinny Curry would be one of the things he evaluates during the bye week.

Babin laughed when the "too old" theory was floated by him Monday.

"I think if you watch the tape, it's a silly question . . . if you watch the tape, you could arguably say we're better than we were last year, minus the stats," Babin said.

Last year, Babin made the Pro Bowl with 18 sacks, Cole had 11 and Jenkins had 5 1/2.


Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|