Week 14: Philadelphia Eagles At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QuarterbackNick Foles is struggling badly for the Eagles and it’s unlikely he is the long-term answer for the Eagles. He’s definitely not the short-term answer. Foles has been playing since Michael Vick suffered a concussion and it’s likely he will play in this game as well. Foles has a tough time reading defenses and does not always the ball accurately.Josh Freeman is having a solid season and his confidence has improved dramatically under first-year head coach Greg Schiano. Freeman has size, athletic ability and physical strength. He also has a big arm and when he feels comfortable in the pocket, he is quite accurate. Freeman has shown quite a bit of improvement this season.
- OffenseThe Eagles have not been able to establish any consistency on offense no matter who plays quarterback. Much of that is due to the horrendous play by the Philadelphia offensive line. Bryce Brown is a tough and enthusiastic running back who has made a contribution with LeSean McCoy (concussion) sidelined, but ball security is an issue. Tight end Brent Celek will catch nearly anything he can get his hands on.Schiano has built a credible offense and much of that is the result of the hard running of Doug Martin. Vincent Jackson is one of the best big-play receivers in the league. Jackson has size, strength and long arms. When he senses he has the defensive back at a disadvantage, the Bucs will look to him for explosive plays. Mike Williams is also one of Freeman’s top receivers.
- DefenseThe Eagles have been getting blitzed badly on the defensive side of the ball. One of the biggest problems the Eagles have had is the lack of a pass rush and they cut pass rusher Jason Babin prior to their Week 13 game against the Cowboys. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans is a solid tackler and a good-effort player and so is free safety Kurt Coleman.The Bucs give up a lot of yards through the air. The Bucs rank 30th in yards allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed. While they are at the top of the charts in rushing yards allowed, much of that is due to the fact that opponents will simply attack through the air. The Bucs’ secondary is not fast enough and their coverage technique is weak.
- Special TeamsIn addition to all their other problems, the Eagles have not been beaten badly in punt- and kickoff-return differential. Alex Henery is a decent placekicker, but the Eagles have often trailed by multiple touchdowns so field goals don’t always come into play.The Bucs also struggle on their coverage teams. Michael Koenen is a decent punter and he is averaging nearly 45.0 yards per punt, but the Bucs don’t get downfield quickly enough to corral punt returners. Connor Barth has been solid as a field goal kicker, but he does not rank with the best players at his position.
The Bucs are not yet a finished product, but the Bucs have an explosive offense and they are moving in the right direction. The Eagles appear to be in the final days of their run under Andy Reid. They have a slew of problems and a 60-minute effort does not seem likely in this game.
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