It's time for the real Philadelphia Eagles to stand up.
The uber-talented Eagles looked like world-beaters in Week Two when they scored a 24-23 victory over a Baltimore team that could be the class of the AFC. It wasn't really that close. Philly outgained the Ravens, 486-325.
Then the Eagles went to Arizona and laid a giant egg, losing 27-6. They continue their rugged early-season schedule tonight when they host the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants.
Unemployed QB Vince Young wasn't wrong last summer when he called the Eagles a "dream team."
Their defense has elite edge rushers in Jason Babin and Trent Cole, who has the third-most sacks in the league over the past six years. The linebacking corps is anchored by two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans, signed as a free agent from Houston. The cornerback tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is among the most talented in the league.
On offense, quarterback Michael Vick has elite weapons in all-purpose back LeSean McCoy and in receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
The Eagles were fourth in the NFL in yards gained last year and eighth best in yards allowed. This year they rank fifth on both offense and defense.
Yet all those assets came undone last year, as the Eagles finished with a minus-14 turnover differential, third worst in the league. The Eagles won the turnover battle in only three games last year and haven't won it yet this season.
Vick was reborn with Andy Reid in 2010, throwing 21 TD passes and just six interceptions. A career 53.8 percent passer in Atlanta, he hit 62.6 percent that season.
Vick regressed last year, throwing 14 interceptions. Through three games this year, he already has nine turnovers, and he's completing 55.2 percent of his passes. He's missing open receivers. He's breaking the pocket too soon at times.
Now the complicating factor: Last year, Vick was pressured on 39.8 percent of his dropbacks, third most in the league, according to Sports Illustrated. This year he already has been sacked nine times. The Eagles lost left tackle Jason Peters for the season in May and lost center Jason Kelce for the season two weeks ago. Ex-Bill Demetress Bell opened training camp with the first unit then lost the left tackle job to King Dunlap. Dunlap pulled a hamstring in Week Two. Bell gave up a slew of pressures in Arizona and with Dunlap still out, now must face Jason Pierre-Paul tonight.
Reid has svengali Howard Mudd coaching the offensive line. Mudd needs to patch it together if the Eagles' whole is going to be greater than the sum of their impressive parts.
Men in Pink
Sign of the Apocalypse: The Cowboys are opening a Victoria's Secret store in the main concourse at Cowboys Stadium at 4 p.m. Monday, in time for the game against the Bears. You can be assured Ralph Wilson lost his lunch when he heard of it. Buy me some peanuts, Crackerjack and push-up bras.
Men in Black
The Jaguars' home game today against Cincinnati will be the last in which teal will serve as Jacksonville's primary jersey color. The Jags will wear black jerseys for home games starting next week. The team wore black as an alternate jersey in 2009.
Owner Shad Khan said in a statement: "After this Sunday's game, we will wear black as our primary jersey and teal will be reserved for special occasions as our alternate jersey. Teal will continue to be a part of our uniform and our logo, but on the field, our identity will grow in black jerseys."
Tom Keating, who played for two seasons with the Bills and then had a distinguished career at defensive tackle with the Oakland Raiders, died earlier this month of prostate cancer in Denver. Keating, who was 69, starred at the University of Michigan and was drafted by the Bills 34th overall, in the fifth round of the 1964 AFL draft. (Buffalo took Carl Eller in the first round and Paul Warfield in the fourth, but both signed with the NFL.) Keating saw spot duty as a reserve for the Bills, but Buffalo was loaded at defensive tackle with starters Tom Sestak and Jim Dunaway.
Five games into the '65 season, with both starting wide receivers out for the year, Coach Lou Saban was desperate for offense. He acquired receiver Bo Roberson from the Raiders for a player to be named later. It turned out to be Keating. With Keating joining Ben Davidson, Dan Birdwell and Ike Lassiter on the defensive line, Oakland was No. 1 in the AFL in defense in '66 and '67. Keating, who lined up in a four-point stance with both hands on the ground, wound up playing six seasons with the Raiders and 11 seasons overall. His good friend, the handlebar-moustached Davidson, died in July at age 72.
@Body copy rag:Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, 53, is suffering from early-stage dementia. He told a Chicago TV station this week he'd play baseball if he had his career to do over.
In an interview with Fox affiliate WFLD-TV, aired Wednesday, the 53-year-old McMahon says he knows where he's going when in an airport. But when he meets people, "I'm asking two minutes later, ‘Who was that?'
"When my friends call and leave me a message ... I'll read it and delete it before I respond and then I forget who called and left me a message," McMahon told WFLD. McMahon said he does not know if his condition is getting worse. "Other than just sitting in the house, I'm on the road doing these different events and charities, helping my buddies out," McMahon said. "When I'm home, I'm usually sitting in the back of my room just watching TV in the dark and when I come out it's to the kitchen to get something to eat."
*Kansas City suffered a big loss last week when center Rodney Hudson was lost for the year with a broken leg. He was playing well.
*Big Chargers left tackle Jared Gaither has been out since July with a bad back, his chronic problem since 2009. He started practicing this week and might get plugged into the Chargers' lineup today. They can use him. San Diego has been playing undrafted rookie Michael Harris at LT and he has given up heavy pressure.
*Washington's London Fletcher and Tampa's Ronde Barber both make their 227th consecutive starts today when the 'Skins face the Bucs. Barber on whose streak is more impressive: "I have to say doing it from his spot. I don't know how he's doing it. I saw him in the preseason right before the game. Neither one of us were playing but we had a little conversation about it. I gave him props then. Doing it as a middle linebacker 15 straight years is way more impressive than me. I've taken some hits in my day, but not nearly the type of pounding that he has over his career."
*Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie is making quick work of Al Davis draft picks. McKenzie this week cut 2011 third-round pick Joe Barksdale, a tackle who didn't fit the new zone blocking scheme. He previously cut 2011 third-rounder DeMarcus Van Dyke and 2011 fourth-rounder Chimdi Chewka. He traded tackle Bruce Campbell, a fourth-round reach in 2010, and receiver Louis Murphy, a fourth-rounder in 2009.
*Place-kickers have converted 92.4 percent of their field-goal attempts, a record through three weeks.