Four burning questions to ponder during Birds’ bye

McCoy is actually on pace for more carries this season than he had in 2011. 
Andy Reid just tends to give up on the run too quickly when it’s not working.

Six weeks in and what do we really know about the Eagles?

Well, we know the offense — specifically Mike Vick — can’t hold on to the football, the offensive line is a mess and the defense can’t hold a lead in the fourth quarter. After Andy Reid dropped the bombshell Tuesday by firing Juan Castillo, everyone is anxious for the next move. Since the Eagles are enjoying a bye week Sunday, let’s take a look at some burning questions:

1. Is shady getting enough touches?

LeSean McCoy, one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, has 459 yards through six games. That’s almost 110 yards off last year’s pace. Everyone wants Andy Reid to pound the franchise back into the ground, but McCoy actually has six more carries at this point in the season than he did at the same point in 2011. It’s not the number of touches, it’s when he’s getting them. Reid has a tendency to ditch the run (except for the Giants game) if it’s not working. In three wins, McCoy is averaging 22.6 carries (104.6 yards). In three losses, he’s at 14.3 (48.3).  

2. Can the defensive line get a sack?

Trent Cole and Jason Babin can complain about being chipped all they want, the cold, hard reality is they have to find a way to beat it and get to the quarterback. Great players — and great coaches — make the proper adjustment. Now it’s on new defensive signal-caller Todd Bowles to figure out a way to break his defensive line’s slump. They have gone 13 straight quarters without a sack. Maybe it’s time to activate rookie Vinny Curry, just to see if he can provide some kind of spark.

3. Will there be change at quarterback?
Changing quarterbacks mid-season, in a year that has been proclaimed Super Bowl or bust for Andy Reid, seems crazy to discuss. But Vick has been awful. He’s directly responsible for 13 of an NFL-worst 17 turnovers. Reid will live with them if the Birds are squeaking out victories, led by Vick’s late-game heroics. When that trend stops, however, he might have no choice to make a switch. Nick Foles, with his surfer-boy looks, will be like the freshman girl all the seniors want to take to prom. If Vick’s struggles continue, Week 10, at home vs. Dallas, looks like a tempting time.

4. Is there a trade in the works? center?
The decision to trade Winston Justice for a bag of peanuts doesn’t look so good now, does it? Justice was far from an All-Pro, but he was a very capable backup. With Jason Kelce out for the year, Jason Peters likely out for the year and Danny Watkins struggling, the Birds don’t have many options for the turnstile that has become an offensive line. NFL teams don’t normally make mid-season trades … however, working out a deal for an established center might band-aid a lot of problems.


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