The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense was terrible this season.
No wonder head coach Andy Reid, who is considered an offensive genius, was fired earlier this week. The unit struggled to reach the end zone all season. The Eagles scored just 280 points, their lowest total since they had 272 in Reid’s first season in 1999. Their 29 offensive touchdowns also were the fewest since they had 23 in ’99. A year after scoring 20 points or more in 12 games, they hit that mark just seven times.
Turnovers were also a problem, the Eagles committed 37 (15 interceptions, 22 lost fumbles) this season, one shy of last year’s total.
Quarterback Michael Vick was responsible for 15 of them with 10 interceptions and five fumbles. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles threw five interceptions and lost three fumbles.
Injuries played a major role in the troubles. Left guard Evan Mathis was the only Eagles offensive player to start all 16 games. Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters (ruptured Achilles’ tendon) missed the entire season. Center Jason Kelce (torn knee ligaments) was sidelined for the final 14 games. Tackle Todd Herremans (dislocated foot), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (broken ribs), running back LeSean McCoy (concussion) and Vick (concussion) all missed significant time.
Vick was a major disappointment.
The Eagles were expecting him to bounce back after a disappointing performance in 2011, but he continued to struggle before missing six games with a concussion.
Vick completed 204-of-351 passes (58.1 percent) for 2,362 yards with 12 TD passes against 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 332 yards and one TD with five fumbles.
Once again, his durablity was a problem. He was sidelined for five games after suffering a concussion against Dallas on Nov. 11 and was deactivated for another game before taking over for Foles in the season finale against the New York Giants.
Foles, a third-round draft pick, showed signs of potential but also was inconsistent before breaking a bone in his right hand that caused him to miss the Giants game. He completed 161-of-265 passes (60.8 percent) for 1,699 yards with six TD passes and five interceptions and rushed for 42 yards and a TD. Trent Edwards completed his only two passes of the season against the Giants.
Foles set team rookie records for most pass attempts, completions and passing yards.
The team faces an uncertain future at quarterback. Vick, who is scheduled to make $15.5 million in 2013, likely will be cut. Foles’ future depends on who the Eagles hire as their new head coach.
A concussion suffered against Washington on Nov. 18 prevented McCoy from making a bid for a second straight Pro Bowl. Because he missed four games, he ran for 840 yards — 500 less than last season — on 200 attempts. He caught 54 passes for 373 yards and scored only five total TDs a year after leading the league with 20.
When McCoy was out, rookie Bryce Brown stepped up. The seventh-round draft pick ran for 564 yards and a team-high four TDs on 115 carries (4.9 yards per carry). But Brown had problems holding onto the football, losing three fumbles. Dion Lewis fell out of favor early in the season and was a non-factor. Rookie Chris Polk was hampered by a toe injury for most of the season.
At fullback, Stanley Havili got off to a good start, but didn’t play much of a role over the second half of the season.
If they can stay healthy, McCoy and Brown should form a solid one-two punch next season.
Wide receiver/tight end
Jeremy Maclin was the team’s most productive receiver. He led the team in receptions for the second straight year, catching 69 passes for 857 yards and also led the team with seven receiving touchdowns. He became the eighth player in NFL history to amass at least 55 receptions and 750 yards in each of his first four seasons. But there were times when he seemed to disappear from the offense.
Jackson was on track to enjoy a solid season before getting hurt against Carolina and missing the last five games. He caught 45 passes for 700 yards and two TDs. He wasn’t as much of a deep threat as in past seasons, however, and returned just one punt all season.
Jason Avant caught a career-high 53 passes. Riley Cooper bounced back from a broken collarbone suffered in the preseason to grab a career-high 23 passes and a TD. Rookie Damaris Johnson added 19 catches.
Tight end Brent Celek snared 57 passes for 684 yards and a TD but was plagued by some dropped passes in crucial situations. Clay Harbor had 25 catches before missing the final game with a lower back injury.
The entire crew should be back next season, but the Eagles are expected to pursue a wide receiver in the draft or via free agency.
This group was a disaster, mainly because of injuries.
Without Peters, the Eagles lacked an anchor at left tackle. Demetress Bell was signed to replace him and was soon benched. King Dunlap finished the season there but also was terrible. Dallas Reynolds was OK as Kelce’s replacement, considering he had never played an NFL regular-season game until the third week of this season. Rookie Dennis Kelly showed promise at right tackle upon replacing Herremans. Danny Watkins, the Eagles’ 2011 first-round draft pick, was initially sidelined by an ankle injury but was unable to regain his starting job after the team signed veteran free agent Jake Scott.
The lack of chemistry hurt. They allowed 48 sacks this season after giving up just 32 in 2011.
Offensive-line coach Howard Mudd is retiring, so it will be interesting to see how this group responds to a new system. Peters and Kelce should be fully recovered from their injuries to return next season. Bell likely will be cut and Dunlap, who is a free agent, won’t be re-signed. Scott may return, though the Eagles are not yet ready to give up on Watkins.
(Tomorrow: defense, special teams and coaching)
MVP: Guard Evan Mathis
Biggest surprise: Running back Bryce Brown
Unsung hero: Wide receiver Jason Avant
Biggest disappointment: Guard Danny Watkins
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