PHILADELPHIA — Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha won’t be surprised if he hears some boos from the fans at Lincoln Financial Field tonight.
If he were sitting in the stands instead of playing against Carolina, he’d be tempted to do the same thing.
“If a fan has an issue with that, I can’t say that’s wrong or anything like that,” Asomugha said. “I can look back to being a fan and being upset (that) things didn’t work out, so I can’t now be the guy that looks up at (the fans) and says, ‘You can’t be upset that we haven’t won and I haven’t been, you know, Superman on the field,’ even though that’s been expected of me.”
Asomugha and the rest of the Eagles have fallen well short of expectations this season. A six-game losing streak has left them in last place in the NFC East at 3-7.
They have given little indication that such a rally is possible. Since a 26-23 overtime loss to Detroit on Oct. 14, the Eagles have lost four in a row by at least 13 points.
Each game has been worse than the previous one. They were awful in a 31-6 defeat at Washington eight days ago. Because of the struggles, there figure to be a lot of empty seats at the Linc against the Panthers (2-8). The loyal fans who do show up don’t figure to have much patience.
“We just have to go play and make positive plays,” coach Andy Reid said. “Fans like that. That’s what they want to see. I’ve always said they’re on the same page with us. When we’re stinking it up, they understand that and when we’re doing well, they understand that, too. There’s no hidden agenda there. All I can say is we’re going to do our best to give our fans a good show.”
The Eagles have yet to play a complete game this season. A talent-laden offense has yet to score more than 24 points in a game and has been held under 20 in seven of 10 games.
Injuries have hurt. Quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy, who will both miss tonight’s game with concussions, are among six offensive starters to miss at least one game because of injury since the start of the regular season, following tackles King Dunlap and Todd Herremans, center Jason Kelce and guard Danny Watkins. Their best offensive player, tackle Jason Peters, has yet to play this season after suffering a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the offseason.
But there has also been a glaring lack of production. Vick committed 14 turnovers before getting hurt against Dallas. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles has three in six-plus quarters. Tight end Brent Celek has more dropped passes than touchdown receptions. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin combined for two catches for 5 yards (both by Jackson) against the Redskins.
“We just have to remain positive,” Maclin said. “I know it’s hard to do when we’re 3-7, but we have to keep trying everything we can to get back on the right track. We’ve got to get a win and I don’t care how we do it. I don’t care if we win 3-2. We just need one. It seems like it’s been forever.”
How long has it been? So long that the Phillies actually have a more recent win than the Eagles.
The Eagles last celebrated a victory on Sept. 30, when they retired safety Brian Dawkins’ jersey and beat the New York Giants 19-17 to improve to 3-1. The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Oct. 1.
“It’s disappointing because we got off to such a good start,” Celek said. “Right now, we’re pretty close to the bottom and we have to start moving up. This is the week where it has to happen for us. It’s time. This city deserves a win (tonight) and we want to give it to them. If we are ever going to turn it around, it has to start now.”
Asomugha part of problem
A better defensive effort would help.
Since defensive coordinator Todd Bowles took over for Juan Castillo, the unit has surrendered 113 points in four games — Dallas scored two defensive touchdowns — in setbacks to Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas and Washington.
No one has epitomized the Eagles’ failures more than Asomugha.
When the Eagles signed him before last season to a five-year, $60 million contract with $25 million in guarantees, everyone lauded it as a fantastic acquisition. Asomugha was regarded as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks during his eight seasons with Oakland. Although he only had 15 interceptions, most of the time it was because quarterbacks rarely threw in his direction.
He’s been challenged frequently the last two seasons and hasn’t fared well.
“(The criticism) is just,” Asomugha said. “My expectations for myself are always going to be high and obviously (his performance) hasn’t been as good as I wanted it to be. Not even close. That part has been difficult, but I still keep that faith and still believe at some point things will turn around because that’s always been my mindset.”
If things don’t turn around, Reid will be gone.
Although he enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in his first 10 seasons — five NFC championship game appearances, a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2004 season — the last few have been disappointing. The Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and missed the playoffs last season with an 8-8 record. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie already has said he would not tolerate another mediocre record.
If they get off to a slow start against the Panthers, there will be more than a few “Andy must go!” chants to go with the boos.
“Honestly, it could get a little hostile,” Celek said. “The fans may get rowdy. But we can’t worry about that. We have to play for each other. This has been a tough season, but there are tough times in life. It’s how you respond in those tough moments that determine what kind of person you are.”
Contact David Weinberg: