We thought we'd know more about the 2010-11 Eagles by now.
Seven weeks of an NFL season provide lots of evidence. But the clues to the Eagles' real identity have pointed in wildly different directions.
The Eagles were building for the future and learning with a new quarterback - for about a half. Then it became a win-now season with Michael Vick at the helm. With that stunning shift as a launching point, every week has contradicted what we thought we had learned before.
The Eagles have a high-scoring offense that has turned in huge plays only to sputter late against the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans.
The defense was great at attacking the quarterback but porous against the run. Then it stuffed star rushers Frank Gore, Michael Turner, and Chris Johnson but was lit up by Titans quarterback Kerry Collins and wide receiver Kenny Britt.
The Eagles struggled to put away the lousy Lions and 49ers (combined win total: two) but blew the doors off the Atlanta Falcons, who have as many wins as any team in the NFL.
Coach Andy Reid sees a youthful team that has fought through changes and injuries to claw its way to 4-3 and playoff contention. Fair points. A pessimist might fairly point to a team that has been helped by playing three last-place softies - the Lions, 49ers, and Jaguars - and has shown all the inconsistency expected of a youthful squad.
When in doubt, we can always fall back on the old adage: You are what your record says you are. The Eagles' record says they are better than .500. But barely. They are one game out of the division lead. They also are in third place if you count the head-to-head loss to Washington.
Only two NFC teams, the Falcons and New York Giants, have more victories. But six others have just as many wins as the Eagles, and two of them - the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers - have fewer losses. Yes, the NFC is weak and there for the taking. But the Eagles have not risen above the muddle.
That means they have managed this odd feat: They are simultaneously near the top of the NFC and in the middle of the pack.
About right for a season of contradictions.