As the Eagles enter the stretch run in a still wide-open NFC, two questions loom over any Super Bowl dreams: Can Michael Vick survive? And does Sean McDermott have another big fix?
Andy Reid's post-Texans press conference, mostly devoted to warm thoughts about a bounce-back win, pointed to both issues.
Reid pointedly questioned whether Vick is getting less protection from officials than other top QBs. His turn to the refs hints that Reid has little hope that his porous offensive line will suddenly get fixed in the season's final quarter. The rest is up to luck and Vick's pain tolerance.
The defense might still evolve. The Eagles are giving up touchdowns on 78.8 percent of opponents' red zone possessions. That's worst in the NFL and a major flaw, despite proficiency in other areas. But McDermott has solved problems before. Porous run defense? Repaired. Aerial outburst by the Titans? Followed by shutdowns of Peyton and Eli Manning.
Now McDermott faces another question. The Eagles' hopes may hinge on his latest answer.
- Jonathan Tamari
Right up there with the Lincoln-Douglas debates was the great Eagles' locker-room debate of Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010.
The topic: Who would win a 20-yard dash between LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson if the running back were given a 3-yard head start?
Each case was made in a civil manner. McCoy declared that his deceptive speed would fool the quicker Jackson into coasting, and if the receiver happened to catch up, then a simple nudge to the shoulder would knock the featherweight to the ground.
At the adjoining locker, Jason Avant explained to Jackson that the laws of physics - force equals mass plus acceleration, or something like that - prevented him from winning in a short footrace.
But Jackson countered with his own Cartesian decree: I am fast, therefore I win.
It was a rhetorical debate, much like the conundrum: "Who would win a fight between a bear and shark in four feet of water?"
But dangle a new contract in front of Jackson, however, and the winner would be clear.