October 10 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Things haven’t gone as planned for the Eagles or 49ers.
From Week 1, the Eagles‘ season has been marked by uncertainty. It started with the long-tutored quarterback of the future heading to the bench in favor of a new quarterback of the present, only to be recalled because of injury. This week, a starting linebacker was shelved after an ugly divisional loss. The Eagles have lurched to a 2-2 start.
The 49ers, meanwhile, expected to contend for a division title but are 0-4 and have already fired their offensive coordinator, a telltale sign of distress.
Both teams’ head coaches, Andy Reid of the Eagles and Mike Singletary of the 49ers, have taken heavy criticism during the season’s opening quarter. Both are seeking something positive to build on Sunday. One will add to the other’s troubles.
“This next game is going to be quite a challenge, going to the West Coast against a San Francisco team whose back is against the wall,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “Everybody’s backs are against the wall, really, about this time.”
The Eagles have been hampered by slow starts and penalties – two issues that reflect preparation and discipline problems and typically fall on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Adding a tanker of fuel to the fire last week was Reid’s clock-management blunder that cost the Eagles an opportunity to go for a touchdown.
The mistake added a rotten cherry on top of a dreary loss that included an injury to Michael Vick and gloating by the jettisoned Donovan McNabb.
Sunday’s game provides a chance for Reid and his team to put some distance between themselves and that much-dissected defeat. Kevin Kolb, the quarterback Reid has prepared for three years, has a chance, again, to show that he was worth the investment and brought along well.
The defense, meanwhile, will have to show it can combat running plays better than it did against the Redskins and contain another athletic tight end, Vernon Davis. Both areas have been problems early in the season.
Sunday might also be the Eagles’ last chance to take advantage of a soft opponent. After this game, the Eagles face a schedule loaded with playoff contenders, including contests against the Falcons, Titans, and Colts over the next four weeks, with a bye mixed in.”
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