Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It's something I cannot quite put my finger on...Its not just lack of confidence (that's an understatement) or lack of talent (although the erosion of talent at LB has reached the appalling stage) or lack of effort (when lineman cannot shed block ALL-NIGHT, I can only attribute that to not trying hard enough...getting pancaked or being out of position happens to everyone a few times each game (though with good defenses its usually only 1 dude, so it doesn't hurt as much))
The monumental collapse of the run defense (and thusly the whole defense) seems predicated on the near perfect alignment of all these negative factors, including a laissez faire attitude towards run defense....for instance
- You know, even when the Eagles we kicking ass, their run D was pretty soft...sure we had some good games, but as a general rule, good teams could run the ball on us. Bowen writes: "Watching the Colts' defense was a déjÀ-vu experience. Knowing their offense was going to score more than three dozen points while making it look easy, the Colts didn't sweat stopping Brian Westbrook." Its true, the Eagles D used to have (I hope they still to cling to the illusion) this imaginary mark of 17 pts....hold the opposition under 17 and you win (or so it was told) So when the Eagles offense was racking up points...it helped disguise a defensive weakness, no without an offense to stake us to big leads...you can bank on opposing teams testing the run early and often, because until the D mans-up to stop it, running on the Eagles is the new-old formula to breaking down the Birds..
- Do we have the personnel anymore to make Jim Johnson's schemes work? I dunno, doesn't seem like it...Lots of folks bashed the D-Line (and deservedly so) but this team has made it work before, this season in fact....both Tiki and Frank Gore were held in check....last year, basically the same group shut down LT...but it comes and goes spurts....and this latest spurt of bad and turned into a gusher....My beef is with how JJ is using his vaunted "rotation"....most of our DTs are "under-sized" (USC buds LaJuan Ramsey and Mike Patterson, both of whom I like, are listed at 290, Walker is right there too--I don't think he motors around like he used to). Rayburn plays lighter than his listed 303. Bunkley has decent size (306) but cannot seem to please the coaches enough to get on the field. (I heard one rumor that this was because he was too big for JJ's tastes)...
Now look, "undersize" Lineman are fine, when you have them coming off the edge, but when you gotta be tough in the middle and you play a 4-3, you cannot afford to start two smallish DTs and two speed rushing DEs....That is NOT what makes your D effective....We've a hard-nosed MLB in Jeremiah Trotter, but he needs to able to run free and slash to the ball-carrying....With Hollis Thomas gone, we don't have ANYONE who consistently occupies two offensive lineman...other teams simply draw up one-on-one blocking schemes and execute....and what you see it lineman and TEs snuffing out DEs and LBs on the edge, or simply pushing out of their lanes to allow to huge cutback holes....ITS PATHETIC....Jon Runyan explains here the danger of having a smallish D-line, and how it requires near perfect execution.
You cannot field a team of relative munchkins in this league and expect not to get beat up...yet the Eagles braintrust seems dead set on proving all of us "non-football" types wrongs...What do we know? Sitting in our laz-e-boys or playing football on Saturday afternoons...we know one thing, we the other team shows up with a bigger crew (especially when they got than one hard-core gym-rat who's like 230 and makes you wish you'd spend the past year in the gym), its going to be a long, bruising afternoon.
Can this team fix it? Being the eternal optimist when to comes to my Eagles, I want to say YES, YES They CAN!...show some heart, some toughness, some moxie...show SOMETHING so us fans can take heart and start cheering again....but this philosophy of speed or size is really haunting this team right now....how about a new philosophy...how about speed AND size....
Monday, November 27, 2006
I pulled this from the MMQB, two GYNts make King's hall of shame...
Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, New York Giants. In one of the dumbest and most inexcusable plays in NFL history -- and one which will take its place alongside the Joe Pisarcik fumble in 1978 in dubious Giants' lore --...with 2:40 left in the Titans-Giants game. On fourth-and-10 from the Tennessee 24 and the Giants up 21-14, all New York had to do was stop the Titans from converting to clinch the game. From the shotgun, Young was looking for a receiving target when Kiwanuka, the rookie defensive end from Boston College, wrapped Young up by the mid-torso and began to drive him to the turf for a game-clinching sack. BUT THEN HE STOPPED DRIVING YOUNG BACK AND SIMPLY LET HIM GO, TO THE GASPING SHOCK OF EVERYONE IN THE STADIUM. (bolded by me) And Young ran for 19, and then led Tennessee to a tying touchdown with 49 seconds left.
Second there is ...Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants...We pick up from the tying Tennessee touchdown, with the entire Giants' sideline in stunned disbelief. Manning, playing the shakiest football of his three-year career, faded back with 32 seconds left and threw an interception right into the hands of Titans cornerback Pacman Jones. What's the one thing a quarterback can't do in this situation? Throw an interception in his own territory, of course. Jones picked it at the Giants' 49 and Vince Young completed two passes to get in Rob Bironas' field-goal range. Bironas' 49-yarder with 11 seconds left handed the Giants a ridiculous defeat.
I'm sorry but that is season crushing defeat....and we Eagles fans should know, we've already suffered through two of them....
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I mean, Westbrook goes over 150 total yards...Garcia is super-efficient and does not make mistakes (no that late fumble was neither his fault, or a game-altering play)....and yet we still get let down somewhere....this D is HORRENDOUS...
I think I can hear the calls for Jim Johnson's head already...but to be honest, he's not the one overpursuing the stretch runs...he's not missing tackles at the line of scrimmage...he's not the one that looked velcro'd to the offensive lineman he's supposed to beat....THIS WAS a mano-a-mano blocking scheme that gobbled up the lineman and linebackers...Addai could've busted some break dancing moves on some of those runs...Hell, Addai could've done the "robot" on his way into the endzone on a couple of those plays....
And for all the illusion of the 45-21 final score, had the Eagles not blown that FG, it would've been 31-24 with 10+ minutes left in the game....no don't get me wrong...the way the D played it wouldn't have made one lick of difference....
But here the great thing about what ifs: IF you factor is the retarded WR pass that essentially gave the ball right back to a red-hot Colts offense early in the 2nd qtr....perhaps the Eagles do not allow 24 points in the first half....21 perhaps not certainly not 24....what could've happened had the game been a little tighter? Who knows. Honestly I think it would've been just another soul-crushing parade of missed tackles as the Eagles played the 2006 version of the ole defense.
Now for the but part....I think our D would play better if we fielded Zaar and DJ, my two miniature dachshunds....cause at least they might underfoot and trip up Addai (to say nothing of being quick and so low they'd be hard to block)...
Would this be a fiercer LB for the Eagles?
PROS: Small and Quick (just like our LBs), built low to the ground he'd be hard for lineman to block or pick-up in traffic, follows directions pretty well, would bring a cute, aw shucks, factor to the D (I mean who would want to trample a weiner dog?); save cap space, would work for scraps
CONS: no opposable thumbs means he could only arm tackle, but how is that any different from what we've seen already; might poop on field...
I would happily coach him from the sidelines, maybe I should give Jim Johnson a call....
Saturday, November 25, 2006
First a disclaimer: I've despised Michael Irvin since he was an obnoxious, arrogant player for the team I hate the most, the Dallas Cowboys. So I am not inclined to cut the man any slack. My objective question: how is that ANY different or any LESS insensitive a racial remark than what others have made (and been absolutely grilled over).
ROMO-GATE GAINING MOMENTUM
Although we initially believed that the Thanksgiving holiday might take some steam out of the storm that has developed regarding the Jimmy "The Greek"-style comments of ESPN's Michael Irvin, several publications have kept the story alive. The exceptional Thursday performance of the object of the remarks, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, could give the story legs heading into the weekend.
On Monday, Irvin explained on ESPN Radio's The Dan Patrick Show that Romo's supreme athletic skills could be due to a dalliance in days gone by between one of Romo's female ancestors and a slave. To his credit, Patrick quickly challenged Irvin, saying, “Oh, that's the only way he can be a great athlete?”
Irvin could have pulled the escape hatch here, but instead he continued: “That's not the only way, but it's certainly one way. If great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn (and said), 'Come on in here for a second,' you know, and they go out and work in the yard. You know, back in the day.”
The remarks initially went unnoticed, but by Wednesday several commentators (including Mike Freeman of CBSSportsline.com and Jason Whitlock of AOL) and web sites were shining a spotlight on the situation. Says Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star: "Joke or not, by my count, that's offensive to blacks, whites, grandmothers and humanity in general."
Friday, November 24, 2006
I will not visit the Hall of Fame until he is removed, and if the NFL doesn't possess the dignity to do it, then I will not be visiting (not matter how much I'd like to visit).
Ok so just to be clear, that guarantees NOTHING, but it is at least one minor reason for hope...One other thing...I hope that the Eagles coaches will finally realize that they must have BALANCE offensively for this team to have a chance as the season goes on. In 2002, Andy Reid understood this, and he had Duce Staley on whom to lean. It was our running game and staunch D that saved that season (we went 12-4). With 5 out, this team will either collapse altogether without its season-long crutch or remember how to play TEAM football. That means, BLOCKING, CATCHING and TACKLING, fellas!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
AR said as much "I brought Jeff in there for this situation, for this reason right here." We all knew that, even after they scooped up A.J. shortly before the start of the season. Admittedly, Garcia is the option that leaves AR with other options down the line. A.J. is the big gamble: could we recapture that 2002 magic and have lightning strike twice for the same team....Well, AR still has that wildcard in the hip pocket, and by starting Garcia, Reid keeps a certain amount of QB integrity on the team. Like I said, I prefer A.J. (based primarily on the lackluster response the team showed towards Garcia with the game against the Titans still up for grabs)....however, if Reid had bypassed Garcia (in effect, scuttling his own depth chart) there is NO WAY could legitimately go to Jeff (and expect the team to accept it) should A.J. fall flat.
He's got a veteran QB, who's lead playoff teams. It may not be the move I would've made, but I can understand why he did it. For all our sakes' I hope it works out.
Monday, November 20, 2006
As for the Season...they are 5-5 after 10 games, and to be brutally honest, they deserve to be exactly where they are at. Good teams do not give up the type of plays that the Eagles have this year. They make more plays, don't routinely get hammered on special teams, and they don't revert back to pass-wackiness a game after running the ball effectively (and actually winning a game by doing it...
One of the posters on the Philly.com chat made an interesting observation: the Eagles have lost to three teams starting young or relatively inexperience QBs...The Bucs with rookie Gratkowski, the Jaguars with David Garrard, and now the Titans with Vince Young....In NONE of those game did the QB do anything more impressive than HAND THE FRACKIN' BALL to his running back and make about 2 or 3 scrambles and 2 or 3 passes in each game to keep the chains moving (which speaks our defense's disheartening inability to get off the field in key situations).
Where is the vaunted, fly-to-the-ball, turnover-causing, hard-hitting defense that we'd come to know and love. Has the game caught up to Jim Johnson's defensive schemes? How in the ever-loving FUCK can we lose to rookie QBs. Isn't our defense supposed to confuse the hell out them? Aren't we supposed to have this master blitz scheme to nail unsure QBs? Not getting to a mobile vet like Drew Brees all that much because Sean Payton implements a short-passing game plan is one thing...losing contain on a rookie QB who's primarily a running threat and doesn't look like he can scan the field all that well is inexcusable.
Yet the formula for beating the Eagles is surprisingly simple, and we've seen it repeated all too often of late, no matter how inexperienced or wet behind the ears the opposing QB. It goes something like this: run the ball a lot (knowing that eventually the Eagles will forget how to tackle) and call plenty of short passes to negate the Eagles pass rush. This formula seem overly simplistic but what it is aimed primarily to NOT ASK the QB to win the game. Piss-poor opposing teams (like the Bucs and Titans), armed with greenhorn QBs should not be able to dictate the style of play to us. As you know, for the most part our D did pretty well in each game, the Bucs won because Donovan gift wrapped not one but TWO TD to Ronde Barber, but they couldn't make the key plays necessarily to FORCE opposing team to abandon their conservative strategies. Part of that is slow starts by the offense (no need to take risks when the game is tight) but also this defense, for whatever reason, routinely gives up big third down conversions (Vince Young on the first drive of the game, Bruce G. on the last drive to set up the miracle FG).
I cannot remember a season in which I had so little faith in the Eagles D to close out an opponent. I fear that this is only going to get worse as the season reaches it toughest point. We'll face a couple of good veteran QB in the next two weeks: Peyton Manning and Jake Delhomme. The defense needs to snap out of it and start kicking some tail. I mean, we survived the 2002 AJ experiment primarily because the defense rose to the occasion. (we manhandled Kurt Warner and the Rams that year, winning 10-3, keyed by a Bobby Taylor INT return for a TD.
(don't get me started on INTs...evidently we blew not one but TWO potential INT TDs yesterday...another reason why we are getting beat by shlubs...we're not making them PAY for the mistakes that they DO make)
Sunday, November 19, 2006
First the objective analysis part of the rant:
- This is the exact sort of nightmare scenario that prompted the Eagles go out and signed Jeff Garcia after last year's Mike McMahon debacle. The man's got a good resume for a back-up and when/if he gets his timing down with the wide receivers, he could prove to be very effective.
- The Eagles also scooped up former rescue-the-season QB A.J. Feeley just before the season started when the Chargers made him available. OK so you already knew that, and I suspect you also know that its that signing that made Andy Reid hesitate during the post-game press conference when asked who his starting QB is going to be.
- The team did not respond all that impressively to Garcia...by my audio count (listening to Merrill Reese) Garcia had no fewer than 6 dropped passes in his first 15 attempts...so instead of starting off hot (he woulda been 12/15 and maybe have had a scoring drive before the 4th qtr) he started off tepid and the team wallowed with him under center. Part of it is execution. We Eagles fans have seen situation before (the team's response to Koy and A.J. in 2002 being the most remarkable) when the Eagles step-it-up in response to their leader going down. Today, no one stepped up to help to Garcia make this a game...not the D, not the O, not the ST. To be totally fair, I thought Westbrook and Stallworth tried to pull their share of the load, but a raft of drops just killed them all.
- At this point, AR and the coaches have a brutal decision. Garcia or Feeley.
The case for Garcia goes something like this: he a former Pro-Bowl QB who made playoff runs before, he's mobile (which the Eagles are used to), and he's got a better pedigree as a starter than Option B: A.J. Feeley. hmmm, that's about it.
Now let me rant a bit about why I would start A.J.:
- note the aforementioned lack of enthusiasm for playing with Garcia...their lack of response/failure to rally after their field general got carted off speaks VOLUMES about whether the team views JG as the answer. IMHO, they don't. Nothing against him, but that's how I read today's situation. In all fairness, I could be wrong.
- as a lifetime fan, its hard to forget what A.J. has already done for the team. His performance a few years ago earned him a lot slack in this town...well maybe not a lot, but it probably earned him plenty of support to get a few starts.
- Perhaps most compelling question regarding who should start for the Eagles is the style of play offered by the two quarterbacks. Garcia is a timing QB, it could take weeks for him to gel with the team. This team in 5-5 and is barely treading water. What we need is a QB who can step in and play MOST like Donovan. A.J. can make the throws that Garcia cannot. Feeley's got a good arm, if he's in there, the offensive playbook will stay intact, for the most part. Garcia showed today that he cannot throw the deep ball effectively...he throws it like Mark Brunell as a matter of fact...occasionally heaving one or two really brisk deep balls that leave you scratching head ((because the throw before he looked like Lamar Latrel the limp-wristed javelin thrower from Revenge of the Nerds)). For the most part, however, Garcia simply does not have the arm strength to make the same throws as Donovan. Having him back there will fundamentally CHANGE the way the Eagles offense has to approach the game. For that reason alone, my personal preference is that Andy Reid dial up A.J.'s number.
CAVEAT: If the Eagles continue to turn the ball over, leave points on the field, squander field position, take stupid penalties, fail to make opponents pay for mistakes, fail to adequately cover ST returner, and fail to find an effective mix of run and pass--in effect continue the idiocies on display yesterday at the LINC--then it WON'T MATTER ONE IOTA who is playing QB for the Birds, because they will lose and embarrass us all.
I don't think the team will go in the tank, but their contender-ship is over....5 was the man who gave us the chance to win any game...come back from any deficit....overcome any opponent...I don't see Garcia providing us the same level of competition.
Reid is being starkly honest in the P.C. "you gotta catch the football AND tackle"...the basics...if you want to win games in the NFL.
Blown opportunities defines the Titans game: Not making interceptions when your DBs are position to do so, stupid penalties (how the F can you false start with goal to go)...getting the Titans backed into 3rd and longs (esp. on that first drive, with the crowd at full throttle) and letting him run for first downs...
Merrill is just disgusted... he just said "I don't know what is happening to this football team"...I don't think ANY of us know...Mike Quick: "Its almost as if they are just going through the motions"
Reese is calling drop after drop after dropped pass. I mean, Garcia's stat-line is horrible, but I've heard Merrill call at least 6 DROPS...what the hell is going on? He's 6 for 15 with 6 drops...I mean he should be off to a torrid 12/15 sparking the Eagles to nice game without McNabb...instead its guys looking around, wondering who is going to make a play..its a rehash of the Jags game.
Quick: "The Eagles just need to play BETTER FOOTBALL."
AR is challenging the spot on the play. Look this defense has NOT given up. The special teams made huge gaffe, but other than that (and that is BIG OTHER) Reno has done an admirable job trying to spark the offense, which hasn't responded in any way shape or form.
AR wins the challenge...refs had been too generous with the spot...hopefully we get the ball back....maybe the ST can get the TD back...
Just three catches by the Wideouts? Quite getting mad at your helmet L.J. and make a friggin' catch! Hey hey...ok that's more like it. (he caught one just as I typed that).
The Eagles have started drives with excellent field position throughout the second half (and most times in the first) and have done very little with it. Eagles finally driving. They F'd up the snap on the FG...."Unbelievable" says Merrill...."Just that kinda day"
My audio impression of the game so far: why aren't the Eagles running the ball a bit more...I mean, I just checked the stats...we've got 24 pass attempts and just 12 running plays by Buck and Westbrook....Travis Henry just broke a big score after the Eagles had looked like they had bottled him up after an initial run...
OK WB is averaging under 3 yards a carry...but so what? BLOCK better...give him the rock, he's your game-breaker with McNabb out right now.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The remakes have been alright...I liked the Dawn of the Dead remake, but I wasn't real keen on the leaping/sprinting zombie thing...I prefer the inexorable, punishing advance....its more doomsday-ish, more suspenseful....
Well in the vein of the Dawn of the Dead remake, click here: to see the Day of Dead remake, due out Apr 2007.
So I cannot recommend becoming an Insider unless you JUST CANNOT live without Len Pasquarelli's ti p sheet...which I realized I missed now that I got to read again...its pretty good, even if he does try and stir up some sh*t with the Eagles by questioning why Mike Patterson would sign an extension for less $$$ than Trent Cole...oh well...I just remembered that back before there WAS an Insider, I used to read that column all the time...I don't really need it though, certainly not enough to PAY for it....
I will post how easy/hard/frustrating it is to actually cancel your Insider account later on, after I try and do it...its doesn't look like they make it easy.
Few observations: Pretty good "inside the officiating" highlight on the first reel of the Bears-Giants game...not I will stop ripping some of these retard crews, but I came tell you this, it was interesting seeing Ref Ed Hochuli chatting up with the players, warning them not to get out of control and not to be drawing personal fouls.
Which young QB would you take to start a team: Big Ben, Philip Rivers, or Eli Manning...gotta agree with Cris Carter, I think Philip Rivers has a great upside...he's come from nowhere and rotting on the Chargers bench to play really well...I think all three are the real deal though, just a gut feeling on who I would take...Eli has wilted in the second halves, and Ben, well I'd've taken him pre-mishap, but he doesn't look like the same guy right now...lets see if he rebounds the rest of the way.
But what was with the "do black players play harder for black coaches" talk at the beginning? And Cris Carter's innane all the black coaches are winners (except for 2)....What the HELL does their skin color have to do with whether or not they are good coaches...Look, Black Coaches are probably now as big a mixed bag as their non-pigmented counterparts. Art Shell sucks, Tony Dungy is good; Denny Green hasn't deserved to be a head coach for YEARS, but can't seem to get fired, while Lovie Smith gets no love after doing a bang-up for the Bears....The Bengals coach is a little overrated as for all his defensive prowess, his Bengals are more like kittens....Herm Edwards is a GREAT motivator, but he displayed almost NO class in forcing his way out of New York...(and I doubt very many Jets fans are pining for Edwards now that they have Eric Mangini). But you know what, their skins color makes ZERO difference to me....I think Romeo Crennel is doing an OK job in a bad situation in Cleveland. I like Art Shell the players, but I gotta agree with Bill Simmons, the Sports Guys, when he facetiously welcomed Art back to the coaching ranks. (yeah, it sux, you gotta be an ESPN Insider to read the whole article -- more on that on my next blog).
Friday, November 17, 2006
Specifically, I noted that I liked the change because I felt that it gave Andy Reid the space/time to coach the rest of the team. Ray echoes this, writing: "I’ve thought for quite awhile that Reid would be a better game day coach if he let one of his assistants do the play-calling and allowed himself to function as a true head coach. So much happens in the course of a game, and so many decisions have to be made quickly, that it helps if the head coach doesn’t have his face buried in a play chart."
Anyway, I noticed a few things that I would like to see continued in the games we have coming up against the Titans:
1) No wasted time outs
2) An early commitment to running that really helped set up the pass
3) Better special teams play (not sure if this attributable to Coach Reid having more time to focus on that, but I would like to think that an extra eye on those guys helped Harbaugh coax a decent game from them for the first time this season)
4) did I mention we didn't have to waste any time outs ('cept for the when the Refs F'd us)....
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
But I guess that wasn't good enough, because Snyder coughed up a truckload of cash for a new Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Guru/Coordinator/Master Al Saunders (who was upset that the Chiefs went with Herm Edwards instead of giving the job to him). So in marches this ultra complex offense that apparently confuses half the players to the point of uselessness...Way to go Al...Maybe Dan Snyder should ask Jeff Lurie, Jerry Jones and the Wellingtons to help defray the cost of Saunders' $2million/year salary, because he's sure as shit helped the rest of the NFC East more than the 4skins... :)
Even more humorous for Eagles fans, two Redskins (Local God Joe Gibbs and Safety Adam Archuleta) made SI's TOP TEN Football figures that need to go/worn out their welcome....hee hee
We did in fact get hit by a tsunami (well the coastline did...remember Hachinohe and my blog about adventures at the DMV? Well that's port city, we're at least 20-30 minutes away from the ocean...)....five tsunamis in fact, none more than 16 inches in height.
go here for the rest
Monday, November 13, 2006
Did I just give something away...yeah, I turned 35 today...I forget these things...I don't really look 35, and I certainly don't feel 35 (I like to do immature things to keep my mindset young)...
Actually, I highly recommend Blinq, I went to all the other blogs he linked to, and there are some pretty good folks out there sharing their thoughts about the Birds.
Like The 700 Level (Booing since 1776, frickin' awesome) where I found this awesome pic:
How cool is that, awesome view (that's too many awesomes). Wish I was there. If we ever get back to the East Coast, I am definitely going to have to make a pilgrimage to the Linc (never been there).
Got to spend quite a bit of time at the Vet when I ushered Eagles game in the early 90s (man was that an experience! Getting paid to have season tickets to the Eagles was/is indescribably cool).
Well I am still reading some the Philly.com writers on the Eagles, and I really enjoyed reading the laments from the Washington Post beat writers about their pathetic 4skins....Unfortunately, Gibbs finally woke up and figured out he needs to see if QB Jason Campbell is worth the 1st round pick they spent on him in 2005. Damn, I was really hoping they'd waste the entire season with Brunell...
But I will tell you all this: my top key to the Eagles victory was TEAM EFFORT....The offense made plays, the defense made plays, and finally, for once, the special teams chipped in. As much as the ugly loss to the Jaguars was a total team discombobulation, this one was a team effort. No one was taking plays off, neither side of the ball waited for the other to light the spark.
My other stars/keys to the game:
2) Brian Westbrook! He ran with vision and authority on a rainy, crappy day when the Eagles really needed it. Perhaps the most important play of the game for WB was a simple 4 yard run. Let me set the stage: Eagles took possession with 9:03 left in the game, leading 27-3. What do they need to be able to do on this rainy, windy day? RUN the ball....so Morhnigweg dials up Westbrook's number on first and second down....and the Eagles had 6 yards to show for it, setting up a 3rd and 4 well inside their own territory. Boom Westbrook off left tackle and he powers 4 yards and get the first by a half-a-ball's length. Why was this key? It validates the offensive coordinator's faith in the running game; which leads to my next point:
3) Coach Andy Reid revealed after the game that he relinquished play-calling duties and let Marty M. call the plays. First things first, I really suspected something was up the way the Eagles ran their offense this game, they actually came out running the ball, but it wasn't just the first series that gave it away (AR has teases us before) it was the way the offense STUCK with it. Andy Reid NEVER would have dialed up WB on 3rd and 4 in that situation. You know he would've sent in a pass. Now, I think AR realizes he doesn't have to do everything and maybe this will allow him to spend some time on the other parts of the team that need his attention (ST coverage comes to mind). Moreover, it shows he is not intransigent. It is the move of head coach who, while stubborn, is not blind and actually did as he says (he took a hard look at everything, including himself, and when he identified a problem, he took measures to try and correct it)....DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE the Eagles did not have that embarrassing timeout with 5 turning to to the ref with that WTF-look on his face to signal a T.O. because the play clock ran down because the play was late coming in from the sidelines??
4) Donte Stallworth - FINALLY healthy and boy did he show up. You know, it wasn't the long TD that did it. More impressive for me were two plays that'll never make the highlights reel. One was the the 4th down conversion. the weather had turned crappy, but early in the 3rd qtr the offense was getting warmed up...and how many times have Eagles fans lamented the weirdo play-calling that seems to afflict our team on critical conversion attempts (to be fair its not just the play calling, it the execution). Well, today, the execution was there on two key conversion by Stallworth, first on the 4th down (a nice simple, easy pass and catch between 5 and 18). The second took advantage of the coverage as Stallworth took a quick hitch and blazed about 20 yards on a 3rd and short....I mean the Eagles so rarely seem to capitalize consistently on those simple mistakes/holes in the defensive coverage, but today, 18 was everywhere...
5) the D. Held on 3rd down!...This was developing into a serious pet peeve for me, but today, the Eagles D clamped down when they needed to. The Foreskins had multiple possessions inside Eagles territory in the first half with only a FG and another miss to show for it. Plus instead of waiting around, the D went out and made plays (especially in the backfield) to secure the victory. Perhaps the best was Dawkins' flying swat that denied the Redskins a TD pass to Wingback Chris Cooley.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Matter of fact, the AFN satellite signal was goofy this morning. I had nothing, nada, zippo until about 02:58, then just before kick-off what doth mine eye see, but the glorious Linc and Dick Stockton, Moose Johnston and Tony Siragusa, with McNabb getting ready in the background. It was like mana from heaven.
If anyone wants to know a good place to listen to the game check out the Shark 103.7 from NJ. Pretty clear broadcast, cause you gotta love Merrill Reese!
I mean they took over with 9:03 on the clock and fairly deep in their own territory...and Andy Reid reels off nine runs in a row (putting Westbrook over the century mark)...I mean talk about stepping UP! Man when the last time the Eagles had that kinda atty-tude? Skins KNOW they're going to run and the Eagles still pounded it down their throat.
That is more like it fellas! Hey Andy, did you see how balanced play-calling opened up your wide receivers? Damn, that was nice execution, except for that little lull after the hot start.
I just read that AR relinquished play-calling duties and let Marty Mornhinweg and McNabb calls plays/audibles...and you know what...the offensive looked more crisp, sharper and playing at a higher tempo at times. Of course it still comes down to execution and 5 short-hopped too many passes in the second quarter, BUT, nary once did the Eagles have to burn a time-out on offense because the play wasn't in on time...wasn't that a sight to behold.
They drove, got a questionable gift from the refs, but couldn't punch it in from the 2....look, fellas, I don't mind the play-fake on 2nd and goal, but the fake works A LOT better when you show a goal-line look...the Eagles had their regular package in and Skins responded with a pass-oriented defensive call...AUGH
Then we have the Field Goal follies....what the hell is going on? Scott Young reported as an eligible receiver in the jumbo package....and stayed on the field for the FG attempt...I guess that is against some arcane rule, because they called the Eagles for illegal formation...apparently once eligible is has to sit for a play....huh??
SHELDON BROWN! 70 Yard INT RETURN! WOOHOO
Our new corner, the DB formerly known as Will Peterson just smothered a guy on the slant...that is good. Punt dribbles out at the 2...and the Eagles are finally MAKING some plays on offense after cooling off for about 5 series in the first half....backed up and they drive...that is something we fans haven't gotten to enjoy for a while...and guess what...they ran out the 3rd qtr clock doing it....what a stunning development...well the drive stalled, but it was a great switch of field position...sometimes its not about scoring with big plays each drive....
Friday, November 10, 2006
Forget examining his record, the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of place. Should Eagles fans even concern themselves with a coaching change scenario. For this seasons' sake we better hope not, because AR is pretty secure in his position here (though no coach can long withstand the pressure built up by multiple lackluster seasons). I say he's secure because I believe Jeff Lurie, the owner, has shown no inclination to be a destabilizing force. He wants to be the gold standard for the NFL, and that usually means one thing: stability. Will he step-in should the Eagles fall flat (yeah but probably wouldn't be to axe AR, he'd sit down with AR the general manager and decide what they should tell AR the coach, and there would be some staff shake-ups first).
Another reason I think a coaching change in not on Lurie's radar scope: the Eagles continued long-term building plan, epitomized by the continued signing of young potential stars to long-term deals...Even if AR we s-canned today, his impact on the team would be felt for the next decade. Any new coach would have to accept the idea that a lot of the players on this team signed up for the AR/Tom Heckert/Joe Banner/ Lurie plan. Its not that they couldn't find a coach, mind you...just that as Eagles fans, we must acknowledge that Big Red claw-prints are going to be on our team for a long, long time; and for the most part, I have no problem with that.
Bottom Line folks: get used to see Andy Reid with the Birds....
You know the best part, the pussy may not even play on Sunday since he's nursing back spasms...yeah, I think PB might just suffer from another bought of them on Sunday (whether its before the game or during when a Bear puts his helmet in the small of Burress' back....if you're gonna talk that kinda trash, you best be out on the field to back it up....
This is great for the Eagles, because it fires up a team that we need to play well (and beat our division rival). Coming off a weak loss to Miami, I am sure the Bears were a little wobbly, but when someone on the opposing team basically challenges your manhood....oh man, I hope the Bears stomp a mudhole in their asses....
Thursday, November 09, 2006
But the funniest news of the day is page 2 TO instructions:
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
St. Louis... .453
The Eagles must win-out at home and take some if not all of their NFC games, the ONLY affordable loss appears to be the game in Indy in a few weeks. Now I hear ya, 7-1 is a tall order for a 4-4 team...7-1 would allow them to challenge the Giants, who figure to reach double-digit wins this year despite a growing list of injuries to their defense.
A more sane figure has them going 5-3 or 6-2...hmmm 9-7 and make the playoffs? Not likely in this league, because that would almost guarantee the Eagles a loss to a team they can ill-afford to lose to (Carolina or Atlanta or Dallas). 10-6 appears (as it seem to every year) to be the magic number for making the playoffs without relying on tiebreakers or other teams helping ya out.
So how to the Eagles "overcome" this hurdle. Easy. The very cliche, but very true, one-game-at-a-time method. It all starts Sunday against Washington. They've had their week to recharge, they're practicing right now, execute on Sunday and start playing like the team we saw in late Aug, Sep and early Oct...you know fellas, the one that looked ready to chew up the league and spit out, the ones who came out fired up, putting up big leads...let us lament the defenses inability to get a shutout, or allowing a team to get within 10 points...instead of hoping that they'll make a game-saving play or force a three-and-out to give the O another chance to wake-the-hell-up.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The beginning was a bit less frustrating. Someone my wife is responsible for entered the country, over the weekend, and was shipping herself some things....turns out in addition to some book and reference materials the woman shipped was she described as "Chinese Medicine." Nothing perks up a Japanese custom agent quite like potentially banned substances from China (unless its potentially banned substances from North Korea). Evidently this woman wrote out each and every item she put in the box, so now Christina has to get the list translated into Japanese so that the FedEx folks in Tokyo can determine if it allowed in the country.
Then we went to base to run a few errands. Its raining, semi-cold and the wind is gusting to like 45mph, but we brave the inclement weather and dash around several areas, pickup some uniform alterations, check mail, shop at the exchange/commissary. One interesting note, base roads (and some in town) are now lined with 4-foot reflective poles...this is let drivers know where the edges of the roadways are for when it snows....Four foot poles???!!! JHC....what are we in for? aiya....
Anyway we get home and unload all the groceries, and its time to put away the dog's food (Christina has to run back into the BX and buy it cause the commissary doesn't carry Eukaneuba (the boys' favorite)). So we have this storage container, to keep their food fresh....the bags are "easy tear", so whoosh goes the top and in pours the food...only its this tiny, nibble-sized food...guess what it is? CAT FOOD! So I guess the big cat on the front of the bag should've clued us in, but it didn't....the funny thing, D.J. went to town on that shit...that boy LOVES cat food...I dunno if its good for them, but it hasn't hurt....I say frig it...let'em eat it this once...
Sunday, November 05, 2006
So for those keeping track, the Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Cowboys, and Panthers are all 4-4....Atlanta teeters at 5-3 (to use a Bermanism, the Falcons are a "yeah, but" team) after a stinking loss to the stinking Lions. The Seahawks are 4-3 and play the Raiders on MNF...can they win without their QB and MVP running back? If not, them they'll be 4-4 too (duh, I can do math).
So, at the midway point there are three teams with a good bead on the Playoffs, the NFC East leading Giants (6-2), the NFC North leading Bears (7-1), and the NFC South leading Saints (6-2, whodduthunkit?). That leaves 1 spot for the Seahawks/Rams (if their both .500, the 49ers would also be in that mix at 3-5, hard as that is to believe); with the assorted gaggle of currently mediocre teams feuding for the final two slots.
What does this mean? It means that the Eagles are far from out of it. Yeah, they have some tough slate of games in the second half, but playing teams like Carolina and Atlanta may actually be crucial, those are two teams we'll be battling down the stretch. If we cannot beat them head-up then, quite honestly, we won't deserve to play in January. (ditto for the division games, 1-1 so far, we need to be 5-1 or 4-2 at worst to have a prayer at the NFC East).
Unfortunately I cannot pin it on MEO either, though he definitely never clicked with Bledsoe, it wasn't just him playing blah with Drew at the helm...of course, MEO has continued to drop the ball quite a few times even for homo...er I mean Romo...but still its bad form to play hard for one guy and play sloppy for the other....oh well....
1) They didn't blow a game
2) The Cowboys looked more like Muleriders and blew a big game in Washington
3) Atlanta lost to the Detroit Lions...let me say that again because it bears repeating. The Atlanta "we lead the league in rushing" Falcons LOST to the gang that can't shoot straight (and by shoot straight I mean score, tackle or perform many common functions of American football). That is fun-ny
4) The Rams lost the Chiefs...actually they got run over by Larry Johnson....
What didn't go right:
1) The frackin' Tex-ass-ns couldn't hold on to a late lead and lost to the GYNts, although Big Blue suffered another injury when Strahan went out with a foot injury.
2) New Orleans won, running their record to 6-2...if they don't blow it and Atlanta keeps blowing easy games (hmmm) they'll take the NFC South.....silver lining: the Saints win came at the expense of the Yuccaneers, who have now sunk to 2-6 after kicking a miracle 62 yarder against the Eagles a couple of weeks ago. HA HA HA. GOOD....now hopefully all the Bucs trolls will go away...might be a pain to be an Eagles fan the past few weeks, but its a damn sight better than being a Sucs fan.
But The BEST thing about today has got to be MEO dropping an easy TD enroute to a stunning and demoralizing loss to the Foreskins....HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, once someone posts it to YouTube I will link to it.....
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I did get a sort of perverse pleasure that "Super-Evangelical" butthole Haggard got busted. Nothing is sweeter than holier-than-thou folks who enjoy casting the first stone sink back down the humanity...I also got a chuckle from Keith Olbermann's coverage of the whole story on MSNBC (a channel I never watched in the states, but AFN News shows CNN, FOX, MSNBC and PBS at varying times). So you paid a male escort for a massage??? That the best story you can come up with? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Oh and you both meth but threw it out...yeah...cause that what people do when they buy drugs...you were trying clean up America's drug problem one dime bag at a time eh? Hmmm...I fully expect Haggard to declare his alcoholism in the next few days and check himself into rehab...
No seriously we have an election coming up, Saddam's verdict is coming up, North Korea keeps making noise, China just hosted this giant conference with nearly every African country that matters (I am aware of the oxymoronic nature of that statement), and by the way, Iran still wants nuclear weapons too.....but CNN's top article is about a gay pastor...that matters...
Friday, November 03, 2006
Who should really take note of this development: Safety Mike Lewis and Corner Rod Hood. Now I am sure that the front office has been at least in preliminary talks with both of these players agents, but rest assured, if the Eagles were serious about signing either of these guy, this would be the time...case is still on Hood in my book, but I think he probably walks because the Eagles already have two corners hitched to starting-corner contracts...few teams can afford three of those and Rod definitely thinks he deserves/is looking for starting corner money. As for Lewis, he shoulda signed last year when Sheppard and Brown jumped on the financial security bandwagon and inked themselves to nice signing bonuses....Unless Lewis' play improves dramatically, the Eagles will part ways with the likable safety at the end of the season. Its still possible for #32 to play himself into an extension, but its not likely from where I am sitting.
Other random thoughts from today:
- Why is Kobe Bryant wearing #24? Did I miss something? 32-8 =24 just a stray observation.
- Bet the 76ers are glad they kept A.I. around tonight?
- Why do I like the Black Eyed Peas so much? same goes for Evanescence..that chick is one hot little goth girl...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Anyway, the house looks like a bomb went off in it. Four big crates of stuff got dropped off...let me tell ya, a lot of stuff got shipped here that I didn't want shipped here...the first crew, the ones who took the storage shipment, simply didn't take enough stuff....moreover, there were things that I planned to leave in the house (but of stuff in the garage shelves...) well all that shit came too...friggin' movers, did NOT pay attention to what we told them to move...well now I've got three big boxes of stuff in the garage that probably won't see the light of day until sometime in 2010.
I've got a ton of stuff to unpack, so I am about to fire up iTunes and get down to business.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The danger, the man has been out of football for the past year because of a back bad, so actually expecting this guy to contribute is dangerous....Expect him to be in street clothes against Washington (Joselio Hanson can still hold down the #4 CB spot) unless he really flashes in practice next week. IF the guy contributes, great, if he's comeback story that isn't going to be written, then so be it. The signing provides the Eagles with a potentially really good nickel DB (since he was a starter before the back injury)...and option for next year RE: impending free-agent DB Rod Hood. (I think Hood, like former-Eagle Al Harris will get starting money from some team next year, and it seems unlikely the Birds will want to pay for 3 starting corners. )
Some folks think that this is move that smacks of desperation regarding our DB situation. I do not. Will James is not going to come in and be anything more than a DIME package DB...Matter of fact I wouldn't expect him to replace Hanson (who is very young, but performed admirably in a couple of games (even covering MEO pretty well)) right away...that said, if Hanson is on the field against Indy, I fully expect Peyton to dial up #22 for a few long gainers...So, if WJ can play like he used to, it gives us an experienced 4th potential starting CB to try and match-up against that incredible Colts offense.
As for the options this would give Defensive Coordinate Jim Johnson regarding his pre-season plan to use Dawkins as a hybrid safety/linebacker...JJ said he had some plans to use that formation in certain situations, but I haven't noticed a whole lot of that (may have something to do with Jevon Kearse's injury or the regression of safety Michael Lewis). I do not this move portends the use of Lewis as a LB...JJ already tries to keep his in a more run-support role (inserting Considine in more obvious passing situations)
Finally, so long Dexter. Godspeed. Well, folks, I guess we're back to Reno Mahe as our primary return man....oh well there goes hope for a return TD this year...at least we should field them cleanly...