Sunday, September 30, 2007

Suddenly Short-handed for Sunday Night

Wow. The Eagles have a ton of deactivated stars tonight. Both Brians (Westbrook and Dawkins) are sitting, as is William "Tra" Thomas, L.J. Smith and Lito Sheppard.

Yikes....the Birds really need McNabb to get sharp tonight. And the D-line needs to keep it up. The secondary is still dinged up...They did a decent job contains the Lions. Now its Eli & Co.

Division games are always tough, and its just about time for the game to start. So see you later.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Eagles, Heroes and Halo Oh MY!

Been pretty quiet about the Birds lately.
Some good articles this week about various topics.

I liked the ones about the defensive line. You see, the Eagles D-Line has gotten off to an excellent start. The Eagles lead the NFL in sacks (note to self: they did the same thing early last year too, but then cooled off considerably and finished in the middle of the pack) and the DT combo of Bunkley and Patterson has excelled. Gaither and Spikes are able to flow to the ball and make plays and the run defense has looked solid. (another note of caution: Green Bay's run game sucks, Detroit's was non-existent...but the Eagles still did well against the 'Skins who had a good running attack). If the Eagles can get into the bye week safely (i.e. with a W), they should be able to guys like Lito, LJ and Dawkins healthy and come of the Bye 2-2 and ready to soar.

That's the plan anyway. Can they do it? Hard to say. Games vs the Giants are always tight. The Eagles are on the road and they're sketchy under Andy Reid in the week before their bye. Don't know why, but they are. This time is a bit different. The Eagles should still have a sense of urgency about them, they need to get to 2-2. No more lackadaisical play can be afforded - the Birds need to go the Meadowlands and take care of a weak Giants team.

In other news, the new season of Heroes has started. Fucking NBC and iTunes can't get their shit together, so actually watching the show is a pain-in-the-ass. But still. Episode one was pretty damn good. The writing is still solid, plenty of intrigue and intertwined plotlines are going already.

As for my current addiction - HALO 3. Well with the help of a couple friends, my wife and I beat the game last night. I just think its cool that we got to play a 4-player cooperative game. I thought it was funny, I had just planned to get through another stage or so with Christina, then Ulch logged on and wanted to play, so we restarted our campaign with him, and then Morris showed up and he joined in the final push. All-told, we wound up playing HALO 3 for like 7 hours yesterday! Aiya. How the hell did my non-gaming wife get sucked in a first-person shooter for most the evening? Tells you how good HALO is....And she's ready for more multi-player mayhem today. Have some friends stopping by and some others on-base ready to starting shootin' shit this afternoon. Its going to be a good Saturday...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sorry its been so long

Since I've blogged. I got some great news over the weekend. WORK! So I've been busy making some dough this week. I think it will keep going, but we'll see. Between that and the release of HALO 3, well, let's just say time has been at a premium this week.

Of course, Christina is putting in a serious run for Wife of the Year by trying to tackle a game well out of her normal puzzle-adventure comfort-zone. She's playing HALO 3 with me and we're having fun (I think) trying to beat the game in the cooperative campaign. I also played on-line for the first time ever and registered my first 7 kills in slayer mode (though the winner of the round had 15). Not bad for a NooB. Anyway, the game was a massive attraction at the exchange yesterday. I mean, a Harry Potter-esque queue formed up before the BX opened. Thankfully, they'd ordered plenty of copies so anyone who was smart enough to show up early got one.

Its an official phenom, scoring an unheard of $170 million in first-day sales in the U.S. alone. And I tell you what else, the game comes with a free 48-hour subscription to XBox Live Gold (where you can play online and keep track of stats etc)....its like having a vial of crack enclosed with the game. You see, I already have an XBox Live account (as if the Gamertag didn't give it away) and XBox Live arcade is simply the best in the business. Nothing comes close. And now, with HALO 3 you get dedicated gaming servers from maker Bungie! Connecting to a game or creating your own is a snap. And it fast. And most importantly - ITS FUN! I am brand new to this and the match-maker put in a contest with some other noobs. So I wasn't facing some ultra-Halo Master Chief wannabe. Did I lose? Sure. But I had a blast, and after I finish this guess where I am going to be? That's right - shooting some shit up on the TV.

Well anyway, I was going to include some thoughts on the Eagles in this, but you know, I will give them a separate entry.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Now THAT is more like it - Eagles Stomp Lions

Ok folks, recall the bloodhounds, the Eagles offense surfaced from the depths to stomp the crap out of the Lions today at the Linc. Coming out in their "throwback" uniforms that were universally derided during various networks' pre-game shows (I believe hideous being most common adjective) the Eagles torched the Lions, scoring 5 straight touchdowns on their first five possessions.

Yet the game still had an air of eerie doubt when the Eagles - knocking on the door for their 6th straight TD - allowed Lions to practically come clean and hit McNabb, causing a fumble inside the 10. The Birds, up 35-14 at the time, were immediately burned by a slant-turned-90-yard-TD from Kitna to Roy Williams, and what looked like a dagger-in-the-heart 42-14 lead morphed into 35-21 lead that just didn't feel secure.

Soon after the Lions were again knocking on the door at the end of the first half. And I am sure the phaithful were grimacing at the idea of a 35-28 halftime lead, and a 35-24 score seemed all but inevitable, with the Lions well within Jason Hanson's range. But oopsie, Kitna lobbed up a jump-ball and Sean Considine came down with a nice catch in the endzone to eliminate the threat.

The good:
Our running worked and set-up play-action...the O worked the way its supposed to....we actually put men in motion, ran some crossing pattern, and YES passed on target and CAUGHT the ball...amazing the good thing that happen when the receivers
- Brian Westbrook. All everything today, over 100 rushing, over 100 receiving, 3TDs...
- Kevin Curtis. Breakout game for KC. topped 200 in the first half, 3 TDs...holy crap.
- The D-Line - 9 sacks today. They hounded Kitna all day.
- The O-Line - kept McNabb upright, blew open holes for Westbrook. Earned their keep in general....nice job up front fellas.

The Bad:
You know, when you blowout another team 56-21, there is no bad....but there is:

The Ugly:
- On a day when the Eagles were passing great, Reggie Brown only had 2 catches for 23 yards. 6 in 3 games???? Whassup wit dat?
- Not much else to complain about...Mahe caught the ball and had a couple of 10-12 yard returns, Rocca's punting was adequate (still waiting for a rocket launch) and the kickoff coverage was merely ok.

Word of the Day: Trepidation

Weird, usually my mentality on game-day is ravenous. I want to see the Eagles kick some ass and take some names. Most of the time, I don't get that....what I usually do get, however, is a team that fights and scraps and makes my heart pound, my palms sweat and my hair turn gray. But usually - and more often than not since 2000 - they've come out on top.

So why should today's game any different?

Maybe is because McNabb doesn't seem like himself.
Maybe its because Lito is out and Dawk might be...
But this is fucking Detroit we're talking about! Not New England...not Chicago....the Eagles slow, mis-firing start has fans worried about Detroit!

Game starts in about 4 hours, and I've been up since 0700 (after 8pm now)....I should get some sleep before the game. (I type as I yawn...)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Andy Reid's Greatest Hits

Found this on the EMB.
I'd link right to it, but I cannot find it on EMB again (dang)....

Anyway, I think a lot of Eagles fans are getting tired of hearing post-game press conferences in which we get the fed the same , and let me paraphrase: "I've got to put the players in a better position to make plays"

We all know that ANDY! What we want to see is some realization of adjustment that should be made during the GAME! When we fans can sit back and predict plays or take notice of glaring gaffes (again dead the no-motion, no-nothing response the press-man defensive coverage used by our opponents horse) and it happens time and again. Its get frustrating my man.

Andy Reid is without a doubt the best coach this team has ever had. No other coach in the last 45 years has been anywhere near as successful. None has won more games. Reid has an impressive array of credentials. And he's earned some benefit of the doubt.

That benefit is currently being given right now. I refuse to quit on this team. Andy Reid teams start slow and finish strong. I want to see him wright this ship, get the running game on track, coax McNabb along (the mf'er ain't 100% Andy, quit pretending he is) and start playing winning football.

Now do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tackling the Garcia/Stallworth Question

Common theme following the Eagles 20-12 dud on Monday which dropped them to 0-2: If the Eagles had retained the services of both QB Jeff Garcia (currently 1-1 with Tampa but looking very sharp) and WR Donte' Stallworth (currently running under the radar - and behind Wes Welker and Randy Moss at wideout for a strong Patriots team).

After two games the offense looks out of sorts. Yes, McNabb looked awesome in the preseason (further confirmation that the preseason is NOT a good indicator of future returns), but he clearly is struggling right now.

Let me say this: If Garcia and Stallworth were both wearing Eagles uniforms, I do believe the Eagles record would currently be 2-0.

That said - I do not lay the blame solely on Donovan McNabb. He deserves some blame - he is the QB afterall - but the rush to judgment on McNabb is both premature and wrong. Why you ask?

1. Wasn't everyone fairly cognizant of the fact that McNabb was not going to be "old" McNabb in September. I mean its been what 9 months since his ACL injury? Lest we forget, the last QB to come back from something like this was Carson Palmer. Did he play all year. Yup. Did he look like his old self in Sep? Nope. What was the Bengals record last year? 8-8.
2. Given that, perhaps expectations that McNabb would be an MVP-type QB this year were a bit premature.
3. We had what 50 called pass plays (including sacks) Monday night, and less than 20 runs? What the hell kind of balance is that. Even with Garcia, I don't believe we'd be successful under that sort of run/pass ratio. With Garcia, however, the coaches seemed much more committed to running. With #5 back there, the Birds' coaches seem to get a collective amnesia. So instead of using the run to open up the pass, they just keep dialing up passes. Pass after pass after pass, even on a night when its obvious that McNabb is struggling AND the O is doing nothing to adjust to the defensive coverage.
4. Stubborn Act of Hubris, Part II - I can't let this go. The coaches did nothing to adjust to the defensive scheme of the Redskins. Nothing.
- No one was put in-motion
- The Eagles did not use any formation to make the press-man coverage more difficult (stacking WRs etc
- I saw very few routes designed to help break from the coverage (crossing routes primarily)
- The Eagles went deep all of once in the first half. Without challenging the opposition deep at least a few times, the 'Skins had no reason to respect the deep ball. They could just keep their guys up close because the Birds showed no inclination to try and burn them.
- Finally, the Eagles kept choosing to pass. Even of a night when Westbrook was carving up the run defense. They used no one else. Buckhalter got maybe 1 carry. Tony Hunt was de-activated. What the fuck?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Putting a Loss into Perspective

Eagles laid an egg on Monday Night Football tonight, falling 20-12 to the Washington Redskins and dropping their record to 0-2.


Since the start of the new playoff format only 4 of 60-something playoff teams since 2000('01?) have started 0-2 and made the playoffs. By the way, the 2003 Eagles were one of those teams. It is time to pack-it-in? Close the shutter and start wondering if the Flyers will rebound or if (gasp) the Phillies might stop teasing make a serious run at things?

That bears repeating - NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO START HITTING THE PANIC BUTTON (if they lose to Lions at home, different story)

I tell you what though.....if they don't correct some significant ineptness on the Offensive side of the ball, they'll be lucky to claw their way back to .500.

Here are nits I have to pick with the thudding performance Monday Night:
1) When you have to consistently settle for Akers FGs after driving into the red-zone, you are not going to win many games. Touchdowns win games. FGs are consolations prizes for Red-zones trips and good cappers for drives that stall between the 35 and 20 yard lines (give or take a couple).

2) 46 pass, 18 rushes. On a night when Westbrook nearly hit 100 on just 17 carries???

3) Aren't we supposed to be easing Donovan back into things? He's coming a torn-ACL for chrissakes! What the fuck is with this pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, and pass some more shit to start the game? (see #2)

4) The lack of game-planning for the Redskins astounded me. I can only describe the Eagles coaching staff apparent disdain for adjusting to what the Redskins defense was doing as a Stubborn Act of Hubris.

Stubborn Act of Hubris, Part I:
- As several announcers/commentators noted, the Packers laid out a blueprint for dealing with the Eagles offense -- PRESS COVERAGE. Jam the wideouts on the line of scrimmage and disrupt Andy Reid's timing-based offense. Yet I witness not one single adjustment to this by our offensive "gurus". Nothing. No motion, few crossing patterns, no shots down the field early in the game to try and loosen the coverage (one deep pass down the sideline to Curtis which was thrown out-of-bounds), no double-moves (that I could discern).

- I've got a real fucking problem with that. You know when the Eagles D does something that hinders the opponent, or when we're playing a certain way (stacking the run, playing zone, playing bump-n-run) I often see other teams adjust to it. Vary formations, etc, something! Yet when with Redskins lined man-up on every guy, the Eagles just sit there. Put someone is fucking motion, stack the receivers to prevent the bump, motion Westbrook out the backfield, motion the TE, motion someone dammit!

- None of that was evident Monday night. My friend Alan noticed it. The Eagles would come out the huddle, set, and stand there. Every play. I watched pretty closely because it was really turning my stomach to see our WR just standing there before each snap.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How 'Bout Them Coqboys!

Hee hee, the funniest thing so far in Week 2: A annoying Cowboys troll misspelling the name of his favorite team while vainly trying to gloat on the Eagles forum at

You see: How 'bout them Cowboys was a little phrase that managed to get under the skin of every non-Dallas fan when uttered by the expertly coiffed Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s. So after the Cowboys disposed of the inept Miami Dolphins this afternoon, this troll comes to the Eagles board to gloat, except HE FUCKS UP and types "How about them Coqboys" in the Subject line (the Q being right next to the W).

Well, I don't think to spell it out phonetically for ya. But this douchebag's inability to correctly spell the name of his favorite team inadvertently generated one of the most simply elegant denigrations of the Cowboys moniker that I've ever had the joy to behold. And the fact that it came from a Coqboys fan makes it all the sweeter.

This actually tops the dumbshit who tried to flame me on the board for a spelling error. Not realizing that I deliberately spelled out the word "idjit" (as a polite way of calling him/her stupid) and did not intend to type idiot. "What an idjit, what a maroon." Get the reference? If not click here.

Observations from Week 2

Well I got to enjoy a variety of games today since the Eagles don't play until tomorrow.

Think that hits while watching the games today (I got to view the Bills-Steelers, Packers-Giants, Jets-Ravens, Seahawks-Cardinals, and the Chargers-Patriots, with snippets of the end of the Bengals-Browns and Raiders-Broncos).

- How bad is Notre Dame? They looked S-U-C-K-Y Saturday....
- The Steelers have an almost Philly-like philosophy, pass for the lead and grind out with the run. The difference, they still have a team used to power running football so its easier for them to return to the grinding run game.
- I thought J.P. Losman and Lee Evans were pretty good? They were friggin' invisible today at the big ketchup packet in Pitt. Marshawn Lynch looked really good though in a futile effort to spark the Bills offense to things bigger and better things than a FG.
- OMG, is the Giants Defense really that bad? Or is our D ok? The Packers couldn't do shit to us (ok, not going into how we still managed to lose, scroll down) but they ran over, around and through the Giants today. Their D looked disheveled and disinterested today. I mean, Pam Oliver the Fox sideline reporter basically ripped them a new asshole in the 4th quarter by calling out their uninspired limp response both on the field and on the sideline.
- Poor Jared Lorenzen. That motherfucker took a games-worth of beating in the final Giants possession when Coughlin removed Eli to prevent injury in a lost game. The Packers pinned their ears back and just bummed rushed the "Hefty Lefty." within like 3 plays he was limping and after about 6 snaps or so, he was so beat-up the Giants had to put in Anthony Wright to relieve the guy.
- Congrats to Favre for becoming the winningest QB of all-time. Dunno how you did it last week, and I don't know how you'll continue with that cast of misfits your saddled with in Green Bay, but 2-0 is 2-0.
- Then again Detroit is 2-0 as well, while the Chargers are a very poor-looking 1-1. (Note to self: may be time for Kitna to replace Rivers on one of my fantasy teams)
- Hoo boy, the Jets looked bad for 3 qtrs, but came to life and almost came back against the Ravens. And the comeback would have been complete if it weren't for two balls bouncing off or through the hands of Justin McCariens....You my friend are GOAT of the WEEK!
- Is it just me or does anyone else think the Ravens may be a tad over-rated?
- How in the ever-loving fuck is Ray Lewis still playing?
- I thought for sure the Cards were going to once again snag defeat from the jaws of victory. Perhaps their 23-20 triumph over the Div. Champion Seahawks is the start of something.
- Poor fantasy choice on my part, should've started Deion Branch and not Bernard Berrian.
- I thought the Rams were supposed to have a decent team? That's like 2 TDs in 2 games. What gives? (and where did I pick them to finish in the NFC West, note to self, scroll down and check, if anywhere but 3 or 4, surreptitiously edit it)
- Fucking Chargers. Well at least Antonio Gates got me a fantasy TD.
- You know the Pats 38-14 destruction of the Chargers got me thinking. Its the true shame of the whole Belichick cheating scheme. HE DOESN'T NEED TO! The Patriots have a strong squad, always seem to find valuable role-playing depth guys, come prepared. Why Cheat? It needlessly tarnished a decent image. Senseless. And oh yeah he still shoulda been suspended.
- I'll bet BillB's extension takes the sting out of that "unprecedented" fine the NFL just "blasted" him with.
- POOR FANTASY DECISION of the CENTURY: picking up the Bengals D this week and inserting them into the starting line-up because they playing the lame-ass Browns (who got clobbered in Week 1 and traded their starting QB). The Brownies only hung half-a-hundred points on the Bengals, winning 51-45 in a game that will no doubt be characterized as a "shoot-out" in all the major outlets, but for which the term really doesn't do justice. Maybe they OUGHT to furnish the Bengals and Browns with sign-stealing cameras....
- Why are Titans-Colts games always so close? I don't get it. The Titans don't have nearly the D you'd think necessary/capable of shutting down Manning. But they almost did it.
- I'll bet Atlanta fans really regret trading QB Matt Schaub now. The Texans go 2-0 for the first time in franchise history and my choice of Andre Johnson for one of my fantasy teams look like pure genius.

More later.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Eagles-Skins: A Look Ahead

The Eagles are looking to get on track Monday night versus the Washington Redskins. Will they? Let's hope so - or else some of the doom-n-gloomers will be be ready to jump off the Ben Franklin.

Here are a few keys to victory (stop me if you've ready this before):

- Better play-calling! Do NOT open up the game with a pass to our not-100%-TE. Do NOT attempt trick-plays on play 2 (flea-flicker, grr.....). Play-action works best after you establish the run.
- Run the ball! The game vs the Packers showed up one thing - McNabb is not all the way back as far his escapability goes. Yes he can move around, but how about relying on the big guys up front to do what they did at the end of last year? I understand that much of that might hinge on our all-Pro RG Shawn Andrews rounding into shape, but damn....we need to work that clock, establish the run and keep Portis/Betts off the field
- Sharper passing. After looking sharp in a couple of preseason match-ups, McNabb was off in the opener. No other way to describe it. They were good enough to win (if it hadn't been for the special teams) but 13 points won't beat many teams in the NFL. McNabb needs to lead the offense into the 20s. At least.
Key Players: McNabb (goes without saying); Shawn Andrews

-Build off of last week's performance. The defense swarmed the run, produced some key take-aways, and general stifled the Packers offense all day long. This week is the opposite sort of match-up, from wily-old gun-slinger in Favre to fresh-faced, quick-feet Jason Campbell.
- Make Campbell beat us. How to do that - STOP THE RUN! I am not calling for under 100 (though that would be nice) - just don't let the Skins run the ball at will. Force the young QB to make the plays necessary to win, not just manage the game and not make mistakes that will lose it.
- Maintain contain! Campbell is a young guy, big and fast. Do not expect him to stay around an make his 4th read. So its crucial for the DL to stay in their lanes and make sure Campbell stays boxed in. Cole, Kearse, Juqua T. do not rush pell-mell into the backfield and if you do, you'd best make that g.d. sack!
Key players: The aforementioned DE and the interior duo Bunk/Patterson. They did a very good job last week. Them clogging the middle/getting a push allowed the Eagles to pressure Favre with just the 4-man front. If we can keep doing that, perhaps we can keep the pressure off our secondary which will have to go without Lito this week.

Special Teams:
Everyone say it with me: Just catch the fucking ball!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Goodell Drops the Ball

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell screwed the pooch with his slap-on-the-wrist penalty levied against the New England Patriots in the Bill Belichick video-taping-defensive-play-calls cheating scandal.

The final verdict: Belichick fined $500,000. The Patriots fined an addition $250,000 and the loss of draft pick(s) - a 1st round pick if the Pats make the playoffs. 2nd and 3rd round if they don't.

Wow, what a whopper. Fining and organization worth over a BILLION dollar a total of $750K. Whew, dunno if they'll be able to recover the cost. Where will they ever recoup that kind of money?

Putting the loss of a draft pick - which does hurt, by the way - into better perspective: The Patriots have 2 first round picks next April (they traded with the 49ers), so will lose their own, but keep the undoubtedly higher pick. Consider this, the Pats drafted what 7, 8 players this past April - they kept TWO on their opening day roster. Oh, gee, though, will that hefty penalty the league office laid on them, wow, they might have to hit free agency again....what a joke. Losing one pick, even a high one, will NOT discourage teams from doing this sort of thing. It will just make them more careful.

But you know what, its not the actually penalty that I think is wrong. The Commissioner issued on the stiffest penalties he could have according the By-laws of the league with the sorts of tools he decided to use (the max. fines were levied).

My issue with Goodell is the incredible stupid risk he's taking by NOT holding Belichick to the same standard to which he has held numerous other NFL employees. NFL Players are subject to 4 game suspensions (that's the loss of nearly 25% of the pay - because most of the their money is doled in weekly game checks) if they violate various rules - most commonly violating the league substance abuse policy.

But throughout this off-season, Roger Goodell has lowered the boom players (and other coaches) who's actions has tarnished the image of the league (mostly for criminal law violations):
- Pacman Jones - who is but all accounts immature and deserving of a suspension - gets a year suspension for a litany of run-ins with the law.
- Tank Johnson - 8 games for weapons charges
- Chris Henry - 8 game for violating probation (idiot)
- Vick - indefinite following his plea
- Rodney Harrison - 4 games for violating SAP
- Wade Wilson (coach) - 5 games for violating SAP (personal use of HGH).

What I would argue is this: with the exception of Harrison, none of the those suspended players did anything intended to directly affect the outcome of the game on the field. Even in Rodney's case - it was probably more like he wanted his body to be able to recover faster, heck he's what 37? Yet BOOM. Heavy penalties were levied.

And now we have Belichick, Head Coach of the one of the highest profile teams in the league, organizing a high-tech effort to cheat and deliberately derive an unfair competitive advantage ON THE FIELD. The penalty? It'll cost you some dough. That's the message. Hey if cheating will help you win a Super Bowl, but you might have to cough up a cool quarter mill.....if you get caught....and trust me, it was the Patriots arrogance that got them caught....shit, why not?

Garry Cobb said it best (excuse the grammar): This is more behavior of the good old boy club. Most of the guys on the microphone who are connected to the league will be easy on the cheating coach, but they wanted to throw the book at any players who violated league rules. One thing character exemplifies is adherence to principles and consistency. I see double standards. (end quote).

That last line is the true danger folks. The perception of Goodell just being another one of the boys. Willing to swiftly lay down the hammer of judgment on uppity youngsters at the first hint of thug-life, while playing patty-cakes with offenders who happen to be part of the club.

Belichick is a head coach, with incredible responsibility for running what has long-been considered one of the, if not THE, top organization in the NFL. He should have been held to the highest standard. Instead he got a chuckle and a "now be a good boy" pat on the butt.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SciFi/Fantasy Fans - Reasons for Joy - and a reason for sorrow

Woohoo! Robotech fans rejoice: reports this week that Tobey Maguire is going to produce (and maybe star) in a live-action (with plenty of CG of course) version of ROBOTECH! I guess its not that suprising. Since "Mr. Explosion" Jerry Bruckheimer proved that the formula of giant-robots interacting with humans can result in a big-ass summer smash like the Transformers, why wouldn't another studio seek to create a franchise. I mean, shit, the story is written. Cast it, film it (note to CSAs: opportunities to cast hot asian women abound in this series - don't fuck it up).

50-foot tall aliens (Zentraedi click here for individual Zentraedi leaders) inside GIANT mecha (battlepods, see here), humans inside GIANT transforming Veritech fighters. Plus the humans fleet being centered around the indomitable SDF-1. (hee hee, SDF = Super Dimensional Fortress One in Macross - defender of Earth. SDF = Self Defense Forces in Japan - Japan's classification for their military since their pacifist constitution doesn't allow them to have an "army)

Another reason for joy: Scifi also reports that the new Wolverine movie is slated to begin filming soon in Australia. YES. I thought X-Men was ok, little disappointing after an awesome X2 (damn you Bryan Singer for leaving the franchise). Here's hoping they take their time and do a good job with everyone favorite tri-clawed ass-kicker.

Finally one a sad note, on of my wife's all time favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle, author of the children's SF classic A Wrinkle in Time, passed away on 6 Sep. of natural causes in Litchfield, Conn. She was 88. I've never read her books, but Christina loves them. The literary worlds we enjoy took a hit this month.

Is a Loss ever Good?

Interesting question on the forum today. Was losing the Green Bay game in Week 1 a good thing? (The thinking being, the team will realize it needs to focus and perform and not take thing lightly). You know at this point I don't think so. The idea of a "good loss" is a nice salve, but in reality healthy losses (I don't think any losses are good) are few and far between. In 2004, I believe the Eagles suffered a healthy loss, when the Steelers schwacked them in Pittsburgh. 7-0, heads in the sky. POW. Punch in the nose - screw the head on straight for Super Bowl run. It helped.

Sunday's game is nothing like that. Over-confidence may have played a part. The annual slow-start by Andy Reid's teams another. But the Eagles lost because of a lack of execution on Offense, and an incredible lack on focus on the part of the Punt Return teams....That's it. I believe both problems are correctable, and I expect to see a much better performance on Monday Night Football this week versus the Washington Redskins.

Another view was shared expressing the feeling that "these sort of losses" (like the one dorked up to Green Bay) are becoming too commonplace. I think Phil Sheridan did a good article on it the other day (scroll down). Well today I got to thinking - are they?

I mean were losses in 2000-01-02 any less frustrating? We had some pretty good teams back then as well, did those Ls get chalked up simply because the Eagles were worse than the other team or because we beat ourselves? I dunno, but I think the early part of this decade is getting a little glossed over. You see, Philly fans had to deal with some wildly see-sawing Eagles teams (and expectations) in the 90s. From Buddy Ryan never quite getting over the hump to Richie-fucking-Kotite's (AUGH!) bumbling to Ray Rhodes promise and failure - the Birds fielded some really good and some really bad teams.

So when Andy Reid shows up and starts posting consistent double-digit win seasons did we become less critical of the Losses that were registered. And now 9 years into the Andy Reid Era in Philly (the most successful coaching era (total win-wise) in our history, are we now applying a level of scrutiny to Eagles losses that wasn't otherwise merited or applied in years past? I think its at least possible that this is the case.

And hey, you know what? The Birds can do my stress-level a world of fucking good by kicking the shit out the Redskins on Monday Night and putting Green Bay firmly in the rear-view mirror.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Take on "PatriotGate"

As a fan of a team that ran into a Patriot-juggernaut in Feb, the allegations/evidence that Bill Belichick cheats to gain an unfair competitive advantage is perturbing.

Let me make this clear: I do not think there will ever be any conclusive evidence that they did in the Super Bowl(s) {I just don't see anyone 'fessing up} and as for the Eagles-Patriots game in Jacksonville. That game, to me, hinged on the Eagles mistakes early with prevented them from scoring critical points. If the Birds had put the 14 points early when they had a chance. That furious fall-just-short late rally would not have been necessary. And those plays happened early.

That said, my respect for the Patriots coaching staff has plummeted. I'd always had that mystic view - Belichick is an awesome game-day coach - the Patriots make the best second-half adjustments of any team in the NFL. This video-taping incident indelibly taints that view.

So what should happen?
Well for one the view held by some on ESPN, notably Sean "the idiot" Salisbury, that this can be addressed with a $50,000 fine and then forgotten about is preposterous. That's like fining you and me $50. The man's a millionaire, the organization is worth over BILLION dollars, but 50 grand, whoa, that'll learn 'em. Asshole.

Mark Schlereth offered a very stiff penalty on NFL Live last night: Forfeiture of the Jets game, loss of draft pick, suspension of head coach. I think forfeiting the game is a bit much, though I have to admit, such a penalty would almost guarantee such an incident would no occur again in Goodell's era.

I think there needs to be a combination of punishment, both personal and organizational. Belichick runs the show, there is no way the taping was done with him unaware. And if Goodell is going to levy harsh punishment on players for their personal conduct detrimental to the image of the game, then he need to lower the boom on the REST of the NFL employees who do the same. I mean the Cowboys coach was suspended for 5 games for personal use of HGH. I think giving Belichick a month off to stew is appropriate. My punishment: 4-game suspension.

Organizationally, I wouldn't be as harsh. I don't necessarily think the players are as complicit and as Brett Favre put it: is it an advantage? Yes. But the players still have to go out there and block, run, catch, hit and tackle. I think losing a draft pick (not a 1, but not a 6 or 7 either) is appropriate. Losing a 2 or a 3 would really sting come next April.

Overall, Howard Bryant of ESPN is right: If Goodell does not act decisively, he will only confirm a basic truth about the commissioner-player relationship in all professional sports -- that he works for management. Of course, it has always been this way, the fiction is that the commissioner is anything but the collective employee of 32 owners. If he lets Belichick off easily, Goodell will be less Law and Order Commissioner and more Company Man."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reno 911! Philadelphia

Well, Sunday's debacle has resulted in a circumstance dreaded by many Eagles fans (this one included - for the most part): the phone call summoning safe, secure, and no-threat-whatsoever-to-return-a-kick-for-a-TD Mahe back to the nest. Yes, him, Reno Mahe. The 4-year vet who made us take for granted the ability to catch punts even if he was utterly unremarkable in actually returning them.

Of course, I'd forgotten that he led the NFL in Punt return average in 2005 (12.8 yards) - primarily because I've blocked most memories of that lost season. And prior to 2006, I'd gallantly defended him as a player who "made the smart play" and wasn't as bad folks made him out to be. But after a brutally undistinguished campaign in 2006 and nursing memories of a good return game during our Super Bowl run in 2004, I joined the clamoring hordes who relished the fact that Eagles did not extend a contract to Mahe in the offseason. (hell NO ONE DID).

You know my mind was changed Sunday. I just want someone who isn't going to fuck things up. I don't care if we don't have a Dante Hall-esque guy or a Devin Hester clone. I just want our special to NOT LOSE THE GAME FOR US. And while I think it is utterly pathetic to have such low expectations for our return game - it is reality. Our O will come around and our D looked better than I expected. The O didn't play particularly well, but the D did and we certainly played well enough to escape Lambeau Field with a W instead of a loss, if it hadn't been for a few keys miscues, none larger than those idiotic muffed punts.

Now Mahe hasn't been signed, but he has been called, and I find it hard to believe the Birds who fly him back to Philly if they weren't thinking very seriously about signing him. In fact, he could be just a short-term panacea. A band-aid sort of move until J.R. Reed gets more comfortable in the punt return game. NO FUCKING WAY does Greg Lewis ever line up deep again. NO WAY.

The question being: who would get cut to make room for Mahe? Top candidates have to be Greg Lewis (5th WR), Pat McCoy (our 10th OL) or Pago Tagofau (our 6th LB)....but Lewis/Pago would leave us fairly thin at WR/LB....our lone area of true surplus appears to be on the know what, we'll find when/if it happens.

The Day After the Day After

You know what? Screw looking back at the Eagles Sunday afternoon special teams meltdown at Lambeau. They played well enough to win the game in two of three facets of the game, and they blew enough donkey ball on special teams to dork up what should have been a win.

I have that crappy feeling about the Green Bay game. When we're facing a tough game in December and we need to win to ensure we seize the division crown or make the playoffs, we're going to look back at a game like Sunday's and go, goddammit, it we hadn't been so generous in September we wouldn't have this pressure. Phil Sheridan does a good job at doing illustrating those lingering fears that come from dropping a eminently winnable game.

It dropped Andy Reid's opening day record to 3-6
3 win and 6 losses in 9 opening seasons? Can that be right? In 6 of 8 seasons he's posted double-digit wins....yet we consistently start slow in game 1. I don't get that.

You know what I think this means? Bad news the Redskins. We've got them on Monday Night Football next week. And A) The Eagles do very well on Monday nights and B) They almost always bounce back from a crappy showing.

Other thoughts:
Did the Eagles escape from week 1 with the least amount of injury damage in the NFC East? Is that a possible silver-lining. No one was lost for the season? Yes, Lito had an MCL Sprain, but our division opponents all took big hits on Sunday. Spuds talks about it, but I thought it as soon as I heard about the Dallas-NYG game (was too tired to stay up for it, I had been up all night).
The list:
- The Redskins lost their stalwart OT Jon Jansen
- The Cowboys lost their starting NT Ferguson (this one stings, to play a solid 3-4 you've got to have a quality NT to control the interior, not sure where this leaves the Cowboys D)
- The Giants lost QB Eli Manning and RB Brandon Jacobs for a month, and DE Osi Umeniyora for a time (not sure of the extent of his injury).
Heck that's just the division. Orlando Pace (Rams), Mike Brown and Dvoracek (Bears) and Ray Lewis (Ravens) could be or already are out for the season. Yikes!
It truly is going to be the teams that stay the healthiest that make it through to January.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Shit doesn't even compute yet

I can't respond to the Eagles 16-13 loss to Green Bay right now. It absolutely stunning to see football players act so fucking retarded in a singular aspect of the game. Our PUNT RETURN LOST THE GAME TODAY. No hyperbole, no exaggeration. The first punt of the year muffed into the endzone for a Packer TD (their ONLY FUCKING ONE BY THEY FUCKING WAY) and scored tied 13-13 with a minute left, a different players makes one of the most boneheaded decisions you'll ever see and MUFFS ANOTHER GODDAMN FUCKING PUNT, setting up the Pack for the game-winning FG.

You have got to shitting me.

- Fire Rory Segrest...our special team coach is "special" alright. Where did we pick this retard hick up? Some Walmart in Kentucky?

Bring back Bloom, at least he caught the fucking ball.

Going On the Record About the NFC

Well my trials and tribulations with my primary PC have not ceased. Are they worse? Perhaps not, but the fucker isn't fixed yet, and it crunched my entire Sunday.

Its just a few hours before Sunday's 1pm Kickoff (that 2am Monday morning here in Japan), so I'll make this brief.

Predicted finish by Division:

NFC North: No team is strong enough to challenge the Bears
1. Chicago Bears - even with sexy-Rexy daring to be mediocre at QB, a helluva defense/special teams will keep the Bears in every game. The question week-in, week-out question: Will the Bears O show up and result rock the opponent or will Bad Rex emerge from the shadows and do his best to F things up.
2. Green Bay Packers - dunno why, perhaps it was little run last year, but if any semblance of a running game appears for the Packers, they should be able to beat out the Vikes and Lions for second best
3. Detroit Lions - so many weapons on Offense, the biggest question: will they be able to out-score their opponents week-to-week. Cause if not, that D is porous
4. Minnesota Vikings - Stalwart Run D, questions everywhere else. Still Adrian Peterson could/should establish himself as the division's Best RB. The problem: who is their QB?

NFC East: Two team race
1. Philadelphia Eagles - dees my boys! I will always pick the Eagles to win. ALWAYS.
2. Dallas Cowboys - Should field a strong team and appear to be Philly's primary competition for the division. Have a couple of players nicked-up early (CB Newman, WR Glenn) so hopefully they get to a nice plodding, slow start
3. Washington Redskins - Ok, for once they didn't go whole hog and splurge like addicts breaking into a pharmacy during free agency (they did make some hefty signing) and an end-of-training-camp youth movement should gives the Redskins some legs during the season. Is Jason Campbell for real? Skins fans better hope so, and this year should tell us a lot. I still see the 4skins as a year or two away though
4. NY Giants - Jeff Lurie, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones ought to be sending Tiki Barber Halloween baskets, Thanksgiving turduckens and a shit-load of good wishes for Christmas because I have never seen a dude be a big a distraction to team after he left than Tiki...uh, well maybe MEO. The Giants just don't look like a good ballclub right now

NFC South: Talk about yer distractions
1. New Orleans Saints - yeah they got smashed on opening night. But seriously, who is going to challenge N.O.? Tampa? Carolina? It would take a major fall to retreat back to those levels.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Garcia is just what Gruden needs. If the Caddy doesn't have a flat (like last year) then the Buccaneers should field a pretty competitive team.
3. Carolina Panthers - don't trust Delhomme, have a feeling we'll be seeing David Carr before too long
4. Atlanta Falcons - injuries, new coach and Michael Vick oh my! Did I mention that Joey Harrington in now "the man" in the A-T-L.....we'll see how that goes over

NFC West: Toughest division to pick, by far, any of the 4 teams seems like they could put together a good season and win it.
1. Seattle Seahawks - I picked against the Seahawks last year and paid for it. I don't see them as that strong, but guess what, until someone proves otherwise - they own the division. I am not picking against Hasselbeck and Alexander or their home field advantage again
2. St. Louis Rams - Jackson, Bulger, Holt, Bruce, Bennett, McMichael. Oodles of weapons to power the O, if the D makes any strides the Rams will challenge Seattle
3. San Francisco 49ers - they just seems poised to put together a good year - don't they?
4. Arizona Cardinals - a chic darkhorse pick in recent years. I still don't trust them

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Goddamn Fucking Microsoft

Why does their shit have to be so friggin' unstable?
My computer decided it was time to restart on its own this afternoon. No worries, it looks like everything it going okay - no beeps at least. Turn on the monitor - no signal...WTF, computer is on. Troubleshoot everything, the TV, the DVI-cable, etc. No signal. I'm thinking fuck. My video card is hosed. Dammit, they're only like 6 months old. Fer chrissakes....

Get frustrated, but decide. Let everything cool down and take a break. So Chrissie and I check out the movie 1408 at the base theater. Pretty good. Nice little mind-fuck movie. I enjoyed it anyway. Well we get back and I fire-up the 'puter (fingers crossed). Joy - I can see the start-up process. Monitor input has fixed itself.

But then the computer doesn't boot up. There's an error in the system config file. It must've gotten corrupted earlier that afternoon. Well, long and boring story short (there really is NO was to spruce up a description of trouble-shooting a start-up error with the folks from Alienware for an hour without copious use of F-bombs, s-bombs, et al) The error was not one from which my system can recover. We tried running chkdsk, fixing the boot, etc. Some things said they worked, but none of them actually HELPED let my computer complete the boot-up cycle. Even got the blue-screen of death one time, and the error code solution the tech looked up - basically said: Computer fucked, re-install operating system.


I've got a bit of work ahead of me tomorrow. It was just too late to be bothered today. And getting all those programs back. Downloading all that shit again. Not to mention losing a few things. We may lose some recent photos, depends. Ever since my primary rig went kablooie (actually it was Alienware mis-diagnosing a bad memory card that turned into an odyssey) and I thought we'd lost it all, I've been pretty good about making sure things are backed up. That said, we're going to lose a few iTunes songs I imagine. (I just make sure all our TV Shows were backed up). Some other stuff won't be up-to-date - Like our Master DVD and Alphabetized movie lists...fuck, I just thought of that....fucking-A, it took me like 2 hours to get that thing up-to-date, and I don't think I saved a copy onto an external....frig it...can anyone recommend a good online back-up utility?

Is it time to get a Mac?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Going On the Record - Micc's AFC Prediction

Okay, I admit it, I should've done this at the end of August, like last year. But I swear, I won't let the Colts impressive debut alter my prognostications. (ed. yeah right)

So without further ado, let me boldly go where, uh, only about 10,000 other Internet talking-heads have gone before:

AFC North: Wow is this a tough division to pick. The Ravens were tough as hell last year and now they've got a good young(er) back in Willis McGahee rather than the Jamal Lewis who rapidly transformed from thundering to plodding.
1. Baltimore Ravens - the addition of McGahee does it for me. I usually would shy from picking a team to repeat with competition like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but a running game will give the Ravens that extra-win somewhere that puts them over the top.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - neck-and-neck with Cincy, but I think the O might open up a bit.
3. Cincinnati Bengals - more like a 2a pick. QB Carson Palmer enters that oft cited "2nd year" back from a Torn-ACL. He alone could trash my entire prediction for this division because he is clearly the best QB in the AFC North (which is usually a pretty good barometer for who has the best team as well)
4. Cleveland Browns - over/under on the beginning of the Brady Quinn era: Week 7. Over/under on the # of wins for the Brownies: 5.

AFC East. The class of the division remains the Pats (though the sheen has come off a little in the past couple of weeks, with injuries/suspensions to Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison and their best CB Asante Samuel just now reporting to the team (and accepting his franchise designation)
1. New England Patriots - Brady got some scary weapons now. Lots of pressure on Laurence Maroney, but he look good. If he gets injured....well that's an argument that can put on a LOT of teams. The defensive holes could hurt them early, but unless the NY Jets streak out of the gate and the Pats stumble badly, they should have more than enough to win the AFC East tiara.
2. NY Jets - the Man-genius will be the primary competition for the Belichick-led Patriots. Thomas Jones gives the Jets a great option at RB. I don't think the Patriots are used to the Jets actually having a reliable running game the past couple of years (when Curtis Martin was in his last year and then gone in '06). They'll have one this year.
3. Buffalo - the J.P. Losman-Lee Evans combo won't be enough to get this team over the top. Huge turnover on D leaves a lot of questions. No answers yet. Wouldn't completely surprise me to see the Bills do really well, also wouldn't surprise me to see them founder
4. Miami Dolphins - No O-line and stauesque QB in Trent Green. Affording your QB less protection than what some of the girls wear down on the strip spells bad news for Miami.

NFC South - Defending Champs should rule the roost (see I told you)
1. Indianapolis Colts - swear this has nothing to do with their dismantling of the Saints on opening night. They just have too much for their division rivals. Period.
2. Houston Texans - ok, I will take a wild stab and say the Texans' gamble on Matt Schaub pays off. The guy knows the system the team uses and maybe Ahman Green will be the Texans' uncaped crusader for one season. That's the hope in Houston. It won't be enough to make the playoffs, but it could be enough to make some noise that Houston doesn't totally suck.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - maybe Garrard will be "the man" down in J-town. Maybe the Jags won't recover from the release of Byron Leftwich. I'm down on the Jags because they can't seem to stop the internal roiling that seems to sabotage their season each year. Moreover, Garrard is just the 4th best QB in the division.
4. Tennessee Titans - an odd placement, I know, considering the Titans "remember us, we're still in the NFL" run last year. But jettisoning nearly every weapon Vince Young relied on last year (with the exception of TE Ben Scaife) just doesn't seem like a formula for success in 2007. If some weapons emerge, this pick will look foolish, cause Vince Young is just electric.

AFC West - aiya, San Diego, Denver and uh...oh my the other two should be bad.
1. San Diego - Going with talent alone on this one folks. LT, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates? An orangutan could coax a 9-10 win season of this squad. They could roll out a wax figure of coach Norv Turner and be just as effective (come to think of it...)
2. Denver Broncos - Travis Henry is next-in-line to get the Shanahan-system-can-make-a-1,000-yard-rusher out-of-anyone. Thing is, Henry is already a damn fine back. He could become a monster in Denver....yea! I got him on one of my fantasy teams
3. Oakland Raiders - from bottom of the scrapheap to what? Mild, somewhat respectability? Perhaps. I just think any team with a defense as good as the Raiders should be somewhat decent. Is McNown the answer? Dunno, I expect Culpepper and his deep-ball ability to take over at some point.
4. Kansas City Chiefs - odd place for the Chiefs, but I just don't trust this team on either side of the ball. O-line is deteriorating and even with Larry Johnson, who is arguably a top 3 back in the league, it hard to see him dominating in a 3-yards and a cloud-of-dust offense. And who is going to be throwing the ball to new WR Dwayne Bowe? K.C. may make me pay for this lack of faith, but that's how I see it right now.

Typhoon Fitow

Well, looks like the worst of Typhoon Fitow is past.
Plenty of high-winds and some small debris tossed about (our empty trash can took a little jaunt out the garage and down the alley while we were taking the boys to the vet). To say the least, our command picnic was delayed. Not sure a day in the park would've been much fun.

If you want to see what it looked like, check out Christina's blog. It doesn't quite capture the max. intensity we witnessed (didn't have the camera out at that point), perhaps because the rain isn't as visible. I mean, it was coming DOWN, from every angle it seemed, you went outside, you got drenched, you open the car door - you got drenched. Of course the boys decided to use the poor weather as an excuse to piss in the house. Bastards.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oof! Colts Stomp Saints

Well, I figured the Colts would score some points. But the Saints must be thinking they just got smashed by Hurricane Ka-Peyton.

41-10? Well, so much for my prediction. Got close with the Colts, but I thought the Saints would be able to score some points. Which is perhaps the scariest part of the game: the Colts D. I mean, the Saints' were supposed to have a strong D, but all they did was dink and dunk and "take what the D gave them" - that was enough to keep the game 10-10 at the half, but it was nowhere near enough in the second half. Manning got rolling, and the Colts just churned out the points.

Moreover, my thoughts in the off-season were: the Colts lost too many defensive starters. Talk about addition my subtraction. I think the replacements are clearly better than the guys from last year. Oopsie....

Fantasy note: Manning scored 23 points in ESPN FF. Great, I'm already 23 points in the hole.

Final note: I wouldn't want to be the team that has to face New Orleans next week (uh, that means you Tampa) because the Saints just got embarrassed on National TV.

Overlord - Runaway Fun Getting your "Minion on"

Well I finally fired up my new XBox 360 game Overlord.

AND Lord, is it FUN. There is really nothing that quite matches the miniature horde of underlings you have to do your bidding. I mean take a look at these darling little evil creatures:
You see, minions are part servant, part soldier, part errand-boy, part fanatic willing to sacrifice themselves for your benefit. Ordering them around is a snap. Currently I only have two types: Brown (melee fighters) and Red (fire throwers/absorbers/your basic ranged-attackers, weak in close-combat types)...I'm currently on quests to get Green (immune to poison/sneak attackers) and Blue (healers) minions. It functions well with the Xbox controller too: choosing them is fairly simply all the colored minions correspond with their same color button (exception - brown minion are coded to the yellow button).

This game is seriously warped, and I love it. I mean you start by having to free the men of Spree from the halfling (think Hobbit and pronounced harf-ling) oppression. Seems quite a few of the heroes that vanquished your predecessor have gone to seed. The halfling hero Melvin, for instance, has become a giant corpulent bag of fat who's halfling worshippers steal food for him, enslave local farmers and ravage the human town (Spree - sounds like Bree the human town near the Shire - no?). Now, dispatching the halfling king isn't exactly evil, more like evil-lite. But its still damn fun to dispatch your minions to ransack Hobbiton (er, the halfling holes), smash everything in sight, and watch them go about their perverted business with gleeful shrieks and obsequiously returning with the gifts they've pillaged "For the Master".

Wanted to take a break from the Football posts. If you have an Xbox and an evil-fun streak, Overlord is a must-buy.

NFL is About to KICKOFF!

Colts vs the Saints.
Game is coming up, uh, later today. (Tomorrow morning for me). And I figured I should commemorate this somehow.

Prediction: The Colts bring too much O for the Saints, win by 10, 37-27.

As for the rest of the games. Well to be honest. I just don't know and exposing my ignorance for all to see would be a just this side of ridiculous. So why bother?

I do know one thing: NYG RB Brandon Jacobs may be big, but I think about 50 of his 250 lbs must be lodged in his fat skull. Season hasn't even started and he's giving Dallas bulletin board material, talking about going to Dallas and whuppin' dat ass. I'm sure Amani Toomer is going to be real appreciative of his comments when Roy Williams lays him out at some point in the game.

IN other news.
A decent article by Les Bowen on the situation surrounding McNabb.
Not sure I like this article by El Segundo on, I mean its half-baked and doesn't even bother to analyze the Packers entire defense. If you going to discuss the Packers D, don't tell us how great it is and then leave with the cryptic "And that is, of course, before even looking at the playmakers in their secondary." (Ed. pet peeve: starting a sentence with AND).

Well why the fuck not look at their secondary. Like its stocked with All-Pros....Charles Woodson played fairly well last year. He at least showed he wasn't washed-up. Al Harris is the other corner, but isn't he getting a little long in the tooth to be mentioned with the top corners in the league (I mean, I can probably name a good dozen without pausing: Vasher, Newman, Bailey, Sheppard, Barber, Asomugha (or whatever the fuck his name is, the dude in Oakland), Dre Bly, Asante Samuel, D. Hall, Mathis, Lucas....ok, ran out, sue me...what am I an encyclopedia? Point is, I can't even name the Packers safeties and all of a sudden I'm supposed to be afraid of a pair of, at best, second-tier CBs. Not likely.

What I do respect from the Packers D, is their D-Line, which is underrated and an up-n-coming LB corps. Its going to be the FRONT 7 we have to worry about. Not the back 4.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Analyzing the Eagles D

Well its taken a couple of days for me to get the time. I did my roster analysis of the offense (scroll down) a few days ago. So not to leave out the defense, off we go:

DL (10 total, 5 DE, 5 DT) Brief word before the positions. This is same number of D-lineman we carried last year. However, unlike the O-Line, there are several new faces this year. As usual, expect the Eagles to dress 8 DL each game, and creating alternating DT & DE rotations (They don't usually swap out 4x4, but 2x2 and sometimes 1-to-1.

DE - Jevon Kearse, Trent Cole, Darren Howard, Juqua Thomas and Victor Abiamiri. O.k. so the only "new" face is Abiamiri, our second round draft pick. But Kearse returns after missing 14 games last year with a knee injury. His effectiveness will go a long way to determining how effective our DE rotation will be. The Darren Howard at RE, Kearse at LE combo looked awesome early last season. Then Kearse went out, Howard played out-of-position some snaps and played too many snaps are wore down as the season progressed. This season, provided they all stay healthy, the two elder statesmen of the D-Line should be fine. Matter-of-fact, Trent Cole supplanted Darren Howard as the starter in TC this year, so his snap count should be manageable. Of course, for the amount of $$$ he's making, Howard is over-priced. If he could manage to play to the level of his compensation. We'd could have a monster line. The final member of the regular rotation will be Juqua Thomas (who followed Kearse here from Tennessee). JT has a stellar preseason, and that new contract hasn't slowed the man's motor. I am looking for good thing from Juqua this year - he's going to make it hard for the coaches to keep him off the field. Abiamiri is a spot player this year. He's insurance in case of injury, but it really here to learn the position and then take over one of DE slots that will almost assuredly be vacated by Kearse or Howard (or both) during the 2008 offseason.

DT - Mike Patterson, Broderick Bunkley, Montae Reagor, Kimo Von Oelhoffen, LaJuan Ramsey. Two new faces here. One real new, as Kimo just joined the team in place of the injured Ian Scott (who signed in the offseason but never played a snap in TC or preseason). This rotation gives the Birds a mixture of youth and experience (in Kimo's case, significant experience - he's 36). The bonus as I see it: Reagor and KVO may give up some age/weight to the departed Sam Rayburn and Darwin Walker, but they have both recently been part of Super Bowl winning teams. They know what it takes to get things down, and can teach the young guys (Patt is 3rd year player, Bunk and LaJuan 2nd year, rookie FA Jeremy Clark is on the practice squad) a thing or two and provide a steady veteran presence in the middle. In Kimo's case he'll primarily be called on the stuff the run. Ramsey has been hobbled by a high ankle sprain most of TC and preseason and will likely start the season not dressing for games. Once he's good to go (say a few weeks into the season) expect him to suit up and spell one of the "old" fellas for a few games. This will keep the vets fresh for the long campaign.

LB (6) - Takeo Spikes (TKO), Omar Gaither (OG), Chris Gocong, Stewart Bradley, Matt McCoy and Pago Togafau. Lots of question marks about this group. Obvious TKO is being relied on as our stalwart LB, even though he's brand new to the system. OG is going to good in the middle. He's got the speed Trotter used to have, though not the size. OG is more of sideline-to-sideline guy, whereas Trot had become a tackle-to-tackle guy, or perhaps a tackle-to-hashmark guy if he slanted that way. That said, he's and last year, he played the WILL position. One thing he did flash last year - a propensity to make plays - something our LBs sorely lacked before he showed up. TKO is a play-maker as well, so look for the LBs to contribute a bit more on the batted passes, INT scope. The real question is going to be their susceptibility to mis-direction, screens, etc. Gocong is essentially a rookie and learning the SAM, Stewart Bradley is a more natural SAM, but is a genuine rookie. There's going to be some bumps along the way, but these guys have the talent, its a matter of getting the confidence, being comfortable and just playing. As for McCoy, well, the Eagles like to talk about how well he graded out in the first half of last year, but he's small, quick guy and while he can tackle ok, he hasn't shown an ability to really stick his head in there and knock out a runner or an ability to stay healthy for a season. Since he's not a starter anymore, expect to him dress and play special teams, and also, perhaps join in the certain LB rotation packages when the Birds need a LB to help in pass coverage. As for Pago, no clue fellas. The Eagles had to place him on the 53-man roster because they claimed him off waivers from the Cardinals. He's a fireplug type (5'10", 250), who can run. But can he play? Not sure we're going to find out this year, though he could dress and make an appearance on special teams. I just don't think it will be early in the season - perhaps once McCoy wears out....

DBs (9 total - 5 CB, 4 S)
CBs - Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Will James, Joselio Hanson, Nick Graham. A bit of consternation in the Eagle-land when the Eagles pulled plug on the Rashad Barksdale (6th rnd pick) experiment in favor of undrafted rookie free agent Nick Graham. Both players flashed some ball-hawk in the preseason, but neither is really going to be counted to play much this year. Will James is our clear #3 CB, even though he boasted about being a starter and going to the ProBowl, he did not do enough (IMHO) to justify playing in front of Sheldon Brown. Lito remains our best play-making CB and has really developed into one of the top corners in the NFL.

S - Brian Dawkins, Sean Considine, Quintin Mikell, J.R. Reed. This group is a bit less steady that in years past. Dawk is going to be fine, as always, and we really need to remain pretty much ageless this year. Last year he responded from an o.k. season in 2005 to a stellar Pro-Bowl-nod-earning 2006. We need that to continue, because the Eagles did not have a chance to draft his replacement this past April. He's one of the best-ever, and my all-time favorite Eagle. Say no more - it will be a sad, sad day when Dawkins hangs them up. I just hope it doesn't happen for a few more seasons - and I can't wait to see him snatch another Brett Favre pass in the opener.

The biggest area of concern is clearly his battery mate Considine. Much was made about him bulking up in the off-season in order for him to be able to stand-up and lay some wood from the SS position. Uh....doesn't look like that is going to happen. He bounces off big TEs and I haven't seen him lay out a single WR. SC simply does not instill any fear in opposing receivers over crossing the middle. None. Quintin Mikell and J.R. Reed both have huge special teams roles for the Eagles. Mikell is our ST captain and J.R. returns after a injury and jaunt around the league to (hopefully) provide our return game that spark its been missing ever since he got injured between the '04-'05 seasons. The primary question in my mind: Can "Q" turn his play up another notch and supplant Considine. One thing Mikell can do is HIT, and it appears that Def. Coord. Jim Johnson is creating some schemes/packages to get Mikell onto the field. With Reed and Mikell both dressing, I practically expect more contribution to the Birds from our back-ups safeties than from our starting SS.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another Forum for Eagles Fans

We'll I have to say, I gave Neil's Eaglezfanz forum another shot - and I really enjoy the extras (avatars, being able to put a picture in your post, being able to curse, have a funny photo in my signature line, etc). Makes it more fun.

If you like Eagles football, or just football in general. Swing by and check it out. So far its pretty much a troll free environment, which is cool.

6 Named to Practice Squad

Well folks, the Eagles named 6 players to their practice squad.

WR Michael Gasperson - been a PSer for a couple of season now, but hasn't broken through. This was probably his best preseason so far
WR Bill Sampy - deep thigh bruise kept him sidelined most of camp. The fact that they're keeping him on the P.S. solidifies the notion that the Eagles really like this guy. If healthy he might've challenged for a roster spot - its the only explanation I have for the Birds keeping two WRs on the P.S.
DT Jeremy Clark - consensus spot here. Clark stepped up and had a great camp. Lots of chatter about whether we should've kept him on the 53-man roster.
FB Jason Davis - he played the final preseason games like a man who really wanted a job. I don't think he showed enough to warrant the Eagles picking him over Thomas Tapeh, BUT it appears he did flash enough for the Birds to put him on the P.S. and not 7th round selection Nate Ilaoa
TE Lee Vickers - another consensus guy. This guy really jelled with rookie QB Kevin Kolb and though he's a converted DE he showed some good hands. With Celek busting out as well, there was no chance Vickers would make the active roster. IF L.J. moves on or the Eagles decide to part ways with Matt Schobel....Vickers could make the team next year
DE Marques Murrell - was all over the field against the NY Jets in the final preseason game. You could tell this guy was fighting for a job. A bit under-sized, he has a chance to develop into a situational pass-rusher.

As you know, NFL Practice Squad are allowed to have eight players on them. So why 6? The guess here is that at the time of the annoucement neither Marcus Paschal nor Akeem Jordan had cleared waivers. They made the original "final cut" down to 53, but we released when the Birds made some moves (see below). My guess is one or both fill out the squad.

post edit: My prediction (such as it was) was correct. Both Paschal and Jordan were signed to the practice squad once they cleared waivers.

Another Gratuitous Dachshund Pic

No real reason for this post, other than to give equal time to the "Dude"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Eagles Make More Moves!

Whew, its a good thing I just stuck with the Offense yesterday, cause the Birds made 3 more moves overnight (for me). I woke up and the found out the Birds had signed former Steelers & Jets DT Kimo von Oelhoffen. Generously called a veteran, the 36 year old lineman will be looked to provide a steady vet leadership to a young front 7.

That pretty much ended Ian Scott's brief stay with the Eagles. Shame too, because Scott was a good player in Chicago, but simply couldn't get on the field fort he Eagles due to a knee injury. The Eagles did not place him on the Physically Unable to Perform list (or PUP list) which would have given Scott six more weeks and delayed the Eagles decision as whether or not to keep him (Ex. any player PUP'd cannot play until Week 7 - at minimum. I believe team have until Week 9 or 10 to activate the player onto their 53-man roster, place them on injured reserve or release them.

I think when he wasn't cut by the Eagles yesterday, even after he hadn't played and UFA DT Jeremy Clark had an excellent camp that the thinking in Eagledom was that the Eagles chose Scott over Clark because he's more of a proven commodity - and the Eagles already have two young 2nd-year DTs and probably weren't looking to have a rookie added to the mix. Reagor was signed primarily for his veteran savvy and his experience on winning ballclubs. KVO brings a similar pedigree. He's been on a Super Bowl winning team.

But the REAL surprise (and delight to many) was the return of, uh, return man/safety J.R. Reed. You see, JR was an unsung hero for the special teams during the Eagles Super Bowl run in 2004. While most folks focused on the how McNabb and T.O. torched the league and how Trotter's return to the middle sparked a defense renaissance (and rightly so); what went less noticed was how good the Eagles special teams were that season. I mean our return game consistently set up the Birds with good to excellent field position. I can remember talking with my Dad about that. Several times a game it seemed, the Eagles would turn mediocre field position (say between their own 15-30) into really good fp with a good punt return, or following another team scoring, the kick return team would crank out another good return and hand the ball to McNabb & Co. near mid-field - giving the O a chance to get those points back.

Well anyway, the Eagles claimed J.R. Reed off the waiver wire (he played for the vaGiants for 8 days but we'll forgive him) and it hopefully it signal the return of our return game, which has been stuck in neutral the past two years without J.R.

Oh yeah, the Eagles also claimed middle linebacker Pago Togafau on Sunday. HA, first "von Oelhoffen and then Togafau - is the Front Office trying to make poor Merrill Reese go nuts? A rookie free agent out of Idaho State, Togafau spent training camp and the preseason with the Arizona Cardinals. The 5-foot-10, 250-pound Togafau had 16 tackles in the preseason. He led the Bengals in tackles in each of his last three seasons and finished his college career with a total of 361.

To maintain the 53-man roster limit, the Eagles released linebacker Akeem Jordan and safety Marcus Paschal. (and I'd already come up with something about them for my analysis of the defense roster spots). Now I could imagine the Birds will try and stash both of the those guys on their practice squad. And if Togafau flops, Jordan will be back.

Analyzing the Eagles "Final" 53-man Roster

I put final in quotes "" because I'm not so sure the Eagles won't make a move if a player they like comes around. But as it stands, the Eagles kept 25 players on Offense, 25 players on Defense and 3 specialist (P, K, Long-snapper).

Breaking down the O:
3 QBs, 4 Back, 5 WR, 3 TEs, 10 OL.
The Quarterbacks and Offensive Line are the easiest to gauge:

QB - McNabb, A.J. Feeley, and Kevin Kolb. No mystery here folks. We've known this was going to be the line-up since, oh, the April draft. The only "surprise" has been of a pleasant variety - because Kolb looks good - damn good.

OL - Thomas, Herremans, Jackson, Andrews, Runyan return as Top 5. Justice, McCoy, Cole, Young and Max Jean-Gilles all return as the Top Reserves. Wow, that's some stability. Usually the Eagles find someone new to rotate into the mix, but it seems like Cole, Max, Young and McCoy held off the competition (I think Winston Justice is safe, and almost counted on be a starter in 2008). I see Justice and Cole as almost guaranteed as dressing during game. Justice is our top Reserve T and Cole can swing to G or C. If the Eagles dress 8 OL - it will be interesting to see if Scott Young or MJ-G gets the nod. I don't think McCoy will dress much at all (I'd be shocked actually). No doubt the Eagles like the guy, but if McCoy sees the field this year "we in trouble" and that's putting it mildly.

Backs (RB/FB) - Westbrook (duh), Buck, Tony Hunt and Thomas Tapeh. OK - no real surprises here. Buck returns as our top back-up and I expect Tony Hunt to dress and maybe get a couple touches a game early in the season, just to see how he does in "real" games. Is he ready to step-up when the "bullets are flying" and grind out some tough yards for the Birds? Those early carries will go a long way to determining whether or not he stays activated consistently throughout the season (injuries will play a part as well). Also by keeping just 4 total backs I think that means we're almost guaranteed to keep a back or two on the practice squad. Nate Ilaoa and Jason Davis seems the most likely candidates. This way, in case something does happen, as least there is somebody familiar with the system who can step-up and try and chip-in.

TE - L.J., Matt Schobel and Brent Celek. Obviously if L.J. is healthy and stays that way - then I won't expect to see much of Brent Celek (since teams have to deactive 7-8 players each game, I don't there's enough room to dress all 3 TEs each and every game). What we DID see in the preseason was fairly encouraging. He got some quality time with the 1s, and acquitted himself nicely. L.J. is a much more polished package and there will/would be a drop-off is he wasn't in there. Celek look like a keeper. If the Birds don't want to match L.J.'s price (the going rate is probably similar to the 6 yr, 30 million dollar deal (14 mill guaranteed) that HB/TE Chris Cooley just got from the Redskins; then Celek will have a real prominent role for the Eagles in the future.

Wide Receivers - Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis, Avant, Baskett and GLew. No surprises in the Top 4 - we all expected that. Perhaps the most interesting development: Jason Avant rise to the third wideout position with a strong camp. Baskett won't disappear - he's too big and has too much play-making potential to completely disappear. And finally, once again Greg Lewis does enough to make the team. I can remember last year, when some folks on the boards were calling for GLew's departure (and bemoaning his continued presence on the roster). With Bloom getting cut, we might get to see a bit more of GLew as he could very well be our punt returner of record. I think we'll dress all 5 each game.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Eagles Final Roster Cuts Published

Straight from the horse's mouth. The Eagles can establish their eight-man practice squad beginning at noon Sunday, Sept. 2. More analysis later, we'll probably be leaving for air show pretty soon. Its cloudy out and was raining this morning, but hopefully it will clear up.

Player (Position)


Rashad Barksdale (CB) A project after one year of college football
Jeremy Bloom (WR) Didn't provide boost in return game
Jeremy Cain (FB/LS) Converted LB, needs practice
Jeremy Clark (DT) Run stuffer who earned praise thru camp
Zac Collie (WR) Not good enough
Tank Daniels (LB) Fast linebacker, not enough production
Jason Davis (FB) Good natural runner who worked way back from ACL injury in '06
Dustin Fox (CB) Slowed by Achilles injury
C.J. Gaddis (S) Neck-to-neck with Marcus Paschal all camp
Michael Gasperson (WR) Practice squad project past two seasons
Erick Harris (S) Couldn't beat out Paschal for fourth spot
Jasper Harvey (C) Eagles already have two young, atheltic centers
Jacob Hobbs (G) The lightest O lineman in camp
Nate Ilaoa (RB) Needs to develop pass blocking skills
Dirk Johnson (P) Simple, lost to Rocca
Mauricio Lopez (DT) Space-eater, but not enough push
Marques Murrell (DE) Too small to play the run
J.J. Outlaw (WR) Couldn't break the numbers crunch
Jonathan Palmer (T) Too many experienced veterans
Dedrick Roper (LB) Lost time in camp with foot injury
Bill Sampy (WR) Hindered by quad injury all camp
Lee Vickers (TE) Converted DE who Eagles took on as project

Cuts Aren't Official (Yet) but two are confirmed.

Well the Eagles are saying that the list of cuts that made its way onto the net was, in fact, just a default dummy list of guys the web-guys THOUGHT were on the way out. Well, I dunno about that - the list looks pretty logical to me and Les Bowen is reporting that sources have confirmed at least two of the cuts:

P - Dirk Johnson
WR - Jeremy Bloom

Deeper analysis when the cuts become official, but my take on the release of Dirk and Bloom is fairly simple: the Eagles couldn't pass-up the near unreal talent of Aussie kicker Sav Rocca. Moreover - Rocca must've gotten a thumbs-up from K David Akers despite the two trouble snaps in the final preseason game versus the NY Jets.

Now Dirk's grousing a bit - saying if the Eagles knew before Thursday's final game that they were going to keep Rocca that they should've let him go. I for one, ain't buying that shit.
ONE - there is no guarantee the Eagles had already made up their mind. They wanted a spirited competition after Dirk turned in a injured, sub-par (generously speaking) season in 2006. Dirk came back strong and kicked the heck out of the ball. But he clearly doesn't have the leg strength or talent of Rocca. Case closed.
TWO - Why exactly did we "owe you". Excuse me Dirk, but football is a CONTACT sport - as Sav found out in game 1. So what if we'd released Dirk (and watched him try out and latch on with say New England or Cleveland or Detroit or wherever) and then had Sav get submarined in the preseason game or otherwise taken out? No, the threat of injury is always there and no team keeps two punters, just-in-case, so the Birds made their choice. And they did it at the right time. After a complete evaluation at the END of the preseason.

As for Bloom - well, it was nice thinking we had found a guy with something special, but Bloom did not live-up to expectations. His punt returns were no better than the long and not-so dearly departed Reno Mahe. He had a little wiggle to him, but not the elusive nature or shotgun burst of a Dante Hall. I mean, if anyone from the coverage team so much as laid a hand on Bloom, he went DOWN. I was pulling for the guy too, but I'm not so blinded by my own hope for success that I can ignore the fact that he just didn't have "it". Oh well.

HUGE Misawa Base Air Show Tomorrow

Christina tells me, upwards of 150,000 thousand people will be flocking from all over Japan to the annual Misawa AB Air Show.

Wow folks. Misawa isn't all that big. Something like 44,000 people. Its not a "small" town, but its not big, I can tell you that.

Well the city is going to be tripling in size tomorrow, and we're going to be in the thick of it. The worst part: Base authorities have asked people to leave their pets at no pics of Zaar and D.J. trolling the flight line or posing with an F-16...(dang)....Probably for the best, with that many people it would've been hard to keep them out from "underfoot" - though I have no doubt they will be plenty of stupid human broodlings buzzing around getting in my way tomorrow...

I wonder how many foreign spies will show up....