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Tag:Donovan McNabb
Posted on: April 5, 2010 11:50 am
 

McNabb Traded, City of Philadelphia Shuts Up

Well, I hope you’re happy Eagles fans. For those of you who wanted Donovan McNabb run out of Philadelphia in favor of Kevin Kolb, you got your wish. McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins for two draft picks late Sunday night. But the city won't ever shut up. They're too self-centered and expressive for thier own good. Once again, I have to separate myself from the rest of city and say that I am only an Eagles fan, not a Philadelphia fan. It seems everyday I'm thankful for that. 

And I don’t want to hear a peep out of any of you who ever thought for a second that Kolb over McNabb was a good idea. Not a word about trading McNabb inside the division, not a word about what they got for him, nothing. You not allowed to gripe when McNabb comes into The Linc to open the 2010 season as a Redskin and kills the Eagles. You’re not allowed to complain when the Skins are in the playoffs and the Birds are not. You're definitely not allowed to complain in three years when Kolb is a bust and the Eagles are still rebuilding.

Because at some point, you wanted this to happen – McNabb traded, Kolb to start for the Eagles. And you're crowing about it right now on sports radio stations, about how happy you are that McNabb is gone. How happy will you be in a few months?

If you wanted McNabb gone, but are angry that he got traded to the Skins, well that's too darn bad. You got the main objective – McNabb out, Kolb in. You can’t have it both ways here people. The Eagles made a business decision that a very outspoken number of you wanted. And now, some of you are mad because the Eagles felt a little loyal to their franchise QB and didn’t want to exile him to Oakland or Buffalo. Tough cookies.

 I on the other hand, as a long standing McNabb defender from the common, irrational Philadelphia fan, I get to do all the bashing I want. I get to bash the Eagles’ front office for having three QBs with contracts expiring at the same time. I get to bash the Eagles for putting themselves into a situation of trading McNabb within the division. I get to bash the Eagles if this backfires and they are 6-10 next year (and the year after that) and last in the division. I get to bash the city and the "diehard" faithful Eagle fans for driving this decision on the radio and message boards.

If you wanted Kolb as the starter, you get to keep your mouth shut. Just keep scrolling down, the bashing will end soon. Right after the fans stop calling the radio stations to bash McNabb. Right after this city realizes that it has been bashing arguably the greatest Eagle of the last decade. Right after Philly realizes it's been as unclassy as possible to Donovan McNabb for the last 11 years. Oh, wait, that means it will never end. I hope that the same people that call into the radio stations today aren't the same people who are bashing Kolb in 5 months.

Okay, enough of my bitter bashing, on to more important matters.

Clark Judge thinks the Eagles know something, something that says McNabb won’t be a threat to them inside the division. Clark, that’s the dumbest column I’ve read by you, and I like you. But you got it wrong, the Eagles know McNabb is still dangerous and this was a business move.  Personally, I think the Eagles are just not afraid of the Redskins O-line and receivers. I wouldn’t be. Mike Freeman thinks the Eagles will pay for their disloyalty to McNabb. I think he’s right. It’s called karma. Pete Prisco thinks he is hallucinating after learning about the McNabb trade and says it’s risky. Aside from every trade being risky, yes, the Eagles are going with an unproven commodity in Kolb, but they have been developing him for several years now.

Look, the Eagles’ front office has decided to get younger. There’s nothing wrong with that. Except now you have a team almost devoid of veteran leadership on both ends of the ball. Not having Brian Dawkins last year (and Jim Johnson, too) killed the Eagles on the defensive end of the ball. That and Stewart Bradley getting hurt in the preseason. Now the Eagles “veterans” consist of CB Asante Samuel and DE Trent Cole on defense and OL Todd Herremans and Jason Peters on offense, and two of those guys have only been Eagles for one season.

 But the Eagles front office has decided to, in my opinion, sacrifice this season in a pseudo-rebuilding year to get their young guys, mainly Kolb and RB LeSean McCoy, a full season under their belts as starters. If they make the playoffs or a run at the division, great, if not, well, the Eagles have a new core of great young players on the current roster, the 2010 draft and the 2011 draft and free agency as well. This is good news. I will like this more if Kolb has a solid 2010 season. If he struggles and the Birds are a sub-.500 team, I will not care and continue ripping the Eagles for trading McNabb.

Now the Eagles draft plans change drastically. They’ll need to draft a QB at some point in the first few rounds, after they move up to the middle of the first round to assure themselves USC safety Taylor Mays (or farther up to get Tennessee safety Eric Berry) who will start immediately at FS to replace the aforementioned Dawkins. I would also expect to see the usual depth picks at both O and D-line as well as linebacker. And no, the Eagles should not draft Tim Tebow to replace Mike Vick at the “Spread Eagle” Wildcat formation.

As for Kevin Kolb, he has a lot to live up to. He does have the support of the Philly faithful, something McNabb didn’t have on Day 1 and never really had throughout his career. Now, because I’m still a little bitter about this whole situation, here’s what I’d do with Kolb. Sign him to a 2-year deal worth $5,555,555.55 / year. Just for the irony. Then, Kolb has to win 10 games in 2010 and he can’t lose to the Skins at home or to Dallas at all, meaning the worst record he can have inside the division is 3-3 and by the way, losing to the Giants twice isn’t acceptable either. He must make and win a playoff game in his first year, which would put him ahead of Tony Romo, who didn’t win a playoff game until last year. If he does this, I will refrain from expressing my opinions of Kolb and the Eagles’ front office on a regular basis. If he does not, well it’s open season.

Now, my three Donovan McNabb jerseys are well, kinda useless. I need to pick a new jersey. FB Leonard Weaver has a new deal and my favorite number – 43. DeSean Jackson appears now to be the new face of the Eagles franchise, plus my dad hates his guts (he’s a Giants fan who refers to Jackson only as “Number Ten”). Quintin Mikell is my favorite defensive player, and hopefully he gets a capable player to play next to him at safety next year. David Akers would be a good choice, but who knows when the Eagles will decide to move him too.

As for the Skins, well this means Jason Campbell is out. Funny, an under-appreciated QB from Philly replaces an under-appreciated QB in DC. And that’s a shame because Campbell was another class act who did his job, kept his mouth shut, and really overachieved with the Skins for several years with a team that under Dan Snyder, has more holes than Swiss cheese. But at least Campbell isn’t working for Snyder anymore. McNabb now leads an offense that isn’t great at the offensive line, but does have a better running game than Philly and a defense that has been performing pretty well in recent years.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Donovan McNabb for his 11-year career as a Philadelphia Eagle. You were never fully appreciated by the city and more people focused on your faults rather than your successes. Your last two games against Dallas weren’t your fault since your O-line was a mess after C Jamal Jackson went down with an injury. Your legacy (and Andy Reid’s) should be bringing the Eagles out of mediocrity into a perennial NFC contender and as one of the best QB’s in Eagles history. My cynical side wants you to crush the Birds twice next year, but if your defense ends up blowing the games, that’s fine too. You’ve been a class act for all 11 years, overcoming draft day boos, injuries, T.O. and a host of opposing defenders who wanted to smash your brains in. I hope that the uproar of you going to DC is enough to realize that this city did love you, even if they didn’t always express it. I hope that one day you enter the Eagles’ Ring of Honor and maybe Canton and always enter the city of Philadelphia with that chip on your shoulder.

You stay classy 5.

- Eagle

Posted on: January 12, 2010 10:51 am
 

The Eagles Can't Push The Panic Button

And neither can their fans. If I hear one more dim-witted, irrational Philadelphia fan call for Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb's head, my head probably will explode. I love Philadelphia. I love the Eagles. I can never be considered a true Philadelphia fan due to my humble, eclectic upbringing. And I thank myself for that everyday so that I can be avoided being lumped into the true Philadelphia fans.

I get it. The city as a sports fan wears its heart on its sleeve. You express yourselves in colorful manners and voice your opinions without thinking. If Eagles fans had their way, Reid and McNabb would have been left behind years ago and our franchise would have been mired in mediocrity by now. But the fans don't see it that way. They're emotional right now. The Cowboys just beat them for the second and third times this season and ousted the Eagles from the playoffs. We're a little pissed right now, even myself. The difference is, I can still think with a clear head.

Case and point, Donovan McNabb is a Top 10 NFL QB in my opinion. Mike Vick or Kevin Kolb will probably not step in and be a Top 10 QB in the NFL. They can be good, efficient, maybe even win a game or two on their own, but they won't be a Top 10 QB. Not next year. The Eagles have no QB controversy unless you believe the stuff that ESPN pumps at you. Andy Reid should have never needed to address this issue unless the media brought it up (and they did this to drive the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans crazy. On purpose. I can't prove it, but they've been doing it for years.) and he ended the matter quickly. In the words of the infamous Lovie Smith, "Donovan is our quarterback."

McNabb said something after the Week 17 loss to Dallas. He said "We showed our youth today." He did not take a shot at his young playmakers, but rather merely expressed that young teams will have bad games. Every skill position player for the Eagles (counting McCoy at RB) is 25 or younger. Think about that for a second, most of the Eagles core offensive skill players are entering their prime. This is a good thing. The Eagles are getting younger at O-line as well. Losing C Jamal Jackson really hurt this team during those last two games against Dallas and put McNabb into a survival mode in the pocket. Again, not the end of the world and I hope that Jackson is back for the start of next year because he is a fantastic player.

Secondly, the Eagles defense is also young for the most part. MLB Stewart Bradley was lost for the season in training camp and the Eagles as a unit never had any real cohesion for the entire season with all of the injuries and different lineups. Losing DC Jim Johnson didn't help either. Macho Harris replaced Sean Considine as the Eagles safety I open wonder aloud "WTF is he doing?" on a regular basis. The Eagles also seemed to be lacking a defensive leader. Why Brian Dawkins played this year in Denver is beyond me, he would solve my FS problem and leadership at the same time, and that hurt this team on the field and in the locker room, terrible decision by the Eagles front office (first time I've said that in years and we knew this at the beginning of the season).

Eagles fans, this young team is only going to get better. If you want to call for Ried and Donovan's head again, be my guest. You're entiled to do that. But think for a second of who is going to replace those two and if it's really an upgrade. Sure, Andy Reid doesn't run the ball consistently. I know, I wrote him a whole letter before the Chicago and he didn't do it in either of the two Dallas games. Maybe I should have wrote him again. Probably would not have changed the fact that the Eagles makeshift O-line couldn't stop Dallas' 3-4 scheme even with Jackson calling audibles for the O-line.

The last thing the Eagles should do right now is can McNabb. If you want to debate Westbrook, which would also be another dumb idea, fine. I'll hear that with an open mind. I'll take the debates of which back-up to have next year, Kolb or Vick or both. But I will not listen to the dumbfounded idea that Donovan McNabb should be sent packing.

Because he's going to get us to another Super Bowl. Andy Reid is going to coach it. And they're going to win it. Might be three or four years down the road with two more heartbreaking NFC Championship Game losses, but they're going to do it.

And if you give up on them now, you're throwing it all away because an 11-5 team lost a road playoff game.

And that would be a shame.
Posted on: April 21, 2009 3:29 pm
 

Eagles Off-Season Coverage

I was watching SportsCenter earlier today and heard a report from Sal Paolantonio (does ESPN ever let him leave Philadelphia? does he camp outside the NovaCare Complex?) that the Eagles were looking to draft Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno. I idea behind this is that the Eagles are looking for a similar player to backup Brian Westbrook. Personally, I'd rather have Donald Brown, but that's only because I'm a homer and love UConn. If you're looking for a runner that can play like Westbrook, Moreno's the guy, even I understand that. But I know that Brown is a complete tank and the only question I have with Moreno (because he's smaller like Westbrook) is durability. I think if the Eagles are looking at a RB, either of those two players are fine. I've also heard that the Eagles could go TE in the first round despite Brent Celek's breakout year last season.

When the Eagles traded/signed T Jason Peters from Buffalo, I was surprised. The Eagles don't do a lot of trading and prefer to build up from the draft. But with an extra first round pick, Andy Reid and Co. knew they could probably do both this offseason and they went out and did it. Pete Prisco has a blog entry about how stacked the Eagles line is, and he's right. The Eagles don't really need a great offensive line for a power running game (but if they drafted Donald Brown, they could...) but protecting Donovan McNabb is key. Giving McNabb time in the pocket rarely is a good thing for defenses (heck, a few years ago, putting pressure on him was just a dangerous), and now behind a monster O-Line, we'll see if the Eagles front office strategy of building around both lines will pay off with another Super Bowl appearance.

With this trade, it seems unlikely now that the Eagles with trade for Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin. This is a non-issue for me because the Eagles have never needed a high-profile wideout to win games. But, JEagle, the only time the Eagles made the Super Bowl was with T.F.O. Lies, good reader, the Eagles did not get to the Super Bowl "with" him, in fact, T.F.O. was injured for the end of the regular season and the NFC Playoffs. Personally, I think DeSean Jackson is a year away from being a complete stud and I have no problems with the rest of the Eagles receiving corps. However, my roommate keeps pointing out that with the picks the Eagles sent to the Bills, they probably could have gotten Boldin, and that's probably true. But either the Eagles don't think they need big time WR or they think they have their hands full with Jackson still, Boldin won't be coming to Philly.

Now apparently the Eagles have another disgruntled corner back. Sheldon Brown wants to be traded after the Eagles refused to renegotiate his contract. Umm...What? Really? Didn't the Eagles just deal with this problem, oh, I don't know, LAST SEASON?!?!?! I'm just going to assume that somewhere in the first 3 rounds of this weekend's draft, that the Eagles are going to draft a CB (here's a homer plug for UConn's Darius Butler, he's going to be a steal in the 2nd round for someone, if he's still available in the 2nd round that is...) which is going to do two things: 1, piss off Brown more, which he deserves and 2, give depth the an area that needs it. While they're at it, the Eagles should draft a safety too after foolishly letting Brian Dawkins sign with Denver.

Everything that I've posted here has pretty much happened in the last week or so. And the draft hasn't even started yet.

And here's a few rambling tidbit's to bring it all home.

RIP - Kalas, Adenhart, Fidrych; Mark Martin: The Ageless Wonder; Love those empty seats in NY ballparks; Ray Allen still has the prettiest jump shot in the NBA (he went to UConn, too. Whoops, there I go again...); The NHL and the NHL playoffs are still dead to me, but that didn't stop me from starting a "Quack, Quack" chant when the Ducks went up 2-0 against the top-seeded Sharks; I still enjoy watching pointless hockey scrums (see MON-BOS).

Oh, and of course...BRING BACK THE WHALERS!!!

- Eagle

Posted on: January 6, 2009 4:56 pm
 

What I Missed During Wild Card Weekend

Because of a variety of reasons, I had a rather disappointing Wild Card weekend when it came to sports. That is until my Eagles dominated the Vikings in Minnesota to setup Eagles-Giants III this weekend. I'm sure I'll be spending the Sunday surrounded by friends, mostly Giants fans, and stuffing my face full of chips, dip, wings and other game-day goodies. But, right now I'm lamenting on a weekend that could have been. Here's the rundown...

SportsCenter
Why I missed it: Because ESPN International didn't carry it when I was in Mexico. Maybe they did, but I'm sure it was in Spanish and probably focused more on soccer than the upcoming NFL Wild Card games. Was it the end of the world? Not when you have a laptop and a free WiFi connection to browse CBSSports.com and ESPN.com. Even kept up with my blog too.

CFB-International Bowl - Saturday 1/3, 12 PM, Buffalo vs. UConn
Why I missed it: Because I spent Saturday afternoon coming back from Mexico on a plane to Bradley Int. Airport (Hartford, CT). However, when the captain announced the final score, there were two audible "YES"s and a maybe a Tiger Woods fist up as well.
What I missed: The UConn Huskies turning the ball over 5 times and not attempting a pass in the first half. They rebounded with Donald Brown having another career day and breaking the 2,000 yard mark for the 15th time in NCAA FBS/Div. I-A history. Brown also announced he will enter the NFL Draft next year and skip his senior season at Connecticut.

MBB-Rutgers vs. UConn - Storrs, CT, 1/3 7 PM
Why I missed it: My cousin and I had a plane to get off our plane, head to his house, they hightail it up to Storrs to watch the game. Turns out, getting through customs, security and trying to find my sister's suitcase took too long so we bailed on heading to the game.
What I missed: Just UConn laying down the law to a Rutgers team that faced No. 1 UNC, No. 2 UConn and No. 3 Pitt in successive games. Still can't believe Rider lost to them at home. Speaking of my future alma mater...

MBB-Marist vs. Rider - Lawrenceville, NJ, 1/4 3PM
Why I missed it: The Eagles game at 4:30 and it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from my house in Trumbull, CT.
What I missed: The Rider Broncs retired the No. 1 of Jason Thompson, the 12th pick to the Sacramento Kings. Thompson became the second basketball player to have his name retired, joining Darrick Suber's No. 4 in the rafters. Also, Rider won the game 76-65 over the Red Foxes to improve to 3-0 in Metro Atlantic (MAAC) conference play.

NBA-Sacramento Kings vs. NJ Nets - 1/5 8PM
Why I missed it: Because I am a moron and completely forgot that the Nets are on the YES Network.
What I missed: Kings G Kevin Martin going nuts off the bench for a second straight game and the Kings blowing yet another 1st half lead. I'm actually glad I didn't watch this, because I probably would have been frustrated watching this game. I've already started the Mikki Moore watch for when he gets benched again. He lost his starting power forward spot to Spencer Hawes, who's out with an injury. And with my boy, Jason Thompson producing off the bench rather consistently, 9.3 pts / 6.7rebs / 1.0 ast in 24.3 mins/g, I can't see how's Moore is still getting starts. Moore is basically there to grab boards, and Kenny Thomas had 8 rebounds in 24 minutes after not playing since Christmas and Moore had 3 in 13 minutes. If your going to give Thompson more minutes, why not just start him. He can play both forward spots and center and he's a huge upgrade offensively. Whatever.

The life of a sports fan seems to always be incomplete. Whether your team is losing, underachieving or just can't seem to get over the hump to that next level, there always seems to be something missing. There is always more lows in sports than highs, because there can only be one true champion (unless it's the BCS). But I can live with missing out on everything written above, as long as there is that one high. Like calling my college roommate and resident Vikings fan last Sunday.

- Eagle
Posted on: January 5, 2009 11:58 am
 

NFL Wild Card 2009 Recap

I first must start this entry with an apology to the Indianapolis Colts for picking them to win the Super Bowl and ultimately cursing them to failure in the first round. For the record, I also made this apology to the UConn Huskies men's basketball team after I picked them to win the 2008 Championship (AJ Price blew out his knee and it was my homer bracket, I had UNC in my money pool. Don't gamble kids, especially if your using my advice). Either way, I am now staring at a bracket that is no more useful than the roll of Scotts in my bathroom. Let's do the Saturday recaps first so I can revel in my two Sunday wins.

Cardinals 30 - Falcons 24

I know I picked the Falcons, but I wasn't surprised to see the Cards win this game. And they did it in an unusual fashion for this Cards team in that the defense keyed the victory. Mike Turner was shut down and Kurt Warner made enough plays on offense to keep the Falcons away late.

Why the Cardinals won: Again I have to key on the D. Mike Turner was probably the MVP were it not for Peyton Manning winning 9 in a row (more on him later). And the Cardinals D showed up in a big way. Larry Fitzgerald had some downright amazing catches as well. If they show up as a team like this next week, they could keep the Panthers game interesting.

Why the Falcons lost: Other than Turner's bad day, I'll just chalk it up to general youthful inexperience. Matt Ryan did throw two picks to go along with his two TD passes. But I do have one thing that bothered me late in the 4th quarter: After the Falcons scored a TD to make it 30-23, they chose to go for one, making it 30-24. Why not go for two there if your Falcons head coach Mike Smith? If you convert, it's 30-25 and a Cardinal FG makes it 33-25 and it's still a one possesion game. It gives your D a little breathing room and your offense needs to score a TD anyway. Either way, that didn't matter because the Falcons kicked off with a little over four minutes left in the game, and never got the ball back. You have to onside kick after that TD, just to guarantee another shot at the ball. After the kickoff, the Falcons D never got the stop and the Cards iced the clock and won the game.

I still see nothing but upside for this Falcons team going into next year. Matt Ryan is only going to get better and I think is well on his way to being a franchise QB. I probably won't pick the Cardinals next week, but I know the Panthers probably wanted to see Atlanta in Carolina next week because they have a solid run D and that's the Falcon's best weapon. Now they have to prepare for Kurt Warner and the dangerous Arizona passing game.

Chargers 23 - Colts 17 (OT)

I can't explain this game for the life of me. The Chargers seemed to win at every phase of the game, and yet they trailed late in the 4th quarter. Phillip Rivers looked like Peyton Manning leading a poised Chargers offense sans-LT down the field to tie the game. Give all the credit to the Chargers here, they wanted this game more it seems.

Why the Chargers won: Because two players stepped up: Darren Sproles and Mike Scifres played huge roles. Sproles, the 5'-6" backup RB to LT had a huge day, going for over 100 yards on the ground and scoring two TD's, including the game winner in OT. And then there is Scifres, who I'm sure no one has ever heard of before outside of San Diego, because he's the punter for the Chargers. And he boomed six punts for a 50-plus average and pinned the Colts inside their 20 on all the attempts, and his final punt that pinned the Colts inside their two as it kicked sideways out-of-bounds as my dad and I let out audible "That's not fair" comments. Needless to say, the Colts punted from their own endzone and the Chargers got the ball back in good field position and tied the game. I said the Chargers would have to win this one ugly to have a chance, and I was right.

Why the Colts lost: Because their defense just couldn't make a 3rd down stop. The repeatedly gave up big plays on 3rd and long and then shot themselves in the foot repeatedly in OT, setting up Sproles winning TD. Yes, Peyton didn't have a vintage game, but give credit to the Chargers for winning the field position battle and forcing the Colts to run it from the shadow of their own goal post. If this was Tony Dungy's last game, it was not a fitting way to go out for what should be a future hall of fame coach and quarterback.

Indianapolis will be back next year, and the Chargers head to Pittsburgh, where Big Ben is supposedly going to be healthy and ready to go for the Divisional game. I have now seen the Chargers win a game without LT at running back, but the thought of Darren Sproles (at 5'6"!!!) going into the teeth of that Pittsburgh D bothers me.

Ravens 27 - Dolphins 9

This was the only game that really did approach my worst case scenario of a four-blowout-weekend. Joe Flacco did another solid job running the offense and the Ravens D, in particular Ed Reed, was everywhere. Here's another stat on Reed that I found somewhere. He has 10 interceptions in this last 7 games, with 5-multi interception games in that span, including yesterday. That is ridiculous.

Why the Ravens won: Because the defense made plays, Ed Reed scored, and really gave the Ravens offense a great cushion for the whole game. Joe Flacco has never really been forced to win a game, and he rarely has caused his team to lose, which is basically all the Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh is asking the rookie from Delaware to do. Special Teams blocked an extra point late as well.

Why the Dolphins lost: Because Chad Pennington chose to have his worst game of the year in the playoffs. He threw four picks and the Dolphins never really got into their offense. They didn't run the ball effectively and then were forced to throw it late down by two scores. Miami did overachieve this year, but this was easily the worse team on the field this weekend.

The Dolphins should be right back in a tight AFC East race next season, but there will be questions about Pennington after that preformance. The Ravens will now face a Titans team that has been great all year and this could be a great defensive minded game because neither offense is dominant. I bet Pittsburgh was rooting for Miami because they would have been my lock for next week to win that game.

Eagles 26 - Vikings 14

Okay, so it wasn't a blowout, but I still say it could have been if the Eagles finished a few of those early drives with touchdowns instead of field goals. Donovan McNabb consistently made plays and the Eagles (finally!) stuck with a running game that never really worked and eventually got Westrbrook on a big play, a 76-yard screen pass that Westbrook took to the house to ice the game.

Why the Eagles won: Because they made more plays on offense, particularly on 3rd down. McNabb was spreading the ball around to everyone, as the Eagles always do, but several throws to WR Jason Avant and TE Brent Celek extended some drives that allowed the Eagles to win the field position battle. The defense was as solid as ever. And how to do you know this team is in prime form? Just go to the final play of the game, where Jackson's pass is "intercepted" by Donovan McNabb, who promptly decides to take the ball up the side line with that big grin on his face. The Eagles always play at their best when they are loose and having fun.

Why the Vikings lost: The Vikings offense was basically non-existent in this game. They had one good drive (after the Samuel pick-6) and one big run from a rather pedestrian day from Adrian Peterson and that's about it. Pete Prisco's column gushes about Jim Johnson, the Eagles defensive coordinator, blitz guru and unsung hero.  Johnson's defense kept Tavaris Jackson on his heels the whole game it seemed and Asante Samuel's pick-6 was one of the worst throws I've ever seen. Jackson repeatedly threw behind receivers and was lucky to only have thrown only one pick for the game. If he's the answer at QB for the Vikings, I don't like their chances next year. I'm also going to chastise Brad Childress in the final minute for repeatedly calling short passes down by two scores in a two minute drill. Way to mail it in. And I like Childress, he's the former Eagles offensive coordinator, but it isn't the first time he's done that.

I give all the credit in the world to the Vikings D in that game. They weren't a hundred percent for the game and they did the best they could in the second half until the back-breaking Westbrook screen for a TD. That's still a solid foundation in Minnesota, but they really need a better QB. And I don't think the Vikings can wait on Tavaris Jackson or draft and develop a college QB if Jackson doesn't pan out next year. They need a proven, younger starter and Matt Cassel might be available in the offseason. Just saying.

******

Ok, I'll going to have my Divisional round picks later in the week, and also have more predictions on who is in the Super Bowl now since I need to find an AFC replacement for the Colts. I'm also going to post on a few things I missed out on last weekend thanks to some traveling and of course, football. I'd like to thank CBS for featuring my Wild Card Preview on the Community page and for continuing to reward their users for dedicated involvement and of course all of the CBS users who continually read this blog and other user blogs. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and I'm looking forward to 2009.
Posted on: November 24, 2008 2:50 pm
 

The "Last" of the Rational Eagles Fans Surrenders

As a displaced Eagles fan from Connecticut (read my first blog entry for more details), I have defended Andy Reid from rabid, full-blooded, Philadelphia Eagles fans for what seems like a few years now. I thought my insight and rationale could help Philly fans step back from the "Fire Andy Reid Bridge."

But no more. I'm done with you Andy Reid. Because you violated my first rule of coaching.

Don't coach for your job.

That's what Reid did yesterday at halftime of the Eagles-Ravens game yesterday. By benching Donovan McNabb for youngster Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid succumbed to the fans complaints. He's read too many articles and seen to many ESPN clips about how he and McNabb might be done in Philly if the Eagles don't turn it around this year. He gave in to the outside pressure of the fans and the media and changed his coaching habits because of it. I hear that there is a report somewhere that Reid discussed benching McNabb with the Ealges coaching staff as early as last week. I wish Reid had pulled McNabb in the Bungles Bengals game, because I would feel more comfortable with Kolb at the helm against a competitive, fiery Cincy squad, than a lights-out defense in Baltimore.

For the record, neither McNabb or Kolb looked good yesterday. AJ Feeley might have been a better option for all I know. What I do know is that the Eagles "franchise QB" and the Eagles "QB of the Future" put up a combined QB rating of 12.5. I have a better passer rating for my flag football team. But that's not the point. The point is the Eagles offense is not what it was 5 years ago. The Eagles had McNabb, Westbrook, a solid offensive line, and an over-achieving group of wideouts. Now, it's the same team, a few years older yes, but essentially the same team. The Eagles simply do not run the ball anymore. They don't even do screens (which in Andy Reid's mind, could be running plays) successfully anymore, in my opinion. The Eagles offense has become stale. It's predictable. And when a predictable offense goes up against a solid defense, Cincinnati's included and Baltimore's especially, it's not going to produce. The Eagles just a few months ago lost to Dallas in a 47-41 shootout. The Eagles last three games (including the Giants game) were offensive offensive performances.

But back to the real culprit here, Head Coach Andy Reid.

Again, I've defended Reid for what seems like forever to my friends. Reid's dealt with injuries for the past few season, the whole thing with a certain-receiver-whom-I-will-not-na
me-for-sanity-reasons, and Reid always seems to catch lightning in a bottle with back up QB's (see A.J. Feeley and Jeff Garcia).

But this year, everyone was supposed to be healthy. McNabb and Westbrook were going to lead the Eagles back to the playoffs and many "experts" had tabbed them to make the playoffs, maybe even the Super Bowl. I don't consider myself an expert, but I put the Eagles at a year away for basically one reason: The NFC East. In the pre-season, it was very possible that all four teams from the NFC East were going to be fighting for a playoff spot. But the Eagles lost starting WR's Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, vaulting hot-shot rookie DeSean Jackson into the starting role, giving him the lone bright spot in the Eagles offense this year. The Eagles defense has been solid all year. The biggest problem the Eagles have is running the football. Reid just doesn't do it, which is fine with me, as long as the screen game is working. But, the real reason the 5-5-1 Eagles are most likely out of the playoff race. When the pass-heavy Eagles offense struggles in the beginning of games and falls behind, that leaves Reid and McNabb behind the 8-ball and forces them to throw.

Yesterday however, there was no 8-ball. Down 10-7 at the half to a stingy Baltimore team, Reid benches McNabb for Kolb. For the record, the Eagles also trailed the Giants by three points at the half (20-17) just a few weeks ago. Both games the Eagles were lucky to only be down three points after being out-played for the first half. In the Giants game, Reid stuck with McNabb and the Eagles gutted out a tough loss, failing to convert a 3rd and 4th and short on the ground. Against the Ravens, an inferior offensive team to the Giants (that's not a knock on Joe Flacco and the Ravens' O, that's a compliment for the Eli Manning and Giants), Reid benches his starter for an untested back-up.

I believe that once a coach has started coaching for his job rather than coach to win or rebuild or what ever the team's goal is, he is no longer looking out for the best interests of the team and the organization. Coaches usually preach a "put-yourself-before-the-team" mentality (the reason why said receiver is no longer with the team) and once they break that mentality themselves, there is no going back. You've lost a certain trust that you had with that coach and it's very difficult to gain that trust back in my opinion.

If Andy Reid needed to make a change, it was with his offensive game plan, not at QB. Reid refuses to stick with anything that looks like a running game, instead opting to have McNabb throw it for up to 50 times a game. The Eagles also failed to utilize RB Correll Buckhalter all season, with the exception of Buckhalter's start against the 49ers for an injured Westbrook. The Giants and Dallas Cowboys both use multiple running backs in their offensive game plan, why not Andy Reid and the Eagles? Where are the days where Westbrook lines up in the slot? Why are the Eagles using gadget plays on their first offensive play? (DeSean Jackson and the Wildcat Formation TD vs. the Giants)

Basically, all of this has led me to believe that Andy Reid believes his job is in jeopardy and he needs to do something to save it. I don't believe that's the case, but maybe the media has made him paranoid. All I know is that when I mention the Andy Reid-Lovie Smith comparison to my friend later ("Donovan McNabb is our quarterback"), he might die laughing. But that's about the only thing I can do to cheer him up right now. Because after more than a year of listening to this same friend complain about Reid, I finally realized he was right. This moment of enlightenment happened right after my same friend sent me this text message:

"The man didn't even tell Donovan he was benched. The coaches did."

Your telling me, that Andy Reid didn't have the guts (pun intended) to tell the franchise QB he drafted out of Syracuse, that he wasn't playing in the 2nd half in what might be a make or break game for the Eagles' season? And now you want McNabb to start again for you this Thursday against the Cardinals?

I'm done with you Andy Reid. I've tried to be a loyal fan. I've tried to believe that your going to turn around my football team. But, I've defended you for far too long. There are times when a team struggles despite their coach making game plans and watching film. And there are times where a team struggles, because of it's coach. I sadly feel that the Philadelphia Eagles might fall under the latter of the two categories.

Who knows, maybe 10-5-1 might be good enough to make the NFC playoffs, seeing how winning out would hand the Cowboys and Redskins both a loss (the Giants are winning the division folks, unless they have a collapse comparable to the New York Mets). Maybe benching Donovan was the wake-up call the whole Eagles team needed to turn this season around. Maybe in January I'll be writing a blog entry saying how I should have stuck up for Andy Reid and defended him for the remainder of the season.

Maybe the city of Philadelphia will forget the Phillies won the World Series last month too.

- Eagle
Posted on: September 3, 2008 1:57 pm
 

2008 NFC East Preview

OK, this time I can post my 2008 NFC East Preview before the season actually starts. See my 2008 Big East Preview, my previous post, to understand. Here we goes...

NFC EAST
1. Dallas - I hate doing this. Really I do. I despise the Cowboys. But they are the best team in the NFC. Hands down. They are explosive on offense with Romo, Barber and Owens and have one of the best D's in the league. There is no reason why they shouldn't win the NFC East and have a first round bye/home field for the playoffs

PREDICTION: 12-4, NFC East Champs, No. 1 Seed
BIASED PREDICTION: 10-6, NFC Wild Card, 3rd Straight Playoff Joke

2. Philadelphia - This isn't at all biased. Donovan McNabb is healthy and producing (see final 3 games last year) and Brian Westbrook is finally getting the credit he deserves for being an all around beast. The Eagles front seven on D is a year older and better and the Eagles have a loaded secondary once again. Losing Kevin Curtis means rookie WR DeSean Jackson will see a lot of the ball and might be the answer at WR for the Eagles down the road.

PREDICTION: 10-6, NFC Wild Card
BIASED PREDICTION: 12-4, NFC East Champs, No. 2 Seed

3. New York Giants - The defending champs are in trouble in my opinion. Losing Osi Umenyiora is going to be a factor. The Giants once dominant D-line now has very little depth and I don't like their secondary. Eli Manning and the offense should still be clicking, possibly into the playoffs. Also, I think their PSL's are ridiculous.

PREDICTION: 9-7, Potential NFC Wild Card
BIASED PREDICTION: 6-10, Fewest Returning Season Ticket Holders

4. Washington - Every year someone picks them to do well. Every year, it never happens. I do like this team overall, but they never seem to put it all together. The offense is inconsistent but very dangerous with Clinton Portis in the backfield. Jason Campbell is still a question mark at QB, but is progressing well.

PREDICTION: 7-9
BIASED PREDICTION: 5-11, 150 Online columns about why we continue to pick the Skins/Cards to do well

Posted on: August 12, 2008 5:23 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2008 11:47 pm
 

Philadelphia Eagles Camp Notes

Considering that my Braves have "thrown in the towel" (see previous blog entry), I have now started to focus on the upcoming NFL season and catching up on some recent news out of Eagles camp. This is surprisingly difficult with the 24/7 coverage of Brett Favre's punishment lap at Jets camp but I did manage to hear about these stories.

McNabb and T.O. Together Again?

Okay, it's not going to happen, but Donovan McNabb actually thought that he and Owens had a good connection with each other on the field. Think Peyton to Harrison or Young to Rice. He genuinely wanted the pair succeed and sadly, it just didn't work out. While the numbers were impressive, Owens had 14 TD's his first season which was shortened by injury, the behind the scenes drama was just too much. And when Owens signed that 7-year contract for some absurd amount of money, I knew it wasn't going to last. Something just didn't fell right. Maybe it was the way Owens left San Fran and Baltimore (yes, Owens was originally traded to the Ravens) or maybe it just seemed to perfect, but I knew it couldn't last. I was so sure of this, I made a prop bet with my friend that Owens wouldn't last two years in Philly. Let's just say I was right.

The first season, McNabb and Owens lead the Eagles to a solid regular season and the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. But Owens went down to a broken leg and McNabb lead the Eagles through the end of the regular season and the playoffs. While Owens recovered to play exceptionally well in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, McNabb led HIS team there without Owens. We all know what happened after that. Owens left for Dallas and he and Tony Romo haven't won a playoff game yet.

After the Owens debacle, McNabb and the Eagles signed Donte Stallworth and Kevin Curtis as their number one receivers, reverting back to the early Reid years of an unheralded receiving corps that always got the job done. If McNabb is healthy and Brian Westbrook is in the backfield, I'll take the Eagles to be contender in the East and the whole NFC. I'm convinced, and this is just me personally, there's no record to my knowledge of this, that McNabb played the first half of the season hurt. He just wasn't himself, he wasn't very mobile and didn't improvise like he normally does. Now he's healthy and led the Eagles to two scores (10 points) against the Steelers in a pre-season game, without Westbrook.

Andrews In Camp

I know he's been battling personal demons and I wish him the best. He's been placed on the PUP list and Coach Reid says he's going to ease Andrews back into the Eagles offensive line. Max-Jean Giles has done well in his absence and could very well be the starter going into the regular season.

Eagles' Rookies

I didn't have a problem with the Eagles drafting down to take DeSean Jackson. He was one of the best receivers in his draft class and his production on special teams alone should be a significant improvement from last year. He's also in line to be the Eagles third wideout and could compete for the second starting position as well.

Cornerback Debacle

Asante Samuel, Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown are three Pro-Bowl caliber corners. I've said this for a while, but let Samuel and Sheppard start at corner and have Brown move to safety with Brian Dawkins. I despise Sean Considine at the strong safety spot and I think that Sheppard can play the position better. And, everyone gets to play and we don't have to worry about nickel packages and other rotations. You keep your best four secondary guys on the field at all times and maybe, ok BIG maybe, everyone will be happy.

Season Preview

I'm not going to go into a ton of detail here, but I do think the Eagles are a playoff team again. You have to expect Dallas and New York to be back into the playoffs and I'll believe Washington is good when I see it. The Redskins are always a tough out, but they, along with Arizona in my book, are always picked in the pre-season to do well and never deliver. I do like Jason Campbell though. Dallas could very well lead the NFC again but are a year away from becoming what the Eagles were a few years ago. Which is to say, the team that always gets the number one seed and loses. At least the Eagles could get to the NFC Championship game. The defending Super Bowl champs ended the season on a roll, in the zone and dialed in. They did lose Micheal Strahan to retirement, but they should be back. I know the NFC East is loaded, but outside of the East, I'm skeptical of every other division. The North should still be won by Green Bay because Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota just aren't that good, although the Lions could be a sleeper to win if the Packers can't hold on. The West is another mediocre division that is wide open in my book, though I like to lean towards Seattle and veteran QB Matt Hasselback. The South does scare me because aside from Atlanta, all three teams could make the playoffs. Tampa Bay and Jeff Garcia are my favorites to repeat. Carolina and a healthy Jake Delhomme are always in the mix. And I haven't given up on the Saints and the magical run they had two years ago.

Either way, I am slowly getting into football mode. Leaving are the days of summer and pine tar and ball caps and coming are the days of fall and helmets and pigskin. It's a refreshing feeling.

- Eagle
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com