Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Stuff

* DGR is posted.

* The injury to Max Jean-Gilles could be a blessing in disguise. Max has started most of the year and failed to distinguish himself. He has some solid games, but has also really struggled a couple of times.

I'm not sure Nick Cole can ever be a full-time starter. One way to find out is for him to get on the field for several games. We need to know if Nick is worth keeping around and if he has the ability to be an effective starter.

Mike McGlynn will now be active for games. I'd love for Mike to get some snaps. He could be an important piece of the OL puzzle next year.

* Speaking of the OL and next year...I'm not hearing good news about Shawn Andrews. I've heard from multiple sources that Shawn is likely done as a player. From what I'm hearing, he just doesn't want to play anymore. I'm assuming the depression issues are tied into playing. Take away football and take away the root of the depression.

* Dawk played a great game against the Cards. He played his best football in December each of the last two years. Could that happen again this season? You'd think an aging player would wear down. He seems to be able to draw some old magic out late in the year.

If the Eagles are to go on any kind of serious run, Dawk will need to play at a high level.

* Hank Baskett had a really good game against ARZ. He came up big on 3rd downs several times in the game. He's really developed into a good role player.

* The Eagles will be well rested for next week's showdown with the Giants. Let's hope Brian Westbrook is able to come out and play like he did against the Cardinals, if not better. Fresh legs on him would be a huge bonus.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Madness of King Andy

The Eagles played really well in the win over Arizona. That was the kind of effort that was need in Cincinnati and Baltimore. Is it too little too late? Probably, but it will make things interesting over the final month.

The offense showed us what they can do when the attack is balanced and there is a focus on efficiency. Donovan McNabb played well. The receivers had a very good game. The OL dominated the LOS. Brian Westbrook played like a star and even the other runners contributed anytime they got a chance.

This kind of attack worked in 2003. Ditto in 2006. The coaches know that. They've proven that they can effectively call a game with a balanced attack.

So why does it take a desperate situation or act of congress in order for Andy to adjust and go more balanced??? I just don't get it.

That style of attack would have been perfect for say...a cold, windy day in Cincinnati. Instead, we threw the ball 60 times and put up a whopping 13 points.

There is one thing that bugs me. Arizona played arguably their worst game of the year. They looked flat, uninspired, and just lost. They did know that wasn't a walk-through...right? I hope the yards and points weren't just a product of playing a team that had a very off night. Some of that stuff did come awfully easy.

We'll see how the offense looks against the Giants in 9 days. That is a big time test. Will Andy keep the offense balanced or does he go back to the aerial circus?

Quick Game Thoughts

* Nick Cole did a solid job at RG.

* Todd Herremans had a terrific game.

* I loved the use of Kyle Eckel at RB. Well done.

* Starting Joselio Hanson was smart. Lito's basically been a bum this year. I'm glad they rewarded my man MmmBop. Lito's got more talent, but I'll take the guy that will bust his balls to get the job done.

* The secondary did a great job of coming up and pounding receivers after short catches (and drops). That's what you have to do. Punish guys. Discourage them from catching the ball.

* I was shocked we didn't have one sack. The DL did get pressure and we came up with INTs so it all worked in the end.

I'll be working on the Game Review. Finally a fun game to go back and re-watch.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gameday Thoughts and More


My sources tell me Asante Samuel will definitely miss the game. That leaves us with only 3 CBs. That means Quintin Demps slides into that number 4 CB spot.

Demps played some CB earlier in the year and failed to impress. He's come a long way since then, at least in the other phases of the game. His hitting and tackling on punt coverage has improved greatly. Watching him tackle this summer was not fun. He was timid and tentative. Now he flies to the ball and puts the man down.

Q is playing faster and with more confidence. He's got some experience under his belt and now has a feel for the speed of the game. I think using him on defense is the way to go. And they don't have great options. They could put the other Quintin down in the slot and use him as a nickel back and then play Considine at his S spot. No thanks.

Put Demps in and let's see what the kid can do. I actually would love to see him get some time at FS. I'd like to have some feel for whether he can handle the job next season or if that is an area to address early in the Draft.

Kyle Eckel could see his first action as an Eagle. Buck is out. LoBo will take his spot. With Westy less than 100% I think the team would be wise to activate another RB. Eckel has primarily played FB in the NFL, but he was a very good runner at the Naval Academy. He could fit in for a few basic running plays in an emergency situation.

I hope Andy doesn't go with only 2 RBs. That would be dumb in my mind.

Booker should get some touches tonight. I was excited about him after watching him in the spring and summer. He has been a huge disappointment this year. I don't know what the problem is. He has talent. We just aren't seeing it. I do think the team could use him more wisely. Maybe more playing time tonight will bring out a good showing from him.


Andy Reid might be sticking around. I'm hearing different things from different sources. I'm not hearing anything close to definitive about Big Red. I really believe that the last 5 games will play a big part in determining his future. Should the Eagles lose out, that would likely be too much for him to overcome. If the team can win 7, 8, or even 9 games...there is a strong chance he could return.

I've got a lot of thoughts on this situation. I'll be putting up a post over the weekend with some more info. I'll continue checking around for any hints about the big man's future.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Couple of things

Game Preview is posted.

Can McNabb really suck again? Donnie is going through a wicked cold spell. He better snap out of it against the Cards. He needs to show teams that this was only a temporary slump. Bill Parcells sensed Drew Bledsoe was done in 2006 and sat him on the pine. That was the end of his career. Bill Belichick did the same with Bernie Kosar back in the early 90s. I hope Donovan hasn't hit the wall. I see a talented least I did a few weeks ago. Come back to the Five 'n Dime, Donnie Mac, Donnie Mac. Do not go gently into that good night. (How's that for coupling weird references?)

New article is up.

I went over a few things about the Eagles I'm thankful for. Somehow I forgot to mention the cheerleaders. Me is dumb.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New article is posted.

DGR is posted.

I don't know how everyone else is doing right now. I'm still not in a great mood because of Sunday. I also am having a hard time getting excited for Thursday night. We're still alive in the playoff hunt. We have a chance at some redemption. I am curious to see how McNabb plays and what the vibe in the stadium is. I just can't say I'm excited about the game.

I guess part of my problem is this. Do I cheer for these guys I love to watch play? Do I hope they have some breakthrough game and show some character? Or do I hope they bottom out so that change does come? Plus, that would help us out in terms of the draft.

I hate having to consider scenarios like this. I want to see the team doing well and making the playoffs. Counting on another January at home is incredibly frustrating. I love playoff football, no matter who is playing. It is just more fun when your team is actually involved.

I'll start thinking about the Cards today and writing some kind of a preview.

This is just a weird time to be an Eagles fan.

Monday, November 24, 2008



Remember that movie? It was about the aftermath of a nuclear war. There was carnage all over the place. People were dead, or dying. Families were torn apart. The air, water, and soil were all toxic. There was endless suffering and misery.

Man I wished Philadelphia looked that good today.

Big Red benched Donnie and you'd have thunk he executed him at midfield with a flying dragon kick. Okay, the thought of Reid doing a flying dragon kick is a bit silly (and opposes several of Newton's laws). Anyway, this was seen as the last act of a desperate man. Well, to steal from Blazing Saddles, I don't care if it was the third act of Henry V. It was the right move.

I think.

A co-worker handed me a fortune cookie today. The message: Your help will be needed in an embarrassing situation.

Oh my. Is this an omen in regard to me writing an article for explaining the wisdom of the benching? Is it random luck? Do I have another embarrassing situation to cover up? I remembered to wear both pants and underwear to work, so that isn't a concern.

I still stick with my original thought. Benching McNabb was the way to go. I re-watched the game last night and some this morning. Donnie's body language was terrible. He looked very unsure of himself. He didn't play with any sense of conviction. This isn't lack of focus or effort. This is about being afraid to make a mistake. And you know what that leads to...more mistakes.

He who hesitates is lost. My mom told me that countless times when I was growing up. McNabb was very hesitant against the Ravens. He was tentative.

That has to change on Thursday. He needs to go out and play aggressively. Take chances. Just do so at 100 mph.

I'm still a Donovan McNabb fan. I don't know what his future is, but there are no guarantees beyond the next 5 weeks. I want him to do well. I don't want him to ride into the sunset of his Eagles career in a crappy blue '87 Ford Escort (what I drove in high school). I want him to have success.

I can't cheer against the team while we're still technically alive for the playoffs, but the best thing might be to lose most of the remaining games and have a chance to add an impact player in the Draft. Of course what I want or who I cheer for maybe moot points. We play two division leaders and two possible playoff teams. We might be in for a long last 5 weeks of the year.

The Eagles are never boring, that's for sure.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I have a big headache

I'm starting to think the Eagles might not win the Super Bowl this year.

Losing 36-7 to the Ravens was not what I expected to see. Normally Andy Reid teams handle adversity pretty well. Today the team came up way short when they needed to come up big.

We have to be careful about how we look at this game. The score was 12-7 at the end of 3 quarters. The offense was the big problem at that point. The defense had played very well. STs had given us a KOR TD, but had also allowed a blocked punt for safety. That's more good than bad, but not ideal.

The offense hadn't done squat at that point. Nada. Nothing. Their biggest accomplishment was turning the ball over and putting the defense in harm's way.

The 4th Qtr was a complete disaster. We got outscored 24-0 and everyone had a piece in that.

Donovan McNabb got benched at halftime. I was on the phone with a friend talking about the game. We discussed the possibility of making a change. We both thought it made sense. I just wondered if Reid would make the move knowing the firestorm that would follow with the Philly and national media.

McNabb deserved to be benched. He made some really dumb mistakes in the 1st half. He threw the ball behind several receivers. 2 of those plays resulted in INTs. Another would have been, but the ball was tipped.

Being off target is one thing, but his throws showed a lack of confidence. A QB who is hesitant is a player with little chance to succeed.

Painful day. The 2008 season is basically over. Expecting this group to pull off some miracle run? Nope. I don't see it happening. The Ravens showed today that they are a clutch team. They made plays when the opportunities came up. We lack that.

I don't think the team ever quit. I didn't see a lack of effort.

I'll re-watch the game and post my notes. Can't wait to see this game again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Game Preview


I'm picking the Eagles to win. I know, I know. I'm a delusional optimist. Or "hey dude, gimme some of what you're taking".

I think Eagles fans are being overly negative in regard to the team and overly positive in regard to the Ravens. That gives them this vibe that winning in Baltimore is some Herculean task. That simply isn't the case.

The Ravens are banged up right now, especially along the OL. We lead the league in sacks and are 2nd in TFLs. They have a rookie QB. Jim Johnson has a terrific record against rookie QBs. That matchup favors us.

I do realize they run the ball well, but we've stopped teams outside the NFC East. I think we'll handle their running attack. JJ won't fear their passing game and will commit extra guys to playing the run.

The Eagles offense vs the Baltimore D? That's a tough matchup. I think McNabb and the playmakers will come up with enough offense for us to win the game.

Andy called the team out this week. He threatened to take away jobs if guys didn't start playing better. I think the players will respond to that. AR doesn't do that kind of stuff often (about once every solar cycle).

I could be completely wrong. I fully realize thinking optimistically about this group of Eagles isn't normal. We'll see what happens on Sunday. I expect to see smothering defense by the Eagles and enough big plays to get us a much needed W.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Couple of things

New article is posted.


Random Thoughts

There are plenty of things to mad at Andy Reid about. However, people are coming out of the woodwork with things to complain about. One complaint on the Eagles Message Board was that Reid forces guys into different positions too much. The big examples were making Chris Gocong a LB and Dan Klecko a FB.

Gimme a break.

Gocong should be a LB. He might be optimally suited for a 3-4, but he's doing fine as a 4-3 SLB. You have to be careful about thinking a LB isn't working out. Mike Vrabel played DE at Ohio State. The Steelers let him go after his first contract. Think they regret that move? The Jets had James Farrior. They let him go to the Steelers. Think they regret that move?

Give young guys a chance to find their niche. Gocong has shown the athletic ability to be a very good LB. He's got the size. He's still working on the positional skills. Those should come with time. Chris is getting better each season. He's doesn't play in the Nickel/Dime sets, but still has 2 sacks, 3 TFLs, and a FF. He's making some plays.

As for Klecko at FB...plenty of teams have taken a defensive guy and made him a lead blocker. A lot of people don't realize that. Slow ILBs can make ideal FBs. DT is sorta unusual, but Klecko isn't the only guy. Former Eagle Jon Bradley played DT for us and the Bucs, but Detroit moved him to LB. Madison Hedgecock spent some time on the DL when he was in college.

I think the real key here is that the coaching staff thinks so highly of Dan that they want to keep him around. He really moved to FB when Abiamiri came back. We've got 8 DL now: Cole, Juqua, Darren, Clemons, VA, Brod, Mike, and Trevor. There wasn't really room for Dan in that rotation.

He's been up and down at FB, but hasn't played so poorly that he's significantly hurt the running game. Our struggles are due to lack of reps and inconsistent OL play.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Detailed Game Review of Cincy Tie is Posted



#5 should have pled the 5th...

Never offer evidence against yourself.

Donovan didn't know games could end in a tie. That is dumb. How can you not know that?

At the same time, it didn't affect the game as far as I could tell. Reid handled the game strategy correctly. Donovan was trying to move the offense. In the end, this is much ado about nothing. Still, it just makes him look bad.

I explained to a friend that half the time Donovan talks you're proud he's the Eagles QB. He comes across as bright, thoughtful, and a good guy. He seems like the athlete you'd actually like your kids to look up to.

The other half of the time you cringe with every word. You wonder if he knows what certain things mean. You wonder if he knows cameras and microphones are turned on.

Listen, I've said plenty of dumb things. I'm no saint. I just have the good sense to make sure I say them after 12 beers so I have an excuse. And I don't do it in front of the media.

The next 6 weeks are going to be an interesting time for McNabb. His future in Philly is up in the air. He needs to go at least 3-3 to stick around. That's my guess, I should say. It would help if he won a close game (or two).

Donovan is still a good QB, but something is off right now. Too many slow starts and unsuccessful finishes. Too many critical mistakes. We've seen him get hot before. I hope that happens again, both for him and the Eagles. We can still get into the playoffs. Even if we're a major longshot to do anything, I'd like the guys to get back to the postseason. Those games are special. If nothing else, it is good for the young guys to get a taste of playoff football.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Right in the lumber yard

That's where our season just went. Don't get the reference? Pop in Caddyshack and all will become clear. Plus it will cheer you up on a miserable Sunday.

We just tied the 1-8 Bengals. I spent much of the game staring at the TV with a sense of disbelief. We've all seen a good team struggle against a bad team. The good team normally wakes up at some point and pulls out the win. That's what I was waiting for.

Never happened.

McNabb had a bad game. He struggled to find open receivers. He made bad reads and bad throws. He threw 3 INTs and fumbled deep in our territory. He also had several passes deflected right at the line of scrimmage.

Naturally when your QB is having an off day the smart thing to do is to lean more on your running game. The Eagles did just that. They turned Brian Westbrook into Earl Campbell and gave him 14 carries in the 5-quarter game. Correll Buckhalter got serious action as well. He was handed the ball a Walter Payton-like...1 time.

5 full quarters of football and our RBs had 15 total carries. That is simply unacceptable.

Andy believes that the way a QB overcomes a bad game is by throwing the ball a lot. There is logic in his theory. He always points out that you don't tell Larry Bird to stop shooting because he's in a slump. True enough. HOWEVER...maybe you get the ball to Kevin McHale a few times and lean on him more than usual. No one is asking for you not to pass. Just dial it down a notch. It is possible to throw more than 15 passes and less than 50.

Every offense in the entire NFL is best when it is RB-centric. Run the ball. Throw play-action passes. Throw screen and swing passes. Throw dump-offs to the RBs. We used to be good at this. Duce was the key to the offense early in Reid's tenure. In 2003 we had the 3-headed monster with Duce, Buck, and Westy. Even the 2006 team went through the RBs.

I miss those days. The current offense is productive, but lacks something. All the packages and looks are interesting, and sometimes successful, but they come up short at key moments. You need to get the ball to your best players in key situations. We don't do that. Not enough, anyway.

5-4-1. This is brutal. I'm starting to get apathetic with this team. What is the point in getting to the playoffs if we're going to get bounced immediately? We can't win a close game. We don't come through in clutch situations.

Normally I'm of the belief that you get to the postseason and anything can happen. We've seen a few teams come alive in January. The problem is that those teams normally are coming together late for a reason. We're healthy. We're experienced. What the hell is there to come together?

I'm still pulling for this team to win because that is just how I'm wired, but this season gets less fun every week. I don't ask that the team go undefeated, but watching a talented group of players underachieve is about as frustrating as it gets.

Gameday Thoughts

This is a game we better win. We're the better team and can't afford a let down.

Here are some goals I've got:

* 28 carries by RBs - We need to get the ball to Westy and Buck a lot. Andy, Marty, and Donovan have talked over the years about the need to run the ball in November and December. This week would be a great time to commit more seriously to the run.

* 4 sacks (or more) - Our pass rush is good, but should be better. Fitzpatrick is a guy you can get to. Our DL needs to come up with at least 3 sacks today.

* Stay strong in the Red Zone - We came up big in this area last week. If we can score several TDs today, we'll win going away. The question is whether last week was a turning point or an aberration? It takes 2 or 3 games for it to be considered a trend.

* Get back to good run defense - Outside the division we've played very good run defense. We need to bounce back from last week and get back to controlling the line of scrimmage.

* Get a big lead - I'd love for us to be up by 21 or more in the 4th Qtr. That would give us a chance to look at some young guys. It would be great to see Quintin Demps play some Safety and to see Victor Abiamiri play a lot of snaps at LDE.

The bottom line is to go out and win, but it sure would be nice to get some style points today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Up Front


You can talk about a lot of things in regard to the Eagles and why the team is only 5-4. One simple problem is that we aren't owning the line of scrimmage (LOS) the way we need to.

I was watching the NFL Network last night and checking out the NFC Playbook show. I had the volume off because I was also paying attention to the LOU/CIN college game. The NFLN show was doing some segment about the Giants running game. They showed several plays that were successful. The one thing that stood out to me as I watched the highlights was how quickly the OL got off the ball. Those guys fire out and start blocking immediately. It is a beautiful thing to behold.

The Eagles OL doesn't look anything like that. They come off the ball more deliberately. They push and lean on defenders. The Giants attack. That is one of the big reasons that they run block so effectively and our guys don't. You can really see the difference in short yardage situations. We don't push the defense backward. Our massive OL is stalemated or moved back.

There isn't one reason for this. We have big guys. They don't normally move as quick. We don't run enough so the guys don't get into a rhythm. Even with those factors I don't know why we aren't better. We should be.

We are good to very good in pass protection. Our OL gives McNabb a clean pocket most of the time.

On defense we control the LOS in non-division games. It is against NFC East teams that the guys get handled. The pass rush was non-existent against Dallas and the run defense only okay. Against Washington and New York the pass rush was only okay, but the run defense was basically non-existent. No matter how you slice it, we didn't come close to controlling the LOS in any of the games.

I don't know exactly what needs to be done, but the coaching staff needs to push some buttons. They have to get the guys to play more aggressively and physically. We've seen the guys do it. We don't lack the talent. We simply lack the results.

If we are going to win 10 or 11 games this year it will require the guys up front playing at a higher level. If the guys are good with 8 or 9 wins the status quo will do just fine.

We've seen the guys take over the LOS in the past. Our OL dominated at times down the stretch in 2006. Our front seven was #1 against the run after the first 4 games of the year. They also were #1 in sacks. They have shown this year that they can be special.

Get it done, big boys. Get it done.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Various Thoughts

New article is posted. I talked about the team coming up short in close games and big games, as well as talking some about the Bengals.


A lot of people wondered how Andy Reid would use DeSean Jackson this year. DeSean showed as far back as mini-camps that he was too good to fall into the normal rookie pattern of waiting his turn.

DeSean had a solid showing at Lehigh and played really well in the preseason games. That got us excited for the regular season. The situation turned out favorably for most involved because the starting WRs weren't healthy at the beginning of the season. That meant lots of chances for Jackson. And he didn't disappoint. Big Red played him a lot and got him the ball.

I was curious how much that would change as Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis got healthy. Curtis got his starting job back, but Jackson kept Reggie's spot.

That was smart and it was the right move. DeSean is the 2nd most talented receiver we've had in the Reid era. I think we all know who the best was (Dietrich Jells, of course). I'm glad Andy didn't fall into the "play the safe veteran" trap.

Reggie Brown is a talented player, but he doesn't offer the same kind of impact as DeSean. A coach has to put the best players on the field. Not only does Jackson have the athletic ability, but he looks polished and ready to play.

What becomes of Reggie Brown in the future? Does he move to the slot? Can he play FS? FB? I'm not sure what to say about Reggie. I'd love to find a good way to keep him on the field, but I like Curtis and Jackson more. I like Avant in the slot. I love Hank Baskett as a backup and role player. I'm not sure Reggie is a good fit anywhere.

It would be interesting to move him to the X spot and Curtis to the slot, a place he excelled for the Rams. Reggie's big enough to battle some press corners. He's got enough speed to get deep. He's just not great in any area. Do you move everyone around to get him on the field or trade him?

Reggie caught 1 pass last week for 7 yards. That doesn't bode well for his future.


One thing I hope does carry over from last week is Red Zone success. The Eagles have failed to blow out a couple of teams because they stalled near the goal line. I want to see the team punch the ball into the endzone several times vs Cincy and win comfortably. That would quell some fan anger and shut up the hyper-critical media. I'm happy to say that I get to belong in both camps.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

anti-Reid angst

There are more than a few people on the Eagles message board that actually want the team to lose out or do poorly the rest of the year. The thinking is that a losing season will cause Jeffrey Lurie to fire Andy Reid or at the least make some changes in the hierarchy of the team.

This isn't just the lunatic fringe either. Some fans who think this are guys I respect. Not all mind you, but some.

Why do they feel that way? Utter disdain for Andy Reid.

I don't fall into either camp. I don't want the team to have a losing season. I don't feel utter disdain for Andy Reid.

My goal is still for the Eagles to reach the postseason. You never know what will happen in the postseason. I know the Eagles are a longshot to do much in the playoffs, let alone get to the Super Bowl, but I still have that as my target until the day we're eliminated.

I understand the thinking some fans have...that us going 10-6 and just getting into the playoffs is nice for this season, but doesn't help us move closer to being a SB caliber team. There is some logic in that.

Getting to the playoffs will give Andy Reid some sense of validation that his systems are still working and the team is on the right track. If the team misses the postseason for the third time in 4 years...that's a bad trend and something that Lurie will have to acknowledge. He will then force Reid to make some changes. Either some assistants go or the offense gets adjusted or the team brings in an outside GM or something. That's what some fans want...something new.

They feel that Reid has, for lack of a better term, "jumped the shark". Maybe. I still think Andy is a good coach. I've never been his biggest fan, but I appreciate the way he's run the team and led us to a lot of success. Too many people dismiss that as a marginal accomplishment. It isn't.

Andy does drive me crazy at times. He doesn't run the ball enough. We all know that. He's too cute and gimmicky on offense. I used the metaphor the other day that he's too much icing and not enough cake. Offenses can do all kinds of things, but they require a solid base built on running the ball.

Overall, I am okay with him as the GM. I'm fine with the drafting style. Trading out of the 1st made sense the last two years. Picking Kolb was fine wiht me. I have gripes with some picks, but that's going to be true with any person/team. Our pro personnel moves have not been good the last 4 or 5 years, with a couple of exceptions. I don't know what the problem there is. We've made some poor choices and we've missed some guys that we should have pursued.

I do wish we weren't so value oriented, but that is more Joe Banner than Andy Reid. If you really like a guy and feel he's going to be important to the team, overpay for him, whether that is compensation or money. Be aggressive when trying to close deals. Too often we come up in 2nd place.

If we do miss the playoffs, which is a good possibility, I'll be interested to see what Andy says. At some point you do have to make changes. I'm a big believer in continuity, but not for the sake of continuity. You have to be open to new people and new ideas when the current set-up isn't working.

Should Andy be fired if the team misses the playoffs? Maybe. I'd rather discuss that scenario when we have all the facts. The other key is to have a replacement who you feel will be an improvement. Change for the sake of change isn't good.

The first thing to focus on is how the team does down the stretch. If we continue to struggle big time against NFC East teams then maybe change is in order. If we go 2-1 or 3-0 in the rematches...different story. Maybe we go 6-1 down the stretch and get to the postseason as a red hot team. I wouldn't fire Reid at that point. Wouldn't make sense. I know people will say "That won't happen". We'll see. My point is that we don't know for sure so I'm not comfortable making a judgment at this point. Let's wait and see what happens in the final 7 games. There will be plenty of time to debate Big Red's future at that point.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More on the Giants loss

Here's my article:

Giant Disaster...That Almost Wasn't

I don't know what to say after watching the Eagles lose to the NY Giants, 36-31. I don't know that I've ever been more confused after a game.

The Eagles got completely out-played. They got out-coached. They got no breaks from the zebras. And yet the Eagles had the ball near midfield late in the game with a chance to go down and score the go-ahead TD.

How the hell did that happen?

Red Zone offense, largely a problem this year, was great. We were 4 out of 5 in the RZ and 3 for 3 on goal-to-go situations. David Akers was busy kicking extra points instead of field goals. That was the main reason we kept the game close. The Giants couldn't put us away because they had to settle for FGs on a few drives.

The defense was terrible. No two ways about it. They came up with a couple of takeaways, but that was hardly enough. The Giants converted 7 of 15 3rd down attempts, as well as their only 4th down try. They ran at will (219 yards). They piled up 401 yards. They won the time of possession battle by about 2 weeks.

Don't try to blame one player or position. It was a group effort. The guys stunk as a group. Give them some credit for unity. There wasn't a lack of effort. The guys did play hard. It was just futile effort.

About that final drive...

We moved from our 14 to our 43 pretty smoothly. We faced 3rd/3. Donovan didn't rush a play prior to the 2-minute warning. The coaches had some time to think about what they wanted to do. We needed 3 yards and had 2 downs. The decision was to run a toss play on 3rd down. Westy got the ball and ran for a couple of yards. He got out of bounds. That stopped the clock and left the team with 4th/1. What to do...

The Eagles had 2 options as I saw it. They could spread the Giants out and run a QB draw or they could roll Donovan out and give him a run/pass option. Instead Andy/Marty decided to run to the right side from a standard I-formation.


We lack a good FB. We lack a dominant blocker at TE. Our Pro Bowl RG is busy rehabbing his back/soul. Our RT is so old that he played for the Houston Oilers. Westy had run for 25 yards all night. What F'ing part of that told Andy and Marty that the way to go was running from the base offense?

We ran right and the Giants destroyed the play. No gain. Game over.

Did I mention that was a horrible call?

Here's my problem. Who the heck am I supposed to be mad at? The offense scored 31 points against the Giants, a top notch defense. The defense struggled all game long, but did stop the Giants when they had to late in the game and get the ball back for the offense.

Painful game no matter how you look at it or who you blame.

We fall to 5-4 and 0-3 in the division. Not good.

We have a Top 10 defense, but think about the games within the division. Our defense has been awful:

41 points to Dallas
36 points to NY
23 points to Washington

We've given up 100 points to teams in the NFC East. That's horrible. Sure, it is the best division in the NFL, but you can't allow 33+ a game and expect to win.

All 3 teams have run on us. We controlled Dallas for the most part, but Barber got yards in the 2nd half...when they were needed.

Dallas - 68 rushing yards
Washington - 203
NY - 219 rushing yards

That is 490 yards in 3 division games.

We have Brian Westbrook on offense, an elite RB. How's he done in the division games?

Dallas - 58 yards
Washington - 33 yards
NY - 26 yards

Westy has a total of 114 rushing yards in 3 division games (our most important games). He did hurt his ribs in the Washington game, but you can still see that simply isn't enough carries. He's our best player on offense, but isn't getting the ball in a way that reflects that. I know he's versatile, but he also isn't piling up big numbers as a receiver in division games.

I don't know what the hell all of this means.

We're 0-3 in NFC East games. We've been physically dominated in 2 of the 3 games, but probably should have won all 3 games. Yes, that is as confusing as it sounds. We're not a good team. We're not a bad team. We're stuck in the middle.

Next up is the Bengals. We have to forget about the NFC East at this point and concentrate on winning games and getting into position to get a Wildcard berth. If some miracle scenario puts us back in the NFC East hunt...great. Not likely. Sorta like my proposal to Megan Fox.

2008 is shaping up to be one of the more confusing seasons in recent memory. We have too much talent to write the team off, but too many mistakes and bad games to make me believe in the team.

We wasted a big opportunity tonight.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gameday Thoughts

A few players missed practice in the middle of the week, but it sounds like everyone will be fine for the game. The only key piece missing is still OG Shawn Andrews. This is a good injury situation for a key November game.

Everything is set up for the Eagles to come away with a big win. They're at home. The Giants have won 3 straight regular season games at The Linc, but this team is more talented and balanced than the last few years. Last year being at home wasn't a good thing at all (3-5), but this season we're 3-1 at The Linc. The Eagles have outscored opponents 97-46 at home this year. The Eagles are as healthy as you can be midseason. And everyone is playing relatively well. No player is in the middle of a major slump.

The Giants are coming off a big win against a division rival. If the Gmen were ever going to be complacent (even a bit), this would be the time. Eli isn't as good on the road is he is at home. He also hasn't produced a big game this year against a good defense. He played pretty well against the Steelers, but throwing for 199 yards and 1 TD isn't exactly a big game. The Giants are also going to be missing a few guys. CB Kevin Dockery, LB Gerris Wilkinson, and S James Butler are supposed to miss the game. Butler has played well this year. Rookie Kenny Phillips will take his place. Kenny has more raw talent, but Butler is experienced and is having a good year.

I think the real key to the game will be the Eagles ability to throw the ball down the field. They must come up with some big plays. Expect a mixture of spread sets and max protection. DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis must come up big in this game. The Giants don't have the fastest secondary and you have to punish them for that. Easier said than done, of course. Getting a guy open and getting good protection on the same play isn't all that easy. When that happens, McNabb must get the ball to his receivers.

The Eagles D must get pressure on Eli. He will force throws at times and has been known to fumble on occasion. Hit him and you have a chance to come up with turnovers. Let them run and give Eli time to throw and the Giants will methodically control the game.

No matter what happens, don't expect a blowout. Eagles-Giants games normally come down to the 4th Qtr, quite a few times to the final possession. I still have nightmares about the 2001 game where the Eagles were trying to clinch the NFC East title. The Giants trailed by 3 with a couple of seconds left and 70+ yards to go. They thew a pass over the middle and the receiver flipped the ball to a player coming across from the other direction. He took the ball down the sideline until we caught him inside the 10 yard line. My heart was in my throat. We won, but that was the longest few seconds in my life. I'm sure Giants fans feel the same about Westy's punt return in 2003, although that also came out in our favor.

Don't expect a pretty game, but you will see a physical, competitive affair that will bring out the best and worst in each team. The Giants have been the better team to this point in the season, but the Eagles have a great chance to win this game.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What to do at TE


Brent Celek had a great game against Seattle. He caught 6 passes for 131 yards and provided multiple big plays. LJ Smith missed the game because he had suffered a concussion in the previous game. The question now is whether Celek's game should earn him another start. Andy Reid went out of his way in a recent press conference to speak highly of LJ. That would indicate that he feels Smith should still be the starter.

I have mixed feelings on the subject. Smith has never lived up to his full potential. He has the ability to be a very good TE. He'll make some big plays, but will also drop the occasional pass. His blocking is sloppy at times. He disappears from the offense on occasion, but in his defense it is hard to say how much of that is him and how much is simply Donovan throwing the ball to other guys.

I hoped coming into the season that Brent would play well and show the potential to be a starter in the future. He was very quiet for the first 6 games. That all changed on Sunday. His 131 yards top what Smith has done all year long (12 catches for 106 yards). LJ's long play is only 21 yards. Celek had gains of 27, 39, and 44 yards against Seattle.

Andy pointed out that teams focus more on LJ than the Seahawks did Celek. That is a valid statement. Brent was mostly an afterthought coming into the game. Now that he's shown some big play ability teams will have to pay him more attention.

The biggest reason that I'm hesitant to push Celek into the starting role is what happens in the Red Zone. Brent has 30 career catches and only 1 TD. LJ has a couple of TDs this year.

I was highly encouraged by Brent's game last week. He needs to build off that. I do think Reid and Marty need to play him more and call some plays for him. Let's see if Brent can have another good game. If he starts to consistently make plays, then he should be the starter. It is pretty clear that LJ is only hear until the season is over. Brent is playing for his future, as well as the present. Sunday was a good sign, but we have to be careful about making too much of it. One game is nice, but we need to see more.

New article is posted.

Some early thoughts on the Giants/Eagles game.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Detailed Game Review - win at Seattle


Couple of highlights:

* Celek had a great game...6 catches for 131 yards.

* Bunkley had another terrific game. He's becoming a real force in the middle.

* Kevin Curtis looked good.

* All 3 LBs played well. If these guys get on a roll it will be a big help to the defense.

* David Akers was 4 of 4 and even hit a 42-yd FG. That's more like it, Dave.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My article on the game


Good win. Still some flaws to be worked on, but at least the team is winning and feels like it is headed in the right direction.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gameday Thoughts

You have a healthy Eagles team on a 2-game winning streak playing at Seattle against a banged up, struggling Seahawks team. The Eagles have to win this game. Forget about what it means in the standings. I'm talking about the Eagles needing to beat teams that they are clearly better than.

The Eagles got off to a slow start. They already blew their opportunity to have a down game. They need to win in Seattle. Even more than that, they really need to play well and win comfortably. This game should be decided by the late 3rd or early 4th quarter.

That may seem like an unfair standard to hold the Eagles to. The standard mantra is "a win is a win". There's a lot of truth in that, but this Eagles team has to show us something. They have to put together a complete game. We haven't seen that since the season opener. And clearly that result had an awful lot to do with the dysfuctional Rams.

I'm not saying the Eagles need to dominated and win by 28 points or something crazy like that. They need to get up by at least a couple of TDs and retain control of the game. Last week they had a 20-7 lead in the 4th Qtr, but then let the Falcons get right back in it. That can't happen this week.

The 2-game winning streak has built a little bit of momentum for the Eagles. Now they have to build off that. Winning isn't enough. They have to win the right way and build some confidence that they are a good team. Put teams away when you have the advantage.

A bit part of putting teams away is scoring TDs in the Red Zone. The Eagles failed to do that last week when up 17-7 and near the goal line. Had they punched it in the lead would have been 24-7, a 3-possession advantage. That would have meant "game over". 20-7 gave the Falcons hope and they made it a game. I was very nervous when they cut the lead to 20-14. I was off the charts nervous when they stuffed us and we punted the ball back to them. The ball bounced our way, so to speak, and we won 27-14.

I don't know what to say about the Red Zone issues. I hope we continue to feed the ball to Westy when we get down there. He lacks the size and power to push the pile, but he has the ability to go over the top, find a small crevice up the middle, or possibly bounce a run outside. We need the OL to win the battle up front more than they have in the RZ. Keep running the ball and I think good things will happen.


* The last two games vs SEA involved our backup QBs facing Matt Hasselbeck. This time their backup faces Donovan McNabb.

* Watch Trent Cole vs Walter Jones. That matchup will be frustrating to Eagles fans because Jones is likely to win most of the time, but we know Trent is going to give it everything he's got.

* Let's see if Brod Bunkley can have another strong game. He's played quite well the last 5 quarters. Don't stop, big man. Keep it going.

* We ran for 192 yards last week. Don't stop, Big Red. Keep it going.