Monday, July 20, 2009

Eagles Overrated?


Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk had a post up on Sunday where he questioned why the Eagles were being mentioned among NFC favorites for 2009.

PFT post on Eagles chances in '09

His point was that on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving the Eagles were all but written off and Reid and McNabb were possibly headed out of town. Now the team is constantly mentioned as the best in the NFC. Is that logical?

First, a word about PFT. I love the site. I've followed Florio since he was with NFL Fan Talk. That turned into ESPN Insider (for those who may not remember). I followed Mike there and paid for a year. He quit out of frustration. ESPN Insider was essentially a bunch of links back then. I followed Florio to PFT and have been reading that site since its first week. He almost shut the site down at one point for fear that it was going nowhere. A buddy of mine emailed him to ask why the site hadn't been updated one day. Florio told him he was trying to decide whether he should keep going. My buddy told him that there were more than a few of us that needed our PFT fix multiple times a day and to keep it going. Florio did and has become a real force.

While I love the work Mike does, he isn't necessarily the best football analyst. He's great when talking about contracts and legal situations. He's no smarter than the average fan when it comes to actually discussing football. I don't mean this as an insult. Heck, Mike would probably tell you the same thing.

I understand his concerns about the Eagles and where he's coming from. At the same time, he is only seeing half the picture. The team didn't panic after the Ravens loss. Andy made some changes, but it wasn't like he benched a bunch of starters and went into crisis mode. He didn't give any crazy Jim Fassell speeches about going "all in". Big Red did things quietly and subtly.

He ran the ball more. He mixed in Kyle Eckel to the offense. Lito Sheppard's playing time went down dramatically (after the Cardinals game...he had to play then because of an injury to Samuel). The team, which had been so close to being good earlier, responded to the changes and the pressure of the stretch run. The Eagles played lights out for most of the rest of the season and postseason.

We didn't get hot based on a fluke. We didn't get lucky in a bunch of games. The defense played great and the offense improved on short yardage situations and started getting into the endzone more efficiently.

The Eagles then had a terrific offseason by just about everyone's standard. Many different writers and analysts have said the Eagles had the best offseason of any team. I don't think it is unreasonable to see how well the team played from late November to late January and factor in the great offseason and then surmise that the Eagles are one of the NFC favorites.

There are legit questions and concerns, but I sure don't see the Eagles situation as any more troubling than any other NFC team. The Cowboys and Giants both lost stud receivers. How will that affect those offenses? The Redskins tried to get a new QB a couple of times in the offseason, but failed. Who is the best team in the NFC North? The Vikings, with or without Favre? We beat them at Minny last year. The Bears? Cutler is great, but where are his targets? The NFC South is always crazy. You don't know who will emerge from that division. As for the West...another mystery. The Cardinals were great in the postseason, but won the division by default essentially. The Rams were dreadful at times. SF has potential, but can't find a QB. Seattle has a new coach and could go any number of ways.

I know I'm an Eagles fan and that is going to make me at least somewhat biased, but what team out there is clearly better? Florio never really got to that point.


I have read several things on how the Supplemental Draft works, but they seem to conflict with each other in some small ways. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure of the full process.

Teams are supposed to email in picks to the league office. I'm just not sure if they do this on a round by round basis or all at once. Gil Brandt made a comment that each round lasted about 10 minutes. That sounds like it is done one round at a time. Other articles made it sound as though teams sent in bids all at once. This is where I get somewhat confused.


I haven't looked at the schedule for the upcoming season in months. Doesn't matter to me. Games on paper really mean nothing. Who you play is only part of the equation. Timing is critical. The Rams of Week 1 were a complete disaster. They got much tougher when Jim Haslett took over. How different were the Cowboys in Week 17 as compared to Week 2? We were similar, but they were almost like 2 separate teams.

I used to memorize the schedule and try to really figure things out before hand. I learned a while ago that I'm better suited to focus on the next game or two and worry about the other games when they draw near. I know this puts me in the minority of fans. I guess one thing that has caused me to change is following college and pro football on such a large scale. I have to focus on who is playing each week from Thursday to Monday. That (and PBR/Megan Fox/the Grand Unified Theory) occupies most of my brain space.

I'm sure in late August or early September I'll have my annual nightmare that I've somehow missed the season opener. I overslept. It wasn't shown. I forgot about it. The nightmare is always different, but it really messes with me. And invariably the Eagles lose the game, making it that much more torturous of a situation. I'm made because of the loss and even madder that I missed the game. The horror. The horror.


frankfurtler said...

Keep up the good work, I spend a lot more time reading your posts and the discussions that follow much more than I post. I look foward to it.

You are right on about Florio as always when you respond to his PFT stuff, it is a cool website, at the same time his priority seems to be hyping gossip then struggling with the pure football side of the league.

Stephen said...

Sorry Tommy, I can't help but agonize over every detail of the upcoming season. Whether its the roster, the schedule, whatever I have to pour over it in detail. Making predictions I think somehow soothes the frustrated football fan soul in me somehow.

I think it says a lot about this team that we didn't implode after the Ravens game. Thats twice that we've been written off for dead in the last few years (in '06 and this past year) only to have us rally and come back stronger than before.

Rather than viewing that as knock against our status, I view it as evidence that we are one of the top teams. We came back and whooped some really good teams. You don't beat the defending super bowl champs twice in the span of a month by being bad.

Clifford said...

The Supplemental Draft is something that happens every year, yet nobody takes the opportunity to explain it. You'd think ESPN could take 5 minutes away from their Favre/Vick/Cowboys coverage to explain it.

I stopped reading PFT when Florio started whining about other media organizations "stealing" his stuff. And now he acts like every under-reported story is a conspiracy; a la the Rothlesberger (sp?) thing now. I have a feeling legit news outlets aren't reporting because they don't know all the facts and legitimacy of the accuser. They'll leave it to bloggers to jump the gun.