Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Stuff


New PE.com column is up.

-- Link --

It has a few different tibdbits than the Game Review.

ESPN ???

The guys on Sunday Countdown are driving me nuts. I swear I'm getting close to quitting the show. I've watched it religiously for almost 20 years. I don't remember when exactly I started. I know 1992 for a fact, but it might go back further than that. I grew up on The NFL Today with Brent Musburger, Irv Cross, and the gang. Nothing will ever top that. I loved listening to analysis from Jayne Kennedy and Phyllis George while staring at the sexy Jimmy the Greek. Or was that the other way around? Anyway...

I think it was Keyshawn who started talking about our O-line on Sunday. He said that what we see is as good as it gets. That will hurt us this year and limit how good we can be.


An offensive line is an area where great change can take place in a month. We still have 2 months of the regular season. Our guys are getting healthier. You can already see improved run blocking with the return of Todd at LG. Soon, we'll have our top 5 guys out there and they will begin to build some continuity.

I have no problem with ESPN picking against the Eagles or pointing out legit issues. Trust me, there are plenty of legit concerns. The OL is a concern at this point, but Keyshawn couldn't be more wrong about the fact that the group can't get better. Check out last year's Steelers. How 'bout the 2002 Bucs? Both groups played better up front as the year moved along. They got hot in the postseason and won titles.

I don't expect the ESPN guys to know the Eagles like I do. They don't study the team the same way. I do wish that anyone aside from Chris Berman actually had a clue about the team and offered any kind of decent insight.



For those who don't know, that is the Eagles Message Board. I have been a regular poster there since 2003. I still post on there on a regular basis, but I started this blog as a way to centralize my Eagles stuff. The EMB is great (in an insane kind of way), but if you want material to get to a wider audience you have to be more public. So here I am.

RE: More jokes

I've always tried to mix humor in with my writing. I don't aspire to be a comedian, but I know that football should be fun. I like throwing in strange reference to history, film, music, or even science. I dare say I make more Max Planck references than any other football writer.

I know some of the humor won't appeal to everyone. I learned a long time ago that you can't try to be everything to everybody. I write in a certain style and just hope that people enjoy it. I also think it is important to know that having a working knowledge of the Defenestration of Prague doesn't mean you can't enjoy a joke about Hanson's song "MmmBop" (thus, Joselio's nickname).

RE: QB for next year

We have to see how this season plays out. If McNabb plays at a high level, he stays the starter in 2010. If he slips at all, they'll seriously consider dealing him and giving Kolb the job. We have to see all 16 games to know what is likely.

McNabb could draw a 1st rounder, but that becomes tricky. If he's good enough to get that pick, do we want to deal him? If he struggles, what value will he bring us? Could be a conditional type of situation where we get picks based on how well he plays.

We do need to bring in a QB to develop. We also may look for a good veteran backup if McNabb is dealt. Garcia? AJ? There will be some solid choices.

RE: LB for 2010

Very confusing. I think they want to keep Gocong, but I'm not sure that will workout. I know they like Fokou as the SAM of the future.

Bradley isn't a lock to be back to his previous form. We always have to keep that in mind. Witherspoon projects to OLB, but could always take over MLB if needed. I'd love to slide him to WLB and put Akeem at SAM. Jordan is so physical that I think he could handle that.

We have a bunch of young guys (aside from Spoon). We like them all. They're versatile and they can play. Boy have things changed at LB.

I'll ask around and see if anyone has any insight as to possible plans. In a fantasy world we'd keep Gocong at SAM. Bradley would come back great at MIKE. Spoon slides to WIL. We then have Omar and Akeem as the Nickel guys and STers. That would be a deep, talented corps of LBs.


izzylangfan said...

Thanks for answering my questions so thoroughly.

I have some strong feelings about ESPN. The journalist type guys are there because they are telegenic. Salpal is useless so are a bunch of the others. Merrill Hodge actually knows something but is good for about one fact in a half hour show. Same for Jaws and I can't get over his square glasses- a true intellectual he. He's OK in the game. However, I actually like Theisman better. He is not as analytical but really lets you in on the mind set and tone of the game. (Sorry great Eagle in the sky.) Berman may know something but he is way more schtick than substance. Trent Dilfer, Tim Hassleback, and Darren Sharper are the ones that know something and are worth listening to.

T_S_O_P said...

A question about the OLine. We've been a good team on the bedrock of a good OLine play at home, away from the Linc, our line doesn't seem to play anywhere close to that standard.

Is that because they a relatively new unit?

Mr Old Buffoon, please feel free to input here

Cliff said...

Just finished reading your DGR. Good procrastination material as usual.

I've noticed that several of our receivers get 3 or 4 catches a game but make the most of them, especially DeSean and Celek. The way we spread the ball around and still manage to create big plays leads me to think this is the penultimate version of Reid's "West Coast Offense." In other words, Reid finally has a mix of WR's, RB's, and TE's that allow his offense to really click.

It's not quite fully evolved though - having an athletic TE he can split wide would be a welcome addition. Hey Cornelius, where art 'thou?

Cliff said...

You say you don't think keeping Gocong will "workout." What do you mean?

Stephen said...

Whenever I watch a show like ESPN I feel like they dumb down their analysis way too much. It seems like they focus much more on things that might sell a good story, but aren't good solid strait fact analysis of the situation. They especially seem to key in on things like the "leaders of this unit" or the "leaders of the team" and seem to overemphasize the importance of things like that. I seem to hear those phrases about 8 times every half hour NFL segment I see and it drives me nuts for them to focus on such an abstract idea, especially since football is about as concrete as it gets.

I just feel like they're trying to sell football as a soap opera rather than a sport, I mean what the hell is up with the storybook chapters on monday night football? Really? Chapters 1 and 2? As if though we're reading a fairy tale? Sunday night on NBC is just as bad with the "act 1" "act 2" nonsense.

Pretty soon we might see football slotted in between all my children and days of our lives, because thats where they seem to want to take it. Frankly it turns my stomach to see such a girlification of what is supposed to be the ultimate masculine sport. Are we here to talk about peoples feelings or are we here to watch some fucking football? Anymore I don't know.

Cliff said...

You can't blame ESPN for over-doing the emotional analysis stuff. Check out the EMB or WIP in Philly - they're obsessed with "heart" and "fire" (sounds like the sequel to Twilight). Remember not too long ago the Philly fans/media wanted Garcia over McNabb because he was more "fire-y" (spelling?). Take that, Young and the Restless!

Baloophi said...

RE: Gocong

I think Tommy would say he doesn't think Gocong will work out because as a former DE-turned-SAM, he will be of considerable interest to 3-4 teams... ergo he will demand too much $$.

Stephen said...

Haha, good point Cliff, I'm not really trying to criticize just ESPN though I'm talking about the sports media in general.

Just look at the recent Packers/Vikings game. I swear to god I spent at least 2 hours of that broadcast listening to how Brett Favre felt or how Aaron Rodgers felt and how their emotions must be running high. Completely lost in all of that was the fact that there was a very important divisional game to be played, one that would tell everyone a lot about how close the race between the Pack and the Vikings would be the rest of the way. The only real reference we got the entire time was Aikman talking about how the Packers were viewing it as an important divisional matchup. At least the teams on the field remembered that there was a game to be played, rather than just dramatic theatre.

If I wanted to listen to people talk and analyze how people felt I'd call up one of my girlfriends and tell her guess what baby todays your lucky day I'm a man who wants to talk about feelings. When I'm watching football I want to see a good hard fought game with solid situational analysis of the GAME, not the players emotional state.

I guess the saddest part is that most football fans these days do want to talk about feelings, as you said just look at the EMB :(.

Stephen said...

In other news, its only about halfway through the season but I think we're starting to see what kind of rookies we have so we can start looking ahead to what we might need next year. As of right now I think we need another running back because honestly I think Westbrook is pretty much done, he can't stay healthy and when he's been on the field this season he hasn't done much but get chased down from behind. I also feel we need to sign Weaver to a long term deal, please pay the man he's an absolute weapon and fits what we do perfectly, being able to pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield. That would give us insurance if westbrook is out (a backup for the backup so to speak, cuz you know we'll need one) as well as someone to step in as Shadys backup (or hell lets go draft a starter for that matter lol) once Westbrook is outa here in 2 years.

At WR our top 3 guys seem pretty obvious, we're gonna need another man in the mix though because I think KC is going to follow Westbrook on outa here in the next couple of years, and since we dealt away Gibson we need another body.

OL is imo the most confusing of the positions right now. We have Jason Peters and Todd Herremens set on the left, but how do we really feel about Jamal Jackson, Stacy Andrews and Winston Justice moving forward? Obviously Justice is the shocker of the bunch, but if he keeps up his solid play this year, do we really go ahead and make him our RT of the future? I guarantee NO ONE predicted that might be in the discussion this season. Stacy Andrews we still don't know too much about but I guess we can assume he's going to get himself right and become the starter. Jackson seems to be playing well this season too. Most of the backups seem to be pretty solid as well, so I guess we'll just take our usual 4th and 7th round developmental projects?

I'm one of the few I guess that feels we should keep Sheldon and actually pay him. I never understood why we wanted him gone in the first place, I always thought he was a real solid if not spectacular corner, and you could definitely find a lot worse starting corners in the league. Then he goes ahead and responds to this contract squabble by having his best year yet as a pro in my humble opinion. 4 picks through 7 games is on a pro bowl pace, and he is also one of the best run support/tackling corners in the whole league. I think he's the complete package and I think he's worth giving some extra money to keep around for another few years. If I had my way we'd keep Asante and Sheldon and draft a guy pretty high anyhow, because you can never have enough good corners to go around. Maybe someone to challenge Hanson in the slot, because he really is just a serviceable slot corner not an outstanding one. You really need 3 top flight corners to match up with some of the crazier passing games around the league (NE, Indy, NO).

Stephen said...

I was thinking DT might be a need because Laws isn't really coming along like I thought he would. He's not bad he's just not that great either. Then along comes Dixon out of nowhere who has sky high potential. He has the kind of body and athleticism to develop into a dominant DL imho.

That brings us to DE, which is where we really need to get better. I think its clear at this point that VA is not going to turn into a pass rushing stud, and we have a rotating cast of solid pass rushers but no real marquee type guy to pair opposite Trent Cole (who is also on pace for a career year). I think thats the one thing this defense truly lacks, and thats someone who the defense has to game against opposite trent. I personally think this should be our #1 priority in the draft providing that guy is out there to be drafted. We still rely too much on the blitz to get pressure, its a shame we can't just clone Trent and put him on the other side too.

With the addition of Witherspoon I think we look solid at linebacker. Providing Stew Brad comes back 100% We definitely have options at LB. Akeem Jordan is quietly becoming our best WILL backer since... someone fill in the blank when was the last time we had a good WILL backer.

Safety is the other area of concern. Macho Harris hasn't exactly come in and lit things up, Demps still hasn't exactly convinced anyone of anything, Sean Jones looks like a serviceable option, and honestly I think Mikell is having a down year. This is where Eric Berry comes in, who will eliminate the need for 2 safety positions and allow us to line up with 5 DL on every snap.

I guess I would organize priority wise right now our needs next draft as:

1. LDE
2A. FS
2B. CB
3. RB
4A. DT
4B. WR
5. OL
6. LB
7. QB

Prem Prakash said...

My 2 cents--

ESPN, like a lot of tv reporting these days, strives to be entertainment more than news. I know sports is entertainment but there is a balance and professional standard that should be maintained. An intelligent, classy guy like Pat Summerall would have trouble fitting in there because of all the hoopla.

EMB is good for the 411 section, a great way for us out-of-towners to read the Philly sportswriters.

JOKES -- Gotta' say, Tommy, you are a very good writer and a broad thinker for a football guy. I respect what you do and how you do it, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. By the way, did you hear the one about the Eagles blog guy goes into a bar...?

QB -- If we go deep into the playoffs, McNabb is back amd Kolb is the question mark. Also, Vick's contract blows up big time next year, doesn't it? He could be great trade bait.

LB -- Our linebacking corps was in big trouble and Spoon could end up being one of the major keys this season. I'm enjoying his play too much right now to think about next year. Maybe I'll think about it more after the Phillies beat the Yanks in game 7.

Cliff said...

RE: RE: Gocong

Ohhhh. Well, let's hope he's been hidden enough that we can re-sign him. I wonder if the Eagles have offered an extension yet.

I'd hate to lose him after watching him develop in to something reliable.

izzylangfan said...


I agree with just about everything you have written in these two posts. And want to emphasize your point about paying Sheldon. He's too good as a player to let go and a dependable person as well.

One area where I could differ is in the importance of a QB in the draft priority. Depending on what the Eagles do at QB -- Lets say they opt to keep McNabb and get some high draft picks for Vick and/or Kolb. Then we might want to package some picks to get a high QB in the draft to train as McNabbs replacement two to four more years down the road.

Dollar Brand said...

More Richard Feynman!

Stephen said...

My look at the QB situation is assuming that we keep Mcnabb and Kolb for next season. I think thats about as solid a 1-2 punch as there is in the NFL Right now. Obviously if the right guy is there, you never pass on a quarterback, but as far as needs I see it being very low.

I know Im hogging way more than my share of the comments section on this one, but I had to share this. Please check this video out:

I haven't laughed so hard since I can't remember.

Boyboy said...

The Fox guys goof around too much and lose focus on actually talking about the games. On ESPN, Chris Berman is a characiture at this point and Ditka and Steve Young just kinda suck. The CBS crew has always bored the crap out of me -- not sure if he's still with them, but can anyone understand wth Shannon Sharpe is saying?

All three of those networks do to many off-the-field player profiles and feel good pieces. Personally, I have felt for years that they're trying appeal to a fringe audience -- women and casual fans.

I want X's and O's, insight and analysis. So I watch the NFL network's show. They offer all of the above. I may have been one of the few people who liked Irvin when he was on ESPN and I think he's even better now. He's toned down the schtick and offers up good opinions with a touch of humor. Sapp is good too. Those two speak their mind, which is great. Mooch and Faulk don't rock the boat like the other two so it's a good contrast. And they all know football!

izzylangfan said...

To emphasize a point. I was just watching ESPN and Sal Palantonio just came on from the Novacare Complex and said that he had "big news". It turns out that Brian Westbrook is likely to play this week. Not only that but Leonard Weaver and LeSean McCoy had good runs against the Giants last weekend.

I rest my case.

Jason said...

@ Stephen
Our safety play this season has not been spectacular but I do not think it should be that high of a priority. Let's not forget that Demps is only in his second year and that Macho is a rookie. I remember reading JJ saying that safety is the hardest position on the defense to learn for a rookie back when Gaddis was drafted. Keeping that in mind, I would much rather see us develop Macho and Demps at the very least for one more year before giving up on them. I don't think either of them has been truly a reliability in anyway. We just want to see more plays from them. The fact is, Macho has been a starter in his rookie season. He is only going to improve (same with Demps), so lets give them some time before writing them off.

Stephen said...


Right now I'm not real high on either Demps or Harris, and I don't believe either Mikell or Jones is headed to a pro bowl. I'd rather be proactive in trying to find a playmaking safety rather than sitting back and hoping that Demps or Harris will develop into a high caliber player. If they do eventually, great thats awesome, but at the same time I'd rather not get caught with my pants down if they don't. Banking too much on unproven players is not a smart idea I don't think, I'd like to take as many cracks at it as we can, provided the right guy is there in the draft.

Stephen said...

Heres an extra little tidbit about Sheldon Brown, and why I think we should keep him.

Someone was posting a stat listing and heres some quick hits for Sheldon:

Currently quarterbacks only complete 29.6% (8/27) of their passes on Sheldon this season, the lowest of any cornerback in the NFL.

Quarterbacks have a QB rating of 2.3 (you read that right their rating is 2.3) when throwing on Sheldon Brown. This is by FAR the best out of any cornerback in the league.

Sheldon Brown has not given up a touchdown in coverage in a regular season game since 2007.

I know Sheldon is solid, but those numbers are ridonkulous.

Adam S. said...

I completely avoid watching anything but the NFL Network when it comes to football analysis. I hate to admit it but I'm actually beginning to like Deion. If he would take is mouth off the Cowboys cock he would be my favorite on any network. He clearly is the cockiest of them all(understatement of the decade) and that gets to me from time to time but he has great chemistry with the rest of the guys on the panel, mostly Mooch. He knows his stuff and is arguably the best corner of all time, and when someone is "the best" at something I tend to take their inuput as slightly more intellegent.

I remember attempting to watch PFT (I think that's what it was) with Jay Glazer. The first time I turned it on i was like "Oh this guy, I hear he's some kind of NFL insider" so I figured I'd give it a shot. WORST football program I've ever seen in my life. Eddie George, Jason Seahorn, and I don't remember the other guy. They did some segment where they answered questions as if they were a certain player, I actually burst out laughing at the pathetic attempts at insight and humor that those guys had.

Cliff said...

Stephen, what's your gripe with Mikell? He might not make it to a Pro Bowl, but he's been one of the most consistent members of the D over the last several years.

And remember; Macho's just a rookie. Gotta give him credit for handling our complex D so quickly.