Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Overheard in Eagles Front Office: Iceberg Dead Ahead...

(Insert huge exhale). Well, here we are. It's the conclusion of another Eagles season, which fell short of our collective dreams. Usually we go a bit further than the first round, but this year we were exposed. In thinking about this Eagles team, I've come to the conclusion that we were a fraud. This team was never as good as it's 11-5 record appeared. Need proof, look at the wins and loses. This year the Eagles defeated: Carolina, Washington (twice), NY Giants (twice), Atlanta, Tampa, Denver, Kansas City, San Francisco and Chicago. You know what those teams have in common? ZERO of them went to the playoffs and only ONE team had a winning record (yes, Wayne that would be the 9-7 Falcons). Those teams combined for a 71-95 record. That would be 71 wins and 95 loses. Conversely, the combined record of the teams who beat us: 53-27 (yes Rock this includes the 5-11 Raiders). Three of the four teams (lost twice to Dall-ass) we lost to went to the playoffs and won their division.

So, logic screams that the Eagles 11-5 record was largely smoke and mirrors, and anyone who had watched this team had their concerns. I know I did, but somehow I believed they would not be humiliated in back-to-back games. However, it is now crystal clear that Dall-ass is not just the better team this year but they are the team-to-beat in the NFC East (and maybe the entire conference).

Where does this all leave me? After much thought, I think it is finally time for Andy Reid to go. Don't get me wrong, I think he's the best coach the Eagles have ever had. That being said, I think Reid is a victim of his own success and he will not and cannot change his ways. A couple of things were clear watching the massacre that occured on Saturday night.
  • We will never win a Superbowl until we have a consistent, commitment to the running game. The sad part of this is that we have the talent between McCoy, Westbrook and Weaver, but we have no commitment from the coaching staff to stick to the run. When the Eagles fall behind they panic, abandon the run game and have Donovan throw 40+ times a game. The opposing defense doesn't even need to worry about a run play, they can simply play the pass.
  • Our smallish d-line cannot generate consistent pressure against good offensive lines. They were absolutely steamrolled by the mammoth Dal-ASS offensive line. We couldn't get consistent pressure on Romo and the Cowboys (who were consistent with run) kept us on our heels for most of the game. It's time to draft and/or sign some legitimate defensive ends with size. Please, no more 250+ guys lining up on the d-line and no more Jaqua Parker as a starter. Do you hear me Andy Reid?
  • Losing Stewart Bradley to an injury was devastating BUT letting Brian Dawkins leave was probably one of the three worst decisions this coaching staff/front office has ever made. I said this from day one (as did many other Birds fans). I think Quinton Mikell is a decent player but without Brian Dawkins playing next to him, he struggled mightily. I think what we saw this year was how much this team depended on #20. Sean Jones, Macho Harris and Quintin Demps are certainly not the answer. Give me an aging, slower, but still aggressive Brian Dawkins over any of these young guys eight days a week and twice on Sundays.
  • The offensive line was a total disaster. Donovan had to run for his life for the entire game. That was of course when they weren't committing penalties and false starts. Once we lost Jamal Jackson, the line imploded, but if you ask me our offensive line was much stronger last year with veterans Tre Thomas and Jon Runyan (hairy neck and all), than it was this year.
  • I'm a huge #5 fan and think the Eagles fans largely take him for granted, but Donovan might not be the answer. I'm not ready to write the guy off yet, but for the first time I can imagine our offense without #5 behind it. Personally with our young core of very talented position players I'd prefer to keep D-Mac but because Andy Reid refuses to run the football, he constantly puts Donovan in bad spots and perhaps it's time to part ways. And no, Michael Vick is NOT the answer.

I've heard from a ton of Eagles fans who have absolutely had it with the Eagles and I understand that. As I've said before, short of signing Osama Bin Laden to a contract, I cannot imagine a scenario where I don't pull for the Birds. Sometimes it's hard, often it's painful and occasionally it's rewarding. I think this team took a few steps back this year, and the Cowboys, as much as it pains me to say this, are miles ahead of the Birds right now. It should make for a "curious" off-season. Right now I'm gonna shut down the engine and recharge the batteries for a few weeks.


Don't look now but the Flyers are 7-1-1 in their last 9 games, which has allowed some Eagle fans to more easily shift into hockey season. We still have a ways to go, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. The keys: Chris Pronger is starting to play like Chris Pronger (he's been a +10 during the streak), Simon Gagne & Blair Betts have returned from injury, Danny Briere has thrived in Peter Laviolette's system, Jeff Carter has found his scoring touch and off-the-street goalie Michael Leighton has been an unbelievable find for the injured Ray Emery. We'll see if they can ride this wave of momentum into the Olympic break and beyond, or if this is a short streak during a marathon season.


For the first time in my life, I looked at the calendar and said to Summer, "I can't wait until Spring Training starts." This happened on January 11 and that my friends, is a weird sort of a feeling from a guy who grew up in a football town.


It was unfortunate that Kirby Smart didn't take the UGA job, but were you really shocked? The guy is a defensive coordinator for a team that won the national title, lost two games in the last two years, coaches for a program who is building a dynasty and he is learning under Saban. I will say that if you are unhappy in your job, maybe you should apply for the UGA defensive coordinator job b/c all three people who received offers from the Dawgs, had their salaries enormously increased.

Did anyone hear Coach Caliapari say Mark Fox should be voted coach of the year through the first half of the season? It appears Coach Fox has the Dawgs headed in the right direction as they took Kentucky down-to-the-wire in Rupp Arena. Shockingly the Dawgs are 8-6 this year and should get another stiff test against #15 Ole Miss at the Steg this week. However, with wins over Pepperdine, Illinois and Georgia Tech it seems like the Hoop Dawgs are headed in the right direction.

In Other News:

  • Can't say I really understand the NBC predicament between Leno and Conan. Haven't they been grooming Conan for Jay's spot for years? They finally give him the spot b/c Jay decides he's going to retire. Then Jay comes back, they create a 10 pm show for him, the show bombs and now he gets his old spot back? That's absurd. I hope Conan goes to FOX and destroys Jay in the rankings. Then when Jay steps down, Conan laughs in the face of NBC and they are stuck with the "uber-talented"....Jimmy Fallon.
  • The most un-shocking news of the day came from Mark McGuire last night about his steroid admission. I'm okay with it. I mean, in no way do I think it's okay that he took steroids and broke the rules, but the guy isn't going to make it to Cooperstown. I don't care if he's back in baseball. Maybe he can be a positive for other young players. It is hilarious to hear him say that he still thinks he would have hit 600 something homeruns if he didn't take steroids. Um, Big Mac, if that was the case, why did you take them in the first place? Personally I think they should remove all records and individuals from the Hall of Fame that have taken steroids. Basically wiping out the entire 1990 decade, minus Ken Griffey Jr, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. Crazy to think that Jose Canseco is now the most reputable guy from that era.
  • If I told you that I put weather stripping on my home, would you be impressed? If so, clearly you know as much about home improvement as I do.
  • Went to my first wine tasting on Sunday and it confirmed what I had already known. My pallet is as educated as a remedial first-grader who forgot to take his/her A-D-D medicine.
  • On Sat night I get a call from my buddy Flip. Flip is at a Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser at Garth Brooks house and he tells me he has women's soccer player Heather Mitts (a former crush of mine) on the phone. Flip then puts Heather on the phone and I didn't know what to say, so I open with, "Hey Heather, I play soccer too." Summer, clearly I still have MAD GAME so you better not leave me, girl.
  • This is an awesome short story. Good to see there are still people out there like this http://www.blogger.com/www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/ny-cab-driver-returns-272947.html?cxntlid=thbz_hm

    • Tuesday, January 5, 2010

      I Welcome You, 2010

      You know it's been a long time since you've blogged when you can't remember your password to log in. The fact remains that every week I say to myself, "I need to write about that on my blog," but between planning a wedding, looking for a job, taking care of two dogs & one Summer, playing soccer, trying to be a good fiance, son, uncle, friend, trying to save the world, working on my gymnastics routine and so on, sometimes the blog takes a backseat. But you have my attention now. If you were holding out for Southern Fried Cheesesteak's end of the year extravaganza, you should know me better than that. Haha, anyway onto the sports you know and love.

      If you looked up "pathetic" in the dictionary you would see a still frame from the Eagles' horrendous loss on Sunday to the Cowgirls. Donovan, who I didn't feel played as poorly as some other fans, still missed a few HUGE throws. The WR's couldn't catch a cold and that vanilla defense was gashed and gutted by the run and the pass. Watching the game, it seemed like the Eagles mindset was to simply show-up, play their base defense without giving away too much via the blitz and then sit back and enjoy our first round bye. The only thing was that we were playing the 10-5 Dallas Cowboys, not the Asseltown State Butt Pirates. I tend to think Andy Reid and his staff are good coaches who have their team prepared more often than not, but missing a golden opportunity like the one in Dallas on Sunday is absurd. How do you come up so small in a game that means so much?

      Now, of course all this can be erased if we go into Dallas on Saturday night and get aggressive with our defense and blitz packages. The WRs will catch more balls, but we ABSOLUTELY MUST ESTABLISH the run. This is a no-brainer. When the Birds run, they win. It's that simple. Running opens up things for Maclin, D-Jax and Celek. Our defense also needs to pull their heads out of their asses. If we don't get pressure on Tony Romo, he will pick us apart. I don't care how good our DB's are because if we don't get pressure on Romo and knock him around a bit, we will lose. I also think Michael Vick will have some kind of roll if we win. I know many of you loathe him (certainly, I'm not a fan), but I have a feeling he's going to be a factor when we win this game. Yes, you heard it. I have this bizarre feeling we will win. Maybe the insanely cold weather has frozen my pessimistic heart and mind. I'm not sure. I just have this feeling that this team will respond and respond big. It's very rare to see Andy Reid not bounce back from a huge loss with a statement win. I will take Reid and his "NFC Championship Game" shortcomings over Wade Phillips 0-4 playoff record any day -- and especially on Saturday.

      Yup, they still suck. I don't care if they've won 3 of their last 4 to get to 10 wins. This team is awful and Eddie Jordan is even worse than I thought. I'd rather have Eddie Haskell coaching this team.

      Caught myself watching the Flyers Winter Classic game on New Year's day against the Bruins. I had two main thoughts:
      1-Does it make me unamerican to watch hockey on news year's day?
      2-What a horrible set-up they had at Fenway to watch this game. There's no way those fans could have been happy with their "investment."

      I love the signing of Danys Baez, by the way. We got him on the cheap and although he's had some recent injury issues, I think he'll be a nice addition to the pen. He's a proven closer, should Lidge struggle and he can be a set-up man as well. I'd like to see them resign Chan Ho or Clay Condrey, but that seems like a longshot at best. I'm also hoping Scott Eyre returns. I'm a huge fan of guys who are older than me (see, Eyre) and can still play (notice, I didn't mention Jamie "Yoda" Moyer)

      I have no clue who our next defensive coordinator will be, but I still don't think former Dawg Kirby "Roadkill" Smart will be the guy. Going from Bama to UGA is a step back right now, unless he wants his kids to get a free education at the "Harvard of the South." I think our next DC will come from an elite program or the NFL, but for some reason I think we will promote someone to DC (meaning they are a d-line or a secondary coach right now). I also wish early NFL draftee entrants Reshard Jones and Rennie Curran good luck in the NFL. They served us well and while I think Jones could benefit from one more year, who could argue with the money.

      Also, did anyone notice how well the Dawgs basketball team has been playing lately? Yeah, me neither, but wins over Pepperdine and Illinois were nice. And this just in -- we beat TECH. That makes a hoops and gridiron sweep. Does it get much sweeter? Great job Dawgs and Coach Fox.

      In Other News:
      • I am so down with New Year's its unbelievable. If you invite me to a party, I'll be there. It feels like unwrapping a gift during the holidays. I have that same excitement with New Years. Who knows what the next year will bring, but you know there will be memories, happenings and stories -- and isn't this what life is all about.
      • After the giant snow dump in late December, Summer and I were watching a football game at the Linc when she turned and said to me, "Aw, that's so nice. They pushed all the snow to the side of the field for decorations. Isn't that great?" Yeah, I still have some work to do there.
      • I don't always understand the United States' position on fighting terror domestically. It's very reactive. For example, when the Christmas day bomber failed to blow up his plane, we decided to beef up security at 12 other international airports. Call me a doubting Tom, but if these ass clowns were smart enough to get this bomb on a plane, don't you think they'll be smart enough to travel from other airports? I think we should send them Lady Gaga to perform -- that will drive them out of hiding.
      • Today I was listening online to a Philadelphia radio station and Vai Sikahema & Harry Mayes said they would rather have Randall Cunningham as their QB than Donovan McNabb. When I hear nonsense like this it becomes clear how I must have my own radio show to launch an assault of quality sports information to the PA/DE/NJ valley. Randall Cunningham had one of the greatest defenses of all-time and an offensive as good as the current Eagles offense NEVER GOT PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS! Donovan has been to 5 NFC Championships. This is not even a point of conversation.
      • Ever notice that when you are sitting around with your oldest friends, no matter how much has changed, nothing really changes.
      • I've come to realize that Rick Sanchez is the single greatest news anchor on the planet and I encourage all of you to check him out. He will change your life. Forever. For example, today there was a small cargo plane crash in Chicago. He had an expert on the phone and asked what the expert thought the cargo plane was doing. The expert responded incredulously, "Flying cargo, I'd assume." Then Sanchez, as insensitive as ever, says, "I'm getting information in by the minute on this crash and I'm flying somewhat blindly here (awkward silence) -- please pardon the pun."
      • I'm happy to say that my last two trips to DE/PA/NJ ended with a trip to Pat's Steaks - I'm living up to my namesake, hopefully my arteries won't clog before then.
      • This will be the best video you will ever see -- known to bring a grown man to tears. If you love college football or don't understand why people love college football, check this out. I cannot stop watching it: http://http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEivUpbwnv0
      • This was a real headline from the NY Giants a week ago: Giants place Ross, Jacobs on IR http://http//www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d81564b6d&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true