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.
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