Sunday, September 24, 2006

Game 3 Thoughts

as expected, today's game was a workmanlike performance against a backmarker -- nothing to get to excited about, but a good test to see where the psyche of the team is while also working on some things that they need to improve. one of the local columnists called today's game a "no win situation" and he was exactly right. even if the birds had won today's game 70-0, they would have gained nothing. there were a lot of good things today, but still some signs of weakness in critical areas.

- mcnabb continues to look awesome, simply awesome. he's surpassed randall as the best eagles QB i've ever seen. for a couple of weeks, i've been thinking that when all is said and done the me-o circus may have been a good thing for don to go through. he survived the trial by fire and he seems to have come out more determined and tougher. he's playing with an anger and a desire to destroy the other team that i don't think he's displayed before. i've never seen him go through his progressions quicker. i've never seen him throw the ball more accurately. i've never seen him throw the ball with better timing.

- no donte today, but what does it matter? good pass blocking plus good QB play makes skill position players better. ultimately, it probably will end up being a good thing it let reggie brown get into the action and build some confidence -- that is as long as stallworth's injury is not a lingering one.

- niners got a couple of bad spots today, but none more important than the one on their initial drive. the 3rd and 4 pass play looked like a first down based on forward progress, but the refs seemed to short the niners about half a yard. it wouldn't have impacted the result of the game, but the niners needed everything to go right to have a chance and they could ill afford a 3 and out to start the game.

- the running game continues to be a big concern. how is it possible to have 5 massive mashers up front, incapable to doing any mashing? don't let the 150 rushing yards fool you. today was not a successful running day. yes, it was against a 3-4 defense and the eagles have historically struggled against 3-4 defenses, but a) it was the NINERS defense, we're not talking about the steel curtain here and b) that's exactly what the upgrade from fraley to jackson was supposed to target -- the nose guard. i don't blame jackson though. he's not really the problem here. the problem seems to be at LT and LG. these guys are good pass blockers, but cannot get any movement off the line. what yardage they gained today was mostly on misdirection and delays so i give credit for those yards to andy. i did like andy's thinking on the second drive of the game, running two straight power runs on 1st and 2nd downs, but those got stuffed at the line. buck did gain 5 yards or so on the 2nd down run, but that was because he broke two tackles. the line opened no holes for him. andy moved immediately to misdirection on the next series and never really tried the power running again.

- jj did a lot of blitzing today looking to confuse and rattle alex smith. to smith's credit, he took a beating and never flinched. his body language was great and he never resorted to any of the falling away/turning his back to the rush that eli manning continues to display. i was very impressed with smith after the play where darren howard sacked him and clubbed his throwing arm down. after the play, they showed a close up of smith as he was walking to the sidelines and taking off his helmet. you could see the signs of the pretty good bruise forming on smith's right bicep right where howard clubbed him. it looked pretty painful and smith didn't even so much as rub it. he's a tough kid.

- the dropped passes continue to be a bugaboo. brian baldinger said that the eagles led the league in dropped passes last season and they dropped 12(!) passes last game. mcnabb was 27 of 45 last game. those 12 drops mean he really should have been 39 of 45... are you kidding me? 39 of 45? that is sick. what is the deal with the drops? i guess every receiver drops the ball now and then, but the whole team has them.

- the secondary is still a concern. JJ is still playing a lot of zone. he just doesn't trust these guys. it was impressive to see rod hood tough out his injury and play, but it was obvious that he couldn't run. guys were blowing past him all game.

- how impressive was it to see my favorite fat guy mike patterson trucking down the field and not get gassed or pull up lame?

- as i write this, denver just scored to go up 10-0. i wonder if bill simmons is going to write/whine about how this is a "gut punch game". p*ssy.

- the d-line got good pressure today, but they definitely missed freak. he really does add a scare factor that makes other teams take notice.

- i thought dhani jones was supposed to be a "cerebral" type. what's with the back to back stupid penalties he took? when you add those into the mix with the fact that he sucks, i'm not sure why the heck he's on the field. can someone explain to me why s.w. barber can't start at the strong side? does anyone doubt that barber could do a better job covering TEs? or even blitzing for that matter. on the one blitz i saw jones make today, jones ran straight upfield into the running back and stopped dead. as if getting stopped in his tracks wasn't bad enough, he was blitzing toward three yards behind where the QB was. jones looked like he was blitzing at a QB taking a 7 step drop, but smith only took a 5 step drop.

- woo hoo, i predicted the exact final score of the game. not too shabby for an amateur.

it was a good win for the birds but i didn't enjoy it that much for a few reasons: a) it did nothing to salve the pain from last week's collapse, b) they continue to evidence the same weaknesses (the strengths are very strong, but the weaknesses are in some key areas and some e.g. the drops directly impact one of their strengths -- QB play/the passing game), and c) the niners stink. i'm not complaining though. any win in the nfl is a good win and i'll take it.

next up, a date with the interception machine formerly known as brett favre.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back after vacation delay.

Saw no Birds today...felt good. Sounds like they beat a still bad but getting better team yet still couldn't run or defend the pass. Not good things once they play temas who can defend.

Just curious, isn't this Penn State country? Why have I not heard a thing about that abortion of a game yesterday? You have the number one team within one score and your atrocious QB tosses 2 late gift TD the other way to make a good springboard game into a potential downward spiral game. What I wnat to know about them is

1. Does anyone else agree that Morelli sucks? Cannot throw, cannot run, why is he playing?

2. Those so called stud young WR don't seem to be getting open except for unrecruited Jordan Norwood.

3. Their kicker blows. Just blows. But so does the holder. If that's the best they can do in both positions, then they really don't have anyone.

4. Posluzny cannot play anymore. Can't run, can't cover anyone. Shame.

Michigan kills them, Michigan State probably betas them, they go 6-5 or 7-4 at best with 9-2 potential in the lineup.

Grr everyone I root for sucks!

Bumble

11:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How bad is Eli?
He only beats the Eagles one that fluke fumble rewcovery and then gets, again, hyped up to be the next great one. Then he goes out and makes his stats look good against a Seattle team that just killed him at the start.
He gets way to much credit for having a decent game and when he sucks or displays happy feet nobody seems to care.

It's now official. I hate that guy.

Simon

4:28 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Just curious, isn't this Penn State country? Why have I not heard a thing about that abortion of a game yesterday?

i haven't been talking about them because this is a rebuilding year. morelli is stinking up the joint, but he's still a kid, and a kid who hasn't played much to this point. this is a learning year for him so i'll give him a pass on some struggles. if he hasn't made progress as we near the end of the season, then i'll be worried.

remember they had a top 5 recruiting class this year. they'll be significantly better once those guys start working into the mix.

Posluzny cannot play anymore. Can't run, can't cover anyone. Shame.

he certainly doesn't look like the same player. do you think he's not recovered from his injury? the descriptions didn't make it seem too serious, but it hasn't been a full year yet. maybe he just doesn't have his explosiveness back.

or maybe the bradley is just asking him to do different things to help compensate for the young secondary?

Grr everyone I root for sucks!

you're standards are pretty high there, bumble. the eagles are a top 2-3 team in the NFC. they have flaws, but there isn't a team in the entire NFL that doesn't have flaws. even last year's SB champs are sitting at 1-2.

i'd say they're pretty damn good, actually. especially the QB.

7:55 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

My biggest concern coming out of the 49ers is the dumb penalties. You could argue that's what did them in last week, and the 15 yarders were really piling up yesterday. Vetern teams do NOT take that many bad penalties.

The running game doesn't really concern my as they've proven highly successful for 4 years without having one to speak of.

The dropped passes are a concern, although the way I saw it 3-4 of those were thrown at the WR's feet (I thought he was finally broken ofthat habit).

Generally speaking though, I thought the game went as well as it could have.

8:46 AM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

I look at this game as nothing more than a positive win. I did not see the game until the last few minutes of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter. There was 3 big things that I took away....Westbrook is a total weapon, Donovan is the best QB in the NFC and top 3 in the NFL, and the defense scored on a huge goal line stand. Also, the defense beat up a much improved Niners team for a half. The secondary is a concern from a health perspective. They are giving up too many big plays, and McCoy looks like a player. The Birds have dominated at times in all 3 games and should be 3-0. Buck is getting some tough yards, LJ Smith is a great TE, and Don, again, is a total stud. The D-Line is getting pressure and not letting RBs have huge games (Lundy, Gore and Tiki)....right now, this team is probably top 3 in the NFC, top 10 in the NFL, and a healthy Don will keep them in every game. Relax, guys.....this team is going to be okay....we will lose some more games but right now they are playing well....

Bumble, Pete is right, you need to judge PSU on how Morelli plays at the end of the year, not now...it was his first Big 10 game and he was playing the #1 team in the nation. The Eagles don't suck, PSU is rebuilding at this point, but don't get upset until they lose to Illinois or Indiana and they will beat MSU. And the Phillies are playing as well as they have since 93. All things considered it's a positive day.

9:49 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

And the Phillies are playing as well as they have since 93.

doh, and how could i forget the phils who continue to entertain on a nightly basis?

10:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous we-was said...

Hey PSU fans,

Forget about Morelli. The real deal is on the bench. Wait until you see Devlin in a couple of years. He ate up Neshaminy High (we go to all the games) last year. He has a cannon arm and can run (not like Robinson, but he can run).

Ben

9:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My argument about PSU is that a mobile QB can overcome early jitters but a statue will get exposed badly when he's struggling to throw. Their backup QB seems to move the ball better because he can break contain and improvise. Morelli can never do that and he will never do that. In today's game, the classic drop back game is disappearing and the mobile QB is really a necessity. I know it's too early to give up on Morelli, but I just don't see the necessary skills with him.

Bumble

10:27 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

it's a small sample size, but the only time i've seen devlin play was at the big 33 game and he looked awful, throwing 2 picks in only 7 attempts.

i won't use it to pre-judge him though.

10:47 PM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

I think Bumble is on to something with this. I am not going to say Morelli is not going to be the man, but I will say that the mobile QB does appear to be the rage. I think simply it gives you another option, and usually a younger athletic QB can make plays with his feet instead of forcing balls. On the college level, I never liked QBs that ran the bone, but I always liked the dimension that they presented at that level. I also still go to high school games and again a mobile QB can make plays that aren't there in a passing situation. And this is coming from a QB who wasn't mobile. I just like the fact that it puts pressure on the defense and can take pressure off the QB. Probably the best QB that I saw that did this at the college level was Don...he was like a running back and QB hybrid with a cannon arm who seemed to throw 75 yard bombs to Marvin Harrion at least twice a game....other guys who were successful at the college level were Major Harris, Don McPherson, Michael Robinson, Jay Fiedler (played against Bumble), and Turner Gill. In this era of speed and better athletes, I almost think that a new era of QB is mandatory.

8:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Maybe but for every McNabb, you've got a Kordell (or Super Kordell, aka Ron Mexico, aka ah - you know). The problem is that too many of those QBs are relying on their legs instead of their arms, which is what the game is all about. Pro teams don't win by running the ball, but passing it instead. I'll take a Brady or Peyton over Vince or Vick any day of the week.

We've had 20 years since Cunningham busted onto the scene to develop the killer hybrid QB and it still hasn't happened at the pro level yet. At least, not to the point of beating out the more established pocket passer variety from a performance standpoint (who's won the rings?).

4:32 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

We've had 20 years since Cunningham busted onto the scene to develop the killer hybrid QB and it still hasn't happened at the pro level yet. At least, not to the point of beating out the more established pocket passer variety from a performance standpoint (who's won the rings?).

steve young and john elway are your killer hybrids. ok, they're not black, but both of those guys made more plays with their legs than their arms early in their careers and used their legs much more judiciously once they learned how to play QB.

elway specifically is a good parallel to mcnabb. no, i'm not saying that mcnabb is as good as elway, just that their careers to this point have taken similar paths.

elway was criticized early in his career for being too inaccurate, not knowing when to throw a changeup, and running too much. as his career progressed, he relied more on his playmakers and won a couple of rings. however, before he won those rings, he was a consistent bridesmaid.

i only hope that don's career ends as successfully as elway's did...

5:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I'm not predjudiced enough to think a QB has to be black to be a killer hybrid. While Young and Elway were mobile, I'm not sure they were quite the running threat we're talking about. Did teams really go in planning on taking away the QB run threat or merely limit it. I honestly wasn't following the rest of the NFL that closely back then so am just asking. Who did they invent having someone spy the QB for? Pretty sure they were doing it before 5 came along, but my recollection is they hadn't been doing it for 10 years.

I guess what I'm asking is what our definition of killer QB is. Run like Vick, pass like Manning?

7:44 PM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Hold the door, let me clarify....at the high school and college level I personally think it helps to have a mobile QB, maybe more specifically a QB that can run to alleviate standing in the pocket and forcing throws. So I would rather have a Micheal Robinson than a Morelli any day of the week. Just because the Robinson player will make plays with his legs as compared to the stuck in the pocket QB who maybe won't.
On the Pro Level, this is not the case...you really can't be successful with a run first QB and you never will be for that matter...defenses can scheme and have defensive players that are fast to prevent getting beat....and typically run first QBs do this because:
a. they are not patient
b. they can't read defenses
c. they can't throw
that is why Vick will fail, that is why Stewart failed, that is why Quincy Carter failed, Andre Ware, etc. etc.
However, with the nature of the beast now, you almost need a QB that is athletic that can scramble and pose the threat of the run....it's just a statistically better option....that is why Elway and Young and Montana and now Don are such a threat...throwing with the threat.

This just in....TO tried to commit suicide....he was rushed to the hospital because he was trying to OD on Pain killers....oh my god!!

10:03 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I'm not predjudiced enough to think a QB has to be black to be a killer hybrid.

sorry, didn't mean to insinuate that you were prejudiced. that was targeted at the media at large, who never include elway and young in the discussion about "running" quarterbacks.

10:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I think they're not included (even by me though I'm not in the media) because they weren't "running" QBs. They were "mobile" QBs. David Carr is a very mobile QB, but I don't think anyone's going to accuse him of being a "running" QB. You still haven't convinced me that even mobile QBs are better than pure pocket QBs (Manning, Hasselback, Brady, Warner, Green). Yes, the threat to run is nice to have, but it's nicer to have a great passer you have to defend.

1:07 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I think they're not included (even by me though I'm not in the media) because they weren't "running" QBs.

when they first came into the league, elway and young were both "running" QBs in style and substance. young didn't learn how to play QB until he got to san fran and watched montana do it.

They were "mobile" QBs.

that's media code for "white". steve mcnair has had the same style of play as young and elway for several years, but he continues to be brought up in discussions of running QBs even though he isn't one.

1:22 PM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Pete, I hate the pigeon holing of certain QBs by appearance and whatnot. I think you could be right with your last assessment. Here's my take, I want a NFL QB that has the ability to pick a defense apart and if the play breaks down, be able to scramble....and I love when the scrambling itself is dangerous...not just tiptoeing out of bounds, but controlled running that can get you some valuable yardage. Steve Young, John Elway, McNair when he was healthy, Don, David Carr (he can be a stud QB with some weapons), and Alex Smith (he is way improved from last year) are some good examples that I can think of off the top of my head....notice all of these are good throwing QBs who are athletic enough to make you wary of a run...that's all...I hate one dimensional play is my postulate....I like options and threats and mismatches.....

1:47 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

QBs who are athletic enough to make you wary of a run...that's all...I hate one dimensional play is my postulate....I like options and threats and mismatches.....

i'm on board with what you are saying, big dog. if you have two guys who can both throw, but one can run and the other can't i think it's a simple choice.

1:51 PM EDT  

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