Sunday, October 29, 2006

Game 8 Thoughts

Eagles epilogue:

Drops and dumb-ass penalties. Has this mediocre and boring team finally stopped listening to Andy Reid? What does today's performance tell us about the coach's ability to motivate? What does it tell us about the character of the team's key players?

Bad loss. Bad season.
well that about sums it up, doesn't it? going in, i thought this game was going to be tough for the eagles to win, even with their "a" game, because the jaguars are a team that matches up well with the birds. this jaguars team is designed to beat finesse teams like the eagles with their power running game, two gap d-linemen, and good secondary. still, i figured with with the season on the line, this team would come out fired up and meet the challenge. dead wrong.

a loss today would not necessarily have doomed the season. yes, a loss does make the playoffs a much longer shot (would likely need to go at least 6-2 in the second half to sniff the playoffs), but given that the eagles, by visual and statisical measures, were the better team on the field in all of their games coming into this one, i was prepared for the possibility of an "l" in this spot. the jags are a damn good team. an inconsistent one, but a good, fundamentally sound team nonetheless.

what i was not prepared for was the lifeless, pathetic, and careless manner in which the eagles came out to play this game. i think whoever wrote the above passage (bumble i am assuming) hits on probably the key issue in my mind -- has the team tuned out andy reid? it's obviously a big problem if it has. andy has never been one to motivate his team -- he counts on his players to be professionals (i.e. "self motivating"), and by and large, he counts on his veterans to do the policing -- however, he usually has been very good at preparing the team to play and "circling the wagons" when the team was facing adversity. there were plenty of indications of this -- his record coming off a loss has been excellent, the way he got the team to deal with and overcome injuries, the way he got the team to rebound in 2003 after the horrible 0-2 start, etc.

from my outsider's point of view, andy has always appeared to employ the "carrot" much more often than the "stick". he sets the expectation of success and then he tells them that he believes they can do it. in general, this has worked for him. while others (e.g. parcells, belichick, coughlin) use a much more "hard coaching" style, andy chose the softer more positive approach.

unfortunately, what i'm seeing is that this softer approach doesn't seem to be working on this team right now. why, i'm not sure. could he have lost the respect of the locker room based on how he handled/didn't handle the me-o situation? could the loss of critical leadership mass (vincent, hugh, ike, chad lewis) finally be catching up to this team? could the character of this team just not be good right now?

i was going to post this as a separate topic and discussion, and i probably still will because there is a lot of good information in there, but it seems to be very appropriate here as well. michael lewis (of moneyball and blind side fame) writes a very insightful article (no surprise) in today's new york times. the topic is a week with bill parcells, but i imagine a lot of what parcells was feeling and thinking is very applicable to big red right now.

here are some relevant excerpts:
What has him troubled — what has him waking up choking on his bile — isn’t what you might expect. It’s not concern that the Redskins’ coaching staff could spring something on the Cowboys for which they are entirely unprepared. And it’s not his team’s raw ability. It’s a thing that’s harder to put into words, and impervious to strategy. Even as he is trying to study his next opponent, he can’t shake what happened on Sunday. How his team, the moment the Jaguars pushed back, collapsed. How, the moment the players felt the pressure, they began to commit penalties and the sort of small but critical mental errors that only a coach watching video can perceive. In their performance he smells the sort of failure he defines himself against.

It’s an elemental thing — that mysterious something in a player under pressure that either snaps or holds — and elemental things are what interest this old coach. Golfers with the yips, big-league catchers whose careers end when they find themselves suddenly unable to throw the ball back to the pitcher — these he understands. He was in the stands during a spring-training baseball game when the St. Louis Cardinals tried to bring back their mentally broken young pitcher, Rick Ankiel — and watched Ankiel throw the ball over the catcher’s head, several times. “Ian Baker Finch!” Parcells exclaims, once he has warmed to the subject. “Ian Baker Finch won the British Open. Two years later he couldn’t hit a golf ball with a golf club.” Fear of failure can infect the mind and turn sport into a kind of walking death. “If you can find a solution to that problem,” he tells me, “quit writing. You’d make a fortune. You got all these sports psychologists. None of them can help these guys.”

Among the papers is an anecdote Parcells brings up often in conversation, about a boxing match that took place nearly 30 years ago between the middleweights Vito Antuofermo and Cyclone Hart. Parcells loves boxing; his idea of a perfect day in the off-season is to spend it inside some ratty boxing gym in North Jersey. “It’s a laboratory,” he says. “You get a real feel for human behavior under the strongest duress — under the threat of physical harm.” In this laboratory he has identified a phenomenon he calls the game quitter. Game quitters, he says, seem “as if they are trying to win, but really they’ve given up. They’ve just chosen a way out that’s not apparent to the naked eye. They are more concerned with public opinion than the end result.”

Parcells didn’t see the Hart-Antuofermo fight in person but was told about it, years ago, by a friend and boxing trainer, Teddy Atlas. It stuck in his mind and now strikes him as relevant. Seated, at first, he begins to read aloud from the pages: how in this fight 29 years ago Hart was a well-known big puncher heavily favored against the unknown Vito Antuofermo, how Hart knocked Antuofermo all over the ring, how Antuofermo had no apparent physical gifts except “he bled well.” “But,” Parcells reads, “he had other attributes you couldn’t see.” Antuofermo absorbed the punishment dealt out by his natural superior, and he did it so well that Hart became discouraged. In the fifth round, Hart began to tire, not physically but mentally. Seizing on the moment, Antuofermo attacked and delivered a series of quick blows that knocked Hart down, ending the fight.

The Redskins video is still frozen on the screen behind Parcells. He is no longer sitting but is now on his feet. “This is the interesting part,” he says, then reads:

“When the fighters went back to their makeshift locker rooms, only a thin curtain was between them. Hart’s room was quiet, but on the other side he could hear Antuofermo’s cornermen talking about who would take the fighter to the hospital. Finally he heard Antuofermo say, ‘Every time he hit me with that left hook to the body, I was sure I was going to quit. After the second round, I thought if he hit me there again, I’d quit. I thought the same thing after the fourth round. Then he didn’t hit me no more.’

“At that moment, Hart began to weep. It was really soft at first. Then harder. He was crying because for the first time he understood that Antuofermo had felt the same way he had and worse. The only thing that separated the guy talking from the guy crying was what they had done. The coward and the hero feel the same emotions. They’re both human.”

When Parcells finishes, he says: “This is the story of our last game. We were Cyclone Hart.”
well, the andy reid eagles used to be vito antuofermo (especially during the early years). i remember lamenting at the time, that the eagles won by waiting for the other team to make mistakes and they didn't seem to make dynamic plays to win. they just waited for the other guy to lose. now that this eagles vintage appears to be cyclone hart, how i wish for those boring teams.

today's game was almost exactly like the 2003 nfc championship game against carolina in style, substance, and result. today, the jaguars showed no respect to the eagles, and the eagles folded like a cheap suit.

biggest problems i saw:

- the jags played press coverage on the receivers all day. they showed no respect for the eagles receiving corps and boy did it pay off for them. since no receiver made any plays today (heck we were in the third quarter before a wideout even caught a stinking pass), the jags definitely made the right call. the young receiving corps did not get open very much today, and when they did, they dropped the ball. repeatedly. like they never saw a football before in their lives. it was sad.

- since the jags were playing man coverage in the secondary, that should have left them vulnerable to the run. unfortunately, their massive two-gap d-linemen ate our o-line today. the jackson 5 didn't know what to do with themselves. they certainly were not ready to handle the physical challenge that jags presented. no wonder they kept false starting. when you keep getting punched in the face, flinching is inevitable. sadly, they didn't (or worse) couldn't punch back.

- don lost faith in the receiving corps after reggie brown's drop on the first play of the game. that's a big problem.

- the middle of the jags line (meester and the two samoans) *dominated* the d-tackles. darwin walker was either playing without much discipline or he was getting manhandled and thrown sideways on every run, truck driver was a non-factor, and bunkley appears to be a bust. even mike patterson was getting blown off the line.

- broderick bunkley appears to be a bust. here is what i wrote when the eagles drafted him:
personally, i'm not as high on bunkley as all the experts are, but if they think he's good and big red thinks he's good, then he's good enough for me. i saw florida state play a couple of times this year and didn't think bunkley was all that impressive -- plus he was well-nigh invisible in the orange bowl. that could have been due to double teaming though as i definitely was not focusing on him.
the guy i'm seeing on the field is the guy i saw at the orange bowl against penn state. a non-factor.

very difficult to win if you can't control either line of scrimmage. what a miserable f'n game. what a miserable two weeks it's going to be.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha. My negativity last week causes my to be the usual suspect in today's post. Actually was not me, although I liked the tone of it.

Look I promised myself that I would never get so upset as I did last week again, and I did not today. You want to know why, because I no longer expect this team to win. I said 8-8 pre-season, I think 6-10 now. I don't trust them to beat anyone now, but I did a week ago. You wnat to know why? Because Mc5 is done for the year. He packed it in after gift wrapping the game with his horrible 3 quarters of play last week, his confidence is shot. Yes he had a come back last week, but it was a tuck and run come back where he racke dup 80 rushing yards which tells me, as mean guy points out, that he is lacking trust in his WR. I don't blame him, they couldn't catch pheumonia walking around nude in Antarctica. However, he was scared all day today. Just horrible. As he withers, so doth this sorry ass team. Their only prayer is for him to carry the load and when he feels he cannot do that, they're done. May as well have McMahon back at QB.

What disturbs me most is that there are no easy fixes for this. What I see is slop, the little things. In a nutshell:

1. O line is the biggest in the league but can't run block. They pass block well, but at 325 a man, they cannot move anyone off the ball. They sem scared to run block and just wither when mixing it up with physical D lines. The Jags ate them today.
2. They lack play makers of any sort at LB. No one makes that big play for minus yardage. 54 looks old and slow, Jones sucks, McCoy just misses a big play and ends up holding on for dear life a lot. This trio should be ashamed at how poorly they played the run today.
3. The rest of the league has figured out Jim Johnson. He must not have evolved much as everyone now picks up his blitzes.
4. They lack a true RB. Westbrook is a great weapon, but he's a WR playing RB. He cannot get the tough yards. They don't have anyone who can do that.
5. Their WR suck. They cannot catch the ball, lead the league in drops. Despite talent and work ethic, Reggie Brown sucks. I'd be tempted to demote or cut him now until he shows me he can catch 10 consecutive balls that hit him in the hands over a series of weeks at practice.
6. LJ Smith is a pussy. Always hurt, and he just doesn't play hard all the time. He needs to be the safety blanket and he doesn't embrace that role. He was bad today.
7. D line was vastly over-rated. What good is rotating 8 guys when only 1 or 2 of them can really play? I knew losing Kearse would be devastating, and it has been-they have no real speed rusher and Howard is not as effective rushing from the outside.
8. Reid is doing something wrong. That team should've been chewing the turf off the ground today. instead they came out lackadaisical and unprepared for battle. That's on him. More than the shitty game plan, the refusal to do something, anything, different when things he planned are breaking down, the lack of professionalism and preparedness by his team the last month is on him. 100% on him. Have they tuned him out? Who knows? Has the league just figured him out? Sure looks like it. I won't call for his job, because it's not the issue. I just think he has too much on his plate and is still reeling from that TO mess last year. The big guy is probably hyper sensitive and somewhat lost right now.

The sad thing is they could have been really good this year. That team I saw with my own eyes against the Giants in the first half could run any team in the league out of the stadium. I don't know where those guys went. The players seem to look like they expect to lose now. This went from a pleasant 11-5 surprise where they made a little playoff run to 8-8 at best and doubts about our entire organization. I will say this, they are far away from the better teams right now. I hate to harp, but every good team can run and stop the run. The Birds can do neither. Until they commit to those things, they'll be a fringe team at best. It's really sad because you all know this on this site, this team is destined to be the early 90s Birds. We'll look back in 10 years in disbelief that this collection of talent never won a damned thing. How can you have the best QB the franchise has ever seen, a good staff of coaches, a good corps of players, and continue to deposit tightly coiled piles of game on a week ina nd week out basis? This team is no longe rfun to watch because they are beaten before they ever step on the field. A lot of changes have to occur to eradicate that, I'm just not sure which direction the axe needs to swing in first.


10:25 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

most of what you wrote is true, however, i'll stick up for dhani jones.

2. They lack play makers of any sort at LB. No one makes that big play for minus yardage. 54 looks old and slow, Jones sucks, McCoy just misses a big play and ends up holding on for dear life a lot. This trio should be ashamed at how poorly they played the run today.

i thought jones played his best game as an eagle today. he wasn't the problem. in fact, even thought the LBs are not good overall, they are not the problem. if you cannot control the line of scrimmage it doesn't matter who you have at LB. ray lewis hasn't played like ray lewis post sam adams and tony siragusa. even parcells doesn't make linebacker a primary concern for his game plans as michael lewis quotes him saying "he can survive poor play by his linebackers".

10:44 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Jones was actually decent today, I just cannot stand him, acting like he just won the Super Bowl every time he makes a tackle for a 3 yard game. I have an anti-Jones sensor hard-wired into me.

Go to bed guy, sleep well, reflect on what could have been and what isn't going to be. We always have the Flyers...OK we always have the Sixers...hmmm, some would say we'll have the Phils, maybe a hope there, only 6 months away.


10:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve said it best today by not saying anything, and disappearing at the end of the game.

No one played well today. D couldn't stop them on 3rd or even 4th downs. They ran through us all day. I think this is something we will see all year. We have no run defense. Our WRs can not or did not put in the extra effort. Examples are the long balls that Baskett and Brown dropped. Both should have been caught.

A couple points.

Don is the offense of this team. Period. Everyone else on O are just sub-par on other teams without Don.
When he is injured the Eagles lose. That goes for his confidence being hurt too. 5 times today he could have thrown and though it would have been tight, he could have done it. 2 of those times he took sacks. 2 times he ran himself, and I don't remember the other outcome. But it tells me he has no confidense in his players. That tells me the season is all but over as far as playoffs are concerned.

Miserable, miserable day. I think I am ill thinking about the money I have put into SBLs and tickets.

- Joe

11:40 PM EST  
Blogger Steve72 said...

I was too disgusted to speak.

I was highly amused (in a Heathers-esque darkly comic way) to hear "The Grand Illusion" playing in the parking lot. Could be the theme song of the first couple games.

8:45 AM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Wow....what a train wreck. I saw the game with Bumble and couldn't imagine how bad it was at the Linc. It seems that every team has a "duffer" game at least once a year no matter how good you are. Let's hope this was the duffer for the Birds. It came at a real inopportune time....but maybe that, coupled with the break is exactly what the Birds need to light a fire under their ass...right now this team is playing with no heart, and quite frankly I think I will take that over no talent. At least that is kind of fixable. To salvage any chance of post-season the Eagles need to go back to the drawing board and figure out some things. They MUST come back after the bye and play winning football in 2 very winnable home games...Skins and Titans. They need to win those convincing and come back and beat the Colts...3 wins to make-up for 3 losses....other things to throw out there...
1. Reid was as visibly mad as I can remember after this game...he usually is calm, but not after the game yesterday. He said he was embarrassed, which I've never heard him say before.
2. Do you cut a starter after this game? Or at least a contributor? Is that something that you do to throw down the gauntlet and let everyone know that you mean business? With depth problems in the NFL I don't think this happens, but should it?
3. If you don't cut someone, do you let a young guy step in? I don't necessarilly agree with the LB assessments above. I did see the defensive line get swallowed, however, no backers were filling and making plays. There was no pressure because everything was a frigging run. The Jags did excactly what you need to do to beat the Eagles....they have relatively undersized lineman and backers who are not playing well. Matt McCoy has become relatively ineffective against the run, as he just grabs on for dear life.
4. Boy, Trotter is really not having a good year. He is an emotional leader, but do you see what a Gaither can do?
5. Everyone is pointing at the lack of receivers (too too many drops), the ineffective ground game (all too true), but the Eagles are still statistically high on a lot of offensive categories....defense has been letting them down all year. Hasn't it? Is that where you need to focus the next couple of weeks.
6. It seems like the perfect storm of badness for them right now. They are having too many 3 and outs....a lot of it due to drops, ineffective runs and Don's lack of deciseveness (what the hell was that on that 4th down attempt? hold the ball for 8 seconds and get sacked) OR they strike quick....couple that with the defense having to be on the field too often and probably not built for yesterday's game (and it seems pretty much every offense)....come on they are on the field it seems like 3 quarters of the game....even good defenses get worn down because of this. This is spelling disaster....I think teams have figured out Jim Johnson.....
7. What do you do....I would like to throw this out there...!!!

9:22 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

The D has its issues, but the O lost them this game. You give up only 13 points and you're supposed to win games. Especially with the #1 or #2 ranked offense in the league.

Funny how the losses start hurting less the more you have them. Effing sigh. They coulda been a contender.

I think you cut a WR - Lewis would be my pick.

11:09 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lewis is the only WR who can catch. He'd be the only safe guy for me. I'd deactivate Baskett and bench Brown. They both dropped huge balls yesterday.


3:56 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Drops and dumb-ass penalties. Has this mediocre and boring team finally stopped listening to Andy Reid? What does today's performance tell us about the coach's ability to motivate? What does it tell us about the character of the team's key players?

Bad loss. Bad season."

Bumble is off the hook. I wrote that after watching a sorry-ass performance by I team I evidently overrated. During the course of a big-league season - football, baseball, hockey - you name it, any team can fail, come up empty, spit the bit, you name the cliche.

Good teams, however, rcognize seminal moments and give it their best shot. Even then, a good team may lose a game to a motivated or quality opponent. Sometimes it's a matter of luck or execution during a few critical moments.

Yesterday, we saw something that does not happen to good teams. At a defining moment of the season, the Eagles simply didn't compete. Does that mean it's over for this squad, this regime? I don't know, I kind of doubt it frankly, but I do think the team has walked to the whirlpool's edge and needs to stop itself just in time (Jagger).

In the end, it really doesn't matter. Whether the team has settled into the abyss or merely walked into the sunset, this chapter is over. There will be no Superbowl appearance this year no matter what happens. Even divine intervention will leave a playoff trail riddled with games on foreign soil - too many to mount a realistic charge.

Fortunately for me, I tend to enjoy games regardless of outcome. The season can and will offer mild entertainment an a diversion from the insanity of my job.

At the end of the day, it isn't the loss that bothers me. It isn't the inevitability of a season's ending without a championship. What bothers me is that the team I support couldn't find it in their collective heart to compete.

I feel the same way when I see Pat the Bat take strike three down the middle with the bases loaded in a tie game (and hit a monster home run when the score is 10-1). I feel the same way when Arthur Rhoades can't find the strike zone and looks relieved when he is yanked from a game-critical situation.

I can handle losing because my life doesn't change when my team doesn't win. It's easy for me to pull for a team that tries hard and gives its best shot.

The tough thing about yesterday's game for me, was that I lost interest by halftime. I wasn't entertained and more to the point couldn't find a reason to even hope the Birds pulled out the win. What difference would it have made? Clearly none to the majority of the players on the field. Why should it to me? For all of our sakes, I hope the Eagles team that showed up yesterday never returns to Philadelphia.

Pitchers and catchers report in February. The far less talented Phillies will bring me smiles all season. Save for a couple of folks who don't belong in major league uniforms (a dwindling number), the Phillies will compete in every game. By and large, they won't be looking for a great big hole to hide in. I'll have an easy time investing emotion in them, win or lose.


9:20 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God given athletic talent aside, is it time to start talking about Mc5 as just an OK QB? He's super when the chips aren't down, but when it means something, he comes up small. I watch Manning, Brady, Brees, Eli-those guys play well in big spots. They are decisive and make plays to help their team win. I don't know who that frightened puppy was yesterday, but if that's our QB, then we are a helluva lot farther from anywhere close to a championship. Playoffs?! The playoffs?! Cripes I just want to hang in the .500 range at this point.


11:03 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Bumble, you have done it again. We have complained about drops from WR all year and now you are blaming McNabb. The QB who have come up sooooo many time in big spots for them. Would you really rather have either Manning, they havn't even made a Super Bowl and Peyton has Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne for f's sake. He even had one of the top 5 RBs (and I mean RUNNING back) for most of his time in the league.

What has McNabb had? WR? Only TO! RBs? Only Deuce qualifies! I like BWest, but he cannot actual run when everybody knows its coming. I will never blame McNabb until starts throwing picks like Favre. I know he held the ball a bit long yesterday, but if the WR keep on making mistakes he is bound to become hesitant. Maybe that's what they discovered in the film room this week. Brooks picks where mostly the WR fault (Just a thought).

Anyhow, I take the critique on Big Red, the OL, and even Jimmy Johnson, but critizing McNabb, and I am sorry to say this, is like critizing Mike Schmidt.

I remember when I came to Philly in the mid 90s, people where happy when they just beat the Cowboys. McNabb actually got it to a point that we expect to win 12, 13 games every year.


PS: And Bumble, you are right! There is something wrong with this team and I forgot who mentioned it, but the inability to win the ugly game is staggering.


6:53 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For obvious reasons, let's not use the media creation "Brett Favre" as a measuring stick of quarterback competence on any level.


7:57 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was mentioning Favre, since he used to be good and now just sucks.


8:56 AM EST  
Anonymous Rush Limbeaux said...

Brett favre is overrated because the media is desirous of having a Cajun succeed.

10:04 AM EST  
Anonymous Josh Parry said...

Boy am I glad I got off that ship before it went down.

12:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to give Bumble credit. I disagreed with you about this team a couple weeks ago, but you were right about their attitude. There's some serious dog in this team, they've got Sixers disease. Bad enough in basketball, fatal in a football team.

I still think McNabb is a good QB, but what seperates him from the next level is he is simply not a leader. He can't rally the troops when the chips are down. And it all starts with his own attitude.

There are not enough leaders on this team. None on offense, none on special teams, and it looks like Trotter and Dawk are not enough on defense. Maybe that's why these young guys walk around acting like they've done something. I am starting to really dislike Broderick Bunkley, he's a guy who hasn't made a play all year but everytime I read something from him he's running his mouth. I know you played in Florida, but STFU.


1:08 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, I thought Lew Bowen was excellent today, right on point in everything he said:

Some of what he said was mentioned here already, but I mostly agree with him on the lack of rhythm on O killing this team on both sides of the ball.


1:24 PM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Man, Les Bowen wrote almost exactly what I wrote....see, that is empirical evidence that you don't have to be a genius to get this game!!

The perfect storm....3 and outs and not causing 3 and outs, the offense letting the defense stay on the field and getting rhythm on offense=long day for defense

When are we finally going to say that Bumble and The Big Dog know what the hell they are talking about?????

2:24 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bumble & Big Dog -

Let me be the first.


4:40 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get all over the map and I need to square thing sup.

I like Big Red and I like McNabb. In my lifetime, they are the best at what they do. I find both likeable and talented on and off the field. They make our franchise what it is today.

But guys, what I really mean when I criticize is that my expectations have shifted and I expect the potential of winning a Super Bowl. That is fair and reasonable given this duo's rise in their first five years. They are now going in reverse and since they are the face of the organization, when people need to be called out for coming up small, it is going to be these two.

My yard stick for the Birds is the Pats, primarily because Lurie loves them and tries to compare himself to them all the time. I watched some of that Vikings/Pats game last night, and I can firmly say the Birds are not in the same galaxy as that Pats team at either QB or coach. McNabb and Reid will never, ever beat Brady and Belichek. They play next year and you can opencil that in as a loss regardless of what happens in the off season. What I love about Belichek is that he takes what you give him and exploits you. He knew the Vikes could stop the run, so he said eff it and passed all night. But he didn't just line up and throw the same passing game as they do every other week. Instead, he mixed up formations, ran a lot of personnel sets out, utilized shotgun all night, and had WR run short routes that created 5 yards of cushion. Tommy terrific carried this plan out to a T as well. the result, a 31-7 rout without a running game.

Why recant that? Well compare it to Reid and company. Reid cannot run, but he never changes up his passing game and creates a slant pattern short pass game that loosens up the D. It's all long toss that reuire 5 step drops or more and allow defenses to blitz them silly. And McNabb just folds against an active D who get guys in his face. He doesn't audible, he doesn't adjust, he doesn't lead. My conclusion is this-you need either a Belichek or a Brady to win. The Pats have both which makes them nigh unbeatable unless they turn the ball over (see their Denver loss in the playoffs last year). The Birds have neither a Belichek or a Brady, hence they are only playing to stay competitive and not to win the whole deal.

And differnt point, please, please don't even imply that McNabb is in the same universe as Peyton Manning. Peyton sucks in the playoffs, but that guy is the best true QB in the league in non playoff games. Put any other QB in that system save Brady and they don't do as well. the Colts aren't that damned good, but Peyton makes them great. You'll see how good this guy is in 4 weeks when he pops a 42 spot vs. the swiss-cheese like defense of the Birds.


9:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I continue to love Donovan, but I loved Randall more and think he was a better player. The stat freaks will show me why I'm wrong, but I'll always believe Randall overcame the system, coach & team he inherited while Donovan (at least to some extent) is the product of the system (especially the O-line), coach & team he played with. Not a knock, rather a difference of opinion with Bumble.

I agree that Reid is the best coach the Eagles have employed in my lifetime. That said, Jim Bouton once wrote (in Ball Four) that your favorite player doesn't necessarily have to be good (thus Steve Jeltz in my case). In a reversal of that logic, I've never really cared for Andy. He's boring. Some of you guys like the fatness and the mustache. Neither do anything for me. Give me Buddy Ryan any day. I'm not saying he was a great or even good coach - he probably wasn't - I just loved the hell out of the Birds back then. There has never been a team era in any sport that I enjoyed more.


9:32 PM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Some real good commentary above....I think the Bum-Bull nailed something, as did Ben. I like Big Red and Don. As I have posted numerous times, though, I think Reid has some major flaws....some of which have eaten me over the last few years. If I was an owner or GM now for a new franchise and given the checkbook to go bring in a coach that could win and build a franchise, I think that I may choose a Defensive Coordinator. For all the Bill Walsh's, you have a bunch of Mike Martz' just seems to me that defensive minded head guys have had more success and better staying power in the NFL (Parcells, Belichik, Chuck Noll, Landry)....I don't think Andy is innovative....Bill Walsh was innovative, Mike Shanahan is innovative....Andy is good, but thinks he's better than he is. But, he has his positives, which are a lot...he seems like a good person, he supports his team and never dimes anyone out, he picks good character players, he is confident with his decisions, he is very analytical, he is patient, he runs a good offense....BUT, I truly, truly think that the next 8 games will define Andy as we know it....if they win more than they lose and make the play-offs then I will put Andy on a pedestal again....if they tank, I think it's time to dig deep and see if we stick with him, bring in another coordinator, or bring in a GM from the outside.

10:07 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

I think the only thing we can truly blame 5 or Reid for is raising our expectations to such an extent that anything less than a Super Bowl win was a lost season. 20 years ago with Randall and Buddy we dreamed of SBs, but deep down didn't really think a SB appearance let alone a win was likely. Within our grasp? Yeah, but not a high likelihood. If Reid and 5 fail in getting the rings, then that will be my biggest gripe. But they've given us a lot of great plays, games, regular season Ws, and thrilling playoff wins (4 and 26) over the last 5 years.

Effing sigh.

12:01 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well stated Bumble/Ben:
The only other reason than winning that I like about Reid, is that I find his not committal answers funny, especially because it pisses of the press:)

To Reid:
I think his biggest weakness is exactly what bumble laid out. He does not change his game plan enough from game to game. I forgot who wrote this (might have been TMQ), but he wrote that the most important thing is too change up what you do so that other teams cannot prepare. I very much agree with this take, though I still believe that you have to play to the strength of your team as well. What I don't understand is why Reid seems to get stuck in patterns. Deep passes this season, outs and slants against the Pats in the Super Bowl, etc.

In my opinion its not as much what you do in the NFL, but that the other team doesn't know you are doing it.


7:24 AM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Well said, Simon...henceforth my "stubborn" or "arrogant" any level, you need to attempt to mask/change/reverse tendencies....Reid is so confident that they can't stop him, that they don't do that enough....and teams just sit back and wait for the Eagles to do what they always do and they stop them....that is a HUGE knock on Reid. We'll see how good he is the next 4 games.

8:38 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate bye weeks, no posts from the mean guy. We need a different angle. How about the Sixers. i have thougth about this a lot. even though I have been saying they'll never win with Iverson, I want him to retire as a Sixer. that guy has balls the size of ripe casaba melons. He is a defensive liability, but he scores, he wants the ball under pressure, and he rebounds while sprinting 100 miles all game. I saw them the other night. There is a lot to like on the team-Ollie coudl be a good QB of the offense. He is a pro, won't turn the ball over. Dalembert ahs tools but gets lazy and draws too many stupid fouls. Iggy is very athletic if he can just be consistent. Korver can score but cannot play a lick of D, Willie is a nice guy to spell AI or Ollie. My biggest issue with them is Webber. His knees are so ba dthat he cannot move. He has no offensive game anymore and he does nothing on the coverage end. That was a horrible Billy King deal.

They won't win many, but 41 wins for that team would be a step in the right direction.


12:02 PM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Bum-Bull, here's a couple of positive things to look forward to on a bye week:
1. Gillick is going to make plunges this off-season....Burrell has okay'd a trade to San Fran...they look like they are in the market for a heavy hitter and we still have Howard, Utley, J Roll, Myers and Hamels....and crafty veteran Moyer....look for 3B, C, and another outfielder and don't rule out any Rowand trade.
2. The Flyers are in the middle of a purge and look like they want to go to the outside for a GM.
3. The Eagles are 4-4, but have the opportunity to right things over the next 2 weeks. They are still in the division and play-off hunt, despite playing poorly as of late.
4. The Sixers season is about being slightly better or below average...all I want is competitive basketball from can look at it 2 ways, they are the same team as last year and it's good (a team together to mesh and play as a unit) OR they stunk last year and they will stink again....I think they have enough talent not to stink. The key is Iguodala and Dalembert making marked improvement. Ollie is what he is...a serviceable back-up that can give you some decent minutes. Iverson is a workhorse and you know what you are going to get from him every night....I don't want anymore trade rumors about him. Webber still gets you 20 and 10....Korver is where he should be a sniper off the bench. Green can spell people and give some good minutes...Hunter can give you some good minutes....Randolph is a hard worker....and Carney is going to be an athletic slasher. There is no reason, with some tweaking, they shouldn't be I think it's a bonus to have Lynam on the bench and Moses working with the Big Men.

1:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Dog,

Personally, I think we're wasting energy trying to trade the Bat, but who would we get from San Francisco anyway?


3:56 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you think that Burrell is untradeable, thus we are wasting time, or are you saying he should be kept? I certainly hope not the latter.


9:30 PM EST  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

Fellas, I say trade the Bat to make room for a combination of outfielders that would include Soriano (yeah right), Sheffield (maybe), Victorino, Rowand, Conine...if the Bat was around you push him down to like 6 or 7....the rumor was the Bat for Armando Benitez who is a stiff for the Giants...

12:50 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bumble -

I want A-Ram badly. Soriano strikes out way too much for my taste and picking up a left fielder necessitates giving away the Bat for Benitez or worse. No thanks. The Bat will be fie so long as the Phillies aren't relying on him to protecy Howard. As a 6th or 7th hitter, his numbers are actually more than sufficient in this potent offense. I'm working under the assumption that the Phillies can make one and only one power move. Soriano wouldn't be my first pick. I don't want an aging and bitter Sheffield for any reason, especially not for the multi-years the Phillies would need to sign him for. Old steriod users who have started to break down concern me. If the Phillies can pick up A-Ram (unlikely), their infield will be the best in baseball for the next five years. I'm of the opinion that outfielders are a dime a dozen. Any remaining money should be dedicated to pitching.


11:09 AM EST  

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