Sunday, August 26, 2007

Preseason Game 3 Thoughts

some good performances and some bad performances tonight. the birds started off pretty strong but ended up getting dominated by the steelers first team.

- while it's certainly not a reason to panic, the defensive performance tonight did cause me to remember one of my top concerns at the end of last season -- whether the game has passed jim johnson by. i hope jj was holding something back because tonight was the same old, same old. same old predictable defensive calls. same old blitzes that get picked up by good teams. for a couple of seasons now, i've thought that jim johnson defenses are similar to gimmick college offenses -- they dominate lesser talent and lesser competition, but are not sound enough to succeed against good competition. i'll continue to hope i'm wrong about that.

- i have no idea why jj was so blitz happy tonight. ben roethlisberger is waaay more effective when scrambling and out of the pocket than he is when he's throwing from inside the pocket. combine that with the fact that the d-line was playing very well tonight and it really doesn't make sense why jj chose the max pressure gameplan. imo, roethlisberger may the most accurate QB in the league when throwing on the run. couldn't jj dig up the film from the drubbing they got from the steelers in roethlisberger's rookie year?

- best player for the birds tonight was mike patterson. i counted at least 4 separate times tonight when patterson penetrated into the backfield and blew up the play -- e.g. 4th play of the game when he burst into the backfield and caused ben to chuck the ball up for grabs. he and bunkley looked active and disruptive tonight.

- madden mentioned that he didn't understand why tomlin challenged the spot on the interception for a measly 6 yards. i think the rule is that once a play is challenged, the entire play is up for review. it seems to me that tomlin was looking at that challenge as a no-lose situation -- challenge for the spot looked like a sure thing and there was a possibility that the pick could have been overturned altogether.

- gocong still looks to be a work in progress. missed a couple of tackles, made a couple of very disruptive plays, looked lost a few times. best play for chris was when he stuffed a parker sweep left by pushing the fullback about 3-4 yards back into the backfield. madden credited bunkley, who made the tackle, but the play was made by gocong. worst play for chris was on the first steelers touchdown, when the fullback was able to push him about 5 yards downfield and way out of the play.

- mcnabb looked ok. his numbers for the night weren't overwhelming 5-11 for 60 yards, but should have really been 7-11 for 75 yards since reggie brown dropped two balls that hit him right in the hands.

- nick cole had a horrible sequence on the first drive. first a false start then he immediately followed it up by blocking inside when the blitz was coming outside. poor runyan ended up trying to block 2 guys by himself with no other blockers within 5 yards of him.

- spikes made a couple of nice plays. first on a screen that he diagnosed quickly and stopped for a short gain, second on the great stuff at the goal line when he first made alan faneca whiff on a block and then caused the fumble.

- sean considine still looks like sean considine. the good thing is that he knows where to be and he's athletic enough to get there. the bad thing is that he's sean considine and he can't make the play. the hit he tried to make on heath miller was horrible.

- rocca won the job tonight. bloom is going to get cut. andy had buck and greg lewis as the first team returners to send a message. bloom didn't appear to get the message as he stutter stepped and got creamed on his first attempt of the night.

- reggie brown is really making me mad. CATCH THE DAMN BALL!

- in a related note, jason avant has the best hands on the team.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG I'm with you on Brown. I am starting to lose faith him as he has, statistically, some of the worst hand sin the league due to drops. The guy cannot catch.

I liked the way they ran the ball and generally stopped the run. Bunkley looked good, O line and fullbacks blocked well, Patterson blew stuff up.

I did not like seeing their first team D give up 300 yards in 30 minutes. I agree on JJ and I will go so far to say that this is the worst Eagles D we have seen in 10 years. They look absolutely terrible at safety where Dawk also danced and basically did nothing all night and Considine is a bad college safety. Their LB are still a gaping hole as Gocong is simply clueless (again, why not do something novel and draft an LB if you need an LB?!?!?) and has a long long way to go, Spikes misses as many plays as he makes, and Gaither gets eaten if blockers get to him. This team will struggle to be 8-8 this year if they don't grow a set of coulions in the next 10 days on defense. I pray that JJ is holding back, but I think they are jjust talent deficient and their back 7 is as bad as it's been in 20 years.

Kolb is the real deal. The kid played well tonight. Would've liked to see something better on 4th down at the 5, but he will be a good player with a few years of training.

I like all 3 TE that are currently playing as all can catch and run. LJ who? God bye, no salary bump for you.

Bloom sucks. He cannot follow blocks at all and is a wisp of a man. However, they have no plan B (nice job personnel guy Andy) so their return game will again suck in 2007.

Rocca looked good, I can only hope he refers to other players as "wallies", "sallies", or "sheilas" if ever interviewed. Akers looked good in a place that is nototriously tough for kickers beyond 40 yards.

Anyone worried that Red's personal turmoil will negatively impact the team? This Birds fan is more than mildly concerned.


11:47 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Bloom sucks. He cannot follow blocks at all and is a wisp of a man. However, they have no plan B (nice job personnel guy Andy) so their return game will again suck in 2007.

eddie drummond was cut yesterday. i hope the birds bring him in for a look.

11:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Simon said...

Wow Bumble,

3 Preseason games on you are back to rimping the Eagles left and right.

Calm down, they will right the ship. They have done so each year sicne Reid has been hear except one. Give the coaching team some credit.


5:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Bumble was over and we watched some of the game....Sav Rocca could be my favorite Eagles punter of all time...just because he played Aussie football, which is bascially football for nuts with balls the size of volleyballs....I was dying when I read that when he got floored at the Ravens game..."you call that a hit, Sheilah?, where I'm from that's how we say 'hello'"
Big Dog's predictions....
1. despite this performance, the Birds will be okay this year....
2. Quinten Mikell is going to get a lot of PT this year
3. Stewart Bradley is going to see the field a lot this year.
4. Jason Avant will become a bigger part of the offense this year, as will Brent Celek and Kevin Curtis
5. Tony Hunt and Correll Buck are decent backs
6. Gocong will become a pass rushing specialist from the edge
7. Bloom is gone!
8. Sav Rocca will have his jersey worn by the Eagles fans more than any "kicking specialist" in Eagles history.
Overall, bad game, but I'm not going to jump ship....boy does Reggie Brown kill you with drops. I'm starting to think he shouldn't be a starter.

7:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Funny how everyone seems to take something different from each game. I was horrified to see the number of dumb penalties that were taken on offense and special teams. And the D's inability to stop the screen pass (probably 50% of those 300 yards) was driving me crazy!

That said, these are preseason games and they mean nothing.

I don't think Big Red's personal lissues should have much impact based on coaching depth the team has. While Andy's more than a figurehead, a lot of the work is done by JJ and Morningsomething. Likely to be an ongoing distraction for the team that they don't need though.

8:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good summary, Mean Guy and Bumble.

I had a couple other thoughts:

1. Brown is way too good at getting open to allow these drops to ruin his career, and the Birds' offense. He needs to get the YAC out of his head, and catch with his hands rather than his chest.

2. Gocong missed several assignments, including blitzing in the same gap as another player twice. One Dawk had the outside, and Gocong tried to go around the T instead of inside, basically took both himself and Dawk out of the play. Reportedly he's a very smart guy, hopefully he catches up to his assignments soon. Smarts don't make open field tackles, though.

3. Get ready to see lots of screens this year. Looks like the Super Bowl all over again.

Rocca Rocca Rocca Oi Oi Oi!


8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

3. Get ready to see lots of screens this year. Looks like the Super Bowl all over again.

the screens are a byproduct of jj's max pressure scheme. you call screens because they are the best weapon to use against a blitz.

certainly, the linemen can do a better job of feeling the screen, but when your entire second level is madly rushing toward the QB by design. you're not going to be successful defending the screen.

what a contrast between JJ and dick lebeau. JJ designs blitzes to overload an area by sending more blitzers than blockers. lebeau tries to trick you by disguising who is going to rush vs. who is going to drop back.

i prefer lebeau's guile and coverage style over jj's gamble and pray strategy.

8:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

We might quibble with JJ's Ds, but we can't be disappointed with their results: 3rd lowest scoring D since 2000 (17.4 ppg) just behind BAL at 16 and TB at 17.3. The last 3 years have been 20.5 in 2006, 24.3 in 2005, and 16.3 in 2004 for an average of 20.4 so maybe Mean Guy's right when he says teams are starting to figure him out. I'd probably go with the injuries having a bigger impact though.

9:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep drinking the Kool Aid Simon. The coaches are infallible, they always get it right, never question anything this team does.

Look I love the Birds like no one else and I believe they will adjust to being good because they have some talent, but if I observe a good or bad trend, i share said observation. Doesn't make it right, makes it one guy's opinion.

Not sure how questioning a team who appears unable to stop the pass in 3 games, a WR that every statistical measure in the league says is bad after 3 years, and a smattering of good comments (Rocca, Akers, DT, TE) warrants someone accusing me of "rimping" the Birds already.


12:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last I had a chance to watch a full game because there wasn't something more interesting on.

The TV commercials were great. My son really enjoyed the ones paid for by Budweiser, which concerns me a little.

I learned a long time ago that preseason football was a waste of time. It's amazing how good or bad a team or a player can look when the outcome doesn't matter. The casual fan frequently fails to realize that ALL professional athletes are fairly well matched, and that the difference between great and mediocre happens between the ears and in the heart when the chips are on the table.

I'll wait for when the games count before forming a serious evalation on this squad, but for the moment, one thing seems apparent. The folks who think the Birds' chances for a magic season are unrealistically optimistic.

It may happen. Who knows? Having a true difference maker at the pivital position (QB, silly) is obviously important. Having a steady hand at head coach won't hurt either.

It may not happen. It sure seems to me like people are overlooking potential liabilities. Will McNabb get hurt again? Can B-West carry the load without wearing down? Is B-Dawk as old and done as Trotter? Are the linebackers any better than last year? Will teams control the clock, tempo, and psychology of the game by running the ball down our throats? Can we cover professional receivers without a great pass rush, assuming Kearse is no longer a freak, and the all- out blitzes have become alarmingly predictable?

Not much will surprise me with this edition. We may see another 12-4 playoff monster. We may also see a 7-9 beginning of the end disaster.

That's okay. that's what makes watching professional sports fun.

Ed Wade

10:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Ed, your football commentary is much more interesting than your GM skills.....probably as honest and realistic a view as one could read.

7:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sad to say that Pat Gillick makes Ed Wade look like a genius. Gillick is a fraud.


9:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be nothing fun about 7-9 if it goes that way. Nothing. We will have to put TMG on suicide watch (barring Mc5 or B-West injury).


10:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I think this team is talented enough to overcome at least 1 injury to 5 or 36 and still get to 8-8. Maybe I'm drinking the same cool-aid though. . .

2:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There will be nothing fun about 7-9 if it goes that way. Nothing."

I respect your passion, Captain. My heart is still racing from another exciting Phillies win (3-2 over the Mets, Wednesday night).

Let me explain: The critical elements of my life don't change whether my team wins or not. The next day I still wake up in relative good health surrounded by the people I love. When I was younger, I let the results of games dictate my mood, the way I treated people I care about, the way I felt about myself. Sick, I know.

I remember once throwing an empty beer can at the TV when the Birds lost a playoff game as my (way better than I deserve) wife looked on in horror. Ironically, the players gathered at the 50, shook hands, smiled, kneeled and prayed together. Wow. Was I more emotionally involved than the folks I rooted for?

I spend as much time as anyone I know watching professional sports. I'm on the edge of my seat for 95% of the pitches thrown during the Phillies season. I've probably missed less than a handful of Eagles games in over 35 years.

But guess what? They're games. When they're over the important things in my life remain unchanged.

Hell yes, I like to win. I'd love to see a championship in Philly. At the end of the day, however, all I really want is to be entertained for the precious hours I invest in watching the teams I love. My time is valuable. I elect to define myself as I see fit rather than through the results I see on the playing field.

My wise brother put this in perspective for me a long time ago, when he explained that golf used to piss him off (because he wasn't very good at it). He decided if he continued to have a bad time playing, he might as well pay his money at the clubhouse and then go home before hitting a (bad) shot.

I'll enjoy the season most if it culminates in a Championship. I'll enjoy the games for three hours each Sunday even if the result is a 7-9 season.


Ed Wade

10:48 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

My heart is still racing from another exciting Phillies win (3-2 over the Mets, Wednesday night).

me too. win or lose, this is one likeable team. now that he has some confidence back, even pat burrell is showing some emotion. did you see him hopping up the first base line on his almost grand slam?

9:59 AM EDT  

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