Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Game 2 Thoughts

the birds threw away a game they should have won, but man, what an entertaining game. even if you didn't have a rooting interest, that was the most entertaining regular season game in years. playoff intensity from the opening kick, lots of big plays on both sides, lots of huge mistakes on both sides, and one play that will forever be linked to a player.

i come away from this game both very encouraged and very concerned, and the two biggest topics today are:

1) mcnabb looked great again, and physically, he looks to be just about back to where he was 4 years ago before all the injuries started. as a passer, he looked sharp and was getting the ball out with great timing. he's going to take a lot of heat from people about the last drive, but it doesn't make sense. mcnabb is the only reason they were even in that game at all. yes, he should absolutely take heat for that stupid fake he pulled while handing the ball off, and he has admitted that he is 100% to blame for that.

i hope people don't lose sight of the fact that he only had 12 incompletions yesterday and five of them were drops. not "he should have caught that tough ball" drops. clear, hit them in the hands in stride drops. seven bad throws on 37 passes. that's not just good accuracy, that's insane accuracy. at the end of the game, the pass to lewis was well in-bounds and he took two full strides while bobbling it. during the last two drives, the dallas defense took it up a notch and the eagles offense did not respond. that's not necessarily mcnabb's fault -- you have to get protection and guys have to get open. he's not completely without blame, but to lay this loss on mcnabb just doesn't make sense. he's the only reason they were in the game at all.

2) the defense played like ass. brian dawkins is a liability. it's sad to say, and we knew it coming into the season, and he's among my favorite eagles ever, but man, he is d-u-n, done. he simply cannot play in pass coverage anymore. he's not just "not the same brian dawkins", he's a below average nfl safety. that's a big problem when your other coverage safety is sean considine.

hopefully the safety position is not going to be an achilles heel for the defense, but it very well may be. i hope demps is able to pick things up quickly, because they're going to have to get at least decent safety play for the defense to play well. all those corners are going to be useless if they can't be aggressive because the safeties stink.

-----

i think everything else pales in comparison to those two issues. if mcnabb is healthy, the eagles will score points, no doubt about it. if the offense scores 37 points, there is no way in heck that the eagles should lose the game, it's as simple as that. you can find things to nitpick donovan about just like you can about any player's performance, but to lay the blame on him (or andy) when the offense put up 37 points makes no sense to me. the defense lost that game.

... but i still leave last night with an overall positive feeling. i have not seen a better team in the nfl so far this season than the two teams that played last night. this bodes well for the season overall.

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32 Comments:

Blogger Steve72 said...

I really should feel worse about losing to the C*wboys, but I agree with your last point. This is a very, very good team and i've got a lot of hope for this season.

Also, Kornheiser almost....ALMOST makes me long for the days of Dennis Miller.

1:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys,

The sack on 3rd and long? The 4 yard pattern when he needed 17? He played awesome and he put them in position to win, but you cannot just release expectations late in the game. He made crucial mistakes late that lost them the game. He made crucial plays early that put them ahead and he made the key mistakes that lost them the game. Let's be even handed with the praise and punishment and not overlook how much of a train wreck Don was that last drive. As awesome as he was early, he was terrible in one drive, the key drive.

Giants are better than both of those teams. their O and D lines are absolutely dominant. They will run all over both teams whgile sacking them 4-5 times. That really bothers me.

Bumble

2:06 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Giants are better than both of those teams. their O and D lines are absolutely dominant. They will run all over both teams whgile sacking them 4-5 times. That really bothers me.

did you watch the giants-rams game? the game was much closer than the final score. giants may catch fire and luck into a superbowl like they did last season, but except for an exceptional pass rush, they were only a solid team last year.

bumble, you crack me up sometimes. your opinion of the team and individual players shifts so dramatically from week to week and from play to play it's amazing.

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I really should feel worse about losing to the C*wboys, but I agree with your last point. This is a very, very good team and i've got a lot of hope for this season.

who knows if they'll be a legit superbowl contender or not? frankly, i'm just enjoying having the real mcnabb back at QB. it's been a rough couple of seasons without him.

2:35 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

and my overall optimism isn't intended to gloss over the fact that this team has flaws:

- safeties
- lack of pass rush from front four
- soft middle of the o-line
- non-blocking TE
- hideous kick coverage

but i try to take a global view and i see the glass as 90% full right now. it's only game two, i don't think it makes sense to focus on the 10% until the coaches have been given a chance to address the issues that have popped up so far.

2:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Steve72 said...

Giants are better than both of those teams. their O and D lines are absolutely dominant. They will run all over both teams whgile sacking them 4-5 times. That really bothers me.

I find that to be.....a pretty questionable conclusion.

3:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, I don't think you're taking into account the quality of the opponent. You weren't too impressed with the win over the inferior Rams so why are you so critical of a close loss ON THE ROAD to the most talented team in the NFC/NFL?

More importantly than all that: Reid finally drafted an impact WR! Reid finally drafted an impact WR! Reid finally drafted an impact WR! Reid finally drafted an impact WR!

5:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion does not sway TMG, I'm calling BS on that statement. I am consistent on the key areas of this team. McNabb cannot win the big one. He is an awesome talent who can do some entertaining things, but push comes to shove, in crunch time, he is not the guy you want leading your team. That pains me to say that because I really like the guy, but he comes up small in big spots. Always has.

Same opinion on Reid. Push comes to shove, he is not the coach you want in a high pressure, championship claiber game.

They have not, repeat, have not won a big game in 4 years. That is frustrating. When they play big games vs. high caliber teams, Saints in the playoffs, New England last year, Cowboys last night, they compete but just come up short. They used to win those games, why aren't they doing so now?

And laugh at my Giants claims, but that team is very good. Rams game wasn't even a contest TMG. I watched every snap. They ran at will and looked like the steel curtain D. The Rams are the worst team in pro football, so not much to take from it, but in seeing the G men in 2 games, they have excellent O and D lines and that is how you win in this league. Their QB is OK, but as small as he comes up in regular situations, he comes up large in crunch time. Burress will eat any DB he faces, and they have 3 very good RB. On D they are creative and aggressive. Steve come see me in 10 weeks and we'll see who has a better record between them and the Birds. I hate the Giants, but they are betetr built for success in their current scheme than the Birds or Boys.

P.S. Does anyone listen to the radio or read the newspaper? I am not the only person in the Philadelphia area who believes these things. R Diddy was all over Mc5 for his late game performance. Brian Baldinger discussed how poorly the Birds O and D line played as the game went on. Othe rpeople see thinsg through non-Eskin tinted glasses guys.

Bumble

Bumble

6:14 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what Bumble has to say here. As great as both teams played for most of the game - McNabb came up small when he had the chance to make it happen. He played very poorly at the end of the game when it mattered most. And Andy Reid, what the hell was that bullshit, porrly designed hook and lateral to the short side of the field on 4th and 14. Are you kidding me ??? I love the hook and lateral, but against a team as fast as the cowboys you need misdirection and/or wide open space (see Boise State). As poorly executed as it was, I put the onus on Reid for that play call in that spot -- there was plenty of time left if you convert the 4th down.
I'm not saying I don't want McNabb as the QB of this team, he's our best chance to win, but I'm not as sold on him as many are until he shows me some dynamic, solid, late game, under pressure play. He reminds me a lot of Ron Hextall -- acrobatic and stellar at times, but his mistakes are killers becuase they occur at the worst possible moments. Romo gave the eagles a touchdown, yet MbNabb's sack by the sidelines on 3rd and long and fumble on the handoff hurt the eagles more than Romo's gaffe hurt the cowboys.

Captain

11:34 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

5 is what we all thought he is (either good or bad).

How about that Jackson kid?!?! Looks like we're now missing only 1 of our starting WR cause there's no way this kid isn't starting the rest of the year. Move Curtis into the slot whenever he gets back?

7:15 AM EDT  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

Did anyone notice that this blog is now on the front of the philly.com as a fan site?? That, and We Should Be GMs by Corey and Carson...both great blogs. If TMG was right and Bumble left (right-positive, left-negative) I am probably 75% in the right. I am very excited to see Don back and Brian Westbrook is an absolute stud RB. But some of the same old stuff perplexes me.

Sometimes Jim Johnson has a great game plan, sometime not like against Dallas. Methinks that these ends are just guys. No frigging pressure on Romo from the ends, giving him plenty of time to find one of the guys mismatched because they were double teaming TO in the second half. Witten or Barber. I hope that this improves.

I generally liked the offensive game plan. There were some snafus down the stretch. Don was the reason they were in the game. It's unfortunate that the last 3 drives are the lasting impression. Not to draw an immediate comparison, but until Elway or Peyton won a Super Bowl they always had monkeys on their back, too. Steve Young, also. I think that they will be fine offensively, though.

Defense gives my some worry, but I think they will be okay. I hope they don't lay a turd this weekend, but they always struggle against these physical AFC teams. They win, are 2-1 out of the gate and I think good things happen. Let's judge them after 6 games, I think that's fair enough time to get a gauge on this squad.

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Steve72 said...

I just don't buy the "Mcnabb can't win the big game" or "Reid can't win the big game" arguments. They haven't won a title, but name me an Eagles player/coach who has, or give me an available replacement.

Mcnabb, when healthy, is a top flight QB. Give him a serious WR threat, as, based on 120 minutes of football, it looks like DeShaun may be, and he's a worldbeater.

Reid is, far and away, the best xcoach the Eagles have had....possibly ever. Neither is perfect. both frustrate me at times. But to badmouth them like the idiots on the radio do is silliness at its worst.

10:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me the last big game either one won? January 23, 2005 by my count. That is 4 years ago. You are what you do, not what you did. To illustrate reality based on statistical proof is not bashing, it is reporting.

They are both very good and best Bird ever levels, but neither has proven they can win the big game.

Again I find it funny that people, nay Philly fans are so defensive over 2 guys who haven't won the big one. Would Charlie Manuel get the same rope? Cole Hamels? No. Why are these two bullet proof?

Bumble

1:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, I think we're more defensive than not because at times we seem to be the only ones defending them. That doesn't mean we don't recognize the problems, it's just that we see no alternative (you want to put Kolb in?). Name me 3 coaches that's been hired in the NFL in the last 6 years that you'd rather have over Reid. Likewise, name me 3 QBs that have been available that you'd rather have.

Now here's a very un-Philly comment: if there's likely no one better out there, then shouldn't we be supporting who we have?

1:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Simon said...

Bumble,
you say you claim is backed up "statistically", but the only "fact" you state is that they have not won the big won. How do you define this? Super Bowl? Beating a playoff team?

McNabb and Reid are way better than average...no Super Bowl yet, but look how long it took Cowher.

2:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Steve72 said...

The problem is the attitude that you (and many of the people in the radio and the paper that you referenced earlier) express. That they didn't win the big game, so it's time to burn the whole thing and start it over. Without McNabb and Reid, we wouldn't have HAD those big games.

This is, frankly, the most success the franchise has ever had. Restarting is not a step forward, and I don't see how anyone can think it is rational to argue that it is.

3:14 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Can we talk about DeSean now? Am I allowed to be a little excited about Reid drafting a good WR? Please? (Note: I promise not to jinx him by running out and getting a #10 jersey)

3:44 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

My opinion does not sway TMG, I'm calling BS on that statement. I am consistent on the key areas of this team. McNabb cannot win the big one. He is an awesome talent who can do some entertaining things, but push comes to shove, in crunch time, he is not the guy you want leading your team. That pains me to say that because I really like the guy, but he comes up small in big spots. Always has.

the only reason you can say that is because the eagles have not won a superbowl. by your definition, no QB who has not won a superbowl has won a "big game". mcnabb has a winning record in the playoff, were none of those "big games"? every QB comes up small in big games because big games are usually against other good teams.

mcnabb has won more than his share of big games. i am dying for a superbowl win as well, but it makes no sense to focus on his losses only and forget his wins.

it's the same thing you're doing in assessing the cowboys win. the eagles would have been blown out if mcnabb had not been on the field. is that what you would have preferred?

yes, he made two big mistakes -- the fumble and the bad sack -- but what's the alternative? how does it benefit the eagles to kill him on the radio and on this blog? he's our best chance to win.

They have not, repeat, have not won a big game in 4 years.

mcnabb's been injured for the last 4 years. that's exactly the reason why he's our best chance to win. despite eagles fans love affair with brian westbrook, mcnabb is far and away the best and most important player on the team. mcnabb has won big games without westbrook. westbrook has won zero without mcnabb -- or even a hampered mcnabb.

Their QB is OK, but as small as he comes up in regular situations, he comes up large in crunch time.

WHAT? are you kidding me? 100 times out of a 100, i'd take mcnabb over manning. all of a sudden eli manning is a clutch QB because asante samuel dropped a pick and some wideout made a miracle catch on his head?

eli manning stinks. if you put mcnabb on last year's giants team they're not the luckiest superbowl champion ever (see football outsiders), they're an all time great team.

R Diddy was all over Mc5 for his late game performance. Brian Baldinger discussed how poorly the Birds O and D line played as the game went on.

baldinger has it right, imo. if mcnabb had the same kind of protection in the 4th quarter that he did in the first half, the eagles win. it's as simple as that.

that's not unique to mcnabb. tom brady got pressured in the superbowl and he looked pretty mortal too.

4:24 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I'm not saying I don't want McNabb as the QB of this team, he's our best chance to win, but I'm not as sold on him as many are until he shows me some dynamic, solid, late game, under pressure play.

mcnabb has plenty of late game pressure play on his resume. what would it take for him to show this to you? does 4th and 26 not count? playoff game? 4th quarter comeback?

how about this? the last time football outsiders looked at it (2006), mcnabb ranked pretty high in 4th quarter comebacks among nfl qbs:

rank - player - wins - losses
1-Jake Plummer-19-28
2-Peyton Manning-19-29
2-Vinny Testaverde-19-29
4-Tom Brady-13-8
5-Jon Kitna-15-23
6-Kerry Collins-17-30
7-Donovan McNabb-12-15
8-Marc Bulger-10-5
9-Jake Delhomme-10-12
9-Jay Fiedler-10-12

so what will it take? only a superbowl win? (which is something that a QB cannot do by himself)

4:35 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Sometimes Jim Johnson has a great game plan, sometime not like against Dallas. Methinks that these ends are just guys. No frigging pressure on Romo from the ends, giving him plenty of time to find one of the guys mismatched because they were double teaming TO in the second half. Witten or Barber. I hope that this improves.

i agree 100% big dog. lost in this crazy focus over two mistakes that mcnabb made in the 4th quarter, is the fact that the eagles defense sucked on monday night. that's what we should be focused on instead of killing the guy who single handedly was keeping the birds in the game.

It's unfortunate that the last 3 drives are the lasting impression. Not to draw an immediate comparison, but until Elway or Peyton won a Super Bowl they always had monkeys on their back, too. Steve Young, also. I think that they will be fine offensively, though.

good comparisons. where are all the guys who declared that elway, peyton, and young were never going to win it all because they can't come through in the clutch?

how about we kill him after his eagles career is over and we get a chance to see what his entire resume is like before declaring that he'll never win one?

win a superbowl or not. i'm warning you, eagles fans, you will rue the day donovan mcnabb is not an eagle. you should try to enjoy him while he's on the team.

4:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Gentlemen.......


Thank you.


- Joe

6:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bumble...Reid/Morningweig call all the plays. Get off McNabb for the last call, it's on the coaches.

8:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoever wrote this drivel

Hey Bumble...Reid/Morningweig call all the plays. Get off McNabb for the last call, it's on the coaches.

Obviously has a room temperature IQ. Don't believe a second of that. In addition, who cares what was called, a 10 year vet knows that he needs 17 yards, go at least throw a 17 yard pass. For God's sake you might get interference! What the hell is wrong with you guys that everything is just hunky dory in Birdland? "Our QB took a horrible sack then threw a 4 yard pattern, but wow was he great for 3 quarters!" That just doesn't make any sense at all. This was a statement game and their statement was "not this year".

I'm going to get off McNabb because so many people see him as the best we could ever have, even though the guy hasn't done shit in 4 years. I want someone to point out the big performance in a big spot he's had the last 4 years and I'll shut up. I can think of plenty of sub-par performances, but no big upset or time when he took the team on his shoulders and carried them. He gets paid over $1,000,000 dollars in his tenure, why does everyone expect so little of him? Talk to any fan of any other NFC team, and I have spoken to at least 1 fan from each NFC team this week and they all echo this sentiment, "McNabb choked again, eh?" He choked. He choked, he choked, he choked. No one has effectively pointed out anythign to sway me otherwise. Rhetoric and apssion do not overcome fact. He was great for 3 quarters, lousy for 1. His O line collapsed late, but he made plenty of mental errors himself. It is a common theme, I expected it, I got it. I am not even that upset about it because it is so common.

TMG you just said this became Westbrook's team when McNabb was out in a post last week, now he's never done anything? How about carrying the team into the playoffs in 2006?

Bumble

9:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My definition of winnign a big game for Don is not a Superbowl. It is having the confidence in him, ball in his hands, 2-1/2 minutes left, 2 timeouts (with the 2 minute) and 78 yards that he will drive the team down and score. i knew there was absolutely no chance of him doing that because he would make poor time management decisions or take bad sacks or make bad throws. And some of that is what he did. Super Bowl is a lot of luck in my opinion. You need health and some nice bounces. The most talented team usually doesn't win. I just want to feel confident that this guy can lead the team past a superior (and sorry Birds fans, the Boys are better at many positions right now) team himself. i think of his 2nd year when he carried them past the Skins and trucked a safety as he scored. they had no business winning that game, but they did. i think 4th and 26 game (which incidentally was 5 years ago now). Where is that guy? He just doesn't have that same fire. I don't need a Lombardi trophy, I just need to know that he ahs the ability to do it. I doubt that now.

Bumble

9:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But on a different note, the O line collapsed when Big Kid Andrews went out. I hope he is not hurt badly. It may be coincidence, but has anyone ever noticed he tends to get little nagging injuries a lot? Saints playoff game changed when he went out and protection in the middle collapsed when he went down.

Another note I wanted to raise-does it infuriate anyone else that TO has worked so well in Dallas? This guy is best WR in the game right now. He and Don would've been an all time great tandem, and he effed it up. They would be a completely different team with him. They couldn't keep him after what he did, but man I wish he had not been such a diva and just spoken to Don about Don's "horrendous" comments of "We can win without TO" (which is the most common thing any player or coach will say when asked the dumb ass rhetorical question of "Can you win without TO?"

Bumble

9:44 PM EDT  
Blogger MS69 said...

Bumble-No suprised about TO, they kissed his ass and gave him more money. Jones isnt scared of guys with uh, colorful personalities. We do have some outstanding cap management, so there's that.

11:12 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, I really wish you'd focus on the whole team rather than just 5. This is a team game and no matter what player screws up in the 4Q, they win or lose as a team. You need to stop listening to WIP. Frankly, Dawkins and the coverage units had at least as much to do with that loss, but you're spending 99% of your time on 5. We get it. We understand. Move on.

Just cause TO hasn't imploded that team yet, doesn't mena it's not going to happen.

6:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

Bumble, I know your passion. You bleed green like the rest of us. You want consistency, you want logical gameplans, you want appropriate half-time adjustments, you want a defense that sets the tone by punching the other team in the mouth. I know you have high expectations. We all do, we all want to win. But just step back for a second. Everyone is right when they say that he is the best we are going to get. Especially at present, because he is good. He is better than roughly 90% maybe even 95% of the QBs in the league...to be honest at this point the only QBs that I take higher is Peyton and maybe Roethlisberger...maybe....I think he's solid....obviously Brady....but that's really it and he's hurt for this season....Romo??

He is not without flaws. No QB doesn't have flaws. He does put them in position to win. I want him as my QB.

It's funny I was in the mall and I saw a Cunningham jersey and I remembered how exciting he was. I also remembered how people thought that he couldn't read defenses. They boo'ed him out of town so we could get the illustrious Rodney Peete...Rodney Peete, who's best trait is his wife and father-in-law (Gordon from Sesame Street)...I think that's what we will do with Donovan.

Maybe you are right, I don't think that your arguments are flawed or totally without merit I just think your focus isn't on the biggest concern....the lines...the O line without Andrews is not good and D Line not getting pressure on QBs....

10:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately some things we feared in pre season are showing up now.

1. They have zero safeties who can cover.

2. Their DE are only OK and their whole D line generates zero pass rush.

3. LJ still stinks.

4. O line is not deep.

There has been a lot of good. McNabb has been good. DeSean is very good. Westbrook is very very good, Bradley has been as good as advertised. A few things on the other night's game I have been pondering:

1. They supposedly have 3 CB who can cover-why wasn't Samuel assigned to TO one on one and Sheldon assigned to Witten. May be a mismatch of skills, but how much worse could this be than using Dawk or Considine.

2. Did Clemons even suit up? That may become a legendary bust of a free agent pick-Steve Wallace bad. I became very angry watching the G men as McDougle made a few nice plays.

3. Andrews really does make the whole line play better. the middle just collapsed when he came out.

4. Losing their FB made them keep a TE in to block, which was often Celek. i personally want that guy in patterns as he can catch and runa bit.

5. Why is Jim Johnson considered a genius? That guy's schemes have been figured out. he doesn't seem to add any wrinkles. never mixed things up the other night. the one play he blitzed Gocong, which I have been screaming for him to do, the guy nearly sacks Romo. Romo did complete a long screen pass on that play, but I believe it was because Brown did a poor job keeping contain.

It's all O and D line in the end. Maybe I am giving the D and O lines too much of a pass for Monday because they sucked as the game went on. The Giants will win a lot of games because they are solid in the trenches. The Pats will stay in it because they are solid in the trenches. pittsburgh wins because they are solid in the trenches. The Birds are a healthy Andrews and a good DE away from being solid in the trenches.

Bumble

9:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Big Dog said...

Bumble, I think you are back on the right track. How is he a frigging genius? Why didn't Brown cover Witten...why don't you blitz Gocong?...where is Chris Clemons? What is going on with the safeties? Why can he put together a defensive game plan against NE and not on a consistent basis...last really good game plan outside so last year's NE game was the year they stuffed SD at home and won on a blocked field goal...LT had no impact on that game.

10:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I think you're forgetting JJ holding DAL to 6 points at home last December.

The problem is people are too quick to attach the label genius (Mangini, Martz) and too reluctant to take it away when it no longer applies. JJ was a decent coordinator for a long time and very creative with his blitzes.

12:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Well, huh:

http://views.washingtonpost.com/theleague/smarterstats/2008/09/lito-sheppard-sabermetrics-martyr.html

12:59 PM EDT  

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