Friday, November 21, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here? part 2

feedback from part 1:

On the flip side, I don't believe that only "football people" like Andy Reid, John Madden, and Howard Eskin know the real score. I used to believe in experts and insiders when I was really young. Life teaches otherwise. At some point you realize that we're all pretty clueless deep inside.

Is it really that difficult TMG? Really? None of us can postulate logically why this team is underachieving? God bless your eternal optimism, but 5-4-1 ain't good, it's average, which is exactly what type of team they have.
wow, there is a lot packed into these two paragraphs.

  1. Re: "football people" and whether or not we can postulate logically why this team is underachieving.

    my statement that we can't truly identify the real problems as outsiders isn't based on our lack of football knowledge or that the football insiders are the only ones who can make a valid assessment. it's more fundamental than that. as outsiders, we don't know what the plan for each play was, so it's simply speculation (or postulation as bumble notes) about what the true nature of the breakdown is. let's take two examples:

    - on a play earlier in the year, jason witten catches a pass down the seam for a touchdown with brian dawkins trailing. after watching the play live and on replays, it sure looked to me like dawkins should have been responsible for witten and looked slow and tenative in reacting to witten's route. subsequent interviews by dawkins and JJ indicated that dawkins was covering for a teammate who had blown his assignment. so what was the real breakdown there? was it what we saw as outsiders? was it what was revealed in the interviews? were the interviews intended to shield a once great player on the downside from critcism?

    - on a critical third down a few games ago, the eagles faced 3rd and about 9 yards. mcnabb dropped back to pass and threw short to a receiver for a gain of about 7 yards, forcing a punt. whose fault was that? was the play designed to throw short, counting on deeper routes to clear out the middle allowing the receiver to gain the extra yardage after the catch? was the original intended receiver covered forcing donovan to check down? did donovan make a terrible read and throw to the wrong guy? was the play call predicted by the defensive coordinator?

    i don't doubt that we can all identify when a team is playing well or when they aren't and i don't doubt that we can objectively or subjectively look at players and evaluate whether or not they can play. i do doubt that we can identify what the real micro problems are regarding things like: playcalling, assignment breakdowns, and game tactics.

    what we can evaluate effectively are macro problems: team consistency, in-game strategy, time management, and player development.

    ed is right that insiders aren't the only ones who are capable of assessing properly, however, it is often true that insiders are the only ones who possess all the information necessary to make a valid assessment.


  2. Re: believing in experts. i tend to disagree. there definitely are experts in the world who know what they're talking about. what undermines the notion of experts is the fact that some/most people who hold a title or position that would classify them as an expert, aren't truly experts. truly being an expert means you have a combination of training, experience, and critical thinking ability that enables you to accomplish things that most people couldn't even dream of doing -- in the world of sports/medicine, i consider james andrews (the ACL doctor) to be one of those people. most doctors, football coaches, college professors, etc. have training and experience, but most also do not combine it with enough critical thinking ability to be true experts.


  3. Re: 5-4-1. i didn't say that 5-4-1 was good. my statements were -- "5-4-1 is not terrible" and "they are close to being a good team". i think both of those statements are true simply because the football team has a winning record. i'm not disagreeing that the team is playing like sh*t, but doesn't the fact that they're playing like sh*t and they still have a winning record indicate something? you can't have a winning record and have: a terrible coach, a terrible defense, a terrible staff, a terrible QB, a terrible o-line, a terrible d-line, and terrible/injured running backs. something has to be going right. right? i mean take emotion out of it. if you take 5-4-1 at face value, you'd say that's a team in the upper part of the middle of the league. if you add the context that the team is like terribly, you'd probably lay the "underachieving" label on them. so my point is really, that from an objective standpoint (taking my dislike for the worst coast offense and finesse football out of it), that the eagles continue to be close a good football team and the stats indicate a potential upside exists.
with that context in mind, i think i've come to this conclusion about the eagles (and it runs counter to my previous opinion on andy as a drafter, but is in-line with some of the other comments).

it's all the talent. this team simply does not have enough talent across the board and that lays on the head of andy reid the GM... (part 3 coming, i'm breaking this up for time availability reasons, not as an attempt to be dramatic)

BTW - $10 tickets for sixers games in november and december. i'm heading down to tonight's game with my son.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look me up at the game. You know where the McMaster seats are. I'll be there with my little fellow.

Ed Wade

1:52 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

You might be right about talent. It seems like every time/year 5 and or 36 are either injured or playing below their prior levels this team underperforms. Have they been scewing what we think is a talented team? Just because someone's a starter (prior talent analysis was based on this, I think), doesn't mean they are talented. Then again, the O is putting up the points this year so maybe it's not about 5/36.

I really think it's all a matter of expectations. Reid/5 have set the bar so high that having a winning record in late November is cause for summary firing around here. As TMG pointed out, THEY HAVE A WINNING RECORD! We all view they're record as disappointing, but these are not the Lions or Bungles. Couple tweeks and they're right back into it next year.

9:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TAXI FOR REID

and if there's any room left in the back seat after his fat ass fills most of it, we might as well throw mohrniweg and possibly mcnugget there too.

~Dan

10:13 PM EST  
Blogger MS69 said...

Did you guys get together and go on a 3 state crime spree?

2:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Is it just me or is this Eagles team positively correlated with the financial markets?

3:14 PM EST  
Blogger Steve72 said...

Does the Fed have authority to give us a running back bailout?

6:10 PM EST  
Blogger Simon said...

That's it! Reid is done. How can you handle this situation like this? Not tell McNabb, bumble through the press-conference?

Unreal. Give McNabb a coach that uses his skills (a coach that runs the football) and he will flurish for another 5 years. Not saying he will win the super bowl, but he will be fine.

Reid SUCKS!!

3:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Simon, so Reid should have spent valuable time talking with 5 vs. getting Kolb up to speed on what he wants done in 2H? Frankly, I'd rather have the head coach spending time trying to win than soothe someone's feelings.

7:45 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil you must be a lawyer because you always seem to take and try to defend the undefendable side of the argument. Maybe in most instances you send the position coach in to do your dirty work, but in this example, with the guy you've made your bones with for 10 years, you personally go to him and say "we're mixing it up in the 2nd half and we're going to play Kevin. We'll talk more about this later" and you move on. takes 30 seconds. That is called professional courtesy. What reid did was just flat unprofessional. he is a frantic guy caught in a downward spiral of bad decisions, all of which he orchestrated, and hopefully upper management sees that and wisely decides that a new direction is needed. I was at the game, McNabb was absolutely putrid, but he deserved the kill shot in person.

Bumble

8:38 AM EST  
Blogger Big Dog said...

agreed with Bumble...the chain of command may dictate the position coach doing it, but you don't do that to your franchise...takes a minute and is a professional courtesy...deferring to that is simply cowardice and not thought through.

9:43 AM EST  
Blogger Simon said...

I don't care about McNabb's feeling one bit. However, I do care about what an impression this act has on the rest of the team.

If he was being disciplined...ok

But he was being sat down for no reason other than sucking in 1 1/2 games. Remember, against the Giants he was the Birds best player.

That is just a knee-jerk reaction for a once again crappy game plant that is calling to throw, throw, throw.

10:33 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

I don't think there's anything Reid could have done or not done to satisfy those calling for his head. If he benches 5, then everyone will claim he's the best player on the team and should've been given another chance. If he doesn't bench 5, people will say he stuck with his franchise too long. Reid just spent a week telling his players that everyone was accountable for their performance and by NOT benching 5 at halftime he would have said that the rules don't apply to franchise players despite turning the ball over 3 times and not completing 50% of their passes. Just because Kolb played like crap doesn't mean it's not the right decision.

Should he have told 5 in person? Sure. But he's got probably 5 minutes to get Kolb ready for the second half (remember the Eagles were receiving the ball so it's not like he had time once they got back out onto the field). There's no way McNabb would meekly take the news in 30 seconds so you're talking about spending 20+% of your time talking to a player who's DONE for the game. He's a professional athlete for crying out loud.

12:24 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The notion that Reid was too busy to spend 15 seconds telling Donovan that he was going in a different direction in the second half is pretty silly.

Let's just call this what it is: Bad management. I like a lot of things about Andy, and I don't like to take gratuitous shots, but ignoring McDope was a clear indication of emotional immaturity. There isn't a good way to spin this.

Ed Wade

5:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

I just don't see this as that big of a deal. I view a tie with the Bungals as 10 times worse (20x?), yet there's no outrage about that. Where's the perspective? After that loss (and a tie is the same thing regarding making the playoffs), there was hardly a peep about that. All the focus was on whether 5 knew the rules of tie games. Now it's all about whether Reid told Mc5, not on yet another loss making the playoffs virtually impossible.

Who cares? Bumble was right - this is an average team. That's the important thing and it is tearing me apart. Sigh. The flip side is - this is ONLY an average team. This is not the Lions, nor Raiders, nor 49ers. It'll only take some tweeks to get them back into the playoffs and they have 2 1st round picks to help them next year plus whatever they might be able to get for McNabb in the off-season.

7:59 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching a very good game plan centered on establishing the run made me very angry about what might have been this season. If the Fat guy wasn't so stubborn and they committed to being last night's team every week, this team is probably 8-3 or 7-4 and right in the mix right now. Instead, they are hanging by a thread with a gauntlet of games vs. their division rivals because they pissed away games at Cincy and Chicago and the Skins.

I enjoyed watching the game, I did not enjoy seeing them finally do the right thing 11 games into the season. That is annoying.

And why wasn't Eckel being used before last night as a true Fb and short yardage guy?

Bumble

11:33 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Or it could just be that ARI really, really sucks (only 3-5 outside of the NFC West this year). Or it could be that going +3 in turnovers helps win games. Or it could be that ARI's WRs couldn't catch balls that hit them in their hands. Or it could be that the defense decided to show up for a change. Or that 36 finally got healthy.

Seriously, it looked like ARI did more to lose that game than PHI to win it. Not that PHI looked bad. ARI just looked atrocious.

1:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

P.S. I think I'll just say the opposite of Bumble from now on just for fun. :)

1:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is fun. You always bring me back from the third rail Phil. I am thankful for that.

Bumble

9:18 PM EST  

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