Sunday, December 28, 2008

Game 17 Thoughts

happy holidays eagles fans!

did anyone out there have hope that the ending to the season would shake out as well as it did? i certainly didn't.

despite the devastating loss to washington last week, despite the maddening inconsistency all season, despite the hideous tie to the bengals, this eagles team is heading in the playoffs playing as well as any team in football... really. to do it in dominating, humiliating fashion while simultaneously knocking the cowboys out of the playoffs, well that's just icing on the cake --

how 'bout them cowboys!

as much complaining as we've done and conclusions as we've (probably prematurely) drawn, the bottom line is that the birds (our birds) are entering the playoffs playing as well as any team in football -- peaking at the right time -- and set to compete against what is overall a pretty weak corps of playoff competitors.

woo hoo!

some thoughts:

- i love the addition of the QB sneak to the offensive repertoire (finally). just the threat of it makes a big difference in how the defense has to game plan in short yardage.

- many thanks go to the oakland raiders for knocking off the jon gruden coached buccaneers. for all of you eagles fans out there hoping to dump big red so we can grab gruden, please try to remember that everything you find frustrating about andy reid's philosophy and offense you'll get double with grudog

- i don't think this game impacts whether mcnabb is back or not -- if the eagles don't win the superbowl, i believe they'll trade mcnabb while his stock is still high -- but i do think it does impact the fate of reid. if they lost today, i think it's possible that banner/lurie would have taken personnel decision-making away from reid (which is what i'm hoping for and will explain when i finally get around to posting part three of where do we go from here). reid's coming back in full force folks, get used to the idea and learn to live with it.

- how good can this defense be? it's small, but as we saw today, if they play with the lead they can be simply devastating.

- i know andy's always talking about being able to "throw fastballs", but this team sure does have a lot of pass rushers. cole, howard, abiamiri, clemons and can all get to the qb pretty quickly. the single biggest reason the giants won the superbowl last season is because of their ability to generate passrush with their line. i'm definitely not suggesting that his crew is even worth comparing to strahan, umenyiora, et al, but they definitely seem to be peaking at the right time.

- samuel seems to be getting some heat, but i don't get it. i think he's playing as well (or better) than any corner i've seen on the birds since i've been watching. his hands may not be as good, but from what i saw this season, he's in better position against receivers when the ball arrives more consistently than eric allen or troy vincent were. the guy is damn good, and the difference between samuel and sheppard is much bigger than i expected coming into the season.

- how good can quinton mikell be? coming into this season, i was very worried about the future of the safety position (post-dawkins), but with mikell playing this well and as much promise as demps has shown, seems like the safety position is stocked pretty well looking forward.

- did dawkins play himself into another contract with his pro-bowl season? i think it's possible, but i doubt it unless he's willing to take a "below market" contract. of all the players that have played for andy reid, i believe dawkins is far and away the best one. however, he's not the player he once was, and while he can still create some chaos when he's in attack mode, the eagles rarely leave him in single coverage anymore. he's not the do-everything superman he once was, and i highly doubt the eagles will give him another big contract. i think the emergence of mikell and the development of demps plays a big factor here as well.

- chris gocong is starting to get it. i've been surprised at how patient jim johnson has been with him (usually by now he'd be calling the guy out in the press ala gaither, darwin walker, trent cole early in his career), but jj must continue to see potential in him and i think we're starting to see why they continue to give him some rope. there have been some plays that gocong has made over the last few games that really made him stand out to me. two examples: 1) i don't recall the game situation, but in the giants game, gocong took on brandon jacobs solo, stopped him dead, picked him up off the ground and spun around threw him about two yards backwards. it sticks in my mind because i rarely see jacobs stopped in his tracks by one guy let alone manhandled the way he was. 2) in the cleveland game, cleveland ran some sort of misdirection off the wildcat formation with their punt returner cribbs taking the snap. the entire defense flowed left, while cribbs ended up going to the defense's right with a wide open field. gocong was lined up on the other side of the field and somehow ran all the way across against the flow of traffic and caught cribbs from behind keeping it to something like a 12 yard gain.

i'm excited as heck for the playoffs and i definitely don't want to put the cart before the horse, but (knocking on wood) the eagles match up pretty well against the other teams in the playoffs.

2005 steelers, 2007 giants, why not us?

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10 Comments:

Blogger MS69 said...

I was impressed by the appearance of the PA.'s third most famous groundhog, Joe Banner. The forecast is at least 6 more months of smirking arrogance. And it was nice of 5 to take another press conference to establish his credentials for martyrdom.

10:10 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not the Birds? New season, every team has their strengths and weaknesses. Minnesota has a great running game and defense, but the Birds have handled the run well of late (Tashard Choice had a super run going until yesterday against some fantastic rush defenses). If they establish the run and hit the play action to take an early lead, I see them blowing out the Vikes because Tavaris Jackson is not good. Carolina is hot, but again Jake Delhomme sucks and if they can force him to win the game, they are in good shape. The Giants are very talented, but they have fallen off of late and look tired to me. Who knows, why not? The Birds are very healthy, they recognize they received a lot of gifts and came back from the dead, they have nothing to lose. If Don plays like the guy who makes good decisions and breaks contain and that D stays healthy, they can really cause some problems.

I love playoff football! Every play is a pressure cooker. Every snap means something. Plus it gives me an excuse to wear my new Santa delivered Dawkins jersey. He was already my favorite Bird and after yesterday's stud performance, I'll wear his jersey forever. The guy may not make Canton, but he is the best safety I've seen. I hope he stays on in some capacity with the organization when he hangs them up because he is a great leader and example for doing things the right way on and off the field.

Bumble

11:20 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

The guy may not make Canton, but he is the best safety I've seen.

i think he is a lock for canton, especially after making the pro bowl at 35.

this morning, les bowen said that dawkins is letting it be known that he's not looking for another big deal -- that he's really just looking for another deal so he can stick around. i was very excited to hear that as i'd hate to see dawk in any other uni.

12:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think Dawk makes Canton on the strength of an excellent career, but I doubt any serious voter takes Pro Bowl selection into account these days.

Sheesh, Favre is a "Pro Bowl" QB at 39. His "greatness" been a figment of the media's imagination for years now.

Maybe Bobby Abreau will make the HOF because he's a Gold Glover.

Glad to know you're still alive MG.

Ed Wade

7:45 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I also think Dawk makes Canton on the strength of an excellent career, but I doubt any serious voter takes Pro Bowl selection into account these days.

au contraire mon frere. my understanding is that (generally) the three most important criteria among voters are: superbowls won, number of pro bowls played (demonstrating sustained dominance), and a subjective determination about whether that player was the (or one of) the defining players of his generation for his position.

interestingly, career stat totals are weighted very lightly as compared to the selection process for the baseball hof.

Sheesh, Favre is a "Pro Bowl" QB at 39. His "greatness" been a figment of the media's imagination for years now.

we've been through the brett favre discussion. once a great player, hasn't been for a long time. his HOF candidacy has been cemented for quite some time.

Maybe Bobby Abreau will make the HOF because he's a Gold Glover.

i think the more important question is what you think of the abreu trade in hindsight. still think it was a bad trade?

10:33 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it was a bad trade. The Phils should have received Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy in return, or at least something of value. They still would have won the World Series last year and been better positioned for more in the future.

I've never argued that trading wall boy was a bad idea - simply that Gillick should have asked for more in return (as you know).

I'm sure some voters still use Pro Bowl selection as a criteria - just not the serious ones. 5 years from now even the dopes will see that the Pro Bowl has become a beauty contest.

Ed

10:06 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Yes, it was a bad trade. The Phils should have received Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy in return, or at least something of value. They still would have won the World Series last year and been better positioned for more in the future.

I've never argued that trading wall boy was a bad idea - simply that Gillick should have asked for more in return (as you know).


nor have i argued that gillick shouldn't have asked for hughes or kennedy. our point of contention was whether or not cashman would have given in if gillick had stuck to his guns and insisted on them.

based on the fact that the yankees still have those guys and wouldn't trade them for even johan santana, my conclusion is that gillick was right and the yanks wouldn't have given either of them up for abreu.

so would you rather have seen the phillies keep abreu or trade him for nothing?

10:16 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I'm sure some voters still use Pro Bowl selection as a criteria - just not the serious ones. 5 years from now even the dopes will see that the Pro Bowl has become a beauty contest.

possible but i doubt it. the pro bowl has always been a beauty contest, that's not a new thing.

also, beauty contest or not, errors and omissions tend to happen to specific individuals in specific years. guys who consistently make the pro bowl for long stretches of time tend to be the real deal.

10:22 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so would you rather have seen the phillies keep abreu or trade him for nothing?"

At the time of the deal, I thought it was a bad move. I haven't changed my mind. I didn't know Cory Lidle would die; I didn't know the Phils would continue to improve through the emergence of new leaders and the success of new acquisitions. Kuddos to Pat Gillick for anticipating and orchestrating both (even if what he was really after was pure salary dump).

I'm really glad things worked out well. I'd be happier if the Phillies had extracted something more from the Yankees. I've used Hughes and Kennedy as examples because these were the guys I wanted most based on watching them play for Trenton. The Yankees system, however, was/is stocked with other talent as well. I think they could have done better (Tyler Clippard?). Had I never met Gillick, I might be more inclined to share your high opinion of his ability to read Cashman's hand. I know you consider Gillick an expert (I don't blame you), and you hold experts in high regard. You don't think Gillick could have done better than he did. I get it.

Feel free to have the last word, but I will never comment on this topic again for the sake of all the folks who come here to read football commentary.

Ed

1:24 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Feel free to have the last word, but I will never comment on this topic again for the sake of all the folks who come here to read football commentary.

lol. ok, still haven't answered my question. :)

2:07 PM EST  

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