Tag Archives: Asante Samuel

Boldin to be shopped; the Pundit uncovers the mentor of Joe Banner; have the Eagles built themselves a doghouse?

First things first – PFT has the news that surely sounds sweet to all of you Birds’ fans out there.

A league source tells us that the Arizona Cardinals are shopping receiver Anquan Boldin to potential trade partners.

Shoot, I’m getting excited again. Of course, somehow – despite the fact that we probably have the resources (two first-round picks, 12 in all), the money to sign him to an extension, and the need for a solid possession receiver who can make big plays after the catch and contribute in the red zone – this won’t happen.

Hey, maybe they never move him. Or maybe he gets traded to the Giants, who knows? But damnit, I’m getting my hopes up once more – will I ever learn?

UPDATE: The Cardinals deny the rumors – wow, what a shocker. TO wasn’t going anywhere either, right?

And now, to reveal the mentor of Joe Banner… Continue reading

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“Twas the loss before Christmas” – The Pundit puts some holiday cheer into the Birds’ cruel defeat

(Editors’ note: Ah, our poetic Pundit. In lieu of both the holiday season and the most recent Eagles loss, The Pundit has adapted an old Christmas classic. With an Eagles theme, of course. It’s not perfect – apparently, the original is pretty damn long. But it comes close. Without further ado, The Pattison Pundit presents: “The Loss Before Christmas.”

‘Twas the loss before Christmas, and all through the town

Everyone waited for the Birds/Skins  showdown.

They controlled their own destiny as they walked to the field

For Tampa had faltered, and Dallas had reeled

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10-3 Redskins. Unbelievable. The Pundit is BOILING as he attempts to do Game Notes

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?

(Sigh) Well, the Eagles had everything fall into place for them before the start of the game. Tampa Bay lost to San Diego, and there it was in front of our Birds: win two, and head off to the playoffs.

And they couldn’t do it.

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Game Notes: Eagles vs. Cleveland Steamers

What do Scott Weiland and the Cleveland Steamers, eh, Browns have in common? Glad you asked. Scott Weiland spent his glory years with the Stone Temple Pilots in the 90’s. The Browns spent their glory years in Cleveland until 1995, when they were shipped to Baltimore by Cleveland’s Antichrist, Art Modell. Weiland often battled a heroin addiction; Cleveland fans battled not having a team to support. Weiland never achieved the same level of musical quality or cultural relevance after splitting with the band (Editor’s note: Sorry, Velvet Revolver doesn’t quite cut it). The Browns have had only two winning seasons in the past nine years, and only made the playoffs in one of those years. Oh, and Weiland has a new song out right now – what’s the name of that song?

Oh, right: “Missing Cleveland.”

"This is for you, Modell!"

"This is for you, Modell!"

Which any pure NFL fan with an appreciation for traditional football organizations does. Which the old Dawg Pound most certainly did for the three years Cleveland was team-less. Cleveland fans are some of the best football fans in America, and they deserved better than losing their team, and they deserve better than this one. So, that being said, hopefully the Eagles will decimate the Browns tonight and keep their playoff hopes alive.

But just know, Cleveland: I feel for you. I really do. Now to my game notes.

8: 29 PM: Oh man, the ESPN pregame crew is so super funny. They are all giggling, pretending like they might not pick the Eagles in this game. What whimsical irony they deftly wield in front of our eyes like the most graceful of swordsmen. (Editor’s note: What mildly phallic prose The Pundit stumbles over in his attempts at high-minded wit).

8:34 PM: Does any sport lend itself to better sexual innuendo than football? Brian Westbrook really hits the hole hard. The tight end was wide open. Good catch. The Browns are unveiling their flash package. I mean, it’s friggin’ priceless. (Editor’s note: This post has not yet been rated).

8:43 PM: Very nice sideline catch by Jason “Idiot” Avant.

8:45 PM: The Eagles are doing what they need to do early – mixing the running game with the passing attack and marching down the field, all topped off by a beautiful catch by Kevin Curtis in the end zone. Nice ball, nice jumping catch, and the Eagles take the 7-0 lead.

8:53 PM: Josh Cribbs gets a first down on a counter run in the flash package. They should probably just let Cribbs play quarterback.

8:54 PM: Spoke to soon. Ken Dorsey beats the blitz and throws a perfect fade to Braylon Edwards. Good God, the Browns are threatening to score their first touchdown after three games without one!

8:57 PM: Ah, it’s just the Browns. Their no-touchdown streak lives on; 7-3 Eagles.

8:59 PM: Another nice return by Demps – I love this kid’s motor.

9:04 PM: Apparently, Jason Avant is our first-down guy tonight. Nice snag over the middle to keep the drive going. So far, the offense is balanced. But what happens when the scripted plays run out…

9:10 PM: Another nice drive by the Eagles offense, though they couldn’t punch it in. 10-3 Birds.

9:11 PM: Is anybody else completely done with the UPS whiteboard guy? (Editor’s note: Yup).

9:17 PM: Stewart Bradley blasts Jamal Lewis at the line of scrimmage. Great pursuit angle by Bradley on the play. One play later, the Eagles blow up Cribbs in the Flash. The Eagles D, after the Browns worked down the field on the first drive, have suddenly awoken.

9:23 PM: Jaworski has been highlighting it, and it’s a very good point: Westbrook, other than being an amazing runner and receiver out of the backfield, is also very adroit at picking up the blitz in the passing game. It certainly has helped McNabb, who has been on point with his passes: 11-15 to open the game.

9:29 PM: Sometimes, we all get a little too fancy. Like the Eagles running the Wildcat on third-and-goal and having DeSean Jackson throw the ball. Which resulted in an interception. Bollocks! (Editor’s note: Though a better throw by Jackson may have resulted in a TD. That’s it – put in Kevin Kolb. For DeSean Jackson. Trust me, it’ll get the point across…) Three drives into the red zone on three possessions, and only 10 points. The one thing you do not want to do with a team like the Browns is let them hang around – put them away while you have the chance, and don’t give them any unnecessary confidence.

9:35 PM: Asante Samuel intercepts a Dorsey pass, and takes it to the house. That’s why he makes the big bucks, people. Though he almost pulled a DeSean by dropping the ball before the goal line. Thankfully, he woke up and picked the ball up in the end zone. Guys, just act like you’ve been there before. Nice job by Chris Clemons getting pressure on Dorsey and forcing the poor throw. You’re off the hook, DeSean. (Editor’s note: Alright Kolb, sit back down, buddy).

9:43 PM: Trent Cole wills his way to another sack. Another man that needs a nickname. What about Trent Coletrain? (Editor’s note: Not bad, though there’s really no musical connection).

9:45 PM: You know a team is in trouble when one of the graphics ESPN has prepared for you is the potential coaches that will take over for the incumbent after the year. Ah, the poor, poor Cleveland fans.

9:54 PM: WHY CAN’T THE EAGLES FINISH A HALF WITHOUT SOMETHING NEGATIVE HAPPENING? McNabb under throws a fade, and if it weren’t for the hustle of Brian Westbrook and friends, the Browns would have returned the pick for a TD. Aaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhh! (Editor’s note: Though it was a pretty one-handed pick by Brandon McDonald). The Eagles have been in the red zone four times, and have 10 points for their efforts. That’s just not good enough, but they still lead at the half, 17-7. Thank God we’re playing the Steamers.

10:11 PM: Braylon Edwards is really playing well tonight – another very nice grab by Mr. Monday Night.

10:22 PM: The Eagles are moving once more – another third-down conversion to Action Jackson. (Editor’s note: Oh, we’re doing that now?) Amazing what manageable third-downs can do for an offense. (Editor’s note: Alright, now you’re just being damn smug about this whole offensive balance thing).

10:30 PM: Five red zone trips, and only 13 offensive points. I know the score is 20-3 in the favor of the Birds, but their chances in the red zone against the Redskins and Cowboys will be more limited than this. You have to be able to convert these opportunities – it’s about consistent efficiency, people.

10:41 PM: Another beautiful throw from McNabb to First-Down Avant. Not sure what the Eagles third-down conversions are at right now, but it has to be at a high percentage.

10:46 PM: 10-14 on third downs after the Eagles again fail to convert in the red zone, or as Jaws so eloquently put it, the Vomit Zone. (Editor’s Note: While enjoying your stay at the Vomit Zone, be sure to check out feature films at our state-of-the-art multiplex. Now playing:  “2 Girls 1 Cup.” Do enjoy!) Eagles up 23-3, early fourth.

Dude...

Dude...

10:52 PM: Wow. Ken Dorsey just threw an inexplicable duck right into the hands of a surprised Stewart Bradley. I don’t think there was a Brown within ten yards of Bradley. I can already imagine the conversation between Romeo Crennel and Ken Dorsey on the sideline.

Crennel: Man, what was that?

Dorsey: Sorry coach, I, uh, thought I could squeeze it in there.

Crennel: Into where? There wasn’t one of our guys in the vicinity of that pass!

Dorsey: Would this be a strange time to tell you that I’m color blind?

Crennel: For one, yes, now would be a completely inexcusable time to mention that you’re color blind. And on top of that, even if you’re color blind, you could still distinguish between their dark tops and our white tops.

Dorsey: Would now be a strange time to tell you that I suffer from frequent bursts of random amnesia?

Crennel: Good God, just fire me already…

10:56 PM: Holy cow, the Eagles scored a red zone TD! Alright, Eagles. Greg Lewis, who is still, inexplicably, on this team, was sitting in a hole in the defense at the back of the end zone. 30-3 Eagles.

11:06 PM: Oh no! Andy Reid benched Donovan and put Kevin Kolb in the game! All is lost. For the Browns. Let’s see what the Kolbler can do. Wow, I didn’t so much as finish typing before Kolb threw a pick to McDonald, who took his second pick to the house. And the Browns finally score a touchdown. Congrats, fellas. Oh, and let’s definitely get rid of McNabb after the season is over – Kevin Kolb is without doubt ready to take over the reins of this offense. (Editor’s note: In the immortal words of Borat Sagdiyev: “Not!”)

11:14 PM: And there it is! The inevitable reference to Philadelphia fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus! Our streak lives on – that’s now 1,238,543 consecutive national broadcasts with the Santa Claus story being mentioned! For the love of God, let it go! (Editor’s note: Anybody know if Santa retaliated by throwing coal into the stands?)

Apparentely, Santa took out his frustrations from that fateful day on some unsuspecting elf...

Apparentely, Santa took out his frustrations from that fateful day on some unsuspecting elf...

11:22 PM: Well, it’s the two-minute warning. I think I’ll be signing off now. Eagles stay alive in the playoff race, and start to prepare for the Redskins. This one was never really in question. Keep your heads up, Cleveland fans: karma will swing your way soon. Hopefully, the Browns will field a successful team once more.

You deserve nothing less.

E-A-G-L-E-S  EAGLES!

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The Pundit’s game notes from one of the worst Eagles games ever

From the Editor: The Pundit is so enraged right now by the effort displayed by the Eagles offense in their 13-13 tie, he only submitted his unedited notes from the game and said, “Here – you deal with this.” Thanks, Pundit. Here are his slightly edited notes, just in case you felt like reliving the train wreck that was this game.

Another three and out to start the game – McNabb throws high to Westbrook on a short swing route than overthrows an open Curtis in the middle of the field which would have given the Eagles a first down.

I just saw Joselio Hanson in the game – but not Lito Sheppard. Why?

Two straight three and outs. Spectacular start.

Engagement ring commercials are so sad – they always make it seem like the woman is super excited about getting the ring, not about getting married -“sure, he’s a questionable guy to settle down with, but look at this rock – I had to say yes!”

Good job by the Eagles defense of knocking the Bengals out of field goal range after they had the ball around the thirty – a sack by Trent Cole and then Joselio Hanson on a delayed blitz

McNabb gets sacked trying to scramble, fumbles the ball, and Frostee Rucker picks it up, takes it to the 1 yard line. If I was a drug dealer, my alias would be Frostee – ‘cuz I’m the snow man, bitches! I makes it rain ‘cuz I makes it snow, ya dig? (Editor’s note: Oh dear God…)

Good job by the Eagles defense of bailing out McNabb and holding the Bengals to a field goal after they started with the ball on the 1 yard line.

The Eagles had three yards of offense in the first quarter – I repeat, three fucking yards of offense in the first quarter.

Nice screen play to Buckhalter, 44 yarder. I heart Correll Buckhalter. (Editor’s note: Feeling a little fruity there, Pundit?)

Wow. L.J. Smith is actually involved in the offense early on in the game.

David Akers hits a field goal longer than 40 yards! A 42 yarder! Whooo!

Thank God for Trent Cole – already two sacks in this game.

Antonio Chatman gets JACKED UP on a wideout screen and fumbles, which is recovered by Darren Howard. Way to earn that paycheck, buddy.

Eagles complete a pass with 2:25 left on the clock in the first half, and allow it to run into the 2 minute warning. Granted, they have the ball on the 50 yard line, but is this good clock management? Should they have tried to get another play off before the 2 minute warning?

McNabb throws a pick right to Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson. He was trying to loft one on a seam route to L.J. Smith – an absolutely awful, awful pass that cost the Eagles at least a field goal, and may set the Bengals up for one of their own

Bengals get a touchdown out of McNabb’s interception – specccccctacular. Fitzpatrick does a nice job adjusting to and beating the blitz, hits T.J. Whateverhislastnameis on a post route, who was being covered by Joselio Hanson. Was Lito on the field?

After Shayne Graham puts the kickoff out of bounds, Donovan throws a nice pass to DeSean Jackson to get the Eagles in field goal range – then a McNabb pass bounces off of Kevin Curtis’ shoulder and into the hands of the Bengals. Looked as though Donovan’s throw caught Curtis off guard, which seems to be a timing thing.

Thus concludes perhaps the worst, most pathetic half of football I have ever watched the Eagles play – I am disgusted right now. (Editor’s note: You don’t say).

We begin where we left off – Demps bobbles the kickoff, Eagles to start their first drive on the 11.

And the Eagles go three and out to start the half – I would be having a better time getting a root canal then I am having watching this game.

Talking about Fitzpatrick and his Harvard education, Goose says “Hey, Harvard – they teach a lot of stuff there.” Thanks for that Ivy League insight, Goose.

Shayne Graham field goal, 13-3 lead for the Bengals. I repeat: 13-3 lead for the 1-8 Bengals. Unbelievable.

Good job by McNabb scrambling, nice pass to Hank Baskett, who does a great job running with the ball after the catch. Another big play for Hank, who seems to be good for 1 or 2 of them a game. Big 57 yards, maybe that will wake up this offense.

Touchdown pass to L.J. smith, Eagles do a nice job answering the field goal with a touchdown of their own, and maybe, just maybe we’re back in this game.

Eagles defense has played well, granted against the Bengals. They three and out the Bengals offense once again.

Another terrible interception by McNabb, trying for the seam to L.J. again, who was being blanketed. A really awful throw by McNabb.

Bengals go for it on 4 and 16 at the Eagles 33 – they obviously didn’t want to go for the field goal there, but why not punt it?

McNabb almost throws another interception! What the fuck is wrong with him today? (Editor’s note: Must not have had his Chunky Soup).

Chris Clemons gets a sack – I forgot he was on the Eagles.

Curtis is wide open, drops a perfect pass. Goose says it best: “That was just really bad placement – right in the hands”

Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod – the Eagles converted a fourth and short on a McNabb quarterback sneak! I am so happy right now!

Akers ties it at 13. Oh man, we are set up for a super exciting finish – actually, I just think I’ll be super excited when this game ends. (Editor’s note: Amen to that, brotha).

The Bengals get a delay of game call on a fake punt. Ahahahahahahahahahaha, to be a Bengals fan must be so painful on a daily basis.

Eagles punt the ball with 2 minutes left, then three and out the Bengals, breaking up two passes, only 16 seconds came off of the clock. If it weren’t for a stellar defensive effort today, and the fact that we’re playing the Bengals, the Eagles would have gotten crushed today based upon their offensive effort. (Editor’s note: I don’t know if it was intended, but there is definitely a double entendre on the word “offensive” today).

Eagles proceed to waste only 22 seconds, go three and out, hooray. Though, on the third and ten, Westbrook got basically tackled before the ball got to him by, of all fucking people, Dhani Jones – aggggghhhhhhhh!

Chris Clemons makes another play, decking the running back during a screen pass – when did we pick him up? Oh, we signed him to a huge deal in the offseason? Riiiiiiigggghhhhht. (Editor’s note: In all seriousness, though, Clemons did play a nice game for the Eagles today).

Eagles get their 7th sack of the game, and the Bengals go 3 and out once again – thank you for your efforts, defense. If the Eagles win, you get all the credit.

Oh man, I am so excited right now – this unbelievably exciting game is going to overtime! I could watch football of this caliber for days and days and days at a time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go find some rope and a high ceiling.

Why did “Nugget Alert” just pop up on the bottom-left of my television screen? Is Goose getting baked on the sidelines? Mmmmmmm…baked goose.

The Bengals, inexplicably, try to run the ball on a third and six play. Bad audible by Fitzpatrick. Thank God we are playing the Bengals today.

Suddenly, the Eagles can’t stop getting penalties. Unreal. We’ve cost ourselves, during the second offensive drive of the overtime, 20 yards, without counting the 15 yard play that was negated by Kevin Curtis’ offensive pass interference. Ugly, ugly football being played today by this offense.

Sav Rocca’s punts have been absolutely atrocious today. I am just so angry and ornery right now – this game has not been good for my blood pressure. (Editor’s note: If you don’t have anything nice to say…)

Asante Samuel makes another solid play, breaking up a pass to The Human Being Formerly Known as Chad Johnson, setting up a huge 3rd and 11 for the Bengals.

Huuuuuge sack by Darren Howard, the Birds’ 8th of the game, and they will get the ball back with a chance to FINALLY win this damn game.

And the Eagles fucking blow it and go fucking three and out – again! I am so infuriated right now – I’m hate typing right now. It’s the only positive way I can release all of my rage. If I were to see a bald eagle flying around right now, I’d shoot it out of the sky. That’s how pissed I am at this Eagles team, specifically their offense right now.

I am so sick and tired of the unnecessary roughing the passer penalties that are littering every NFL game. They called one on Sheldon Brown on a perfectly legitimate hit, which put the Bengals in field goal range – unacceptable. This roughing the passer business needs to be seriously discussed in the offseason.

And Shayne Graham misses what would have been a game winning, 47 yard field goal attempt. Does anybody want to win this game?

And thus ends a 13-13 tie. Honestly, this was one of, if not the worst football game I have ever watched. Anything positive I had previously posted about the eagles making the postseason pretty much just went out the window. Playoff teams don’t play 13-13 games against 1-8 football teams. BOOOOOOOO!!!

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Are the Birds cooked? This Pundit isn’t convinced…

The radio hosts and their faithful lackeys will tell you that Andy Reid is washed up as a coach, that his scheme is outdated and his player personnel decisions are shaky, at best. He shouldn’t have been given the duel responsibility, and the harmful effects of that decision are rearing their ugly head this season.

Maybe they’re right.

They think that McNabb is washed up, that he can’t win the big game, his early inconsistency hurts us, and its time to see what Aaron Rodgers…cough, I’m sorry…Kevin Kolb can do.

Maybe they’re on to something.

They think that the defense is overmatched against good offenses, that our defensive line is too small, that we just can’t stop a good running attack.

They could be right about that.

They’re saying that our receivers are pretty terrible, with the exception of DeSean Jackson, and that we should have gotten Tony Gonzalez because our tight ends stink (Editor’s note: Hey, everybody’s shit stinks, you know?), and we just can’t run the ball when we really need to in short yardage situations.

Yeah, there’s probably truth in there, though I would never, ever give up anything higher than a 3rd round pick for Tony Gonzalez, and I’m not even sure if I would have given that up for an aging tight end. Trivia question: what round was Brian Westbrook drafted in? Oh, the third round – ahhh, I see what you did there, Pundit. (Editor’s note: Ohhhhhhh, snap. The Pundit always be playin’, yo).

Fact is, a lot of people are getting pretty fed up with this Eagles team. They’re inconsistent, they can’t seem to make the key plays to lock up a win, and in general, their games this year have often been maddening and frustrating and fickle – they’re like a teenage girl, for Chrissakes. They seem to be struggling with the identity they’ve been given by their parents (Andy Reid), but they don’t really know how to break out of it just yet, so their play becomes tempermental and inconsistent and difficult to watch.

But the Eagles have an advantage that we’re all ignoring – they are still a “pretty” team. They have guys like McNabb, who has shown glimpses of brilliance, and Brian Westbrook, who might be the best player in football, and DeSean Jackson, who is developing into a pretty good player. They have Trent Cole, who when not double-teamed is a force, and Asante Samuel, who has been extremely solid.

When everybody was talking, early in the season, about how the Cowboys were the NFC’s team to beat, the Eagles took them to the limit. They beat the Steelers, a team that, at this stage in the year, would be third in my Power Rankings of Pure Punditry, if I thought that ranking every team every week of the season came even close to being relevant or worth anyone’s time. (Editor’s note: However, a Power Rankings of Pure Punditry over the entire spectrum of the sporting world might be worth doing – stay tuned…)

Let’s take a quick look at the Eagles four losses this year. When they lost to the Cowboys, they were a team that was 100 percent and playing well. I think everyone deemed that an acceptable loss at the time. The Giants are 8-1; they are clicking on all cylinders; they just outplayed us, though we kept ourselves in a game we probably should have lost by a lot more. I judge this an acceptable loss, though certainly one that was frustrating as hell.

We didn’t play well against the Redskins, but they are a pretty good team, and you’ll lose games like that from time to time. Though, at some point, this team needs to beat a conference foe. The Bears loss was painful, they had ample opportunity to beat them, and they are just a better team than the Bears. That, to me, is the only completely unacceptable loss of the season. All four losses came by a combined 19 points, all under a touchdown, all games they had the chance to win.

You see, all is not lost, people.

The rest of the schedule is favorable. For the duration of November, we have the Bengals, the Ravens, and the Cardinals. The Bengals should be a no-brainer, and though I think the Ravens and Cardinals are good teams, the Eagles should beat them. I expect this team to win the next three games, and head into December at 8-4.

December will be when we find out what this team is really made of. They get the Giants again, followed by the Browns, the Redskins and the season finale with the Cowboys, a game that will proabably have playoff implications for both teams. We’ll assume the win against the Browns, which leaves the 3 games against the NFC East. Take 2 of 3, and you are sitting at 11-5 – hello, wildcard. Take 1 of 3, and you might be in, though you’d be 1-5 against the East, and would not have the tiebreaker against the Bears, which could hurt. 10-6 may be good enough on its own to get them in, though I don’t think I’d want to risk it. Lose 3 of 3, and enjoy all of the time you now have to go golfing.

With 7 games to go, this Eagles team could get hot. See, last year, when the Giants began their run to the Superbowl, a couple of things fell into place for them. They bought into Tom Coughlin’s system whole-heartedly, and started playing like a team. Eli Manning developed into a top-tier quarterback. Their defensive scheme and strengths happened to make them they only team in the NFL that actually had a shot to beat Tom Brady’s Patriots (able to generate a rush with only their front four, disguised a multitude of blitzes and coverages to keep Brady, Moss and Welker guessing, had a solid ground game that could chew up clock, had weapons of their own on offense like Plaxico Burress and a suddenly poised Manning that could score some points. Really, they were the perfect storm needed to beat last year’s Patriots).

For the Eagles, the same could happen, though a bit differently. Andy Reid and the offensive line could find a way to better utilize and execute a running game. Donovan could start showing up in the first quarter; I mean, honestly, if he played a consistent 4 quarters, was able to make a few more plays down the stretch, and got this team into the playoffs, he’d have had himself a pretty nice season. He’s already having a pretty good one – 2372 yards, 13 TD’s, 5 INT’s, a 90.7 QB rating. They need to find a way to convert short-yardage plays – it killed them against the Bears, and again against the Giants. Three-and-outs that chew up little or no clock tax the defense, and in turn, the defense needs to be able to consistently stop the other team’s running attack. The Giants absolutely gashed us. It was ugly.

So that’s it – the schedule is challenging, but one that can be conquered. Our issues exist, but they are not  beyond repair. This team still has a very good chance at making the playoffs, and if they get hot in a lukewarm NFC, they have a dreamer’s chance at making the Superbowl. I wouldn’t start making reservations, but I wouldn’t write this team off just yet, either.

Maybe them radio folks aren’t right at all.

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The Week in Review (9/15/08 – 9/21/08)

No-Show/s of the Week

So, he’s been the ace for the second-half of the season. That makes this harder. But Brett Myers, you can’t give up 10 runs in 4 innings of work against the Marlins. I know, the Marlins have been hot, and you were due to get hit hard one of these games, but this is a bit much. Everyone has off days, I am privy to that; but you can’t be this off, especially when every game is so valuable. The offense scored 8 runs, which should almost always be enough to win. Hopefully, Brett will take it for what it was – one bad start – and focus on the next one. I truly believe that, if Brett maintains his dominance, Cole Hamels keeps finding ways to win, and Jamie Moyer continues to be the ageless blessing he’s been all season, this team could legitimately make a run to the Series.

Stud/s of the Week

The entire Eagles defense and Jim Johnson. 9 sacks, a safety and 3 turnovers against the Steelers will get you Stud recognition every week. We’ll just ignore the fact that technically Monday night’s game against the Cowboys falls within the dates I listed in the title; they more than made up for it this week. The front four generated a rush on its own; Big Ben never knew where the blitz was coming from; Dawkins was soaring through the air and causing mayhem; Asante Samuel made a beautiful interception; Willie Parker had 20 rushing yards. 20! And they didn’t allow a touchdown. As dominating a performance, against a good team, as I have seen from this unit in a while. They were solid across the board, and will need to be again next week, as a game against the Bears, potentially without Brian Westbrook, will probably be another defensive struggle.

My All-Encompassing Thought of the Week

This isn’t about Philly, but bears mentioning – last night was the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Now, you may not like the Yankees; God knows I don’t. But it is still sad for me to think that a place that fielded the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, and yes, we’ll someday say Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, will no longer be hosting MLB games. Yankee Stadium is our Colosseum, though it wasn’t a place where warriors were beloved for defying death and committing acts of violence. (Editor’s note: That sounds more like a description of the Vet and its fans). No, Yankee Stadium was a place where perhaps otherwise ordinary men captured the imaginations of people everywhere while playing a child’s game. Where Babe Ruth, a man who looked more akin to the chubby guy on the corner playing cards than a great athlete, represented an American love of excess and just having a good time. For every home run, there was a beer, a woman, and a hot dog to go along with it. Yet the measure of his power, especially when compared to his peers, will likely never be duplicated. Babe Ruth often hit more homers in a season than some teams did, and did so without ever missing a good time. A deity amongst mere mortals. Contrast him to Lou Gehrig, who’s work ethic and consistency perfectly mirrored the blue-collar lifestyle of so many Americans. Fittingly, Gehrig was vastly underrated, and remains so, though I believe him to be one of the five greatest hitters ever. Than there was the tragic figure of Mickey Mantle, whose Herculean abilities were only stymied by his constant injuries and habits. Yet, if you ask anybody who ever saw him play to describe the experience, they will remember it with a certain degree of awe and reverence that is rarely reserved for athletes. Certainly, we all admire the athletic prowess of our favorite sports figures, but to hear someone talk of Mantle is to hear them describe something more than simply a ball player; he was Superman, a man lacking weakness on the diamond. And yet, he was also the protagonist in his own tale of Greek mythology, befallen by tragic flaws but an important reminder that even the most spectacular of us is simply human. Joltin’ Joe dated Marilyn Monroe and hit in 56 straight game; Yogi Berra was always a quip away from profundity.

The Yankees, and how they’re received outside of New York, are strangely representative of America itself. Many people don’t like them, but they win more than they lose, and many of the most important accomplishments in baseball history have come from their players. They’re the big spenders, the guys with money, the team that’s got it made. And yet, much as they are despised, they have traditionally set the bar for success in baseball. The best players in baseball want to play for them. Any true fan of a team from another city will tell you that they despise the Yankees; what they won’t mention is how much they respect them, at least their legacy. Farewell to Yankee Stadium; you may now take your place next to all of the greats you hosted, firmly entrenched in both baseball and American history, and perhaps more fittingly, forever etched in our imaginations.

My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week

It doesn’t bother me one bit that the Yankees will miss the playoffs this year.

Moment of the Week

Yesterday was awesome, and frightening, but mostly awesome. The Eagles D looked great, but seeing both Westbrook and McNabb leave the field with potential injuries was horrifying. The Phillies won, but Lidge sure made it more exciting than it needed to be. So, after three games, the Eagles look like, if they stay healthy, one of the NFC’s top teams, and the Phillies, with 6 games left and leads of 1 1/2 in the division and 3 over the Brewers for the wildcard, look as though they’re headed to the postseason (Editor’s note: Somebody knock on some frickin’ wood, for God’s sake!). I mean, the following things happened yesterday: Big Ben was hit so many times by Eagles defenders, he had to leave the game; we beat the pesky Marlins and don’t have to play them again until next year; the Mets’ bullpen blew another game. A beautiful Sunday, and though it most certainly is not always sunny in Philadelphia, it sure as hell is today.

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