Tag Archives: Bears

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The radio hosts and their faithful lackeys will tell you that Andy Reid is washed up as a coach, that his scheme is outdated and his player personnel decisions are shaky, at best.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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Eagles, NFL

Absolutely Infuriating – Quick Hits from the Eagles Game

– This was one of the more frustrating games I have watched in a long time. The Eagles offense, minus Brian Westbrook, could not capitalize on the opportunities they were given. The defense provided four turnovers. We had three chances from the 1 to take the lead, and we blew it. David Akers missed 2 field goals. Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

– Donovan McNabb’s body language was not pretty as the game went along. He looked frustrated and a bit hobbled.

– A lot of Donovan’s throws were less than stellar, but there were too many drops by Eagles receivers and tight ends.

– The ups-and-downs of DeSean Jackson are exhilarating and debilitating to watch. He is really fast around the corner on the reverses, and he darted behind the defense on the first quarter touchdown catch. But he had a few drops, and he did not look good fielding punts. Obviously, there was the fumble, but he also let one roll that cost the Eagles a substantial chunk of real estate. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, for better and for worse (Editor’s note: Nickname idea – DeSean “Wall Street” Jackson. Sure, he’s been money, but his actions have also caused confusion and despair for those trusting in him).

– I’m sure Chicago fans were pretty pissed off watching this game also, as every time it seemed as though the Bears had a golden opportunity to seize control of the game, they somehow blew it. Case in point: after taking an interception to the Eagles 11, already up by a touchdown, Kyle Orton throws a pick in the end zone. It seemed at times as if neither team wanted to win this game.

– Give Chicago’s defense credit. They pressured McNabb and stifled the run game. They stood tall at the goal line and assured the win. In a season where there does not appear to be many teams standing above the pack, this Bears’ defense should keep in the playoff discussion as the season progresses.

– Omar Gaither, you did everything you could to help the Eagles win this game. Every time the defense made a big play, you seemed to be in the middle of it. If you can continue to play with the energy and nose for the ball you exhibited tonight, the Eagles defense will be really tough.

– Nice job Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Kept the pressure on Orton for most of the night, especially in the second half. This was the second straight week I have been impressed by the play of the front four and the pressure they generated on the QB – when they are capable of getting to the passer on their own, it enables the Eagles to be more selective with their blitz schemes. This keeps the offense on their toes, as it eliminates obvious blitzing situations and allows the defense to disguise both their blitzes and their drops into coverage.

– Correll Buckhalter, I said it last week and I’ll say it again: I love the heart, baby. Love the way you play the game. You aren’t Westbrook, but you give us everything you have, and that’s all we expect.

– I felt as though the Eagles should have gone for the early 4th and 1 instead of trying 50 yarder that Akers ended up missing in the first half. Even if you don’t get the first down, you still give up possession deeper in Bears territory than you do if you miss the field goal.

– How, in God’s name, with three chances from the one to score, do you not get in? And how, in three plays, is one of them not play-action? The Bears are a tough defense, and you knew they would stack the line; I don’t care which play it was, why not try the play-action? Didn’t understand that, and I think it may have cost us the game. That, and we squandered a slew of other golden opportunities.

– This was what I call an Infuriating Game. Your team blows all of its chances, yet continues to get more, and then blows them. Every time you think you’ve got the game in control, the team squanders a key opportunity. You know that your team should be winning, but can’t stop beating itself. You find yourself daydreaming a Brian Westbrook highlight reel, as Aerosmith blasts I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing in your imagination. (Editor’s note: Alright, that’s just frightening). But it was more than just this game – it blew my perfect weekend trifecta. The Phillies clinched while the Mets blew the wildcard (Editor’s note: Trying…so…hard….to…be…classy…BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, they blew it again!), Penn State looked extremely impressive against Illinois and moved to number six in the polls, and then the Eagles went out and beat the Bears. Except they didn’t. Ah, what can you do? Two out of three ain’t bad.

– Bring on the Redskins, they of the outdated, innapropriate, and totally racist moniker. At least they don’t play in our nation’s capital. Oh, shit. They do. Right. Good work, guys.

1 Comment

Filed under Eagles, NFL