Tag Archives: Jason Avant

You say Houshmandzadeh, I say Houshmandnada – The Pundit isn’t so sure he’s the right fit

We’ve already discussed the possibility of Julius Peppers or Jordan Gross being added to the mix next season. Now I want to talk about another guy, one I think will probably be the popular choice among Eagles’ fans: T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

houshmandzadeh

And I’m just gonna come out and say it – I don’t really think he would make this team that much better. Continue reading

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A game for the Birds – The Pundit projects an Eagles win in his NFC Championship Preview

While pondering how the Eagles vs. Cardinals game will go down, I hit a few bumps on the objective road I attempt to navigate. (Editor’s note: Oh, right, Objective Road…that intersects with Corny Cliche Lane, right?) Number one: I really want the Eagles to win. Number two: I really can’t imagine the Cardinals making the Super Bowl. I mean, I can’t fathom it. It’s this odd combination of their regular season, and the, ahem, shoddy past of the organization.

Try as I might, I just can’t foresee the Eagles losing. Which is probably not a good thing.

By the way, has this felt like the longest friggin’ week ever to anyone else? The Giants game seems like a lifetime ago. I think it’s because all I can really think about right now is football, and much of the city seems to have the same mindset. To any aspiring criminals out there – I suggest planning heists for Sunday, say between three and seven. Should go down without a hitch.

But don’t wear red. ‘Cuz on Sunday, that’ll get ya beat. The preview after the jump.

Don't even think about it, buddy.

Don't be tryin' to steal anything around here wearing those colors, buddy - Philly ain't havin' none of it this week.

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Why can’t us? E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES WIN, BABY!!! The Pundit has some quick hits from the game

Ohhhhhhhhh, baby. The Eagles knocked off the Giants, 23-11, and are headed to the NFC Championship game to take on the Cardinals.

Holy friggin’ crap, man.

I’m still having a hard time believing we made the playoffs, and now we’re one win away from the Super Bowl. The SUPER BOWL! Damn I’m hyped.

Some quick hits here, because I’m super friggin’ juiced right now and can’t give a complete recap: Continue reading

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It wasn’t always pretty, but it was positive in the end – The Pundit wraps up the Eagles win

I’ve got to say – this game went pretty much the way I expected it to. The Eagles stuffed the run for the most part, allowing Adrian Peterson to only get loose once on a long TD run. “All Day?” More like “A Play.” Jim Johnson’s blitz scheme forced Tarvaris Jackson into a bad interception, and Asante made up for his drop against the Redskins by taking it to the house. The defense is playing lights out football right now – they’ve been spectacular. Continue reading

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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 Week in Review

After my Saturday hiatus, I have returned to wrap up the week. Let’s get to it, kids.

The No-Show of the week goes to Jimmy Rollins. In all sincerity, this is not an effort to pile on after the “frontrunning” debacle. Fact is, Jimmy batted 3-24 last week with no extra-base hits, no walks (he was hit by one pitch) and no RBI’s. He did score 3 runs, which is extremely frustrating in its own right, because when he gets on base, the Phils tend to knock him in – he sets the proverbial table. (Editor’s note: I can never remember where you put the damn fork). That, and a lead-off hitter should get on base more than 4 times in a week, plain and simple.

The Stud of the Week is a split between Usain Bolt and Cole Hamels. Bolt set three world records (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay), and did so with relative ease. He’s not only the fastest man in the world, he is, at least for now, the fastest man ever. That’s friggin’ impressive. Still, not only do I like to reserve this award for local guys, but also for, um, citizens of this country (Editor’s note: Patriotic…or prejudiced? Judge for yourselves, people). Thus, Hamels takes the second half of this award. In two starts this week, Hamels threw 15 innings, surrendering 12 hits but allowing only three runs with no walks and eight K’s. The Phillies won each of his starts.

The All-Encompassing Thought of the Week goes back out to the Olympics. With the games coming to a close, The Pundit can’t help but get a little bit weepy (Editor’s note: Is it really neccesary to admit that?). Sure, the US underachieved a bit in track and field, but hey, Bryan Clay won the decathlon, the event in which the winner is dubbed “The Greatest Athlete in the World.” That’s pretty cool. And the Redeem Team (Editor’s note: Everytime I hear that name, I envision a large line of elderly women at a grocery store, fumbling for their coupon books) straight-up handled their business, knocking off Spain 118-107 in a game that was exciting and often a bit too close for comfort. US basketball may never dominate the world the way that the Dream Team once did, but something certainly felt restored and in its rightful place as the Redeem Team had their Olympic Golds placed around their neck. China not only put on a great show, but showed up as well, dominating the Gold medal count. That being said, the US performed admirably and finished with the highest overall medal count. Hold your heads high, American Olympians – we are all proud of your performances and the manner in which you carried yourselves. You represented us well. We were treated to breathtaking performances, enthralling finishes and fascinating storylines (Editor’s note: God, this whole segment sounds soooooooooooooo corny and cliche…but I think its true), and I for one will miss them.  Wait, what’s that you say? You say its just about time for football season? Welp, see you in London, Olympics (Editor’s note: Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do).

The Painfully Specific Thought of the Week is an NFL ditty. (Editor’s note: A ditty? What the hell is a ditty?) Let’s take a quick look at the statistics put up by the Eagles opening day receiving corps in 2007, and compare them to Mr. Boldin.

Reggie Brown: 61 receptions for 780 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Hank Baskett: 16 receptions for 161 yards and 1 touchdown.

DeSean Jackson: Rookie

Jason Avant: 23 receptions for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns

Greg Lewis: 13 receptions for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns

Total: 113 receptions for 1473 yards and 10 touchdowns

Anquan Boldin: 71 receptions for 853 yards and 9 touchdowns. Oh, and he missed 4 games, so if he had stayed healthy, he would have likely finished with about 95 catches for 1150 yards and 13 touchdowns. They have a word for something like this…oh, right, upgrade. Yup, it was upgrade. (Editor’s note: I don’t think he’s going to let this one go).

The Moment of the Week goes to the kick return of Quintin Demps and the punt return of DeSean Jackson. It was really exciting to see the Eagles do something positive on special teams, and the return by Demps was just awesome. I wasn’t able to see it happen live, but Merrill Reese, as he always does, made it extremely exciting to listen to. Before the Demps return, he said something to the tune of “I would really like to see a kick return here.” A few seconds later, and Mr. Reese had his wish. Then, before the punt return, he again said “Hey, you know what? I’d like to see a punt return, too.” Mike Quick chided him, telling him to save some of his luck for the regular season, but it was too late – DeSean Jackson was already weaving his way to the endzone. This prompted Reese to jokingly exclaim, “I’d like to be six foot four!” The man always had golden pipes; who knew they were so damn lucky?

I won’t be doing links in the morning, as I have to get up earlier then usual for work, but they’ll be back on Tuesday. Make sure to check in tomorrow night for my Fantasy Football preview. I know its a bit late to bust this out, but I didn’t want to give away any of my Golden Nuggets of Genius (Editor’s note: cough) before I had my own draft. Since I know many of you probably already had your draft, I’ll bust out my top 25 and focus on sleepers I think you should pay attention to. Also, a full NFL preview is in the works – should be exciting. (Editor’s note: Why, I’m practically lactating with enthusiasm!)

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Filed under Eagles, MLB, NFL, Olympics, Phillies, The Week in Review

EmBoldin-ing the Passing Game

When the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens in 2004, it was a the perfect move at the perfect time. Owens had outstayed his visit in San Francisco and wanted the chance to win a championship; the Eagles had been defeated by the Carolina Panthers the year before in the NFC Championship in a large part due to their inadequate (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s being nice) receiving corps. It was the perfect marriage, at least for the time being.

Fast-forward to, um, right now (Editor’s note: Observe the use of the cheesy and overused phrase employed by many journalists and media folks to transition between two similar events in different time periods – fascinating). The Eagles have just lost their top receiver, Kevin Curtis, for likely a minimum of six weeks due to a sports hernia. Meanwhile, Reggie Brown is nursing a sore hamstring, though he is expected to be ready for the opener. Still, the idea of going into the first quarter of the season with Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis, DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant as our receivers is frightening, to say the least (Editor’s note: I might bump it up to horrifying).

Going back in time for a moment (Editor’s note: Hop in the Delorean, kids), Donovan McNabb wasted little time after last season calling for more weapons. Oh, and though it seems unrelated at the moment, Lito Shepherd spent much of his offseason mired in contract disputes / trade rumors (Editor’s note: The pieces will fall into place, my minions). And now, with Curtis getting injured, and a premium wide receiver disgruntled with his current situation, a perfect storm is brewing.

That’s right, I’m talking about a trade for Anquan Boldin. (Editor’s note: Gasp! Wow, that just totally surprised me!). Lito for Anquan, straight up. Or however else you want to do it. Just do it, Eagles. Damnit, just do it! (Editor’s note: Lucy, could you get The Pundit his stress ball, the Xanax and some string cheese? Yeah, he’s having another panic attack).

It’s not as though this is an entirely new thought. Sal Paolantonio, in an interview on Monday night with Dan Levy, before the Curtis injury was released, already thought the Birds were in talks with the Cardinals, and, in the least, were “exploring” their options.

Now, the Eagles did bring in DeSean Jackson through the draft, who has looked promising during the preseason. But, in an effort to lessen fan expectations after his quick preseason start (Editor’s note: And, had any Boldin whispers reached camp, to perhaps endorse that option), McNabb reminded everyone of how difficult it can be to succeed as a rookie receiver. Translation: DeSean isn’t the answer this year. He’ll help, but he probably isn’t going to set the world on fire.

So, let’s recap quickly: Curtis is done for a spell, Reggie Brown is nursing a hammy, the top move to improve the receiving corps is likely a developmental project, the quarterback already asked for more playmakers, the fans want playmakers, a playmaker is asking out of Arizona, and the Eagles have a Pro-Bowler who was already being shopped around plus two first round picks next year.

Um, that looks like a perfect frickin’ storm to me.

Now, there are reasons out there for why this might not happen (Editor’s note: He meant to say “won’t happen”). For one, the Eagles may not want to deal with an agent who shall remain nameless. As well, they may not want to meet Boldin’s demands for a new contract. The Cardinals may look at their depth chart behind Boldin, realize they don’t really have a depth chart behind Boldin, and decide they’d rather pony up. Or, they may have little desire to make a move for Lito Shepherd, who would certainly want a new contract. If that were the case, but they were still willing to make the move, but only for draft picks, the Eagles may balk at giving up a first round pick, which the Cardinals would probably ask for.

It’s a longshot, but man would it be sweet. Consider this: Donovan McNabb’s best year was his fling with TO in 2004. He finished with career highs in completion percentage (64.0%), yards (3875), touchdowns (31) and quarterback rating (104.7). TO stretched the field, demanded double teams that freed up other players, and made big plays after the catch.  He finished that year, in 14 games, with 77 catches for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns. Anquan Boldin would likely add a similar spark. Boldin has impressive career marks, and when calculating his career average over a 16 game span, you get 97 receptions, 1284 yards and 7 touchdowns (Editor’s note: The Pundit just giggled…I’m not even kidding). He’s a beast after the catch and seems to be a pretty stand-up guy.

Make it happen, Birds – these perfect storms don’t blow into town very often.

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