That’s not a lie. I was working late last night, so I had no idea, but sure enough, it’s true.
Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Continue reading
ASSociated Press — In a surprising announcement earlier today, the Philadelphia Flyers have released the injured groin of Daniel Briere.
The move comes after Briere – who has played in only 12 games this season due to injury – reaggrevated the groin last evening in the Flyers 5-1 loss against Calgary. Though initially reported to be a day-to-day setback, the organization has decided to cut ties with the oft-injured groin.
“Obviously, this wasn’t an easy decision for the Flyers or for Danny Briere, but in the end, we felt that it was the best decision for all parties,” said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Continue reading
Michael Smith, apparently the man in the know these days, has reported that the Cowboys are cutting TO. Ah, how the mighty have fallen. Here at The Pattison Pundit, I am reporting that, according to my sources (Editor’s note: Insert hyperactive imagination here), TO is reportedly blaming this roster cut on secretive meetings Karma has been having with Jerry Jones. Per my sources:
What it boils down to, according to TO, is that Jones, after a disappointing season, began to consult with Karma, who was recently brought into the fold in an advisory role to evaluate the team’s chemistry. TO, who has had very rough encounters with Karma in the past, is assuming that the appointment of Karma is responsible for his removal from the Cowboys.
Interesting stuff. Ah, but it gets better. Continue reading
So Mr. Favre is retiring…again. Right. I’ll believe it when the Jets (Editor’s note: Or Vikings and Bears, for that matter) take their first snap without him next season. It’s probably time that Brett “The Gritman” Favre took his leave – his last few years in the league have been clouded by too much controversy and conflict. It kind of hampered the whole “boyish exuberance” thing he had going for him out on the field.
And that’s why we all loved him, wasn’t it?
So, in honor of Favre’s “retirement,” I’ve come up with some other news of the ol’ double-quote variety. We’ll call it the “Broken News.” In other words, here are some headlines that you would probably be wary of, and likely doubt almost instantly, were you to read them in the paper or on your computer. To the back page!
Pac-Man Jones claims he’s cleaned up act, changed lifestyle
O.J. Simpson swears he’s innocent
Of anything. It doesn’t matter what – you wouldn’t believe him. He could say he was black, and you wouldn’t believe him. Nope, you would just shake your head at him in disappointed disbelief, the same way your grandparents did when they knew you were lying.
Accused Ballplayer X denies knowing substances were banned, insists everyone was doing it.
Eagles Front Office, Andy Reid says team is “close” Continue reading
As noted before, I’m a huge fan of the NFL draft – but it’s way too soon to predict, with any semblance of accuracy, what will actually happen. This is what I came up with instead. (Find Part One here)
17. New York Jets – With the 17th pick, the Jets have selected: A designated scapegoat. Literally, they drafted some guy off of the street for the sole purpose of blaming all of their problems on him. Genius move – why didn’t Mangini think of this?
18. Chicago Bears – With the 18th pick, the Bears have selected: Jim McMahon. And his super cool shades. Why the hell not?
So, meandering about the Internet last night, I stumbled upon a BS Report with an author I dig, Chuck Klosterman. By the way, if you don’t know Klosterman, check him out some time – pretty good stuff.
Anyway, during the course of his lengthy and wandering convo with Simmons, the topic of Chris Webber – namely, his own personal evaluation of his career – came up. In essence, the two were discussing whether or not Webber would view his own career as a success, despite the fact that many fans would chide his legacy based on the enormous amount of potential he never seemed to quite live up to.
Which led Klosterman to bring up Donovan McNabb. Continue reading
Stewart Bradley is a multi-tasker. Skip to about the 8:45 mark on the audio below from an interview of Bradley on the Jody Mac show on 950 ESPN Radio, and listen for a certain whooshing sound. Maybe he thought it was a shitty interview? (Editor’s note: Or maybe he was just in a pissy mood).
More Eagles thoughts after the jump…
Rant (with a few blurbs from The Pundit)
At one of the Packers’ recent press conferences, head coach Mike McCarthy made a statement about the Packers dropping games, noting, “It’s November, we need to be winning football games.” I thought, damn straight man, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. Here’s some insight on how Rant thinks it will all go down. And going down the last quarter stretch of the season, we get to separate the men from the boys, which is always fun, if you ask me. (Editor’s note: Are the men or the boys more fun for you, Rant?)
NFC Playoff Picture
New York Giants (11-1)
The Giants have hunger and character. They were not, nor will they ever be, satisfied with their Super Bowl win. Eli Manning took a huge step during the 2007 postseason, and has now joined his brother in top-tier QB status. This is the best overall team in the NFL at this juncture, and it just so happens that they play in the toughest division in the league, as well.
Eli Manning is chucking the ball to whomever he wants, and has developed a good rapport with second year man Steve Smith, journeyman Domenik Hixon and the ageless Amani Toomer. (Editor’s note: And now, without Plaxico around, it’s safe once again to use the shotgun. Ahhhh, making fun of Plax really is a blast). Then there’s the powerful running game led by “Earth, Wind, and Fire” as they say in New York, and their ridiculous defense. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola has the perfect blend of youth and experience on his defense right now. The Giants will continue to execute, and in turn, will win games. They won’t wow anybody with finesse, but they’ll smash people in the jaw during the playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Philadelphia (W), at Dallas (W), vs. Carolina (W), at Minnesota (L)
The Giants will further assert themselves over the next three games, then Coughlin will rest his starters and allow the Vikings to get into the playoffs by dropping a loss in Minnesota.
Final Record: 14-2
Playoff Spot: No. 1 Seed; NFC East Division Champion
The Pundit’s Take: I agree with Rant – the Giants are playing too well right now to doubt them. But are they peaking too soon?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Any winning team led by the always consistent Jeff Garcia is dangerous, especially with that tenacious Tampa D. Look for the Bucs to take their division in the next couple of weeks and head into the playoffs with confidence. Their 4th ranked defense is going to scare some teams, compounded by the fact that Jeff Garcia does not turn the ball over. (Editor’s note: He’s only thrown 3 picks this year, and only 9 in his last 30 games. Impressive. Hey, if it smells like a game-manager, and looks like a game-manager…)
They have a great 1-2 punch in running backs Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, and Antonio Bryant is probably the best wide receiver nobody knows. (Editor’s note: May be better for him that way – when people know about him, it’s normally for the wrong reasons). But Tampa’s defense will have to step up if their offense starts to struggle in the playoffs, and I think they’ll do it. This is a solid team that will continue to play consistent football into the playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: at Carolina (W), at Atlanta (W), vs. San Diego (W), vs. Oakland
The Bucs will assert their control on the NFC South with a good win over Carolina on Monday, and win out the rest of this season if Jon Gruden decides he doesn’t need to rest his starters the last game of the season.
Final Record: 13-3
Playoff Spot: No. 2 Seed; NFC South Division Champion
The Pundit’s Take: I agree, though I think they lose the last week of the season, resting their starters, as the Giants will already have top seed in the playoffs locked up. They settle for the two-seed at 12-4.
Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
This team is all about Kurt Warner right now, who is statistically up there with Drew Brees this year. (Editor’s note: And a possible MVP candidate). Ken Wisenhunt decided to go with Warner over Matt Leinart, and it’s paying dividends. By the way, I don’t know what is wrong with Leinart; when he got drafted, I thought he was the most NFL-ready QB I’d ever seen. (Editor’s note: Hmmmm…statue in the pocket, not a very strong arm, came in thinking he was a playboy instead of being a player). Anyway, Warner is having success in large part because of stud receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. That being said, I don’t think the offensive line isn’t getting enough credit, led by second-year tackle Levi Brown out of Penn State (YEAH BOY!).
Despite their pass-blocking abilities, the O-line hasn’t helped the one-dimensional Cardinals support much of a run game. This and their lack of consistenty on defense will bite this team in the playoffs after they finally win their division after years of people predicting them to do so. It would be cheap to say that anybody could win the NFC West, because the Cardinals are playing good football, at least offensively. We’ll just ignore their horrible game here in Philly.
Remaining Schedule: vs. St. Louis (W), vs. Minnesota (W), at New England (L), vs. Seattle
Winning 3 of their last 4 will amp up the Cardinals for the playoffs, allowing this team to bounce back from their reality check this past Thursday in Philly.
Final Record: 10-6
NFC Playoff Spot: No. 3 Seed; NFC West Division Champion
The Pundit’s Take: I agree again. It’s as though we’ve been discussing football a lot lately, or something. St. Louis and Seattle are gimme’s, the Patriots will have too much at stake for the Cardinals to beat them, and they will feast on Minnesota’s 21st ranked pass defense.
Minnesota Vikings (7-5)
Looking back now, we all know that Tavaris Jackson was a letdown, but what else has kept this team mediocre? They boast arguably the best run-blocking O-line in the NFL and arguably the best runner in Adrian Peterson. But QB and receiver is a problem for Minnesota’s offense. Gus Frerotte has filled in adequately, but certainly cannot be asked to do much more than manage a game. Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian are decent wideouts, but nothing that will scare defenses. The Vikings will suffer in playoff contention, as defenses will be keying on the run, making it difficult for this team to survive.
Minnesota’s defense is the team’s stronger side, but was just weakened with the loss of DT tandem Pat and brotha-from-anotha-motha Kevin Williams. Unfortunately for Minnesota, that suspension is for the rest of the regular season, all for using a diuretic that masks steroids in urine testing. These two guys are behemoths in the middle of Minnesota’s stifling D-Line, averaging 6’4″ and 314 pounds between them – that’s a lot of man to move (Editor’s note: Two things here: first of all, that’s what she said. Second, I gotta think they were using the diuretics for weight loss, and not to get stronger – each are already gargantuan). The D’s strongest point has just been broken, but it won’t be enough to stop this team from winning their division.
Vikings Remaining Schedule: at Detroit (W), at Arizona (L), Atlanta (L), New York
What will help this team is their piss-poor division. Like the Cardinals in the pathetic NFC West, the Vikings will almost win their division by default, though Chicago will be nipping at their heals. This will take Brad Childress off the hot seat temporarily. (Editor’s note: Is he on already?) I see the Vikings beating Detroit (duh) and a resting New York team the last game of the season, but losing at Arizona and against Atlanta because of their losses on the defensive line.
Final Record: 9-7
NFC Playoff Spot: No. 4 Seed; NFC North Division Champion
The Pundit’s Take: In agreement once more. Arizona will go pass-happy on them, beating them in a shoot-out, and Atlanta will pound the ball right up the gut, where the Williams Wall used to be.
Carolina Panthers (9-3)
Next in line, the fake Carolina Panthers. Fake, you say? Yeah, because they are faking fans and Vegas betters alike that they’re a semi-legit team, which they really aren’t (Editor’s note: For reference, check their cake schedule: their best wins this year are against Arizona, Atlanta and Chicago. They don’t have one big, signature win). Jake Delhomme is too inconsistent to lead this team to playoff glory, and though he has put up solid numbers this year, you don’t know what kind of performance he’s gonna give you from one game to the next.
The Panthers have retained a solid defensive unit the past couple of years, led by beast Julius Peppers. And fortunately for the Panthers, they’ve picked up a great ground game this year, though I seriously doubt it will be enough for this team to make a big playoff run. Still, this season has probably moved John Fox off the hot seat for another year. Don’t get too comfortable though, John – you still need a more consistent QB if you wanna stay in Raleigh.
Remaining Schedule: Tampa Bay (L), vs. Denver (W), at NY Giants (L), at New Orleans
The Panthers will show their inferiority against Tampa and New York, but will earn a playoff spot with their win at New Orleans the last game of the season. Some people might think Carolina will lose this game, but I think the Panthers will run the ball effectively against a porous Saints D, keeping the ball out of the hands of the ever-dangerous Drew Brees.
Final Record: 11-5
NFC Playoff Spot: No. 5 Seed; Wild Card Seed No. 1
The Pundit’s take: Agree, though I can’t stop focusing on the Denver game. If they get a hot Denver team, they may be in trouble. A cold Denver team is an easy win for them. I think they make the playoffs at 11-5.
Washington Redskins (7-5)
The always interesting Redskins; they show dominance, then they come out flat. The only thing I can tell about this team is that they’re good, but don’t have the identity or mentality to win a championship. New head coach Jim Zorn has done well in his first year with Washington, but his team can’t seem to quite put it all together at once. Jason Campbell is playing well, but he still hasn’t gotten to the level where he can lead the team to victory on his own. Clinton Portis has been running all over people, but his multiple injuries are coming to the surface at the wrong time.
The defense is looking good, especially after acquiring castoff CB DeAngelo Hall, adding great depth in the defensive secondary. I’m still not sure why they went after 34 year-old Jason Taylor, but I’m not calling the shots in Washington, owner Dan Snyder is. Snyder is still convinced that overspending on free agent players and coaches, along with drafting overrated college receivers, is the quick and easy way to win a championship. Sorry Dan, but there is no easy button for Super Bowl winners.
Remaining Schedule: at Baltimore (L), at Cincinnati (W), vs. Philadelphia (W), at San Francisco
The Skins will lose this Sunday at Baltimore with or without a banged-up Clinton Portis, but will rattle off 3 straight victories and get into the playoffs. The Redskins get the nod over Dallas in the Wild Card tiebreaker because they will finish with a better division record: Washington 3-3, Dallas 2-4. The Redskins then get the spot over Atlanta in the Wild Card tie breaker because they will finish with more wins in conference, 8 to 6. What a mess of shit my predictions brought along with them!
Final Record: 10-6
NFC Playoff Spot: No. 6 Seed; Wild Card Seed No. #2
The Pundit’s Take: This is where I begin to differ with Rant. I don’t see the Redskins beating Baltimore, but the game that will haunt them is their match-up with the Eagles, who I think will exact revenge against the ‘Skins. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t see the Eagles running the table to finish the season. However, they probably should have beat them the first time around, and who knows if Portis will be healthy for round two. That, and the Eagles defense has cranked it up a few notches since their last meeting. I see the ‘Skins finishing at 9-7 and missing the playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
Maybe Terrell Owens is right when he says he needs to get the ball in order for the Cowboys to win. Regardless, the soon to be 35 year-old shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, a benefit from keeping his body in peak physical condition year round. Oh yeah, and his quarterback isn’t going to be slowing down either. Romo is back to his loose and mobile self once more after returning from a broken finger on his throwing hand. I don’t know if Wade Phillips and Jerry Jones gathered their team together the past couple of weeks to try and rid themselves of the off field crap, but this team is getting some momentum going at the right time.
We all know what the Cowboys are capable of and look for them to make a statement down the stretch. I don’t think it will be enough to take the division from the Giants, but I do see this team grabbing an NFC Wildcard spot if they can beat the Eagles in Philly the last game of the season; unfortunately for this team, it won’t be able to do that. Andy Reid will want to give his city something to celebrate and give McNabb a nice sendoff gift before he is kicked out of town. The Eagles will play fired-up football and knock Dallas out of playoff contention, ending Philly’s season on a high note.
Remaining Schedule: at Pittsburgh (W), vs. NY Giants (L), vs. Baltimore (W), at Philadelphia (L)
Dallas will beat Pittsburgh convincingly, lose a squeaker to the Giants, then crush Baltimore. But losing in Philadelphia will drive a steak into their playoff hearts, adding yet another saga to the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry.
Final Record: 10-6
NFC Playoff Spot: OUT
The Pundit’s Take: Again, I can’t agree with Rant. The Cowboys have a BRUTAL finish to their season, but I think they’re about to catch fire. I think they win every game except a battle against the Giants. As much as I despise myself for even thinking it, I think they beat the Eagles with their own playoff spot hanging in the balance, finishing 11-5. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find some rope, a step-ladder and a high ceiling.
Atlanta Falcons (8-4)
Who would’ve thought we’d be talking about the Atlanta Falcons as a potential playoff team this year? Billionaire Arthur Blank found a good one in rookie head coach Mike Smith, who captured the trust of his team in a matter of months. Part of this must be due to players believing in a sound system that Smith has installed in Atlanta. The other part is probably due to Smith drafting rookie sensation Matt Ryan, who has gotten his team behind him faster than my friend the Pundit likes to get behind good-looking men at the bar. Oh, SNAP! (Editor’s note: Ahahahahahahaha.)
The Pundit’s Take: Alright Rant, I see what you did there. I’m not even going to retaliate. No sir, not my style. I won’t mention that Rant has Barbara Streisand’s entire library of music, or that he tried to mix me an appletini the other night. Nope…not going to stoop to his level.
The Falcons, led by phenom Matt Ryan, road-grader Michael Turner, and rising star receiver Roddy White, are truly this year’s Cinderella team. I’ve been saying even before the draft that Matt Ryan has whatever “it” is to be an NFL quarterback while many of my colleagues dissed me. Now I’m laughing in their faces about it because the kid seems to have his team in position for a playoff run. Oh yeah, and the rook has his team ranked 6th in total offense (9th in scoring). ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS GOOD AT SLINGING THE BALL!!!
But the Falcons fall short on the other side of the ball, with a 24th ranked defense; this will come back to haunt them. Doesn’t matter though, as the football starved fans in Atlanta are glad to move their franchise into a new chapter in Falcons history.
Remaining Schedule: at New Orleans (L), vs. Tampa Bay (L), at Minnesota (W), vs. St. Louis
The Falcons will drop two straight division losses, with a tight loss to the Saints and a huge defeat against the Bucs. Atlanta will then win its last two games, but it won’t be enough to beat out Washington for the remaining playoff spot.
Final Record: 10-6
NFC Playoff Spot: OUT
The Pundit’s Take: Yup, I see it the same way. New Orleans is tough at home, 5-1 below sea level this year. And Tampa Bay is more experienced and boasts a tough D. Hell of a season, though, especially for a team that is probably about two years ahead of schedule after the Mike Vick debacle and DeAngelo Hall’s unfriendly departure.
Chicago Bears (6-6)
Oh, da Bears. Another team I could care less about, and you should too. This team could win the struggling NFC North but are not a playoff team. The Bears still can’t field a consistent offense for 16 games, and it will stay that way until they get a real quarterback and some more playmakers. Matt Forte was a step in the right direction for the Bears’ offense, but quarterback and receiver remain an issue. (Editor’s note: Forte is the truth). Some people are sold on Kyle Orton, but I’m not; he’s not their answer at QB and he showed that against Minnesota this past Sunday.
The Bears will have to ride a heroic defensive effort if they want to make the playoffs, though it’s not as stingy as it has been the past couple of years, ranking 16th in total defense and points allowed. Unfortunately for Chicago, they’ll lose when they can’t score points for their slumping offense. This team seems to have some identity issues after making the Super Bowl two years ago.
Remaining Schedule: Jacksonville (W), New Orleans (L), Green Bay (W), at Houston (L)
I see the Bears dropping losses to New Orleans and Houston, moving to 8-8 on the season and losing their division and playoff hopes all in one. The momentum in the NFC North swung in the direction of Minnesota after Chicago’s forgettable performance this past Sunday at the hands of their division rival.
Final Record: 8-8
NFC Playoff Spot: OUT
The Pundit’s Take: I agree with the 8-8 record, though I would swap the Green Bay and Houston results.
Teams not mentioned:
Philadelphia and New Orleans: Each would need to run the table to make the playoffs, and I don’t see it happening.
The Pundit’s Take: Agreed.
Rant’s NFC Playoff Seeds
1. New York Giants
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. Minnesota Vikings
5. Carolina Panthers
6. Washington Redskins
The Pundit’s NFC Playoff Seeds
6. Panthers (How did the Cowboys edge the Panthers, each team possessing an identical record? Well, they didn’t play head-to-head, so that got tossed out. And they each finished 7-5 in my prediction. On to like foes: against GB, NYG, and TB, the Cowboys were 2-2, while the Panthers were 1-3).
Rant’s NFC Playoff Predictions
Wildcard Round: Panthers over Vikings, Cardinals over Redskins
Divisional Round: Giants over Panthers, Bucs over Cardinals
NFC Championship: New York over Tampa Bay
The Pundit’s Playoff Predictions
Wildcard Round: Cowboys over Vikings, Panthers over Cardinals
Divisional Round: Cowboys over Tampa Bay, Giants over Panthers
NFC Championship: Cowboys over Giants (The Cowboys will come into this game having won eight of their last nine games, and I don’t think the Giants can beat them three times in the same season. I don’t know, I just have a feeling this team is about to come to life. I really, really want to be wrong, and I’m hoping I’m jixing the living hell out of them).
Look for AFC predictions this evening.
I keep watching the Eagles this season, though I’m not sure why; all they do is anger me. I have one word that comes to mind when I think of their season thus far: bleh. They come out dull and bland, then they show some promise. I think I learned how to handle situations like this in Sunday school, though.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I will spit thee out of my mouth.”
– Revelation 3:15-16
(Editor’s note: I know I’m probably going to get struck by lightning for this one…but that’s what she said! Oh, snap).
Yep, since the Eagles are my excuse for not attending any church services, I figured I’d fit in some Bible time in my post to make up for it. That quote from the Book of Revelation pretty much sums up what I feel like doing with the Eagles performance this Sunday (and their season as a whole). Speaking of Revelation, I just had one myself: The Eagles better wake the fuck up and smell the coffee, because the writing is on the wall and the 2008 season is sinking straight into the Schuylkill.
It’s almost seems like they don’t want to win sometimes; like they got hired to look like they’re trying to win, but taught to lose the game. It reminds me of the South Park episode when the kids were tired of playing baseball, so they started trying to lose the game, only the other kids were all trying to lose as well, so it became a contest to see who could lose better. I mean, isn’t that what this game seemed like? (Editor’s note: Whaddya wanna do?)
So what needs to be fixed? The defense played well, registering 8 sacks and allowing only 282 yards of offense against the Bengals. McNabb has been playing well so far, but his 3 INT outing (plus a fumble) cost the Eagles the game. His reads and decision making have been questionable, but so has the play calling and receiving corps. The Eagles really need to be able to establish the line of scrimmage on offense, but Andy Reid is going to pass first anyway, so I say we need more passing options.
When McNabb is on his game, he is a top NFL quarterback. But McNabb needs his offense to be supporting him to do this, and this requires offensive chemistry. Fortunately, McNabb has developed some chemistry with his ho-hum receiving corp. Hell, McNabb has been working with average wideouts his entire career. The problem is, it’s harder to run the offense with piss-poor receivers when you don’t rely on your legs like you used to. Back in the day, teams struggled to defend the Eagles passing game because they had to waste defenders spying McNabb because of his ability to tuck the ball and run. But after ACL surgery, at the grand age of 31 (going on 32 next Tuesday), McNabb isn’t the scrambler he once was.
I understand that Andy Reid believes in development of his draft picks; I also understand that Reid believes in chemistry over pricey talent. But besides Westbrook, why have the Eagles not compensated for McNabb’s transition to the pocket passer role? It’s on the tongue of every Eagles fan: WE NEED A PRIMETIME WIDEOUT! In 2004, McNabb and Terrell Owens were UN-FUCKING-STOPPABLE. You know what a great veteran receiver has done for us in the past, so why not keep it going? That’s why The Pundit and I have started the “Help Donovan McNabb Fundraiser Drive”. It’s an anti non-profit organization aimed at raising enough money to lure in a top tier receiver with a lucrative signing bonus. (Editor’s note: How about the “Andy Reid Brain Surgery Fundraising Drive?” Maybe then we would commit to a friggin’ rushing attack to take some of the pressure off of Mr. McNabb).
NFL Football Notes
α: Eddie Royal has had a huge impact on Denver’s offense this year. He should garner some consideration for offensive rookie of the year. Granted, Matt Ryan or Chris Johnson will probably win it, but Royal has played great. He adds another weapon to Mike Shanahan’s scheme and is a great compliment to Brandon Marshall (and is a decent return man as well). He already has 56 receptions this season. In comparison, Brandon Stokely only has 71 receptions since starting for Denver last September.
γ: Why are the Giants so good? For one, they’re hungry, which is something that can’t be measured in yards or points. (Editor’s note: Only in Chunky Soup. Soon, you’ll be as sick of Chunky Soup jokes as I am of their damn commercials). They got it done last year against the Pats with one of the biggest upsets in NFL history, but they wouldn’t buy into the idea that they just got hot at the right time. They persisted and kept playing hard. A lot of this has to do with the team maturing, especially Eli Manning. Eli’s play last postseason was phenomenal and has remained at a high level since.
And as my friend The Pundit would say, the Giants bought into head coach Tom Coughlin’s system. Quite simply, they execute the game plan as drawn up, week in and week out. It was a bit surprising to me when this team fully bought into Coughlin’s vision, as he is known to run his teams with a drill sergeant attitude. Not only does he seem to have the players’ trust, but executive backing as well, considering they have stood behind Coughlin’s decisions regarding team rule violations (see Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey, etc.).
Plus, the defensive line, despite losing Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, has been superb. Justin Tuck has been one of the best players in the NFL this season, and is a huge reason this team is 9-1. The Giants ability to get consistent pressure from their front four has allowed their offense to play loose. Essentially, the defense allows the offense to relax a bit, knowing that they will probably get bailed out if Eli starts acting 12 again and slinging INT’s all over the field. Which he hasn’t as of yet; in fact, he’s been very, very good.
δ: The Washington Redskins starting defense on Sunday night included 7 former SEC football players. Wild. These SEC ball hawks really know how to fly around the football field.
So, I was planning on writing a tongue-in-cheek post about how the Sixers aren’t playing really well because no one cares about them yet, and won’t until the Eagles are done for the year. I was going to joke about how they were like a little kid who gets in trouble when Mom and Dad aren’t around, but behave well once they are. I was going to reference the slow start last year, and it was going to be a fine and dandy post.
But I’d rather just write about the Eagles.
Chad Johnson: An Eagle in 2009?
I mean, it sounds like he’d be down. An excerpt from the Philly Inquirer today:
But you can’t put it past McNabb, or for that matter Johnson, for trying to lay some groundwork for 2009. Johnson is under contract with the Bengals through 2011, and while they weren’t willing to trade Johnson this past off-season, one never knows what will happen after this season.
“I’ve always been a fan of [McNabb], and especially Philly,” Johnson said. “The fans in Philly are the real deal, and that would be a real joy to give them a treat.”
So are you back to saying you want to get traded, Chad?
“Oh, yeah. OK. Next question,” Johnson said.
Could I get into seeing The Human Being Formerly Known as Chad Johnson playing for the Eagles? Um, yeah, I suppose I could get used to the idea. But let’s be honest: the Eagles will go out and pick up a guy like Bobby Engram and be way, way too over hyped about the pick-up. Lorenzo Booker, anyone? Let’s be honest: we’ve all become totally jaded toward any personnel moves the Eagles make. Which is the perfect segue for the next boldfaced topic:
Is Andy Reid nearing his end?
Some people seem to think he should be. Like every radio host in Philadelphia not named Howard Eskin. And apparently, Jason Whitlock, who ranked Andy Reid as the worst coach in football this year. Wow.
Twice this season Reid has taken the game out of the hands of Donovan McNabb and tried to win at crunch time with his running game. Here’s a coach who loves to throw on damn near every down except when the game is on the line. I also blame Reid for the Eagles failing to trade a second-round draft pick for Tony Gonzalez. Other than the one season with Terrell Owens, McNabb has made a living throwing the ball to the James Thrashes of the world. It’s ridiculous. I’m convinced the Eagles don’t want to win it all.
Now, I haven’t exactly been pleased with Andy Reid and many of his decisions this year, and I wouldn’t have given up a number two for Tony Gonzalez (Editor’s note: I guess The Pundit doesn’t think his shit stinks or something). But the worst coach in the NFL? I think that is sheer mularky. I mean, what about the amazing job Rod Marinelli has done in Detroit? Or Wade Phillips in Dallas, who has a whole lot more talent to work with than Reid does. Go ahead, make the Romo argument – they are still playing like a team of uncontested egos that lack a strong, central leader to guide their ship. Listen, I don’t think Andy should be the GM, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet as a coach. Are his two-minute drills atrocious? Yeah, they are. Should they be running the ball more? Hmmm, funny I should ask:
Are the Eagles starting to get tired of their one-dimensional offense?
Well, at least one prominent Eagle, Brian Westbrook, thinks they should be running the ball more consistently.
Westbrook said the Eagles don’t always show enough commitment to running plays when things are going poorly.
“We don’t always have it, no,” he said. “At some points in some games, we have it. At some points in other games, we don’t. I think there are situations at times when we probably should have more commitment to the run.”
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“If you don’t get those carries, then you don’t really establish a rhythm,” Westbrook said. “It’s tough to do it with a couple carries here, a couple carries there.”
Listen: I guarantee you, Westbrook isn’t the only Eagle feeling this way. He’s just one of the guys, like McNabb, that is allowed to say these things. To me, this does not reflect well on the perception the players have of their head coach. They aren’t buying into his scheme, and to be frank, they shouldn’t be – it has been flawed. So, if the perception of the head coach from the fans, the national media, the local media, and the players isn’t positive, um, how secure is Mr. Reid? James Beale over at The Sports Complex makes a valid point:
Jeffrey Lurie is a man concerned about his image and the image of his team. With fans clamoring for Reid’s head – and prominent national columnists joining the fight – barring an appearance in the NFC championship game, Reid won’t make it to next season.
I think Reid is safe if this team makes the playoffs, but if they fail to do that, he could be in trouble. Do I think Jeffrey Lurie will be loyal to the man that led the Eagles to 4 NFC Championship games? Yeah, probably. Do I think he’ll let the guy who drafted Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Trent Cole, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Shawn Andrews and DeSean Jackson remain as the team’s GM? Probably, though I really think Andy should just focus on coaching. I was waiting to see how long things would get back to normal after the Phillies won the World Series; I should have known a loss to the Giants would get us back into the swing of things.
Hey, at least if the ‘Iggles blow it, we’ve always got the Sixers and Flyers, right?