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The Pundit’s NFL Mocking Draft, Part Two

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?

I mean, what could I possibly add to this?

I mean, what could I possibly add to this? Other then: Bangles' Hot LP? Really?

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The Pundit interviews Andy Reid! Well, sort of…

(Editor’s note: Obviously, The Pundit couldn’t score an actual interview with Andy Reid. We figure he didn’t want to field The Pundit’s probing inquiries. That, and we had no idea how the hell to get in touch with him. Right. But this how we think things might have gone).

The Pundit: Thanks for being here, Andy. Really appreciate you taking the time. Let’s get right to it – coming into the season, there was a lot of hype circulating around this team, both locally and nationally, especially after Dr. Z of Sports Illustrated picked you to make the Super Bowl. What expectations did you have for this team headed into the season?

Andy Reid: I’m going to pass on that question.

The Pundit: Um, alright, not a problem. Well, coming off of a disappointing season last year, did you change your approach at all coming into this year, or do you more fine-tune and tweak a few things here and there?

Reid: Yeah, I’m going to have to pass on that question.

Pundit: Right, okay, sure, I understand, let’s focus more on the present. What can you tell us about the Shawn Andrews situation as it currently stands?

Reid: I’ll pass on that question.

Pundit: Wow. Right. Um, in the most recent game against the Giants, did the offensive line really pick up their game, or was it more the case of them getting added cracks at the running game and eventually wearing down the New York defense?

Reid: Pass.

Pundit: Oh, Jesus Christ! Ok, whatever, you’re gonna be like this, than fine. I’ve got a bagful waiting for you, buddy. Did the health of Brian Westbrook these past two weeks factor into the gameplan whatsoever?

Reid: (Yawns) I’m going to pass on that question.

Pundit: Dude! Are you serious right now?

Reid: I’ll pass on that question.

Pundit: Wait, that wasn’t even a serious question. I mean, this is unbelievable! Work with me here, Andy. It’s a give and take – how can I accomplish anything in this interview if you refuse to answer any questions?

Reid: Sorry, but I would prefer to pass on that question.

Pundit: Aaaaagggghhhh! Did Donovan McNabb’s erratic play inspire you to run the ball these past two weeks?

Reid: Pass.

Pundit: IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT I WILL STRIKE YOU IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER ONE OF MY DAMN QUESTIONS! ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Reid: I won’t respond to that – I pass.

Pundit: Good God, I hope I brought my Xanax with me. Alright, alright, I gotta get something here – could you talk on the decision to sit Reggie Brown, and what led up to that decision?

Reid: (Seen flipping closed a cell phone): Did you know that if your regular cell phone minutes run out, they charge you overage fees? I wonder how that works… I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, I was a bit tied up. Oh well, let’s just move on, it’s a long interview session, nothing we can do about it now.

Pundit: Mr. Reid, you are slowly dissolving my hope for humanity itself. I have never suffered through a more intolerable experience. Why do you refuse to…

Reid: Let me just interrupt you there, before you ruin this question for yourself, your fans, and myself. Let’s go ahead and bring somebody else in to finish the question. Do you have a back-up interviewer, someone else who could ask the question? How about that intern over there, he’ll probably do a better job of asking this next question. Go ahead, son.

Random Intern: I don’t know exactly what The Pundit was going to ask. This might not be it at all, but I’ll give it a shot: Why do you refuse to run the ball more consistently?

Reid: Son, I give you the opportunity to come into the interview and show me something, and you totally blow it. I’ll pass on your meager attempt. Alright Pundit, it can’t get any worse than that – you’re back in.

Pundit: Oh, goody-goody friggin’ gum drops. Fine, here’s one for you, since you won’t address yourself or the team, do you think the fans want to see the team continue to run the ball?

Reid: I think the fans really just want to win. They don’t really care if we throw it or run it, they just want to see W’s.*

Pundit: Holy cow, you responded. You actually ran with one of my questions. That’s…that’s a revelation. So, um, gosh, I don’t even now what to ask know, I just can’t believe I got an answer there. How about, uh, well, here we go, what made you guys go with a more run-reliant gameplan against the Giants?

Reid: The weather conditions were the biggest factor.*

Pundit: Yes! Yes, two answers in a row! Alright, let’s keep running with this, I really like the way we are headed right now. The success you had running the ball against the Giants was obvious, and it seemed to seep down to the rest of the team. For one, McNabb was much more effective in the passing attack, having shorter third downs to convert, and less pressure on his shoulders to make all of the plays. He was able to relax a bit more, and take what the defense gave him. And our own defense, spending less time on the field, was fresher than they’ve been much of the season, and kept a very good Giants running game in check. With all of that being said, can we expect to see a continued commitment to the running game down the stretch, with a playoff berth on the line?

Reid: Sorry, but I’ll pass.

That’s what I’m afraid of…

*Sections marked with the asterick are actual quotes from Andy Reid, and were referenced from this page here.

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Filed under College Football, Eagles, General, NBA, NFL, Olympics, Sixers

The Pundit vs. T.O.

So, T.O. said something and included Donovan McNabb in the words he used. Which, of course, means that the media needs to write about it, sound byte it, and giggle in private places about having something to discuss. (Editor’s note: T.O.’s quotes are sooooo dreamy). That being said, I couldn’t resist taking a look at some of his recent comments, and he didn’t disappoint. I decided to take the Fire Joe Morgan route on Mr. Owens and his quotes. To the roasting! (Editor’s note: All quotes are from The Dallas Morning News).

T.O. acknowledges that he should have done some things differently in Philadelphia, but he pinned the blame for his bitter divorce from McNabb on the QB’s fragile ego.

“We obviously could have done some great things together,” T.O. said after the TV cameras had left his locker, “but it wasn’t me letting my pride get in the way.”

Um, actually it was all about you. Were you an amazing player for the Eagles? Yeah, no doubt about that. But hadn’t the Eagles just restructured your deal and done battle with the Baltimore Ravens to get you here, which was what you wanted? Yup. So, you couldn’t have played ball for one more year, put up big numbers and then bitched if they didn’t show you the money? Nope, you had to make personal attacks against McNabb and sabotage the season to get what you wanted. I hope it was you letting your pride get in the way, because otherwise, you’re just an anarchist lunatic. (Editor’s note: Lucy, The Pundit needs Xanax, pronto! Just start dumping the bottle down his throat!)

T.O. didn’t have to be probed much to give his opinion on why his relationship with McNabb went sour. He was asked whether Tony Romo was the first quarterback to really get him.

“Well, I was really thinking that was the case in Philly before I think the fans and just the excitement of me coming there and being there, it became too overwhelming for Donovan,” T.O. replied. “Other than that, I think at one point in time I will say that we had a good relationship. I think I got too big for Philly, too big for him. But here, Tony and I have a great relationship.”

Yeah, McNabb couldn’t handle having another popular kid in class. He just can’t deal with adversity, that guy. Don’t you remember how he cried like a little bitch when he got booed on draft day? Oh, right, that didn’t happen. Forgot about that. But, he’s been super jealous of all of the success Brian Westbrook has had, that’s been super obvious, you know? Oh, wait, haven’t really noticed that happening, either. And the idea that T.O. got too big for Philly? What does that mean? Did his ego get too big for Philly, because then I would agree with him. And when did he get too big for McNabb? I’d love to go back in time and ask people who they thought the most indispensable player on that team was, because I’d venture that their response would be McNabb. Remember, the Eagles made their playoff run without T.O. in the lineup.

But he sensed the relationship changing during the 2004 season, which ended with T.O. making a miraculous return from injury to put up big numbers in a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots – and later pointing out that McNabb was vomiting during the Eagles’ final drive.

“I think everybody knows without harping on it too much,” T.O. said. “It is what it is. I can only do so much. Everywhere that I’ve gone, the cameras follow me. I’m going to get a great deal of fan support and a fan base.

“As I mentioned in the conference call [with Philadelphia media] earlier, I can remember being in that stadium and hearing them chanting my name. That couldn’t bode well for Donovan to hear that. It was an every-week thing.”

Back to the popularity contest, eh? But let’s think like T.O. for a second. Imagine you are T.O., and somebody else’s name is being “chanted in the stadium.” That would really piss you off. You wouldn’t know how to handle the attention being given to someone else. It would drive you absolutely crazy inside. Hey, hey you guys, look at me guys, I’m really special too, please pay attention to ME!  LOVE ME, DAMNIT! ME ME ME! So, isn’t it logical that everybody would think this way? This must be the response that Donovan would have, right? RIGHT? (Editor’s note: Lucy, forget about The Pundit for a second, I’ve got a wicked headache from all of this silliness. Could you grab me a bottle of Tylenol or something – yeah, I’ll just swallow the whole bottle, thanks).

“I honestly can say that Donovan made me a better receiver in Philly,” T.O. said, “but I think it would be hard for him to admit that I made him a better quarterback.”

Yes, Donovan had his best statistical season ever with T.O. around. He had career highs in completion percentage (64%), yards (3875), TD’s (31) and passer rating (104.7). But, this is actually a bit more philosophical than the numbers. T.O. certainly made Donovan’s job easier. Hell, he made the other receiver’s jobs easier, attracting double teams. But McNabb still had to make his reads, distribute the ball, and run when necessary. He didn’t make Donovan a better quarterback so much as he made it so Donovan didn’t have to be “the man” all of the time. They were a good pair, and I don’t think the Donovan would deny he played some of his best football with T.O.

Listen, all of this is just silly. I know what T.O. is doing here – he’s hyping a primetime, nationally televised game. This is standard boxing-promotion, Don King jibberish. T.O. is just stirring the pot to peak the intrigue of this game. I get that. And, quite frankly, I felt a bit silly responding his quotations; I’m just falling into his lap that way. (Editor’s note: Um…ah, never mind). But, the thing is, this game doesn’t need any hype! The ratings for this game will be huge no matter what T.O. says. And don’t you think it’s just a bit odd that T.O. would go after McNabb in the media again after DNabb had as big of a game as he just did? Like somehow his little jabs might get in Donovan’s head? It’s just so childish. Keep Donovan’s name outta your mouth, T.O. – there’s no need for this. You may be an entertainer, and some of your stunts are pretty good (Editor’s note: I thought the Usain Bolt bit last weekend was pretty funny myself), but that doesn’t give you a license to do or say anything you damn please. Here in Philly, we may be hard on Donovan, but that’s a family thing. You don’t get to talk shit about family, Mr. Owens, especially when we invited you to dinner and you were totally gracious during the feasting, until you had a few too many drinks and trashed the house. We don’t really want to hear your opinion about our house anymore. You can try to chip away at Donovan’s good guy reputation all you want, but your track record speaks for itself – if it looks like an ego-maniac, and it smells like an ego-maniac, its probably an ego-maniac.

Donovan, keep quiet, stay focused, and tear the Cowboys up. Do what you normally do – let your play speak for itself. And T.O, if you feel the need to play the villain in order to hype up the game, then so be it – I respect the fact that you apparently do not care in the least what people think of you. Reminds me of the scene in Scarface, where Pacino gives the genius speech about everyday people needing to define the “bad guys” (Editor’s note: You need people like me!). But then again, Tony Montana really was a pretty unsavory guy – are you, Mr. Owens?

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The Week in Review

No Show of the Week

The last time I saw Pat Burrell, he was on the back of a milk carton. Here’s what he has done for us this week: 4-32 (.125 BA) with one walk, 1 RBI and 8 K’s. Not exactly the type of production you want from the guy batting third in your lineup. The team’s production has seemed to improve since Manuel started batting Utley second, but Burrell’s production has dipped. Two lineups I would consider (Editor’s note: Just in case, you know, Charlie Manuel is reading this): Rollins Utley Burrell Howard Werth Victorino Feliz Coste/Ruiz or Rollins Werth Utley Howard Burrell Victorino Feliz Coste/Ruiz. Victorino doesn’t quite have the pop I like to see protecting Howard.

Stud of the Week

This was apparently redemption week for two prominent Phillies: Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins. Myers, in two starts, looked like this: 14 innings pitched, 20 hits, 3 walks, but only 3 runs with 16 K’s. Myers is letting guys get on base, but he’s leaving them there. Seems like he’s maintaining his focus, instead of psyching himself out when he gives up a few hits. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Phillies have won his last two starts. As for Mr. Rollins, his week looked like this: 13-30 (.433 BA), 4 walks, 3 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6 steals. That’s a ridiculously good week, and if Jimmy has a big September, as he’s been apt to do, the Phillies may find themselves playing in October again (Editor’s note: THERE’S ONLY ONE OCTOBER! Well, at least every year. Happens the same time each year, actually. Right after September. Check it out, its true, get a calender or something, its there. Seriously. THERE’S ONLY ONE OCTOBER!)

The All-Encompassing Thought of the Week

This isn’t a Philly thought, but I haven’t addressed it yet, so here goes: Chad Johnson is nuts. Oh wait, I’m sorry, I meant to say Chad Ocho Cinco. Yup, he legally changed his name. The worst part is, I don’t even think its the correct translation of 85. That would be ochenta y cinco. I refuse to call him this – from now on, he will be referred to on this site as The Human Being Formerly Known as Chad Johnson, THBFKCJ for short. (Editor’s note: I only wanted to see you underneath the purple rain). Be forewarned, as I may be about to blow this way out of proportion, but I think this is reflective of sports these days, in that its seems as though we are straying so far away from the game itself. I know, I know, at the end of the day, it’s a business, and THBFKCJ is just marketing himself. And I recognize the inherent irony in addressing THBFKCJ’s decision to change his name. I’m playing into his marketing ploy to keep himself in the spotlight. Whatever. When you are willing to change your name to the improper Spanish translation of your football number in order to market yourself, something sad has just occurred. If he ever gets traded, will he change his first name to the team he was traded to? Would you root for Eagles Ocho Cinco? Will people start changing their names to advertise products? (Editor’s note: Hi, I’m Zim Crack Cream, and I have a drinking problem. Hi, Zim.) I know how the old saying goes – what’s in a name? Apparently, not dignity. Okay, enough ranting, I have to go get a “Love Classified” tattooed on my forehead so I can pick up chicks at bars. (Editor’s note: How is he going to fit “Enjoys long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and weeping profusely during ‘The Notebook'” on his forehead?)

My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week

It just seems as though the Phillies can’t get everybody working well at the same time. They’re kind of like that problem car you had, where you would get the brakes fixed, then the steering alignment would go wacky. (Editor’s note: Plus, the AC didn’t work and the head unit got jacked, so you had to drive with the windows down and sing without the radio to stay entertained but you’d forget to shut up at red lights and stop signs and everybody in the vicinity of your car thought you were insane…obviously, I’m speaking of a theoretical situation). For a while, the bullpen was this team’s saving grace. Though they performed admirably against the Mets in the crazy comeback game, pitching 10 friggin’ innings, they blew leads the next two nights (the Aramis Ramirez grand slam was just disheartening). The starting pitching has really picked up, as Myers has found his game again and Blanton has been a steady contributor, and the lineup is producing once more. So, what’s it going to be, bullpen? Are the ol’ arms just a bit sore after being overworked? Or is it your turn to let the team down? (Editor’s note: Lucy, hold the Xanax, but maybe just give the Pundit a hug – yeah, he’s going half-empty on us right now).

Moment of the Week

Easily the Phillies Tuesday night/Wednesday morning defeat of the Mets. I mean, a 7 run comeback against the Mets is cool enough as it is, but this game was absolutely crazy. 10 innings of scoreless relief by the bullpen. Carlos Ruiz manning the hot corner. Jimmy Rollins going 5-7 with a homer, 3 RBI’s and 3 steals. Chris Coste going 4-4 after entering the game in the 8th. Clay Condrey getting a rally-starting, broken-bat double in the fifth. Pinch hit appearances by Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, who was specifically instructed not to swing with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 13th. Eric Bruntlett’s game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth. Coste’s game-winner in the 13th. The Mets walking two consecutive batters after Shane Victorino’s triple in the 13th, knowing the pitcher’s spot was coming up and the Phillies were out of position players. I know that they lost three games in a row after this one, but if they make the postseason again this year, I think this will be the game fans look back on as one of the definitive games of the year. It was awesome, one of the craziest games I have ever watched.

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Link-182

(Editor’s note: Ok, these titles are getting out of hand)

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is a fine day to be a sports fan. The US Men’s Basketball team is taking on Argentina as we speak. Then, this evening, you have more Olympics, the Eagles against the Patriots, and the Phillies opening up a key series against those pesky Dodgers. Alas, The Pundit will be working until 10 this evening (Editor’s note: Damn boss), thereby missing both the Eagles and Phillies. Blasphemy! Anyway, on to the day’s links.

Hey fans. Listen up out there: there is no way you are getting Anquan Boldin. You crazy idiots! (Editor’s note: The Pundit would just like to emphasize that these are not his words. These are the word’s of the “experts” and the Eagles). Clearly, a trade for Anquan Boldin would have already happened if it were going to happen. Because when we were first shopping Lito Sheppard, you know, we didn’t have 2 first round picks next year. And Boldin hadn’t been talking on the Dan Patrick show about how he wanted out. And, though the Eagles probably were inquiring about receivers, I fully believe they were perfectly fine with going into this season with the receivers we had in place, which, of course, included a healthy Kevin Curtis. And, apparently, they’re still okay with it. But its okay, everyone, because we have Lorenzo Booker to take some reps now. Whew, forgot about that. Thank God for the legend that is Lorenzo Booker. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn on a blow dryer, throw it into the bath tub and get myself washed up. (Editor’s note: Lucy! Yup, the Xanax, please).

Your guide to the Eagles preseason duel with the Patriots tonight. Yes, pay attention to the wide receivers. Let’s get a taste of how our receivers react to bland, basic coverage schemes. Also, how will Asante Samuel react to playing his old team – in a meaningless preseason game? Good golly, you could cut the tension with a spoon. (Editor’s note: I’m sensing dangerous levels of cynicism. He’s still angry about the Boldin thing). Let’s see how Demps does on kick returns, and DeSean Jackson on punt returns. Let’s see how crisp McNabb’s passes are, and how he looks in the pocket. Look to see how Tony Hunt looks at fullback, if they give him reps there. Focus on whether or not the offensive and defensive lines are able to get a surge, the offensive line in the running game (pay attention to Shawn Andrews, who is back), and the defensive line so that the linebackers can make plays unblocked. Look to see if the Eagles are swarming like they did against the Panthers – this isn’t a team with a ton of guys who will dominate match-ups, so they have to play excellent team defense to excel. Watch Mr. Akers – I’d like to see him tee up some 40+ yarders.

You broke my heart, Phillies. (Editor’s note: Insert dramatic kiss of brother here).  Beerleaguer misses Aaron Rowand, and so do I.

Ed Stefanski is okay in The Pundit’s book (Editor’s note: It’s a pop-up book – he likes the pictures). Some good stuff from Stefanski over at The 700 Level.

Just in case you missed the USA in basketball this morning – another liveblogging here (Editor’s note: I feel dirty). Pretty cool excerpt about LeBron James asking Kobe Bryant to translate some trash talk to the Argentinian players for him (Editor’s note: That’s diplomacy, people).

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Filed under Eagles, MLB, NBA, NFL, Olympics, Phillies, Sixers

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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