Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fly, Eagles, Fly

So, they are not what we thought they were. Before the season began, the three Eagles Superfans closest to my heart all predicted between 9 and 11 wins for the Birds. I scoffed, saying they looked like a 7 or 8 win team.

After last night's home loss to the Redskins, it's time to push the panic button. (You should hear DC sportstalk radio this morning: they think they have a "special" team. Yeah, but only because getting to .500 has been special in DC sports for the last decade.)

I'll be mildly surprised if either the Skins or Green Bay makes the playoffs. I'd be shocked if both did. These two teams have the look of NFL mediocrity.

The Eagles aren't even that good. McNabb looked terribly: slow and spraying the ball high on a number of passes. Tough to tell how much of that is rust, how much is the injury (remember, he's not supposed to be near 100% until the end of the season), and how much is time catching up with him. The more worrisome aspects: the receiving corps is, as usual, an embarrassment; the coaching decisions (hey let's call time out as the Skins are about to kick a field goal, prompting them to instead throw a touchdown pass!) were questionable. Worst of all, the defense looked completely vulnerable. Brian Dawkins, the heart and soul of this team, looked noticeably slower than he was last year. All in all, it was hard to find anything positive in last night's game.

But it's almost impossible to find anything positive in the remaining schedule. Go ahead and take a look. Find the wins. Detroit? They're 2-0 and look better than the Eagles do now. They might split with the Giants, if the G-Men really start to fall apart. No chance against the Bears. They'll probably go winless in November. If everything breaks right for them, they might win 6 games (@Jets, @Vikings, Dolphins, Seahawks, Giants, Bills). Really, how much confidence do you have that they can win all of those games?

Here's the scary scenario: It's entirely possible they go to the bye week 0-4 and go into Week 14 2-10, finishing the year with 4 wins. In fact, I'd suspect that's a more likely scenario than the one that gets them to 6 wins.

Either way, this is the beginning of the end for Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

Update: From Galley Brother B.J.:

Donovan McNabb 2008 - 2009 MVP with the Chicago Bears.

Yeah, if I was the Sex Cannon, I'd be worried about my job.

Update 2: From Galley Friend B.W.:

JVL: Don't say it, Matus.

VM: You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.

JVL: I'm leaving.

VM: Two words: La. Ron.

JVL: Don't make me look up ethnic slurs for Filipinos.

VM: Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you. Soon you will be a true Philadelphian.

Update 3: From Galley Friend and Redskins Superfan P.G.:

Seriously, when did ESPN officially become the Eagles SPorts Network? Did you like the pre-game feature on 85-year old “Weapon X”, Brian Dawkins? He’s so good that he gets knocked out after a collision with Todd Yoder. If Dawkins is Wolverine, does that make Yoder Sabretooth? I was actually surprised that Kolber and Tafoya didn’t blow McNabb and Reid at halftime at the 50 yard line. Did you start to feel a little shaky when the ESPN guys all picked the Eagles, with the exception of the one guy who actually knows something about football, Tom Jackson?

Update 4: P.G. again:

I've been dead-on with my Eagles predictions (but wildly inaccurate with my Skins predictions) for the past 2 seasons. I seriously think they won't win 7 games this year. I've never quite understood how everyone thinks Reid is a genius. The good news is that Parcells or Cowher will be available. The bad news is that your front office might be too cheap to pay them. Seriously, you guys should back the Brinks truck up at Cowher's door, he's a perfect fit for you guys. Blue collar guy for a blue collar town and team. No more passing 50 times, run the ball and let McNabb manage games.

Reid is a genius--at cap management. As you arrive at the Linc, the first thing you notice are the five glorious cap trophies lining the main entrance by the concourse. A lot of people say that they're just as good as Lombardi trophies.

But seriously, I think Reid has also been a great temperamental presence for the Eagles. His game management and playcalling have always been suspect, but he seems to do a great job preparing the team during the week and has so few back-to-back losses during his tenure that he's clearing doing something right in terms of putting his players in position to succeed.

All of that said, I also think that a bottom-out season, the end of which sees McNabb looking elsewhere, combined with Reid's off the field family troubles, will make it an attractive time for him to leave Philadelphia.

And then, if they don't hire Cowher, we can jump off the roof.

Update 5: From Galley Friend and Eagles Superfan T.R.:

1) The season is NOT over. But it is on the brink. As are AR and Donovan’s tenures in Philadelphia;
2) WHY WON’T THEY RUN THE $#@! FOOTBALL? It was the only thing that worked – and it was working WELL. Westbrook averaged over 5.5 per carry. Did the last six games of last season never happen?
3) And why do they run it only to the (usually clogged) left side? What about Shawn Andrews? Almost criminal negligence.
4) They attempted 48 passes and ran the ball 18 times. What else can I say except, Andy, when you say "I have to do better job putting the offense in the right position to make plays" you are exactly right. It's a disgrace.
5) The offense looked unready, uninspired, and unimaginative (not overwhelmed or undertalented) – that, in a word, is coaching.
6) A lot is being made about McNabb sucking. Justifiable, but keep a couple things in mind: He ALWAYS drills a few balls into the turf, and always will; The hallmark of over-the-hill QB’s is that they lose velocity – McNabb was a cannon; His accuracy and touch were awful… how much does that have to do with a knee injury… and how much might it have to do with coaching, hand-holding, and getting reps?
7) Let’s face it – Coaching in today’s NFL is a 24/7 job. Is that fair? I don’t know – but that’s the fact. And that is NOT what we have been getting;
8) Oh yeah, he’s also the GM.

Update 6: Remember this?

I posit that this was the high-water mark for the Reid-McNabb era.


Anonymous said...

This post is the perfect distillation of Philly fandom that I have seen. And I do not say that in a condescending way. My wife is from Philly and even though I am a NY'er thru and thru I have a soft spot for their teams. But, the fans have no happy medium - they are either "this team sucks, the world is over, maybe we get 2 wins" or "your team sucks, we are the best, show me a game on the schedule that we lose".
Of course, deep down, every Philly fan is a pessimist since you can never really be disappointed if you expect the team to suck and they do. Met, Jets (now Giants) and Ranger fans know this syndrome all too well.
Us Giants and Eagles fans will hope for good draft picks and a better schedule next year.

Anonymous said...

The Redskins "have the look of NFL mediocrity"? Mediocre? You really think the Skins are that good? Other than playing Philadelphia all sixteen games, how do the Skins get to seven wins this year?

(And yes, I am saying that the Eagles beat Washington nine times out of sixteen if given the chance. Better teams lose to worse teams all the time, and if they didn't, the sport wouldn't be worth watching. No need for Eagles-fan panic just yet; seven is still reasonable and eight is still within reach. Of course, a Redskinsian six-win season is also more in reach today than two weeks ago, but still, the Eagles are definitely underperforming, whereas in beating the Eagles, the Redskins have overperformed.)

Michael said...

Reid is the Marty Schottenheimer(SP?) of the new generation of coaches.

Now say what you will about old Marty, but he always had his team play above their "On Paper" talent level and his former teams have never reached the same level of success once he left (Cleveland*, KC, DC and SD - yeah I'm jumping the gun with SD, but you know you don't want to bet against me on this).

The Chin, had the same reputation as Reid did before the SuperBowl victory. Heck they were saying the same thing about Tony D up in Indie.

You can't run the ball 30 times a game with Westbrook, because he's fragile - and unlike McNabb, the Eagles can't win without him.

Reid is the best coach in Philly history, McNabb is the best QB in Philly history. Both are coming off really bad situations in the last year. They more than earned their right to a bad season.

* Yeah, I know the Cleveland Franchise that Marty coached for won a SB when they changed their name and moved to Baltimore. But I'll be d@mned if the Eagles have to do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

JVL, thanks for finally posting some comments on the Eagles. I always come by the Galley for the clearest and surest indicator of how the Iggles' season will go. You predicted an undefeated season a couple years back (final record: 6-10), and a 6-10 finish last year (final result, following Garcia-mania: 10-6, division, one playoff win).

So, after your prediction this year, I think it's safe to start thinking about Eagles in the postseason again.