Now this is noteworthy. Either Cris Collinsworth or Al Michaels who compared the McNabb/Reid team history thus far to a movie. Every season, as an Eagles fan, you get amped about this time in the season, only to be let down in the end when we don't get the Lombardi trophy. I was impressed at the metaphor. They even took it as far to say that it's the kind of movie you refill your jumbo popcorn after because you're so disappointed. You thought the movie was going to be so good. Instead, you are let down and decide to eat more buttery popcorn.
Eagles as the winningest Visitor Team at the Meadowlands! Holler!
The NFL has officially changed the play rules for concussions. The NY Times article on this can be found here.
The new rule states that players who exhibit certain symptoms such as forgetfulness or dizziness should not be allowed to return to any "football-activities" after suffering from a possible concussion. They also encourage the players to be open with the medical staff on the team.
Brian Westbrook, the Philadelphia Eagles star running back for years, has been sitting out for a number of weeks after suffering a concussion in a game against the Washington Redskins.
Kurt Warner sat out last week's game after waking up dizzy on Sunday morning. The sports announcers on the pre-game show to the game on FOX I was watching mentioned this and then cut to commercial. Perhaps by accident, I caught one of the announcers saying jokingly "woke up not seeing straight? If--"
Athletes are trained to be role models. Let's hope they take this new rule from the NFL with that in mind, and do not try to continue to play when they could be suffering serious injuries. Let's hope also that sports announcers across the country also begin to take players' injuries more seriously as well. Perhaps Kurt Warner had a bit too much to drink the night before. Or perhaps he has a serious concussion. Either way...
"Really? You thought 'Ghetto Fabulous' was medically relevant?" ~Modern Family
Onsides kick as opening kick : fail (provides new counterpoint to my story from Reid's opening play against Dallas to start first season where we recover onsides kick and go on to win game); Skins score touchdown 7-0; Vick in for running play in red zone : gains yardage on 2nd and goal, McNabb back in on 3rd and goal, incomplete pass to massive boos from the Linc; 4th and goal pass to D.Jackson touchdown. pass interference offense on Celek, tenyard penalty, replay 4th down; Akers in for field goal: good. 7-3; skins 3 and out, D.Jax w/ good return, 4th and inches after vick qb keeper, Reid goes for it, Weaver gets the first. oldskool DMac rolling out, td pass to D.Jax (wide open) 7-10.
Skins driving, 3rd down and long-- twice in one drive. (3n11; 3n9) 3n2, 27ydpass against Samuel to make it first and goal; td to S.Moss 14-10; 1n20 after penalty, longpass to DJax incomplete, another penalty on screen to McCoy (ineligible man downfield on us) announcers lovin on eagles screenpass. 1n25...2n16..sacked, 3n17, pass deflected, 4n17 to boos. /Skins 3nout/Eagles good drive until shitty pass on 3n3; 4n3 punt; Skins throw interception to Samuel; 3rddown short pass to Maclin and they kick fg 14-13 w/ :42 left in game Skins take over on 45, drive w/ :19 seconds left, Samuel interception again; :07left, FG attempt: good 16-14; Trent Cole sack to end half.
Birds 3nout; Skins drive to score, 21-16; Eagles punt next drive, Skins drive, punt, Eagles drive, punt, Skins... [@ some pt in 3rd, D.Jax goes down]
Skins punt, good tackle by Byron Westbrook; intercepted by Justin Tryon 25 yd fg good 24-16, 8 pt game; penalty on the kickoff, Birds start on their 10, pass on2nd to Avant for 46 yds into Skins territory, another pass play for a 1st to Avant, but he goes down but is okay. Celek FOUR passes that shoulda been caught! (one from Vick) 3n2 on skins'17, McCoy run for first (WE NEED EIGHT NOT THREE i yell at tv) Weaver runplay gain of 12 to one ydline, Buckley runs into endzone 24-22, 2 pt conversion play shovel pass to mccoy second effort gets into endzone! 24-24; Skins drive, Eagles hold them on 3n5, Skins punt; (i think: they never make it look easy) 2 run plays, McCoy for 11, weaver for five, on 2n5, 35yd reception to Maclin, McCoy runplay to 23 ydline, 2n8, Maclin reception for first down @ 17 ydline, Skins timeout
@ 2minute warning,
Birds 3rd and 4 @ 11ydline, McNabb can't find anyone open and slides back to line of scrimmage; Akers takes the field w/ 1:52 left on clock 24-27 w/1:48 left on clock; Fokou tackles Skins kickoff returner @ their 16 ydline; 3rd and ten becomes 4th n short, incomplete. Birds take over w/ 1:05 left
FINAL SCORE 27-24
-do not go for onsides kick on opening play unless you are sure you will NOT FUCK IT UP.
-when you are tied at 24 in the fourth quarter against THE REDSKINS and the crowd can still get into the game, you are lucky and you had BETTER do everything you can to try to win.
-emphasis on: MAN, the birds never do make it look easy.
-seriously, Celek? you usually catch the ball pretty well...
-I lose pickin the Birds on the pool minus 8.5 ... unless Eagles DON'T give Skins ball deep in own territory for a soon-to-follow TD to begin the game.
-where are our awesome plays via Vick and McNabb on the field at the same time totally confusing the crap out of our opponents? no? never really the plan? damn.
At the bookstore party last night, we talked sports. I didn't write last week after the Eagles loss to the Saints for a few reasons. Perhaps the most obvious one is that the Eagles were annihilated and embarrassed by the New Orleans offense. This is not the worst of things. Had our offense under second string QB Kevin Kolb (pronounced "Cobb") been able to hang onto the ball for anything more than a few three and outs after the half, perhaps the Saints would not have had the endless opportunities they had to score 44 points. Give, the Saints offense is excellent and putting up points like that is to be expected from Drew Brees, but the Eagles turned the ball over to them three times. That is sloppy athleticism, and it lost us the game. Give, Kolb threw 31-for-51 for 391 yards, but we still lost, and big time.
Kolb looked confident in the first half of the game, but he deflated after the half. Once the Saints picked him off to score, his confidence never recovered. This is where we talk about why I need to send Andy Reid a text msg: "wtf, andy." We picked up Jeff Garcia between week one and two, who after a McNabb injury in 2006, led us to the playoffs. Give, we had TO that season, but nonetheless, we know Garcia works well with our West Coast offense and has one us games before. Why even pick up Garcia only to allow Kolb to continue to look like the hatchling he is? What is Reid trying to prove? Perhaps Reid should have noticed Kolb's frustration and given him a break. Would that have only broken his confidence worse? If we would have been able to turn the game around, maybe not. Football is not a choose-your-own-adventure book. If you lose 44-22 to the Saints, you can't retrace your steps back to halftime and throw Jeff Garcia in there just to see how it would have turned out.
Perhaps, though, Kolb has got the stuff. He threw, as mentioned, for over three hundred yards last week. But much of that yardage was interrupted by turnovers, adding points to the already-hard-to-beat Saints' score. Kolb could easily, with more real game time experience and a confidence boost, become the big time quarterback he's got hiding in there. But this isn't trial and error, this isn't show and tell. This is Week 3. This is 1-1. The Eagles have on their squad three (count them) former Pro-bowl quarterbacks, and Kolb is not one of them. McNabb is injured, Vick is a recovering ex-con and Garcia is just being re-orientated to the franchise. However, we know these guys have got the stuff to win games for us. If Kevin Kolb does indeed possess the "stuff", should we really be taking chances with him on the field and two healthy former Pro-Bowl QBs watching from the sidelines? Perhaps. Perhaps this is what Kolb needs to prove to us and himself that he can make it in the big leagues. But if we lose again on him, that confidence is going to be diminished a rather unhealthy amount.
With the Kansas City Chiefs starting QB out this week due to an injury, and also the fact that they're the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles strong, healthy defense shouldn't have a difficult time stopping them, but the Eagles need to score points. Let's all hope that Vick's reintroduction to the league this week will turn the McNabb-less game from farce to circus this week, and the Eagles will be flying trapeze-like into the endzone with a baffled Kansas City defense looking on like elephant-dazed spectators. Wildcat, wildcat, wildcat.
I listen to NPR (WNYC in New York) practically all day. Perhaps this highly skews my perspective on, well, everything. But it is rare that I hear anything on this station that I don't at least want to continue to listen to (except the Writer's Almanac every night around 8pm. I don't know why I dislike that so much. Maybe because it interrupts my music with words.) HOWEVER: on a program a few days ago, I believe it was This American Life, they talked about how Fantasy Football has more recently become popular with women. Their reasons for this were a) it's become easier to maintain b) women like to be involved in things that their husbands are involved in and c) their husbands like when women are involved with sports because it makes them feel less guilty when they watch them.
HOLD ON A SECOND. NPR. Seriously?! I never thought I would hear such blatant, blasphemous sexism on my FM radio dial! I was livid. There were a few redeeming moments in the short broadcast. One that said that women were less likely to trade the players that they originally pick, and also that they were more likely to pick players on the teams they remain faithful to. Considering that they probably have gathered more data than I can regarding this, and considering that, well, yes, I do have Brian Westbrook as one of my starting running backs, I kept listening.
I continued to be offended when the announcer said that men don't mind losing to their female counterparts in fantasy football as much as they do to their friends.
I vow, in order to prove NPR's ridiculous broadcast wrong, not only to pay enough attention to my team to know when to switch the players on my bench to my starting line-up, but also to look for free agents and trades that might benefit my team. I decided that I wanted to play in a fantasy league this year because the only place where my football knowledge falters is in knowing the players' names. I can tell you the big shots in the league (such as Tom Brady, Brett Farve, TO) and my opinion on them (good-looking but cocky, omg retire already and DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.) I can tell you the names of players on my team, the positions they play, and whether or not they deserve their jobs. But I can't tell you the name or position of anyone who isn't in the news more than three or four times per season. I vowed that by getting involved in fantasy this year, I would change this, improving my football knowledge.
I wouldn't say, though, that by improving this knowledge I would be reaching the level of a "guy" and his dedication to the sport. Never would I make this about gender. Though I know I am in a minority, a die-hard female football fan, I would say I know more about football than the average person. Say, a penalty flag is thrown: I bet I could tell you why before the guy sitting next to me could. Or what the cost of committing the foul would be. I could tell you the last time my team won the Superbowl, who won the last few and why I like my franchise more than any other. I'm not challenging anyone's manhood or knowledge of the sport, I'm just saying I can hold my own. And for the football fans of my gender, I am saying we are not what the NPR broadcast made us out to be: compliant, submissive women giddily lining up the hottest guys in the league expecting them to earn us points in our fantasy leagues. Really, NPR?
This being said, I won my fantasy gamble this week. We only gamble pride, and I didn't switch my original starting line-up with anyone on my bench. But I won. I beat my cousin by quite a few points. My male cousin. My brother beat another cousin of ours. Perhaps it has less to do with gender than the infuriating NPR broadcast wanted its listeners to think. Perhaps winning is in our blood. Look at Eli and Peyton Manning. Blood. Yes.
I have a bye on week two for fantasy because there are 9 players in our league. But I'll be back week three to let you know my further plans for fantasy domination.
In the sports section of the New York Times on Sunday, I read an article about the mathematics of injuries in relation to the winningness of a team. Often, teams don't think of injuries as something that makes them win less or more, but this article uses math, everyone's favorite subject until, oh, seventh grade? to discuss the impact that players' injuries (whether it's your QB or Defensive Lineman) have on their teams' records.
I found it immensely interesting, even when the playing-with-numbers turned out-of-my-league. Read it!
There are a few things that I always say about the Philadelphia Eagles. They are phrases that seem to apply, year after year, despite which new wide receivers we have or who we are playing against. Week One inspires me to resurrect this one: They Never Make it Look Easy.
To start the game, the Carolina Panthers drove for over-seven minutes and scored. The Eagles offense did not fair as well, were forced to punt, and Quintin Demps ran into the Panthers punt returner who had called for a fair catch, acquiring a penalty (and an exclamation from me: "who is that guy? He's fired.")
However, the game turned around after a fantastic interception by Sheldon Brown, ball inches near the ground when we scooped it from the air. This catch led to a David Akers' field goal, which left the birds still behind, 7-3, but motivated. After this shift in momentum, the Eagles defense and special teams units dominated the second quarter. Sacks, fumble recoveries, interceptions and an inspirational DeSean Jackson punt-return-for-a-touchdown (85 years, I believe) left the score at halftime much improved for any Eagles fan. At one point, within five minutes, the Eagles had managed to earn three touchdowns.
Just when it seemed that our offense wasn't going to get a chance to score points, the defense doing a majority of the work of intercepting balls and maintaining superb field position to put McNabb and his squad in position to score, the offense drove down the field honestly. Getting to ball to seasoned players like Brian Westbrook and Brent Celek, to DeSean Jackson who was new last year but looked yesterday as though he had been playing for the franchise for years, and a true rookie, LeSean McCoy, who has begun to prove himself a good choice for the birds' second round draft pick, the offense scored the next points. McNabb ran into the endzone to earn the points himself, doing what fans love to see him do and taking the opportunity to run a few yards when none of his receivers were open. However, he suffered for those six points, crunched underneath a Panthers defender. The Eagles lost him for the rest of the game, perhaps for the next few weeks. The question of his availability in the near future is still uncertain, but it is known that he has a fractured rib.
Kevin Kolb filled in as quartback for the rest of the game. While the defense managed to hold the Panthers score to ten points, the offense suffered under Kolb's sophomoric hesitance in the position. To appear in place of an injured McNabb most likely was not something Kolb expected in the first week of the regular season, definitely not something fans or the rest of the franchise anticipated. With training this week, though, giving Kolb a chance to work closer with his teammates, fans can only hope if he must play as our quarterback Week Two that he looks better than he did during the end of this first game.
The time clock winding down, the Panthers attempted to score on fourth and goal, rather than kicking a field goal for some guaranteed points. Even with the clock drifted down to seconds left, impossible for Carolina to catch up, I wanted nothing more than our defense, whose efficiency through the entire game in thwarting Carolina was thrilling, to succeed in holding the line. Irrational as such a stand could be, the defense shared my desire and held them back. For this, and for their stamina and athletic prowess throughout the game, Jim Johnson would indeed be proud.
Perhaps, as I've heard elsewhere, the Eagles should consider picking up a free agent quarterback, such as Jeff Garcia or A.J. Feeley, who both have worked for Philadelphia in the past and proved to be good matches with the team. Meanwhile, the team should work on preparing Kolb for Week Two and praying for McNabb's wounds to heal. Though McNabb is a strong quarterback even when he isn't giving 100%, the last thing, as a fan, I would like to see is for him to play the hero and play next week's game when perhaps he should sit it out and allow his injury to recover more completely.
38-10 was the final score. I look forward to seeing our defense against New Orleans' offense next week, reports of Donovan's recovery process and also what Andy Reid plans to do with Vick in Week Three once he is reactivated.
Note: Yesterday was a fine day for Philadelphia sports. Not only did the Eagles defeat the Panthers, but the Phillies won both games of their double header, reinvigorating baseball fans who have seen them not play their best most recently.
In the 2002-03 season, the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs, ending quarterback Michael Vick's rookie season. This is before PETA labeled him enemy number one, and before the Eagles decided to sign him despite his last few years' in jail, serving time for helping fund and run an illegal dog-racing gambling ring. What to decide is, does the franchise prefer to focus on controversy, or do they know how to put together a winning football team?
There are no debates against Vick's athletic ability, nor his name-on-the-back-of-an-Eagles'-jersey's ability to bring money to the team. There are two debates. The first being, why would the Eagles sign a dog-hating criminal with poor judgment? This one is easy. Because he's a good athlete. And, as mentioned, no one can argue that. The lapses in Vick's morality are old news. What fans should be concerned with, if they believe in the fairness of the Criminal Justice System in the U.S, is how Vick is going to find a place in a team that already has a starting quarterback. And don't forget how in 1999 when the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb, the fans booed that decision as well.
Now, the second debate is an old debate in Philadelphia, perhaps akin to the chicken/egg one the rest of the world has agreed just to disagree one: will Vick replace McNabb? Was Vick brought in to replace McNabb? Do we want Vick to replace McNabb? And on and on. Of course, this debate is also somewhat dismissable because only time will be able to tell who is the better man for the job. Vick's shaky reputation makes him not someone that a team would want to be their frontman. However, this is Philadelphia we're talking about, who booed an umpire for the rest of the game after he threw out their centerfielder a few weeks ago for throwing his arms up in the air at a bad call-- from centerfield. Let's not forget that Philadelphia fans have a reputation of sending home fans of opposing teams with bruises that will take weeks to heal and scars that may never heal. Oh, also, we threw snowballs at Santa Claus. (Yeah that was 1968, but it goes a long way.) Bad reputation quarterback? As long as he is throwing when he should throw and running when he should run, he's welcome into the family.
But Donovan McNabb is still our franchise quarterback, the same guy who stomped all over the Cowboys in order to help send the Eagles to the playoffs last year, following which they marched right to the NFC Conference Championship game. Okay, they lost that one, but after a season of ups and downs, you had to give it to McNabb for knowing when he should take off past the line of scrimage and getting the ball into the hands of rookie and seasoned players alike. The Eagles old man quarterback, known for his arm, his abilities to run the ball and his skill of getting injured right when we think we're gonna get there this year, did not look like an old man quarterback.
Perhaps rather than wondering whether or not Vick will eventually replace McNabb, fans should be grateful that we have a wild card to use on the field. Think of how scared a defense will be to see two similarly intimidatingly athletic quartbacks lined up for the same offensive play. The possibilities are endless. This is what Eagles' fans should be excited about.
During the 2002-3 playoff season, after the Eagles destroyed the Falcons' Superbowl dreams, I remember my Dad standing up yelling, "MICHAEL WHO???" and then laughing hysterically. This rookie quarterback has been in every announcer's mouth from when he was drafted by Atlanta in 2001 as their round one pick one choice. As Eagles fans, we were glad to see him, with skills similar to our quarterbacks, defeated by our team. But now that he's on our side, we'll deal with the controversey that comes. Dad suggested that the franchise donates x amount of money for each sale of a Vick jersey to animal-loving organizations. Perhaps they should consider sending it to local shelters, maybe ethe Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). This way the franchise gives back a little to the community that gives so much to them.
It won't be a stretch to say that Philadelphia sports fans are known for their passion-- and therefore also for their suffering. However, for the city to lose two keystone sports figures within a single year, a proper word for this is not available. Harry Kalas passed away this spring from a heart attack, and Jim Johnson passed away a few days ago, losing his battle with melanoma.
Harry Kalas was the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, the "voice" of the team. I remember hearing him call the 1993 World Series games as a child, awake listening to the radio in my bedroom, and I'm sure others have similar memories. When Blanton throws three strikes, I hear Kalas's voice saying, "struck him out!"; when Ryan Howard hits one out of the park, I hear Kalas say, "this ball is outttaaa heereeee." These are things that do not leave one's memory. Click here for some memorable Kalas calls.
Tuesday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles announced the loss of longtime defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson. For nearly ten years, leading the Eagles to one Superbowl and five division championships, Johnson stood on the sideline, running perhaps one of the most interestingly structured defenses in the league. Known for blitzing an offense a tiring amount of times, Johnson's defense was, at times, considered the best. His slightly hunched figure, headphoned with a clipboard or papers in hand, will be something greatly missed when the Eagles' season begins soon.
Kalas and Johnson both led full lives outside of their contributions to the Philadelphia sports world. Both, until the days that they died, lived a dream: they did what they loved and what they excelled at until the end of their lives. This fact itself makes their deaths bittersweet. Kalas, at last, lived to see the Phillies win the World Series last year, in 2008. Johnson helped the Eagles to the 2005 Superbowl, though the result of that game is better left undiscussed with any Eagles fan. Philadelphia, in both baseball and football in 2009, has lost two of its behind-the-scenes greats. Neither will be forgotten.