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Wednesday
Nov192008

Edwrads' Meltdown and League Coaching Struggles should be a cautionary tale to Eagles Fans

It wasn't that long ago that Trent Edwards was the toast of the league. He had a 98.8 passer rating, completing 69.7 percent of his passes for 1,209 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He was a rising star who was supposed to be the quarterback steal of the draft, an afterthought behind Jamarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, John Beck, and yes Kevin Kolb. To be more specific those sentiments were related back in October when the Bills were 5-1. Now the Bills (5-5) have dropped their last 4 games and Edwards has been the main culprit, having thrown eight interceptions to go along with two fumbles and a safety. His confidence is eroding quickly along with the trust his coaching staff has in his abilities to win games right now...or was their some other reason the Bills ran three straight times with the wind against them to set up that last field goal attempt against the Browns. Edwards admitted himself, "You start seeing things you're not really seeing, and doing things you're notnormally used to doing". And so it goes with another NFL team struggling to find consistency at the most important premiere position on your team...Quaterback.

So with that in mind Eagles Fans, are you ready to give up on the talented Mr. Donovan Mcnabb? Why am I even asking that question, of course you are. You never appreciated him to begin with. Five time Pro Bowl selection, 2000 NFL runner up, 2004 NFC offensive player of the year, 179 touchdowns thrown compared to 82 interceptions. Eagles fans, do you even know that Donovan is the least intercepted quaterback in league history all while passing to the likes of Greg Lewis, Reggie Brown, and "I'd like to thank my hands" Freddie Mitchell. But hey Kevin Kolb is waiting in the backgrounds so why not give him a shot. He is the obvious answer to cure the Eagles troubles and lead them to glory in perhaps the toughest division in football. I'm sure that given adequate grooming he will surpass all that Donovan has accomplished and prove to be a much better quarterback competition against the likes of  Tony Romo and Eli Manning, both of whom haven't even hit their prime yet. Does that logic sound reasonable?

Or what about the notion to get rid of Andy Reid? That would sound reasonable if we were talkikng about Reid the GM who has failed to provide Mcnabb with a talented receiver to throw to either via the draft or free agency since T.O. left. And he has failed to see that Donovan's abilities as a running quarterback, particularly since his latest knee surgery, have eroded and the need for a dominant, healthy, everydown running back (No offense to Brian Westbrook) is crucial to protecting his aging star. If you want to get rid of that man I understand. But do you know that no other franchise since 1999 has been to more divisional playoff round appearances (6) and only Bill Belichick's New England Patriots have advanced to more conference championship game appearances (5) than Philadelphia (with 4).  Just how are you going to replace that?  I'm a Cowboys fan and I must say that the hiring of Wade Philips over Bill Parcells was troubling, considering also that this team now lacks Bill's toughness and accountability.  And last year's offensive guru Jason Garrett does little to instill confidence that he will have the answers to what ails the team now, especially with his offense struggling.  Norv Turner was supposed to be an offensive genius that would elevate a team once led by the "conservative" Marty Schottenheimer and the Chargers will soon be eliminated.  This league is about finding the right quaterback, and maybe more importantly finding the right coach (as seen by Bill Belichick's Patriots) and the two don't come along very often.  My advice to Eagle's fans is to appreciate the now because your other options don't look nearly as good.

Tuesday
Nov112008

The Myth that is Notre Dame

Wasn't Notre Dame supposed to be a contender by now with Charlie Weis at the reigns?  Wasn't he supposed to use his football "playcalling genius" to restore the respectability of this once proud university?  His NFL ties along with his championship rings were supposed to be enough to bring in top level college recruits.  And rivals.com has or at least tries to convince us that talent is what the Fighting Irish have.  So what has happened?  Has Charlie Weis suddenly forgotten how orchestrate a competitive offense?  Maybe.  Maybe he was never that great of a coach in the first place.  It's hard to tell without having any concrete evidence.  Unless you want to look at their 1-15 record against ranked teams the last 5 years.  But the one thing I do know is that the Irish lack talent.  Say what you will about recruiting classes but no way does this team pass the eyeball test.  I look at the USC team and they have safeties bigger than Notre Dame's linebackers.  And Jimmy Clausen is a good quaterback, but there's no way he was the top quaterback  coming out of highschool. The allure of Notre Dame died in the 90's and soon the myth of being the top Catholic Football University will be gone as well.

Tuesday
Nov042008

Dont Knee-Jerk Just Yet Dallas Fans

Sports fans (myself included) have a tendency to panic, make rash decisions, and in some cases totally disown their beloved teams.  It happens all the time with fans (need I remind you short for fanatic) when you allow your passions to cloud your thinking.  And no more is this ever apparent (except in college football...for all you crazy SEC fans) than with the situation in Dallas and the drama that is the Cowboys.  Yes, the Cowboys were over hyped, much like a lot of teams at the beginning of the NFL season.  Or has everyone forgotten how the Browns, Chargers,  and Saints were all picked to dominate this year.  People even picked Minnesota to go to the Superbowl!  And why?  Because Adrian Peterson was going to rush them into the playoffs?  Or because their new and "improved" defensive talent Jared Allen was going to dominate opposing quarterbacks?  Or was it because Brad Childress was going to turn Tavaris Jackson into the next Donovan Mcnabb (which is just plain laughable)?

The point is that to win in this league you have to be able to run the ball, and more importantly you have to get quality production from your quarterback.  People keep talking about this Dallas Cowboys team because they are undisciplined and rack up penalties (or rather because they rack up penalties), and also because they jaw at each other on the sideline.  Well that last statement means little to nothing because all teams get into arguments on the sideline.  It's just that with Dallas the media is looking a little more (waiting to see if T.O. is going to blow up) so that they can report it in the news.  But the first argument was a point that Colin Cowherd (who loves Bill Parcells) made in regards to their penalties.  If you look back at Parcells' last season the Cowboys were 10th in the league in penalties.  But if you continue to research the Giants, who won the division were last in the league in penalties.  New England, who won the Superbowl, along with division leaders Jacksonville, Cincinnatti and Tampa Bay were in the top 15 in penalties the league.

All of those teams were getting solid play from the quarterback position and the teams who were dreadful or just plain underachieving last year are starting to click largely because of improvement from that position and an ability to run the ball effectively.  Or do you think the Dolphins would be in their present position without Chad Pennington or the Titans winning games without Kerry Collins.  Tony Romo coming back won't solve all of their problems, but at least it will allow Wade Philips to concentrate on trying to fix the one thing he is good at and that's designing quality defenses.

Thursday
Oct092008

It's Official...Pacman Jones is a Loser

As if being questioned 12 times by police in your short career isn't enough, oh, and being arrested outside of a strip club that leads to a man being paralyzed, Pacman Jones finds himself in even more trouble with his latest incident involving a fight with one of the Cowboys security personel.  I realize that Jerry Jones likes to take chances on gifted athletes who use poor judgement, as he did with Charles Haley, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, and Deion Sanders to name a few.  And being a Cowboys fans, I can truly appreciate his 'gambling man' nature.  But Jerry probably is going to start  fretting over this incident with Pacman, especially as more information starts to come out.  Especially with this being an incident that was loud enough that hotel employees had to call the police.  Especially seeing as how this was Wednesday night, when on Wednesday, you are installing the specifics of how your defense will attack opposing offenses.  Especially when you have Terrance Newman out with a groin injury, and you might have to turn to your roookie cornerback in Mike Jenkins.  And I'm not saying that it is time to pull the plug on Pacman, but it it appears evident that this deal is not going to work out, even with the flashes of athleticism that enabled both the Titans and the Cowboys to deal with Pacman's behavior. 

When you throw a punch at someone when you have a zero tolerance policy looming over your head, you have poor judgement.  When you throw a punch at your security guard (and let's be honest, your babysitter, because security guards save you from others not yourself) that was paid for and assigned to you by your team you're a crazy man.  But when you do all of these things when Roger Goodell has just finished speaking at your team's facilities while he expresses confidence in Pacman's "changed behavior" and how he truly believes that Pacman is finally understanding what is expected of him on and off the field, your are a quintessential loser.  You know, say what you want to about T.O. and his complaining in the media, and calling out teammates.  He doesn't have trouble (usually) off the field.  Pacman is another story.  He is that guy who is your wife or girlfriend's brother who can't stay sober, can't stay out of jail, and can't keep a job.  His name is not Adam (and I could kick myself for considering that a name change could possibly mean a personality change too).  He is Pacman, and will forever be just Pacman.

Wednesday
Oct012008

Chad, Plaxico, and T.O to do interviews together?

OK, that would be a nightmare for the Bengals and Cowboys.  Afterall what other football players have caused such negative attention to be cast on their perspective franchises?  What other guys (In Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens) have caused doubt to be cast at the feet of each team's marquee and unarguably most important position at quarterback?  Or have we answered the question of why Carson Palmer has regressed so mightily the past 2 seasons.  Do we know if Tony Romo can cut down on inexcusable interceptions in the red zone and make propel the already talented Cowboy team into a playoff victory (Or dare I say a Superbowl). In all fairness, Plaxico hasn't thrown any jabs at Eli, but he would also have to be present to do so (Mr. 50 times fined for missing meetings).  Then again I could see why domestic disputes with police involvement might curtail your being present.  But do these actions really have a negative impact on the team? The answer (in my own opinion) is we don't know.  But one thing I have come to know and realize is that the more they keep talking the less flaws I see in their teams.  Their give me the ball rants, blame the quarterback tirades, and practice doesn't perfect me stances have covered up everything that is wrong with their clubs. 

Consider that fact of the Cowboys who despite throwing to T.O 19 times (and yes many of those balls were uncatchable) and even with totally ignoring their running game, they managed to put up 24 points on the board against Washington last week.  That tells me that their isn't much that is wrong with their offense (second in the league in offense and 30 points per game in case you didn't notice).  The problem is their defense not having an interception in the past 5 games they have played.  Their problem is allowing over 22 points while allowing opposing teams to gain over 100 yards rushing and a gaudy 210 yards paasing each game.  Playoff teams don't give that much up on defense.  At least the ones that plan on contending for a Superbowl victory.

The Bengals should pay every fine levied against Chad for his touchdown celebrations.  Maybe it would give him some inspiration to actually find the endzone.  While they're at it, they should also hire him as ther PR representative, because as long as he keeps talking, the more we focus on him and forget about just how bad this team has gotten.  Forget about the fact that they don't run the ball, don't play defense, don't win, and for some reason can't stay off the NFL's suspension list.  We were all just tuning in for the Palmer to Chad highlights on Sportscenter anyway.  But this team isn't even interesting.  Is it me or have we become bored by the losing ways of this team.  At least with Chad talking their is proof that life still exist on this team.

Plaxico is another interesting case because his team hasn't lost (Oh and just won the Superbowl).  But with his diva like persona (at least what the media speaks about because I haven't seen it for myself) attention is taken away from the fact that the Giants really haven't played anyone worth mentioning in their schedule yet.  I know, they made the Redskins look terrible in their home opener, but Zorn hadn't finished getting the kinks out of his offense, and Jason Campbell hadn't settled in with his receivers yet.  But who really have they beaten?  A pathetic Rams team that just fired their coach or the offensively challenged Bengals who are about to fire their coach?  Upon closer look those impressive defensive stats don't amount to much.  More importantly, they haven't played their division opponents at full strength on the road and trust me,  this team will struggle against the offenses of the Eagles and the Cowboys without  Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan causing havoc on the defensive side.

So my message to Plaxico, Chad, and T.O. is keep talking so the critics can look the other way.