Auuugghh! I Thought This Eagles Team Was Different

The Eagles Duped Us Again
The Eagles Duped Us Again

“[T]o lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen” – John Milton

The current Eagles regime is without doubt, its most successful in its history. But look at that history – there’s not much there.

They lured us in with a late season throttling of the hated Cowboys;  a workmanlike dispatch of the Who CaresVikings; and then a divisional playoff win over the loathsome Giants … oh, how they sucker-punched us yesterday. Not only did they lose the game, they lost it twice.

Wooing us with a thrilling comeback from and 18 point deficit! Left for dead they rallied, soaring to a 25-24 lead.

Only to let the Cardinals (the Cardinals. Does anyone remember when they were in the NFC East, and were totally inept and yet – they still beat us just about every year?) march right down the field.

“Ha ha! Fooled ya!”

And yet, I will undoubtedly be all a-twitter when draft time rolls around again.

When Will Kevin Kolb Take Over?

 From Les Bowen’s philly.com column today:

Kolb is signed for 4 years. But if McNabb misses significant time, as he has in three of the past five seasons, and he doesn’t lead the Eagles to that elusive Super Bowl trophy, well, even though McNabb also is signed for 4 more years, the amortization of his signing bonus ends after 2008. That would make the cap hit for trading him less than daunting.

So the answer (barring injuries of course) is: 2009.  If injuries don’t force the Eagles’ hand – and I hope they don’t – the salary cap and age will. The 2008 season will be McNabb’s 11th, and as Mr. Bowen points out, the last year his signing bonus will be counted against the salary cap.

Assuming Kolb proves himself, he’ll be the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles no later than opening day of the 2009 season, a few weeks after his 25th birthday. 

Floyd Reese, former General Manager of the Oilers/ Titans – and the man whose first draft in that capacity yielded Steve McNair, and whose last produced Vince Young – has a good article over at ESPN in re: the importance of the quarterback position.

The quarterback position is more important to a football team than any other position is to its respective team sport…  the focus on the quarterback, and the necessity for each franchise to have a healthy and successful player at the position, is always a top priority. Generally, a franchise does not even consider replacing its quarterback unless it is convinced he has poor leadership skills, is hurt or too old or he can’t consistently win football games.

Here’s hoping Donovan holds the kid off by winning 3 consecutive Super Bowls. But if he doesn’t, here’s hoping the Kid uses the time to prepare himself. Philadelphia can be a tough crowd.

 

Source: Kolb a quick understudy | Daily News | 08/06/2007

NFL Training Camp: Eagles in Pads and Other Notes

The pads are on at Lehigh, which means we’re that much closer to the Real Thing. My excitement is mixed with rattled nerves, though, dreading the first article about [fill in the blank] out because of a season-ending injury to his [fill in the blank].

L.J. Smith (who, come to think of it, I’ve personally met) is wearing a Red Jersey, at least for now, according to philly.com. He had a sports hernia operation in May, but looks like he’ll be ready to go. Less certain is his contract status. Perhaps the Eagles are playing wait and see? He’s in the last year of his deal, and I’d expect – if they do want him – they’ll get a deal done before the season is out.

Other than L.J. and Donovan’s recoveries, it seems everyone is relatively good health. I’m very glad to see Jevon is back. The defensive line figures to be immensely improved.

Elsewhere in the NFL…

Daunte Culpepper has signed with the Raiders, according to FoxSports.com.

“When I became a free agent I created and ranked eight criteria that I used to evaluate potential teams that were interested in my services,” Culpepper said. “Based on my criteria, the Oakland Raiders are the best fit.”

Hmm. Eight you say. OK, I’ll step in here and hazard a guess.

    1. Has a Computer.
    2. Has Microsoft Word.
    3. Can type the words “Daunte Culpepper” into the appropriate blanks.
    4. Has a laser printer.
    5. Has paper in the printer.
    6. Can press the “Print” Button.
    7. Has a pen.
    8. With ink in it.

Done Deal! OK, enough of the pot shots at Daunte. I wish him well, though that organization – one I loved in the 70s – is in shambles. If that offensive line is anything like it was last year, that poor man could get himself killed. I don’t know what the Raiders are doing. The basic plan – assuming there is a plan, which according to all available evidence, there isn’t –  seems to be: “whatever.”  The Raiders am become the New Cardinals.

And from Tampa…

Jon Gruden might be losing it.  I’ve been reading a Pasquarelli item at ESPN about Garcia’s (apparent) emergence as the starter in Tampa Bay. It doesn’t seem like Gruden does anything except play musical quarterbacks in his quest to win 6 or 7 games per year. Is there nothing else on that team that needs improvement? And does he seriously expect Garcia to take them to the promised land – of 8 wins?

Garcia did an admirable job with the Eagles last year, but remember he only started 8 games total.  That 5-1 record Pasquarelli cites is misleading, as it includes the season finale in which Garcia was 1 for 3 for 29 yards before Reid – in comically fast fashion – pulled the starters as soon as the Cowboys score came in. (The Cowboy loss ensured the Eagles a home game and the division title.)

In that first playoff game, at home against the Giants, Garcia was 17 for 31 (54.8%), QB rating of 79.1. He hadn’t had anywhere near that low a rating in any of the regular season games he started (again, I’m throwing out the Atlanta non-game). The next lowest rating he’d had was a 90.9 in a victory at New York a few weeks earlier. In that game, he completed 67.9% of his passes.

In the loss at New Orleans, he was rated at 88.2. Decent. However, he was 15 of 30 (50%) for 240 yards. 75 of those on one long TD play.

The loss in New Orleans wasn’t Garcia’s fault, it was much more about the failure of the defense to provide the slightest of speed bumps against the New Orleans rushing attack.

Jeff Garcia was given the keys to a high powered, productive offense. His job was to not lose games. I do not think that, at this stage of his career, he is able to shoulder the load as a starter for 16 games and be anything better than a .500 quarterback.

Training Camp opens; McNabb Video

Training camp opens today. Bob Ford writes in today’s Inquirer that we have questions surrounding both McNabb’s mobility and the receiving corps:

Donté Stallworth has been replaced by Kevin Curtis, tight end L.J. Smith is coming back from surgery to repair a sports hernia, and the rest of the receiving depends on one’s opinion of Hank Baskett and Jason Avant.

For starters, I don’t think Curtis replaces Stallworth. He’s not as good. But we’ll see. A lot of preseason chatter has been focused on whether Curtis – as a 2 – will be able to break out of tight coverage (he lined up in the slot in St. Louis, where Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt were 1 and 2). Says Curtis himself:

“I think the coaches will address that more in minicamp,” Curtis said at June’s OTA regarding how exactly he’ll be used. “Up to this point it’s been more a focus on learning one position, and that’s the outside. I’ve been playing inside the last four years so I think they know I can play the inside too and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them use me in that way as well.”

(Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com)

Also, memo to Mr. Ford: Number 86 is Reggie Brown, who’s probably the best receiver we have. At least according to Adam Schein over at FoxSports.com, who lists Mr. Brown as one of the 9 players he expects to become breakout stars in 2007:

Sure, Brown helped your fantasy team with eight receiving touchdowns last year. This season, he will help out the Eagles even more in reality. The rapport between Brown and Donovan McNabb was really humming when the quarterback got hurt. In two seasons as a pro, Brown has totaled 43 and 46 catches respectively. He’ll shatter those numbers this year. Book him for 75 receptions.

Schein’s colleague at FoxSports, Peter Schrager, thinks highly of Hank Baskett:

10. Hank Baskett, WR, Eagles: Baskett saved his best game of the year for the regular season finale, hauling in seven passes for 177 yards and ripping off an 89-yard touchdown versus the Falcons in Week 17. He’s got the size, the hands, the skills and the awareness to be a formidable NFL receiver. He could be much more than that. With Donte Stallworth gone to New England, the wideout situation is still up for grabs quite a grab in Philly. Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown should be the first two options, but Baskett could be the big-play guy.

(Source: FoxSports.com)

Now for the exciting part of the day. How is 5’s knee? Here’s a video, taken two weeks ago, of Donovan McNabb working out in Arizona.
[ev type=”youtube” data=”efup1GVjXlA”][/ev]

Oh, and let me toss in a Bonus Obligatory Swipe at the Falcons: Schein (and I) expect Big Things from Matt Schaub:

I’ve been saying it for a long time. If you give Matt Schaub 16 games, he’ll automatically be a top 16 quarterback. The Texans are giving him more than a full season. Houston is giving him $40 million and the keys to the franchise. Schaub is a quick study and has had a great off-season under quarterback guru and Texans coach Gary Kubiak. Schaub gets to work with one of the elite receivers in the game in Andre Johnson. Owen Daniels is an emerging threat at tight end. And the Texans offensive line, while not great, is improved. Schaub will put himself and the Texans on the map with a big season.

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