Eagles Fans Have Been Here Before

Over the past ten seasons, Eagles fans have become accustomed to their team playing its best during the month of December on its way to the playoffs, and in a few of those seasons either an NFC East Championship (five of them), a first round bye, home field throughout the playoffs or two out of three or all of the above.    A win Sunday night gives the Eagles their sixth NFC East title in the Andy Reid era.  Did I mention we’ve been there, done that?

DeSean Jackson provided the exclamation point Sunday to a marvelous comeback against the Giants, one that stirred up comparison’s to seven years ago when Brian Westbrook brought back a punt to give the Eagles a much needed victory over those same Giants early in the 2003 season.    Unfortunately, we know how that season ended.  Despite converting a 4th and 26 against the Packers the Eagles lost their second consecutive home NFC Championship Game to the Carolina Panthers.  

As great a job as Andy Reid has done this season, and this just might be the best coaching job he’s done since 2000-2001, and as great a comeback as the Eagles had on Sunday, and as big a surprise as Michael Vick has become to lead the Eagles to their 10-4 record, it all means nothing unless the Eagles reach the Super Bowl. 

Yes, I said Super Bowl.  Sure, going into the season most of us thought that this might be a “take a step back” year with Kevin Kolb getting his feet wet and maybe the Eagles would go 8-8, 9-7 at best.   That all changed when Vick took over and started racking up wins with both his feet and his downfield passing.   If not for the Eagles past failures in four NFC Championship games what they are doing this season might be enough regardless of the result.  Its not because unlike the Eagles teams of the late 1970′s and mid 1980′s this team has given us a taste of success over the years.  They’ve set the bar high themselves by winning playoff games, getting those first round bye’s and making us all believe the actually could win a championship only to have those hopes dashed time and time again against the Rams, Bucs, Panthers and Cardinals.   With the exception of the Rams all those other franchises had never gone to a Super Bowl until they had beaten the Eagles.

So, Jackson’s wonderful punt return could springboard the Eagles to the Super Bowl, or it could get put into the footnote box along with 4th and 26 and Westbrook’s punt return.  The cool thing is that the end to this story has yet to be written, and I’m really hoping that the ending takes us to Dallas in February.   How cool would it be for the Eagles to win their first Super Bowl on the home turf of one of their most fierce rivals? I like that ending alot.



With Vick At Helm, Eagles Are Very Dangerous

I know, this was supposed to be Kevin Kolb’s coming out season, and Mike Vick was just supposed to come in here and there, run the wildcat and mentor the Eagles new starting QB if necessary.  Nobody could’ve possibly have predicted what was coming.

All that went out the window when Kolb suffered a concussion against the Packers and Vick took over for the rest of that game.  Time to fire up the engines on “Starship 7″, and Vick led the Eagles to consecutive victories against the Lions and Jags before getting sandwiched between two defenders against the Redskins, forcing him to leave and watch as the Eagles dropped a 17-12 decision at home.

Athough “Starship 7″ would be temporarily grounded, Kolb came back and led the Eagles to consecutive wins against the 49ers and Falcons before dropping a tough game against the Titans that saw the Eagles not only blow a lead, but saw the Titans score 27 points in the final quarter to win 37-19.  The bye week followed, and “Starship 7″ was ready to fly once more as the Eagles put their perfect 11-0 post bye record under Reid to test against a depleted but still dangerous Peyton Manning Colts team.   It wasn’t always pretty, but the birds won what just might’ve been the game that everyone looks back on later to put them at 5-3 and ready to travel down to DC for last night’s Monday Night matchup against their old buddy, Donovan McNabb and the Redskins.

While everyone from Pennsylvania Avenue to Silver Spring, MD scratched their heads at McNabb’s new 5 year extension, “Starship 7″ took flight all over FedEx Field, starting with a naked bootleg to his left on the first play of the game, an 88 yard scoring strike to DeSean Jackson.  One play, one score.   The Vick-Led Eagles scored on their first five posessions, allowing Sav Rocca to relax, have a beer, order some nachos.  He wasn’t needed until the second quarter, long after the birds put up a 35-0 lead on their newly extended former teammate. 

Watching Vick last night was a thing of beauty.  Nothing against Kolb, but with the Eagles offensive line not being the best in the NFL, Vick is absolutely the right guy to have running the offense.  As I watched him run and throw, I kept thinking to myself  “is this what Randall Cunningham would’ve looked like if he had been coached 20 some years ago?”   If the line holds he gets the ball out, if not he gets out and he gets out fast.  Former Tampa Bay Head Coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden nicknamed Vick “Starship 7″ many years ago because of Vick’s ability to escape and fly.  The difference between the 2002 model and the 2010 model is that now Vick actually reads the defense and looks to throw the ball first and run second.    His QB rating was 105 coming into the game last night, and he had thrown 7 TD’s with no interceptions.  After last night he’s up to 11 TD’s with no interceptions and he’s got people saying MVP before his name.     His ability along with the young Eagle weapons like Jackson, McCoy, Avant, Maclin, Celek and Cooper make this Eagles team incredibly dangerous as they head down the stretch towards the playoffs.  Of course, they have a showdown at home next Sunday night against the Giants and its that game which will give us a true indication of how good this team can be this year.

I’ve been very critical of Reid the past year or so, and I wrote here that there is no way in hell he should’ve gotten the extension he got right before the “Disaster In Dallas”  Week 18 and the sequel which knocked the birds out of the playoffs.   I will say this about Coach Reid, and that is I don’t think anyone in the NFL coaches QB’s as well as he does.  You look at McNabb’s success, you look at how well AJ Feely did back in 2002 for an injured McNabb and in 2006 how well Jeff Garcia did and now Vick.  Its no accident, and make no mistake about it, Andy Reid’s offense is not exactly Offense For Dummies.  Its advanced stuff, like getting your Masters in Football.  Gruden mentioned last night that the Eagles playbook has more screen plays in it than what Gruden ran in his entire tenure in Tampa.  Constant personnel changes and different formations, roughly 175 of them, and Michael Vick has to know them all.

If last night was any indication, the rest of the Eagles season should be alot of fun to watch.  Who knows, maybe “Starship 7″ will come back to earth with the Lombardi Trophy.



$5000.00 Fine for Kolb Necessary?

        The Nonsensical Fines League strikes again!!!!  In a league which once fined Micheal Vick, then playing with the Falcons, $15,000 for socks that weren’t right because his out side socks fell down.  The fact of the matter was Vick had two pairs of socks on the team socks and one’s underneath for his own comfort.  The team socks fell down or were slouched by Vick himself, neither of which is important.  He was fined because his socks weren’t pulled up.  It’s understandable that Brandon Merriweather was fined, he probably should be suspended.  The fact that James Harrison was fined is ridiculous.  Both of his hits were when a player had the ball or about to get that ball and jar it loose.  The was no leading with the helmet, he used his shoulders and arms to hit the runner to dislodge the ball.  The hit that T.J. Ward put on Jordan Shipley should not have been a fine either!  How can you throw a flag and fine someone when a player has the ball in his hands and you hit them to make it an incomplete pass.  The Dunta Robinson hit on Desean Jackson in no way should have warranted a fine or even a flag.  Dunta barely even hit him with his helmet.  It was 95 percent shoulder pad, but because Desean weighs 160 pounds and got the whip lash of a tractor trailer hitting a moped was the reason a flag was thrown.  Merriweather’s hit differs from Ward’s because even though they hit the receivers in the same fashion but Heap had already drop the ball while Shipley would have scored a touchdown.  The most egregious of all the fines is Kevin Kolb.  $5000 isn’t a lot of money to a NFL player but why does a QB get fined for a horse collar.  I understand the penalty in the game, which is almost absurd, but it’s understandable.  Fines should only be administered when a player shows intent to injure someone or if a player is completely negligent to the rules.  Kolb wasn’t trying to injure he was just trying to save a touchdown.  Its bad enough the NFL has taken touchdown celebrations out of the game.  Many of which are very creative and non-malicious in nature.  So if the NFL wants a bunch of two hand touch robots to play football so be it. 

         Players can’t be told to change the intensity of the game.  A player has been trained to destroy the opponent since they were six years old.  With coaches saying to kids destroy him, destroy the enemy.  Then when the player gets a penalty, the coaches play it off to the refs that it was all the player and he can’t control one rogue player.  So do we have to start coaching differently when players are young or does the NFL just keep living with this hypocrisy.  Former players are coming out in protest, mostly because current players who protest will probably be fined as well.  A few players have already spoken out against it.  Channing Crowder of the Miami Dolphins has already said “As long as we wear helmets I’ll use mine to hit”.  Not caring about a fine Crodwer thinks that the NFL is making players think twice before doing things.  When you start to  think or if you go half speed that’s usually when you get hurt.  You can’t blame a player for not wanting to change especially when you’re a defender and taught to react and attack.  James Harrison’s unnecessary fines had him mulling over retirement, whether it was real or not we will probably never know but do you blame him for taking a stance against the powers that be.



Who are the Eagles Really????

The Philadelphia Eagles are a marvel in this short start of the NFL season.  With a 4 and 2 record, they seem to be in control of the season.  There are other questions that arise though.  Is it all smoke and mirrors?  Is the NFC really a true litmus test?  Is the Eagles defense and special teams just young and need time to gel?  I remember when Jim Johnson first got here with Andy Reid, Troy Vincent being interviewed and saying that “it would take 6 weeks for the Eagles to learn this scheme, but after that teams should be worried.”  Could this be a case of a young talented defense, new defensive coordinator, running his best imitation of a Jim Johnson’s blitzing scheme?  Or is it a case of parody in the NFL?  Another few questions are is King Dunlap a better left tackle then Jason Peters, right now?  Who should be the Quarterback, Mike Vick or Kevin Kolb?  Will the injuries that have already happen haunt this team for the rest of the season?  Lastly is this team a serious contender or is it just a case of mistaken identity.  With a team that is more skitzofrenic then Russell Crowe in a “Beautiful Mind”.  There is plenty of promise, but is it a team for the future or is it a team to win now?  King Dunlap was given more help then Jason Peters was, but in all fairness Jason Peters is a season veteran with a huge price tag.  Dunlap is basically a rookie playing out there and all the misdirection, potential screen pass set ups, end arounds and trick plays really worked to his advantage.  Another thing that was a helper for him is Abraham is a good size defensive end.  Smaller, faster defensive ends are going to be trouble for Dunlap.  All in all I will take a struggling rookie type who doesn’t jump off sides three times a game and doesn’t get a holding call in a key situation in the game.  Now as far as things go with the starting quarterback, I have no clue.  But if Vick comes back in as the starter it could ruin Kolb.  Just when it had seemed that Kolb beat the naysayers by throwing the long ball.  All he can do is check down?  No!  This issue with Vick showing up at 12:15 might be a glaring one in the future.  This is purely speculation, but my perception is that Vick was miffed he couldn’t play against his old team and that is why he was late.  Again that is just my opinion.  To answer the last question, injuries effect every team in football and if Peyton Manning goes down the Colts are done and likewise for any team.  So I ask you this who are the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles?  Only time will tell…..



Michael Vick to start Sunday

Fans who wanted to see more of Michael Vick will get their wish.

Andy Reid said Vick will be the team’s starting quarterback for this week’s game against Jacksonville and beyond.  As it turns out the decision has nothing to do with Kolb’s concussion and everything to do with Vick’s play.

“Kevin is fine. It’s not an injury-related issue,” Reid said during his press conference. “It’s not about judging him. He’s going to be a championship-caliber quarterback.”

Reid’s decision comes as a surprise since he came out yesterday and named Kolb the starter for Sunday.

Vick is coming of consecutive strong performances, passing for 284 yards passing and two TDs in a 35-32 win at Detroit on Sunday and throwing for 175 yards and one touchdown and ran for 103 yards in the opener.

Reid said Vick is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league and there was no way he could sit him (of coarse that is a complete 180 of yesterday’s statement that Kolb was the guy going forwards.

The most rediculous part of the conference was that Reid said he did not think this move would hurt Kolb and insisted that it would help Kolb in the future. Remind me again the last time a QB got better for benched?

This move is already drawing praise from some and scorn from others. Check back to phillysportsblogs tomorrow for complete reaction on today’s big news.



He still has game

All right.  I am going to come right out and say it.  He can still play. MV.  Vick’s got game.

For those of you who know, I am a 40 year die hard Eagles fan and not a Vick supporter by any means.

I don’t neccessarily agree with the team’s decision to bring him on, nor did I agree with the team’s decision to let McNabb go.

But it is what it is and with the injury to Kolb, there was nowhere else to turn.

He showed he can still put up numbers, albeit against the Lions, hardly a true test for the leader of a NFC East team.

He had a 108 QB rating on 21-34 passing for 284 yards with 2 touchdowns.  The Eagles won the game 35-32.  I think this was more due to McCoy’s 120 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries, and Hills’ two interceptions.  Detriots QB actually had more yards passing than Vick had passing and rushing combined, but Vick took care of the ball better with no picks and 2 fumbles, both of which were recovered.

Not a bad days work for any NFL quarterback, let alone one with the personal baggage Vick has to carry the rest of his career.

McCoy is coming into his own quickly.  Many fans were upset with the decision to let Westbrook go, but I said then, and repeat now, it was a good decision for the team.

So far, Vick looks pretty good.  McCoy looks outstanding. 

It will be interesting to see, as the season progresses, how much more significant the replacement of one of those stars becomes then the other.  If McCoy is on pace to rush for 2,000 yards, the pressure is on Vick to pass for 4,000.  and the opposite is true, if Vick runs off 5-6 wins in a row then McCoy will be pushed to score 2 or 3 times a game to even it out. 

I am unsure if Vick will be any better than McNabb was at leading this team.  Both pass quickly and efficiently, both can scramble and move laterally (Vick is the quicker of the two by far) and both seemed to get a good response from the linemen and receiving corps as far as leading the offense up the field.   Big question is; What about Kolb ?

I think Kolb can throw the ball farther, but I think Vick displayed good timing and a strong enough arm yesterday to get the job done.  

So now the team is 1-1 and so far, not challenged by a GOOD NFL franchise.

For me, I am waiting for 10/3/10.  The day the Redskins descend on the Linc and the way the Eagles, and in particular Michael Vick, handle the event is going to speak volumes regarding the remainder of the season.

Until then, I will enjoy watching the Phillies spank the Braves as many times as possible as MLB goes into the stretch.



Vick now the man for the Eagles – for a week at least

What should we expect from Michael Vick?

This has been a question asked by Eagles fans since Michael Vick was first acquired by the team last preseason. The question has had different values of significance placed during that time. Last year, fans wondered if Vick would, or should even see the field at all. With Donovan McNabb set as the starter and Kevin Kolb as the backup, fans didn’t have to expect much from Vick.

Now with McNabb in Washington and Kolb trying to get the cobwebs out of his head, it is Vick who will take the field for the first time as the starting quarterback since 2006.

Just like his place in the QB pecking order, the expectations have now been raised for Vick — largely due to his 18-for-24 175 yards passing, 103 yards rushing performance in a half of football against the Packers.

Many fans were quick to dismiss Vick’s performance, pointing to the notion that the Packers had not game planed for Vick and if they had the results would not have been close to the same.

That could be true. However assuming that is a slight to Vick, who does have three Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. Dog fighting ring aside, the man does know how to play the position, even if he does it unconventionally.

So what can be expected of Vick?

Personally I expect to see Vick perform well, if not eye-poping against the Lions. For all of the hype about   Detroit being a team on the rise the Lions are still a mess defensively — well outside of Big Ndamukong Suh. That man is simply a beast. The rest of the defense is bellow average and I think Vick will again be able to use both his arms and legs to move the chains.

My guess — 65 percent passing, 210 yards and another 75 on the ground in an Eagles win.

You don’t have to like or respect Vick, but as an Eagles fan who wants to see their team win, you do need to root for him — at least this week, because the ball will be in his hands.



Kolb, Bradley fail concussion tests

Kevin Kolb failed his concussion test on Wednesday making it look increasingly likely that Michael Vick will get the start at QB this Sunday at Detroit.

ESPN has a full report here:

Philadelphia quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley did not pass concussion testing Wednesday. Coach Andy Reid, however, said both players have “made progress” since Monday.

Reid said quarterback Michael Vick will run the offense in practice Wednesday and Thursday and “we’ll take Friday as it comes.”

Reid had said Monday that both Kolb and Bradley would not practice before Friday. However, Reid did not rule out either player for Sunday’s game at Detroit.

Bradley sustained a concussion when he collided with Ernie Sims during Philadelphia’s 27-20 loss to Green Bay on Sunday. Yet somehow, the Eagles’ middle linebacker returned for a few plays before he was pulled for the rest of the game.

Again with the Eagles already facing heat regarding the way they initially handled Bradley’s concussion on Sunday, I would be very surprised to see either player activated against the Lions.



Reflections on Eagles Week 1 loss

Now that the Eagles opener against the Green Bay Packers has come and gone it’s time to reflect on what was Sunday and what could be in the future. The Eagles did a few things right and a few more things wrong in a 27-20 loss that leaves the team still searching for answers at several key positions.

Kolb struggles: After starting his career with back-to-back 300-yard passing games last season expectations were high for Kevin Kolb — maybe a little too high. Like many young quarterbacks, Kolb had his struggles on Sunday, passing for just 24 yards after having his day come to an end before halftime due to a concussion. Injury aside, Kolb looked shaky on his first game since Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins, going 5-for-10 and finishing with a QB rating of 56.2. The Eagles are saying there is a chance the Kolb could play this Sunday against Detroit, but with the NFL now more cautious about head injuries I would be surprised to see him active.

Vick Impresses: Sure it was against a defense that wasn’t expecting to see him for more than a few gadget plays, but it is undeniable that Vick sparked the Eagles offense. For all of the criticism that Vick has taken since arriving in Philadelphia last preseason — and rightly so — he reminded fans why he was a three-time pro bowler at the position.

With the offensive line struggling, Vick improvised his way to 103 yard rushing on 11 attempts. He also was quite accurate with the football, finishing 16-for-24 for 175 yards. No matter what way you shake it, 275 total yards for a QB in just over half of a football game is a great day.

We may also get to find out what Vick can do against a defense that game plans for him this week if Kolb can’t go.

Still no running game: I’m not sure how the Eagles are going to find out what they have in LeSean McCoy if they don’t give him an opportunity to run the football. McCoy got just seven carries on Sunday. He did factor in the passing game, as expected, with six catches and 47 yards, but the Eagles looked very one dimensional, especially in the first half. Reid has never been one to focus on the run, but for a team in transition finding out if McCoy is the right guy for the job should be a priority. It would be nice to see what McCoy could do with 15-plus carries but that doesn’t seem like a reality with this coaching staff in place.

Defensive aggression: Don’t let the fact that the Packers score 27 points fool you; the Eagles defense played well Sunday. The Bird racked up three sacks and pressured Aaron Rodgers early and often. Had the offense done a little more with the football the defense may not have worn down in the second half. I liked what I saw in terms of blitzes in this game and it was good to see Juqua Parker make a couple of big plays.

The Packers are expected to be one of the best offensive teams in the league so it is hard to scrutinize this unit too much. Holding Rodgers to 188 yards passing is something many defenses would be envious of.

Detroit will be no walk in the park: Do I expect the Eagles to win on Sunday? Yes. Do I think it will be easy? No.

The Lions look much improved from their two win 2009-10 season and would have beat the Bears if not for a controversial late call on what have been a game-winning touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson before the ball came lose from his hand on the way down.

Even if Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can not go, which looks very likely given his shoulder injury, I don’t expect the Lions to go down easy. This will be the team’s home opener and the team is sure to be fuming after the way Sunday’s game ended.

The good news for the Eagles is that Detroit still looks very vulnerable through the air as Jay Cutler torched the Lions’ secondary for 372 yards. If Cutler can do that with only one interception, Vick or Kolb should be able to do the same.

Look for the Lions to hang in the game, but an aggressive Eagles defense to take advantage of backup QB Sean Hill and put this one away in the second half.

Overall: The Eagles have the look of a .500 squad right now. They have some pieces to be a plyoff contender but with question marks at key positions a lot will have to go right for that to happen.

Beating Detroit would be a good start.



How Will The Eagles Do In 2010

Ok, summer is over, the Eagles have made cuts and it’s time to start thinking about football.  Not just any old football but EAGLES Football!  I’m talking…

E A G L E S

EAGLES

Time to put away the “Honey Do” list.  This weekend will start a new era for the eagles.  Will it be as successful as the last ten years?  (Yes I know don’t even go there but it was successful) Or will we slide down and mill around the NFC East basement?  So with that quick blurb we ask…

How will the NLCS Go?

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Eagles add to OL, cut 10 players

On a day where the Eagles trimmed their roster it was an addition that is grabbing headlines. The Birds plugged a hole today when they traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Arizona Cardinals for offensive lineman Reggie Wells.

Wells (29) started all 16 regular-season and both playoff games for the Cardinals last season. During his seven years with Arizona, he started all 16 regular-season games in six out of seven seasons, losing the final half of 2005 to a broken ankle. Since then, he’s started 70 consecutive games. Seventy-eight of his 104 career starts, were at left guard.

Wells will be inserted into the starting lineup in place of Stacey Andrews, who has been a major bust since signing a six-year $38 millions contract last season. Andrews likely will be kept on for depth, meaning ax-Jean Gilles, Fenuki Tupou and King Dunlap are all in increased jeopardy of making the final roster.

In other roster moves, the Eagles placed DE Victor Abiamiri on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which means the fourth-year defensive end is not eligible to play in the team’s first six regular-season games.

Cut on Friday were: RB J.J. Arrington, WR Dobson Collins, DE Pannel Egboh, TE Nate Lawrie, RB Martell Mallett, T Jeraill McCuller, CB David Pender, CB Geoff Pope, DT Boo Robinson and S Anthony Scirrotto.

The roster now stands at 65 players meaning the team has until tomorrow to cut the final 12 members.



Former Eagle Tra Thomas retires

Former Eagles’ offensive lineman Tra Thomas has retired according to an Associated Press report. Thomas was a stud tackle for the Eagles from 1998-2008, helping protect Donovan McNabb. Thomas made three Pro Bowls during that time.

Bellow is the complete AP report:

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers say 35-year-old left offensive tackle Tra Thomas has retired, leaving the team woefully thin at a crucial position.

Thomas was signed as insurance when it became apparent that Marcus McNeill might stage a prolonged holdout. Thomas, a 12-year veteran, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

General manager A.J. Smith didn’t return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Even if McNeill ended his holdout, Smith placed him on the roster exempt list on Friday, meaning he’ll be suspended for three games once he signs his contract tender.

McNeill is unhappy that he hasn’t been given a long-term deal. Instead, the Chargers tendered the restricted free agent a one-year deal for $3,168,000.



Does Michael Vick deserve more time on the field?

It certainly looked that way when on the field in the pre-season game against Jacksonville.  Vick went 11/17 on completions, had 119 yards, and 1 interception.

Now, I know this was just a pre-season game and there are plenty more tough games ahead, but I can’t seem to shake the idea that Vick still has the talent he had in Atlanta. Sure he hasn’t shown us a ton of great plays, but he also hasn’t been on the field nearly as much either.

I always liked Vick. Now, don’t get me wrong, the whole dog fighting thing is most certainly NOT cool in my book, but give the guy some credit. He has paid his dues and was punished for his crimes. He has even done community service in Philadelphia. To all the Vick haters out there, give the guy a chance. He made a huge mistake, bigger then most people make, but he did his time and now he is just trying to get back to his career. It’s in the past.

Anyway, as far as the pre-season game against the Jaguars goes, I do believe Vick showed he’s still got it. I think it would be wise for Andy Reid to play Vick a bit more this season. Not just because of the whole transition into the Kolb era, but because he will ease some of that pressure off of Kolb. Vick has great speed, and makes great plays. Losing McNabb was a bit of a blow, but between Kolb and Vick, I think the Eagles will be just fine this season.

What are your thoughts? Does Vick deserve more playing time? Do you believe he’s still got that talent everybody says he left in Atlanta? Let us hear it.



49ers are the perfect fit for Westbrook

The NFL can be a cruel place for running backs who are at, near or past the age of 30. At an age where most guys are still living out what’s left of their college juices, running backs are told they are too old, too slow and no longer relevant.

This was the reality for Brian Westbrook. Despite nearly a decade of hard work, production and at times excellence with the Philadelphia Eagles, Westbrook, 31, was sent packing after last season. His body worn down by injuries, Westbrook no longer had a place in the Eagles plans — and for a few months there was no place for him anywhere in the league.

Rumors were persistent for the better part of two months that the helpless St. Louis Rams were interested in bringing in the aging back. This was sad news to say the least. The Rams aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and Westbrook only has so much mileage left on his legs and shoulders. If he joined the Rams he would get a job and paycheck, but I doubt any real sense of enjoyment or accomplishment.

Then came news yesterday that Westbrook had signed – not with the Rams, but rather the San Francisco 49ers. He will compete for the backup job which was vacated when 23-year old running back Glen Coffee shockingly announced his retirement last week after just one NFL season. With a hole in their lineup the 49ers reached out and gave the veteran a chance – and it is a chance I believe he will thrive in.

Unlike the Rams, the 49ers figure very much to be in contention this season. They have one of the best coaches in the business and a tough S.O.B in Mike Singletary. Singletary demands that his team run the football and with Frank Gore leading the way that is the obvious direction to go. With the 49ers Westbrook should be more than serviceable. Gore will take the bulk of the carries, attention and glory. Westbrook will be fine with that.

Westbrook didn’t go to San Fran for glory or money – he making just $1.25 million this season – he went for a chance to prove that he can still produce, and do so for a winner.

In his eight seasons with the Eagles Westbrook rushed for 5,995 yards and 37 touchdowns and caught 426 passes for 3,790 yards and 29 TDs. Up until last season every time he touched the ball Eagles fans knew something big could happen. Many times it did. San Fran fans get to experience the same feeling every time Gore touches the ball. Now they can also experience that when he takes a break.

Westbrook won’t be playing in the Pro Bowl and almost certainly won’t sniff 1,000 yards rushing this season, but he doesn’t have to. Instead heshould be able to keep his body fresh, while helping the 49ers ground game get even better.

The Eagles made the right decision by moving on and almost nothing Westbrook will do can change that. The team is featuring youth and Westbrook no longer fit in their plans.

But with the 49ers, Westbrook has the perfect opportunity to show that even at 31, he can help a team win, and maybe even win big.



Vick Officially Cleared ?

Today it was reported that Eagles owner Jeff Lurie cleared Michael Vick,  stating that he made an error in judgement being there in an effort to appease certain members of his family and people from his old neighborhood-meaning, his dogfighting ring cronys-but that he was not DIRECTLY involved with any wrongdoing personally in regards to the shooting. 

Huh ?

I responded to this interview much in the same way I responded to the Eagles acquisition of the historically troubled quarterback in the first place. 

Any time I post in opposition to Vick, I get comments about the man having served his time and giving him another chance.  I responded then as I do now; If any of us were to repeatedly be involved in legal troubles of any nature, the world would not respond so kindly to our re-introduction as is any athlete or celebrity accustomed.

The Eagles have a strong young quarterback with limited experience in Kerry Kolb.  He can carry the franchise the next 5-10 years and possibly do great things, especially if the recieving corps is reinforced.  They need a proven veteran who is an asset to the team, in both action and attitude. They need someone who can step in if things get out of control, or Kolb were to get injured (always a possibility for starting quarterbacks in the NFL)

They don’t need Vick.   They don’t need the drama.    

They can do without his 68 yards passing, his 95 yards rushing, his 3 touchdowns, all at a bargain NFL ticket of  1.6 million.  This year he is making 5.2 million.  That we know of.  That’s more than $1,700,000 per touchdown.  Or $31,901 per yard.  Or $4 more a ticket you and me and everyone has to pay to see him play.  And he is hardly ever a factor, even when on the field.  

I don’t see him as ever being a factor and, based on his first year’s performance in Philly, I don’t see why Lurie relaxed his zero tolerance policy, which would of course NOT include looking the other way at any player being present at the scene of a shooting, to make an exception for Vick of all people.

It is sad.   The NFL allowed him to return to play after his incarceration.  Tony Dungy stood up for him. McNabb and Reid lobbied to get him on the roster.  Now Lurie is standing up for him.  What more does our young superstar desire ?   Why is it he can’t stay away from people who break laws and cause trouble  ?  He knows he is a celebrity so I would think he would be ultra careful. 

I will be rooting for Kolb to be strong out of training camp and eliminate any need to have further Vick discussion.  Let’s have him “star” in 50 snaps that gain a total of 200 yards for the season and pay him 3 times as much this year. 

Allegations regarding Michael Vick since he was drafted in 2001:

  • His father, Michael Boddie, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that in 2001, Vick was staging dogfights in the garage of the family’s home, kept fighting dogs in the family’s backyard, including injured ones which the father nursed back to health. 
  • In early 2004, two men were arrested in Virginia for distributing marijuana. The truck they were driving was registered to Vick. 
  • On October 10, 2004, Vick and his posse were at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International on their way to board a flight. A security camera caught 2 members of the Vick party stealing an expensive-appearing watch which belonged to Alvin Spencer.  Spencer filed a police report.  Although Vick representatives declined to make him available for an Atlanta police inquiry, six days later Spencer got the watch back from them.
  • In March 2005, Sonya Elliott filed a civil lawsuit against Vick alleging she contracted genital herpes from him in the autumn of 2002 and that he failed to inform her that he had the disease. 
  • November 26, 2006, After a loss to the Saints, in apparent reaction to fans booing, Vick flashed the double bird, was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity. 
  • January 17, 2007 – Vick surrendered a water bottle which had a hidden compartment to security personnel at Miami Internastional Airport. Vick was cleared of any wrongdoing