$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.

Are the Eagles suddenly booring?

Many Eagles fans have been excited about the ongoing training camp do to the fact that the team that will take the field on Sundays starting in September will be vastly different than the ones that have proceeded it for the better part of a decade. We don’t know if it will be better, but right now the word “different” also stands for “hope.”

Then there are those who are not so excited about training camp. Without McNabb shooting off his mouth or Sheldon Brown looking for a bigger check, this preseason has been more about actual football and less about drama. To me that’s a good thing, yet  some people just need their taste of daily drama.

Philadalphia Inquirer writer John Gonzalez is one of those people. He misses the old Eagles already. Check out his take on the current group compared to that of years ago.

Here is an extended clip from Gonzalez’s piece, which can be read in entirety here.

The Eagles’ locker room was once stocked with oversized personalities willing to yammer in front of a television camera until the battery lost its charge. If Lito Sheppard wasn’t grumbling about his contract, there was always the possibility Sheldon Brown might pop off and say something of note. They’re gone now. So are Shawn Andrews and Terrell Owens, Freddie Mitchell and Hugh Douglas and others. And though it was time to move on as far as football goes, those of us who enjoy a solid sideshow will miss Donovan McNabb’s often ridiculous one-man Party of Five.

Compared with some of the guys who once served under Andy Reid, the current crop of Eagles is about as entertaining as Michael Strahan’s short-lived show on Fox. Who is going to hold the driveway workout/news conference? Who’s going to catch a locker room beat down courtesy of the team’s ambassador? Who’s going to get his Michael Phelps on or thank his hands for being so great or rock an air guitar at the worst possible moment?

Who’s going to give us something to talk/complain/laugh about?

Maybe most of what happened in the past was detrimental to the team, but it was also entertaining. If the Eagles have any shot of continuing the town’s best Off-Broadway production for a 12th-straight season under Reid, only one man can make it happen – and he’s not talking.

DeSean Jackson has gone into the sort of disciplined communication blackout usually reserved for covert military missions or the morning after a one-night stand. The once outspoken wide receiver hasn’t said much during training camp. On the day he arrived, Jackson said he had nothing to say (how very Meta of him). And on Monday, he told The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane that he’d “talk with y’all closer to the regular season.” It didn’t seem possible, but the preseason just became even more unbearable

So how do you feel. Is this preseason an exciting one for you because of the uncertainty surrounding the changes or is it just a little too bland for your taste?

Making the case: Kevin Kolb for starter in 2010

Though his sample size was small (two games) and the defenses he faced weren’t the greatest (Chiefs and Saints), Kevin Kolb’s two performances as the starting quarterback for the Eagles this season should not be overlooked.

In that limited sample he became the first quarterback to pass for 300 yards or more in his first two NFL starts. That’s right, he did something that not even Peyton Manning, Joe Montana or Dan Marino can lay claim to.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Kolb is the next great quarterback in the league, but he certainly looks capable of running an NFL offense.

The Eagles drafted Kolb with the 36th overall pick in the 2007 draft (traded with the Cowboys to get that pick). Next season he will enter the final year of his four-year rookie contract. That is the same year that McNabb’s contract is set to expire.

Needless to say, the Eagles are on the clock.

People who clamor for McNabb to remain the Eagles starting quarterback point to his incredibly strong arm and his ability to get the deep ball to DeSean Jackson. While Kolb may not have quite the rocket hanging off his shoulder, he showed the ability to throw – and put touch on – a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jackson against the Chiefs In the same game he had a nice intermediate route pass to Brent Celek that turned into a 35-yard score.

I understand that his best performance came against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, but Kolb has no control over the schedule. Who’s to say he couldn’t have doe the same against the Raiders when McNabb led the team to an awful 9-point showing?

The Eagles gave up a lot to draft Kolb, notably a first-round pick the rival Cowboys. There is no way Kolb and his agent would sign onto an extension in the last year of his contract if he is not promised a chance to at least compete for the starting job. That means the Eagles would risk losing Kolb next offseason without truly knowing how good he can be.

In addition, trading Kolb this offseason would likely net a value far less than the Eagles gave up. Though he is young and there are several teams in the market for a quarterback any packages for him would likely begin no higher than a third rounder.

The Eagles front office has done a great job stay competitive while also getting younger. Their receivers are young, they have a young running back n LeSean McCoy and there is plenty of youth on the defensive side of the ball. This team has a chance to grow and improve together.

All that is missing is a young, talented quarterback.

Kevin Kolb is that man.

Athlete of the Decade #2 Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb was not a popular choice when he was selected in the 1999 draft with the #2 overall pick.  He played in nearby Syracuse, but for some reason Eagles fans had their hearts set on Ricky Williams.  It is somehow fitting that since that critical pick, the Eagles have ranked near the bottom of the league in average rush attempts per game, but have also been one of the most successful franchises in the league, largely in part to McNabb’s efforts from the quarterback position.

Andy Reid made no secret of the fact that he preferred a passing offense, as was evidenced when he introduced the West Coast Offense to this traditionally smash mouth, run it up the middle NFC East brawler of a franchise that had limited success under Rhodes, Kotite, Ryan, Campbell, Vermiel, and so forth, with the normal claim to fame being a dominant defense.  This was a team that was in the top ten in scoring only 6 times over the thirty years prior to McNabb, but has been in the top ten in scoring 6 times in the 10 years WITH McNabb, including setting new records for point production in 2002, 2008 and 2009.   Reid, with the help of  defensive guru Jim Johnson did not abandon the teams defensive roots, and has ranked in the top 5 league wide in points allowed five of the past ten seasons as well while making this upgrade to the offense.

McNabb has become the franchise leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, passing notables such as Ron Jaworski and Randall Cunningham in the process.  Still, in this city, the toughest place on the planet to play professional sports, and being a starter at the toughest position, McNabb has never gotten the respect I feel he deserves.   This year may be the year he gets his revenge as he has led the Eagles to a mid season 6 game winning streak and now holds the chance to win at Dallas this wekeend and clinch the 6th NFC East division title in his 10 years behind center.

Ricky Williams ?  11,000 yards and 69 touchdowns, in 114 games rushing and receiving, certainly not bad for a running back in this league.

But McNabb ??  32,000+ yards passing with 240 touchdowns including passing and rushing, and the owner of the all time lowest interception ratio in league history. Even at 6’2″ and 240+ pounds, McNabb has been somewhat injury prone, only starting every game in 5 of his ten+ seasons, but this is not a conditioning issue, more his style of play. Simply put, McNabb leaves it all on the field.

Remember also, McNabb for the majority of his career has had little support. Until this year.  Only Terrell Owens in 2004 and Kevin Curtis in 2007, have reached 1,000 yards in a season, and only Owens had more than 10 touchdowns in a single year.  But McNabb still holds the yardage and touchdown records here.  In his draft class, he is third best behind Manning and Brady who had top receivers like Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss to throw to for years.

He rushes less now but still has over 3,000 career rushing yards and 25 touchdowns which ranks him in the top ten of quarterbacks all time.  More importantly, he led the team to 4 consecutive NFC East Championships and a Super Bowl.

He also created some of the most famous plays in Philadelphia sports history, including the now infamous 4th and 26 play against the Packers with 1:12 to play in the 2003 NFC championship game and no timeouts, when he scrambled for nearly 6 seconds before converting on a pass to Freddie Mitchell, and the nearly as famous 2002 game against the Cardinals that he finished with a broken leg and a 103.8 QB rating completing 20 of 25 for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win.

McNabb has long been known to be as dangerous a passer when flushed from the pocket as anyone to play the game, and may actually be a better quarterback once he leaves the pocket, a fact that has frustrated and stymied many defenses since he arrived in the league.   He also seems to possess a 6th sense that tells him at times when a defender is appproaching, allowing him to create plays outside of the regular playbook.

Even if he never wins a Super Bowl, he will leave the team as the leader in nearly every statistic possible.

This may be the year for McNabb to finally get his ring.    He has 4 of the best recievers he has ever had playing at one time, DeSean Jackson has surpassed 1000 yards, has a league leading yards per catch average and could break the 10 touchdown barrier with one more long catch, Brent Celek is nearly as good with 875 yards and 8 touchdowns, and Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant and Reggie Brown round out a very strong recieving corps.  McNabb also has the best support on the line of scrimmage he has seen in his career, with Westbrook, McCoy and Weaver combining for a powerful 1-2-3 punch the likes of which the team has never seen.  All three backs are also available for screens, which constitutes a large part of the Eagles playbook.

If the Eagles beat the Cowboys next week, they may carry the two seed in the NFC into the playoffs, get a bye, and a home game, and have only one real contest that will challenge them before going to the Super Bowl.   This may be McNabb’s best shot to get it done.  He is sore and has some hamstring pain and tightness, but overall, he is in the best shape of his career at this stage of a season with the strongest supporting cast behind him I can remember.

One thing is certain, if McNabb acheives the ultimate, bringing a Super Bowl trophy to Philadephia, the fans will have to finally accept his greatness and give him that respect he has sought since he entered the league.  And maybe then we can forget about Ricky Williams, and Michael Vick and the wildcat, and all the other distractions, and just enjoy a great champion quarterback for a change !

Vick redeems himself in return to Atlanta

The Eagles finally broke out of their fall doldrums and thoroughly dominated todays opponent.  They only led 13-0 at halftime, largely in part to penalties that called back several scores, and their own inability to finish drives.   Only a determined goal-line stand to close out the first half and keep it from being a one score game provided them with needed momentum as they came out in the second half with the first possession.

Michael Vick was welcomed back to Atlanta with a combination of applause and boos, then proceeded to silence his detractors by scoring his first touchdown of the year on a 5 yard plunge in the third quarter to give the Eagles a 20-0 lead.   Early in the fourth quarter he followed that up with his first long completion of the year with a 43 yard pass to Reggie Brown.

After contributing a mere 55 yards of offense through the first 9 games, he had 71 yards by early in the fourth quarter and then was handed the ball as the Eagles led 27-0 and Reid decided to sit McNabb for the remainder of the contest.  Shortly after that Vick completed his first touchdown pass of the season on a 5 yard pass to Brent Celek to stretch the lead to 34-0 as McNabb cheered him on from the bench.

McNabb looked fairly sharp, buoyed by the superlative running and catching of fullback Leonard Weaver including a 4 yard touchdown he retrieved off his shoelaces and a 59 yard catch and gallop on the ensuing drive.   The Eagles still had a little trouble putting it away, with 1 touchdown and 2 field goals on their first four possessions inside the 20, with Akers both setting a record for most consecutive field goals, followed by missing a field goal to break the Eagles consecutive streak of red zone possessions with a score this year.

The Eagles defense, particularly Trent Cole, harrassed Chris Redman all day long rendering him virtually ineffective.  The majority of his balls were tipped, batted down or nearly picked off.   Sheldon Brown put questions about his sore hamstring to rest with a 83 yard interception return for a touchdown on a 4th and 2 the Falcons tried after converting 2 of their first 3 fourth down attempts.  Jones followed shortly thereafter with his own interception and tip toe down the side line to put the Eagles in scoring position once again.

McNabb ended the day going 14-25 for 238 yards and a touchdown completing passes to 6 receivers in his 3 plus quarters of play and having 2 rushes for 17 yards, earning a QB rating of just over 100.

Vick lost the chance to play nearly a full quarter as he injured a thumb on a running play and was replaced by the equally capable Kerry Kolb.   The Eagles did not seem to care who was at quarterback position, just as they seemed not to care they were playing without many key players, including running back Brian Westbrook, Kevin Curtis, and DeSean Jackson.

4 Eagles shared running duty with a 4.0 or better yard per carry average, 3 guys suited up at QB, and Jeremy Maclin and Reggie Brown subbed for DeSean and Kevin catching the long balls and converting on third downs to keep drives alive.  Macho Harris showed great promise taking on one on one pass coverage assignments against Falcons tight end  Gonzalez with good results.  McCoy did not see significant action for the first time in a few weeks, but it seems that that is the norm with these Eagles; anytime a player is down and out, another previously unsung athlete steps in to fill his shoes.  It makes the Birds a truly tough team to scout, especially as the various players all bring a decidedly different playing style to the field.

I believe this all starts with the coaching staff, evident when McDonough stepped in to replace Jim Johnson after his unexpected and tragic death earlier this year.  The defense showed little if any disruption at the change and have gotten to be more and more asolid as a group as the season has developed.   The Eagles showed they understand the value in this coaching staff as well, announcing shortly before the game that they were very close to signing a significant contract extension with head coach Andy Reid; sources say this deal could be conclued within the week.

The Eagles defense nearly earned their first shutout of the season, before a late meaningless drive capped by a fluke double deflected pass resulted in a touchdown for the Falcons as time expired and they settled for a 34-7 victory.  This ran their record to 8-4 and put them in position to work their way into a tie with the Cowboys for the NFC East, if the Giants beat them later today.   Meanwhile the Redskins were beating the undefeated Saints with 2 minutes to go as the resiliant NFC East conference reared it’s head and showed why most years two or three of the best teams in the conference come from their ranks.  The Saints came back to tie it up, and the game was undecided at the time of this post.

It looks like the final four weeks are going to be a lot of fun to watch, and fiercely competative as well !

Eagles control their own destiny, notch 2nd win in a row.

The Eagles dominated every single offensive and defensive category in todays game and in the process managed to just barely win.  They had more total plays of offense, more yards passing, more yards rushing, had better yards per pass and rush attempt, had more time of possession, better 4th down efficiency, allowed fewer turnovers, and barely escaped with a win !!

Yes they were not as good on third down, thanks to the Redskins being unnaturally good at that, but they did everything they could to give the Redskins the game until the 4th quarter, from the initial onsides kick they misplayed, allowing Washington to have a 24 yard field, quickly shortened to a 19 yard field with the 5 yard penalty, to repeatedly being called for offensive penalties that negated many of their better plays.

They had a touchdown called back that turned into a field goal, they brought Vick in every time the offense gained any momentum and he promptly disrupted the rhythm of the game, they had countless passes dropped including three in a row by Brett Celek, they lost DeSean Jackson after another touchdown catch due to injuries,  yet they won the game to go to 7-4 and put their fate in their own hands for the first time all season.  Jackson’s catch was his shortest of the year, a mere 35 yards.  This guy is clutch and the best reciever we have had in years, and I hope he is recovered in time for next weeks contest !

Simply put, if the Eagles win out, and beat the Giants and Cowboys in their final meetings, they win the division.

If they beat the Giants and Cowboys and win 1 of their other three remaining games, they will win at least the wild card.

A couple positive observations, the one two punch of McCoy and Weaver was productive for the second week in a row.   The halfback/fullback tandem rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries and Buckley came through with the first touchdown of his NFL career to pull the Eagles within 2.  Then McCoy performed a balancing act to tie the game up with the 2 point conversion allowing Akers to win it with his field goal on the ensuing drive as the Eagles scored 11 unanswered in the fourth quarter for the win.  Assante Samual overcame an average first half with 2 interceptions to keep the Eagles in the game.  And the Eagles finally appeared able to convert a third and short with their running game, a quality they had been seriously lacking over the past 6 weeks.

Through the first three quarters fans had to be worrying about the Eagles repeatedly driving the length of the field and having to settle for field goals.  A 90 yard 10 play drive for the tying touchdown followed by a 10 play drive for the go ahead field goal hopefully put some of these qualms to bed, at least until next week.

One can only hope Reid won’t overplay Vick in the reunion next week with his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.  I think enough has been seen this year to confirm the “Vick experiment” is a dismal failure, it is time to let McNabb run this team for the final 5 games, and if not satisfied with his judgement and performance, you have Kolb chomping at the bit to have a go at it next year, I repeat for the millionth time this year……WE DON’T NEED VICK !!!

OK, got it out of my system, for now, on to next week.  We dodged a serious bullet against the Redskins, hopefully we will fare better against the Falcons.

Westbrook won’t start against G-men

The Eagles are about to go up against their primary NFC East competition and they will be doing it without Brian Westbrook, who is still feeling symptoms from last weeks concussion.

I applaud this move on the part of Reid, the coaching staff and Jeff Lurie.  While the Eagles have a much better record playing with their star running back over the past decade, they have a perfectly good replacement in McCoy.  It probably didn’t hurt that commish Goodell was recently involved in hearings regarding concussions and their long term effects on NFL players but I believe this would have been the decision no matter what.  The Eagles have a reputation for being conservative both in their play calling and personnel decisions.

What that means is that today’s game will essentially rest on the performance of Donovan McNabb and his two key receivers, Jackson and Macklin.  The Eagles need this win to keep their NFC East record undefeated.  A win will say a lot about how they match up the remainder of the year.  They beat the Giants twice last year, and rarely does one NFC East team go 3-0 or 0-3 against a direct competitor.  Even when a team is down and out, this division is so tough, to win three in a row is rarely done.  Add that to the fact that the Giants have lost 2 in a row after starting the year 5-0 and it is more improbable the Eagles can pull this off.

If Donovan brings his A game, the Eagles will win a close one, in the 30-29 scoring range.  If Donovan is ineffective the Giants can blow this one out.  The Eagles traditionally start slow, so it might be the second quarter before we see how this one will play out.  I personally think McNabb will pass for 300 yards and three touchdowns, Witherspoon will have 3-4 sacks and a takeaway and Assante Samuel will pick Eli twice as the defense steps up to help the Eagles win a close one in Philadelphia to set the stage for the second game being hosted in the city of brotherly love, World Series game 4 where the Phillies NEED the victory to have any hope of defending their title.

Eagles back with pack in NFC East race

The Eagles started their first MNF appearance of the season with a bang.  It came in the form of DeSean Jackson running virtually untouched for a 66 yard end around touchdown and 7-0 lead on the opening drive.  On Saturday I would have guessed this would be a close game but by gametime 8:42 EST Monday night it was obvious the Eagles had arrived in our nations capital with something to prove.

It seemed evident that Reid heard the criticisms as he came out running, with Westbrook, McCoy and Weaver all seeing action early.  Eagles fans held their collective breath when Westbrook went down early after a short gain.

Will Weatherspoon, playing in his first game after coming over from the St Louis Rams, picked off a tipped pass by Quinten Michel at the end of the first quarter and scored to make it 14-0.  On the Redskins next offensive possession the 2 defenders traded roles, with Weatherspoon stripping the ball and Michel recovering the fumble to give the Eagles offense the ball in Redskins territory.  That turnover led to an Akers field goal and a 17-0 Philadelphia lead.

The Redskins scored toward halftime, with quite a bit of help from the Eagles who committed 2 major penalties to help sustain the drive.  Then the Redskins forced the Eagles into a three and out and at 17-7 it seemed as if momentum had changed.  Then Antoine Randel El muffed the punt and the Eagles scored a quick field goal without gaining any offensive yards at all and it was back to a 20-7.

On the next drive McNabb broke two marks throwing his 200th touchdown and breaking 30,000 yards with a 58 yard bomb to DeSean Jackson for the 27-7 lead going into halftime.   This came on a 3rd and 23 and showcased exactly how capable McNabb is when he is in sync with his recievers.   DeSean became the first Eagle in 60 years to score on a 50+ yard pass and a 50+ yard rush in the same game.   Washington did recover enough to get a last second field goal and close to 27-10 going into halftime.

There was no scoring in the 2nd half until the game clock was down to 1:38 when the Redskins scored a basically meaningless touchdown after a fairly decent 78 yard drive.  The first 28 minutes of the half was the Eagles playing safe and protecting the lead, and the Redskins getting great field position but being so inept at all aspects of football they stopped themselves as frequently as the Eagles defense did.   Every few minutes another player went down and fortunately for Eagles fans most of the attrition was players in red and gold.  With the exception of Westbrook and his concussion early, the Eagles escaped tonights game relatively intact.

 Jason Campbell dropped back 48 times and got sacked 6 times and hit the ground 26 times overall.  The Redskins kept playing and trying to score til the end, but the Eagles also kept coming and harrassing Campbell like they were protecting a 3 point lead instead of a 17 point one.   The final score was 27-17 but the game was no where near that close at any time from the middle of the first quarter on. 

The win closed the NFC East front runners back into a pack, especially in light of New York’s loss yesterday.  Now the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants are all tied with 2 losses apiece, with the Giants having a half game lead overall by virtue of not having their bye week yet. 

Next Sunday the Eagles continue their quest for NFC East dominance when they face those NY Giants who now have a two game losing streak.  Next weeks game has gone from a traditional rivalry to potentially a contest to decide the NFC East leader at mid point of the season.  The Redskins may be done early as they play one of the toughest schedules in the conference for the rest of the season.

Next Sunday will be Philly/New York, in football and then in baseball as the Phillies face the Yankees after the Eagles-Giants  game 6 days from tonight.  If they both win their respective games, that will be a great night in Philadelphia sports history.

No McNabb, No Westbrook, No Problem !

The Eagles started off strong against the Kansas City Chiefs today, with LeSean McCoy having a strong first quarter and scoring his first NFL touchdown on the Eagles second possession for a 7-0 lead.  Kolb stood in there and completed several key throws and Vick looked to be largely ineffective in his limited snaps in wildcat.  Kolb hit DeSean Jackson for a 43 yard completion on the third offensive drive.  Kolb then leapt in for HIS first rushing TD as an Eagle to stake the Birds to a 14-0 lead.

The defense made up for their loss of concentration against the Saints by coming early and often against returning QB Matt Cassell.  Sheldon Brown and Assante Samuel did a good job of filling the holes left by Eagles defensive mainstay Brian Dawkins, and the defense in the first half looked as good as I have seen it in several years.  They held the Chiefs to 0 yards in the first quarter with ferocious pursuit of the ball and an unrelenting rush on Matt Cassell.  By the start of the second quarter, you could tell the Eagles D smelled the blood in the water !

The Chiefs used a trick play late in the first half to make their first foray deep into Eagles territory with a wide reciever pass thrown across the field for a 27 yard gain, Reid smartly called a timeout to allow him time to look at the play, which could have been a trapped ball, to see if it was worth throwing in the red flag to have it reviewed.  Bradley made a circus catch of a Cassel pass to cut the Eagles lead to 14-7.

DeSean Jackson quickly responded on the Eagles next play, going 64 yards for the touchdown.  21-7 Birds, just like that !

Brent Celek was equally effective at Tight End, and Kolb had Jeremy Maclin open for a TD right before halftime but he threw behind the rookie receiver and the Eagles had to settle for a FG to go into halftime with the 24-7 lead.

The throw to Macklin was one of the few throws the young QB did not connect on.  He came out in the second half throwing and looked strong in leading the Eagles down the field on their first possession of the second half.  The Birds only got 2 field goals on their next 4 drives  but extended thier lead and kept momentum on their side. The remainder of the second half was noteworthy only in that it was fairly uneventful.  Brent Celek sealed the deal with a 4th quarter 35 yard TD catch that put the game away at 34-7.

The Eagles starters played a solid game, no turnovers, no sacks allowed, no offensive penalties, no need for McNabb or Westbrook, no production from Michael Vick.  Kolb had another 300+ yard passing day, DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek both had solid receiving days, and McCoy had a solid day running.  I know they played the lowly Chiefs but the game was a surprising success.  The newer players all stepped up and improved on their game and the drama that is frequently evident on Sundays when the game should be relatively uneventful was not there.  Instead, these new Eagles did what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it with a minimum of fuss.  The overall effect was one of confident performance and securing a victory that should have been a given, and for once, was.

One small glitch when Reid brought Garcia in for a series to wind up the game and he fumbled the exchange for the only turnover of the day. It resulted in a meaningless KC TD to close the game.  Kolb certainly appears to be ready with back to back 300 yard passing games to start his career in Philadelphia.

I am ready for some football, enough with the soap opera already !

All right.  UNCLE.  NFL Gameday, 13 minutes coverage on Michael Vick, 2 minutes coverage on the upcoming Eagles game.  I have been anti Vick since his signing, in part because of what his personal choices were, and in part because I don’t feel he is that good of a QB.  He is a great runner, a below average passer, and an average team mate.

This team was highly touted BEFORE the Vick signing, why have they been relegated to road kill on the side of the road, hardly worth a mention?  I know they are a disappointing 1-1, but all you “sports know it alls on useless TV shows” How about showing our team some respect?

We have guys besides Westbrook, McNabb, Jackson, and yes Vick, how could I forget Vick?!!!  If you came here from another planet you would think the three injured Eagles and the one ex-felon were the entire team.  What is happening to our world, when a regular, hard working football player can’t rate a mention unless he is on Inside Edition or a team medical report?

I was going to boycott the Eagles because of their poor choice of off season pick ups, but even I realized this would be unfair to all the other hard working anonymous Eagles that give it their all week after week.  I came around.  Now can we finally talk about some football??   I honestly hope Vick comes in, has his first NFL regular season appearance since going to jail, and STINKS!  Then we can forget about Reid’s school girl crush on the wildcat and get back to playing some shove it down your throat and defend the goal-line like the “pack of wild jackals Eagles old school football” that all the fans are accustomed to. 

I pick the Eagles to win today, only because the Chiefs suck so badly.  Then the bye week and I pray McNabb recovers in time to come back and start so we can put Vick where he belongs, on the sideline, to be trotted out occasionally, a curiosity at the freak show he has made of his life.

 If everyone would STOP talking about him to the detriment of the team, maybe I could get over his signing and enjoy watching him play.  Now the talking heads are all commenting on how he won’t be a starter here.  Wow!  News flash.  They are unsure why Reid signed Garcia but is starting Kolb.  Maybe it is because Reid came to his senses when McNabb got hurt (on an illegal hit that got NO coverage by the way) Reid knows Vick is not a starter or a mentor for Kolb, hence Garcia.   I have said this since Vick was signed and had several internet skirmishes in defense of this position.  Now all the pros are jumping on MY bandwagon?  I don’t think so.

 GO EAGLES!  And leave Vick behind like the road-kill he should be, and win this without him and maybe you will get back some of the respect you so richly deserve.

Kevin Kolb Only Bright Spot vs New Orleans Saints

Well yesterday Eagles QB Kevin Kolb had his first career start.  I for one think he did a pretty decent job.  The Saints scored first but on the very next position,  Kolb made a beautiful pass to DeSean Jackson resulting in a touchdown.  After the first offensive series for both teams it looked like we might be in for a shootout.

As the game progressed Kolb proved to be willing to work with the wildcat formation and more importantly he did not see to be afraid to take a hit.   A few times Kevin Kolb delivered great passes just a split second before getting hit by the New Orleans defense.

As for the three interceptions, this first we probably his fault.  As for the second and third, I really feel they were a result of trying to make something happen.

Overall I think Kevin Kolb is a pretty decent quarterback.  In fact his performance yesterday reminded me a lot of a Brett Farve.  Why?  For one Kolb was will in to stand in the pock, take a hit to complete a pass.  Secondly the two interceptions were a result of trying to make something happen even thought he was down by a good margin.  Finally, Kevin Kolb and Brett Farve are both from Southern states, Kolb Victoria, Texas and Farve is from  Gulfport, Mississippi.

I think it would be interesting, and possibly painful as an Eagles fan,  to see if Kevin Kolb were to be traded as a starter, how his career could develop.  If Kolb were traded do you think he would make a successful starter in the NFL?  I do.

Eagles cut Hank Baskett

No longer will Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb or whoever else handles the Eagles quarterbacking position be able to “put the biscuit in the Baskett.”
In a move that is a bit of a head-scratcher, the Eagles cut wide receiver Hank Baskett to make room for Michael Vick on the active roster. The move comes on the heals of the Eagles signing Jeff Garcia and placing Shaw Andrews on IR.
Someone had to go, but Baskett?
The Eagles had carried seven receivers on their 53-man roster through Week 1. Apparently Baskett became expendable after Philadelphia selected Jeremy Maclin in the first round of April’s draft and added Brandon Gibson in the sixth round.
For his career as an Eagle, Baskett finished with 72 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 48 games. Nothing spectacular, but Baskett was never given much of an opportunity to shine.
I don’t have a problem with the Eagles cutting a receiver, but I question the decision to cut Baskett and keep a career underachiever Reggie Brown. A first round pick, Brown had fallen far enough down the depth chart to be inactive in Week 1. I guess the Eagles still hold him in higher regard than Baskett.
In the end, this move may be a trivial one. With Jackson, Maclin, Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis on the field, it was unlikely Baskett or Brown would have much of an impact.
Still, I am not sure the Eagles cut the right receiver.

Eagles will go as far as Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook take them (Part 5)

Five Keys to the Eagles season ending with a title

Key 5: Westbrook and McNabb staying healthy.

You can talk all you want about the impact rookie running back LeSean McCoy will have this season. You can talk all you want about the excitement Michael Vick will bring to the Eagles offense.

At the end of the day, the Eagles will go as far as Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook takes them.

Just like it has been.

When McNabb and Westbrook are healthy and on the field together, the Eagles have a chance to win – no matter whom they are playing. The due is that good.

Sure the Eagles have had moments of success with each of its stars down. AJ Feeley had his moment in the sun a few years ago, as did Correll Buckhalter, but at the end of the day the Eagles are certainly not better when one or both is off the field – not by a long shot.

Though Westbrook is coming off of an injury and has hit the dreaded “30” an age where running backs tend to decline, he is still the most dangerous weapon in the Eagles arsenal. When he is on the field safeties have to pay attention to him, thus creating more opportunities for the likes of DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis to get open down field.

Head coach Andy Reid’s use of Westbrook has frustrated Eagles fans over the years. Though a featured back, Westbrook rarely carries the ball 20 times a game and with the emergence of McCoy, he almost certainly won’t increase his carries this season. Yet even when he doesn’t touch the ball No. 36 has the full attention of the defense. It s something he has commanded over the years and something that will not easily be replaced is Westbrook goes down for an extended period of time.

That brings us to McNabb, who remarkably made it through a full season without an injury in 2008. Though he had his struggles in the first half of the season, McNabb caught fire down the stretch leading the Birds to the NCF Championship game.

If McNabb were to go down it could cause a flurry of problems. Who comes in, Vick or Kevin Kolb? What if one of them helps the Eagles go on a run?

Those are just two of the many controversies that would inevitably come out if McNabb is off the field.

In the big picture this team is still all about McNabb and Westbrook. The time is coming where that will change, but for now, it hasn’t. The Eagles will go as far as this duo takes them.

That could be to Miami.

Five Keys to the Eagles season ending with a title (Part 2)

Key No. 2: Donovan McNabb overcoming pressure.

This is nothing new for Donovan McNabb. Since the day he was drafted, the quarterback from Syracuse has been under the microscope in Philadelphia. At times it has been a little overwhelming.
Just consider this excerpt from Phil Sheridan in Monday’s edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It was September 2003, just eight months after the Eagles’ gut-punch loss to Tampa Bay in the NFC championship game at Veterans Stadium. The Eagles opened their inaugural season at brand-new Lincoln Financial Field with home games against the two most recent Super Bowl champions.

They lost to the Bucs, 17-0, on a Monday night. Six days later, they got destroyed by New England. By the third quarter of the Patriots game, Donovan McNabb was being booed every time he took the field. A chant went up from the crowd.

We want A.J., we want A.J. . . .”

Think about how loud those chants will be this year if the Eagles get off to a slow start. This time it won’t be for the recently-cut Felley, but rather for Michael Vick.
Having Vick as his backup is just one of the pressures McNabb will need to overcome for the Eagles to finish as the top team in football.
Here are a few more:

• Andy Reid has called this the most talented team he has had. That means it has to live up to a higher expectation than ever. With Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin at his disposal, the Eagles are expected to be a top-five offense. For that to happen, McNabb can not be off his game for extended periods of time — as has happened in the past.  The offense is only as good as it’s general.

• In past years, the Eagles have won games on the strength of their defense. This year, that may not be the case. While the Birds defensive unit could still be top-10, no one is expecting it to be as good as in the past with the passing of Jim Johnson and the losses of Brian Dawkins and Stewart Bradley. That means it may be the offense that has to save the defense from time to time. More pressure on the veteran QB.

• McNabb got what he wanted, now he must deliver. In the offseason McNabb said he wanted to see the Eagles make a conscientious effort to improve his weapons.  So the Eagles went out and drafter Maclin and McCoy in the first two rounds. Then they brought McNabb protection (at least they hope) in offensive  linemen Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews. McNabb liked what he saw and signed an extension. He basically admitted that he could win with this team. Now he has to do it.

• The Phillies have shown the way. Now that the Phillies have brought a championship to the city, hardcore Eagles fans are wondering when they get to enjoy a title. The city got a taste of a winner and it wants another one. Five conference championships in eight years is a great feat, but it won’t cut it anymore.  Philly wants another champion.

McNabb has had a great career in Philly — some would even say a Hall of Fame career. He has a chance to truly define himself with this team. In a way, his career may be remembered for what he does with this group of players.

Now that’s pressure.

Part 1 Sean McDermott and Eagles Defense Check back on Thursday for Part 3 of five-part series.

Eagles vs Cowboys Monday Night

Ok,  folks here is the seasons first big game and it’s against Dallas.  I actually started writing this post on Wednesday but got busy too busy with other stuff to finish it during the week.  I was and still am optimistic the we can beat the Cowbows on Monday night.  I think we have a great weapon in DeSean Jackson.  He will be the new star in Philly if he has a good game against Dallas.  Just imagine…  A few nice punt returns, maybe he takes one all the way.  There is always the possibility of McNabb and Jackson connecting for some good yardage.  Let’s not forget about Brian Westbrook either.  He will just make the passing game that much more effective because of his threat with he running game.

The Philadelphia Eagles defense could also have a good time wtih Tony Romo.  That along with the much improved special teams, is an eagles victory for sure.