What Would Buddy Do?
At this point, who doesn’t have a portable hyperbaric chamber?
Posted on July 31st, 2007 at 9:50 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Careful with the chamber, boysSo apparently the Eagles’ Brians (Dawkins and Westbrook) must have cleaned up at the joint TO/ Michael Jackson’s yard sale, as both arrived at Lehigh for training camp yesterday with their very own hyperbaric chambers. I mean, if it keeps them healthy and young, then by all means. I’ll keep my snickering to a minimum.

By the way, if Dunavin showed up with a hyperbaric chamber, it’d be front-page news. Ack just sayin.

Monday’s notes from Lehigh [PhiladelphiaEagles.com]
Birds unpack for season of promise [Philly Inquirer]

This reporter suggested ‘Bracegate’ but was howled down at the press club
Posted on July 30th, 2007 at 9:43 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

McNabb refuses to name day day or hour that he will stop wearing braceIn case you were keeping track, a few more stories about Donovan McNabb’s knee brace, and details that highlight the subtle differences in the way that McNabb and Andy Reid addressed this extremely controversial topic.

Who knows where it all may lead!

Braced for return [NJ.com]
McNabb, Reid view brace differently [Philly Daily News]

On Day 2 of camp, McNabb subplot already boring
Posted on July 29th, 2007 at 11:33 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Say hi, DunavinApproximately two weeks before the first preseason game and six weeks before the start of the regular season, I’m already bored with the coverage of Donovan McNabb in the Philly press.

Yes, he’s coming back from a big knee injury, his third injury in five years. Yes, the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb. Yes, Donovan turned 30 last November.

Got it.

In their all-encompassing efforts to invent imaginary controversies, the local blathermonkeys subjected McNabb to extensive questioning in re: whether he plans to wear a knee brace all season (yawn), whether the brace was a security blanket like Andy Reid said (double-yawn), and if he thought this was a make-or-break year because of the arrival of Kevin Kolb. The overriding agenda in all of those questions is getting 5 to say something that indicates (a) his knee isn’t well, (b) he and Andy Reid aren’t getting along, and (c) it might be time for Donovan to leave Philly.

Again, it’s Day 2 of camp. There are plenty of interesting stories in camp (like a bunch of new starters on the defensive line, whether Kevin Curtis can play, the possible emergence of Jeremy Bloom, how Spikes fits in, and whether Trotter can keep his starting job), but all these guys want to do is hassle 5 (about a freakin knee brace!).

Ugh. At a certain level, I can’t believe that McNabb doesn’t just stand up in protest and chuck a bottle of Gatorade at these clowns. He’s a more patient man than I.

(All that said, I firmly believe that the knee is an issue, that McNabb is not on the same page with Andy Reid, and that this is definitely a make-or-break year for Donovan. But that’s all fine — all of those things add up to Donovan playing his little heart out and trying to win. It’s all about properly aligned incentives.)

McNabb to start camp with brace on right knee [Philly.com]
McNabb says knee brace may stay on all season [Philly.com]

Outstanding thing that showed up in my mailbox today #2
Posted on July 26th, 2007 at 10:17 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie


Pro Football Prospectus 2007 also showed up today. I opted out of the 25 pages of “Statistical Toolbox” prologue (maybe some other time) and skipped directly to the Eagles team preview.

Dude, the oracles have spoken, and the Eagles should have a great year. Eleven (11) wins is the projected mean (!). That’s outstanding. Sure it was the Eagles-fan FootballOutsiders guy that wrote the preview (Mike Tanier), but still. The data is there — we have reason for serious optimism! And I didn’t even buy the nonsense about there being the possibility of discord between McNabb and the organEYEzation.

It’s all good. I couldn’t be more excited about the start of training camp tomorrow.

Outstanding thing that showed up in my mailbox today #1
Posted on July 26th, 2007 at 10:05 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

CARDBOARDReally really tough to be disappointed with a Sports Illustrated cover about the culture of big hits in the NFL that features Sheldon Brown exploding Reggie Bush in the divisional playoff game from January. Six months later, I’m not remotely bored with the video of said hit (though the NFL keeps trying to pull them off the GooTube).  I enjoy it every time. 

The cover would have been enough, but it was the quote from Sheldon Brown that’ll make the whole thing memorable:

“He was lucky,” Brown says. “His elbow was pinned against his body, protecting his rib cage, or else I probably would have broken his rib. What did it feel like? That collision, I didn’t feel nothing, because he was pretty much defenseless. It was like running through a cardboard box. Seriously. Cardboard box.”

Seriously. Cardboard box.

The Big Hit [CNNSI.com]

A face (and suit) made for radio
Posted on July 26th, 2007 at 8:17 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

What with the time differential here on the Left Coast and my passion for Philly sports-talk radio, I start a lot of days listening to the Cuz (Anthony Gargano) on WIP. I’ve enjoyed Gargano for a couple years now (ever since Missanelli left he’s been #1 on my WIP depth chart). That said, I found this video of Anthony on the Redlasso from about a month ago on NBC 10, and, um, well, it wasn’t exactly electrifying.

Not to be overly critical, but dude, maybe next time you’re going to be on TV you might consider scribbling some talking points on a napkin? Or at least not wearing your First Communion suit?

Video below, courtesy of Redlasso:

Yes, I am also frightened by the defense
Posted on July 25th, 2007 at 1:04 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

FreakSolid pre-training camp piece this morning about the questions facing the Birds’ defense coming into camp. While a couple of the bullets are probably a shade too dramatic (will they really cut a Darren Howard?), I actually think the overall tone is pretty dead-on.

We all love talking about 5’s knee, but scoring points wasn’t a problem last year, and I doubt it’ll be a problem so long as that offensive line stays fit (full disclosure: I think the Birds’ line is the strongest part of the team right now). The defense will be the issue for this team. The front seven is dicey at best right now, and certainly isn’t a group that’s used to playing together. At least four of the seven starters will be different than the team that finished the 2006 season.

Expect more posts/ anxiety on this topic from me.

10 questions facing defense [Phillyburbs.com]

Redlasso is back (and ready to sign)
Posted on July 24th, 2007 at 1:04 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie


Good news for all the out-of-market Eagles fans (like me): Redlasso is back and running on the Eagles’ site.

Redlasso is this nifty little service that collects a bunch of Eagles-related videos from the local and national TV press (CN8, Daily News Live, the local network affiliates, and ESPN) and publishes them as web video. I don’t see much of an ad model, and I’m not sure how they’re paying for this stuff, but hey, it’s a bubble and we should all enjoy it. Viva the Electric Internets!

Personally, I was a little worried Redlasso’s future with the Eagles when the Birds’ site pulled down the links as part of the resdesign. Guess that was just a bump in the road. This is a killer service and I’m psyched it’s back.  Essentially, Redlasso means I can watch 15 minutes of Eagles video content every single day.  Future of content distribution, it’s great to meet you!

Redlasso On PhiladelphiaEagles.com
Redlasso Home Page

Donovan’s going to do what Donovan wants to do
Posted on July 24th, 2007 at 12:47 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

All hail the kneeNoted Birds blathermonkey Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times (and I mean “blathermonkey” in the kindest possible way) thinks it’s only 50-50 that Donovan starts the opener against the Packers on September 9th.

His reasoning is that (1) McNabb has yet to give a firm commitment that he’ll play that day and (2) that McNabb’s recent off-the-reservation behavior (hiring — gasp! — his own PR guy and doing interviews –hiss! — away from the Novacare Complex) suggest that there’s discord brewing between 5 and Andy Reid. Eckel thinks that Reid and the organEYEzation will pressure 5 to play, and that 5 will be looking out for 5.

Eckel generally knows his dirt on the Eagles, but I’ll have to disagree on this one. McNabb hasn’t committed to playing because there’s no reason to commit. It’s just a headline and even more bogus early pressure. Plenty of time for that nonsense come training camp. As for the discord with the front office, I mean, sure. Maybe there’s something there. But all things considered (given previous off-season dramas), it doesn’t really register.

I think McNabb will start the opener.

NJ.com’s Mark Eckel Isn’t Sure McNabb Is Healthy [CN8 via RedLasso]

Dhani Jones passive-aggressively whinges about being small, ineffective
Posted on July 23rd, 2007 at 9:34 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

I wear a bow tie. Have you noticed?As Birds news is a little slow the week before training camp (yes yes, Abiamiri and Ilaoa signed yesterday, got it), I thought it was worth a quickie post in re: a segment from NFL Network from a couple weeks back, in which bowtied former Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones chatted with Rich Eisen about the upcoming Eagles season.

Admittedly, I was never that into Dhani Jones. He just wasn’t a good enough player to justify that level of smugness. Also, he was small and bad at tackling. This wouldd have been okay if he was super-sweet at pass coverage, but he was pretty inconsistent there as well. So. That really doesn’t leave much.

Anyhoo, he had a few interesting things to say about the Birds, and by “interesting” I mean “passive-aggressive thinly disguised barbs about his former teammates”:

On Donovan McNabb’s knee…
“It definitely takes a year.”

On QB A.J. Feeley and whether he has the confidence of the guys in the locker room…
“He definitely has the confidence of the guys in the front office.”

What’s the team’s biggest need?
Dhani talked about stopping the run, noted that Broderick Bunkley was no good last year, and pointed some fingers at the front four as being more important than the linebackers. “Linebackers can’t make plays if the offensive linemen get to the linebackers…if you have 350 pounds against 220 pounds there’s only so many times you can rebound and make the play.”


So, to review, Dhani doesn’t think McNabb will be back to full health until at least November, thinks the team doesn’t respect Feeley (is Dhani jealous of Heather Mitts?), and made it very clear that the Birds’ problems against the run were all the rookie’s fault. Yup. It had nothing to do with you being undersized and generally wimpy. That’s probably why the Eagles will replace two out of three starters at linebacker this year. Andy Reid probably agrees with you, Dhani.

NFL Network: Countdown To Camp [PhiladelphiaEagles.com: Click on NFL Network, it should be the first one]

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