What Would Buddy Do?
Condescend me…
Posted on July 30th, 2008 at 10:23 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

I guess I sort of appreciate that Osi Umenyiora is trying to be polite about his six-sack game last September that’s universally hailed as evidence that Winston Justice will never make it in the NFL:

“(Justice) is a good offensive tackle, man,” Umenyiora said. “He’s not a bad football player. I hate the fact that when people mention his name right now, they just associate him with having given up those sacks. But everybody seemed to be watching that game. I felt bad for the kid. But I had to do what I had to do.”

Felt bad for the kid, huh.  I’m flattered that you felt badly for him, and I hope that in your generosity and kindness you can be a bit more forgiving next time around. 

If I were Justice, I’d be pretty miffed by the overall level of condescension (admittedly warratned in this case as Osi is a baller and Justice is a backup).  Personal bulletin board material and whatnot.  At the very least I’d take a moment to review my copy of True Romance:

Better to have ‘em and not need ‘em
Posted on July 29th, 2008 at 1:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

comfort padding for hands

Well well well, I guess we can’t complain too much about the Birds bringing in so many defensive lineman in the draft and free agency over the past few years, as it looks like live bodies are dwindling by the day. First Bryan Smith goes on PUP (where Trevor Laws was stationed for a few days as well), then Abiamiri breaks his hand (which actually doesn’t sound very promising at all), and now Chris Clemons is in the hospital (which sounds at least temporarily scary).

(Kind of creepy yet endearing that Andy Reid went to the hospital with Clemons.  I assume this is the result of some strongly worded letters from NFL HQ in re: the seriousness of heat exhaustion and how it’s bad for business when the large gentlemen keel over.)

Depending on how serious the conditions are (and I’ll assume that Clemons will be okay), this has got to be good short-term roster news for Darren Howard and — dare I say it — Jerome McDougle?  Is that completely insane at this point? 

Hope everyone is okay.    

Shout-Out: Friend of Bounty repruhzents in the Paper Of Record
Posted on July 29th, 2008 at 10:43 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Mad props to longtime friend of BountyBowl Will Bardenwerper, who published his first-ever sports story for the The New York Times in this morning’s edition, writing about the Army’s decision to cancel Caleb Campbell’s pro football career and bring him back to West Point as an assistant coach for the Army football squad. 

While this isn’t Will’s first effort for the Times, it is his first story as a reporter.  He’s interning for the summer at the Times ahead of grad school.  I’m terribly pleased to see that his first effort was in the sports section — just like a real live blathermonkey! 

Off the record, Will told me he wanted to join a Philly paper for the summer, but apparently he lacked the Wild Speculation and Lowest-Common-Denominator Pandering skills required to succeed there. 

Nice work, Will.  Not bad for a Redskins fan.   

Birds were ‘horrendous’ on special teams the past two years
Posted on July 29th, 2008 at 8:57 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

In the context of Igglesblog’s very excellent breakdown of the Birds’ special teams, it’s worth noting a  rare moment of candor for Andy Reid on Howard Eskin’s show yesterday.  While Big Red can occasionally be goaded into a firm evaluation of his team, it’s rare for him to use descriptors more elaborate than “not very good.”

But he let the guard down a bit in reference to the Eagles’ special teams over the past two seasons, describing them as ‘horrendous.’

Yikes!  Horrendous?  He never even called Freddie Mitchell horrendous.

Still, it’s evidence that these guys read Pro Football Prospectus too — and are at least aware that they need to address certain areas of deficiency on the roster.  (I’m filing this under “Reasons why Andy Reid isn’t as arrogant as everyone seems to think he is”).

Also, given that Joe Banner went and picked up a couple players to help on this front, I wouldn’t feel super-awesome about my job security if I was Rory Segrest.  The pieces are there; if the team continues to struggle, it’s gotta be on the coach.

Shawn Andrews: Flakegate Day 4
Posted on July 27th, 2008 at 11:52 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

dance fat man dance

We’re now on the fourth day of the Shawn Andrews unexcused-absence-but-not-because-of-a-contract-dispute subplot.  The absence of any legit details on the story renders the whole thing a bit dull.  What we know: Andrews told Andy Reid that he wasn’t coming to camp on Thursday, his agent insists it isn’t about money, and no one is saying anything interesting (or really anything at all) about whatever the hell is going on with Andrews.

Of course, Shawn Andrews being Shawn Andrews (that is, one of the most underappreciated headcases/ space cadets on the team), there’s a decent chance that this holdout is actually not just about money (and might be about something completely ridiculous).  Shawn Andrews does like talking about his sensitive little feelings.

Also, I’m finding it semi-curious that none of the players have really commented on the situation, though most were willing to at least offer a “That’s his business” in re: BWest’s threatened holdout.  And Andy Reid seemed a bit short about it as well.  I dunno.  Why doesn’t someone call his brother (plays for the Benglas, right?).  It all seems a little more odd than average.

Thus, in the absence of any real data, I’m going to irresponsibly speculate about the reasons for the holdout; my hypotheses, in order of actual likelihood (as in, most likely to not-in-a-zillion-years): (Read the rest of this story.)

It’s gotta be the shoes: McNabb breaks up with Reebok, goes back to well with Nike
Posted on July 24th, 2008 at 3:23 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

check the logo between the glasses

Right, so I’m probably the only dweeb out there that really cares about this sort of thing, but it appears that Donovan McNabb and Reebok are no more (and, no, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with potential brand overlaps with his recent foray into infomercialia). 

I noticed that Dunavin had a Nike cap on in his presser the other day, and a quick scan of photos from camp confirmed that he was, in fact, sporting Nike kicks on the field. 

check the shoes

Some quick Interweb searching (via MY PERSONAL FAVORITE OPTION FOR WEB SEARCH Microsoft Windows Live Search Engine For Internet, Enterprise Edition 2007) revealed that his Reebok contract — which at the time was the richest “sneaker/ apparel” endorsement in the NFL — was a four-year deal that began in 2003.  Let me see, carry the one, divide by the square root of pi, yup, that means it should have been up about now. 

So now Dunavin’s back with Nike, which he’d apparently worn when he first entered the league until the Reebok deal.  Probably not a tough choice for a Chicago kid who went to Syracuse, though I imagine that the deal value was a bit less gaudy this time around (but still better than that Ab Roller crap).

Shameless PFT linkbait
Posted on July 23rd, 2008 at 9:26 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

As I believe the young people are fond of saying, “Double-You-Tee-Eff.” 

“Eagles call Packers about Favre”?  Seriously, PFT?

Apart from PFT linkbait, what could this story possibly mean?  Andy wanted to say hi to his best friend Brett Favre?  It just doesn’t make very much sense.

Then I clicked the actual source at the Sporting News, and the headline was slightly but importantly different: “Report: Packers call Eagles about Favre.”

Not exactly the same thing. 

I guess Florio needed more pageviews from the Delaware Valley.


Brian Westbrook is not a prima donna
Posted on July 22nd, 2008 at 9:03 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Sorry, Ashley, but you’re slightly less than correct on this one:

And let’s be honest here, Westbrook is as high maintenance as anyone on the Eagles’ roster. He is a prima donna, and he is unpredictable. There might be a very good reason why he hasn’t hired a new agent yet, but it also could be that he simply hasn’t made up his mind. He could love one guy one minute, and another the next. His emotions change with the wind.

Nope, not feeling it at all.  Westbrook has been a model citizen with the blathermonkeys, has never criticized a teammate, doesn’t demand the spotlight (and has deferred to 5 throughout his career), has returned punts when they needed him to, and even gave up a touchdown (which never hurts come contract time, no matter what anyone’ll tell you) to win a game last year.

In the context of playing in Philly amongst the enthusiasms of the fanbase and the machinations of the blathermonkeys, B-West is as solid as they come.

(And don’t you dare ever say anything unkind about him again; you must be sucking up to management in the hopes of some big Joe Banner/ Andy Reid scoop.)

We look forward to the challenge of another season of press conferences
Posted on July 21st, 2008 at 10:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

he who smelt it
I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t looking forward to Andy Reid’s opening press conference from Birds’ training camp.  Whilst he may take some grief for being a bit dull in these sessions, um, I kind of like them?  I guess I was even readier than Andy his own self for the start of my favorite TV show (inasmuch as the NFL season has an actual beginning and end). 

(Also, why is Andy lefting his leg in the photo above?  Burrito for lunch?  What’s this about?)

My big takeaways this afternoon:

1.  The moral high ground is very crowded in the Eagles - BWest standoff.  I thought it was pretty interesting that both Brian Westbrook and Andy Reid used a lot of the same language and signifiers in their discussion of his contract dispute.  Both were dropping “fair” and “what’s right.”  I suppose that’s pretty standard — in that everyone thinks their position is the right one — but the use of similar language was pretty uncanny.  I also think it was interesting that they both mentioned that Brian was a “leader” on the team.  Also, we can’t neglect that Westbrook pointed to Reid’s own extension as an example of why he wanted more cash. (Read the rest of this story.)

Lito Sheppard demoted to second string again; Westbrook to start at “Disgruntled”
Posted on July 17th, 2008 at 2:36 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

have a burger

And here we thought we’d have only manufactured drama heading into camp.

The 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook has apparently been gently suggesting that he could use a new contract for months, and this afternoon he escalated the negotiation by changing agents.  Move over Lito!  Now there’s something meatier!

Sure, B-West got paid in 2005, but he was probably the best back in the NFL last year, and was certainly the Eagles’ best player (by a lot). 

The catch is that Joe Banner has a spreadsheet, and I would suspect that said spreadsheet has some very untoward things to say about the performance of running backs as they approach the age of 30 (and even more to say about the performance of said pushing-30 running backs immediately following the signature of a fresh contract, a.k.a. the Shaun Alexander corollary).  In B-West’s defense, inasmuch as he’s complained about not getting enough carries over the years, his overall mileage is relatively low — and the Birds know it.  Thus, if they’re keeping track of these things, Westbrook has a decent shot to Get Paid. (Read the rest of this story.)

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