What Would Buddy Do?
Jim Johnson questionable for Sunday; “We’ll just see how he does here,” explains Reid.
Posted on January 15th, 2009 at 10:44 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was omitted from both Andy Reid’s Wednesday press conference and the team’s official injury report:

Injury Report: “(RT Jon) Runyan and (RB Brian) Westbrook will not practice today. (WR Jason) Avant will do some things. (Avant) went through the walkthrough. Basically, they all went through the walkthrough. Avant will go through the practice.”

But what of Jim Johnson’s balky back and cane requirements?  Surely this merits mention, no?  Especially with a five-hour flight to Arizona looming?  That can’t do wonders for a 67-year-old guy with back issues.

Luckily for Jim Johnson, there are no known performance-enhancing drug restrictions for the coaching staff.  So shoot that old guy full of happy juice and send him to Arizona!  We’re going to need him at the top of his game!

(Other fun facts about Jim Johnson that I picked up when reviewing his bio on PE.com: he was a college quarterback at Missouri (huh), and played tight end for two seasons in the pros (with Buffalo).  Wouldn’t have guessed that he’d played offense.)

The Dread High Ankle Sprain ranks third on list of most vaguely frightening/ common Eagles injuries
Posted on September 23rd, 2008 at 8:31 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie


I did not like reading that Brian Westbrook described his ankle as “closer to being a high ankle sprain than anything else.”  We know of these high ankle sprains, and we don’t like them.  They’re a bit mysterious in that I don’t know a non-pro athlete to ever suffer one, and they seem capable of lingering for weeks and weeks with no discernible timetable for recovery (see also, hamstring injuries).

Of course, owing to our previously mentioned virtuoso command of a wide array sports injuries, we all know that the high ankle sprain is only the third most scary “injury none of us actually understand but which seems to have a fancy name,” behind (#2) the sports hernia and the undefeated/ still champion (#1) Lisfranc injury.

(Sorry about the image above, I couldn’t find one with out comic sans.  Like most civilized human beings, I too f*cking hate comic sans.)

Westbrooks limps, as noted in medically detailed presser
Posted on September 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

So the good news is that nothing serious appears to be wrong with Brian Westbrook’s ankle.  Andy Reid confirmed that he was off crutches and “limping” at HQ on Monday. 

Check.  That’s the top end of my expectation curve — cool. 

We didn’t get too much new data out of Andy Reid today; given the lengthy list of the infirm (among them the better part of the erstwhile starting offensive lineup: Shawn Andrews, L.J. Smith, Tony Hunt, Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, etc.), semi-precise medical details consumed quite a bit of time in his press conference. 

Said medical briefing was definitely one of those sports media moments that reminded me of how attentively the American press covers player injuries.  For example, the UK soccer press doesn’t offer nearly as many details as we’re accustomed to in the US.  They barely know the difference between ACL and MCL injuries, and nary a one of them can quote you the average recovery time for each (whereas who among us doesn’t know an ACL injury = a year at this point?).   

But we get details about concussions, spasms, MRIs, and what appears to be Andy’s new favorite, contusions.  Donovan McNabb has one of those.  In case you find this description a bit imprecise, rest assured it’s not unintentional:

A bruise, also called a contusion or ecchymosis, is an injury to biological tissue in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. It is usually caused by blunt impact. Bruises often induce pain but are not normally dangerous. Sometimes bruises can be serious, leading to other more life threatening forms of hematoma, or can be associated with serious injuries, including fractures and internal bleeding. The likelihood of bruising, and severity of it, increases as one ages, because elderly human skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Minor bruises may be easily recognized, in people with light skin color, by their characteristic blue or purple appearance (idiomatically described as “black and blue”) in the days following the injury.

Contusion definitely sounds more serious than a bruise, but Andy Reid could totally knock it up a notch by dropping “ecchymosis” on everyone on Wednesday, with no further explanation.  As in, “McNabb has ecchymosis.”  And then if the assembled media cross-examined him, he could act indignant and just keep repeating, “I said ecchymosis.  He’s got ecchymosis.  How many times do I have to keep saying the same thing?”

Anyhoo, the Steelers game still feels pretty cool, and it’s good to hear that Westbrook isn’t seriously damaged.    

Birds outshove Steelers, make Ed Rendell smile
Posted on September 21st, 2008 at 9:14 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

In the game that was the inverse of last Monday’s shootout against Dallas, the Eagles roughed up the Steelers in a tough-ass defensive struggle, 15-6. 

Quick-hit reactions to a very satisfying TV show:    

Jim Johnson and the defensive front, take a bow.  Six days after giving up 34 points (I won’t blame them for the special teams TD), the Birds’ defense channeled the 1991 Eagles and just humiliated the Steelers.  The ball was snapped, and the line immediately moved two yards backward on pretty much every down.  It seemed like the Steelers gave up running the ball pretty early, and stubbornly instructed Roethlisberger to try to throw the ball.  Nope.  It wasn’t just a couple plays worth of pressure, it was pressure on every single down.  Darren Howard, Juqua Parker and Trent Cole were monsters.  The body language from the Steelers’ receivers was the most telling part — you could tell they were sick of running routes and not even having the ball come out.  Jim Johnson and the defense have officially made it up to us for the Dallas game.

Speaking of making it up to us after the Dallas game.  I guess the Dawkins retirement can wait another week.  His pterodactyl Makhtar (Editor’s note: Makhtar is a slang term used to describe the act of violently smacking an object out of another’s hand; derived from Makhtar N’Diaye and his proclivity for clumsy fouls) on Big Ben was the best Eagles’ play of the season so far. 

$57 million seemed like a lot, but, well, we like interceptions.  Asante Samuel is definitely earning it after three weeks.  I’ll argue that he’s actually been a little lost in the media shuffle so far, and that he’d definitely be a big story in most other towns, but given the unique, ahem, landscape of storylines amongst the local blathertariat, he’s gotten off pretty easy.  I can’t say I’m anything but impressed by this guy. 

I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited about the punter.  Get ready for a week of “This is the week it clicked for Sav Rocca” though he’s been pretty good so far this season.  He absolutely made a difference today. 

And suddenly it’s the third quarter of a preseason game.  When Kolb checked in with Buckhalter and Booker in the backfield and Baskett and Avant split wide, well, it got pretty chill in my apartment.  It got a little warmer when McNabb checked back in, but even that was an Eagles team without its starting backfield, Pro Bowl guard and presumptive top wideout.  Yikes.

Booker is a liability in pass defense.  Booker whiffed horribly on the McNabb pick, kind of fell down in the act of not even getting a finger on the blitzer.  Not so impressive.  Westbrook and Buckhalter don’t miss like that.    

Think happy thoughts. Let’s pretend the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook isn’t actually hurt and will be back at practice on Wednesday.  Somewhere GCobb is working on a blog post about how Westbrook can’t stay healthy. 

Also, The NFC East still hasn’t lost a game to anyone but an NFC East team.  Though I hope the Cowboys lose in a barrage of injuries to fix that.  Obviously.

Great game.  Go Birds. 

Preseason injuries are silly (with just a tiny bit of haterade and imaginary religion)
Posted on August 25th, 2008 at 3:41 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Osi on the cartNothing is more beat than pre-season injuries, especially to star players. We don’t like to see the more popular entertainers felled in training matches. And as much as we’d like to secretly gloat about Osi Umenyiora’s season-ending knee injury, we don’t like to see good players go down for the year (minor injuries that cause them to miss the Eagles game, well that’s a different story…).

Still, and we’re knowingly dodging bolts of lightning here, can we at least point out that it was Umenyiora who knocked Browns QB Derek Anderson out of the Cleveland-G-Men preseason match the Monday prior? Concussed him, to be more precise. In a preseason game. Sure, it was a clean hit, but he drove him into the turf — as a viewer, I wasn’t shocked when Anderson didn’t get up. And if I was, say, a Browns supporter, I’d've been mighty cheesed off at that hit.

We might also note a corollary here with the inexplicably unfined Dawkins helmet-to-helmet shot on Moosh the week before; Dawk left the following game with an ankle injury.

That karma is a pesky nemesis.

Sad referendum on Curtis’s status with Birds: No Burkholder post-op PC
Posted on August 21st, 2008 at 4:23 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

more groinsIn the midst of the whinging, pining and rationalizing that has attended the announcement of the Kevin Curtis groin injury, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a medical update from the Eagles on the surgery. Specifically, I wanted to know if we’d be treated to a rare Rick Burkholder presser (or at least statement) briefing us on the specifics of Curtis’s surgery. Not everyone gets the Burkholder media treatment, but certainly Curtis — an 1,100-yard receiver a year ago — is an important enough player to merit some fanfare?

Alas no. All we got was a quick piece on PE.com. I suppose there’s only so much we can say about groins at this point. If Curtis wants that kind of attention, he’ll need to keel over in training camp and get rushed to the hospital.

(Let me know if we need me to post more photos.  There’s just so much I didn’t know about groinal musculature!)

Curtis adds nookie to list of things he’s not allowed to enjoy
Posted on August 20th, 2008 at 4:12 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

anatomy lesson

Wow.  Forgive the pun, but this kind of sucks for Kevin Curtis.  (Is it a pun? Or do I have too much groin on the brain? Wait, groin on the brain?)  And the Eagles.  And all of us. 

Past the considerable football implications, we can only assume that this sort of injury means a significant no-nookie period for Curtis.  Given that his religious inclinations take most other fun stuff off the table, it sure looks like Kevin’s going to need to make his peace with a lot of long nights ordering pizza, playing Bioshock and slurping down Sierra Mist.

As an FYI, the wide receiver corps is now officially a “shambles.”  That’s a highly technical term meaning “a condition that yields eleven defenders whose eyes are exclusively glued to the numbers 3 and 6.”

Cacophony of horrified screams from the rest of the blogertariat:


Eagles - Panthers Slopfest Summary
Posted on August 15th, 2008 at 11:16 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

it almost looks like jackson might be blocking

While I was certainly thrilled to see some actual live Eagles football, I guess my biggest takeaway from last night’s game was “I am totally psyched that I didn’t pay full price to attend this.”  As if the part where it wasn’t an actual game wasn’t awkward enough, the rain delay added insult to injury.  Enjoy your soaking, we’re going to keep you crowded into the concourse for the next 45 minutes, concession stands will remain open, and you’ll be able to return to your soggy seat shortly.  Don’t worry, you should be home by one. 

Anyhoo, my takeaways (big and little) from last night:  

These guys are small.  Dude!  I knew Lorenzo Booker and DeSean Jackson weren’t the largest of fellows, but they looked freakin’ tiny out there.  Get these boys on the Michael Phelps diet STAT!  Seriously, at that size we can’t pretend that they’re going to make it through the full season upright, can we?  And it isn’t the height thing, it’s the mass issue.  Dude.    

In which we all towel off in re: the capabilities of Max-Jean Gilles.  While we remain hopeful about the progression of Gilles, he played like a very inexperienced guy last night.  The huge whiff on that screen pass block was kind of comical.  It almost happened in slow motion: “Come on, big fella, you’ve got him….OOHHHHHHH!”  Also, the penalties were pretty lame.  I guess better now than later.   

Sure they played well, but the Panthers’ offense looked bad.  The defense certainly looked competent, though the Panthers did the Birds the favor of running into the middle of the line (and avoiding the edge runs which had apparently vexed the defense against the Stillers) and not including Steve Smith in the festivities.  So it’s tough to get too too excited about what we saw on defense.  Also, though I’ve always had a soft spot for Jake Delhomme, I would not feel awesome about the QB situation in Carolina if I was a Panthers fan.  Lito’s pick was especially terrible — total floater.   Maybe it was the conditions, but he did not look sharp.     

Speaking of the defense, get ready for Stew Bradley in coverage.  Tip of the cap to the Panthers for a clever play call on the almost-touchdown to Mush.  They bunched the receivers in the slot and got Bradley on Mush.  Were it not for a vicious, completely out-of-line helmet-on-helmet collision between two veteran guys, we’d be talking a lot about Bradly chasing people in the middle of the field.    

That’s gotta be a fine, right?  After the hideous highlight against the Steelers, I’m glad Dawk got his groove back a little bit.  Still, that shot in the end zone has got to earn him a charitable donation from league HQ.  Too much, Dawk, too much.  We want you to last the whole season.     

An early 2006 vibe with the catching.  We hadn’t seen drops like that in a while.  Sure, it was wet, but a lot of those balls were there.  We can forgive a couple drops from Jackson (though we’d prefer less jumping and fluttering of the feet and more focus on “catching the ball”), but Curtis?  Baskett?  The ball from Kolb that hit Baskett in the f*cking face over the middle was not sweet.  Dunavin certainly wasn’t perfect last night, but a number of those balls should have been caught. 

Who really wanted to make the team last night.  Top of the list is Tony Hunt, who ran well, made a great catch on a poorly thrown screen pass from Kolb, and actually made some plays on special teams.  Adios, Ryan Moats!  Also, I had no idea who Fake Jeremiah Trotter was, but he definitely has to have played himself into practice squad consideration.   McDougle looks like he’s definitely making the team.  This was also the first I’d seen of Joe Mays.  More please. 

Who should feel very cold and lonely this morning.  Sean Considine running with the threes!  Yikes!  Also, as noted, Ryan Moats can probably go month-to-month on his lease at this point.   

And finally, the absolute low point of the game.  So we’d heard a lot about the investment in special teams in the offseason.  The Birds acknowledged the problem and tried to address it.  And, um, well, it doesn’t seem to be working.  Booker struggled to field kickoffs (nightmares of Green Bay running through our head), the fake field goal was completely hideous, and I have officially joined the “David Akers must go before he costs the Birds a divisional game” team.  The Birds are telling us that the coverage was good?  I guess so.  But it sure didn’t seem very organized out there.  I have to imagine that this is a Defcon Four situation at the NovaCare complex this morning. 

Still, it was cool to have football back.  Onwards!

I’ll happily pay Roy Williams the royalties…
Posted on December 16th, 2007 at 1:23 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

we got your horse collar right here big fella…if someone on the Birds deploys one of Mr. Williams’ patented Horse Collar ™ tackles, especially if said tackle is deployed on a certain flamboyant wide receiver.

This is not to say that I wish the Cowboys or Mr. Owens ill will, BUT, it sure feels like there is some nice symmetry with a certain Week 15 game from 2004. Only this time it’s the 12-1 Cowboys hosting an out-of-it Eagles team instead of a 12-1 Eagles team hosting an out-of-it Birds squad. The Cowboys are the best team in the NFC — just like the Birds in 2004. I’m not saying I’m hoping that anyone gets hurt out there — no no, never — but were something unfortunate to befall a certain Dallas wideout, well, I wouldn’t pretend that I didn’t appreciate the irony.
(Read the rest of this story.)

I’ll admit it: I don’t trust the Panthers
Posted on August 17th, 2007 at 1:15 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

look out for the killshot, 5After much hemming and/ or hawing, Donovan McNabb will return to the field tonight against the Carolina Panthers in the Eagles’ second preseason game. Andy Reid says that the first-team offense will play about a half, but that Dunavin might not go much more than the first quarter.

To be honest, I’m not really sure why he has to play at all, other than to prove that he can?

The Eagles offensive line will be without Shawn Andrews, and the mix-and-match squad out there on Monday night against the Ravens looked extremely confused against blitz pickups. Do we really need 5 out there in an imaginary game against another team that likes to take its shots at the quarterback?

As per a long-ago posting on my other site, the Panthers have effectively deployed The KillShot in the past, specifically against Dunavin to clinch a trip to the Super Bowl. I don’t want to point fingers, but it doesn’t not make me nervous. At the very least, I’d like to ensure that completely-useless-Pat-McCoy isn’t allowed to play right tackle while 5 is on the field. Can we hook that up?

In the meantime, I’m more than happy to return Dunavin to his bubble-tape cocoon until September 9th. Despite what some might suggest, um, there is nothing to prove in an imaginary game.

(Go Birds.)

Good as new [Phillyburbs.com]