What Would Buddy Do?
Unambiguous? Overwhelmingly the view of the fans, huh?
Posted on January 27th, 2009 at 12:46 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Amidst the curiously significant volume of non-news in re: the Eagles, including a few pieces that I would have considered too much of a stretch for even a blog (that the players don’t care because they partied hard after a tough loss; an odd comparison of Eagles and Steelers fans), we have some fresh remarks from team president Joe Banner.

While the full interview won’t go public until tonight, CSN has released some excerpts, and it sure sounds like certain people who play certain positions are in the good graces of the senior leadership team these days:

“I thought and still think my answer was unambiguous. We thought that was important to clarify it because you don’t want those things to take on a life,” Banner said. “The reality is, my view and our view is unambiguous, that we can win a championship with those people, and they will be back. We believe we’re very lucky to have them. The good news is, that’s overwhelmingly the view of our fans. I know it doesn’t always come out that way, but Andy is a heck of a coach.”

To summarize, not only do we think Andy and Dunavin are doing a bang-up job, but we’ve also spoken to some of the customers, and they seem to be cool with these guys being the core features of the 2009 edition as well.

I actually think it’s kind of interesting that Banner was so confident regarding the view of the customers.  Do they poll?  Focus groups?  Or just check out the message boards and listen a bit to WIP and call it a day?  “Overwhelmingly” is a strong word.

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By the way, we personally can’t get enough of Paul Domowitch’s ongoing class rage in re: NFL ownership and layoffs in various front offices.  Stick it to the man, Domo!  We can’t help but wonder how much of this rage is motivated by the precariousness of your own profession.

Eagles - Cowboys Game Preview: immanetize the eschaton
Posted on December 28th, 2008 at 11:32 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Much like Andy Reid and the Eagles, we’re playing this game preview straight.  Now is not the time to fret about playoff scenarios and the likely end of some very very very impressive Eagles’ careers.  Now is the time to focus on the Cowboys game and the last couple days of coverage in the papers.  We’ll have time later (and by “later” we mean “in thirty minutes”) for a lengthy discussion of our sports feelings and the end-of-days scenarios for our favorite players.

What we’re talking about today:

The new kid might also be a choke artist (!).  In what might be a hint of blathermonkey/ fan angst for years to come, we had a volley of DeSean Jackson coverage rounding out the end of the holiday week.  The CamelCased One is certainly primed to be the next star for this team, and as such will need to shoulder a fair amount of heavy scrutiny for the next couple years.  While it’s great to hear that he’s the team’s playmaker (which we’d been pushing for a while) and that Andy Reid expects him to make plays, catch the ball, all that, the thing that’s nagging me about DeSean is that maybe he gets nervous too.  That is, he dropped the ball with the game/ season on the line.  For the franchise whose quarterback famously puked in the Super Bowl, it’s not exactly sweet that the alleged best player on our team for the next few years appears to get nervous at the end of the game.  Not to panic, but I think it’s fair to be be VERY VERY disturbed by this.

Everyone’s favorite Eagle.  Fittingly, L.J. Smith won’t play today (listed as doubtful), in what has to be his final game as an Eagle.  How appropriate!  Topics that merit revisiting after the season: how terrible a decision was it to bring back L.J. Smith?  The cynics amongst us can pin at least two-and-a-half Eagles’ losses indirectly to him (Chicago, both Washington games).  What if a Terminator came back through time and prevented the Eagles from franchising him last year?  Would the Birds have won one more of those games?  Sort of like a retroactive roster abortion?

End of days, Part 1.  So now it looks like conventional wisdom has Dunavin coming back for the Eagles next year.  Sweet.  There.  I said it.  Also, that was about the only thing I got right in this set of mid-season predictions. By the way.  Though I was close on B-West not breaking 900 yards rushing (he’s at 886 right now) and Shawn Andrews not playing another down.

End of Days, Part 2.  So Dawk has to be back next year, no?  He made the Pro Bowl, which is probably partially a lifetime achievement/ he’s a popular guy around the league thing, but still.  He’s at least going to be in camp.    And those bitter, bitter comments from Tra Thomas.  Wow.  I hope he isn’t pissed on his way out.  GREAT Eagle.  Runyan too.  Big sigh.  We’ll have more time for this in the next few weeks.

Speaking of, an offseason of villainy.  Remember the guys who cut Duce Staley and Jeremiah Trotter?  Yeah.  They’re back.  Get ready to turn your hatred on the front office.

This week’s blathertariat non-story.  So the quarterback is telling people he’s played well.  Uh huh.  So maybe his delivery wasn’t perfect, but, um, doesn’t everybody do that?  That is, when you hand in your performance review at work, do you tell everyone you think you sucked?  Didn’t get the kerfuffle here.  What I thought was interesting was how Andy Reid addressed the non-story on Friday:

“He has done very well. I think, statistically, when you look at it, he has done a nice job. The only stat I really care about, however, is that the team plays well. That’s the most important thing right now. I think when and if you take that statement he made out of context, and you really know what Donovan is all about, he’s about the football team. If you finish reading the whole quote, I think he finishes up where I don’t see that as a negative statement.”

So no one asked Andy Reid if he thought Dunavin’s self-assessment was negative.  But Reid’s answer indicates that he realizes how the comment was chewed up and digested by the media, to the point that he suggests that it may have been taken out of context (”If you finish reading he whole quote…”).  So Andy Reid realizes that the press are trying to make a story out of this, but he won’t say that outright, though he still will give the politically correct answer.  Eerie.  The Birds’ media team definitely prep him for these things.  Or (most disturbingly), he reads it himself.  Reason number 467 that the Philly media is a lot of work to deal with (also why we love said media).

Speaking of, it’s been a long year for the press too.  Went through the game previews this morning.  That’s just some cold shit from Les Bowen right there:

Let’s say everything the Eagles need to happen earlier in the day happens. Are they then going to beat a divisional foe to close the deal? What’s their record in the division again (1-4)? Their coach thinks he could have run it “a few more times” after abandoning the balance that brought him a three-game win streak, calling pass plays, disastrously, 16 times in a row in the second half last week. The quarterback who can’t quite produce a game-winning drive when the chips are down thinks he’s had a “great” year and would just like to mention, with the season on the line, that he could use a new contract.

Bah, humbug.

Yikes.  These people all need a vacation from each other.

My own prediction.  Since it’s my blog and this might be the last Eagles game for a while, I’m treating myself to the twin fantasies of (a) the game actually mattering and (b) the Eagles playing well.  We’ll pretend that the Cowboys aren’t the Eagles’ superiors on both sides of the line and that the Birds haven’t been atrocious within the division this year.  Instead we’ll focus on Tony Romo struggling this time of year and imagine that the Eagles will make a couple big plays on special teams (hey, why not).  Birds prove that they aren’t just last year’s 8-8 team (or even 8-7-1) with a better punt returner: Eagles 27, Cowboys 23.

(Immanetize the eschaton definition link, in case you were wondering.)

Joe Banner defends non-moves, disses Cowboys
Posted on October 20th, 2008 at 2:59 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

joebanneraddress.jpg

Pretty standard fare on offer in today’s state-of-the-team address from Eagles president Joe Banner.  The obvious driver for the appearance was the recently passed trade deadline, and the Eagles’ lack of moves thereabouts.  I suspect that Mr. Banner was interested in offering the organization’s marketing message directly to the customers in re: said customers’ ongoing perceptions that the Eagles aren’t aggressive enough on deals.  Otherwise, why would he bother?  He’s actually in charge down there; the NFL doesn’t mandate that he speak to the fans — this is all him.   

As a result, we got the standard volley of cliches (”We think we’re always aggressive”), and insistence that the Eagles are always trying to improve the team, though not in a reckless manner (”If ‘going for it” means we do something stupid, then I hope no”).  Good on Spuds for trying to sniff out who might be in line for an extension: the young DTs, the maligned tight end, the veteran free safety, who?  Banner of course gave him nothing, which was a bit of a disappointment.  I wish I had more of an understanding of how the Eagles’ front office views the potential unraveling of the CBA?  Peter King (I can’t believe I’m typing this) actually had a very good take on the Cowboys’ view on this matter in his column this week.   

If there was anything juicy in Banner’s interview, it was his take on the Cowboys.  While he admitted that he roots for all the teams in the division (and conference) to lose, he had some special words for the Cowboys’ loss to the Rams, damning with faint praise by explaining that he doesn’t “know what’s going on with the Cowboys, but they’re very talented.”  And when asked about the Roy Williams trade, he was a bit more candid: 

“They paid a lot….I wouldn’t pay that much for a player like that….I remember that they traded two first-round picks for Joey Galloway, and they haven’t won a playoff game in 12 years.”

Look at that!  Joe Banner talking smack about no-playoff-wins-since-1996!  Is he secretly posting on message boards as well? 

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.)

Joe Banner in midst of grand Jedi Mind Trick, exorcism of Jimmy Effing Johnson
Posted on April 21st, 2008 at 6:55 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

joebanner1.jpg
Traditionally, I react to Mike Florio’s anti-Eagles rumormongering with a knowing-but-disappointed sigh and a mild clucking of the tongue: I’m sure posting about the Birds earns him extra page views at this point, and who am I to deny a man his livelihood! Sure, some of the rumors are especially silly (especially the more outlandish ones involving Dunavin), but at least we know enough at this point not to overreact.

That said, I think last week was the first time that I actually got excited about an allegedly anti-Eagles rumor on PFT. In a discussion of the “new” draft-day trade chart (note: if you’re reading this, I assume you’re aware of both the “old” and the proposed “new” draft-day trade charts…umm, right?), Florio quoted a “league source” as saying that this so-called “new” chart was just a scheme by the Eagles to screw over the other teams:

A league source tells us that, in his opinion and based on discussions with most of the other NFL teams, the proposal is the direct result of the Philadelphia Eagles to make it easier to trade up from the No. 19 overall spot in the 2008 draft.

“The whole thing sounds like an elaborate ruse,” the source said.

A ruse, do you say? A cunning attempt to deceive the other teams? Really? From Joe Banner? (Read the rest of this story.)

Please pay Brian Westbrook
Posted on January 3rd, 2008 at 6:30 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

would they really do this?I’ll admit that I really couldn’t believe the “Brian Westbrook is going to get a new contract” rumors when they first started percolating a couple weeks ago.

Not because the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook doesn’t deserve a raise, mind you. My man crush on this topic is amply documented. It just didn’t seem like, ahem, the sort of thing that the Joe Banner administration was in the business of doing. That is, handing out new contracts to players who got new contracts two years ago.

But lo, the rumblings on the radio gave way to speculation in the blogosphere, and pretty soon the salaried classes of blathermonkeys were reporting said rumors as true! Talks have begun, they tell us.

I consider this to be awesome news for the following reasons: (Read the rest of this story.)

Banner supports Coach and QB in carefully orchestrated PR move
Posted on December 7th, 2007 at 11:46 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

el presidente esta aquiWell we certainly will never accuse the Eagles of being dolts when it comes to corporate communication and PR.

Joe Banner appeared on Howard Eskin’s show yesterday afternoon on WIP to answer questions about the Eagles’ failures this year and prospects for the 2008 season. Banner clearly stated that both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb will be back with the Birds next year.

While some of the more conspiracy-minded blathermonkeys are attempting to suggest that this was all some sort of double-reverse designed to pump up McNabb’s trade value (umm, really?), it’s tough not to take Banner at his word. For a guy who chooses his words so carefully (and who was so tight-lipped about other issues during the interview) to purposely mislead Birds’ fans just doesn’t seems likely.

Of course, we can’t help but speculate about what prompted Banner to speak on WIP yesterday afternoon.
(Read the rest of this story.)

The Times is the paper of record (take that, Philly blathertariat!)
Posted on November 12th, 2007 at 4:13 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

new_york_times_building.jpgOh, the local blathermonkeys can’t be thrilled with this!

After weeks of baiting Andy Reid (and Donovan McNabb, but we’ll skip that for now) about his impending dismissal/ resignation from the Eagles (which, it might be noted, included an actual editorial in the Daily News demanding Reid’s departure), Big Red and Joe Banner decided to tell their side of the story — to the New York Freakin’ Times.

In a move eerily similar to the Reid bye-week exclusive with Fox Sports correspondent Jay Glazer, The Eagles PR/ marketing machine decided to go over the local blathermonkeys’ heads to tell a heartfelt tale of tragedy and perserverence from within the walls of the Novacare Center (sniff, double-sniff). This story did contain fresh, previously unheard material — all packaged up and fresh for the ole gray lady.

(Read the rest of this story.)

It’s good of Joe Banner to defend Andy Reid, but the Journal says his data is incorrect
Posted on October 4th, 2007 at 9:52 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Nope that is not actually correctIn response to the deliciously rampant speculation circulating on the Electric Internet in re: Andy Reid’s impending abdication of the Eagles head coaching role (more on that later today or tomorrow), Eagles prexy Joe Banner sat for an interview with the Daily News in which he stood up for Coach Reid and insisted that he didn’t think Big Red’s family issues were impacting his performance:

“There are really strong people out there - CEOs of massive companies, doctors, lawyers, coaches, players, cabdrivers - who are able to both deal with the challenges they face in their life and still continue to be excellent at what they do. Working with him every day, seeing him every day, that’s the category he’s in for me.

“It would be foolish to try to say it isn’t on his mind and doesn’t weigh on his mind. The same is true of all the other categories of people I mentioned. Some of those people do get to a point where the weight is too heavy and starts to trickle down to the other parts of their lives. But that’s not been the case with Andy.

Joe, that’s awful nice of you to stick up for your boy. But that’s not what the data says. According to a piece of academic work referenced in the Wall Street Journal a month ago, (Read the rest of this story.)