What Would Buddy Do?
Monday Eagles Hangover: at least they found a new and innovative way to FAIL
Posted on January 19th, 2009 at 12:55 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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You know, I really thought they would win yesterday.  I thought they would win because their defense was good enough to best the Cardinals’ offense, and that the Eagles’ offense would be able to score against a Cardinals’ defense that wasn’t as tough as the Vikings or Giants.

Instead, the defense — the one I felt confident calling the best Eagles defense since 1991 — was exposed and fooled by a very clever Cardinals team.  We all sort of knew that the Birds would struggle to handle the Larry Fitzgerald superhero act, and he hurt them, but I didn’t expect the linebackers to look so confused and for the tackling to be so sloppy.  All credit to the Cardinals and their coaches for outcoaching and outscheming the Birds.

Even with all that, the Birds were leading this game with five minutes to play (!).  It was there.  But neither the offense nor the defense were good enough to win the game in the fourth quarter.  It was there.

It’s been there before, and we can only hope it will be there again.  Ouch.

Some day-after storylines:

I didn’t expect to be down on Jim Johnson this morning.  It’s just not what we expected, right?  That Jim Johnson, who was rightly praised for the efforts of the defense over the past seven games, would be a goat this Monday morning?  The Cardinals saw something on the right side of the Eagles defense, and certainly seemed to prey on Akeem Jordan a bit.  They got it a bit figured out at halftime, but, um, that was after they’d surrendered more points than they had since the Baltimore game.  Ouch.  Also, Stew Bradley looked like a first-year starter for the first time in a while.

Brian Westbrook was a non-factor.  Save for the great fingertip catch and sprint out of bounds on the Birds’ final drive, Westbrook didn’t really make a difference.  It actually looked like the Eagles’ offensive line was getting a good push on their running plays, but big plays did not result.  The Eagles got away with a win last week sans a big effort from Westbrook, and they almost repeated the feat this week.  It doesn’t matter if he was injured or just old and slow, but that was not a dangerous Brian Westbrook the past couple weeks.  And that hurts.

Speaking of, the dread run-pass ratio.  I’m sure the score had something to do with this — as well as the state of the Cardinals’ pass defense –but the Birds did end up throwing on 72 percent of their plays.  Luckily they were doing a fairly decent job of throwing it, but they didn’t look very committed to balance.

Speaking of, please, enough with the crying about the wideouts.  Sure, there were a couple drops and none of our guys look like Larry Fitzgerald, but the Birds’ wideouts made some huge plays yesterday.  I feel pretty good about Jackson, Curtis, Avant and Baskett (assuming they bring Baskett back).  This is not a position of concern heading into the offseason.

Positions of concern heading into the offseason.  Running back!  Running back!  It’s either a gimpy B-West or a free-agent Buckhalter.  Or Lorenzo Booker.  Or Kyle Eckel.  Yes.  It’s feeling very cold in here.  Also offensive tackle — both those guys looked their age yesterday.

Are we really talking about Donovan McNabb’s future?  McNabb missed a couple throws on that final drive, and the haters will focus on that, but he also had the cape on for the better part of the second half.  No running game, a lot of pressure from the edges, and the guy actually brought the team back from an 18-point halftime deficit.  Dude.  McNabb was not the problem for the Eagles yesterday.

Too much hitting, not enough tackling.  Whilst we like the idea of dropping a couple big hits on the opposing team to let them know it’s going to be a physical afternoon, it sure seemed like the Eagles’ defense was throwing shoulders and not wrapping up at all.  Shoulders aren’t enough against Larry Fitzgerald.

A guy we hate to admit didn’t make the big play.  Quintin Mikell almost — ALMOST — made a season-saving play on the fourth-down run in the fourth quarter.  Ugh.  That would have been nice for Mikell.

Asante Samuel.  Sigh.  After picks in two consecutive games, we can overlook a weak effort from Samuel yesterday.  Apparently he ducked reporters after the game?  Don’t know about that, Asante.  Philly doesn’t appreciate that sort of thing.  Even if you were hurt.

Guys who didn’t really duck reporters, but could’ve been forgiven for it.  Reggie Brown, L.J. Smith, it’s been a pleasure.  I guess the Birds thought Greg Lewis had some big-game magic in him?  Ummm, not so much.  Still, Brown didn’t even dress?  Yikes.  And Brent Celek’s big day yesterday really makes it that much easier to pretend there never was an L.J. Smith; I wonder what rookie will get #82 next summer?

Lucky breaks we’ve likely forgotten already.  How about that DeSean Jackson forcing a fumble for the Birds after the pick?  Pretty lucky break!  Though not as lucky as the Abiamiri call on the kickoff.  Whew.  Close one.  If you’re whinging about pass interference in the fourth quarter, you need to keep that kickoff call in mind.

Was Akers going to make a fourth-quarter field goal?  It sure seemed like he was Chuck Knoblauch unable to find first base by the third quarter.  A missed PAT?  The kickoff out of bounds?  Mercifully the Birds needed a touchdown and not a field goal for the go-ahead points.  Kind of a meltdown, no?

That’s it for now.  I’ve intentionally avoided the good season/ bad season ruling.  Plenty of time for that later this week.

The “number two guy”? That implies there’s a chance he could play!
Posted on January 7th, 2009 at 9:45 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Was there a mention in the papers yet about L.J. Smith that I may have missed?  That is, has anyone commented on Smith’s status with the Eagles over the past couple weeks?  He’s been omitted from a couple of Andy Reid’s injury reports at the coach’s press conferences, including today’s (though he showed up in the official injury report).

At least someone asked today (which probably means we’ll read about Smith tomorrow); Reid’s comments:

“L.J. is coming back off the shoulder. He’s not back 100%, but he’s going to work in right now as the number two guy. We’ll just see how he does; progressively better than he has the last couple weeks. We’ll just see how he feels as he goes through the practice here.”

Not to play conspiracy theorist, but that sounds a lot like L.J. has been, um, benched.  That is, there sure are a lot of other guys who are a lot more hurt (and who aren’t practicing at all) who haven’t been moved to the “number two guy.”  And, um, I think that’s probably a pretty awesome idea.  Celek made a couple clutch catches against the Vikings, and that’s much preferred to missing blocks and being out of position (like a certain someone against the Redskins).

L.J., it’s been a pleasure.

(Though even the biggest L.J. haters amongst us — pointing at nose — have to admit that L.J. probably played his best game of the season against the Giants a month ago.  Yes yes, how ironic.)

Monday Eagles Hangover: come on, we were all looking past the Vikings
Posted on January 5th, 2009 at 6:29 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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Maybe the best part of this edition of Monday Eagles hangover is that…I’m not actually hungover!  At all! Note that said hangovers typically have little to do with alcohol consumption and more to do with my sensitive little bruised sports feelings. Said sports feelings are doing just fine today, thank you very much.

My day-after thoughts and bulletpoints:

Stay angry, big fella.  Surely after a season-vindicating playoff win against the Vikings, quarterback Donovan McNabb would be in an ebullient mood, no?  Oh wait.  Someone tried to ask Dunavin how he felt about Jeff Lurie’s comments regarding his future (which were all positive) at his post-game presser, and Dunavin essentially told them that he hopes that means they’ll stop asking him about it (not with a smile) and then cut off a follow-up question with “Nice try.”  He also bickered about the difference between wanting a meeting with the boss and wanting to stay in Philly.  I’d give you the quote but it wasn’t included in the transcription on the Birds’ site; this is the best I’ve got:

“Do you want to be back next year?” someone asked yesterday, reminding McNabb that he had asked for a sit-down with ownership when this season concludes.

“I’m here,” he said with a smile. “Excited.

“Nice try.”

The important thing is that the quarterback continue to think that everyone hates him and the only way he can really stick it to us is by winning many football games.  Keep it up!

Per lo usual, Sheldon Brown speaks the truth.  Nice work by BGN on picking this Sheldon Brown quote out of a post-game interview with Sal Pal:

I would never want to disrespect the Vikings by looking past them… but I kinda knew, we all did that it would come down to a rematch with the Giants.

Sheldon, I couldn’t agree with you more.  That was the thinking that led me to opt out of a flight to Minnesota in the hopes that the Eagles would play the Giants in my backyard here in New York the following week.  And it all worked out.  Excellent.  Let us also note that said ticket for the G-Men game was purchased by 11 pm last (Sunday) night.

And who says Andy Reid doesn’t pay attention to his critics?  From today’s day-after press conference:

On whether he stuck with the run yesterday in order to slow their pass rush: “Yeah, we were trying to get it going. (Jokingly) I can’t even believe that you asked that question, but I kind of feel good that you did. We tried to keep it as balanced as we could so I wouldn’t have to answer that question, but that’s all right.”

Outstanding.  Really.  Outstanding.  For everyone: the reporters, Big Red himself, all of them.  Still, even Andy Reid will have to admit that answering the same question about running the ball is better than the lot of the quarterback (”Dunavin, for the twentieth time, how did you feel about being benched and will you be back next year?”).

What made this not the Washington game.  You could argue that the offense struggled at times yesterday.  They did, especially running the ball.  But the difference for the team yesterday was that they caught the ball.  How many drops were there?  (Dawkins and Sheldon Brown don’t count.  We might even argue that Matt Schoebel shouldn’t count.)  And not all those catches were easy.  The wideouts were actually excellent catching the ball, and Brent Celek reminded us all why it’s so important that L.J. Smith rest up for free agency.  That makes a difference — sure makes Dunavin look good.

Speaking of, in re: tight ends.  L.J. Smith didn’t show up in the injuries portion of Andy Reid’s presser today, and no one asked about him.  Is he okay?  Or has he already been sent to gulag?

Guys who are growing up before our eyes.  Sure looked like Trevor Laws got more than a couple snaps on first down yesterday.  And was that Chris Gocong busting throw the line and blowing up running plays?  I thought that was what that Stewart Bradley fellow did?  And it definitely looks like Demps is going to be trusted a fair amount against the Giants as well, given that he was on the field in the three-safety alignment against the Vikings (you know, the one where the $57 million guy gets a break?).  Here’s to hoping that Demps doesn’t let any deep balls get behind him on the play fake (fingers crossed).

Go Birds.

Sorry for the lack of posts today.  We’ve had some connectivity issues, and the day job beckoned.  We’ll make it up later in the week.

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.)

Birds fall to Skins in Platonic ideal of Bad Eagles Loss
Posted on December 21st, 2008 at 8:57 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Well that wasn’t very fun at all.

Not quite Cincinnati-game frustrating, and not Baltimore-game terrible, and not even Redskins-home-loss humiliating, but pretty crappy.  Nothing shameful about the defensive performance (though the Redskins’ offense doesn’t conjure up memories of the Greatest Show On Turf), but the offense was a bad in all of our old/ familiar/ favorite ways.

That is, today’s loss approached the Platonic ideal of a bad Eagles game: no plays or playmakers amongst the wideouts, an abandonment of the running game, some iffy clock management, and — most importantly — a horrific performance from L.J. Smith.  If they could have just managed to somehow surrender some points at the end of the first half (in some particularly surprising/ unlikely manner involving the special teams?), well, the universe just might have exploded.

After a couple weeks of strong performances, we can’t pretend that the Birds weren’t due for one of these efforts.  They certainly didn’t get blown out, they just didn’t really make any of the plays that are required to win.  Pretty standard, really.

Highlights of frustration below:

Welcome back, the-wideouts-aren’t-good-enough meme.  The drops were bad throughout, but the Redskins dropped their fair share as well.  This was a game where I wish I could have been in the stadium to see if guys were actually getting open (my guess is an emphatic no).  We love the CamelCased one, but young DeSean dropped a couple that would have made a difference.  He’s a rookie, yup, but he was also the best guy the Birds had out there today.  I dunno.  At least we’re all pretty well-versed in beating up on the wide receivers.  I look forward to closely monitoring which diva pass-catchers from around the league are unhappy this off-season.

There’s something about Jason Campbell.  Does this guy play this way every week?  I mean, it doesn’t seem threatening and explosive at all, nothing vertical or down the field, but he’s a pain in the ass on third down.  Those scrambles for first downs are insanely frustrating.

The Redskins’ best player.  Helluva a day from the Redskins punter.  Seriously — that Ryan Plackemeier did himself proud out there.

Intrigue remains in re: Big Five.  McNabb wasn’t great today, but he also wasn’t terrible.  He’ll take heat for this game, sure, but it didn’t look like he had a ton of help out there — from his teammates or the play selection.  And he did make a couple big throws in the fourth quarter, only to get let down by the overwhelming lameness of the wide receivers.  Net net, it means that we can’t emphatically ship him out of town in this week’s papers.

L.J. Smith and his personal quest to lose games against the Redskins.  Was it the two drops in the first half on third down?  Or the horrific missed block on the screen to Westbrook at the Redskins’ five (lots of good questions in the postgame pressers about that one)?  Which specific play was the worst?  I actually think that he might have been the one who was out of position at the beginning of the third quarter when the Birds burned their timeout as well.  Maybe we wouldn’t get down him so much if he hadn’t also been personally responsible for goal-line mistake against the Skins in October as well.  Not impressive. I hope the fans at the Dallas game remember that this will be their last chance EVER to boo L.J. in an Eagles uniform.

Other BOOOOOs.  Asante Samuel for dropping that pick.  Reggie Brown for being almost but not quite good enough.  Sav Rocca for being outpunted.

My goal is to not spend the rest of the evening moping about and reading every word bit of Internet content on the game.  I’m putting in a movie, ideally something really stupid and/ or cartoonishly violent.  More tomorrow.

Proper Birds handle Nerdbirds; woe be unto sports fans of C@L
Posted on November 3rd, 2008 at 4:11 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

coaching em up

And we’re back.

Following a sometimes soggy but always glorious weekend in the Pacific Northwest, BountyBowl is back on Eastern (Standard) Time and ready to sign. Respect must be paid to our hosts out west as well as the benefactors who hooked us up with game tickets and other entertainments — it was a great trip. Mercifully, the Eagles pitched and made sure we also got a result. We wouldn’t say it was a barnburner of a game, but, well, 26-7 is a lot better than it otherwise could have been, especially coming out of a nervy first quarter. What we noticed at Qwest Field:

About the first five minutes. Whew. Ugly start for the Birds — both flavors. You know it’s an odd game when there have been five total possessions and there are still 10 minutes and 45 seconds left in the first quarter. That’s what a 90-yard touchdown and four three-and-outs will do to you. For the uninitiated — essentially, non-NFC West opponents — the opening quarter at Qwest Field is usually pretty dicey. The crowd is always on their feet and screaming for the better part of the first quarter; I liked that the Eagles kept their poise and didn’t panic. Then the crowd settles in a bit, the initial chaos clears, and things get a bit more balanced. Good on the Eagles for not freaking out.

Lito the ostensible starter. Sheldon Brown was initially on the field for the Birds’ first defensive play, but was replaced before the snap by Lito. So that means that Lito was the starter? I think I liked him better as a backup — he bit on the pump fake like a rookie on what was really the Birds’ only horrible defensive snap.

Evil Dunavin returns! I was making jokes to my Seattle crew before the game about how Evil Dunavin had shown up for the first quarter against the Falcons, and lo — he returned for the opening frame against the Nerdbirds! I guess Dunavin must not like seafood, because he looked just plain miserable on the Jumbotron all day. Mercifully he came around after the awkward start and made a couple sweet plays dodging traffic in the pocket. Those definitely looked cool in person.

Poor L.J. Smith. Andy Reid did a nice job standing up for L.J. today (by essentially claiming that Brent Celek’s big day was possible because he doesn’t command the sort of attention that L.J. does), and for this we admire Big Red. Thankfully, this sort of game didn’t happen at home. Also, the conspiracy theorists on the team (Lito, we’re looking at you), would likely point to Celek’s big day as some sort of contract-fueled scheme to highlight the backup guy at the expense of the potentially pricey vet. I don’t think so, though. Celek was great all day — I especially liked that tight-end screen they ran in the fourth quarter. Very classy.

David Akers lives! Good for increasingly beleaguered David Akers — it isn’t kicking at Qwest, and he was rock solid. You keep your job another week!

The heavens smiled on Seattle. I don’t know how or why it happened, but we got extremely lucky with the weather for the game. It was flat-out pouring just 30 minutes before kickoff, and we were sitting in an uncovered part of the stadium. That could have been horrible. Luckily the heavens cleared and — gasp! — it was even sunny for parts of the afternoon. Remarkable!

Things my homer brain was probably imagining. Did it seem like the Seahawks DBs were getting away with a lot of contact in the first half? Or are Kevin Curtis and the CamelCased One just on the small side? (We’ll also accept “a little from column A and a little from column B” here.) Also, The Seahawks PA guy kept exaggerating the Seahawks’ success on a play-to-play basis; he just seemed to be rounding up rather aggressively. Luckily, the refs are still in charge of awarding first downs.

More shaky stuff from Dawk. Because of our collective fondness for Brian Dawkins, let’s try to forget how he whiffed on the Koren Robinson TD and focus instead on the big hit he delivered on the sideline to force an incompletion later in the first quarter. Moving on….

Things that deserve their own post. I’m starting to have dark, lonely thoughts about the Eagles’ offensive line. They just don’t seem to be capable of lining up and pushing the other guys around. And they’ve got a BIG test coming up.

And, finally, a word for our hosts. Dude, I feel ya, Seattle. These are some dark times (literally and figuratively) for sports fans in the Northwest. The Sonics are gone, the Mariners were the worst team in baseball, the Huskies just lost 56-0, and the Seahawks are having a down year. Not a ton of goodness there. I’ve already heard some of the Philly press giving you grief about leaving early, but I can’t say I blame you. Your team didn’t have it yesterday, and it’s not like better days are coming soon.

For the most part (the exception being the drunk jackass in the row in front of us), the Seahawk fans were a chill bunch — folks in our row even leant us a towel to wipe down our seats. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t take any abuse, but it sure subsided after the first quarter. Thank you kindly for hosting us in your stadium and proving that we can all watch sports together without getting too upset about things.

Blown call denies Eagles opportunity to crush fans’ souls in win over Falcons
Posted on October 26th, 2008 at 5:21 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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Bank error in our favor this afternoon, as a pretty hideous call on a seemingly muffed punt snuffed out any chance for a final Falcons comeback attempt. Certainly we can’t assume that the Falcons would have driven those 60 yards for the go-ahead score, especially with a rookie quarterback and no timeouts, but, well, as Eagles fans, we’re given to a certain glass-half-full worldview at the end of games. So it was lovely of the referees to hook us up on that.

Other thoughts and takeaways from the Eagles’ glorious victory this afternoon.

The Best Player On The Team. Welcome back, Brian Westbrook! That Eagles offense sure looks a lot more confident when the best player on the team is on the field. Westbrook looked limber and quick and didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of his recent rib injury. A buck-sixty-seven will do very well, thank you very much.

The long-awaited quarterback sneak. After weeks of braying from the blathertariat (yours truly included), we finally saw a Donovan McNabb quarterback keeper at the goal line. Which then touched off a Donovan McNabb touchdown celebration/ silly dance, which, quite frankly, we hadn’t seen in a while. The good folks at PE.com were kind enough to post the following ridiculous photos. We start with some Thriller…

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…followed by dog-at-the-hydrant…

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…and finished with a groin-loosening flourish.

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David Akers quiets the haters. It wasn’t the most challenging afternoon for David Akers, but whatever. He made all of his tries, and spared us all the awkwardness of discussing his job security for at least another week.

“Best of the Eagles Playbook” on display this afternoon. As if the split-back set on the goal line leading to a shovel pass wasn’t enough, the Eagles managed to call the fake-dive-and-pitch-outside to Westbrook on third-and-short late in the fourth quarter. That particular call was especially galling, since the result was exactly what our table at the bar expected. That is, prior to the play we specifically discussed how the Eagles would call this exact play as well as the precise manner in which it would fail. We mention this not to beat our chests, but as a stern warning: if idiot fans can call the play, I’m assuming that opposing defensive coordinators can as well.

The redemption of Lito! Good for that number-twenty-six fellow…what’s his name again? The backup cornerback who took that bad PI call but then made the big pick in the end zone? If he keeps trying super hard in practice, maybe he’ll play a little bit more!

Speaking of DBs. We loved the pick from Samuel, but the first Roddy White TD seemed to be as much Asante’s fault as anyone’s — especially since it looked like he was trying to jump the route and go for another interception. Oops. Don’t know if they discussed that on the telecast — we didn’t have audio at the bar.

Another rough day for the officials. In addition to the horrific blown call on the muffed punt, there were a couple other head-scratchers from the zebras, most notably the personal foul on Trent Cole for what was a perfectly textbook hit on Matt Ryan. There was no helmet-to-helmet contact, he hit him as he was throwing…I didn’t really get it.

The CamelCased One shows his age (yet again). So we can understand how DeSean Jackson has convinced himself that he’s still in college and that he can just run faster than everyone else, even if it means running backwards on punt returns. It worked against the Skins, why not try it again? Ugh. Forward, DeSean. Forward. Though it’s worth noting that we’re still excited enough about Jackson that we’re willing to write off yet another brain fart as a “harmless part of his maturation.” Enjoy it whilst it lasts, young fella!

Can Philly go 4-0 for the weekend (the Flyboys won yesterday as well)? We sure hope so. Go Phightins.

Kevin and DeSean, huh?
Posted on October 22nd, 2008 at 4:49 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Just watched Andy Reid’s presser. It contained actual information!

Most interesting/ compelling thing he said: “…it’d be Kevin and DeSean” in re: who will be starting at wideout. Sorry, Reggie Brown!

Least interesting/ compelling thing he said: “I feel like I have an All-Pro tight end” in re: a question about L.J. Smith. That’s probably why you guys went after Tony Gonzalez! So you could have two All-Pro tight ends!

Noted puppy-killer and kitten-mauler L.J. Smith responds to imagined criticism
Posted on October 3rd, 2008 at 4:32 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Must have been a slow news day at the NovaCare center yesterday (which it kind of was; I watched the coordinator pressers and they weren’t terribly interesting or lengthy), because there were about three different versions of “L.J. Smith responds to critics” in the local papers today.  Not that the L.J. Smith angle isn’t interesting, but jeez, there are certainly bigger fish for breadings and frying, no? 

Implicit in the content of the articles is the suggestion that L.J. Smith has somehow drawn the ire of the fanbase, which I sort of get, but not really.  I mean, sure, some folks in the philly.com comments and the Birds’ message boards are down on L.J., but I’ve never really felt the anti-L.J. rage.  Strike that – I’ve been pretty chill with him ever since he stopped holding the ball with one hand like a loaf of bread; that totally used to cheese me off. 

Could it just be that the normal targets of rage are out of focus these days?  I mean, they finally benched Considine, McNabb is playing well, and DeSean Jackson has made us forget that we hate the wideouts.  Hating on the kicker is too obviously fickle.  Is L.J. just the last guy standing? 

Personally, I could use slightly more anti-Lorenzo Booker vitriol from the fanbase.  That guy almost got Dunavin killed against Pittsburgh and looked mostly useless against the Bears. 

Let me know if I’m missing anyone on the list above; specifically, whom should I be hating on more?        

Trips to Arizona are for backups, the infirm, and informercial product placement
Posted on July 16th, 2008 at 3:00 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

the ab dollyAnd so with the annual visit to (and attendant reports from) Donovan McNabb’s pre-training-camp bonding throwdown at his place out in Arizona, as reported by Dunavin his own self via his blog.  Good to know that everyone’s spending some QT together and doing lots of crunches. 

Oh wait, not quite everyone.  Certainly not either of the starting wideouts or the Best Player On The Team.  I’ll speculate to say that the guys who are most interested in staying in 5’s good graces were the ones hopping that US Air (nee America West) flight to Phoenix.  As in, L.J. Smith, Avant, Baskett and Booker.  Certainly L.J. is going to need Dunavin on his side if he wants to have the big year required for him to Get Paid.  And the other guys are jockeying for spots on the depth chart. 

We don’t want to call it sucking up, but we would say that it’s certainly in one’s best interest to have the trust of the quarterback, and if earning that trust includes a four-hour flight and some obsequiousness in re: his cooking, so be it. (Read the rest of this story.)



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