What Would Buddy Do?
This train is leaving the station
Posted on October 5th, 2008 at 9:16 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Actually, we’re driving, so the gameday postings will be a bit light, BUT, let me quickly say the following:

1.  This will be a nervous afternoon by any definition.  The Redskins don’t seem capable of playing games that aren’t decided in the fourth quarter, and I imagine that’s how this one will go.  That plus the Phils game should have the folks in the stadium on maximum anxiety levels for most of the aftenoon.

2.  I’ve got a good Reggie Brown vibe for today.  Can’t tell you why (other than the part where he’s made big plays against the Skins in the past).  It’d also be nice to see the secondary end that whole “Jason Campbell hasn’t thrown a pick” thing.   And I wouldn’t be shocked to see David Akers need to make a big field goal today (like in the fourth quarter when it matters).

3.  Letdown versus High Pressure in re: the respective psychoanalytics today.  We’ve got the Skins pegged for a letdown after a big win against Dallas, right?  And we have the Eagles feeling a ton of pressure in the face of 2-3 and another division loss.  Usually the more desperate teams get the win in these scenarios (”Parcells’ Axiom of Sportscliche #43″).

4.  In case I didn’t mention this four time already, I couldn’t be more psyched to actually be attending the game today.

5. I like the Eagles to win, call it Eagles 23, Redskins 16.

And here I thought we might make it to October without a craptastic loss
Posted on September 29th, 2008 at 12:17 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

about to break off the pattern

On a weekend that the Phils clinched their second straight NL East championship, we didn’t really think that we’d be twice blessed with an Eagles victory on the road, did we? Without Brian Westbrook?

Despite the text messges I received upon landing in the Pacific Northwest last night (”Don’t even bother watching the game”), I plowed through the tape of the game, and the Birds weren’t terrible. The defense, in fact, was excellent in the second half. McNabb was fine — not great, but certainly on his game. But you pile up a couple injuries and stumble on a couple important plays and voila! You lose to the Bears!

(I hate to admit it, but I was a little Nancy Negative ahead of this game, and it looks like my anxieties weren’t completely unfounded.  SIGH.)

The thing is, most NFL games are close, and you have to expect to lose a couple close games each year. Last year’s team probably lost about 1.5 more close games than the league average (Packers, Bears, Seahawks and second Giants game come to mind); previous years’ teams lost fewer of the close ones. We’d like to believe that the Eagles are so formidable that they won’t even be in very many close games, but that’s just not true. They blew a close one last night; let’s hope that the next couple break their way.

My observations upon viewing last night/ this morning on my PC screen via Slingbox:

The Birds need some sort of Team-minus-36 plan.  This will be the most obvious and pedestrian thing I write all week, but man, it sure does look different without the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook out there.  Andy Reid needs to start working on the binder of plays for when they don’t have the best back in football on the field.  Cause it doesn’t seem like he tends to have very many good ideas.  Also, they miss Westbrook in a ton of ways – not just running the ball and scaring people with his placement in the formation, but the blitz pickups and blocking as well.  Buck whiffed a bit last night on those.  We won’t talk about Booker, other than to say….

…Booker isn’t there yet.  Seems like a decent situational/ once-in-a-while substitute, but this guy is not serviceable as a first-down back in the NFL.  And suddenly we’re a bit thin at that position.  The portions of the second half when Buck was out were horrfying.  Horrifying. 

We’ve found the weakest link.  Another solid game from the young linebackers.  Gocong even got into it a bit more this week (good for him on the sack), though I think Gocong might be sticking out on film as the “one you can beat if you want to” — that first touchdown was on him, and looked pretty similar to the Marion Barber TD catch from two weeks ago. 

Question I’d like someone to answer.  I’m wagering against the Eagles in prime time games until further notice.  I’m desperate to be disproven on this, but they’ve just been awful in night games for too long now.  Is there some sort of Kerry Collins-on-the-sauce-with-the-Giants thing at play here?  (My theory on Kerry Collins on Sunday night games with the Giants was that since it was a night game he’d clear himself to have a few extra drinks on Saturday — since the game wasn’t until later and he wouldn’t have to get up early — and this would inevitably snowball and leave him in terrible shape for the whole day Sunday.  Yeah, you’ll see me in hell for that one.)

And suddenly DeSean Jackson is our best offensive player?  I mean, that was it, right?  No B-West and suddenly Jackson is the number-one option?  Is that really the deal at this point?  Nice to see Reggie Brown catch some balls last night, though.  He looks like he’s getting back up to speed, and he’s had some great games against the Skins in the past – they’ll need that Sunday.

Marvels on the defensive line.  Someone who actually knows something about football needs to explain to me how a little dude (all characterizations relative, of course) like Dan Klecko keeps getting to the quarterback (and why Broderick Bunkley can’t).  I could not have been more wrong about Dan Klecko all summer.  And he keeps making plays.  Remarkable.  Also, at what point can we admit that Juqua Parker is playing really well and isn’t some sort of undersized liability? 

I agree with Les.  Should have used Dunavin down on the goal line.  He’s the most gifted guy on the field.  Let him win it for you.

Don’t discount the other injuries.  The running game missed Westbrook, obviously, but it also missed The Big Kid and L.J. Smith (editor’s note: we’re about 3 mm away from affixing “much maligned” to the front of L.J.’s name in the Word Press templates).  Probably wouldn’t have hated having those guys out there for the goal-line offense.  Ultimately, the offense probably looked crappy because it was missing four ostensible starters — and that was before Buck got dinged up.

Yeah, this one sooked.  The B-West injury watch vigil will continue all week ahead of a tough division game against a confident Redskins team.  Yikes!  On the upside, I bought myself some tickets to that one and will get to see it firsthand.  

Onwards.               

Reggie Brown is soooo 2006
Posted on September 20th, 2008 at 1:58 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

mcnabbbrown.jpg

Good news for the Birds: it looks like Reggie Brown has been cleared to play tomorrow against the Steelers.

At least you’d think it was good news — Reggie Brown was a presumptive starter for the erstwhile wideout-challenged Birds, and surely he must be an upgrade over the backups who’ve been out there the past couple weeks?  But the buzz in more than a couple places is that Brown’s return really isn’t such a big deal at all. In fact, given that DeSean Jackson has been lining up at Brown’s “X” receiver position (Editor’s Note: I don’t really know what that means), some have wondered if there will really be a role for Reggie Brown.

While I’ve had my issues with Reggie Brown in the past, the guy has actually made some plays in the past.  And whilst I obviously eat up any and all rumors regarding his “rocky relationship” with Donovan McNabb, Reggie Brown is definitely a better NFL player than Greg Lewis, Hank Baskett and Jason Avant.  The issue is young master Jackson, who’s, um, apparently pretty good, and certainly a lot more exciting than Brown.  It’s tough not to be distracted by Jackson; he’s a much brighter/ shinier object than boring old Reggie Brown.

All that said, Brown getting back on the field is good news.  The passing game has been delightfully vertical so far, and adding one more solid wideout can only increase the offense’s upside.

Reggie Brown needs to quit the sissy-talk and embrace the natives
Posted on April 21st, 2008 at 12:05 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

regbrown1.jpg
So I’m thinking that the Reggie Brown too-cool-for-school act is getting a little old. For those of us who pay attention to these things (where “these things” = “making character assessments of people we’ve never met”), the Reggie Brown smirk — manifest in his look-away-from-the-camera-and-laugh-everything-off style in interviews — has always worried me a bit. I had always hoped it was just quiet, cool confidence, and that this guy was cocky because he was such a ridiculous baller. But now that it’s clear that he’s a competent, but not ridiculous, baller, it might just be that he’s kind of a jerk.

Or, even worse, it might be that he’s actually scared and insecure.

This quote from last week doesn’t sit well with me:

Still, when asked about the excitement that comes with the opener being at home, Eagles wide receiver Reggie Brown admitted he wouldn’t mind working out some of the kinks on the road before giving the fans their first taste of the team.

“I don’t know,” Brown said jokingly. “Maybe it’s good to play away for the first game, but it will be exciting. At least we don’t have to travel. The crowd gets to come and watch the game, so it will be fun.”

Right, so the non-haters will try to tell me that he was only kidding (hence the “jokingly” from the author), but, um, we don’t kid unless there’s a kernel of truth there, right? (Read the rest of this story.)



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