What Would Buddy Do?
Tuesday Eagles Hangover: Well, that was mellow
Posted on December 16th, 2008 at 11:30 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

SEXYTIME

The first sign that this was going to be a low-stress affair in South Philly was the complete absence of traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel at 5:45 on a weekday.  We actually thought something was wrong (a bomb?  the tunnel was closed?).  Nope.  Nothing wrong, and nothing but a smooth ride all the way down the turnpike.  Said smooth ride continued in the stadium, as the Birds cruised in a game that was completely lacking in any sort of anxiety and/ or drama.  About the most stressful moment of the whole affair was the part where we walked up the wrong stairs to get to our seats and had to watch the Curtis TD from behind a Miller Lite cart.

Other talking points and observations:

Dunavin was sharp sharp sharp.  It didn’t hurt that the Browns didn’t really manage to pressure him all that well, but he seemed to really enjoy playing against the Browns’ zone.  That was definitely a you-only-get-to-see-this-in-the-stadium sort of thing, but McNabb and the Eagles receivers were extremely methodical about gaining 10-15 yards in front of the Browns’ safeties and deep cover guys.  Of course, McNabb was also pretty sharp against the man defense that he saw (the extremely tight ball to Avant on the intermediate crossing route comes to mind).  Yeah, pretty solid stuff from the QB.

Slightly less solid stuff from Dorsey.  God bless that Ken Dorsey, but this looked really hard for him.  What balls he did complete were essentially bailouts from a very talented (and sure-handed, at least tonight) Braylon Edwards.  Both picks were pretty bad (balls thrown directly to Eagles), and Hanson should have had a third (which was slightly less bad).  We shouldn’t make fun, because this sort of thing can/ has happened to the Birds as well.  Somewhere, Mike McMahon was reliving 42-0 at home on Monday night in 2005.

Why were people booing Stallworth?  Lots of boos for Donte Stallworth.  What did Stallworth do to offend us?  I didn’t get that.  Hank Fraley was at least the guy who snitched on Dunavin puking in the Super Bowl (until the video tape also snitched on Dunavin puking in the Super Bowl).  As I remember it, Stallworth was a solid part of the 2006 team, which I believe we should all remember fondly.  Then the Eagles said thanks-but-no-thanks and he signed with another team.  Um, that’s chill.  I don’t get it.

Shaking head, staring at ground.  Big double-you-tee-eff in re: Asante Samuel “pulling a D-Jack.”  Who do you think has the least patience for that sort of thing in the Eagles’ locker room (after Andy Reid)?  I have to assume it’s Runyan, right?  As in, he goes over and picks up Samuel by the scruff of his neck and reminds him to “Never f*cking do that again”?  The only cool part of that play was that my buddy got a GREAT photo of it in realtime — we’ll post it as soon as he sends them out.  Very very solid work, and the folks sitting near us appreciated our own instant replay.

Speaking of DJack.  I know it worked in the Redskins game, and we all appreciate his boyish confidence out there.  But dude, enough with the “It’s just like college and I’m fast enough to loop around the back side of the punt coverage” sh*t.  Forward, young fella.  Forward.

Just in case you thought the Eagles were perfect and weren’t the same team from a month ago.  Can I roofie myself for the last two minutes of the first half of Eagles games from now on?  Is anyone keeping stats on this?  The Birds’ penchant for sniffing out and then embracing the most unlikely of calamities as the first half ends is uncanny.  And when you layer on the comical clock management and general level of disorganization, well, it’s just not very impressive.  The was covered thoroughly (and appropriately) in this morning’s papers.  A f*cking illegal formation penalty coming from a timeout?  Dude.

Speaking of the timeout.  The stadium announcer actually preemptively called timeout over the PA before Andy Reid got it in (and the Birds lost a few seconds as a result).  This prompted a discussion of having the “clock coach” just sit next to the PA guy and call Andy’s timeouts for him.  Just completely take it out of Reid’s hands and have the voice of God boom out the timeouts over the loudspeaker.  That way Andy can be pleasantly surprised by the appropriate use of the timeouts.

Three cheers.  To Jason Avant, for catching pretty much everything thrown his way, including some high-degree-of-difficulty snags.  To Trent Cole, for another dominant game on the left side of the line (I say this expecting him to get snubbed for the Pro Bowl).  And to B-Dawk, for breaking the team record for games played.  That’s just extremely classy.

Appropriate booing.  I mean, sure, it’s a small sample size, but, um, does Kevin Kolb look like the guy?  Maybe Dunavin has paid him off to throw picks in mop-up duty?  Dunavin’s owed like $9 million next season — you think it isn’t worth $20K to him to get Kolb to look terrible out there?  Or is Kolb just not very good?  One of those.   I’ve got a lengthy follow-up post coming on this topic.

The Birds defense (and the NFC East) warms my heart.  I really like what we’ve got going on in the NFC East right now in re: teams playing some nasty defense.  All four teams in the top 13 on Football Outsiders coming into this week, with Dallas the lowest-ranked team (the Cowboys D looked completely scary against the Giants last week).  Very old skool, very classy.

Go Birds.

So it’s pretty much last year’s team, but with a better punt returner
Posted on October 5th, 2008 at 10:06 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Eagles - Redskins at the Linc, 2008

Oooooooooooooh man, this one sucked.  Sucked.  SUCKED.  (And now, the coup de grace, caps AND bold): SUCKED.

I guess I had gotten suckered into thinking that the 2008 Eagles were not blood relations of the 2007 Eagles, and that somehow all those “mistake-ridden” and “unlucky” losses from last year were all just accidents and aberrations.  Not this year, I thought.  This year they’re going to be a bit better organized and focused, and we’ll actually win some close games.  The Pittsburgh game definitely sold me a bit.

But after two weeks in a row that looked a lot like the team from last year — I mean, I guess we’ll need to make our peace with that.  So they’ll be in most games, but don’t expect too many dominant performances, and they’re likely to clumsily bungle a few along the way.

Anyway, one might imagine that this wasn’t the most exciting game to attend. The beginning was excellent, and then it was about two-and-a-half hours of “frustrating dull.”

What I saw:

DeSean Jackson should get the ball more.  After seeing him run in the context of the whole field, I’m actually thinking that Jackson might be a little underhyped?  Is that possible?  He’s a legitimate offensive threat out there.  The I’m-still-in-college-and-faster-than-everyone thing on the punt return was spectacular; the guys in pursuit completely misjudged their ability to catch up to him.  I dunno.  This guy has a chance to to make a lot of plays for the Eagles.  No reason he shouldn’t touch it more.

Why the Eagles lost.  I mean, whatever else might be said, the Eagles sure looked like they got pushed aroundat the line of scrimmage.  Their offensive line definitely exerted their will on our guys, and while their defensive line wasn’t really dominant, they still prevented the Eagles from running at all.  It was a little humiliating to watch: kind of slow and steady and maddening to the point where you begin to doubt your own sanity.  Like listening to someone defend Sarah Palin and telling you that no, YOU’RE the one who’s out of touch!  (”BountyBowl: Now With Sarah Palin Jokes!”)

To whom the assembled peoples assigned blame.  Pretty straightforward here — lots of “I hate you you [insert profanity-laden description of obesity] [object of derision]” for Andy Reid.  I guess it can’t always be McNabb’s fault, and it’s tough to get specifically angry at the defensive line.  The peoples were definitely restless about Reid.

The Redskins played really well.  Didn’t turn it over, played very simple football and beat the Eagles up at the line of scrimmage.  Yeah, you can win with that in the NFL.  All credit to them — they aren’t flashily talented, but they looked very well-coached and they kept their heads on, even when they went down early.  Campbell was very solid.  And Portis was a beast.  I dunno.   If there’s a slouch in the NFC East, it’s definitely the Birds.

And some randoms. oh, the indignity of James Thrash drawing a penalty on Asante Samuel!  David Akers has got to be bummed about missing three kicks over the past two weeks.  Reggie Brown had a decent game, but also contributed to the drops, and the drops were not so impressive.  The Red Zone offense doesn’t look “fixed.”  Juqua Parker was solid again.

Let’s Go Phillies.  Definitely plenty of gear at the stadium (the default tasteful demonstration of extended loyalties seemed to be the Eagles jersey with Phils hat), sure, but I was amazed by an actual “Let’s Go Phillies” cheer early in the game.  Definitely a lot of love at the Linc for the Phils.  They didn’t go overboard with the score updates, but each one was enthusiastically welcomed.

So yeah, kind of a crap day, save for the part where the Phillies made the NLCS, and also the part where I got to eat this totally sweet sandwich.  (But mostly it was beat.)

Eagles-Redskins at the Linc 025

McNabb ovation legit, not quite Willis Reed
Posted on September 24th, 2008 at 10:51 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie

After reading a couple accounts from the press box of the ovation that Donovan McNabb received when he emerged from the tunnel in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, I decided to do a little “reporting” of my own (They still call it that?  Reporting?  When you ask someone what they saw?).  The always reliable Les Bowen was pretty even-keeled in his description of it,

The cheering started in the part of the Linc closest to I-95, right above the locker room passageway from which the quarterback emerged. It quickly spread through the stadium.

It wasn’t a foot-stomping, seat-pounding standing ovation, but it was loud. And heartfelt.   

Still, I felt like I needed to go straight to the source.  Since I didn’t get to attend Sunday’s game (sniff sniff), I had to go on the word of a buddy.  And he pretty much confirmed what Les told us: the peoples were psyched for Dunavin!  I quote:

I’d call it pretty hearty. They definitely noticed. 6.5 on a 10 scale, 10 being 4 and 26.  Sent from my iPhone.

Not bad for the third quarter of Week 3!  And don’t think that sort of thing doesn’t warm Dunavin’s little feelings — it should and I’m sure it does.  See, not everyone out there hates you and wants you to leave.  The vast majority of us get the part where you’re the best quarterback to play for this team that we’ll likely ever see. 

Let’s all have a hug.

Good guys score many touchdowns, hurt bad guys’ feelings in awkwardly outfitted return to form
Posted on September 24th, 2007 at 3:07 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

the view from SRO

Well that all worked out quite well!

In a game and atmosphere at the Linc that could have been absolutely toxic (and there was apparently a smattering of boos for McNabb during the introductions, but we were still walking into the stadium at that point and didn’t hear them), the Eagles got weird on the Lions and convinced every last one of us that thinks we know what’s going to happen in these games THAT WE HAVE NO IDEA AT ALL. NONE. I thought the spread was absurd when I saw it (I thought the Birds would struggle to win this game). I obviously have NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

I don’t want to take all the credit for the win, but this was my first trip to the Linc since January 2005. So it was either me or the hideous uniforms (and yes, I thought they were hideous, though they didn’t look terrible on the fans…the yellow and blue goes better with jeans than it did with those white pants) that powered the Eagles to victory yesterday. Or Donovan McNabb’s overwhelming desire for revenge against his many naysayers. One of those.

(Read the rest of this story.)