Archive for the ‘NFL’ category

Enough with the Wildcat!

October 27, 2009

scottish-wildcatOK, so I know that the Wildcat didn’t really factor all that much into last night’s Eagles vs. Redskins game, but there really isn’t much to say about the game except “boy can DeSean Jackson run,” and that the Eagles offense might as well have taken a nap during the second half, oh, and good job defense—sort of. So, instead I find myself fixated on the Wildcat. I don’t want to see it at all—EVER. Enough is enough. Feel free to argue with me here, in fact we would appreciate some comments as long as they are clean, written in proper English, have nothing to do with selling us stocks or sporting equipment, and have something intelligent to say, but I’m sticking by the fact, or err, rather to the opinion that the Wildcat formation is perhaps the most irritating offensive play in the history of football. It was maybe fun and a little exciting the first few times it was run, and it was certainly useful in the now famous Dolphins/Patriots game, but that was because the defense had never seen it before. It was something “new.”But that shiny new toy sheen has faded, and it’s time to throw it under the bed and forget all about it.

Two things about the Wildcat: The Eagles are not exceptionally good at executing it, it shows a lack of confidence in the quarterback, and it most likely means that Michael Vick has come into the game—thereby negating the element of surprise! I realize that was three things. I also realize that if you are one of our handful of dedicated readers, you read my post about giving Michael Vick a second chance.

My position hasn’t changed. We need to give him a chance, but not on critical second downs when the offense hasn’t scored a point since the middle of the 2nd quarter. This isn’t a high school football game where the back-up QB has warmed the bench all season and it’s only fair for him to go in once in a while. If we were doing that, maybe it would be smart to toss in Kolb since he is the Eagles’ “future.” This, though is not high school. This is the NFL, and it’s time for Andy Reid to put away the distractions—both a player who so far has proven that he is still only a marquee name, and an offensive play that even Donovan himself has said to be a distraction.

Next week when the Giants come to town (yay, two games in a row for me!), it’s doubtful (though it would be nice)  that we will have a 17 point lead going into the half, so no more Wildcat, please, and let’s hope that the offense gets some shut-eye off the field this time.

Editor’s Note: PhilaDude has instituted a new strict posting schedule (apparently I wasn’t pulling my weight as Co-Executive Editor and Artistic Director), so expect to be hearing a lot more from me and the PharAwayPhan in the upcoming weeks. Thank you, thank you. No applause necessary.

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Jeremiah Trotter with the Eagles – Again

October 2, 2009

We all know Jeremiah Trotter went to work-out for the Eagles.  Now he is signed and an official member of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Jeff Garcia – not needed any longer – was released to make space.

Trotter brings a big body and strong linebacker against the run.  He definitely provides more power and strength to Joe Mays and Omar Gaither.  We also know that Trotter is quite capable of playing a downhill Philadelphia style defense.  The big unknown is – can Jeremiah still play?

I think Trotter can still play.  A few years back, the Eagles brought in an aging Levon Kirkland to play the middle.  He was serviceable.  Comparable to Trotter, Jeremiah has Kirkland beaten in everyway.  Assuming that Trotter’s knees are healthy, which I think they are or the Eagles wouldn’t have signed him, Trotter will be a strong presence in the middle of the defense.  Of course, Trotter will also be a force in the locker room.  

I guess the only question remaining is – what number is he going to wear?  Will he have to wash Tracy White’s car, similarly to washing Nate Wayne’s car when he came back to the Eagles nest?  We’ll find out.

Trotter in for a Workout?

September 25, 2009
Jeremiah Trotter, last seen in an Eagles Uniform in 2006

Jeremiah Trotter, last seen in an Eagles Uniform in 2006

I was shocked to see the late afternoon blog headlines on philly.com yesterday proclaiming that Jeremiah Trotter worked out for Coach Andy Reid.  Really?  Jeremiah Trotter was cut during training camp two seasons ago.  He went on to play for Tampa Bay in a reserve roll and then was entirely out of football last season.  I don’t get it.

However, we all know that Eagles are having problems at the middle linebacker spot since Stewart Bradley went down with an injury.  Trotter manned the position successfully over two stints for the Eagles.  With Trotter’s knee issues – the reason he has been out of football – I don’t think he could come back in and contribute at a top level.  Trotter claims he had been working out with a trainer and with some of his former teammates, while continuing his current gig as a sports personality at 610 WIP.  Also, he has been in contact with Coach Reid since Bradley went down with an injury, so from Trotter’s perspective, the workout wasn’t entirely out of the blue.

Here is the PhilaTude take:

Coach Reid brought Trotter in for a workout to almost “threaten” Joe Mays and Omar Gaither to get their acts together.  I don’t think there is any intent to sign Trotter.  Also, Coach Reid brought in Trotter for the workout to appease, what I think is repeated requests, Trotter’s insistence to Coach Reid that he can still play football.  This workout turned out to be a motivator for the current linebackers and a wake-up call to Trotter that his on the field football career is probably over.

An Eagles Conspiracy Theory

September 25, 2009
Kevin Kolb on his way out?

Kevin Kolb on his way out?

After the Eagles defense dominated Carolina in week 1, one would expect a decent performance against a much better team, the New Orleans Saints.  Wrong.  The defense and special teams came out flat.  Their game plans were awful.  The offense looked decent as can be with a high school quarterback, Kevin Kolb.  Kolb didn’t play badly, but didn’t help the Eagles cause for scoring points.  I have some thoughts, but try out this conspiracy theory:  The Eagles coaches didn’t game plan appropriately for the Saints in an effort to prevent Kolb from having a solid game to validate their future decision to dump Kolb if Michael Vick performs.  Yep, I said it.  The Eagles don’t want to see Kevin Kolb do well – not for McNabb’s sake, but to save face when it comes to making roster decisions.  I think they already lost of the battle when it comes to the 2nd round draft choice.

Here’s some proof:

The Eagles rarely blitzed.  Ok, Drew Brees can read the blitz and get rid of the football.  However, if you blitzed even half as much as you did at Carolina, there would have been at least a few plays Brees threw the ball away or even would be sacked, especially on 3rd and long plays.  Also, the Eagles played a safety up in the box to prevent the run, when we all know the Saints’ passing attack is virally potent.  Why wasn’t the safety playing over top?  Ok, maybe the Eagles were trying to hide their linebacking deficiencies with a safety, but still.  Finally, the special teams decision makings and schemes were not designed for optimal efficiency.  In fact, if I am the special teams coach, I would remind players before the play to remember when to field and not field punts. 

Yes, these are all blunders that the Eagles coaching staff made last weekend against the Saints.  The reason I think they could have been intentional is because these same examples were executed flawlessly in week 1.  I don’t think a team regresses that much from week to week.  I don’t think the Eagles coaches planned to lose the game, just make it bad enough to prevent Kolb from performing well.  It back fired, because Kolb played decent and the rest of the Eagles units were terrible.

We’ll see how the Eagles respond this week, knowing they need a big win heading into the bye.

Eagles Flurry of Roster Moves

September 17, 2009
Jeff Garcia playing for the Eagles in 2006.  He'll wear #9 in 2009.  (Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press)

Jeff Garcia playing for the Eagles in 2006. He'll wear #9 in 2009. (Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press)

Usually, the end of pre-season is the most hectic in terms of roster moves.  Well, after an impressive week 1 win and an injury to Donovan McNabb, the Eagles made some significant roster moves to solidify their team heading into week 2 against the Saints.  First, the Eagles announced the signing of Jeff Garcia.  Second to make room for Garcia, the Eagles placed Shawn Andrews on IR (as discussed in an earlier post).  Third, the Eagles activated Michael Vick so he can practice.  Finally, to make room on the active roster for Vick, the Eagles cut Hank Baskett.

Jeff Garcia will provide the Eagles some insurance at the quarterback position this weekend.  Kevin Kolb in unproven and quite frankly, looks terrible in game situations – pre-season and regular season.  Kolb will be given all the first team repetitions this week in practice and will have every chance to lead the Eagles offense.  However, I think he may have a short leash as the Eagles should be able to put up points against a weak New Orleans Saints defense.  Detroit scored 27 points against the Saints last week.  If Kolb doesn’t perform well, I expect the Eagles to replace him with Garcia in this game and then the following week’s starter will be up in the air.  There is some precedent here.  Koy Detmer played amazing in his one start after McNabb was hurt.  Unfortunately, he shredded his elbow in that game.  A.J. Feeley, now with Carolina, has made many starts to help the Eagles team and won a few games.  Also, Jeff Garcia led the Eagles to a 5-1 record after McNabb tore his ACL.  However, Mike McMahon started a few games and was just awful.  We’ll see how Kolb does, but I have very low expectations.

With Michael Vick practicing, my assumption is that Coach Reid wants to have Vick on the field for the week 3 game against the Chiefs.  Depending on McNabb’s health and the play of Kevin Kolb, will really dictate how much Vick will play.  I am hoping for a healthy McNabb – none of the other QB’s on the roster really excites me.  

Hank Baskett was caught up in the numbers game and contract situations of the wide receivers on the team.  I was hoping the team would trade Baskett, but no trade partner became apparent – most likely due to the money Baskett would be owed.  So, the Eagles released him.  He passed through waivers, as no one wanted to pick up his salary, and was subsequently signed as a free agent with Indianapolis Colts.  Basket is a good blocker and decent special teams player, but hasn’t seen much action as a receiver, nor on special teams with this year’s version of the Eagles.  While we like Baskett as a football player, he wasn’t anything special and his contributions to the team will be picked up by other players.  I guess the question is – what are the Eagles going to do with Reggie Brown?  I think they will keep him.  He is good insurance in case the Eagles suffer an injury to the receiver position.  Besides, his contract is slightly prohibitive, so it makes sense.  I think he can still play.

Even with all of these moves, I expect a few more, especially along the offensive line.  Andrews is on the IR and Todd Herremans is still having foot issues – he might not be back until the end of October.  Nick Cole and Winston Justice are filling in admirably, however, the depth is extremely questionable.

Shawn Andrews to the IR

September 15, 2009

In the most bizarre set of circumstances, Shawn Andrews was place on the injured reserve list ending his season with the Eagles.  Last season, we all knew about Andrews’ depression and back injury.  He missed all but two games.  This year, he apparently spent the off-season healing and getting in shape.  He doesn’t practice at training camp because he hurt his back doing wind sprints.  He practices with the team for a few days and then abruptly his back flared up and he was ruled out the of the season opener.  Just like that, he was placed on IR and his season is done.  The Eagles needed the roster spot for the addition of Jeff Garcia.

At this point, it is unclear if this is injury related or non-football related.  Could Andrews be suffering from depression that is impeding his recovery from the back injury or is the back injury that severe that he needs another year to have it heal?  Whatever the situation, Andrews is done for the year and Winston Justice will play for time-being in his place.  

Justice played well against the Panthers, but had a lot of tight end help.  Also, the Eagles dominated, so he wasn’t able to really show how far he has come as a NFL player.  The Eagles did run the ball to his side and he proved capable in run blocking.  My concern will be when it is time to throw the ball or play from behind if Justice can handle an end one on one.  Regardless, Justice is in and Andrews is done.  I guess the question is – will the Eagles bring in another tackle?  Jon Runyan is still available.

Eagles Big Win at Carolina Comes at a Cost

September 15, 2009
Donovan McNabb writhes in pain after scoring a TD (AP Photo/Rick Havner)

Donovan McNabb writhes in pain after scoring a TD (AP Photo/Rick Havner)

By now, we all know that the Eagles won the season opener on the road against Carolina with a punishing defense and a capitalizing offense. The Eagles defense came to play and really put on a show related to the way they pressure the quarterback. Don’t forget that the Panthers won 12 games last year and were expected to be a top team in their division.

Of course, with every win comes some significant questions. The rib injury to Donovan McNabb is troublesome, disappointing and upsetting. Here at PhilaTude we are huge McNabb fans. We think that the Eagles best chance to win is with McNabb and not another quarterback. More importantly, the injury causes more of a distraction. Already the media – national and local – have been trying to get under McNabb’s skin about Michael Vick being eligible in week 3 and Kevin Kolb getting to practice with the first team, so he should be better. The good news for McNabb is that the rib injury will heal most likely after the bye week (week 4) and Kolb isn’t any good. Michael Vick isn’t ready to play yet and will only be a shadow of his former self when he is. Barring any other injury to McNabb, he will be entrenched as the starter for this season, which is excellent news to PhilaTude.

Back to the Eagles defense – the entire defense played a remarkable game. Sean McDermott did a great job planning and preparing his team for this game. They got sustained pressure, caused turnovers and held Carolina at bay. McDermott needs to ensure he has an even better game plan for next week against the Saints, since Drew Brees is an infinitely better QB than Jack Delinterception.

Since I am a real Philadelphia fan, I have to be somewhat negative and explain that there were areas I’d like to see improved. David Akers should have field goals blocked. Kevin Kolb as a starting quarterback scares me. He is not a good football player, makes bad decisions and for some reason, I don’t think he has the respect of his teammates. Maybe his teammates don’t think he is any good. Whatever, I want to see the Eagles win, so whoever plays quarterback, I’ll have to deal.

Obviously, with McNabb’s injury and Vick still suspended, the Eagles got some roster help with Jeff Garcia. He’ll be Kolb’s back-up unless things go sour against the Saints. You never what can happen with an Eagles quarterback coached by Andy Reid.