The release of DeSean Jackson has been, unsurprisingly, massively unpopular. In the lead up to DeSean’s exit, there was also anger, at the writers who said that this day was coming. They’re professionals and it would be low class for them to gloat. I, on the other hand, have no such qualms or standards. It’s time for a lot of people to eat crow.
But first, John my friend, you are off the hook on a technicality.
Now let’s get down to business…
Big news for the few, the proud, the loyal Southern Philly readers: I’m at Bleeding Green Nation now. Huge thanks to BGN Editor in Chief Brandon Lee Gowton and also his partners in crime, Mike Kaye and the on-haitus Dan Klausner for their support, along with James Keane.
My first step into the spotlight, Anti-Heroes Are Hard to Find is up:
The NFL, we like to say, is “a copycat league.” Someone has a great idea that works and they are lauded as a genius, in invention this is called “the hero theory,” that individuals are considered singularly responsible for extending man’s reach, and labeled as a genius, or hero. Football is not much different, one person’s idea rises above the rest and they are hailed a genius, then coaches around the league assimilate it and everyone moves on to the next big thing.
There is a counterpart to this theory: “multiple discovery,” that ideas spring up completely independently and simultaneously by multiple people. This is an usual occurrence in the NFL where at any given time a third of the coaches and GMs are on the hot seat. The league may be on the verge of another blueprint to copy. Should the Seahawks win, their approach will be lauded as the New New Thing that other teams would be wise to do until something deemed to be better comes along. What they will not realize is that some teams are already independently operating in a similar fashion.
A front office making shrewd roster moves turning over every stone they can to build a deep and balanced roster, coupled with an ultra competitive coach with a trademark philosophy getting the most out of the castoffs and rejects given to him. That is not an easy combination to find, but it is not unique to Seattle. It sounds a lot like the Eagles.
As for this blog, I aim to have non-Eagles content here. Can’t promise anything.
What a difference a year makes.
No coaching search has been as meandering and bizarre as the Browns’ circuitous trek across America. If you are replacing your coach after one year, you might want to actually have a plan to replace him.
Chasing every lukewarm college coach, scrambling to the media to confirm some coaching interviews, obscure others; releasing skewed information about your whereabouts and resorting to day-late spin tactics after being repeatedly left at the altar isn’t going to fly in Cleveland. Not when the entire league knew Rob Chudzinski was praised in middle of the season then fired at the end of it, and not with a nominal general manager, Michael Lombardi, trying to fight a growing perception around the league that he is woefully out of his depth. (Say what you want about the Vikings exhaustive search, but they haven’t been strung out by college coaches who were unlikely to leave campus anyway).
Age considers, youth ventures.
The 2013 Eagles season ended in disappointment, but that it ended in 2014 meant it was an overall success. There is a lot of reason for optimism for next season.
This is only Year One
I have a general rule that a person or a team or whatever must be good or bad for two seasons in a row before I can really say they are good or bad. Anyone can have a singular great season, and anyone can have an isolated terrible season, and this is magnified in the small sample size that is an NFL season. But Chip Kelly has me second guessing myself. Beyond the obvious highs this season of winning the division, career years from DeSean Jackson, Shady McCoy and historical performances from McCoy and Nick Foles, something else stood out to me that gives me confidence for next year.
The Eagles clawed out a victory in a must win game against the Cowboys. One of the talking points of the game was the Dez Bryant touchdown on 4th down and how it reflects upon the larger picture of the job Billy Davis has done this season.
While I am no fan of Davis, he and his staff do have positives. All of the young players on the defense, Cox, Thornton, Logan, Curry, Kendricks, Boykin and Wolff have all improved as the season has progressed, which is an excellent sign for the future and very good reflection of the coaching staff. The one positive constant during Davis’ tenure in Arizona was his defenses were good at getting turnovers, and that has been the case this season. The run defense is strong, and while that matters less than passing, at least they’re strong at something for a change after years of futility.
However there are demerits to be given, and they have been consistent all season long, which is troubling. But first, the play everyone is arguing about, Dez Bryant’s 4th down touchdown.
The Eagles are on the doorstep of the playoffs, with the Cowboys standing in their way on Sunday night. Win and they are in, but it is not enough to simply defeat the Cowboys. The Eagles need to beat them. In a season full of memories, one more is not too much to ask. MNF opening day destruction of the Redskins, Nick Foles throwing 7 TDs, Shady in the snow and blowing out the Bears on SNF were great. But a loss to the Cowboys would negate all of that. This Sunday night, the 2013 Eagles can live forever by beating Dallas. Because while beating the Redskins or Giants is great, beating the Cowboys is special. The Body Bag Game and Eagles Porn and the Miracles at the Meadowlands are games that we will never forget, but Cowboys games are a different level of schadenfreude that has gone on a long time.
The “bend but don’t break defense”–also known as “zone defense with bad players”–that got the Eagles nine straight games of giving up 21 points or less finally broke against the Vikings, and in spectacular fashion. An ugly day all around, and illustrative of how this defense still has a ways to go before it is actually good, for the same reasons from earlier in the season.
…the center can not hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”
Let us get the elephant out of the room first. The defense did play better in that nine game streak, but like the 4-0 end of the 2011 season they also faced bad or handcuffed offenses. The Giants (twice), Buccaneers, Raiders and Aaron Rodgers-less Packers stink; the Cardinals are mediocre and were missing their best running back, the Cowboys are above average and were missing their best running back too and the Lions game was played in conditions that warrant an asterik. The Eagles run defense is very good, but the run game is not as important as it has been in the past. (more…)