Youth Gone Wild

Age considers, youth ventures.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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

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.

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It’s Blitz!

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.

DAL 1A

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.

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Eternity Is A Long Time

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.

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Things Fall Apart

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.

That kind of day.

…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…)

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

I like playing Madden as much as the next person, but it gets boring after a while because it’s too easy. So I decided to give myself a challenge: build a team around Tim Tebow. I thought about doing this with the Eagles, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. So instead I will run the Jaguars because if Shad Khan isn’t going to take Tebow then I’m going to make him.

I did it and I'm proud of it.

I did it and I’m proud of it.

But how does one build a team around Tebow? Easy. By surrounding him with players with the highest intangibles, which of course is literally impossible. If it could be rated, it isn’t intangible. That’s pretty much the only criteria I will use. Actually being good is an afterthought. Tim Tebow has to put the team on his back and schlep them to glory 5.4 yards at a time. So I took over the Jaguars in owner mode so that I can’t be fired, and did a fantasy draft. The draft process was remarkably simple: sort by Intangibles, take the highest rated player. In the event of a tie, take the player rated with the highest Toughness. Draft 22 starters plus punter and kicker before drafting any backups. I laughed the whole time.

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College Boy

When Chip Kelly was hired there were many writers and analysts who were immediately dismissive he would succeed in the NFL or that his demolishing of the Redskins to start the season was basically a fad. Healthy skepticism is one thing, close minded “hot takes” are another. Kelly’s proven them wrong immediately. After every Eagles win, fans take to Twitter to retweet those who were hilariously wrong. But it can be a taxing exercise having to find those tweets you’ve favorited from over the summer or searching and wading through the ever growing number of ironic tweets that say similar things to what some people actually believe. Now you don’t have to. For your bookmarking pleasure, I have compiled (and will continue to add to) a cornucopia of funny then, hilarious now tweets by media members who think they know everything when they so clearly know so little. You’re welcome.

You were saying?

You were saying?

First, the finest of wines:

And so many others:
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Bracketology

How do you defend Calvin Johnson? The short answer is, you can’t. He beats every coverage you throw at him, and everyone’s tried everything. He leads the league in yards and TDs and he missed a game. Calvin Johnson is practically immune to defense. On Sunday the Eagles are going to have to try to stop him. If you’re Billy Davis, what do you do?

Everything is fodder

The Eagles are going to throw up everything they have in their arsenal to stop Johnson, including a new look they showed against the Cardinals that (rightly) gained some attention: bracket coverage with Connor Barwin at the line of scrimmage with corner help behind him. For the most part, it worked. On eight plays, all of which turned out to be passes, Barwin lined up directly opposite a WR and double teamed him. On two of these plays Barwin went up against Michael Floyd, himself no pushover, the other six were against Larry Fitzgerald. In these eight plays, the Cardinals gained 41 yards, for an average of 5.1 yards per play, which for a defense is excellent. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

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