THE EAGLE IS GROUNDED

IMG_0012     As exciting as it was to watch the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins in Week #1…there were still many unanswered questions that arose after watching “The Oregon Duck” offensive system.  One thing I believe that escaped the cracks in the fallout from Week #1 was how God Awful this defense could really be this season.  I mean, going into this season it appeared that the Eagles had at least improved in some aspects of their Defensive side of the ball.  However, after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, it appears that there are infinite cracks in the Eagles armor.  

First of all, the Eagle’s secondary is hideous.  That may be too nice of a word.  For those of you that are from my generation, their Secondary SUCKS!  Ok…that sounds better.  Nate Allen is an absolute disgrace of a safety and he makes Erik McMillan (Safety 1988-1993) look like an ALL-PRO.  Nate Allen can’t do anything right at the Safety Position.  He consistently gets burned by fast receivers.  In fact…he gets burned by average receivers like Eddie Royal of the San Diego Chargers.  

     Nate Allen may also be the worst tackler I have ever saw in the NFL.  He should be cut yesterday.  The other Eagle’s Safety, Patrick Cheung is average at best.  He made a few tackles on Sunday, but he is not suited to the 3-4 Defense that is employed by the Eagles at this time.  Now let us go to the Cornerback Position.  Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams are considered O.K. by NFL standards, but O.K. does not cut it in today’s Pass Hungry/Offensive Happy League.  I mean, a few years back we had Lito Shepherd and Sheldon Brown.  So much has changed since then.  First, the Eagles signed Asante Samuels in a move that looking back, had the if you can’t beat them…join them MOTTO.  In other words, the New England Patriots were the top standard not only on offense, but their Defense was stellar as well.  Samuel had a few good seasons, he was a playmaker.  However, he would not even fit this defensive system.  And do we have to rehash the nightmare named Nhamdi Asamugha.  I am not even sure if I even spelled his name right…but who cares, he may have been in the TOP 10 Eagles WORST Free Agent Signings of all time.

     We as fans were also sold a bill of goods when we were told that our Linebacker Core had improved.  Maybe on paper this was true.  The Free Agent Demaco Ryans from last year, draft pick Brandon Graham, Casey Matthews, etc.  However, these linebackers were torn apart by an older Tight End Antonio Gates and a career number three wide receiver Eddie Royal.  The Middle was like a war zone and all of the Chargers land mines struck the gold target.  The Eagles could not cover the middle, which also made them susceptible to the Deep Crossing Pass.

     Now let us look at the most important part of the 3-4 Defense, the Defensive Line.  The down lineman need to get a push up the middle to allow the outside linebackers to put pressure on the quarterback.  There is only one problem with this…what happens when the Defensive Line cannot even sniff the quarterback??  Who is Cedric Thornton?  He is one of the Eagle’s Defensive Starting Ends.  He wears Number 72.  Well, do you want to hear a funny stat.  Thornton was almost on the field for all of the Eagle’s Defensive Plays…minus a few.  Well, We never heard his name called once…not even on the television.  Does Cedric Thornton exist?  Was he really playing Sunday or was it just a mirage.  The Eagles managed just one sack and one hurry.  Phillip Rivers looked like Terry Bradshaw in his heyday, sitting back in the pocket ALL DAY LONG…one play even kept alive for 20 seconds.  Sorry, I am a die hard Eagles fan, but these facts are UNACCEPTABLE.  This Defense is putrid!

I was listening to 94 WYSP, the Eagle’s post-game show as I usually do on Sunday.  I was driving home from work having missed the entire game.  But I did not have to see the game to know that the Defense played horribly.  The stats showed it all.  I always look at sacks, hurries, and pressures and you can usually see if a defense was good, despite the final score.  Also, yards allowed is a key number.  Well, the Eagles gave up over 500 Yards to the Chargers offense!  Yeah, thats not a mistake folks…500 Yards.  What did the Eagles forget this was the NFL.  Well, while listening to the post-game show I heard many dumb callers.  However, the dumbest call of the day belonged to some fan who truly believes that the Eagles are going to go 14-2 and win their first Super Bowl.  Come AGAIN!!!  Are You Kidding me?!  He said that this was an anomaly and that the Eagles can win no matter what with their High Octane Offense.  He referred to the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants who had the 31st and 30th worst defenses the years that they won their Super Bowls.  There is one huge difference here.  Although those defenses did give up points, they also put plenty of pressure on the quarterback.

Hearing this guy made my stomach cringe.  First and foremost, I am extremely excited about this Offense and I am a true believer in Chip Kelly.  Furthermore, I do believe that we can win a lot of games by outscoring opponents.  However, I am a die hard fan.  And as an Eagles fan, I still go by the mantra that Defense wins Championships.  Wow, I truly miss those Bud Carson and Jim Johnson Defenses.  Even remember the Buddy Ryan era…the Eagles always had a potent offense but they were lead by their defense.  I am afraid to admit it, but until this team addresses it’s defensive woes, I do not feel that they will be going anywhere.  They could sign Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall and A.P.  Their offense can be as potent as they want but they have to be able to have some assembly of a Defense.  So…Chip Kelly, if you are listening, please address this defense ASAP.  And also, let me give you one huge piece of advice…please do not ever mention the words…”I need to do a better job next time.”  Seriously, we spent the last fourteen years listening to that same phrase and we grew to HATE the person who spoke those words.  So, create another phrase for press conferences and interviews.  And no matter what you do the rest of the year, a win Thursday is an absolute MUST!!!!!  I cannot watch Andy Reid beat this team.  I just can’t.

EARLY SUPER BOWL PREDICTION/ EAGLES TOP PRIORITIES

Well folks, the Super Bowl is still two weeks away and a lot can change in fifteen minutes…just ask GEICO. My pick for the Super Bowl before this season was of course The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Yes, every year I think it’s Philly’s year to win the Big One. Those hopes faded fast in what has turned out to be one of the worst Eagles seasons in recent memory, which led to the firing of its all time winningest coach Andy Reid. Andy was great in Philly, but enough is enough and it is time to move on. Anyways, when the playoff teams were seeded, my early pick for the Super Bowl was the Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos. Well, both the Seahawks and Broncos lost in last minute fashion so that also went out the window.

This brings us to now. The two teams that are left standing are the surprise San Francisco 49ers (who lost the NFC Championship game a year ago) and the Baltimore Ravens who some experts did have reaching the big dance at the beginning of the year. A real quick analysis of this game and my prediction to follow. Both of these teams come into the game being coached by Brother’s John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh making this the Super Baugh…lol. Secondly, both of these teams are predicated on tough defense and a strong running game. Lets break it down by position. At Quarterback, we have Joe Flacco for the Baltimore Ravens who has come into his own the past few years and developed into a solid Signal Caller. On the other side, the 49ers will be led by Colin Kapernick, an amazing story in itself, who will be making his tenth NFL start in the Super Bowl. I like Kapernick’s pocket presence and skill set but the advantage definitely goes to Flacco and the Ravens.

At Running Back, the Ravens are powered by perennial all-pro Ray Rice who is capable of carrying the team in his shoulders by himself. However, Do not underestimate Frank Gore for the 49ers, who when healthy, is capable of putting up huge numbers. Slight advantage Ravens but not by much. In the Receiving/Tight End set the Ravens are fueled by Tory Smith and giant receiver Anquan Boldin. The 49ers have a few star receivers to go along with veteran Randy Moss, who could be an xfactor. The 49ers trump the Ravens on this side of the ball if Vernon Davis decides to bring his AGAME. Advantage 49ers. On Defense, these two teams play different styles but have similar results. I think both defenses are good but once again, the XFACTOR here is Ray Lewis. Ray is on a mission in his last season to go out with a bang. Advantage Ravens. The Special Teams on these teams are even. So this brings us to the intangibles…both Harbaugh’s are smart but John has more playoff experience and I always believe that is an important area to look at when analyzing these big game match ups.

Ok…so this brings me to my pick. I feel that this Super Bowl will be a competitive game with a lot of hard hitting, tough running, and some exciting offensive plays. I do not see this game becoming a blow out like many of these contests of the past, the two defenses are just too good. I am going to say that the Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl 27-23 in a very close game…both teams will show heart and in the end the better team will come out on top, as Ray Lewis goes out with a bang. Real Quick, Pop Star Beyonce will be performing the Halftime Show and 50 contestants will be picked to join her on stage. This should be quite a scene and I am looking forward to that.

Now into the state of the Eagles. With the hiring if Chip Kelly, it’s obvious that the Eagles are looking to mirror the rest of the league in becoming a quick strike high powered offense. Well, my argument as always has been that the Eagles have been pretty decent in Offense the past few years, last year as an exception, but that had to do with the offensive line debacle in an injury plagued season. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I do not care if Tom Brady had played behind the Eagles line instead of Michael Vick, the team still would have ended up with the same record.

No, my argument with this team is consistently on the Defensive Side of the ball where they have no identity. Well, they can quickly fix this in the draft with their first three picks. The Eagles have the Fourth Pick in the First Round. If I were the Eagles, I would jump at the chance to draft Jarvis Jones, OLB from Georgia with the Fourth Pick. He is a special player that would bring not only leadership on the field, but also in the locker room. He is a DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER. Seriously, he is a low risk, high reward pick as many analysts say he could be the top impact player in the entire draft. Ok second move, cut Nhamdi Asamough and cut your losses. In the second round, I am taking local Rutgers product Logan Ryan. Not only is Ryan big, tough, and physical, but he also has the speed to be a shut down corner. This is what the Eagles need that they never got from Nhamdi. Thirdly, I’m taking Free Safety D.J. Swearinger out of South Carolina who can cover, but he hits like a Brian Dawkins. I repeat, this is what the Eagles need, true playmakers that make a difference on Defense.

On offense, they have LeSean McCoy who is already a top 3 RB in the NFL. They just need to use him. They will be getting their star Offensive Tackle back from injury and some other key components to their OLine. Mix in a free agent or two and I think you sure up this position. At receiver, the Eagles still have talent with DJAX and Jeremy Maclin. They also have Jason Avant who I believe is underrated and underused. Wether they stick with Michael Vick one more year or go to Nick Foles, this offense can put up some points. It’s the Defense that has failed is year in and year out. Stay Tuned.

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EAGLES 2012 AND BEYOND: CHANGE IS NEEDED

Ok…On this Christmas Day I am writing a post on the Eagles. Before I get to my main blog…I want to take this time out again to Send my condolences and prayers to all of those that were effected by the Newtown Connecticut Tragedy. This is real life and the real important parts of life…To put in perspective while analyzing sports which in the scheme of things is low on the Totem Pole. The Children and Adults who lost their lives that Day are the Real Heroes and will never be Forgotten!
Way back on September 16th, I wrote a piece about how every year us Die Hard Eagles fans anticipate a Super Bowl, no matter how previous seasons have went. I used a lot of past memories and seasons and players that will give any fan goose bumps. Well, of course as we wind down and the Eagles are down to their final game…the season did not go as well as the team as well as the fans had hoped for. With another loss, their record will fall to
4-12 which is the worst record since the 3-13 season…The first season that Andy was the coach. Of course after that season, the Eagles inherited a Top Draft Pick and chose a Franchise Quarterback Donovan McNabb…and the rest is history. This Eagles
Genre enjoyed its best success of any Eagles time period. During the past 14 seasons, the Eagles have made 5 NFC Championships including One SuperBowl appearance in which the Eagles almost beat the favored Patriots. During that game, Donovan McNabb was blamed for choking, the Eagles Defense was blasted for being too soft in the second half when they allowed Corey Dillon to run for 100 yards. Terrell Owens was praised for his effort on basically one leg after almost being lost for the season. Andy Reid was blamed for his poor clock management (an ongoing criticism that is very well documented). And the Eagles 2 Minute Offense was scorned as Donovan threw a last minute interception as the team was driving for a comeback win. Well, sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but that Eagles team was very good but they lost to an even better New England Patriots team. Look at what the Patriots have accomplished in the past 15 years. Tom Brady and Bill Bellichik are sure fire hall of famers. That is not to say that the Eagles could not have won the game, they were leading at half time, but the better team did end up winning in the end. Well ever since that SuperBowl, the Eagles have suffered through some very disappointing seasons as far as their outcomes, making the playoffs but coming up short. The last NFC Championship Run that the team made ended in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals and the reborn Kurt Warner…his last hurrah. Since that loss, Donovan McNabb’s career went south, he was traded and has since retired. The Eagles made a bold move by signing a reformed criminal Michael Vick who really came into his own his first season as the Eagles starting Quarterback. However, since then the Eagles have went totally down hill in every category. Do the Eagles lack talent…Hell No! LeSean McCoy may be the 3rd Best Running Back in the NFL. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are very talented receivers. Trent Cole is a stud Defensive Lineman who has never benefitted from an opposite side star. The Eagles finally got a talented Linebacker in Free Agency. Nick Foles even looked like he could be a star quarterback in this league. However, in my opinion the Eagles real demise occurred when Jim Johnson passed away. When Jim died, a piece of Eagles lure was taken away and has never been replaced. Take a look back to any Eagles past season and you will see that no matter how good or bad that their offense was, the Eagles success went as their Defense went. The Buddy Ryan years…years that Randall Cunningham was lost for the season twice…those teams still had much success due to a Dominant Defense. Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Andre Waters, Clyde Simmons, Mike Golic, Bud Carson, Eric Allen, Seth Joyner, Bill Romanowski…the list goes on and on. The Ray Rhodes years…Troy Vincent, Hugh Douglas, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Dawkins, And that list goes on and on. The Jim Johnson years…Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppherd, Sheldon Brown, Hugh Douglas, that list goes on and on. The Eagles Defense now is a far cry less talented than any of those defenses. The Eagles Defense lacks heart and identity. My argument would be that the Eagles suffered a tremendous loss when they lost Johnson as their defensive coordinator. That is when this team took a nose dive. No one can argue that Andy Reid has been one of the top head coaches in the NFL during his span as the Eagles Top Dog. However, during Andy’s good years, the Eagles always had a stellar defense. This Defense is no more. Andy lost one of his sons this year and that is a tremendous tragedy for any parent, to have to bury their child. I think Andy Reid has just run his course. This is time for change and no one will forget the positive influence that Reid has had on this franchise the past 14 Seasons. However, this team has still not win a Super Bowl and mediocrity and just making the playoffs is no longer acceptable. Jeff Lurie must see that the Eagles need to win a Championship to make it to the next level. It is painfully obvious that this team will never win a Championship under Andy Reid. The Eagles must get back to their core element. DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE! Their Defense must be the core element that is addressed. Every one is saying they want “Chuckie”, John Gruden or The Top College Offensive minded Coaches. I would argue that this would be a huge
Mistake. This team needs a Defensive Minded Coach. My top choice would be Bill Cowher if he will come out of retirement. How about Rex Ryan, Buddy’s Son. Hey…at this point I would say Brian Dawkins would make a great Head Coach! He has more Heart and knowledge than most former players. No matter who the next choice is for the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeff Lurie must bring in a DEFENSIVE HEAD COACH! They also need a strong Defensive Coordinator. With the way this season is going, they will inherit one of the top picks. It’s time to stop taking Offensive Stars, they need a STUD DEFENSIVE PROSPECT! I would definitely go Defense with their first pick. I would take the Top Defensive player available, no matter what position. This should be Jeff Luries Focus as the Eagles move forward. The 2013 Version of the Eagles must have a total makeover. The only way to build a winner is to rebuild. This team has tried signing top free agents year after year and where has that got them. Namdi Osumuagh may be the most overrated player and he was ridiculously overpaid. The Eagles cut their top sack master after just one season Jason Babin. There have been many other countless mistakes made at the Free Agent Table. Jeff Lurie if you ever read this…Please take heed. You must rebuild from the bottom up. This Defense needs an overhaul. This offense needs a new line…one that can dominate just like the John Runyan years. At this point, Dominique Cromartie would be my only untouchable on Defense. Even Trent Cole (my favorite player) could go as far as I am concerned. DEFENSE has to be the top priority going forward for this team. And no matter who is under center next season, wether it is a free agent quarterback, Nick Foles, or some star drafted QB, the Eagles must get away from the West Coast OFFENSE and use their strength…run the ball! LeSean McCoy may be the most underrated under used Running Back in the NFL. He has more talent than Brian Westbrook and could be the best Back in the NFL if used properly. He needs more touches Lurie!!! Anyways, going forward, this team needs much change. Rebuilding is necessary to get better. No matter what changed are made, the Franchise Philosophy is the biggest area that needs change. Winning a Championship must be this teams TOP PRIORITY!!! Making the playoffs will not cut it any more. The Die Hard Fans are hurting for a Super Bowl. Now do the right thing and get this team back on track. Good luck to this team in the future. Merry Christmas everyone…may God Bless all my fans in 2013! God Bless The Eagles!

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