Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fans Want Championships, Owners Want Playoffs

I am not a general manager. I am not a sports franchise owner. I don’t claim to know all of the complexities of making a trade or managing a salary cap. I write for Bleed Eagles Green.

What I do have is an opinion. What I do know is that the fans of Philadelphia are starving for a championship. What I do know is that the owners and GMs of the Phillies and Eagles do not give us fans the opportunity to bring home that championship.

Today’s passing of the MLB trade deadline and the Phillies not making a move is yet another example of the local team not taking the next step. If the pieces fall right the Eagles and Phillies are at best playoff caliber teams. They are NOT championship caliber. Even the biggest die-hard fan cannot honestly argue this fact.

The Eagles and Phillies are fooling no one when the say that their teams, constructed as is, are championship caliber.

The Phillies are fooling no one when they pin their hopes on Joe Blanton and Brett Myers being the answer to their pitching struggles. The Eagles are fooling no one when they say they are happy with Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown as the teams’ top receiving threats.

And don’t give us fans the statement that you made your best effort in the trade market. The Phillies should have made an offer that the Blue Jays, A’s, or Indians could not refuse for Halladay, Harden, or Sabathia. A trade should have been made weeks ago for one of these players. Today’s trading deadline should have been irrelevant for the Phillies. If you aren’t going to get one of these top pitchers, don’t try and appease us by trading for a bottom of the rotation guy like Blanton.

By not making the push for that missing piece, the Phillies are wasting one of the greatest nucleuses in their team history. The Phillies everyday line-up boasts a former MVP, the current MVP, and a possible third MVP in Chase Utely. Why not go all in? If it doesn’t work out at least there are no what-ifs. And if it blows-up and we are set back a few years so what. It’s not like the city isn’t used to the Phillies losing. The Phillies have lost over 10,000 games!

At least the Eagles can be commended for making big free agent signings. The effort is there, but we need more. We still need more playmakers on offense. Package Sheppard with a number one pick a get a top-flight wide receiver. If the other team doesn’t need a cornerback give them two number one picks (hell the Eagles never use them anyway!). I know that two number ones is unrealistic but the idea is to go all in for the missing pieces this year. Why not take one last shot before the championship window slams shut? McNabb and Dawkins won’t be around forever. Go for it now before we are rebuilding with Kolb.

The city has heard comments like mine over and over again. I will save you from any further rants. Time to focus on the positives. Looks like Ed Stefanski and Paul Holmgren have a clue.

Is Hank Baskett The Red Zone Answer?

It continues to amaze me that during the lazy days of summer Andy Reid is able to make it through an entire press conference without clearing his throat a single time! Fast forward to September and miraculously the throat clearing reappears!

Outside of there not being any throat clearings during today's press conference, there was also great praise for 3rd year wide out Hank Baskett. Reid was very complimentary of Baskett's performance to date in this training camp:

- Baskett is a "smart guy"
- Baskett is "playing very well"
- Baskett "has a great vertical jump"
- Baskett looks "much stronger this year"

Could Baskett be the answer to solving the Eagles red zone deficiencies? His 6-4, 220 pound frame combined with his strong leaping ability (New Mexico high school record holder in the high jump) would seem to make Baskett the ideal candidate. Have Baskett run a fade to the back of the endzone, McNabb throw a jump ball, and touchdown! So simple.

With the need to keep Baskett in as a blocker last year his numbers decreased significantly from his rookie season. In his first year with the Eagles Basket had 22 receptions for 464 yards and 2 touchdowns. With a healthy set a tight ends this year, Baskett should once again be free to break off from the line and again contribute as a receiving threat.

Red zone, Baskett, six points!

Philadelphia Eagles: They're Going to Blow

As an Eagles fan you have to find some humor with the Packers supposedly offering Brett Favre $20 million to NOT play football. Westbrook, Sheppard, and Andrews (if the latest reports are in fact true) can't get the Eagles to pay them enough to play! (Though on the flip side the Packers are being just as stingy with money in contracts talks with RB Ryan Grant.)

Mark Friday, August 8, 2008 on your calendar. The 8th is the preseason opener for the Eagles. I also think the 8th will be the day when all this contract drama blows up on the Eagles.

Would you be surprised if Westbrook and Sheppard refused to play in the game without new contracts? The idea has already been raised during a recent Westbrook press conference. Can you blame either player if they refused to play? Why risk injury and destroy any leverage for a new contract.

And if one of the players does skip the game, just imagine the circus like atmosphere that will engulf the Eagles for the final month of camp. Who would break first, the star RB or the Banner boys?

Will Shawn Andrews report to the team by then? If he is does report, how will his teammates respond? If John Runyan is in the majority then it looks like Andrews could have a serious problem on his hands. And if Andrews does report, would Reid consider benching his top offensive lineman?

Most teams mark the regular season opener as the day the excitement begins. For Eagle fans it looks like the excitement will begin about a month early this year.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DeSean Jackson: Yes Coach, Whatever You Say Coach

Well maybe the NFL is like the real world.

Us 9-5ers might not take home the paycheck of a NFL player, but we know that when our boss speaks we listen. And when our boss suggests we do something, we know it is in our best interest to do it.

Looks like the same rules apply to Eagles rookie WR DeSean Jackson. Following yesterday's morning practice Andy Reid made the following statement regarding Jackson and his hamstring injury:

"He needs to get healthy and get back out there is what he needs to do. "This is a challenge for wide receivers, that first year, and you have to push yourself through these things, so that's what he's working on right now."

And like clockwork, Jackson was back on the field this morning. Smart kid that Jackson. Jackson cannot afford to miss practice time. Practice reps for a rookie WR are so valuable. And if you listen to the reviews on Jackson, the coaches see Jackson as a special talent. Jackson has a chance to buck the the Eagle trend and make an impact as a rookie WR.

Following today's practice it was also nice to hear the maturity his Jackon's comments. Earlier this off-season during a rookie photo shoot Jackson was seen yapping his mouth like the second coming of Fred-Ex. Today he commented on the importance of being on the field with his teammates and the value of learning from the Eagles veterans.

Quick learner this Jackson fella.

Merrill Reese - He Just Has "It"

I caught some of Merrill Reese this afternoon on 610WIP. And the man just has "it."

I kind of relate Reese's "it" to the "it" that Brian Dawkins has. It takes only a few seconds of listening to Reese's voice and then bam, Eagles excitement.

Reese's voice brings confidence to a fan. Reese's voice is filled with genuine passion. How can any true Eagles fan not get pumped listening to his comments or broadcast?

When a Dave Spadaro rambles on and on about how great the Eagles are you quickly become disinterested, view the talk as fake. Reese is the exact opposite. When Reese says the team is good or a player is good you believe him, you have zero doubt. You are instantly psyched, you can't wait for the season. This afternoon Reese commented on how overrated Tony Romo is...AMEN to that!

And once the season starts there is no one better calling a game than Reese. Yes Reese has occasionally been labeled a bit of a "homer." But who cares. The man calls the game with Eagles passion (thankfully as Mike Quick often seems clueless up there!). Your emotions are hanging on his every word.

Few things are better than watching the Eagles game on TV, muting a Troy Aikman or Joe Buck, and have Reese call the game for you.

Or on the occasion when I had to leave a home game early, I find myself running through the parking lot to put Reese on for the remainder of the game. Passing cars look at my Dad and I like we are crazy as we follow the game on the ride home.

When you think Eagles, it is hard not to think Merrill Reese. He simply has "it."

Jason Avant: The Answer at Three?



Though I find it difficult to believe, I hear that there is actually some football being played at Lehigh. This is good to hear because this fan is getting tired hearing about unhappy campers, contracts, and mounting injuries.

In reading camp blogs and reports one of the early standouts has been 3rd year wide receiver Jason Avant. Observers have noted Avant's ability to get open, his great route running, and his strong hands. Avant has also made his share of spectacular catches.

If all of the above proves true then it looks like the Eagles have found their number three receiver. Whether you agree or not, Brown and Curtis have locked down the number one and two spots. Despite his tremendous upside, DeSean Jackson is a rookie and we must curb our expectations. Let's have Jackson first excel on special teams and then view anything he does as a WR as icing on the cake.

In 2008 Avant will look to continue his growth with the Eagles. As a rookie Avant posted 7 receptions. Last year the number increased to 23 receptions. If Avant can put together a consistent season his numbers should no doubt continue to rise. Avant got off to a strong start last year, then quieted in the middle part of the season. Maybe Avant is the answer to the red zone woes?

In looking as his collegiate stats it is not unreasonable to think that Avant can't become a reliable option for McNabb. As a senior at Michigan Avant had 82 receptions, 1007 yards, and 8 touchdowns. The talent is there and the physical tools are there.

Since the Eagles did not go out a get an offensive playmaker this off-season, they will need to depend on the holdovers to step up their play this season. No reason why Avant can't be one of these difference makers. He already has the jersey number of a play maker!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jason Taylor Would Have Been A Nice Solution

It was a bad day to be a defensive end on the Eagles.

Victor Abiamiri had surgery on his fractured wrist and Chris Clemons was rushed to the hospital for dehydration. The DE numbers were so bad at practice that LB Andy Studebaker was called upon to play some end.

So where does this leave the Eagles? Well reports have Abiamiri out out for the next four months. The Eagles will have to face the decision of possibly inactivating him for the entire season. Clemons with some rest and time off should be able to make a full recovery at some point during camp.

The Eagles entered camp with DE being a position of strength and depth. Abiamiri was to challenge Parker for the starting end spot opposite Trent Cole.

Now the Eagles will have to hope that Bryan Smith can make a rookie contribution or dare I say it, possibly give Jerome McDougal a roster spot. So it short the Eagles are left with an undersized rookie from McNeese State or draft bust McDougal. Oh I almost forgot, there is also the option of Darren Howard...NOT!!

And to think (if reports were true) the Eagles could have had Jason Taylor for a 2nd and 5th round pick. A six time Pro Bowler, former Defensive Player of the Year, a DE who on a down year in 2007 still had 11 sacks!

Even without the recent rash of injuries trading for Taylor would of made sense. Abiamiri may have a lot of potential, but potential doesn't also pan out. Taylor was a sure thing, an estbalished veteran.

All I can say is that the players the Eagles draft with those picks better be pretty damn special. Here's to a fast and speedy recovery for Abiamiri and Clemons.

Feels Like A Dave Spadaro Article

As I type this post, I know people will instantly give it the label of a Spadaro-type piece, that I need to take off the green beer goggles and put down my glass of green kool-aid.

And yes I know that when looking at the whole picture the Eagles are still lacking a number one receiver.

But...Kevin Curtis does come awfully close to filling that void, just look at the below 2007 numbers and the WRs he is ahead of. And we can't forget, A.J. Feeley was throwing him passes for three games!

Receiving Yards
Curtis: 1,110 yards
Better Numbers Than: Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress

Yards Per Catch
Curtis: 14.4
Better Numbers Than: Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Roy Williams

Yards Per Game
Curtis: 69.4
Better Numbers Than: Steve Smith, Plaxico Burress, Isaac Bruce

Yards After Catch
Curtis: 4.7
Better Numbers Than: Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne, Braylon Edwards

Ok, so his 6 touchdowns place him 22nd among wide receivers. But the rest of the numbers stack up nicely when compared to other #1 receivers. Good chance the numbers improve this year with a healthy McNabb and another year in the Eagles system.

Just throwing this out there...

Scared To Even Look

Does anyone else hesitate to check the Eagles website throughout the day?

I cringe that the next click on the mouse is going to bring devasting news of an injury to one of the Eagles' top players. It's only week one and we are already seeing the injuries beginning to mount on the Eagles.

Thankfully none of the injuries seem to be season enders. A strain of the hamstring for Samuel, a tweak of the hamstring for Jackson, and a wrist injury for Abiamiri. The injury to Abiamiri is the worst of the bunch. Thankfully there is some good depth at the DE position (though 2nd and 5th round picks to bring Jason taylor aboard would of made me feel a lot more comfortable!)

As fans we understand that injuries are a part of the game. But it just sucks to have an entire season change before anything counts. Just look at the rash of injuries that hit the Redskins in first days of camp.

Good call by Reid on giving extra rest to the 30+ year old veterans. Every extra little precaution helps in getting the players to the starting line healthy.

And don't even get me started on the preseason games. Are you kidding me, 4 preseason games. Outside of teams being able to suck money from season ticket holders what is the point! With each meaningless play the teams are rolling the dice on their season. One unforgiving hit or misstep and the entire season could be lost. Super Bowl contenders to super nothings.

And there are still 40 more days of this to get through. Go figure that there would be something more scary than a Dave Spadaro article on the Eagles site!

Unsolved Mysteries...The Shawn Andrews Case

Another practice, another day of fines for Shawn Andrews. Where is this guy?

Andrews failed to show-up for the start of Eagles training camp last Thursday night and reports have him being fined $15,000 per day by the Eagles for his absence.

The Eagles official statement regarding Andrews is that "Shawn is not in camp for personal reasons but his absence is not excused."

Andrews has also released a message of his own saying that his reasons for not being there are not contractual. He added that he's working on the issue, but when asked if he'd be back soon, he responded with "that's tricky."

Andrews missed mini-camp back in June with this same personal reason. What personal issue could linger this long?

McNabb mentions exchanging phone messages with Andrews. Reid mentions that other players have also been in contact with Andrews. What the conversations entail, nobody is saying.

The obscurity of information is allowing all kinds of theories and rumors to surface.

Is Andrews' weight again an issue? Is Andrews suffering from depression? Could the possibility of a failed drug test be a reason for the hold-out? Maybe there is any injury that Andrews is afraid to share with the team? The list goes on and on.

If the personal matter is something depression related we all hope that Andrews seeks the professional help necessary to bring peace back into his life. Football can then take a back seat during recovery.

And honestly when we all heard the news last week that Andrews was going to be a hold-out, we assumed that at this point he would either be in camp or a detailed explanation would be provided. So far both continue to be missing.

We all hope that this issue gets resolved ASAP and a positive ending comes about for the team and especially Andrews. Andrews is top talent and the Eagles need his dominating interior presence to thrive this year.

Max Jean-Gilles has been doing nicely filling in for the absent Andrews, but he is not one of the top three guards in the NFL. Shawn Andrews is.

And The Winner Is...Lorenzo Booker

"He's got really good speed up the field," Rory Segrest said. "He can see the creases there. Same thing from a running back position - he knows how to read the scheme, he knows where to be and he's got the ability to get there."

Looks like Lorenzo Booker is our man at kick returner. Hopefully the elusiveness he showed yesterday in breaking the 60 yard TD carries over the special teams unit. It will be nice to have a returner that doesn't run straight into contact and then fall down (a la Correll Buckhalter).

While the offensive and defensive units usually garner most of the fan's attention we can't forget the value that a dominant special teams unit can have on the Eagles success. Remember how dominant the special team units were during the Eagles run to four consecutive NFC Championship games.

The Eagles special teams unit was definitely overlooked last year by the coaches. A little too much faith was put into pretty boy Jeremy Bloom. And we all saw the result of that failed plan, a loss to the Packers and the return of Reno "Fair Catch" Mahe.

Good field position is going to play a key role in helping both the offense and defense this year. McNabb and Westbrook are going to love Booker and Jackson!

Now let's hope that the coverage units will also show improvement. No matter how good we think Booker and Jackson are, they aren't going anyway without some holes!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Westbrook Press Conference: What A Shame

I just got finished watching the Brian Westbrook press conference from this afternoon. And not that I was shocked, but it is a damn shame that the majority of the PC centered on Westbrook's contract situation.

Way to go Mr. Banner!

Instead of discussing the greatness of Westbrook and how he will look to duplicate last season's success we are talking about money. Instead of answering questions about the team, the upcoming season, or his play, Westbrook is instead talking about contract extensions and agent meetings.

We have a freaking circus at Lehigh. The media coverage is obsessed with contract negotiations. Today we even had a reporter provide Westbrook with the idea of holding himself out preseason games. Fans are struggling to find news on what actually occurred on the practice field.

Not to beat the idea to death, but today's Westbrook PC is yet another example of Eagles Management killing our Eagles buzz! Fans should be talking about Booker's 60+ yard touchdown run this evening, instead we are again talking about contracts!

Way to go Mr. Banner!

A Leopard Doesn't Change It's Spots

Was that a pig I just saw flying? Might the Eagles actually rework a player's contract? Is the unthinkable about to happen?

If recent reports are correct you hear that new contract offers have been made by the Eagles to Brian Westbrook. They may not have been to Westbrook's liking, but at least action is being taken by management.

Then over the weekend you hear that Joe Banner and Andy Reid met with Lito Sheppard's agent Drew Rosenhaus to discuss Sheppard's ongoing unhappiness.

Taking such steps with each of the players is so unlike Eagles management. Could they finally be realizing the problems that their penny-pinching ways are causing? Time to finally share some of the wealth they have with their 18 million dollars plus in cap space?

Wrong! The latest reports indicate that following the meeting there is still no change in the Eagles position with Sheppard. They are still against trading Sheppard or redoing his contract. The injury to Samuel gave Sheppard zip in leverage. Sounds like the Eagles management that we have come to know and hate!

And if you aren't going to change Joe, please spare us lines like, "You do appreciate that they're [Westbrook and Sheppard] doing the right thing. There's certainly a psychological component to negotiating and it helps for us to be feeling good about how they're acting."

The fans could care less how you are feeling. We want our players to be happy. Their happiness means a strong performance on the field and in return, our happiness. The right thing would of been Westbrook holding out. Make you sweat it out. Would you have been stupid enough to go into a season without your top star?

So our hopes of a change now rest with Westbrook. Come on Joe you can do it. Rework his contract. End some of this drama, show you are a man that can change your spots.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dawkins - Excited and Jacked Up!



Thank you Brian Dawkins!

In a week where the media focus has been on contracts, missing players, and injuries it was nice to hear talk about actual football.

Following yesterday's practice Dawkins addressed the media and as he always does he gets you jacked up for the upcoming season! How could a fan not be excited with quotes like the below on his health, the team, and the upcoming season:
  • "I'm very excited. I'm really jacked up!"
  • "I'm so excited to be back on the field. Most excited I've been going into a season."
  • "It's like night and day between this year and last year."
  • "People saying that I can't do it no more...gives me motivation!"
  • "I'm a 10 now, a 5 last year."

Dawkins also touched on the high potential and speed of the LBs, how great McNabb looked scrambling, and how the team excels as an underdog. Dawkins even managed to bring the names of Pinkston and Thrash into the conversation. The Eagles might not have a number 1 receiver, but at least we don't have those two clowns any more!

The past week has been a bit of a downer for Eagles fans. Despite all of our optimism this off-season, it was tough not to get worried over the Westbrook, Sheppard, and Andrews situations. But after a few minutes of listening to Dawkins that buzz is back. All I can think about now is flying tackles, all out blitzes, Dawkins punching the ball to force a fumble, and the big play!

We are going to be OK, Dawkins is back! There is no one I would rather have leading us back to the top!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sheppard and Westbrook: Good Move, Bad Move

On Thursday both Westbrook and Sheppard arrived at Eagles training camp. Was that the smart decision for each player?

I would say yes for Sheppard and no for Westbrook.

In 2007 Westbrook had 2104 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Westbrook was a Pro Bowler and a 1st team All Pro selection.

These stats should provide Westbrook with all of the leverage that he needs to renegotiate his current deal with the Eagles. His leverage will never be higher. I applaud Westbrook for putting the team first and putting faith in his new agent to get a new deal worked out. But what happens if Westbrook suffers an injury during training camp? There goes that leverage. Any chance of a new contract would be gone.

Westbrook should have made the Eagles sweat a bit. Force them to up their current offer to a level that matches Westbrook's productivity. The Eagles aren't dumb enough to go into a season without their MVP, their top play maker. Are they?

The Eagles should not be given the opportunity to take advantage of Westbrook's strong character. They know that Westbrook will not carry his contract happiness onto the field. The Eagles shouldn't be allowed to get another season out of Westbrook on a contract that he has outplayed.

Unfortunately Sheppard lacks the same leverage to force the Eagles into a new contract. Yes he might be a bit underpaid for a cornerback with his skill set. But Sheppard has had difficulty staying healthy. Hey, maybe Sheppard should look as his pay on a per game played basis and not the overall dollar amount!

Sheppard needs to prove to the Eagles (and to any possible new employers) that he is still an elite cornerback and can beat the injury bug. Showing up at camp allows him to begin doing that. And in the event of an injury to Samuel or Brown, Sheppard steps back into a starting role. Being a starter then gives Sheppard leverage for a new deal. (Just look what happened today. Samuel suffers a hamstring injury, Sheppard is back to being the starting left cornerback.)

(Plus if Sheppard never reported we would of never learned of the new word "disappreciation." Goes nicely with Roger Clemons' "misremembered.")

And Andrews would also be smart to show-up at camp. Save any hold out for next year when your base salary is only $750,00. We will need some drama next year too!

Philadelphia Media - STOP The Negativity!

It could just me be, but I doubt it. Are certain Philadelphia media outlets becoming increasingly too negative in their reporting?

I am speaking mainly of the Daily News / Inquirer and also 610 WIP. I understand that writing or reporting requires a nice mix of the facts and opinion. The opinion aspect gives the story a unique flavor, grabs the attention of the reader.

Maybe I have been ignorant in the past and just missed the negativity. But recent coverage of the Phillies and Eagles has a constant negative theme running through most stories.

Articles tend to focus only on the negative of the Eagles. Articles are bashing players, focusing on the negatives of the team, how the team has zero shot to make a serious championship run.

I am not saying that the newspapers need to go all "Dave Spadaro" on us. Too much positive can also be a turn off. But a nice mixture between positive and negative would be nice. It is possible to critique a team or player without slamming the issue with negative garbage.

People say that the fans are losing their buzz about the Eagles. Gee, I wonder why?

And there is no one who is a bigger buzz killer than 610. It has come to the point that I can no longer listen to the morning show or late afternoon show. Within a minute of putting on the station I am greeted with this coach is an idiot, this player sucks, this team is a disgrace. Check the mirror, I think you are the freakin idiot!

A Phillies or Eagles game could be filled with highlights, instead the radio crew will focus only on the negative. And god forbid you don't agree with the opinion of the host. You are instantly called an idiot and hung up on.

We as fans know our team's shortcomings, we aren't idiots. We know its been 25 years since the city's last championship. Please stop dwelling on it. How how about getting us pumped for the turnaround, get the buzz back in the city. Negadelphia is not the name of our city!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trading Shawn Andrews - Bad Idea!!

So the latest rumor surrounding the Eagles had them exploring the option of trading Shawn Andrews. For who and to where is unknown. When Reid was asked if he expects to see Andrews in camp, he responded "I have no idea."

As we fans and it appears the Eagles too try to find out exactly what is keeping Andrews away from camp, here is once piece of advice: DO NOT TRADE HIM! The Eagles must get this issued resolved ASAP!

As we all know one of the main keys to the Eagles finding success in 2008 is keeping Donovan McNabb upright. To achieve this goal the Eagles need Andrews anchoring the offensive line. Yes Runyan and Thomas are good, but the only true star of the bunch is Andrews. Andrews is consistently rated as one of the top guards in the league. His multiple Pro Bowl appearances prove the ratings to be correct.

In 2007 with Andrews the offensive line still allowed 49 sacks (28th Ranked in the NFL). Kiss Donovan's health goodbye without Andrews. Everyone ready for Kolb? What are the Eagles going to replace Andrews with Max Jean-Gilles or Winston Justice? Please, they couldn't even beat out Todd Herremans!

So lets all hope that these rumors are false. The Eagles need Andrews. Oh yea, we need a happy Westbrook too. Man that Eagles have a lot of issues!

Everyone Is Out of Their Damn Minds!

"I feel like I'm a Pro Bowl-caliber player, so why wouldn't I be starting?"

Guess it is safe to say that Sheppard is still unhappy with his status with the Eagles. Philly.com also reports that Sheppard still thinks he will be traded this off-season.

So my question is who is crazier the Eagles or Sheppard?

The Eagles for continuing to think this Sheppard situation will have a positive ending. They can say that they will be playing 3 cornerback sets 60 or 70 percent of the time until they are blue in the face. No matter what number they throw out there they aren't fooling Sheppard. He is not a starter.

Or is Sheppard nutty for continuing to think that he is going to force a trade this off-season? Give Sheppard some credit for finally realizing that the Eagles are not going to renegotiate his current deal. But if the Eagles didn't trade you at draft time they certainly aren't going to do it now. I am also guessing that hiring Drew Rosenhaus didn't win him any points with the Banner crew.

What is the next step? I guess we pray for an injury to another teams' top cornerback and the Eagles outrageous trade demands for Sheppard are finally met (a first round pick?). How fun will it be to watch the Eagles trade out of the first round three times next year!

But seriously can't both sides just get along. The Eagles need Sheppard to be successful this year. Sheppard needs the Eagles to show future employers that he can stay healthy and is still an elite cornerback.

Philadelphia: Things Could Always Be Worse


Though lately it seems everyday brings about a new issue with the Phillies and Eagles, things could always be worse my fellow Philadelphians.

A recent trip to Atlanta and a conversation with a local taxi driver changed my outlook on the Philadelphia sports scene.

Atlanta has probably the WORST team in the entire NFL. Last year the Falcons suffered through a miserable season that was highlighted by the Vick fiasco and their head coach quitting on them mid-season! The Eagles despite a mediocre 2007 campaign, have some nice pieces in place for a likely return to the playoffs. And once you get to the playoffs the Giants proved anything is possible.

Atlanta has a floundering baseball team. The Braves used to be the measuring stick for the NL East, but not anymore! The team has been beset with injuries and 2008 looks like a lost season. The Phillies, despite their recent struggles, are the reigning NL East champions and in position for a repeat performance in 2008. Never hurts that the last two NL MVPs reside with the Phillies too!

The Hawks showed some promise last season, but now are a team in flux. Will their star PF Josh Smith return? The Hawks have already lost Childress to a Greek club! The Sixers recently signed the premier free agent on the market in Elton Brand. The Sixers finished the season with one of the league's best second half records and have a nice young nucleus to build around as they make their climb to the upper echelon of the East.

The Thrashers posted the second worst record in the entire Eastern Conference last year. The Flyers rebounded from a disappointing 2006-07 season by making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals this past season. Like the Sixers, the Flyers are built to contend for many years to come.

And we can't forget about the Soul who will be battling this Sunday in the Arena Bowl!

So Philadelphia, things could always be worse. Cities like Atlanta would love to have our problems!

Manuel Losing His Team - Phils Lose Lead.

In their last nineteen games the Phillies have posted a mediocre 10-9 record. After the most recent series with the New York Mets, the Phillies saw their 1st place lead slip out of their hands.

What's wrong with our Phillies?

First their changes aren't working. Over the past month the Phillies acquired Joe Blanton from the Oakland Athletics, demoted and then brought back up starter Brett Myers, and change up the lineup on more than one occasion to try to spark the offense. Unfortunately none of these moves have worked so far.

Chase Utley has all but disappeared from the lineup with a .243 batting average and only 5 RBIs this month. It looks like the MVP three peat could be in jeopardy if he doesn't snap out of it quick. And Jimmy Rollins is slowly erasing all memories of his MVP status as he was benched for the second time this season because of his inability to take the game seriously.

Manager Charlie Manuel has managed to get his team in such a funk that they seem to be disinterested in competing. At this point he appears to be over-managing the games in hopes of getting lucky. Unfortunately for the fans, Manuel isn't all that good at managing regularly, so the idea of over-managing is scary.

He's appears to be so lost that after benching Rollins for the game on Thursday, he had him pinch hit against Billy Wagner, who Rollins has never connected off of. If he was planning on using Rollins at all as a pinch hitter, the appropriate time would have been in the eighth against Aaron Heilman with two men on instead of Jason Werth who struggles against right handed pitching.

Manuel is floundering at this point and appears unable to motivate a team that appears to have let MVP awards and a first place lead get in their heads. The Phils need to snap out of it quick, and it's up to Charlie to make it happen.

Needless to say, this weekend's series against the Atlanta Braves is key to getting the team back on track. With the Mets heading to St. Louis and Florida over the next week, the Phils should have the opportunity to take back the NL East lead, but they will have to earn it. Anyone who is banking on another Mets collapse is out to lunch and should probably come back to reality.

These next two months are going to be interesting...(By Jon McLaughlin)

Too Early To Think 2009? Boldin to the Eagles?

The Eagles have their first full team training practice this afternoon for the 2008 season. Does that mean it is too early to start thinking about 2009?

Would the Eagles have any interest in possibly trading for Anquan Boldin next off-season? Reports have Boldin royally ticked off at the Cardinals for not following through on a promise and giving him a new contract. Boldin is currently under contract with the Cardinals through 2010.

Boldin is so frustrated that he has told his agent Drew Rosenhaus to end negotiations and that he would not re-sign with the team.

Such a statement would seem to put the Cardinals in a tough spot. Do they let Boldin play out his deal and possibly get nothing for him in return or do they trade him next year? After paying fellow WR Larry Fitzgerlad big money the Cards would be hard pressed to also find money for Boldin.

So, looking ahead to 2009, how about the Eagles making a run at Boldin. Maybe Sheppard has a big 2008 and can be included in the trade package?!? Looks like this off-season all over again!!

Sorry Westbrook, I Just Don't Understand

"We might make a lot of money but, we also spend a lot of money." Leave it to good old Patrick Ewing to say it perfectly!

As an Eagles fan I am very happy (estatic!) that both Lito Sheppard and Brian Westbrook reported on time to training camp yesterday. They sucked up their pride and put the team first. Thanks guys!

But as a typical American than holds a 9-5 job, do you honestly feel much sympathy for these players? I mean Westbrook did arrive to camp in a BMW 750li. The money woes he must be facing with his current contract.

Yes the life of an NFL superstar is vastly different than the life of your typical American. Players are entertainers and earn BIG money for the owners. In return players most definitely deserve a cut of that money.

But when most Americans are struggling to put gas in their car, feed their children, avoid foreclosure on their house it is difficult to understand how Westbrook or Sheppard can't live on the millions of dollars they are already receiving. They just seem greedy! And I am pretty sure that if I kept bitching and moaning about my current pay to my boss I would just be fired!

And lastly, if players like Westbrook and Sheppard (and possibly Shawn Andrews) are unhappy with their current contracts they should of not signed such long-term deals.

If you have confidence in your abilities, sign a short-term deal. Once that deal expires and your stock has risen, then the team has no choice but to pay you! I understand there is the chance of injury, but if that is the case and you want the comfort of the long-term deal to protect you, then again, you can't complain when you outperform that contract.

Again, I am thrilled with the arrival of Westbrook and Sheppard to camp. Both players are valuable pieces to getting the Eagles back to the top. But as far as their contract demands, us typical Americans can't understand. I guess only the Patrick Ewing types can.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Westbrook and Sheppard In, Andrews Out

What a day...you kinda forget there was actually practices held today!

The day began with questions surrounding the arrival of Sheppard and Westbrook. The day continued with news of Shawn Andrews being a no-show at camp. The day ended with Westbrook and Sheppard reporting to camp by the 7pm deadline.

So I guess two out of three isn't bad. And it sounds like the third will report soon.

Shawn Andrews was absent from camp. But despite reports that his absence was contract related, new reports have Andrews missing camp for personal reasons. It is also being reported that Andrews' agent has been in contact with Andy Reid regarding the absence. The reports are still unclear if the absence was or was not excused by the team. One drama ends, another begins with these Eagles!

Though the whole Eagles family is together, it is far from a happy family.

I hope Westbrook is rewarded for continuing to put the team first. And even if his contract isn't renegotiated I have zero doubt that Westbrook will continue to give the old 110 percent once he hits the field. And I have zero doubt that the Eagles will continue to take advantage of Westbrook's strong character.

And I am tired of people saying that Westbrook should stop his whining and just honor the contract he signed. Yes he did sign the contract, but aren't NFL teams allowed to break a contract if a player under performs? They simply cut the player and the contract is void. So Westbrook has outperformed his contract so he has every right to ask for a new contract.

Yes Westbrook's current demands are a bit outrageous. But I hope that Eagles can find a compromise. Let's end the drama and get some good will going with this team!

Hey Banner, time to start cleaning this mess up. Stop being a cheap ass!

Another Unhappy Camper - Andrews A Hold-Out?

A league source tells ProFootballTalk.com that there are rumblings that Eagles guard Shawn Andrews might not show up for training camp, apparently due to displeasure with his contract.

Andrews is another one of the young Eagles players who signed an early-career contract that extends into the next decade. In Andrews’ case, he’s signed through 2015.

The first-round pick in the 2004 draft is due to earn a base salary of $2.98 million in 2008. And if he thinks that’s too low, he’ll be really pissed off in 2009, when his base salary drops to $750,000.

Is the Joe Banner way blowing up?

Andrews joins a growing list of unhappy Eagles looking for new contracts. Westbrook and Sheppard, two of the Eagles' top talents , are headlining the list. Andrews, a top talent himself, makes him the third Eagle this off-season to voice their displeasure with their current contract

Wonder who is next? My guess is Trent Cole (though probably not this season) as he is another player who decided to sign a early-career contract, which he is now outperforming.

So much for McNabb's shoulder being a top training camp story.

One Of The Best Days Of The Year

The Eagles website lets us know that season tickets are being mailed out this week!

It's like Christmas in July for season ticket holders. It is one of the first true signs that the football season is again upon us. So keep checking the mailboxes! Less than two months until we are cheering our birds on against the Rams!

This will be my seventh year as a season ticket holder. Over the past few years I've gotten the chance to experience the lows of multiple championship game defeats, but also the high of the Eagles finally advancing to the Super Bowl. I've gotten to experience tailgating Philly style and the rants that make Eagles fans the best. I've gotten to experience quality time with dad, while also becoming part of the big Eagles family that gathers year after year at the Linc.

I am excited to see what this year brings. Expectations are high and the pieces are in place for another run to the top!

July 24, 2008 - Let's Get Things Started...

Yes, training camp officially opened on Monday. But today the entire team gathers up at Lehigh for the first time (fingers crossed on Sheppard and Westbrook!). Tomorrow full team practices get underway; time to see what we got!

Here's a nice highlight video on the 2008 Eagles...E-A-G-L-E-S!!!

The Unbeatable Eagles? Just ask McNabb.

"We beat the Cowboys last year, and we should have beaten them in the first game," McNabb said. "The Redskins, we should have beaten them the first time. The Giants, we should have beaten them both times."

Finishing 8-8 last year must have been a HUGE, catastrophic letdown for McNabb! In his head the Eagles were challenging for a perfect record.

With one quote, McNabb has provided bulletin board material for all three opposing NFC East teams.

We love the confidence #5, but maybe you could turn it down a bit? Let's get that first win under our belts before we start yapping.

One cannot forget that the Eagles did finish in the division basement last year. The Cowboys posted the conference's best regular season record, while the Giants claimed the Lombardi Trophy. Who really knows if players buy into the whole bulletin board material thing, but why chance it.

Let's stay healthy, starting putting some W's on the board, and then maybe we can start talking about winning every game in the division. We love you Donovan, but shhhh!

Don't Forget About Watters...

With all eyes being on Westbrook today (will he show, will he no show?) I got to thinking, who are the greatest Eagles running backs over the past thirty years? The first names to come to mind are Wilbert Montgomery and Brian Westbrook. Both players would be hard to argue against.

Montgomery and Westbrook each have the individual statistics to support their ranking, while also leading their respective teams to berths in the Super Bowl.

One additional running back that deserves mention in the conversation is Ricky Watters. Remember, the “For Who, For What” guy? Though he donned Eagles green for only 3 seasons, he left his mark in the Eagles record books.

Watters put up some of the best statistical seasons ever for an Eagles running back. His worst statistical season as an Eagle (1997) still resulted in 1110 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns.

A quick look at the Eagles record book shows that Watters posted three of the top ten rushing seasons (yardage) in Eagles history. His most productive season was in 1996 when he totaled 1411 rushing yards, second best all time by an Eagles running back.

In addition to racking up the yardage, Watters also had a knack for finding the end zone. In 1996 Watters scored 13 touchdowns and in 1995 he scored 11 touchdowns. His 13 touchdowns in 1996 rank second all time for rushing touchdowns by an Eagles running back.

Watters was also a viable receiving threat out of the backfield. In 1995 he had 62 receptions, followed by 51 receptions in 1996. His 1996 receiving numbers helped carry Watters to 1855 total yards, fifth best in Eagles history.

Watters’ statistics lead to Pro Bowl berths in both 1995 and 1996. Watters also helped carry the Eagles to the playoffs in both of these seasons. During the Eagles wild card victory over the Lions in 1995 Watters scored two touchdowns.

With only three years in an Eagles uniform it is difficult to argue Watters being the greatest Eagles running back of all time. However his numbers deserve at least mentioning him in the discussion.

DeSean Jackson - The Main Attraction

Could training camp once again have a T.O. atmosphere? Will all eyes be fixated on the moves, the everything of one player? Does someone on the Eagles have such moxy?

Reports have that one person as rookie DeSean Jackson. Despite being only a few days into training camp practices, Jackson is already winning some praise from McNabb and the coaches on his performance.

From interviews one can see that Jackson is overflowing with confidence in his abilities. His career at Cal backs up the words. Jackson is elusive, dynamic, a game breaking playmaker. Like Westbrook, the slightest opening and he is gone...6 points!

His style will instantly make him a crowd favorite. Eyes will be fixated on him during special team drills, as he runs his WR routes, as he goes for the deep ball with his blazing speed. Cheers will be following his every action. Fans have been yearning for such an attraction since the departure of T.O.

Yes, there will be struggles for Jackson to master the play book and getting time as a rookie on the field. Rookie WRs typically don't see the field much for the Eagles.

But if Jackson can continue his strong performance through the remainder of camp, just maybe he can break past history and get playing time. Heck if Reggie Brown can get 43 receptions (Eagles rookie record), what could someone with Jackson's talent accomplish.

Regardless of what the regular season brings, it will be nice to have "that guy" back at training camp. The one you can oh and ah over...the one you are raving about on your ride back home from Lehigh!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huh? Eagles Inquire About Favre?

ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that the Eagles (yes the Eagles!) have been contacted by the Packers regarding the availability of Brett Favre (yes Brett Favre!).

The Eagles do run an offense similar to Green Bay’s, which relies on a lot of spread formations to stretch the field horizontally, and Andy Reid is a disciple of Mike Holmgren, serving as Favre’s quarterbacks coach at one time. But this is NOT going to happen!

This is probably nothing more than a rumor that will soon go by the waste side. McNabb is the starter, the star quarterback in Philadelphia. If the rumor is true, it would be the second big name star that the Eagles have been linked to this week. Reports also had the Eagles being interested in trading for Jason Taylor before his trade to the Redskins. Can't the Eagles turn their attention back to a wide receiver?!?

Though Favre would be a nice insurance policy in case of another injury to McNabb, the Eagles do not need the Favre drama. And we do not need a quarterback controversy. Last year idiots thought that Feeley was the better choice to quarterback the Eagles. Just imagine the talk if Favre was on the roster.

McNabb
is the man in Philadelphia. The Eagles will rise or fall on the play of McNabb this season. We do not need or want Favre in Philadelphia. Just stay retired Brett!

The Samuel Signing, Still A Great Move?

Well tomorrow is the BIG day. July 24, 2008. Will Brian Westbrook report to training camp? Will Lito Sheppard report to training camp?

Despite each player's unhappiness with their current contract and recent agent changes, reports have each player making the trek up to Lehigh tomorrow.

Will new contracts for Sheppard and Westbrook soon follow their arrival? Again if you listen to reports a new deal is unlikely for Sheppard (though he will be having a chat with Reid; a chat with the big guy...priceless!), but that the Eagles are trying to work out additional payment to Westbrook (though not the LT money he seeks).

As the contract squabbles have garnered the top headlines, this fan wonders would the Eagles be facing these problems had they not gone out and signed Asante Samuel to such a lucrative deal (6 yrs., $57 million) this off-season?

For the sake of team chemistry and morale would the Eagles have been better suited putting some of that money towards players already in their locker room? Westbrook is the MVP of the team, isn't his happiness more important than a new face to the team? The Westbrook situation can't be sitting well with other Eagle veterans who will face similar situations in the upcoming years.

Samuel is a stud in the defensive backfield, but again was the secondary really a position that needed upgrading? There are other weaknesses which were far more glaring than cornerback following the 2007 season.

No Samuel means no back-up role for Sheppard, no damaged ego. (If there is indeed an open competition for the starting spot opposite Samuel and Sheppard wins out, don't think that Sheldon Brown isn't going to hold back from voicing his displeasure as well). No Samuel could also mean that Sheppard isn't as unhappy with his current contract. His current contract is being constantly compared to the new, lucrative Samuel contract. And it isn't even close!

I am not arguing that the Samuel signing was a bad move. When you have a chance to sign the top free agent on the market, you do it. But just wondering now if Samuel's impact will outweigh the current contract drama and any unhappiness that is carried into the 2008 season by his teammates.

It Could Be The Eagles or It Could Be...

"I look forward to getting back to the type of season we had in 2004 that led us to the Super Bowl."

"It's the NFC, period. I feel like we can compete with all of them. If you ask those teams, they'll tell you the same, that we have the type of team you have to look out for."

Well judging from the above statements McNabb appears confident that a return to the playoffs is in the cards for the Eagles, heck maybe even a trip to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.

Outside of McNabb several experts also have the Eagles as a top contender in the NFC, a dark horse to come out of the East on top.

But in case the Eagles tumble (it's Philly, something is bound to go wrong!), lets take a look at some other contenders for the Lombardi Trophy as we enter training camp....

Indianapolis Colts: Let me know when to stop.............Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Bob Sanders..........

New England Patriots: Although they have questions with their secondary, having Tom Brady under center, and 6'4" Randy Moss out jumping 5'9" corner backs, you can't go wrong.

New York Giants:
The defending champs earn a free pass just because they are the defending champs. But with questions surrounding the team such as Michael Strahan, we wonder how this team defends its title without one of its defensive mainstays hitting golf balls instead of Quarterbacks. Forget Jeremy Shockey being gone. This team went 5-1 without Shockey, most of them against top talent and on the road, and went 9-5 with him. This is now Eli's team and we we will all watch in anticipation to see how this team does in defending its title.

Dallas Cowboys:
Seems to be that since the "Romo" era began, people have jumped on the bandwagon that is the Dallas Cowboys. Sure they have Romo, Barber, T.O. and a stout defense, but how many playoff games has this current group of "America's Team" won? Zero. Winning zero playoff games means zero Superbowl trips. However there was a time that the great Peyton Manning couldn't win the "Big Game", and by all means Romo is no Manning. Romo has had a few years of experience under his belt, now its time for him and the 'boys to make that run.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Jack Del Rio made a bold move last year by cutting one time first round pick/bust/out of the league, Byron Leftwich in favor of fourth round selection, David Garrard. Seems to be that the gamble has paid off in the short term. Garrard is good, but can we really base their future off of one year? Tommy Maddox anyone? This off season Jacksonville rewarded Garrard with a long term contract. With a stout running game, solid defense, Jacksonville has all the tools to make it far into to January. So long that our top two contenders don't come up on their playoff schedule.

New Orleans Saints:
Two seasons ago, New Orleans went on a magical run en-route to an NFC Championship date with the Chicago Bears. Last year injuries riddled this team to a 7-9 record and third place finish in the NFC South. So why would we put them as one of the Superbowl 43 favorites? All you have to do is look at the Superbowl 42 winner to determine your answer. New Orleans has made some great off season pickups with players like Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma. They, along with some other acquisitions, should help the team make a strong push toward Tampa in a wide open NFC. With a solid offense, the question remains in New Orleans comes back to defense. Last year their secondary consistently got burned by opposing offenses. But with the NFC lacking some of the offensive firepower the AFC holds, New Orleans could still be playing come February.

San Diego Chargers:
Ahh the popular pick among "experts" for 2008. People seem to forget some of the injuries that this team suffered just 6 short months ago, or that their coach is the poster-boy for the coaching carousel. Did Norm turn this team into contenders, or did the team underachieve under Marty, Wade, and Cam? Although talented on all sides of the ball, San Diego still lacks that big time, go to receiver. Last season's trade for Chris Chambers helped, or maybe the emergence of Vincent Jackson is enough. Last year San Diego overachieved and hit their stride down the stretch. We all know San Diego has the Indianapolis Colts number having beating them twice last season, but there is one more bully on the block they haven't quite overcome. I'm still not quite convinced with this team. Injuries to their Quarterback, Running Back, and Tight End does not have me convinced. But we all thought the same about the New York Giants. Anything can happen.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
The only reason this team is even on this list is the experience that they have in January football. The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a tremendous job over the year at retooling the lineup. From loosing players such as Joey Porter, Plaxico Burress, among others over the years, the Steelers know how to retool. Adding to the mix in 2008, Pittsburgh picked up explosive RB Rashard Mendenhall to compliment "Fast" Willie Parker. Parker seemed to run out of gas as the season went on. Without a solid backup, the Steelers were forced to rely on Parker a little too much. In today's NFL, the two back system is key for success(see Rhodes/Addai and Jacobs/Bradshaw) in today's NFL. Pittsburgh thrived off that type of running game riding. The power of Jerome Bettis complimented the Speed of Parker. This year they seem to have a team put together that somewhat mirrors that magical 2005 team. Now if only they could find a way to beat the Jags?

Honorable Mention:

Seattle: Running Game issues limited Seattle in the 2007 playoffs. Without 2005 League MVP, Seattle's Running Game will suffer setback with Jones.

Tampa Bay:
If they acquire Favre, different story. Until then, defense can no longer carry team.

Green Bay Packers:
Last year's 13-3 run wont happen again with tougher schedule. Oh I almost forgot, number 4 retired.........uh make that reported to camp..........uh make that got traded...........hell who know's what is going on there. If Favre returns, Green Bay has a chance.

Romo So Bad He Made The Coach Quit

As an Eagles fan one can never get enough Tony Romo bashing. Until Romo actually wins a playoff game he will always be considered a choker, a quarterback heavy on stats that can't deliver in the clutch.

And it appears that Eagles fans are the only ones who think Romo is a master of the choke.

According to a report in the Sun-Sentinel, Bill Parcells has said in an interview that it was Tony Romo’s field goal snap fumble in a wild-card game two years ago that made Bill Parcells quit coaching. “All you got to do is kick a field goal, the most elementary of plays, and then you just don’t do it. And so I don’t want to go through that process again. Too much blood,” Parcells said.

Wonder if Wade Phillips will be echoing the same thoughts upon his departure.

In a big game I'll take McNabb over Romo every time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Fast Start Is The Key

Optimism was the theme of today's press conferences from Lehigh. Reid's good mood from yesterday must have been catchy!

McNabb talked about being one of the top teams in the NFC. Jim Johnson raved about his new firepower and the different looks he can now present to the opposition.

The obvious key now is to make it through camp with good health. I love Reid's new rule of morning practices off every third day for players 30+ years of age. Keep the veterans fresh for the games that matter, show the rookies what the NFL is all about in camp.

The next step is to carry all of this energy into the start of the season and get W's on the board quick. Pad the record through the first 8 games of the season. Early wins have eluded the Eagles in recent seasons. In 2005 they were 4-4 through 8 games, 4-4 in 2006, and 3-5 in 2007.

With games against the Rams, Bears, Redskins, 49ers, and Falcons to open the season a 5-3 start is definitely achievable. With a match-up against the Steelers at home, 6-2 is not out of the question.

Give yourself some breathing room. In the event of an injury there is some padding to the record. Then regroup for the stretch run and then kick the Cowboy's ass on December 28 (season finale) for the division title.

It's really as simple as that! E-A-G-L-E-S!

The Philadelphia Eagles - Could Of Been A Dynasty

As the Eagles begin preparations for another season, it is funny to think that with a few what ifs, we could be talking about an Eagles dynasty!

The Eagles, and not the Patriots, could have been the Team of the Decade.

Instead the Eagles remain without a championship during the Super Bowl Era. The city of Philadelphia remains with a sports title for 100 seasons.

But just imagine…one off-season signee not singed, one triceps tendon not torn, one no huddle offense run, and one lucrative contract given.

The end result is at least two Super Bowl Titles and one NFC Championship.

2001: Why go overboard, the 11-5 record and NFC Championship Game loss can stay as is. 2001 is the bridge to the Eagles run of championships.

2002: The Eagles never sign Blaine Bishop in the off-season. The touchdown by Joe Jurevicius does not happen. The Buccaneers never gain the momentum that carried them to victory in the NFC Championship Game.

The Buccaneers went on to beat the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII 48-21. It is not hard to believe the Eagles not beating the Raiders in a similar fashion.

2003: Brian Westbrook does not tear his triceps tendon in the final game of the regular season. Westbrook does not miss the playoffs, and the Eagles are able to score more than 14 points NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers.

The New England Patriots will beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

2004: The Eagles go to a new huddle offense when they get the ball at their own 21-yard line with 5:40 left in the game. The game management strategy leaves the Eagles with more than 1:55 to mount their fourth quarter comeback.

McNabb can even still get sick on the field. It would just add to the drama.

The Eagles beat the New England Patriots 27-24 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

2005: The Eagles reward Terrell Owens with e new, lucrative contract. In 14 games during the 2004 season, Owens caught 77 passes for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The dynamic duo of McNabb and Owens is in place for years to come as both individual and team success are achieved.

McNabb is Back...and Sharp!

Day 1 of training camp practices are underway and the reports have McNabb fully healthy and looking sharp in the morning practice. McNabb had zip and accuracy to his throws.

So the first off-season question has been answered with McNabb showing no lingering effects from the shoulder tendinitis. The city's prayers now turn to a full season of health for #5.

And I find it funny that every off-season there continues to be questions and criticism of McNabb. Will McNabb be back for another season? Is McNabb the best QB on the Eagles roster to lead the team into the playoffs?

As preparations for the 2008 season are now underway the answers are again yes. McNabb is back and he is the best and only option at quarterback for the Eagles. The Eagles will only fly this year with a healthy McNabb.

The doubts around McNabb come from the same idiots that thought Feeley was the answer last year. Before we knew it Feeley had tossed 8 interceptions in less than 3 games! And Kolb has no real game experience and when is the last time a quarterback from Houston starred in the NFL? Remember David Klingler and Andre Ware?

Unfortunately once the clock reads zeros on the 2008 season, we will be right back to questioning McNabb's place on the team.

Come on, does anyone honestly think that Kolb is the answer? If the Eagles are to sustain success McNabb is the answer for the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Jolly Fat Man...

Looks like the big guy had a nice vacation! Andy Reid held his annual opening season press conference this afternoon and was filled with smiles, jokes, and laughter!

As the season moves forward there will be plenty of time to hate the coach, think he is an idiot, think you could do a better job. But today was the first day of what all Eagle fans hope is the first step to ending the championship drought. Everyone team is sporting a perfect record, no losses on the resume.

Some interesting takeaways from the press conference were that Reid plans to meet with Sheppard when he arrives at camp, does not plan to hold such a talk with Westbrook (showing faith in Banner to get the contract squabble resolved), and that there is open competition for the starting cornerback spot opposite Samuel (think Reid was reading my blog?).

Well time to go ALL in Eagle fans. Time to cheer the birds on, hoping that despite their deficiencies, 2008 is THE year. Tampa Bay here we come...we hope!

Byran Smith Already IR Candidate

By Justin Harlan - One day into camp, the smell of IR is already in the air. Bryan Smith, 3rd round speed rushing DE, is already undergoing an MRI for a hamstring injury. With a crowded lot of DEs, including Cole, Clemons, Parker, and Abiamiri as locks, this opens up the competition for Howard, McDougle, and whoever else wants to rumble.

Howard should be on this team. In fact, my guess would be that Howard is on the team, even if Bryan Smith is okay. His speed from the DT spot is something JJ likes to use and his production on the goalline last season was superb. Despite being overpaid and considered by many a bust, nothing can really be gained by cutting him.

McDougle's shot at making the team is a long one. The team has been seeking to cut his salary as what seems like a last ditch effort to keep him around or trade him. Overall, a cut seems more likely for McBust's future.

Keeping an eye on the DEs should be interesting, especially in light of comments made today by Anthony Gargano (WIP) and others that the Eagles were seriously in the hunt for Jason Taylor before he landed with the Skins yesterday.

Show Westbrook The Money

By Justin Harlan - Brian Westbrook and his new agent are reportedly looking for a contract worth a guaranteed $30 million per WIP's Anthony Gargano. Gargano noted on Good Day Philadelphia that the Eagles are in negotiations with Westbrook, but have only offered $15 million.

Westbrook is the best offensive player on the Eagles and perhaps the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league, but at nearly 29 years old is it a legitimate request to ask for more than LT got at 25 with 3 straight 1000+ yard rushing seasons under his belt?

Business and football can be friends and enemies, but the fans will be the ones who suffer most. Let's all hope that both sides can figure this out. Discussions of a mid-season extension seem to me the most fair and logical thing. But since when are players or front offices fair and/or logical?