That didn’t go the way I thought it would at all. Going into this game I was sure that the Eagles would win this game. The biggest being twofold, first the Chiefs had to fly to Philadelphia for the Thursday night match up (the road team record on Thursday night games is poor) and second I assumed the Eagles players would be hyped up to play against their old coach. AND wow was I wrong. The game was the typical Thursday night slop-fest (five Eagles turnovers), 90% of which can be blamed on the Eagles. The Chiefs weren’t dynamic at all offensively, but made far fewer mistakes resulting in an easy win. The Chiefs defense is far better than I thought it would be, and there is a very good chance they will be the most talented defense the Eagles see this year. So the Birds now sit and 1-2 going into a sure as shit beating next week against the Broncos. Even though they will definitely be 1-3 by the end of next week I still think the Eagles can win the division and finish with a winning record, because Dallas sucks, Washington blows, and New York might be the worst team in football that doesn’t call Jacksonville home. We’ve come a long way from the late 80s early 90s when NFC East teams won 7 Super Bowls in 10 years, of course none of them were won by the Eagles. But I digress, back to the game review.
I’m going start off with something positive to take away from the game. McCoy had another big game totaling 158 rushing yards. My 2,000 yard prediction for McCoy is about the only that could be right. Through two games the Chiefs had allowed a total of 185 rushing yards at a 3.8 yards per carry average. Last night McCoy averaged 7.9 yards per carry. If the Eagles start to win some games and McCoy continues this pace he MIGHT enter the discussion for Offensive MVP. McCoy accomplished all of this too while missing a significant chunk of the third quarter. Three games into the season and McCoy has 395 rushing yards (averaging 6.3 ypc) and another 119 receiving yards to go along unfortunately only amounting to two touchdowns.
The Eagles pass rush showed up last night resulting in 5 sacks. Connor Barwin notched one, Fletcher Cox got his second of the season, and even Brandon Graham added one, which elicited my friend Sam to yell, “He’s alive!” Every week I’m more and more satisfied by the Eagles selection of Brandon Graham. And if you believe that last sentence you’ll also believe that I moonlight as Jessica Alba’s personal trainer. Unfortunately if we there was a +/- statistic for sacks the Eagles number for this game would be 0. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston Cal Hockley-ed Eagles rookie Lane Johnson all evening allowing him to record 3.5 sacks on Vick. Per usual some of the sacks can be attributed to Vick and holding onto the ball for what seems like an entire rotation of the earth around the sun.
Put A Little Curry On Your Hot Dog
Defensive End Vinny Curry was active for the first time this year and showed up. He sacked Smith once and pressured him a second time that should have resulted in a pick six for Connor Barwin who did everything right except catch the ball. The word has been that Curry was inactive because he can’t fit into the Eagles new 3-4 scheme, despite being the best defensive player on the field in the preseason. I have no affiliation with the NFL, but a general rule for success is find a way to use all your assets, especially when the number of talents you have is limited. If a hip hop record label came under new management and wanted to move more into the R&B genre, but still had a talent like 2 Chainz on roster they wouldn’t relegate him to the bench till his contract was up. They’d use him. I can’t see how the Eagles can keep Curry inactive again this season. Only play the guy on obvious passing downs if the belief is that he can’t hold up against the run. If he can get to the QB then he needs to be on the field cause I don’t imagine Cedric Thornton leading the league in sacks this year.
The Big Guy’s Return To Philly
I was much more excited to see the return of Andy Reid to Philly, than the return of Don Don. Reid was here for fourteen years and had a lot of success. I don’t need to run through the numbers, everyone knows them by now. Like most he frustrated the hell out of me at times with some of his in game decision and personnel decisions, but overall he was a great coach. His only fault was not winning a Super Bowl, but how many coaches win one. I’m sincere when I say that I feel lucky to have had him coach my favorite professional sports team. Reid came to Philadelphia at a time when both my understanding of sports and ability to devote the most amount of time to my fandom intersected. The block of time in my life between beginning high school and ending post sometime after my first post college “real world” job. During that time I had season tickets to the Eagles my senior year of high school with my best friend and made it to at least one game a year since. The Eagles memories I have through those years are some of my favorite, most notably watching the Super Bowl live in Australia on a Monday morning delirious from jet lag and yelling at the tv while 25 people I was going spend the next three months with looked on in horror. Had they not won so many times in that span I might feel differently about the Eagles. Reid deserves a majority of the credit for their sustained success. Eventually every sports fan loses some of their passion just due to the way life works with worrying about spouses, work, and children. But during those years when the Eagles were either the second or third most important entity in my life I feel lucky to have had Reid as the Eagles head coach.
Advanced Math: 3 x variable y = 10
Variable Y is the Eagles special teams. After forcing the Chiefs into a 3 and out on their opening drive Damaris Johnson muffed the punt (after calling for a fair catch) allowing the Chiefs to recover the ball and tack three points on the board. This of course led Vick to press when the Eagles got the ball, which led to a pick six for Eric Berry. Five minutes into the game and the Eagles were down 10-0, which ended up being the difference in the game. The Eagles special teams which looked so good the first week has fallen off a cliff since. Alex Henry missed another field goal and former Eagle Quinton Demps returned opening kickoff 57 yards. It’s always fun to write sentences with the phrase “former Eagle” followed by a positive play against the Eagles. I don’t see that ever getting old in my writing future. For good measure Henry also added a 15 yard horse collar penalty at the end of another Quinton Demps kickoff return giving the Chiefs the ball at their own 45. The Chiefs offense is pretty terrible, so neither Alex Henry screw up resulted in Chiefs points, but if he does it again next week against Manning, good night.
2005 Til’ Infinity
After the Eagles loss to the Chargers last week I had two separate conversations with my two best friends, who are also big Eagles fans, and the consensus was that expectations need to be tempered this season. The first half of the Redskins game might be a curse in some ways for this Eagles team, since they are probably not capable of playing any better than they did that half. As I said last week, this is a rehab project at best, but more realistically a full rebuild particularly on the defensive end. Just compare the defense the Eagles put on the field last night next to the one the Chiefs put on the field. The Chiefs defense features five former first round picks (Jackson, Berry, Poe, Johnson, and Hali) and three more players who were drafted by the Chiefs Justin Houston (3rd Round) Brandon Flowers (2nd Round) and Kendrick Lewis (5th Round). The final three remaining starters are free agents Akeem Jordan and Mike DeVito who were both undrafted free agents and 2013 prized free agent signing cornerback Sean Smith. Now look at the starting defense for the Eagles, who only start four players that were drafted by the Eagles, Fletcher Cox (1st Round) Mychal Kendricks (2nd Round) Nate Allen (2nd Round) and Trent Cole (5th Round). Cox and Kendricks by the way are both only 19 games into their NFL careers. The remaining starters are Cedric Thornton (undrafted free agent) Demeco Ryans (acuired by trading a 4th round pick) and the final five (Sopoaga, Barwin, Williams, Chung, Fletcher) are all free agent signings from this past off season. It has been said a million times including once by me last week, you build a team through the draft. There is no short cut in football like there is in the NBA. And the Eagles have been pathetic (which is putting it kindly) drafting defensive players for years and years now. The last impact defensive player they drafted was Trent Cole, which was in 2005. In 2005 I was studying abroad in Australia and the number one song was “Hollerback Girl.” I’m 30 now! Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Hurley were on the island, off the island, on the island, off it again and died before the Eagles could find one player to help on defense. Thankfully last year they drafted Cox and Kendricks who both show promise and could put the streak of ineptitude to an end. Between Cox and Cole though the Eagles have picked the following defensive players in the first four rounds (which I think are the rounds you can reasonably expect to find a contributing player) Mike Patterson, Matt McCoy, Sean Considine, Chris Gocong, Broderick Bunkley, Victor Abiamiri, Stewart Bradley, Trevor Laws, Bryan Smith, Quinton Demps, Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Daniel Teo-Nesheim, Trevard Lindley, Keenan Clayton, Jaiquwan Jarrett, Curtis Marsh, and Casey Matthews. Of that entire group the only players still playing for the Eagles are Graham, Matthews, and Allen. Allen position as a starter is based more on necessity than talent. The only thing that can compare to the Eagles’ failure rate of drafting defensive players is Christian Slater’s failure rate of television shows he’s starred in. Beginning two years ago the poor drafting caught up to the Eagles, which has led us to where we are now. Thankfully they appear to have players in Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Boykin, and Logan, who is at least doing well enough to deserve playing time, even if it is due to the ineffectiveness of the aging Sopoaga. As it stands now the Eagles are missing a nose tackle, a rush LB, any sort of stability at safety and a lock-down corner. If the Eagles are going turn it around it is going happen through the draft, so lets hope that by next year someone like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Anthony Barr.
The Return of “5”
So Donovan McNabb had his number retired at halftime. If McNabb hadn’t spoken a word in between leaving the Eagles and last night I might have been a little excited. But as everyone with a Twitter feed knows that has not been the case. From talking to friends that watched the game on tv the consensus was that the crowd gave McNabb a warm reception. People cheered, but the cheers for both Dawkins, who introduced McNabb, and Reid were noticeably louder. The general hope of the people in the stands was that McNabb would either A) run out of time before his speech ended, B) fake throw-up, or C) do his trademark guitar celebration which falls at the bottom of NFL celebrations with Cruz’s Salsa dance and the Dirty Bird. The highlight of the ceremony was McNabb referring to himself in the third person when he bellowed in his best African American preacher voice, “5 will always love you.” So there was that…….
This post turned into 2,000 plus words, which was definitely not my intention. My bad.
Next week I’m expecting a lot of this……