Home Field Disadvantage (Or, The Col(o)n: Where Crap Happens)

October 26, 2013

Nine straight home losses. Nine.

It’s never been done before in the long, inept history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Yet somehow the 2012-2013 Birds figured out a way to pull it off.

Is it due to a total lack of talent? That’s certainly part of the problem, sure. Does it have to do with coaching? Well, a certain Walrus who overstayed his welcome was partially involved….

But really, the lack of winning at the Linc Col(o)n can partially be attributed to the building itself.

The Linc Col(o)n sucks. Big time.

No matter what you may have thought about Veterans Stadium, at least the Vet had an identity. Opposing players were terrified of that place – mostly due to the 35% chance that they would suffer a career-ending injury on the concrete field. It was loud. It was brutal. The fans there were different. The 700 Level is legendary for a reason. It was simply an intimidating place.

I cut my teeth at the Vet, and let me tell you, the Linc Col(o)n couldn’t hold a feral cat to that concrete shithole. But it was OUR concrete shithole.

Remember the way sections of the stadium would have E-A-G-L-E-S chant battles? Remember the nuts in the crazy costumes leading those chants? They seem as distant a memory as that snow-covered Santa Claus.

What’s the Linc Col(o)n’s identity? That it’s the greenest stadium in the NFL? Cause if so, we’re not talking about the jerseys in the stands….

The Billionaire has sure spent a lot of resources over the last few years to install solar panels and wind turbines to his dumb stadium. And for what? To save money on energy and put more money in his pockets? Sure seems like it.

In what way, shape or form has any of this helped his team on the field? Do those panels that can be seen while driving on 95 help to keep the noise inside the stadium? Has he increased the decibel level of the crowd at all? Not if you’re counting pumped-in crowd noise.

And speaking of the crowds, a lot of talk on sports radio this week(*) has been about the lifelessness of the home fans at the games over this nine game losing streak. There are three reasons for that…

(*)Quick aside: As many readers of Fire The Walrus know, I am a big fan of 9.75 The Fanatic. If you’re not listening to the Jon Marks and Sean Brace Show (noon to 2), you’re doing it wrong. Those guys are doing great work and putting on really enjoyable shows six days a week.

1. Since opening the stadium in 2003, The Billionaire has successfully created a bullshit corporate/family-fantasy world where real fans are priced out and forced to wait for meaningless end-of-the-season games that nouveau-season ticket holders are too bored to attend. Hence the piped-in crowd noise.

2. Because ticket prices are so high, many season ticket holders don’t use their tickets and simply sell them every week. Almost always to opposing fans… As a lifelong season ticket holder this is utter blasphemy. I get that you want to get the most money you can for your tickets, but to those fans I say: go fuck yourselves.

3. The team has been flat-out atrocious. Obviously.

You know why the upper sections no longer have battling “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants anymore? Because it’s nearly impossible to get excited for this team.

Sure, everyone was super pumped up and hyped going into last week’s game against hated Dallas with first place on the line… But then the game started and we all remembered who the players wearing Midnight Green were.

That’s a problem(**).

(**)So are players apologizing for losing at home. Stop saying you’re sorry and PLAY FUCKING FOOTBALL!

And it’s going to continue to be a problem. I can’t even remember the last time that place was rocking. And I miss it. Desperately.

But not as much as I miss the feral cats and peeing in the sinks and feeling the sound of the home crowd go tingling up my spine. And a home field that actually had an advantage.

Fire The Linc Col(o)n.

And if the Eagles don’t end this streak tomorrow against the pathetic Giants: Set Fire to The Linc Col(o)n.


Did We Just Witness The Hoyingization of Nick Foles?

October 21, 2013

Eagles Franchise GarbageI can’t be too mad.

To be 100% honest (as I usually am), at no point in the last week did I expect the Eagles to be alone in first place of the NFC East today. It pains me to say it; I REALLY fucking hate the Cowboys… particularly those phony douchebags who grew up in the Delaware Valley and have never so much as stepped foot in the state of Texas.

But there are a few things that I’m certainly perplexed about.

While I (and seemingly the rest of the world) assumed the Eagles Defense would crumble against Romo’s potent air attack(*), it was the Offense who took the larger dump on Lincoln Financial Field yesterday(**). But it wasn’t so much the Offense as a whole, as it was the man behind center.

(*)To everyone’s surprise, the Secondary played okay. They can’t stop a third down to save their lives and Buddy-forbid Billy Davis could get ANY pressure from his front seven, but they certainly kept the team in the game.

(**)Is it too late to nickname the Linc, the Col(o)n? Because we sure see a whole lot of crap come out of there.

To be fair, this city’s expectations for Nick Foles’ ceiling was so far-fetched this time last week that he was certain to come back down to Earth. But this was something on a whole other level. This was “The Hoyinging” of Foles’ career.

We’ve been here before. It feels all too familiar.

In 1996, the Eagles selected an accomplished, but unexciting Quarterback from a major conference school in the middle rounds of the draft. During the 1997 season, the rookie QB was forced into action after an injury derailed the more prominent starter’s season. In his first two starts (weeks 11 and 12), the tall, yet unassuming QB put up decent and inspiring numbers: 68%+ completion percentage and 276 yards in the first contest, a tie; 246 yards, 2 touchdowns in the second, a win.

His third game: 62% completion percentage, 313 yards, 4 touchdowns to one INT and a shootout win at home against Boomer Esiason’s Bengals. This was the tipping point.

The week following that unexpected win against Cincinnati, the City of Philadelphia unanimously decided that Bobby Hoying was the savior of the Eagles franchise(***). It wasn’t even a question. This kid was the next Joe Montana!

(***)Keep in mind: this was only three years removed from the Randall Cunningham Era. We expected the next franchise guy to step in immediately. Just ask Dolphins fans how much fun that wait can be.

Well, what happened next? Hoying was named the starter for the remainder of the 1997 season (keeping the job midway through 1998) and immediately went on an 8-game losing streak, throwing 4 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He finished his Eagles career 3-10-1, losing his job to the immortal Koy Detmer(****)!

(****)Who, to be fair, only got the job because Rodney Peete was injured. Oh how I miss the 1998 season…..

What’s this have to do with Nick Foles?

In 2012, the Eagles selected an accomplished, but unexciting Quarterback from a major conference school in the middle rounds of the draft. During the 2012 season, the rookie QB was forced into action after an injury derailed the more prominent starter’s season. In his first few starts, the tall, yet unassuming QB put up decent and inspiring numbers: mostly his completion percentage and yardage totals in two ugly losses.

His fourth game: almost 63% completion, 381 yards, 2 TDs, a rushing touchdown and no picks.

Nobody named Foles the franchise guy after that game. But we all had hope (in a very hopeless season).

Cut to October 14, 2013.

Nick Foles has just played lights out for six straight quarters, crushing the reeling Giants in the second half of a game where Mike Vick pulled up with a hamstring, and putting on a clinic against the equally winless Buccaneers. His combined numbers: better than 68% completion, 493 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown and zero interceptions.

Once again, nearly every Eagles fan in the nation was ready to anoint Foles the franchise guy. It wasn’t even a question. This kid was the next Tom Brady!

Until yesterday. Until the Hoyingization of Nick Foles.

Quick tangent: WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!!?! I’ve never in my 30+ years of watching professional football seen a Quarterback throw such terrible passes with no sign of injury whatsoever and plenty of time in the pocket. He was able to step up and set his feet on nearly every throw. His receivers were open. It’s like his throwing arm became possessed by 2005-2009 Dramavon McNabb. What the hell happened?!

Look, it’s not all that surprising. Anyone who actually thought Foles would continue to put up Drew Brees/Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady-numbers is crazy. And realistically, anyone who thinks Foles will continue to put up JaMarcus Russell-like numbers like he did against the Cowgirls yesterday is equally as crazy.

Nick Foles’ true ability falls somewhere in the middle of those last two outings. Which side of the scale he truly falls closest to is yet to be determined, but we do know that Foles isn’t the best QB of all-time and he isn’t the worst QB of all-time. And that has kind of been the problem since day one.

What is Nick Foles? What do the Eagles have with him? Two weeks ago, we really had no clue. Today? We still don’t know. But I think it’s safe to say that he is no franchise savior. And that’s ok!

All we wanted was to see what we have. Now we know… And for the first time since 2010, Michael Vick is looking like the Eagles best option(*****).

(*****)Yes offense, Matt Barkley.

But at least we can start getting excited for the 2014 NFL Draft(******)!

(******)Internet sarcasm alert.

The most perplexing thing from yesterday’s loss though… nine straight home losses. NINE?!

It’s now been nearly 14 months since the Eagles won at the Linc Col(o)n, and as Reuben Frank points out in his depressing piece about the franchise’s historic streak, the Eagles are 5-14 at home since the start of the 2011 season.

We’ll cover the Eagles home losing streak in painful detail later this week.

Unless of course I can find a Bobby Hoying jersey to wear while I light myself on fire before then…


Vick or Foles? Does It Really Matter?

October 10, 2013

hi-res-6668278_crop_northI mean, sure, it matters…

With a healthy Michael Vick, Chip Kelly’s Offense runs at a near optimal level: based out of the read-option, Vick can hand the ball off to the best Running Back in football, throw a bubble screen to Desean, hit Celek on a stick route, or simply keep the ball with (usually) only one defender to beat in the open field. He is “The Third Heat” of Chip’s trivection oven with his ability to take off for 40+ yards at any given moment.

But, as the story goes, Vick is not healthy (at least at the moment). On top of that, and also nothing new, he’s not all that accurate a passer. He turns into a pumpkin in the red zone. And he STILL holds the ball longer than any other Quarterback in the entire NFL. That’s a problem, especially in Chip’s system.

With Nick Foles, Chip’s Offense runs smoothly and seamlessly, like a machine. Sure, there’s a clear component missing and it lacks that sense of improvisation that makes it so exciting when Vick is playing at his peak. But what Foles lacks in athleticism and running ability, he certainly makes up for in accuracy, pocket presence and touch. For a guy whose feet are seemingly stuck in cement, he sure knows how to step up in the pocket and avoid pressure. He makes the jobs of his linemen a whole hell of a lot easier than Vick does, that’s for sure.

The two QBs played equally well in the preseason, but it’s clear why Chip chose Vick – even if I still believe he shouldn’t have been brought back for another season(*).

(*)Though I was the same guy screaming for Lurie to hire Gus Bradley, so what do I know…

But now we’re back to square one and firmly entrenched in an actual Quarterback controversy(**)! So… does it matter?

(**)As opposed to the fake one we had to deal with in 2010. Kevin Kolb anyone?

Kind of. We’re five weeks into the 2013 season and the NFC East – with all of its five wins – is wide open. The Birds are currently tied for first place and, more importantly, are already 2-0 in the division. Those three losses to the AFC West? Completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Wins against the NFC are much more important when it comes to playoff tie-breakers.

But that’s why I don’t know if the Eagles’ starting QB truly matters. Sure, they have a decent chance of stealing the division from the Cowboys(***), but we all know that this team isn’t championship caliber. Is losing in the first round to a superior wild card team – most likely the 49ers or the Packers/Bears/Lions – worth losing out on a top QB prospect (though the Jags are already selling Teddy Bridgewater jerseys at this point) or a chance at a talent like Jadeveon Clowney?

(***)Who are clearly the favorites to take the East… At 7-9.

Clearly the Eagles aren’t vying for a top-five draft pick, but do we really want to be stuck in no-man’s land? If they make the playoffs this year (or just barely miss them), they’ll basically be the NFL’s version of the pre-2013 Sixers; a mediocre team stuck patching over holes instead of blowing it up and starting fresh.

And that’s really the heart of this issue. Instead of starting over and rebuilding like they clearly needed to, the Eagles front office decided to bring back the majority of the worst Eagles team of our lifetimes and see if they could stay afloat. Sure, the Offense is (at times) good enough to do some damage in the league, but this should have been the year we saw if Nick Foles can really play and if any of the young players on Defense were worth keeping.

Instead, the Birds are in the thick of a potential playoff hunt (more like a playoff “backing into”) and, as dynamic as he is at times, Michael Vick is holding the QB spot hostage(****).

(****)Except this week. But expect him back as soon as next weekend.

2013 should be about seeing what the Eagles have and don’t have. We know they still have little-to-no Defense and absolutely zero Safeties that could play in the XFL, let alone the NFL. We know the receivers fall off after Desean and that our Running Backs are our strength.

What we don’t know is how Chip’s system works. But we know it doesn’t work best with Andy Reid’s holdovers. Again, this is still largely the same team that went 4-12 last year(*****). This season is a freebie for Chip to figure out how the NFL works and figure out which parts of the roster need to be completely overhauled in order to fit his scheme.

(*****)Though it is interesting to see Chip do some incredible things with the same Offense that Andy struggled with last year (albeit a much improved line).

I realize that once you make the playoffs, anything can happen. Hell, we’ve seen wild card teams win the Super Bowl the last three years! But let’s be honest, this Eagles team is not good enough. They couldn’t stop the Chargers… why would we expect the Defense to hold Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees in check?

We know – or at least like last season, think – that Vick isn’t coming back next year. Let’s see what Foles can do and if the Eagles need to start from scratch with the most important position on the team.

Spoiler alert: they do.


Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself

October 4, 2013

Reader Alec Katzman: “You need to continue the site in some form. You were one of my favorite bookmarks even though I’m a Pats fan out west; it was brilliant.”

Reader Matthew Lippman: “We have followed you for years and now radio silence???”

I’ve received numerous emails and inquiries like these over the last few months. “Where are you?” “What happened?” “Were you really just Andy Reid trying to undermine his own job this entire time?”

I honestly don’t have a great answer for those questions(*) – though the thought of The Walrus posing as an infuriated and incensed season ticket holder is an intriguing idea. The best I can do is come clean and admit fatigue. Fatigue from losing, fatigue from being miserable, fatigue from The Billionaire and Howie and sports talk radio and from the hopelessness that was our Philadelphia Eagles.

(*)Full disclosure #1: I got married and made a career change since Andy was fired, among a few other big life changes, but that’s not a viable excuse for disappearing like I was Jeffrey Lurie during the 2012 Eagles season.

So thanks for coming back, I truly appreciate it and am here to serve you, the frustrated Eagles fan.

Let’s start over…

Why are we here (again)?

There’s a common misconception about the goal of this site and my original intentions. This became painfully clear when my phone and inbox blew up with a plethora of texts, tweets, emails and tirades after Andy’s Chiefs came in and – in all honesty – did what they were expected to do two Thursdays ago.

Let’s clear the air right here: I DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANDY REID, KANSAS CITY CHEIFS HEAD COACH.

Yes, I cared deeply that Andy was our coach, which was the impetus for this site’s inception. After more than a decade of watching the same result season-after-season, the frustration levels reached critical mass… and Fire The Walrus was born.

But just to reiterate this again: I hold no animosity towards Andy Reid the person(**); only Andy Reid, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

(**)Save for the occasional – okay, more than occasional – potshots at Andy’s potbelly.

Now he’s gone, we’re happy for him, and frankly, good for him for being 4-0 and turning Kansas City’s fortunes around. I never said he wasn’t a good coach; he just lasted way past his expiration date in Philadelphia and we HAD to move on.

But, before we get off The Walrus completely(***), one more quick word on his new gig… A question I’ve gotten a lot in the weeks following that Chief’s win at the Linc: “How’s it going to feel when Andy wins a Super Bowl this season?”

(***)Don’t worry… I’m sure his exploits will still be covered here, when necessary.

To that I say, “HA!” Sure, the Chiefs look good and are clearly poised for a playoff run. But c’mon… a Super Bowl?! I’ve been saying since the day he was hired (and yes I realize I should have been saying it right here) that the Chiefs will win 9-11 games for the next few seasons… But be prematurely knocked out of the playoffs on an annual basis. Where have we seen that before?

Quick aside on the 2013 Chiefs: Amazingly, Andy’s doing it with his old formula: an Offense based on ball control and dink-and-dunking – which Alex Smith is perfectly suited for since he can’t throw the ball more than 15 yards downfield; and a Defense that is predicated on pressure up front and a ballhawking secondary. Of course, per Andy’s M.O., the Defense is 100% out of his control. It also helped that he chose a destination that came preloaded with six defensive All-Pros.

And if Andy were to win a Super Bowl? Good for him. Who cares?! He’s in the AFC, in a completely different situation and seems to be rejuvenated. As long as he doesn’t beat the Birds in a championship, it really wouldn’t matter(****).

(****)Full disclosure #2: Of course, I say all that now. Check back in February if the Chiefs get past Denver in the AFC Championship Game.

But we’re getting off topic. The point is: we’re no longer here to discuss Andy Reid. He is no longer our problem. He’s now the responsibility of the EMS workers hired to follow him to every BBQ joint he visits in Kansas City(*****).

(*****)Sorry, old habits die hard.

So, why are we here?

As a lifelong, third-generation Eagles season ticket holder and diehard – we’ve had tickets since 1939 and I’ve been to almost every single home game for the past 24 years(******) – I put way too much stock into the Eagles. My mood and personality varies week-to-week based on their performance. I live and die by the Birds and eat/drink/breathe/sweat/bleed Eagles football, as I’m sure many of you do as well.

(******)I swear this is supposed to come off as a credential, not a humblebrag.

And that’s why these last five or so years have been so hard. They’ve been frustrating, maddening, depressing and soul-crushing. They haven’t won a home game for more than a full calendar year (September 30, 2012 against the Giants). They haven’t stopped a receiver over the middle since the days of William Thomas (Willie T!). They haven’t inspired hope in fans since that fateful Dramavon McNabb overthrow of Kevin Curtis – it hit his fingertips! – in the 2008 NFC Championship Game in Arizona.

And we have only one person to thank for all that: Mr. Billionaire himself, Jeffrey Lurie.

Has any other owner in the NFL overseen more poor decisions over the last few years than Lurie? I mean, besides Jerry Jones and Jimmy Haslam, of course… Stubbornly sticking with Reid far too long; anything having to do with Joe Banner; the “dream team” offseason; naming Howie Roseman GM; retaining Vick and any members of the 2012 secondary; anything related to the words “wide” and “9”; letting Reid use Defensive Coordinator-after-Defensive Coordinator as scapegoats; allowing his team quit on their coach. Those are some pretty shitty choices.

Chip Kelly? That decision remains to be seen.

So far, there have been flashes of brilliance and excitement – mostly the first 30 minutes of the opening game – but the jury is clearly still out on the Chip Kelly experiment.

Frankly, I’m ok with that. This year is a freebie for Chip, as hard as it is to not get worked up with every mounting loss. This roster is still mostly made up of Andy’s guys and the Defense still needs a major overhaul – something that began this offseason, but really requires another draft and influx of veterans who can, you know, tackle. Plus, that albatross known as Michael Vick is still here, keeping the starting Quarterback spot warm for whomever Chip decides to bring in next season (and Chip is DEFINITELY bringing another arm in).

What Chip does represent though, for the first time in many years for Eagles fans, is hope. We’re seeing something new and intriguing. We don’t know if it’s going to work yet, but it’s just not Andy. And really, that’s good enough for right now.

I’ll delve a little more into Chip and the issues that plague the 2013 version of our disappointing football team shortly (I promise). But for now, let’s just say hello old friends, it’s good to be back. 

And of course, Fire The Walrus Billionaire. (Still working the kinks out of that one.)


Trotter On The Walrus: “Andy Reid Got Out-Coached In A Lot Of Games”

January 4, 2013

A few months ago, we pointed out former-Eagles All-Pro Middle Linebacker/fan favorite Jeremiah Trotter’s take down of king bro-douche, Jason Babin. Now, Trotter turns his attention to the man who once let him leave town as a 24-year old free agent coming off of a Pro Bowl season… directly contributing to the Eagles blowing their best chance at a Super Bowl(*).

(*)Fuck yourselves, Levon Kirkland and Barry Gardner… And subsequently, Joe Jurevicius.

Via Philly.com’s “Pattison Ave.” blog, Trotter was on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli and ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, and made note of something every Eagles fan was aware of for the better part of the last 14 years – Andy Reid is not a good gameday coach or play-caller. According to the Ax Man, Andy’s play-calling decisions affected the psyche of the Defensive players and coaches… Something that was clearly evident watching as a fan, but is absolutely soul-crushing to hear from a player that starred on a Defense that deserved to be champions.

To come from one of his actual players, and one who absolutely epitomized the heart and soul of Jim Johnson’s Defense, really proves just how pedestrian Reid is as a coach. And it’s further evidence of who was really responsible for the early 00′s-Eagles success.

Once again, take it away Trot:

“If it came down to both teams were even, talent-wise, I think the opponent’s team would win if it came down to coaching. Andy Reid got out-coached in a lot of games, man, a lot of big games. Time outs, running the football, you know.”

“As a defense, we understood we passed the ball too much. You know, there’s times we’re sitting over there like, ‘Man, listen. Just get us a couple of first downs so we can get a break.’ And I’m sure it frustrated Jim Johnson also.”

And when asked how he would rate Andy as a Head Coach:

“On a scale of one to 10, 10 being great, I give [Reid] a seven and a half or eight as a coach.”

Which is about where we would rank him too… And we never played for him. Careful what you wish for, Chiefs fans!

Again, thank you Jeremiah Trotter! You say what everyone else is thinking and we forever love you for it. That, and possessing the ability to tackle people.

Man, we miss that.


NOT-SO BREAKING NEWS: The Walrus Migrates To Landlocked Kansas City, BBQ Restaurants Rejoice

January 4, 2013

While Fire The Walrus will continue to exist as an Eagles “watchdog” site(*), we feel like we must comment on the news today, as our not-so-dearly departed Walrus has surfaced in Kansas City, where he’ll now preside over the perennially putrid Chiefs.

(*)And currently, we’re watching this clusterfuck of a Head Coaching search by the team’s “brain” trust. More on that to come shortly.

And we rejoice!

While we fear that Andy will eventually go on to win a Super Bowl somewhere else(**), we’re pretty sure this move sets those fears back at least a few years. The Chiefs are bad. Particularly on Offense.

(**)Which is clearly our destiny as Philly sports fans…

The Walrus takes over a team that doesn’t really have a Quarterback – though we assume his QB-coaching abilities could possibly revive Matt Cassel’s career… Not so much for Brady Quinn though. The Chiefs have absolutely NO receivers beyond Dwayne Bowe, who is expected to leave this offseason, but they do feature a really good Running Back, who will now waste away with only 10 carries a game… Sucks to be you, Jamaal Charles!

Meanwhile, we saw a comment from a Chiefs fan that made us absolutely die with laughter: “Now Andy, you have to add a POWER running game with a 240 lb. Running Back to your arsenal. You do that and you’ll finally bring the Chiefs a championship!” Good luck with that Chief fans… Welcome to our world for the past 14 years!

And while Andy inherits a half-decent Defense with a nice young core – Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers – he still needs to hire a Defensive Coordinator. By our count, he’s 1-for-4 in that task over his career.

Coincidentally, Andy does now possesses the #1 overall pick in this April’s draft. Assuming he doesn’t trade it away in order to pick twice in the second round(***), Chiefs fans will most definitely get to enjoy Matt Barkley or Geno Smith for the next few seasons… until they inevitably flame out. So, good luck with that!

(***)The Andy Reid Special!

Don’t get us wrong, we fully expect Andy to transform KC – the second-losingest franchise in football over the last seven years – into a legitimate team and possibly a playoff team sooner rather than later. They do, after all, preside in the worst division in the NFL, and with very little Offensive talent, Reid has the ability to completely build the team the way he wants.

But until he finds a real Defensive counterpart and a franchise Quarterback, he’s a 9-7 coach, at best. We know that all too well.

So, have fun Chiefs fans… You’re likely thrilled to have your first coach with an actual pedigree since Dick Vermeil. But much like Vermeil, and Marty Schottenheimer before him, a name coach doesn’t guarantee playoff success.

Hey… At least he’s not Romeo Crennel!


The Billionaire Speaks, Says Very Little

December 31, 2012

Fire The WalrusLorne Michaels Jeffrey Lurie took The Walrus’ “flipper” out of his mouth long enough to address the media today… And what he said really wasn’t all that surprising.

Between blowing Andy and talking about how much he loves the fans(*), Lurie made some semi-bold statements, especially when it came to GM Howie Roseman and his job security:

(*)Though, we’re pretty sure we heard him say “the fan’s money.”

“I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the whole 2012 draft and offseason. That’s the first draft and offseason I hold completely Howie completely accountable for. The mistakes that were made in the 2011 draft have little or nothing to do with Howie’s evaluations. I think it was important for me to own up to the mistakes that were made an understand where they were coming from, and it was awfully clear.”

So, basically, Lurie blames his lifelong best friend – The Devil (Joe Banner) – for all of the team’s mistakes. Which is fitting, since Banner is no longer here and the players – particularly McCoy, Maclin and Vick – also spent the afternoon throwing their teammates under the bus(**). It’s pretty obvious that Howie had a hand in the “talent” evaluating that translated into the AWFUL 2010 and 2011 drafts and offseasons… But firing Howie is out of the question, because, you know, he just signed a five-year extension.

(**)Which was fine by us. The team completely quit and, in this town, that is 100% unacceptable.

The other somewhat interesting statement that Lurie made, had to do with the next Head Coach. According to Lurie, the next coach will report directly to the owner, while working hand-in-hand with Roseman. So… Who has the final say? Who ultimately makes the personnel decisions? Is Roseman solely responsible for evaluating talent and negotiating contracts? If there’s no true chain of command, who’s responsible when it all goes to shit?

Lurie sure has a lot of work to do. He claimed that they have an extensive targeted list of potential replacements, and they want a strong leader of men… Not a scheme. Not a big name. THAT is interesting. Does that take Chip Kelly and the Cowhers and Grudens off the list? We certainly hope so. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the remaining members of Andy’s staff – especially Mornhinweg, Bowles and April – are going to be allowed to finish out their contracts, evaluate their players and have their fates determined by the next head man… Which is really a shame. We’d LOVE to see them fired as well. Of all of the coaches on staff, only Duce Staley deserves to keep his job. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Lurie also mentioned that he feels the pain of the fans and desperately wants to win a Super Bowl… But that the stacks of $100 bills he sleeps on help to ease the pain.

Much more to come.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.