R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means to Teams

Have you come back down to Earth yet? Us either!

What the Eagles did over the past weekend was nothing short of amazing. Rodger-Cromartie. Babin. Young. Jenkins. And of course, the “pièce de résistance,” Asomugha. Oh, and don’t forget, they threw in WR Johnnie Lee Higgins and TE Donald Lee for good measure too(*).

(*)Though I don’t foresee Lee catching on with this team, save for an injury… Brent Celek and Clay Harbor are the two TEs, and if the Eagles decide to carry a third, Lee will have to battle Cornelius Ingram for the spot.

The Eagles “won” free agency in the eyes of many, particularly football analysts such as ESPN’s John Clayton and Grantland’s Bill Barnwell. And many, especially the Eagles own, recently-acquired players, are calling the team a “Dream Team” or “The Miami Heat of the NFL.”  

Quick tangent: Normally, we would scoff at such talk, and beg players like Young and Babin to keep their mouths quiet and prove it on the field… But hell, we’ve been screaming for shit-talking football players since the days of Hugh Douglas! This is precisely what this Eagles team has been sorely lacking for so many years now: Balls. Big, trash-talking, bravado-spewing balls. Seth Joyner-sized balls.

This team used to have a tradition of mean and dirty, brutally physical, DOGS… the Bednarik’s, the Bergey’s, the Joyner’s, the Runyan’s. It’s finally a return to that line of thinking. Vick(**) and Desean were the start. Now Babin, Young and Jenkins fit the mold. The Eagles were in desperate need of over-confident swagger and boisterous smacktalkers. Now they have them.

(**)Seriously, no pun intended.

Even The Devil, Joe Banner himself, got in on the fun: When Howie was asked if they still had flexibility to sign more players, Banner interjected with a “Hell yeah!” Are we watching a Twilight Zone episode?!

So as we try to comprehend just what exactly is going on over there at the NovaCare Complex – Phillies jealousy? Collective heat stroke? Pod people? Commonsense added to the water supply? – let’s look at the real reason why so many NFL veterans are calling their agents : the mystique of Michael Vick.

Two years ago today, the majority of Eagles fans were shocked and flabbergasted when Vick landed on the Eagles. One year ago today, the majority of Eagles fans were questioning why Vick still held a valuable roster spot(***). Today, the majority of Eagles fans would be talking about Hunter Pence and Hunter Pence alone, as opposed to the Eagles’ embarrassment of riches known as their free agent haul, if Vick wasn’t in Midnight Green.

(***)Yes, that was us driving the bandwagon…

Why is that, you ask? Because guys simply want to have the opportunity to play with someone as special as Michael Vick. Do yourself a favor and read Chris Ryan’s piece on Grantland.com today, Flocking to the Eagles, and former-Inquirer/current-ESPNer Ashley Fox’s piece from yesterday. Usually you read stories like that about NBA superstars or the Patriots… but an Eagle?!

If the Eagles attacked free agency during the Donny Drama years with the same sense of urgency that they’ve used during this one, maybe they would already own a Lombardi. But maybe Vick holds the key that Five never could: Respect from his peers.

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