Andy’s Last Homestand

December 19, 2012

Last Thursday, well before the Eagles melted down in the game against the Bengals, we did something we’ve never done before. For the first time in two-and-a-half decades of attending Eagles home games, we sat in seats that weren’t ours.

Since we were children, we’ve sat right on the upper deck of both the Vet and the Linc, with (no pun intended) a bird’s-eye view of the entire field, able to see all of the action as it unfolded. On Thursday, with more than half the stadium empty, we found our way down into the lower bowl, exactly twenty rows behind the thief known as Demetress Bell. While it was a jarringly different experience, and what we’ve been told our entire lives was confirmed – that it’s difficult to watch the game from that too-close vantage point(*) – what was happening on the field took a back seat to what we were truly paying attention to.

(*)It was akin to sitting in the low bleachers of a high school football game… You see football happening, but it just looks like a bunch of guys running into each other. From our usual seats, you can see each play unfold – follow the QB’s progressions, see the holes opening up for Running Backs, anticipate Wide Receiver’s routes, watch the Defenses alignment and see where they’re blitzing from, etc.

Sitting directly in front of us and two seats over, was president, CEO and general owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, Dave Montgomery. Sitting directly behind us, 15 rows of seats away in his box, was Eagles owner, The Billionaire, Jeffrey Lurie. Needless to say, we spent much of the time watching the facial expressions of both men.

It was highly fascinating. We were absolutely enamored with witnessing their reactions to every boo, every disappointed grumble after a fumble or botched play or missed tackle, every scream directed at Andy(**).

(**)Yes, most materializing out of our mouths…

Unsurprisingly, Lurie’s face was vacant… Just a blank stare out towards the field. The only time his face moved was when he was conversing with that parrot on his shoulder, Howie Roseman. However, instead of kicking around names of the next Head Coach, they were likely discussing ways Lurie could cut costs or new throwback uniforms to suck any remaining money out of the fans pockets.

Quick side note: Our favorite moment of Thursday’s game came when the stadium’s PA system prematurely pumped crowd noise and chants of “Defense” through the plethora of speakers while the actual crowd was dead silent. That invoked cackling laughter from the less-than 45,000 in attendance. A particularly good moment for us, and an equally bad one for The Billionaire!

Meanwhile, Montgomery was rivaling Lurie in his lack of expression, but his subtle acknowledgement of the angry fan base was interesting. When fans were booing vehemently, he would look around with a look on his face that was, at the same time, bothered(***) and satisfied… As if he were thinking “such impatience” and “HAHAHAHA,” simultaneously.

(***)He is, after all, an Eagles fan.

Sure, the Phillies disappointed the city by missing the playoffs last season, but there’s no denying that the two teams have been on diverging paths the last few years. It used to torment Montgomery when fans would fill Citizens Bank Park with “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!” chants, as the Eagles were perennially in the NFC Championship Game and the Phillies were engulfed in a 13-year long playoff draught. Of course, the tables turned in 2008, but we have to assume that he basks in the boos raining down around him in the Linc. Philadelphia will ALWAYS be a football town first, and he knows that, but the animosity directed at this current team must be nice to the man who runs the city’s second favorite franchise.

It really was an interesting experience… To watch one franchise owner witness the bitter end of his counterpart’s “glory days.”

Which brings us to this week… The bitter bitter end.

For all intents and purposes, this Sunday marks The Walrus’ last home game as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles(****). CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher already asked how Reid will be received in his (likely) final home game, but we can’t imagine it will be much different from any other game this season. Ever since the chants of “Fire Andy” rained down on the team in last year’s 38-20 defeat to the Patriots, Andy has been feeling immense heat from the home fans. That will only continue.

(****)Until Lurie inexplicably brings him back, sparking murderous outrage across the Delaware Valley.

There will be no outward showing of heartfelt emotion, no pouring of love, no actual acknowledgement that Andy’s done, no “ride off into the sunset” for a coach that even we admit is the best in franchise history. Andy’s last home game will not feel any different than any other game. Tickets won’t be a hot commodity, because no one really cares to wish him farewell. He’s overstayed his welcome and he just needs to leave. It’s a fitting end and one that should have come years ago.

No celebration, no goodbye. Just boos. Maybe he deserved better… We certainly did.

The only thing we know for sure, is that we’ll be in our regular seats. And will still be there long after The Walrus is gone.


About Barnwell’s Defense Of The Walrus

December 14, 2012

As we pointed out earlier today, our go-to football scribe at Grantland.com, Bill Barnwell, unleashed a piece today that made everyone in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley choke on the vomit that involuntarily filled their mouths.

Barnwell’s “In Defense of Andy Reid” is the first in what will certainly become a deluge of national Reid-love/Philly-hate once The Walrus is finally gone from our good graces. And in all honesty… It pisses us off.

This is the same shit we had to go through in the final years of the Dramavan McNabb saga. The national media paints us as ungrateful; an entire city of fans who don’t know how good we have it. But the fact is, they’re wrong.

We remember, in horribly vivid detail, just how terrible the years were as Eagles fans prior to McNabb and Reid coming to Philadelphia in 1999. We KNOW how good McNabb was – regardless of that fiefdom of Eagles fans who never believed in 5 – and we absolutely know Andy’s standing in the annals of Eagle coaches.

For all the crap we talk on Andy, we certainly spend a lot of time on here pointing out his good traits – his ability to coach up Quarterbacks, the fact that he positively changed the culture of the franchise (for a time), his winning record and playoff success. So it truly irks us when people who don’t live in the area sit there and tell us that we’re too quick to pass judgement and only focus on the negative; that we don’t know what we’ve got and will be sorry when the next coach isn’t as successful.

The thing about that is… WE DON’T CARE! We know that the next coach isn’t as likely to go to the playoffs 9 out of 14 years. We know that Andy will inevitably win somewhere else. We don’t discredit anything Andy has done for the Eagles, and all of the wins he’s amassed(*). The national media completely misses the point: we NEED a change. This thing has run its course and then some. We just want to see something different. Besides… It can’t get much worse than it is now.

(*)Regardless if Jim Johnson was really the one responsible for the team’s success.

There’s a reason “Fire The Walrus” didn’t exist before 2009. It wasn’t necessary before then. We DID know how lucky we were to have Andy… But that time has come and gone. What Barnwell – who we do truly respect and enjoy – and the rest of the national media doesn’t seem to get, is that only one other coach in NFL history spent 14 years with a team and didn’t win a Super Bowl until his 14th season: Bill Cowher. And even Steelers fans(**) lost patience with The Chin.

(**)Who, Buddy forbid, couldn’t be more beloved by the national media. Because, you know, Pittsburgh fans didn’t boo Santa Claus 50-some years ago…

History tells us that Reid won’t win here moving forward, and Barnwell brings up the main reason why:

Fourteen years is a long time in the NFL. It’s enough to draft and develop a whole generation of talent, see them age, and then be forced to replace them with a second generation of talent, players who Reid drafted to replace guys he had drafted toward the beginning of his run who had either left in free agency or become too old to start. That takes a lot of skill and a lot of trust in your development process, a level of faith the Eagles deserved.

The problem is, he hasn’t done a good job of drafting the second, now-going-on-third generation of players to maintain that success. Reid’s drafts have been anything but successful, particularly on Defense. Nick Foles, Bryce Brown and Fletcher Cox may turn into good players, but they’re not Pro Bowl-caliber players and may never be. He hasn’t picked an impact player in the first round since, well, McNabb(***). Maclin’s a nice player, but doesn’t even compare to the number one wideouts in the league.

(***)Unless you count Corey Simon’s rookie season.

Barnwell’s right about a lot of things… Andy’s legacy should be remembered for more good than bad, and we may overlook some of the things that defined Reid’s tenure in the first eight years. But he’s especially correct when he says fourteen years is a long time in the NFL. And he makes the most important point of all here:

…Reid has a 130-91-2 record as head coach of the Eagles, producing a .588 winning percentage that ranks sixth in the league across that time frame. The five teams ahead of him are your standard-issue best teams in football: the Patriots (a league-best .710), Colts (.674), Steelers (.636), Packers (.620), and Ravens (.602). Reid’s Eagles sit well ahead of the seventh-place Titans, who are packed tightly in a group with the Giants and Broncos. Cynics will correctly note that the five teams ahead of the Eagles have each won the Super Bowl (and have combined to win eight of the 14 Super Bowls over that time frame)…

For all of the good qualities we should adore Reid for, he still lacks the most important quality of all: a Lombardi Trophy.

Was Andy’s tenure in Philadelphia a success? Yes and no.

We just wish national writers would stop confusing our passion with ungratefulness.


The Day After: Fumble, Fumbalaya, Fumbleruski

December 14, 2012

And the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles are back!

What a joke… The Defensive Line finally sustains a high-level of play into the second half of a game(*), and the Offense completely melts down. This team just can’t get on the same page.

(*)The change from the Wide-Gaping-Hole-9 is astonishing.

Of course, the story of the game was the Eagles inability to hold onto to the football. On three consecutive Offensive plays in the second half, Foles threw an interception (his first since taking over for Vick) which resulted in a Bengals drive and touchdown, a fumble on a botched handoff that was returned for a Defensive TD and a fumble by Clay Harbor that eventually led to a Bengal field goal. For those keeping track, that’s 17 points in under 6 minutes.

The Eagles’ other three turnovers – Maclin’s fumble on the second play of the game, McBriar’s punt that was blocked by his own player(**) and Cedric Thornton’s muffed kick reception(***) – were responsible for the Bengals other 17 points. Six total turnovers, four of which were fumbles, produced 34 total points for the opposing team. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Eagles!

(**)At least we can say the Eagles finally blocked a punt!

(***)Can you really blame a back-up Defensive Tackle for mishandling a kick that came right to him?

Last night’s performance made us think of one thing, and one thing only:

Meanwhile, after getting Philadelphia’s collective hopes up for one week, Nick Foles regressed from “franchise savior” back to middling rookie. Which is fine, he’s a rookie and he’s learning on the job. We can’t expect him to pull come-from-behind wins out of his ass every week… He isn’t Andrew Luck. Or RGIII. Or Russell Wilson(****).

(****)Oh wait… Rookies CAN come right in and propel teams to the playoffs.

The one major knock on Foles is that he can’t throw deep to save his life. Even last week, in his “breakout” performance, Foles was incapable of putting the right amount of touch on balls he threw over 20 yards. He habitually overthrows receivers… so much so, that he overcompensated last night by badly underthrowing a deep ball, which was subsequently picked off.

He will get better. He is an accurate passer and he’ll learn how to connect with receivers down field. But he still hasn’t passed the Bobby Hoying-test and we still can’t see past the blinders yet. We’ve been snake-bitten too many times before. We’d love for Foles to prove the ever-growing horde of believers right, but it’s going to take more than one comeback win against the league’s worst pass Defense.

And we’re really not trying to pile on Foles. He certainly isn’t to blame for the loss to the Bengals, even though the Offense was particularly putrid.

This was just another in a long line of effortless showing by this year’s team. And who ultimately deserves the blame for that? The Walrus, of course.

Though we’re still not convinced Lurie will pull the trigger – again, we’ll officially believe it when we see it – there are seemingly only two games left in Andy’s reign of mediocrity! Two more games to go until we’re free of living in a perpetual Groundhog Day. Two more games until this abomination of a season is finally put to rest.

It’s been a long four months. And an even longer 14 years.

A quick note:

We apologize for the lack of posts recently – and the fact that the 2012 Eagles Magical Mystery Coaching Tour got detoured – but we’re getting everything back on track and will be providing you with more of the Andy Reid hatred you know and love. Keep an eye out for a few things in the next few days, particularly a look at Bill Barnwell’s piece that posted on Grantland today: “In Defense of Andy Reid.”

Until then… Fire The Walrus.


The Day After: Foles’ Play Impresses, Walrus’ Moobs Depress Us

December 10, 2012

Jason Avant made the catch of the year (twice). The Defense finally held an opposing Quarterback under Hall of Fame-level numbers. Nick Foles led a fourth quarter comeback. And the Eagles won a game for the first time in 70 days. What’s happening here?!

We’re beyond thrilled! Sure, we want Andy fired and a high draft pick(*), but after more than two months of horrible, soul-crushing defeats, a win feels SOOOO good. We’re actually – get this – happy!

(*)That Howie Roseman will inevitably fuck up.

And how can we not be thrilled with Nick Foles?! Sure, he made some really poor passes, took some bad sacks and did this all against the league’s last-ranked pass Defense… But he was poised, perpetually stepped up in the pocket, made smart decisions, protected the ball and engineered two late drives to win a game in the final seconds. He was clutch, converting four third and fourth-down plays when the team needed him the most. According to reports, he even “invented” those final two plays – the 22-yard fourth down pass to Avant, where Foles escaped the Bucs pass rush to throw a dagger, and the one-yard game-winning touchdown to Maclin.

We’re still gun shy about declaring Foles the Eagles Quarterback of the future – the scars of Bobby Hoying will do that to you – but we certainly jumped in line for some bandwagon tickets after that performance. Even before the game started yesterday, we were questioning the merits of Foles as the starter going into 2013. The sample size was (and admittedly still is) too small to just anoint him as the franchise guy, but he’s clearly getting better with each passing game.

It was even more impressive that he performed so well yesterday without the help of a run game. And this isn’t a knock on Bryce Brown, who’s been great filling in for LeSean McCoy, but he finally came back to Earth in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers boast the league’s best run Defense, and it certainly showed. But again, they also have the 32nd-ranked pass D… So, who really knows what to make of yesterday’s performance. Again, we need to see it continue and we need to see it on a more consistent basis.

But, if the QB choice heading into next season is Nick Foles or (what many are calling an Eagles offseason target) Alex Smith, we obviously vote for Foles.

And we must mention the Defense. Sure, they weren’t overtly special, but they did hold the league’s 4th-ranked scoring Offense to a goose egg in the first half. Mykal Kendricks looked a lot better on the weak side than he did playing the SAM Linebacker spot, and Jamar Chaney seemed to have regained his swagger after returning to the starting lineup. And Colt Anderson, making his first career start at Safety, was passable. Yeah, he’s not that good… But compared to Kurt Colman, he may as well have been Ronnie Lott! Even DRC made some plays, until he didn’t.

The most impressive feat of all though, was seeing the Defense stop the run when they needed to… Something we haven’t seen in all of 2012.

As for The Walrus…

Even before yesterday’s win, we were discussing the very real possibility that Lurie inexplicably brings him back next year. Sure, we have a countdown going to what we believe will/could/should be his firing after the final game of the season… But it’s not set in stone. Until Andy is officially gone and his water tank in the NovaCare Complex is drained and cleaned, we simply won’t believe it.

In fact, there are signs that say he WILL be back. First of all, Lurie doesn’t give two shits about us, the fans. This is a fact. Secondly, Lurie’s not the type of guy to just pay someone $6 million to not be here, and he clearly respects Reid more than anyone ever should. Then there’s Daily News columnist John Smallwood’s article from last week – that you should absolutely read – claiming the following:

This Reid seemed like he might know something that the rest of us did not, and considering his close relationship with Lurie, he probably does.

Smallwood goes on to discuss the same thing we’ve been pondering: if Reid is really on his way out, why is Lurie allowing him to not only fire coaches and cut players, but HIRE coaches. Sure, bringing in former/now-current Defensive Line Coach Tommy Brasher wasn’t the biggest of moves, and it’s not like they gave him a multi-year deal, but isn’t it odd that Reid didn’t just give the D-Line duties to someone in-house? As Smallwood wrote, after the loss to the Cowboys last week, Reid no longer looks like a zombie, going through the motions and waiting to have his brain destroyed (metaphorically speaking), but a man planning for his 15th season.

We’ll have (much) more on this topic coming up, but apparently The Billionaire is planning on re-gifting us a $6 million/350-pound lump of coal for Christmas. Happy holidays, Philadelphia!

At least we can be thankful for one thing though… The Eagles don’t often play in warm climates:

Andy Reid Moobs


NOT-SO BREAKING NEWS: The Eagles Win A Game!!!

December 9, 2012

A win at last. A win at last. Oh thank Buddy, a win at last.

Jolly Reid

(GIF courtesy of @dhm)

So THIS is what it’s like to be happy during the 2012 NFL season! Who knew?!

More to come later… Let’s actually enjoy this one for a little.


Reid Admits He’s Wrong (Kind Of), Lurie’s Head Still Buried In SAnd(y’s Ass)

December 4, 2012

The Walrus held a rather interesting day-after press conference yesterday. Having fired Defensive Line Coach (and apparent asshole) Jim Washburn on the flight home from Dallas Sunday night, Reid faced the media Monday morning and “explained” the move.

While we (obviously) weren’t there, CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher was, and we want to share Mosher’s thoughts on Reid’s comments. Take it away, Geoff:

Just before he walked away from the podium to abruptly signal the end of his own press conference, Eagles head coach Andy Reid made a stunning admission that he had fired the wrong assistant coach.

Reid shouldn’t have fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo on Oct. 16 when he sought ways to improve his foundering 3-3 team, which had just blown a 10-point lead to Detroit in the fourth quarter and lost 26-23 in overtime.

He should have retained his longtime and loyal assistant and parted ways with defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who had become an unpopular and divisive figure inside the NovaCare Complex, according to several team sources and other sources familiar with the situation.

“Listen, it’s not how you draw it up,” Reid said when asked how the team could recover from losing its defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin — a Washburn disciple who was released last week — all within an eight-week span.

“I’ll end it with I think Juan Castillo is a great person and a fine football coach. Juan will have a long career in the National Football League, and rightly so.”

Reid refused to elaborate on his reasons for dismissing Washburn but acknowledged that the move wasn’t exclusively football-related.

“I’m not going to get into all that stuff,” Reid said. “I will tell you there were just things that I was disappointed in and, as time went on, that I knew. I just thought [firing him] was the right thing to do right now for this football team.”

As always, stubborn Andy admits to being wrong without directly admitting to being wrong. He is the master of spin. But an even larger issue seems to have been brought up by Washburn’s dismissal. As Mosher suggests, and Reuben Frank confirms, Jim Washburn was fractious to the locker room and habitually undermined Juan’s coaching. Per Frank:

Washburn operated apart from Castillo, running his own little defensive line fiefdom and often either ignoring Castillo or derisively calling him “Juanita” in front of his players, the veteran defensive player said. He was condescending and confrontational and embarrassed Castillo frequently in meetings and at practice and also went over the line criticizing his players at times.

As Roob claims – and we wholeheartedly agree – hiring Washburn was a mistake from the start… Especially the fact that Andy brought him in BEFORE hiring a Defensive Coordinator. That move seemingly gave Washburn carte blanche to do as he pleased and ignore whoever was put in charge of him. While the thought of Washburn’s “Wide-Gaping-Hole-9” was nice, it obviously was a failed experiment. And the fact that he was a polarizing, disruptive force inside the NovaCare Complex makes the decision to keep him this long eye-opening. What the hell was The Walrus waiting for?!

And good to know Andy allowed that to go on! It’s no wonder the Defensive players don’t give a shit; they’re too busy watching a petty pissing match between a bunch of old guys. And as we learned back in the halcyon days of the T.O. experience… when there’s a divide between one group of players and another, things go south QUICKLY. This is now the second time in Andy’s tenure (that we know of) that he allowed the locker room to become irrevocably split. How is that NOT a fireable offense?!

Seriously, this whole mess is Andy’s fault, and HE needs to be held accountable… Not Washburn or Babin or Castillo or anyone else he decides to fire over the next four weeks. Again, Jeffrey Lurie has NO BALLS. He’s the only one who can hold Reid responsible for his mistakes, yet he sits in his owner’s box with a grim look on his face and DOES NOTHING. Stop counting your money and wake the fuck up, Billionaire!

It just goes to show… Once Jim Johnson got sick and left the team (and sadly passed away), there was no blueprint for the Defense and Andy was completely, utterly lost.

As NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi points out on yesterday’s B.S. Report with Bill Simmons(*), JJ made all of the personnel decisions and masterminded the entire Defensive side of the ball. Which (more than) basically confirms everything we’ve been saying for the last however many years. The Eagles of the 00’s were Jim Johnson’s team, not Andy’s. Sure, Dramavan was the face of the team, and Andy, the team’s considerably hefty torso, but Johnson was the heart, the brains and the soul of the Eagles.

(*)Listen to the first eight minutes of the podcast, as Lombardi makes really great points about the Eagles’ lack of talent, the firing of Jim Washburn and the majesty that is Wawa. Also Bill and Mike recount a great tweet that compares the final days of the Andy-era to the final days of the Nixon Whitehouse. So, there’s that.

How do you make an eight game losing streak look worse? By admitting that the people running the team don’t know what they’re doing. Forget the “Fool’s Gold” standard. The Philadelphia Eagles can’t even live up to “tin foil.”

What a fucking disgrace this franchise has become…


Depression, Thy Name Is Eagles Fan

December 3, 2012

We were rather calm while watching that game last night. As we pontificated last week… What’s the point anymore? Why get to borderline heart attack levels and lose our voice every week, when the actual team playing the games doesn’t seem to care remotely as much?

But in all honesty… We’re depressed. And you probably are too. An eight game losing streak will do that to you.

Even worse is losing to the Cowboys. Twice. In four weeks.

We’ve always said, since the time before we were jaded and cynical(*), that the Eagles could go winless all season, as long as they beat the Cowboys. Well, the Eagles are three plays away from being winless, and lost to the Cowgirls TWICE!

(*)Yeah right! That was never a thing…

The worst part about that is: The Cowgirls are freaking terrible! Obviously not as terrible as our heroes team pathetic excuse for football players in midnight green, but terrible nonetheless. They are bad. They are not a playoff team – even if they’re not yet mathematically out of it yet – and they are certainly not a Super Bowl contender.

Last night, a non-football fan who was watching the game with us, asked if Tony Romo was good. How do you answer that?! The question came moments after Romo broke Troy Aikman’s All-Time Cowgirl concussion touchdown pass record. We really didn’t know how to answer. Sure, he’s got the numbers, but they’re more a product of longevity and the fact that the Cowgirls used to feature workhorse backs like Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker. It took Aikman 12 years to rack up 165 TDs, while Romo didn’t even need 9 full seasons. Credit that to a pass-happy NFL and a Cowboys Offense that hasn’t had a “great” Running Back during Romo’s tenure(*).

(**)We mentioned on Twitter last night that Cris Collinsworth referred to DeMarco Murray as a great Running Back… And we still can’t figure out if Collinsworth caught a bad case of the Grudens or if he’s just completely full of shit. Or both. Murray’s the best RB Romo’s had, but he’s not even one of the best RBs in the NFC.

So, Romo has the numbers, sure… But he’s only taken his team to the playoffs three times, winning just one playoff game and hasn’t been there since 2009. He’s a perpetual underachiever. And it’s not like he hasn’t had the weapons around him.

A month ago, when the Cowboys were here, someone we were at the game with noted that Romo was the Cowboys’ Donovan McNabb… And we thought that was the GREATEST comparison ever made! But when you really look at it, it’s an insult to Donny Drama. Romo is bad. And is half the leader McNabb ever was(***). But hey, at least T.O. had Romo’s back!

(***)Which is scary… For Cowgirls fans.

The only reason people even consider Romo to be a star is because he plays Quarterback for No-Longer-America’s Team… Arguably the highest profile position in sports. Hell, remember when people thought Quincy Carter was a star?! Good times!

But back to the team that matters… Losing to a shit Cowboys team hurts. A lot. Every lose hurts. And eight straight is downright painful.

It looked as if we were finally gonna get the walrus monkey off our backs last night, but then the Birds’ Defense remembered who they were. We’ll never forgive Blaine Bishop for his atrocities in the 2002 NFC Championship Game, but Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have officially surpassed him as our most hated Eagles defender(s) ever(****)(*****).

(****)Yes, even more-so than Izell Jenkins, Mike Mamula, Levon Kirkland, Jason Babin and Nnamdi Toastmugha. 

(*****)Freddie Mitchell will always and forever hold the title of most hated Eagle EVER.

This season is excruciating. We hate every second of it, yet we can’t stop watching and caring and, simply, just want a fucking win. It’s just the way we’re wired. There’s no bone in our bodies that could get us to root against our favorite team or turn off the TV. It’s just not possible. The Eagles are our heroin… We’re addicts for life, no matter how many times we claim we’re going to rehab.

Welcome to our depression. At least we know we’re not alone.