“The Best of Andy Reid” (Otherwise Known as Week Five vs. Buffalo)

October 10, 2011

There really isn’t a whole lot that can be said about that “football” game that occurred yesterday in Buffalo.

Week Five versus the Bills was the equivalent of TimeLife Video releasing: “The Best of Andy Reid,” with such hits as:

  • Dumb penalties that negate touchdowns
  • Missed tackles and blown coverages by overpaid defenders
  • Poor clock management, resulting in zero Red Zone points
  • Bad play-calling and turnovers
  • Horrendous Offensive Line play
  • Red Zone defense gives the opposition an automatic seven points each time
  • Juan Castillo, Offensive Line Coach Defensive Coordinator
  • A  hideous brain fart (Juqua Parker) that costs the team the game

Plus, two bonus tracks, including everyone’s favorites:

  • “I Need to do a Better Job…”
  • “Time’s yours.”

This game had it all! All of your favorite Andy Reid classics in one 60-minute performance!


Just the thought of this past weekend gives us nausea and stomach cramps. It’s really not even worth rehashing, and in fact, would cause severe head trauma and dizziness if we did. Just know that Juan Castillo should be replaced with the second-string kicking tee and Jason Avant’s “best hands on the team” were miraculously replaced with Freddie Mitchell’s. Also, Jarrad Page suffered a stinger while he was being reincarnated from Blaine Bishop’s corpse. Oh, and Juqua Parker shouldn’t be allowed on a football field ever again.

In all honesty, nothing’s going to change. Even if the Redskins do what every other team has done to us this year, save for the Rams(*), and the Eagles go into the bye week 1-5, desperately needing someone to be held accountable, nothing will change. Andy won’t fire Castillo because he’s too freaking stubborn to admit a mistake. And even if he does Walrus-up and kick Juan to the curb, who takes over then? Does it even matter? Would a new Defensive Coordinator make the team better tacklers or run-stoppers? Would the middle of the field be any less susceptible or the Red Zone defense any less porous? No.

(*)Meanwhile, if Steven Jackson doesn’t get hurt after his first run from scrimmage in Week One, the Eagles might be looking at 0-5, not 1-4.

Should Andy Reid bench Asante Samuel? YES! Someone needs to be punished for the way this Defense has played, and there’s no point to benching Linebackers that don’t exist. Asante is a bum, we’ve been saying it for years. It doesn’t matter how many interceptions he gets (just one for the year, by the way), he is the worst example of how to play Defense. But beyond whiffing on tackles – or, more appropriately, shying away from tackles completely – he just doesn’t give a shit. Asante cares about his INT numbers first and everything else second… which is exactly why he could be seen shrugging his shoulders after giving up a huge Bills’ touchdown (which one, who remembers… or cares to…).

Vick threw three interceptions in a 21 minute span. So that happened. Shady McCoy was doing awesome Shady McCoy things, until The Walrus forgot he was a member of the team. Brent Celek let everyone know he’s still alive with his ninth (yes, ninth) reception of the season. Danny Watkins, King Dunlap and Dan Kelce made us miss the days of Bobbie Williams, John Welbourn and Hank Fraley. Just a beautiful day all around!

And credit must go to Bills’ Head Coach Chan Gaily, for keeping the Eagles in the game. Fred Jackson could have ran for 432 yards on the Eagles D, but Gaily wanted to see the Eagles make a game of it and decided to pull a Reid of his own.  Jackson finished with 26 carries, but if Gaily was smart, he would have finished the day with 50 and the Bills would have won by a score of 137-who cares. So, thanks Chan Gaily!

Can you guys tell how miserable/punchy/hopeless we feel today…

Meanwhile, Vegas has posted the odds for Andy Reid to be fired, and they’re the same odds as the Eagles winning the 2011 Super Bowl… because this is Philadelphia, and God hates us.

The Day After: Is It Too Late For A Lockout?

October 10, 2011

Well, here we are… one of the lowest points in recent Philadelphia sports history. Who would have thought that July 29 – the infamous day where, in a two-hour span, the Eagles surprisingly signed Nnamdi Asomugha and the Phillies miraculously traded for Hunter Pence – would be the apex of the 2011 sports year for our tortured city? That was it. That was our championship.

There was so much hope that day, and the weeks to follow. The future looked so bright for our two favorite franchises(*) and our city was envied by sports fans across the country. The Eagles and Phillies were being LAUDED nationally… a feat so rare, it comes around as often as Halley’s Comet. Philadelphia was on the precipice of greatness, of championships, of parades… But, realistically, just on the precipice of failure.

(*)Yes, we’re four-for-four and love the Sixers and Flyers too. But we all know that the winter sports aren’t as meaningful as the summer/fall ones… at least until the playoffs start. It’s awesome that the Flyers are 2-0 and look great, but realistically, call us in May/June.

And it’s not typical failure either. The Phillies – easily the most talented team in the National League, and on the paper, the strongest team in all of baseball – failed epically. Forget everything that happened before Game 5 of the NLDS(**), the Phillies went into the most important game of the season with the best pitcher in baseball on the mound… and he threw a one-run gem! Except they couldn’t even get a man to THIRD BASE?! They couldn’t muster more than three hits, let alone a single run.

(**)Oh, Cliff and your four run lead…

Not to be outdone – and/or in an effort to steal headlines from the woeful Phillies – the pathetic Philadelphia Eagles burst out of the gate in 2011 about as well as Ryan Howard leaves the batter’s box: Crippled. The Eagles could have started 2-3 and it would have been considered a disaster. But no… that wouldn’t be enough for our fragile psyches. The Walrus’ “team” stands at 1-4 and our fans stand on the edge of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Sports are supposed to be the distraction from our shitty lives. Our country is in an awful place, our economy is fucked, our entertainment consists of idiots from Jersey and a rich, spoiled, untalented Armenian family, we’re overworked, underpaid, pissed off… And our sports teams are simply exasperating the situation. There is nothing to look forward to, no hope on the horizon.

Sure, there’s always next year… but unless next year includes a new football coach and new starting lineup for our baseball team, there’s just going to be the year after that.

Was 2008 an aberration? A fluke? A once in a generation moment of success and pleasure, that won’t return for another 25 years? It certainly feels like it. It feels like 2008 didn’t even happen. We’re right back to where we started: always expecting the worst, always experiencing the worst.

If you can’t tell, depression is in the air today. What transpired over the past 72 hours was pure torture. It’s taken every last bit of feeling and emotion out of us. Its kicked us in the teeth and punched us in the stomach.

Where do we go from here?

It’s not like a 1-4 start, or even a 1-15 finish, will mean the definite end of The Walrus’ regime. The Billionaire and The Devil LOVE Andy. He can do no wrong. Even failing with a team (supposedly) as talented as this one, isn’t a sure thing to get him a pink slip. And doesn’t that seem where we’re headed? The disappointment and frustration isn’t enough… let’s keep the heart of the problem here and see how he can fuck it up again next year. Let’s continue to dig the knife deeper into the hearts of Philly sports fans.

We didn’t post this last night after the game, because we knew it would be a rambling, incoherent mess(***)… and obviously it still is. It’s impossible to wrap our brains around the pain we feel right now. It’s too much to even talk about Jason Avant or Juqua Parker or Blaine Bishop Jarrad Page. The individual pieces don’t matter. The entirety of the Eagles organization (and Philly sports in general) is horrifically flawed. It needs to be blown up. It needs to start from scratch. It needs to Fire The Walrus.

(***)You know, as opposed to everything else we write…

We’ll wrap this mess of a post up with something Mike Florio wrote on profootballtalk.com this morning:

“So when going ‘all in’ and losing, what happens?  Do you get a new pile of chips to gamble next year?  Or is there accountability for making a bad bet?”

We want to know the same thing Mike… we want to know the same thing. Unfortunately, Andy Reid is staked to a seemingly endless supply of chips. Will The Billionaire and The Devil ever call his bluff?

Are we sure it’s too late to have that lockout?

 More to come… (including an actual recap of the embarrassment that was the Eagles versus the Bills).

Project #OccupyNovacareComplex

October 6, 2011

You’re probably aware – or at least should be aware – that there is a movement going on right now in New York City (and being adopted by various other cities) known as Occupy Wall Street. In short, Occupy Wall Street is a protest against the fat cats on Wall Street who are responsible for our failing economy and the fact that they NEED to be held accountable.

The movement is keeping up a running theme that’s currently in vogue throughout the world: Revolution.

So far in 2011, we’ve seen a revolution in Egypt, uprisings in Syria and Yemen, riots and protests across the Middle East, in Wisconsin, and now on Wall Street. Demanding accountability and repercussions for actions is all the rage these days, and it is high time die-hard Eagles fans jumped on that bandwagon.

Now, we’re not actually suggesting a physical revolt or violent protest… But The Billionaire and The Devil NEED to be told how we (the paying, forever-loyal customers) feel about the current state of the team. Much like the Wall Street execs that don’t give one shit about the rest of this country and the awesome predicament they put us in, Lurie and Banner simply tune out the fans, our complaints and our burning, never-fleeting desire to see the Eagles WIN A FREAKING SUPER BOWL.

We demand satisfaction. We demand respect. We demand a football coach who is more concerned with the play on the field than a reporter asking him a question he doesn’t like. We demand a Lombardi trophy and a coach capable of delivering one.

We’re putting out a call to all Eagles fans and everyone in Fire The Walrus nation: Get on your Facebook, get on your Twitter, get on your Google+ (that’s still a thing, right?), get on the Eagles’ message boards, get on 9.75 and 94.1, and let the Eagles’ bigwigs know that we will no longer stand for this!

We demand accountability for The Walrus’ crimes against Eagles fans. Forget the economy failing our country… our team is failing our city. This isn’t football, this is life… and Andy Reid has pushed us around for too long!(*)

#OccupyNovacareComplex! #OccupyTheLinc! #FireTheWalrus!

(*)Please note: This is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. In no way are we trying to undermine the importance of what’s going on around the world.

Whisker Wednesday

October 5, 2011

Yes, you read that right… It’s the long-awaited return of Whisker Wednesday!(*)

(*)Assuming you’ve been waiting patiently by the computer for it…

Strained Relationships
Over at Philly.com, Paul Domowitch discusses the fine points of The Walrus’ straining relationship with the Philly media. Domo touches on some good points, particularly how the tenure of a coach has a direct effect on that coach’s relationship with the local media. More or less, the longer a coach remains in one place, the less information he thinks he needs to provide to the media. According to Domo:

“After 13 years as the Eagles’ king, after 13 years of listening to his agent tell him how powerful and omniscient he is, Reid feels he can do pretty much whatever he wants, whether it’s promoting an offensive-line coach to defensive coordinator or defying the NFL’s media policy.”

Another point revolves around the fans and what they want. Domo claims its information, but this is where we disagree. Eagles’ fans have disliked Reid for so long for one reason more than any: his arrogance. We touched on this the other day, but it’s true. It’s not that Reid doesn’t give enough info in his press conferences – like Domo says in the article, or common sense would dictate, the majority of coaches are withholding and stingy when  it comes to sharing information – but the fact that he has such an attitude about it.

Again, Walrus, you didn’t invent the game of football. Come down from that ivory (tusk) tower and remember that YOU HAVEN’T WON A DAMN SUPER BOWL YET!

Calling Danny Watkins
If you haven’t heard yet, 2011 first-round pick Danny Watkins will finally step foot onto a football field this year… to play!

Honestly, who cares? Watkins is yet another in a long line of underwhelming Andy Reid first-round picks. Sure, Brock Lesner’s twin hasn’t played a down of regular season ball yet, but we all know what’s coming, right? Failure.

Maybe it was the lack of an offseason, but Watkins got a chance in preseason and was clearly overwhelmed and overmatched. Reading the tea leaves, this doesn’t bode well with his pro prospects. Offensive Line, particularly the Guard spot, is usually a position that rookies are capable of stepping right into. So far, not so much for Watkins. We hope he proves us wrong… but he likely won’t.

The Dream is Dead
Vince Young may have declared this Eagles team to be a “Dream Team,” but like the back-up he is, his comment now has to take a back seat to the team’s real leader.

According to CSN Philly’s Andy Schwartz, Mike Vick has officially declared the “Dream Team” label dead. Thank Buddy!

“I think the Dream Team … that word is dead now,” Vick said Wednesday before practice. “You can’t talk Dream Team anymore. Maybe it put pressure on some players, maybe it didn’t. But I think just the fact that people turned it around and was talking about it creates a sense of pressure.”

Oh Michael, how we wholeheartedly agree… until he followed that up with this doozy:

“I think that’s over with now,” he said, “and I think that we’re one of the teams that scratch and kick from the bottom now and figure out how we’re going to get ourselves back to a position of being one of the best teams in the league.”

You know how you do that, Mike? Lose(**). Get The Walrus fired. And maybe put your team in a position to draft the next coming of Joe Montana Andrew Luck.

(**)We cannot actually root for the Eagles to lose… no matter how much closer it makes the “Walrus Fired!”  headline to being a reality. It’s just not in our makeup. It would be like rooting for a family member to commit suicide.

The Walrus Has No One To Blame But The Walrus Himself
In case you weren’t sick of fed up with murderous at Andy Reid for continuously claiming that HE needs to do a better job, Reuben Frank wrote an entire piece on CSN Philly yesterday about Reid putting the blame for the 1-3 start on his own bulky shoulders.

It’s chock full of Reid’s typical bag of cliches and half-assed excuses. Give it a read, it’ll infuriate you. It’ll get your Walrus-hating juices flowing. It’ll make you puke in your mouth when you remember he’s been saying this same bullshit for 13 FREAKING YEARS NOW!

“We’ve got to make sure we fix it,” Reid said. “I obviously don’t like what I’m seeing, and I’m a part of that problem.”

No Andy… you ARE the problem!(***)

(***)You know, and the whole no tackling thing…

Make sure you all thank Rube for yet another reminder of why we desperately need to Fire The Walrus!

Just Because

October 4, 2011

It never gets old…

If only Reid’s brain was as strong as his pituitary gland!

Mikey Miss Versus The Immovable Object: The Walrus’ Fat Arrogance

October 3, 2011

This morning, our old comrade Mike Missanelli went down to The Walrus’ morning after press conference mumbling/heavy-breathing/answer-dodging triathlon, and did something no “journalist” in Andy’s inner circle has the balls to do: grill him. Actually try to get a hard answer out of him. Who knew it was possible! (Hint: it’s not.)

The topic at hand was Ronnie Brown’s monumental brain fart and the fact that Brown told CSN Philly’s Derrick Gunn that the play was a designed run/pass option, yet Gunn didn’t have the wherewithal to ask a follow-up question – like “Was the play designed for you to throw the ball from the ground?” or “Were you dropped on your head as a child?” So Mikey Miss, in his always-lawyering-everyone mentality, pried Andy about the play, specifically asking why he would call a play that’s not traditionally effective in the goal line situation. And Andy, of course, pried right back.

It’s classic, stubborn, uppity Andy Reid. Not only does he avoid answering the question entirely, but attempts to demoralize Missanelli with a little bullying. He literally accuses M-squared of ignorance for not attending practice(*).

(*)Queue Iverson.

“How dare Mike Missanelli ask a pertinent question! Who does he think he is? He doesn’t show up to practice everyday… like Eskin!” That’s the only thought process Reid must use when his logic is questioned. Didn’t you know: Andy Reid invented the game of football!

Also, that rat Howard Eskin attends every practice because his mouth is surgically attached to The Walrus’ lap.

Listen to the audio over at 97.5 The Fanatic, or see the video at The 700 Level(**) (or below, maybe). It’ll frustrate you even more!(***)

(**)Link also has a very enjoyable story about Eskin putting his schmucky Burger King foot in his schmucky Burger King mouth!

(***)The whole point of being an Eagles fan is masochism, right? RIGHT?!

More tomorrow Walrus loathers!


The Day After: Our Sunday of Discontent

October 3, 2011

Man, we knew the Eagles and Phillies like to show each other up, but yesterday reached a new level in the city’s “friendly” rivalry. The Phillies just couldn’t let the Eagles have the “choke-job” headline! They HAD to one-up the Birds and take the attention for themselves…

In all seriousness, words can’t describe the level of venomous anger that we feel after yesterday.

Where do the Eagles go from here? Ideally, they would lose the next 12 games and jump into the Andrew Luck sweepstakes(*), but you know that The Walrus would find some way of screwing that up – like winning a meaningless game in week 17 to take the team out of the running for the first overall pick. But, realistically, this team is headed for a 7-9, 8-8 or 9-7 season at best. And 9-7 even seems out of reach.

(*)Please don’t think that we actually view this as a possibility.

Sure, it’s only been four weeks and is too early to declare the Eagles season over… but, like we mentioned yesterday, they aren’t likely to overcome their current record. And they don’t exactly have the infrastructure in place to turn this thing around.

The Eagles are fundamentally flawed.

That is not news. We’ve known as much for the past couple of years. But it is as clear as day that this team is in major trouble. Again, they can’t tackle. They can’t play in the red zone on either side of the ball. They can’t protect the ball on Offense (more on this in a minute) and struggle to take it away on Defense. Their Defensive Coordinator is so painfully under-qualified(**) that they may as well have kept Ginger McDermutt(***). The only difference between the 2011 Secondary and the 2010 incarnation is that Nnamdi Asomugha makes roughly $11 million more than Dmitri Patterson did.

(**)And boy, is THAT an understatement!


(***)That’s former-Defensive Coordinator/Fire The Walrus-whipping boy, Sean McDermott for our newcomers.

It’s perplexing. It really is. Even after sleeping on it and collecting our thoughts, we still can’t seem to wrap our heads around the abject failure this season is turning out to be. We could/would never root for the team to lose or do poorly, but at this point, tanking the season is the only way Andy Reid loses his job. And even then, it’s not a sure thing, as Joe Banner The Devil basically insinuated that The Walrus is more or less the “coach for life.”

But everything must go. From the top down, this team needs to be broken up and sent packing. The coaching staff is hideous, the Defense is a disgrace and the Offense, even with its “star playmakers,” has few redeemable qualities.

Speaking of which… When did Andy Reid hire L.J. Smith to teach the Offense how to carry the ball? Vick, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Harbor… they ALL carry the ball in one hand, stretched out in front of them! Why?! Why are they incapable of tucking the ball in and protecting it?! And this started WAY before Maclin’s ridiculous fumble in the fourth quarter yesterday. It’s been going on since last year, and is absolutely infuriating. L.J. Smith was famous for carrying the ball like a loaf of bread(****) and cost the Eagles numerous fumbles. The fact that the coaching staff has allowed this to continue is just one more indictment on how frustratingly horrendous they are at their jobs. What the hell are the Eagles paying their coaches to do?!

(****)Copyright Pat Summerall.

Again, words can’t even begin to describe the level of vitriol we currently have for this team. It is mortifying to be an Eagles fan right now.  There is no pride in rooting for a team that has no heart and no desire. It’s maddening. It really is. We can’t even coherently rant…

Just look at what Cullen Jenkins, one of the very few bright spots this season and someone who played for a Super Bowl-winning team last year, had to say about the current state of the Eagles (via Dan Graziano’s NFC East blog on ESPN.com):

Regarding the mood in the locker room at halftime of the San Fran game – “I think it was a little bit too happy in here. Just because you’ve got a lead in the game doesn’t mean you’ve played a good game.”

Something we’ve been preaching since Fire The Walrus started – “The biggest thing we’re missing in here is the attitude. There’s not that fire, that mental toughness that makes you think you’re going to make it happen. And we’ve got to get that. At some point, the man in you has to come out.”

And finally, the truth – “There’s a lot of talented teams around the league that never win, and it’s because they don’t learn how to play the game as a team.”

Yep, that sums it up nicely!

Like we’ve been saying from day one on here, the Eagles lack the type of players that win in the NFL. There is no leader on the Defense, no Dawkins/Trotter/Douglas that can be relied on to step up and make a play, or get in his teammates faces and rile them up. There is no Jim Johnson to cover up Andy Reid’s flaws.

There’s just The Walrus, The Offensive Line Coach and a collection of players with no determination or heart.

This is your 2011 Philadelphia Eagles team. This is the season of our discontent.

This is the season to Fire The Walrus.

NOT-SO BREAKING NEWS: Um, What Happened?!

October 2, 2011

Ummmmm, what happened?!

Well the Eagles “Dream Team” Defense had a Mets-style(*) meltdown in the fourth quarter – for the third week in a row! – to a team with an Offense ranked 28th overall in the NFL in passing and 30th overall in the NFL in running. You did not misread that!

(*)Or Red Sox or Braves-style collapse for the fans of recent analogy history.

That’s what happened.

Remember the scene in The Big Lebowski, where Walter Sobchak (John Goodman’s most transcendent performance) famously freaks out on the kid Larry Sellers, who stole the Dude’s car, “You see what happens?! You see what happens Larry?! You see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass?!”(**) That’s what we’d like to do to Andy Reid right now… “You see what happens?! You see what happens Andy?! You see what happens when make your Offensive Line Coach your Defensive Coordinator?!”

(**)Please note: the link is the edited-for-TV version, which hilariously changes Walter’s: “You see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass?!” to “You see what happens when you fool a stranger in the Alps?!” Always loved that edit!

This is unreal! Who would have thought that, with the additions of Asomugha, Babin, Jenkins, DRC, Page, Matthews (HA!), etc., the Birds’ D would somehow be worse than last year’s pathetic group? We’ve covered Fredo extensively, but what about Jarrad Page? That dude may as well be named Blaine Bishop! Nate Allen is not what he was pre-injury. Babin and Jenkins have actually been fantastic… rushing the QB. The line can’t stop the run, the Linebackers can’t stop the run and the Secondary can’t stop the run. Oh, and NO ONE CAN TACKLE! Because, you know, tackling is not something that’s important in football…

And forget the D, does Ronnie Brown have a head injury?! Did his preseason concussion baseline test not show the massive tumor blocking whatever part of the brain makes decisions?! What the fuck was that?! Has any skill position player in the history of football ever decided to look back and throw the ball to no one in particular, even though he was less than two inches from being down and had four opposing players in his line of vision? Is Ronnie Brown color blind? Can he not tell the difference between green and red? So many questions! I hope Jon Dorenbos takes the initiative and asks him, in his long-going attempt to take Dave Spadaro’s job!

But back to the issue at hand… The philosophy that Andy Reid used to build this team – get the lead with a “high-powered” Offense early, protect the lead by pressuring the QB and taking away his Receivers – is extremely flawed, this we know. But it’s never back-fired this spectacularly. Three straight weeks, three straight leads going into the fourth quarter, three straight losses:

Week Two versus Atlanta
31 – 21 with 1:59 remaining in the third; lost the lead with 4:48 remaining in the fourth

Week Three versus NYG
16 – 14 with :59 remaining in the third; lost the lead with 8:07 remaining in the fourth

Week Four versus San Fran
23 – 3 with 9:30 remaining in the third; lost the lead with 3:00 remaining in the fourth

Can the Eagles survive 1-3? Probably not. They started 0-2 in 2003 and made it to the NFC Championship Game. They started 2-2 last year and ended up making the playoffs. But 1-3? They are in trouble. Serious trouble. But thankfully, maybe, hopefully, Walrus firing trouble.

We need to try to wrap our heads around this one. Much, much more coming tomorrow and the rest of the week. And for those who look for us on Twitter and here during home games: FYI, The Billionaire decided to block phone service in the stadium so that fans are forced to (but don’t) rent their bullshit “Fan Experience” thing that gives scores and highlights for around the league. Because God forbid fans should be allowed to communicate with the outside world watching on TV. Or, you know, bash the team share their feelings on social media.

Fuck it dude… let’s go Phillies!

Walrus Droppings: The First Three Weeks

September 27, 2011

While we applaud Andy Reid’s new-found dedication to the running game – is it because Shady is the best Eagles Halfback since Wilbert Montgomery (a deadly combination of Duce Staley’s toughness/center-of-gravity with Brian Westbrook’s agility and explosiveness), or because Vick’s going to take more hits this year than Doug Benson? – let’s review the bad, the worse and the ugly from the first three weeks of the Eagles’ 2011 campaign.

Week one versus the Rams
Do you remember the scene in Major League, in the first game of the season, where Indians’ announcer Harry Doyle (Bob Uecker) says: “A lotta people say you can tell how a season’s gonna go by the first hitter of the year,” and Willie “Mays” Hayes (Wesley Snipes) hits a soft little dribbler? That scene always comes to mind on the first play of any season… Well, the first play of scrimmage for the Eagles Defense this year resulted in a 47-yard, almost untouched, Steven Jackson touchdown. Just saying…(*)

(*)Though, it should be noted that Hayes beat out the throw to first in the movie and the Eagles turned that game around. So, who knows?

Week two versus the Falcons
Man, this was such a winnable game. It was a horribly frustrating game to watch – super sloppy, lots of injuries – but it was hard to get too upset about the loss though, because: A) we expected the Birds to start 1-1; B) Vick’s injury was such a freak thing, turning into a brick wall Todd Herremans’ concrete thigh; and C) Kafka looked good.

But the bad was still BAD: If Vick doesn’t get taken out of the game by Herremans’ leg, they win that game. Plain and simple. There was no way Vick was letting them lose that game… although it would have been nice if could have Bednarik’d(**) and helped the Defense stop Tony Gonzalez and/or Michael Turner.

(**)Yup, that happened.

Speaking of Tony G… How old is he? 53 at this point? And he shredded the Eagles’ D like he was a Patriots’ Tight End. Ugh. It’s going to be a long season. Here are the Running Back/Tight End combos the Eagles still face:

San Fran: Frank Gore/Vernon Davis
Buffalo: Fred Jackson/Scott Chandler
Washington: Tim Hightower/Fred Davis
Dallas: Felix Jones/Jason Witten
Chicago: Matt Forte/Kellen Davis
Arizona: Beanie Wells/Todd Heap
NYG: Ahmad Bradshaw/Jake Ballard
New England: Woodhead and Green-Ellis/Hernandez and Gronkowski
Seattle: Marshawn Lynch/Zach Miller
Miami: Daniel Thomas/Anthony Fasano
NYJ: Green and Tomlinson/Dustin Keller

Of those eleven opponents, only Chicago, Seattle and maybe Arizona and Miami don’t pose a HUGE threat to the interior of the Defense – though Wells/Heap or Thomas/Fasano could make some noise. But the rest are daunting when you look at the blueprint Atlanta laid out for the rest of the league.

That New England game is terrifying. Not only do they have two beasts of Tight Ends who can eat up the middle of the field, but Wes Welker, who may be one of the greatest Slot Receivers of all time. That team is going to put up major numbers against the Eagles’ Defense (at least as it stands today).

And watch out for Washington. They might just be a legitimate playoff team. Save for the ending of last night’s loss to the Cowboys, their Defense is stellar and Rex Grossman – yes, THAT Rex Grossman – is playing well (68 percent completion rate, around 850 yards, five touchdowns)(***).

(***)Do you realize Rex Grossman has never taken a snap against the Eagles?! This blew our mind. We could have sworn he was playing QB the game the Bears won at the Linc in 2007 (with the bullshit fumbled snap/false start call), but according to profootballreference.com, it was the immortal Brian Griese.

Another bad terrible thing from that Falcons game: Reid not challenging Kelvin Hayden’s interception in the third quarter. The ball CLEARLY touched the ground and would have been overturned. The Walrus isn’t afraid to make some of the worst challenges in the NFL, but for some strange reason decided to keep the red hankie in his pocket on this blatant call?! Needless to say, the Falcons only needed two plays to get into the endzone, and put the Eagles in an eleven point hole.

If Reid throws the flag, the whole complexion of that game might change. The Eagles would have retained position at their own 40 yard-line, with only four points to make up. And considering the Offense was able to score touchdowns on three of their next four possessions, it’s safe to say that it’s a different game if they keep the ball there. HUGE mistake, assuming the flag didn’t get caught in The Walrus’ flippers.

Week three versus the Giants
There was one aspect of this game that we didn’t mention yesterday that is a major thorn in our side.

Everyone who knows Andy Reid knows that he’s a sensitive guy. He seems to have a thing for poetic justice and serendipitous circumstances, and that often shows on the field. So, of course, what happens when Andy trots out Steve Smith in the red zone against his former team (which ended in a messy way)? Everyone in the stadium, including Tom Coughlin and the Giants’ Secondary, knew the ball was going to Smith in the end zone… and it did, on not one, but TWO red zone trips – the first of which ended in spectacular fashion, with the ball careening off Smith’s hands and into the arms of Giants’ CB Aaron Ross.

It’s bad enough this “high-power Offense” struggles mightily to score in the red zone. But it’s even worse when Reid calls a play that might as well be broadcasted on the two HD video screens(****). Smith wasn’t even the number one option on those two plays… he was the ONLY option. Watch them again. Vick doesn’t go through progressions, he just stares down number 11. And we knew that was the call the instant Smith entered the field.

(****)And we’re not even talking about the awful telegraphed goal line sequence that occurred in the third quarter.

Way to keep them guessing, Andy!

As it stands now…
Yesterday, we discussed how the make-up of this Eagles team – built to get the lead and protect the lead, and not play any other way – and how that translates to success. Again, a team built around passing the ball and stopping the pass can win games and make the playoffs, but how far can that style take a team? Is it sustainable for a playoff run?

The football purist in us says no – though any team can get hot/lucky at the right time and win three or four games in a row in the playoffs, regardless of style (see: 2007 Giants, 2009 Saints). But realistically, games change in January. Teams get tougher. Running the ball and stopping the run matter more. And this is where good teams separate themselves from streaky teams.

As it stands right now, the Eagles would not fare well against teams like the Packers, Falcons or Saints. Detroit could be thrown into that group. Even teams like the Buccaneers and Panthers – though not necessarily playoff contenders – have the infrastructure to beat the Eagles.

The division is another story, though. The Cowboys are built much like the Eagles, and even though the Giants smacked the Birds at home (and have the recipe to beat them), they still seem like a team on a downward slope. The Redskins, surprisingly, appear to pose the biggest threat. Not a good year for the NFC BEast.

A Call to Arms Flippers
Hey Fire The Walrus Nation… Are you passionate about the Eagles and think Andy Reid needs to be fired? (Of course you are, you’re reading this, aren’t you?) Are you a writer, or capable of piecing together words into coherent thoughts and sentences(*****)? Do you have something to say about the current state of the team?

(*****)Not that we can 100 percent of the time, but still…

Well we need you! In order to give you more content and more regular postings here at Fire The Walrus, we are looking for contributors. Whether you have an idea for a running column or a one-off post, let us know! Send your ideas or queries to firethewalrus@gmail.com. (Please note, there is no payment involved, as Fire The Walrus is a not-for-profit endeavor).

Together, we can Fire The Walrus!

The Day After: Vince Young’s “Dream” Becoming a Nightmare

September 26, 2011

Man, August seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Let’s quickly reminisce on that wonderful time in Eagles history, when, for two weeks, Andy Reid, Joe Banner, Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie could do no wrong. They made all the right moves (and then some). They said all the right things. They appeared to be on the same page as the fans.

The Eagles grabbed the city’s attention away from the Phillies with gusto, signing every player they could during the arms race known as 2011 NFL Free Agency, and seemingly set the team up for a spectacular championship run. Players were falling over each other to come to Philly and join what Vince Young dubbed the “Dream Team.” Analysts fawned over the moves and the rest of the league took notice. Fan expectations were palpable.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Super Bowl…

The first three weeks of the regular season.

After three games, it is safe to say that the 2011 Eagles Defense – with all of its high-profile additions – is no better than the 2010 edition(*). The four major flaws of last season’s team remain this year: they can’t stop the run, they can’t protect the middle of the field, they can’t tackle and they can’t stop teams in the redzone. Those are some pretty glaring problems.

 (*)At least as it stands right now. With no offseason programs and a limited training camp, the unit still has a way to go until it’s a cohesive, comfortable group and could very well still come together at some point.

A lot of those traits can be attributed to the lack of actual Linebackers – the one area the team decided NOT to address in Free Agency(**). Sure they drafted Casey Matthews’ pedigree and Brian Rolle, but they didn’t really address the position that’s been their biggest need since The Walrus’ arrival. Why spend all that money and bring in all of those big name players if you were going to simply ignore the worst facet of your team? It makes no sense.

(**)A mind-boggling decision.

Speaking of Casey Matthews… can anyone who has seen this kid play explain why the Eagles drafted him, aside for his family’s name? Anyone? No, you can’t.

Fredo Matthews(***) has ZERO discernable football skills. He might look the part and his name might fool you into thinking he can play… but he can’t. He’s a liability in the run game AND the pass game. On running plays, he disappears from the instant an offensive player touches him. He has no ability to shed a block whatsoever and gets blown up by a Fullback, Lineman or Wide Receiver on every single play. And he may actually be even worse in coverage! Fredo allowed Brandon Jacobs – yes, 264 pound Brandon “Big Meat” Jacobs – to slip by him and catch a ball for an untouched 40-yard touchdown.

(***)Who will, from here on out, ONLY be known as Fredo.

But back to the Defense as a whole… How do you fix this? The D-Line is what it is: an overpowering force, predicated on pressuring the Quarterback and messing up his rhythm, while totally forgetting that the other team has the ability to run the ball. The Linebackers may as well not be on the field. It seems as if Blaine Bishop and Michael Lewis are still manning the Safety spots. And the team’s ultimate strength, the Cornerbacks, refuse to tackle… oh AND gave up two insane touchdowns to Victor Cruz (who?!).

The blame can’t all go to the Defense though. As bad as they were – and giving up 29 points to this Giants team was certainly unacceptable – our dear old whipping boy, The Walrus, deserves our true vitriol.

First things first, a confession: We defended his call to go for it on 4th and one at the Giants’ 43. Vehemently.

Look, it clearly wasn’t the smartest call – and, in fact, Reid’s actual play call was indefensible(****) – but it was gutsy and aggressive and could have ended the game if it was successful. We took a lot of heat in our section at the game for agreeing with his decision to not punt the ball and pin them back, but to his credit, there was no evidence that the Defense could stop the Giants anyhow. They were marching up and down the field at will(*****).

(****)How do you NOT have a lead blocker in front of Shady on that play?!?! Seriously, single-back formation with McCoy seven yards deep?! It made no sense. By the time he got the ball, the defenders were already in the backfield.

(*****)Tom Coughlin might be even dumber than Reid. Ahmad Bradshaw should have gotten 40 touches yesterday. The Eagles have NO answer for him.

Now, why Reid goes for it on 4th and one in the middle of the field and not at the goal line is beyond comprehension. As is not being able to punch the ball into the end zone from less than a yard out. Regardless, we couldn’t kill him for being overly aggressive, he just needs to pick one philosophy or the other and stick with it. You can’t fluctuate from conservative to aggressive over the course of a quarter and expect consistency.

Another thing about Reid’s philosophy… it’s the Achilles heel of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the real issue at hand here after three weeks of football.

The Eagles are built to play a very specific brand of football: a high-octane Offense that puts points on the board with a Defense predicated on protecting that lead. That’s it. They aren’t constructed to play smashmouth football, or even to play from behind. The Offense is supposed to make big plays and force the opposing team to play catch-up while relying heavily on the pass. That’s why the team has invested so many drafty picks and Free Agent acquisitions on Defensive Ends, Cornerbacks and Wide Receivers the past few years.

But what happens when the Birds can’t score consistently? Or score first? Or score at all? What happens when an opponent has a Running Back and Tight End that can take advantage of the gaping hole in the middle of the Defense(******)? What happens when teams are capable of playing catch-up and aren’t afraid of the scoreboard? What happens when the D-Line can’t get pressure and the Cornerbacks are getting burnt?

(******)Who’s looking forward to the Frank Gore/Vernon Davis combination next week?!

That Falcons game happens. That Giants game happens.

And here we are.

Sure, a team built around firepower, speed and pressure will win 10 or 11 games and make the playoffs, and even win a playoff game or two. We’ve seen this Eagles regime pull it off before and we’ll likely see them do it again this year. But it’s not sustainable the deeper you go into the playoffs and the better caliber of team you play.

Who knows? A team can get hot at the right time and go on a three-to-four game run in the playoffs, no matter what style they play. The Saints seemingly won Super Bowl 44 in that manner (though their Defense was much more capable than the Eagles’ current group), so there is some precedent. But it’s unlikely.

It’s safe to say that this Eagles season will end much like the last 12 Eagles seasons: with a devastating loss, blown expectations and no trophy.

Too bad the NFL doesn’t award championships in August.