The Day After: Thank Buddy It’s Only August

August 19, 2011

Well that happened.

Last night’s (thankfully) exhibition game with the cross-state “rivals” was a minor disaster. But is The Walrus even to blame?

The players simply couldn’t execute what appeared to be a semblance of a gameplan, and they are clearly at fault for that dismal performance. Sure, Andy can be blamed for not getting his guys ready, but yesterday’s Mike-Vick-Media-Shitstorm of a distraction(*) is, in all likelihood, the explanation for why the team was flat and lifeless.

(*)And in all honesty, who really cares. The whole “Eagles weren’t Vick’s first choice” story is such a non-story it’s ridiculous.

But now this group of still-trying-to-gel players knows what it’s like to deal with a “major” distraction on a gameday. Hopefully the team can at least take something away from THAT experience, because there sure wasn’t much else to take away from last night.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for the Eagles stinking worse than the underside of The Walrus’ mustache:

Vick Distracted
Do you think that GQ article and subsequent media circus were to blame for Michael Vick’s sloppy, Donny Drama-esque performance? Overthrows, underthrows, bad timing, poor decisions. Last night was a rare step-back for Vick, who probably can’t look much worse than that.

How much of a role did Time of Possession play into Vick’s performance? The Steelers basically controlled the ball for almost 25 minutes of the first half and the Eagles Offense didn’t have any opportunity to find a rhythm.

Juan Castillo’s Inexperience
The first-year Defensive Coordinator got a nice assist on the Steelers’ first touchdown, bringing DRC and Nate Allen in on the blitz, which left Asante Samuel alone on the outside with Antonio Brown and no Safety help. Big rookie mistake, Juan. Asante is like a little kid, you can’t let him wonder off on his own. He needs to be on the Buddy System – not the one associated with our beloved Ryan, but the one that children use on field trips.

Our plea to Juan: handcuffAsanteand Coleman/Jarrett. Asomugha’s got his side covered and Nate Allen can roam free, but the other side must be doubled-up.

Speaking of Nate Allen…
Oof! Even for a second-year kid coming off of a gruesome injury, his performance last night can only be categorized as ugly. On the aforementioned failed blitz/Steelers touchdown, Allen had an opportunity to take a running shot at Roethlisraper, but instead bit badly on a pump fake and jumped in the air repeatedly, trying to knock down the pass.

With the Steelers’ inexperienced Offensive Tackles, the prevailing thought going into the game was that the Eagles would pressure the O-Line with their down linemen. Instead, Castillo chose to show some blitz packages, including ones involving multiple DBs, and the Steelers backfield did a tremendous job of picking up Defensemen.

Also having a bad game: Casey Matthews
Is it too early to start worrying about Matthews versus the run? The Steelers Offense held the ball for nearly all but six minutes of the first half, mostly thanks to Fullback David Johnson, who blew Matthews up on a routine basis. Johnson was able to move right through the line of scrimmage and attack Matthews where he stood, allowing Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman to run clear up the middle.

Whether it’s his inexperience or the fact that he’s just a better coverage LB, we may be seeing why Matthews’ lineage wasn’t enough to keep him from falling to the fourth round of last April’s draft.

Thankfully though, the Eagles came away practically unscathed health-wise(***). That’s really all you can ask for from a preseason game.

(***)The Steelers certainly can’t say the same.

And although it gives us great pain to speak kindly about him, if there’s one thing Andy Reid is good at doing, it’s getting his guys back on track after a dismal outing. We fully expect The Walrus to “get into their ass” about that game. And rightfully so.

Thank Buddy it’s only August.


Walrus Droppings: Dog Days of Lehigh

August 10, 2011

Talk of the Town
The Billionaire’s Yearly Ego-Stroke
Jeffrey Lurie graced the world with his presence at Training Camp last week to give his yearly boldface lie state of the team address to the media. Good news: His words didn’t spark a million message board posts/sports talk-caller rants! Bad news: We tend to agree with most of what he says.

Vick’s Donovan Impression
Michael Vick sat down with Mike Missanelli and 9.75 The Fanatic to discuss, among other things, his contract status and Rob Ryan’s comments(*). Is it just us, or has Michael Vick perfected Donovan McNabb’s “appear congenial and humorous while actually toeing the company line and saying nothing” interview response?

(*)Quick note on Rob Ryan: Who cares what he said… He’s a Ryan. He’s got a big mouth. That’s what they do (and that’s why we love them).

Speaking of Number Five…

Donny Drama Does What Donny Drama Does Best:
Be Dramatic

Dear Donovan McNabb:

At one point in your career, we empathized with you. We were sympathetic when you were attacked by Rush Limbaugh, and (mostly) stood by your side during the whole T.O. debacle. We even blamed your receivers when Ricky Manning, Jr. raped you during the 2003 NFC Championship Game. But now that you’re gone, and the midnight green-colored glasses no longer apply, we realize, you’re the common drama denominator.

You are now twice-removed from the Eagles and yet, you can’t seem to take them out of your mouth. This is what you said last week to CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge (via profootballtalk.com):

“I was there for 11 years, and the biggest thing we brought in was T.O. Now they’re getting the so-called ‘Dream Team.’ It’s amazing, but I look back on my career and what they’re doing now . . . that’s great; that’s excellent. But you’re seeing another side. You’re seeing Andy [Reid] taking that chance. It’s not just taking that chance on one guy. They’re taking a chance on a bunch of guys. And they’re spending money. That’s amazing.”

Sure, who can blame you for being irked that the Eagles never fully went “all in” during your tenure here – even though the 2002 and 2004 teams were more than good enough to win it all(**) – but you’re a Minnesota Viking now and should only be concerned with the Minnesota Vikings.

(**)But, let’s not forget… both of those playoff runs ended with a McNabb interception.

For all of your efforts to be “the company guy” and the consummate professional who always says the right things, you sure are the king of making not-so-subtle, yet veiled comments about your former team. And ever since you left for Washington, you’ve done nothing but show your true colors: jealous, envious and melodramatic.

It wasn’t that we never loved you Donovan, you just needed something to cry about. If you feel the need to carry around that big ugly chip on shoulder from draft day – more than 12 years ago now! – and think that the Eagles did you wrong for all those years, well, so be it. You give off the aura of a lover scorned… but you sound more like an ungrateful, spiteful spinster.

Have fun in Minnesota, Donny Drama! We can’t wait until Chris Ponder rightfully takes your job.

With loathing,
Eagles Fans

The Desean Debate
Grantland’s Bill Barnwell – whose football analysis we’ve really come to enjoy – breaks down Desean Jackson’s efficiency catching the ball (spoiler alert: it’s subpar). Barnwell makes a pretty good statistical case for why the Eagles shouldn’t invest huge dollars in Jackson – primarily focusing on his catch rate and his percentage of dropped balls – but Desean’s importance to the Eagles offense goes far beyond numbers.

Without Jackson on the field, the Bird’s offense isn’t nearly as dynamic. Desean’s ability to stretch the field – even with the occasional drop – is what makes the Eagles offense go. Even as a decoy, if Desean is on the field, the defense must account for him and a receiving corps of (a hopefully healthy) Maclin, Avant and Cooper doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of Defensive Coordinators.

In all of our years of watching football, very few Wide Receivers have stood out for getting behind defenders the way that Desean Jackson does. His speed and double move are second-to-none and his game is more Iverson than Rice. He might not be technically sound and he might be undersized, but he is a warrior and will do whatever it takes to get into the end zone.

And THAT’S why he deserves to be paid.

Rookies Galore!
It appears that the Birds are VERY high on some of their youngest talent. Reuben Frank had glowing words for first-round pick, Danny Watkins (“All-rookie team in 2011. Pro Bowl by 2013.”), and third-round Cornerback, Cutis Marsh (“Kind of like a young Bobby Taylor. Tall, rangy, athletic and very smart.”). Frank goes on to praise Jaiquwan Jarrett, who could be a big hitter, but is hurt by the lack of mini-camp/training camp time. Center Jason Kelce is another rook to keep an eye on, as he is pushing Jamaal Jackson for the starting spot.

Frank on new Eagles Kicker, Alex Henery: “Huge leg. Can kick the thing a mile. They don’t always seem to go straight. Keep a close eye on the rookie kicker Thursday night. Andy Reid would love to give him a nice challenging 47-yarder. See where he’s at. The kid scares me a bit.”

And finally, Casey Matthews appears to possess that legendary “Matthews-family Football Gene” and, as of now, is not Fredo Matthews! Currently locked-in as the starting Middle Linebacker – at least for now – Matthews could finally be that missing piece in the middle the Eagles have sorely lacked since Jeremiah Trotter left (the first time).

Ray Diddy Whets the Lombardi Appetite
As if you’re not already jacked up enough for the season to start(***), Ray Diddy gets the juices flowing by comparing the 2011 Eagles with the 1994 San Francisco 49ers.

(***)And if you’re not, why the hell are you reading this?

It’s super early to start putting this team up there with past Super Bowl winners… but boy, are the similarities striking – right down to signing a game-changing Cornerback in free agency and the rookie kicker. Bizarre, and hope-inspiring, stuff.

Oh and one more thing before we get out of here… THERE’S AN EAGLES FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW!!! Sure it’s preseason, but its football!

Rejoice Fire The Walrus Nation!


NOT-SO BREAKING NEWS: We’re Still Here… And So is Kolb (For Now)

March 31, 2011

Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re back!

Yes, I know, it looked as if we dropped off the face of Andy Reid’s belt buckle, but fear not faithful Fire The Walrus Nation (all two of you)… we are alive and well(*).

(*)Full disclosure: the recent hiatus can be blamed in part to a busy work schedule (yes, real work), a lapse in anything Eagles-related actually happening and a closet basketball obsession. Oh, not to mention this whole messy lockout business.

But lockout be damned, the anti-Andy Reid movement must continue onward.

And speaking of moving on…. Let’s talk about Kevin Kolb for a moment.

There were more than a few rumblings last week that the Eagles have already had discussions with teams – primarily those that preside in the UFL NFC West – about Kolb’s availability (as if that was in question), even going so far as to suggest that Andy Reid has a deal in place for a first round pick.

That sound you heard was Kevin Kolb’s trade value crashing through the NovaCare Complex floor.

Didn’t the Eagles learn anything from last year’s Quarterback Trade Quagmire? Every team in the league knew the birds wanted to trade Vick last offseason, which subsequently killed any value he had. They demanded a second-round pick and no one was willing to give them a third, leaving the team stuck with Vick – though fortunately so. Well what happens if they can’t get more than a second rounder for Kolb (which seemed to be the general consensus a few months ago)?

Apparently things have changed, as profootballtalk.com reported earlier today that the Eagles won’t have a problem getting a first round pick – the problem is the money Kolb is looking for… something on par with Matt Schaub’s contract. And let’s not forget what the Falcons got for Schaub (coincidentally, Vick’s backup at the time): they flipped first round picks with the Texans and received two second round picks.

Most likely due to this year’s lackluster Quarterback draft class, I guess teams are desperate enough for a QB that a first round pick isn’t a deal breaker. And why not take a flier on a guy that could be the next Aaron Rogers.

As it stands now though, with no new CBA, Kolb cannot be moved… leaving the Eagles with two options:

  • Trade Kolb for a 2012 draft pick
  • Keep Kolb as a back-up

If the team does trade him for a pick next year, Mike Kafka becomes the default backup to Mike Vick… unless the Eagles sign a veteran back-up. And who could they get, you might ask? Well 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli floated the possibility of bringing back one Donovon McNabb… as a back-up… to Michael Vick.

I’d say the chances of that happening are as good as me becoming a Cowboys fan. Besides, with the news today of (yet another) Chad Pennington season-ending surgery, some team will be dumb enough willing to bring McNabb in for a look.

If the team keeps Kolb as Vick’s back-up, it will play out in one of two ways:

  • He stays for the year then walks away in Free Agency leaving the Eagles with nothing to show from first four rounds of the 2007 draft.
  • He stays for the year, the Eagles let Vick walk next offseason, and Kolb is (once again) named the teams’ starter.

Would Kolb be willing to wait another year for his shot at starting in midnight green? Would Eagles fans put up with another coronation of Kolb as starter?

The bottom line is that the Eagles HAVE to trade Kolb now, even if the result is a future draft pick. It’s amazing… the team gave away a first round pick to get him, now they need to get one back to reverse the damage. Kevin Kolb – the gift that keeps on giving!

Just another reason to Fire The Walrus.

It’s good to be back!


Whisker Wednesday… With a Poll? (Twofer!)

February 23, 2011

It’s a late and short Whisker Wednesday, but it’s a Whisker Wednesday indeed!

CBS Sports’ Senior Writer Clark Judge wrote a President’s Day piece on Monday(*) – happy belated! – honoring our nation’s leaders by forging a Mount Rushmore out of the top four NFL Head Coaches of the past decade. His Fab Four: Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren and, our beloved coach, The Walrus.

(*)Thanks @SymbiotDesign.

I totally disagree with one of his choices, but (surprise)… it’s Mike Holmgren. If you’ve been keeping up, of course I recognize and respect Andy as the greatest Eagles coach and one of the top coaches in the league over the last ten years. That’s nothing new. So I agree that Reid belongs on Judge’s Decade-long monument.

But Holmgren?! What has he done in the last ten years besides keep Seattle competitive in an awful Division and spawn more Head Coaches? The Browns may be turning the corner, but I think Judge is as stuck in the 90’s as Portland.

Wouldn’t Bill Cowher – or more appropriately a Cowher/Mike Tomlin hybrid(**) – be a better representation of the past decade. Cowher has also seen many former assistants become Head Coaches.

(**)Tomlin with Cowher’s chin? Black Cowher?

Holmgren belongs with the likes of Bill Parcells, Marv Levy and Jimmie Johnson (ugh)… in the 90’s.

As for Reid’s inclusion, Judge had this to say:

After the Eagles lost to Green Bay in the playoffs, I got a call from a Philadelphia-area radio station, with talk-show hosts there wondering if it was time to get rid of Andy Reid. I suggested it was time they get a clue. Andy Reid is one of the most successful and least appreciated coaches in the NFL. Philadelphia doesn’t know how good it has it with the guy, but it might if it remembered that in the two years before he landed the Eagles were 9-22-1.

Yes, the two years before Reid were pathetic – thanks Richie K for the great Drafts and Ray Rhodes for your uninspiring coaching style! – but nobody forgets them. He continues with Reid’s impressive resume and lauds him for his courage to make bold decisions with personnel moves. Oh and he calls Eagles fans spoiled.

Judge takes the typical “National Media” stance on Reid – the one that makes passive-aggressive Eagles fans apathetic towards the team’s repeated pratfalls – telling Eagles fans that we’re spoiled and should worship the ground The Walrus sunbathes on. Again, we can all agree that Andy Reid is a good coach. He has been the best (and the worst) thing to happen to this organization since the early-90’s. And he could, for all we know, win a Super Bowl someday.

What the National-perspective doesn’t see is the game of history-repeated we follow day-in and day-out year round. Every year it’s the same thing with Reid. The clock management, the challenges, the play-calling, the Linebackers, the running game, the one missing piece that could put them over the top… Coming so close but never close enough. It never ends.

Pundits see the wins, the playoff appearances and Championship games. We see the past… and no rings.

The Walrus has one more season to prove that he belongs to be chiseled out of stone.

But wait, there’s more…

Take the Whisker Wednesday Poll: Who belongs on the past decade’s NFL Head Coach Mount Rushmore?

Have a better combination? Leave ’em in the comments.

Coming soon… Sunbathing Sundays!


Reason #74 to Fire The Walrus

February 22, 2011

The Andy Reid School of Clock Management

Andy Reid manages the game clock like a monkey manages its feces… improperly, inappropriately timed, and just way too hands-on.

To say his clock management skills are abysmal is the understatement of his regime – it’s literally his biggest flaw as a Head Coach. And this is universally known.

After twelve seasons at the helm, you would think he would do something about it? Hand the duties off to one of his many assistants. Hire someone specifically to handle the clock. Outsource it to India… as Mike Lombardi famously suggested(*).

(*)The New York Times ran a piece on the poor state of clock management overall in the NFL, with this gem:

Michael Lombardi, a longtime NFL executive who managed the personnel departments in Oakland and Cleveland, and who now works as an NFL Network analyst, has little patience for such coaching mistakes. In weekly online analysis, he often rails on coaches for giving away games with bad judgment. He wrote this season that Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid was “my all-time worst game manager.”

“Andy Reid should outsource it to India,” Lombardi said in a telephone interview this week.

No. Not Andy Reid(**). Nor The Devil or The Billionaire, who early on decided to give The Walrus full autonomy and haven’t questioned any decision he’s made since. At what point do they need to intervene?

(**)Of course, we covered his abject stubbornness and inability to ever admit a mistake, here.

He’s already reached the pinnacle of game clock mishaps, with his infamous Super Bowl XXXIX timefuck against the Patriots. ESPN’s John Clayton, in his Eagles Super Bowl postmortem, Eagles had some explaining to do after game, details the coach’s blunders… with some inspiring Andy quotes, no less:

Down by 10 points with 5:40 left in regulation, McNabb and the Eagles didn’t go into a no-huddle offense. The Eagles ate up too much clock on that 13-play, 79-yard touchdown drive.

“I don’t know what happened,” Eagles tight end L.J. Smith said.

The Eagles were unable to explain their clock management at the end of the game.

“Well, we were trying to hurry up,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “It was the way things worked out.”

The beleaguered Eagles coach took even more criticism at the end of the first half. The Eagles, with the scored tied 7-7, had the ball at their 19-yard line with 1:10 left. Donovan McNabb completed a 10-yard pass to Todd Pinkston, but Reid didn’t call a timeout. The clocked went from 43 seconds to 17. McNabb hit Pinkston for a 15-yard completion, and Reid called his first timeout of the half.

Suddenly, the Eagles were at their 41-yard line when maybe they could have gotten in range for a David Akers field goal. Instead, they ended up having two unused timeouts and had to answer questions from the media.

“I don’t remember that at all, to be honest with you,” Reid said of the halftime question.

Yet he remains the Head Coach.

Sure, that was five years ago, but it’s not like it’s gotten any better. In Week one of the 2010 season, Reid spoiled a potential comeback against the eventual champion-Packers, with a typical mishandling of his timeouts. In his post-game recap, Rich Hoffman wrote(***):

(***)In the article, Hoffman discusses John T. Reed’s book “Football Clock Management.” A future Eagles Fan Book Club inclusion, indeed!

The time-management issue du jour concerned Reid’s use of his timeouts on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Lost in all of the Kevin Kolb/Michael Vick business, and all of the concussion business, was the decision by Reid, trailing by seven points in the fourth quarter, to call his three second-half timeouts with 5:25, 5:17 and 5:11 left to play.

It was jarring to some, who asked, essentially, why so soon? It was reasonable enough to others, who figured that there wasn’t a whole big bunch of difference between getting the ball back with 4:13 left and no timeouts (as Reid did) or getting it back with 2:23 left and three timeouts (which is what likely would have happened had Reid waited).

Again, this was Reid’s 12th season as a Head Coach. That’s more than a decade of similar timeout screwjobs. But it’s never been solely about his timeout (mis-)usage, as simply getting plays called in a timely fashion is incomprehensible to Reid. Week four of this past season against the Redskins perfectly summed up Andy’s ineptitude – but did give us the now classic Walrus-ism “I goofed” – highlighted in The Daily News’ Eaglterian blog:

Reid said he “goofed” on the play at the end of the first half that led to the Eagles taking a delay of game penalty.

He said the team had a play called for inches and that when they got to the play it was more like a yard.

“That’s my fault,” Reid said. “I’m trying to explain the thought process on it and that’s where I’m going to end it. We had the play called for inches and inches weren’t inches when that thing were started … The position of the ball wasn’t where we thought. From where it was originally was and where it ended up being were two different spots. That’s my responsibility. I’m not here to complain about the officials. I’m not here to complain about anybody else. I goofed.”

Replays showed Kevin Kolb walking on the field with the play clock at 11 seconds remaining.

“I wasn’t surprised that the clock was moving,” Reid said. “I was surprised with how quick it was moving with when it was started with the spot.”

(The aforementioned) Mike Lombardi wrote a phenomenal piece at the National Football Post, naming Andy Reid the NFL’s worst game manager, following a particularly ugly loss at home to the Raiders in 2009. Read it, and you’ll agree(****)… piss-poor clock management is yet another reason to Fire The Walrus.

(****)Even if Lombardi doesn’t, though that was 2009.


Whisker Wednesday Poll

February 16, 2011

Whisker Wednesday continues with the Whisker Wednesday Poll: Which player designated with the Franchise Tag would be worth two first round picks to the Eagles?

Franchise Tag – and to a much lesser extent, Transition Tag – season is officially in full effect(*) and a number of game-changing players that could fill a gaping hole in the Eagles roster received the tag, as expected. It’s rare that a Franchise Tagged player is traded, but let’s get all hypothetical for a second…

(*)Though if the Tags even mean anything is yet to be determined, barring a collective bargaining agreement.

What if the Eagles could realistically trade for any one of these guys for the “league-suggested, franchise player price” of two first round draft picks? Regardless of would they do it (they wouldn’t) or should they do it (they should), if this hypothetical situation were real, and you had your choice, which major need do you address?

The obvious choice is Ngata, as a Defensive playmaker who can anchor a Defensive Line in the 3-4 or 4-3, stop the run, torture the Quarterback… easily worth two first rounders. Harris and Woodley are beasts, though not on the level of Ngata, and as much as the Eagles need Linebackers – and they seriously need Linebackers – neither of those guys could make the immediate impact that Ngata could make.

Hali is a nice player and the type of Defensive End/Linebacker hybrid that makes Andy Reid’s third chin sweat… but is the former-Penn State star even worth the Franchise Tag he was bestowed with?

Mankins on the other hand, is someone who would certainly make me think twice about Ngata. Offensive Line might not be sexy, but it’s an enormous need for this team, and Mankins is one of the best in the business. He completely changes the face of the Line, and maybe even masks some of the problems caused by inefficient bookends in Peters and Justice.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Even given the opportunity, the Eagles would probably balk – and maybe rightfully so – given how much first round picks are valued and the fact that the team needs to fill more than one hole. But making a “Godfather” offer for Ngata (or Mankins) – coupled with at least one impact player from the draft – could put this team over the top.

We can only dream…

Someone not on the list that should be? Leave it in the comments.

Coming Soon… Flubber Fridays!


Whisker Wednesday

February 16, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Whisker Wednesday, where we take a look at what’s happening this week in the world of our beloved Eagles and how that correlates to Andy Reid’s job status. What was looking to be a slow Eagles-news week surely picked up yesterday, as the team (unsurprisingly) Franchise tagged Michael Vick and (very surprisingly) Transition tagged David Akers. But the real news came when team president (and dark lord) Joe Banner The Devil met with the media to discuss the State of the Eagles.

  • Banner Talks Championships, Eagles Fans Collectively Roll Their Eyes
    The Devil met with members of the media yesterday to talk about the current state of the Birds, but the main conversation revolved around a certain Walrus-like Head Coach, his future and how the ultimate is goal is to win a championship (Duh!).On The Walrus, The Devil used a few choice words describing his standing with the Eagles Front Office:

    “We think that the quality of leadership is a crucial, crucial part of evaluating head coaches, and if you look at the ones that have been really successful, they’re all tremendous leaders. So you can sit there and critique: Did we take the right timeout, or this or that? Andy’s leadership skills and his ability, year after year, to rally players to play hard, play together, play selflessly – which is such a difficult challenge of leadership in any professional sport – we put a lot of value on those skills.

    And, at the same time, we’re here to win a championship. That needs to be part of the equation, too.”

    Read those tea leaves!

    Rich Hoffman, Daily News Sports Columnist, pontificates that Banner deliberately left the interpretation open for a reason, as he asks the question: Banner sounds as if he backs Reid, but does he, really? Hoffman concludes that Reid is, indeed, on the clock (and Fire The Walrus Nation cheers!)

  • A couple of other pieces of note from The Devil…
    Banner pointed out that the Eagles are just one of three teams to make the playoffs in the last three years. While that is true, let’s not forget that the last two years were one-and-done postseason appearances… including a total dismantling by the rival Cowgirls. And lest we forget that the team held its destiny in its hands with the opportunity to secure a possible Playoff bye, but choked it away to a team that had no Quarterback and no business winning.The Devil also noted that with a lack of a new collective bargaining agreement, it will be unlikely that the team will be able to trade former-future Quarterback Kevin Kolb. This isn’t the first time this has come up, but it really is a shame.

    Let’s assume that the Eagles could get a second round pick for Kolb – with precedence from the A.J. Feeley and Donovon McNabb trades. In a year where the team really needs to strike gold defensively in the draft – coupled with the fact that there will likely not be a real Free Agent period – extra picks are absolutely invaluable. The draft is integral for the Eagles to rebuild an abysmal defensive unit and – particularly with Reid’s drafting history – the team needs every pick they can get. Eventually trading Kolb for a pick in 2012 does absolutely nothing to help the Eagles in 2011… So, once again, the team is hampered its Quarterback situation(*).

    (*)So to sum up… Trading out of the first round of the 2007 Draft to take Kolb resulted in: the Division rival Cowgirls getting Defensive End/Linebacker Anthony Spencer (who has come back to bite the Eagles on the ass numerous times); a waste of a pick that could have helped the Eagles in the 2007 and 2008 seasons (at least); the alienation and eventual trading of Donovon McNabb (though not necessarily a bad thing); an entire Offseason devoted to Kevin Kolb’s coronation as new starting Quarterback, only to be marginalized by having Michael Vick on the field for the first play of the season; no Quarterback competition during aforementioned Offseason, which could have led to Vick taking the starting job from the jump (possibly leading to the Eagles winning the opening game to the Packers, therefore affording them enough wins for a Playoff bye); the second straight Offseason of uncertainty, as to how/when the Eagles unload an overpaid Quarterback. Thanks again, Andy!

  • Hunt-ing for some Defensive help
    Comcast SportsNet’s resident football authority, Ray Didinger, makes a great argument for Jim Washburn getting the most out of newly-signed Defensive End Phillip Hunt.Hunt, of course, spent the last two seasons in the CFL (yes, Canada), after going undrafted and getting cut by the Cleveland Browns, and led the league with 16 sacks in 2010. The Eagles are taking another page from the Miami Dolphins playbook – remember that newfangled Wildcat! – trying to copy Miami’s success with former-CFLer (and Penn Stater), Cameron Wake. Like Hunt, Wake spent two seasons in Canada terrorizing opposing Quarterbacks – racking up 39 sacks in just two years. In 2010, Wake finished third in the NFL with 14 sacks.

    Didinger also points to Washburn’s work with Jason Babin – transforming him from an Eagles castoff to a 12.5 sack Pro Bowler – as a reason to expect (at least something) out of Hunt. At the very least, it will be an interesting experiment to watch, as there is little risk/high reward with taking a chance on a guy like Hunt.

    Here’s hoping the experience in the Great White North (and with Washburn) inspires Hunt to great, Quarterback-crushing heights.

More Whisker Wednesday coming later today – including everyone’s favorite, the Whisker Wednesday Poll!

Got a suggestion for today’s poll? Send ‘em to firethewalrus@gmail.com!


NOT-SO BREAKING NEWS: Tag, You’re It

February 15, 2011

So, the long-awaited prophecy of Michael Vick receiving the Franchise Tag will finally be fulfilled today… But it won’t be the only designation the team hands out. David Akers, the longest-tenured Eagles player, will be hit with the Franchise Tag’s lesser known cousin, the Transition Tag.

Now this may be a very unpopular stance – and may seem slightly outrageous to some Eagles fans, especially coming off a Pro Bowl season – but, why tag Akers?

Well, the Transition Tag protects the team by allowing them to match any offer Akers receives in Free Agency – you know, if that even happens. As it stands now, Free Agency may not occur until the summer (at the earliest) or not at all (the worst case scenario), so it would appear that the Eagles are currently hedging their bets. It’s been highly-publicized that Akers turned down a multi-year contract offer in December because he felt the team was low-balling him(*), and that contract negotiations – particularly after his two big misses in the playoffs and the fallout from the drama with Reid – are headed nowhere fast.

(*)Really?! The Eagles would never do that…

The Transition Tag will pay Akers the average of the top-ten paid Kickers and Punters for one season – a totally fair contract for a guy that has averaged the 12th best Field Goal percentage over the last four years. Sure, 2010 was one of Akers’ best seasons, but he’s never really been the same since his groin injury during the 2005 season. In fact, Akers completely dropped off as a reliable Kicker from 2005 to 2007 – when he averaged a 75% conversion rate, putting him in the bottom third of NFL Kickers – and hasn’t been reliable from 40-yards and beyond since.

In both the 2009 and 2010 seasons, 20 Kickers attempted at least 28 Field Goals. Akers ranked 6th and 7th in total FG percentage among them (86.5% and 84.2%, respectively) and was perfect on attempts from inside the 29-yard line and on extra points. Not bad.

But what about Field Goals from 40-yards or more? Over the past two seasons, Akers has made only 22 out of 30 Field Goals from 40-yards out, a 73% success rate. From 50-yards or more? Two out of six… a 33% rate.

Sure, he’s the most consistent Kicker the Eagles have had in my lifetime (and probably your’s)… But at what point does the team start exploring other options?

Just throwing it out there. I’m not saying it’s time to Fire The Kicker. Yet.


Reason #3,283 to Fire The Walrus

February 10, 2011

His Abject Stubbornness and Refusal to Admit a Mistake

The Walrus and the Fonz have one thing – and only one thing – in common: they can never admit to being wr-wr-wr-… Wr-wr-wr-wrong(*).

(*)Click here and go to the 9:15 mark.

There are a plethora of examples of Reid’s refusal to admit his plans went awry – the Wildcat, which was forced down our throats and NEVER worked; his running philosophy, which is a 2,000 word piece unto itself; any time Reno Mahe ever stepped onto the field… The list goes on and on, but it’s specific positions in particular that Andy consistently overlooks.

The Eagles are missing a big, powerful running back for short yardage situations? Not in Andy’s plans.

Linebackers are important to defense? Don’t try to convince Reid of that.

He always claimed he didn’t need a great Wide Receiver, but in reality he was constantly searching for one (mostly through the draft) and was horribly unsuccessful (Na Brown, Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Reggie Brown) until he finally (though temporarily) signed Terrell Owens. But then the problem returned until he struck gold with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

We get it, Andy… coaches don’t like to admit mistakes because it makes them look weak and unprepared. But at what point does it become detrimental to the organization?

Each season the Eagles have a glaring hole; an achilles heel that is apparent to anyone who’s paying attention to the team on a daily basis:

  • 2000 – Wide Receivers are easily the weakest link of the team, with starters Charles Johnson and Torrance Small equating to one good wideout. Chad Lewis led the team in receptions and yards. Also, Duce Staley went down in Week 5 and the Eagles never found a replacement. McNabb led the team in rushing.
  • 2001 – Again the Wide Receivers bring down a good team, with the reign of James Thrash and Todd Pinkston just beginning. Thrash leads the team with 833 yards.
  • 2002 – The trend continues as no Receiver reaches 800 yards for the season, but even an atrocious receiving corps couldn’t derail one of the best teams in Eagles history. Middle Linebacker was the “Death Star Reactor Core” of the 2002 team, as Andy Reid stubbornly refused to pay his star Defensive play-caller, Jeremiah Trotter, letting him walk away to a Division rival. Not having Trotter in the middle was the downfall of what-should-have-been a Super Bowl champion… And Joe Jurevicius will haunt our dreams forever.
  • 2003 – No Wide Receiver has more than 575 yards. The NFC Championship Game versus the Panthers – aka “The Ricky Manning, Jr. Game” – was proof positive. Also, aside from Westbrook returning punts – Andy never fills the hole left by legendary return man Brian Mitchell.
  • 2004 – It’s hard to find a weakness on a team that: A) Finally fixed its biggest problem by bringing in TO; and B) Fixed its second biggest weakness by welcoming back Trotter(**). But… Andy let the very underrated Carlos Emmons walk – stating that he simply couldn’t afford him – and hasn’t been able to find a Linebacker that can cover Tight Ends since. Dhani Jones, Emmon’s replacement, was a huge part of the Eagles second-half-Super-Bowl-meltdown against the screen pass. Also, Andy replaced veteran Punter Sean Landeta with Dirk Johnson – not a good move – and still couldn’t find a viable Kick Returner.(**)Almost made a “Welcome Back Kotter” joke, but one ancient TV reference per piece is enough.
  • 2005TOOOOO TO-TO-TO… TOOOOO… TOOOOO… The unraveling begins. A Super Bowl hangover and injuries also derail team.
  • 2006 – McNabb getting hurt and Jeff Garcia stepping in was the best thing to happen to the Eagles, forcing Reid to establish a legitimate run game. The issue was the Defense, primarily due to the gaping holes at Strong Safety and Outside Linebacker – better known as Sean Considine and Matt McCoy. Reno Mahe, Kick Returner didn’t really inspire confidence either. Poor drafting = lack of talent.
  • 2007 – Again with the Linebackers – this time Omar Gaither, Takeo Spikes and Chris Gocong. And again with the return game.
  • 2008 – A very strong team with few weaknesses, but the Linebackers still held the team back. That and the fact that – besides Trent Cole – the Defense didn’t have one standout playmaker that could get into the Quarterback’s face (see: Kurt Warner, 2008 NFC Championship Game).
  • 2009 – The Offensive Line – which got brutalized in back-to-back games against the Cowboys – short-yardage situations and Donovon McNabb, who wore out his welcome (at least) one year too late. Middle Linebacker again hurts the Eagles, as Stewart Bradley (not that good in the first place) blows out his knee in a practice known as “Flight Night,” which we’ll be getting to soon enough…
  • 2010 – Defensive Tackle. Linebacker. Cornerback. Offensive Line. The Redzone. Third Downs. Take your pick.

Where does it end? Each year the Defense truly lacks Linebackers. Each year the Offense struggles to convert third-downs or short yardage. It’s been 13 years and still the Eagles can’t admit that Linebackers matter or that they struggle gaining one, two or three yards when it really matters. And how about the team’s much publicized struggles in the Redzone (on both sides of the ball)? Fans have been clamoring for a real Offensive Redzone threat for years, and still, the Birds can’t run a simple fade pattern inside the 20-yard line.

What about his play-calling; his challenges; his pointless, excruciating timeouts that result in NOTHING; the fact that he refuses to allow his Quarterbacks to call audibles or make hot reads? Andy Reid is relentlessly stubborn and unwavering in the way he does things. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing – his players have yet to ever quit on him. But change is a good thing, and in the NFL especially, you need to be able to evolve. Look at Tom Coughlin. A pissy, miserable bastard, that used to put his players through hellacious practices and fine them for not showing up 5 minutes early to meetings, changed his ways (albeit with near-mutinous players on his hands), became softer and gentler, inspiring his team to an impressive Super Bowl run.

Andy Reid can’t make adjustments in-game, and he can’t make them during the Offseason. What position will The Walrus overlook this year? We’ll see. He’s already kicked it off with Defensive Coordinator.

Just another reason to Fire The Walrus.


Whisker Wednesday Poll

February 9, 2011

Whisker Wednesday continues with the Whisker Wednesday Poll: If The Bogus “Andy Reid-Out, Jon Gruden-In” Rumor Was True, What Would Your Reaction Have Been?

The rumor from Sunday night/Monday morning that just won’t die – thanks Kyle Eckel and social media hysteria! – has been the hottest topic in Philadelphia all week. Obviously, there was no truth to it whatsoever, but man, wasn’t it fun to dream, just for a little…

(*)If you selected “Anger and Frustration Because You Simply Don’t Understand Why They Would Fire Reid,” please click here, print this out, and staple it to your forehead.

Would Gruden really be able to take this team to the next level? As it stands now, probably not. With the current state of the Defense, I doubt he’d fare any better than Reid. For one thing, Gruden is an Offensive guru – you know, just like Andy – and wouldn’t improve the Defense in any way. But maybe he could bring a spark that the team so desperately needs. He does in fact have the proven track record. Gruden took an over-the-hill Oakland team to the brink of a Super Bowl berth and helped Tampa Bay finally knock the door down, with what was essentially Tony Dungy’s team. Why couldn’t he do the same here?

In all honesty – besides the fact that I was giddy at hearing the report, even knowing it was false – if somebody offered me the ability to make the Reid-Gruden switch happen, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Maybe Gruden is no better than Reid, but he’s surely different and would definitely infuse the organization with some new blood and, most certainly, a sense of urgency and intensity. That’s why the news was so intriguing. That’s why the Eagles need a new coach.

For the future, Eagles fans, can we please all agree to be careful when spreading Andy Reid rumors around… You never know how someone might react to the potential news.

Think you would have a totally different reaction to an actual Reid-Gruden swap? Leave it in the comments.

Coming Soon… Moron Mondays!