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!


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!

 


Whisker Wednesday

February 9, 2011

Welcome to another Whisker Wednesday, Fire The Walrus Nation! Football season is officially over – and the pending labor battle is just getting underway (man I can’t wait to watch Billionaires argue with Billionaires!) – but it isn’t snowing in the Delaware Valley… so at least we got that.

  • As you’ve probably heard, the Eagles filled out the rest of their coaching staff over the past two days, with few surprises. Former Eagles players Mike Caldwell, Mike Zordich, Duce Staley and Doug Peterson were all promoted (Linebackers, Safeties, Special Teams Quality Control and Quarterbacks, respectively). Longtime Wide Receivers Coach Dave Culley had Senior Offensive Assistant added to his title and James Urban, who has been with the team in various roles since 2004, was elevated to Assistant Offensive Coordinator. The Eagles even threw in a little nepotism, hiring Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April’s son, Bobby April, Jr., as Defensive Quality Control Coach.

    The one interesting hire was Johnnie Lynn, as Cornerbacks Coach. Lynn has previously worked as Defensive Coordinator of the Giants, and Secondary Coach of the Ravens, Buccaneers and 49ers – leading some pretty decent units. Aside from his experience, Lynn – like Mudd and Washburn – brings a much-needed outside perspective, and isn’t a typical “Andy Reid guy.

    Adding Assistant Coaches and Quality Coaches is not huge news, and none of us can really sit here and say that these moves were good or bad. We’ll just have to wait and see. Thankfully Zordich was the type of hard-hitting, tough-as-nails defender that the current Defense lacks, and maybe can transfer some of that intensity, and Caldwell was a Linebacker who could actually cover Tight Ends (imagine that!). We all remember Pederson – the sacrificial lamb of the 1999 season, prior to McNabb taking the Offensive reigns. He helped mentor McNabb (unimpressive) and, for a short time, Aaron Rogers (impressive), so at least he’s got that going for him.

    The only thing that jumps out is that Andy Reid stocked his staff with “his guys.” Nothing surprising, why wouldn’t he?  There is a prevailing line of thinking in the NFL ether (courtesy of ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio and NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi) that Reid is putting “his guys” in position to gain as much experience as possible before the whole thing is blown after this year and they’re forced to find new jobs. We can only hope.

  • Speaking of Sal Pal… He appeared on his weekly, Tuesday at 5:15 spot with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic (listen here) and noted something very interesting that Ron Rivera – former Reid assistant and new Panthers’s Head Coach/Sean McDermutt’s new boss – was quoted as saying. According to Rivera (via Paolantonio), Reid said the following regarding McDermutt’s exit from the Eagles: “Ron, Sean’s in a tough, tough position, he’s following the late Jim Johnson. We got to make people understand that it was not as much because Sean did a bad job, or anything, it was just going be as much as always going to be tough and unfair for him. We’ve got to create a ‘situation’.” That’s an actual quote. So essentially, Reid and the Eagles created a story (Reid saying McDermutt was staying, waiting a week, then firing him) giving the appearance that the firing came from over Andy’s head. It wasn’t. Instead it was calculated and manipulated by the team.
  • One more note from the Paolantonio interview… The notion that the Eagles could simply fire Reid after next season and transition to a Juan Castillo – same basic philosophy and schemes, plus an extension of the plan already in place, just with a new captain of the ship (ala Jim Caldwell taking over for Dungy in Indianapolis). That would certainly garner a similar reaction to what happened last week, when Castillo was moved to Coordinator, but probably with even more vitriol. And, it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

    We think we have it bad, Eagles fans? After 16 long-suffering years of Jeff Fisher, the Tennessee Titans promoted their long-time Offensive Line Coach, Mike Munchak, to Head Coach!?! Take that Juan Castillo! The Titans just one-upped the Birds in terms of majorly leapfrogging a guy. At least we’re not Titans fans.

  • As the rumor mill turns… The whole Andy Reid-Jon Gruden “thing” is still out in the air and remains a hot topic. Phil Sheridan, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a great piece yesterday delving into what the rumors reveal about the Eagles current regime.

Make sure you stop back later today to take the Whisker Wednesday Poll!


Whisker Wednesday Poll

February 2, 2011

Whisker Wednesday continues with the Whisker Wednesday Poll: Which Super Bowl XLV Prop Bet Would You Bet Your Life On?

 

 

 

There are literally hundreds on insane prop bets for the Super Bowl each year and 2011’s crop is even more crazy than ever. There are now even cross-sport bets (like Blake Griffin’s total number of points and rebounds vs. the Packer’s total points scored).

If you want to hear some funny, degenerate gamblers discuss inane prop bets further, check out ESPN’s Bill Simmons’ latest B.S. Report with Cousin Sal. For our purposes, I think I’d bet my life on the Over of Brett Favre comments. You gotta love the “God” shoutout by whoever wins the MVP award. And if history has taught us anything, I’m laying the mortgage on Donny Mac loses his Texas-style BBQ all over Steve Young’s nice new tie.

Got another Super Bowl XLV Prop Bet you like? Leave them in the comments.

Coming soon… Mopey Monday (no more football)!


Whisker Wednesday Clip of the Day

February 2, 2011

Green Bay Packer’s Linebackers Coach Winston Moss, a name that has not yet been crossed off the Eagles Defensive Coordinator cadidate list, appeared with Harry Mayes and Dan Schwartzman on the 97.5 The Fanatic midday show… And sold himself to the Philadelphia phaithful.

Listen to the interview here. You think Eagles fans would embrace this guys bravado or what? He’s certainly speaking to the Fire The Walrus Nation’s sensibility!


Whisker Wednesday

February 2, 2011

Welcome to yet another wet, wild Whisker Wednesday! A lot has happened so far this week in Eagles Nation – including the completely unsurprising news that Michael Vick will receive the team’s Franchise Tag and Kevin Kolb will be shopped (more on this later today). Also, the Eagles made an actual Public Relations move, choosing to not raise ticket prices for next season (though if they made it further in the playoffs that probably would have been a different story). For now, let’s get right into it…

The David Akers Drama
A lot has been made this week about Andy Reid’s handling of David Akers in the aftermath of the playoff loss to the Packers, particularly since it was revealed that Akers’ six-year-old daughter was undergoing surgery to remove a potentially cancerous cyst. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Akers family.

For what it’s worth, Andy Reid shouldn’t be criticized for “throwing Akers under the bus.”

Yes, he made specific comments about the kicking game in both the press conference following the game and his day-after conference – offhandedly making a comment about only losing by five while leaving six points on the field. But if anyone should be blamed for the way the kicker performed on Sunday, January 9, it should be the Head Coach.

Forget about Akers’ missed 41-yarder in the first quarter – or his track-record of inconsistency kicking in the Linc – Reid should never have put his kicking team on the field for the play in question in the first place. The Eagles had a fourth-and-one at Green Bay’s 16 yard-line, down eleven points with about ten minutes to play. They were averaging 3.9 yards per carry and were actually succeeding in short-yardage situations… But still chose to kick. Even if Akers makes the field goal, the Eagles still trail by eight and are playing to tie, not to win. Guess who gets the blame for that?

Reid put Akers in a position to fail. Sure, a case could be made that Akers should have held himself out of the game, but what professional athlete (aside from Jay Cutler) does that? If Andy Reid had a Championship-mentality, he would have pounded the ball up the middle on that fourth-and-1 play and stuck it to the Packers. Instead, he sent a reeling David Akers onto the field and rest is history.

Should Akers be criticized for his performance? Not necessarily. He was dealing with deep personal feelings, and even if you’ve experienced something similar, you have no idea how those thoughts affected him. Some players thrive on tragedy (see: Favre, Brett and Reed, Ed). Others don’t. Should Reid have been more sensitive? Maybe. But we don’t know what really happened behind-closed-doors leading up to the game.

Again, if Andy had gone for the kill, rather than playing for the tie, maybe this whole point would be moot.

And the Defensive Coaching Clusterfuck Continues…
Joe Woods. Jon Hoke. At this point the Eagles Defensive Coordinator position comes down to Plans F and G.

Not a good start to drastically rebuilding a defense that gave up a franchise-record 31 touchdowns through the air. Though I’m still holding out hope for Darren Perry – the only Defensive Backs Coach the Eagles haven’t interviewed yet and a guy I singled out weeks ago (along with the Jets’ Mark Carrier) – this is becoming ridiculous.

One of the strengths of Andy Reid over the course of the past 13 years has been his ability to go into an offseason with a plan in place and execute that plan. Whether it has been big Free Agent targets, coaching moves, draft strategy – the Front Office typically gets their business settled early and easily (though the outcomes haven’t had the same consistency).  But this offseason so far has been a complete mess…

Firing and hiring coaches with no rhyme or reason. Interviewing any defensive coaching name they can get their hands on. They’re scrambling and it’s noticeably uncharacteristic. Clearly the plan was to simply install Dick Jauron at Coordinator, making for a seamless transition in a very uncertain offseason, but that blew up in their face. Now the team is stuck with whatever coach is willing to take the job.

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio made a very interesting point yesterday on Mike Missanelli’s show on 97.5 The Fanatic… There is uncertainty in the league and with the Eagles. Coaches with good jobs, working for good organizations, won’t be so quick to uproot their families and move, partially due to the CBA issues, but mostly because they don’t want to take a job with a Head Coach that might not be there after this next season.

Now Sal Pal has mentioned his belief that this will be Andy’s last year in Philadelphia, barring a Super Bowl(*). But this goes deeper. Would coaches really not try to advance their careers solely because Andy Reid’s future may be in doubt? I find that hard to believe. If you’re a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL and you lose your job because of the Head Coach, chances are you’re getting another gig on the same level. Hell, even Sean McDermutt is still a Defensive Coordinator(**). And it’s not like they’d be taking a bad job. The Eagles (as much as it pains me to say it) are one of the top organizations in the league, the Offense has the ability to be fantastic, and the Defense can only improve, especially on a talent-level. That should be a sought-after job.

(*)And Fire The Walrus Nation rejoices!

(**)By the way… Somebody asked me: What happens if McDermutt succeeds in Denver? Well, it would prove that the personnel on this Eagles team is definitely below-average; that Jim Johnson really does produce top-notch coaching talent; and that Andy Reid is at fault, once and for all.

Speaking of Mike Missanelli
I want to give a special thank you to Mikey Miss for plugging our little space on the interwebs yesterday and discussing Monday’s piece on Andy Reid’s regular season record splits (hopefully audio of it is uploaded soon at 975TheFanatic.com).

Yesterday was a record-setting day here at FireTheWalrus.com and we welcome all of the new members of Fire The Walrus Nation! You won’t be disappointed… at least until the 2011 season ends with an interception and no Super Bowl.

Another wet Whisker Wednesday is just getting started. Check back later today for more icy fun!


Whisker Wednesday Poll

January 26, 2011

Winter Weather Warning Whisker Wednesday (Yeah alliteration!) continues with the Whisker Wednesday Poll: At this point, who should be hired to coach the Eagles’ Defense?


At this point? I would take Trgovac or Perry (but, as I said earlier today, I highly doubt Trgovac leaves Capers’ side), but that’s where the fascination with the “legendary” Mike Holmgren has to end. Seriously, Walrus, enough with the former Holmgren castoffs… The guy only won one Super Bowl, how is he such a beloved deity? Go outside the “Brotherhood of the Mustachioed Coaches” and cherry pick someone from Dick LeBeau or Rex Ryan’s stable.

Speaking of the Ryan family… I would take Buddy Ryan (at age 76), Buddy Ryan’s dog or Buddy Ryan’s third-cousin to remake the sorry Defense the Eagles have put out on the field the past two seasons. Watching the Championship games on Sunday was so frustrating. If the Eagles had any semblance of a real Defense in 2010 – and Vick doesn’t throw that awful underthrow to Cooper – who knows what this team could have done.

As for “Weekend at Bernies”-ing Jim Johnson… I don’t recommend it.

Got another suggestion for a Defensive Coordinator candidate? Leave them in the comments.

Coming soon… Flipper Friday!