Monday, December 28, 2009

Eagles 30, Broncos 27: Credit Where it's Due

Even with Dawkins in town, we learned to give kudos to the man who has truly turned around our franchise. D.F. McNabb went 20/35 for 322, 3TDs and 1 INT (to Champ Bailey) on Sunday and led the Birds on a late fourth quarter game-winning drive. Sure, there were long stretches in the second half when the offense was stalled like a women's bathroom, but for the most part we saw the Eagles O humming along due to big plays from our (Hall of Fame?) quarterback. A 47-yard touchdown pass to Celek here, a 27-yard third down scamper there, and a game capped off by a phenomenal sideline throw (and catch) to Jeremy Maclin makes you wonder why we are all so hard on our cornball leader. Oh wait he just threw a screen pass in the dirt. Fuck you, Donovan.

We also learned that Shady makes us all nervous, We still can't tackle, Westbrook won't hurt the flow, MJG62 is starting, Jeremy Maclin is Greatness, Dawkins is still our friend, David Akers is on steroids, and We still won't win the Superbowl.


We still can't tackle - While a popular story last week was the improved tackling by the Eagles defense against the Niners, it only appeared that way in comparison to the disaster in New York Jersey two weeks ago. While I don't mind lapses in tackling from an interception machine like Asante Samuel, there is no reason why our linebackers and other DBs aren't wrapping up and getting guys on the ground. Yes, this is a big-play, big-risk defense that often goes for strips, but having guys like Josh Morgan last week and Jabar Gaffney this week breaking tackles is inexcusable. This defense is fantastic against the run, in deep play coverage, and in getting pressure to the QB. What we lack is the ability to defense the mid-range pass (especially to TEs). If we don't tackle properly, those underneath passes can go for some major YAC and cause this team to lose time of possession, and potentially, a playoff game.

Westbrook won't hurt the flow - I was admittedly worried about the return of Brian Westbrook this week.  Not for anything commendable like his safety or his career, but for the simple fact that the Birds have been doing just fine without him and that his presence could disrupt the flow of this offense.  The day after his first game back in 5 weeks, my concerns -- while not completely alleviated -- have subsided. BWest seemed to have benefited from the time off as he showed a quick burst and none of the effects from his concussions and ankle injuries.  While he didn't have a huge game (9 carries, 32 yards), nobody else really did either.  We saw what we needed to see: Brian Westbrook looking like Brian Westbrook.

MJG62 is starting - Hell yea he is.  Our friend and fellow blogger Max Jean-Gilles will have to step in at right guard due to a season-ending ACL injury to starting Center Jamaal Jackson.  While this isn't good for camaraderie on the front line, it's quite awesome to fans of MJG like us.  Max, I know you frequent Tuscan Tavern over on Blackwood-Clementon road (a buddy works there)...come holler at us for an interview.  You can tell us all about how much better than Stacy Andrews you are.

Jeremy Maclin is Greatness - Well, at least according to DeSean Jackson.  From Reuben Frank of the Burlington County Times:
Jeremy Maclin was trying to talk about his remarkable sideline reception in the final seconds of the Eagles-Broncos game, and he kept getting interrupted by the guy in the next locker over.

"You're looking at greatness," DeSean Jackson hollered. "Greatness. Greatness."

It's nice to see DeSean supporting the 21 year-old, even in the face of some pretty obvious differences in pay between the two. Let's also not forget that #10 wasn't exactly thrilled that the Eagles spent a first-round pick (and first round money) on another WR. Luckily, DeSean knows that he'll get his cash money after the season, and understands that winning can only help his cause. Good thinkin, bruh. Stay positive.

Dawkins is still our friend - Intense. Emotional. Motivational. Passionate. Overpaid.  There are a lot of words to describe our longtime Eagles superhero Brian Dawkins.  We all felt sad when the team went in another direction this offseason, and although I was one of the few people that applauded the move from a football standpoint at the time, I'm still sad to see him playing for another team.  This person summed it up nicely:

David Akers is on steroids - You heard it here first, folks. I don't care how many karate kicks this dude has been doing in the offseason, your kick power is not supposed to improve with age. I was on the "fire Akers" bandwagon before the season started, but it looks like even I have to hop off and leave Mike Vanderjagt and the other unemployed kickers as the sole riders. Akers has been far better than the "solid" we needed him to be -- he's been very good to almost great at times. My theory? The cream. Or the clear. One of 'em.

We still won't win the Superbowl - C'mon people, we've been here before. Let's not fall for it again. While there are plenty of writers out there picking the Eagles to represent the NFC in the Superbowl because of their six-game winning streak and "dark horse" status, I must remain negative unenthusiastic patient for our impending failure skeptical. This is what we do -- get hot near the end of the year, make our run, and invariably fall short. Don't get ahead of yourselves just yet. Maybe...just maybe...if we all start putting our attention completely on the struggling Flyers and the terrible 76ers, we'll look up in February and notice that we've won an NFL title. Otherwise, the pressure will get to these guys and we'll lose another NFC championship game.


Until then:

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