Category Archives: Football

Eagles Writing The Script For Their Own Underdog Story

November 2nd, 2014 Week 8 of the season and the Eagles are 5-2. Season is looking promising. They are tied 7-7 with seven seconds left in the first quarter against the 4-4 Texans. It’s third and sixteen from the Texans 47 yard line. Nick Foles drops back and is scrambling looking for someone to get open. From behind comes Whitney Mercilus and drives Foles right in the turf.  Nine yard loss and now backed up to their own 44 yard line. It’s a tough loss for a once promising drive. The Eagles did not just lose nine yards on this play though; they also lost their starting Quarterback for the season. Nick Foles heads to the locker room and is diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Mark Sanchez replaces him and the Eagles miss the playoffs.  This was not just the end of Nick Foles season; it was supposed to be the end of his Eagles career. Not many people thought Foles would be the quarterback that would lead the Eagles to their first Lombardi trophy and former Eagles coach Chip Kelly was included in that. He would go on to trade Foles to the Rams for Sam Bradford that offseason. Fast forward to this week and Nick Foles is now the starting Quarterback for the Eagles in Super Bowl 52. Nick Foles’ journey back to the Eagles starting Quarterback is not just an underdog story; it resembles the storyline of a Hollywood blockbuster.  The crazy part is he is not the only one on this team with a story like this.

Let’s talk about Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Since the moment he got hired majority of people (myself included) doubted he would be the coach to take the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. Doug Pederson was not a name that had been mentioned by anyone as a rumored potential head coach. It came out of nowhere when they hired him. Add on the fact that Pederson was coming over from being Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator and now you got Eagles fans and the local media worried. Everyone jumped straight to the worst: “He is going to be a clone of Andy Reid”, “Andy never got the job done and Doug won’t either”, “He doesn’t have enough experience in the NFL to be a head coach”. Look when a city has never won a Super Bowl especially a city like Philadelphia everyone expects the worst. At the beginning of this season Michael Lombardi from the Ringer called Doug Pederson the least qualified coach to receive a head coaching job. Media outlets from all over had the Eagles around a measly 7-9 or 8-8 range and giving Doug no credit to get this team to be a contender in the NFC or even the NFC East. Also rumors surfaced during training camp that Jim Schwartz was gunning for his job. Doug has no shot of leading this team; except he has done that and more. Not only has he led this team to the Super Bowl, but he has done it having his players play selfless football. Everyone believing in the team and not in their own personal achievement is nothing short of incredible. This team has 53 men on the roster and to get every single one to check their egos at the door and play selfless football is a huge credit to Doug Pederson and the coach he is. He believes in his players and the next one stepping up if one goes down. Tell Eagles fans at the beginning of the season that Doug Pederson would lead a team that lost Jason peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks and MVP candidate Carson Wentz for the season to the Super Bowl and you would be labeled the village idiot. I mean how could you not react that way? It is insane to think the Eagles are one win away from their first Super Bowl with all that has gone against them, but here they are and Doug is the main reason for that. His journey these past two years is a true underdog story and fits right in with the city of Philadelphia. He is writing his own script and is just getting started.

Then there is Brandon Graham. Drafted with the 13th pick in the 2010 NFL draft and was immediately labeled a stretch pick. No one thought he should have gone that high. Eagles fans were especially mad they did not get Earl Thomas. Graham was already off to a bad start in Philly. His first few years he was a slow developer and meanwhile up in New York Jason Pierre-Paul who was drafted two picks after him was turning into a star. Graham was starting to get labeled a bust and being written off. Over the past few years Graham has done nothing but silence the doubters. He is one of the top pass rushers in the league now and is part of the best front four in football. Graham has now become a fan favorite here as well. He is constantly making appearances and interacting with the fans. He has embraced the city and in return they have embraced him. A guy who was about to be cast off is now one of the heroes for this team. He could have continued the narrative that everyone had already written for him, but he never gave up and is writing his own narrative that may end with him hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

So many players on this team are writing their own underdog story. Mychal Kendricks and Jason Kelce were almost traded and now are huge contributors for this team. Even the city of Philadelphia in general constantly feels like the underdog. Philly loves a good underdog story and if you go up and down this roster it is full of them. That’s what makes this team special. They continue to prove the doubters wrong and write their own script. Now this team is one win away from finishing this season’s underdog script with the proper ending for these players, this franchise and especially this city.

Written by Donald D’agostino

Image Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Go Birds

Being a realist isn’t an excuse for disbelief in a Birds postseason run. I hear fans giving up on the season, but isn’t the beauty of being an eagles fan the faith you have in your team even when all the cards are stacked up against them?

That being said, the Eagles have a long road to the Super Bowl. The Falcons are a dangerous team with a plethora of weapons. Matt Ryan, Dan Quinn and the rest of the Dirty Birds look like they drank a pedialyte and woke up from their Super Bowl hangover.

 

After the Birds take down the Falcons, either the Saints or the Vikings are coming to town.

The Eagles did what they needed to do to lock up home field advantage after Carson Wentz went down. Now they need two home wins to get the franchise’s third Super Bowl birth.

There are three keys to success for the Birds this postseason.

  1. Win the battle up front

The Eagles need to dominate on the offensive and defensive lines. They are the   team’s two biggest strengths. The Eagles have Pro Bowl and All-Pro talent on both lines. Their offensive line needs to create a run game and keep pressure off Foles.The d-line needs to do the opposite. They have to play physical stop the run and keep pressure on the opposing QB. That will take pressure off the team’s young DB group.

  1. Foles needs to step it up

Nick Foles does not have to be Carson Wentz for the team to win. He needs to play confident and protect the ball. When Foles plays with confidence, he can make the big throws. The last two weeks of the season Foles played timid. He needs to find that confidence that he had back in 2013.

  1. Dougie P needs to continue to impress

Did anyone think Doug Pederson was going to be this good of a coach? I sure didn’t. He has made huge strides in year two. He needs to devise a game plan that sets up Foles and the offense for success. Doug has shown he can coach in the regular season. Lets see what he can do in the postseason.

 

Don’t be a realist and look at all the things going against the Birds. Be a fan and look at all of the advantages. The NFC comes through Philly and no one is giving us a chance. It is us against the world! Don’t give up on the Birds! Fly Eagles Fly!

Written by Joe Smith

Tempered Expectations and Why God Isn’t Dead

 

You can best understand me if we start on Saturday night. I attended a Christmas party with friends, one thing lead to another, and all of a sudden I was the drunkest guy in the zip code. Being as that was, I left my phone at said party and had to drive back on Sunday morning. Someone thought it was a good idea to get a brunch crew together and soon I was once again one of tri-state area’s biggest disappointments.

You say “I don’t give a shit about any of this” and I say it’s important because I blacked the hell out and forgot anything even tangentially related to the Eagles game. That being true, I could still feel in my balls that something wasn’t right. This feeling was given credence after I woke up on a couch at 11pm, ordered an Uber after I found my car parked in, and had my driver offhandedly mention that our sweet sweet boy “busted his got damn leg”. Memories flooded back into my skull like I was a vet back in a Vietnamese jungle surrounded by Charlie.

Here’s the reality: the best we can hope for Wentz is that he makes a full physical and psychological recovery before next September. I think I can speak for most of the fan base when I say that he’s almost permanently won us over with his play and personality. Who knows how many washed up Delco football players were ready to offer up their ACL to this guy. For better or worse, he’s our messiah. It’s totally subjective, but football fans can feel in their gut whether they’re watching a good or great team. On a 3rd and 12 when he impossibly slips a collapsed pocket and zips the ball through coverage, you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Wentz was that difference. It’s undeniable that the kid has the kind of magic in him that makes an impact on every drive and can animate a whole team.

Some among us are choosing to forget this because “Big Dick” Foles has had some truly special moments as an NFL quarterback. This has led a lot of fans to act like he’s going to be the second coming of 2006 Jeff Garcia with a full head of hair and without the erectile dysfunction. The four stages of Philly fandom are apathy, a glimmer of hope, belief in the possibility of something special happening, and then soul-crushing failure. That’s what that kind of unwarranted optimism sets us up for and there’s a good reason that Foles couldn’t beat out Trevor Siemian or Brett Hundley for a job. I’ve been quoted saying as saying other not so great stuff about Nick Foles in midnight green, but here we are.

 

I’m forgetting I ever said any of that, and you’re forgetting about the four stages of fandom that always end up with you face down at Mummers mumbling “maybe next year”. I often say “believe in something”, and it’s one of those phrases I use just for the sake of making words with my mouth. I never think it means anything, but I remember in times like these that it does. A French songwriter who I don’t care to Google once said that she had two loves, her country and Paris. My two loves are this city and these fucking birds. The playoffs are next month. Time to dig in and believe in something.

Written by John Renzi

State of the Union Address on the Philadelphia Eagles

As someone who pretends to have their finger on the pulse of Eagles Nation, I have to say the past few years have been a roller coaster. Between the Dream Team, Chip “Please Fire Me” Kelly, and the seemingly rocky drafts, the fanbase’s heartbeat has felt like that coked up geriatric Miami coach’s. Today, I can confidently state it actually still feels like that, but in a way that is somehow good.

I vaguely remember a story, either from a middle school field trip or a half-watched National Treasure rerun on AMC, about Ben Franklin and whether the sun he saw was rising or setting. Everyone not named Skip Bayless knows in their bones that we’re on the way up. What I’m here to tell you isn’t just that it’s rising, it’s that no matter where you look it should be melting your goddamn face off.

On the side of the ball that wins championships, we have a different young guy step up in our secondary weekly and a linebacking corps that consistently outperforms through injuries. Any of our D-Linemen could hitch a wagon with an Irish Catholic family in it to their backs and walk the Oregon Trail, and they’re all signed until The Rock takes office in 2020.

When my pants aren’t moving at the thought of Cox or Graham sending Eli on his personalized short bus to retirement, it’s because I’m occupied with our receiver depth-chart looking more like a Belmont Stakes lineup than what last year seemed like a half dozen Vince Papaple knockoffs. As tremendously disappointing as Peters going down was, its shown the quality of an offensive line that’s still a top 10 unit. There were some gripes about a lack of identity at running back… and then Papa Howie goes shopping and gets us a Pro-Bowl caliber back for 8 new footballs and a value pack of athletic tape from Modells. We have so many guys running the ball when we’re closing out games that Michael Nutter could get a few carries and I wouldn’t notice.

All of the above is overshadowed by the six foot four inch god-fearing angel otherwise known as Carson Wentz. In a way, he’s everything our previous signal callers weren’t. Where Bradford couldn’t drive the ball down the field, Wentz will fearlessly throw it over that mountain range you’re pointing to. Where Foles stumbled around the pocket like a drunk arthritic sloth, this guy is making missed sacks look like a Harry Houdini highlight reel. And where I can’t think of a reason but am sure that Mark Sanchez is going to hell, Carson Wentz has unquestioned line cutting privileges at the pearly gates. Barely a year removed from his first NFL start in the middle of what we thought was a rebuild and he’s a handful of downfield dimes away from having the keys to the city.

When the Birds are winning, there’s a certain air around Philly on the weekends. So go to the games, get kicked out of Xfinity Live, and fall asleep on the SEPTA line you somehow made it back to. Get your free Dunkin’ coffee on Monday and sit on the toilet for 20 minutes. Maybe even secure the receipts for those dress shirts your Aunt Denise bought you on Black Friday for those job interviews you don’t have, because they “might not fit” and plane tickets to Minneapolis on February 4th aren’t getting any cheaper.

Written by John Renzi

GAMETIME

For the first time since the birth of Jesus, Thursday night football is putting on a game worthy of my time. Carson “Perfect Human Being” Wentz vs. Cam “I Hate Female Reporters” Newton should be a good one guys. Cam might have gotten them some bad PR, and possibly some bad karma thrown his way from the football goddesses, but Christian McCaffrey got them that good karma to balance it out. So leave both teams at even strength on the karma board.

Damnit..could you imagine putting Christian McCaffrey and Carson Wentz in a film room? Oh well.

Anyway, Bovada has us at +3 on the road.  While I like those odds, I still feel like 5-1 is way too good to be true. With Lane Johnson and his BADass goatee out of the game, other aspects of this team are going to have to step up. I need a Jordan Hicks pick 6 tonight, maybe a safety or two, and a couple long bombs from Jake Elliot. That should do it for me. Oh, and if Nelson Agholor scores a touchdown he HAS to dab all over Carolina. Maybe even run over to the Carolina bench and do it right in Cam’s face.

Whatever happens tonight, I like where this team is positioned. 5-1 would be (borat voice) very nicce, but going home 4-2 with Lane back, and Darby getting close would still have us right on track. Football is so fun man.

It’s now time to go cook some body parts of dead animals and drink a lot of light beer.

Speaking of beer, pop on the Eagles power hour before kickoff to add some volume to your shouts toward the T.V

Go Birds baby!

Written by Mike Cloran

Dandy Andy (AGAIN)

“Whew.” That was the text my mother sent me just minutes after the Eagles squeaked by in their 26-24 shootout victory against the Chargers this evening. My mother has always been an Eagles fan, and I have spent many a Sunday afternoon screaming at the T.V. with her. But this time she was definitely right. Despite our awesome record, there are still plenty of things to be worried about.
The defense looked incredibly sloppy. Crippled with injuries, they were exposed once again by a staunch receiving core. I really can’t fathom how Keenan Allen has made it this far without hurting himself, but I am happy for him.

When healthy, he is a coverage nightmare. He had 138 yards receiving paired with 114 and a TD from Tyrell Williams. This is going to continue to be a theme until Darby comes back, and this is inherently putting pressure on the offense to score, but this week the offense answered the call.
This run game is freakin great. The Chargers are ranked 31st in the league when it comes to run defense, and the Eagles broke them down. Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood are providing great depth at running back, and watching Blount run over people is exactly what the fan base had hoped for. When he rumbled, bumbled and stumbled and then stiff-armed that guy into the depths of the turf, I was awestruck. This ground pound opens up opportunities for Carson, and this offense looked great on the first four drives. We managed to run 6 whole minutes off the clock, with just a two- point lead. This is the most dangerous weapon our team has, and say a prayer that we continue to use it in this way.
Torrey Smith really seems to suck at football, or so I thought. He came out with a tweet today expressing his frustrations, and I don’t hate him nearly as much for it now. The guy wants to be great, and Carson will continue to give him opportunities. Four drops in four games are still kind of brutal though. Nelson continues to prove his worth, and those like three targets he gets each game are almost always receptions in crucial moments, and it is wonderful to see how he has grown.

The offense stalled about midway into the third quarter, and we scored like a million field goals. I know this guy Elliott is a legend, but damn can we stop riding him this hard. We don’t want his leg to fall off.
The Eagles are still working out the kinks with game management, and this defense will continue to keep opponents in games. But if we are able to use the run game to our advantage, and Fletcher Cox comes back on defense, we will be fine. The Cardinals are a team with a decimated offensive line and no David Johnson. I hope we pound them into the dirt.
 

Written by Andrew Masterson

(Mildly) Angry Andy

Famed Cardinals coach Dennis Green, irate after a loss, screamed at reporters in a post-game press conference proclaiming, “They are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook.” This expression perfectly sums up my feelings on the Eagles Chiefs game this week.

I would be lying to you if I said that I thought the Eagles were going to win. The Chiefs had just come off one of the hottest starts of the year defeating the reigning Super Bowl Champions in Foxboro, and I was genuinely enjoying a week of ribbing my Massachusetts born roommate. The Eagles would have to travel well, and Arrowhead Stadium is just one of those places that it is hard to win at. But then again, they held their own.
With four sacks on Alex Smith, this front seven is going to be a mainstay for the portions of the team that makes Andy Dandy on a weekly basis. They are exposing weak matchups and the linebacker core, despite the one 53 yard run, gave Kareem Hunt all that he could handle. And what about that Tyreek Hill guy? He had a pedestrian week as well! The defense held their own for 3 and a half quarters, and hoped the offense could continue to execute as well.

Spoiler alert, they failed in a few regards. Carson Wentz had a great day. Alshon Jeffrey had a great day. Even Nelson Agholor caught a TD pass. But I certainly want to launch Torrey Smith into the sun. The man dropped an opening drive touchdown, and failed to convert on many precision passing attempts. Enjoy it Eagles fans, because we just paid him 15 million dollars to be a 2016 Nelson Agholor. Sheesh.

I could rip into the O-Line but everyone and their mother did that, and it was one week. The team will face JPP and a formidable Giants front seven, and if they cannot rebound, I will hound them then.
Doug Pederson, however, cannot be spared. The Eagles aren’t even trying to run the football. We paid Blount a lot of money to blister through the middle, and they aren’t doing it. I believe in this O-Line, and it seems that every year we have a great talent who is utilized the wrong way, and it costs us games. If Doug doesn’t get his act together, he will not only hurt the team this year, but mortgage the future of poor Carson Wentz’s throwing arm. That’s bad news bears.

All in all, the Eagles put up a good fight against a great AFC team, and if they converted a play here or there, they’d still be in it. Unfortunately the only Andy who was Dandy this week however, was Andy Reid. Continue reading

Dandy Andy is Back

As they say in the Godfather Part III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” It’s year two at DelcoDelphia, and I find myself starving to write on this forum, because no matter how hard I try to be infuriated at this Eagles team, they continue to make me Dandy. Yeah, yeah, to all those Delco Haters I know, it’s Wednesday and the game is old news. Give me a break. It’s senior year. There’s a sickness here in Philadelphia, a plague, really. This first game was nothing short of wacky, and Carson Wentz and “jaw drops” Nelson Agholor are providing an unequivocal spark to this team invigorating fans to once again support our boys in green.
When Carson scrambled on that moon ball to Nelson and he broke out for the score, I could’ve catapulted through the ceiling. I mockingly tweeted, “New Year, New Nelson” as the neighbors lauded my existence, but as the game progressed, I truly believed that Agholor’s could be a fantastic third wide receiver on this team. Aside from 2 balls that were uncatchable and that nauseating swing pass on third and short, he caught everything that was coming to him. As the supporting cast continued to be dogged down by coverage, Agholor was making the most of one on one matchups, even converting some crucial third down plays. I know it’s early, but I genuinely hope that Agholor becomes the main success story of this offense. Oh yeah and Zach Ertz is going to be a top 10 tight end this year for sure. If he could learn how to break a tackle though, that would be great.
As we move to the defensive side of the ball, the front seven looked ferocious. Brandon Graham looks less and less like a bust with each passing year, and this run blocking unit is going to give Kareem Hunt fits next week. I also must hand it to the cornerbacks. As Ronald Darby, a Bills corner we actually don’t hate, was swallowed up by turf monsters, they continued to hold their own. There were certainly miscues, but there is something to be said about Doug’s kicking the field goal late and hanging his hat on the defense. They deserved the opportunity.
As we close this article, it is time to address the inevitable. It was an incomplete pass. For what seems like the first time in forever, the Eagles got a break from the refs. This game was a must win, and despite terrible play calling, hobbled defensive backs, and a formidable road opponent, we won. Just as my writing, this was a rusty start. But for at-least this first week, the Eagles have some momentum that can fuel the gang as they travel to Arrowhead.

Post by Andrew Masteron

 

Blount Signing Is A Great Dumb Move

When you have a franchise QB on his rookie contract, you do all you can to make sure he gets everything he needs. Just like my Enterprise internship. They have a bright young man like myself on cheap intern pay, and they are making sure I’m getting the tools to be my own boss 🙂

But this blog isn’t about me, it’s about the guys who take on one of the most dangerous jobs in sports: The running back. To be a back in this league, you need to be insanely athletic, durable, and a lot of times, it even helps to be really stupid (just watch any Marshawn Lynch interview). Frank Gore’s IQ is historically low and that’s why he’s still risking his life at the age of 34. Le’veon Bell was dumb enough to get caught with weed, but he’s probably the best RB in this league. Unless you’re a QB, it benefits teams to be dumb. Patrick Willis, who is now working in the Silicon Valley, was smart enough to retire at age 29 and leave San Fran’s defense in shambles. No good.

Which brings me to this signing. The Eagles picked up an athletic back. Over 1,100 yards last year weighing 250lbs. He’s proven to be very durable. Part of this is because he’s always been splitting carries, but he’s never been seriously hurt. And what I like most about him, is he’s nice and dumb. Howie Rosemann is putting together a nice set of idiot running backs and I love it.

Besides scoring 18 TD last year and proving to be on the most consistent short yardage backs, Blount has also been dumb at times, and will come in here as a great dumb mentor to our young running back core. He got caught with weed and was suspended for a game in 2015, but it’s the story in 2010 that I find a liking in.

“Hout, pumped up by the Broncos’ 19-8 defeat of Oregon in last year’s season opener, slapped Blount on the shoulder. The (Oregon) running back had told Sports Illustrated that the Ducks owed the Broncos an “(expletive)-whuppin’.” “How ’bout that (expletive)-whuppin’?” Hout said he told Blount. Blount responded with a right hand to the jaw that dropped Hout to the blue turf. Blount was suspended for most of the season; Hout, who was disciplined internally, was criticized on national TV and teased relentlessly in the locker room.” From Tim Gardener, USA Today.

That’s the attitude we need on this football team. Ryan Matthews was solid, but not “I’ll punch a dude in the mouth without even thinking about the consequences” solid.

Go Birds.

Written by Mike Cloran

Image Source: LeGarrette Blount