Giant Loss Puts Birds In 1-3 Hole
"It's frustrating," said McNabb, who finished 15-of-31 for 138 yards. "For an offense that has had so much success over the previous years, for us to come out and play the way we played today is embarrassing."
Embarrassing? No. Embarrassing is when you accidentally let one rip when you are on a date. This was atrocious, mind boggling, horrific, and just disastrous.
The Eagles offense did not even have a chance today, as they were outplayed, out numbered, and flat out out coached.
The Giants sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times, tying an NFL record. Former Eagles linebackers coach Steve Spagnola called a brilliant game, and he kept heavy pressure coming all night. The Giants who have tremendous depth at defensive end, knew they would get a good pass rush from the edges, and blitzed the Eagles A gap constantly, to get after Donovan from all angles.
One of those great ends, Osi Umenyiora lead the way with six sacks, and was a Giant pain all game. Even when Donovan was not getting sacked, he was being chased, or forced out of the pocket. This lead to many of the sacks, rushed throws, and errant passes. The pass protection scheme definitely failed tonight, and the Eagles game plan was very poor. Early in the first quarter, on a 3rd down play, Reno Mahe was responsible for picking up Umenyiora blitzing from the linebacker position. That is a match up I hope I never see again, as Osi easily pushed Mahe away to get a sack.
The Eagles offensive line was supposed to be a strength of the team, but tonight it was a major weakness. You will not see many victories with pass protection this poor. Throughout the game, the Eagles used a shotgun spread formation, that had minimal pass protection, and this seemed to play right into the Giants blitzing defense. It seemed like the Eagles were getting beat by their own defensive scheme.
Another thing that the Birds offense tried, was switching to a no huddle offense. They have used this several times this year, and it has failed miserably. When you have an offense as complicated as the Eagles, it is very difficult to operate this way, because you are constantly changing personnel packages for different plays. Teams like the Colts can run it so efficiently, because they will use the same exact personnel, and the same exact formation for an entire drive. Using the no huddle has killed a lot of Eagles drives this year, and they need to just give up on it.
Justice Was Not Served:
The Eagles streak of 19 straight games with the offensive line intact, was broken Sunday. With Tra Thomas sidelined for the game, second year tackle Winston Justice got his first career start, and it is sure to be one he would like to forget about. To be blunt about his performance, he was just absolutely terrible.
To make matters worse, John Madden made sure to point out how bad 74 messing up. Then ripped the Eagles for not helping him out more in pass protection. If only Andy had listened to that advice, because Justice was responsible for four of the six sacks that Osi Umenyiora had. Osi ran around him, ran inside, and bull dozed him to get to McNabb. Everybody knew this would be a big test for him going into the game, but nobody expected he would get schooled this bad.
Justice also did poorly in run blocking. The Eagles had tremendous success running the ball to the left last week, and this week they were very inconsistent. Justice was not holding the point of attack, and a few runs got blown up for no gains.
As the game progressed Justice even seemed rattled, as he was repeatedly called for false starts, and possibly was lined up incorrectly one play. (could have been Brent Celek, one of them messed up
The only positive thing I can say for this lousy debut, is that things can only go up from here. It can't get any worse. Osi seemed to agree.
"It was like a video game out there," Umenyiora said. "Winston Justice is a very good football player. Tonight was just one of those nights. He'll learn from that experience."
Justice accepted responsibility.
"I am going to shoulder the loss for the team," he said. "I got out of my technique, tried to make adjustments and they just didn't work."
Strange Miscue Costs Birds:
With one minute, and fifty six seconds to go in the third quarter, McNabb took the snap from under center, and then it appeared that he just dropped the ball. Which was then recovered by New York linebacker Kawika Mitchell, and returned the ball seventeen yards for a score.
With a slow motion replay, you could see that as McNabb was about to hand the ball off to Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Tapeh accidentally bumped into the ball, and created the biggest play(mistake) of the game.
Andy Reid tried to challenge the play, but to no avail. The play would stand, and this would be a back breaker for the Eagles, as they were unable to comeback from a 16-0 deficit. The Picture I found, shows that Schobel contacted him, with his knee down. Way to go refs. After further review you blew it!
I am not sure if the mistake was on Donovan, or Tapeh, but with the way the Eagles offense was sputtering, I knew the game was over right there.
Injuries Keep Piling Up:
Now I know it is lame to use injuries as en excuse for an NFL loss, and I will not do that. However it is alarmingly scary at how many of the Eagles better players are injured.
None scarier than Brian Westbrook's torn abdominal muscle. When Michelle Tafoya described in detail how Brian's ribs would actually poke through the tear, It became clear to me that Westbrook's injury was very severe.
My guess is that Brian will be on the shelf for a long time, and not just a few games. There is no way he is going to be able to perform with this type of injury, and if he does, it will only get worse. The only realistic solution is probably going to require surgery, and a long rehab process. This could mean no Brian Westbrook for most of the remaining season.
As shown tonight Westbrook is sorely missed on this team, and without him they are just not the same team.
Other players out include Brian Dawkins(neck), Lito Sheppard(knee), L.J. Smith(sports hernia), and Tra Thomas(knee). Sheldon Brown suffered a stinger in the first quarter.
The Eagles desperately need these guys back soon, because the team is not performing without them. You will not see this offense be explosive with Brian Westbrook wearing a tee shirt.
Does Plax Own Sheldon?:
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Sheldon Brown fan. He is one of my favorite players, and I even have his jersey. There just seems to be a huge mismatch problem with Brown covering Plaxico Burress.
He has beaten Sheldon Brown for a Touchdown as least once in each of the past three seasons. I feel like Brown is one of the most fundamentally sound corners in the game, but Plaxico just seems to have his number. His size, and speed make him extremely difficult to defend. On many of the plays Brown even has pretty good coverage on Burress, but Burress, just uses his size to out jump Brown.
Brown also seemed to be getting picked on after he suffered an injury early in the game. He did not have one of his better games, but I know Sheldon will put in the work to improve.
Will James Is Horrible:
Will James is the worst corner back on the Eagles roster, and he is the worst current starter on the team.
James once again got torched deep, and this time he was penalized for blatantly taking Amani Toomer to the ground. The penalty lead to a Giants field goal, but more importantly it once again showed the NFL that James is a bum.
Every QB in the league will pick on number 21, when they see him lined up on the field.
The Eagles would be better off sticking a traffic cone on the field, because at least maybe the receiver would accidentally trip over it. With Will James there is no maybe, he is going to get beat every game.
Rest Of The D Was Solid:
The Eagles did a pretty good job for the most part on defense. Offensively the Giants only scored ten points, and only gave up the one TD to Plaxico.
There are some areas that could still be improved, like some missed tackles, more pressure on the QB, the ability to cover the short pass, and they could work on stopping the bootleg some in practice.
One time NFL sack leader Trent Cole, did not get any sacks, and I expected a big game from him. Juqua Thomas did very little, and Darren Howard was invisible except for a tipped pass.
The one lone sack came from Jevon Kearse of all people. Imagine that. Kearse actually made several nice plays, and that was good to see.
The defensive tackles had another very solid game, and the Eagles defense went another game without allowing a hundred yard rusher. Besides an offsides penalty, Mike Patterson played very well.
Omar Gaither got his second career interception off Eli Manning in the second quarter, and returned it 49 yards the other way. Great play for Omar, but I thought he should have scored on it. He looked really slow running with the football, and Manning was able to get an angle on Gaither, and force him out of bounds.
The defense shows a lot of promise, but there is still work to be done. Rod Hood is also sorely missed. That could be the biggest mistake the front office made this off season.
Not So Special Teams:
This has to be the worst special teams play of any team under Andy Reid. There is no aspect of special teams, that the Eagles excel at, and they can rarely even play a game without a barrage of mistakes.
"Sure handed" Reno Mahe fumbled on a punt return, J.R. Reed dropped the ball on a kick return, the always dependable David Akers missed a field goal, and almost every "decent" return had a stupid penalty.
Sav Rocca had a terrible game, and I am wondering what happened to this great leg? This guy was pinning teams deep in the pre-season, and was thought to be a weapon. Well now he is getting terrible distance, and hang time, and killed the Eagles field position all game.
Former Eagle Jeff Feagles completely outplayed Sav, and showed that he is one the best in the game. Feagles is the best in the game, at directional/pouch punting, and he pinned the Eagles deep twice on consecutive possessions.
The Eagles kick/punt coverage teams still sucked. I don't know if it is Rory Segrest, or the players, but this special teams this year just flat out suck.
At Least The Phillies Beat New York:
If the Phillies had blown the division title, that was handed to them on a silver platter by the Muts, there might be some people ready to jump off the Walt Whitman Bridge today.
You know it is really bad when the Phils are having more success than the Birds.
Props to the Fightins for managing to get through all that adversity, and still win the NL East.
It's been 14 years since the Phillies last made the playoffs, and there is a great buzz in the city about it.
Doom And Gloom:
What a disastrous start to a season filled with so much promise. The only reason I have even the slightest bit of hope, is because of what the 2003 Eagles team overcame. However is Brian Westbrook is required to go under the knife, then you can be sure that the season is over for sure. Westbrook is the teams most dangerous weapon, and without him this teams' offense is mediocre at best.
Andy Reid better have some miracles up his sleeve, or else it will be time to look at college mock drafts soon.
September 30, 2007
Giant Loss Puts Birds In 1-3 Hole
No Westbrook, Dawkins, Lito, Tra Thomas, L.J. Smith
Safety Brian Dawkins and running back Brian Westbrook were both inactive for Sunday night's game against the Giants. Dawkins missed his second consecutive game after suffering a neck stinger in Philadelphia's Week 2 loss to Washington. Westbrook strained an abdominal in the third quarter of the Eagles' win over Detroit in Week 3 and was unable to practice in the week leading up the the game with New York. Correll Buckhalter got the start in his abscnce.
Three other starters, cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee), left tackle William Thomas (knee), and tight end L.J. Smith (groin), were also inactive with injuries. Quarterback Kevn Kolb, defensive tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen and defensive end Victor Abiamiri rounded out the inactive list for the Eagles.
Not good Eagles fans. This might be too many injuries to overcome.
The celebration began with a strikeout of the Nationals' Wily Mo Pena. Like Jesse Orosco with the Mets in 1986, closer Brett Myers flung his glove high as he fell to his knees. Cell phone cameras clicked as fans waved towels high over their heads. The noise at Citizens Bank Park was deafening.
The Phillies took over the division lead after Game 160, then fell back into a tie with Game 161, when they lost to the Nationals. An enthusiastic crowd of 44,865 -- the 24th sellout this season -- reacted to each Marlins' run on the out-of-town scoreboard. The Mets' game, which began 25 minutes earlier, ended with an 8-1 Marlins victory.
Moyer, who famously skipped school to attend the parade celebrating the 1980 World Series championship, was more than up to the challenge of shutting down a Nationals team that achieved a season goal a night before by clinching fourth place in the division.
The veteran lefty pitched around a one-out double in the first and got the Phillies to the dugout. Jimmy Rollins added to his NL Most Valuable Player candidacy by stroking a leadoff single off Jason Bergmann, swiping second and third and streaking home on a medium liner to right field by Chase Utley.
Moyer provided a slow death to a lineup of aggressive fastball hitters, dancing through five innings. Washington's only run came courtesy of a Greg Dobbs error. Ronnie Belliard reached on that play and scored on an Austin Kearns single.
The rest of the afternoon on Fan Appreciation Sunday belonged to the suffering fans, who nearly got their wish over the past two seasons. More than three million (3,108,325) came to watch 81 home games this season, and delighted with each offering.
Raucous from pitch No. 1 -- a swinging strike by Felipe Lopez -- the rally towels waved throughout the 75-degree day, perfect by any standards.
Ryan Howard padded the lead to 3-0 with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the third, and Philadelphia added two more in the sixth. Howard also homered in the seventh. Moyer left to a thunderous ovation in the sixth, and Tom Gordon received some more accolades when he ended the inning with a double play.
Party hard, Phillies fans, for a relentless team that roared back from seven games back on Sept. 12 to overtake the Mets, who couldn't get out of their own way. Philadelphia went 13-3 in its final 16 games, while New York went 5-12.
Go on, Philadelphia. Spray champagne, smoke a cigar and buy a T-shirt that says "National League East Champions." Celebrate.
September 28, 2007
Donovan McNabb quieted critics with a spectacular performance in leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first win of the season last week. He'll look to follow it up against a New York Giants defense that lifted the team to its first victory of 2007.
The NFC East archrivals meet Sunday night at Giants Stadium in a matchup of clubs looking to put rough starts behind them.
McNabb has been limited to 19 games the last two seasons, missing the final six games of 2006 with a torn ACL and sitting out the last seven contests in '05 due to a sports hernia. The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback struggled in his first two games this season after returning from surgery on the torn knee ligament, throwing for one touchdown and one interception while completing just 54.4 percent of his passes.
McNabb bounced back from the two sub-par performances in electrifying fashion, going 21-of-26 for 381 yards and four touchdowns Sunday to lead Philadelphia (1-2) to a 56-21 victory over Detroit. McNabb recorded the third-best passing yardage total of his career and his most since Dec. 5, 2004 against Green Bay, when he threw for a career-high 464 yards.
"When you're a great quarterback, you're going to have days where things aren't working," coach Andy Reid said. "He knows that. He knows that if he keeps firing, good things will happen."
McNabb was also dogged last week by questions about his comments in an interview that black NFL quarterbacks face greater scrutiny than their white counterparts - inquiries that had him defensive and led to him walking off the podium during a media session Wednesday.
"That wasn't part of my mind-set," McNabb said of his tumultuous week. "With everything that happened, we still have to play football."
A healthy and focused McNabb has the Eagles optimistic they can move beyond their 0-2 start and compete for the division title. Philadelphia, though, may have to overcome a key injury this week, as top running back Brian Westbrook is day to day with an abdominal sprain.
Westbrook, however, sat out all but one of last week's practices with a knee injury and turned in an outstanding all-around effort against the Lions, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and making five catches for 111 yards and a TD.
"Right now he's pretty sore," Reid said Wednesday.
The Giants (1-2) are also dealing with injury concerns. Receiver Plaxico Burress, who missed two practices last week because of an ankle problem, left the team Wednesday to visit noted orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.
Burress had five catches for 86 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in New York's 24-17 win over Washington on Sunday. With five TD receptions, he's tied with New England's Randy Moss for the league lead.
"Hopefully (there will be) some further recommendation as to what can be done to relieve the issue," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Plaxico actually the other day said to us that he has to practice. He has got to practice. He is not practicing and he is coming into the games. To his credit he knows his assignments, but obviously he is not as sharp as he could be."
Burress' right ankle has been bothering him since he injured it in training camp, but his teammates aren't too concerned about him being ready Sunday.
"Plax, we call him 'Game Day,'" middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "On game day he shows up regardless of what anyone wants to say about him during the week. The guy has been in the league long enough, eight years, and he knows how to take care of himself."
The Giants badly want Burress on the field Sunday, but they may be able to rely on a resurgent defense that preserved the badly needed victory over the Redskins.
New York gave up 80 points and more than 600 yards in losing its first two games, but shut out Washington and allowed only 81 total yards in the second half in rallying from a 17-3 deficit at the break.
The Giants capped the effort by stopping the Redskins after Washington had first-and-goal at the 1 with 58 seconds left.
"Just the jubilation you feel when you're running off the field after making a big stop like that, in the division, on the road," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "I'll never forget it."
Cofield and the defense will look to carry over the effort against another division foe as the Giants hope to get a strong effort on both sides of the ball. Eli Manning threw for 232 yards against Washington, although he had two interceptions and one touchdown. The TD, however, came on a 33-yard pass to Burress that proved to be the winning score with 2:01 left.
Derrick Ward ran for 94 yards on 26 carries and had six catches for 26 yards, while Reuben Droughns scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs - the Giants' first rushing TDs of the season.
The Eagles and Giants split last year's two meetings, with each team winning on the road.
Biggest thing to look for in this game, is the running game for both teams. Pain in the rear Tiki Barber is no longer an issue, but will Derrick Ward be a new problem?
Then there is Westbrook's injury. How bad is it? If he is limited, or misses the game, It would obviously be a huge blow to the Eagles offense.
September 27, 2007
Jeff Francoeur greeted Phillies closer Brett Myers with a leadoff homer in the ninth and Matt Diaz reached base on a one-out single. Myers, however, got pinch-hitter Yunel Escobar to line out and then struck out Kelly Johnson to move Philadelphia into a first-place tie with the reeling New York Mets, who lost 3-0 to St. Louis on Thursday.
The Phillies, who were seven games back of the first-place Mets as recently as September 12, have not reached the postseason since 1993.
Philadelphia hosts Washington to close out the season this weekend, while the Mets have three games at home against Florida.
Howard hit his 44th home run of the season while Kendrick (10-4) gave up three runs on six hits for the Phillies, who have won 11 of their last 14. Myers escaped trouble in the ninth for his 21st save of the season.
Braves starter John Smoltz (14-8) was tagged for seven hits and six runs -- five earned -- through just four innings of work. The right-hander did strike out eight without walking a batter.
Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning for Atlanta.
Philadelphia took advantage of a pair of fielding errors by Atlanta in the first inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
Jimmy Rollins started the inning with a single and Shane Victorino followed with a perfectly-placed bunt down the left line. Smoltz tried to make a play on the ball but his throw sailed wide as Rollins scored and Victorino reached third.
Chase Utley ripped a line drive that bounced off the glove Teixeira, allowing Victorino to cross home plate. Ryan Howard then stepped to the plate and smoked a 2-2 offering from Smoltz into the right field bleachers to make it 4-0.
The Phillies added to their lead in third as Aaron Rowand reached base on a two-out double and Burrell connected on his 30th home run of the season to make it 6-0.
Kendrick, meanwhile, tossed five shutout innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Edgar Renteria singled with one out and Jones followed with his 29th home run of the season to get Atlanta on the board. Teixeira's 30th homer of the season brought the Braves within three, but Kendrick retired the next two batters to end the inning.
With a third inning strikeout at the hands of Smoltz, Howard struck out for the 196th time this season, setting the major's single-season strikeout record. Cincinnati's Adam Dunn set the previous record in 2004...Smoltz hadn't allowed more than two runs in his previous four starts, going 2-0 over that span...Atlanta and Philadelphia split the season series 9-9.
September 26, 2007
Brian Westbrook was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the running back also topped the list of five starters who did not participate in the team's first practice of the week.
Head coach Andy Reid outlined his team's fluid injury situation during his late morning press conference. Tight end L.J. Smith has been ruled out for Sunday night's game as he continues his recovery from last Friday's groin surgery.
Meanwhile, Westbrook (abdominal strain), free safety Brian Dawkins (neck stinger), cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) and left tackle William Thomas (knee) all remain day-to-day with their respective injuries, although Reid said they are all "improving."
Some more than others.
"It's not by big strides that he's getting better, but he is making improvement," Reid said of Westbrook. "It was important a day or two after the game that he wasn't regressing at all."
Westbrook missed all but one practice last week due to a knee strain, but that didn't limit his productivity against the Lions. He had 110 yards rushing, 111 more receiving and three touchdowns before leaving Sunday's game with what he termed as a "freak" injury.
"I made a move," Westbrook said. "I kind of twisted my body a little bit."
Westbrook missed one game in 2004 after suffering a cracked rib and chest contusion, but he says this injury is completely different.
"It's a muscle type deal. It's muscles in there that are strained," he said. "Ribs are one of those injuries where you really can't give it a rest, because every time you move, you feel it and you are using that muscle. I've never had this injury before.
"I'm doing everything to get in a position so I can play."
Although he is unable to practice, Westbrook says he's keeping up to speed in the classroom and maintaining his conditioning. Bottom line: he is preparing to play.
"It's just [about] getting to a point where you're comfortable enough to go out there and perform at a high level," Westbrook said. "Like I said before, every time you move, you use your ribs and the muscle between your ribs. So that's something I have to be concerned with. I'm trying to do everything possible to get there. Really, only time will tell. I'm preparing myself as if I am going to play."
Said Reid: "We'll just see how he feels through these next couple of days."
That wait-and-see approach seems to apply to the other injured players as well. A determination on their status for the game, Reid indicated, could come as late as pre-game Sunday.
"I want everybody that can play to play. If they can't, then they can't. It's pretty simple, whether you have a bye week or not," Reid said. "Those are just day-to-day situations. We'll just see how they progress here. They're living in the training room. So, they're getting plenty of treatment and we'll see how they do."
Thomas left Sunday's game in the third quarter with an MCL sprain, but Reid says it's not as severe as the one that has sidelined Sheppard the last two games.
"[It's] not quite the same. [It's] not quite as bad as what Lito had," Reid said.
Sheppard has done some conditioning work of late but has yet to participate in practice. Dawkins, meanwhile, remains sidelined because of a neck stinger he sustained last Monday night.
"Both of them are Pro Bowl players and we'd love to have them," Reid said of Dawkins and Sheppard. "But the guys that have replaced them and stepped in for them have done a nice job."
Reserves on both sides of the ball -- Quintin Mikell, William James, Joselio Hanson, Matt Schobel, Brent Celek and Winston Justice -- have filled in admirably when called upon in recent weeks and may be called upon heavily again Sunday night at the Meadowlands.
..Continue reading at GCobb.com>>
September 23, 2007
A good mix of run, and pass was one reason the offense flourished, but the biggest key was that Donovan McNabb was outstanding. I really believe that taking the knee brace off, is the difference between the McNabb of last week, and the McNabb that threw for four TDs today. He was able to get full use of his knee, that gave him much better footwork, and resulted in very accurate passes. Donovan also seemed much quicker without the brace, and more like his old self. If he continues to play like this in coming weeks, everybody might forget that he even had a knee injury.
Dawkins did not practice all week because of a neck stinger. Sheppard, who missed last Monday's game with a MCL sprain, took part in a conditioning workout Friday but was not able to play. Quintin Mikell started for Dawkins and William James for Sheppard. Joselio Hanson served as the nickel back.
Also inactive for the Eagles were linebacker Pago Togafau, tight end L.J. Smith, guard Scott Young, defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey and defensive end Victor Abiamiri. The only inactive that affected the starting lineup was at tight end where Matt Schobel started for Smith, who on Friday underwent surgery on his groin. A.J. Feeley was designated as the third (emergency) quarterback.
The Lions' pass rush took a hit as they were without defensive end Kalimba Edwards. Corey Smith started for Edwards.
On offense, running back Kevin Jones was active for Detroit, while tight end Dan Campbell was placed on IR and replaced in the starting lineup by Sean McHugh.
September 22, 2007
The Eagles are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start, since 1999. The team they face is the Detroit Lions. Usually that would be great news for a struggling team, but this may not be your typical woeful Lions team.
In 2003 the Eagles started 0-2, and were able to amazingly finish the year 12-4. Can this team duplicate that same magical run? Not likely if McNabb continues to struggle. He needs to forget the past two weeks, and step it up this week. The season is on the line. An 0-3 hole is too big to climb out of.
Not the same ole Lions:
This Lions team is 2-0, and is loaded with offensive talent. Especially at the WR position. Roy Williams is one of the leagues elite, and Calvin Johnson is quickly proving he belongs among that group too. Former Rams receiver Shaun McDonald is also a threat that has to be accounted for. Not having Lito Sheppard causes huge mismatch problems, as the Eagles will now have to rely on Will James, and Joselio Hanson much more than they should.
The Lions do not particulary run the ball well, but they do have a good group of backs. Tatum Bell has explosive speed, and TJ Duckett is a load between the tackles. If the Lions can sustain any kind of running attack, they will probably have the Eagles defense on their heels.
Starting QB Jon Kitna made a bold prediction in the pre-season, that the Lions would win ten games this year, and so far it is looking good. He is a solid veteran, and is a very tough guy. He left last weeks game against the Vikings with a concussion, but was able to return in the next quarter to lead his team to victory. He has a strong arm, and is very capable of hitting those big time receivers deep for big plays.
This offense will be a huge test for the Birds, and one I do not feel very confient that they will do well against.
Defensively the Lions are pretty average. However, Shaun Rogers, and Cory Redding are one of the best DT tandems in the league. Second year linebacker Ernie Sims is a tackling machine. DE Dewayne White is an undersized speed end, similar to Trent Cole. He was a very underrated pickup in this offseason, and he has made a bunch of plays for Detroit already. Linebacker Boss Bailey has not done much in his career, but after two games in 2007, he already has two sacks.
The Lions secondary no longer has Dre Bly, and Terrance Holt, but has played pretty well so far. If there was any group that the Eagles should attack, it is this one. People have been ripping the receivers a lot, and if they can't get open agains Detroit, the Eagles are in serious trouble.
McNabb takes off the brace:
McNabb practices without brace
Bob Kent, of PhiladelphiaEagles.com, reports Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb (knee) participated in practice without a brace on his surgically repaired right knee Friday, Sept. 21.
September 21, 2007
"Hogwash," he said Thursday.
"Do these quote-unquote experts actually watch the game, or are they just looking at the quarterback?" the third-year wide receiver said. "Most of the time when you see a game, you can't even see the receivers."
Brown has been conspicuous in his absence from the Eagles' play-to-play offense so far in two games, both defeats in which the offense underperformed.
He has a total of three catches for 41 yards so far, but late in the 20-12 loss to the Redskins, there were some rays of hope. Brown made a tough 19-yard fourth-down catch to keep alive a Philadelphia drive.
On Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid pointed to that drive as a sign that the Eagles offense might be emerging from the fog that has cost them two games.
"I think we started playing with a little bit more energy," he said of the fourth quarter. "Everybody focused in and we feel like we had to do it.
"It didn't feel like a sense of panic in the huddle. It felt like a feeling of confidence and unity and a sense of responsibility that we needed to go down and do this.
Brown was a significant part of the Eagles' big-play potential in 2006, a potential that has not yet been realized this season.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that Philadelphia's inability to hit on plays downfield has partly been a function of the defenses they have faced, which have sought to cut that aspect off.
Brown said that because the offensive timing has been off, the Eagles haven't been unable to hit on the shorter routes enough to draw defenses out of their prevent modes.
L.J. Smith underwent surgery Friday to clean out some scar tissue surrounding his injured groin. The tight end has been ruled out for Sunday's game, and his recovery and rehab is said to be week-to-week.
Smith, who had offseason sports hernia surgery, strained his groin in training camp and has been fighting the injury since. This week, however, it reached a point where Smith was unable to participate in practice.
"He seemed like he was getting a little bit worse, so we referred him to Dr. (William) Meyers, who did the sports hernia surgery on him and Dr. Meyers suggested last night that he have a procedure this morning to free up some of the space there in his groin," explained Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder.
"It was a 20-minute procedure in which he opened up the sheath around the muscle, which gives him a little bit more room. It allowed fluid to drain out of the muscle that was injured back in training camp. It had a collection of fluid in there. And he also cleaned out a bunch of scar tissue which was around the muscle and also around the nerve, which was probably what was causing him pain."
The injury has certainly limited his productivity as evidenced by his numbers through two games -- 26 yards on four receptions.
Burkholder would not put a timetable on Smith's return, but did point out the positives about the situation.
"The one good thing about this surgery is they didn't have to fix anything," Burkholder said. "You don't have to wait for anything to really heal. You just have to wait for all that swelling and everything to go down and let him get back to function where he can play football at a normal level.
"We're going to take it week-to-week. We'll see how he does next week."
Veteran Matt Schobel and rookie Brent Celek will play in place of Smith against the Lions.
On defense, free safety Brian Dawkins did not practice Friday due to neck spasms, while Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard did some conditioning work.
Dawkins' status will likely be determined at game time, while Sheppard's return was termed a "longshot" by head coach Andy Reid.
On offense, running back Brian Westbrook practiced fully Friday and is expected to start
Quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced without a brace on his surgically-repaired right knee. He wore a sleeve over the knee, but no brace. It's uncertain what protection he will wear on Sunday.
September 20, 2007
Thursday came and went without much of an update on Brian Westbrook. Dressed in his jersey and shorts and wearing an Eagles sideline hat, the running back watched practice much like he did on Wednesday.
"That's a day to day situation," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said earlier in the day. "We'll see."
The strained knee that Westbrook suffered in Monday night's game was scheduled to be looked at further by team physicians.
Westbrook's official designation for Sunday's game against the Lions will come Friday when head coach Andy Reid holds his final media briefing.
Correll Buckhalter has taken reps with the first-team offense, while Westbrook has undoubtedly gotten plenty of mental reps as a spectator.
Westbrook has accounted for 53 percent of the total net yards the offense has produced over the first two games.
Knee swelling limited Westbrook's practice reps early last season but he missed just one game -- the Monday night win over Green Bay -- and finished the season with a career-high 1,217 rushing yards.
Dawk, Smith, Lito Remain Sidelined
In addition to Westbrook, the team practiced Thursday without cornerback Lito Sheppard, free safety Brian Dawkins and tight end L.J. Smith.
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson seemed optimistic about having at least one of those defensive starters in the lineup for Sunday.
"We anticipate he's going to be there Sunday," Johnson said of Dawkins. "We don't plan on Lito right now."
Dawkins suffered a neck stinger as a result of a hit he put on Redskins tight end Todd Yoder in the fourth quarter. On Wednesday, Dawkins said his neck was a "little stiff" and that he was not experiencing any headaches or dizziness. Johnson expects to have Dawkins back on the field Friday.
Sheppard remains sidelined with an MCL sprain suffered in the season opener.
Smith, meanwhile, continues to fight a nagging groin strain that has hampered the tight end since training camp. The injury has limited his productivity as evidenced by his numbers through two games -- four catches for 26 yards.
"L.J. is a tough guy. He's been playing hurt," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "Whoever is in there, we expect to play well."
Matt Schobel and rookie Brent Celek could see extended action this weekend depending on Smith's status.
Seven Added; Two Return
Seven players were added to the team's injury report Thursday although all of them participated fully in practice. Those players included kicker David Akers (quadricep), right guard Shawn Andrews (shoulder), receivers Hank Baskett (back), Kevin Curtis (quadricep) and Greg Lewis (hip), quarterback A.J. Feeley (hand) and defensive end Jevon Kearse (shoulder).
Meanwhile, strong safety Sean Considine and left tackle William Thomas were back on the field after sitting out Wednesday. Considine suffered a knee contusion Monday night, but returned to the game. Thomas exited Monday's game with back spasms, a condition he's battled on and off for the last five years.
Lions Injury Update
Starting tight end Dan Campbell missed practice for a second straight day due to an elbow injury. Backup running back T.J. Duckett (ankle) also missed practice again.
Starting defensive end Kalimba Edwards (ankle) sat out Thursday's practice. He was limited in Wednesday's workout.
Sarting nose tackle Shaun Rogers (knee) and running back Kevin Jones (foot), a former first-round pick, were both limited for a second straight day.
Added to Detroit's report were starting left tackle Jeff Backus (knee) and reserve linebacker Anthony Cannon (quad), both of whom did not practice Thursday.
September 19, 2007
The Cincinnati Bengals signed veteran linebacker Dhani Jones to one-year contract on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not released.
Jones, an eight-year veteran, had eight tackles and a sack during five preseason games with New Orleans. The Saints cut him on August 31.
A sixth-round choice of the New York Giants in the 2000 draft, Jones has played in 95 career games with 74 starts, recording 447 tackles (113 solo) with four sacks. He has not missed a game over the last four seasons, spending the 2003 campaign with the Giants and the next three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He played all 16 games, including 13 starts last season for the NFC East champion Eagles in 2006, recording 93 tackles. Jones also had 10 more tackles in a pair of playoff games.
Jones was released by the Eagles on April 30 of this year.
The Bengals released linebacker Andre Frazier on Tuesday to clear a roster spot for Jones.
When your defense gives up 50 points to the Cleveland Browns, bringing in Banjo Boy is always the logical solution.
It has been a roller coaster past couple of weeks for safety J.R. Reed.
The Eagles re-signed Reed on Wednesday only eight days after they released him. The Eagles had claimed him off waivers after Reed spent eight days as a member of the New York Giants at the end of training camp.
The Eagles claimed him to utilize his experience as a kickoff returner against the Green Bay Packers, where he averaged 22 yards per return on three attempts. However, it was a muffed punt late in the fourth quarter that was recovered by the Packers and led to the game-winning field goal. Reed handled punt return duties for the first time in his NFL career in the second half after a muff by Greg Lewis, also in his first game as a punt returner, was recovered by the Packers in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Eagles signed veteran Reno Mahe to return punts last week and released Reed. In Monday night's loss to Washington, free safety Brian Dawkins suffered a stinger injury and cornerback Lito Sheppard sat out with an MCL sprain. While the status for both players for Sunday's game against Detroit is unknown, neither practiced on Wednesday, the Eagles re-signed Reed to provide some insurance. Originally a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2004, Reed knows coordinator Jim Johnson's scheme.
To make room on the roster, the Eagles released tackle Pat McCoy. A rookie free agent signee of the Eagles last year, McCoy impressed the coaches during training camp and made the final 53-man roster. A Division II All-America selection at West Texas A&M, McCoy was inactive for all 16 regular season games last year and both contests this season.
The Eagles also tweaked their practice squad by releasing tight end Lee Vickers and adding tackle Jonathan Palmer. A rookie free agent signee this year, Palmer spent the entire training camp with the Eagles and was released during the final roster cuts on Sept. 1. Vickers was an intriguing prospect, who learned the tight end position after playing at defensive end at North Alabama and in Steelers training camp last year.
September 18, 2007
I know many fans already have, and I can't blame them. The Eagles are 0-2, and this was supposed to be the "easy" part of the schedule. Last week the offensive woes were overlooked because of the two muffed punts. This week it was painfully clear that the offense has major problems, and the entire nation saw it.
Donovan is not Super Five anymore:
As the offense puttered down the field, like an 85 Buick with a bad transmission, It was painfully obvious that there is something majorly wrong with Donovan McNabb. He is very inaccurate with his throws, and as he admitted himself, the "explosion" is not there when he runs. McNabb sailed a few high, had a few behind, a few too far in front, and even mixed in a few worm burners. Some blame the receivers, but I am not buying it. Last year the Eagles offense was explosive with the same receivers minus Kevin Curtis. The receivers are not the problem, it is Donovan. Poor footwork seems to be the reason he can't make these throws, and that is a result of the bad knee. If this is the case, then you will not see the Donovan of old, for at least another full year. The problem with that is, this season could be a wash, and I don't think Eagles fans are willing to be that patient. If you listen to talk radio, people are already starting the "get him outta here" talk.
All the talk of the Eagles being more dedicated to the run seems to be just talk. They started off the Greenbay with a balanced attack, and then in the second half, they completely got away from running the ball. that carried over into last night, as the Eagles called 51 passing plays, and only 18 run plays. That is a 73-27 pass/run ratio. That is completely mind boggling how bad that is. When Ron Jaworski said the Eagles are a great play action pass team, I laughed. How can any team respect the Birds play action? I also wonder if Andy Reid has been calling the plays again. This game has his finger prints all over it, and I am willing to bet he would be stubborn enough to take back the play calling. You need to have balance in the NFL to win, and I doubt that Reid will ever get it at this point.
Defense Misses Lito:
Will James is terrible. I don't care that he got an interception, on a bad pass by Jason Campbell, Will James was getting killed all game. He does not have the ability to stay with speed receivers. The Redskins picked on him all game long, and for the most part they abused Will James. In the 4th quarter, the Redskins took a shot downfield, and Santana Moss put a move on James that left him in the dust. James was 8 yards behind Moss, and lucked out when Campbell overthrew everybody. I am really missing Rod Hood a lot right now, and so are the Eagles.
Then there is this stiff Joselio Hanson. After the Redskins had 3 penalties in a row, near the end of the first half, how do you let Chris Cooley get behind you? To cover James thrash of all people? The Eagles all week long focused on defending Chirs Cooley, and Hanson blew it at a crucial time. I would also like to point out, that Hanson tackles like a girl. He waits for guys to come to him, and then tackles their legs from behind. As a defensive player, you need to attack the ball carrier. Fly to the football, wrap up, and drive your body through the offesnive player. From now on Joselio is going to be known as the Matador tackler.
He is not the only one who missed tackles though. Sheldon Brown, Sean Considine, and even Brian Dawkins missed tackles. This is something that drives me absoloutely crazy. The Eagles used to be a great tackling team back in 2002, and each year, it seems to get worse. Now it is to the point where you expect at least 4 or 5 missed tackles a game.
The defense overall did a lot of things well, but there are still some issues there. Brodrick Bunkley, Juqua Thomas, Omar Gaither, Mike Patterson, and Takeo Spikes all played very well. I just think after seeing how bad Will James looked, that teams are going to continue to exploit him all season long, and that could kill them.
Reno Mahe is back, and got a standing ovation when he went on the field for the first time. Very ironic that the same people who wanted him gone so badly, are now delighted to see him back. As expected Reno did not break anything big, but he made no mistakes. He also was sporting a new number(25), because his old number(34) was taken by practice squad FB Jason Davis.
Free safety Brian Dawkins and running back Brian Westbrook are among four starters hurting a day after Monday night's loss to Washington, but head coach Andy Reid doesn't believe the injuries are serious enough to keep them out for Sunday's home game against Detroit.
Dawkins sustained a neck stinger as a result of a hit he put on Redskins tight end Todd Yoder in the fourth quarter. The Pro Bowl free safety was down for some time before being helped up and led down the tunnel. Dawkins underwent an MRI on Tuesday and Reid said "he'll be alright as the week goes on here."
Westbrook, who has 51 touches in the first two games, suffered a knee strain.
"He twisted his knee a little bit," Reid said of his prized running back.
Westbrook had 96 rushing yards and 66 receiving to lead the Eagles in both categories Monday night and the head coach believes as far as workload goes Westbrook is "right about where he needs to be."Meanwhile, L.J. Smith continues to fight a nagging groin strain that has hampered the tight end since training camp. The injury has certainly limited his productivity as evidenced by Smith's numbers through two games -- 26 yards on four receptions.
"He'll just keep working through this thing," Reid said.
Up front, left tackle William Thomas exited the game with back spasms, a condition he's battled on and off for the last five years."I think that's one thing we'll have to deal with," Reid said. "We dealt with it before."Back spasms cost Thomas one game back in 2003, but overall he has been a steady presence as Donovan McNabb's blindside bodyguard. Thomas has started 136 of 137 career games.
Second-year man Winston Justice replaced Thomas and "did a nice job," according to Reid.
Justice could get some extra work with the first-team offense this week as coaches may look to get Thomas some rest.
Back on defense, Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard is reportedly getting better with an MCL sprain he suffered in the season opener. Will James started in place of Sheppard on Monday night and James responded with his first interception as an Eagle.>>Home Page
Can this season be salvaged?:
Is is possible to come back from 0-2, and make the playoffs? Yes it is. In fact the 2003 Eagles finished the season 12-4 after an 0-2 start, and went to the NFCCG. I don't think that this team is capable of doing the same thing, and the reason is obvious.
McNabb is not the same. With this knee hindering Donovan's throws, he may play poorly all season. Now that A.J. Feeley has a broken hand, the only other option right now is rookie Kevin Kolb. If you go to Kolb, you would really just be throwing in the towel. I think this team can play much better, but after what I have seen the past two games, they are clearly not a contender. even if Andy Reid shifted this offense to be more run oriented, they still would have problems with McNabb's erratic passes. It's going to take a miracle for things to turn around again like they did in 2003.
September 15, 2007
Donovan McNabb returns to the scene of his devastating knee injury on Monday night, when the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback leads his team into the latest installment of a division rivalry with the Washington Redskins.
McNabb will be playing his first meaningful game at Lincoln Financial Field since last Nov. 19th, when he tore his right ACL after being nudged out of bounds by Tennessee Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. The five-time Pro Bowl honoree would miss the final eight games of the 2006 campaign, and would watch as backup Jeff Garcia rallied Philly from a 5-5 start to a 10-6 record and a division title.
Garcia is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and McNabb is attempting to work himself back to 100 percent health.
After appearing sparingly in the preseason, the Syracuse product played to mixed reviews in last week's 16-13 loss at Green Bay.
McNabb completed just 15-of-33 passes for 184 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the defeat, running his career record to 3-5 in Week 1 starts.
On Monday, McNabb will be trying to keep Philadelphia from its first 0-2 opening since 2003.
The Redskins, meanwhile, will be attempting to build on last week's 16-13 overtime win over the Dolphins, and will also be trying to reverse some dismal recent history against the Eagles.
Washington is 2-9 in its last 11 meetings with Philadelphia, and has averaged just 14.2 points per game over that span.
The Redskins hold a 74-64-5 lead in their all-time series with the Eagles, but were swept in a home-and-home by their NFC East rival last season. Washington was a 27-3 loser at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 10, and dropped a 21-19 decision at FedEx Field in Week 14. Washington swept a 2005 home-and-home with Philly, including a 31-20 road win.
In addition to their regular season advantage, the Redskins won the only postseason meeting between the clubs, a 20-6 road triumph in a 1990 NFC First- Round Playoff.
Washington head coach Joe Gibbs is 19-12 against the Eagles in his career, including the aforementioned playoff victory. Philadelphia's Andy Reid is 11-5 versus the Redskins since taking over in 1999, including 4-2 against Gibbs.
WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL
The strength of the Redskins offense in their win over the Dolphins was the running game, which saw Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts combined for 157 yards and a touchdown on 34 combined carries. Portis led the way with 98 yards and a score on 17 totes, in what was his first action since his 2006 ended prematurely due to a broken hand. The former Pro Bowler scored Washington's only touchdown of the day, a 19-yarder in the third quarter. Quarterback Jason Campbell was not at his sharpest, finishing the day 12-of-21 for 222 yards with two interceptions, and failing to throw a touchdown pass in a start for the first time in his young career. The club did see some progress in the receiving game however, with Antwaan Randle El turning in a career-best 162- yard day. Usual top targets Santana Moss (3 receptions, 28 yards) and tight end Chris Cooley (1 reception, 10 yards) were not as productive, however. Washington also lost right tackle Jon Jansen for the season due to a broken ankle in the victory.
A new-look Eagles linebacking corps looked good in the season-opening loss to Green Bay, but will face a much tougher task in facing Washington's stronger running game. New starters Takeo Spikes (9 tackles), Omar Gaither (3 tackles), and Chris Gocong (3 tackles) were at the heart of a unit that allowed just 46 ground yards on the day, while third-year man Mike Patterson contributed 10 stops and a sack from his interior line position. The pass rush received high marks against the Packers as well, with ends Trent Cole and Jevon Kearse combining for two of the team's four sacks on the day. In the secondary, cornerback Sheldon Brown was credited with his first interception of the season, but the Eagles took a hit when corner Lito Sheppard was lost for up to a month with a knee problem.
WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL
Though McNabb will garner most of the headlines for Philadelphia in the build- up to Monday's contest, Washington will likely be just as focused on stopping running back and D.C-area native Brian Westbrook. The former Pro Bowler highlighted the Eagles' Week 1 loss, leading the Birds in both the ground (20 carries, 85 yards) and pass-catching games (6 receptions, 46 yards). McNabb will try to get his receivers more involved this week, specifically Reggie Brown (1 reception, 14 yards), Kevin Curtis (2 receptions, 53 yards), and tight end L.J. Smith (2 receptions, 14 yards), who were all mostly quiet in defeat. McNabb's most productive target was second-year man Jason Avant, who hauled in three passes for 54 yards and scored the club's lone touchdown of the day on a nine-yard play in the second quarter. McNabb was sacked just once against Green Bay.
A Redskins defense that had major trouble making plays in 2006 made a bit of progress against the Dolphins, managing to pry a turnover away from Miami and even getting to quarterback Trent Green for a couple of sacks. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh forced a Jesse Chatman fumble that was recovered by cornerback Shawn Springs in the second quarter, though the Redskins were unable to turn the miscue into any points. The sacks went to the blossoming McIntosh and defensive end Andre Carter, who built on a strong final month of '06 with his first QB takedown of the year. New faces in the Washington defensive lineup included middle linebacker London Fletcher, who made a team-best 12 tackles, and rookie safety LaRon Landry, the club's first-round draft pick who contributed three sacks to the proceedings. The Skins allowed just 273 yards of total offense in the win, including 66 on 20 carries in the ground game.
McNabb and Portis were both seen as risky Week 1 fantasy plays, since managers weren't sure what either player would do coming off of their injuries. Those that started McNabb were likely disappointed, while those who put Portis in the lineup were largely rewarded for the risk. McNabb should get better from Week 1 to Week 2, and is worth starting.
Though these opponents experienced opposite results in Week 1, both showed a great deal about the teams they will likely become. The Redskins barely beat a pretty poor Dolphins club, not displaying much offensive consistency and still searching long and hard for big plays on defense. The Eagles lost to an inferior Packers team based mainly on special teams gaffes, but played reasonably well on defense and showed most of their rust on offense, where McNabb is not 100 percent. As he gets closer to full health, look for the quarterback to begin looking like himself again, and for Philly to restore its winning ways. Meanwhile, look for the same old Washington team to begin receding into its familiar place in the darkness with a loss on Monday night, setting suffering Skins fans up for yet another journey to the land of sub-.500.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eagles 28, Redskins 10
Labels: Washington Redskins
September 14, 2007
Feeley fractured the third metacarpal during the preseason finale against the New York Jets. Dr. John Taras performed the initial surgery on August 31 where he inserted three screws into Feeley's hand. After Thursday's practice, Feeley had abnormal swelling in the hand and visited with head physician Dr. Peter DeLuca, who referred him to Taras. After an examination, Taras determined that the screws were backing out. To repair the screws and give Feeley "the best chance (of playing) during the season," Taras reinforced the screws.
Feeley did not practice on Friday and his status for Monday night's game against Washington is questionable. There is no question about cornerback Lito Sheppard's status, he is out because of a sprained MCL ligament.
Five other Eagles were listed on the injury report: cornerback Joselio Hanson (concussion), defensive end Jevon Kearse (shoulder), wide receiver Greg Lewis (hip) and tight ends Matt Schobel (groin) and L.J. Smith (groin). All five players had full participation in Friday's practice and all are listed as probable.
For the Redskins, safety Vernon Fox (groin) did not practice on Friday and was listed as doubtful. Defensive end Phillip Daniels (foot) and safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) also did not participate in practice, but they were listed as questionable.
Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) and tight end Todd Yoder (ankle) were added to the injury report on Friday. Both players had limited participation in Friday's workout, but they are listed as probable as is tight end Cody Boyd (shoulder) who had full participation in practice.
Sheldon Brown and the Eagles hoped a blitz would rattle Tom Brady.
One problem: Every time the Eagles rushed Brady in the Super Bowl, the Patriots nullified the defensive attack with screen passes. Lots of them. On almost every play defensive coordinator Jim Johnson called for a blitz, the Patriots used the short pass to confuse the Eagles.
After the Patriots beat the Eagles 24-21 in 2005 to win the Lombardi Trophy, Brown thought the Patriots beat them with nothing but sharp offensive playcalling. Now, he's not so sure.
With spying accusations leveled this week against the Patriots, some of the Eagles left from the NFC title team are wondering if New England used bootleg film to their advantage in the Super Bowl.
"Do I think about it? Mmm hmmm," said Brown, their starting cornerback. "It's crazy. I just don't know how far back it goes. Something's not right about that."
Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins found the accusations troublesome.
"Now there's always going to be questions about the situation," Dawkins said Thursday. "Was it great adjustments at halftime or what?"
Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward said this week that he suspected the Patriots had some type of inside information on the Steelers before at least one of the teams' two AFC championship game matchups since the 2001 season. While Ward said the Patriots knew a lot of Pittsburgh's calls, none of the Eagles could offer any type of solid proof of any shenanigans.
"For me to think back two years ago about something they may or may not have done, it's not worth my time," running back Brian Westbrook said.
New England beat the New York Jets in last Sunday's season opener in which an on-field video camera allegedly focusing on Jets coaches was confiscated from a Patriots employee.
On Thursday, New England coach Bill Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also ordered the team to give up next year's first-round draft choice if it reaches the playoffs and second- and third-round picks if it doesn't.
"I would like to think it's just one team doing it, but it doesn't shock me that it happened," Dawkins said.
Some Eagles said occasional signal-stealing is an accepted part of the game. But they believe what the Patriots are accused of doing crosses the football morality line because it threatens the integrity of the game.
"It's different if you're talking about recording it," Dawkins said. "What can you do if you try to signal a play in?"
Eagles coach Andy Reid steered away from questions about the alleged cheating other than to say he has no doubts New England's victory was legitimate.
"That's something Bill and the Patriots are working through," Reid said.
Brown said he noticed a difference in New England's playcalling in the second quarter. After the Patriots gained only 45 yards in the first quarter, they had 286 over the next three.
Brady hit running back Corey Dillon and gained 29 total yards on a pair of screens to open New England's first full drive of the second quarter. They didn't score on that drive, but did on four of the next five drives.
The Patriots went to the screen pass again on the decisive drive early in the fourth quarter, this time with Brady connecting with Kevin Faulk on two passes for 27 yards.
"I was like, 'Man, I never saw that many screens,' " Brown said.
Brown wonders if it was normal playcalling from a team good enough to win three Super Bowls in four seasons, a Patriots team that used a strong scouting report to gain a fair edge, or was somebody picking up the Eagles defensive calls from a sideline camera that deprived them of a fair shot?
"I think they should forfeit, man," said punt returner Reno Mahe, smiling. "We won the Super Bowl. I think we should get it. I'm going to go trade my NFC championship ring for a Super Bowl ring."
The headline over a picture of Belichick on the back page of Thursday's Philadelphia Daily News might have said it all: "Counterfeit RING: Spy Scandal Helps Explain Birds' Super Bowl Loss."
Hey, maybe the illicit tape would show once and for all if Donovan McNabb really did get sick in the huddle late in the game. Remember, that was Philadelphia's first excuse for losing.
McNabb -- who insisted the Eagles would never stoop to those kind of tactics -- was surprised to hear the allegations against the Patriots. But he said the suspicions might be overblown.
"One thing people are forgetting is that even if you have the answers to the test, you still have to take the test," he said. "If they have an idea of what's coming, those guys still have to be able to execute the play."
That doesn't mean McNabb won't clear some space in his jewelry box. For a city that last saw a pro team win a championship nearly 25 years ago, the Eagles might accept a retroactive one.
"Maybe we'll get our ring back," said a chuckling McNabb. "Maybe we'll get the real one."
September 13, 2007
Super Bowl 39. In Eagles fans memories, it goes down as the one they let get away. Everybody remembers how turnovers were crucial mistakes, and how the Eagles apparently forgot how to run the 2 minute offense at the end of the game down ten points.
This painful memory still haunts Philadelphia fans today. Some still seek answers, as to what went wrong in the big game, and many choose not to relive that game ever again. I don't blame them. Until now.
The news has come out, that the New England Patriots are cheaters. In a nasty scandal dubbed "Spygate", the Patriots were caught red handed, stealing defensive signals from their opponent.
Many ask now, how long has this been going on?
Who knows. Many teams have accused the Pats of doing this very thing before, but there has never been any hard evidence until now. Hopefully more details can be dug up.
I am sure Eagles fans only want to know one thing.
Did the Patriots cheat in the Super Bowl?
That is an answer that nobody will probably ever know, except the Patriots themselves. When you look at how that game played out though, the circumstantial evidence appears to be there.
While there were many factors, that decided that game, I am going to only focus on the Patriots offense, against the Eagles defense. In that aspect, it was a tale of two halves.
In the first half of the game, the Eagles defense was playing great. They were swarming to the ball, breaking up passes, getting sacks, disrupting Brady, and they even forced a fumble in the red zone. They had tamed the Pats offense, and at the end of the half, the score was tied at 7.
Then came the third quarter. The Patriots came out a different team, and were suddenly advancing the ball at will. It seemed that for every Jim Johnson blitz, the Patriots executed the perfect screen to beat it. Brady was suddenly able to hit Deon Branch almost at will, and the Eagles defense was on their heels.
What was so different in the second half?
The Patriots knew what the Eagles defense was doing, because they had stolen their signals. Just like the Jets game, they had somebody record all the defensive signals in the first half, and matched them up to the sky shots that are given by every team, to see what a defense is doing every play.
With this information, they knew what the defense was doing before they even walked to the line of scrimmage. They had an unfair competitive advantage, and I believe it cost the Eagles, and the city of Philadelphia a championship.
Now you might say that I am being a homer, or that this post is just sour grapes, but think outside the box for a minute. Could this have really happened?
If you even paused to think about it, then there is some doubt in your mind. The possibility exists, and I feel it happened. Can I prove it? No, but hopefully commissioner Roger Goodell does a very extensive investigation. There is a chance that more evidence could surface, and back up my point.
I know that the Eagles will not be handed the Lombardi no matter what, and that many other things factored into that horrible defeat, but it just angers me that the Eagles season of destiny was possibly stolen away from them.