Just Another Game?

Aug. 13, 2010 - Landover, Maryland, United States of America - 13 August, 2010: Washington Redskins Quarterback DONOVAN MCNABB.

And so it’s almost here. Week 4. Donovan McNabb’s return to Philly. Will he get cheered? Will he get booed? If I’m honest, as long as he’s on the losing team I don’t really care although a good reception would be the classy thing to do. And then boo the living daylights out of him as he lines up behind that awful O-line!

The McNabb era was extremely successful for the Eagles, but my overriding memory of #5 is his failure to win the big games. It was fantastic to win game after game during the regular season and cruise into post season but surely, given all those opportunities, it wasn’t too much to expect ONE Superbowl win?! By the end of last season I was ready for change, especially after the two losses to Dallas. McNabb managed to exorcise that demon right away in Washington with a week 1 win over Jerry Jones’ blue-starred circus, but there was nothing much on that game, certainly not a run at the post season. Now McNabb faces the Eagles at The Linc and he must want this game more than any other between now and week 17. He must be thinking about it 24/7, piling on the pressure in his mind. Wanting a win so badly. Hoping and praying that he doesn’t choke. Again. He must be running through scenarios in his head, imagining the cheers or the jeers from the Philly fans. He’ll say all the right things, that it’s “just another game”, but human nature dictates that the thoughts will run through his head all week – if they haven’t done all summer. Pressure.

And what about Andy Reid? Is his decision to trade McNabb within the division about to be vindicated or thrown back squarely in his face? Is this the game that could finally silence the fans who criticised the move or will it give them more ammo to throw at the Head Coach? Both McNabb and Reid are claiming that this is just another game, but is it? Really? Could it ever be “just another game” given the circumstances? So many questions will be answered on Sunday.

As for the game itself, I can’t wait. Yes, I want to see McNabb lose. Yes, I want to see the Eagles stomp all over a division rival. But most of all, I want to see more of Mike Vick! I can’t remember ever being so excited about an Eagles team and much of it comes down to the incredible performances from Vick. I admired his elusive scrambling abilities when he was at Atlanta, but all along I knew that he didn’t quite have the consistency and all-round game that he needed to be a great quarterback. And then came Vick 2.0. He’s changed the way he plays the game, bringing in far better passing, ball security and a more considered approach to his drives. When he played in Atlanta, I almost felt that no plays were ever called and he simply did whatever he felt like. A huge amount of credit must go to Vick for the transformation, but also the coaching staff who have obviously worked hard with him throughout the summer to create this new superstar in the making. If ever there’s a textbook written about how to take a second chance, Mike Vick will be on the first page. And his view of Sunday? “Just another game”.

I must also mention Kevin Kolb. He would have known that there’d be cameras trained on him throughout the Jacksonville Jaguars game and he played his part faultlessly, but I hope that he didn’t have to put on too much of an act. He looked dangerously lost in week 1 and his lack of movement behind the O-line meant that an injury was bound to happen sooner or later, especially with the loss of Jamaal Jackson too. Kolb will know precisely his own weaknesses and now has time to work on them so that he can make the most of his next opportunity – though with Vick taking so many hits, it might not necessarily be as far away as he’s anticipating. If Kolb needs any pointers about taking second chances, the current starting quarterback should be able to help out.

So what do I want from the big showdown on Sunday?

  1. An Eagles win.
  2. Another exciting performance from Mike Vick and the Offense.
  3. Dominant Defense.
  4. I want to see McNabb fall short of what was needed to win the big game. I want to see the failure to convert 3rd downs, the horrible throws into the ground, the 6 yard passes when he needs 8. I want absolute proof that Andy Reid was right to trade McNabb when he did, and to where he did.

What do I not want to see?

  1. Injuries.
  2. The Eagles secondary being picked apart.
  3. McNabb celebrating a win at the Linc with another team.
  4. That stupid air guitar!

I’m nervously excited. The game is being shown on TV in the UK so let’s put on a show!

Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!

[Photo courtesy of PicApp]

EaglesFanCast 91 – Vick Versus McNabb

Our Philadelphia Eagles move to the top of the NFC East after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars down in the Sunshine State, with our new Quarterback Michael Vick at the helm.  Vick put on an amazing show of confidence, skill and veteran leadership in the game, and thus squashing any parts of a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-3
  • Vick is the absolute talk of the NFL
  • Asante Samuel just so much skill at anticipating routes
  • Trevor Laws and the rest of the Defense really shined this week
  • Vick has been taking a lot of hits, and needs to play smarter in order to preserve himself this season
  • Will the Eagles fans cheer or jeer Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb this Sunday?
  • We talk about how the Eagles Defense may handle getting their shot at McNabb

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EaglesFanCast 90 – Vick Over Franchise

Just a few hours before we were scheduled to sit down and record this episode, the Philadelphia Eagles fan’s world erupted with the news that Head Coach Andy Reid would make Michael Vick the new starting quarterback, leaving franchise quarterback Kevin Kolb to ride it out on the bench. Not 24 hours after Reid said that Kolb was the starter after recovering from his Week 1 concussion, the dramatic announcement took place. We discuss this issue from as many angles as we can see, sometimes rationally, often not, as we try to make sense of the decision. We break down Reid’s press conference, where the concerns are moving forward, and the excitement of this team.

We also talk throughout the show about the win against the Detroit Lions this weekend, the upcoming Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins games, wide receiver Hank Baskett getting cut to make room on the roster, and of course the Dallas Cowboys starting off their season 0-2.

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NFC East Prediction 2010

It’s a new era for our Philadelphia Eagles. Donovan McNabb has headed off to Washington and our fate now largely rests in the talented, yet unproven hands of Kevin Kolb. I’ve heard predictions for the 2010 season ranging from 6-10 all the way to Superbowl champs, so what does history suggest is in store over the next few months? In order to attempt to predict the future, I’ve analyzed the win-loss records of each NFL team for the past 10 seasons and this is what I’ve discovered.

NFL 10 Year Record – Regular Season
1st 2nd 3rd= 3rd= 5th 6th 7th 8th
Colts Patriots Steelers Eagles Packers Broncos Ravens Titans
W 115 112 103 103 95 93 92 91
L 45 48 56 56 65 67 68 69
T 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
.719 .700 .647 .647 .594 .581 .575 .569
9th 10th 11th 12th 13th= 13th= 15th 16th
Giants Chargers Vikings Saints Seahawks Cowboys Bears Jets
W 88 85 84 83 82 82 81 80
L 72 75 76 77 78 78 79 80
T 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
.550 .531 .525 .519 .513 .513 .506 .500
17th= 17th= 17th= 20th 21st 22nd 23rd= 23rd=
Buccs Dolphins Panthers Jaguars Falcons Rams Redskins Chiefs
W 79 79 79 76 75 71 70 70
L 81 81 81 84 84 89 90 90
T 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
.494 .494 .494 .475 .472 .444 .438 .438
25th 26th 27th 28th= 28th= 30th 31st 32nd
Bengals 49ers Bills Raiders Cardinals Texans Browns Lions
W 68 68 66 62 62 49 57 41
L 91 92 94 98 98 79 103 119
T 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
.428 .425 .413 .388 .388 .383 .356 .256

Unsurprisingly, the Colts (.719) and Patriots (.700) have the best records in the regular season, but tied in 3rd position are the Steelers and Eagles, both with a record of .647 (103-56-1). This gives the Eagles the best record in the NFC, followed by the Packers who are 5th overall. Of the top 10 NFL teams, only 3 hail from the NFC with the Giants making up the trio.

Over the past decade, the NFC East teams shape up as follows:-

Eagles           .647
Giants           .550
Cowboys      .513
Redskins       .438

That makes satisfying reading for Eagles fans, but how can I use this to predict the 2010 season?

Well, I figure that the most relevant season in history is the last one, so I’ve awarded 10 points for each win during 2009. This gives the Eagles 110 points (11 wins x 10 points). Then in 2008, I’ve awarded 9 points per win which means that the Eagles bank another 81 points for their 9 wins. I’ve followed this all the way back to 2000 where the 11 wins are worth 1 point each, so 11 in all. Adding the points for each season together gives me a total of 543, but in order to convert this to a single season win record I need to divide by 55 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10). I then end up with 9.87 (543 / 55) and so from the record of the last 10 NFL seasons, I predict that the Eagles will end up 10-6 in 2010. I’d take that!

If this system works, the NFC East will end up as follows:-

Eagles           10-6
Giants             9-7
Cowboys        9-7
Redskins         7-9

But can history really predict the future accurately? Maybe. The stats for the 10 years previous to 2009 predicted a 10-6 season for the Eagles in 2010 and 11-5 was only 1 game out. The Giants’ prediction was also 1 game out, 9-7 against an actual record of 8-8. The Cowboys had a projected season of 9-7 which was 2 games out of their final 11-5 and the Redskins were 3 games behind their predicted 7-9 finishing 4-12. In total, the NFC East prediction was 7 games out which isn’t so bad out of the 64 games played between the four teams.

I’d say that the Giants prediction for 2010 is about right, one game better than last year. Even the Redskins could achieve their 7-9 if McNabb stays fit (what does history tell us about McNabb’s durability?!). I do think though that the Cowboys are better than 9-7 and who knows if the Eagles can get to 10-6 with essentially a rookie Quarterback? Time will tell on that, but I don’t think that 10-6 is unreasonable if Kolb can hit the ground running.

How about post-season?

NFL 10 Year Record – Post Season
1st 2nd= 2nd= 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Patriots Steelers Saints Cardinals Panthers Ravens Raiders Eagles
W 14 10 5 4 5 8 4 10
L 4 4 2 2 3 5 3 8
.778 .714 .714 .667 .625 .615 .571 .556
9th 10th 11th= 11th= 13th= 13th= 13th= 16th=
Giants Colts Seahawks Jets Rams Buccs Vikings Bears
W 6 9 4 4 3 3 3 2
L 5 8 5 5 4 4 4 3
.545 .529 .444 .444 .429 .429 .429 .400
16th= 18th 19th= 19th= 19th= 19th= 23rd 24th
Falcons Chargers Packers Jaguars Redskins 49ers Titans Dolphins
W 2 3 3 1 1 1 2 1
L 3 5 6 2 2 2 5 3
.400 .375 .333 .333 .333 .333 .286 .250
25th= 25th= 27th= 27th= 27th= 27th= 27th= 27th=
Broncos Cowboys Chiefs Bengals Browns Bills Lions Texans
W 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
L 4 4 2 2 1 0 0 0
.200 .200 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000

The Eagles have the 8th best record in the NFL over the past 10 years with .556 and this is 4th in the NFC behind Saints, Cardinals and Panthers. Interestingly, the Eagles have played 18 post-season games over the past decade and the rest of the NFC East teams combined have only managed 19! The Eagles are actually tied 1st with the Patriots for the number of post-season games played over the past 10 years in the NFL. That’s pretty impressive, though out of the top 6 (Eagles, Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Ravens, Giants) the Eagles are the only team not to have won a Superbowl in that time.

Here’s another historical fact for you. The Phillies have won the NL Pennant 6 times since 1950 and in all but 1 of those seasons, the Eagles finished their regular season .500 or higher. The Phils are starting to get it together and could quite conceivably clinch NL Pennant number 7, but am I clutching at straws now to try and convince myself that the Eagles are heading into a winning season? Quite possibly!

A lot rests in the hands of #4, but in Kolb we trust!

Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!

EaglesFanCast 89 – This Honeymoon Is Over

The 2010 Philadelphia Eagles season started a new era with much anticipation, excitement and cautious optimism.  The first game against the NFC favorites Green Bay Packers ended with confusion, sadness, and a lot of questions.  So many things went wrong in this game, with season ending injuries to two Pro-Bowlers, two of our other stars leaving with concussions, questionable play by our Special Teams and Offensive Line, our backup quarterback out-rushing most of the league and once again losing confidence in the head coach’s decisions.

What we discussed:

  • Eagles lose 27-20 to the Green Bay Packers at home
  • Quarterback Kevin Kolb was awful, but his Offensive Line didn’t protect him
  • We lost fullback Leonard Weaver because of Chuck
  • Email from Corey in Maryland
  • What was Andy Reid’s role in this loss?
  • Email from Barry in North Jersey
  • Email from Steve in the UK
  • Email from Aussie Mike
  • Email from Dennis in Gettysburg
  • Looking ahead and we quickly run down the EaglesFanCast Fantasy Football results

Congratulations to Mike from Michigan who won a code to download our new iPhone App!

Here we are in all our glory:

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