All posts by Steve Brown

More Vick-tims On The Schedule

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs for a touchdown against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 21, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES)

With 10 games gone in the season, the Eagles have hold of a very respectable 7-3 record. So what’s in store for the rest of the year? Are we cruising towards a 13-3 NFC East domination or heading into the face of a 7-9 collapse? Here are my thoughts.

Of the 10 games so far, Michael Vick has a 5-0 record when starting the game and not being knocked out of it through injury. That’s an impressive record that surely no-one predicted before Vick 2.0 was unleashed. Kolb has managed a 2-1 record, which when added to Vick’s efforts, gives 7-1. The other two games were when one of the Quarterbacks was knocked out of the game (Packers and Redskins) and both resulted in losses. Probably not a huge surprise, given that Vick and Kolb are very different players working within a set game plan. Without those injuries, we could be looking at 9-1. However, without Kolb’s injury in Week 1 we probably wouldn’t have seen Vick’s exploits. Let’s take 7-3 and be very happy with it!

Incidentally, those 3 losses were all against .500 or better teams (Packers, Redskins, Titans) while the Eagles have beaten 5 .500 or better teams (Jaguars, Falcons, Colts, Redskins, Giants). The other 2 wins were against teams with a losing record (Lions, 49ers).

Of the remaining 6 teams to play, 4 of them have a losing record, though the Cowboys are included in that number twice and surely won’t be as easy to beat as their record suggests. Or will they?!

Week 12 @ Bears

The Bears are all about defense. They’re 3rd in the NFL in yards given up (Eagles 9th) and they’re 2nd in interceptions (Eagles 1st) going up against Vick who hasn’t thrown one all year. Add to that that they’re only the 21st ranked team for sacks (Eagles 9th) and I start to feel confident that another big game is in the cards for #7. If they sit back in their Cover 2, Vick will hurt them with his scrambling ability and if they load the line, Jackson and Maclin will have a field day.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears are the 30th ranked team for total yards (Eagles 2nd) and 26th for touchdowns (Eagles 3rd). The Bears appear to end most of their drives in field goals, being ranked 9th. The Eagles are ranked 5th for the same stat and that would be more of a worry if it wasn’t for the amount of touchdowns being clocked up. Safer hands from the Receivers and a certain Mr. Celek could up the touchdown percentage considerably.

I’m putting this one down as a win.

Week 13 v Texans

Win. The Texans suck. Badly. Their game at the Jets was shown on TV over here in the UK last Sunday and it was blindingly obvious that Mark Sanchez would get the late touchdown he needed to win the game. The Texans Secondary is awful. Worse than awful. If you have Vick, Jackson, Maclin, Avant, etc. on your fantasy roster make sure you start them in Week 13!

Week 14 @ Cowboys

The news this week is that Tony Romo’s collar bone is still not healed (shame!) and that he won’t play in this game. The Cowboys are picking up, but Jason Garrett was Offensive Coordinator under the previous Head Coach, so if he was that good then surely the team wouldn’t have been so bad before? The Eagles have some revenge to inflict for those two games at the end of last season and the Receivers especially have a point to prove. By the time game day comes around, the Cowboys could well be 3-9 with games against the Saints and Colts in Weeks 12 and 13. That’ll destroy any momentum that the coaching change has given them and play right into the hands of the Birds. [Already a loss in 12, as the Cowboys lost to the Saints. Steve wrote this before Thursday. – Chuck]

Win.

Week 15 @ Giants

The Giants are the only credible threat in the NFC East this year. They also have a fairly kind schedule between now and the end of the season which includes the Jaguars, Redskins (twice) and Vikings. It also, however, includes the Packers and Eagles. This game could go either way. The Eagles certainly had some luck against the Giants last Sunday, though the Eagles Receivers could have had the game won by half time. As it’s at the Meadowlands, I think the Giants just about have the edge.

Loss.

Week 16 v Vikings

The Vikings are dead in the water. They sit at 3-7, they’ve fired Brad Childress and by all accounts Brett Favre has headed to Mississippi to “think things over.” What’s the betting that he’s placed on IR to save face and the Eagles come up against Tarvaris Jackson? The Vikings have to play the Redskins, Bills, Giants and Bears before they travel to the Linc and by that time they’ll be looking forward to the summer.

Win.

Week 17 v Cowboys

Maybe Tony Romo will be back. Maybe Jason Garrett will need the win to secure the Head Coaching job permanently. Maybe the Cowboys will have fought their way back to 7-8. Only one thing’s for sure; the form book will go out the window and anything could happen. Whatever the Cowboys are playing for, none of it will include a trophy while the Eagles could be looking to secure home field advantage for the post season. Has to be a win, surely?

So there we have it. The Eagles will end the season 12-4 and battle it out with Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game. Mike Vick will destroy his former team and win Superbowl MVP in Dallas as the demons from 2004 are exorcised against the Patriots. Glad that’s settled then. Now let’s sit back and enjoy the football this team is playing!

Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!

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]

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!

Home Tweet Home

So it’s finally time for training camp and as I’m stuck over here in the UK, I can’t pop down to Bethlehem and interview any players – even if I did manage to scrape together some sort of press credentials! Luckily for me though, many of our Eagles have been Tweeting away throughout the week and here is some of what they had to share with the world.

Darryl Tapp – “Back in Philly, training camp here I come!!!!!!!!!”

Jamar Chaney – “Just made it to the airport. Almost missed my flight & my bag was 15 pounds over. Smh! Its all good tho, I’m just ready to get to Lehigh!”

Todd Herremans – “Couldn’t sleep in as long as I wanted. Gotta report to trainin camp 2day but I gotta throw some s*** in the bag 1st…”

Michael Vick – “I couldnt even sleep last night…Todays the day!”

Jamar Chaney – “Boarding the plan to Lehigh now! This a small plane! Lol!”

Michael Vick – “Focus level on another level..To all my fans coming out to camp, thanks for the support!”

DeSean Jackson – “Gettn my Buizness takn care off b4 I head bac to Philly 2night… It iz that time… I’m in my zone all about my Buizness..”

Michael Vick – “Day 1 is in the Books!”

Jeff Owens – “Just got out of meetings tomorrow is going to be a long day…”

Ricky Sapp – “First NFL camp…. Let’s goooo”

DeSean Jackson – “On my way to Philly Boi I’m on my stuff… Grind’n season in mode full blast let’s ROLL….”

Ricky Sapp – “Morning twitter… Have a blessed day…. Day 2″

Jeff Owens – “Goodmorning twitter fam today is the first day of practice!!!”

Jamar Chaney – “1st practice in the books! Had a great one, but still got to improve in the 2nd practice! Hading to meeting & lunch now!”

Jeff Owens – “First practice went well still learning the system”

Todd Herremans – “Ok.. Great workout this morning!”

Jamaal Jackson – “Working hard @ work! Grind mode 2010 let’s get it….”

Jeff Owens – “Another great practice in the books, what happen to all the fans at the second practice”

Jeremy Maclin – “been chillin all day…time for the gym!”

Stewart Bradley – “Eagles football will dominate this season!”

Jeff Owens – “Just finish eating dinner, I ate a salad with some pasta and shrimp gotta eat right to dominate….”

Jeff Owens – “Meetings after meetings… Tonite I’m going to bed early lol”

Leonard Weaver – “Yo it’s yo boy weave and training camp is 1 day away. I can’t wait”

Michael Vick – “Day 2 is a wrap..its only a matter of time now!”

Michael Vick – “I forgot what training camp was like, its rough..but all the greats had to go through it!”

Jamar Chaney – “2day was a great start to my 1st trainin camp! Cant wait to get out there 2ma! Bout to catch these Zs tho! Holla @ yall 2ma.Gd nite & God Bless”

Jamar Chaney – “Morning practice in the books! Another great one for ya boi! Heading to meetings & than lunch!”

Jeff Owens – “Practice 4 is in the books just got in the cold tube and hot tube now it’s time for Dinner!!!”

Jeremy Maclin – “Packin for training camp….excited to get back at it! #readytoride”

Brandon Graham – “Getting ready for camp….Cant wait to show what I’m made of!”

Leonard Weaver – “Hey guys good morning, I’m up and eating breakfast and me and Mango are going go leave and head to training camp. It’s here baby…..”

Jeff Owens – “Who’s gonna help me study my playbook???”

Jeremy Maclin – “All settled in at camp….dinner at 5 then meeting….#readytoride”

Stewart Bradley – “Bye Bye Philly… Hello Leigh High! Get excited!”

Todd Herremans – “About to knock out this introductory meeting.. Its gonna take 4ever :/”

Michael Vick – “Im taking camp one day at at time..feels good to be back tho”

Michael Vick – “And thanks to all the fans that have been coming out to support us…we appreciate it!”

Brandon Graham – “Thanks everybody for congratulating me and I can’t wait to go out there tomorrow and get to work!! I’m about to cause havoc and kill QB’s!!”

Jamar Chaney – “Done w/ breakfast, in the locker room now gettin ready to hit this practice field. Oh how I love my job!”

Brandon Graham – “Just made it to Philly I’m so excited to get to work and compete with my teammates!!”

Leonard Weaver – “Now I’m back at my room chilling until our 10:30 special teams meeting.”

Asante Samuel – “Strong off season workouts and pure dedication to being the best means I am ready to help the team win a championship”

Leonard Weaver – “Hey ladies and vents we are about to have a meeting. Offensive meeting. Installation time baby.”

Jeff Owens – “Cant wait tomorrow its Full Pads…. Its time to get down and dirty!!!! who’s coming to watch me put on a show??”

Leonard Weaver – “Man we have looked great over the past few days.”

DeSean Jackson – “1st day we put on them pads and went live. Felt good the fellas was out there ready. We lookn nice out here and they say we young. Watch out”

Jeremy Maclin – “Just got done wit evening practice about a hr ago….bout to head to dinner and meetings…tired as a dog tho!”

Leonard Weaver – “I don’t know of my carries will increase or decrease but its doesn’t matter. As long as were winning its all good.”

Leonard Weaver – “Kevin looked great as well as Michael Vick.”

Brent Celek – “no easier place to sleep than training camp. #supertired”

Jamar Chaney – “2day was a very productive day for me & also for the entire team. We looking real good out there, just got to continue to get better!”

DeSean Jackson – “Everybody follow my bro @CenterStage67 he is the key to our eagle success down there in them trenches..”

Asante Samuel – “Another good day of practice. We are young and explosive. Watch out for the Eagles this year!!”

Leonard Weaver – “At breakfast with jamaal talking about to head to practice for another great day.”

Asante Samuel – “Wat up Eagle Nation? Watching team work hard and its killing me! Doc’s holding me out cuz of my hammy!? Too fired up to be watching!!”

Asante Samuel – “Watch out for my boi Ernie Simms he is a beast! A BEAST!”

Asante Samuel – “In my 8 years in da league I never saw anyone as explosive as D Jack and Maclin. They r gonna b great together! Go Green!!”

Asante Samuel – “Shout out to ALL my EAGLES fans out there that can’t wait to see some Eagles football!! UNSTOPPABLE”

Jeremy Maclin – “Good practice this morning…O and D getting after it…got done bout 10:30 but I haven’t left yet gotta maintain the body #Iknowit”

Leonard Weaver – “Hey practice was fun today and the fans had a lot of intensity.”

And there we have it, lazy journalism! Twitter can be a very interesting read at times with plenty of banter flowing back and forth between the guys. Here is the list of Eagles I have so far, feel free to add comments with anyone I don’t know about.

@TrevorLaws
@victorabiamiri
@CenterStage67   (Jamaal Jackson)
@jmac_18
@toddherremans
@Sapp94
@dtapp91
@MichaelVickZone
@MachoHarris
@cutondime  (LeSean McCoy)
@BrentCelek
@StewBradley
@jeffowens95
@Jamar22Chaney
@deseanjackson10
@LeonardWeaver
@BGraham54
Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!

The Best Roster In The League!

“I feel this year we have the best roster in the league” said Joe Banner on July 26th 2009. As we now know, that roster didn’t fulfill its potential to win a Super Bowl. It didn’t even come close. Does getting rid of ten players back up Banner’s previous assessment or blow it out of the water? Well, when you consider that he also claimed to have the best roster in 2003, 2004 and again in 2008 I’d lean heavily towards the latter.

And so we say goodbye to released team-mates Will Witherspoon, Brian Westbrook, Shawn Andrews, Kevin Curtis and Darren Howard, plus the recently traded Reggie Brown, Chris Clemons, Sheldon Brown, Chris Gocong and Donovan McNabb. That’s a massive exodus of veteran personnel including, of course, the franchise Quarterback.

What does this mean for the coming season? Well, for one thing we’re likely to have the youngest group of players in the NFL. As far as I can see only David Akers, Sav Rocca, Juqua Parker and Jeremiah Trotter are over the age of thirty in a league where experience means a huge amount.

When Andy Reid was asked last week who his offensive leaders were he answered, “That’s a good question because Kevin becomes one of them. One of the things I’ve mentioned is that I think he’s a good leader. I think we have some tremendous leaders up front. DeSean Jackson has turned into a kid that has shown leadership ability. Brent Celek is one of our primary leaders.”

These are all young guys with a lot on their shoulders already, how much can they reasonably take on and still play at their best? Reid refers to DeSean Jackson as a “kid” which says it all. No matter how talented, these guys are barely more than rookies.

The successful returns of Jamaal Jackson and Stacy Andrews will be a big boost to the organization, but the Draft is where Andy Reid is undoubtedly focusing. With eleven picks to play with including five in the first 87 overall, we have some serious bargaining power.

I’m really looking forward to the Draft this year. With the revamped format, eleven picks and Andy Reid calling the shots it should be quite spectacular for the watching Eagles fans. There are some big gaps to fill, such as cornerback, but Reid has shown time and time again that he’s good at this side of the job and I’ll be relaxing with popcorn on hand and Twitter fired up!

I’m quite excited by this rebuilding process and for me, the Eagles ARE rebuilding even though no one at NovaCare will admit it. It may be a year or two until we make the playoffs again, but this team growing up together could eventually lead us to that elusive Super Bowl title that we all crave so much.

Just one thing though. If Joe Banner claims again this year that we have the best roster in the league, I’ll know for sure that his rose-tinted glasses are superglued to his face!

Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!