Tag Archives: Brian Westbrook

Black Monday – EaglesFanCast 191

EaglesFanCast Podcast

The biggest game of the 2015 Eagles season was in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, a battle for first place in the NFC East Division.  A loss could have meant the basic end to the season, but a win puts the Birds in a tie for first.  Your Philadelphia Eagles beat the Giants 27-7 after initially being down 7-0 in the first quarter.

The Eagles Defense was unbelievable in their dominance of the Giants after giving up an 80-yard drive and touchdown.  The Giants second drive was looking the same until DeMeco Ryans intercepted the ball.  The Eagles Offense put together a drive and tied it up.  From that point forward, the Eagles either kept the Giants Offense in check, or completely dominated them.

Overall it was an ugly game, with the Eagles turning the ball over four times, and the Eagles Defense getting three turnovers from the Giants (with a pick-six in there from Nolan Carroll), and there were countless penalties on both sides.  Three of the Eagles turnovers came from Sam Bradford interceptions.  His inconsistent play (also having 280 yards passing and a touchdown) has been a reason for anxiety among many fans, some of which are calling for his benching. But is Mark Sanchez the answer?  Highly doubtful, and it’s one of the things we talk about in this episode.

But right now, the Eagles are leading the division, and go to Carolina to play the undefeated Panthers, which will be yet another huge test of what this team is.

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Back To Eagles Football

Ah, the smell of burgers on the grill and the sight of leaves changing colors. The familiar chant of E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLESSSS rising out of the Linc is about to deafen opposing teams again. Yes, people. It is September once more, and football season is finally here.

As we get prepared for another season filled with hopes of a Super Bowl for our Birds, it’s easy to look past all of the transformation this team has undergone over the past couple of years. It seems crazy now to think that Brian Westbrook, the mainstay of Eagles teams over the past decade is now RETIRING.

However, one man who has been here since 1999, and hasn’t changed (ok maybe his weight has) is Andy Reid, who will be entering his 14th season. In what will be perhaps his most pressure-filled season as Head Coach, Reid has already dealt with the pain of burying his son and the looming comments from owner Jeffrey Lurie that anything less than “substantially better than 8-8” will most likely result in his firing.

The “Dream Team” fiasco from last year, combined with the turbulent offseason the Eagles have endured hasn’t seemed to affect analysts, many of whom are predicting a Super Bowl run for these Eagles.

I hate to be a downer, but my opinion was last year and still is this year that the Eagles, while surely talented, are not a Super Bowl caliber team.

Blasphemy, you say?

Or have WE, as fans, overlooked the key deficiencies of this team? Lets explore together, shall we?

First of all, lets look at passing and third down conversions. The Eagles were 9th in passing last season, but the only team in the top ten who completed less than 61% of their passes (59.6%).  They converted on third down 41.5% of the time, good enough for 9th in the league in that stat as well. I look for both of these numbers to remain around the same as last year, UNLESS Michael Vick suffers an injury.

The bottom-line with passing numbers? Keep Vick healthy, and the Eagles are unlikely to have as many turnovers as last season, and they won’t have to play a rookie backup quarterback who, while impressive in the preseason, probably won’t be able to win but maybe two of the four or five starts he might have to make if Vick gets sidelined.

The running game is the biggest area I expect the Eagles to decline in this year. Although I love Shady McCoy’s talents as a runner and receiver, the loss of Jason Peters will become very apparent early in the season. They should drop from 6th in the league to somewhere around 10th adding in Vick’s running ability. That may seem like an insignificant drop, but I believe that the ability of the receivers to stretch the field is going to be predicated on play action passing, which Andy Reid is quite fond of. Bottom-line? The inconsistency of the running game (and of calling running plays) will show up this year again and be an Achilles heel of the team.

The running, passing, and receiving game all go hand-in-hand with offensive line play, which is the other area I expect a lot of struggle this season. The lack of Jason Peters on the left side not only closes huge running lanes, but forces the Eagles to use young players at other positions, and although I am quite a fan of Jason Kelce’s beard, he (to me) is too small to be a center. This group will have great games and horrible games this season.

The ONE area that this team is going to improve a lot on is Defense. Not necessarily an improvement in talent (outside of Demeco Ryans) but in cohesiveness and in maturity. After a year of learning Juan Castillo’s system, they will still be undersized and a little slow in the middle, but hopefully won’t make as many bonehead miscues as last season, and should finish around the same spot in total defense, or at least in the top ten.

Overall, expectations are very high for this team. Are they merited? Absolutely. This is clearly the most talented roster in the NFL. However, I don’t believe they will win a Super Bowl.

Call me a typical negative Eagles fan, or call me crazy.

Whatever the case may be, I see them going 13-3, splitting with the Giants and losing to Pittsburgh and New Orleans. I see them getting to the Super Bowl, but sadly I think the season will end with another Super Bowl loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I THINK that is what will happen. But who am I, and what do I REALLY know? Not a whole lot more than any other passionate fan. I’m hoping that this is the year. Only God knows what will happen. But not knowing is all the fun right? It’s a new season, and we are blessed to be fans of the greatest team playing the greatest game in the world.

So sit back, have a beer, and relax. Football is back.

 

Foles Continues to Shine – EaglesFanCast 132

Three preseason games down, and the Philadelphia Eagles win their third.  This time backup quarterback Nick Foles takes the start while Mike Vick gets some rest for his ribs.  Foles continues to do very well, showing great things as a future starter with this organization.  The Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns 27-10 under his leadership.  We talked about how Vick needs to protect himself during this season and not put himself out there on every play if there are huge risks.  He has to throw the ball away or slide (feet first, of course.)  What we want overall, besides a safe quarterback, is a controlled and balanced Offense this year.  With the caliber of running backs we have, this Offense could be deadly if balanced correctly.

Our guest this week is EFC contributor Holden Fulco, and he brings up an former Eagles player who is also not doing well, in the name of Kevin Kolb.  The conversation then shifts to what the organization sees that we as fans do not, and most of the time the players that leave the Eagles do not thrive.

The Eagles organization had both good news and sad this week, with the sad being we learned of the death of legend Steve Van Buren.  Any Eagles history book has to mention him, and his accomplishments are still talked about to this day.

On the positive side, modern favorite Brian Westbrook announced that he would retire an Eagle.  Still amazes me as to how lucky I have been to have watched him live on that field so many times.  An amazing player and great person.  I’m glad he is retiring with us.

 

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[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/eaglesfancast/132_EFC-Aug_28_2012.mp3 | titles=Episode 132 – Foles Continues to Shine | Artists=EaglesFanCast]

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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!

EaglesFanCast 80 – Free Agency Nothing

Our Philadelphia Eagles enter the 2010 Free Agency season not with a bang, a crackle or even a little hiss.  As other teams scramble and write out big checks for star players, the Eagles organization looks within.  They sign Jason Avant and Leonard Weaver, trade away Reggie Brown… and do not pick up anyone new.  So far.  This week we talk about how things are, how they appear, and some philosophical topics as they relate to the Eagles.

What we discussed this show:

  • Eagles cut favorite player Brian Westbrook a few weeks ago
  • Signings – receiver Jason Avant and fullback Leonard Weaver
  • Restructuring Stacy Andrews’ contract
  • Trade receiver Reggie Brown to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a reported sixth round draft pick
  • Todd rants about Donovan McNabb
  • Have the Eagles become a team that players may not want to come to, because of the Eagles Management team?
  • We try to sort out some of what is going on for Free Agency so far

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[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/eaglesfancast/080_EFC-Mar_9_2010.mp3 | titles=Episode 80 – Free Agency Nothing|artists=EaglesFanCast]
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