29 August 2008

3rd anniversary

With all the excitement of the end of the pre-season and the 2008 NFL season starting in just under a week, it's easy to forget that three years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, wiping out entire towns along the Gulf Coast, taking over 1800 lives, and causing $110 billion in damages along the Gulf Coast. Three years ago today, the levees broke in New Orleans, flooding the city, while the Bush administration sat on its hands.

People are still suffering. The population of New Orleans, bracing now for a possible Hurricane Gustav landfall, is still down over 100,000 from summer 2005.

The Bush administration wants you to forget. The Republican party wants you to forget.

Don't forget.

And, while you're at it, do something to help.

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27 August 2008

2008 Preseason: Game 4 Preview

I really don't have much to say at this point. The starters are likely to sit for the entire game - thank God, because we can't take any more preseason first team injuries! - and the coaching staff will be focusing on confirming their keep/cut decisions to get down to the 53 man roster.

I'd love to see Vicodin Boy confused about the Jets offense, and possibly throwing a few picks. Doubt I'll get to see him cry, though. That stunt's pretty much reserved for the Cowboys.

We're 2-1 preseason at this point, which I think is a first for the AR era.

I really don't care who wins this game. I'm just hoping I actually get to watch it, unlike the Eagles/Pats game.

Divisional picks, aka The Post That Bites Me In The Ass Each January, due this weekend.

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23 August 2008

2008 Preseason: Games 2 and 3, aka Broadcastus Interruptus

Eagles v. Panthers, Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eagles at Patriots, Friday, August 22, 2008

This is going to be one of those good/bad/ugly posts.

Let's start with double bad: on Thursday, August 14, I was packing for a 6 day business trip in San Diego. So I TiVoed the game. As you all know, there was a 58 minute rain delay. Which means the "official" broadcast ended mid-way through the 3rd quarter. On the up side, I was no longer forced to listen to Troy Aikman and Joe Buck's inane commentary. Joe: "If Reggie Brown lives up to his potential, the Eagles are expecting a great year." Yeah, we've been waiting around for that train to arrive for 3 seasons.

To make matters worse, the win over the Pats last night wasn't even broadcast anywhere in DC. Stupid Olympics. Stupid NFL cheerleader coverage on the NFL Network. Stupid DC broadcast stations. You know what I could see here? Cowboys/Texans. Chef Spouse put it well: "If it's watch the Texans or not watch football, I'd rather skip it."

More bad: our top two receivers are hurt. Reggie Brown's down with a bad hamstring, a notoriously touchy injury, and Kevin Curtis has been bit by the sports hernia monster that's been stalking the Eagles for the past few seasons. Reggie's supposed to be OK by opening day (really anyone's guess), and Curtis is out until at least the bye week in October. Dawk's hurt, too, with an ankle strain. And Shawn Andrews is likely to be iffy for at least the next few weeks. And center Jamal Jackson went down with a concussion. But as long as he doesn't change his name to Trent Green, he should be OK.

Speaking of, could everyone please just pick one name and stick with it? Juqua and Tra, I'm looking at you.

So it's a good thing our rookies are showing some promise. DeSean Jackson and Quitin Demps both broke returns for TDs last night. Imagine that! We might actually have a return game this season! And I missed seeing Tony Hunt run away with the fourth quarter against the Panthers, but I definitely heard about it. (OK, he's not a rookie, but this is only the beginning of his second season, so I think that counts.)

Another good sign in our preseason game this year? Long offensive drives. I suspect the defense would appreciate it if the O could come up with more options than 3-and-score and 3-and-out. Those fellas get tired!

Bad? We're still having some trouble closing the deal. All the rushing yards and completed passes in the world won't help you if you can't get into the endzone, guys.

Speaking of not getting into the endzone, what was up with the trick field goal against the Panthers? I know Big Red likes to get clever in the preseason, but Sav Rocca's only been playing American rules football for about 14 months. Maybe let Akers try the pass? At least he knows who to throw to (tip: NOT a guy in a blue jersey).

On the up side, Dawk still hits like a Ton o' Bricks, at least when he can catch the guy (yes, Santonio Holmes, I remember how you spanked him in the first preseason game). Dawk rang Muhsid Muhammed's bell with BOTH hands and saved a TD in the process. He pretty much hit him into next week.

Another up side? Lito scored another pick. Down side? We didn't do anything with it. Our 2 minute drill takes about 5 minutes. Which is a problem. Also, I'm not sure how much longer my beloved number 26 is going to be an Eagle, particularly given Asante's arrival and our pressing need for a receiver with more than 3 preseason games' experience.

More bad? Exactly how many times can receivers drop passes in one quarter? 7? 19? 132? Yes, it was a wet night when we played Carolina. But see, that's the thing with football: it's often played in less than idea conditions. Receivers who can only catch when it's 68 degrees, low humidity, and breezy really don't do us a lot of good, because that's like one game per season.

And the cavalcade of dumb penalties continues. How can you tell it's football season? The Eagles lose 100 yards a game to stupid shit. How can you tell it's preseason? I don't have a coronary when it happens. But it's ON two weeks from tomorrow. Y'all might want to figure out how to tackle a guy without a block in the back or a face mask, or how to get the snap off without a false start.

18 August 2008

Chicks in the Huddle

My profile is live!

Look for my first post to show up there soon...either a recap of the Panthers pre-season or a preview of the Pats pre-season (I'm on a business trip, so the Panthers game is still waiting on DVR for me to watch it when I get home).

14 August 2008

2008 Preseason: Game 2 Preview

Tonight we face the Carolina Panthers. As usual, what I hope to see is a bunch of rookies giving it their all to try to make the team, and a bunch of vets NOT getting injured.

I think we might have something in DeSean Jackson. Only time will tell.

I wish Kevin Kolb would play most of the game. He needs the practice, and, as usual, our season hinges on keeping my boy Big 5 healthy. But it looks like AR plans to play the first team O for the entire first half.

I'll be interested to see if the Big Kid even takes the field.

And Asante Samuel better show me somethin'! We spent a lot of money on you, man. I'd like to know it was worth it.

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13 August 2008

*This* is News?

ESPN recently visited Lehigh for Training Camp Confidential, where they talked to Big 5.

Among the astounding revelations:
  • D-Mac thinks he and TO could have been a great combo if Captain ME! had been able to pull it together.
  • D-Mac thinks the Eagles will be in contention for the NFC East and the NFC Championship again this year.
  • D-Mac would like to finish his career as an Eagle, but indicates that if the team is ready to move on before he's ready to retire, he's open to playing elsewhere.
  • Matt Mosley thinks the Eagles may be the "best 8-8 team" in the NFL.
In other news, rain still wet, law of gravity still in effect.

11 August 2008

Much love for Yuengling

Now that Budweiser has been sold to the Belgians, the race is on to become the Next Great American Lager. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know my fondness for Yuengling. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks the still-family-owned and operated brand is ready to assume its rightful place as the pinnacle of American drinkin' lagers. (Of course, it would help if you could actually get Yuengling outside the mid-Atlantic region, but one thing at a time.)

10 August 2008

2008 Preseason: Game 1 Recap

Eagles at Steelers, Friday, August 8, 2008

First game of the pre-season, and I got at least one of my wishes - no one got injured. WHEW! As usual, this will be an abbreviated recap.

Bad things:
  • B-Dawk got spanked by Santonio Holmes on that first Steelers TD reception. SPANKED. Has Wolverine lost a step? He is over 35 now, which is like 97 in football player years.
  • The first team D was not exactly brilliant on the entire Steelers first offensive series.
  • Penalties, penalties, penalties. OK, sure a few offsides or false starts are to be expected in the pre-season. But some were just foolish - facemasks and unsportsmanlike conduct. C'mon guys - let's show a little discipline.
  • I love Ike, but was it just me, or did he really ask: "When you see an illegal formation call like this, what actually has taken place?" Um, dude, it means that someone on the offense lined up where he wasn't supposed to. How is it that I'm not a professional sportscaster again?
  • Ike and Merrill also commented that Big Red really wants to get better on special teams this year. Remember the season opener against the Packers last season? I'm pretty sure it's not possible to get any worse on special teams there, man. Nowhere to go from the bottom but up!
Good things:
  • The game was broadcast by ETN - the Eagles Television Network, featuring fan faves Ike Reese and Merrill Reese, so we had a lot of good general team commentary to listen to (which was good, because who really pays attention to pre-season games after the half, when the practice squad guys are in trying to earn a roster spot?).
  • Apparently, David Akers changed his training regimen in the off-season. He looks thinner and in better shape. Merrill called him "Mr. Automatic," and I sure hope so because he hasn't been as solid since the torn hamstring he suffered in the 2005 season. And we need him
  • McNabb looked solid on the first series with the first team offense, particularly when he avoided the Steelers' sack and threw cross body and cross field for a big completion to LJ Smith. His ability to improvise and scramble seems to be returning, which was even more obvious because his favorite guy, Mr. West36 was not out there. (Although, I think that probably was a push out on Jason Avant on the first drive TD attempt, but apparently the rule has changed, so I don't know - have to see how the zebras are calling it this year.)
  • Speaking of B-West, NICE ICE, DUDE. I loved the sideline interview where he said that he wants to be an Eagle for the rest of your career. Please, God, yes. And now that the details of his deal have been released, I would say that the post-game cheese steaks are definitely on him. I also loved the clip of O-line showering him with grass before his interview so he wouldn't be in a clean uniform. Not only was it funny, but it shows a lightness that indicates to me that the team chemistry is returning to normal. I know McNabb's been criticized for not being "serious" enough, but honestly, our boys play better when they play loose and have fun. Personally, I get worried when D-Mac's NOT telling jokes. You want serious? Go be a damn Pats fan, you traitor!
  • On the second series, with the second team offense, McNabb looked even better. He hit a total of 6 different receivers on the first two series, and into the endzone and...McNabb is OUT.
  • When Kolb took over, I have to admit he didn't look too bad. Merrill commented that it takes 3 years to learn the Eagles offense (where he got that stat, I do not know, but whatevs). K2 is on year 2. What does that mean for McNabb and the team? I do not know that either, but I'd be willing to bet we're going to have a lot of new names to learn by the 2010 season.
  • DMac then gave a solid sideline interview, in which he admitted that the 2007 season was not his best year ever, but, "I was still better than 75% of the QBs in the league, as the stats show, but all that matters is wins." He's right on both counts. I know there are a lot of haters, but I think we've been really lucky to have this guy under center for the last 9 years.
Additional player notes:
  • I think "Booker" is a great name for a kick returner!
  • I think DeSean Jackson looks like he could be something special. Maybe not Devin Hester special, but he's got a sixth gear, which we need.
  • Ryan Moats. I don't know what to say. Keep him? Cut him? What do you think?
  • For a great review of several additional individual players, check out perennial favorite Fandemonium.
Ike and Merrill favored us with a little breakdown of the NFC, in which they agreed that the NFC East has resumed its rightful place at the top of the NFC and possibly of the entire NFL. (Deadhead Skins fan and I were having dinner about a week ago and we discussed this exact thing. Whichever team ends up last in the NFC East would likely be a contender to win any of the other divisions. Ike and Merrill agree.) In breaking down the NFC East, they noted that while the Cowboys are a good team, Romo's extremely inconsistent under pressure, particularly late in season (think he'll cry during a game again this year? 'cause I LOVE that), and they're down to only one receiver (TO), and I have to note that he's not the most stable guy, either. The ETN team noted that Giants are missing some key players from their Super Bowl team, but I have to point out that Shockey was out for the entire playoff run last year, and keeping him on the sidelines was probably what allowed Eli to gain the confidence to finally lead the team. The ETN guys also noted that it's rare for a team to win the division with a new head coach. Speaking of the Steelers, tell that to Mike Tomlin. But it's definitely going to be a bruising season in the NFC East.

And finally, I leave you with the 2008 Fan You Tube Tribute:

09 August 2008

A little (personal) history

I've been watching the Iggles since I can remember (actual time: when Dick Vermeil arrived in Philly, so I was 5). I watched religiously throughout my childhood, teens, and college. Sadly, I went to grad school outside the Philly broadcast area in the Dark Ages, aka before the advent of the Sunday Ticket. I'm ashamed to admit my attention wandered. Cut me a break! It was the Ray Rhodes era, not exactly the highpoint of our team history.

Flash forward a few years. A young coach named Andy Reid comes out of the Mike Holmgren system and lands in Philly. He immediately shocks everyone by drafting a young QB out of Syracuse, Donovan McNabb, who ends up starting by mid-way through his rookie year. The team improved that year to 5-11. The following year, the team made it into the playoffs and got to the divisional round. And I started paying attention again. 4 NFC East Divisional titles. 4 trips to the NFC Championship Game. One trip to the Super Bowl. One BIG loss the Patriots, who, I'm convinced cheated. The TO implosion followed. It was not our best off-season ever.

And for some reason, on the morning of Tuesday, September 13, 2005, I felt inspired to write the following:
Eagles Season Opener, Monday, September 12, 2005 at the Falcons

Oy vey.

When Jeremiah Trotter got ejected (unfairly I think), I took it as a bad omen. Was he set up? Seems possible to me. Mathias is a nobody and he seemed to have both started the verbal altercation and he definitely threw the first punch. The Falcons needed Trotter out of there for Warren Dunn and Michael Vick to run. Things that make you go "hmmmmm....."

And I don't think we've EVER won a game when David Akers misses more than 1 FG. Of course, setting him up for two 49 yarders wasn't exactly fair, but you could still see him mentally kicking his own butt as he left the field both times. The guy literally aims to be perfect. And in fact he'd probably have better overall stats than Vanderjagt if we weren't constantly asking him to kick incredibly long FGs. He has the most over 40 yard FGs EVER in NFL history and accuracy over 94% under 40 yards.

But enough about David Akers. Both offenses - Eagles and Falcons - were TERRIBLE, the Falcons were just a little less terrible than we were. These were the NFC championship contenders last year? You have to be kidding. No wonder the AFC perpetually spanks the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Bright spot: Dawk did his damndest to win the game all on his own even after having to visit the locker room for an IV for dehydration, and TO shut up and played, although certainly not at his best. Perhaps they can get him some gloves with sticky finger pads so he can hold on to the damn ball. I hope this isn't an indication that we've gotten our D together, only to lose it on O.

I'm also hoping D-Mac isn't seriously hurt from that helmet butt, since the fortunes of the team pretty much rise and fall with him. He's not on the official injury report, but then again it hasn't been updated since last week. If he's not going to be out, I suspect we won't hear much about it, since Andy Reid tends to be pretty close about non-bench-time injuries. You know, because he's normally so forthcoming with the info on everything else.

And dude, why didn't my boy run a few of those times rather than throwing those HIGHLY suspect passes? I know we don't want our QB to get schnockered this early in the season, but he had clear lanes more than a few times, and he's learned how to go down once he gets the first down yardage rather than risking injury for a few more yards.

And clock management! JEEZ let's talk about the clock management problem! That's what KILLED us in the Super Bowl last year. You'd think someone would have thought to work on that in the off season. I love me some Andy Reid, but the clock management thing is NOT GOOD.

At least we have what should be a gimme next week against the 49ers, like the rest of our conference had Sunday. Giants versus Cardinals? The team vying with the 49ers for worst in the entire league? Yeah, I'm sure Eli Manning did have a great game against them. So would any above-average high school QB. The 'Skins managed to squeak by the Bears. You know, the same Bears the group of people I've cc:ed on this email could probably beat if we put our minds to it. The Cowboys were the only ones who played a real team (Chargers), and they managed to win, even though Bill Parcells continues his reign of over the hill QB terror in Dallas. DREW BLEDSOE? How long has this guy been playing? Since the 14 game season?
Which I proceeded to email to a collection of family and friends who follow football.

As you know, this game was a harbinger of doom, otherwise known as the 2005 season. But it provided LOTS of fodder for mocking, one of my best things. So I continued to write about the games and send them out to my little email group, which grew over the course of the season as my stuff got forwarded and more people asked to be added. I wrote game recaps throughout the full 17 week season and even recapped most of the 2005 playoff games, despite our lack of actually playing in any of them.

During the 2006 off-season, I began checking out the fan offerings on the official Philadelphia Eagles site and realized, much to my delight, that they were offering fan blogs. So I signed up for one. I loaded up all my recaps from the 2005 season and started bloggin'.

And I've kept blogging on the Eagles site for the past two years. Coverage of the draft and the pre-season. Pre-season picks for all the divisions. Weekly pre-game picks for all the games. Weekly recaps of all the games. Coverage of the post-season.

197 posts in all.

Over 3000 visitors.

Over 250 comments.

For the past few months, I've been considering possibly trying to get something going outside the insulated world that's populated entirely by other Eagles fans. But I kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. Hey, it was safe and comfortable there! Plus it would be a huge amount of work to copy my shit off that site. And I didn't want to leave without it.

Until last Wednesday, August 6, when I received the following invitation:
Hey Elizabeth. I've been reading your blog and I'm thoroughly entertained! I actually have a football blog for female fans and I've been looking for an Eagles Chick who might want to contribute. If you get a second, send me an email. We're about to do some stuff in Philly and would love to bring die-hard Eagles fans like you on board. If you're interested, you can reach me at chicks. . .

-Nola Chick
I realized it was a sign. After checking out the site and a little email back and forth with nola chick, I signed on. And decided it was time to get THIS party started.

I'll now be using this site as my primary writing playground and syndicating my posts out to both my Eagles fan blog and to chicksinthehuddle.com. I invite you to check me out in any of those venues, add me to your RSS feed, comment, and generally enjoy the wise-assness.

And bring on the 2008 season!

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08 August 2008

Breaking Eagles News...

West36 has his new contract. "Terms of the deal were not disclosed." I'm guessing homeslice got P-A-I-D PAID. He is all that and a bag of chips, though, so he deserves it as much as anyone.

Edited Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 6:06 pm to add: The details are out, and BOY was I right! No wonder West36 was smiling during the Steelers preseason game (recap coming shortly).

When You're a Jet...

You're a Jet All the Way
From Your First I-N-T
To Your Last Playin' Day

So Brett Favre faked me out and is now playing for the Jets. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. I guess the Packers are just happy that he left not only the division but also the conference. And the Jets certainly need a miracle at QB. I'm not sure a 38 year old who's never played anywhere else other than Green Bay and is now going to have to learn an entirely new system in, like, 3 weeks is exactly what I'd consider a miracle, but after last season, I'm guessing the Jets have lowered their standards.

In the meantime, poor Lovie Smith is like, "Grossman...Orton...fake my own death and retire to Fiji...Grossman...Orton...fake my own death and retire to Fiji." I feel for you, Lovie. That is not an easy choice. I hear Fiji's lovely, though.

07 August 2008

2008 Preseason: Game 1 Preview

Eagles at Steelers, Friday, August 8, 2008

And so it begins. Our attempt to at least get back to the damn playoffs.

What do I hope to see (other than, please God, a preview of Super Bowl XLIII, because I've been waiting for a Keystone Bowl MY ENTIRE LIFE)?
  • D-Mac playing like the second half of 2007, rather than the abominable first half, for the maybe 1 series he plays.
  • West36 hanging on the sidelines. Don't need to start the season with him banged up, and he's already been missing practice.
  • BDawk not missing a step, for the maybe 1 series he plays.
  • Our young receiving corps stepping up.
  • Max Jean-Gilles looking like he's able to fill The Big Kid's shoes (because I think they're going to be missing The Big Kid in them for a while).
  • What, if anything, our rookies have.
  • What, if anything, Kevin Kolb has.
I don't really care about too much else, other than avoiding injury.

What will you be looking for, Eagles fans?

05 August 2008

A few preseason observations

The Panthers' Steve Smith starts a fight in the locker room, and the team decides to punish itself. Ever heard of cutting off your nose to spite your face? PS, the Chargers and Bears say, "Thanks!"

Javon Walker may not actually play for the Raiders. There's been a lot of speculation about why. He had a tough summer - robbed in Vegas, friend died in his arms - but I'd bet a significant sum of money that what really happened is Raiders' training camp. After practicing with the team for a few weeks, he thought: "Play 16 games with these bozos, or give the $11 million signing bonus back? Hm - I don't really need another $11 million that badly."

And, in Eagles news, Shawn Andrews is still MIA. Anybody know what's going on? I've heard depression, family issues, contract issues, and weight. Any truth to any of them?

04 August 2008

Dear Aaron Rodgers...

If you would ever EVER like to play in the NFL, conspire to get yourself traded. By any means necessary.

I am not kidding, dude.