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The Blame Game

A season full of expectations and Super Bowl dreams faded away last Saturday when the Dallas Cowboys molly-whopped Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Let’s start the lashings.

Following a devastating loss, a fan is left with two very difficult objectives. The first is to avoid any and all content pertaining to the defeat. This requires drastic measures. One must avoid NFL programming until the following week (especially halftimes of games on the same weekend), refrain from sports news (ESPN), and ignore opinion centered shows (PTI). The second task is to correctly distribute the blame. Allow me.

While I could spend an entire day detailing what went wrong for the Eagles, I can’t commit that much time. Recalling the last two weeks significantly increases my heart rate. Once it reaches a certain point, I lose control. It’s very similar to the Incredible Hulk, only without the extreme power and “Ecto Cooler” color. The blame list reads as follows…

Most of my viewing anger was geared toward the players on Saturday, but the Head Coach will always be the first blamed, and rightfully so. Reid’s game plan was beyond poor. It demonstrated ignorance, incompetence, and little creativity. With the exception of the NFC Championship game, the Eagles’ success in the playoffs last year was due to an established ground game that controlled the tempo. Reid totally abandoned the run for an aerial assault that made him look like an… well you know.

(Although, I somewhat understand Reid’s intent with the passing game. He knew his defense was horrible. The likelihood of stopping the Cowboy offense was as likely as George W. Bush speaking at Al Gore’s birthday party. It just wasn’t gonna happen, and Reid knew it. If the Eagles were going to win that game, they’d have to win in a shootout. A running game wouldn’t have produced enough points for the Eagles to win. Regardless, I would have liked to have seen Reid try to control the clock and at least give his defense the opportunity to succeed or fail rather than assuming the latter.)

Next time Sheldon Brown opens his mouth about how undervalued he is, someone please show him tape from the last few weeks. If he’s playing injured, then fine. Congratulations Sheldon, you’re a real hero. Maybe next time, instead of dragging yourself all over the field and hurting the team, you could just take a seat. Either way, Brown was horrible on Saturday.

Contrary to popular belief, Sheldon Brown is not a solid tackler. A hitter? Yes. A tackler? Not even close. A hitter throws his shoulder into the ball carrier, hoping the impact will knock him off his feet. A tackler ensures the ball carrier is knocked off his feet. There’s a big difference. How many times did we see Brown lunge at the ball carrier and the ball carrier continue on his way?

His coverage skills weren’t much better. Miles Austin abused him. Roy Williams outplayed him. Even Patrick Crayton made Brown his whipping boy. The rest of the defense wasn’t much better. Macho Harris was on pace to match Brown’s play until an injury spared him. I need a short break; the heart rate is climbing…

…Deep breaths. Ok, let’s keep going. In a physical game like football, costly injuries don’t justify poor play. I know he’s had a plate full of losses to overcome, but Sean McDermott needs to be scolded for the defense’s performance this season, maybe even fired. Reid is way too loyal to fire McDermott, so the scolding will have to do.

Never, in my entire life as an Eagles’ fan, have I felt more comfortable with the offense than the defense. I came to this realization in week 9, after the first defeat to the Cowboys. If the Eagles needed a win from their defense, they weren’t going to get it. Even with Brian Dawkins’ absence, and Stewart Bradley’s injury, the defense shouldn’t have been THAT bad. The defensive coordinator earned the brunt of the blame here.

Mr. Hot Shot Primetime perfected the disappearing act. It’s funny how the media works. Donovan McNabb gets railed for a game the Eagles would have lost with Joe Montana. On Sunday morning following the loss, philly.com featured at least three articles that were somehow related to blaming McNabb or his small play in big games, etc, etc… The media on DeSean Jackson? Not a peep. The kid didn’t make an appearance in the two biggest games of the year, and no one notices?

I know Jackson is the media’s darling, but that is ridiculous. Defenses prepare for great players. Great players make plays despite the defense. It’s how the NFL works. I don’t remember Jerry Rice disappearing when a defense doubled and triple teamed him. Even Terrell Owens overcame defensive schemes geared to stop him and he lined up opposite TODD PINKSTON and FREDDIE MITCHELL. Jackson shares the field with a multitude of offensive weapons. You’re telling me he couldn’t do anything more to contribute? Please.

I told my dad a month ago that Jackson won’t be here in three years. He’s a self-promoting hothead. (Did you see him celebrate after a first down… with the Eagles trailing 34-7?) He wants star money now, and will only be a headache later. We’re already starting to see the signs. He shows up his quarterback when a throw is off, he’s a legend in his own mind (trash talking tweets this past week), and he won’t make too many catches between the hash marks. When it’s all said and done, Jeremy Maclin will be the better wide receiver. He has better hands, a better attitude, and won’t dog it when things don’t go his way.

Donovan McNabb did it again. He gave his critics the ammunition they needed for another offseason of “McNabb played small in another big game.” Yes, McNabb was chased by Dallas defenders ALLLL night long. However, even when he had time, McNabb missed some throws and committed two turnovers. The game plan didn’t make his night any easier, but you expect more from an 11 year quarterback.

I know there will be plenty of critics that will make a big deal about McNabb dancing before the game. They’re overreacting. Athletes prepare differently. Kobe Bryant would punch out his mom pregame. LeBron James poses for fake photos with teammates. Do I want McNabb to be Kobe Bryant? Of course. But it’s not who he is.

That’s all the blame McNabb deserves for the loss. No, I’m not joking. Did you see how open his receivers were? If Saturday’s game was a 7th grade dance, teachers would’ve asked the Eagle receivers and Cowboy defensive backs to observe the six inch rule.

Obviously, every coach, player, and executive deserves a piece of the blame pie after two humiliating losses like Dallas dealt Philadelphia. These guys simply deserved it more.

3 Comments

  1. danielle

    Six inch rule – hahah! How’re the 40 days of grieving?

  2. Rick

    I thought the Eagles’ finish was relatively good for an organization with a playbook outdated by 5 years, poor general application of the outdated playbook, a defense that is an illusion, players who can’t show up emotionally prepared without Brian Dawkins, and a quarterback who hasn’t improved is game or gamesmanship in 5 years. I think I have my expectations properly aligned now. I might not get Sunday Ticket next year. I spent a lot of Eagles’ games this year at the computer with my back to the first half of the game. During the second halves, I listened to internet radio. Thank you for the great blog.

  3. Rick

    That’s ASF Radio broadcasting music, not sports. http://www.asfradio.com.

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