The Window is Closing

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to announce that the Eagles Round Table will be replaced by The 49ers Forum. I’ve decided to adopt the home team of the city I’ve chosen to live in. They have a young coach, a young quarterback a blossoming running back and they play with heart, emotion and passion. They play above their abilities and they lack any pretense about their talent. They have exceeded all expectations because their coach prepares them for game day and has made them believe that they can win. They remind me of the 2000 Eagles. Remember that team? They went from 5-11 to 11-5. Reid and McNabb were in their second year and Duce Staley, a big, bruising running back, accounted for most of the offense. They played with passion and enthusiasm and although they made youthful mistakes, they fought hard every game. Where is that passion and enthusiasm now? How many missed tackles and dropped passes will we have to endure? How did a season that started out with such hope and promise be reduced to watching the number one offense get shut down by the number thirty two defense? Did the window close on this exceptional group when McNabb was carted off the field in the second quarter?

The Eagles offense, which was once dynamic and virtually unstoppable has looked anemic and pedestrian. Even if you take away the dropped passes and the interceptions, there is still something missing. Because it’s the same players and, until McNabb went down, there had been no serious injuries on offense you have to look squarely at the coaching staff. After the first few weeks of the season, defensive coordinators accumulate film on their opponents. They start to look for tendencies and formations and train their players to see the same things. It’s not just the Eagles that this happens to, of course, but the better coaches are always changing. They are always devising new ways to confuse their opponents and keep their play calling fresh. Last week Reid turned over the play calling duties to Marty Morningwhig to get a fresh perspective and that was a good start but the Eagles still have a fundamental problem. Offensively, they’re one dimensional. This is problematic because that one dimension is sitting in Birmingham Alabama waiting for the swelling of his knee to go down. The failure to reasonably address the running game in the off season and, with the exception of the Redskins game, the disparity between pass and run has helped to create this problem. But, now with the system in disarray, do you just plug in the next guy and carry on like it was business as usual? Do you expect either Jeff Garcia or A.J. Feeley to create the same kind of opportunities that McNabb did? So much of what the Eagles offense accomplished this year was on offense was attributable to McNabb’s raw talent. Now that he’s gone it is imperative that coach Reid not just change the personnel to suit the game plan, but change the game plan to suit the personnel.

Donovan McNabb is a truly an exceptional player. He has astonished us with his physical ability and seemingly impossible plays. He plays his heart out and was having a very good season. It’s really a shame to see him go down with the third major injury of his career in five years. There will now be two words floating around McNabb for the rest of his career. A label that chips away at a man’s dignity and pride. That label? “Injury prone.” McNabb should be the quarterback of this team for as long as he is successful, but, it’s time to start looking at a potential heir apparent. I’m not suggesting that McNabb cannot come back and I’m quite sure that he is still one of the top quarterbacks in the lead but, after this last injury, that looked so innocuous at first, you need to cover all of your bases.

For the record, I’d like to put my vote in for A.J. Feeley to be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. Garcia is probably the better quarterback but Feeley has a bigger arm. In addition, he’s a young guy and he’s had success in the past with the Eagles and I’d rather watch a guy who still is on the upside of his career rather than on the tail end. If Feeley plays and plays well it will make the rest of the season a little more bearable for all of us.

The Eagles are a thirteen point underdog to the Colts on Sunday. What a difference a week makes. Since the Eagles were a 13 point favorite over the Titans, we’re looking at a 26 point swing. McNabb is easily worth 26 points in Vegas numbers. We’re still not sure who the Eagles plan to start but it doesn’t matter. The Colts are coming off their first loss of the season in a game that they essentially handed to the over rated Cowboys from the over rated NFC East. They’re going to be pissed and they’re going to take it out on our beloved Birds. Don’t take the points and leave this one alone.

Astonishingly, the Eagles are still right in the thick of the playoff race…at least mathematically. The Giants looked terrible against the Jaguars and, with the Cowboys, hold a one game lead over the Eagles for first in the NFC East. Even if the NFC playoffs appear to be a contest to see who can be fodder for the Chargers, Colts, Ravens, Broncos or Patriots, I will still always root for the wins over the draft position. And, until they are officially mathematically eliminated, I will hold on to whatever small glimmer of hope exists. What can I say, I’m an Eagles fan. Always have been always will be…Even if the Niners go 19-0 I will always end the Eagles Round Table with two very simple but heartfelt words.

Go Birds!

Eric Written by:

7 Comments

  1. November 22, 2006

    I ask this sincerely: In the history of the NFL, has a team ever thrown an interception when at the 1/2 yard line of the opposing team?

    Football is not that complicated a game. The game is won and lost in the trenches. The team that controls the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, by imposing its will, normally wins. The Eagles have become difficult to accept because they are routinely being manhandled on both sides of the ball, sometimes by inferior teams. The D line’s struggles have been well documented. They have been taken to the woodshed routinely over the past month.

    Less well documented has been the poor play of the O line. There has been much discussion re: the fact that the Eagles don’t run the ball enough. Take a look at what happens when they try. Against the 32nd ranked D in the NFL, the Eagles O line could not create holes for Westbrook and Buckhalter to run thru. When the Eagles tried to run in the first half, the RBs were routinely getting hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. Why? In my view, it’s because the Eagles O line is big, but soft. They rarely if ever dominate the line of scrimmage. Their forte, instead, is holding the D line at bay so McNabb can work his magic — rather than kicking the D line’s ass and creating holes for the RBs. The fact that Reid or Morninghwhig would call a play-action pass on the 1/2 yard line, against a BAD defense, tells you all you need to know re: their own opinion of their O line.

    Improving this team’s O line and D line should be priority #1. I would cut Walker, start Bunkley, and I’d begin playing Winston Justice on offense if he’s available. When this team’s play and attitude on its O and D line changes, the rest of the team’s attitude will follow.

  2. November 22, 2006

    I swear I could hear the agonized screams of “F**K!” from all over the country when McNabb went down.

    A sad week for Eagles fans all around this week: Andre Waters committed suicide at age 44.

    Screw the 49ers and their wine and brie fans. They suck and Steve Young is gay.

  3. Pete Dawson
    November 22, 2006

    It’s over! Shut er down!

    Andy must go!

  4. Chef
    November 22, 2006

    WOW,
    I have no contact with the NFL except Sportcentre once a week. They have written off the Eagles in week one and never were fooled by this poser team. I say lose out and trade up for Troy Smith or a quality running back.
    How bout that OSU-Michigan game!
    None of the Eagles games are on TV over here because they only play the games of importance, like the Dallas game or the Bears game.
    I hope to be looking at a totally different team next year and for your sake , I hope so too.
    It is a good time to not be in Philly. Sixers, Flyers, Eagles and the somewhat watchable but always crumbling Phils.
    Thank goodness for Rugby and Aussie Rules Football.
    Chef OUT!

  5. November 22, 2006

    Steve Young is the best thing since slice sourdough. . .

    And on to other things…SCHMUCK

    1. Don’t adopt the home team as the name of the forum. Your going to change from the strength of the soaring eagle, flying high over head looking for prey. For the san fran sissy treat. . . ding, ding goes the cable car. What a Shame!!!
    2. Eagle fans will find out in the next few weeks how good of a coach and staff the eagles really have. If they cannot win with either Garcia or Feeley, 2 out of three games, they should all be fired. The Eagles have just enough to win games, depending on how well they control the clock and not kick 7 field goals, but score touchdowns. Its not the madden challenge with 2 minute quarters.
    3. Happy Turkey Day

  6. November 24, 2006

    It is over. My optimism regarding this organization has reverted back to the familiar pessimism we all know so well. I think it hurts exponentially more right no because we were so close for a few years there. Hell, Smitty, Momo, and I even rented a hotel room on Broad Street for the parade after the Super Bowl. Didn’t we have some fun? I don’t remember.

    For this season, all I want for Hanuchristmadan is the following:
    1. Beat the Cowboys in Dallas and make Romo look like the punk he is.
    2. Avenge the Giants loss and finish the job of beating the hell out of Eli.

    I am moving to White Plains, New York, soon. I will never root for the Giants, and I can’t imagine ever caring about the Jets. However, I do think White Plains is far enough north to be considered part of New England. Right? Please? If Eric changes to the 49ers RT, I’ll be creating a spin-off forum for the Patriots. I guess that will ensure they never be on top again because it appears impossible for me to have any allegiance to a winner.

  7. November 26, 2006

    To Strongest:

    You’re still the best color man in the business.

    To Coach B:

    I’m going to try to be graceful here because in the past I’ve lambasted contributors to the point that they never write in again. So, how should I put this? Okay, I’ve got it. Are you a friggin moron!!!??? Did you even read my entire column? Is your skull so heavy that it’s compressing your tiny little brain? When I started by saying that I was going to change the column and start writing about the 49ers I was using a literary juxtaposition to prove a point. I was contrasting the Eagles of today with the Eagles of old and the 49ers of today. I couldn’t give up on the Eagles even if I wanted to. They are a part of my being. Just like they are a part of the being of approximately 5 million people in the Delaware Valley. We’ll be there until they finally win a Super Bowl. I thought I made it pretty clear at the end of the last RT. Read it again you Neanderthal.

    By the way that was also a literary juxtaposition. The way I said I was going to be graceful and then called you a moron.

    Thank you for your continued interest in the Eagles Round Table

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