Oddball Says “Be Positive”

Posted: October 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

Arguably the greatest philosopher of all time is Oddball, the hippie tank commander from the movie Kelly’s Heroes.  Oddball doesn’t see obstacles, he sees opportunities.  He digs life and lives it to the fullest.  The only thing that scares his is Tiger tanks.  Aside from that, life is good. My favorite quote of his came in response to his mechanic after making a negative comment:

Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

Like Socrates, but much, much better.

I bring up Oddball because Eagles Nation seems to be really down right now.  I get that to a certain extent, but there is plenty of room for optimism as well.

Oddball would probably point out that the Eagles have played sloppy football, but are sitting at 3-3.  If you eliminate the sloppiness, the team should start winning.  This isn’t a question of are we good enough.  This is a question of will we get the job done.

Think about the OL for a second.  It is an average unit, at best.  Playing backups at LT and C has caused a lot of problems.  Still, the OL is good enough for the Eagles to be a playoff team.  The offense averages 379 yards a game, good for 7th overall.  Poor OL play has hurt the Eagles at times this year, but it didn’t cause Brent Celek to drop a TD last week.  It didn’t cause Mike Vick to fumble at the goal line in Pittsburgh.  It didn’t cause defensive breakdowns the last 2 weeks.  The OL had nothing to do with David Wilson running free up the field for 35 yards on ever KO return.

The Eagles have a variety of problems.  The coaches are working on getting them fixed.  That’s what the bye week is all about.  You study personnel.  You study coaching.  You study statistics.  You identify weaknesses and correct them.

The Eagles are practicing today.  I bet the focus is on the Eagles, not the Falcons.  Coaches are trying to build on what went right and fix what has been wrong.  Andy Reid and his coaches are normally very good at this.  I expect that to be the case this year as well.  And that’s what gives me optimism.

I’m not asking the Eagles to do something they aren’t capable of.  Michael Vick is 11-4 in post-bye games the last 2 years.  He was 6-2 in 2010, 5-2 in 2011.  Reid has had a ton of success after the bye.  The players are in place.  The coaching staff needs to do their part.  No miracles are needed.

I get that just because this stuff happened in the past doesn’t mean it will happen now.  I totally agree with that.  This team could fall apart.  It could crumble and have a bad record.  I don’t think that will happen, but to not acknowledge it as a possibility would be foolish.  Theses are uncharted waters we’re in because of the pressure on Big Red.  Vick also could see the writing on the wall with his future and we’ve never seen Vick in a situation like that.  We have no idea how he’d handle that pressure.

Teams that have fallen apart in recent years generally had discipline issues.  That’s not the case with the Eagles.  The players love Reid.  They didn’t go nuts last year when the team fell to 4-8 and there was every chance for chaos.  I don’t see them falling apart now.

I am not ignoring the fact that the Eagles have problems.  I’m more focused on the fact that I feel the Eagles have the answers to many of them.  The coaches can adjust the gameplan to help out the OL.  The defense just needs a few tweaks.  STs has been a major problem.  We have seen improvement on the coverage units since the return of Colt Anderson, Akeem Jordan, and Riley Cooper.  The one area where we still need to get going is on returns.  The struggles there are part of the problem with relying on rookies.  Sometimes they adjust quickly.  Other times, it takes a while.  I do think Bobby April focused on blocking for them in his week off.  The returners haven’t had much room to work with.

As for Vick and his issues…the coaches can help him by adjusting the gameplan, but Vick needs to do a lot himself.  He’s simply been too sloppy this year.  I hope the week off allowed him to clear out his head, relax, and re-focus.  Vick doesn’t need any major tutorials right now.  He needs to make better decisions and protect the ball.

Vick never looked right in the preseason and then got hurt.  He was awful in the opener and has been playing catch-up ever since.  We don’t need him to be Vick the superstar.  Just eliminating turnovers and crucial mistakes would be enough for us to get on a winning streak.

Can he do this?  Yes.  Will he do this?  I don’t know, but I sure hope so.

If we’re talking about Andy Reid getting sexy, having fun PCs, or winning the Super Bowl this year, I’m probably betting against it.  If we’re talking about him righting the ship and getting the Eagles to a strong finish, I’m buying that.

* * * * *

One interesting development is the return of DT Mike Patterson.  I wondered if Patt would ever play again.  He is back at practice today.  The Eagles will have 3 weeks to decide if they want to activate him to the roster or put him on IR.

The Eagles have a few things to consider.  If he’s back on the roster, his salary will be $2.1M.  It was cut in half prior to the season.  Who do you cut to make room for Patt?  My guess is that one of the RBs would go.  How do you get Patt in the DT rotation?  Who sits?  We need to see how the DL performs in the next 2 games before figuring that out.  Also could tell us whether they should activate Patt or not.

Reuben Frank says he’s still a long way from playing.  We’ll see how things go.  I think it is great that Patt’s able to practice.  Just getting on the field has got to feel so good to him.  Best of luck, big guy.

_


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy,
    Ryan Clady will be a FA next year and has publicly denied Broncos contract offer. Isn’t that exactly what happened with Peters when we traded for him? Would you trade a 1st + something for him to come in here and be your new RT (Vicks blindside) or our new LT if Peters is too injured (and he’s getting old).

    • Kakao Tom

      Clady wanted more money, I think he said he wanted Joe Thomas money. And I wouldn’t want to pay both my Tackles 10+ millions.

    • Ark87

      Clady isn’t THAT good (or that particularly young) in my opinion. It does bring up an interesting thought. Is Andy allowed to use future resources (draft picks) to make this season better? If I were Andy and allowed to trade those draft picks, I’m all in, those things would get traded. If Andy gets canned, those future draft picks are extremely valuable in rebuilding the franchise. I’d love to know if Howie is operating under restrictions with Andy’s job pending.

    • JRO91

      Peters at 85% is better than Clady, and Herrimans just signed an extension….he’s not going anywhere next year. Jeff Mclane just tweeted that Peters was out doing light jogging today. I think he will be more than ready to go next year. Same with Kelce.

    • TommyLawlor

      Team will do a thorough evaluation on Peters late in the year and see what they think of him.

      I think a more realistic move would be to stick with Peters and draft a G/T high. That guy can challenge for LT if needed. He could push at G if needed. Dennis Kelly could focus on RT at that point and push Todd.

      • TommyLawlor

        Should have mentioned…if concerned with Peters, then LT becomes priority for FA or draft.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

          My thought exactly… Clady in FA or at least a 3rd round pick O-line in the draft

        • Anders

          I think a development tackle in the mold of Peters would be perfect anyway because Peters might only have 2-3 years left

      • austinfan

        Suggs is already back and playing, achilles don’t seem to be career ending injuries, if Peters is already running, he should be 100% by next August. Backus is having one of his best seasons at age 35, and Peters is athletically a couple tiers above him.

        Guy to watch is Menkin, saw him in preseason and he’s got a mean streak, probably lacks the feet for LT, but was holding his own at that spot. Remember, he’s from Mary-Baylor Hardin or some such school, Div 3, so that’s as raw as it gets – give him a year in a NFL weight room and a full set of OTAs and it won’t surprise me if he pushes for PT.

        Bell is long gone, Reynolds will probably be gone, Vallos gone, Vandervelde will get one more shot, Kelly, Menkin, I can see them drafting a C/G type or cross training Watkins at C, because they need a better backup there. The last spot will go to another high potential prospect type who won’t see the field in 2013.

      • MichaelFloyd84

        Didn’t we just do that with the allegedly NFL ready 27 year old Canadian firefighter?

  • Anders

    I just want to offense to look like a functional unit and the DL to start getting around 3 sacks a game, if we do that, the rest will follow and the Eagles should go far in the play offs

    • Ark87

      Exactly right. If that offense can consistently score 24 points a game for the rest of the season, and the D doesn’t get worse, we will be in good shape. 24 points by previous standards is laughable, but this year the feat of having to score more than 30 points seems impossible (looking at that saints game). So yeah, you said it exactly right, the O doesn’t need to break team records, just needs to be functional and get points consistently (no disappearing for 25 (game) minute stretches).

      • Anders

        24 points per game would have us winning every game beside the Cards game.

  • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

    I really want us to do better. i know we are capable of being a top tier team, but I tire of just saying it. I want to see them do it. I’m not going to kill them with negativity; I just want to see the improvement. The bye week is usually when we become a better team, so I’m not writing us off or anything. However, i have no desire to drop to 3-4, shades of 2011 all over again.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    “Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”

    Crap!

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    Andy Reid getting sexy.

    Getting in the Halloween mood by scaring us all to death? Thoughts of Andy Reid in a bikini will haunt my nightmares.

    • TommyLawlor

      Paranormal Activity 5 will be a short film about Andy Reid trying to put on a man-kini.

      The horror!!! The horror!!!

    • A_T_G

      Whew, a bikini. Great idea. I was picturing him in just two mustaches. The bikini is a huge improvement.

  • nopain23

    H ey T
    How about a post on candidates you think the iggles should consider for HC if/ when AR is fired. For the record I am convinced we cant win with Vick as our QB especially as Vick is a veteran and he is being out played by a rookie…RG3…that’s is just embarrassing…..period!!!

    • Ark87

      RG3 is embarrassing a lot of QB’s this season then. The kid is special, and imo should have been wearing a Colt uniform (DAMN YOU GRIGSON FOR BRINGING THIS UPON THE EAGLES AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR FOR THE NEXT DECADE!!! ARRRGGGG! You could have had him too Heckert!).

      • Julescat

        Cam Newton was special last year.

      • ChaosOnion

        Four weeks in and he already had his first NFL concussion. Eventually athletic QBs all slow down and then they are not quite that special anymore. See Cunningham, McNabb and Vick.

        • Anders

          RG3 is a much better passer than Cunningham and Vick and McNabb lacked the drive to improve and RG3 does not comes across like that.

        • eagles2zc

          It’s going to be a long time before RG3 slows down

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll mention a guy or two if it is topical, but don’t want to really get into this topic right now. We’re 3-3. Let’s stay focused on 2012. If things fall apart, we’ll need that topic to keep the conversation fun in December.

    • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

      Here’s to hoping RGIII can develop (devolve?) into the next Mike Vick.

    • Meh

      Vick and everybody else in the league. Bad example dude.

  • ACViking

    Re: Patt

    If/when Patt returns, Landri may be the odd man out — if his production continues to slacken. If Landri stays active, that’s 12 D-linemen. Can’t cut Hunt. He’s too good on special teams. Can’t cut anyone else except Tapp, who’s the No. 3 or 4 DE.

    If not Landri, I think you’re right that an RB moves off the active roster. How ’bout that Chris Polk getting IR’d . . . unless he starts dominating on special teams.

    Or do you see the Eagles cutting Lewis?

    • JRO91

      I think Dion Lewis would be the first to go….

      • TommyLawlor

        I think Dion would go.

        • iskar36

          I’m not sure I understand the Polk support. He hasn’t done anything that seems noticeable and he also has been a useless special teams player from what I understand. Lewis hasn’t done much on special teams either, but at least he proved to be an ok backup in his rookie season. Why has he not gotten a little more playing time over Polk?

          • ChaosOnion

            He is a big RB. Eagles fans love big RBs. I mean, he’s got 2 whole pounds on Bryce Brown.
            Chris Polk: 5'11" 222lbs
            Bryce Brown: 6'0" 220lbs
            LeSean McCoy: 5'11" 208lbs

          • Anders

            but Polk runs hard….. I think Eagles fans are obsessed with 2 yards and a cloud of dust.

    • Todd B.

      I am not so sure Hunt isn’t the odd man out. Keeping him around because of his preseason production is like making Chaney the starting SAM because he had two good games in 2010.

      I like Hunt and I like his story but his production and snaps have gone down every week. I think he had only one snap against the Lions.

      If he isn’t productive, then it makes sense to give Curry that time to gain experience. Then at that point, Hunt is inactive.

      So unless there is some injury we don’t know about, I am not so sure they don’t cut Hunt, activate Curry, and deactivate Landri when Patterson returns.

  • Mac

    In summary… the reason to be optimistic is because the 2012 Eagles need “tweaks” on Defensive play calling (not players), Offensive play calling (to cover up a mediocre o-line), Vick to limit turnovers to about 1 per game, and better special teams coverage.

    Sounds like a lot, but also sounds do-able. Especially if Andy and Marty can get realistic about the offense.

  • Julescat

    can the offense try some things to reduce the constant blitzing like draw plays and screens? Why not try a hurry up offense to tire out the D line?

    • TommyLawlor

      The offense does slow down blitzing when they throw short, quick passes. Would help to have some runs/short passes turn into big plays. That will scare defenses.

      • Julescat

        I guess I listen to Cris Collinsworth too much when he advocates draws and screens to sucker the blitz to overrun the play.

      • Ark87

        Been saying this for weeks. We finally got that with that Maclin touchdown.It didn’t scare them off, and Maclin almost burned them again. If that ball wasn’t batted, not only would we have won that game, but teams might have finally let off a little bit.

        Then again, do you know how good we have to get with that to make teams change their game plan? O. K look at 2011 and 2012 Mike Vick. Now look at 2010 Mike Vick. People don’t blitz the bajeezus out of Mike Vick because he is the worst quarterback in the league vs the pressure (even though it might be true). They do it because the man is absolute magic if you don’t. We need to get functional vs constant pressure, yes, but no DC wants to be the next 2010 Redskins and have Mike Vick put up 59 points on them. The blitz heavy game plans aren’t going anywhere I’m afraid.

        • Mac

          I don’t have the site to quote, but Vick’s numbers vs. the blitz have improved drastically from what I’ve read this year over last year.

          I have a feeling that we are in “stay the course” mode with Vick. Hopefully he and Andy can continue the trend of being better after the bye week let’s say they can go 7-3 and hit 10 wins and make the playoffs… If Vick keeps up his good numbers vs the blitz, has lights out numbers vs no pressure and can reduce turnovers, then we have a viable playoff team here. Those are a lot of ifs, but in my mind, not out of the question.

          • Ark87

            Absolutely, he is making progress. And really the offense does move pretty well against the pressure. It isn’t until we get to the red zone where windows get smaller that things have been truly dysfunctional.

            I’m just saying there is almost no way he can be so successful against the blitz that DC’s call it off. It’s everything to do with just how good he was pre-”miracle” and pre-Joe Webb 2010. There is one game-plan that turns Mike Vick into a mortal. And that game plan ain’t going away, even if he gets pretty productive against it. Lesser of two evils type thing.

            I think you’re right about the “stay the course” part for now. He just has to get “good” against the pressure, he doesn’t need to become a super-star again for this team to win games.

          • Mac

            Yeah I agree with you 100% on the blitz/pressure not going away with how teams defend Vick. Andy Reid, time’s yours… lets get this quick pass route offense installed.

  • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

    A bit off topic, but what’s the consensus on where Bowles should call plays from as DC: booth or sideline?

    I think the booth makes sense because Bowles is primarily a secondary guy and it’s so much easier to see the whole field from that perspective. I feel like he would be a more effective playcaller (especially re: coverages) from up there. Maybe I’m discounting too much the effect face-time with the defenders has in-game.

    • Anders

      He as been sitting in the booth this whole time, but from the sound of it, the players would prefer him on the sideline

  • austinfan

    The defense should improve with Bowles, and if either Patterson can return or Landri’s knee injury improves with a week off, since he’s been subpar for a month. The other factor is that young players often step up the second half of the season as they understand the speed of the pro game, hopefully guys like Cox, Thorton, Kendricks, Boykin, Marsh, Sims can contribute more down the stretch.

    I think Mudd can fix this OL if AR/MM commit to a balanced ball control attack that doesn’t require OL to block for 4 seconds on a regular basis. Leave your ego at the door and go with what worked in 2008, boring, winning football.

    Cooper could be the wild card, he was playing well in OTAs then got hurt, but I liked the way he snatched the ball his first game back, if the light goes on, he could be our version of Nelson on the Packers, the big WR who presents matchup problems. His problem has been understanding that a big WR has to use his body aggressively, learn how to push off (without getting caught), attack the ball and high point it.

    • Ark87

      2008 wasn’t boring football to my recollection. That was the emergence of Desean Jackson to my memory. Every time he got on the field it was a big play. Hadn’t seen so many big plays since T.O left. We didn’t win many games either. We just got hot and had a lucky chain of events to squeek us into the playoffs with just 8 wins. Not sure there is anything in that season to emulate. Now the year Garcia took us to the playoffs, that is something I think we can look at.

      • austinfan

        DeSean’s big plays came in the first half of the season when they were playing “longball,” after the Bengal/Ravens fiascos, they got Curtis back and ran a small ball offense, I think DeSean had one catch over 20 yards during the stretch where they went 6-1 (including the first two playoff games), 9-6-1 regular season. They had to open it up for the Zona game, but before then it was all short passes, with LJ Smith and Celek both averaging less than 10 yards per pass.

        Similar problem with the OL, MJG at RG, Tra slipping at LT, Runyan playing on one leg at RT.

        • Ark87

          goes to show you how selective my memory is, all I really took away from that season was piling it on Dallas with offense and defense making big play after big play and DJax catching the long ball then doing the strangest/ dumbest things in the vicinity of the goal line. Like dropping the ball before he crossed the goal line …or the awkward bobble dance across the goal line vs Arizona across the goal line. Oh god it’s coming back…DMac getting benched…the tie….playoff beards….Dawk and Jim and BWest were still around…..was a good year, probably the most resilient Reid team to date.

          Still when I think boring small ball, I think Kevin Kolb vs the 49ers in 2010. Long possessions, multiple first downs….and then punt. Though the game plan might not have been small ball so much as he was checking down over and over. The eagles moving the ball and getting points is never boring, method doesn’t matter.

  • BobSmith77

    Love Kelly’s Heroes but I was always a bigger of Crapgame or Big Joe myself. Funny you mentioned Oddjob. Vick is the Eagles’ version of Oddjob right down to the fact that he goes into battle behind a completely inferior type of protection (Oddjob had the M4 Sherman; Vick has the Eagles’ OL) that is highly-prone to combustion & instead must rely upon speed, deception, and some luck to make it it out alive.

    Free Poles called the M4 the ‘The Burning Grave’ and the Brits called it the ‘Tommycooker.’ What is a good nickname for the Eagles OL?

    • D3FB

      The “sorry, Mike”s?

    • A_T_G

      Vick-tomizer

  • BobSmith77

    It is kind of how odd who this season is setup for an ’08 redux including:

    - 3-3 record at the bye
    - Playing the Falcons on the road (Falcons were 4-2 and also coming off a bye in ’08) where they were slight dogs (line is -2 1/2 this week for the Falcons)
    - 5 home games, 5 road games remaining
    - Two huge divisional games at the end of the season including playing the Skins and Giants

    I can see the Eagles winning 6 out of their last 10 games. Just a question of whether 9-7 gets them in the playoffs (I think it does as a wildcard).

    • Ark87

      9-6-1**
      It would be nice to see this team come together and grow the beards one last time. But that team was so different. We had Jim Johnson, Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, DMac, and a whole slew of leadership to bring that team together and flourish with their backs up against the wall.

      I think we can win the NFC East if we win against the Giants in the season Finale. We typically do well in the division. We might have to win the division to get in with a mediocre record. There are a lot of nice records out there In the NFC North and West.

  • P_P_K

    Say something righteous and hopeful? How’s this: At the beginning of the year, I had the Eagles going 11-5 and I still believe this is possible. Looking at the upcoming schedule, and seeing the potential of this team, we could go 8-2 and win the Division, or at least enter the post-season as a strong Wild Card team. Positive enough, for ‘ya?

    • TommyLawlor

      Well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

    Center? – Jam Jax = Available
    QB? #5 = Available
    Big WR TO = Available

    it’s time to party like it’s Two Thousand and Four

    • Meh

      Yeah that’s a great idea. And then maybe we can hire Buddy Ryan to coach again! I hear Jaws is looking to return if we need a backup Qb…

  • Steag209

    The King is back at LT

  • Zachary Kaplan

    Tonight sure isn’t making me feel better about the Eagles. Wow the Detroit Lions are a bad football team. Their defense is playing well enough I guess, but that offense is putrid, and they put up a bunch of points agianst the Eagles in the 4th quarter.

    • GermanEagle

      There is a reason why Juan was gone.

    • Julescat

      Lions played exactly the same as they did against the eagles. Not much going on in the first half. They moved the ball a lot in the second half. Three fumbles and an interception killed their chances in that game. Chicago was able to put pressure on the QB late in the game.

  • GermanEagle

    I keep reading more and more about the Eagles about being a possible wildcard playoff team.

    I am pretty positive that only the winner of the NFC East will get into the playoffs when you look at the other divisions with teams like the Vikings, Bears, Packers, 49ers and Seahawks…!
    Which means the Eagles need to catch the Giants winning at least 10 games. Is that possible? Sure! Is that likely? We’ll see…the next two games will be crucial. If the Eagles win both games against the Falcons and a possible shootout at NO, then we will be in good shape. If not…

    • Ark87

      Cards are right there too, and they have the head to head on us. We’re in the driver’s seat right now. All we have to do is mirror whatever the Giants do for the next 9 games, then beat them in the finale for the sweep. We absolutely need to take care of business in the division games too, 5 of our next 10 are in the division, and the Eagles can single-handedly put down the Cowboy’s season as well as the upstart Redskins.

      I definitely think we can do this, the Giants aren’t a great regular season team, they have a knack for getting hot when it counts (Eli is kind of the polar opposite to Peyton in that regard). If this team doesn’t fall apart under the weight of the impending rebuild, we have a real shot at getting to the playoffs.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    I’m confused by the reasoning of a couple of statements:

    “Oddball would probably point out that the Eagles have played sloppy football, but are sitting at 3-3. If you eliminate the sloppiness, the team should start winning. This isn’t a question of are we good enough. This is a question of will we get the job done.”
    But it’s the sloppiness that one has come to associate with this team. That’s the driving point behind the pessimism. People aren’t pessimistic because all of the sudden a highly talented team is not playing well. People are pessimistic because the team is playing the same way it has been for the past half decade regardless of who the personnel is. Andy Reid teams since 2004 are characterized by highly erratic and disappointing play. They don’t run the ball, the Oline doesn’t perform, the defense lets them down…it’s a revolving door of excuses/reasons but the end result remains constant; mediocrity. Add to that the fact that Micheal Vick looks nothing like the QB that began his tenure in Philly because he/the team can’t handle the blitz.
    I actually don’t think it’s pessimism, simply a reaction to the reality the fans have witnessed. I don’t think most people expect them to flop down to a 5 or 6 win team, that would be pessimism. They just don’t expect them to contend for a title.
    “Think about the OL for a second. It is an average unit, at best. Playing backups at LT and C has caused a lot of problems. Still, the OL is good enough for the Eagles to be a playoff team. The offense averages 379 yards a game, good for 7th overall. Poor OL play has hurt the Eagles at times this year, but it didn’t cause Brent Celek to drop a TD last week. It didn’t cause Mike Vick to fumble at the goal line in Pittsburgh. It didn’t cause defensive breakdowns the last 2 weeks. The OL had nothing to do with David Wilson running free up the field for 35 yards on ever KO return.”
    All true, but a straw man argument, and I’d even take issue with assuming the Eagles are a playoff team. Right now they aren’t and they weren’t last year either. Poor Oline play doesn’t help Vick and the offense get into a rhythm. Mike Vick is a streaky QB that needs to get into a rhythm. So that fact that the Oline doesn’t cause a variety of problems with the team doesn’t mask the fact that it is one of 2 major problems with the offense being 30th in the NFL in scoring; the other being the turnover prone QB.
    Yards are almost an irrelevant statistic. Points per possession is the real metric for judging an offense and this offense is terrible in that regard. Hence why they are 3-3 despite have a defense that has been outstanding in points allowed per possession. Mike Vick is rarely comfortable in the pocket and that stems directly from his below average offensive line.