The season is not over!!!
Before you get too riled up and start to call me delusional, I mean that literally. The season isn’t over. The Eagles still have 6 games to play. So let’s talk about those 6 games.
If’ I’m Andy Reid, I tell the team that our record isn’t 3-7. It is 0-0. Let’s just go play each week. Forget about the season. Forget about the standings. Just go play football. This is the National Football League. Pro football. Act like a professional. Take pride in yourself and your team.
Those of us on the outside want Reid to put in the young guys. Play Foles and the other young players so we can get them reps and get an idea who is worth keeping and who isn’t. Reid won’t have that same mentality. Nor should he. Reid wants to win games. That’s how he’s coached since Day One in Philly.
The minute he says this is all about 2013, some veterans are going to check out mentally and emotionally. I know some of you think that has already happened. These players still play hard. They still care. Right now I get the feeling that they’re just frustrated.
On Sunday I was fired up for the beginning of the game. I was yelling at the TV as passionately as ever. By the 4th quarter, I was quiet. That doesn’t mean I didn’t care about the Eagles. Clearly I’m still the same lunatic. A level of frustration and disappointment sets in and it does drain your energy and emotion. I think the players are like that. They’ll be fine when the Carolina game starts, but if the Eagles get down, they’ll start to think “here we go again” and that will affect their play.
I do agree that some veterans need to sit. Darryl Tapp would hit the bench. He hustles, but that’s it. Give those snaps to Phillip Hunt or Vinny Curry (Geoff Mosher says he’ll be active on MNF). Damaris Johnson is playing with Jason Avant out. That’s a good thing. Riley Cooper is getting more snaps. That’s also good. We’re already playing young OL so no need for changes up there. I’d love to see Curtis Marsh get on the field more. I would mix in Casey Matthews at WLB. Let’s see how much progress he’s made. Is he worth keeping around? Mix David Sims in at Safety. He was up and down vs the Saints, but showed some potential in the 2nd half.
There is a fine line between getting young players reps and just throwing them on the field. You need the reps to be positive. You don’t want young players developing bad habits. You want them to be mixed in with veterans so they can learn. That means you need the veterans to still give a damn…to play hard and do the right thing. That’s why you have to be careful about who you sit and how you sit them. Just because fans and the media are ready for a veteran to sit, doesn’t mean his teammates will be thrilled. Sit too many popular guys and you can start to create friction in the locker room and on the field.
The Eagles are generally high character players so I don’t anticipate anything too crazy, but you never know. We’ve never seen them deal with a 6-game losing streak. Andy’s words and actions normally work. They aren’t this year. How will players react?
I don’t care what the Eagles final record is. I just want something good to come of the final 6 weeks. Let’s find out which young guys can play. Let’s see which veterans show us something. Jason Babin played his best since the season opener on Sunday. If he picks his game up, maybe Babin sticks around. Is Mike Patterson worth keeping? Will the light going on for Phillip Hunt at all? Dallas Reynolds has shown some improvement. Could be be worth having as a backup? Is Jamar Chaney still alive?
While I don’t care about the Eagles record, it would be nice to see the team play one really good game. I would prefer it against Washington or Dallas, but at this point…beggars can’t be choosers. Just give me 3 hours on a Sunday or Monday when I can sit back and enjoy the 2012 Eagles in a big win. Seems reasonable enough, right?
Ideally we’ll play Foles in more games, if not the rest of the way. We do need to get a feel for whether he is the QB of the future or if he’s worth gambling on in 2013. Sunday wasn’t pretty, but that’s okay. The more he plays, the more we’ll find out…good or bad. I like Nick and hope he’s the answer, but finding out he can’t play would be just as important as finding out he can. Not knowing is the outcome we don’t want.
The 2005 season fell apart on Reid and his team. We did get a look at some young players and veterans back then. We saw Trent Cole could play. We found out Greg Lewis was a solid backup but had no business starting. We found out Ryan Moats was very talented, but wasn’t a functional part of the pass game, as a blocker or receiver. We found out Jamaal Jackson could play. The Mike McMahon experiment was a disaster. Fringe LBs like Mark Simoneau and Keith Adams showed that they had to be replaced. Matt Ware failed to show much in the way of progress. That was his final season as an Eagle.
Not all the answers we’re going to get are going to be positive. That’s okay. Again, the key thing is to find out who’s worth keeping and who isn’t. That’s about the best we can realistically hope for in the final 6 games of this horrible season.
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NFL Gimpy posted a new MAQB column. He’s got some good thoughts on young and veteran QBs in there. Gimp also has some good nuggets on hot receivers for the Jaguars and the ice cold kicker in GB.
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Jimmy Bama and I recorded a podcast that started out as a review of the WAS game. Then we started to talk about 1998 and I went on an Irving Fryar rant for 10 mins. He was so good in ’96 and ’97. We covered all kinds of things. Should be a fun, interesting show…beyond the initial depression over Sunday’s performance.