In my earlier post, Taking Stock, I talked about how 2013 is a can’t lose year for the Eagles. If the team wins, we get to enjoy the season. If the team struggles, it lands you a higher draft pick, which would be a big help in fixing a team that needs talent.
I used the phrase “relax and enjoy the ride”. Some of you took that the wrong way and think I’m nuts.
I’m not saying you don’t get fired up during games. Or even after them.
Some perspective on this. People who have talked to me on Sundays generally knew to not call during a game that was anywhere close. I was too high strung during them and the conversations rarely went well. Even with the Eagles winning, I didn’t want to talk about it. Now if the game was a complete blowout, that was okay.
After wins, talking was fine. After losses, not so much. To say I was emotionally invested in the Eagles is putting it mildly. Losses would eat at me for days. Talking to me 2 hours after a loss would not be a pleasant experience.
A big part of that is because it meant so much to me to see Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, Tra, Runyan, Trot and the gang go win a title. I wanted them to get their reward. Every loss made that goal either less likely or that much more difficult. Each year I had high expectations for the Eagles. Go win the title or at least compete for it.
I’m in a whole new world now.
We’re at the beginning of the Chip Kelly era. My expectations are lowered, for this year. You know how women have the internal clock when it comes to having a baby? My football version of that got re-set to zero when Kelly was hired.
During games I’m still a mess. I was becoming furious with Donnie Avery and his 3rd down catches. You can bet I was screaming at the TV. I gave Mychal Kendricks repeated lectures on tackling. I ripped Patrick Chung quite a few times for his poor performance. I was yelling at Vick when he made mistakes. I was mystified at Jason Peters struggles…too confused to yell at him. Todd Herremans has gotten several speeches from me. And Damaris Johnson made me irate with that fumble.
90 seconds after the game, this all went away.
Several years ago I would have stewed with anger for hours. That loss would have really eaten at me.
In the future, that will likely happen again.
For now, I’m okay with it. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the Eagles or accepting losing. The point is how you manage your expectations and emotions. Back in 1998 the Eagles went 3-13. I made people around me miserable through my misery. That was a bad team. There was no reason to live and die with each game.
I can see the 2013 Eagles aren’t good enough. I’m not going to live and die with each game and drive myself and those around me nuts. During the game, I’ll be a roller coaster of emotions. But once the clock hits zero, I am doing my best to let it go. If we get shredded by Dallas, I’m sure my rage will last a bit. Tony Romo’s grin has a way of bringing out the worst in me.
If you want to go nuts with this team 24/7, go for it. I can see this team is too flawed for me to be like that. I’ll go crazy for 3 hours each week, but then I’ll do my best to let it go when the game is over.
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Some of you want me to rip on Chip Kelly for the team making the same mistakes as 2011 and 2012.
I see where you’re coming from, but there is some flawed thinking going on. Michael Vick didn’t have a real turnover in the first 2 games. He played clean football. There was an odd fumble that went out of bounds and another play that was erroneously ruled a fumble. The turnover machine of the past 2 years didn’t show up in those games.
He did last night. Kelly had Vick playing better for 2 weeks. We need to see how Vick and Kelly respond to that game. If Vick goes right back to turning the ball over a lot, we’ll talk about that.
It is also possible Kelly will clean some things up and Vick won’t turn the ball over. The KC game would then be an anomaly.
Rather than try to predict the future, let’s let it happen and then discuss it.
The muffed punt by Damaris Johnson was huge last night and is huge for him. If that happens again, he could lose his job. I don’t know how the coaches feel about him exactly, but guys at the bottom of the roster cannot afford critical mistakes. Johnson didn’t panic last night and responded fairly well. That’s a good sign.
One thing you must keep in mind is that Chip Kelly has said quite a few times that he doesn’t want guys playing scared. He wants them to take chances and be aggressive. He will live with some mistakes. The cut-off line for those mistakes is different for each player and position. No one has really lost a job yet, but you can bet that will happen. We’ll start to figure out Kelly’s breaking point for those mistakes.
There is a fine line between being patient and not holding players accountable. I think Andy Reid crossed that line in recent years and it hurt the team. We’ll see how Chip does. I do think he’s gotten the attention of the players. DeSean Jackson was demoted in the spring and responded well. Mike Vick actually had to earn the QB job. Nate Allen is being pushed by a 5th round rookie.
Just today Kelly said he’s not used Ertz and Casey more because of the way Brent Celek and Jason Avant have stepped up in practice and in games. He’s rewarding them by keeping them on the field. Both Celek and Avant were likely to lose playing time due to the new scheme and roster moves, but both players responded the right way and have kept their roles.
There is plenty for Kelly and his coaching staff to complain about after an ugly loss. The coaches need to get things fixed. If the problems continue, then we will all be ripping on Kelly and the staff.
It isn’t fair to hold them accountable for the past. They are accountable for this year and that’s not very impressive based on the last 2 weeks. Let’s hope they can take advantage of the extra time between games and get some issues taken care of.