Getting Close

Posted: September 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 93 Comments »

We’re less than 24 hours from kickoff. Anyone excited?

The night before the opener I normally dream about the game. It is often a nightmare where the game is on and for some reason I am not able to see it. As you might imagine, that would be pure torture for me. The last time I missed an entire football game was the 1994 season finale against the Bengals. It was on a Christmas weekend and the family demanded I be there for lunch. They saw my misery that day and have never come close to asking for that again. I’m pretty sure they know what the answer would be anyway.

The big news of the day is that Jags WR Cecil Shorts will miss the game. That means the top 3 WRs will be rookies Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. That doesn’t bode well for the Jags, but those are some talented receivers. You just wonder if one of them will make a mental mistake that will lead to a big problem. Maybe the rookie doesn’t run his route precisely. Maybe the rookie fails to make a blitz adjustment. Maybe he misses an audible. Rookies have to adjust to the physical challenges of the NFL, but the mental side of the game is probably the most overwhelming part.

* * * * *

I watched NFL Matchup this morning. Merrill Hoge focused on the playoff loss to the Saints and how that gave defenses a blueprint on how to shut down the Eagles.

That was some fast food analysis.

The Saints did shut the Eagles down for part of the game, but the Eagles eventually got on track and the offense left the field with the lead. Give the Saints a ton of credit for how well they played, but let’s not act like the game was a shutout where the Eagles got completely dominated. I’ve watched those games before. The 2000 playoff loss to the Giants. The 2003 playoff loss to the Panthers. The 1992 and 1995 playoff losses to Dallas. Those were games where the offense was held to a single TD or less. It looked like the Eagles were a level below the competition.

The loss to the Saints felt more like a case of coming up short in a big moment. Guys made mistakes they normally didn’t. Riley Cooper had a terrible drop. Evan Mathis missed a blitzer. Nick Foles made poor decisions. The Saints were responsible for some of this, but I also think the pressure of the playoffs got to the Eagles early on.

Time will tell if defenses have solved Kelly and the Eagles offense. My guess is “no”. One of Kelly’s strengths in college was making adjustments. I think that will continue in the NFL.

* * * * *

Many of you like to ask about Brandon Boykin and what kind of a future he’s got in Philly. Geoff Mosher talked to Boykin and got some interesting answers.

Would Boykin be tempted to spurn a generous Eagles offer next spring for the promise of more cash and the chance to play outside when his contract expires in 2015?

It’s a fair question — for seven months down the road. Boykin gets the question daily. His answers remain consistent. He doesn’t look ahead, doesn’t count hundreds in his head at night, doesn’t seek to add distractions.

“That happened to me during the draft,” he said. “You start talking about what could happen or what should happen, and then I broke my leg and all that [stuff] changed. So that taught me not to look ahead to anything.

“Then I get to the league and just knowing how the league is, you’ve got to prepare literally one day at a time. Any day everything could change, so anybody that looks ahead like that, it’s not good for you. It really isn’t.”

Smart answer. Don’t worry about that situation until it comes up. Just go play the best you can for now. All I can say is if the Eagles feel that Boykin is truly that good, they’ll eventually get him on the field as a starter. The one word of caution is that just because you are really good in the slot doesn’t mean you’ll be that good outside. Would you have ever wanted Joselio Hanson outside? No way. Boykin is better than Hanson, but I’m not sure that he’s meant to be a starter on the outside.

I also enjoyed this note.

“I consider myself a playmaker. I wouldn’t say that I’m the best, but there is so much that has to happen on the defense for me to get interceptions or pass breakups,” he said. “On the defensive line, Fletcher Cox probably caused like four of my picks last year.

That’s 4 plays where Cox didn’t get a sack, but did create a turnover. Impressive. Some fans think Cox didn’t play well last year. He did lead the team in QB pressures and had more of an impact than many realize.

* * * * *

Here is a great piece by Jeff McLane on the Eagles work schedule during the week. Great info, if you like knowing the nuts and bolts of the NFL world.

* * * * *

One final reminder about the Eagles Almanac. If you need something to read tonight or tomorrow morning to get you up to speed on the Eagles, this is it.

I’ve gotten permission to post one of my pieces. I wrote about the similarities and differences of the 1995 and 2013 Eagles.  For your viewing pleasure…   

A Tale of Two Coaches 

The Eagles were coming off consecutive non-winning seasons. The franchise quarterback wasn’t playing like a franchise quarterback. Team morale was down and there was too much in-fighting. It was clear that change was needed. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fired his coach and then looked far and wide to find the right replacement. 

The year was 1995, but you easily might have guessed 2013 because the description was so similar. Not only were the situations alike in regard to the circumstances, they also produced similar results. Both teams went 10-6. Both hosted a home playoff game. New coaches Ray Rhodes and Chip Kelly brought a breath of fresh air to Philadelphia that energized the franchise. While the results were similar, the teams were very different, in large part due to the men who ran them. 

Ray Rhodes came from the football hotbed of Texas. Kids are taught at a young age that football is everything. Forget about having fun and learning teamwork. Just win, baby (to steal a phrase from the late Al Davis). Football is competitive at the Pop Warner level. By the time kids are in high school, things are often over the top. Rhodes spent two years at TCU and then two more at Tulsa before he was a 10th round pick of the New York Giants. Rhodes may have left Texas, but the lessons he learned didn’t go away. He spent three seasons as a wide receiver and then moved to defensive back to extend his career. He would do anything to keep playing and anything to help his team win. 

In his final season, Rhodes played for San Francisco. Head coach Bill Walsh was impressed by Rhodes and asked him to be an assistant coach for the team in 1981. Rhodes spent a decade coaching for the Niners before spending three seasons in Green Bay. Rhodes returned to San Francisco in 1994 and was the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Niners. That made him a hot commodity in January of 1995. Lurie looked at some other candidates initially, but eventually hired Rhodes to come coach the Eagles. 

Rhodes brought his Texas intensity and the Niners systematic approach to an Eagles team in desperate need of leadership and direction. He hired whiz kid Jon Gruden, who was five months younger than star quarterback Randall Cunningham, to run the West Coast Offense. Rhodes and veteran coach Emmitt Thomas ran the defense together. Rich Kotite’s offense and Buddy Ryan’s defense became distant memories. Rhodes wanted to create the East Coast version of the Niners. 

Walsh built the Niners over the course of several years. Rhodes didn’t have that kind of patience. He wanted to win now, or maybe even sooner. This meant that Rhodes loaded up on veteran players and looked for talent in some unusual places. The big splash was the Eagles signing of running back Ricky Watters. The team hadn’t had a true workhorse running back in years. Watters, not always beloved by his teammates due to a me-first personality, was a major talent who could make plays as a runner and receiver. He was perfect for Gruden’s offense. The Eagles acquired Kevin Turner to play the Tom Rathman role, part lead-blocker and part pass-catcher. Those were conventional moves that made a lot of sense. 

Things were more interesting on defense. The Eagles moved up from the 12th pick to the number seven slot so they could take Mike Mamula, the speedy edge rusher from Boston College. Rhodes knew Mamula would be his Charles Haley. The Eagles used a second round pick on cornerback Bobby Taylor, who had the size and physicality to handle Michael Irvin, the best receiver in the NFC East. 

Then Rhodes got creative. He signed defensive end Daniel Stubbs to add depth to the line. Stubbs had played for Rhodes in San Francisco for a couple of years, but spent the 1994 season at home. No team wanted him. Rhodes decided to give his former player another chance. Rhodes then signed Kevin Johnson and Ronnie Dixon to provide depth to the defensive tackle spot. Dixon was driving a concrete truck in North Carolina. Johnson was working at his parents liquor store in California. 

Rhodes wasn’t done. He signed veteran Kurt Gouviea to be his middle linebacker. David Whitmore and Barry Wilburn were added to provide depth in the secondary. It wasn’t all about the defense. The Eagles added veteran help for the offense as well. Tight end Ed West, quarterback Rodney Peete, guard Guy McIntyre, center Raleigh McKenzie and even receiver Art Monk were all free agent signings with a lot of experience. 

Rhodes had his players, his coaches and his plan all in place as the Eagles prepared to host Tampa Bay on 1995’s opening day. That’s when things fell apart. Cunningham struggled mightily in the new offense. Watters alligator-armed a couple of passes over the middle and responded to criticism after the game with his infamous “For who, for what?” comments. The Eagles lost 21-6. They didn’t have the efficiency that Rhodes was used to seeing from the Niners and the Eagles sure didn’t play with much passion or intensity. 

The team bounced back with a win the following week, but only after benching Cunningham in favor of Peete. Cunningham started the next two games, both losses, and the Eagles fell to 1-3. That’s when Rhodes decided enough was enough. He benched Cunningham, who was simply unwilling to adjust to the new offense. Peete was nowhere near as talented, but he was a better leader and brought intangibles to an offense that needed them. Taylor was put in the starting lineup to give the secondary a boost. 

The Eagles beat the Saints and went on a 9-3 run. The team won games in a variety of ways. They won shootouts as well as defensive struggles. The Eagles beat the Saints without scoring a touchdown. There was only one blowout, a 31-13 defeat of the Broncos on Sunday night football. The Eagles played with a toughness that made Rhodes proud. They didn’t always play the prettiest football, but they found ways to win. 

The signature victory of the 1995 season was a December showdown with Dallas at Veterans Stadium. The Cowboys dominated the first half and led 17-6. The Eagles shut down Emmitt Smith after halftime, holding him to just 10 yards. Watters got hot, scoring the only touchdown of the second half, and finished the game with 112 yards on the ground. 

Dallas coach Barry Switzer helped make the game famous with a couple of strange decisions. The game was tied at 17 in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys faced fourth-and-one at their own 29-yard line. Shockingly, Switzer decided to go for it. The Eagles stuffed the play and The Vet exploded in celebration. But that was short-lived. The officials had actually blown the whistle to signal the two-minute warning. Switzer being Switzer, he decided to go for it again. And he ran Smith to the same spot. The result was the same, with the Eagles stuffing Smith and giving the ball to the offense in great position. Gary Anderson kicked the game-winning field goal a few moments later. 

Rhodes made the game famous by the speech he gave on Saturday night to his players. He challenged them to play as if someone had broken into their house and was about to do bad things to their family. To this day, players still talk about that speech and how fired up it got them. It obviously didn’t work in the first half, but Rhodes got into his players at halftime and they dominated the second half. Emotion and effort beat out talent on that cold day in Philly. 

The 1995 Eagles finished second in the NFC East. They got to host the Lions in a crazy wild card game at The Vet. The Eagles won that 58-37 in one of the wildest playoff games you’ll ever see. At the time, it set the NFL record for combined points in a postseason game. The next week the Eagles went to Dallas, where the season ended in a crushing 30-11 defeat. Rhodes team overachieved, but emotion and grit only got them so far. 

Chip Kelly grew up in New Hampshire, not exactly a football hotbed. Football was not a life or death sport up there. Kelly went to the University of New Hampshire, but there was no NFL draft for him. He immediately went into coaching. Rhodes first coaching job was to work with Ronnie Lott and Dwight Hicks, who both made the Pro Bowl that year (1981). Kelly’s first coaching job was running the offense at his old high school. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. 

Kelly eventually made it to the “big time” when he got a job coaching at Columbia in 1990. At least Columbia seemed like the big time to a guy who was coaching high school football in New Hampshire. Kelly then got a job at his alma mater, New Hampshire. He moved on to Johns Hopkins and then went back to New Hampshire, where he finally settled down. While bouncing from small school to small school doesn’t sound like much fun, it laid a great foundation for Kelly. He coached offense and defense. He worked with skill players and linemen. Kelly developed a complete knowledge of how to coach. He also had the challenge of trying to work with lesser talent. Kelly wasn’t coaching great athletes or players who could do special things. Working with average talent helped Kelly to appreciate players that were smart and coachable. 

As Kelly moved up the coaching ladder, from running backs to offensive line to eventually offensive coordinator, he looked for new ideas on how to do things. Kelly was open-minded and looked all over for ways to improve his coaching or his team’s performance. He went to coaching clinics. He visited other college coaches. He also went to NFL teams to learn from them. Over time, Kelly developed the offense that fans see today. 

Kelly was hired by Oregon in 2007 to be their offensive coordinator. This was his first chance to work with top flight talent and the results were impressive. Kelly had quarterback Dennis Dixon looking like a Heisman candidate before a November ACL injury derailed Dixon’s season. Kelly was promoted to head coach in 2009 and the Ducks have been a national power ever since. Oregon was a good program prior to his arrival, but Kelly took the school to the next level. Heisman candidates and national title talk are regular parts of the Oregon football discussion. 

Lurie hired Kelly away from Oregon following the 2012 season. The Andy Reid era had come to a screeching hault in the form of a disastrous 4-12 season. Change was needed. Big change. Lurie did not want a Reid disciple to take over. He was looking for a visionary coach who would rebuild the program and get the Eagles back into title contention. Chip Kelly was at the top of the Eagles list.

Kelly initially spurned the Eagles offer, but changed his mind and took the job. He brought a lot of change to Philadelphia. The West Coast Offense and 4-3 defense were shelved for Kelly’s no-huddle spread attack and the 3-4 defense. There was plenty of turnover with the roster and staff. But Kelly didn’t stop with the obvious changes. He ended the practice of having Training Camp at Lehigh University, instead having the Eagles stay home and practice at the NovaCare Complex. Kelly shook up the practice schedule. Most NFL players get Tuesday off. Kelly gave them Monday off and made Tuesday a practice day. He turned the normal Saturday light walk-through into more of an intense run-through. 

Football practices changed in a huge way. Kelly doesn’t believe in teaching while on the field. He wants to run rep after rep. Everything is taped so that the coaches can then go correct the players in film sessions. Kelly also practices faster than any other NFL coach and most, if not all, college coaches. If the team is going to play at a fast pace, it has to practice the same way. And all the while, music blares. Kelly wants practice to have a certain vibe. It isn’t meant to be fun, but it also isn’t supposed to have the same atmosphere as the film sessions. Football is best when there is some energy and emotion involved. This is true in practice and games. 

Players embraced Kelly’s ideas, no matter how odd they may have seemed. This was true of veterans and young players. Kelly did a great job of explaining why he did things rather than just imposing his ideas. Kelly was part teacher and part salesman. The situation was also aided by the fact that there was a solid core of players in place and they were hungry to get back to winning. The nightmare 2012 season proved to be a great motivator for the returning players. 

Despite all the positive vibes, the 2013 Eagles got off to a 1-3 start, just like the 1995 team. The 2013 Eagles then went 9-3 down the stretch, just like the 1995 team. Part of the reason for the winning was a quarterback change, just like the 1995 team. But that is where the similarities basically stop. While the 1995 team won with terrific defense, timely offense and gritty veteran players, the 2013 team set a franchise record for points scored. They won six games by double-digits and had big leads in several other games. Young players were one of the key reasons for success. 

25-year old LeSean McCoy won the NFL rushing title. Brandon Boykin became one of the best nickel corners in the NFL and was second in the league with six interceptions. Cedric Thornton emerged as a terrific run defender.Riley Cooper went from role player to effective starter. Mychal Kendricks played well down the stretch in 2013. Rookie Lane Johnson played at a high level in the second half of the season. 

The biggest advantage for Kelly was at quarterback, where Nick Foles had an incredible season, throwing 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. To put those numbers into context, after two years of the Rhodes era, Eagles quarterbacks had a total of 30 touchdown passes. Foles had 27 in less than a full season as the starter. If you don’t have a quarterback, you won’t win big and you won’t sustain success. 

Sustainability could prove to be the biggest difference in the teams. Rhodes was the Coach of the Year in 1995 for the way he got everything he could from his players. The problem is that he didn’t develop long term solutions. Rhodes ability to motivate veteran players with fiery speeches worked well in the short term, but emotion doesn’t last. It is a band aid, not the foundation for a successful organization. Rhodes lacked the patience and vision to make long term plans. 

Kelly is quite the opposite. There is a specific reason behind everything he does. Logic trumps emotion. And Kelly is able to balance living in the moment with planning for the future. He is able to come up with long term plans and patient enough to let them play out. At the same time, Kelly isn’t afraid to mix in veteran players. There were a couple of midseason moves that showed his versatility. Kelly traded veteran Isaac Sopoaga so that rookie Bennie Logan could be the starting nose tackle and get experience. Kelly also added 29-year old receiver Brad Smith to help on offense and special teams. Veteran players can be important assets, but football is a young man’s game and youth is needed to sustain success. 

The 1995 Eagles had a magical season, but it felt like just that…a season. The 2013 team felt more like Step One of something that could turn out to be pretty special.


93 Comments on “Getting Close”

  1. 1 nopain23 said at 7:57 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Did anyone pay attention to HA-Ha against the packers? I know a lot of iggles fans wanted us to draft him but all i saw was a guy missing a lot of tackles. typical overhyped Alabama DB. we get a lot of flack foe drafting smith but i’m looking forward to seeing how many of these 1 RD picks come out like gangbusters this weekned. maybe after this weekend we’ll all realize that all rookies need to to mature…this ain’t college after all

  2. 2 Media Mike said at 8:03 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Well Ha Ha was gone before we picked, so our obsessions will have to focus on guys from #22 down through where Smith might have been picked in the end of the 2nd!

  3. 3 Buge Halls said at 10:02 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    most reports say he would likely have been top of the second round – many of the talking heads say he would have been the first pick of the 2nd.

  4. 4 Media Mike said at 6:04 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I think you’re most likely correct, but if we’re all going to arm chair GM I want to pretend that where I was able to draft him on the first-pick web site’s mock drafts at the end of the 2nd / top of the 3rd was where he would have gone!

    I was happy we got a guy who I liked and a lot of other folks thought would project well as an NFL player. It’s just so much fun to play “what if” with our drafts. Like what if the Bears didn’t take Alshon Jeffrey one pick in front of us and we got Jeffrey and Kendricks in the 2nd round of 2012.

  5. 5 mksp said at 8:06 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    It was his 1st game….of his rookie season……..

    I’ll bet he turns out to be a pretty good player.

  6. 6 Maggie said at 12:07 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    With linebackers having to be a little bit defensive tackle and a little bit safety, it’s got to take awhile to get comfortable with the position. Any LB position. Basically the QB of the defense.

  7. 7 SteveH said at 10:04 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    He also dropped a sure interception. hit him right in the mitts and dribbled to the ground.

  8. 8 Insomniac said at 12:28 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I’m kind of sure Cooks was who Chip wanted but the Saints took him.

  9. 9 McNabbulousness said at 8:06 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    a little off topic but if anyone wants to know why i hate nike turn on the michigan state/oregon game.

    a little on topic: the new collars on the eagles unis suck

  10. 10 mksp said at 8:07 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Love those Oregon unis. Can’t wait for the Eagles uniforms to get redesigned.

  11. 11 McNabbulousness said at 8:09 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    i hate you so much mksp

  12. 12 mksp said at 8:41 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    That seems harsh.

  13. 13 McNabbulousness said at 11:08 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    sorry mksp, i didn’t mean it…

    i just vehemently disagree with your position.

  14. 14 Media Mike said at 8:12 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Kelly Green. Eagles. Buddy Ryan. Reggie White. Kelly Green. Cheese steaks.

  15. 15 McNabbulousness said at 8:13 PM on September 6th, 2014:


  16. 16 JettMartinez said at 8:22 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Buddy Ryan was a great d-coordinator but over matched as a head-coach. Kelly green is dated and ugly. However Reggie White and Cheesesteaks are still the greatest.

  17. 17 McNabbulousness said at 8:24 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    I don’t think the kelly greens are dated or ugly but i do prefer the midnight greens. ditto on reggie and cheese steaks

  18. 18 Media Mike said at 8:24 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    I think you may have missed my joke hoss. I was channeling a bit of the Super Fans from SNL.

  19. 19 JettMartinez said at 8:33 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Indeed I did. Not enough beer in me yet.

  20. 20 Media Mike said at 8:34 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    That’ll happen!

  21. 21 jshort said at 10:16 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    If you remove the R from Reggie…..Eggie White would be a pretty cool name

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 6:08 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Sounds like a kid who got jumped for his lunch money.

  23. 23 Corry said at 8:34 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    I’m excited for the season to start, but I’m pretty annoyed the NFL put the Steelers, Ravens, and Eagles all on CBS at 1 and the Steelers and Ravens are the 2 games on in my area. So annoying…

  24. 24 Media Mike said at 8:34 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    You’d think Bengals / Ravens would be a 4 PM game.

  25. 25 McNabbulousness said at 8:40 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    im in the same boat, have to watch a shitty stream online

  26. 26 Buge Halls said at 10:04 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    stream them on just have an adblocker installed!

  27. 27 McNabbulousness said at 11:20 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    thats what i do! small world

  28. 28 McNabbulousness said at 11:23 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    oh and my i recommend ABE (adblock edge) for your viewing experience.

    don’t worry tommy, i’ve got my ABE as well as my Disconnect disabled for this site.

  29. 29 jshort said at 10:09 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    if you have directv NFL package is giving free promotional week 1…channel 713

  30. 30 jshort said at 10:10 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    have the same problem as you.

  31. 31 Anders said at 10:30 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Reason no. 1 why I do not understand why I have better rights to watch NFL games than foreigners.

  32. 32 mksp said at 8:34 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    There will be a lot of interesting contract situations next offseason, particularly with some of the defensive guys that may not be playing in their perfect scheme.

    Fletcher Cox you’d think gets an extension, but maybe he’d prefer to play out his final year and then try to find a 4-3 team?

    Brandon Boykin was discussed above. Slot CB $ vs. Outside CB $ is materially different.

    Vinny Curry probably plays out his final year. Maybe a trade candidate if he produces this year.

    Brandon Graham will be gone.

    Jeremy Maclin and Nate Allen both playing on one-year contracts.

    What happens to Trent Cole? Demeco Ryans? Probably depends a lot on this year.

    Nick Foles is the easy one, depending on how well he plays this year.

    Howie is really gonna have to earn his money next offseason.

  33. 33 McNabbulousness said at 9:02 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    i’m glad it’s howie charged with making these decisions rather than say jerry jones or dan snyder

  34. 34 mksp said at 9:08 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Truth. Nice to have adults running things.

  35. 35 Media Mike said at 9:13 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    The beauty of any of those contracts that they’ll be able to front load all of them due to the great level of money cleared out with some strategic cuts going into 2015.

  36. 36 mksp said at 9:18 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Yeah, the tricky part is going to be gauging those guys’ worth to the Eagles versus the market.

    Cox, Boykin may be worth more to another team than they are to the Eagles.

    Kendricks probably gets signed long term next season as well.

    2012 draft was incredible.

  37. 37 Media Mike said at 6:11 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Then you have to let the guys walk sadly. Cox might leave just to play in a 4-3 where he can pump his stats and get some greater level of notoriety while Boykin might not be satisfied playing 3rd corner.

  38. 38 Anders said at 9:35 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    You can give Boyking, Verner money, that makes him highest paid slot CB and its in line with starting outside CBs.

  39. 39 mksp said at 9:44 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Problem is $ allocation – we also have to pay two outside CBs. I think hope is Carroll takes over for Cary or Fletch next season.

  40. 40 Anders said at 9:54 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Cosnider none of CBs cost what Sherman or Peterson costs, paying more for Boykin is not a problem.

  41. 41 ACViking said at 9:05 PM on September 6th, 2014:


    the 1994 season-ending Bengals game you missed was maybe the best metaphor for the Kotite era. The Eagles are leading the entire game, and late in the fourth quarter they have Cincinnati pinned inside their own 20 on fourth and 16. Somehow Jeff Blake gets outside of contain and scrambles for 17 yards and a first down. Blake takes the Bengals downfield for a game-tying touchdown with 10 seconds or so left in the game. Looks like overtime, right? Bengals kick off with a line drive that bounces a couple times right to back up fullback, from Penn state, Brian O’Neill. O’Neil goes down on one knee, lets the ball play him; he fumbles, the Bengals recover, and with three seconds left The Bengals kick the winning field goal.

    And the kotite-era is over. Unbelievable.

  42. 42 Media Mike said at 9:07 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Well, at least it got Kotite out of here.

  43. 43 ACViking said at 9:24 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    The Birds started the season 7-2. Lost the last 7.

    Kotite was gone before the opening kick.

    A day or so after his firing, kotite’s hired by the Jets elderly owner Leon Hess, who tells the press he wants to win before he dies.

    The NY Post runs a photo of Hess and Kotite under the headline, “Dumb and Dumber.”

    Kotite wins 4 games in two seasons with the Jets.

    And the Kotite era was over again.

  44. 44 mksp said at 9:27 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Impossible to think of a less inspiring head football coach.

  45. 45 FairOaks said at 2:01 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    When Norman Braman fired Buddy, he decided to pick between his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator as his next head coach. Offensive coordinator, Rich Kotite. Defensive coordinator, Jeff Fisher. Sigh. (Kelly green uniforms still remind me of Braman to a point, so I’m in no hurry to switch back…)

  46. 46 Media Mike said at 6:18 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Braman was a complete and total robber baron of an owner. If it makes you feel any better he lost huge somes of money in Madoff’s nonsense.

  47. 47 FairOaks said at 9:28 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    I believe Hess fired Pete Carroll so he could hire Kotite…

  48. 48 Media Mike said at 6:13 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I might say Kotite got himself fired once they started 7-2 and he made ridiculous demands for a contract extension……………..right before getting waffled by Cleveland starting the 7 game losing streak.

  49. 49 mksp said at 9:19 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Oregon D is so sexy. Long, lean, athletic, nasty.

    I hope Chip’s “Oregon Bias” carries into the 2015 draft. Wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of these guys in Philly next year.

  50. 50 Anders said at 9:46 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Its what Kelly want here. Armstead and Ifo would look great in Midnight green

  51. 51 Insomniac said at 12:39 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I wonder if Ifo is really 5’10. His combine is what will make him draftable for us.

  52. 52 D3FB said at 7:02 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    5’9 and 1/4″. I would be shocked if he’s a target.

  53. 53 Media Mike said at 7:21 AM on September 7th, 2014:


  54. 54 Anders said at 10:06 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Well Ifo will be gone before we even draft anyway.

  55. 55 GEAGLE said at 10:20 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Use Ifo to judge how clueless the media is. any media member who mocks him to us, is a fool you shouldn’t be paying attention to…. 80% of the fools will mock him to us.. Guarantee he won’t be drafted by us…. As in, even if he fell to us, we would pass

  56. 56 SteveH said at 10:04 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    Twas the night before Christmas… We’re gonna pound the Jags, should be fun to watch.

  57. 57 P_P_K said at 10:18 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Yea, this should be a fun way to start the season.

  58. 58 McNabbulousness said at 10:25 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    “That was some fast food analysis.”

    I think you can make the case that almost all espn programing is fast food analysis.

  59. 59 P_P_K said at 10:18 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    That’s an insult to fast food.

  60. 60 Sean Stott said at 11:21 PM on September 6th, 2014:

    This will be a bloodbath. No two ways about it.

    CK wants to go up 20+ points in first half and let some role players like BG, Curry, B. Allen, and Wolff show what they got. No better chance for that than against real competition.

  61. 61 Media Mike said at 6:55 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    What’s really funny is the type of game you’re describing is “par” for our expectation in playing a team like the Jags.

  62. 62 Flyin said at 11:41 PM on September 6th, 2014:


    Thank you for all your time educating us fans with your research, opinions and analysis regarding the Eagles!

    Coolers will be be filled with PBR if you ever venture down.

    To a great season… beers!

  63. 63 wee2424 said at 2:27 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Hey guys, if you were the Eagles D how would you play the Jaguars on most downs to start the game. Since Shorts is out and Henne tends to go for short passes, maybe play Allen up top with Jenkins patrolling middle or close to line. Maybe have Jenkins on Mercedes, with some A gap blitzing From Kendricks. Play alot of man on the rookie WR’s. Your thoughts?

  64. 64 NinjaP said at 3:25 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    You press rookie receivers on every down.

  65. 65 Media Mike said at 6:54 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    As if they’re planning on being 70:30 run to pass.

  66. 66 GEAGLE said at 11:15 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Jenkins is going to be on Dennard Robinson who is their version of Sproles…. Barwin will be on Mercedez

  67. 67 Media Mike said at 7:20 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    “The team bounced back with a win the following week, but only after benching Cunningham in favor of Peete. Cunningham started the next two games, both losses, and the Eagles fell to 1-3. That’s when Rhodes decided enough was enough. He benched Cunningham, who was simply unwilling to adjust to the new offense. Peete was nowhere near as talented, but he was a better leader and brought intangibles to an offense that needed them.”

    Different Gruden, different, team, different year, slower time table due to different owner; but this will play out in DC with RGKnee and Cousins with the new West Coast system. RG3-10 will need to play longer due to the idiotic owner down there, but this same Cunningham / Peete situation is going to play out with RG3&out and Cousins. The Pats writers called this a month ago!

  68. 68 jshort said at 9:46 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Remember being at those games. Always had binoculars with me. Would be checking out the players pre-game and when I’d focus on Randell it looked like nobody was home, expressionless, dead eyes. Could never figure out why, after reading this guess it was the coaching change.
    OMG…that Detroit game was one of the craziest I was ever at. We could do nothing wrong. The Vet was really rocking that evening.

  69. 69 jshort said at 9:57 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Hope Dallas wins a few games this year, just not against us. Would make me sick if they got Mariota. Keeping my fingers crossed they remain our AAA team.

  70. 70 GEAGLE said at 10:23 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Watch the Giants too…. I’m worried about them getting Mariotta and Jim Harbaugh…. Either Jim Harbaugh or Darrel bevel will coach the Giants next year. After what Darrel Bevel is doing with that Seahawks offense, he will probably get his pick of whatever coaching job he wants…

  71. 71 jshort said at 10:04 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Hmmmm….GEAGLE must have left for the game.

  72. 72 GEAGLE said at 10:18 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Woke up late,,, I’m a 5 minute walk from the Linc anyway… No tailgating for me, don’t feel like drinking today

  73. 73 GEAGLE said at 10:37 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Not as excited as I thought I’d be… Game kind of bores me…. I want Andrew luck at the Colts!!!

  74. 74 Sb2bowl said at 11:50 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Geagle– I’ll be at the birds/skins game in two weeks at the Linc. I’d like to meet ya if that’s a possibility. Let me know

  75. 75 GEAGLE said at 11:55 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Yeah man,,,sure.. Beer in the parking lot pre game,., just remind me when we get closer to game

  76. 76 Sb2bowl said at 8:29 AM on September 9th, 2014:

    I’m not a huge drinker, but when we do have an opportunity to enjoy the Linc, we bring some delicious selections to the party. I’ll message you during the lead-up time for the game, maybe we’ll be able to get together.

    By the way, where do you usually sit in the stadium? We’ll be in section 115, down near the field (opposing team entrance to the field). Let me know!

  77. 77 levdog said at 10:05 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Troy Aikman was with Mike Francessa on their weekly friday chat. Some interesting comments on the Eagles and Kelly, Aikman feels that the Eagles have the potential to win the Super Bowl this year and talked about the incredible rise of Kelly’s career – New Hampshire to the NFL in 7 years.

  78. 78 GEAGLE said at 10:25 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    For weeks I keep talking about the Niners imploding this year…. Woke up to NFL reports about how he is already losing the locker room LOL… Better win today to prolong the implosion…. That franchise is done!

  79. 79 Eric_Andreas said at 10:40 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    So for some reason CBS is not showing the Eagles game and is showing the Steelers/Browns instead. What are my options to watch it live?

  80. 80 GEAGLE said at 10:41 AM on September 7th, 2014: hurry up and respond with a thanks! because I’m going to delete this

  81. 81 Eric_Andreas said at 10:56 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Thanks. I’m assuming that’s an unsavory source to do so?

  82. 82 Sb2bowl said at 11:49 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    It’s not bad, or try wiziwig– just have a pop-up and ad blocker

  83. 83 GEAGLE said at 11:54 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    That’s the one I gave him

  84. 84 SteveH said at 12:13 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    I use Wiziwig in a pinch as well. The key is to jump around the different streams to find the best quality one. Another thing is sometimes a stream will inexplicably go to crap in the middle of a game, be prepared to hop to a different one.

  85. 85 GEAGLE said at 11:54 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I used it for years for UFC pay per views, I’m just not sure if I’m allowed to post it on this site… Some sites don’t want you posting stream links on their message board

  86. 86 NinjaP said at 10:56 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    I am hoping for a 20+ win here. jaguars should be nothing more than dirt in the teams cleats on the way to achieving all the goals they have for this year.

  87. 87 GEAGLE said at 11:01 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    Wtf… They aren’t airing the skins vs. Texans game? I wanted to DVR it… Thank god for Torrents

    Let’s see who the season altering injuries will be today… Let’s get thru this game healthy

  88. 88 GEAGLE said at 11:11 AM on September 7th, 2014:

    1) shutdown the run, they won’t abandon it easily, so the offense needs to do it’s part and hang 21-28 first half points on the scoreboard to force them to pass in the second half…so we can take advantage of an OL who is not going to be able to stonewall us. That OL is going to make mistakes and have breakdowns which should lead to some big plays..sooner we make them abandon the run, the sooner our defense will come away with big plays

    2) When they do pass, their top options will be Denard Robinson and Mercedes Leis who Henne will trust significantly more than he trust the rookie WRs… Kendrick practicing against Sproles all summer should have him ready to shutdown Dennard, and Barwin practicing against Ertz and Celek should have him ready for Mercedes…Henne will throw it up for Mercedez, so Barwin should have a few opportunities to make a play…

    3) Defend those 3 players, and they will be forced to start looking for their rookie WRs, who will provide us opportunities to make big plays due to a rookie mistake or two….. Rookie WRs, plus a line that hasn’t had enough time to gel is going to make mistakes and give our defense opportunities to make some big plays,,
    On offense, Puslusny has to defend shady McCoy when we pass and they are in man….. Enough said!! Lol

  89. 89 McNabbulousness said at 12:06 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    HEY! don’t you go shitting on paulie p.


    linebacker u fan

    ps-yeah, that does suck for him

  90. 90 SteveH said at 12:14 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    Ok, I know the NFL season is about to kick off because I’m a tightly wound ball of anxiety and excitement. In my teenage years I would jump around and scream at the furniture but now I guess I have to sit here and pretend its just another day at the office. Seriously though, I need a punching bag or something.

  91. 91 T_S_O_P said at 1:15 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    How to win friends and influence people, authored by N Allen. No it’s not!!!

  92. 92 T_S_O_P said at 1:30 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    Just had to pick up my son. See that we are being very benevolent!!!

  93. 93 T_S_O_P said at 1:36 PM on September 7th, 2014:

    Brandon boom!