Since Sunday I've boycotted sports in general. I was so disgusted with the loss this past weekend I avoided ESPN, sports radio, sports on the web in hopes of not being reminded of what happened. I didn't care to hear what the pundits had to say about the game, I didn't want to see highlights. Nothing. I wouldn't even play Madden. In fact, my main connection to the sports world has been all the comments about the game left here and on myspace for me.
It's actually been pretty interesting. I didn't realize how much of my time is taken up by sports. I get up in the morning and throw on sportscenter as I'm getting ready, I'll usually flip to sports radio in the car, check the Eagles website and other sports new sites on the web at work, flip on PTI when I get home... My past few days have been filled with Saved by the Bell reruns in the morning, actual work at work(gasp!), and Batman Begins the video game after work...
However, I came to the inevitable conclusion that I eventually would have to face this game and look forward to this coming weekend. I still won't watch ESPN this week, but I'm ready to get back into it... So here goes.
First, I was really bummed to hear the new that Jevon Kearse was lost for the season. It seemed pretty obvious to me as he was carried off the field in agony that this was going to be the case, but it was still a blow to hear it. I felt really bad watching one of the few guys that never gave up on that game and had continued to give everything he had being carried off. The Phreak started this year on a tear with 3.5 sacks and really seemed on track to have maybe the best year of his career. Defensive line may be the deepest unit on this team which means we shouldn't panic over this loss, but it is a loss nonetheless. Kearse is likely the best all around defensive end on this team and the line will suffer for his loss. I can't foresee anymore 8 sack games without the Kearse. Still, that doesn't mean they can't be effective. We've seen some tremendous play so far out of backups Trent Cole(who also had one tremendously STUPID play!!!!) & Juqua Thomas. Plus Darren Howard, who hasn't gotten a sack yet, has been rather solid.
I'm unsure what they will really do to replace Kearse yet though. They've been very vague on that point. We know they'll activate Jerome McDougle and the former 15th overall pick is going to get his last shot to prove himself. At this point you'd have to guess that Juqua Thomas will start at LDE and McDougle will back him up with Cole/Howard rotating on the other end. I have to wonder though if they'll ever try putting Howard or Cole at LDE so they can get the most talent on the field at once.**update***
Andy revealed his plans for the line today. Trent Cole will take over as starter at right defensive end, where's he been backing up Howard. Howard will slide over to start at left defensive end. Juqua Thomas will back up LDE and Jerome McDougle will back up Cole at RDE. Darren Howard started his career at LDE and compiled 17 sacks in 2 years there.
Howard on the Eagles website
"It's not anything new," said Howard. "My first two years in the league I played on the left side and my last four I played on the right side. I played a bunch on both sides. I should make the adjustment real quick.
"I haven't played there in a long, long time, so it's a process. That's how we're going to line up for right now and we're going to go ahead with that for right now."
Now, I'd like to make once small statement about the game this past weekend. I've noticed a common thread from the Eagles fans I've talked to and heard from. It appears that a lot of fans are blaming Andy Reid and his playcalling in the 4th quarter for the loss. Now, while I wasn't thrilled with his playcalling I hardly can blame that loss on playcalling. If your starting RB can't hold on to the ball in the 4th quarter, if your receivers can't catch perfectly thrown balls for first downs, if your lineman can't avoid taking stupid penalties... no amount of good playcalling will ever fix that. Blaming this loss on playcalling is far too simplistic to me. This was a team that didn't think they could lose and when things got tight they panicked. Now, I can certainly lay blame on Andy for that as his team needs to be more disciplined. However, just blaming him, luck, or the playcalling excuses an atrocious performance from the players on the field.
I'd also like to address the secondary. I'm not sure exactly what to say about. Clearly it was atrocious and a huge a reason the Eagles blew a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter... but at the same time I fine it hard to figure out where to lay blame for that. Certainly Mike Lewis deserves some for blowing the coverage on the first Toomer TD. I blamed Rod Hood for the Moulds TD in week one, but this was all Lewis. He also couldn't hold on to the fumble that turned into a Giants TD when he was alone and fell right on it... So blame goes to Lewis for sure. But do we also blame Joselio Hanson? Sure, he was picked on all day. However, he is a 4th corner and he was matched up one on one with Plaxico Burress. So while I certainly think he should have done a better job, I find it hard to blame him for struggling. I also find it hard to blame Jim Johnson because the guy was missing his #1 and #3 corner after Hood went down. However, I did scream at the TV several times "Why is Sheldon Brown not on Burress!!!??". Of course, we learned on the last play that it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway as Eli Manning threw a pass up for grabs on his way to the ground and Burress just went right over Sheldon and hauled in the game winning TD...
If Lito and Hood can't get back soon the Eagles are in serious trouble no matter how good the pass rush is.
I'll preview the 49ers game next. Is anyone really even looking forward to that game yet?