Normally I send you over to Epic Carnival for things like this, but seeing as it took a while to hatch this groaner, I'm rhyming and stealing. Enjoy the piracy.
If you want to save yourself 2,000 words that took me most of a week to work out (you heartless bastard): 11-5, NFC East champions, #3 seed in the NFC, NFC championship road game loser (to who? like it matters), one more piece of my old and dying heart chewed up and spit out.
It'll taste surprisingly similar to the woman from the YouTube clip, who Philly Fan has chained up in a basement. She doesn't look like this anymore. The lesson, as always: Philly Fan Is Not To Be Trifled With.
20. The MVP of the team last year was Brian Westbrook. The MVP of the team this year will be... Donovan McNabb. This isn't a plus.
19. Fantasy alert: Any year now, tight end LJ Smith is going to explode. Literally. (This is all part of my scheme to make him so overrated that he's underrated.)
18. Jevon Kearse is back. In pog form.
If he can stay on the field, the defense will be much better, simply because they were never really able to replace the pass rush he provided before going down against the Giants. With Darwin Walker gone for Takeo Spikes, the depth at the position is not what it was.
17. In the time it took you to read this, Andy Reid's kids have committed three felonies.
16. Andy Reid's Kids makes for a fine and relatively understated fantasy football team name. No question, it'll be overused, though. (If you're stuck for a name, FTT is here to help.)
15. Jon Runyan is so mean, he once killed a man, just for snoring.
14. Reno Mahe is, in fact, a debilitating tropical illness.
13. Merrill Reese, the beloved local radio play by play man, is the most excited man on earth, and needs to be medicated before entering a supermarket.
12. As always, Reid is playing Russian Roulette with wideouts, because winning with quality wideouts is just not sporting. The team is depending, to a scary amount, on the development of Hank Baskett as a quality third WR.
Someone, for the lover of God, please show him the Patriots playoff loss last year, the one where Reche Caldwell's eyes bulged to six times the size of a normal human being. Andy's inability to value the wideout position has become intervention-worthy.
11. Takeo Spikes is already the best outside linebacker of the Reid Era, and he hasn't played a down. Let's just say the competition has not been particularly stellar. (Nate Wayne! Keith Adams! Dhani Jones! Matt McCoy! Lots of other guys I had to look up, because my brain likes me enough to forget about them!)
10. Real Eagles fans would like something very, very bad to happen to Dhani Jones, who is now with the Saints. After it happens, they would like the perpetrator to recite poetry.
9. Lito Shepard is going to be so bored from people not throwing to his side this year, he's going to start letting his man get open, just to see if the opposing QB notices.
8. Brian Dawkins was the single biggest reason the Eagles made it to the second round of the playoffs last year -- because a team that lost its best offensive and defensive players (McNabb and Kearse), and couldn't stop the run worth a damn, didn't quit. He was also one of the biggest reasons they lost there. If the secondary doesn't perform to its usual lockdown levels, fingers will be pointed his way.
7. Eagle opponents who (a) run the ball up the gut, and (b) throw to the tight end will, as always, prosper. This won't be a problem for the most part, because most NFL coaches are stubborn as mules and only want to win on what their team does best...
6. In his entire life, Corell Buckhalter has never been considered a goal-line back by anyone other than Andy Reid. That's still true.
5. David Akers hasn't been himself for over 2 years, due to injury. It would help immensely if he got back to his old levels, because he used to be worth a few more points a game than the opposing kicker, and Reid has been less aggressive in going for points since he's faltered.
4. The team has not had particularly good special teams coverage for most of the Reid Era. The last good kickoff returner Was JR Reid in the Super Bowl year (which is to say, three years ago).
3. The reason why they'll win 11 games is because the most important units on both sides of the ball (offensive line, defensive secondary) are among the top five in the NFL. The QB combines game management skills (despite Don's habit for back-breaking playoff interceptions, his career numbers are quite good at taking care of the ball) with occasional flashes of game-changing brilliance. The linebackers are the best of the Reid Era, which isn't saying much, but is still helpful. The coaching staff, with the exception of TO Year 2, has always kept the players pulling in the same direction. They don't kill themselves with penalties or turnovers.
Add it all up, and you get -- consistent wins. The finest era in the franchise's history. But there isn't a sense that it's got to happen, or will.
2. The entire story this year will be McNabb. His comeback from injury. His relationship to Reid post-Kolb. His relationship to Kolb. His ability to stay on the field for all 16 games plus the playoffs, and his willingness to test the knee on scrambles. His scrambling ability, post-surgery. His rapport with the fans in Philadelphia, many of whom have never fully been in his corner, simply because he hasn't won the big one. Besides, this town loves the back-up quarterback more than a balding, fattening husband loves driving past the high school.
I'm a homer and a Don fan (see this link for more about that), so I think he's going to spend the year delivering a giant, media-savvy, middle finger to the haters. He's got a great line and RB. He's made more from less at the WR position, and his defense, especially if Kearse is back and effective, is going to be more likely to give him good field position. He's always been a workout monster and fearless about taking contact, so I think he bounces back to a strong percentage of his old self. As for his relationship with Kolb, I think it'll be like Montana-Young -- in other words, he'll hate the guy and try to bury him with wins.
Whether all of that is enough to keep him upright, or overcome the inevitable out-of-nowhere challenges that arise in the conference, or keep the whispers from getting loud... well, this is Philadelphia, and we haven't won a championship since 1982 for a freaking reason. Besides, it's hard to see any NFC team winning the Super Bowl, just like it's hard to see any NL team winning the World Series, or any Eastern Conference NBA team winning the Finals. But you never know.
1. The single biggest benefit of the Reid Era is this: he utterly and completely owns the rest of the division. Lock, stock, barrel -- these are his bitches, and the way Andy has slapped them has been a thing of utter beauty.
This has been lost to many people in the region, especially those that don't remember the crap salad days with a side of vomit dressing, but not to the good citizens of New York, Washington and Dallas. So while we might bemoan our fate as the poor man's Levy Bills, or tear our hair out over Reid's peculiar and consistent weaknesses, or wonder in our darkest moments as to whether this team will ever win it all in our lifetimes... well, I still like where I'm sitting more than the seats of Redskin, Cowboy or Giant fan.
As a lifelong Philly fan, I don't actually expect to root for a champion. I just want to be sure that someone else hurts worse than me.
Redskins fan has to endure the complete cock-tease that is Daniel Snyder and his free-agent acquisitions. He also has the added benefit of seeing his beloved coaching legend (Joe Gibbs) dragged out of retirement and into incompetence. So not only is the present a nightmare, but his memories of the past are being systematically destroyed, too.
I can't imagine how bad that is. Even when the Eagles were hiring people like Ray Rhodes and Rich Kotite, we could just hate them without reservation, because we owed them nothing. For Skins Fan, this has to be like being a Beatles fan that dreams of seeing them reform... and when they do, Yoko is singing lead, and they're playing Nazi Gospel tunes.
Giants fan has to somehow root for one of the biggest collections of egotists, douchebags and general disappointments in their history. Seriously, their big three are Fredo Manning, Mini-TO Burress and White Trash Shockey; if any of these guys were to go to another team and come back to Giants Stadium, the booing would last all day. Combine that with the nasty little whiner that is Tom Coughlin, the overrated and overblown Michael Strahan... I mean, seriously, is there a star on the team that you actually like?
It'd be one thing if they won, but this team had the division on a platter last year, and tossed its cookies so badly, Giants Fan is seriously thinking about giving the reins to Jared "The Hefty Lefty" Lorenzen (because starting a fat rook at QB is just the time-honored way to success). They also now get a steady diet of Brandon Jacobs, whose straight up running style is just begging for a major injury, not to mention consistent fumble problems. He's Eddie George, which sounds good, until you remember that George is out of football.
Finally, Dallas. Oh, Cowboy Fan, you have to know this isn't going to be your year, right? Owens has succeeded in running off his QB and his coach; he is the mayor of Crazy Town now, and if he wants you to wear underwear on the outside and grow mustaches on your ass, you can bet that Wade Phillips and Jerry Jones are going to be figuring out whether it's OK to wear tidy whities after Labor Day and whether the ass hair can be waxed. I can't imagine a worse situation to be an inexperienced quarterback trying to live down an epoch-defying mistake, and that's where Tony Romo is.
So sit back and enjoy your Ipecac Year -- or, better yet, give the whole thing a miss and tune in next spring, where a severely chastised Jones will be introducing new coach and general manager Bill Cowher. Just pray that he can't bring Kordell Stewart with him.
Thursday, August 9, 2007