Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tony Romo Is Hurt, And My Eagles Are Utterly Doomed

Change "Revolutionary" to Eagles Fan
Word out of Dallas tonight is that Cowboys QB Tony Romo is most likely out for the rest of the year with a back problem that will require surgery. (Cue the regrettable sodomy jokes!) Combine this with the 'Boys escape act on the road against a terrible DC team, and the Eagles' utter evisceration of the Bears on SNF, and the oddsmakers have made my laundry a 7.5 point road favorite for the SNF play-in game.

Oh, but wait, there's more. Dallas's best defensive player, and depending on the game this year, sometimes their only defensive player, MLB Sean Lee, is likely to miss the game as well. The Eagles are almost entirely healthy. Dallas head coach Jason Garrett may be playing for his job, and the same goes for offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, given their allergies to calling running plays when they are working. In general, men who play for their jobs while working for Jerry Jones do not perform well, which makes all of the sense in the world, in that being fired by Jones means you can get the hell away from him.

The Cowboys back-up QB, Kyle Orton, once decisively lost a QB competition to Tim Tebow. No, seriously. He's also played in three games in the last two years, going 12 of 15 for 129 yards and a touchdown in deep garbage time. He's also got a career 81 to 57 TD to INT rating, and a sub 80 quarterback rating. Orton is a 31-year-old guy who has carved out quite a career for a 4th round pick on his fourth franchise, and has some improbably big wins on his resume (his Chiefs knocked off an unbeaten Packer team deep in 2011, and he did start his Denver tenure as part of the booty from moving Jay Cutler by going 6-0). He's better than a very large number of back-up QBs, but there's no doubting that the Cowboys would be in better hands with their starter.

Orton doesn't have the mobility and play extension moves that Romo does, and while Romo might be the NFL's most overrated player -- one playoff win as the QB of a well-compensated team in eight years in a continually deteriorating division takes a lot of the sheen off just under 30,000 yards and a 208 to 101 TD/INT ratio -- he's still one of the better starters in the NFL. Oh, and if you are looking for reasons why the Cowboys will fall apart, Romo is 33, which isn't exactly what you want to hear, since Back Problems and Chronic are soulmates. It's very possible that, given the high disappointment that's part and parcel of working for Jones, that Romo has played his last snap for Dallas, and that the club will take this injury as an opportunity to move him in the off-season for change on the dollar.

Oh, and if you really want Dallas Fan to start shaking, note that Jones really is dumb enough to think Orton could be The Man if he gets results from him in the next few weeks. After all, he only needs a charmed month to be the most successful QB in this century in that laundry.

So how does that add up to Inescapable Doom for the Eagles?

To be fair, I'm only talking about 2013. This is supposed to be Chip Kelly's freeroll year, the season when nothing but the team falling apart later in the season, and maybe not even that, will get the fan base well and truly upset. Instead, it's gone all too well, all too quickly, and The Thirst is growing. You have to beat Dallas now, and then you'll have a home game against the 6th seed Saints, Panthers or Cardinals. New Orleans doesn't win on the road, you've already beaten the Cardinals at home, and Carolina will have a QB making his first playoff start, maybe without his WR1. Nick Foles has the job for 1,000 years, or at least, clearly in 2014. He's even gotten some MVP notice, which is all kinds of insane when the best RB in pro ball is lining up behind him, but so be it; RBs can't be MVPs anymore, it seems. And they've gotten so many breaks that people are starting to say words like Team Of Destiny with a straight face. Now, nothing short but a second round Loss With Honor will suffice. Some freeroll.

Well, I get it. No one guessed DC would be a stinking turd of a team (well, I kind of did, because when you trade all of your future picks for a young mobile QB on a franchise that hasn't won squat in forever, that doesn't make you good all of a sudden). Still, getting them early when Bob Griffin was at his worst probably helped. Tampa took half a year to become competent, and the Eagles had the good sense to schedule them then. Green Bay lost Aaron Rodgers before the Eagles played them, Detroit lost Reggie Bush in pre-game snow drifts, the officials gave them huge breaks in the Arizona and Detroit games and now, Dallas is looking turtleish. As for explaining why they tore through the Bears like a chainsaw through butter, or how they could gag up that Viking game, I Have No Idea in both games, and honestly, neither do you.

Well, um, this. Romo is 1-6 in win or go home games, and by missing this game, the Cowboys might actually get sane with their play-calling and allow RB DeMarco Murray the chance to finish what he starts. That will also help the defense stop looking terrible, which they, well, didn't in the last game against Philly. Dallas still has the game at home, which has to count for something, and for once, they'll be the ones playing with no expectations.

And, well, I have 35+ years with this laundry. I know when they are setting me up. They did it with home championship games against Tampa and Carolina, with the only playoff win of Romo's career with Donovan McNabb punching his ticket out of town, at home against Joe Gibbs playing a vanilla zone and lulling Randall Cunnningham to death, and on the road in Chicago when they were young, didn't know any better, and looked up to see an impenetrable fog give them all the clue they needed that God hates them.

All of the people who couldn't stop saying that Chip Kelly was Steve Spurrier II now think he's Bill Walsh II. Everyone who couldn't stop talking about how the lack of super-mobility in Foles meant he was a placeholder at best think he's Peyton Junior. And others want to tell me how gutsy the defense has become, when I still see a sieve system that's just played better in the red zone. Maybe that's all you need now in the NFL, but I kind of prefer the units that beat the crap out of you.

I know my laundry. I know the signs of when they are going to spit the bit and remind you, with force, why we can't have nice things.

And it usually happens as soon as all of these noobs join the bandwagon.


Freewheel said...

As a fellow lifelong Eagles fan, I know you speak the truth. The question is, who are these Eagles?

The Vikings loss was an anomaly. The Bears rout was an anomaly. We don't learn much from the 17-3 loss to the Cowboys because Foles didn't have much 1st team experience at that point. What game do we look at and say, "OK, that's the Eagles. That's what we can expect from them."?

(BTW, I think the answer to my question might be the Cardinals game).

The consensus seems to be "they're good, but not THAT good." Still, I think they're good enough to beat the Cowboys.

DMtShooter said...

The problem is that who they are changes from quarter to quarter. I thought they were dead and buried against Detroit; they roared back and dominated late. I thought they were lucky to beat the Cardinals, and the Bear and Viking game both came out of thin air. Utterly unpredictable.

On the merits and talent, they should beat Dallas, and they come in winning 6 of 7. None of that means anything, of course.

snd_dsgnr said...

Part of me wonders if this is some kind of reverse jinx on your part, and it's smart to not count your chickens and all that, but come on. They aren't losing to the Cowboys.

As far as the playoffs go? Ehhh, I actually think the best possible scenario for you is that Carolina beats Atlanta and San Francisco beats Arizona, which would leave you playing the Saints in the first round. As we've seen, they just aren't the same team outdoors this time of year. If that 7-9 Seattle squad from a couple years back can beat the Saints, so can this year's Eagles.

Merry Christmas, btw.

snd_dsgnr said...

Incidentally, that would also line you up for a second round game with a Panthers team that will be starting a QB in his first ever playoff game and might be without their only real WR.

Just saying.

DMtShooter said...

My dream route: New Orleans in round 1, Carolina in round 2, and the surprise home game against San Francisco in the final.

We're doomed.

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