Andy Reid speaks……

So Andy Reid took time from his busy schedule attending Sixers game to actually speak to the media (Apologies to Matt Chord).  He announced that Todd Bowles would become the secondary coach replacing Johnny Lynn who was fired.  Bowles went 2-1 as the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins this year. Bowles went to Temple and played for three teams in his NFL career.  He’s been a coach since 1995 mostly as a secondary coach. 

Andy said he took all this time to speak to the media because he had to reflect on how the season went (poorly), what he needed to do (get better on game days) and how the team was going to go about free agency and the draft (linebacker please).  He also stated that Steve Spagnolo was offered a job, but apparently didn’t get into specifics about a job title.  Even though he did that, Reid said he never was serious about replacing Castillo and that Spags and Castillo would be dynamite together.  Andy also stated that he’s looking forward to quarterback Mike Vick’s first full off-season as the starter.

My thoughts: There’s no way that Andy Reid actually believe that by not offering Spags the defensive coordinator job that Spags would come here.  The fact of the matter is that if Reid really wanted Spags here, he would be the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.  If Andy really believes that Castillo is the guy for the job, that’s fine, I knew that was going to happen the second after the Eagles defeated the Redskins for the 4th straight win.  Jeff Lurie made the Castillo move a certainty when he basically said Reid has one more chance. Why would Reid change coordinators and  schemes when his job is on the line?  Don’t get me wrong, was the defense great? No. Was it awful as some of Philadelphia thinks it was? Consider this..the Eagles defense was second in the NFC in total yards given up,  second in passing yards given up and third in points per game.   People forget that the offense turn the ball over 35 times which was #1 in the league.  The offense, for all the gaudy numbers, scored 3 points in the five blown fourth quarter leads.  If this team expects to ever win a Super Bowl, it begins and ultimately ends with the quarterback. 

 

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I can’t stand this Super Bowl matchup.

This is going to make me sound like a whiner….And I’m okay with that because I need to get this off my chest. This couldn’t have been a worse Super Bowl matchup for myself being an Eagles fan.  In the AFC, you have the New England Patriots who demolished the Eagles earlier this season (38-20 doesn’t do the Patriots a justice). Let us not forget the Jacksonville debacle in 2005.  You have Bill Belichick, the hoodie and the insufferable arrogance. You have Tom Brady who almost seems to have it all.  You can’t forget the lovely fans of New England who always seem to come out of the woodwork. (Mike O being the exception) 

Then there’s the New York Giants. The first team in the NFL history to be outscored in the regular season.  The team that was dead last in running the ball and the defense that was 29th stopping the pass. A team that lost to the Washington Redskins twice and a team that lost 5 out of 6 from week 10-15.  A team that lost to Vince Young.  However, unlike the team 90 miles south, they won the games they had to and actually got in the playoffs.  Using a great pass rush led by Jason Pierre Paul (drafted after Brandon Graham) and the ELIte play of Eli Manning (see what I did there?) the Giants have been on a wonderful run that has led them to another shot against Brady and the Patriots.  That last sentence makes almost every Eagles fan’s stomach turn. (Mine included).

Unless this game is ends in a tie (Insert a Donovan doesn’t know the OT rules joke here) and obviously the game won’t, no outcome will sit well with Eagles fans. Just when it seemed the Patriots’ lust seemed to have worn off (No playoff wins since 2007), they go on a run. If the Patriots win, Brady and Belichick get their 4th Super Bowl already solidifying their great Hall of Fame careers. If the Giants win, it adds another ring to Eli and Coughlin (who seems to be on the chopping block every year).  And of course, all the Giants fans come out the woodwork as well.

Imagine if the Giants win what that does for the Eagles. I can already see this happening….

Andy with his insufferable arrogance (even though he’s won nothing) comes out a week after the Super Bowl  and uses the Giants as an example as how close the Eagles are.  “We only finished one game back and they got hot just like we did”.  It will come out of his mouth like it was scripted.  The only problem with that logic is the only person to believe that would be Andy Reid.  Sure, the Eagles beat the Giants with Vince Young and had a 4th quarter lead against them at home.  Sure, the Eagles have a great pass rush similar to the Giants.   There’s one difference though…..Eli Manning is their quarterback and Mike Vick is ours.  

Maybe, Vick wakes up one day and decides that he doesn’t need to do everything with the football. Perhaps he’ll decide to slide. Maybe he’ll stop turning the ball over.   Unfortunately until this all happens, Eagles fans will have to patiently wait for their FIRST Super Bowl.

PS: Go Patriots. Simply because I don’t want to hear how close the Eagles are if the Giants win because you know and I know, that’s what Andy would say.

I didn't even bring this guy up once.

NFL Thoughts, Playoff Edition

Texans 31, Bengals 10
– So the Texans hired a new defensive coordinator, brought in a corner via free agency, got contributions from their draft picks, made the playoffs, and won a playoff game? Hey at least Phil….oh never mind.

-Interesting discussion I had with someone on Facebook. Andy Dalton or Mike Vick. Based on what I’ve seen from Dalton this year, I’d still go with Vick, but that doesn’t take any thing away from Dalton. I think Dalton will have a fine NFL career.

-The Bengals finish the season with one win vs. winning opponents.

Saints 45, Lions 28

-Lost opportunities for the Lions as they couldn’t cash in when the Saints turned it over.

-Calvin Johnson is unstoppable as is Drew Brees.

-Would like to see the Lions with some kind of running game.

-Marques Colston is going to get paid. He’s a unresticted free agent, interested to see if he gets franchised.

Giants 24, Falcons 2

-All that fire power and Matt Ryan could only muster 199 yards? Matty Ice no more.

-Interesting stat from Sheil Kapadia from Philly.com’s Moving the Chain blog….The Giants had four 20+ yard runs in the regular season. Yesterday, they had two.

-Eli was fanastic as usual. He’ll need to be even better to beat Rodgers.

Broncos 29, Steelers 23 OT

-Half of my Super Bowl prediction is gone.  *Takes off expert cap*

-Tebow completed 10 passes, but threw for over 3oo yards.  As Tom McCarthy says way too much, How about that?

-Big Ben almost pulled a Tebow in the 4th quarter, but was sacked out of field goal position.

Quarterback Rankings

With the end of October , I decided to do a monthly review of the starting NFL quarterbacks.  Who’s the best? Who’s in the top 10? Who’s the worst starting QB in the NFL? This is a list not based on their careers, but based on how they are playing right now.

*must have attempted 150 passes.

1. Aaron Rodgers- 1st in completion percentage, 1st in yards per attempt, 20 touchdowns, 3 interceptions.  Clear cut, the best quarterback in the NFL right now.

2.Tom Brady- Despite losing to Big Ben on Sunday, Brady’s numbers are still slightly better than Big Ben.   More yards, better yards per attempt, better completion percentage, more passing touchdowns.  Still can’t go wrong with either quarterback.

3. Drew Brees-  Brees has thrown 44 more passes than anyone else in the league.  However, his completion percentage is still very high at 70 percent and he’s second in the league with 19 touchdowns.  There is concern for Brees, as he has been sacked 19 times, which is 6th in the NFL.

4. Big Ben-  Big Ben is having a fabulous season, perhaps the only reason for concern is offensive line. Roethlisberger has been sacked 25 times, which is the most in the league.  If the offensive line keeps him upright, the Steelers will be in good shape.

5. Matthew Stafford-  No one is surprised by Stafford’s great season, it’s always been a matter of him staying healthy.  His 19/4 touchdown to INT ratio is fantastic and it seems he and Megatron make sweet music together.

6. Eli- Eli is putting together quite a season. He only had three picks in the entire month of October which is impressive considering the team’s struggles running the football.  Eli will put to the test in the next month so it will be interesting to see where his ranking will be.  The Giants go to New England, San Francisco, have a home game vs. Philadelphia, and finish the month in New Orleans.

7. Matt Schaub- Numbers are virtually identical to Eli’s. Will likely take a jump when Andre Johnson gets back.

8.  Ryan Fitzpatrick-  Fitzpatrick just signed a monster contract to Buffalo and his numbers back it up.  He’s third in completion percentage, 5th in touchdown passes, and 6th in QB rating.

9. Michael Vick- Vick has gotten a little unlucky with the tipped passes turning into interceptions, but he’s had a solid season regardless.  He’s in the top ten in touchdowns, QB rating, and completion percentage.  He also is on pace for over 800 rushing yards.

10. Tony Romo-  Despite his struggles against Philadelphia, Romo has had a solid season. He ranks in the top ten in touchdowns and passing yards.  Romo still has tendency to turn the ball over at the wrong times, IE the Lions game, but with an easier schedule coming up, his numbers will likely improve.

11. Cam Newton- I’m not necessarily stunned by Newton’s success, but the amount of success he’s having is staggering. He’s second in passing yards and in the top ten in passing touchdowns.  Cam also had seven rushing touchdowns and is on pace for over 600 yards rushing.

12. Philip Rivers-  Rivers has been a turnover machine this season. He has 11 interceptions and five fumbles while only throwing 13 picks all of last season.  He’s still sixth in completion percentage and in the top ten in yards, so perhaps Rivers has gotten a little unlucky. Either way, the Chargers are now in a dog fight for the AFC West with the Chiefs and Raiders.

13. Matt Hasselbeck-Hasselbeck has had a bounce back type of season.  He’s ranked in the top ten in completion percentage and touchdowns all of this while Chris Johnson has been terrible and Kenny Britt being injured.  Titans have managed to stay competitive as well, only a half game behind the Texans in the AFC South.

14.Joe Flacco- Flacco is 31st amongst qualified quarterbacks in completion percentage and 27th in quarterback rating.  He had one touchdown in the month of October as Ray Rice was the focal point of the offense.

15. Alex Smith- I just can’t believe in Alex Smith. Yes, his team is 6-1. Yes, he’s thrown 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions, but he’s only attempted 182 passes because the focal point of the offense is Frank Gore. Gore and the defense are the biggest reasons the 49ers are 6-1.   I don’t believe Alex Smith can win a football game himself. He’s simply a game manager.

16. Jay Cutler-  Cutler’s been okay this season with only one offensive weapon. Matt Forte has been a savior for Cutler.  Cutler has also been sacked 21 times, so the Bears must keep him upright in order to make a playoff push.

17. Matt Ryan- Ryan has regressed this season. Ryan is only 18th in passing yards and 20th in QB rating, while the Falcons already have as many losses as last season.

18. Mark Sanchez- Sanchez only has six interceptions on the year, but his completion percentage is only paltry 55 percent.  Sanchez does have 12 touchdowns which ranks 9th in the NFL.

19. Josh Freeman- Freeman has struggled with turnovers, which is odd considering he only had six picks all of last season. The good news is Freeman’s accuracy is still virtually the same as last season.  Many expected Freeman to make the jump to elite and with half the season to go and the Bucs in the playoff race, there is still plenty of time for him.

20. Kevin Kolb- It’s been a struggle for Kolb in his first year as a starter. However, with Larry Fitzgerald, he’ll figure it out.

21. Andy Dalton-  Dalton has had a very successful rookie season up to this point.  62.4 completion percentage, along with almost 1500 passing yards, with 9 touchdowns and seven picks.  Dalton has also had the advantage of a weak schedule.  His five wins have been against Jacksonville, Buffalo, Cleveland, Indy and Seattle.

22.  Colt McCoy- McCoy’s numbers are slightly down from last season. His accuracy has dipped from 60 percent to 57 percent and his yards per attempt have dropped from 7.1 to 5.6.  McCoy’s touchdowns are up though while his interceptions are down.

23. Jason Campbell-  Campbell wasn’t having a bad year before his broken collarbone.  With Carson Palmer in the mix, even if Campbell can come back, he’ll be the backup.

24.Matt Cassel- Even with the Chiefs’ 4 game winning streak, Cassel has only been okay.  Cassel only has nine touchdowns along with nine interceptions He actually has four picks and one touchdown in the last two Chiefs’ wins.

25. Tavaris Jackson- Jackson came back after an injury and threw for a soft 323 yards against the Bengals.  Jackson has six touchdowns along six picks this year.

26. Sam Bradford- Bradford has been out the last two games. He’s taken a step backwards, but it’s mostly because his offensive line is brutal and he has no one to throw to.

27. Donovan McNabb- McNabb couldn’t move the offense efficiently and eventually lost his job.  It’s his third job lost in 18 months.

28. Kyle Orton- Orton is  solid quarterback, but seems destined to a career as a backup.

29.Rex Grossman- Grossman got off to a nice start, but after his four pick performance against the Eagles, he lost his job.

30. Curtis Painter- Painter is doing a wonderful job of helping the Colts secure Andrew Luck

31.  Blaine Gabbert- Gabbert has only completed 45 percent of his passes and his yards per attempt and yards per game rank dead last.  Is it all his fault? No, the Jags stink, but Blaine Gabbert has secured the Sports with Balls award for worst starting quarterback of the NFL through October.