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Friday, September 2, 2005

Corey Simon and the Ugly Side of Capology

The Eagles let Corey Simon walk this week, and proved once again they are not "the gold standard" of the National Football League despite Jeffrey Lurie's notorious claim. The dark side of Joe Banner — the Birds' capologist — may cost the Eagles the only thing that counts, a Super Bowl win. In fact, I think it already has cost them at least one.

The popular opinion is that Joe Banner is a genius. And if you care about the financial bottom line of the team, he is. Unfortunately, the Eagles are 0-fer on the only bottom line that counts in football: the number of times you've hoisted the Lombardi trophy.

Fans point to continued success and ineffective play of Bird castoffs like Bobby Taylor, Duce Staley, Troy Vincent, and others as proof that the team knows just when to cut the cord with players. They say such aging veterans signed big contracts elsewhere, and were never heard from again while the Eagles soared. They even point to Jeremiah Trotter, who flopped in Washington and returned last year on a bargain basement contract to anchor an outstanding defense.

Is Corey Simon going to be missed any more than those guys? Doubtful.

The problem is that the Eagles don't ever have the continuity you need to win it all. They ignore the human element of teams that stay together and get to know how to play together, creating a very real sense of familiarity that leads to being the best.

It's not always about having a young (cheaper) stud waiting in the wings to avoid a drop-off when you cut the older (more expensive) vet. It's not even about Joe Jurevicius running free right through the area Trotter could have patrolled in the NFC title game a few years back.

It's the plays we'll never see, and may have never noticed all that much. A sack that ends an opponent’s drive. A fresh Staley churning up yards and clock. A Taylor interception returned for a touchdown.

And, it's keeping a guy like Trotter who excels in your system, instead of letting him go and thinking you're a genius if he fails. He could have excelled all along with the Eagles.

This year, the Eagles frugality has hit new lows. WIP's morning show included Mark Eckel this week, and they were literally discussing whether or not the Birds are at the cap FLOOR!!! Yet, they don't even show interest in Peter Warrick or Peerless Price to add to a slightly depleted receiving corps, continue to haggle over a long-term contract with possibly the best offensive weapon they have in Brian Westbrook, and do nothing to secure even an adequate back-up at running back.

Lurie and Banner talk incessantly about being "competitive for years to come." They don't seem to get that being competitive isn't the goal.

The Super Bowl isn't won in the accountant's office. Sadly, the Birds are about to prove it again.

Week in Review:
· WIP displayed one of its best attributes today — the ability to shift gears, and discuss a national disaster like Hurricane Katrina. They even took donations to help the victims. Rip 'em when necessary, but tip your cap to 'em on days like this.
· Meaningful September baseball has officially returned to Philadelphia. How many sports pundits will admit they were wrong about this team?
· Tony Bruno and possibly Joe Conklin will be joining the new sports talk line-up of WPEN 950. Both are hilarious.
· Finally, preseason ends!

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