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Monday, August 1, 2011

Great Off-Season Won’t Be Enough for Birds

August 1 is usually a New Year’s Day of sorts for the sports world in my mind. I really didn’t think it was going to feel that way this year, but the NFL surprised everyone by ending the lockout in time for an entire season in 2011. My time off from blogging was actually mildly productive, and I hope to continue with some of the other writing efforts I’ve been working on. And since we live in a Twitter world these days – I’m tempted to say, “for better or worse,” but I’m quite sure it’s for the worse – I thought I’d try the occasional rapid fire post for a while.

So, catching up with the Eagles:

• I rip the Eagles front office all the time so I have to give them credit for truly being “all in” this season. Mayor Nutter does not need to plan for a parade down Broad Street or anything – I said it – but Joe Banner, Jeff Lurie, and Howie Roseman, deserve a ton of credit for the incredible free agent class they’ve brought in this year. Even Andy Reid gets a slap on the back for his involvement, even if it merely involved getting out of the way.

• I was called a “hater” for this on Twitter, which by the way is one of the dumber terms of the hip-hop generation, but I think the Eagles ultimately made a bad decision in trading away Kevin Kolb. Don’t misunderstand, they got value for him. But I can absolutely see Kolb raising the Lombardi Trophy someday. I can’t say that about Mike Vick.

• There is no question that adding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha was a serious upgrade for the defense. And maybe there is another move to be made by trading Asante Samuel. But I wonder if it’s overkill at cornerback with other holes left to fill. The linebackers are so bad that a rookie, Casey Matthews, is reportedly penciled in as the starter at middle linebacker – the quarterback of the defense. Jason Babin had a career year in 2010 as a defensive lineman and the Eagles have added depth on the line, but there’s no pass rushers who other teams are game planning to stop.

• Brian Baldinger reported on 97.5 this morning that players lose the year of service if they don’t report by a date in early to mid August, so I can’t imagine DeSean Jackson’s holdout will last long. However, Jeremy Maclin apparently has some health issues – affects from mononucleosis, I believe – that may be more concerning for Eagles fans. All of that said, don’t forget teams have shown that Jackson can be shut down. The Birds need to sign him, but I can understand why they’re not jumping through hoops to do it.

• Did Vince Young call the Eagles a “Dream Team” – and include his signing as part of the reason? As Keith Jackson would say, “Whoa, Nellie!” Young is a good fit as a Mike Vick backup, and nothing else. People who think the Eagles will do the same for Young as they did for Vick as a quarterback need to wake-up. If Young plays significant time it will very likely be because Vick is injured – and the Eagles will be screwed.

• In the end, I believe the fatal flaw still exists for the Eagles – Andy Reid still will not run the damn ball and they’re not winning a Super Bowl with a pass happy offense.

A few other thoughts:

• Media coverage of the NFL lockout was typically absurd. If they had just ignored it or given sensible coverage of it instead of the overhyped noise ESPN pumps out every day, no one would have cared. If anything, I think the coverage prolonged the lockout a few days because the players wanted to try to prove they weren’t having a deal forced down their throats. That effort only made them look foolish.

• By the way, the actual or “official” off-season was the best ever. The lockout ended in July, nothing that means anything to fans was missed, and there was no BS in free agency. It was five days or so of players and teams wanting to get a deal done and move on. Let’s do that every year.

• The NBA is locked out, in case you haven’t notice. Most people haven’t and probably won’t till about February. If only they would take notice of the excitement of the last few days with all of the player movement in the NFL and Major League Baseball. Take the year off if you need it, boys. Just fix your damn system.

• That said, I’m so glad the Sixers have been sold. I think the new owners were dumb to become long-term tenants of the Wells Fargo Center and continue to air the games on Comcast SportsNet, but at least the Sixers are a step away from being Ed Snider’s red-headed stepchild. Hopefully, we’ll get a feel for the new owners some day.

The Phillies . . . deserve their own post. I’ll catch up with them next. Try to contain yourself.

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