April 29, 2012
Donovan McNabb has spent the last couple of weeks telling anyone listening that he belongs in the Hall of Fame, and while he was at it, to take the time to discredit a couple of his contemporaries who have already made the Hall. A couple of days ago, when presented with the possibility that he might go to the Hall of Fame, Brian Dawkins got choked up. And therein lies the difference between an Eagles player universally accepted by the fans as one of their all-time favorites, and another who will forever be on the outside looking in. Brian Dawkins officially retired last week from the National Football League.
April 24, 2012 |
IN BRIAN DAWKINS' prime, the most rare part of his hybrid game might have been that amazing, shark-on-the-hunt deep-coverage skill, the way Dawk could adjust, arriving just in time to help a teammate, even if he'd been in another quadrant of the field when the ball left the quarterback's hands. But that isn't what Eagles fans will remember when they tell tales of No. 20 to their grandchildren on some far-off day, when Lincoln Financial Field is awaiting the wrecking ball and all the images from the Andy Reid era look impossibly dated and quaint.
April 19, 2012
IN THE WEEKS and months leading up to the April draft, every NFL team puts together a "board" that ranks all of the eligible players by the overall grade given them by that team's scouts, coaches and personnel executives in predraft meetings. Teams will tell you that they try to stay true to that board on draft day. If they own the 15th pick in the first round, as the Eagles do this year, their plan generally is to take the highest-rated unclaimed player on their board, regardless of position.
March 4, 2012
The Eagles are deep at cornerback, need to upgrade at linebacker and should get younger on the defensive line. But what about at safety, where the directive is much less clear? For that answer look to Nate Allen. The Eagles, before they launch their plans at the position, must gauge their confidence in the third-year safety for next season. Do they believe in the Allen that aggressively made tackles all over the field at Buffalo and finished last season on the upswing?
December 13, 2011 |
Now that Andy Reid has given us a preview of his sales pitch, the only question left is whether Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will buy it on Jan. 2. That is the day after the Eagles' season ends, the day Reid usually unveils his rationalizations and, not incidentally, the day Lurie presumably will begin reviewing his employees' performances in 2011. Whether he is looking at a record of 6-10, 7-9, or 8-8 won't matter as much as whether he accepts Reid's attempt to spin that record.
October 17, 2011 |
Here are some observations and ruminations about the Eagles' victory over the Redskins: LANDOVER, Md. - It took six games, but the Eagles defense had its first big hit of the season when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha clobbered Redskins tight end Chris Cooley after Cooley caught a screen pass. All season long, the defense has lacked the intimidation factor. But Asomugha brought it on that play. Cooley went to the locker room and returned to the game briefly before leaving for good with a hand injury.
October 6, 2011
NOW, IN THE WAKE of three blown second-half leads, the Eagles miss safety Quintin Mikell's stinging tongue as much as they miss his punishing hits. Veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins can fill the leadership void. In 2009, Mikell replaced safety Brian Dawkins as the defense's leader. Dawkins led the defense for a decade. He inherited the job from cornerback Troy Vincent, who got it from Mike Zordich, who followed Seth Joyner . . . The point is, the defense always had someone to hold players accountable.
October 4, 2011
If you're an Eagles fan staring at a 1-3 team after an offseason full of hope, here's the most maddening thing: You could see the biggest problems coming for months. The flaws that have plagued the Birds through their three-game slide are not surprises. They did not arise out of bad luck. They are vulnerabilities identified in July and August that went unaddressed and blew up in the Eagles' faces through the first quarter of the season. Let's run through them: The defense is awful in the second half.
September 19, 2011 |
The words are emblazoned on the front doors, below the broad yellow stripes that declare "WARNING": "Behind these doors, lives are being changed. . . . If you're up for the challenge, check your pride here. " It's an unusual greeting that speaks to a basic truth known to any gym rat: Pride impedes progress. Humility permits improvement. The name of the place is 7 Deuce Sports. That's 72, as in the number worn by William "Tra" Thomas, when he played for the Eagles. The former Pro Bowl offensive tackle opened the training center in the spring.
September 15, 2011 |
NOBODY LOOKS too hard at the league stats after just 1 week, which is a good thing for Chas Henry. The Eagles' rookie punter ranks 29th in the NFL, with a 36.3-yard gross. That would be a dozen slots behind last year's Eagles punter, Sav Rocca, who managed a 43.0-yard gross for the Redskins in their Week 1 victory over the Giants. Henry's net, also 36.3, ranks 15th; Rocca is ninth, at 38.5. "I didn't feel like I played personally very well," Henry said yesterday, as the Eagles began preparations for Sunday night's game in Atlanta.