Friday, November 30, 2007


To beat the Seahawks Sunday, the Eagles need extra effort from a handful of guys who just kind of leave you asking for more.

This isn't about the playoffs, just the Seahawks, and the now.

1. QB A.J. Feeley: Give us two or three touchdown passes and a maximum of one interception, not three and three.

2. DE Trent Cole: Edge rusher's disappearing act goes back almost a month, the last time he had a sack.

3. FS Brian Dawkins: He should have three or four interceptions by now. Heck, the old Dawk would have had two picks against the Patriots.

4. WLB Takeo Spikes: See Dawkins. Also, you're a step slow slow dude. Move it or lose your starting job.

5. CB Lito Sheppard: Sore knee or whatnot, there's no way one of the league's best players should have just one interception. NO WAY ...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The optimism over Donovan McNabb's participation in the walkthrough Thursday morning was tempered by has absence from the afternoon practice.

Quarterback A.J. Feeley took the first-team snaps, just as in the previous week and there are no indications McNabb (ankle/thumb) will start this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks.

Also sitting out practice were running back Brian Westbrook (sore knee) and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (knee/hamstring).

Monday, November 26, 2007


If A.J. Feeley said it once Sunday night, he said it 1,000 times.

“I take full responsibility for the whole deal,” he offered. “I take it on my back because those guys played their hearts out for me. I’ve got to do a better job of putting us in situations to win the game rather than lose it.”

And with that, there was accountability, finally, at the Eagles’ quarterback position this season.

Donovan McNabb apologists never will understand the concept. They will point to the games he used to win, the injuries he used to play through, the rehabs he’s had, the caliber of players he’s gone to battle with and the unsuitability of the offense as excuses for his championship-less ring finger.

When it comes to the mistakes McNabb has made, it’s almost always been “we,” not “me.” It’s been a thing where you just roll your eyes and accept the “we” to placate the man’s fragile ego.

It was only a few weeks ago McNabb had to blog extensively to communicate what he meant during his news conference, one in which he very loudly would not take all of the blame for the team’s struggles. That was all but unprecedented for an Eagles quarterback. That, sadly, could be his legacy.

We isn’t enough for teammates. We doesn’t work anymore. For an Eagles quarterback, we starts with me. Somewhere along the line, that never quite sank in.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


All things considered, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb
preferred to stay in Philadelphia for the weekend.

Ironically that could help punch his ticket out of town.

A month ago McNabb was more than welcome to return to the Eagles in 2008 and
possibly beyond, despite speculation to the contrary according to a source. His
contract runs through 2010.

Now it looks like he’s digging his heels in to get out.

It’s unfathomable to imagine McNabb, the ultimate warrior even thinking about
missing a game with a swollen ankle and thumb, much less a game against an elite
opponent like the New England Patriots. He threw four touchdown passes with a
broken leg during the 2002 season and most recently came back three months ahead
of schedule from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The old McNabb would suit up if he could walk, if only to send a message to
Brett Favre, who has started an NFL record 248 straight regular season games
despite 30 official injuries and counting.

The new McNabb stayed home with the wounded. It wouldn’t be much of an issue
except that veteran Brian Dawkins, rehabbing from a neck stinger this season,
made road trips to warm-up and encourage teammates.

Rewind to last week and it was obvious McNabb was less than enthused, to put
it mildly, he didn’t get a chance to return to action after spraining the ankle
in the first half against the Dolphins. The X-rays for a break were negative.

Reporters saw no sign of a limp on his approach and exit from the post-game
interview room. His head coach gave conflicting reports about the ankle.

McNabb, peppered with questions about why he returned to the sideline for the
second half instead of staying off the injured ankle, basically said it was
because he thought he would get back on the field.

Instead the Eagles stuck with backup A.J. Feeley and he provided just enough spark to go with

Brian Westbrook’s career-high 148 rushing yards for a 17-7
triumph over the winless Dolphins and first-time rookie starting quarterback
John Beck. McNabb didn’t practice this past week, and Feeley starts today
against the formidable Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Above and beyond the real extent of McNabb’s injuries, beyond whether it was
his idea or someone else’s to shut it down this weekend, the only real question
is whether he’s made his last start with the Eagles.

It’s hardly a secret the Eagles are big on rookie quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Closing in on playoff extinction despite a modest two-game winning streak, and
with a difficult stretch of schedule ahead, it won’t be long before the Eagles
feel obligated to take a look at Kolb, for he is their future.

There’s been uneasiness in the locker room this season, and it’s at least
partly due to the inconsistent play of the quarterback, the guy who in all
fairness risked his future rushing back from ACL surgery.

Still it’s just difficult to imagine McNabb, who turns 31 Sunday, making a fresh start
elsewhere even if that might be in his best interests.

Regardless of what’s going on between McNabb and head coach/executive vice
president of football operations Andy Reid, the Eagles’ locker room almost
certainly won’t be the same.

At this stage of the season they don’t care who drafted Kolb, extended the
contract of Feeley and got rid of Jeff Garcia.

It doesn’t matter who did what to who because the players know who was and
who wasn’t there for their most important game of the season.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Sometimes you just don’t know where to start.

And so it is in defending the New England Patriots, who have scored 54 touchdowns in 10 games.

Take away Randy Moss, who has 16 TD’s? That was John Madden's suggestion.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson only wishes it was that easy. Donté Stallworth, Wes Welker, Ben Watson and running back Laurence Maroney all pose matchup problems particularly in terms of speed.

Beyond Moss, 19 other Patriots have touchdowns.

The Eagles' 22 total touchdowns are spread among nine players.

The key is to hit Tom Brady. Eagles linebacker Takeo Spikes says that's the best way to rattle the Patriots quarterback. Hit him often enough and he will hear pain in the footsteps of the defenders.

Says Spikes, “It doesn’t have to be a sack, just a good hit. The hits have to come often. You want to get him at least once every three times he gets a chance to drop back and pass.”

Getting to Brady is a lot easier said than done for he’s been sacked just 10 times in 338 attempts. That’s one sack every 33 or so throws.

Spikes’ old team, the Buffalo Bills, didn’t get there at all last week and were humiliated 56-10. They rushed only two players at times, which definitely wasn't the right thing to do.

When Spikes called up his old teammates to get some dirt on the Patriots and their unsung offensive line, he got nothing beyond "have your track shoes on.”

The Eagles will do whatever it takes to get to Brady - even activating veteran defensive end Jevon Kearse, who's track-fast when healthy.

With a week off to rest a sore knee, Kearse (3 1-2 sacks) should be able to cut it loose against the pass-happy Pats. At least that’s Johnson’s hope.

The pass rush - whether it sacks Brady or not - is the underdog Eagles' only real hope.

Monday, November 19, 2007


If Donovan McNabb truly is a team guy, the decision to start A.J. Feeley next week against the New England Patriots should be a no-brainer.
McNabb on Sunday added a sprained ankle and a jammed thumb to a rehab regimen already heavily involved with his right ACL.
Barring a miraculous recovery there is almost no way you can expect him to be near the top of his game for the best team in football.
Face it, no one except the Eagles give themselves any chance to bump off the formidable Patriots.
While the momentum of a two-game winning streak has to give the Eagles confidence, the reality is they’ve had to work extremely hard to get it, not to mention their 5-5 record.
At this point it might be better to bring McNabb back after the Patriots game to give the Birds a better chance at making the playoffs.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Donovan McNabb sprained his right ankle in the first half, although X-rays for a break were negative.

A.J. Feeley took over at quarterback and continued into the third quarter, leading a seven-play, 62-yard touchdown drive capped by Correll Buckhalter's eight-yard run for a 10-7 lead.

The Eagles also played without defensive end Jevon Kearse, a healthy scratch for the first time in his nine-year career.

McNabb's right leg got caught beneath him during a scramble on a hard tackle by Dolphins cornerback Michael Lehan.

A year ago to the day, McNabb had reconstructive knee surgery on his right ACL.

McNabb was having his worst half of the season when he exited. He had thrown a couple of interceptions and had completed just three of 11 passes for 34 yards and a passer rating of 0.4.

Dolphins rookie John Beck was 4-of-10 for 55 yards and a 55.3 passer rating at the same stage.

Feeley gave the Eagles an immediate lift.

But Feeley threw a horrendous interception after marching the Eagles to the 25 of the Dolphins late in the second quarter, the ball not even close to intended receiver Jason Avant. Cornerback Andre Goodwin caught it at the 2 and was forced out at the 7.

The Dolphins led 7-3 at the intermission.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Lito Sheppard isn't the only Eagle wondering why Jevon Kearse lost his starting job primarily because of the club's history.

Most recently the players still haven't gotten over the way safety Mike Lewis was finessed out of town last year.

To recap, Lewis didn't take the Eagles' modest offer to extend his contract before last season. The contract he signed with the 49ers suggested he was worth much more.

At any rate when the Eagles' defense struggled early, Lewis was removed from the starting lineup instead of then middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, the other option according to a source close to the situation. The Eagles then asked Lewis to play weak side linebacker, which he considered just to get back on the field but respectfully declined, according to the source.

In the case of Kearse, his production is down slightly this year. With 3 1/2 sacks, he's still third on a team and just 1/2 sack behind Juqua Thomas, his replacement.

Kearse is a pass rusher, Thomas more of a hustle type guy who also plays the run.

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said the Eagles haven't gotten the opposition into enough third-and-longs to really cut loose the pass rush, which is how Kearse makes his living.

The players see that as a Catch-22 for Kearse; he can't do what he does best because the defense doesn't do what it's supposed to do best.

And last but certainly not least, there are players that think the Eagles benched Kearse just to pave the way to dump his pricey contract and play with a less expensive guy.

The latter, any player will tell you, doesn't win championships.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

JEVON KEARSE: $66 million role player

Rarely is Jevon Kearse in the locker room these days when the media is around, and for good reason. He's been humbled. The guy who was supposed to revolutionize the defensive end position now is a part-time player, and at great expense to the Eagles. Until further notice, Juqua Thomas, who still plays special teams, has in the words of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson earned the starting job at left end based on performance, incredibly enough. Rookie Victor Abiamiri in just a few appearances has shown enough run-stopping ability to get more snaps than Kearse, who barely got on the field last week. Unless someone gets hurt, Kearse can expect more of the same the rest of the season, which by all indications, will be his last in Philadelphia. The cap hit would be a modest $2.4 million.

Monday, November 12, 2007

And the next head coach of the Eagles is ....

Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator of those hated Cowboys, is the hottest coaching commodity around the NFL right now.

While it's unclear if the Eagles would pull the trigger if they decide to go in another direction at the end of the season stuck beneath the .500 mark, they should take a real good look at the Ivy educated, former NFL quarterback.

Garrett is a major reason QB Tony Romo has taken such a dramatic jump from last year. The play-calling has been exceptional enough that the Cowboys ()are making it look easy. Their 38-17 rout of the

Every Cowboy is a weapon in Garrett's offense, from Terrell Owens and Marion Barber to tight ends Jason Witten and Tony Curtis.

Garrett, maybe more than head coach Wade Phillips, is the reason the Cowboys are 8-1 and in control of the NFC.

I'm probably not the only guy that would like to see Donovan McNabb in an offense that best suits his talents. And Garrett would find those strengths.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Donovan McNabb sounded nothing like a guy on his last legs with the Eagles Wednesday.

The locker room was his, just as it was late in his rookie season.

McNabb urged a teammate setting up an appearance on a radio show to be sure he "wore his facemask" there. The comeback line was too little, too late.

Another Eagle walking by McNabb was asked why he was in such a hurry. When the teammate said he was on his way to work out, McNabb loudly said "It's too late now."

Both were defensive guys.

Halfway through the season, you would never know McNabb's Eagles were 3-5 with a difficult road ahead starting this weekend at FedEx Field.

Five, as he's called, was feeling no pain.

In his rookie year he did something so unforgettable it surprised teammates and innocent bystanders.

During a break in his rehab to get back on the field after missing a game with a sprained MCL McNabb decided to circle the entire locker room in the old Veterans Stadium. It was a place where the quarterbacks and the offensive linemen, the receivers and the running backs were up front, the defensive guys in the back.

Now, Randall Cunningham and almost all of the other passers rarely strayed from QB Row. Jim McMahon would take a stroll down Defensive Way every once in a while. The rear was like a tough neighborhood with a history of tension between the offense and the defense.

But McNabb went from locker to locker cracking jokes and acting like one of the guys while some teammates howled. He was clad only in his, uh, you know that thing that protects us guys from - incoming!!!

McNabb owned that locker room.

And this week, job guarantee and wild speculation about his future or not, it looks like he owns the locker room at NovaCare Way.