Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar, not Lombardi for Luries

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and wife Cristina won an Oscar last night for best documentary feature at the 83rd Academy Awards.

Almost instantly the absurdity hit home; i.e. the former Hollywood producer won an Oscar before a Lombardi, the latter the trophy given the Super Bowl winners.

Just say the documentary "Inside job" investigates the global financial crisis that began in 2007 when the banking business collapsed. The film interviews politicians, academics, financial insiders and even journalists supporting the cause. The Luries are the film's executive producers.

“The Academy’s recognition of Inside Job is a distinct honor," the Luries said in a statement. "We are humbled by winning this Oscar and we are very proud of the outstanding work of Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs and the entire team associated with the movie. Our goal was to bring a fair and thoughtful presentation of the actions that led to the financial collapse and show how it has negatively impacted millions of lives across the world. People are still suffering from this economic disaster and it is our hope that by understanding its root causes it can be better prevented in the future.”

If the Eagles fail to win a Super Bowl soon, Lurie deserves an award for claiming that is his focus. Then again, Lurie can take solace in veteran songwriter Randy Newman, who won his second Oscar in 20 nominations. Eagles head coach Andy Reid is 0-for-12 seasons in the Super Bowl-winning department.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More job security for Urban ... with the Bengals

Last week James Urban was comfortable raising his family in Drexel Hill and working for the Eagles after being promoted to assistant offensive coordinator.

This week Urban felt there was more job security with the Cincinnati Bengals, of all teams.

Urban, 37, joined the Bengals as their wide receivers coach after Mike Shepherd was all but run out of town following a year working with divas Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens that could turn into an interesting read.

Urban could not immediately be reached for comment. reported that Urban's experience in the West Coast Offense was a factor in the hiring, as Jay Gruden, the new offensive coordinator, runs a variation of the scheme favored by his brother Jon Gruden, the former NFL head coach.

"This is a wonderful opportunity coming to work with (head coach Marvin) Lewis," Urban said. "It allows me to continue to expand my knowledge base and work in a different organization and contribute to what we’re doing. There are some similarities in the verbiage and the concepts and some familiarity there. I’ve heard great things about Jay and am excited about working with him.”

Bengals fans haven't gotten over the departure of wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, who developed Ochocinco (when he was Chad Johnson) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh into elite talents. Ochocinco likely will return for the 2011 season; Owens will be looking for work.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eagles shopping Kolb

The season was barely over when the Eagles told Kevin Kolb that Michael Vick was their quarterback and they try to accomodate the backup's desire to start, although it wouldn't be in Philadelphia.

I wrote that the day after the season ended. A few days later a reporter faithful to the Eagles said Kolb wasn't going to be shopped. Well the silent bidding has begun.

Now that the Eagles very publicly have attached the franchise tag to Vick, effectively locking him up for 2011, the asking price for Kolb finally has reached the national media. And the Eagles still think they can get a first-round pick for Kolb, although it almost certainly would be in the 2011 draft unless a new CBA is struck before the late April lottery.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oprah has Vick figured out

An Eagles spokesman said Wednesday Michael Vick canceled an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show due to personal reasons.

"After careful consideration, I will need to postpone the taping of the Oprah Winfrey interview scheduled for February 22," Vick said in a statement. "I admire and respect Oprah and hope to be able to participate in an interview in the future."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Akers agent: 'Tag isn't valid'

Call it procedural, call it tactical, call the Eagles' designations of Michael Vick and David Akers as franchise and transition players, respectively, anything you want.

Anything but a fait accompli, that is.

"I just don’t think the tag is valid," said Jerrold Colton, agent for Akers. "We are in an unknown territory right now but I just don’t think it’s valid and I do believe the players association will challenge the usage of this tag. And then we’ll see where all this falls down the road."

Using tags restricting the movement of players when there's no guarantee the NFL and the players will be doing business after March 3 really doesn't make a lot of sense. The NFLPA says it will fight the measure.

And it doesn't make sense drafting players in late April if that happens to be a full month after the Collective Bargaining Agreement has expired. Anticipate legal challenges there, as well.

The worst thing about this mess is both sides are bitter. The NFL owners cancelled a meeting scheduled Tuesday in Philadelphia. The NFLPA is busy negotiating in the courts.

Franchise tag for Vick, transition tag for Akers

The Eagles announced they've placed the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick and the transition tag on kicker David Akers.

The designations guarantee the players top money for the 2011 season, assuming it's not derailed by a lockout.

In the case of Vick, the one-year tender would be worth the average of the top five quarterback salaries in the calendar year 2011. That figure ranges from $16 million to $20 million. For Akers the tender would be the average of the top 10 salaries of kickers. That would be in the range of $2.93 million. The franchise figure is an estimated $3.3 million.

The Vick tender was expected. Akers' tender is interesting for he turned down a preliminary contract offer from the Eagles.

“Michael Vick and David Akers were two of our most valuable players last year,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said in a release. “They were well deserving of their Pro Bowl berths and we’re happy to take this step to ensure that they’ll be back in Philadelphia next season.”

Statistically Vick enjoyed his best NFL season in 2010 with career highs in quarterback rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018). He became the second player in league history to throw for 3,000 or more yards, rush for 500 or more yards and accumulate a passer rating of 100 or more. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young did the same in 1992.

Vick earned a starting spot on the NFC Pro Bowl squad, was NFL Comeback player of the year and also drew serious Most Valuable Player consideration.

All of that said Vick and the Eagles were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs at home by the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

Akers became the leading scorer in Eagles history with 1,323 points. The five-time Pro Bowl kicker led the NFL with 143 points.

Since 2000, 12-year vet Akers leads the NFL in with 1,312 points and 291 field goals. Named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2000s, Akers is the Eagles all-time leader with 188 games played. Akers also ranks third in league history with 134 career postseason points.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A mini CFL pass rusher for Birds

Out to corner the market on sawed-off pass rushers, the Eagles agreed to a three-year contract with Canadian Football League product Phillip Hunt.

The 6-0, 248-pound Hunt is a product of the University of Houston, where he established the all-time school record with 34 sacks.

In Canadian ball, the 25-year-old Hunt registered 19 sacks over the last two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, including a league-leading 16 playing in 18 games in 2010.

The Cleveland Browns signed Hunt as a rookie free agent in 2009.

Last season the Eagles traded for Antwaan Barnes, an undersized pass rusher with the Baltimore Ravens.

Barnes didn't last long enough to apologize for the cheap shot he delivered to Eagles punter Sav Rocca in a preseason game, the Eagles realizing their mistake and sending him on his way.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All-Biker Eagles staff

Tough guy that he is, Reid has surrounded himself with bikers.

Up in age bikers.

Picture this:

Defensive line coach Jim Washburn, 61, offensive line coach Howard Mudd, 69, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, 48, all ride motorcycles.

Washburn and Mudd cycled together on an eye-opening trip through Africa in which both were moved enough to donate to schools and orphanages there.

Reid, 52, also is a biker, raising at least the prospect of a coaches-p only road trip.

Monday, February 7, 2011

'D' adds Caldwell, Zordich

The Eagles named Mike Caldwell linebackers coach and Michael Zordich secondary/safeties coach.

A former linebacker and special teams stalwart with the Eagles, Caldwell served as the team's assistant linebackers coach in 2010. Caldwell joined the Eagles staff as a defensive quality control coach in 2008.

As the quality control coach, Caldwell assisted with the linebackers and the defensive line.

Caldwell was an intern at Eagles training camp in 2007.
Zordich also played for the Eagles and was an assistant with the team last year.

Too early for Reid to fear Gruden

Andy Reid's job with the Eagles is safe - for now.

But Reid needs huge efforts from quarterback Michael Vick and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo Eagles in the coming season to keep it that way.

That's because the Eagles really do like Jon Gruden, who with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defeated them on the way to a Super Bowl title.

The Eagles like Gruden enough to issue a statement to squash a rumor alleging he was back in town on unspecified business.

“Early this morning we have received several inquiries regarding the rumors regarding Andy Reid and Jon Gruden,” the statement read. “This was simply a rumor and there is no basis to it at all. It is simply not true.”

The Eagles rarely send out such statements.

Former Eagles fullback Kyle Eckel mentioned on Facebook that Gruden was in town and something to the effect that it wasn’t to coach the Flyers. Eckel later told WIP Radio his attempt to be humorous had gone viral.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And my pick is ...

Steelers ... And I cannot understand they're 2 point underdogs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Michal Vick: From jail to hailed

There was no way Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was going to win Most Valuable Player this season.

But Vick won't leave the postseason award banquets empty handed as he was voted Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press.

Vick got 29.5 of a possible 50 votes to prevail in a landslide over runnerup Mike Williams, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver. Williams got 8 votes.

Vick is the first person to win the award after being imprisoned. Vick spent 22 months in jail for operating a dogfighting ring.

A HOF vote for Carmichael

Former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael posted numbers that have withstood the tests of time, scheme and even the expanded schedule.

Carmichael put up his numbers in a 14-game season as chronicled in this piece by Chris McPherson -
Carmichael deserves a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which announces the Class of 2011 today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vick's SB XLV party invite

It's hard to believe Michael Vick will stay away from his Super Bowl bash that's supposed to go off tonight in Dallas (on Mockingbird Road, not far from the Munsters).

With enough security to protect the real President (SWAT team guests will wear those Kevlar vests), Vick and the guests should be safe.

Checkout the advance hype:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Take that! DJax, Herremans and Jackson fight bullying

In a national appearance Thursday on The View, Eagles Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson gave the No. 10 jersey off his back to 13-year-old Nadin Khoury, who was bullied by a pack of seven boys last week in Upper Darby.

Eagles offensive linemen Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson offered their support to Khoury and his mother, who, along with Upper Darby Police, was appalled that no one stepped in to end the savagery.

The clip is at

Eagles add a cornerback

The Eagles picked up cornerback Isaiah Trufant off waivers from the New York Jets per reports (

The day after the Castillo blockbuster

Talking about where the Eagles go from here at 4:30 p.m. .

Another Vick party

The last time Michael Vick had a big party, it turned into an event.

A shooting event.

To insure Vick and his guests remain safe at his Super Bowl XLV party Friday, the quarterback, the NFL and some of Dallas' finest (including the SWAT team) are teaming up to give him presidential security.

Here it is:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

DJax recruiting Pro Bowl help

After back to back wild card losses, DeSean Jackson wants the Eagles to take the next step.

And here's the guy he believes would help:

Eagles games a veritable bargain

Entering the 2010 season, Team Marketing reported the Eagles’ average ticket cost $69, ranking 20th in the league topped by the New England Patriots ($117.84), the New York Jets ($114.64), the New York Giants ($111.69) and the Dallas Cowboys ($110.20).

That's the same figure as in 2006.

The Eagles are tied for ninth-highest in parking, charging $25 a car. Cowboys parking is $75, the Chicago Bears charge $46, the Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks $40 a car.

Additionally the fan cost index (calculated by adding the average cost of two adult and two children tickets, parking, two programs, four small soft drinks, two small beers, four hot dogs and two adult size caps) is $391.50, ranking 17th in the league.

The FCI’s of all of the NFC East teams are considerably more, the Cowboys topping the NFL at $617.80, although if you shop at the Wal-Mart lot right next to the stadium you might be able to save some money.

Birds talk to Hoke about DC job

The Eagles spoke with Chicago Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke about their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Hoke, 56, has worked with several accomplished defensive coaches including Lovie Smith with the Bears, Dom Capers with the Houston Texans and even Bob Stoops at Florida.

There was no immediate confirmation that Andy Reid, who turns 53 next month, was in on this phase of the interview process.

The Eagles fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, 36, a couple of days after being eliminated from the playoffs.

They discussed the vacancy with  Dick Jauron, 60, Dennis Allen, 38,  and Jim Mora, Jr., 49, who all went in other directions. Jauron took the defensive coordinator job with the Cleveland Browns, Allen the coordinator post with the Denver Broncos. McDermott landed with the Carolina Panthers.

The Eagles likely will speak to coaching candidates from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers after Super Bowl XLV.