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Bye Week Venting

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles

By: Andy Wheeler

So it’s the bye week. And it just so happens that today, I finally feel like I can settle all the business that’s been floating around in my head these last few weeks. Between the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers I’ve been disappointed, livid, excited and disgusted all in the space of about 3 weeks. For the most part, I’ll concentrate on the Phillies and Eagles.

Let’s start with the Eagles. Since it is the bye week and that’s the reason I have all this time to write, I’m intending to get it all out of my system.

First and foremost let’s talk about the coach. Beasley has told me many times that I’m flat out wrong about Andy Reid when I bash him. I’ll admit I’m a little harsh. Let’s go with what we know.

Reid, in his now 13 seasons with the team, has amassed the most wins in Franchise history for a coach. He’s been incredibly successful and his tenure here has produced the most successful run in the history of the franchise.

Are all you Reid supporters happy now?

I will not point out the fact that this is the 3rd worst franchise in NFL History or that to pass Greasy Neale’s 63 wins to take the lead all Coach Reid had to do is win 8 games a season for 7.5 seasons. I’m just illustrating that when a franchise record is broken, it’s not like we’re the 49ers or Steelers. We’re closer to the Detroit Lions as a franchise. People seem to forget that.

It’s the same thing that happened this year with the Phillies. Every other week this season it was, “The Phillies just broke this franchise record for wins or that franchise record for success”. Well of course we broke those records! The Phillies are still the only team in Sports History with 10,000 losses…of course a sustained run of winning is going to break some records…they’ve only stunk forever for crying out loud!!!!

Reid now has 118 wins as Eagles Head Coach. That’s just slightly over 9 wins a season for his tenure here. Which is very good, but it still lacks one thing. A Super Bowl. I’ve been told time and time again that “Andy your being stupid, Andy Reid is the best Head Coach in franchise history!”

Maybe I am, but in my opinion you don’t get to wear that crown until you’ve won a championship and Greasy Neale has 2 championships for the Eagles. Reid still has none after 13 seasons.

And there’s a reason for that. All of the mistakes whether they be on a game to game basis or in an approach to a season.

I’m just tired of the mistakes. I literally can’t take it anymore. On a game by game basis they are generally the same things every week. Poor clock management. Poor play selection. Poor use of time outs. A coach that has been running a team for 13 seasons should not be making the same mistakes every single game. It’s just astounding to me that Reid can do this and still have the nerve to be arrogant.

Every week, my cousin Dr. Bob and I complain about the same things to each other via text while the game is on. Literally the same things each week…time outs and bad play calls all of it.

Dr. Bob is a dentist. If for 13 years he went to work and screwed up teeth the same way every time…and didn’t learn from his mistakes…somebody would have fired him by now.

And if he sat there while somebody was in agony and arrogantly didn’t answer his patient’s questions as to why their teeth hurt after he was suppose to fix them…my guess is there would be some sort of malpractice suit.

The in game mistakes should be easily fixed…but nothing is easy around these parts. Let’s talk about the 49ers game for a moment. I don’t care what anybody says, and I don’t care what San Francisco’s record is…the Eagles should have destroyed them. The Eagles blew a 20-3 lead at the half to lose 24-23.

Why? The second half play calling was poor and the lead was mismanaged.

How?

Andy Reid said on his radio show the next day “When you have a 20-3 lead at the half, you want to come out and make it 40-3”

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have a 3 possession lead. They need 2 touchdowns and a field goal just to tie. You have 2 things you need to do in the 2nd half. Play good defense and kill the damn clock. Scoring points is nice…but if you don’t allow them to score points while at the same time killing the clock…you win.

The Eagles first possession of the second half, they came out after a blocked field goal and had 3 passes and a run and then kicked a field goal…giving you a 3 touchdown lead.

They burned 2:14 off of the clock. If you ran the ball 3 times and punted you’d have killed 2:15 or more…but you had 4 plays and you killed one second less than you could have. It just doesn’t seem possible.

The eagles ran 37 plays (not including plays called back, but including field goal tries and punts) on offense in that second half. 8 of those plays were runs. 3 were scrambles by Michael Vick. 8 runs!!!! 8! Does the coach know that if they run the ball the clock runs as well…but if there is an incompletion the clock stops?

In the 4th quarter of that game, with the Eagles clinging to a 6 point lead, the Eagles went on a 12 play drive that resulted in a missed field goal. Of those 12 plays they ran the ball 2 times. They killed a combined 5:17 off the clock. Let’s just say for argument’s sake that they ran the ball on all 12 of those plays. That’s about 9 minutes of total time they could have burned.

Instead of getting the ball back with 6:28 left on the clock to try and go down and score, the 49ers would have had 2:45 left on the clock to go 77 yards for the touchdown.

Now obviously they couldn’t run the ball all 12 times, but if they were at least conscious of trying to kill the clock and choosing plays to do so, instead of just trying to score, we could have had a different result.

Then again if they didn’t waste a pretty decent draft pick on a kicker and just re-signed the leading scorer in franchise history we probably win that game. But that goes to off field mistakes…which I’ll get to in a minute.

Maybe your favorite example this year is when the Eagles burned all their time outs in the first half against the Bills and had no way to stop the clock to kick a field goal going into half time.

Or another example of poor management and my favorite example is the Atlanta game. The Eagles get to the 2 minute warning, down by 4. Its 3rd and 3 yards for the first from the 21 yard line. Shockingly they have 2 Time outs left.

The commercial break for the 2 minute warning is 2:19 seconds long, that’s how much time elapsed from the whistle to the snap. That’s how long they have to call a play to try and get the first down, as well as figure out what they will do if they get the first down and what they will do if they don’t. Somebody has to be working on what happens if it goes to 4th down right?

Granted it’s Mike Kafka at the helm, but hey, Andy Reid really likes Kafka so he should be able to run a 2 minute drill…right?

They run a pass play that goes for negative 1 yard and then allow 8 seconds to tick off the clock before calling a time out to decide what they want to do. A field goal still leaves you 1 point short, and your on the 22 yard line…you’re going for it, anybody that’s ever watched a football game knows this…and you want to think about what to do? Shouldn’t you have done that before?

The Eagles could have used that time out when Atlanta took over possession to save more time and potentially have more than 5 seconds left when they got the ball back. As it was they didn’t and they lost another game they could have won.

Heck it took Reid 5 weeks to figure out that he has the best running back in the game and maybe they should feed him the ball. This offense is on pace to fall just 15 yards or so short of the greatest show on turf for most yards gained in NFL history. And yet we’re 2-4. Why?

Off the field mistakes of course!

The in game mistakes I fear will never get fixed. But then it’s the off the field mistakes that kill me too. Think about it. When is the last time there hasn’t been an Eagles season with at least 1 enormously terrible mistake that costs us a game or games…or even potentially a Championship?

There was the year we didn’t have a kick returner and Greg Lewis’s fumble cost us the Green Bay game. I remember when everyone was saying “Thank God Reno is back!” just because Mahe could at least field a punt. So essentially we had no return game that year.

What about how they wasted McNabb’s prime and all those chances at Super Bowls by not having any Wide Receivers?

Or last year when we had a terrible defense? Or the year we had no fullback? Or keeping McNabb one season too long? Or when Donovan didn’t know there were ties? Or for all these years the team not valuing Linebacker? Or the year that Kirkland was ok at Middle Linebacker and Blaine Bishop was ok at Safety despite both being way past their prime? Or maybe making your offensive line coach your Defensive Coordinator despite him never having been a coordinator and also having no prep time?

Look I’m not saying I don’t think Juan Castillo isn’t a great guy or a hard worker. By all accounts he’s the hardest working man in the building. But you know what? I’ll take the laziest S.O.B. in the World so long as he knows what he’s doing. Giving this job to Castillo in a lock out year with no prep time was a mistake. A mistake that I blame for the Eagles being 2-4.

Other reasons for them not being better so far, terrible safety play no matter what Kurt Coleman did last week, bad offensive line play no matter how many points and yards are accumulated and awful linebacker play. All meat and potatoes type positions that we’ve never been deficient in before under Andy Reid…except for linebacker.

Fans were so excited in the offseason because of the ‘Talent Grab” that they made signing all these big name guys. But honestly, this team is a bunch of talented guys without any soldiers. It’s kind of like Jimi Hendrix without “The Experience”. Could Jimi jam by himself? Yes! But he sounded better with the band behind him…and right now we don’t have a band.

I’m not saying the Eagles won’t make the playoffs. I think they could because the NFC East stinks this year. I’m not saying that Castillo won’t end up making things right and the defense won’t rebound. I’m not even saying that the Eagles might not be ok.

All I’m saying is that a few years ago, Joe Banner said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” It’s now 13 years of insanity and counting. If the Eagles miss the playoffs I think it’s time for Reid to go.

And for those of you that are wondering, I believe Andy Reid will get the respect his supporters think he deserves when he’s riding down Broad Street with the Lombardi Trophy in his lap. Until then I don’t care how many wins and playoff appearances he gets. He’s not the best coach in Eagles history until he gets that Super Bowl Victory.

Whew! I feel better getting that all out of my system.

Now it’s time to address the Phillies. I’m disappointed like the rest of you to be watching the World Series without the Phillies in it. But they honestly did it to themselves.

I wondered allowed after the 2008 World Series victory in the department “How long do you think this buys the Phillies a free pass with the fans?”

And now we know the answer to that question. 3 years. That’s how long the fans will give you after a championship before being critical Philadelphia Fans again.

This group of Phillies for some reason has always believed that it has an on and off switch. They always have thought they could just turn it on when they wanted and turn it off when they wanted. But it doesn’t work like that.

Once they clinched and locked up home field advantage they played incredibly uninspired baseball to close out the season until they got into a somewhat playoff atmosphere when they knocked out the Braves to end the season.

But it was too late for them to regain their momentum. And all along we were told “It’s ok, we’ll be fine” “nothing to see here, no big deal” Well it is a big deal when your team is laying waste to the entire league and then shuts it down once they get their goals. You don’t have a switch!!!! THERE IS NO SWITCH!!!!

There were other problems with the team, and it started with their approach at the plate. Their playoff at bats were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Swinging at the first pitch, not working the count….I feel like they were always hitting in a 0-2 count or a 1-2 count. I think I saw 3 or 4 3-0 counts the entire post season.

This falls on Charlies’s shoulders…and Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much. So I’m not going to beat a dead horse. But I have another pet peeve I’d like to throw out there before I get to Howard and Rollins.

I love that our pitchers try and get hits. I love that they have wagers with each other about their offense, I’m thrilled that they take that part of the game seriously when so many pitchers don’t. But for some reason they are being morons.

Here’s why.

Every pitcher in MLB is on a pitch count, including our guys. This is a universal truth. And if our pitchers were smart instead of trying to get hits or homers they’d be wagering on how many pitches they could make the other guy throw.

I’m of the belief that a pitcher shouldn’t take the bat off his shoulder until the other guy has thrown 2 strikes. Winning an at bat for a pitcher in the National League should be getting a hit, a walk, moving a runner or getting the other pitcher to throw more than 3 pitches to get him out. In the day and age of pitch counts I can’t believe this isn’t stressed more.

On to Ryan Howard, those of you that think he stinks or is over paid are morons. I’m sorry to put it that way but you are stupid. The guy misses very little time due to injury (at least he did before getting hurt now) he plays a very good 1st base and drives in more runs than just about anybody over the last 5 years. We are lucky to have this guy here…and honestly I’ve heard more stupid people rip this guy than rip anyone else associated with this team when it fails. You’ll get to see just how much we miss him next year for the first few months of the season.

And when the Phillies are figuring out what to do this offseason, let me join the “Get rid of Rollins” camp right now. He’s a great defender, but no where near the offensive force he needs to be to justify what we would have to pay him. He’s injured all the time, he mopes when he isn’t batting lead off even though he shouldn’t be and then of course there is what happened after losing the Cardinals series.

I was in the Locker room and everybody took their turns talking to the Press…except for 2 people. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino decided they would talk later. Shane’s I don’t think was on purpose. He looked torn up about the loss, but he really should have talked to the press.

Jimmy was because he’s got an enormous ego and felt that he needed to throw a press conference in a few days to talk about the loss and his impending free agency? Really? We were told when we walked into the clubhouse that he wouldn’t talk.

This is all you need to know. Leaders stand up and take responsibility when things go wrong. They stand their and answer the questions…all of them. Jimmy felt he was too important to answer the questions. Meanwhile, the guy everybody rags on, Ryan Howard stood at his locker, literally on one leg, and answered every single question that the reporters asked….until they were done asking.

I thought there was a time that Jimmy Rollins had earned the right to retire here if he so chose. I’ve gotten over that when Jimmy said he would require a 5 year deal for no “home town discount”. See ya Jimmy…I won’t lose one ounce of sleep with you gone.

I feel even better now! And I’m excited for the winter. The Flyers have a lot of promise once again, despite a really old defense. I’ll write more on them as time goes on.

And mark my words, there will be no NBA this season. The owners don’t like losing money or being responsible with that money when they do, and not one player wants to give back anything to make a system work. You’re about to see the NBA take a nose dive in popularity, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

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