Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stephen A. Smith Has Returned To Philadelphia And He's More Clueless Than Ever!

I saw this article this morning and initially thought about doing a post on it, but then I listened to this magnificently done 30 minute On The DL Podcast episode that spent all 30 minutes tearing this "column" to shreds and thought that there was no way that I could top this, so I decided against it at first. Besides, Stephen A. Smith being a complete ass is not exactly breaking news by any stretch of the imagination.

But then I thought about it. And the more I thought about it, the more I figured, hey, it's a Thursday, I've got a paper to procrastinate, and instead of leaving up crappy high school drama for the rest of the night (I have one more quick post after this and that will be it for the night; likely), I figured I would indulge you, all of you SAS haters.

As some background information, Stephen A. Smith wrote for the Inquirer for several years before leaving for 3 years. Apparently he has returned and this is the first column that he wrote for Philly in 3 years. It's painfully obvious he's been gone awhile. Here's the article in its entirety.

As we scroll through the Eagles' history, one excruciating season after another, there is a common thread at the end of every campaign: A loss in a divisional playoff game. Losses in three consecutive NFC championship games. A loss in Super Bowl XXXIX. A loss in another divisional playoff game. Another conference-title game loss. A loss in the wild-card round. And nearly all of them came with Donovan McNabb at the helm.

No surprise there, of course. Philadelphia wouldn't be Philadelphia without McNabb to blame for all that plagues this team, which is something he accepts with as much ease as he accepts all those trade rumors. The thing is, while this city is so quick to blame McNabb, so willing to part ways with a quarterback good enough to tease it into championship relevancy, the one thing that hasn't been said enough is that McNabb did not miss those chances at Super Bowl glory all by himself.

Andy Reid was right there by his side.

And that's the way it should stay.

If, indeed, this city, these fans and the Eagles' organization are idiotic enough to get rid of McNabb, fine. But don't forget to ship the head coach right out of town with him.

Insanity has clearly gripped this city. Maybe the Phillies are to blame. After all, they do have a World Series championship in this millennium, with two straight Series appearances. Perhaps Eagles fans have said, "Hey, Phillies fans don't have to wait anymore. So what the heck is going on with this football team?"

The thing is, that question can't be asked of McNabb without it being asked of the terse-speaking coach (through news conferences, anyway) who arrived in 1999 and became the head of football operations in 2001 - and still doesn't have a Super Bowl championship on his resume in 11 seasons.

So why have there been rumors about McNabb being traded?

Who's the guy who picked those players at wideout since Terrell Owens departed in 2006? Who's the guy who has failed to find a durable runner, especially for all those times when Brian Westbrook has been injured? Wasn't it McNabb who passed for 3,553 yards in 14 games this season, guiding the Eagles to yet another playoff appearance?

We keep hearing that Reid has declared McNabb "the quarterback of this team." Forgive me for saying this, but where's the love for McNabb from everyone else? Particularly the kind of love constantly expressed for Reid?

Reid received a four-year contract extension this season. At the time, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said, "It was inevitable. There's no point waiting" to award the extension. "I've always valued stability."

With Reid, that is.

With McNabb, the emphasis is placed on winning, evidently. But how can you have one without the other?

Reid is 108-67 since arriving in Philadelphia. Lurie is absolutely right: His coach has brought stability to a franchise that had lacked it for quite some time. The Eagles always have heart. Most of the time, they're competitive. And for my money, Reid should stay - as long as no one has a problem with McNabb staying, either.

But if you're going to have a problem with McNabb - who has played with a grand total of two big-time receivers (Owens and DeSean Jackson) in his career - you had better have a problem with Reid.

Just like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and now Drew Brees have captured titles that McNabb has not, the same could be said for Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick, and Sean Payton regarding Reid.

"It's crazy to be talking about Donovan being in another uniform," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said during Super Bowl week. "Donovan has done so much for our franchise. He is our franchise. I've got faith in all of my teammates. Especially Kevin Kolb, because I know he's going to be a special player someday. But nothing can take away from what Donovan has accomplished for our franchise."

McNabb, for all his flaws, is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He's still a playmaker, someone opposing defenses have to plan to stop. Let Celek say what he will about Kolb's potential. But talk to me once Kolb becomes a No. 1 option someday.

Maybe I'll care.

Until then, until Kolb shows a pulse compared with McNabb, perhaps we can put to rest all of these rumors about McNabb's ending up in Arizona, Cleveland, Denver, or possibly Minnesota, in the event that Brett Favre decides to spare us a little drama and finally retire.

If not, then maybe it's better for McNabb to hop on the next flight out of town. As long as he takes Reid, his partner in crime, with him.

Fair is fair.
The fact that Dan Levy and Nick Tarnowski spent 30 minutes talking about this column and trashing it was no time-filler.

I won't touch on every thing there is to touch on here, but it is worth saying that Stephen has been gone from the Inquirer for 3 years. Is the best way to make your return really to completely insult the city by calling us "idiotic" and "insane"?

Secondly, what is he talking about that we have to link McNabb and Reid? WE'VE ALREADY DONE THAT 1,000,000 TIMES OVER! McNabb and Reid will always be linked together in this city! This is not breaking news. They have been for the past 11 years and will continue to be as long as they are on the same team. The general cry in Philadelphia is that both have to go. Reid got a 4-year extension last season so that option seems very unlikely in the near future. And who said the city of Philadelphia thought McNabb was a bad QB? I don't listen to Philly sports talk radio (I can't stomach every other calling chiming in about McNabb), but if what Dan Levy says is true, then there are pretty much daily debates about whether or not McNabb is a Hall of Famer or not (my opinion of that: he'll be a HoFer only with a Super Bowl ring). This city recognizes he is a good quarterback, just that his time has past and that it is time for a change. It has not worked for 11 years, he is past his prime, they've got a QB who looked serviceable in 2 games, why not go with him?

And Stephen, Kevin Kolb is the back up and potential future QB or trade bait for a very high (1st or 2nd round) draft pick, you damn well better care about him, especially since you decided to start covering this team again after a 3 year absence. Kolb's either going to be the next QB of this franchise or we are going to get something damn good in return for him.

And as far as this whole "big receivers" thing goes, please excuse the injection of actual football analysis in a column completely devoid of it, but those wide receivers are the 3rd and 4th option in this Eagles offense. Anybody with a brain that watches the Eagles regularly know that the 2 biggest receivers on the team are always the running back and the tight end. It was that way with Duce Staley as RB and Chad Lewis at TE and has evolved through Westbrook and LJ Smith (despite LJ's finest attempts to not make the catches), and it is now that way with Celek and with Westbrook's career being over, it looks like it could stay that way under Shady. And with the exception of LJ Smith, all of those RBs and TEs are/were great receivers in the Eagles offense.

But even if the Eagles did not always have the big name receivers, in his first year with the Eagles, Kevin Curtis was 81 yards shy of the number of yards that Terrell Owens had here in his first year here. The receiver production has been there. Besides, the Eagles have this kid named Jeremy Maclin. He may not be as flashy as DJacc, but damn do I ever have a feeling that that kid will be great someday.

And no Stephen, opposing defenses do not have to plan to stop McNabb the playmaker and the runner. Injuries have stopped him from running. But they do have to play McNabb the passer. There's a big difference.

I could keep on going on and on and on and on and on about this (Dan and Nick did it for 30 minutes, the link is up top, give it a listen) but for the sake of humanity and my paper I'll just end here. Stephen A. Smith is back writing in Philadelphia. As much of a clueless asanine "provacateur" that he is, the unintentional comedy that comes with his writings is just gold. Pure gold.

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