Thursday, September 30, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies Vs. Florida Marlins: Live Journal

May 29, 2010 was a special day in Philadelphia sports history. Not only were the Philadelphia Flyers playing in their first Stanley Cup Finals game since 1996, but Roy Halladay took his talents to South Beach for an unforgettable evening of baseball. Only 19 times previous had a MLB pitcher thrown a perfect game. Roy Halladay was going to make it 20.

But what you may not have known about that night is after the Flyers game, I went back and watched the perfect game and wrote down notes in a notebook, as if it were a live blog I were conducting. For the first time ever, I am sharing with you these notes and will publish in this blog as they happen during the game. Think of it as an old school AA live blog, except everything has been previously written. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Line up



1st Inning

Josh Johnson on the mound. Shane Victorino leads off the game with a fly out. 1st pitch swinging too. Consider that something I've never seen before. Isn't that what Jimmy Rollins is for? Okay, at least you are taking pitches, Valdez. Ooh, a double for Valdez. Now that's literally something I've never seen before. The Marlins have some noise makers for this game that sound literally like vuvuzelas. Well, Wheels called them a buzzing noise. They are inaudible through the TV because it is impossible to hear 2 people making noise from the stands through TV, so I don't know for sure. Ryan Howard flies out to end the inning: Now that's money well spent.

Halladay's turn at the mound for the first. Coghlan thought that was Ball 4. Imagine if it was. Bad acting job, bad acting job. Roy Halladay seems to be getting his pitch count worked early. At this rate, there is no way he finishes this game. Hanley Ramirez is a lazy ass. For the 3rd straight batter, Halladay has gotten behind in the pitch count. Ramirez left the plate early because he thought Strike 2 was Ball 4. Again, lazy. Inning over. At this rate, no way Halladay goes 9 innings.

2nd Inning

Phillies offense has been in a slump lately. Good thing there is no chance of that lasting long. Nope, not with these guys. They'll be out of it in no time. Werth grounds out, Ibanez flies out. So no time is obviously not right now, I see. Josh Johnson, now there is an early Cy Young candidate for you. Thank goodness the Phillies have Juan Castro as a defensive utility man. And he can hit too! This utility man does it all. Roy Halladay is one of MLB's best pitchers, but I think he also has to be considered one of MLB's worst hitters.

Yet another 3 ball count and long at-bat. I don't think Halladay has it tonight. I blinked and the inning ended. Yeesh Roy works fast.

3rd Inning

Shane Victorino is an imbecile. Whoa, another hit for Valdez? Is this even humanly possible for him? Chase Utley time. The owner of the Marlins is sitting there surrounded by empty seats. He actually is sitting there and sees how embarrassingly empty this ball park is, in large part because of his dumb ideas. I wonder what stupid idea he will come up with next? LOL MAYBIN! He misplays a routine fly ball and Valdez scores from 1st. A lulzy moment indeed. Ryan Howard: Earning his absurd contract one hard hit single at a time. Bleh, Werth. Why did the Phillies sign Raul Ibanez to a 3-year contract? He is extremely un-clutch these days. Is that even a word?

2 pitch AB. Yes, Tom, being a major league pitcher is a special thing. I love how Victorino caught that ball inches behind Jayson Werth. What happens if they collide? McCarthy: "He gets Johnson swinging." 9 up, 9 down for Roy. Not too shabby, but then again, Joe Blanton almost always has a point in the game where he retires 9 straight.

4th Inning

Sarge time! Maybin catches this fly ball hit his way. You have redeemed yourself well, Cameron. Single off the wall for Chooch. I count 3 people sitting in those seats above the Teal Monster. Did Halladay just strike out bunting? Brian Bocock could teach him a thing or 2 about hitting. No, really. Halladay is so bad that even lessons from Bocock would improve him. Does Victorino ever not pop out or fly out?

If Chris Coghlan is even remotely as good as we was last year, this former rookie of the year along with that Stanton kid could be something special in Florida. Oh, so that sound we can't hear is a tambourine! They gave away tambourines! Yeah, I've got nothing. Ah, Gaby Sanchez, such a friendly looking fellow. If there is a guy who is not going to get involved in a brawl of some sort, it's Gaby Sanchez. He wouldn't harm a fly. "Guy has a ball, a glove, and a tambourine. Your thought is what is wrong with the picture?" Probably the fact he has them all at a Florida Marlins game. Maybin fucked up at the plate this time. Then again, Roy Halladay has settled in real nicely. Forget all I said about pitch count in the 1st 2 innings. Quick note: Halladay has not allowed a base runner through 4. Probably won't be important in the grand scheme of things, though.

5th Inning

Valdez leads off by getting an out. Yep, that's the Wilson Valdez I know. Ramirez stepped up to make a play. When the guy is not being a lazy ass, he's a decent player. Oh, ho hum, 1-2-3 inning for Josh Johnson. Yeah, this guy is a good pitcher too.

Nice defense by Utley. He is, in fact, the man. 3 ball count to Uggla and Roy gets him to fly out. I could get used to seeing these Halladay-Johnson pitching duels. Man, they are fun to watch. I think Roy's innings are getting quicker and quicker as the game goes along.

6th Inning

Tom McCarthy and Sarge are talking about Milt Thompson, the hitting coach of one of the best offenses in all of baseball. That guy must have job security like you wouldn't believe. When Werth flails aimlessly, it really is a sight to behold. Ibanez goes down. Castro singles. He may be no Polanco, but he can fill in admirably and is not Bruntlett bad with the bat. And Ruiz kills it with a ground out.

7 strike outs for Halladay after Hayes goes down flailing. 5.1 innings and still no base-runner, maybe this will be special after all. Ball hit to Valdez who makes a great throw to get a flying Maybin. Roy is so amazing that that is probably the play of the game so far. And once Johnson goes down, McCarthy is so kind to mention that Halladay has retired all 18 batters.

7th Inning

Roy can't hit. Woohoo, single for Victorino. He's earning the money he got in arbitration this off-season. Wilson Valdez grounds into the world's easiest double play to end the inning. I'll say this much, if the Phillies ever need to rely on that useless turd Valdez to fill in for any long periods of time, this team is fucking screwed this year. Get well soon, Jimmy Rollins, because if you don't, this team is utterly hopeless.

Coghlan, Sanchez (who flew out on what would have been Ball 4), Ramirez (who also swung at a Ball 4). It's fucking surgical tonight for Roy. You are doing your best job to jinx this effort, TMac. A very fine one indeed.

8th inning

Clay Hensley in for Josh Johnson. As Halladay sits alone there in the dugout, I wonder, how he can watch the game and not psych himself out. Utley flies out to the deepest part of a deep ball park. More shots of Jeffrey Loria. Again, he is probably concocting some crazy scheme to get laughed at as we speak. Long at-bat but down goes Howard. And so does Werth. Quickly.

Halladay nearly hit Cantu. He promptly hits it hard to Castro who makes a throw to 1st to get Cantu. If that is Greg Dobbs playing 3rd this game, the perfect game/no-hitter is done with. You can begin to feel this night being special. Uggla strikes out. Pop up! Halladay is 3 outs away from history.

9th Inning

Come on Phillies! Either score a shitload of runs or get out of this quickly so Roy can pitch in the 9th and my heart can stop racing at 1,000 mph. 2 down and no one on for Ruiz. This has been the longest 0-2 AB in the history of mankind. Ground out. Roy Halladay has a chance at history now.

Mike Lamb pitching for Hayes. Lamb sends Victorino to the warning track to catch a fly out. This huge ball park is a great thing sometimes. Wes Helms is pinch hitting with Roy 2 away from greatness. Wheels can barely contain is excitement. 1 OUT AWAY! Ronnie Paulino is the last chance for the Marlins to break it up. 1-2 the count. Wheels is literally choked up in the booth. "Tambourines coming in handy now." That is what TMac thinks of in this situation? The damn tambourines! Ground to Valdez, THROW TO HOWARD IN TIME AND ROY HALLADAY HAS THROWN A PERFECT GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like in life, our Roy is perfect. Now excuse me while I sleep off the heartache of having to watch the Flyers play the worst Stanley Cup Finals game in the history of history. Goodnight, Journal.

When Clinching A Playoff Spot, The Rays Had The Help Of A Philadelphia Lucky Charm

Pictured above is Tampa Bay Rays' broadcaster Todd Kalas conducting an interview after the Rays clinched a berth in the 2010 Playoffs. Look down at his right hand. See what he is wearing for the first time all season?

It's his father's 1980 World Series ring. Talk about a heck of a good luck charm.

(Hat tip to Rays Index)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NFL Week 4 Schedule

Who's ready for the (almost) nationally televised McNabb Bowl?!?!? I can feel your glee from here. The Eagles and Andy Reid and McNabb will be the story of this game, and why not, it is a story that will without a doubt sell big. But speaking from a long term perspective, this game is 1,000 times more important to the Redskins than it is for the Eagles. McNabb has yet to sign an extension, and as of now, he is a free agent at the end of a season. Since halftime of the Week 2 Texans game, the Redskins have done nothing but imploded. If Washington wins the game, they are 2-2 and a contender. Lose the game, and the Redskins are 1-3, chances are things have not gone well since Week 2, McNabb's passive-aggressiveness will surely come out again, and they will be faced with a potential Super Bowl winning QB on a team not going anywhere and whose contract is expiring at the end of the year. Giving up what the Redskins gave up to acquire McNabb, both directly and indirectly (Campbell to Oakland) and to lose him after 1 year would be a huge blow to the franchise, perhaps something that could deter the franchise for quite some time.

Anyway, here is the Week 4 schedule. (all times eastern; games I get are in bold)

Map of who gets what CBS game

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills 1:00 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 4:05 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders 4:05 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)

Map of who gets what Fox early game

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons 1:00 (Fox - Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora, Jr.)
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers 1:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

Map of who gets what Fox late game

Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles 4:15 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego Chargers 4:15 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)

Sunday Night Football

Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

Monday Night Football

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

Champions League Group Stage Day 3 Open Thread

My apologies for the lateness.

September 28
Group F: Spartak Moscow vs. MSK Zilina 12:30
Group E: FC Basel vs. Bayern Munich 2:45
Group E: AS Roma vs. CFR Club 2:45
Group F: Chelsea vs. Marseille 2:45
Group G: Auxerre vs. Real Madrid 2:45
Group G: Ajax vs. AC Milan 2:45
Group H: FK Partizan vs. Arsenal 2:45
Group H: Braga vs. FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2:45

Monday, September 27, 2010

4 STRAIGHT!!!!!!


The Phillies' season started with Roy Halladay on the mound in Washington. And the meaningful part of their season ends the same way. Halladay, along with Sweeney, Schneider, and Valdez were the ones who first popped the champagne. 4 straight division titles. The golden age of Phillies baseball. How amazing is this.

Not only that, but the Phillies also clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Reds and Rockies can't catch Philly. The Padres can tie but the Phillies own the season series tie breaker (5-2). The Giants can tie and tied Philly in the season series (3-3), but intradivision the Phillies' intradivision record is 41-26, whereas the Giants' intradivision record is 34-32. The Giants only have 6 intradivision games left. Thus, they cannot catch the Phillies. The Phillies have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and we can all look forward to a future of watching Brian Bocock play shortstop for the next 5 games.

Projecting The Phillies Post-Season Roster

The Philadelphia Phillies have clinched a playoff spot! With that news, the discussion of playoff rosters now becomes relevant. Granted this is a piece often written and the only ones worth discussing are the people who will not see a ton of post-season playing time, but I need a quick blog piece to procrastinate my paper, so here goes nothing. Last year the Phillies went with 13 players and 12 pitchers to start the post-season. This year I think you go 14 and 11, if for no other reason, than because the biggest reason the Phillies went 13/12 last year is because they had at least 1 game (turned out to be 2) at Coors Field. The Rockies are not yet eliminated, but their hopes are not exactly sparkling. This piece is written with the thought in mind that they won't pull off the miraculous.

Catchers (2)
Carlos Ruiz
Brian Schneider

Infielders (7)
Ryan Howard
Chase Utley
Placido Polanco
Jimmy Rollins
Wilson Valdez
Greg Dobbs
Mike Sweeney

Outfielders (5)
Raul Ibanez
Shane Victorino
Jayson Werth
Ben Francisco
Ross Gload

Sweeney should be on the roster just based on huggability alone. But given that he is the only experienced 1st baseman on the team besides Ryan Howard, he needs to be there should something happen to Howard. The last thing I want to do is to rely on Ross Gload having to play there if Howard goes down. The same reasoning applies to bringing in Greg Dobbs. While Sweeney has some pop left, Dobbs has absolutely 0 pop, but, he is one of Charlie's guys and if the Phillies need an emergency 3rd baseman, Dobbs is needed, especially if Jimmy Rollins injures himself yet again and Valdez is stuck playing middle infield. Francisco, the sloppy seconds in the original Cliff Lee deal, has been this team's 4th outfielder all year long whereas Ross Gload brings with him some pop, a la Matt Stairs.

Notable absentee: Domonic Brown

Even though Domonic Brown is likely a future star, I don't want him anywhere near this post-season roster. The kid is young, he is inexperienced, and perhaps, he could be overwhelmed by the immense pressure. Not to mention, I don't want to give him the feeling that he has seen and done it all by playing in the playoffs. Leave the kid hungry. The downside to not bringing Brown is you lose his speed, but speed alone is not enough to warrant a spot for a rookie who has shown he is prone to rookie mistakes, and even though he does have speed, he is not gotten much of a chance to apply it in terms of stealing bases.

Pitching (11)
Roy Halladay
Cole Hamels
Roy Oswalt
Joe Blanton
Brad Lidge
Ryan Madson
Jose Contreras
Chad Durbin
J.C. Romero
Antonio Bastardo
Kyle Kendrick

Barring injury, all but the bottom 3 should are easy givens. I'm not a Romero fan at all, but he is a lefty, and the Phillies do not have many of those in The Pen. The same with Bastardo, who at times has shown flashes of brilliance. Plus I like Bastardo's potential. Romero has no more potential, though he is this team's top lefty, for whatever it is worth. His inconsistency is enough of a question mark for me that I won't call him an easy given, but if I were handicapping it, I would say 90% chance Romero makes it. The odds are much lesser for Bastardo, but I would tend to lean going with a 2nd lefty. Kyle Kendrick in case a game goes to extra innings or a starter is pulled early for whatever reason. He's by no means a great pitcher, but at least he can save a bullpen (and a starter) by going 3-4 innings without much of a problem. Plus he is one of the better athletes on the pitching staff and if need be, can take an AB without looking lost at the plate.

Notable absentees: Danys Baez, Vance Worley, David Herndon

If there is going to be a swap, I think it is Baez over Bastardo. I despise Baez. I think he is a terrible pitcher who makes Ryan Howard's ridiculous contract extension look like a good deal, but I think Charlie realizes Baez is terrible as well. The usage of him in the past few months has dropped dramatically. Tough call, but I don't think Baez has done enough to make the cut. Some people argue that Vance Worley should be the Phillies 5th starter. In the future, maybe, but for a guy whose minor league numbers are equitable to Kendrick's major league numbers, I don't see how he fits on the roster. Rule 5 draft pick David Herndon has had an up and down year and has been a long man for Charlie throughout the year (best example of this: Scott Barry and l'Affaire d'Astro), but given that Kendrick will likely be the long man (or if Charlie needs someone early in the NLDS, you could probably even bring in Blanton), Herndon, like Worley, loses his place on the roster.

So that's what I think? Any agreements? Disagreements? Again, the guys who will be argued are the guys who won't see a ton of playing time and will most likely come off the bench or the bullpen, but it is still a fun discussion to have. As always, feel free to chime in in the comments.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Eagles Week 3 Recap: Vick-tory

I came up with that pun all by myself.  Why do you ask?

Onto the bullet points...
  • Good teams beat the shit out of bad teams.  The Eagles beat the shit out of the Jaguars.
  • It's been awhile since I was this comfortable watching the 2nd half of an Eagles game.  I missed the feeling. 
  • LeSean McCoy carried the ball a grand total of 11 times this game and was not injured.  In the middle of the 3rd quarter with the Eagles up 21-3 and driving, he had seen 6 carries, averaged 5 yards per carry, and was not featured on the drive.  That's unacceptable.
  • On a 4th and 1 at the Jags 31, the Eagles decided to go for it on a pitch to the outside.  They gave the ball to power back Mike Bell.  Predictably, they did not get the 1st down.  Andy Reid apparently never heard of a "Vick option" or a "pitch to Shady McCoy,"  2 play calls that would have been much more ideal if you are going to the outside.
  • Andy Reid, bad timeout management.  Bad timeout management, Andy Reid.  
  • Ron Pitts has not done an Eagles game since the 2005 season.  If  it is another 5 years before he does another Eagles game, it will be too soon. From "Joseph Avant" to him calling Maclin a "sung hero," I about vomited from the patheticness.  And John Lynch needs to either speak up or show some enthusiasm.  I don't think I understood a word he said all game.
  • Reading these last couple bullets you would think the Eagles lost or something.  It is always easier to write about the negatives than try to mention the positives, mainly because, but the latter makes you look like a homerific jerk.  But it was a 28-3 blowout, so here goes......
  • I criticized the decision to bench Kolb.  And I still do.  While it will likely be 3 years til my questioning is validated or not, I gotta give major props to Vick.  Vick started out slow, but I would say this was his best performance of the year.  On the 2nd touchdown pass, he was able to ignore a gaping running lane and pass the ball to a wide open Jeremy Maclin.  The result would have been the same if he ran, but Vick is recognizing there are other options besides taking off and running every chance you get.  On the 3rd touchdown pass, Vick was able to successfully look off a safety before (once again) finding Jeremy Maclin who would run the catch in for a TD.  Mike Vick looking off a safety?  Is he becoming a polished passer?  On the 4th TD, well, Mike Vick needs to remind everyone that he is Mike Vick.  It is good he is becoming a better passer, but you always want to keep the running threat available and you always want to keep defenses honest.  Vick dropped back to pass, had a huge hole, and he waltzed into the endzone. for the easiest 17 yard touchdown run he has ever had.
  • I have a paper to write for Tuesday so I don't have time to do it now or tomorrow, but perhaps in the middle of the week, I can illustrate with pictures and videos what I am talking about in the above bullet.
  • The Eagles defense held the Jacksonville Jaguars to 3 points, MJD to 88 yards on 22 carries, Garrard to 13/30 passing for a miserable 105 yards.  In related news, Stewart Bradley returned and played the whole game at middle linebacker.
  • Eagles defense sacked Garrard 6 times.  Playing in his 1st game of the year, Darryl Tapp dominated.  Juqua Parker lost his job as starting DE to 1st round draft pick Brandon Graham.  Parker leads the team in sacks.  Trevor Laws, who is finally coming around after a rough 1st 2 years, added a sack and was a beast all game.  And need I mention that the Eagles also have one of the best DEs in football?  That guy, Trent Cole, had 2 sacks of his own on the day.
  • Fact:  The Eagles selected Trevor Laws ahead of DeSean Jackson in the 2008 NFL Draft.
  • Donovan McNabb is so good he led his Redskins to a loss to the St. Louis Rams.  Wait, what?  McNabb's numbers were not deplorable, but they were not great either.  And against the St. Louis Rams, they should be better than meh.  19/32 for 236 yards, a TD, and an INT.  Should be better against the Rams, whose greatest improvement from last year has come on offense in the form of Sam Bradford.
  • The New York Giants are an embarrassment to football.
  • The Texans and the Cowboys exchanged places for a game.
  • The Eagles are going to have to beat a good team before anyone can call them Super Bowl contenders, but if they continue to beat bad teams (Washington and San Francisco are next), they will set themselves up nicely for an opportunity.  And when they play Indianapolis later in the year, we will learn a whole heck of a lot more about the Eagles.
  • The Phillies lost to the Mets, but as a result of the Padres losing to the Reds 3 hours later, the Philadelphia Phillies have officially clinched a playoff berth.  The Phillies magic number to clinch the NL East is 1.  It is worth noting it is supposed to rain non-stop in DC and Atlanta tomorrow. But if the Phillies get rained out and the Braves do play, then the Phillies could clinch both a playoff spot, the NL East, and the best record in the NL all by sitting on the couch after a rough loss.
  • This is my 1st year playing fantasy football.  I am 3-0.  I am clearly a natural at this.
  • Get ready for week long talk about McNabb coming back to the Linc.  I will tell you right now, half the crowd will cheer, half will boo, and the other half will be completely indifferent.  The Redskins defense is marginally better than the Jags' and the Lions', their offense is probably on par with that of the Jags, with a QB slightly better than Garrard, an RB lesser than MJD, and WRs about the same.  If the Eagles play like they did tonight, there is no reason they don't leave the Linc next Sunday 3-1 on the year.

2010 NFL Season Week 3 Live Blog: Break

"Break away from everybody, break away from everything. If you can't stand the way this place is, take yourself to higher places."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Latest Weird Philly Fan Moment Caught On Camera: Little Girl Picks And Eats Booger

Philly fans have done it all this season. Off camera they have thrown up on little girls. 3 idiots have run onto the field sparking 3 high profile incidents, one of which made international headlines when Philly police tasered the kid, little kids have been caught drinking out of beer bottles, and now the latest. I present to you: little girl picks and eats booger!


As far as the game went, the Phillies 11-game win streak was snapped, the magic number to clinch the NL East is still at 2, and the magic number to clinch the playoffs is still at 1. I am hosting the NFL live blog tomorrow, though from 1:35 to at least 4:05, my attention will be focused almost all on the baseball games, switching to football only at commercial.

Mets-Phillies Live Blog: To Clinch A Playoff Spot

Because the Giants and the Padres play a 3-game series later this season and one of those teams must lose at least 2 of those games, the Phillies can clinch a playoff spot with a win today by beating the Mets. Feel free to talk about any and all college football games. I'll be flipping to them during commercials.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Michael Vick's American Dream

There have been numerous things written about Michael Vick ever since the dog fighting scandal broke. That being said, there are very few that match up to the one published today by Andrew Sharp. To anyone who has looked down upon Vick for his past actions, this article puts everything into an amazing perspective and if you are still down on him and/or the Eagles organization for signing him, hopefully this new perspective will change how you feel and make you finally understand the other side. Here is a very small snippet with a link to the full article at the bottom.
Our understanding of animals is relative.

So that judging dogfighting has nothing to do with how you value the life of a dog. It's about sociology, and understanding that in different places, different animals mean different things. For someone like me, who grew up with two dogs and projected human qualities on them for my entire life, dogfighting is unimaginable. The thought of using them for sport and disposing of them afterward... It produces a physical shiver.

But if I'd grown up in a place where dogfighting was a regular occurrence, I suspect I'd feel that sensitivity would disappear. In the same way I see a cow and have no idea what to do or how to interact, but a midwestern farmer sees a cow and knows to feed it and care for it, so that one day that cow can be sold and brutally slaughtered.

We understand animals differently, and for someone like Vick, dogfighting wasn't foreign and barbaric. It's a disturbing notion, and indeed, the culture of dogfighting indicates a callous, ignorant slice of society. But it's ignorance, not evil. And for all the rhetoric we've heard about Vick's inhumanity and inhumanity of his crimes, it's sort of ass backwards.

Ultimately, demonizing Michael Vick demands a willful disregard for understanding humans. How we behave, and why in some places, that behavior deviates from the accepted norms of a sophisticated society. Dogs aren't meant to be fought, we say.

But in backwater Virginia, clearly, nobody got the memo about respecting animal rights. And a few hundred miles away, on the racetracks in Kentucky, they're still racing horses every weekend, euthanizing the ones that pull up lame. So wait a second: Who sets the standard? Why don't all these angry sportswriters have a problem with the Kentucky Derby?

I'm not advocating dogfighting here, but horse racing's mentioned as an instructive example. If we're going to talk about Vick's crimes, it's a conversation that requires a far more nuanced outlook than most of us are ready to dedicate to this.


Ed. Note.: I am hosting the NFL Week 3 live blog on Sunday. I will also be hosting a Mets-Phillies live blog tomorrow night if and only if the Nationals defeat the Braves earlier in the afternoon. Should that happen, then the Phillies will be a win away from clinching their 4th straight NL East pennant.

ESPN Getting In Touch With Their Darke Side

Some circles have known this bit of news for quite a while, but now it has been made official. Ian Darke is leaving Sky Sports to join ESPN. But, not only is he joining ESPN, he is taking over their soccer coverage in a massive, massive way. Via ESPN press release: (bold emphasis is mine)
Ian Darke will be the primary play-by-play voice on ESPN’s U.S. networks for Barclays Premier League matches, the U.S. National Teams (Men’s and Women’s), marquee Major League Soccer events, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He joins ESPN after commentating on Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches for the past 18 years. Darke was widely praised for his work on ESPN during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, especially for his commentating on the U.S. Men’s National Team matches vs. Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana.

“Having Ian Darke as our year-round signature voice for soccer programming reaffirms ESPN’s commitment to elevate our overall coverage of the sport in the U.S.,” said Drake. “Ian’s experience, authenticity and passion for the sport, which were evident throughout the World Cup, will resonate with our viewers, who have come to expect top-quality soccer commentary from ESPN.”

Darke added: "I am delighted and excited to be joining such a polished and talented team as ESPN. It was wonderful to be calling the USA’s dramatic World Cup campaign for American audiences – and I am flattered to be asked back on a permanent basis.”

Darke’s debut as ESPN’s signature voice for soccer will be Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 a.m. ET, when he’ll provide play-by-play commentary for Manchester City vs. Chelsea, live from the City of Manchester Stadium. In his new role, Darke will be in the booth live from Barclays Premier League match sites each week for ESPN’s U.S. audience – a first for the network. His co-commentators (analysts) for each ESPN soccer programming series will be announced at a later date.
Holy amazing awesomeness, Batman! ESPN was blasted almost universally for their piss poor, deplorable coverage of the 2006 World Cup. And now, 4 years later, their 2010 World Cup coverage has been almost universally praised and now they have hired one of Britain's top voices to be their lead for every major soccer event they cover. Talk about a tremendous transformation. On a personal level, Ian Darke quickly became one of my favorite all time announcers during the 2010 World Cup, and now I will be able to hear him again on American airwaves, starting tomorrow as I wake up at 7:30 AM to see Chelsea take on the New York Mets of the EPL, Manchester City.

Sergei Bobrovsky Likes Red Gatorade

The Philadelphia Flyers played in their 2nd pre-season tonight. And in related news, they played in their 2nd overtime pre-season tonight. And also related, they participated in their 2nd shootout of the pre-season. The 1st one was against the New Jersey Devils and the Flyers on in 4 rounds. This one was a tad different. This went 11 rounds and the Flyers wound up losing a marathon that saw Dan Carcillo take a penalty shot. But the highlight and most amusing moment of the shootout had nothing to do with Dan Carcillo. But the funniest moment of an amusing 11 round marathon came in the 9th round when Toronto Maple Leaf Christian Hanson went to take his shot on Sergei Bobrovsky. Now frequently when a player roofs a shot, there is a good chance it could knock the goalie's Gatorade bottle off the top of the net. But how often is it that you see the actual Gatordade bottle punctured and Gatorade spilling all over the back of the net and the ice?

To talk about the Flyers goaltending situation seriously for a minute, Sergei Bobrovsky (nicknamed "Bob") is one of the Flyers top goaltending prospects, though it must be said that even though this is pre-season, under no circumstances should he wear a Flyers uniform once the regular season starts. He needs to stay in Glenn Falls with the Phantoms to develop. He will most likely play behind Johan Backlund, but given the fact that the Flyers goalies seem to have injury problems, there is a good chance Backlund will spend time with the Flyers, which in turn would allow Bob to get more playing time with the Phantoms. While it seems like Bob may have a problem with shots named at the top shelf, as evidenced by this shootout and some other goals he has given up in the pre-season, he is extremely fast between the pipes and is very good saving shots that stay on the ice. For a team whose goaltending situation has been fluid since Ron Hextall and 1986, it is possible that Bob could be that long time the solution that has so long eluded the Flyers organization for the past 24 years.

Update: For those bored on this Friday and are interested in 10 minutes of lulz, here is the Maple Leafs-Flyers 11 round shootout in its entirety.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm No Conspiracy Theorist, But Something Ain't Right here

"Rush out, out from the center, not like one side is any better. Stand up, as they bend reaching."

When the pre-season started back in 2009, laughing at how Chris Mortensen's son was an inept quarterback never did I once think that by Week 3 of the 2010, the Eagles starting QB would be Michael Vick. It's incredible. From being a starting NFL QB to a convicted felon to once again being a starting QB in the NFL. You couldn't write this.

But how did it happen? And why is it happening? And why did it come out the way it did? Andy Reid has, in typical Andy Reid fashion proclaimed again and again Kevin Kolb is his man at QB. Now all of a sudden that has changed. Now it's Vick. What changed? A game tearing apart one of the worst secondaries in football? And why did he make his decision on a Tuesday? If he was so wowed by Vick and his performance against a defense that employs CC Brown, why did he not make him the starter yesterday, after having reviewed the game film?

Andy Reid may be an idiot play caller, but he when it comes to personnel management, he is anything but. He may be stubborn, but he knows how to work players and a locker room. Think about this: when Vick was signed, half the people wanted no part of a formerly convicted dog-killer on their team. Now all of a sudden, the entire city has been clamoring for him to start for the Eagles over the past few weeks. I'll admit it, what I have been advocating over the past couple weeks in regards to Kolb has been the minority opinion of Eagles fans. Most people in Philly wanted a guy to start for their favorite team who they did not even want in their city a year ago. What does that say about the job Andy Reid and the Eagles organization have done in helping Vick and his 2nd chance, in addition to the work Vick has done to redeem for his past mistakes? Dare I say it, they've done too good of a job. PETA has not even ranted against the Eagles the past couple weeks. What does that say? To those who were anti-Vick because of the dog fighting, but have come around so much to support him and clamor for him as the Eagles QB, I salute you. Even the people at PETA. Perhaps the hardest thing to do in life is to forgive those who have wronged you.

I told you this post would be coherent, I didn't say it would be organized. I had no original intention of making a paragraph about morality on a football related post about what the fuck happened late in the afternoon on September 21, 2010. But that is what happens when you write about things that floor you. Andy Reid wavered and changed his mind in a way he never did before. He may have made surprising moves before, but there was always a plan in mind. When the Eagles traded McNabb, he knew what he was doing at the time. When the Eagles opted to not resign Brian Dawkins, him and the rest of the Eagles Front Office felt he was asking too much. Reid has always held steadfast along with the rest of the FO. Reid does not backstab players. The Eagles FO do not backstab players/QBs he claims he is sticking with. He is loyal to his players and he likes to see things through. He does not change the QB position because one guy had a bad 10 passes, got hurt, and the replacement had a strong 6 quarters. At least not before this.

People clamored for A.J. Feeley after the 2002 season, Reid stuck with McNabb, people clamored for Jeff Garcia after the 2006 season, Reid stuck with McNabb, people clamored for Kolb during the 2009 season, Reid stuck with McNabb. People clamor for Vick in the 2010 season when he has said time and again Kolb is his man…..and he goes with Vick? Most bizarre thing Reid has ever done. Ever.

So did Reid backstab Kolb? Who knew what and when? Maybe Kolb knew all along Reid was bullshitting the media before and after the game on Sunday when Reid said Kolb was starting against Jacksonville. But why be so adamant about it as he was? Surely when Reid declared Kolb was starting against Jacksonville before Vick lit up Detroit, he must have known that there was a chance Vick actually could light up Detroit. They are, after all, Detroit. It just does not add up.

Some suggest it is the weak offensive line and he wants to protect Kolb until the line improves. But wasn't this known, especially when Jamaal Jackson went down? Nothing on that front changed in the last day.

One of the writers of Bleeding Green Nation has some insider contacts and stated he heard a report that Kolb was experiencing some head pain in practice. While believable, why is not this getting published mainstream? Reid and the Eagles refute that this is not concussion/injury related. Everything else about his health over the past couple weeks seemingly has re: the concussion tests. If the report is true, why is it being kept secret?

Is Reid panicking? Highly unlikely. Reid just signed an extension last year. His job security should be safe with Kolb for at least past this year. If anything, this just turned a secure job into a potentially unsecure one. If anything, he put his job on the line when it was never there to begin with.

Donovan McNabb was Andy Reid's guy. The Front Office wanted to make the move to trade McNabb. Andy Reid was the last one on board with that. Is this Reid's revenge?

Reid said in his press conference that he was blown away by Michael Vick's rapid acceleration the past couple of weeks. Now that is something I believe. Small sample size or not, no one and their mother could have ever predicted that Vick would have been successful as he has been the 1st 2 games of this season. But while no doubt impressed, was it really that impressive to give a guy you promised the world to a big "fuck you?" 6 quarters of Vick and Kolb is riding the bench again.

Is there a trade going on here? A couple of months ago, former Philadelphia Eagles GM and current Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert said he would give 2 1st round picks to the Eagles for Kevin Kolb. Though they have been denied, reports have surfaced that the Browns have contacted the Eagles about Kolb. Is Heckert serious about giving up 2 1st round draft picks? If he is, Reid should make that trade pronto. This is the Cleveland Browns we are talking about. The probability that one of those 1st round draft picks is a top 5 overall pick is rather high. Andy Reid would have to be crazy not to say yes to that deal, if it even exists.

What is going untold here? What happened today was not Andy Reid. One thing we do know, the Eagles FO is very secretive. What happened and what changed may not be known in a while, if at all. Is it the offensive line theory? Is Reid panicking? Is it Kolb's health? Is Reid telling the truth and this is all about Vick? Is there a Vick extension in place? Is the potential of a work stoppage in 2011 clouding Andy's thoughts, causing him to think this is the Eagles last year and that it is all in or not at all? I don't know the answers to these questions. I want to know. But I don't. And I probably never will.

"My best theory? It's already in me."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NFL Week 3 Schedule

Another Vick post coming later tonight tomorrow afternoon. I think I can finally write coherently....even if the content of the post makes me seem like a crazed lunatic.

As always, the games I get are in bold. This is one of those weeks where the 2 CBS affiliates I get are showing different games at the same time. So before you ask or try to correct me, I will tell you that there is no mistake in which games I have bolded. Of course, things are subject to change, but knowing my market, I don't think this is changing.

Map of who gets what Fox game

Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans 1:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints 1:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)

Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams 4:05 (Fox - Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora, Jr.)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 4:05 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

Map of who gets what CBS early game

Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants 1:00 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

Map of who gets what CBS late game

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos 4:15 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
San Diego Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks 4:15 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:15 (CBS - Spero Dedes and Randy Cross)

Sunday Night Football

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

Monday Night Football

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

This is the 1st time since 2005 that the Philadelphia Eagles are having Ron Pitts do their game. For those that don't remember 2005, that was the year Mike McMahon filled in for an injured Donovan McNabb. Yikes. Come to think of it, I don't even think I've watched a Ron Pitts called game since then. Posters on the506 don't take too kindly to him, but I guess I will have to judge him myself this coming Sunday as he takes his turn in worshiping Mike Vick's Greatness.

The Eagles New Starting QB: Mike Vick

The Eagles only had a national media manufactured QB controversy before.  Now they have a real one.  I give you the stupidest thing Andy Reid has ever done.
Andy Reid has announced that Michael Vick is the Eagles starting quarterback

Has nothing to do with Kevin Kolb or his injury, his future is "not slighted one bit." Still says he can be a franchise quarterback.

Says it's all about Vick's "accelerated play." Calls Vick "the hottest quarterback in the NFL." Says Vick deserves to play, Kolb will be allowed to continue his maturation process.

Says it's his responsibility to continue evaluating and Vick's accelerated play prompted the decision to make a change.

Was asked whether one half of play was enough to evaluate Kolb. Andy says it wasn't about judging Kolb, he'll still be a Superbowl level QB. However, when you have a guy playing at the level that Vick is you have to let him play.

Reid says that this will help Kevin Kolb's maturation process and he will get to continue to learn.

Reid says he didn't expect the accelerated play of Vick when he made the decision to go with Kolb in preseason.

Says he's been meeting with Kolb over the past two days and that he wants to be the starter, but has accepted the decision. He says Kolb is unfortunately stuck behind an "Ex superstar that has now regained his abilities."

Reid says the team has seen the great play from Vick over the past two weeks and that has factored into the decision.
This team needs to win the Super Bowl now. If not, this move is a failure.

The entire franchise is set back a year now. The 1st rendition of the "Kevin Kolb era" lasted 10 passes. This year was always the developmental year. Now it's next year. I've defended Kolb on here for weeks. You know where I stand. I won't re-iterate my same talking points.

And, although I think this is the dumbest move Andy made in 10 years, maybe (read: I hope to fucking god) he sees something in Vick that includes more being able to tear up a defense unprepared for him and a defense that flat out sucks. It is absolutely unlike Andy to make a knee-jerk move like this. In a way that's encouraging. In another way, it reeks of desperation. I've always considered Reid very good if not great at player management. Maybe he thinks he is outsmarting everyone again. But, isn't this what everyone has been saying? JasonB of Bleeding Green Nation called this the "most Un-Andy move Andy has ever made." Can't say I disagree with him there. I've never been more shocked or surprised about a personnel move the Eagles have made since the start of Andy Reid's tenure. I admit, I did not see this coming at all. At all.

I've always seen Kolb as a 2-year plan. Reid's job was always safe through this year into last year. If this bombs, I think this could be the last big move he makes.

I hope Reid is right. I want Andy to be right. I want him to be right about this more than he has ever been right about anything in his life. I've always wanted Vick to succeed after prison and I am glad he is being given an opportunity he has probably earned (though I always thought that opportunity would be cashed in elsewhere). Michael Vick is now my quarterback and he has my undying support. If everything I said about Mike Vick and Kolb from the past few weeks is wrong, I will be the happiest Eagles fan ever. Happy not only to have witnessed the most successful reclamation project in football history, but this move being a success means Michael Vick would have accomplished something the Eagles have not done since 1960.

Monday, September 20, 2010




Mike Vick: A Statistical Explanation Of Why He Should Not Be The Eagles Starter This Year

Over the past week, I have made several arguments about why Vick should not be the starter, most of them dealing with team chemistry, locker room management, and common sense. But, those are not the only reasons. In arguing with a bunch of nitwits over at Bleeding Green Nation, I stumbled upon another argument for why Mike Vick should not be the starting QB for the Eagles, this one being rooted in statistics. Unlike Kevin Kolb, who in his career has only made sporadic appearances in addition to starting 2 games in 2009, Mike Vick has been a QB in the NFL since 2001, playing in 88 games since being drafted. Granted that includes the 12 games he appeared in last year as Andy Reid's toy, but his role was so limited that the effect they had on his passing averages, if any, are minimal, as Vick only threw 13 passes all season.

Michael Vick's 2010 passing stats after 2 games:

Completion percentage: 63.79%.
Passing yards per game: 229.5 yards
Passer rating: 101.5
TD-INT ratio: 3-0

Michael Vick's career numbers:

Completion percentage: 53.9%
Passing yards per game: 135.2 yares.
Passer rating: 76.2.
TD-INT ratio: 76-52 (simplified as 1.46-1, or 1.46 TDs for every 1 INT)

The contrast is startling.

While the uninformed fan may point out that this means Mike Vick is better than ever, it is important to ignore him/her and focus on rationality and look at what exactly has happened. Vick was forced to enter the game after Kevin Kolb went down Week 1 with a concussion. The Green Bay Packers had prepared mostly for Kolb, and while I am sure they talked about Vick and had some plans for him, he was not the vocal point of Dom Capers' preparation. Give a playmaker like Vick a team not expecting him in large doses for a full half of football, and the numbers are naturally going to be inflated provided there is no fuck up (which there wasn't). Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, Vick faced a team with one of the worst secondaries in football. The Lions strength this year is their offense and maybe an emerging D-line with Suh. Their secondary is weak. Need further proof? They started CC Brown at safety. Vick did as most QBs should do and picked apart a bad secondary. Well done, Michael.

But even if this was against 2 good and prepared defenses, the stats need to be re-examined. Michael Vick's completion percentage is up nearly 10% from his career. His TD-INT ratio is perfect. His QB rating is 25.3 points higher than his career average. His yards/game is up over 100, and that is without playing a full half against the Green Bay Packers. These "great" numbers are based on 6 quarters. Just like Kevin Kolb's career consists of nothing but small sample sizes, the same can be said with Mike Vick's 2010 season. 6+ quarters does not erase a career of mediocrity throwing the football.

It is important to recognize that Mike Vick spent 2 years rotting away in a prison in Kansas. When released, not only was he out of shape, he was out of football shape. It was painful watching him come in his first few games last season. Now, after sporadic appearances in 2009, an off-season of working out and partying, a full 2010 training camp spent as the back up QB, sporadic appearances in the pre-season with mostly 2nd teamers, Kolb-haters now believe that this man is now the rightful starter of the 2010 season. By all accounts, Mike Vick is playing well over his head and putting up numbers that are unsustainable for him when compared to his career numbers. If Vick were to start more games for this season for whatever the reason, there is no way people can expect Vick to keep up and continue to outperform his career numbers in such an emphatic manner, especially when he comes up against fully prepared defenses with decent to very good secondaries. It is almost impossible for someone to have gone through what Vick has and be a better passing QB now than he was then, especially given what little time has elapsed since his release.

It is one thing if he were putting up his career averages these past 2 games, but these numbers are so far above the mean that a painful regression is only inevitable should Michael Vick start more games for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eagles Week 2 Recap: Phew

Another bullet recap!
  • Well that game was certainly closer than it ever needed to be.  It was a terrible, sloppy, messy, ugly game that the Eagles were probably lucky to win.
  • I said last week that if I was forced in a corner and I could only have one of Kevin Kolb or Stewart Bradley back, I would choose Stewart Bradley.  This game proved me right.  Michael Vick was competent (more on him later).  Omar Gaither at middle linebacker was a walking disaster (again).  A guy whose lone asset is his speed, somehow looked slow out there.  The difference Stewart Bradley makes is only apparent when Bradley is in there.  The Eagles missed him so hard.  So so hard.  Bradley is not the answer to every defensive woe (Ernie Sims had a few bad plays as well), but he will go a long way in answering a lot of them.
  • Michael Vick played very well today.  The Detroit secondary is admittedly awful, but you still need to connect with the plethora of open WRs, and with the exception of a few rare cases, Vick did that.
  • Those that bash Kolb are quick to point out that Kolb's 2nd game was against a bad team in Kansas City.  What is the difference between what Kolb did against KC last year and what Vick did in Detroit today?  Why can't you judge Kolb on that game but you can judge Vick as the team's savior based on this game?
  • Riley Cooper may have the face of an angel, but dude, you can't pull a Hank Baskett on an onside kick like that!
  • DeSean Jackson is very fast.
  • Jahvid Best is also very fast.  And someone who should be right square in the middle of the "rookie of the year" discussions at the end of the season if he keeps this up.  Omar Gaither may be complete shit and Best may have run over said shit, but the guy can elude tacklers and outrun pretty much anyone he wants to.  Color me impressed.  Also, Ron Franklin must be pleased his efforts were not in vain.
  • Brent Celek needs help with his blocking.
  • Owen "Runaway Beer Truck" Schmitt may not be as good as Leonard Weaver, but he looked competent as a blocker and he caught a few passes.  Not too bad for a guy who was unemployed last Sunday.
  • As soon as Reggie Wells learns the playbook, he needs to get in the game and help this offensive line.  They need all the help they can get.
  • Donovan McNabb played well against the Texans, but on a 3rd and 10 in overtime at the Texans 35 yardline, he overthrew a deep ball.  That overthrow resulted in Graham Gano missing a 52-yard field goal.  The ensuing drive would be the winning drive for the Houston Texans.  Outside of that throw, though, McNabb did have a decent game like McNabb can have.  But he still has not proved to me is a take-charge leader and the Eagles were wrong to trade him.
  • The Eagles are at Jacksonville next week.  Andy Reid said pre-game Kolb would start.  Stewart Bradley passes his concussion tests and is likely to start as well next week.  Jacksonville does not boast a strong secondary and MJD is a beast.  To say I am interested in how each of them fare is an understatement.  Prove me right, Kevin and Stew!

2010 NFL Season Week 2 Live Blog: Criminal

"The hunger coming over me, as I learn to hide the agony, to make a final remedy, to close the door once and for all."


Michigan State, Notre Dame, Little Giants, And The Controversy That Really Should Not Be One

A "what the fuck are you thinking you fucking imbecile?" play if it does not work and the "CALL OF THE YEAR!" if it does work. And this play, known as Little Giants to Michigan State, worked to perfection, giving Michigan State a 34-31 OT victory over Notre Dame.

Now I am sure you are wondering, what on earth did I post 2 pictures showing ABC's play clock at 0 with Michigan State having not snapped the ball? To prove a point. ABC's play clock is not in sync with the play clock on the scoreboard. Look at the play clock on MSU's scoreboard. It still says 1 on it. Look at it on the 2nd screenshot. It says 0. Now watch the play. Per someone who can count tenths of a second better than I can, Michigan State got the snap off with .2 of a second expired after the ABC play clock expired. Now, the referees obviously cannot see that computerized play clock. They can only see the stadium one. Based on the screenshots, it can be reasonably assumed that the out of syncness is by .1 second. That leaves .1 second for the referees, who have to look for other things than just delays of game (i.e. false starts, offsides, illegal motion, etc.), to look up, notice the play clock has expired, recognize it is delay of game, and blow the whistle all in .1 of a second. Is it humanly feasible to blow that whistle in time? Probably, yes. A trained individual looking at the play clock could blow a whistle between the instant the clock expires and .1 seconds after said expiration. But given the nature of the referee's other responsibilities, is it reasonable to assume that we will get a delay of game whistle .1 seconds after the play clock expires? No, it is not.

And even if the estimation of tenths of a second is off here, blowing a whistle for delay of game is not a science. The next time you are watching a football game, watch how long it takes for a referee to blow a delay of game whistle. Often times it can take 1 to 2 whole seconds after the expiration of a play clock, though a referee who spots it at the just right instant probably has the play dead in .5 seconds. Notre Dame fans are going to get pissy about it. Heck, they already are, but until the age of robot referees hits us, you are not going to see delay of game penalties called that quickly in any level of football. It is just not reasonable to expect a referee who is watching for other infractions not clock related in addition to delay of game to blow a whistle for delay of game less than two-tenths of a second after the play clock expires.

(Note: If you are having problems reading the stadium scoreboard play clock, click on the pictures to enlarge. The difference between the 1 and the 0 is clear as day once enlarged, though unfortunately this is the largest Blogger will allow you to make them without pixelation.)

Update:  Here is a tremendous breakdown of the clock, the graphics, and the situation.

The Big East issued the following explanation that I agree 100% with.
"After review, the conference believes that the game officials correctly applied the proper mechanics and guidelines that are in place to determine, in a consistent manner, when a flag should be thrown for delay of game. The responsibility is assigned to the back judge, who in this situation was standing beneath the upright. Proper mechanics dictate that his focus be directed to the play clock as it approaches zero. When the play clock display reads zero, he must re-direct his attention to the ball. At that time, if the snap has not started, a flag will be thrown for delay of game. If the snap has begun, no flag will be thrown.

Under these procedures, there will always be a small amount of lag time between the time the clock reads zero and the time the back judge is able to see the football. On the play in question, this lag time created the situation where it appears the play clock expired just before the snap. We believe the snap occurred well within the normal lag time for the back judge to make this determination. This play is not reviewable under current NCAA rules."
That's a clean, fair and square win for Michigan State. I don't think I have ever seen a delay of game called 1/5 of a second after the play clock expires. If you are an upset Irish fan or just someone who is unhappy with the call, this video says it best. Deal with it.

(Hat tip to The Only Colors.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mike Vick Is Starting For The Eagles This Sunday.....So, Uh, Where Is The Outrage?

And no, I am not talking about my outrage. Kevin Kolb, though improving and looking at a possible Week 3 return, has not been medically cleared to play this Sunday. Therefore, the Eagles are starting their back-up quarterback, Michael Vick. You know, the Michael Vick that was convicted of dog-fighting and spent 2 years in prison for it? This will be the first time he started an NFL game since going to prison.

I wouldn't have blamed you if you've forgotten that fact about Vick for a moment, as quite honestly, it seems like everyone who exhibited some mindless outrage over the matter has in part gotten over the thing. Could it be that Vick has made several appearances for 1 play stints as Andy Reid's "wildcat toy" and has caused people to get used to seeing Vick in the NFL? Quite possible. But when the Eagles signed Vick over a year ago, did you ever think that the angry headlines would be.......this little?

Given the nature of the anger and the situation.......I can honestly say I am not surprised at all. Sure it was rampant when the Eagles first signed him, but Andy Reid's often mysterious ways of using him on the field in addition to the national media manufactured controversy over who should the Eagles start when both Kolb and Vick are healthy have turned what was once the one and only core story about Michael Vick into a secondary story put on the backburner only brought out by the PETA crazies when they are not sponsoring nudity or getting all bent out of shape and crying hysterically over something relatively mundane. And even PETA is yet to put something up on this, though I am sure that will change. But if PETA and a mere handful of other crazies are the only ones to be upset over Michael Vick starting, then I think it is safe to conclude that one of the biggest scandals in sports the past decade has reached to the point where it is practically a non-story regarding Vick.

Alex Ovechkin Wears Yellow Socks

Yesterday the Flyers took part in a rookie pre-season game with the Washington Capitals. Now the game consisted mainly of people who will not be wearing NHL uniforms in a few weeks, but that does not mean you can't get some pretty good video from the game. Broad Street Hockey blogger (and my ex-trivia opponent) Ben Rothenberg attended the game and got to take some video which he posted on YouTube. 2 things to take note of: a). Alexander Ovechkin's yellow shoes. b). the Flyers new awesome road uniforms.

The new road uniforms are the same uniforms as their 2010 Winter Classic uniforms minus the patch, but regardless, they are still awesome looking and I look forward to seeing them all throughout the 2010-11 season, starting in just a few weeks, incredibly enough.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday To Me!

Is this the part where I am supposed to get so drunk that I nearly pass out from alcohol intoxication?

All I'll say if you don't hear from me much today, well, I'll be.........sitting in 3 1 hour 15 minute long classes and catching up on some readings I need to. Or maybe after attending the classes (the bastards take attendance) I might write a potential scouting report on some of the potential pitchers the Phillies could face in the NLDS. I've toiled the thought of such a post in my head the past few days but can't decide if I should write a prospective one on the possible teams or just wait until the opponent is known and write one for that opponent. The Phillies humiliating the Marlins bullpen for 9 innings and the Braves loss to the Nats has given the Phillies a 3-game lead in the NL East and sent me to bed a happy Phillies fan. And a happy legal adult who can legally buy alcohol and drink it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Champions League Group Stage Day 2 Open Thread

I got flipped off for wearing a Frank Lampard jersey in class today. I love soccer. GO CHELSEA!

Group E: Bayern Munich vs. AS Roma 2:45
Group E: CFR Cluj vs. FC Basel 2:45
Group F: Marseille vs. Spartak Moscow 2:45
Group F: MSK Zilina vs. Chelsea 2:45
Group G: Real Madrid vs. Ajax 2:45
Group G: AC Milan vs. AJ Auxerre 2:45
Group H: Arsenal vs. Braga 2:45
Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. FK Partizan 2:45

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NFL Week 2 Schedule

Well, Week 1 was a typical Week 1. Lots of sloppy and low-scoring games with some exciting finishes. Week 2 is the week where teams finally seem to click on all cylinders and we can get a slightly better (though still not great) idea of which teams are gonna be fine, which ones won't be fine, and which ones may have had a bit of an aberration in Week 1, for better or worse. That is, unless the game you are watching will pit one team whose starting QB is concussed against a team whose starting QB separated their shoulder. For what it's worth, the Eagles still list Kolb as the projected starter on their website, though whether or not he will be medically cleared to play and start won't be known until Friday at the earliest. CBS has the double header this week, NBC gets the chance to felate over the Manning Brothers for 4 and a half hours, so without further ado here is the Week 2 schedule! (all times eastern; games I get are in bold)

Map of who gets what Fox game.

Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys 1:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers 1:00 (Fox - Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora, Jr.)
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons 1:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions 1:00 (Fox - Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan)

Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos 4:05 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Oakland Raiders 4:05 (Fox - Ron Pitts and John Lynch)

Map of who gets what CBS early game

Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings 1:00 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 (CBS - Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots)
Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers 1:00 (CBS - Spero Dedes and Randy Cross)
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 (CBS - Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns 1:00 (CBS - Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein)

Map of who gets what CBS late game

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets 4:15 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
Houston Texans vs. Washington Redskins 4:15 (CBS - Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers 4:15 (CBS - Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker)

Sunday Night Football

New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts 8:20 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)

Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers 8:30 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

Champions League Group Stage Day 1 Open Thread

Today's games: Feel free to comment here. Go my 2nd favorite European team, FC Barcelona! Beat Panathinaikos!

Group A: FC Twente vs. Inter Milan 2:45
Group A: Werder Bremen vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2:45
Group B: Lyon vs. Schalke 04 2:45
Group B: Benfica vs. Hapoel Tel-Aviv 2:45
Group C: Manchester United vs. Rangers 2:45
Group C: Bursaspor vs. Valencia 2:45
Group D: FC Barcelona vs. Panathinaikos 2:45
Group D: FC Copenhagen vs. Rubin Kazan 2:45

TBS Announces MLB Playoff Announcers

And the Fisting One's replacement is.............Ernie Johnson!

LDS Announcers:
Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, and John Smoltz
Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson
Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly
Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez

ALCS Announcers
Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, and John Smoltz

Sideline Reporters
Craig Sager
Tom Verducci
Marc Fein
David Aldridge

TBS Studio
Matt Winer, Dennis Eckersley, Cal Ripken, and David Wells.

Ernie Johnson is the man and even though I have not heard him do PbP much, if at all, he certainly figures to be better than anything Captain Fisted ever had to offer. Overall it looks like a good line-up, certainly much better now that Chip Caray is no longer with TBS to tell us that balls are getting fisted foul. Goodbye, Chip. We'll miss you.

Say Hello To Leonard Weaver's Replacement

Get well soon Church Van. Hello Runaway Beer Truck!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jason Whitlock Is An Ignoramus On Kolb/Vick "Controversy"

Surprisingly, the Philadelphia media did not get into a major Michael Vick frenzy, instead focusing on blaming Andy Reid for putting Kolb and Bradley back in the game, although are forgetting the annoying little fact that Andy Reid is not a doctor and is not in charge of determining whether or not a player is healthy to play). Andy Reid may not be a bad play caller and may not be great at game management, but as much shit as he is fairly given, he is given just as much unfairly. Anyway, I digress. The main focus of this post is the incredibly bad column written by Jason Whitlock written on the media-manufactured controversy between Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick. The title of this article, is "Don't Be Thick, Go With Vick." That alone should be enough to suggest it is barely worth a read, but because I have been dying to do this all day, I shall proceed.
The teflon coach is now on the clock.

With Donovan McNabb banished to our nation's capital, Philadelphia football fans have no choice but to examine the work of the man wearing the headsets.
Why is Whitlock bringing up Donovan McNabb here? This is supposed to be (and is) a column about Kolb and Vick. What on earth does a QB who threw for less than 50% completion percentage in the first game of the season have anything to do with anything? The answer: Jason Whitlock is Donovan McNabb's biggest fan. He loves him like none other. So when the Eagles traded McNabb (never mind that the Eagles got a much needed starting safety out of the deal), he has been upset and determined to go after the Eagles ever since. Anything to take down the man who replaced his boy, he will do.
Andy Reid is 0-1 today largely because he still can't manage the clock, committed to Kevin Kolb as his starting quarterback with little supporting evidence and allowed an atrocious fourth-and-1 play-call late in Philly's 27-20 loss to Green Bay.
Andy Reid is 0-1 because a bad 4th and 1 play call had worse blocking. But little evidence that Kolb should have been the starter? I've made my point about McNabb enough both here and in yesterday's live blogs, I won't re-make them, but let's see this "little supporting evidence" of Kolb as the starter.

First of all, there was a consensus on the part of everyone that Kolb outperformed Vick in Training Camp, and no one had been clamoring for Vick to start after watching him Training camp. Secondly, here are the pre-season stats for both Kolb and Vick. Sure the sample size here is not great, but it is better than one that will be brought up later.

Kolb combined in 3 pre-season games: 28/53 for 324 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Vick combined in 4 pre-season games: 16/28 for 189 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT

None of them put up flashy numbers, but it is painfully obvious that Kolb put up the better numbers in pre-season. Though Vick's completion percentage was marginally (57% to Kolb's 53%), and the yards per completion is equal at 11, there is one glaring stat that says Kolb is the better option. In 53 throws, Kolb threw only 1 INT. In nearly half as many throws, Vick through 3 interceptions. Yikes. Couple that with the overall better performance by Kolb over Vick per every Eagles beat writer out there, and the evidence was clearly there that Kolb should be the Eagles starter.
Making matters worse is Reid watched Michael Vick's electrifying second-half performance and concluded Kevin Kolb is still the Eagles' starting quarterback (if he's healthy).

Andy Reid is either clueless or blind.
Andy Reid's biggest mistake (at the time) early in the game was using Vick as often as he did. It certainly did not help Kolb any, though it may have let Vick get into the game. Also, the Green Bay defense prepared fully for Kevin Kolb with only marginal time for Vick. There was hardly no blitz when Vick entered the game (it had gotten to a 17-point game) and they had not prepared extensively for Vick like the Lions will if Kolb is forced to sit next week due to medical reasons. Dom Capers can't flip a switch in 5 minutes and go from the Kolb scheme to a scheme for Vick playing every play. You wanna find an explainable reason why Vick lit the world on fire last night? The Packers were unprepared and because of his over-usage early in the game, Vick had a rhythm and had gotten into the game already.
In an NFL opening weekend filled with interesting twists and turns, nothing tops the unveiling of Michael Vick 2.0.

The Cowboys' coaching blunders, the Texans' thumping of the Colts and Calvin Johnson's stolen game-winning catch all take a backseat to the finest performance we've ever seen from Michael Vick.
What is Whitlock smoking? The biggest talking point nationally has been the Calvin Johnson play. It has been the main story on pretty much every NFL related show thus far. And Vick 2.0? What has Vick done now that he has not done before? Michael Vick has always been an overrated, inconsistent passer who makes throws, misses others badly, but has incredible mobility that makes up for his iffy passing enough to make him serviceable on most teams.
I'm no Vick fan. Even during his Pro Bowl years in Atlanta, I contended Vick was a wide receiver masquerading as a quarterback. When he took over Sunday after Kolb suffered a concussion, I anticipated an interception, a fumble and a 41-10 Green Bay runaway.

I was shocked. I still am.
Get out of shock and think about things rationally. I said it before and I will say it again, how many back-up QBs in the NFL are better than Michael Vick? Put another way, who would you rather have as your back-up (focusing purely on a skill perspective)? Michael Vick or Max Hall? Michael Vick or J.T. O'Sullivan? How about Michael Vick or Jordan Palmer? Michael Vick or any of the McCown brothers? What about Jim Sorgi or Michael Vick? If that is what Whitlock expected when Vick enters the game, I shutter to think what kind of prediction he will have the next time Luke McCown enters a game. Like I said, Vick is an at best average passer with incredible speed, mobility, and athleticism, all of which it seems is close to being what he used to have in his pre-prison days. He rushed for 100 yards last night. It is impressive for a guy who had it all and lost it all for 2 years, but Vick did not do anything last night that he did not do earlier in his career.
Vick looked like Steve Young, a real authentic quarterback, on Sunday. As best I could tell, Vick made one serious mistake. Down around the goal line, he forced a pass into the end zone when he could've pump faked and made a dash for the goal line. But that's just nitpicking.
Nitpicking??? IT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES OF THE WHOLE DAMN GAME! Vick had 3 wide open receivers and a running lane more gaping than Lindsay Lohan's legs, and what does he choose? Throw it to the one player Green Bay actually accounted for. That's not a nitpick, that is a game-changing error. Who knows how different the strategy is for the Eagles on their final drive if they only need a FG to tie the game instead of a TD to tie?
Vick completed 16 of 24 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown. He ran for 103 yards on 11 carries.

Philly was down 20-3 when Vick took control of the game.

Kolb, The Anointed One, picked up right where he left off in the preseason, connecting on half of his 10 passes for 24 yards and running for a yard. DeSean Jackson, Philly's big-play receiver, didn't catch a pass in the first half. Philadelphia's offense went nowhere with Kolb.
Are all opening day starters "anointed," or just ones that replace his boy?
Vick turned the momentum of the game on Philly's second possession of the second half, hitting Jackson for 12 yards on third and five and setting up the Eagles for first and goal with a 31-yard scramble.

Vick put 17 points on the board in the second half and had a shot at 24 until Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg settled for a super-conservative QB isolation run on fourth and one at the Green Bay 42 with two minutes to play. The Packers stuffed Vick for no gain. As sharp as Vick was throwing and running Sunday, Philly should've spread the field, emptied the backfield and given Vick the freedom to improvise.
Vick made some sharp passes, but he missed some as well. And the 4th down play call from Andy Reid would have picked up a 1st down if Brent Celek bothered to do his job and block Clay Matthews.
Green Bay simply kneeled on three straight plays, running out the clock, because Reid had burned all three of his timeouts on a Packers' possession that started with 5:43 to play.

Yep. The best way to help a backup QB shaking off three years of rust is to send him on a potential game-tying drive with no timeouts.
Vick had over 4 minutes on that drive to work with. He may have had no timeouts, but it was not like he had 1:30 and no timeouts. Even with no timeouts, over 4 minutes is plenty of time and no cause for panic or alarm at all. It was a mistake to burn the timeouts, but it did not lead to a no win situation as Whitlock is sarcastically suggesting.
Andy Reid coaches like he's won three Super Bowls. And we, the media, talk about him like he's won four.
Huh? Since when does Andy Reid act like he has won 3 Super Bowls? Again, Andy takes a lot of unnecessary shit. He does not carry himself with that kind of complex. Ever. And he does not coach like someone who has won it all countless times. The only thing more non-sensical is Whitlock's assertion that the media treats him like he has won 4. When is he compared to the only coach who has ever done that, Chuck Noll? When? Reid takes a ton of media heat, especially locally. Whitlock has no idea what he is talking about. Absolutely none.
What's the difference between Andy Reid and Marty Schottenheimer? A hundred pounds, Ernest Byner's fumble and different coaching specialties.

Late in Schottenheimer's Kansas City tenure he had a choice between Rich Gannon and Elvis Grbac. Schottenheimer chose Grbac.

Elvis quit football at age 31. Between the ages of 34-38, Gannon earned four Pro Bowl berths, one league MVP and led the Raiders to the Super Bowl.
Michael Vick is nowhere near the kind of QB Rich Gannon is. Vick can't throw consistently. He's never had that ability. He probably never will have that ability. Are you really telling me that after an iffy pre-prison passing career, a horrendous passing career up to last Saturday in the post-prison era including by what was all accounts an abysmal training camp is suddenly erased and Michael Vick is capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl? Whitlock could not be more delusional.
Reid has an easier decision between Kolb and Vick. One guy has an on-field resume and the other is just a draft-day theory.
Performance in brief regular season appearances and 3 years in training camp and practice is more than just a "draft-day theory." And that "guy with the on-field resume" is not a great passing QB.
I haven't forgotten Vick's past. He's capable of doing something totally stupid off the field. Cross that bridge when it comes. He's on the Philly roster. If Vick gets in trouble off the field, the Eagles are going to take the same public-relations hit whether he's the starter or the backup. Reid might as well play Vick and justify the risk of signing him.
The signing was intended to make Vick Reid's toy while Vick got back into football shape, not to be the starter of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was essentially 3rd on the depth chart of long-term solutions when brought in. Just like Donovan McNabb, the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles is just not the job or the fit for Michael Vick.
Vick's teammates responded to his energy and big-play capability. The Eagles were clearly a more confident offense and defense with Vick in the lineup.
Yeah....cause Vick made people who were quiet in the 1st half show up in the 2nd half. It was all Mike Vick. He got the defensive stops in the 2nd half and he woke up DeSean Jackson. Yeah. Right. Everyone in that Eagles locker room knows Kolb is the starter and they have the utmost respect for him. To suggest otherwise is to have not followed the Eagles for the past several months.
Andy Reid would be a fool to enter the Eagles locker room and tell 53 players Kolb is the starting quarterback. Reid had the guts to permanently dump McNabb. Why not bench Kolb (or use his concussion as an excuse) and let the Vick situation play out for at least another week?
No. No. No. No. No. No. And no. Kolb may not be medically cleared, and if that is the case, Vick should start. That is the job of the back-up, to fill in when the starter is not healthy to start. But what kind of message does it send if you give up on your starting QB after only 10 passes, 3 of which he threw while thinking that the capital of the United States was somewhere in Montana? What message does that send to the locker room? What message does it send to Kolb? Not only does it create turmoil, but you do not bench someone after 10 passes? 10 PASSES! TEN! PASSES! Bench your QB after 10 passes! That is what Whitlock is suggesting. I will say it again to get it through the incredibly thick skulls of people who think Vick should start next week regardless, to bench a healthy Kolb after only 10 passes for Mike Vick is to throw your future out the door. Goodbye, future Eagles, it was nice knowing you! By benching Kolb you are hindering his development. He can't become and effective QB if all he does is take minimal snaps in practice and ride the bench on Sundays. It is unheard of, unethical, and down right stupid given the nature of things. Not only is 10 passes the smallest of sample sizes, but Kevin Kolb is deemed the future. Michael Vick is a free agent in 6 months who wants to start elsewhere. Vick is not the Eagles starter. Vick is not going to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. In the future, Kolb has that ability. Vick does not have that ability now and he has no future with this team. But luckily, Andy Reid is not Jason Whitlock. He knows he cannot bench his healthy starter after 10 passes. If Kolb is cleared medically, he will play against Detroit. Reid understands that his QB can only go up from here. It was a bad 10 passes, but it was 10 passes. How many QBs can have had a bad half consisting of 10 bad passes? I would be willing to bet all of them. Give it time. Let your player develop. The Eagles are not winning the Super Bowl this year. Get over it and let your proper QB, Kevin Kolb, develop so he can win the Super Bowl in the years to come. And if anyone suggests otherwise, that Vick should be the starter from here on out regardless of Kolb, then they are just as much of an ignoramus and know as much about the situation and the proper way to handle it as does Whitlock. Which is to suggest, they know nothing.

(For a collection of similarly stupid articles, please check out this post at Bleeding Green Nation, which has been collecting and posting snippets from these hilariously uninformed articles all day.)

Dallas Cowboys Fail Epically

Last play of the 1st half.

Last play of the game.

I am sure the Philadelphia media and/or Bleacher Report articles associated with Philadelphia will talk about Donovan McNabb, whereby I will need to do an FJM takedown about how stupid they are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eagles Week 1 Recap: It's Beginning To Feel Like 1990

The game that opened the year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last Eagles NFL championship more resembled a game to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Body Bag Game. Leonard Weaver tore his ACL on this gruesome play, Jamaal Jackson is done for the year with a torn bicep, Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion, Stewart Bradley suffered a concussion, Jason Peters got nicked and missed a few series, Ryan Grant hopped off the field on 1-leg, Justin Harnell suffered a significant injury, Nick Collins got dinged up. I could go on but I think you get the point. Here are the rest of my thoughts on this game in bullet form. I find that I can cover most of my random and assorted thoughts the best with this format.
  • Kevin Kolb went 5/10 for 24 yards (5/7 for 24 yards before suffering a concussion) and while the yardage could be better, the completion percentage is not wholly discouraging.  But, Kevin Kolb played 30 minutes of football, threw only 10 passes, 3 of which he threw concussed (more on that in a moment), and all of a sudden people are saying he should not be the QB of the Eagles.  Wait, what?  A guy whom you have groomed for 3 years as McNabb's successor and a guy who you named the starter months in advance should be benched (when he is 100%) after 30 minutes and 10 passes?  Are you people who think that fucking high?  Not to mention Vick was not exactly a picture of great QBing (more on that in a moment).  Kolb is and should be the starter of this team when he is healthy.  End of story.  And yes, if he is cleared by the doctors, Kevin Kolb will start Week 2.  Start Vick over a healthy Kevin Kolb and your franchise has no future.
  • Because tomorrow will be a "EAGLES SHOULD HAVE NEVER TRADED DONOVAN MCNABB WAHHHHHHHH!" day, I need to say that the Eagles absolutely did the right thing in trading McNabb.  It is right then.  It is right now.  And it will be right 5 years in the future.  Donovan McNabb was no longer fit with the Eagles.  He had lost that locker room, he is not a leader like the Eagles and their fans wanted in their QB.  Heck, McNabb is not a leader period.  The fans were tired of him, and I think most importantly, he was tired of Philadelphia.  He may have had a great relationship in Reid, but is it a coincidence that he dropped some weight and looks re-invigorated now that he is in Washington?  McNabb is McNabb.  He is an above average QB who throws bullets, makes some, misses badly on others, and keeps his INT total low.  Kolb may or may not pan out, but Donovan McNabb was never leading this Eagles team to a Super Bowl. (Update:  Even if you include passes after the concussion, Kolb finished with a better completion percentage than Donovan McNabb, who was 15/32 for 171 yards; typical McNabb, though he does look in better shape and a bit re-invigorated since the trade).
  • I make a note of the first 2 things because the counter to them will be heard all over Philly tomorrow.  It will be embarrassing.
  • Andy Reid used Vick far too often early in the game.  Using Vick that often that early in Kolb's 1st game as a Day 1 starter surely did nothing but hinder Kolb and contribute to his lackluster beginning.
  • Michael Vick made the biggest mistake of the game.  Down 27-17 and in a 3rd and goal situation, Michael Vick dropped back to pass, avoided pressure, and got free.  He had 5 options:  Throw the ball to a wide open Jeremy Maclin for a sure fire touchdown, throw the ball to a wide open Brent Celek for a sure fire touchdown, throw the ball to a wide open (and incredibly dreamy) Riley Cooper for a touchdown, run straight ahead for a sure fire touchdown, and force the ball to a double covered DeSean Jackson flailing his arms aimlessly cause he simply thinks he is open.  Guess which option Vick chose?  If you said the last option, the only option where the play would not have resulted in a touchdown, you guessed correct.  It arguably cost the Eagles the game.
  • The Eagles had 0 injuries heading into this week's game.  I think that is the last time we'll be saying that about this team.
  • Bobby April is supposed to be one of the best special teams coaches in the league.  You wouldn't know it by watching the Eagles special teams performance tonight.  Beyond atrocious.
  • This Eagle team was ravaged by injury.  They were down 27-10.  It looked hopeless.  But they fought back both offensively and defensively and nearly tied a game they had no business being in.  This team showed an incredible amount of heart.  That can take them places in future games.
  • As bad as this game was, I do not think it is a stretch to suggest that given the Giants game and the 1st 3 quarters of the Dallas-Washington game that the Eagles played the best football of the 4 NFC East teams.
  • Then again, losing Weaver and Jamaal Jackson for the year and Bradley and Kolb for an unknown period of time will make it hard for them to be the best of the 4 for a continued amount of time.  Those are some key players for this team.  Bradley's role on this defense cannot be underscored.  If I was in a corner and could only choose 1 of Bradley and Kolb to be back next week and play the Detroit Lions, I would choose Bradley.
  • Outside of the aforementioned bad play, Mike Vick did have a really impressive game in the 2nd half.  He looked competent, put up good numbers, and his running ability has improved immensely.  His arm has never been anything to brag about and in typical Vick passion, did miss some throws he could have easily made, but given what he showed in pre-season, you can color me surprised.  All that being said, you are absolutely crazy if you think he should start over a healthy and medically cleared Kevin Kolb.
  • While a healthy Kolb should never be benched for Vick, take a moment to think about this.  How many back-up QBs are there in this league that are better than Mike Vick?
  • Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley both suffered concussions.  After the hits that caused their concussions, both were looked at by the training staff and both were subsequently allowed to re-enter the game.  Whomever looked at 2 clearly concussed men and said it was okay for them to re-enter the game should be fired.  If it happens once, it is bad but forgivable as no one is perfect.  But twice?  It reeks of incompetence and an inability to diagnose concussions.  And that's dangerous.  Someone needs to lose their job over this.
  • What was Andy thinking with that last play call?  A Vick QB draw up the middle out of the shotgun on a 4th and 1?  Talk about predictable.   If Weaver was healthy, he should have gotten the ball there.  Sure that is predictable as well, but who is going to stop a guy like Church Van from getting 1 yard?
  • If you must have Vick on that play, it needs to be to the outside on an option.
  • Clay Matthews is a beast.  End of story.
  • Mike Vick likes controversy!  This is him after the game:  ""I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters, maybe we would have had a chance to win the game."  You had a chance to win this game.  You and your coach blew it.  Kolb had a good pre-season.  Vick had a horrible one.  Kolb has been named the starter since Day 1 post-McNabb trade.  Vick has been Andy Reid's toy.  Vick believes he can still be a starter in the NFL.  Vick does not realize that as good as his legs may be, his arm is far too inconsistent for any contending team to ever consider starting him.
  • Even with the injuries, I would step away from the panic button.  The Eagles next 2 games are against the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They have the time and the place to work out the kinks and get adjusted to playing without Jamaal Jackson and Leonard Weaver and time to find out what works and what doesn't.   The injuries are bad, but the position they find themselves in is not the worst in the world.  There is a tendency in Philadelphia to overreact.  Let's all take a breath and step away from the panic button and reflect on what really happened.  A young Eagles team played a Super Bowl contender, suffered injuries on an unprecedented level, and only lost by 7 points.  That's not terrible.