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Sorry Philadelphia Eagles, you will not suck me in this time


"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in." (Michael Corleone - Godfather Part III)Godfather III photo: thoughtleadersllc.com

Yes, I’m sure lots of Philadelphia Eagles fans in the Delaware Valley are echoing those same exact sentiments regarding our beloved (?) Birds.

Not this fan. I’ve seen this scenario played out one time too many over the span of the last several decades watching the Eagles no matter how far they advance. From the Fog Bowl, three straight NFC Championship Game losses (and an additional fourth loss), and a Super Bowl in which the opposing team played their C+ game, and our team still lost by three points.

I’m not trying to suck the fun out of the room (believe me, that happened weeks ago) but in all seriousness, what exactly makes this particular squad any different from past Eagles teams? Besides, those squads had better leadership, superior talent, and most importantly, they played as a team. Maybe it’s the fact that letdowns are a way of life as an Eagles fan, maybe it’s the fact that more often than not, this current team looks like a rudderless ship. Or maybe it’s just the fact that Andy Reid will manage to get outcoached in the biggest game of the year. Again.   

Don’t get me wrong, I still watch the Birds, but I sadly have zero expectations for this team. Personally, I thought Sunday’s win against the Giants was a great team effort. Eli Manning has a knack for rallying his troops late in the game when the chips are down.The Giants are a very tough 4th quarter team. Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin however, turned out to be difference makers on what has been the shoddiest Eagles’ defense  in most of our lifetimes. Jenkins knocked D.J. Ware into Philadelphia, Babin’s play on Manning enabled the Eagles to die another day, and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s job was saved for the time being.

The Eagles obviously had to win this game. They don’t have a slim margin for error, they have NO margin for error, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. This is what happens when you surrender five blown leads in the fourth-quarter in the first 10 games and you have an inconsistent and injury-prone quarterback who struggles to read defenses. Add into the mix an abysmal secondary with undersized linebackers who give new meaning to the word ‘toast' and a star wide receiver (DeSean Jackson) with no contract and an attitude problem  and you have yourselves a 4-6 record.Will DeSean Jackson be cathcing balls somewhere else in the next few years? Photo: http://blog.pennlive.com/pasports/2008/09/large_deseanjackson.jpg

I must admit, I did say back in July that you wouldn’t see the Eagles perform to their fullest potential until around week 9 or 10. There were too many additions to this team (on and off the field) with no time to prepare (thanks to the NFL Lockout). At the same time, I thought they were talented enough to work out their deficiencies to where a respectable 6-4 wasn’t out of the question.

We can point fingers at Reid, Castillo, and the Dominique Rodgers-Cromarties and Nnamdi Asomughas all we want. What it comes down to is this: just one more loss, and the Eagles will most likely watch the playoffs on television. For yours truly, it’s simply too much to put faith in a football team who has given the Delaware Valley little or no reason to believe they are headed for bigger and better things.

Adding complications to the mix is the uncertainty of Vick’s status. Who would have ever thought Donovan McNabb (82.9) would have a better passer rating than Vick (79.8) this season? (Vick has played more, but it’s still interesting nonetheless) Vince Young did have an impressive game-winning drive Sunday night, but two touchdowns and three interceptions isn’t going to remind anybody of Joe Montana.

It doesn’t get any easier this weekend when the New England Patriots come to town. Yep, the same New England Patriots who steamrolled over the Chiefs 34-3 on Monday night. The good news is that New England’s defense is pretty banged up. The bad news is that Bill Belichick eats coaches like Reid for breakfast (and he is a big man to eat for breakfast). Moreover, there is a better chance than not that Tom Brady  could easily rip the Eagles’ secondary apart. The Birds then move on for two (potentially very tough) road games in Seattle and Miami, followed by the inconsistent Jets and two conference games against the Cowboys and the Redskins.

So what Eagles team is this? The team who steamrolled over the Cowboys a few weeks back? Or the team who holds onto fourth quarter leads the way James Thrash held onto passes against the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game? Whether it’s our team (2010 Flyers) or not (2010 Giants, 2011 Cardinals) watching Philly sports teams have shown us over the last few years that any team can sneak into the playoffs and ride the wave for as long as they can. Only problem is, the team who usually does this is not from a city named Philadelphia.  

Either way, the fate of the Eagles’ season could be decided as early as this weekend, or it could go on even longer.

Just long enough to where they suck you in once again.

I’m no Negadelphian, and I really hope I’m wrong, but I’m just not buying it this time.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

Godfather III photo: thoughtleadersllc.com

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