Prepare for Philadelphia Eagles’ Offseason Spin Tactics
There are different varieties of propaganda.
There is the type that is patently false; shamefully provided in an effort to put someone or something in a positive light. The death of Kim Jong Il reminded me of the famous North Korean state media reports detailing his sports prowess. The supreme leader, we were told, once shot a 38 with 11 holes-in-one on an 18-hole PGA style course (this also happened to be the first round of golf he had ever played).
The other brand of propaganda is the more subtle type in which legitimate information is spun to make people view something more favorably.
And over the next few weeks, Philadelphia Eagles fans should prepare for a stream of that type of propaganda from the Eagles front office. It could be enough to make Jong Il’s famous example seem fairly mild.
With three consecutive wins that have the Eagles clawing their way to a .500 finish, we are likely to continue hearing that the team would have scared the pants off of any playoff foe.
The problem with that now-popular assertion is that the Eagles late-season hot stretch has come against some pretty lame competition. There were the 5-10 Miami Dolphins who, it should be noted, have beaten one team with a winning record (Oakland) all season. Then, it was the New York Jets, whose offense resembles a riding mower more than a 747. And finally, there was last week’s glorified scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys, who Eagles fans could identify with easily. You see, both groups knew that their games did not matter last Sunday.
If you are scoring at home, those three wins came against the following quarterbacks: Matt Moore (replaced by J.P. Losman), Mark Sanchez (yes, Mark Sanchez is now in this company) and Stephen McGee.
So, if the Eagles overcome future non-Hall-of-Famer Rex Grossman on Sunday, just be prepared for the claims that this hot finish indicates that the Birds are ready to join the ranks of the NFL elite next season. You may even get a few more of those comparisons to the 2010 Green Bay Packers, who got on a roll that led to a Super Bowl title. And when those comparisons come, you should do your best to keep whatever you ate recently from being regurgitated.
Another spin that we should all expect is that the lockout really had a great effect on the Eagles, making it difficult to quickly mesh so many new players and coaches into a successful on-field product.
What Andy Reid, Joe Banner and company will conveniently fail to mention is that many of their off-season acquisitions were highly regarded veteran players and coaches that should be expected to succeed regardless of shortened prep time.
The Eagles may also conveniently forget to mention that coaches like Jim Harbaugh haven’t been handcuffed by a lack of mini-camps in route to successful seasons (from 6-10 to 13-3 in the case of the first-year 49ers coach).
And speaking of that lack of preparation time, the Eagles are sure to tell us that it really affected the defensive side of the football, which featured a new coordinator, defensive line coach and five new starters. They will then point to the team’s success in stopping the run during the season’s second half, and its improvement in points allowed.
But, before being rendered dizzy by yet another spin, remember the anemic offenses we mentioned earlier from the Eagles final stretch of games. Then, close your eyes and envision the Week 12 and 13 beatdowns the defense suffered at the hands of Tom Brady’s Patriots and, incredibly, Tavaris Jackson’s Seahawks. Yes, that really was only four weeks ago, folks.
But, wait. The Eagles played a couple games without Michael Vick, and we are sure to be told that when he made his return, the Eagles looked like the contenders we expected to see in 2011. Upon hearing this, perhaps we should all look at Vick’s season stats and realize that that 15-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio was not a figment of our collective imaginations. Neither was that quarterback rating of 82, which is much more in line with his career average than it is with that 10 game stretch from 2010.
Finally, if you are feeling like you just finished one of those dizzy bat races, be prepared for one final spin from the Eagles’ bigwigs. That’s the one that will include the optimism about the youth of the Eagles roster and the ability to make it even better with three picks in the top 50 of April’s draft. Just make sure you are not envisioning the next Calvin Johnson or Von Miller walking to the podium to hold up an Eagles jersey. Instead, there are sure to be a few more 4th round talents that the Eagles fell in love with in the first and second rounds. And just for good measure, you will get some more explanations from the spin doctors that run the Eagles franchise following those selections.
My advice for Eagles fans over the next few months: remember what you saw happen in the 2011 season, and don’t buy the propaganda that is already being pushed upon you. There is enough talent on the Eagles roster that they could be very competitive in 2012 if the right decisions are made this off-season.
But judge this franchise by their actions, not their words.
Matt Babiarz was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. He graduated from the University of Alabama, but remained a very close observer of the Philadelphia sports scene. He recently began covering the Phillies for Philly2Philly.com. You can also read his work at Bleacherreport.com within the Philadelphia Phillies section.
Matt can be contacted at email@example.com
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Lurie: AP/Dick Druckman
Front Office: Philly.com