The news that came out today and tonite was very fitting of the unrelenting, miserable, shitty rain that has fallen down in waves over the Delaware Valley today. As I haven't written in a week, there is a lot to discuss.......
Fortunately, after last Monday's preseason debacle against Baltimore, the Eagles redeemed themselves with a 27 - 10 win against the Carolina Panthers. The game was never that close. As bad as they looked against the Ravens, they looked that good against Carolina. I'm not one to cut apart preseason games, but I do have a couple of observations:
- The number one story in this game concerned how Donovan McNabb would look on the field. Would he be able to move in the pocket? Would he be strong in the pocket? How bad would the rust be? The answers, in order: Yes, Definitely, Not so bad. Donovan will be fine this year as long as he remains upright.
- Paging "The Running Game". Paging "The Running Game". If anyone has seen "The Running Game", please call Andy Reid and that guy who used to coach Detroit who now calls our plays.
- Brent Celek and Rashad Barksdale continue to put in good showings and prove that they belong on this team. Celek had 4 catches for 45 yards and Barksdale had an interception. As a matter of fact, if I'm Joselio Hanson, I would seriously consider not getting a long term lease. Think "week to week".....
But the BIG STORY today was that the Eagles cut MLB Jeremiah Trotter. I am still in a little bit of shock over this story. My initial reaction was utter shock. I wouldn't have been more shocked if you told me that devout mormon Andy Reid was caught in a hotel room with a bottle of scotch, an 8-ball of coke, and a naked Lindsay Lohan (some fans would even rationalize it for Reid...."fucking guy should blow off steam at some point"). Even with Trott coming off what has been described as a sub-par year, all signs pointed to improvement. Trotter dropped weight and was described by camp onlookers as "flying around the field". The LBs around him were going to be improved with Takeo Spikes and Chris Gocong (who couldn't be any worse than Dhani Jones), taking pressure off of Trott to make all the plays.
Everyone knows the organization loves Omar Gaither, who was openly described last year as a potential successor to Jeremiah Trotter. I guess this means the future is now with Gaither.
Whether this was the right move or not remains to be seen. A lot of moves made by Eagle front office since the Lurie regime was put into place had been initially panned (namely, Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent, Duce Staley, Hugh Douglas) only to work out later on. On the other hand, this is also the organization that gave us Doug Pederson, Torrance Small, James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Mark Simoneau, Freddie Mitchell and Jerome McDougle. Maybe this will be more of the same, maybe not. If it doesn't work out, you can be sure Lurie and Reid will hear about it. One source of concern: Gaither is about 25 pounds lighter than Trotter (listed at 262 lbs). The last time the Eagles tried to replace Trotter, they used Mark Simoneau, a smallish LB, who eventually wore down to the point of ineffectiveness. If this does occur, look for the bigger rookie LB Stewart Bradley (6'3'' 254lbs) to potentially get a look at MLB.
Coming off of a 3 - 3 road trip, where they should have been 5 -1 is a little frustrating. They lost two winnable games against the Pirates where they were up in both games by 4 runs, only to relinquish the lead in embarassing fashion both times.
The Phils start a 10-game homestand against teams they are competing against both for the wild card and for the division. The Dodgers are up first and are in for 3 games (I'm going to the Thursday afternoon tilt), then the Padres for 3 games, and the hated douche bags Mets for a 4 game series. The Phils need to come out of this homestand with a minimum of a 6 - 4 record in order to seriously consider themselves playoff worthy. Anything less than that, as these are teams they are in direct competition with for a postseason appearance, and the Phils will be courting another off-season of questions.
Lots of news from Dr. Cicotti today. ESPN posted a great round-up of the Phillies injury situation. As Chase Utley continues to recover, and the Flyin' Hawaiin due back this week, the Phils announced tonite that Cole Hamels might be missing for 3 weeks because of a sore elbow. Four or five weeks without Utley was bad. Hamels missing 4 starts would be devastating, I think. I would think the Phils would be due for some good luck this season (pitching in shambles and losing every player of note to injury at some point) but then again, the baseball gods have tiny, icy cold black hearts as far as the Philadelphia 9 go.