Sunday, July 27, 2008

Things that need to happen for the Eagles to contend for a Super Bowl this year

It's that time of year again... NFL training camp. Games that count don't start until September so it's time to dream. While we're at it, let's dream big. But what needs to happen for the Eagles to at least contend for the Ultimate prize? I've broken it down to 5 simple (but not easy) things that need to go right.

1) Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook must stay healthy for at least the vast majority of the season. If either one of the aforementioned players goes down for a considerable amount of time with an injury, you can start thinking about next year and those 2 first round picks the Eagles have accrued.

2) Stewart Bradley and the rest of the linebackers need to be good. Damn good, in fact. Bradley showed signs that he could be The Man in the middle towards the end of last year. If he takes another step forward, considering the secondary we will be able to trot out there, then our D should be lights out. The defense used to be the strength of the Eagles team in the early andy Reid era, but the front offices' attitude of indifference to putting talent at that position really caused the defense to slide in the last 4 years. How many times have we had to sit through a team getting 5 yards a pop up the middle all game long? Too many to count lately, but the Eagles' brass finally realized the error of their ways and made strides to correct it. Will the LBs be better this year? We'll have to wait and see. If not, once again, you can kiss our Super Bowl chances goodbye.

3) Reggie Brown needs to make The Leap. We all hoped that last year would be the year he turned into an elite wideout but unfortunately it was more of a lateral move for him rather than a giant step forward. Kevin Curtis is a very good #2 wide receiver, but he's not the stud number one that we have all been drooling over ever since TO left town (bastard). If Reggie Brown matures this year the way we thought he would last year, all of a sudden you go from average receivers to an exceptional receiving core.

4) The old Donovan must return. Early last year his knee wouldn't allow him to have that explosive first step which resulted in him buying that precious extra time for one of his receivers to (finally) get open. We all remember that play against Dallas where Donovan scrambled for 14 second behind the line of scrimmage before bombing it down the field to hit a streaking Freddie Mitchell for a huge gain (Anyone else in the league would've scored on that play, by the way, but good ole Freddy got caught from behind, of course). That's the Donovan we need or it won't matter how good Reggie Brown is this year.

5) Finally, the special teams needs avoid putting us in a hole all game long. I don't have to remind you how awful they were last year. We all remember the first game against Green Bay in which our punt returners single-handedly lost the game for us by muffing 2 punts. After which the Eagles decided to bring Reno Mahe back. I'm sure he's a nice guy, and he can at least catch the damn ball, but he is the only return man in the league that has zero chance of breaking one. the only large return I ever saw him make, he got caught from behind in the open field. The Eagles drafted DeSean Jackson to change all that. He doesn't have to be Devin Hester but he does need to have the odd 40 yard return so our offense isn't starting at their own 15 all game. That was the biggest problem with the offense last year, not the well-documented red zone woes. NFL defenses are too good to march down the field at 4 yards a play anymore, so an 85 yard TD drive is very difficult. Eventually they will stop you three times, and hold you to the dreaded 30-yards-or-shorter field goal. Better starting field position will help the offense immensely.

Now, I know that none of these 5 things may come to pass, but if they all do, the offense will be dynamic and the defense will be shutting teams down and maybe, just maybe, we'll finally have something to celebrate around these parts. That's the dream anyway - and since it's still only July, dream on my friends, and dream big.

- Murdock

p.s. While we're dreaming we might as well dream about an unprecedented 0 - 16 season for the Carolina Panthers. The Lombardi Trophy and the number one pick in the draft, that's not too much to ask, is it?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why get generic, when you can have a BRAND name?

Well Sixers fans - this is the best news since Billy King leaving town, if you ask me.

Honestly, Elton Brand gives the Sixers their most solid frontcourt player since Richard Dumas, Shawn Bradley, Derrick Coleman, Clarence Weatherspoon, Stanley Roberts, Benoit Benjamin, Nazr Mohammed, Matt Geiger, Alvin Jones, Kenny Thomas, Amal McMaskill...

*sigh* Okay, really since Charles Barkley.

Wow, seriously - we have go to back to 1991-92 to find the last Sixer who could give you 20-10 every night?

That hurts my heart to think about.

Anyway, enjoy the video and dream of good things to come. If this team can add a deadeye shooter, I foresee some long playoff runs.

- Magnum

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Freshman 15

If you count the 18-19 year old international players, there were FIFTEEN "freshmen" in this years NBA draft.

Think about that.

Teenagers, with millions of dollars to spend.
Do you know how many Xbox 360's that can buy?
How many games of Laser Tag that is?
Super soakers?

Sometimes I think that society thinks that just because these kids can hit a free throw while 20,000 fans go bonkers, that they're somehow more mature.

They're still teenagers.

Do you understand the kind of damage most teenagers would do with millions of dollars? I have imagined this future, and it's far far worse than Beverly Hills 90210 or even *gasp* the OC.

I digress.

A few notes on some of the picks.

• Derrick Rose - At first I thought Beasley was the obvious choice, but as recent history has proved, if you want instant impact to your team's record, you add a great point guard.
(Jason Kidd to the Nets, Steve Nash to the Mavs and Suns, Deron Williams...etc)
It seemed like there was a point (no pun intended) where it seemed like every team in the league had at least a serviceable point guard, but now point guards are at a premium like Nintendo Wii.

• Michael Beasley - Potentially, he's Kevin Durant with a gym membership. Dirk Nowitzki with hops. If D-Wade is healthy this year, and Miami and get some interior defense, they should be right back at the top of the East. Assuming he can stay off South Beach enough to work on his game, the kid is a bonafide superstar waiting to blossom.

• Still not sold on Kevin Love, haven't we learned anything from Robert Swift, Andrew Bogut, Luke Jackson, Troy Murphy, Chris Kaman and Nick Collison? One still needs to be athletic to play the frontcourt in the NBA, people.

• Ditto for Joe Alexander...btw, can we stop coming up with these generic "whiteboi" nicknames that include either "vanilla" or "chocolate" in them?

On a positive note, there is no way he's not going to be able to hear the coach with those ears.

(L to R) Joe's Mom, Joe's nickname adviser, Joe's ears, Joe's dad who hasn't seen him since 1st grade)

• Props to O.J. Mayo. He's probably the best ballplayer with a drink first name and a condiment last name since my homeboy back in high school, Cider Sauerkraut.

• All you need to know about the Knicks draft pick is that he played for Armani Jeans. I guess they were waiting for the power forward from Louis Vuitton to develop his back-to-the-basket game.

Knicks fans...two words: "Darko. Milicic."

"As a Bulls fan, I just wanted to thank you for helping the Knicks stay average."

• Eric Gordon actually played Michael Jordan son in that *cough* movie Space Jam. I can't decide whether that is good for his career, or bad. I guess that was back when Jordan was still winning championships, so we'll say his particular osmosis must have been good.

However, that suit he was wearing was making my eyes bleed. He looked like that scene from Devil May Cry when the checkerboard comes to life(anyone?). Less is more, Mr. Gordon.

One last thing about EG...has anyone noticed that the Indiana "Mr. Basketball" award is almost synonymous with the Heisman as far having the ability to destroy 75% of it's winners future careers? For every Oscar Robertson, there's 3 Damon Baileys, Luke Reckers, and Sean Mays.

"Listen, ice cream man, could you run and grab Eric? I'd also like a Choco Taco."

• The Lopez's have two things working against them:
1. They're twins ... remember the O'Bannon's? Didn't think so.
2. Stanford players are notoriously average. Josh Childress might be the best one since the 60's.

• Anthony Randolph...How is it physically possible to be 6-10, ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY -SEVEN POUNDS. Is this guy medically fit to play? Every time I see highlights of him, I wanna donate money to help needy, malnutritioned basketball players.

As SOON as you cash that first check Ant, go get yourself like 20 double cheeseburgers.

"Okay mom, okay. I need to rush out of here before Old Country Buffet gets crowded."

• Philadelphia fans are destined to butcher Marreese Speights' name. I guarantee it.

I don't know what it is about Philadelphia fans, but we always seem to disembowel the pronunciation of players names, i.e:
"HerSHEE Hawkins", "Andre IGGadala", "Samuel DalemBERT", "Randall Cuttingham"...the list goes on and on.

That's it for me...The Phils need some rooting on.

- Magnum