Yesterday Glen and Anthony on WIP welcomed the illustrious Ray Didinger and he gave his take on the coming Cowboys match-up and all things Eagles. Tremendous radio by the way. I have the utmost respect for R. Diddy. Is he off sometimes (Max Jean Gilles comes to mind)? Sure. But, he is typically right on, brings good intellectual capacity, boundless experience with the game, and perhaps most importantly, he is one of the few (ie. those who work for NFL Films) who have full access to game film (others being Baldinger and Jaws- all curiously tied to the Eagles?), giving him a decided advantage over all other analysts. (Side note: Why does the game film need to be hoarded in this fashion? Why can’t they sell some sort of geek package where you have unlimited access to game film? I would be all over this, regardless of cost, hunker down in my basement, and re-watch every snap. Yes, I am a loser. But, can we make this happen NFL?) Here were some of R. Diddy’s observations (rather paraphrased btw, along with the questions from Glen and Anthony):
1) What do you think about the Cowboys defense? Didinger- It’s very good. Rob Ryan confuses the hell out of teams by shifting his players all over the place, jumping LB’s and safeties in and out of the box, and towards and away from the line. Ratliff is an absolute beast who dominated the Eagles in 2009, and is cause for concern with the young Kelce and the Fireman, not to mention a rather mediocre Mathis at guard as well. Consistent with above, Ware gets moved all over, so both Herremans and Peters will see him throughout the night.
My Reaction: This terrifies me. Vick is certainly not known for reading defenses pre-snap, as evidenced by his typical failure to get the ball out quickly and take way too many hits. Also, his turnovers are cause for concern too, given that this type of defensive style is prone to cause not only protection breakdowns, but also trick QB’s into throwing into coverage. Gulp. Cause for hope? Maybe the more athletic Eagle interior can match up better with the smaller and athletic (for a DT) Ratliff? or Vick’s mobility can neutralize the pressure packages somewhat?
2) Well, so how do the Eagles attack the Cowboys? Didinger- Dallas’ secondary is very ordinary and not very fast, particularly their safeties. The Eagles have a decided advantage here, and need to make big plays down the field. Side note: Maclin seems now to be Vick’s go to guy, and is now running many of Jackon’s primary look routes.
My Reaction: Very good news, however, can the Eagles get enough protection to get the ball down the field with Ryan’s pressure schemes? Certainly a concern, however, I have no doubt Reid and Mornhinweg have been scheming for the last 11 days on how they can attack the Cowboys down the field. How excited do you think they are about the fact that our deep passing game is a strength over the Cowboys? Be wary of complete and total pass wackiness in this game. Which may be another cause for concern. All I know is, be prepared for a play action bomb on the first play for the 20th straight game. Regarding Maclin and Jackson. I love Maclin, don’t get me wrong, but Jackson is a game changing playmaker, and Maclin is not. The Eagles must design ways to get him the ball, especially this week. I don’t like to hear that Maclin is taking over Jackson’s routes.
3) What about the Eagles linebackers? Didinger- Rolle has looked very good, shows terrific instincts on film, and despite being short, is still very, very strong for a LB. Chaney looked lost on the outside (Why the f did we do this again?), but has been improving since being moved inside. (No mention of Fokou btw).
My Reaction: I definitely have liked what I have seen from Rolle, not only his bluster, “want- to,” confidence, attitude, etc., but he has also shown a great nose for the ball and flashed some speed. As covered in previous posts, I think this is probably the most important skill a LB can have, good instincts. Also, I was intrigued by R. Diddy’s strength comment and did some research.
Point of comparison: (sampling of 225 lb. reps at the combine by recent Eagles draft picks): Brandon Graham-31, Trevor Laws-35 (wow), Danny Watkins-29, Casey Matthews-13 (ouch). Moises Fokou-12 (double ouch), Brian Rolle- 28!!!. Holy crap. That is along with a 4.5, 40 yard dash by the way. Maybe Rolle is for real: good instincts, mutant strength for an LB, speed, and an awesome attitude. (Btw- Chaney put up 225lbs. 26 times and ran a 4.5 40 yard dash, pretty comparable). Perhaps we have found our formula for LB’s: 1) good instincts on film, 2) decent speed, 3) mutant strength to shed blocks. Frankly, this makes the obsession with the phantom Moise Fokou all the more mysterious. He is the SAM, and supposed to be jamming 260+ pound TE’s and he only did 225lbs. 12 times? Honestly, I think if I lifted really hard for six months and took supplements and shit, I might be able to come close to this. No joke. Can we just end this guy already? Also, I’m pretty sure Witten is going to have free reign against the Eagles for the 500th straight game this week, awesome. Regardless, things seem to be looking up in LB country at the other positions.
4) Does Juan Castillo have a chance? Didinger- Yes, to be competent. Things looked a lot better against the Skins last week, ie. using the Wide Nine situationally for instance, but why did it take 3 weeks to make this change? However, there are still very curious breakdowns, eg. DB’s playing much to far off the receivers, the curiously use of Asomugha, the lack of adjustment after getting torched for 3 straight weeks or general lack of effort. Didinger compared his situation as “…being thrown in the ocean with concrete boots and asked to swim to shore.” Basically, he said that Reid should have worn the big boy pants and said, “Thanks Juan, I know your eager and work hard, but we’re going to hire someone with more credentials.”
Reaction: I think I’m going to just jump of the Ben Franklin right now. Kidding aside: Why exactly did we not just hire Rob Ryan? A defensive guru with proven success in the NFL, his father’s connections to the team and city, and not to mention the fact that his attitude would have went off tremendously in this town and with the players. Really, he seems like an ideal fit to be the heir apparent to Jimmy J. There is no question in my mind that the Eagles would be at least 4-2 right now if he was the Eagles D-coordinator. Or, if really anyone else was their D-coordinator. Nice job Andy. How exactly does this qualify as loading up and going for it? This move was negligence on the highest level. This is made all the worse by recent reports that the Eagles were apparently sniffing around Ryan and his father was lobbying for him to come to the Eagles, as suggested in an SI article. Apparently, Ryan had already committed to the Cowboys and stayed true to his word. Well, ok, why exactly were the Eagles not more aggressive about this? This was their biggest problem of last year, no? They couldn’t have beat their arch rival to the punch on this? Ok, now I’m really leaving for the bridge.
5) What about the O-line?Didinger- Largely been good, but still some breakdowns and obvious problems with short yardage. Kelce has been very good at making line calls and reading blitzes, shown terrific speed and atheletism for a center, however, is prone to being stalemated or even pushed back in short yardage. Overall though, the situation looks good, and Didinger compared him to Jeff Saturday and gave props to Mudd for recognizing his potential. On other other hand, Watkins still looks lost at times, but when he knows his assignment, he can really dominate physically. Herremans and Peters have been terrific. Also, he was asked whether he would move Justice in and slide Herremans into the guard, and he said no, despite admitting Justice played very well last week, presumably because he loves Herremans at tackle.
My Reaction: This is good news and bad. It sounds like the Eagles have definitely upgraded their interior line for the long term with Kelce and Watkins, assuming at some point Watkins will stop being confused, which I imagine will certainly happen. Also, Herremans is really coming into his own as a tackle (where he makes much more sense given his size). However, the interior situation is very scary for this week. A still confused guard and a rookie center calling protections against a Ryan defense? Along with Ratliff looming and Ware moving all over the place? Call me nervous.
Overall Conclusions: Definitely a lot of bad news coming from the film on this match-up. The Cowboys D-line and Ryan’s scheme matched against Vick and the Eagles young O-line is not favorable. However, Didinger did strangely conclude after all of this that he think the Birds can turn it around. Perhaps due to the fact that they have improved at many positions, ie. line is better overall, LB’s are getting better, safeties are getting better, and yes, even Juan is getting a little better (at least we think). Really increasingly, and perhaps alarmingly, it’s starting to look like the Eagles defense is really going to have to step up in this game, maybe much like last year’s Colts game following the BYE. Or, maybe if the Eagles can just get “Bad Tony”? Please football gods make this happen.
This morning I stepped on the train feeling much better than the day before when I was battling a cold, thinking: “Geesh, I feel pretty good considering….”, then BOOM! (as Madden liked to say) the lame ass hat below is staring at me from the head of a train passenger (and yes, it was as lame as the one below):
Ugh….son of a bitch. So, I move on and walk five more steps and CRACKOW!!! Another Cowboys hat?
Brace yourselves folks, the cockroaches are scattering around as if you pulled the fridge out at a crack house. Which brings me to another reason to hate the Cowboys, as a follow up to yesterday’s post, Cockroach Cowboy fans not from Dallas.
Who are these people? Who turns their back on their brethren? These would be the first people who if we were invaded and taken over tomorrow would be working for the secret police of the enemy. No moral compass. In my opinion, it should be admissible in court to call into question credibility. Yes, I hate these people, and you should too. It is not the least bit surprising either that they are crawling out now that the Eagles are off to a 2-4 start, as this is consistent with their typical modis operandi. Here are some classic excuses I have heard over the years as to why these jackasses cheer for the local football team’s arch rival:
1) “My Dad liked them.” (Well, congratulations, your Dad was an asshole and sell out too.)
2) “I liked their uniforms when I was a kid.” (This is my favorite. I used to like GI Joe, but I don’t still line them up and initiate World War III [at least not recently] because I’m a grown man now. Are you admitting to still being a child?)
3) “Well, when I grew up, the Eagles sucked and Dallas was so darned good.” (Ok, so your just outright admitting you are a sell out? This is certainly not a legitimate excuse.)
4) “Gee, I just loved that Roger Starbach, they were on TV every Sunday.” (That’s great. I’ve liked some players over the years on other teams, but does this have any bearing on cheering for my hometown team? Of course not. Additionally, what does them simply being TV have to do with it? American Idol, and numerous other horrible shows are on TV, does this require fanship? Not according to my estimation.)
As far as I am concerned, there is only one legitimate explanation for being a Cowboy fan: 1) you were originally from the Dallas Metro Area (or perhaps your Dad was), or 2) you are currently residing in the Dallas Metro Area. That’s it. So, I don’t want to hear these lame excuses, because the real reason is you cheer from them is because you are a complete loser who likes to draw attention to yourself, and has no other means of doing so. Note to cockroaches: you’re not different, you’re just an asshole.
As Tony Montana said: “Bury those Cockroaches!”