Posted on: August 15, 2009 1:56 am

Vick's best case might be Eagles' worst case

Because Sportsline has a letter limit for titles let me state the full title of my article.

Vick's best case scenario might be the Eagles' worst case scenario.

Forget all the "should they or shouldn’t they" talk surrounding the Vick to the Eagles announcement.  Let us examine what this acquisition really means for the Eagles this year and in the years to come.


I was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio this morning when an analyst on the NFL channel (124) posed this question.  Wouldn’t the best case scenario for the success of Michael Vick be a worst case scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles?


The goal for Vick should be to get out on the field during games, make spectacular plays, and win fan and coach support for giving him a larger workload, and ultimately, a starting quarterback job.


For a team that has just given McNabb a two year extension, has a reliable backup in Feely, and has drafted high and spent big money on the future (Kolb), I don’t know where or even if Vick fits into the overall scheme.


If Vick can produce on the field, wouldn’t that be setting the Eagles up for a major quarterback controversy?


This situation has happened before in Philadelphia, albeit in very different circumstances.  But the end results may be the same.


My US History teacher always said that if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it (I’m pretty sure he lifted that phrase from someone more profound, but I heard it from him first).


Therefore I submit to you, the reader, a trip down memory lane to remember the Eagles of the mid-eighties.


Ron Jaworski was a quarterback who had done more for the Eagles than any other player at the Eagles' QB position had done in twenty five years or more.


He was a proven veteran who had led the Eagles to the big game five years before.  He was the face of the franchise.


In 1985 Jaws was challenged by a young player named Randall Cunningham.  The coaches saw how explosive he could be and sought out ways to adapt him into the offense.


Cunningham was electrifying, but to the overall detriment of the team.  Jaws was 6-6 as a starter, while Cunningham was 1-3.  The Eagles finished fourth in the NFC East that year.


1986 saw an increased effort to make Cunningham a bigger part of the offense.  He regularly came in on third downs, and he performed well.


While this may have gotten the Eagles a few first downs, it created a rift among fans and players.  Ron Jaworski, who had been the unquestioned face of the franchise for many years, was getting booed every time he went out on the field.  Cunningham was cheered.


The 1986 Eagles finished fourth again, with their record dipping to an abysmal 5-10-1.


Jaws left after that year and Randall became the starter.  Although the Eagles finished 7-8 and missed the playoffs again Randall eventually became a very good QB.


The first "scramble first" QB led the Eagles to three consecutive playoff seasons, but never to the Superbowl.  The Eagles’ desire to showcase Cunningham led to two horrific seasons and the jettisoning of their most bankable player.


The comparisons are eerily similar.  McNabb is the face of the franchise.  He is five years removed from taking his team to the Promised Land.  His new team mate is a "scramble first" QB with great athleticism and instincts.


As I see it the Eagles' goal SHOULD be for a healthy McNabb to play every game and lead his team back to the Superbowl.


NFL players are big boys.  They are pros. 


Off field distractions don’t bother them that much.  However, a QB controversy could tear a team apart.


Therefore I caution Eagle fans, players, and coaches to be careful what you wish for.


Vick may be an exciting player, but does his upside come at the expense of the goals of the Eagles as a team?

Posted on: August 11, 2009 12:58 am

Antecdote Regarding Fans' Impatience

I go to at least one Redskin game a year.  It is one of my greatest pleasures in life.

For all of you "fans" who are calling for Campbell's head (despite playing in only one full season in his career), let me relay to you a true story from a Redskins game I witnessed.

The year 2004 was a year of change for the Redskins.  They had a new coach in Joe Gibbs and a new QB in Mark Brunell (although calling either of these men new is laughable).

The offense started out very cold.  Brunell was playing very safe, throwing every third pass into the stands.  The Skins didn't turn the ball over much, but they didn't make a play much either.

About halfway through the season the Redskins played the Bengals (I think) at home and I had tickets.

Brunell started out ice cold.  His first eight passes went incomplete, and evey miss was followed by louder and louder chance of "Ramsey, Ramsey, Ramsey". 

Finally Gibbs had seen enough.  He relented to the fans (probably against his better judgement) and trotted out Patrick Ramsey for the next series.

As Ramsey entered the field he recieved the longest, loudest standing ovation I have ever witnessed at Fed-Ex Field.  Redskin Nation had his back.

On his first play from scrimmage he badly overthrew Laverneus Coles and was intercepted.  Immediately a rousing chant of "Hasslebeck, Hasslebeck, Hasslebeck (third stringer Tim Hasslebeck)" could be heard reverberating throughout the stadium.

If this doesn't illustrate the attention span of the average NFL fan I don't know what does.

PS.  Mark Brunell came back the following year to lead the Redskins to a 10-6 record and it's first playoff win in six years.  Patrick Ramsey went on to be a backup for Denver and Tennessee.  Tim  Hasslebeck went on to impregnate Elizabeth Hasslebeck three times and live the good life of a wealthy stay at home dad.

The point of this story is to be patient and be carefull what you wish for.
Category: NFL
Tags: history, Redskins
Posted on: August 9, 2009 12:15 am

Telling it like it is........or was

During sportsline's tribute to Bruce Smith upon his Hall of Fame induction there was one sentence that resonated with me.

"What's most impressive is that Smith registered many of his 171 sacks in Buffalo while playing in a 3-4 defense, which should have made it easier for opponents to stop him. It's a feat Smith is quick to point out."

For a fan who is knowledgeable about the game this is the stat that illustrates how truly dominant Smith was.

The D-lineman on a 3-4 are responsible for taking on multiple blockers and keep them occupied.  This lets the linebackers make the majority of big plays.  Bruce Smith wasn't supposed to be the sack king, but he was in spite of his team's defensive philosophy.

As a Redskins fan I think he played one year too many.  He was still a force for three years with the Skins, but by his last year you could see him overpower his man but just not have the speed to round the corner.  Bruce Smith probably had more QB hurries his last season than any other player.  It was like watching a slow motion replay.  He beats his man.  He is coming for the QB.  He is still coming.  He's getting close.  Then a second before impact the QB would unload the ball.  I could see that even though he didn't have it he still was trying his hardest.  And I know that it frustrated him more than any Skin's fan.

The Skins would have been better served to go with someone else that last year.  But in retrospect, I'm glad they didn't.  It was painfully obvious that he wanted that sack record, and the Redskins gave him the opportunity to get it.

The Skins have made many regrettable free agent acquisitions recently, but I don't fault them for getting Bruce Smith.

He should rightfully go into Canton with a Bills helmet.  But there should be a small Redskins sticker at the back of that helmet.  Many greats have played past their prime with other teams.  Bruce Smith can be proud to know that unlike many others, he made a positive contribution to those Redskin teams.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com