Sunday, December 7, 2008

Giant Win!

The Eagles did it again. I had a feeling coming into this week that the Eagles would upset the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. With the whole circus going on up there in regards to Plaxico, I figured they would be a little unfocused. I also figured the Giants would eventually not play a good game - and it all came together for the Eagles today.
It looked to me like Marty was calling the plays. There was a stretch there in the third quarter where they must have run the ball five or six times in a row. I seriously think that is the first time I can ever remember them doing that under Andy. McNabb threw around 30 balls today - which is PERFECT! A majority were high percentage passes and he picked his spots to make a long throw - in particular the pass where Curtis reached up behind and made a great catch to set up the first half field goal, or maybe that what was the D was giving him. He also had a couple key scrambles for yardage.
It's amazing what happens with a commitment to running the ball. The line got into a rhythm and started pounding the Giants front seven. It was great to see. And the defense came up big all day long. I don't really recollect any sacks today but they had pressure on him when they needed it and unlike the matchup in Philly a month ago where they were utterly dominated, the defensive line - in particular Trent Cole - really showed up this afternoon. Kudos must also go out to the linebackers - Bradley, Gocong and Jordan (nice freakin' move!). I thought all three played great today, Gocong and Jordan probably their best games of the season.
Now sitting at 7-5-1, the Eagles are still on the outside looking in. Big THANKS to the Steelers for coming back and beating Dallas. It's still too tough to be playing out all the scenarios about the teams ahead of the Birds, all they can worry about is winning their games. Next Monday home vs. Browns, thinking a win. This team could be 8-5-1 heading to DC. Let's hope so.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Lucky Day?

I really think this is unprecedented in the history of Bruce Springsteen releases. We've now gotten two singles within a week of eachother! And "The Wrestler" is floating around on YouTube for all to listen. posted a 30 second clip of "My Lucky Day", the new single from the upcoming album Working on a Dream, on Friday. I listened a few times and was pleasantly surprised. Here is the new full-length video with some behind the scenes footage reminiscent of Blood Brothers. This song has been growing on me since I listened to a rough version of it last night.

In the past, when Springsteen has recorded a new album, particularly with the E Street Band, it has been years in between releases. This one was recorded during breaks of the Magic Tour with the band in full form from being right off the road. In effect, I think this has resulted in more of what the afficionados refer to as the "classic E Street sound". Now, this song obviously isn't the early 70's boardwalk sound.....BUT, it is the late 70's, early 80's hard rocking, in your face sound of the E Street Band that you got on songs like "No Surrender" and nearly all of the The River. "Working on a Dream" has drawn mixed reviews, but it is Bruce and producer Brendan O'Brien trying to get the E Street Band on record as they sound live. I think this should bear well for the full length album.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Here We Go Again...

Donovan McNabb evoked memories of 2001, Brian Westbrook finally got his carries and the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Arizona Cardinals 48-20.
Literally, from the start of the game the Birds from Philadelphia dominated their former NFC East rival in a way that has been missing all season. Sure, there will be those who sit back and say that Arizona stinks. Regardless of whether they play in the NFC West (a division the Eagles swept this season), they still had a 7-4 record coming into play. 7-4 is 7-4 -- I'm sure there are plenty of Eagles fans who would have taken a 7-4 record coming into last night's game.
Then the game started and the Eagles showed up playing like an entirely different team then the ones from Baltimore and Cincinnati. They looked like a completely different team than the one I had seen all year. It started from the man drawing up the plays. On the opening 12 play scoring drive, 6 were runs and 6 were passes. No coincidence that this was the best drive I had seen from the offense all season. Wish it hadn't taken Andy Reid three quarters of a season to figure it out, AGAIN. That pretty much set the tone for the evening.
Reid showed a commitment to running the ball, and the offensive line responded by opening up huge holes for Westbrook, missing child Lorenzo Booker and even, Kyle Eckel. Right, Kyle Eckel. Reid showed some diversity in the playcalling and a word I've heard many times since last night is "unpredictable".
Unpredictable is a perfect word since it the exact opposite of what this offense had been for the past month. Stale, boring, slow and horrendous were all adjectives that had been thrown around in discussing the offense.
And obviously, Donovan McNabb responded in the way I totally expected from him. Here is a ten year veteran who holds nearly every passing record in franchise history, who has taken this team to 4 NFC championship games and a Super Bowl, who had the eyes of a nation on him this Thanksgiving night. This guy was ripped by everyone from Warren Sapp to your Uncle Pete.
There was intensity on defense, the first time that has been really evident in a long time. Being down at the game may have played a part in that, but I really feel like the guys were feeding off it. How about Joselio Hanson? There is a reason that Lito Sheppard didn't start and it has to do with that thing a few inches below your left shoulder. Dawkins came up with a big forced fumble and guys were swarming the ballcarrier. It was nice to see.
There are now ten days to go until this team heads up I-95 for another battle with the New York Giants. Everything is a must win from here on out. To make the playoffs the Eagles are going to have to beat the teams ahead of them. What a wild situation it would be to go into the last game of the season in late December against the Cowboys with a wild card berth on the line. To get there, they have to win and that starts in ten days.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"then you've seen me..."

Well, we finally have a clean, full version of "The Wrestler". This song, for me, evokes the same kinda feeling as "Terry's Song" from Magic. It's a quiet, acoustic song that essentially represents the double sided coin that is Springsteen's career. On the E-Street side we have classics like Darkness on the Edge of Town, Born in the U.S.A and The Rising. On the solo side we have the masterpiece Nebraska and stand-out tracks such as "Youngstown" and "Devils & Dust". I believe this is another track to chalk up in that same category of stand-out solo material.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Check These Out

I saw two films this weekend. Saturday, I went and saw "Rachel Getting Married". I really did not know much about this film going in, except that it starred Anne Hathaway. I had heard a number of good things about her performance and I was not disappointed. The scenes at the rehearsal and wedding suck you in, making you really feel like you are present. Check out a trailer and clip of the film here.

The second film, "The Visitor", I viewed at home thanks to the wonders of Verizon FIOS. It was a film released back in April of this year starring Richard Jenkins, the ghost dad from Six Feet Under, as a college professor coasting through life. I never got around to seeing it, but glad I finally did. A quiet film, so be prepared. Here is another trailer, thanks to the people at Apple.

Both films featured music as parts of the story, which possibly played a part in my enjoyment level. I also pretty much only enjoy dramas, so that may be part of it as well. Check them out!!

Time to Move On, Part 2

What is there to really say after a game like that.
During the week, I spoke to numerous friends who told me that last week's 13-13 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals was the worst football game they had ever seen, as well as one buddy who said he had never been more embarrassed to be a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, last week's game was a horribly played game for both side. Today may have been worse.
Remember the date - November 23rd, 2008 - because that will forever mark the end of the Donovan McNabb era in Philadlephia. It will be remembered as the day head coach Andy Reid, after 9 and a half seasons with #5 behind center, finally decided to pull his first ever draft pick out of a game. The Birds were only down 10-7 at this point, remember, even though Donovan had continued his month long...season long slump.
Was it the right move to pull Donovan out of the game with the team only down three points? Even more thought inducing is whether or not it was fair to throw second-year backup Kevin Kolb into the game against the vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense, on the road nonetheless?
The answer is no.
I was all for starting Kolb from the beginning of the game. The Eagles season ended last week, despite what you might have heard about this situation, or that team losing and the Birds team going on one of their patented late-season runs. Preparing Kolb properly and having him start a tough road game would have been appropriate - tough, but at this point, you might as well see what you got. To toss this kid into the lion's den was unfair and well, stupid.
The decision once again illuminates the number one problem with this team and within the organization that is the Philadelphia Eagles. That problem is Andy Reid.
For the better part of the last decade, Reid has been the face of the Eagles. These are his draft picks, his free agents and it is his strategy and gameplan that you see executed, for lack of a better word, week in and week out.
Andy has lost control of the situation. In 2005, following the Super Bowl loss and the T.O debacle (which may have been the turning point in McNabb's apparent decline), Reid got a free pass for going 6-10, especially with losing 5 to injuries (again). In 2006, let's face it, Reid got lucky with Jeff Garcia. Last season was the turning point. It started from that week one disgrace in Green Bay with Greg Lewis fielding punts. Lots of people said at the time that Reid was unprepared for the season and wasnt focused properly because of the situation with his sons. The problem is that Andy Reid was focused and was prepared, at least in his mind.
This season, again, I've heard time and time again that the organization is not focused on winning, that they don't want to win. To a certain extent, that may have some validity. But the overriding problem is that Jeff Lurie, Joe Banner and Andy Reid want to win, they just do not know how to.
Therefore, it is time for Andy Reid to go. It has been ten long years. From 1999 until 2004, this team was on an uphill clime searching for the promised land. Since then, they have been a steady decline back to the foothills of mediocrity, and now, despair. This is a pathetic team to watch led by a pathetic head coach who does not know how to win.
How fitting that nearly a year ago, almost to the day, I wrote on this very blog that it was time for the quarterback to move on. 362 days later, it's time his coach joined him.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mickey Rourke Comeback??

I was so jazzed up over the release of the new Springsteen single, I forgot to mention that a new trailer for the upcoming film, "The Wrestler", has been posted. This looks like it could be a really good film, and of course, this trailer features the new Springsteen song of the same name. It always seems the best movies come out in November & December when no one is really paying attention. This looks like one deserving of attention.

And hey, for all you Marisa Tomei fans out there, looks like she might be getting naked. Costanza?