Looking Ahead at the Eagles

And so it ends- the Eagles run as Super Bowl Champions is over. They played a reasonably good game in a 20-14 loss at New Orleans- especially the defense- but they came up a little short. The Eagles mistakes hurt a little more, their injuries exposed their lack of depth a little more, the bye and home field ultimately played up just a little more. Could the Eagles have won? Possibly. Would they have won in Philadelphia? Probably. This is why you play the season though. The Saints earned the advantages they had. The Eagles didn’t.

This team went 10-8, 9-7 in the regular season in the year after a Super Bowl win. They came up just short very often. There was the horrible collapses against Tennessee and Carolina, the bad start in Tampa, the letdown against Minnesota, the two near misses against Dallas, and of course both New Orleans losses. One can very easily revisit this season and see the Eagles being 13-3 in the regular season, and last year they would have been. Sure, they won some tight ones too- Indianapolis, the comeback against the Giants, and tough wins against the Rams and Texans late. They also easily could have lost in the Wild Card round and felt further away.

There’s a lot of reasons to be positive and hopeful about the Eagles. They should have been better than 9-7. They had really solid wins over the Rams, Colts, Texans, and Bears this year- all playoff teams. Carson Wentz will be 21 months removed from his major knee injury, and get a full off-season of practice time- two things he lacked in 2018. Ertz, Jeffery, Johnson, Cox, and Jernigan are just some of the key players who will almost certainly be back in 2019, and still be very good. Doug Pederson is still an elite coach. This team is a good draft and a few free agents from being back in the Super Bowl. No one in the NFC is that far ahead of them.

Of course, don’t get over confident. The Eagles offensive line is in shambles- Peters is probably done here, Brooks could miss next season now, and Kelce may retire. They need a real #2 wide receiver and a horse of a starting quarterback. The secondary was ravaged by injury, and has question marks moving forward. The linebackers need upgrades. Brandon Graham leaving and Chris Long maybe retiring would leave the defensive front light on depth. There are real questions for this off-season.

It’s been a lot of fun to watch though. The defending champs never quit, even at 4-6, even when the division was gone. They fought to the end.

Fly Eagles, fly.

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Time to Stop Doubting Nick Foles

On their way to last year’s Super Bowl Championship, the Eagles were home underdogs against the Falcons and the Vikings, then were record-breaking underdogs in the Super Bowl against New England. Why? Nick Foles was playing quarterback instead of Carson Wentz. The Eagles won all of those games of course, and Foles won the Super Bowl MVP, beating Tom Brady.

I’m not sure why everyone is shocked that Foles lead the Eagles to a victory at the Rams? What have the Rams won that Foles-lead teams haven’t? I mean, really, if he beats Houston on Sunday at home, is it anymore shocking than if he loses? At this point, doesn’t the guy have to be close to a jump ball in big games? He seems to run the Eagles offense smoother. He steps up in big spots. He plays fearless. I’m not advocating that he’s a Hall-of-Famer anymore than I would for Cole Hamels in baseball, but they were probably the two coolest customers in big spots that Philadelphia has produced in my lifetime.

When Foles was quarterback with Chip Kelly as coach, I was convinced he would fail. I think if that had remained the norm in Philadelphia, he would have. I think a lot of people haven’t accepted that Foles, in this conditions and this moment, is simply different. It took me a minute to believe. After Super Bowl 52 I won’t doubt again.

One Month of Christmas, Day 2

Good day and Happy Monday, November 26th, 2018. Today is 29 days until Christmas. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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Our Immigration System Has Been Broken for a Century Plus, but Trump is Creating a National Disgrace

What’s happening at our Southern Border Right Now is a disgrace. Trump sent several thousand troops to the border in a basic political stunt, to pretend he’s getting tough on illegal immigration. The reality? It was a publicity stunt. Now he’s violating American and international law by not allowing asylum seekers to enter our country while their claims are investigated and decided. This is not supposed to be something up for discussion- it’s long-standing law. To make matters worse, he’s literally having us tear-gas people on the Mexican side of the border, for some unknown, indefensible reason. In the ultimate sign that their isn’t intelligent decision making going on here, he might just close some border points altogether, making things inconvenient for Americans who cross the border on the regular.

I’m reminded throughout this mess that we are a nation of immigrants, and that my family has immigrant roots too. My great-grandfather Joseph, from my father’s paternal side of the family, came to the United States with his brother from Poland, immigrants who would not become citizens for years after their arrival. My great-grandmother Julia and her husband, from my father’s maternal side of the family, came to Ellis Island from Czechoslovakia, and also took years of working here and raising a family before getting citizenship. None of these relatives were high-skilled “desirable” workers, in fact some of the family members who came here had been gassed in World War I and were what I would call insane. They were all welcomed here to work though, and they built a life a world away from places in Europe where they no longer felt okay with staying. It’s the best side of America that they were allowed in.

In 1892, Ellis Island began processing immigrants as a port of entry. In 1924, just months after my Great-Grandmother Julia Kravchak arrived from her village of Udol, in present day Slovakia, the Immigration Act of 1924 shut down Ellis Island as an immigration entry processing center, and turned it into a detention center for undocumented immigrants in our country. That law created quotas for immigration, largely racist quotas that favored immigrants from white nations over people from non-white nations (at that time, largely aimed at Asian nations). While the law has been amended since then, these same quota systems have largely survived in American law. They have caused much of the backlog of those waiting for entry from Mexico, Central America, and South America, while making it easier to come from “more desirable” places. Our asylum system, our system of refugees, and our educational visa system have all worked fairly decently though, and have been good for our society and economy. Or, at least they were. Now Donald Trump’s border policy has become to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at families trying to flee violence and oppression. There is nothing to be proud of here. This is our Immigration Act of 1924, except that this time we’re actually being violent.

I’m not arguing that we should have an open border, because I don’t think we should. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t deport criminals, because I think we usually should. I’m arguing we should be a humane people, because I think we always should.

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The Eagles Still Suck

Yes, they won a football game yesterday. Yes, they’re 5-6, and one game out of first place. Yes, three of their final five games are against the two teams in front of them, so they just need to win games to win the division. Yes, someone has to win the division, host a playoff game, and then has the same shot as everyone else in the NFC. With all of that said, the Eagles stink. They have guys literally coming in off the street playing in the defensive secondary. They have no deep threat, aren’t committed to the run, and have a quarterback who still seems just a little bit off this year. Oh, and they’re not as good in the trenches on either side of the ball. And the coaching is worse. 

Who are they really going to beat though? New Orleans? The Rams? Kansas City? The Patriots? The Chargers? Please let me know, because I don’t see a contender they can beat, right now. As a result, my enthusiasm is low.

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Climate Change, Climate Change, Climate Change, and yes, more Climate Change!

I don’t think we can scream loud enough about the U.S. Government’s report on Black Friday the climate change is an imminent problem that will hurt our society across all demographics and income levels. The report, mandated by law across many agencies not only said climate change is real, or that it is man-made, but also that it is dangerous. Of course the Trump Administration tried to release it on Friday of a holiday weekend.

Democrats, but also really any people who care about Earth’s future, need to scream bloody murder about this. I may think less of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Pelosi protest stunt than an outdated can of spam, but she is absolutely right to be calling for a “Green New Deal” right now- Democrats need to latch onto this, party wide. First off, in nakedly politically potent terms, jobs. Second off, we have to move towards a more green economy, now, to avoid disaster. The fact is, there’s no sane argument *not* to move towards a green economy.

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So You Think You’re Smarter Than Your Dog?

This really isn’t a long post here, but let’s dive in here- are you smarter than your dog? Sure, dogs can’t build the intricate society we have, with houses, currency, relationships, and entertainment. On the other hand, who cares? Dogs don’t care about all of that. They like to eat, play a bit, go outside a few times a day, and sleep. In many ways, I envy them.

Today though, I was talking to my dogs and it hit me- when I talk at them, they seem to grasp my language and know what I mean. When they bark at me? I have no idea. So their brains managed to evolve enough to understand another species, but mine didn’t.

Who saved who again?

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Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are the Best Sports Entertainment in Philly

No, for real, fight me on this. Jimmy Buckets has been here for like two weeks and has two walk-off baskets. Joel Embiid is throwing himself alley-oops off the glass. Embiid is playing like an MVP, leading the league in 30 pt., 10 reb. games so far this year. I realize maybe Ben Simmons isn’t quite leaping forward as hoped, but he’s your third scoring option now- does he need to? Not in November.

And since I know you’ll bring up Markelle Fultz- relax. He’s 20. He should be in college yet. Yes, it’s possible he has a debilitating nerve injury and is shot. Maybe he’s a head case. Or maybe he’s just young, and has been snake-bit by injuries and an impatient fan base. Why trade him now, at pennies on the dollar? Put him on the bench, get him safe minutes, and hope he turns into 70% of what you hoped in a few years.

But for now, just watch The Process and Jimmy Buckets amaze you.

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Run DMC’s “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens” is a Better Christmas Anthem than Mariah’s Song

Hear me out- I don’t hate Mariah Carey. I don’t even hate her over-played “All I Want For Christmas.”

But the reason for the season is “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens.” It’s getting overplayed, in NBA and car commercials. But it’s just better, more authentic, and didn’t play to the fantasy land Christmas love story narrative of millions of teens in my generation. They just wanted you to know they loved their mom’s cooking.

And I do too.

The 2018 NFL Preview

It happened. Hell froze over. For the first time since my 61 year old father was three, the Eagles are champions. For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. 41-33 happened. We beat Tom Brady.

But now it’s over. Tomorrow, football season will kick off. The Eagles will put up their banner. They’ll play a game then, probably a game they won’t win, I might add. They have injuries, they have obvious distractions, the Falcons are a good team, and many defending champions lose the opening game. Just look at last year’s Patriots, who ended up fine. It’s just one game.

I’ll go on the record and predict the Eagles to go 12-4 and win the NFC East, claiming the #2 seed in the NFC. Here’s my predictions, by division:

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
  2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6
  3. Washington Redskins 8-8
  4. New York Giants 7-9

This division will be relatively competitive, after the Eagles. Nobody is really awful.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings 11-5
  2. Green Bay Packers 10-6
  3. Chicago Bears 7-9
  4. Detroit Lions 4-12

The Vikings won’t cruise like last year, but their defense gets them through, again. Aaron Rodgers carries the Packers to ten wins, while Chicago’s defense makes them competitive.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-5
  2. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
  3. Carolina Panthers 10-6
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

This division is truly stacked and deep. It was hard to decide who’s what.

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
  2. San Francisco 49’ers 9-7
  3. Arizona Cardinals 6-10
  4. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

The Rams are the runaways here, with a stacked team on both sides of the ball. San Francisco moves up, and becomes elite next season.

AFC West

  1. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7
  2. Denver Broncos 8-8
  3. Kansas City Chiefs 7-9
  4. Oakland Raiders 5-11

This is anybody’s ball game, but not in a good way. I take Rivers to pull it out.

AFC South

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6
  2. Houston Texans 10-6
  3. Tennessee Titans 7-9
  4. Indianapolis Colts 6-10

I’m taking the Jags to show us Sacksonville wasn’t a fluke. I also think Watson contends for MVP in Houston.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens 7-9
  3. Cleveland Browns 5-11
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12

Pittsburgh should roll to this one, even if the Bell saga rages on. Nobody else is even close. Cleveland will show improvement though.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots 13-3
  2. Buffalo Bills 9-7
  3. Miami Dolphins 7-9
  4. New York Jets 5-11

Just another season here.

Wild Card Playoff Round-

Saints 35 Packers 21

Vikings 21 Falcons 17

Jaguars 24 Bills 17

Texans 27 Chargers 24

Divisional Playoff Round-

Rams 31 Vikings 21

Eagles 24 Saints 21

Steelers 34 Jaguars 21

Patriots 38 Texans 17

Conference Title Round-

Eagles 24 Rams 21

Patriots 28 Steelers 17

SUPER BOWL-

Eagles 41 Patriots 33 😏

Let’s play some football.