My guilty pleasure is sports talk radio. Professional sports has always been an escape from reality and a way to relieve some of its pressures. Sports talk radio is just a way of extending the escape.
I turned on 97.5, The Fanatic, just in time to hear a discussion about the great debate of the day. Forget healthcare.gov, immigration reform and the NSA, Nick Foles versus Michael Vick is topic A. I turned the volume up and got ready for the entertaining rants from Nick from Passyunk and Manayunk Mickey.
The debate ended before it started when talk show host Tony Bruno said, “I’m not going to take a position on who should be the quarterback for this team because apparently that is a controversial topic in this town.” Wait a minute! Isn’t faux-controversy the foundation of sports talk radio’s existence? But Bruno was talking about a real-life controversial topic, not the sports controversy.
A profile of Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin at Grantland is summed up this way: “How Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin — a bike-riding, socially conscious, Animal Collective–loving hipster — is redefining what it means to be a football player.”
That’s a lot of burden to put on two shoulders, no, even if they’re strong linebacker shoulders?
About the offensive part — some fans seem to think it’s time to move past his vulgar choice of words and simply be thankful Nick Foles likes throwing to this guy. But just as the Cooper controversy seemed to fade away, that word kept making headlines in the sports world. Exiled Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito used it as a tool in his seemingly bottomless toolbox of harassment against teammate Jonathan Martin. Last week, Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes dropped it on Twitter after being ejected from a game. (The tweet has since been deleted.)
From Redskins nose tackle Chris Baker posted this pic on his Instagram yesterday. And was surprisingly chill about it, writing: “Our bus got egged on the way to the game only in Philly lol #gameday.” (I wrote ‘an Eagles fan’ but for all we know a gang of Birds diehards whipped out a dozen and started pelting.)
Sunday was a good day for the only two purely college-to-pro coaches in the NFL. Both Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano and the Eagles’ Chip Kelly notched wins, and though it remains unlikely the Bucs’ boss will survive the season, Kelly continues to grow in his role with the Home Team. No one can predict whether he will ever win a Super Bowl, but Kelly has shown the ability to grow into the job and has the Birds in a great position, even if that spot is first place in the NFC Island of Misfit Toys Division.
It’s impossible to give Kelly all A’s on his report card, since his decision Sunday to go into the four corners early in the final quarter allowed Washington to sneak back into the game. He has yet to grasp the nuances of clock management, something that was never much of a concern while he was at Oregon and blowing out most opponents.
One would imagine Kelly will develop a better touch in that regard as he spends more time in the NFL and has to protect leads in close games. When it comes to the more important stuff, however, he has improved considerably since the beginning of the season.
At least for this Sunday, and twice a year from now until Dan Snyder becomes a marginally better person and changes his team’s name, the Eagles will have a more racially sensitive fan base than their opponent. Nothing could make this more clear than the news that Oneida Indian Nation is taking out an anti-Redskins ad on WIP before the game.
Good things tend to happen when DeSean Jackson scores a touchdown. When the speedy wideout finds the end zone, as he did Sunday in Green Bay, the Eagles’ record is 24-5. There’s no denying the impact he can have on the game. Unfortunately, catching passes isn’t all Jackson likes to do. He showboats. He disappears when things aren’t going his way. And he talks.
After the team’s win over the Packers, Jackson spoke to reporters about the upcoming matchup with the Washington Redskins in Philadelphia, where the Eagles are winless in 10 games — a franchise record for futility. “We gotta get it going,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, we can … win in front of our home fans. But [we’ve] gotta be supported by everybody. Can’t be coming into the game, first quarter, getting boos and all that type of stuff already. You just got to work with us throughout the game.”
Even if Michael Vick has a bionic hamstring transplanted into his cranky leg before next weekend, it’s time for Chip Kelly to stop equivocating and name Nick Foles the team’s starting quarterback.
Further, even though the second-year passer isn’t perfect for the coach’s scheme, Kelly should give serious thought to making Foles the man heading into 2014, the better to use the draft to address other issues on the team. Foles has proven capable of running an NFL offense during his season and a half in the league, and just because he looks like a giraffe on ice skates when he takes off from the pocket doesn’t mean the Eagles should jettison someone who has thrown 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.