Once a week, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with the Eagles’ division rivals.
Some links to pass along as we inch closer to Eagles-Niners.
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“I would cut all that chit-chatter out!” he hollers to the defensive back he just beat, without so much as a glance in the man’s direction. “Let’s go!”
I’m on the sidelines of an empty football stadium at Pierce College in suburban Los Angeles, on a cloudless Tuesday morning in August. All across the country, NFL teams are midway through their training camps, and the start of the season is just weeks away. Here, the handful of athletes who work out twice a week are mostly in their 20s, with pedigrees from big-time schools like USC and stints in the pros. They’re staying in shape, hoping for the football equivalent of a winning Powerball ticket — a call inviting them back to the big show. Then there’s that receiver who looks so familiar. The long, chiseled frame, factory-built for highlight reels. The trash talk. It’s Terrell Owens.
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Last night Philly’s funny man and impressionist extraordinaire Joe Conklin and WIP on-air sports savant and Wing Bowl creator Al Morganti presented the “The First Annual Philly Sports Roast” at the Crystal Tea Room. More than 600 people filled the room to see former Eagle and NFL bad boy Terrell Owens roasted by media personalities, politicians, former and current Eagle players, and Damon Feldman.
In a no-holds-barred night, everything was on the table: marriages, baby mamas (four), salaries, tights, his big ego and even, shockingly, suicide attempts. Proceeds from the evening went to firefighters support organization All Hands Working.
A couple of the zingers at the event: “Former Eagles defensive tackle Hollis Thomas is here tonight. Look at that guy. Hollis, are you OK? You’re sweating profusely. I haven’t seen someone sweat this much since Freddie Mitchell’s tax audit.” And: “Joe Conklin, Man of 1,000 voices, and he can’t get laid in any of them.”
The New York Daily News: “The estranged wife of former All-Pro NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens reportedly tried to kill herself as the couple’s two-week marriage hit the skids. Postal worker Rachel Snider tweeted Tuesday she was “just a little broken down right now,” according to TMZ.com. That followed a tweet seven minutes earlier in which she said she was “suffering from a broken heart.” Snider, 33, claimed on Twitter that she and Owens, 40, — who spent 15 years in the NFL with six teams — knew each other for five years before tying the knot Jan. 23 at a Norwalk, Calif., courthouse.”
Despised former Eagle Terrell Owens is now hawking Philly Cheesesteak Burgers for fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, with the help of some bikini models. Read more »
Today, we take a trip down memory lane and remember a team that will either bring a smile to your face or elicit tears from your eyes: the 2004 Eagles.
ESPN.com is doing a series on the five most compelling NFL teams since 2000, and the 2004 Birds, led by Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and company came in at No. 3, behind only the 2010 Brett Favre-led Vikings and the 16-0 New England Patriots (2007).
Ashley Fox provides a recap of the 13-3 campaign, which ended in a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl:
“When we stepped on the field from OTAs to the first game against the New York Giants, we felt no team could beat us,” Ike Reese said. “We were hunting for the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. That’s who we had to beat. I just remember the level of confidence was at an all-time high for a team coming off three NFC Championship Games. It took us to an almost invincible feeling.”
It’s impossible to discuss that season without mentioning the fallout afterwards. Despite how things turned out with T.O. and the ensuing 6-10 campaign in 2005, Andy Reid told Fox the gamble on Owens was well worth it.
“I like Terrell. All of us could’ve handled it a little different,” Reid said. “I take a little of the blame for that. Everybody I know wants to come after Terrell. I take some of the blame, too. There were things we could’ve done better after the way it worked out. But was it worth it? Yes. I would do it over again. I would. I wish things could’ve worked out better during the Super Bowl. Philadelphia deserved to have a championship there, but it didn’t pan out that way.”
The Eagles had strong leadership on that team, but nobody could seem to find a way to keep McNabb and Owens on the same page for another season.
“If you can somehow keep that team in tact, that offensive staff in tact for another season… you would definitely be the favorites to win the Super Bowl,” Westbrook said last year. “That offense [would have been] the No. 1 offense in the league for a long time, and we would have been so productive.”
Added Dawkins: “What I tried to do was pull guys to the side, away from everybody, and just have conversations with them. ‘What’s going on? What’s the deal? What can I do to help? This is what we need to do to get back on the winning track, and if I can assist in any way, let me know. Even if you don’t let me know, this is what I’m willing to do. This is what we need to do in order for us to get this thing going in the right direction.’
“The thing that you always want to do is get everybody in the room at the same time. That was never able to be done.”
And so, Eagles fans are left to wonder what could have been. But there’s no doubt that “compelling” is a fair way to describe the team that got the franchise closer than any other to the Lombardi Trophy.
WHAT YOU MISSED
What the Oregon sanctions mean for Chip Kelly.
Will Kelly run a physical camp? Players weigh in.
We asked three players a simple question: What do you know about Kelly now that you didn’t know a few months ago? Here are their answers.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers some thoughts on the defense:
The defense won’t be a top unit until the right players are in place. It is possible we could find out we already have those players, but I think that is an extreme longshot. I like this group, but don’t see them turning out to be a great defense. The secondary still needs work and there are front seven questions to be answered.
I’m not enamored with the system we’re running, but it has grown on me. The most important issue for me is that the team did hire the right coaches to teach the scheme. This staff has a lot of 3-4 and hybrid defense experience. If you want to be creative and complex, you must have the right teachers. I think the Eagles accomplished that.
Over on The Philly Post, Richard Rys is not happy that Marvel has teamed up with the Cowboys:
What’s worse, for me as an Eagles fan, is that the one Marvel/NFL tie-in that makes sense for adults who are not virgins is right here in Philadelphia. Future Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins was known for his love of Wolverine, the X-Men member with unbreakable bones and a berserker rage. He kept Wolverine figures in his locker and named his on-field alter ego after the character’s code name, “Weapon X.” Marvel honored Dawkins with a Wolverine-inspired poster after he retired. But they could have made a mint with Weapon X shirts; in fact, one local company has made a very cool Dawkins tee that isn’t anywhere near as corny as the Cowboys line. Forget Hugh Jackman — if B-Dawk says a Canadian with retractable claws is cool, it’s gospel.
Haven’t you learned by now that we always come up with something?
Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
From @mikelom88: Hypothetical, Michael Vick gets hurt twice for 4 games total & Nick Foles plays excellent, what’s the chance Foles is the starter next year?
Brian Westbrook made a bold statement the other day, suggesting that if Vick goes down for a few games and Foles steps in and performs, that the Eagles should ride with the rookie even when Vick returns. That is not a decision that can be made lightly. If you choose to keep Vick on the bench, then you are essentially tying your future to Foles. If you pull Foles in and out of the lineup as a rookie, it’s no big deal. He doesn’t have any grand expectations and has the mindset that Vick is the guy. If you keep a healthy Vick out, however, you have a problem on your hands. He will be upset, some veterans in the locker room will be upset, and you would have to think a trade request/demand would be right around the corner. If you make that move, you better be damn sure Foles is legit.
As far as next year, logic suggests Vick is gone if Foles proves his worth in spot play.
From @SlyTango: what is the deal with Fletcher Cox? Nobody is talking about this guy at all. Should we worry about another 1st round flop?
He is probably the least of my concerns, to be honest. He is a starter already, and is going to be hard to handle inside. Maybe really hard to handle. Would you have liked to see him get more than three tackles this preseason? Yes. But you saw signs that he will be disruptive as advertised, which is what you’re looking for. If he is a bust I will be completely shocked.
From @Eazy56: Can u find out how many total receiving yds & TD’s T.O & Pinkston had in 2004 vs. D. Jac & Mac together?
Terrell Owens had 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games for the Eagles in 2004. Todd Pinkston had 36 grabs for 676 yards and a touchdown that season. That’s a combined 113 catches for 1,876 yards and 15 scores.
Maclin and Jackson’s best combined season looks to be 2010. Maclin had 70 catches for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Jackson posted 47 catches for 1,056 yards and six TDs in 14 games. That’s 117 catches for 2,020 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Maclin and Jackson come out ahead in every category as a tandem.
The Daily News compared the ’04 team overall to the current group.
From @PhillyFollower: Who’s the next Eagle to officially retire as one?
I bounced this question off a few people, and I have to think the answer is Donovan McNabb.
Jon Runyan is a possibility, I suppose, especially since Tra Thomas just had his ceremony. His playing days might be too far gone now, though. Same for Jeremiah Trotter.
I don’t really see guys like Sheldon Brown or Lito Sheppard getting the honor, and no shot that T.O. is getting back inside the NovaCare walls. Once McNabb decides to finally hang them up, I can see him being honored in fairly short order. David Akers also has an outside shot.