Wake-Up Call: An Eagles Slant To the Divisional Round

Andrew Weber / USA Today

Andrew Weber / USA Today

No Q&A today. Instead, here are 15 observations from the divisional round, many with an Eagles slant.

1.  Admit it: When Cris Collinsworth singled out Patrick Chung for praise on two red-zone incompletions in the fourth quarter, you chucked your remote against the wall, didn’t you? I have a prediction. Either next week against the Colts or in the Super Bowl, Chung will have a performance that will make everyone think: Nice job by his agent getting that extension done before THIS happened. Let’s be sure to follow-up on this point in the coming weeks.

2. The strange part about the Ravens-Patriots game was that Baltimore dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball, yet John Harbaugh’s squad still came out on the losing end. By the way, credit for the offensive line goes to Mr. Juan Castillo. If Harbaugh names Castillo defensive coordinator this week, I’ll buy all of you ice cream.

3. I know some will get on Bill Belichick for the whole eligible/ineligible thing that tripped up the Ravens in the third quarter. But the way I see it, the Patriots didn’t do anything wrong. They had Shane Vereen report as ineligible, and they tried to confuse the defense. Guess what? It worked. I don’t see that much of a difference between what they did and what the Eagles do when they push tempo and go unbalanced line or have Lane Johnson split out wide. Messing with the defense’s ability to get lined up properly is good offensive coaching. Simple as that.

4. Did you see Rob Gronkowski beat a cornerback for his touchdown in the third? We know tight ends can offer mismatches against safeties and linebackers. But the great ones can beat corners too. I don’t think Zach Ertz is Gronkowski, but given his route-running prowess and physical skills, I would have liked to see him get more of a chance split out wide last season.

5. Both of Joe Flacco’s interceptions involved single-high safeties showing good range and getting to the sideline. I imagine this confused a large percentage of Eagles fans who are not too familiar with that particular sight.

6. At one point in the Seahawks-Panthers game, the announcers said something to the effect of: “That’s a determination Dean Blandino’s gonna have to make.” On Twitter, I suggested that might be the least reassuring statement in all of sports. Others, however, corrected me:

7. It was a great weekend of football, but the Kam Chancellor field-goal leaps might have legitimately been the most exciting moments in any of the four games.

8. On the flip side, the worst sequence of the weekend came when Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were discussing what was sexy and what wasn’t. Yeah, they were talking about drafting offensive linemen in the first round, but still, very uncomfortable for everyone watching on TV.

9. During one of the pre-game shows, I saw a promo for The Americans, which returns for another season on Jan. 28. You don’t have to listen to anything else I say, but just hear me out on this: Give it a shot. You are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check it out. It might be the best show currently on TV.

10. Everyone today will be talking about the catch that wasn’t by Dez Bryant. My take? Dumb rule, right call. Two Tweets on the topic I agree with:

11. On the last three drives, Aaron Rodgers went 13-for-16 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Whatever they gave him at halftime did the trick. I’m guessing they want to try that out pre-game before facing the Seahawks.

12. Very impressed by the Packers’ wide receivers. The move Davante Adams put on Dallas safety J.J. Wilcox reminded me of Allen Iverson for some reason:

13. I can’t believe those Philly fans had the gall to boo Peyton Manning. No class, I tell you. But hey, these are the same people that once booed Santa Claus, so what do you expect? On a serious note, it’s been a lot of fun watching Manning over the years, but that felt like the end.

14. Phil Simms explaining a Mike Carey explanation is the early favorite for most surreal moment of 2015. That will be tough to top.

15. Every time the American Sniper trailer comes on, I try to convince my wife that we should go see it. Every time, she says no. Looks like that one’s going to be Kapadia, party of one.


Some thoughts on the Billy DavisDick LeBeau connection.

The Eagles will reportedly interview Seahawks exec Scott Fitterer for their personnel opening.

How Chip Kelly could have ended up with the Patriots years ago.

On the field, Jameis Winston has the edge over Marcus Mariota, says one ESPN analyst.

Podcast links from our Birds 24/7 show on 97.5 The Fanatic.

T-Mac on Kelly, Howie Roseman and contracts.


Zach Berman of the Inquirer writes about Kelly’s imprint on Oregon’s current squad:

Helfrich said he and Kelly text-message each other “constantly” during the season, but the topics are never about football. Kelly plans to attend Monday’s game.

“I think hopefully Chip is happy that our guys are in this game, and we’re certainly happy for their success,” Helfrich said. “It’s unbelievable that he can’t get in the playoffs at 10-6 for him, but we root like heck for the Philadelphia Eagles. . . . We just don’t sit around and go, ‘Hey, OK, that was Jason’s idea, give him credit, that was Johnny’s idea, give him credit.’ That just doesn’t happen.”

Mike Sielski of the Inquirer on Ed Marynowitz, a possible candidate to fill the Eagles’ personnel exec opening:

“He had a real knack for recognizing talent and recognizing certain characteristics that would translate to guys being successful. I think that’s a real valuable entity,” said McElroy, who was a Rhodes scholar candidate at Alabama, spent three years in the NFL, and is now an analyst for the SEC Network. “There can be maybe just a certain characteristic that one guy does well. Maybe you can just find a guy who has a characteristic that’s off-the-charts good, especially in a system like Chip’s.

“That’s what Ed did so well at Alabama. He got guys who were plugged into the system, redshirted, maybe were on special teams for a couple of years, and by the time they were seniors and juniors, they were impact players and guys who eventually played on Sundays.”


I’m taking a few days off before heading to the Senior Bowl, but T-Mac will have you covered.