Ray Didinger isn’t a writer I consider prone to hyperbole. So, when he compares the Eagles to a team that won the Super Bowl, it’s eye-opening for me. Didinger made the comparison to distinguish the Eagles’ aggressive moves from the superficial splashes teams like the Redskins have made in the past, but still the underlying theme is this year’s Eagles team could and perhaps should win the Super Bowl. It’s another milepost on what’s been an unprecedented run of Eagles optimism. I think the lockout ending combined with the free agent signings and the lingering feeling of being free of Donovan McNabb have Eagles fans in an uncommonly sunny state. It’s admirable. They’re looking at the team for its strengths and not its weaknesses (take note Phillies fans).
But, the team does have holes. Some are there through no fault of the team and others I think everyone is choosing to ignore a little bit right now. The Eagles haven’t had good luck with staying healthy and it’s only the first week. Mike Patterson’s seizure and subsequent AVM diagnosis offers some harsh perspective about football, but also will likely cost Patterson the season, if not his career. The Eagles already had lost Victor Abiamiri to an Achilles injury, and Trevor Laws left practice as well. The defensive line is thinning out quickly.
Add the DL injuries to the lack of any kind of experience at linebacker, DeSean’s holdout, Maclin’s undisclosed illness, and two rookie kickers, and you’ve got a team that has plenty to figure out in the next month. I suppose there’s always a veteran out there to plug into any of these apparent holes, but the notion that the Eagles were becoming the Heat of the NFL is a little ridiculous. I am very excited for this Eagles season, but I want to see how things play out a little bit. I want to see how they manage the three corners, I want to see Vick and if they can protect him. I want to see this kid make an important field goal…things like that. Super Bowl aspirations are fun, but the Eagles have a tough 2nd half schedule, they’ve got some tough division rivals, and they’ll need to earn everything they get.
John Mayberry Jr. is an interesting player. I think the honest consensus from most baseball people for Mayberry’s entire career is that he had some tools, but was ultimately just a bit short. 4th outfielder. It was certainly my opinion. And, Mayberry did nothing to change that through the 1st few months of this season, but then he came back from Lehigh and hit .300 with 11 extra base hits in July, and he’s started off August with two huge home runs. Most of his damage has come in controlled situations (against lefties), but there’s also a noticeable change in approach at the plate. Is Mayberry the ultimate platoon outfielder? Or, could he be the Phillies’ everyday leftfielder next year? It’s impossible to tell. Ben Francisco did a similar job in Mayberry’s role last year and totally crumbled when given a starting job. Also, the organization is married to Brown, Brown is much younger, has the bigger upside, etc. You can’t argue with results, though, and if Mayberry keeps hitting Brown is going to have his hands full next spring. At the very least, Mayberry’s handling of his platoon role gives the Phillies a versatile, reserve outfielder on the cheap for a few years.
Since it’s Friday, I’ll now talk about Friday Night Lights. This is a TV show that has been touted on this blog by numerous people in the comments section. I don’t know why I never started watching Friday Night Lights. Perhaps since I liked the book and thought the movie did a decent job, I thought that there wasn’t much left there to see. But, after such vigorous recommendations, I occasionally would check the show out during its last season or two. It was decent. But, the other day, for whatever reason I decided to go back and start watching season one online. Well, season one blows seasons 4 & 5 out of the water. I’ve watched 4 episodes and I’m pretty hooked. Even with a loose understanding of what is going to happen, I’m becoming a big fan. So, the commentariat was correct. But, now that I’ve finally weighed in, we can officially give the show a stamp of approval. I now feel like Bill Simmons who never watched The Wire when it was actually on the air, but now considers himself an expert.
Tiger? Not quite yet it looks like. He’s laboring a bit today, made a very costly double bogey. There are plenty of birdies out there, and Tiger is making some, but not nearly enough to get in touch with the lead. The news yesterday was Tiger was hitting the ball farther than he had in some time. That’s a good sign not because of the distance really, but it speaks to a better quality strike and more speed, which would indicate he’s actually feeling better. For a guy who hasn’t played in months, he’s doing pretty well, but I don’t know if he can put it together in time for next week. Seems unlikely. The good news is, Fred Couples said he’d make Tiger a Captain’s Pick for the President’s Cup if he doesn’t qualify on points.
Ok, that’s it for the week. Go Phils. I just got my fantasy football invite in the old electronic mailbox, so it’s time to think of a team name, and decided which quarterback I’m going to make a massive reach on simply because I can’t stomach starting a guy like Tony Romo every week. Running Backs? Pfft.