Friday, October 27, 2006

Give it up, Andy

By Tim McManus

The City Championships Forgot is getting squeezed right now when it comes to their Birds and Andy Reid.

Half of you sees coach Reid's continued missteps in his offensive play-calling, knows that 75 percent of the coaches in the NFL are superior at game management.

This part of you wants to scream out for his head.

The other half realizes, though, that there have been far darker days than these. The memory of four straight NFC Championship appearances and one recent ticket to the Big Show remind you that this has been the most successful tenure in Eagles history.

One thought of Rich Kotite or Joe Kuharich and you quickly fall back in line.

So we know a couple things: That it's borderline impossible for this team to win it all while making poor in-game decisions and setting up the pass with the pass. And that Reid is one of the more valued commodities in the league and the single biggest reason that this franchise has thrived for as long as it has.

So what do we do?

There is one solution: Pry the play-calling from Reid's tight grip.

It can still be his offense -- his plays, his input, his ingenuity -- only someone else (read: Marty Morningweg) would control which play goes where in-game.

This solves numerous problems:

1) Reid, no matter how much he vows to run the ball in the offseason or midweek, simply cannot help but go right back to his baby; this takes away that option.

2) The chain loses a link. No Morningweg (suggestion) to Reid (decision) to McNabb (execution). Morningweg calls it in, McNabb calls it out, the offense gets to the line with plenty of time to spare (imagine that).

3) Reid's attention can be directed solely on managing the game, therby reducing the amount of timeouts, personnel miscues and poor overall decisions.

The Eagles are not that far off. The offense is the best (statistically) in the league, it just needs more balance and less turnovers. The defense, which despite frustrations is strong from front to back, simply needs less time on the field and more green behind them once they get on it.

Super Bowl this year? Why not. Top-flight QB, top-notch coaching staff, potentially devastating defense, immensely dangerous running back, less-than spectacular conference...

It's all there for the taking.

Reid just needs to learn that sometimes you need to give certain things up to get something back.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006


By John McMullen

Numbers have never been so hollow.

Those who worship at the altar of Bill James will tell you Alex Rodriguez is a future Hall Of Famer.

And I really can't argue that -- The halfwits who guard the gate of baseball's hallowed hall will let A-Rod in without blinking an eye.

They will say his statistics warrant it -- and by that narrow definition they are right.

You see baseball has become a game all about regular season statistics for those who follow it.
Made up numbers like OPS and WHIP now dot the baseball landscape. Heck, forget about the media and the fans, even the decision makers have turned into fantasy geeks that base all their moves on these mind-numbing numbers.

In New York, things are a little different. The 162-game schedule is just a glorified preseason for George Steinbrenner's Yankees. Twelve consecutive trips to the postseason make October baseball a given in the Bronx.

And now, Alex Rodriguez has made losing in October a given in the Bronx.

A notorious "Me" guy -- Rodriguez just hasn't figured out that All Star appearances, MVP awards, Gold Gloves -- even division titles mean little in New York.

It's World Series or bust for the Yankees and just like last year, "the game's most talented player" went AWOL when the Yankees needed him most, going 1-for-14 with nary an RBI as the Yankees were embarrassed in four games by the inferior Detroit Tigers.

"You kind of get tired of giving the other team credit," Rodriguez told the assembled media after his latest collapse. "At some point, you just have to look in the mirror and say, ‘I sucked.’

Yep, last year Rodriguez was "a dog" -- This year, he just sucked.

He was hitless in his final 12 at-bats in the series, dropping to an almost comical 4-for-41 (.098) with no RBIs in his last 12 postseason games. His 24 regular season errors were tops among AL third baseman, despite that "Gold Glove" defense Joe Buck is always taking about.

Whether it's a psychiatric problem or not, Rodriguez has failed miserably in the Bronx and it's time for the Yankees to move on with less talented players that actually possess some mental toughness.

The Yankees are responsible for $67 million over the final four seasons of A-Rod's ludicrous $252 million dollar record contract. He has a full no-trade clause but his legendary ego will undoubtedly have him looking for a way outbefore he fails under the microscope again.

It's a shame that baseball's economics are so skewed. If Rodriguez stayed inSeattle or migrated to say -- Kansas City -- he may have gone down as the greatest that ever lived.

By failing year after year in New York -- He has exposed himself -- At least
to those of us who actually watch the games.

-You can reach John McMullen at

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