Monday, November 26, 2007

(Overused) words with a purpose

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Two words.

Two words, seemingly branded with optimism, but, upon further scrutiny, riddled with pain. And it’s the catch phrase we’ll be hearing all week.

Moral victory.

When does something that comes up short of a win qualify as a moral victory?

The answer, if you’re a player or coach, is simple: Never. Ever-ever.

A defeat is something that, in their position, should not and cannot be justified, excused or accepted. Because the moment they allow those thoughts to sink in, so does complacency.

But as a fan, it’s different. We’re not in control of our team’s destiny, but we are in control of how we feel about the team at any given time. It’s always difficult to accept or condone a tough loss, but it’s even more difficult to come to a point where we give up hope.

Therefore, justifying last night’s game could be somewhat of a process of mourning – accept the past, embrace the future, as life – and, in fact, this season – goes on.

Therefore, let’s chalk up last night to a, gulp, moral victory…in the hopes of a catharsis of sorts…in the hopes that it’ll be quite some time before we have to use that catch phrase again.

And now, for the purpose of filling space and cleaning out my notes, an installment of “Did You Notice?” (Eagles Version):

Did you notice…

- That the game had an eerily similar feel to the Super Bowl?

A random possession receiver who methodically killed them (last time = Deion Branch; this time = Wes Welker). Three INT’s, including a couple back-breakers at the end of the game. A late lead, only to lose by three. Misuse of the clock at the end, including a couple irresponsible timeouts blown earlier on. One thing you can say about Andy Reid: He’s consistent.

- That Greg Lewis seems to work on three modes: Outstanding, horrendous, or non-existent?

- That any time the Eagles seem to get inside the opponents’ 25-yard line this season, the play calls seem to lose brain cells instantaneously?

- That, through 11 games, fourth-string wideout Jason Avant has more TACKLES than alleged “big” free agent signing Darren Howard?

I might feel better about this if Howard had more receptions than Avant, but sadly, this is not the case. Meanwhile, Jevon Kearse was a healthy scratch last week and played sparingly last night. Have no fear: Next year, we can still put our faith back into…Jerome McDougle??

- That no one seems to be talking about how David Akers is quietly having a very mediocre season?

His once-powerful foot is currently 2 for 7 from 40-plus yards out, and his kickoffs are routinely dropping outside the five-yard line, sometimes by a significant amount, giving his bend-but-don’t-break ‘D’ even less wiggle room to bend.

- That the Eagles remain undefeated when Westbrook carries the ball 25 times (2-0)?

It’s hard to complain when the offense worked – for the most part- as well as it did, but why not test this statistic against the Pats? It would have been a win-win for Reid: Fans expected a loss to begin with, and at least that way, it couldn’t be blamed (yet again) on an inexplicably pass-heavy offense. That way, Reid could have simply told everyone to stick it (which you KNOW he thinks, anyway) – he finally heeded popular request, and look what happened.

In hindsight, just one more running play would have sufficed – one on 2nd and four with less than four minutes to play inside the Patriots’ 30 yard-line down by three with the opportunity to run the clock out and, at the very minimum, almost assuredly get to overtime with momentum on their side.

But that’s just me. And most others in this region who don’t get paid to make that decision. What do we know?

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