Friday, October 05, 2007

Briefly ...

Philly sports picked a bad time to get interesting. I'm currently mired in new-grad-program work and cocktail parties, just started a new volunteer gig, and have been writing until 4 a.m. on the regular, so I haven't had time to write a couple of posts I would really like to. So instead, I'll give you the briefest possible gists of those theoretical posts:

1. Rumors are swirling that Andy Reid might step down as soon as tomorrow. The generally in-the-know A.J. Daulerio wrote that, and Mike and the Mad Dog supposedly mentioned it on WFAN today. The bye week is here, his team is bad, and his family is imploding. I would not be surprised.

I don't want to gravedance on the man, because he did resurrect this franchise, and for the simple fact that they've been relevant under him I am eternally grateful. But the writing is on the wall, and has been for a while. The 2004 team was the ultimate Andy Reid/Jim Johnson squad, and even it couldn't win a title. His philosophy has begun to tarnish. The league has figured him out. And, really, it's not hard. If Sunday's debacle in the Meadowlands winds up being Reid's last game, these stats are fitting:

Running plays called: 19. Buckhalter had 103 yards on 17 carries.
Passing plays called: 35. That includes 12 sacks, four scrambles (for a total of 4 yards), one fumble returned for a TD, and 15 completed passes. After calling 65% passes for the entire game, they had 76 net passing yards and zero touchdowns. And they lost to their division rivals to fall to 1-3.

For those of you who would argue that I'm letting McNabb off the hook, Donovan McNabb didn't decide not to move a tight end over to help Winston Justice, despite the fact that he gave up six sacks and innumerable hurries, and was obviously overmatched. McNabb didn't have a second all game. And yet they kept on throwing. I've never seen anything like it. Actually, yes I have -- two dozen times in the last three years. Enough.

2. The Phillies are facing a sweep. So much to say here. Jimmy Rollins is doing as much as one man can to carry this team. Chase Utley has done exactly the opposite, in one of the bigger postseason choke jobs I can remember. Manuel should not have pulled Kendrick. Now even if they manage a win Saturday, they have to start someone on short rest for the next game.

All of that said, I still believe the Phillies can win this series. I'm not saying they will, and I admit I'm a homer. But they don't hit lefties well, and now they don't have to face one unless there's a fifth game. Jamie Moyer is exactly the kind of pitcher who can stymie young teams like the Rockies. And it wasn't long ago these Phils won seven straight against a much better team than the Rockies -- the Mets -- to make it where they are.

Only one team -- the '01 Yankees -- out of 21 has ever come back from 0-2 to win an LDS. (Before some chowd blows his stack, the Red Sox did it in a seven-game series.) So I'm saying there's a chance.


Kevin said...

Had to chime in - Sox actually came back from 0-2 to the A's in the 2003 ALDS as well.

Diesel said...

It's interesting that you reflexively say the Mets were a better team than the Rox. Quickly:

- The Rockies finished the regular season with one more win while playing in a better division;

- The Rockies' run differential this year was 102 runs, while the Mets was almost half that at 54;

- The Rockies gave up only eight more runs on the season than the Mets, despite playing half their games in the third-best run-scoring environment in the NL, according to Park Effects;

- The Rockies have a franchise philosophy of pursuing devout Christian players, while the Mets employ heathens like Shawn Green and unpatriotic commies like Carlos Delgado.

I think it's clear that the Rockies are "better" by any reasonable definition.

Big C said...

That Winston Justice/ Osi Umenyiora bloodbath on Sunday was one of those nails-on-a-chalkboard moments for me. Justice was clearly overmatched speed-wise, yet there was and stubborn refusal to give him any help whatsoever. How about a tight end? Or a back in pass pro? A few run plays to that side would slow Osi a step as well. Of the myriad of things that the OC could have done to fix the problem, none were implemented. I can only imagine your frustration in all of this. The majority of those sacks were not McNabb's fault (although I do believe that he could have rolled right and stepped into the pocket a little more aggresively), and this offense is a shell of its former self without Weapon X.

But I don't know if Andy Reid stepping down at this point of the season will help, though. I mean, can his replacement (any replacement) do any better? The run/pass thing is, of course, ridiculous, but unless Reid's replacement has some magical healing salve for Westbrook, and two O-linemen in his back pocket to shore up that left side, I really don't see an improvement for the Birds.

Pepe said...

Kevin: You're right. I should have remembered that, considering I watched that entire series. I took the 0-2 stat from some wire story I read. I should have double-checked.

Diesel: Those are some interesting stats, and they give me pause. And yet I still, perhaps irrationally, think the Mets are a more talented team than the Rockies, particularly in the starting rotation.

C: My understanding is that Westbrook and Tra Thomas should be back next week, or the week after at the latest.

I agree that the 2004 version of McNabb would have eluded a few of those sacks. And I vehemently agree that they need Westbrook -- he's the most important player in that offense, maybe the most important on the team. I also don't expect that Marty Morninhweg (almost certainly Reid's successor if he steps down mid-season) would fare much better. But at the end of a 3-13 season, at least we'd have a high draft pick and a new coach.

I don't think the team needs to be broken up and rebuilt. Not yet. But I think he coaching staff does.