The Eagles didn’t win a football game on Sunday, but they did learn a great deal about themselves. Above all, the Birds are not ready to end their 54-year championship drought. We all know that now.
We also have a much better idea of which players on the current roster deserve to remain in Philadelphia as coach Chip Kelly weeds out the weak and the stupid. If the Seattle Seahawks proved anything during their 24-14 win, it is that there is no room for underachievers on a champion.
At the top of Kelly’s list of players who will not deliver a parade is Mark Sanchez, the likeable quarterback whose heart is much bigger than his talent. The coach made a stunning admission with four minutes left when he punted rather than try a desperation fourth-and 11 play.
“I didn’t think we could make the first down,” Kelly said on my WIP radio show yesterday.
In other words, he didn’t have enough confidence in his quarterback to execute a big play against a great defense – something that ultimately is required of the offensive leader on every Super Bowl champion. Sanchez will not be the starter when the Eagles win the Lombardi Trophy.
And neither will LeSean McCoy. There are still some holdouts who believe McCoy is the same elite runner he was last year, but the number of his supporters is dwindling by the week. In his biggest test of the season, behind a healthy offensive line, McCoy averaged 2.9 yards per carry Sunday and added a catastrophic fumble. He is past his prime.
Riley Cooper is going to win nothing here, either. He ranks 66thin catches among wide receivers and 81stin yards. Twice in the past two weeks, he has not exerted maximum effort on balls that were intercepted. He is no bargain in the locker room, either. He openly blamed Sanchez for the turnover Sunday. The sooner Cooper leaves, the better.
On defense, the list of underperformers begins with Bradley Fletcher, the cornerback who belongs in a burn center for all the times receivers have roasted him this season. The 44-yard pass-interference penalty against him Sunday was only the latest in an endless series of bad plays and dumb decisions.
Trent Cole will not be here when the Eagles win the Super Bowl; he’s too busy jumping offside in key moments. Casey Matthews has revived his career this season, but not enough to be a long-term solution at linebacker. Nate Allen proved conclusively against the Seahawks that he is not even a cheap facsimile of Cam Chancellor.
What the Eagles have right now is an inventive coach, world-class special teams, some excellent playmakers, a powerful defensive line and two terrific linebackers. They need more star players – more performers like those who were wearing the other team’s uniforms Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles should send the Seattle a thank-you card for Sunday’s lesson. At least now everybody knows who belongs here, and who doesn’t.
- The NFL scheduled the Bill Vinovich crew to work the Eagles-Seahawks game Sunday. Seattle is 6-1 when he’s the ref. The Eagles are 1-5. Hey, there’s no way the league realized a Seattle win would create more drama the next two weeks on Sunday Night Football. Is there?
- Fans are tuning out the Sixers in droves this season. Through the first 18 games, TV ratings plummeted to a .9 rating, which represents 26,000 households a game – one third of last year’s audience. Reruns ofSpongebob Squarepantsare getting higher numbers in Philadelphia. You can look it up.
- The Phillies are mishandling the sensitive situation involving president Dave Montgomery and his ongoing battle with cancer. Their statement last week that “there has been no determination made” about Montgomery’s post-recovery role was insulting. They do not plan to bring him back. It’s time to admit the truth.
- Ex-Phillie Jayson Werth faces 10 days in jail for driving 50 mph over the speed limit. His mountain-man look and arrogant attitude should be a big hit in the slammer. If there’s any real justice, his cellmate will be one of those Phillies fans he flipped off last season.
- Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon put his Rittenhouse Square condo on the market for $6.9 million last week. It’s a safe bet he’ll have an easier time unloading the apartment than the Phillies will have unloading him.