Crash and Burn: Eagles Destroy Jets

Crash and Burn: Eagles Destroy Jets

Are the stars aligning for an unbelievable, mad dash to the postseason?

The
Eagles did their part today, roughing up the New York Jets 45-19, thus
moving to 6-8 and keeping their slim playoff hopes intact. Can we still
describe their chances as slim? All they need to do is beat the Cowboys
and Redskins -- two teams they dispatched earlier this season -- and
hope the Giants lose to the Jets next week, then defeat the Cowboys Week
17. Suddenly, it doesn't sound so far-fetched, particularly if they have more efforts like today.

For the second consecutive week,
defense ruled the day, only this time against an offense with a healthy
offensive line and quarterback. The Eagles held the Jets to 241 yards of
total offense, forced four turnovers, and sacked quarterback Mark
Sanchez four times. Three of New York's four scoring drives began in
Philadelphia territory, and all of them prior to garbage time setting
in.

The Birds' D even got the scoring started. The Jets were
marching down the field, with Shonn Greene finding running lanes the
size of those on I-95. As soon as New York started testing the passage
through the air, their luck changed. Santonio Holmes turned up field
after a short reception, and was quickly swarmed by Kurt Coleman and
Claysey Matthews. Coleman's helmet knocked the ball free, and Juqua
Parker recovered, running the ball back 47 yards to paydirt.

It
was Parker's second touchdown of the season, his first coming on a
fumble recovery against the Rams in Week 1, and it was the defense's
fourth TD on the year.

The Eagles would run their first-half lead
all the way up to 28-0. Another unfortunate miscue by Curtis Marsh on
the punt return team gave the Jets the football on Philly's 14-yard
line, but a Sanchez pass went through the hands of Holmes, and wound up
finding a waiting Asante Samuel for his third INT of the season. The
Eagles answered with a 77-yard drive, capped with Mike Vick finding
Brent Celek for the 26-yard score. Vick stook in the pocket and took a
sick shot, and Celek made a juggling grab for what turned out to be a
beautiful score.

It wasn't long before the ball was back in
Vick's hands. A few minutes later, he was racing the Jets defense to the
pylon from 11 yards out for his first rushing TD of the season.
Overall, it was a strong game for Vick, who was 15 for 22 passing with
274 yards and a score. He added 32 more ticks on the ground, and a
meaningless pick to end the first half could not mar the quality of his performance.

Three
plays later, Sanchez was scrambling for a first down -- and his life --
and had the ball poked free by one of the massive paws of Mike
Patterson. LeSean McCoy did the rest of the work, blowing the game wide
open on a nine-yard touchdown run, one of his three for the game.

The
Jets threatened briefly with 13 unanswered points to go into the locker
room, but the Eagles and McCoy quickly added seven more out of the break. By the
time Shady punctuated the fourth quarter with his third score, a shifty
33-yard dash with the game already well out of reach, we had officially
reached garbage time. Once the offense stepped back out on the field, Vince
Young was under center.

McCoy finished the afternoon with 102
yards rushing on 18 carries, and of course, the three scores to shatter
the Eagles' single-season franchise record for rushing and total
touchdowns, previously held by Steve Van Buren (more on that here). It
was also a milestone performance for defensive end Jason Babin, whose
three sacks put him atop the NFL leaderboard with 18. It was Babin's
second three-sack effort in back-to-back weeks, the first Eagle and 10th
player in history to accomplish such a feat, and he is sneaking up on the
single-season franchise record for sacks held by the great Reggie White,
who had 21 in 1987.

It's fun to see these records falling, but
even more fun that it's occuring during what very well might be an
improbable postseason run. There are fans who wish this weren't
happening, and a lot more who still believe it will all be for nothing,
but for the time being, we have life. Can a team just barely squeak into
the playoffs at 8-8 and win a Super Bowl? Sure, it could happen. So,
for now, we're just going to enjoy it, and hope it doesn't come back to haunt this franchise.

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Sir Charles and Shaq made things personal last night and it was fantastic

Shaq always has the trump card -- and by that we mean championship rings -- to throw in Charles Barkley's face. But with that said, Sir Charles is probably a much better trash talker and therefore has a superior mouth to defend himself with and throw barbs back in Shaq's direction.

The mouthy duo got into it a bit last night and it teetered between fun and lighthearted and a little personal.

Shaq attacks Chuck for only playing in one NBA Finals and therefore not really knowing what he was talking about. Charles claps back at Shaq for having ridden Kobe and Dwyane Wade's coattails. 

During an NBA playoffs that has been mostly boring, at least these two can still entertain us.

Fletcher Cox should be at Eagles OTAs, but absence likely meaningless

Fletcher Cox should be at Eagles OTAs, but absence likely meaningless

Fletcher Cox wasn’t at practice with the rest of his Eagles teammates on Tuesday -- well, 86 of them -- and that’s okay. It’s May, and participation in offseason training activities is strictly voluntary. Furthermore, if Cox wants to take a vacation, he is entitled to do so under the collective bargaining agreement.

Cox really should be at OTAs. The Eagles gave him a contract potentially worth over $100 million just last year, and with that comes an obligation. Cox arguably did not live up to that contract last season, too, so he could use the practice. And if he needed a vacation, why didn’t he take one during the three months he was off from work?

As far as I’m concerned, both takes are true. Cox is free to do as he wishes, and people with careers in sports should understand better than anybody the strain it places on families, so I can’t blame most of these guys for taking a little extra time. Then again, this drama with Cox seems like it was completely avoidable, and looks especially bad in light of his contract and disappointing season, so I can’t blame people for being angry, either.

Yet, Cox’s absence almost certainly will have no bearing on the outcome of any games this season. It’s not a sign of disrespect for Eagles coach Doug Pederson or that he’s losing the locker room. It’s not going to send a message to teammates that participation is not expected or important.

Cox missing OTAs on Tuesday was of no consequence to the Eagles at all. By training camp, it will be a forgotten footnote in the story of the 2017 season, only to be mentioned in future Mays whenever somebody else exercises the option to skip a voluntary practice.

Even then, there is clearly a double standard, because the reaction isn’t the same for everybody. When Brandon Graham missed last week while he was believed to be “holding out” for a new contract -- can’t hold out when it’s voluntary -- there were equal parts rage and support for the cause. Jason Peters and Donnie Jones are out this week, too, and while some displeasure has been voiced, those absences were largely met with apathy.

Marcus Smith was missing on Tuesday as well, and it’s not immediately clear why. Pederson made no mention of the former first-round draft pick, and practice was almost over before reporters bothered to notice. In theory, this is a huge mistake, because Smith is fighting for a roster spot. We also don’t know where he is -- perhaps there’s a reasonable explanation -- so it’s unreasonable to jump to conclusions or become outraged.

This is the part where once again we remind everybody that it’s May and these practices are non-contact. And while Cox going away for a week will still be indefensible to some, it never hurts to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Maybe, for whatever reason, he was literally unable to make the trip at a time that would not interfere with Eagles business. Maybe he was simply getting grief at home because he's away so much.

That undoubtedly will be impossible for some people to accept. And, hey, maybe Cox just doesn’t care. Regardless, the practices are voluntary, Cox is expected back next week, and absolutely nobody is going to be talking about this eight months from now, eight weeks from now, or even eight days from now.