I don't know about you guys, but it sure seems like the offseason gets longer and longer every year. Sure, the NFL does a nice job with the offseason schedule and programming, but I just wish they would get on with the real games already.
Oh, wait, they already started? That's funny -- for Birds fans, it sure seems like we're anxiously watching the opening act and checking our phones to see when the headliners are supposed to come on. As noted in the comments earlier in the week, for all the excitement that typically attends NFL games (and the league has certainly see its fair share of exciting turnarounds and finishes already), the Eagles have played three snoozers. More specifically, all three games have been effectively over by the third quarter.
Add to that the absence of McNabb for about 80 percent of the team's snaps, the revolving door of Greatest Hits Free Agents coming and going (goodbye Jeff Garcia, hello Jeremiah Trotter), the early bye and, of course, Brian Westbrook's retreat to his bubble-wrap cocoon, and well, it sure seems like the Birds extended the month of August to eight weeks. The team's performance has a certain preseason feel as well: two weeks of extreme goodness and one week of let's-just-pretend-that-never-happened-and/ or-admit-the-Saints-look-pretty-organized -- the sort of thing that happens when coaches are trying things out in exhibition games.
(Certainly we won't be shocked to discover that the Eagles are ranked first in Football Outsiders' variance metric after week 3.)
And now, with a week off, we wait. Wait to see what the Birds look like with a healthy(ish) McNabb and Michael Vick on the field at the same time. Wait to see if Westbrook still has it or if the future has already arrived and is wearing number 29. Wait to see if DeSean Jackson's 167 pounds can survive the season. Wait to see if Trotter can contribute.
The crazy bit is that we might not learn too much against Tampa and Oakland either. Not that either of those games is a lock (lest we forget the Birds' propensity to cough up an early-season game against a mediocre opponent), but neither team seems particularly dangerous.
So we wait. At the very least, it should keep our collective blood pressure in check (at least until Brad Lidge -- the Good Lord forbid -- takes the mound in a playoff game for the Phightins).