Oh right, so I guess there won't be a miracle division championship/ playoff berth this season. A week after throwing three picks and losing to the Pats on the road (but covering the outrageously generous spread), A.J. Feeley threw four picks and lost to the Nerdbirds at home. After braying for Feeley for the past few days, even the most devout Dunavivn haters will be begging 5 to come back for the Giants.
No matter, though. The Birds' problems this season (and next) are bigger than the quarterback position. But that's another post for another time. My take on the Nerdbirds - RIGHTEOUS BIRDS game:
1. My man crush on the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook reaches previously unanticipated levels of intensity. I'm at the point where I view every play that doesn't involve Westbrook as a disappointment. And I understand that he can't touch it every play. I do. I read Football Outsiders, I know what happens to backs with too many touches. But he's just so obviously the Birds' best player, if not one of the three most dangerous backs in the league right now (I've got Tomlinson and young master Peterson on the list as well). And the killer about Westbrook is that he absolutely delivers in the biggest moments. Year after year. That punt return? Tell me you weren't begging him to score because you knew that if he didn't, no one would. By the way, GCOBB had a positively chilling post about BWest after the game. Read it at your own risk.
2. But before we move on, some additional words about Feeley. HE WAS AWFUL. Usually, you can expect your backup to be a little brainy, a little conservative, maybe even gun shy. Not Feeley. He was flinging it. Or, lobbing it. The picks to Tatupu were comical. Mr. Feeley, meet Mr. Tatupu. He plays middle linebacker, sometimes called the "Mike" linebacker. If you're throwing the ball into the middle of the field, you'll want to keep an eye out for him. The crazy thing is that the four picks could have been a lot worse -- Feeley definitely chucked a bunch of lobs into double coverage (gotta give Greg Lewis a chance to make a play!). Yikes. I really hope he isn't starting for the Birds next year.
3. Nice to see Andy Reid get pissy (with players and blathermonkeys). Not only did Andy Reid drop a little sarcasm at the expense of Feeley in his post-game presser (dryly observing, "I wanted to make sure he threw it to our team; I didn't want him to throw it to the other team."), but he also snapped at the blathermonkeys for repeated questions about who had the final call on McNabb's fitness (but we can't blame them for their passion for palace intrigue). Generally, though, he looked pretty cheesed off today. Been a long year for Big Red. A long year. If he wants to get a little testy with the press or his players every so often, I'm down with it. He gets a pass from me.
4. The offensive line was fairly excellent. I thought the line was great in run blocking and in pass protection. Feeley had all day back there (which makes his decision-making all the more appalling). The one blemish on the record was the failure at the end of the first half at the goal line. Don't know why we couldn't have knocked those guys back a couple feet. Frustrating. Still, the o-line play makes me feel better about their prospects against the G-Men next week.
5. Linebackers evolve, still can't manage to make impact play. The Takeo Spikes drop on the Eagles' first defensive play pretty much summed up what we've gotten from the linebackers this year: they're in the right spot most of the time, and seem to be doing the right things, but they aren't playmakers. They don't get sacks, and they don't cause turnovers. Which is...okay. It's better than what they had last year, but it isn't awesome, and I don't know if it's good enough in the long run. Still, linebacker is definitely a transition position for the Eagles this year, so this isn't too too shocking. (Note: "isn't too too shocking" doesn't mean "good.")
In conclusion, whilst my expectations for the season are certainly dampened, things can be made right in the universe with a victory over the hated Giants. That's important.