Traditionally, I react to Mike Florio's anti-Eagles rumormongering with a knowing-but-disappointed sigh and a mild clucking of the tongue: I'm sure posting about the Birds earns him extra page views at this point, and who am I to deny a man his livelihood! Sure, some of the rumors are especially silly (especially the more outlandish ones involving Dunavin), but at least we know enough at this point not to overreact.
That said, I think last week was the first time that I actually got excited about an allegedly anti-Eagles rumor on PFT. In a discussion of the "new" draft-day trade chart (note: if you're reading this, I assume you're aware of both the "old" and the proposed "new" draft-day trade charts...umm, right?), Florio quoted a "league source" as saying that this so-called "new" chart was just a scheme by the Eagles to screw over the other teams:
A league source tells us that, in his opinion and based on discussions with most of the other NFL teams, the proposal is the direct result of the Philadelphia Eagles to make it easier to trade up from the No. 19 overall spot in the 2008 draft.
“The whole thing sounds like an elaborate ruse,” the source said.
A ruse, do you say? A cunning attempt to deceive the other teams? Really? From Joe Banner?
Umm, that's actually kind of AWESOME. If you're telling me that Joe Banner can weave some sort of grand conspiracy across the NFL solely to land a better player for the Birds (and crush the final vestiges of Jimmy Johnson in the NFL), well, then I want to buy that man a drink!
I really wanted to drop a Simpsons quote here, but YouTube wouldn't cooperate ("Remember when he ate my goldfish, then you said I never had a goldfish? Then why did I have the bowl Bart? WHY DID I HAVE THE BOWL?!"). In lieu of Milhouse, we'll have to make do with the standard nerd refrain in this scenario: that Joe Banner is rocking a serious Jedi Mind Trick on the rest of the League:
(These aren't the trade charts you're looking for.)
Despite the recent addition of the RSS feeds, I still caught myself pounding refresh on PFT this weekend (on my machine, as I was leaving for the airport, on the phone, etc.). Lots going on, and PFT is the site of the moment for all the latest NFL scuttlebutt.
Still, you gotta love Mike Florio taking a moment out from posting relevant free-agency news to put together a charming little flame post at Eagles' house blathermonkey Dave Spadaro's expense.
We could argue all day about who flamed who first, but why don't we just agree that we're both behaving like 19-year-old college hoops fans on an ESPN.com messageboard and move on?
While I generally like Spuds (and don't like when the local blathermonkeys give him a hard time), I kind of enjoyed watching him and Florio argue. I mean, I don't need Florio to turn this into some kind of religious cause (that is, give Spuds the Len Pastabelly treatment), but I wouldn't hate it if these guys indulged us all in a public feud for a couple months. For the poor bastardini out there who check both philadelphiaeagles.com and PFT every day, it would do much to lighten up the dark, no-actual-news months ahead.
POSTED 3:44 p.m. EST; UPDATED 3:50 p.m. EST, November 21, 2007
NO McNABB? NO PROBLEM
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb didn't practice on Wednesday, due to ankle and thumb injuries. But if he can't play, on Sunday night or beyond, we're told that the rest of the team isn't troubled.
Maybe it's a reflection of the subtle message that the team sent in April when quarterback Kevin Kolb was the team's first draft pick in 2007.
Or maybe the players don't care because they realize that they can be competitive without or without him.
Either way, the nonchalance in the locker room regarding McNabb's potential absence for one or more weeks is real. And it kept the team from panicking a week ago when McNabb exited what looked to be a potential lost cause against the Dolphins.
A couple things here:
1. Standard unnamed sources named. Uh huh. Got it.
2. In re: "the rest of the team isn't troubled" -- um, what do you want? Do we expect the rest of the team to pee their Underoos and call Mommy for help?
3. The team came together and won the division with a journeyman at quarterback last year. Of course they're confident they can win without McNabb. That doesn't mean that they're a better team without McNabb, but it means that as long as the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook is getting it done, and the rest of the NFC is shaky (which it unfortunately isn't this year), the Birds have a shot. Team game, blah blah blah.
Mike Florio, the bounty just went up. I hope the extra traffic and mentions on the WIP morning show tomorrow are worth it!
This time I'm just skipping the caveats about how much I like ProFootballTalk and just proceeding directly to the part where I accuse Mike Florio of, in the words of our British cousins across the pond, talking absolute rubbish.
Florio posted earlier this week that the Birds' or-gan-eye-zay-shun's silence regarding Donovan McNabb's future with the team -- in contrast to its very vocal support for Andy Reid -- is a possible indication that Dunavin's future with the Eagles is limited. Note that the comments from Reid, Joe Banner, and Jeff Lurie all came in response to the highly publicized legal troubles of Reid's kids and the wild speculation amongst the Philly blathertariat (radio shows, newspaper headlines, freakin' editorials) that Reid would quit during the bye week.
To summarize, then, McNabb must be on his way out because no one has publicly defended his future with the team.
That is, the local press hasn't invented any rumors (at least not at the headline/ editorial level) about McNabb's departure, and the front office has not chosen to respond to these as-yet-unpublished rumors that do not exist with a blanket vote of confidence for McNabb, ergo Mike Florio publishes a rumor that this must mean that McNabb is on his way out. Absence of rumor + absence of denial of that nonexistent rumor = nonexistent rumor springs into being and must be true.
(I need to start publishing stories about Westbrook's retirement in 2011 to see if I can elicit a denial from the front office.)
Despite the fact that Profootballtalk.com is one of our favorite NFL sites -- at least in so part due to its delightful penchant for rumormongering -- we're going to need to put a bounty on PFT editor Mike Florio.
Seriously, we typically enjoy the ridiculous tabloid speculation coming out of PFT (it's like Drudge Report for the NFL), but we don't like it when we think he's picking on our favorite team. In two postings since the Trotter release, he's tried to invent imaginary scandals based on (a) alleged insider info from the locker room or (b) his own fantastical creativity:
We're hearing rumblings that the release of linebacker Jeremiah Trotter has sparked a locker-room revolt against management.
Trotter was regarded as a T.O. guy -- an in-house supporter of the talented but troublemaking wideout who disrupted the team in 2005 as he tried to get more money. And, as we hear it, some of the guys on the team who are the most upset about Trotter's release are the other T.O. sympathizers.
But it's not just the remaining pro-T.O. crowd that is unhappy about Trotter being gone. Quarterback Donovan McNabb has expressed his own questions about the move.
It would be easy to assume that McNabb is speaking out because he knows that he could be the 2008 version of Trotter. Maybe there are multiple motivations at work here, with McNabb thinking about about his own interests down the road, and the team's interests right now.
There is some suspicion that the release of Trotter was driven by coach Andy Reid's desire to justify keeping linebacker Matt McCoy, a second-round pick in 2005 who has been unable to stay in the starting lineup. If Trotter had stayed, McCoy could have been the odd man out. McCoy currently is listed as a backup at the weakside linebacker position.
Regardless of the motivation, folks who wear the uniform apparently aren't pleased. Whether it affects the team's performance in any way is a different issue. We doubt that it will, but we think that Reid needs to do some in-house damage control in order to get past this one.
This plus his note Tuesday ("TROTTER EXIT A DRY RUN FOR MCNABB?") in which he used the Trotter release as an excuse to talk shiznit about Dunavin? Yeah. That's just bad talk radio nonsense right there. (Also, talking about McNabb when REX GROSSMAN IS STILL THE STARTER IN CHICAGO just feels like he's looking for scandals rather than focusing on the big-market QBs on good teams who are under some real pressure as Week 1 approaches.)
Anyhoo, we're still fans, PFT, but we have to put the bounty on you. Felt we owed it to you.
(Also, shouldn't you be getting after the Britt Reid thing a little bit harder?)
Profootballtalk is reporting that Westbrook is attending a funeral. Just hours after they posted completely unfounded speculation in re: this being about some confusion in the payroll department.
From Florio at ProFootballTalk:
But we can't help but wonder whether the situation is connected to the issue of the unpaid $3 million roster bonus that Westbrook received. A league source says that it has nothing to do with the matter, but that the money still hasn't been paid.
Per the source, the two sides are still working through the issue. The problem is that Westbrook has to pay the Eagles $3 million even though he likely only received $1.5 million or so after taxes in extra money. So basically Westbrook must cough up the gross amount of the extra bonus and wait for the IRS to refund his taxes that the Eagles had withheld.
(Please don't take this to mean that we hate rumor-mongering; we don't. We just think they should stick to McNabb for this sort of thing. Leave Westbrook out of it.)
Link: Profootballtalk [No links to individual entries, for absolutely no good reason]