The bye week is over so we're tying up the final loose ends. Looking forward again starting tomorrow.
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Since we're tying a bow on this here, I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure I answer all your final questions. So here goes:
- No, I don't really feel betrayed by the alleged PED use by one or more members of the 1993 Phillies. But I'm not sure the individual in question ever was all that secretive about it anyway.
- Seems harsh calling LB your least favorite Eagles. He's at least somewhat responsible for one of my favorite players no longer being on the team, and I don't even put him in my bottom five. It's not his fault Spadaro's boys fell so in love with him this summer that we all figured he must be something useful, if not special.
- Put me down for Lito Sheppard. He lost me the day his agent starting ripping on one of his teammates and he was all, "What can I do?" Um, you can tell him to shut the hell up. He works for you, remember?
- On the Sheldon Brown thing, I listed all the reasons I like the guy. And we'll never forget the Reggie Bush hit. But some of the statements I've read from Sheldon in the past seem to suggest that he sees football as a way to live, not a reason for living. I'm just saying, if we're picking favorites, I might be inclined to go for a guy whose priorities aren't so in order.
- Seattle's a terrible team. Doesn't mean we can't lose to them. (Anyone catch that Cowboys game today? My brother said at the time, to explain why we were staying on that channel to watch the blowout rather than one of the other close games on at the same time, "This is like watching a Seinfeld rerun -- we know what's coming but it's so much fun to watch anyway.")
- The MySpace story is 100 percent true. I'd prefer not to call it "stalking" however. I didn't send him revealing pictures or tell him we should be together forever or anything.
- As for Westbrook, the rib injury -- for a running back -- absolutely seems like something that might limit your effectiveness, but you can play through it if you can manage the pain. It's not something like a busted knee where you have no choice but to sit out. I don't see Westbrook sitting out any more than he has to. Beyond that, you need to chill on this whole thing about Westbrook being chronically injured from here on out. It's freaking Joe Banner.
- I don't think McNabb goes anywhere this year if he stays healthy. I also don't think I wrote anything this summer saying I thought this would be his last year here if he didn't get hurt. However, I definitely went through a dark period this summer when I started to worry about what it means that Kevin Kolb has only a four-year deal. Figuring the Eagles would want to see what they had in him before they had to do a new deal, that gives them not much time to get him on the field and taking his shot. My brother talked me off that ledge though.
Finally, the DVOA stuff. There are two possible answers here, I think. The first is that this is just a question of luck and small sample sizes. Because the seasons are 16 games -- rather than 162 -- a handful of lucky or unlucky plays can have much more of an impact on the final standings. The Eagles have played pretty well so far, they just have missed out on a couple of breaks that would make their record look better.
A second possibility is that it's not luck. Every (close) game comes down to a couple of big plays. The question is if it will be your guys or the other guys who make them. Note that this assumes "playmaking ability" is a real thing.
I tend to feel like it's a mix of the two, myself. And sometimes we're too close to see the difference.
Of course, if you want the explanation for why FO thinks the Eagles' have such a weird mix of record and DVOA, just go here. Summary:
The biggest explanation for the difference between Philadelphia's win-loss record and total DVOA is that the offense has played much worse in the most important situations on the field. The Eagles rank fourth in DVOA on first down, 12th on second down, and 16th on third down -- including dead last on third-down runs. The Philadelphia offense ranks 17th in the red zone and a pathetic 31st in "close and late" situations (second half, score within a touchdown). They also have a poor red zone defense, although the defense has been very good in "close and late" situations.
We know that the "third-down rebound" effect is much stronger between seasons than it is during one specific season. I haven't had time to research whether poor performance in the red zone or in "close and late" situations tends to carry over for an entire season. However, if the Eagles offense can improve in these situations to match what it is doing the rest of the time, we won't be arguing about the team's place atop the DVOA ratings at the end of December.
And with that, we're off. Hopefully we'll be wanting to do this again in February ...