When you’re a child, nothing beats Christmas morning. The anticipation starts building in November. Christmas Eve is nearly sleepless. A glimmer of light shines through your bedroom window and BAM! YOU’RE UP AND TEARING DOWN THE STAIRS!!! It’s great being a kid and now that I’m a proud Papa, I get to relive all that joy through my daughters. What’s Christmas to an adult guy? Your fantasy football draft. Every married guy has an all night hall pass. “Good luck and have fun,” is the usual line from the world’s greatest wife. It’s you, your closest friends, beer, pizza and ball busting…for four solid hours.

The ball busting is the greatest. I came from work and had a purple shirt and tie on. Guess how many times I heard “purple tie” that night? Karl’s forehead was a topic of discussion. My best friend, Jay, is so cheap he has looked in to getting his hands removed so he doesn’t have to put them in his pockets ever again. Ray loves his hookers. And Mike still gambles like he’s Leonard Tose. Non-stop comedy. Maybe not to you, but to us? Classic. All of it. I’m sure your draft includes similar jokes that pertain to your guys. That’s the beauty of a fantasy draft. It’s your inner core. The guys you hug when your team wins, the guys you sulk with when they lose. One night a year, you are as close to them as you have ever been.

It’s a rare opportunity to close the door from the rest of the world for us married with children guys. The young cats, more than likely, treat it like another night of drinking. Well, don’t! Some day, you too will cherish that evening. In the words of our great commissioner, Rock, “It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiime of the year…”
And here are a few thoughts as we wrap up the pre-season and head in to the 2011 NFL regular season…

It’s disgusting that Tampa Bay struggles so much to sell out games. That’s a high income town and they have a strong, young squad. Christ, people, go watch that team.

Everyone talks about how stacked the Eagles are at cornerback and running back, yet I think they’re equally deep at tight end. Love Celek. Clay Harbor could start for 80% of the teams in this league and Donald Lee is the third tight end!

Staying in Philly, big BIG shout out to Steve Addazio and the T for Temple U Owls who put a whoopin’ on the Villanova Wildcats. I love seeing Temple win football games. (In a related note, I will have my hands over my eyes when Penn State plays Alabama next week. That game could be over by the end of the first quarter.)

Jake Locker will win a Superbowl during his NFL career.

Yes, Chris Johnson, you are greedy. Yes, you also deserved the contract you signed.

Despite a first half exhibition beat down by the Detroit Lions last week, the New England Patriots are in mid-season form. I fully expect them to win the AFC.

I’m still struggling with Jacksonville drafting Blaine Gabbert so high. The pro game looks way too fast for him and I didn’t think much of him when he was at Missouri. He’s having such a tough time, it looks like he won’t even nail down the backup position.

The Dallas Cowboys suck. This pleases me to great heights.

Donovan McNabb has caught my attention. He looks sharp and re-invested. Unless Minny meets the Eagles in the post-season, there shouldn’t be a soul in Philadelphia who isn’t rooting for him to do well. If you’re not, shame on you. SHAME!

After a deep discussion with Jeff, I’ve determined that Ben Roethlisberger is the prototypical quarterback. His size and athletic ability are what every team should be looking for. Locker is the closest young guy to fit these spec’s.

Somebody give Aaron Rodgers a razor. And please tell him the Wyatt Earp look is no longer in.

I miss David Akers.

And, finally, here are my picks for division winners:

AFC EAST: New England
AFC WEST: San Diego
AFC SOUTH: Tennessee
AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh
AFC Wildcards: NY Jets and Baltimore (Houston is the trendy pick…I don’t see it.)

NFC EAST: Philadelphia
NFC WEST: St. Louis
NFC SOUTH: New Orleans
NFC NORTH: Green Bay
NFC Wildcards: Detroit and Tampa Bay

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Darren DeGaetano
A lifelong buddy of Voodoo Brown's, Darren was born in Philadelphia and resides with his family in South Jersey. His resume includes ten years producing sports radio in Philadelphia and five years as a writer, director and producer for NFL Films. His weekly NFL NOTES & MUSINGS column provides his thoughts, anecdotes and eye opening statistics that happened over the previous weekend. Additionally, every Friday, Darren offers his "What 2 Watch 4" column to set you up for the coming weekend football action. Darren's best known annual piece features his Darrentees, a collection of NFL bold and not so bold predictions for the season at hand. Finally, Darren is a full time NFL Insider for Philadelphia's Sportsradio 94.1 WIP and co-hosts the Thursday night / Friday morning overnight show with Big Daddy Graham and can be heard on the official Philadelphia Eagles post-game show. He also likes red wine. Lots and lots of red wine.

25 COMMENTS

  1. As Always, you are on the button. I have some of the greatest memories of you at age of two Ripping into your presents and playing with the boxes. I hope that our Birds just have pretty wrapping and kick some butt! OOOO line is my main concern.

  2. Opps meant to say “that I hope that our birds “Don’t” just have pretty wrapping. I see 12 wins

  3. Who wouldnt be happier than a big in shit with our big additions this year? This team has as much talent as any team in football and I see an 11 win season. Of course their are concerns about our offensive line and safties, but I want to see stability at the middle linebacker position. Since the 2008 season we have now have had 9 different starting middle linebackers. Some due to injury, but way too much turnover. We have been through Bradley, Gaither, Trotter, Witherspoon, Gocong, Mays, Jordan, Chaney, and now Matthews. Although its too early to judge Matthews, putting a rookie in charge of a defense with a potential superbowl bound team is a big risk.

    • You won’t see Matthews playing every down. They like Brian Rolle to step in on obvious passing situations and nickel, which may be good for Matthews’ development. (Let him focus on the run for now.)

      To be honest, I’m not wild about this team just yet. They have a lot of new faces on the field and just as many, if not more, coaching from the sideline and we haven’t seen much of them in the pre-season.

      That’s a lot of new people to start a season with no OTAs, no mini-camps and a shortened training camp in which the coach himself shortened even more by a day. The starters played sparingly during the exhibition games and now you’re asking 5 guys who have never played in this alignment to step in week one and block for Vick.

      For me, the offensive line is more of a concern than any other position right now.

  4. D
    Agreed.This team is still coming together.I would not be surprised with an 0-2 start.Ried’s teams jell in Nov. by then I expect them to make a run.

  5. This just in a non English speaking St.Peter has let Joey Vento through the pearly gates “wit out” passing judgement.

  6. Wish I could share in your sentimental joys of Xmas morning, but alas, the boxing gods have knocked my memory into “bolivian”, and so… onto Eagles football.

    Concerns at linebacker notwithstanding, I would agree that my biggest concern has to be O-line. Can’t go thru another year with the wear and tear that had an obvious impact on Vick’s play toward the end of the year.

    Being outside the range of listening distance to the local Philly media, I plead ignorance having full knowledge of the line’s status and who’s starting and where. But I have occassionally checked in only to hear our starting right guard is “definitely overwhelmed”, another rookie taking the helm at center, and the constant change at RT. At last check, I hear it’s Herreman’s job. Has he played any tackle before and at what success?

    Any reassurance that our O-line will be up to the challenge will greatly help my anxiety. Until then… off to feed the pigeons and a little playful ear-nibbling… cranky Evander never knew how to take a joke.

    • “Im so happy I dont have to listen to Eskin wine on the air anymore!”

      … nor drink it, for what it’s worth. he never had the grapes for radio.

  7. with the obvious areas of weakness, Linebackers and offensive line, missing David Akers could play a bigger part in this season than we think. Alex Henery has looked shaky on a majority of his field goal attempts. Albeit, My biggest concerns are the obvious ones, would have felt more comfortable with Akers back there and it could come back to bite us. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    • You could park 2 Audi A8’s in that nose!

      I couldn’t agree more with your point on Akers. Yes, he’s the NCAA all time most accurate kicker. He’s also never kicked at the Meadowlands or Lambeau or in Seattle or in Philadelphia, for that matter with a game on the line!

      I loved seeing Akers kick that 59 yarder for Frisco 2 weeks ago. He always had ice in his veines and there’s a solid chance Henery will be called upon to win more than a few games this season.

      All I can say is, grab some whiskey and hold your breathe when he does!

      • Oh, c’mon now. Put the whiskey down and take a deep breath thru Ryan Howard’s garage size nose.

        Dude is not only ncaa’s all-time most accurate kicker, he seems to handle big-time games smoothly showing some philly water ice in his veins… 14-14 in the post-season on field goals including 4-4 in the ’09 Holiday Bowl. 18-19 last year with the only miss a blocked 51 yarder; 10 from 40+ and 2 from 50+. We were going to need to replace Akers anyway, so why not take one of the best kickers to ever come out of college when you can and throw him in the fire saving some money along the way.

        You act like he’s gonna piss his pants as if he were facing me down in the ring circa 1986! The swirling winds of the Linc with 60,000 drunk, angry fans who expect nothing less than perfection looking on with :02 left on the clock in a heated end-of-year division game down by 2 should be a cakewalk in comparison.

  8. I think we should give Andy a shot at left gaurd and let him eat the defensive tackle in front of him.

    Btw… Strausburg is throwing gas right now

  9. Is Dan Watkins just another in a long line of bad draft choices?Perhaps he was signed to provide EMT services on the sideline.

    • I think you have to look at Watkins differently than the typical rookie. Firstly, he never played football until he was already at Baylor so his total years of game experience has been shortened.

      Secondly, he’s a 26 year old rookie so his total playing life experience will be shortened.

      Thirdly, he didn’t have the benefit of OTAs or mini-camps because of the lockout so his practice time has been shortened. Even training camp was cut short.

      You need to realize he didn’t even receive the playbook until 6 weeks ago.

      Add up all those shortenings and benching Watkins now was a good move especially against a defensive mind like Steve Spagnuolo (man, it annoys me when people, including myself, call him Spags). You could ruin a guy early in the season if he’s not prepared.

      Give Watkins some time and like I tell everyone, keep your Superbowl dreams in the closet for a year. There are too many young guys who need to learn.

  10. What a night for TV.Switching between OSU vs Arizona,Pack vs Saints,Phils vs Brewers and the new Diamonique collection on QVC.Heaven has a name and it is CABLE.

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