Photo above courtesy of CBS Sports.
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” – George Carlin
Last night, the wife and I sat down with our daughters to help them write their Christmas wish lists to Santa Claus. My girls are very different. My oldest is dramatic and, unfortunately, shares my anxiety. She was very specific in what she wanted and needed a second page to list everything her little heart desired. My youngest is a clown. Not only is she stunningly gorgeous, but already shows signs that my Dad’s comedic timing has been passed on to her. She simply wants anything and everything with a Ninja Turtle on it.
As an Eagles fan, when I peruse the current roster and continue to try and contemplate the GM’s insane off-season moves, I am tempted to write my own Christmas list. It would be lengthy but I’m a realist so I understand every hole can’t be filled in one off-season, especially when the biggest concern after this year is who the hell will be in charge of making the team’s personnel moves. Even if Chip Kelly stays on as head coach, can owner Jeffrey Lurie really allow him to have absolute power another year?
I’ll lay this out for you…Lurie cannot and will not. If Kelly remains as head coach, I would expect someone either existing in the organization or new from the outside to be put in place to keep Kelly, the GM, in check.
With that in mind, here’s my grown up Christmas wish list:
- The Birds need 4, yes FOUR, new starters and while I can’t expect them to turn that many bodies over in one off-season, I can expect at least 2 new starters on that line acquired through the draft. This needs to be the top unit of concern.
- Addition by subtraction! I don’t want to see Miles Austin or Riley Cooper within a hundred miles of Lincoln Financial Field ever again.
- It would be nice to pick up a speedy guy in the middle rounds, as well.
Side notes to my wife:
- I’d like that new wireless, circular Samsung phone charger for my cell.
- Also, a state of the art record player. Getting back in to buying vinyl.
- Oh, and there’s a pair of UA sneakers at Dick’s I’ve had my eyes on.
- If you’re thinking watches, always Raymond Weil or Breitling.
- Billy Davis may be fired after this year and some will say he is a scapegoat. Those would be incorrect. As accountable as Kelly is, Davis is equally. It’s like these two teach classes in inability to adapt, in-game.
- Firstly, see if some sucker team will trade you a 6th round pick for DeMarco Murray. Get him out of here, he doesn’t fit and his best days are behind him.
- Draft a young buck to fill his position. Come back with Mathews, Sproles and Barner next year.
Switch back to a 4 – 3 defense.
- Put Logan and Cox at DT, Curry and Thornton on the edges. My starting linebackers would be Barwin, Kendricks and Hicks in the middle. They would, instantly, be a more productive unit.
I’m not going to get greedy and ask for a quarterback, too, for these reasons…the 2016 class is not great. Paxton Lynch from Memphis fits what Kelly does but I don’t have any confidence Chip will be here long past next season. The Birds are also in desperate need of a big time pass rusher but haven’t they been for a decade now?
Fairly modest list, right? Come on, Santa. I’ve been a very good boy this year.
And now on to YOUR Week 12 NFL Notes & Musings…
The Detroit Lions have now won 3 straight this season and last Thursday’s win against the Eagles was the franchise’s third straight Thanksgiving Day victory. Detroit defensive end Ziggy Ansah entered the game 4th in the league with 8 sacks and added 3.5 against Philly, good enough to boost him in to 2nd place behind J.J. Watt’s 13.5.
New England’s Tom Brady has 3600 yards passing through 11 games throwing to gas station attendants.
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson has over 1,164 yards rushing through 11 games, over 100 more than Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin.
Carolina held Dallas’ Darren McFadden to 11 yards rushing on 10 carries for an average of 1.1 yards per rush attempt.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is 35 years old and has now broken his collarbone twice this season. It is time for the Cowboys to seriously look for his successor this offseason.
The Chicago Bears have won 3 of their last 4 games to climb back in to the Wildcard race. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase seems to be making progress with quarterback Jay Cutler who has cut down on his turnovers.
Rookie running back Duke Johnson is highly underutilized in Cleveland’s offense. John DeFilippo is a smart offensive coordinator. I expect Johnson’s touches to increase.
So far, Eagles and Browns fans have been spotted wearing paper bags on their heads during home games.
After Denver’s victory on Sunday night against the previously unbeaten Patriots, I expect quarterback Brock Osweiler (2 – 0) to be the starter for the rest of the season. Credit the L.A. Times’ Sam Farmer with this gem: The Denver Brockos
Arizona’s win on Sunday was the team’s first in San Francisco since Week 1 in 2008 at the late Candlestick Park. It’s funny that the current 49ers stadium (Levi’s Field) is widely known as having the worst, slop filled turf in the league and the team’s last stadium, Candlestick, was also known for it’s sloppy field. Get it right, fellas!
Atlanta is free falling, having lost 5 of their last 6, including 4 straight. Remember, this team started 5 – 0. I’m not sure what is up with quarterback Matt Ryan, who is my cousin Kevin’s absolute doppelganger, but it appears as though he is trying to do too much. Across the body throws in the red zone that lead to interceptions are inexcusable at any organized level. Ryan has thrown 5 picks in his last two games, 2 of them this past Sunday.
I can’t see St. Louis Head Coach Jeff Fisher surviving after this season. The Rams are extremely talented, are deep on defense and appear to have a top flight running back. They just don’t play smart football and quarterback Nick Foles has steadily regressed since the team’s Week 1 win against Seattle.
The New Orleans offense had scored at least one touchdown in every game since 2005. At least, until this past Sunday in Houston. The last time Saints quarterback Drew Brees failed to throw a touchdown pass was November 29th, 2012.
Don’t look now but the Houston Texans have now won 4 straight, inched above .500 and are smack-dab in the middle of the AFC playoff race. Head Coach Bill O’Brien deserves all the credit for keeping this team together when they teetered on the verge of destruction.
The Colts have now won 3 in a row behind 40 year old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Indy sits tied atop the AFC South at 6 – 5 with the Houston Texans. Should be a good race down the stretch. The Colts still struggle to run the ball. Frank Gore averaged just 1.3 yards per rush on 19 attempts and Ahmad Bradshaw picked up a mere 6 yards on 4 carries before injuring his wrist and getting placed on injured reserve.
San Diego schizophrenic quarterback Philip Rivers is now 11th on the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass list. He passed both Joe Montana and Vinny Testaverde on Sunday in the Chargers’ win over Jacksonville. Rivers also became the 17th quarterback in NFL history to throw for 40,000 yards. The Bolts snapped a 6 game losing streak. It was the 2nd time in the last 5 years that San Diego snapped a 6 game losing streak against the Jaguars, both times in Jacksonville.
Chip Kelly cut Desean Jackson, let Jeremy Maclin walk and traded Lesean McCoy for a total return of what amounts to be an insurance payment in Kiko Alonso. On Sunday, those 3 players accounted for a total of 327 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Kansas City has now won 5 in a row to climb to 6 – 5 and are not only deep in the Wildcard race but could now challenge Denver for the AFC West.
The Washington Redskins are in 1st place in the NFC East and I, officially, know nothing about pro football. The Skins are 5 – 1 at home and 0 – 5 on the road.
Sunday’s loss in Washington was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s 20th 3-interception game.
According to Miami interim Head Coach Dan Campbell, he was the one who decided to fire offensive coordinator Bill Lazor after the Dolphins got boat-raced by the New York Jets. How in the world is an interim meathead former tight ends coach allowed to fire coordinators? The Fish are one of a handful of teams that should be blown up after the season. Miami GM Dennis Hickey has some work to do. I expect them to go full board after Sean Peyton, should the Saints relieve him of his coaching duties.
I’m a big fan of this RRRrrrrrrAIDerrrrss team. Oakland won a thriller in Tennessee behind quarterback Derek Carr’s 6th 300 yard passing game of this season. Stud rookie wideout Amari Cooper hauled in 7 passes for 115 yards and the game was sealed on an interception by, make sure you’re seated, former Eagles safety Nate Allen. Unbelievable. In typical Oakland fashion though, the Raiders racked up 11 penalties for 94 yards.
I honestly hate myself for what I’m about to write but, league-wide, the officiating has been horrendous on so many levels. Basic, essential rules are being overlooked and some refs’ clock management make Andy Reid and Chip Kelly look like experts.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson set a career high with 5 touchdown passes against the Steelers on Sunday. The Seahawks finally climbed above .500 but it wasn’t easy as Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards, the most ever given up by a Seattle defense. Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton is only the second wide receiver to top 200 yards receiving (201) against the Seahawks ever. It was also Seattle’s first win of the Russ Wilson era when the opponent scored more than 24 points. Final score was 30 – 39 and the game fell on Wilson’s 27th birthday, a day in which he needed 3 IV’s to get through.
And finally, what if I told you before the season that the Carolina Panthers have a legitimate shot at going 16 – 0? Firstly, I would never have been able to get that out with a straight face but here we are, steaming towards week 13 and the Panthers’ record is unblemished. Their following schedule includes road games in New Orleans and New York (Giants), a pair of games against Atlanta and a season ender against Tampa Bay in Carolina. All very winnable games for, arguably, the best defense in football. The Panthers sit at 11 – 0 with a surefire coach of the year in Ron Rivera, a top head coach candidate in defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, the best middle linebacker in football in Luke Kuechly and the most confident quarterback in the league in Cam Newton. 16 – 0 is there for Carolina’s taking.
Football Friday starts early with me and Big Daddy Graham on Sportsradio 94WIP from 2a to 6a! Stay up late or get up early because we’re taking YOUR calls!
Check back here at Voodoobrown.com on Friday for my NFL Week 13 What 2 Watch 4!
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