Sunday, September 30, 2007

Justice For Nobody

If there was any doubt left that Andy Reid has lost control of this football team, tonight's embarassment eliminated it. Since our 42-0 loss a couple years ago, I haven't seen such a gutless, pathetic performance by this sad franchise than the loss tonight.

The Birds' stats are overwhelming:
*190 TOTAL YARDS (ha ha)

The big story was the nonexistence of the O-line, in particular Winston Justice. To be fair, Justice had to come in to replace William (not "Tra" anymore) Thomas, so he had big shoes to fill. However, I have never seen such a sad performance by an O- Lineman - Justice's man Osi Umenyiora had SIX sacks and was pushing Justice around like a child. Umenyiora set a Giant's record with that stat. SAD. Justice needs to be cut - period. The picture above says it all: McNabb is being sacked and Justice (#74) is standing there in the background, looking helpless.

Aside from the O-line being a sieve, McNabb had his familiar problems and looked really tenative on his knee. He's now lost his main strength (scrambling), and is stuck with his kryptonite (pretending he is a pocket passer). D-linemen were running him down like a scared rabbit tonight.

To add to the problem, once again, the WRs got zero separation and were unable to get open. We have no threat downfield and our shortgame has been shutdown. And once again, our runningback (Buckhalter this time rather than Westy) was our most productive receiver, with 35 yards. When you can't pass, what else is there to do? Run, I guess...oh yeh, no Westbrook tonight. I will say that Buckhalter played hard, so limited props go to him; and our running game showed some life occasionally. Other than Buck's lukewarm performance however, no one showed up at all.

John Madden, who I generally think is no more than a caricature anymore, had some good points at the end of the game. Madden made a bold statement that he could not recall a more dominant performance by a defensive player than Umenyiora's tonight - wow. How many games has he watched over the years, to make a statement like that? Justice should be cut on that observation alone. He also summed the whole situation up nicely, saying that these performances all come down to coaching. Very true.

Lurie needs to set an example, damnit. I am ready, and the COBL is ready, for a bloodbath with this team. Wipe the slate clean and start over, starting with Big Red.

Andy, make it easier for us and please, please just RESIGN.


Man, that hair grows back awful quickly

As Sheldon said in one of the NBC promos for the game: "The decision maker in the game tonight is simple. It's whoever wants it the most."

Did the giants want it more? Or did we just want it less? Or, even worse, and more likely, did we just not even care in the least?
This debacle was entirely mental. (Except in William James' case, because he doesn't even have the physical potential to play the game). We came out emotionally flat and mentally vacant. This is inexcusable by itself -- but this was a division game, and a huge rivialry -- one of the biggest in the entire leage. Hell, I have more intensity when I sleepwalk to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

don't even know which is more embarassing -- the penalties, or the shocking non-play of our offensive line:

-- FIFTEEN penalties for 132 yards. FIFTEEN for ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO. This was just 58 yards shy of our entire offense.

-- Twelve sacks for 62 yards. TWELVE for SIXTY-TWO. This tied the NFL record for most sacks in a game. And Umenyiora had SIX by himself, tying the NFL record for most sacks in a game. Here's some perspective: We gave up 4.4 times the amount of yards in sacks than we had in net passing yards.

And not to blame just one defensive player, since our entire D, starting with out DL, really never came to play, but why the hell do we even allow William James to put on an Eagles uniform? I'd almost rather send Reno out there to play CB. Christ, James can't even blitz even when he's uncovered. He got faked out and left his feet by the most obvious pump fake, allowing Eli to get off the ball. At least he took the interference call in the 3Q rather than allow Toomer to score. If he's going to get beaten every play, he might as well try to minimize the damage he causes to this team. For him to have talked trash in the off season about taking Sheldon's starting spot is simply mind-boggling.

We need to be able to activate another head coach on gameday, so we can pull Reid when this happens. Can we at least take away his shiny playcard, so he can't keep calling nothing but pass plays? We weren't setting the field on fire on the ground, but we were definitely getting positive yards into the second half. But still, despite our line's consistent failure to protect McNabb and our WRs' consistent failure to get an inch of separation, we kept throwing. Why not just pound the ball? We had time and were down by only one TD until the end of of the 3Q. If nothing else, running might've helped to give the OL some confidence back. Our play calling is so one-dimensional, it's like the football equivalent of tetherball.

The failure to get up for the game and the mental breakdowns fall squarely on Big Red's sloping shoulders. But no -- I don't mean in just the "I need to do a better job next time" or "we're just off by a hair" type of purely linguistic and meaningless mea culpa. Accepting responsibility is empty when there are no repercussions, and is just plain insulting when there is not the slightest attempt at any degree of insight. This is his fault, and he needs to hand over the reins, and for good. Letting Marty call the plays won't solve everything, but it is a start. JoePa had the courage and the true desire to put the team before ego. Reid needs to do the same.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I must've watched a different game on Sunday...

Though I know very little about football (which is arguably far more dangerous than knowing nothing at all), I nonetheless feel fully entitled to rant and rave as a battered Eagles fan. Sure, my husband is all too quick to point out that I’ve only experienced the ‘good days’ but I can argue back that these are far from being ‘good’ – I guess it’s all relative. I see little ‘good’ in a winning record that comes with consistent mediocrity and lack of passion or commitment to what can be the ONLY goal at this point – a superbowl title. A team which is committed, from the person at the very top all the way down (to Reno Mahe) – that is a team I respect. A team can only be ‘good’ if it acknowledges that this is a serious profession and thus should treat it as one -- I have never been allowed half the flexibility or tolerance for mistakes, idiocy, lack of interest, you name it, on any of my jobs, while on a meager salary mind you, than the allowance we afford our head couch *shudder*, managers *convulse, convulse, convulse* and very often our players. I have so far sat through two 8-hour Saturday classes listening to my professor go off about Leadership – of all the points a 16-hour lecture can cover, I still have not found one that is represented by the Eagles coach or management – unless ‘presence’ is one, but in our head coach’s case it is not due to his personality but rather due to his girth. But alas, I digress.

Does anyone else find it troubling that the *only* way this team seems to care about playing some half-way decent football is when it’s at the verge of being mentally abandoned by all its fans, and/or completely ridiculed by everyone else? I truly believe that had there not been so much controversy last week (both thanks to those oh-so-thought-provoking remarks from our ‘leader’ McNabb and thanks to the sheer embarrassment of the MNF game), we would’ve come out to see a very different (albeit still very yellow) football game Sunday afternoon. How can this team not be able to find motivation in the sheer game itself? It can only mean that the team has no real goals – other than to be ‘good enough’ to (just) make it to the playoffs and thus make an extra dollar for the management.

Btw – speaking of Sunday’s game, I’m still not all that impressed with it. We were playing the Lions for crying out loud. Sure, they were 2-0 coming in but then again the Packers are 3-0 and we all remember their complete inability to score against us on opening day – and not because we were demonstrating any sort of defensive excellence 3 Sundays ago. Did we not notice the complete lack of effectiveness of our secondary? Sure, it is plagued with injuries, but the fact remains that we are completely unable to control an aggressive passing game. Yes, our D-line did stop the run – I’ll give them that, but we were playing the Lions after all. And yes, our O-line did great as well, but other than Shaun Rogers, I’m not sure we can talk of an exceptionally strong D-line on Detroit’s side. And I’m still not convinced that Curtis can get open against a decent corner – which might not be surprising given that he is accustomed to practicing against our own secondary (and I am becoming more and more a believer that even a post-knee-surgery rehab patient can outrun James).

Next Sunday is looming ahead and we’re coming off a ‘huge’ game – we thus have nothing to prove and no reason to try. I wonder if the players share the amount of animosity the fans do against the giants – if so, that would provide a glimpse of hope that we’re not going to embarrass ourselves on national TV. Then again, maybe all Eagles fans should take a conscious mental and psychological hit this season and hope for a horrendous season, if that means that we will FINALLY see some change – new coach, new mentality, and, dare I say this, new QB – at least one with some leadership skills because our current one sure never had, nor has he shown signs of ever developing any. Then again, I can’t help but being a horrendous hypocrite because I will always stand and cheer our Philadelphia Eagles on, through rain or shine.

The Freak -- Hall of Shame

I recall B. West's magical runs on Sunday; I recall Curtis standing completely by himself on the field with no Detroit defender in the vicinity. But I also recall thinking to myself that Kearse has been completely invisible this season. I remember looking closely through my binoculars to make sure that # 93 was in fact on the field -- and my vision told me that indeed it was so. The numbers, however, tell me otherwise; Jeavon has yet to play football this season. That's right -- in 3 games the Freak has registered ZERO tackles, ZERO sacks, ZERO effort. The numbers deviate from zero when it comes to penalties -- he has flirted with the neutral zone a couple of times and as such, has been charged negative yards. Now someone please tell me again -- why is it that Juqua Thomas is not starting in that position??

P.S. I wish to extend my sincere apologies to all readers and to Jeavon himself -- he is, after all, putting up pro-bowl numbers -- 1 tackle and 0.5 sacks so far this season. I regret the error of implying a zero output earlier on.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jumping the Shark, McNabb Style

Like Happy Days after the Fonz's infamous waterskiing heroics, I think the death knell has rung in Philly for #5. Donovan, in his familiar passive-aggressive manner, blew up before the media yesterday after Wednesday's practice.

McNabb again showed that his state of mind is not in a good place when asked yesterday about his comments to HBO that black QBs are scrutinized more heavily than white QBs : "It's just reality. It's something that I've been a part of and other quarterbacks before and after me have been a part of. Did I expect any backlash? Yeah. Everything I say, I expect backlash from it."

{Paulomon Grundy thought bubble: I wonder where a Mexican-American QB would stand on Mcnabb's Wheel of Criticism. A solid parallel story for ESPN would have been to interview Jim Plunkett, if for no other reason that I love the way that guy wore his helmet...}

But OK, I am only an armchair psychaitrist by training, but when someone says that "I expect backlash from everything I say", it seems that the guy has some kind of unhealthy complex going on. Time to see Dr. Feelgood for a few sessions?

McNabb went on: "People are trying to dig too deep in this whole situation. I wasn't pinpointing particular people. What I said was the fact that we [black QBs] have to do a little extra. No matter the style of play you're displaying, there's always going to be criticism."

"Situation"? When did this become a situation? It sounds like he just made a bunch of ridiculous comments, but now we have a situation me, a situation means that something is he leaving Philly? Retiring? Donovan, please tell us what the situation is.

Sometime after that, #5 stormed off the podium. Excellent. I suppose that was another example of McNabb's "class and dignity" that he referred to during the HBO interview.

To sum up my feelings, I don't even need to reiterate what I blogged about the other day on this "situation"...Vince Young (who I believe is a black QB too) said it all for me yesterday: "Black or white quarterbacks, we all go through something because that's the life of a quarterback...You've got to be able to handle all the pressure. You've got to be able to handle the losses. You've got to be able to handle the media. If you can't handle it, you've got to get off that position and go play something else."

Andy Reid seems to be completely unable to reach his players right now, so I don't have much faith that he can control McNabb's spiral downward. Reid needs to do something however...someone needs to do something to help this QB. And not only for the Birds, but just because it is just getting sad to watch this happen to the guy....

Come on everybody, sing along with me now: Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days, Thursday, Friday, Happy Days, Sunday, Monday, happy...days..?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Sensitive" Subject

I have not had the energy to blog about last night's debacle yet...and oh, there is so much to vent about...but in the meantime, I cannot ignore Dmac's latest media foray. Seems like with every season (and with every failure), old #5 steps into the spotlight surrounding a controversy. At this point, I am conflicted whether he is a lightning rod of criticism or the lightning itself, but I am leaning toward the latter.

The latest now is a report that during an interview on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," McNabb says that African-American quarterbacks face added pressure because "there are fewer black QBs -- and because some still don't want black athletes playing the position." Wow, that's a bold statement and is just another landmine that threatens this already shaky season.

First, let's put aside 2 things: my general feelings that I have been happy to have a talented QB at the helm in Philly for the last 8 seasons and that I think McNabb is a "quality guy", a "good" guy. Many franchises, like the Skins, have suffered for years without that kind of talent. He has provided a lot of entertainment for Philly fans.

The problem is that the name of the game is winning; in particular, winning a Super Bowl, being a champion. Let's face the facts we're presented with - McNabb has had his shot and has cracked under pressure on a number of key occasions...most notably, in the Super Bowl where I saw a man who was downright panicky and frightened to be there. Anyone see his eyes during closeups in that game? FEAR. So, I think he has proven that he is a very good QB, yes, but not championship caliber.

The report noted that Dmac mentioned a couple white QBs: Manning and Carson Palmer: "'Let me start by saying I love those guys," McNabb tells HBO. 'But they don't get criticized as much as we do. They don't.'" This is just not true in my opinion - I think Manning received a ton of criticism...that is, until he went out and won a Super Bowl. Dmac, can't you do the same? Hey, you had a shot 3 years ago and you threw 3 INTS, my man! Not your best game...when it counted the most. I promise Donovan McNabb that if he could win Philly a trophy, he would be crowned as King of Broad Street, South Street, Market Street and every other street in Philly for eternity (except Quince Street, because that's Popstar's kingdom)...AND Philly fans are waiting and wanting to crown you ,Dmac...we really are. We WANT to love you, we want you to be great.

Also, it is obvious to me that Manning is a technician and a student of the game.
Is Donovan? Just an observation, but after a possession is over, I see Manning go directly to the phones and begin studying printouts, and I also see him work like an animal with Harrison to perfect his passing routes....does Dmac have the work ethic? Donovan, I see you standing around the sidelines a lot, smoking and joking with your boys, jawing and acting goofy....I see that quite a bit in fact. I also see you saunter up to the line of scrimmage, with seconds left on the clock, as if there was all the time in the world to get the play off. I don't think I have ever seen Manning do that, with or without time on the clock...I see him march down the field like a commander, urgently directing his that your style, Dmac? Maybe you just don't have the personality to be great; not everyone does.

I thought Dmac's final comment in the report was hilarious: "'I try to handle myself with class. I try to handle myself with dignity. I think sometimes people look to players to act out, speak loudly, pretty much be an idiot. But that's not me.'" Um, Dmac, was that you doing the robot in the booth last season when you were hurt or was I seeing things? I also swear I have seen you break into "the Michael Jackson" (badly) after you score that what we're calling "class and dignity" these days? I'm not saying the McNabb is not dignified, but come on, let's not go too far with proclamations here...

Look, I don't doubt that Dmac has faced many pressures, and probably some because he is black. But you often see this kind of finger pointing from people who don't is always someone else's fault. The bottom line for me is that Donovan is a very sensitive person and has let normal criticism get to him. He needs someone to step in and manage this situation right now, or he is not going to accomplish anything significant as a leader of the Birds, or any team.

Male Pattern Baldness

I have not yet watched the game on TV, so I'm just going by my impressions from watching it from the Linc. Frankly, I haven't fully processed everything yet, because I'm still caught in a bit of an emotional fog consisting of depression, anger and downright disgust. (I wish surprise was in there, along with some hope, but they're nowhere to be found).

So my comments are, in no particular order:

By far, the most glaring, humorous, depressing and downright surreal thing about the "game" last night was Andy Reid's statements at his post-game press conference. He actually said "We're off just by a hair, and we're going to work like crazy to get that straightened out." About this wee "hair," he explained: "It's not all Donovan, number one. It's me getting him in the right position to do some things, an then him continuing to knock the rust off, and the guys around him. It's everyone pulling together and doing their thing. Like I said, we're off by a hair and once we get that straightened out, we'll be okay."

This is downright delusional (of the grandiose type). Ignoring the fact that he claims that we're off by a hair and then enumerates a number of serious problems, it is a statement that is simply not based in reality. In my experience, when someone is trying to negotiate from a weak position, they often increase their bluster to cover it up; likewise, when someone truly lacks real hope, they often talk as if they are very positive.

If our issues were just mental errors that could be corrected with some more film study or more work memorizing plays, that's one thing. Hell, that could even be, possibly, considered to be a "hair". However, it appears -- now more than ever -- that our issues are not so easily correctable.
  • Is Kevin Curtis a "hair" away from being able to get off press coverage? Are any of our receivers for that matter? They were manhandled and smothered in coverage virtually all game.
  • Is William James a "hair" away from not being beaten on man coverage on every play?
  • Is Donovan a "hair" away from gaining the mobility he had a few years ago, which made him the real threat he was (and which enables him to throw accurately -- since he clearly throws better on the run).
  • Are our special teams a "hair" away from performing at an average level? (Our kickoff team was especially abysmal, but I thought Bucky showed some promise returning, at least)
  • Is our coach just a "hair" away from developing a gameplan that isn't obvious to every other team in the league? (It's no longer only Gruden).
William James actually said "It wasn't my best game." That initially pissed me off, as a monstrous understatement. This also implies that he thinks it was not his worst game, or at least it should not be considered among the worst. Getting one pick doesn't make up for being beaten on every play. (And now I'm really curious to see what he considers to be his "best" game -- which IMO would be any game in which he rides the pine).

Reid is simply out of sync with his players. He can't even get on the same page from a PR standpoint. After Reid's PC in which he described one of the numerous problems comprising the "hair" to be Donovan's "rust," Donovan said in his PC that "I don't believe in rust and all of that." Even Westy, the only offensive player who has consistently made plays, talked about how the team just did not have the sense of urgency. Again, Reid's view was dramatically different: "I thought the emotion was there tonight. I thought we were off by a hair all the way around -- both sides of the football, special teams and coaching. We're off by an inch and we have to fix it and close the gap." Is Andy getting PR advice from former Iraqi information minister
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf?

One TD in 22 possessions. The Phillies scored more points than we did last night. But hey, we're off by just a hair?

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Onion: McNabb has 3 Weeks to Win Championship

I think The Onion sums up the Philly spirit best in this article...after all, it is "America's Finest News Source".

Is this truth or fiction?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reno Mahe....Sorry, I Mean Reno F@%#ing Mahe

Ok, two muffed punt returns on Sunday were an obvious factor in the Birds' opening day, humiliating loss to the lowly Packers....that much we can say at this point. Of course, there are other factors such as McNabb's hesitant ball release and our pourous, ineffective O-line, but for now, let's focus on those special team muffs.

In answering up for the punt returning problems, Reid again pulled out his tape recorder and hit the play button to give a patented pre-recorded response: "Obviously we made too many mistakes. I'll take the blame for that, in particular in the punt return game," Reid said. "It's my responsibility to put guys back there than can do a better job and so that's again my responsibility and my problem." Yes, we've heard this all before. I wonder whether he really believed that Greg Lewis would be a good punt returner? If that's the case, we should all be more worried than I am right now about this team. I bet it has something to do with the salary cap than talent.

Everyone is painfully aware how lacking our special teams skills are, and have been for years. Despite Andy's unwillingness to accept it, a ground game (which includes punt and kickoff returns in my opinion) counts just as much as, and probably more than, passing does. Andy has NEVER had a commitment to a ground game and the Birds have paid a dear price for that ignorance. Westbrook is the only dynamic player we have, and he can't do everything.

But not to worry, Andy's going to "fix it". Queue our favortite busboy, RENO MAHE...

I am stunned that the Birds are even considering this again. Yes, I really dislike Mahe...but um, am I the only person to see that he has no business playing in the NFL? (I said the same thing about Pinkston for years before they finally cut him. Who is Pinky playing for these days? Did Reno get picked up by anyone or even looked at for that matter?).

I hear Reno is a swell guy and a "locker room favorite". That's great. Make him team co-ambassador with Hugh Douglas for all I care. Just don't let him wear the uniform again and handle the football.

But wait, what about the stats? I'm sure there are people out there clamoring about his stats...ok, let's talk stats:

Yes, it is true that in 2005, Reno led the NFL with 12.8-yards punt-return average. In that year, though, he had only 21 returns, the lowest amount for any of the qualifying returners AND the Birds special team coverage in general was much better. His average dropped to 9.4 yards in 2006 when things hit the skids, which would have made him 13th in the league (he didn't have enough returns to qualify). All this talk about his put return stats is misdirected. Note that he averaged 22.2 yards per kickoff return, which ranked 26th in the league...and kickoff returns really highlight how slow a player is. And most importantly, it's the X-factor - the ability to break one. The actual threat alone is enough. But that will never, ever ever happen with Reno in there...breaking one is not even a remote possibility with him. I'm sorry but every NFL team has to have a guy back there who can break one if given the blocking. I need point no further than Westy's miraculous, season changing return against the Giants in 2003 to drive that point home. So, in summary, I hate Reno Mahe and bringing him back is just taking a step backward for this team. It's a signal that this team is not going anywhere this season and management seems OK with that.

Surely there must be somebody who is actually qualified to play in the NFL who can step into this role. And preferrably, Mormon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Vent, Therefore I Am (Erumpo Ergo Exsisto)

Everyone stoked for another round of professional football in the C.O.B.L.? To be honest, I'm having difficulty caring this season. It's not that I don't desperately miss football, and it's not that I am less of a Birds fan this year. No, it's that I am beat down and still suffering from the toll the last 6 seasons have taken. Seriously, the end of last season crushed my spirit into a fine powder and was snorted up by Reid and Banner during their yearly spare salary cap bender. Every year since our humiliating NFCCG loss to Tampa back in 2003, it has taken me longer and longer to recover. This year, here we are as the season is about to begin, and I can barely muster the energy to vent on this blog. Sad.

In any case, venting about the Birds feeds the soul, so I'll get to it. But, first I will begin on a positive note...there are 5 things I am thankful for so far as the season begins (in order of importance):

1) NO RENO MAHE. I mean, come on. Why did this take so long? Because he's a Mormom like Big Red? Oh, I said it didn't I - everyone knows it's true. Reno is a busboy at Chickie and Pete's and that's it. I know, I know - he's a great guy supposedly and Jdubs will prattle away to remind me how he led the League in punt return yardage 2 seasons ago. I can imagine that anomaly has something to do with either the Eagles special teams performance or Reno's few any case, it's a GLICHE in the system. Thank the God I don't believe in that he's gone.

2) A thinner McNabb. I've been saying for years that he needs to get back to his original playing weight when he entered the League - 225. Not going to happen, but dropping from 245 (or dare I say it, probably 250 at times), back to 235 is a step in the right direction. Let's face it, he's Wilma McNabb's son....when you blow out your knee running out of bounds, you're fat. Glad to see you stepped out of the weight room for a while, Dmac. No, I still don't think you're a championship caliber QB because you're not serious enough, but glad to have you back anyway. (Isn't this what being a Negadelphian is all about, weaving tons of criticism into positive statements?) To continue, I wonder if that weight loss has anything to do with the drafting of Kolb? Feeling the heat Dmac? I would if I were you - you're over 30 now [evil laugh].

3) Sav Rocca. Dirk Johnson was "hurt" last season. Whatever. Dirk sucks. How many 35 yard punts did we see from that clown over the years? Do you know what that does to your Defense? An extra 10 yards per punt can be game changing. And I'm sorry, but if all you do is punt balls for a living, it better be 50+ yards EVERY TIME; ok, almost every time. Anyone disagree with that? Surely, there must be 32 guys in this world who can punt a ball consistently.

4) JR Reed Returns. He's back. He's never been the same since he popped his ankle jumping over some fence or some bs like that, but I think he'll produce for us this season (which makes me want to rant about how incredibly dumb these players are with how they treat the talents that they were blessed with, but I'll refrain... for now). I do not like T.O., but he's the only guy I've seen, other than Walter Payton (may he RIP), who realizes what kind of asset his body is.

5) Lower Expectations Set In. Everyone in the COBL now knows what I've known since Tampa whooped us - Reid is a moron and does not have what it takes to win it all. I've said many times that I enjoyed watching during the 90s when we were 5-11, then I have the last few seasons of heartbreak. Apathy is OK for now. Time to just enjoy the games.

Ok, I feel better. Now that I got those positive things off my chest, time to unleash everything else...if you haven't guessed, there is a lot more of that kind of stuff so I'll save it for later.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

The REAL Concern with Special Teams (and it's not Rocca)

Rocca or Johnson? Nah. What Heckert said about Rocca's upside being better than Johnson's makes perfect sense; the guy really has a Steve Austin leg (not as in "Stone Cold" but as in Six Million Dollar). And while Dirk had a good preseason, I tend to put more stock in his performance all last season, which was below average. Sav beat out Dirk fair and square, and that's not a big deal. The real concern is our snapper, Jon Dorenbos.

Just rocketing the ball backwards isn't enough. Judging from the preseason, Dobby flubbed quite a few snaps, including the one that cost us the easy Akers FG in the 1st quarter of the Jets game. And from what I remember, the second FG attempt -- where Akers was able to get his foot on the ball but missed the uprights -- was the result of another poor snap that Rocca wasn't able to set in time for Akers. Sure, Rocca can share some blame on that one, but it all starts with 'ol Dobby.

To recap his humble career: He was signed by the Bills in 2003 as an undrafted rookie free agent, and snapped for the full season, as well as 13 games into the 2004 season, until he was placed on IR with a knee injury. When he came back for the 2005 season, he was dropped by the Bills after camp, and was unemployed until he found a job with the Titans in mid-season. In 2006, he apparently didn't even attend any team's camp, and just snapped for the Titans for a single game. After Bartrum went down with a neck injury in the Indy game last season, Dobby was plucked out of retirement to finish the season, and retains the starting job for this season. Yet again, our arrogant coaching staff believes they can take any undrafted free agent and magically transform him into an NFL starter.

Perhaps they were hoping Dobby would magically transform by himself, like an obedient house elf. As most people know about him, he's also a professional magician. According to the Eagles website, he has even performed magic "in front of" Lindsay Lohan and Garth Brooks. I'm glad that Big Red hasn't held that against him. Although I'm not so sure I can say the same thing. And Dobby even has an entry on Wikipedia. In true informative Wikistyle, it purports that he "is a big fan of decks. His favorite brand is Trex." (I assume this is a joke. ...Altho composite decking materials do certainly hold a ton of advantages).

So how important is snapping? Well, as far as long-snapping, last regular season Dirk punted a total of 78 times, ranking the Birds 14th overall for number of punts. However, we were only 24th in total yardage. (See above, why Rocca won). As far as short snaps, Akers attempted 71 place kicks (18 for 23 FGs, and 48 for 48 PATs). We were tied for 6th in the NFL for FGs attempted, but get this -- we were tied for 30th for total FGs made.

So many things need to go right with punts, and even more with FGs. But it all starts (literally and figuratively) with the snap. We've definitely been spoiled with Bartrum, who was as automatic as they come. Sure, Dorenbos sounds like a good guy, and is probably a great Quidditch player, but so far he has not inspired too much confidence and hasn't proved he can do the job with any degree of the consistency that we need.