Monday, January 01, 2007

The year best forgotten

2006 NFC East Final Standings


The Eagles: Andy Reid takes another step towards the Hall of Fame and a Coach of the Year nomination. The Eagles didn't just sneak in the playoffs. They burst through with the best conference and division record in the East -- without Donovan McNabb or Terrible Owens.

Jeff Garcia stepped into exactly the right system for him to succeed. He is a west coast quarterback matched to one of the two best west coast practicioners in Andy Reid. Mike Holmgren is the other. There's power when the right player with the right attributes are matched to the right system.

Stars emerge from the right system. Edgerrin James is a good running back, but a great one in the right system. Star power doesn't transfer to a new team unless the star lands in the right scheme for their talent, as Garcia and oh, say, Adam Archuleta, prove.

Name a single star wide receiver on the Eagles. Go on; I dare you. The system makes them . . . adequate.

The national press disses Brian Westbrook, but he get love here. The DC native managed a score per every 174.2 yards of offense this year. Heck, it takes Tiki Barber 425 yards to get a score. Clinton Portis is still the best in the East in this stat with one score for every 99 yards -- and he was hurt. Yes, he's a Redskin, but this is a Redskin blog. Westbrook and Garcia are why the Iggles will advance to the second round of the playoff at least.

Love the way this team is managed. Still don't like the fans.

The Cowboys: Their overall record puts Dallas in second place, but their division record is pathetic. New York the second best East team on the basis of their 4-2 division record.

Tony Romo saved Dallas' season. Coach Parcells reportedly wanted Tony RO all along. So why didn't he start him from game one? Did JJ have something to do with that? Another question for Jerry - did Terrell Owens do more for your team than Keyshaun Johnson would have done? In your opinion? Want my opinion? No, of course not.

I'm a Redskins fan. I'm not allowed to say anything positive about the 'Boys, but when you lose at home to the Detroit Lions, well bashing just becomes cruel.

The Giants: Injuries and turmoil will sink this team in the playoffs. Naming Kevin Gilbride as offensive playcaller was a smart move, but now the Eagles are on notice. Besides, how smart do you have to be to run Tiki Barber for 238 yards? Even with Tiki, they are one & done.

The Redskins: The problems on this team provide numerous ripe targets for offseason blogging. I, for one, will not scapegoat Mark Brunell or Adam Archuleta. The worst that can be said of Brunell is that he was efficient but not effective. His stats were decent, better than Jason Campbell's actually, but not good enough to lift a team in trouble. Campbell did things, good and bad, that Brunell did not. Fans accepted flubs from Campbell that they would not from Brunell. His deep throws gave hope that the Skins could comeback in a game. Inserting Campbell did not change the team's fortunes because quarterbacking was not the problem.

Neither was Adam Archuleta. Fans forget that Arch was signed to be a hitter when the team's designated hitman was expected to have a Dade County address. But Sean Taylor escaped legal jeopardy (and has been a model citizen since) and Archuleta was out of place from that very point. Sure there was talk about run support and pass pressure, but coverage is the primary role of defensive backs. Gre-doubleG didn't conceive Archuleta in deep coverage when the Skins signed him. Nor is it Archuleta's job to scout his weaknesses. That's front office work and THAT'S the critical weakness with the team. We'll blog about that over the next few weeks and months.

(Jason LaCanfora got the ball rolling with his lenthy article Problems at the core in today's Washington Post. He wrote "But at the core of the team's troubles, the sources said, were two deeper concerns: A fatally flawed personnel setup led to inaccurate decisions and Gibbs's strategy of relying on free agent acquisitions and trades alienated some players, jeopardizing his hold on the locker room." Can't fix the Redskins until you fix that.)

Meanwhile, the Redskins will sit home in January and wonder what happened.

Coaching icon Joe Gibbs is safe in Washington this year, 'though even he couldn't survive another 5-11 season. Elsewhere, the ax has fallen in the Not For Long league. Denny Green (5-11) and Jim Mora (7-9) were dismissed today. Michael Vick is a coach-killer. It is widely assumed that Tom Coughlin will join that group after the Giants lose to the Eagles next week.

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