Friday, August 24, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again

First off, I have a confession to make. I'm a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan. That's right. I love them all (or probably more appropriately love to hate them). The Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and even the 76ers. Hell, I even pull for all of the local college basketball teams. Let me tell you, it is a painful existence (to the point that people are making shirts for us).

Despite our reputation as a bunch of rowdy, negative drunkards (and that is saying it kindly), some of us out there can be more objective and reasonable. Yes, we threw snowballs at Santa Claus (granted it was in 1968 and the story has been very skewed by the media outside of Philly). Yes, we threw batteries at J.D. Drew (and I'm sure there are some Red Sox fans that want to do that right now). Yes, we threw snowballs at Jimmy Johnson (who wouldn't). I could go on with this but I won't.

Anyway, this all brings me to the surprising but not quite stunning news this week that the Eagles decided to party ways with their 4-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. Trotter, aka the Axe Man, was really one of the emotional leaders of the Eagles defense and team since he returned from his two year stint in Washington. He will be missed by fans and teammates alike. Even "company man" Donovan McNabb spoke out against the decision.

But I disagree with the popular notion out there that this spells doom and gloom for the Eagles this season. The case is that Trotter's ancient knees having been failing him the past couple of seasons and the Birds have younger players ready to take over. I'd rather have a middle linebacker that can cover sideline to sideline than one who is an emotional leader. We have Dawk to handle that role and other veterans like Kearse, Lito and Brown can step up. And up to this point, it is hard to argue with Andy Reid's personnel moves since he took over (i.e. - Corey Simon, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Duce Staley, Hugh Douglas, etc.). Every time the Eagles let a popular veteran go the city gets up in arms but things always work out.

This situation reminded me of something similar that happened with the New England Patriots before the 2003 season. A week before the season started, Bill Belichick decided to cut team captain Lawyer Milloy because he refused to take a pay cut and it ended up saving the team all of $4 million. Of course many players spoke out including Ty Law and Tom Brady. The Bills ended up signing him and then demolishing the Patriots on opening day 31-0. But you know what happened after that? The Patriots went on to finish 14-2 and beat the Carolina Panthers to win their second of three recent SuperBowls. Milloy was only 29 at the time and went on to have productive years with the Bills, but the Pats survived without him.

Now I'm not saying the Eagles will go on to win the SuperBowl this year (although that would be nice). My point is I think they will be just fine without Trotter. He was a warrior for the Birds (even when he was over-pursuing plays and missing gaps) and will be missed by the fans. I hope he is able to stick with another team and have a few more good seasons.

But overall I don't think this move is going to come back and bite the Eagles.

P.S. - I promise I'm not thinking about Joe Jurevicius out-running Levon Kirkland across the middle of the field in the 2002 NFC Championship game.


Shane Rollins said...

Eagles won't win with Donovan, why, because when games get tight he makes mistakes. He would rather use his legs to progress the chains then to have a second more patience and make a throw.

Let's face it, talent isn't the problem with the Eagles it's the need for the heimlich

Dews said...

and you guys booed santa...

SayHey Kid said...

Well, with a backup QB with the last name "Detmer", how can you go wrong?