Friday, September 21, 2007

Movie Review: Shoot 'Em Up

My expectations were low, and they were nearly met.

I expected amusement, but that was in short supply. The ridiculous gun battles and cheesy dialogue were missing something. Maybe it's because we've seen this tongue-in-cheek treatment of the action genre dozens of times before, or maybe the script was just lacking...I'm not sure. It wasn't awful, it just wasn't as fun as it should have been.

I expected action, and that was fairly non-stop. From the moment the hero uttered his first line until the credits rolled, there were gunfights, car chases, and more gunfights. The number of bad guys killed by the hero topped 100, and while most were shot, I counted three that were executed with carrots. Guys being killed with carrots should have been funnier, but this movie made it seem blasé.

Certainly not the biggest waste of $8 ever, but it's yet another utterly unmemorable Hollywood production.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Incompetent Boobery

I don't know who's more incompetent - the Phillies' bullpen (who just gave up an 11-0 lead), Andy Reid and his 4-point timeout at the end of the half, or these boobs in the booth on MNF. Someone should remind them that a game is going on...

For what it's worth, I'd have gone for it on 4th-and-3 from the 5. Fortune favors the bold...the Eagles lose this game unless Washington chokes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nike does it again

I've commented on Nike's marketing genius once before, and now they've done it again.

Perhaps I'm just a sucker for the music, which is taken from the brilliant Last of the Mohicans final scene that brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it, or maybe this commerical is really that good. I love the transitions, the sounds, and the overall mood. Take a peek for yourself:

Side note: I can't remember the last time I bought a Nike product. My two-year-old basketball sneakers might be Nike, but if they are, it's only because they were on sale. So for all the creative genius their ad developers display, I can't say that it's ever impacted my buying decisions for clothing or sports equipment.

Not going to panic, yet

So the Eagles are 0-1, thanks to their own idiotic errors in a game they should have won. Here's what we learned:

  • The defense was fantastic. They stuffed the run, created turnovers, and got off the field on third down. They only gave up one offensive drive, and that was kept alive by two heroic Favre completions as he was being sacked.
  • The running game was ok. Westbrook averaged 4 ypc, but wasn't able to break a big one. The Eagles had good balance in their playcalling, although they continue to call dumb passes in obvious running situations.
  • McNabb doesn't look right. Either the Packers defense was blanketing the Eagles receivers, or he was hesitant and indecisive with the ball. Once again he held onto the ball forever, shuffling in the pocket, trying to make a play. I was hoping he might have learned to get rid of the ball quickly, after watching Garcia last year, but I was obviously too hopeful.

The really good news is that they're completely fine if they win on Monday night. Two home games coming up against non-playoff teams (Washington, Detroit) followed by a road trip to the injury-plagued Giants. Washington will be improved this year, but I think the Eagles match up well against them. The defense should be able to shut down young Jason Campbell and somewhat contain the Redskins' running game. On defense, the Skins don't have nearly the talent that Green Bay does along the line, so I expect the Eagles to have success running, and for McNabb to have plenty of time in the pocket.

Detroit could be troubling if Sheppard is out for more than a week, although they don't have any defense to speak of, and I'll take my chances in a shootout against Kitna.

The Giants will definitely be without Brandon Jacobs and Osi Umenwhatever, and if they can knock around Eli Manning a little bit and work his shoulder, they'll have a huge advantage.

So for now I'm still optimistic...a win on Monday and there's a clear path to a 3-1 record at the bye...but an 0-2 start usually portends a losing season.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And the Eagles win!

...the award for the Worst Pre-season Roster Move. Way to give all your pre-season punt return reps to Jeremy Bloom and then cut him after the last game. Deciding that Greg Lewis and J.R. Reed could handle the punt return duties cost you one game, so far.

Run the fucking ball

Third and two, on the opponent's side of the field...that's a run 100% of the time. nice pass call and resultant sack, idiots.

Time to step up, right now

Classic drive by Favre, completing crazy passes as he's being sacked (the old man's still got some heart.) The offense needs to step up now, and get a TD...this is an absolutely crucial part of the game.

Halftime adjustments

A couple very troubling trends in the first half - the Eagles can't generate pressure with just four rushers, and they can't exploit the weakness of the Packers' defense (safeties.) Here's a chance for Andy Reid to earn some of his money - we need to see more blitzes and/or more personnel rotation on the DL in the second half, and seam routes by L.J. Smith and Brian Westbrook.

Green Bay needs to isolate Chris Gocong in coverage, but they don't really have the peronnel to do exploit him.

Back to even

Another solid drive, and this time they finished it. The Eagles overcame their high school start, so as long as they can avoid any more big mistakes, they should win this game.

Waking up a little

Really good drive...a ton of running and a fantastic throw on 3rd down by Donovan to keep it going. But you've got to finish when you get inside the 10. Two really stupid calls on consecutive plays that didn't even give the Eagles a chance to score. Defense needs a stop now - you can't let Green Bay score again and take the momentum back.

Is Moose Johnston funny or what? The Eagles just drove 70 yards, mostly by running, and he's talking about how good the Green Bay defense is, and how they are going to wear out the Eagles offense. Hey Moose, check the stats, I think the Eagles defense is playing a little better than Green Bay...

Bad start

Eagles are in full-on Idiot Mode right now, with bad playcalling (flea-flicker on the second play? come on), two penalties, and two terrible turnovers. This is the only way they can lose to Green Bay, by beating themselves, and so far they're doing just that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

NFC Preview, Part II

NFC North

Chicago Bears 11-5, first place
I'm really not in love with Chicago - their defense had a lot of trouble stopping the run last season, and the QB is Rex Grossman...but still this team is full of talent. Lots of playmakers on defense and speed on offense. It's the perfect combination to own a very weak division.

Green Bay Packers 9-7, second place
For the first (and last) time in Favre's career, the offense of the Packers is going to hold back the team. The young defense continues to improve, and could sneak into the bottom of the Top 10 this season. Nickel defense could be a concern, but the pass rush should be good enough to prevent that weakness from being exposed consistently. But where are the playmakers on offense? Driver is aging, Jennings and Jackson are raw, and there's no downfield threat at TE. Unless Favre is willing to show uncharacteristic patience, his turnovers will work against the strong defense.

Minnesota Vikings 6-10, third place
No pash rush, no QB, no WRs. The Vikings can stay competitive by pounding the rock and playing ok defense, but they'll have a tough time putting together a 2:00 drive to win the game, or stopping the opponents on their own 2:00 drives.

Detroit Lions 5-11, fourth place
This is your record when you score 25 points a game and give up 30.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers 12-4, first place
Everyone's Super Bowl pick last year, Carolina is flying under the radar this season as football experts try to avoid being burned again. But they still have the same team speed, strength on both lines, and streaky QB that made them a favorite last season. If they can avoid the injury bug and Delhomme can avoid huge mistakes, they have the potential to be dominating.

New Orleans Saints 11-5, second place
In spite of the amazing swell of Saints hype, they remain a team that is weak at LB, DT, and CB. This is a Top 2 offense, though, led by one of the best QBs in the league and one of the most explosive players in Reggie Bush. Even when the defense has an off game, they can score 40 points and win anyway.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10, third place
This is a team that should be rebuilding, but instead signed a 37-year-old QB to throw to their 34-year-old WR. The defense is a shadow of its once-dominating self and might get pushed around a bit this year. The OL is improved with the addition of Luke Petitgout, so I expect a much better running game, but I just don't see enough explosiveness on offense.

Atlanta Falcons 2-14, fourth place
They were going to be bad with Mike Vick. Now they've got Joey Harrington at QB instead. Bobby Petrino will get them to play harder than Jim Mora, but he's got a couple of years of rebuilding ahead of him, before this roster has enough talent to win.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams 10-6, first place
The OL will play better, and the defense has improved just enough to allow the offense to win games for them. The Rams are my surprise team of 08, and could be even better than 10-6, but this is going to be a brutal division.

Seattle Seahawks 10-6, second place
Seattle hasn't played well inside the division over the last couple of seasons, so they lose the tiebreaker to the Rams.

Arizona Cardinals 8-8, third place
This team finally has the right coach in place, and a decent OL. They are on the right track, but are still a year away from a serious playoff push.

San Francisco 49ers 6-10, fourth place
Another team that is a year away. Alex Smith showed improvement last year, but the passing offense was still ranked 27th in the league. He needs more weapons around him and more time to develop. The defense added some name players, but the Redskins have shown that big-name free agents don't always translate into wins, at least not immediately. Again, I like Mike Nolan, and I think they're headed in the right direction, but still a year away.

1st - Panthers
2nd - Eagles
3rd - Bears
4th - Rams
5th - Saints
6th - Seahawks

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Didn't see that coming

So Sav Rocca won the punter job after all, even after a botched hold or two in the last preseason game. With such a high percentage of NFL games decided by a field goal, I question whether a few extra yards per punt is worth 3 points here or there...Jeremy Bloom was cut also, because the Eagles didn't want to keep (and activate) a sixth WR unless he showed he was an exceptional return weapon. Greg Lewis now gets the punt return duties, and the Eagles once again have no scoring threat at that position. Also interesting, the Eagles cut three 2007 draft picks yesterday, their 5th, 6th, and 7th-rounders. I'd like to see guys like Gaddis, Barksdale, Murrell, Clark, Lopez, Daniels, Roper, and Sampy signed to the practice squad.

From the Department of Horrible Coaching Moves:

  • Lloyd Carr at Michigan goes for 2 late in the third quarter, in a game that featured little defense. Michigan failed, scored again, went for two (failed again), and ended up losing by...2 points. Once again, proving the Mean Rule of Two-Point Conversions: Never go for two until you have to.
  • Appalachian State, on first down from the Michigan 5 yard-line, with 30 seconds to go, elects to kick the field goal, instead of running out more of the clock. Michigan ended up with a winning FG try because of this decision.
  • Kansas State, down by a FG late to Auburn, had five consecutive plays on which Auburn's RE blew by or ran over the LT. Number of times during those five plays that Kansas State lined up a RB or TE on that side to help the tackle: one. Unsurprisingly, the QB was sacked and fumbled on play #5, game over.
  • Tenessee, trailing by 14 with two minutes left to go in the game, elected to punt on fourth down. I realize the odds of winning aren't great, but is that any reason to give up?