After calling for Jamar Fletcher all season, I was a little under whelmed by his performance. I'm not sure if that's a product of being rusty or if he's more limited than I thought. The funniest thing I read on the message boards of this very sight was the suggestion that Quentin Jammer may not actually have fingers or thumbs on his hands. Surely, I can't be blaming QJ for tipping that sideline pass when I've been begging for him to actually go after the ball all season? No. But the fact that Oakland then caught the ball for a first down typifies our secondary play this season.
Unfortunately, Jammer wasn't alone in his difficulty in actually catching the balls that were being thrown constantly in his direction. As I mentioned last week, there have been many years where beating the Traitors was enough to satisfy us for the year. But we have higher expectations for the team this year and they claim to have loftier goals as well. Drew Brees mentioned this week that our schedule allows the Chargers to prove themselves to rest of the NFL each week. However, Drew also noted that we are at the point in the season where we either string together some wins and become a postseason team or hover around the .500 mark the rest of the way.
You gotta love that guy, excluding the 2003 season. Brees got away with one sure interception on Sunday. But he made most of the throws that he had to. Eric Parker has really been clutch this season. He hobbled off at one point, but will hopefully OK for Philly. LaDainian Tomlinson continues to perform like a living legend. He won't have Fonoti in front of him any more. Then again, Fonoti wasn't on the field enough to warrant the money and headache that would have accompanied him.
New York's Newsday reported on Friday that "San Diego could be willing to part with Drew Brees, not Philip Rivers, after the season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation."
This came from a pretty dubious source, but I really hope that it's not true. After watching Brees develop into the franchise quarterback they've waited ten years for, they can't trade him for Rivers' potential. I understand hedging our bets by keeping Rivers for the season, but we hold the entire club hostage because we used the #4 pick in the draft for him. Other teams, however, would trade some quality talent, preferably defensive, for the promise of Philip Rivers.
Enough on that. The Eagles are coming off a bye week, like Pittsburgh and Oakland before them. McNabb will have had some extra time to heal. I shudder to think what could happen if the defense gives up boatloads of yards like it did on Sunday. The Bolts have an opportunity, however, to summon up something we haven't seen yet. They sort of did that in New England, but the Patriots' depleted state may have something to do with that.
The Eagles' have a stingy defense so Cameron will have to call a smart game. I still don't see the logic in running Tomlinson up the gut. Maybe we're trying to keep the defense honest, but it never seems to work. Conversely, there are very few times when LdT doesn't gain yards to the outside. Oakland obviously focused on Gates, because he was very rarely open on Sunday. Peelle showed some nice hands, though. The Traitors also had to interfere with Gates to keep him from grabbing that 3rd-and-1 pass. Caldwell did a nice job spelling Sproles. It would be nice, however, to have the little guy out there on Sunday.
Shawne Merriman continues to look like the star he was advertised as. Luis Castillo isn't looking too shabby either. Steve Foley is obviously hurting, but soldiers on like the leader he is. DeQuincy Scott did a nice job batting down the pass that effectively ended the game on Sunday.
This will be the first Chargers/Eagles game I have missed since 1995. Philly is one of the few places where the fans make the game about them rather than the team. In other words, they actually go after you. That's why they installed that kangaroo in the basement of The Vet. But the Bolts can rise above all that. They did a nice job getting Lorenzo Neal involved on Sunday. I think defenses will clamp down on that in the future. Nate Keading, who has really pulled it together thus far, could be vital. Vincent Jackson is also rumored to be in the game plan.
The Bolts mentioned after the game that they could see how much Marty Schottenheimer wanted to beat Oakland. He's apparently told them that The Traitors don't respect anyone else. They talked their usual smack and committed their prerequisite amount of penalties.
He needs to find that same fire to get the Bolts into the playoffs and beyond. Philly will be ready to play. Let's make sure we are as well. If we're gonna make a run, it needs to start now.