2011 Philadelphia Eagles Notebook: December 14th Practice

Taking It to the House Lead Writer Matt Lombardo stopped by the Eagles Nova Care Complex on Wednesday December 14th as the Birds (5-8) prepare to face NY Jets (8-5) in another must-win game for both teams. 

To the Eagles credit, though some fans have been rooting half-hearted for them — some in hopes of head coach Andy Reid leaving — the Birds were able to produce a solid win over the Dolphins in Week 14.  However in this week, head coach Rex Ryan will lead his charismatic NY Jets into the Linc and they should be a much tougher test than their lower AFC East rival.

Of course all eyes will be on the NY Jets’ stars QB Mark Sanchez, WR’s Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, and All-world CB Darrelle Revis. Continue reading

Despite Win, Eagles Need Change by Matt Lombardo

Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie will have plenty of difficult decisions to make after a disappointing season concludes for his team. Sunday’s win over the Dolphins keeps the Birds mathematically alive for the playoffs, but the question needs to be asked; After a season of high hopes and expectations, is a strong finish good enough? 

When the obituary of this dreadful Philadelphia Eagles season is published, the Eagles would like for Sunday’s win over the now 4-9 Miami Dolphins to be the accompanying photo. That simply cannot be the case.

Granted, Sunday was the most complete effort in a season of inconsistent or worse performances from an Eagles team that has fallen woefully short of preseason expectations, but it simply can’t stand as the benchmark for this season. As encouraging as a 26-10 win that produced two LeSean McCoy touchdowns, three forced turnovers on defense and a cleaner game in the penalty department is, the realization needs to be that this performance came against the Matt Moore led Dolphins, a far cry from the Dan Marino Fish of years gone by. Continue reading

Loss to Cardinals Could be the start of Another Cowboys Late Season Swoon by Lloyd Vance

Could the Dallas Cowboys improbable Week 13 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals lead to another late season swoon? We know team owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett sure hope not.

Week 13 of the 2011 NFL Season was not a good one for the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (7-5).  A purely winnable game turned into a devastating loss as the Arizona Cardinals (5-7) gladly took home a close 19-13 overtime home win.  While the Cowboys were left to wonder, “What If”.  The winning margin came quickly in OT as Cardinals reserve RB LaRod Stephens-Howling turned a short pass from QB Kevin Kolb into a dazzling darting 52-yard touchdown reception.  Continue reading

Eagles Practice Notebook Week 14 vs Miami Dolphins 12/7

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Taking It To The House lead writer Matt Lombardo was on the scene at Novacare on Wednesday as the Eagles began preparation for their week 14 game against the Miami Dolphins. As the season comes down the home stretch, the Eagles are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at 4-8, but the pressure is mounting on Head Coach Andy Reid who was forced to address questions about his job security next season. Reid flatly denied reports that the Front Office gave him an ultimatum to fire Juan Castillo in order to save his own job next season.

 Eagles Running Back Ronnie Brown
Ronnie Brown talks about what it will be like to return to Sun Life Stadium for the first time as a visitor.
Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick
Michael Vick talks about what to expect on Sunday in Miami, as well as it marking his first start in three games after suffering two broken ribs.
Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney
Jamar Chaney talks about the matchup problems presented by the Miami Dolphins and their offense that is suddenly high powered behind quarterback Matt Moore and running back Reggie Bush. Chaney also acknowledged the defense’s inconsistencies this season as a contributing factor to the team’s 4-8 record.

Matt Lombardo is the Lead Writer for Taking It To The House. Matt is also the  Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter and a host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL or by Email atMDLombardo@yahoo.com

Andy Reid Flatly Denies Reportedly Being Asked To Fire Juan Castillo by Matt Lombardo

Despite reports that Andy Reid was told to fire Juan Castillo in order to save his own job next season, the Head Coach says that conversation never took place. 

Reports surfaced early this week that the Eagles front office approached Andy Reid with a mandate to fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in order to secure that he would return as the Head Coach in 2012. On Wednesday at the Novacare Complex, Reid was asked about the report and adamantly denied such a conversation took place. Continue reading

Taking it to the House: 2011 NFL Week 14 Power Rankings

Kevin Burnett’s 34-yard interception return for a touchdown put the Dolphins up 34-0 en route to a 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Given the way the Dolphins have been playing they vault to number 12 in Taking It To The House’s Week 13 Power Rankings
  1. Green Bay Packers (12-0) – The Packers wrapped up the NFC North and are now focused on home-field advantage in the playoffs.  Week 14: 12/11 vs. Oakland
  2. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – The Ravens offense is best when Ray Rice is the focal point.  Week 14: 12/11 vs. Indianapolis
  3. New England Patriots (9-3) – The Patriots have the inside track on home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.  Week 14: 12/11 @ Washington
  4. New Orleans Saints (9-3) – The Saints offense looks unstoppable in the Superdome.  It will be an interesting race for the number 2 seed in the NFC over the next month.  Week 14: 12/11 @ Tennessee 
  5. San Francisco 49ers (10-2) – The 49ers defense hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown in 12 games this year.  Their number one priority over the next month will be getting Patrick Willis healthy for the playoffs.  Possible letdown game this Sunday without their leader.  Week 14: 12/11 @ Arizona Continue reading

2011 NFL Week 13 Remix by Lloyd Vance

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice was this week’s game ball winner for his 200-yard rushing effort in a dominating win over the Cleveland Browns

The third quarter of the 2011 NFL Season is completed and there is not much time left for teams to either join the San Francisco 49ers and the undefeated Green Bay Packers in the playoffs or step aside.  I love this time of the year as desperation is in the air for everyone in the NFL with jobs and playoff berths both on the line in equal numbers.  After 13 weeks of NFL play, there are still the “Have’s” (7 teams with 8 wins or more including the league’s only undefeated team — Green Bay Packers,12-0) and the “Have Nots” (10 teams with 4 or less wins, who are now basically spoilers). 

But a good portion of the league (15 teams) are still caught in the parity-laden middle with records ranging from 7-5 to 5-7 including former 2010 playoff teams – NY Jets (7-5), Atlanta Falcons (7-5), Chicago Bears (7-5), Seattle Seahawks (5-7), and KC Chiefs (5-7).  So with only four games remaining for teams there is little time left for the “Contenders” and “Pretenders” to sort themselves out — 10 playoff berths remaining. Continue reading