Eagles Practice Notebook Week 14 vs Miami Dolphins 12/7


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


2011 Philadelphia Eagles Notebook: Ronnie Brown Talks Wildcat and More

Eagles Free Agent pick-up RB Ronnie Brown is glad to be in Philadelphia and is looking for big things in the 2011 season.  But does that include more or less “Wildcat” in the Birds offense?

After a career that has included a former high-draft selection, over 4,500 rushing yards, one Pro Bowl selection, knee surgery and being the focal point of one the NFL’s biggest “fads” in the last 10 years, RB/Wildcat Ronnie Brown has moved his multi-dimensional talents from Miami to Philadelphia.

However at this stage in his career, Brown (29) is being asked more by the Eagles to be a blocker, pass-catcher, Wildcat, and veteran leader rather than a “feature” back.  The Birds already have dynamic 3rd-year runner LeSean McCoy and after his performance in their Week 1 win over St. Louis  — 122 rushing yards including a 47-yard TD game-closer — don’t expect to see any less of the almost Pro Bowl back in the coming weeks.

Feature role or not, you can sense that after Brown is more than happy to be on the Eagles “Dream Team”.  As he  — no offense to the Dolphins of course — finally has a legitimate chance to go to the Super Bowl.  Even though the 7-year veteran now is not wearing his customary No. 23 and is now No. 34 for Philly.  In Week 1, Brown only had 4 rushes for 7 yards, but you can expect him to get more touches as the season rolls along.

Taking It to the House and 97.3 ESPN – Atlantic City, NJ’s Eagles Beat Reporter Matt Lombardo caught-up with Brown after practice to talk his transition to the Philadelphia, QB Michael Vick, and of course the Wildcat formation.

The Wildcat Has Been Shot by Matt Lombardo

Eagles running back Ronnie Brown became the face of a movement on offense in Miami in 2008. On Sunday though, Brown very well may have closed the book on that same movement; The Wildcat Offense. 

In September 2008, an offensive movement was launched in Miami. With the ever statuesque Chad Henne under center, Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano and his offensive coordinator Dan Henning brought to the league a formation where a dynamic running back and not the quarterback took a direct snap and went off to the races. The formation came to be known as the “Wildcat” and it spread like wildfire throughout the league.

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AFC East and AFC North Preview by Jason King

The AFC North and East have sent six of the last eight conference representatives to the Super Bowl. This year figures to be no different as the Patriots, Jets, Steelers and Ravens are all emergent favorites to play for the Lombardi Trophy.  

AFC East

 The AFC East has been dominated by the Patriots over the last 10 years.  Are the Jets ready to win their first AFC East crown since 2002? Will the Bills or Dolphins be competitive or just easy outs?  All of these questions and more will be answered in the next 5 months.

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A Glimpse into the 2011 Season According to a So-Called Expert: Jason King

The Sunday before Labor Day is a great day for football junkies and a horrible day for our wives, mothers, and children.  It is the last Sunday without football for 5 months. For the next six months, Sundays will be dedicated to football.  Fans will live and die with the ups and downs there teams experience through the season.

On the field the quest for the Lombardi Trophy officially begins this Thursday.  I am of the school of thought that predictions are worthless.  Experts all over the country make their prognostications on who will play in Super Bowl 46.  99.9 percent of us have no idea what we are talking about.  Well, for whatever it’s worth, here are my worthless predictions for the 2011 season. Continue reading

A Glimpse At The 2011 NFL Season According To A So-Called Expert: Matt Lombardo

The temperatures have plummeted suddenly into the sixties, leaves are beginning to turn and there’s a certain crispness in the air that can only be broken by the perfect spiral of soaring pigskin. That’s right, the greatest time of the year, football season, is upon us again. Despite a 136-day lockout, the excitement around the NFL is at perhaps its highest levels ever.

As the opener draws closer by the minute, the time for me to sit idly by in hopes of avoiding making a Super Bowl prediction is rapidly drawing to a close. Preseason predictions are rarely worth the paper they’re printed on, but in this upside down world of teams sprinting through a nonexistent offseason, the Lombardi Trophy is truly anyone’s game this season.

Some teams have positioned themselves better than others with free agent acquisitions to finish their journey with confetti falling for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, some teams stood pat in an effort to draw on existing team chemistry to propel them to glory once again. All of these stories, subplots and themes for the upcoming season make for a wild ride for the next six months. Continue reading

Alosi’s Tripping Incident has everyone in the NFL talking by Lloyd Vance

“The Trip Heard Around the NFL” as NY Jets’ assistant Sal Alosi made a dumb mistake that will cost him some of his reputation and in the pocket

In an NFL Season that has been defined by it’s unexpected nature, it got even more bizarre  in one of Sunday’s games. During the 3rd quarter of the hotly contested divisional battle between the NY Jets and Miami Dolphins — won by the ‘Phins 10-6 — New York assistant coach Sal Alosi intentionally tripped a Miami player on a punt play.

Alosi stuck out his left knee on the Jets’ sideline and knee-tripped Dolphins rookie CB Nolan Carroll, who was covering a punt.  Carroll fell to the turf and laid there for several minutes before walking off.  After the play, which was shown nationally on replay by CBS including a scathing commentary by announcer Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, Alosi was rightfully-so in for with his team and the league.

After the game, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said of his assistants act, “That’s a thing that has no business in this league, or anywhere else.”  Clearly Alosi lost his head for a moment of non-clarity and now he has to face the music.  A very remorseful Alosi later said while fighting back tears in a Monday news conference, “I let everybody down yesterday with my actions.  My actions were inexcusable and irresponsible.”

To make matters worse, volatile Dolphins LB Karlos Dansby used Alsoi’s act to take a swipe at Ryan.  Dansby said, “He’s just taking after the head coach, man. It all trickles downhill. That’s how I look at it, it trickles downhill. The head coach, he opened a can of worms over there and now he’s got to fix it.”

Unfortunately for the New York Jets assistant, he did something that has crossed many a player or coach’s mind, unfortunately Alosi acted on it.  Luckily Carroll was okay, but the NFL and the New York Jets organization had to act with disciplinary action despite his publicly apologizing to everyone involved.

The league and NY Jets organization did their duty by suspending Alosi on Monday night without pay for the remainder of the 2010 season, including the playoffs, and fined him $25,000 dollar which isn’t small potatoes on an assistant’s salary.

In the end, much like much-maligned Eagles QB Michael Vick — for his dogfighting past — I say  that Alosi made a mistake and deserves a second chance once his suspension is completed.  He went “nuts” in the heat of battle, but being a football coach is his passion and I don’t think it is right to take it away for a brain-cramp moment.

“I know I’ll get killed for it,” Ryan said. “There’s no place for it in football, without question, but he made a mistake and he admitted it.”

BTW:  Did anyone else think of former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes’ former sideline fiasco in the 1978 Gator Bowl when Alosi’s incident occured



Lloyd Vance is an NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)