Friday, September 25, 2009

Sleeping with the Enemy: Week Three, Chiefs @ Eagles

Welcome, welcome. It's Friday, and that means it's time for another edition of "Sleeping with the Enemy" here inside the House of Georges. This week's edition kicks of the NFC East ass-kicking on which the Kansas City Chiefs are about to embark. They take their sorry 0-2 asses up to Veteran's Stadium for a contest of futbol Americano against the ol' Philadelphia Eagles. Should be a good time.

Our guest this week is none other than the wily HoG veteran, Johnny Utah. You might remember him from such features as the N.L. West mid-season report card, both this season and last. Anyway, we had him over to the House for a quick chat about Pennsylvania pigskin, and you can peep it, post-jump.

Bankmeister: Thank you, as always, Johnny Utah, for taking time out of your day to join us. We've gotten together to chat baseball in the past, but our football conversations have been little to non-existent. Kindly let our readers know exactly how one comes to be a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Would you say you like one sport better than the other? Do you like either team more than the other? Who, assuming you have some, are your other favorites? I heard through the grapevine that you like Iowa college football. This pretty much covers most of the country for you. Who's your college basketball team? The Hawaii Warriors? Pros? Miami Heat?

Johnny Utah: Tis my pleasure to once again visit HoG for a little friendly banter. Ok, my pops played for the Dodger organization in the mid 60's. That's where my love for the Boys in Blue came from. I was born and raised in Philly, always a huge Eagles fan. It's tough for me to say if I prefer one over the other since I'm passionate about both. Baseball is a beautiful science. Football is a brutal sport for gladiators. How can you lose with either? I don't really have an other team I favor, except for the Lovable Losers that play at the K. But, I have watched less Royals ball this year since the departure of the steely-eyed wonder known as Ross Fucking Gload.

Indeed, your grapevine is once again correct. I do love me some Hawkeye football, and hoops. I'm pretty stoked that I will be seeing the Iowa basketball team right here in KC in Novemeber at the CBE Classic. Plenty of good seats still available...

I can honestly say that I haven't watched a full NBA game in at least a decade. It does nothing for me. Back in the LA Showtime days, I was all about Magic,Kareem, and of course Kurt Rambis a.k.a. Superman.

B: Fascinating. So, then -- I guy like myself that only follows Philly from a distance thinks this: Donovan McNabb is better than average. He's actually pretty good. We took a lot of heat, perhaps rightfully so, for not including him in the HoG 25's Best Quarterbacks of the Last 25 Years. There are reasons for including him and reasons for excluding him. Being a pretty big fan of Brodie Croyle, I hate the fact that a guy gets judged based on fragility, but to me, that's what Donnie Mac is: the most Super-Philly fragilistic, expiali-chokemaster in recent years. He's shown us, over the years, that he can be fantastic with his feet, arm, and mind, but there is some missing element, some invisible particular about his resume, that leaves him unqualified for a status of greatness. While I know your defense of him will be biased, I want an Eagles fan to give us the inside scoop on Mediocre No. 5.

The other two things about this team are different but similar: Brian Westbrook and Andy Reid. Sixty percent of the time, they're great all the time. The rest of the time, the tailback's hurt, or overworked, and the coach -- I like the guy, but he just can't seem to catch a break anywhere. My question, then, is this: Do the Philadelphia Eagles have all the right things in place to be an elite squad? It seems like they've had the right things for most of this decade, but, you know -- shit happens, I guess.

How about the receiving corps? They were trying to unload someone -- Hank Baskett? -- to make roster room for Jeff Garcia last I heard. What's the latest development there? I haven't looked at the depth chart, but who, exactly, are the one-through-three route runners? I know about DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. What's the story with Kevin Curtis? Didn't he rupture a spleen or something last year?

Were you pleased with the Garcia signing? Are the Raiders as dumb as I think they were by letting him go?

J.U.: I was surprised that D-Mac wasn't included on your top 25, and in fact did express my displeasure. I guess I can see it either way when you talk about a QB that has the tendency to run risks being injured. Let's not forget that his last two significant injuries (this year and 2006) have occured on late hits. Just had to throw that in there. The missing element keeping him from greatness is jewelry. The man needs a ring. He will never be labeled as "elite" until he hoists the hardware. Up until a few years ago when the Eagles signed T.O. (which about gave me aneurysm) they never had a playmaking receiver. Philly also has always had a pretty suspect O-line. Given those lovely stats, #5 has a career 29,000 yards, a 196-91 TD-to-INT ratio, and a passer rating of 85.8. Not too shabby in my book. By the way, I have some love for Brodie as well.

Yes, the Iggles do have (and have) had what it takes to be an elite squad. It's no surprise if you ask any Philly fan what keeps this team from winning the big gamep Play calling. I love Fat Andy. Great coach, never places blame, takes the heat. But, he is way too pass-happy. I believe it's been a near 65-35 pass-run ratio over the Reid reign. Pretty staggering number.

They did fish Hank Baskett in the trade market, with no takers. He got cut, and signed by the Colts the next day. D-Jax, Curtis, Maclin, and Reggie Brown are the main WR targets for McNabb. Very young and fast receiving corps. Exciting to watch. I look forward to seeing all of these young dudes develop. Jury is still out on Kevin Curtis. After his 200-yard receiving game against the lowly Lions in 2007, he garnered alot of attention. Since then, he has been nothing more than a possession receiver, - poor man's Wes Welker. He runs horrible routes, with better-than-average hands. Uber-quick, especially for a white guy. And yes, he did rupture his spleen last year. Ouch!

I was shocked the Raiders cut Garcia. Although I shouldn't have been. Seems pretty much par for the course with the Gay Guys in Black. Fuck Al Davis. He can have JaMarcus "Fat Bastard/Wish I Could Complete A Pass" Russell. I'm elated they cut Jeff and Philly signed him. Great to have him back in Green. All he did after Donovan went down in 2006 was guide the team to win their last 5 games, three of which were division opponents on the road. Not an easy task in the NFC East.

B: Those are all fair takes. What do you know about this Kolb kid? I trust you watched Sunday's game. I did not, and I haven't even seen highlights or stats. I seem to recall him throwing a few picks, but I hear Fat Andy was mostly pleased with his performance. What'd this kid do at Houston? Was he decent? Naturally, the story everyone wants to make out of this game is Ookie's re-instatement. It's been made clear that he won't start. It's also been heavily speculated that he'll get in the game in some fashion.

Tell us, please, your thoughts when you first heard that the Eagles had inked Ron Mexico. Tell us how you feel about his existence on the roster with Donnie ailing, and tell us, if you would, where you imagine his game level to be. That is, same Vick that last donned a Falcons jersey, or rusty from not playing live snaps and being subjected to the prison showers?

J.U.: Well, for some reason the franchise has a massive hard-on for Kolb. He's the QB of the future. Playing time has been limited, but when he has made it in the game it's been disasterous. I will say that he does look improved after getting all the 1st team reps before the Saints game. He did show that he is capable of maintaining a drive. Most importantly, Kolb made better decisions. Getting rid of the rock under pressure. In the past, Kevie would take the sack and more often than not fumble. Kolb did have a great college career finishing with 85 TDs playing for the pass friendly U of Houston.

First initial thought with the Ookie signing was "Why?" After thinking about it what was there to lose. He's not getting paid much. He still has wheels. The Wildcat O is the new trend. The early report is that Philly has nine plays that involve Vick, none of which he lines up under center. I'm thinking that he will play in a few games before he takes direct snaps to allow him to readjust to NFL speed. I doubt he will make a game-changing play against KC. But, all eyes will be on him while on the field. Maybe as a decoy? We'll see.

Don't kid yourself. You know he was getting the preferential treatment in the pokie. No doubt he was getting quality time in the weight room by himself. He seems to be in good shape physically, so all rust will be mental. I have the upmost confidence that the coaching staff will have Ooks ready for battle.

B: Okay. Let's, for a minute, broaden the scope. I trust you saw She-Li and the Giants handle Dallas Sunday night. If you watched Washington/St. Louis, well, I feel sorry for you. What are your thoughts, though, on the rest of your division? When I speculated last year that Philly would wind up at the bottom of the NFC East heap, the Redskins team looked as if they wouldn't lay the egg that they did. This year, however, Washington is looking kinda crummy. How do you envision these standings will shape up? Who finishes with what record?

What about the AFC West? Is this the Chargers' division to lose? Will Denver surprise some folks and win a few more games than expected? Do the Chiefs improve upon last year's 2-14 mark? What about Oakland? Super Bowl champs with JaMarcus Russell as MVP?

J.U.: All the teams in the division will beat the tar out of each other the rest of the season. I see the Giants winning with a record of 11-5, Eagles 10-6, Dallas 9-7, and the Skins 7-9. Philly gets the wild card again and has to prove they belong by winning playoff road games.

I don't know what to make of the AFC West. The Chiefs schedule the first half of the season is down right brutal with all 4 NFC East team on consecutive weeks. Still I believe they should turn it around somewhat and finish with at least 5 wins. In the end the Chargers eek out the divion by a game over the Donks. And the Raiders, hmmm...Their D has been pretty impressive thus far. But, with my boy toy J-Marc, they will also finish with 5 Ws.

B: Alrighty, then. We'll narrow it back down: Give us your prediction on this weekend's game? Chiefs by seven touchdowns? And to broaden once more, how about your picks for divisions, playoffs, and championship games?

J.U.: All righty, my good man. First, I will give you me season predictions. AFC division winners: San Diego, Indy, New England, Baltimore. Wild cards: NY Jets and Pittsburgh. NFC division winners: NY Giants, Minnesota, New Orleans, and San Fran. Wild cards: Philly and the Atlanta. AFC Championship: Baltimore over Indy. NFC Championship: Iggles over New Orleans.

Now the prediction you've been waiting for. Taking in to account the fact that there is a two percent chance D-Mac plays in this game, I will give a slight QB edge to Le Chefs. Westbrook again is banged up with the same ankle injury that kept him from playing in the pre-season. Expect heavy doses of rookie LeSean McCoy. Slight RB edge to LJ and the Chiefs. Both teams have young, athletic receivers, but a heavy edge for Philly (sorry Bobby Wade!). Defense is a no-brainer.

With that being said, I have a feeling that Kevin Kolb will throw a pick early and be yanked by halftime for veteran Jeff Garcia. Also, Mike Vick gets a few carries and a reception. I will consume 8 Miller Lites, 1 shot of Southern Comfort, and eat a 10-inch Will Shields pizza form the comfort of my barstool at the 810 Zone located in the picturesque KC Plaza.

Final score: Eagles 27- Chiefs 13

B: Interesting. I'll say 20-17 Eagles. Thanks again for your time. We'll do it again soon.