So much has changed in these past 2 weeks, lets review: After the Seattle Game:
-Juan Castillo was DEFINITELY gone: 1 million mock offseasons and i didnt see one that had him coming back. Our defense just got carved by Tavaris Jackson. We didnt tackle, we made stupid penalties, we got the scheme mixed up. It was embarrasing and it sealed Castillos fate.
-DeSean Jackson was definetly gone (not quite as pronounced as Castillo): I mean he ran his routes like an old guy at the Y. The TV cameras showed him ignoring VY and basically his teammates in general. He stormed out of the post game interview. One of his teammates was quoted as saying : DeSeans fuckin around. It was clear he had quit on the team. Gone. I remember telling a Redskin fan at my work that DeSean would be on the market next year. His reply "We don't want him" (Anthony Armstrong is their deep threat)
-Asante Samuel was about 80% gone: The Seattle game put me over the fence on this one. If theres one thing I cant stand its when guys dont give effort. Asante had never been a great tackler, but this year he took things to a whole new level. There were plays this year where it looked like he let his man block him out of bounds so he didnt have to tackle. On the run below he basically escorts Marshawn Lynch for the last 15 yards when he was certainly close enough to dive at him. Does he think Eagles fans dont notice shit like that?
The last guy I remember like Asante in Philly sports was Bobby Abreu. Both guys put up the numbers:Bobby was .300/20/20 guy and Asante is up there in interceptions every year. But both players seemed to have the impression that being excellent in one facet of the game meant that they could give a half hearted effort in other areas. Fans got sick of watching Bobby jog around as runners took the extra base and eventually the front office did too. The Phillies traded Abreu in 2006 and have made the playoffs 5 straight years since and won a World Series. Apparently having one of your top talents not giving full effort has a negative effect on the team.
Two weeks later:
-The Eagles defense has played their best two games of the season. Theyve been causing turnovers, getting pressure on the QB, swarming to the ball and tackling better. We haven't seen the breakdowns in scheme that were so prevalent through the early part of the year. Nate Allen seems to be coming around, Casey Matthews is looking..better, Jason Babin is going nuts. The Eagles defense has given up 3 TD the past 2 weeks and two have been on Nnamdi Asogmuha. Those scores certainly cant be blamed on any sort of poor scheming. In the Jets game it actually looked like Castillo was a step ahead of his counterpart. Jason B of the BGN staff gave him the game ball, and I think it was well deserved.
-DeSean Jackson is an interesting case. He hasnt exactly lit things up, he has 6 catches for 87 yards the past 2 weeks. But two things stood out to me:
1. Andy Reid after the Seattle game: He vehemently defends DeSean. He says DeSeans sideline antics were blown out of proportion and he had not lost the locker room (probably true). He also said DeSean was "all-in" against Seattle (bullshit). But whether he was telling the truth or not the point is that Andy seems be doing everything in his power to keep DeSean happy and in Philadelphia. Nobody knows the Philly offense better than Andy Reid. Mabye he recognizes better than we do the way DeSean's mere presence opens things up for the rest of the Eagles offense, and is still holding out hope that we can keep DeSean in green.
2. After LeSean McCoy fumbles and the Jets Brodney Pool recovers it at his own 43, DeSean Jackson sprints back and runs down Pool at the Eagles 27 injuring himself in the process. He sure didn't look like a guy who had quit on his team or his coach. I just remember this being one of those effort plays that stood out to me.
-Asante Samuel has forced two huge tone-setting turnovers. Early in Miami he stripped Davone Bess and then scooped up the ball himself. Against the Jets his propensity to be around the ball paid off as he made an interception in the Eagles red zone. If the Jets scored it would have been 7-7. Instead the Eagles took it up the field and went up 14-0 on their way to a rout...Basically Asante has reminded us of the positives. Do we really want to trade a playmaker of his caliber?
Predictions: Basically i think all three players could go either way. and I hate to even speculate with two games left. But since there should be some payoff for reading this post and its fun to make predictions, ill take a stab at it.
Castillo: Im curbing my enthusiasm for Castillo right now. The last 2 QBs he has faced are Matt Moore and Mark Sanchez. You don't make up for 12 games of awful by shutting down those guys.
But lets say this Saturday these things happen:
-The Jets beat the Giants at 1 giving the game a playoff atmosphere, and making the game hugely important to both teams
-the Eagles defense puts together a solid effort, hassles Romo, forces a couple turnovers and the Eagles win
-The Eagles follow it up by shutting down Washington in Week 17
If these things happen, playoffs or not, Castillo will be back this year. Optimist that I am, I say the Eagles defense continues their solid play. We know Reid wants a chance to show his hiring wasn't a terrible mistake.
PREDICTION: I cant believe im typing this, but Juan Castillo WILL be back
DeSean Jackson: The Cowboys game would be a great time for him to break out of his slump. This is Philly where coaches get fired and players get released over how they fair against the Cowboys. This year the opposite comes true. DeSean plays well and plays hard enough to warrant the organization bringing him back. In the offseason DeSean brings his offer down enough and the Eagles find enough cash to make a deal
PREDICTION: DeSean Jackson is back
Asante Samuel: How do the Eagles find the cash for DeSean? Trading Asante Samuel will help. Fuck it, I like Asante. But none of the Eagles three seems able to slot, someone has to go. And Asante's the odd man out. It'll suck watching him make pick-six's for his new team next year, but hey think about the Abreu factor.
PREDICTION: Asante Samuel is gone