First of all, the adjective I used above is obviously redundant at this point. If you're an Eagles fan and you still have confidence in this team's ability to succeed, give me your kool-aid. I will drink the entire cooler. With that said, I have a few random thoughts, and just felt the need to share. For your commenting convenience, I have separated them into points, so if you're commenting, please just refer to the letter of the thought you're referencing before you say something.
A. I don't normally consider myself a Negadelphian, but I just can't help but have a feeling that this season will be a worst outcome sort of year. I assess the Castillo firing, timing-wise, similarly to most fans; this is Reid reaching his point of no return in Philadelphia and doing what he has never done before: hitting the panic switch. Reid's best and worst trait is his doggedness, and him going back on his appointment mid-season is a sign that he will now try anything he can to keep his job. Following this logic, Reid will do what many have been clamoring for, and just as many fear: bench Michael Vick and start Nick Foles. Continuing with my worst-case outlook, I believe Foles will not succeed as a starter. I can understand why many think he gives us a better chance to win with Vick. Apparently, during his time at the University of Arizona Foles played behind a sub par offensive line for most of his tenure and had a pretty good college career in spite of this, which would obviously be a boon given the Eagles current o-line situation. He is also physically more of a prototypical quarterback than Vick, and would be able to see over the offensive line (one theory I've heard for Vick consistently missing open receivers and hesitating on delivering; I believe the truth is somewhere between that and him not having a great football mind) and not have passes consistently batted down. However, I just can't help but feel the weight of history is too much against him. I know that colleges have been doing a better job of preparing quarterbacks for the NFL and that Foles did play in a pro-style offense. So have more others than not before him who have reminded fans why starting a rookie quarterback, especially one not highly drafted, remains unconventional logic. As this
great article featured on the Linc during the peak of Foles Fever in August shows, preseason production simply doesn't correlate with actual success at all. So going back to my main point, I believe Foles will end up playing like a typical rookie QB and the Eagles season will go down the tubes. Heads will obviously roll in January, and Reid (and probably Mornhinweg and hopefully not Bowles, who I feel actually has a good future as a D coordinator and possible head coach), and Vick will lose their jobs. At this point, Foles will have played for around half a season and failed to impress. Unfairly, he will be associated with the twilight times of the Reid era, and as part of a cathartic cleansing process, he will either be relegated to backup status or traded. This is how I see the season playing out, from a QB standpoint. This scenario would lead to the obvious need for a new quarterback. This brings me to thought B.
B. As a disclaimer to thought B, I need to tell you this idea has not been properly researched. My extent of football news is Bleeding Green Nation, the links for the daily The Linc, nfl.com, and the official eagles site. Continuing from my above scenario, Nick Foles will have been exercised and eliminated as an option. Thus far, I have mostly heard one other alternative for starting Foles, which is drafting a quarterback in the first round next April. I propose a "new" (i.e. new to me, I'm sure it's been floated without my knowledge) idea: buy out the remaining 2 years of Philip Rivers' San Diego contract and give whatever draft picks we need to acquire his services. Please stop from scrolling down to the comments section for a moment and hear me out.
B1: This is where I'm going to explain why I think this is possible. From what I've read from my limited sources, Rivers has been disappointing for the Chargers for the past 2 years. Last year he apparently went to the Pro Bowl out of reputation alone, despite posting what seem at first blush pretty damn good numbers: 62.9% completion rate, 7.95 yards average, 27 tds/20 ints. As we all know, stat lines have a tendency of not giving the whole story, so I will withhold judgment on last year. However, this year, at the split point, there has been a tangible decline: 64.6% completion rate (better, I know), 6.77 yards average, and 10 tds/9 ints. There have been multiple articles expressing dissatisfaction among the fanbase at his performance, and that Norv Turner is in a similar situation as Reid. I believe San Diego will undergo a similar purge as Philadelphia and jettison anything associated with Turner, and Rivers' declining numbers will be viewed as part of the problem. The trade would have a minimal chance of affecting the Chargers in ways beyond losing Rivers, because the Chargers are an AFC team. Rivers also has a similar stigma as Donovan McNabb; the reputation of being a great player, but unable to win in high-pressure situations. Donovan himself was traded at a similar junction of his career (minus the contract situation) that Rivers is heading towards now, and it was to a division rival, no less. The precedent is there. If presented with an attractive offer, especially if it includes high draft pick(s), I believe San Diego could be talked into letting Rivers go. Furthermore, Roseman is an aggressive negotiator and has a history of leveraging trade situations to his advantage, so I believe the trade could be made without giving up Carson Palmer levels of compensation. The Eagles made an unorthodox move to rectify their linebacker situation this offseason in trading for DeMeco Ryans. While this is obviously on an entirely different scale than that, I think it sets a precedent that this administration is willing to think outside the box to solve dire problems.
B2: This section is easier, because it is conventional logic: why this will not happen. Philip Rivers is a franchise quarterback. Even if his numbers have declined, they have not fallen to abysmal levels, so many will still believe a sure commodity with relatively high value is better than an unknown. Rivers is also not in a contract-ending year, and I am not sure the Eagles would be willing to pony up the money to buy out his contract.
B3: Assuming acquiring Rivers is possible, I think people might wonder if it would be a good idea. Giving up high draft picks is never something to be taken lightly, because it can set a franchise back for years. However, I feel that this acquisition would let the eagles finally bring a Lombardi home to south Philly. Rivers is the prototypical physical quarterback, and has shown a great knack for accuracy. I believe the Eagles have a better offensive supporting cast than Rivers ever did, even during the peak LT/Sproles/Gates/Jackson/Floyd years. Defending that statement would be an article in and of itself, so I'll leave it at that. Next year the offensive line has a good chance of being back at 2011 levels, pending the return of Jason Peters to pre-achilles and Jason Kelce to pre-MCL performance. With a new coach willing to utilize Shady consistently, a line to block for Shady/keep a clean pocket for Rivers, and weapons for him to throw to, I think most people would agree that good things could happen.
In summary, do I actually see this happening? Probably not. Do I think it should be something on the Eagles whiteboard, and should they do if the offer stands? Hell yes.
C. All this thinking about Rivers has gotten me watching more Chargers games, and I find myself enjoying it. I am an Eagles fan first and foremost, but I think I'm going to make a conscientious decision to follow the Chargers as a second NFL team. I know the default setting is to watch other sports, but I just can't get into any and I don't find college football to be as exciting as the pros. Does this make me any less of an Eagles fan? Obviously when they play head-to-head my allegiances bleed green, but especially with the current Eagles team, it would be really nice to have another team to pay attention to when my primary is being a sopping mess of despair. Incidentally, I am probably attending graduate school at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego next year, so I think that having the games broadcasted locally and being able to see them play live might make it even better.
D. I think I need a new username if Trent Cole doesn't get his act together by the end of the season. For the last 3 or 4 years, Cole has probably been my favorite player. He is Andy Reid's stereotypical "high-motor" idea gone right: a guy who is undersized, but just refuses to quit, coming around to hit quarterbacks after an offensive lineman blocks him down and pays attention to someone else or just stops trying. However, this year he has not only been playing like a JAG, but he has refused to own up to this fact, taking pride in the fact that he's getting double-teamed and therefore not producing tangible numbers. That is a load of crap. In past years, the great highlight material from him has been the situation described above, or him just plain beating a double team from sheer effort to knock a QB out of his shoes or drop a runner for a loss (something he used to do much better than the average end as well). Him starting a fight with Tony Gonzalez (one of the game's classiest players) makes him a sore loser in the worst way. It's bad enough having to watch your team suck, but having to watch them suck and act like the evil team from a typical sports movie makes it unbearable. I think he has gotten complacent with the acknowledgment, both financially and pro-bowl wise, that he is a great player and has lost with that complacency the chip on his shoulder that made him great to begin with. I hope I'm wrong with this and he will start to play furious again soon. Save my username, Cole!
If you read this far, thanks so much for reading my rambling Eagles book. I just scrolled up and realized how much I wrote, and wow, I guess I had a lot on my mind. This is my first serious fanpost, so it means a lot!
If you didn't...
A. This year will continue to be a nightmare. Reid has finally lost his marbles, is sweating bullets like he just got news both Pat's and Geno's shut down, and will bench Vick for Foles. Foles will play like a typical rookie QB, torpedo the season, and get shown the door/relegated to backup status for his efforts.
B. After the above happens, the eagles can and should buy out Philip Rivers' contract and bring him in as QB. While this sounds crazy, I think there's a small chance of it being possible, and the Eagles could kick some ass with Laserface under center.
C. I am going to start pulling for the Chargers as my AFC team. Does this make me a lesser Eagles fan?
D. Trent Cole, stop being a hemorrhoid on and off the field. You make me ashamed of my username.
If you read either the full of condensed version of this post, please keep in mind that I did not meticulously research (or do much research at all past wikipedia and google) this post, so there could be a lot in here that's wrong. If there is something factually wrong, as opposed to just something that is opinion-based, please let me know. Thanks for reading!