If you're like me, you're tired of reading and hearing about Nick Foles' struggles, Riley Cooper's inability to catch a football, injuries and someone in the locker room being unhappy about something. So instead of rehashing the Is Nick Foles Good? debate or laughing at the Saints some more (well, we can keep doing that), let's give out our first annual This Week In Bleeding Green Nation Quarter Pole Awards™!
Yes, it's an exciting time here at This Week. The stars are out, our brands are strong and our #content is fresh. So let's get right to it, shall we?
Let's be real - we have no idea what the locker room dynamics are like. Some players are naturally chummy, and some seem to forever be on the outside. For this award, we here at This Week went to the only place that really matters - Twitter. And, in a landslide, this year's winner for Best Teammate is:
No one puts Parkey in a corner #dirtydancing #bromance @CParkey36 pic.twitter.com/yvjG8SFmFx— Beau Allen (@Beau_Allen) September 22, 2014
The team that bathes together, stays together @ConnorBarwin98 #farmerstan pic.twitter.com/lPYpFAJd9S— Beau Allen (@Beau_Allen) September 23, 2014
Allen has made it into defensive coordinator Bill Davis' defensive line rotation as a rookie, and he's also made it into the rotation of our hearts. You often hear about rookies being hazed and purposely ignored for no other reason than their rookie-dom. So it's heartwarming to see a veteran like Connor Barwin sharing bath time with the rook. And who doesn't love an off-the-wall Dirty Dancing reference?
Read more: Eagles waive Jake Knott with injury settlement by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: How Does Cody Parkey's Performance Compare to Alex Henery's? by Bob Quaintance
Read more: Are The Eagles Too Tough For Their Own Good? by Mark Saltveit
The Jeff Garcia "Heart and Soul" Award
Jeff Garcia was classic Philadelphia. He was the embodiment of every trite blue collar ideal that create the perfect Philadelphia Eagles mythology: he was fiery. He loved this city. He worked hard. He wished Philadelphia a Merry Christmas after being Dallas on Christmas. Did I mention he was fiery?
The veteran quarterback had reached journeyman status by the time he reached Philadelphia. But a late-season injury to Donovan McNabb thrust Garcia into the starting role in 2006. He put the team and the city on his back, riding
one of Brian Westbrook's best seasons a fiery attitude and timely quarterbacking to an improbable division win.
Create in honor of this Eagles great, the "Heart and Soul" Award is given to a player whose timely play and general can-do attitude make him instantly beloved in Philly. This year's race was a tight one, but in the end there was really only one choice:
No single player this season has come up with more heart-stopping, game-changing, hyphenated-adjective plays than Darren Sproles.
Without his touchdown run in Week 1, the Eagles may have lost to the freakin' Jaguars. Without his dominating performance in Week 2, the Eagles lose that game. Hell, he has already been named Offensive Player of the Week (Week 2) and Special Teams Player of the Week (Week 4) this season, and the Eagles have only played four games.
Darren, wish us a happy Turkey Day after the Eagles beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and we'll honor you by getting a crappy back tattoo of your jersey.
Read more: Darren Sproles: NFC Special Teams Player of the Week by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: Eagles vs. Rams Odds: How big will the win be? by Brent Cohen
Read more: Should the Philadelphia Eagles bench Riley Cooper? by Brandon Lee Gowton
Breakout Star Of The Quarter - Defense
There are a few honorable mentions for this one: Mychal Kendricks was looking greatly improved before his injury. Malcom Jenkins has been a bigger playmaker then even the most optimistic Eagles fan might have hoped. But this quarter's breakout star on defense has to be Fletcher Cox.
Jim Washburn may have said that Cox was born to play in a Wide 9 alignment, but Cox has shown that, given enough time in a system, he can play wherever he's needed. Cox seemed to have a tough time standing out in Bill Davis' system last season, and was largely quiet in preseason. But when the games started counting, the big man made his presence felt.
His stats (16 tackles, 1 FR) don't tell the whole story. Unlike last season, Cox has been around the ball more this year, and has used his impressive size and speed combo to get in the backfield - and even get upfield when the situation arises.
Plus, having the first Fat Guy Touchdown of the season will rocket you up every kind of awards list.
Read more: Eagles vs. Rams Injury Report: Mychal Kendricks out, Brandon Boykin questionable by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: The Joy Of Eagles Being 3-1; The Agony Of Hearing About It by Dave Spadaro
Breakout Star Of The Quarter - Offense
Like it could be anyone else.
There was a great deal of debate this offseason as to whether Jeremy Maclin could flourish in Chip Kelly's system. Maclin was robbed of the chance to show his stuff last season after an ACL injury sidelined him in Training Camp - in a contract year, no less.
Through four games, the answer has been definitive: Maclin's 353 receiving yards and fifth in the league, and he leads the Eagles in yards, offensive touchdowns (3), yards per reception (17.6) and insane catches per game:
Through four games, Maclin has proven himself to be quaterback Nick Foles' favorite target. Maclin's 46 targets are almost twice as many as the second-most targeted player (Riley Cooper with 25). Kelly's offense has given Maclin a chance to use his speed and versatility to get open in a multitude of ways, and unlike the other receivers on the team, Maclin has been by far the most consistent.
After tearing his ACL, Maclin bet on himself and re-upped with the Eagles on a one-year deal. Barring a Riley Cooper-like dropoff in production, Maclin is all but assured a handsome--and well deserved--payday.
Read more: Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce targeting Week 10 return from injury by Brandon Lee Gowton
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Coach Of The Quarter
In a normal quarter, this award would be given to Chip Kelly without a second thought. Heck, last season you could make the case that Bill Davis deserved it at one point or another. But this quarter has been anything but normal. You know that because, through four games, the best coach has been special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.
It would be easy to say that Fipp is the beneficiary of good players and Kelly's commitment to finding quality special teams players. But when the Eagles block kicks and return them for touchdowns, I give Fipp credit. When the Eagles have a kick return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown in two weeks, I give Fipp credit. And when special teams is the only reason the Eagles were even hanging around last week's slopfest, I give Fipp a ton of credit.
The Eagles' special teams have been incredible this season, and have gone from "time to go grab a sandwich, the punt team is on" status to "must-see TV" in the span of an offseason. It's a helluva job by everyone, but I'm going to give Fipp the credit here.
Vote now: Philadelphia Eagles first quarter 2014 approval poll: Jeffrey Lurie
Read more: Jairus Byrd Injury: New Orleans Saints safety out for season by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: NFL Picks Week 5, 2014: Predictions by Football Writers
About The Rams...
Before we part, let's spend a little time talking about this week's opponent, the St. Louis Rams. As Dan and Mike mentioned in their weekly game preview, the Rams have some seriously underrated aspects of their team. Quarterback Austin Davis isn't a threat to run like Colin Kaepernick and isn't a surgeon like Peyton Manning, but he's efficient. Davis holds a league-best 72.3 completion percentage, and is averaging 8.0 yards per attempt. He won't wow you with his god-given ability, and his offense may be underwhelming, but fans of this team should know by now that underestimating a team like this usually doesn't end well.
Meanwhile, sack artist Robert Quinn hasn't registered a sack this season, and draws Jason Peters as his assignment this week. This season Peters has not been quite the anchor we've grown accustomed to seeing, but it's a matchup that Peters should certainly be able to handle. And St. Louis' run defense 29th in rushing yards per game with 155.0, which bodes well for the Eagles' struggling run game.
This is the game in which LeSean McCoy could very well get going, but if I'm Chip Kelly, I'm not taking my chances. This is when Chris Polk should get a little love. I'm not saying he should get the lion's share of the carries, but unless McCoy explodes out of the gate, I wouldn't be surprised to see Polk get 8-10 carries this week.
Read now: Eagles-Rams preview: Frauds or legitimate contenders? by Mike Kaye and Dan Klausner
Read now: Eagles vs. Rams 2014: Why St. Louis will lose by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: Eagles-Rams Scouting Report: Is Austin Davis the Next Backup QB Nightmare? by Dave Mangels
It's been a weird week in Eagles World. Last week's loss was sloppy and disappointing, and this week they take on one of the more anonymous teams in the NFL. A win and a 4-1 record is the goal, but the real goal should be a complete game.
And, if we're getting greedy, a thorough ass-whoopin' isn't too much to ask for, is it?