11 months ago Jonathan Gannon nearly carved out his place in Eagles history and fandom. The oft-maligned defensive coordinator was recorded driving into Lincoln Financial Field on the morning of the NFC Championship Game telling fans that “we’re going to fucking gut these guys.”
Jonathan Gannon before facing the 49ers in the NFC Championship:— Barstool Philly (@BarstoolPhilly) February 2, 2023
“We’re gonna fucking gut these guys” pic.twitter.com/z3GPsoKJx6
And they did. The Eagles defense woke up that morning and chose violence, knocking Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson out of the game. Gannon had, with one line and one game, turned his image around. We all know it was not to last.
Gutting and stomping
Way back in 2005 at Football Outsiders (RIP), Aaron Schatz put forth the idea of “guts and stomps”, that great teams tend to play good teams close (guts) and blow out bad teams (stomps), finding that Super Bowl teams tended to have a high number of stomps. In other words, point differential matters. This was certainly true of the Eagles last season, blowing out the Giants thrice, the Vikings, Commanders, Steelers, and of course the Titans so bad that they fired their GM. And they had close games against the Chiefs, Cowboys, Jaguars, and Lions, who all had winning records.
This year the Eagles have definitely had their close games against good teams with their three game win streak against the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Bills. But they haven’t really blown anyone out this year, their largest margin of victories were against the Dolphins, which was a 7 point game with 5 minutes to go, and the Buccaneers, a game where they scored two touchdowns. They have a worse point differential than the 7-8 Saints. They haven’t had a game that at half was all over but the crying.
This team needs a beat down win in the worst way. And they need it this week against the Cardinals. Even with Kyler Murray back at QB, the Cardinals have been blown out twice: 37-14 by the Rams, and 45-29 by the 49ers. The Cardinals have given up over 400 yards in four of their last five games. They have scored 16 or fewer points in three of their last five. They can be had. And boy do we need it. A blowout win won’t get this team firing on all cylinders again, but it would be nice to end the year with a really good feeling.
Is it too much to ask for it to be against Jonathan Gannon?
It could always be worse
As annoying as the season has been lately, a quick look around the league shows that relatively speaking, the Eagles have it really good.
The Washington Football Team Commmanders benched Sam Howell on Wednesday. He may be starting on Sunday because Jacoby Brissett is now listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. LOL, LMAO.
The Russell Wilson-Sean Payton marriage is already over, the Broncos will have an incredible $85 million in cap space they will have to eat cutting him.
Joe Flacco might win a playoff game for the Browns (if the playoffs started next week they’d play the Jaguars), and then not be on the team next year as they have to give Deshaun Watson the starting job.
Brock Purdy was cleared to return in his disaster of a game against the Ravens but Kyle Shanahan chose not to put him back in, which would be a nothing story considering the 49ers were down two TDs with less than 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Except Shanahan kept all his stars in. Every pass was to either Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, or Christian McCaffrey, and McCaffrey had a rushing attempt. HMM.
I’m not here to tell you things are rosy with the Eagles, they are not, everything has been a little off this year. But at least we’re not worrying about any of that.
Play with fire
If you missed it, the offensive linemen exchanged gifts this week. (Am I old? I have never heard of this type of gift exchange being called “white elephant” then I heard it twice in as many days.) Cam Jurgens got a flame thrower.
“It’s huge,” Jurgens said. “It’s on a backpack. It’s kind of like friggin’ Ghostbusters.”
Center Jason Kelce said on his “New Heights” podcast that it can shoot flames up to 150 feet.
Jurgens has to come out in player introductions with it. The fine the league gives him will be worth it. Do it.