Will We Win Without Wentz?


It’s not the end of the world. The sky is not falling. The bottom has not fallen out. And it’s not over; at least not yet. The fact of the matter is we are suddenly without our wonderful, warhorse of a wizard QB Carson Wentz, but we can – repeat – WE CAN win without Wentz.

Yes Wentz was a savior of sorts. He was having an MVP season. He seemingly set records every time he touched the ball. And all of Philly loved him. But that’s all changed now, at least for this season. But the Eagles can still win, with conditions.

This one’s going to be on Coach Pederson. Now it’s up to the head coach to really do his job; coach. Nick Foles is the man now. No he’s not Wentz but he’s also not a wuss. We can win with Foles if we do a lot of other things absolutely right.

And that’s just like life. Sometimes we have to make adjustments and amendments in order to get the job done. And the Eagles can absolutely win down the stretch and deep into the playoffs playing the kind of football they’ve been playing.

And so there is hope.

This is what owner Jeff Laurie said about Coach Pederson last year when he was hired: “Doug is a strategic thinker, a compelling leader and communicator, and someone who truly knows how to get the best out of his players.”

And Coach absolutely got the best out of Wentz. Now he must summon the best out of the rest of his team.

So, Philly fans, you just gotta believe. And then every Eagle on the team needs to block somebody and tackle somebody and stop those silly, stupid, self inflicted penalties! Where’s my blood pressure medicine!

Save Your Best For Last

College_Football_Playoff_logo.svg

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was turned to wine, not knowing where it had come from, he said, ‘A host always serves the best wine first; then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!’

John 2:9-10, New Living Translation 

The best teams play their best ball during the best time of the season. And that’s December. I love December football. Every football fan loves football in December because it’s cold, games are contentious and, err, it’s cold.  It’s football weather, and December is the month when the big boys beat down the little guys to within an inch of their playoff lives. And December is the time when the best teams face off and stare down and square up against each other until only one is left standing.

We’ll find out who will be in the college football championship tonight. Alabama is outside looking in at number five, and they will have to watch Georgia and Auburn duke it out before they find out if they can make it in. Clemson is currently holding onto the number one spot and they can solidify their position with a convincing win over Miami.

As for my Eagles, they play Seattle tomorrow night in Seattle and that should be another good test to prove to all the naysayers that Philly is for real.

So save your best for last. Keep something in the tank for the stretch run when you need to out kick and out last and out best your competitors. And that includes your best buddy and your brother-in-law who would love to topple you just for something to do.

The lesson is clear; play to the whistle. Clearly we are living in the last days. Evil doers are calling right wrong and wrong right. Workers of iniquity are calling evil good and good evil; seducers are calling up down and down up.  Those who disdain God are calling right left and left right. Sin has run rampant and the enemy of our souls is out to destroy us, as he knows his time is short.

So don let up and don’t let down. Keep a goody bag and a spare tire and extra reserves for use as you approach the wire because our enemies and our foes are trying harder and harder to overcome righteousness and goodness and are going after you even harder as the sands of time wind down to the begining of eternity. 

Why does a gymnast put her most impressive skill at the end of the routine? Why do fireworks designers put the big burst at the end? Why is the fourth movement of the symphony the most powerful one? Why do stand-up comics like to end with their strongest material? Why does the climax come at the end of the movie instead of the beginning? Why do we eat dessert last? Why do we save the last dance for our best beau?

God saves His best for last, and we should too.

When Bad Teams Play

Redskins.Dallas

The 5-6 Dallas Cowboys are hosting the 5-6 Washington Redskins in prime time. So why bother? 

The fans on each side are saying that this is a “must win” game for each team. Oh brother. Again I ask, “Why bother watching?”  It’s been called the best rivalry in sports. Normally, at least Yankees/Red Sox fans and Michigan/Ohio State fans would beg to differ, but the entire sports world is begging to differ tonight. Tonight when they play on Thursday Night Football, each team will be a shell of their old selves. Dak Prescott is not the Dak Prescott of last year; not by far. And Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, well, let’s just say that they always think they’re in contention.  Poor things.

You know what happens when bad teams play? You get poor play because of poor performers which leads to a poor performance. Essentially, it’s garbage in and garbage out. And who wants to waste precious time watching two lame ducks duke it out to the death?

Dallas has its share of problems: “Now in the middle of what will ultimately be a six-game suspension on their star RB, Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys’ offense is in shambles. After averaging a stout 28.25 points per game over the first eight contests, they’ve now failed to score 10 points in three consecutive games — the worse stretch in franchise history. That precipitous nose dive also includes a ‘frustrated’ Prescott admittedly playing some of his worst football, delivering only 500 total passing yards and no touchdowns, but five interceptions. He had only four all of last season.

It’s a long fall from the MVP-caliber numbers Dak Prescott was delivering only one month ago, and the correlation to the absence of Elliott can no longer be denied even if it’s not the sole reason for the downturn. Play calling certainly hasn’t helped his cause, as the Cowboys have also been attempting to overcompensate for the loss of Elliott versus riding impressive outings from Alfred Morris.” https://247sports.com/nfl/dallas-cowboys/Bolt/Dallas-Cowboys-coaches-weigh-in-on-if-absence-of-Ezekiel-Elliott-is-reason-for-poor-Dak-Prescott-play-111288651

And the Redskins have had their share of woes this season too.  So what’s one to do?  Can either team pull out a winning season and make the playoffs?  It’s doubtful, but then again that’s where it all starts. Doubt is the devil that destroys destiny. So since one team has to win (barring a tie, which would be laughable), one team has an outside chance at righting the ship and saving the season.

And therein lies the lesson: there’s always hope. You have to believe that there’s always a chance, a likelihood, a probability and a possibility that things can and will turn around. But first you have to believe that there’s hope, and that there’s hope for you, and that hope will help you too.  

Don’t Jinx It!

Carson Wentz

“A jinx is a little like a magical spell, specifically to make something go wrong. It’s often used to refer to something good that is hoped will happen, but that might not happen if you talk about it in advance. A common phrase is, ‘Don’t jinx it by talking about it.’” https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/dont-jinx-it.314008/

But do Christians believe in jinx’s? I hope not! People of faith don’t believe in magic or spells or tricks or illusions. Our faith is not founded upon fortune; we believe in Providence and purpose and can’t possibly believe in lot or luck, right? We believe in destiny not chance; we believe in a big God that has forethought and foresight, and not an unplanned and unintentional big bang.

The world says that fate is when something is meant to be. But does that work in sports?  This season, the Kansas City Chiefs were once 4-0 and then 6-2, and at one point. And everybody, and I do mean everybody, was ready to crown them champs! But they’ve lost 3 in a row. They started hot but have cooled off and amazingly enough they’re still holding on to first place in the AFC West. But the Chiefs are the only team that has defeated my Eagles, and now Philly is 10-1. TEN and one!

So those who are not so sure that the Eagles are Super Bowl bound collectively say, “Don’t jinx it.” Don’t talk about the Eagles going to the Super Bowl until we actually get closer to the Super Bowl.  But I beg to differ. A jinx is not biblical. So I can’t buy into that mentality.  But I can say that we need not get to giddy or too gabby about how good these Birds really are (and they are really good!).There’s still five games left in the regular season, and then there’s December football and then there’s the playoffs. 

Christians have argued about predestination and foreordination for centuries. It all boils down to this: fate is the world’s version of Providence. God is does hold the whole world in His hands, but we do have a part to play. It’s called faith and works.  So that’s why I believe that you can predict your future fate.

Fate is an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future. Fate is the ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events (often personified as a woman).  And fate is your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you). So we don’t believe in fate, per se. We have faith in our efforts and energy and labor and lifework. So if I believe and achieve, I can expect to receive.  And so can the Eagles.

So don’t worry about jinxing it for the Eagles. Carson Wentz is the real deal, and he has enough faith for the whole team, if not the entire City of Brotherly Love.  Just don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  The Eagles still have to play the games, and we’ll be keeping score.

 

Go Eagles!

Note From Drew Brees: “You Can Still Pull It Out”

Drew Brees

Some wins make you feel like you can take a running start and with one leap, jump clear over the moon. Just Ask Drew Brees.  And some losses make you so sick you can hardly breathe. Such is life. There are great, glorious wins and then there are bad, terrible, horrible loses, especially when the win was sewn up and packed away but yet you let it get away, anyway. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

There cardinal sins and there are cardinal rules. And in sports they essentially collide and combine and become one and the same.  And here’s the most critical one: don’t blow the lead late in the game. Period. End of discussion. The game aint over til it’s all over. But this week, the Redskins didn’t get the memo. 

The New Orleans Saints just came back from 15 points down with 5:38 remaining and stunned the Washington Redskins 34 -31 in OT at the Super Dome. Drew Brees got hot and the Skins defense got burned for two touchdowns and a two point conversion in the waning moments of a thriller as the Saints won their 8th straight game in fantastic fashion.

So what story line is more important? The Satins coming back to win or the Redskins falling back to lose?  Of course the positive is the comeback win. The Saints held on with their fingernails all game and managed to creep and crawl and climb their way back into the game and eke out an exciting, electrifying victory.

But you can also learn a lot from a loss.  And since that’s the case, the Redskins should be awarded an earned a PhD in how not to blow a game.  Seriously though, many of the greats say that they learned more from loses and defeats than wins and victories .

And so, the moral of the story is this: momentum is everything. Everything. The Redskins had the momentum in this game but let her get away. So learn this lesson: momentum is like the girl at the seventh grade dance that you didn’t come with (because you went stag) but you long to leave with. When you get her, keep her. Guard her to the death, and defend her with your life. Because, when you lose momentum, you’ve essentially lost the game.

A Good Start is A Good Thing

NFL 2016-PHILADELPHIA EAGLES DEFEAT PITTSBURGH STEELERS 34-3
Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback, CARSON WENTZ, completes a pass to Darren Sproles in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers for a first down. WENTZ completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns and no turnovers.leading the Eagles to a 34-3 victory. WENTZ is the first rookie in NFL history without an interception in his first 100 pass attempts to begin a career.

 The Philadelphia Eagles are 8-1. The Philadelphia 76ers are 6-4. Who saw this comin’?

First, the Birds. My Eagles are atop the NFC East AND have the best record in the NFL. There’s still a lot of football left, but by golly – an 8-1 start is not too shabby. In fact, is pretty darn good, if not downright scary. This past Sunday they beat the Denver Broncos 51-23 and it wasn’t that close. AND going into the game, Denver had the league’s No. 1 Defense.  Really!

Now for my favorite sons: DA Sixas! Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have taken the Sixers by storm, and they are on a FIVE GAME winning streak. I just said the 76ers have won five games in a row after starting the season 1-4.  The last time they won five games in a row was 2011. Seriously. 

All of Philly is trying not to overreact or be overconfident or overestimate our chances of . . . well, you know.  But there’s no harm in having high hopes, right?

The moral of the story is this: a good start is a good thing. Yes, you still have to finish, but in God’s Playbook, a good starting point is not a bad thing. So start strong. Start fast. Start with the end in mind.  The goal is always high and lofty and a stretch. That’s why your goals should be just beyond your reach, and your reach should be just short of your grasp. It pushes you forward and pulls you onward above all that you could even ask or think.

So don’t settle for mediocre or middle of the pack or the mean, median or the mode. Your enemy is called average. You can do better than before, and even the rest.

Just get a good start.

As Good As It Gets: Jay Ajayi’s Flying High As An Eagle In Philly

 Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi’s debut in Philly was as good as it gets.  He’s off and running, or flying, in Philly and opening day couldn’t have been better for the Eagles and Ajayi, as they steamrolled the Denver Broncos in front of a racous, rockin’ and rolling Lincoln Financial Field crowd. Ajayi was traded to the Eagles for next to nothing (a 4th round draft pick?) and was seemingly dumped and his impact was downplayed because he’s “a problem child” that’s a distraction. But the Eagles said “come to Philly.” And come to Philly he did.

So all of Philly is singing in the rain and dancing in the streets. The Iggles are now 8-1, are in first place in the NFC East with the best record in football and their best start since the Super Bowl Year of ’04.  So go Birds, and atta’ boy Ajayi.  Next Stop: Arlington Texas and the Dallas Cowboys.  And they don’t scare me.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about my Eagles:

“The Philadelphia Eagles went from very good to downright scary with the addition of running back Jay Ajayi. Just ask the Denver Broncos.

Acquired from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, Ajayi made an instant impact in his Philly debut, breaking off a 46-yard touchdown run as part of an eight-carry, 77-yard performance that helped the Eagles cruise past Denver, 51-23.

‘It was special,’ Ajayi said afterwards. ‘First off, it’s my first touchdown of the season, and it’s exciting for it to have been in Philly in my first game as an Eagle. I don’t think it could have been written any better than that.’

The Eagles, now 8-1, entered the game as the third-ranked offense in the NFL. Still, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stayed aggressive at the trade deadline and worked up a deal with old friend Mike Tannenbaum, who holds the same title with the Dolphins, sending a 2018 fourth-round pick to Miami for the 24-year-old Ajayi.

While there were reported concerns about the long-term health of Ajayi’s knee and his effect on Miami’s locker room, the Eagles believed Ajayi could be a system and identity fit based on joint practices with the Dolphins this summer. They were willing to take a risk in hopes he would regain his 2016 Pro Bowl form when he rushed for close to 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns.  Ajayi’s longest run this season with the Dolphins was 21 yards, but he found his home run swing in his first game> with his new team.http://www.espn.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles/post/_/id/22824/with-jay-ajayi-added-to-mix-eagles-look-unstoppable-against-broncos