Good On Paper

Carson Wentz after Seattle Loss
At the beginning of the 2019 season, Philly fans said that Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles looked good on paper.

 This blog was originally entitled, “Don’t Give Up On Your Team, Vol. II, a.k.a., ‘What’s With Wentz?’  Instead, “Good On Paper” says it all.

At the beginning of the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Eagles looked good on paper. They had speed at the wide receiver position in DeSean Jackson, they had depth on defense, and — ahem — presumably they had a healthy Carson Wentz, our franchise quarterback, ready to return to his vintage form. But that was then, And THAT was on paper.

Carson Wentz had arguably his worst game as a professional yesterday as the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 17-9.  Wentz committed five, count’ em, FIVE turnovers, and lost four, with two interceptions and two fumbles.  Two words immediately come to mind: unbelievable and unacceptable.

Dude.  Brother.  Homie. I mean really? Seriously? C’mon Man! Man up, settle down, bring her in and get the lead out.  Wentz, you are better than this. But you’re not showing it. And the Philly Faithful is holding out hope that you will return to the MVP form you had at the beginning of the 2017 Super Bowl Season. Did I mention the Super Bowl LII win? Surely I digress, Yes, Philly fans are still holding on and holding out for a repeat performance from our wonderful Wentz of a quarterback. But Man! Is this guy making it hard or what?

For the Philadelphia Eagles, to say that this season has not gone according to plan is putting it mildly.  The Eagles are a paltry and pitiful 5-6, and there are at least two games that we’ve, I mean THEY, have lost early on in the season that should have gone the other way.

But some say that there’s still hope. Some say that the Eagles still have a chance (a fat one?) at winning the Division, the NFC East. The Eagles have a light schedule against pancake teams the rest of the way, such as Miami, the Giants TWICE and the Redskins. But there is no guarantee that things will get better.  Based on Carson’s play yesterday, things could absolutely, utterly and totally go from bad to worse. There is no guarantee that these Eagles, or more specifically, Carson Wentz, will right the ship and earnestly and honestly content for a crown, this year or even next.

But we must not lose hope in our team, right? We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and we must not jump to conclusions, right? But we also must lift our faith from the pages of the Bible to the table or our hearts. Faith without works is dead. And thus far this season, this Eagles team has given us little faith and less to work with. 

ON PAPER, we should still hold out and hold on to hope: Here’s how heavy.com put the Eagles chances:

“The Eagles’ record stands at 5-6, while the Cowboys dropped to 6-5. It’s a one-game difference with five games to play. The way the Birds have played in recent weeks leaves room for doubt. Maybe their offense can’t score enough points to even win another game. Hold on. Look at their remaining schedule.

Philadelphia has the 12th-easiest schedule the rest of the way, according to Team Rankings. Their opponents’ records are a combined 18-41 while the Cowboys still face stiff tests against the Bills (8-3), Rams (6-4) and Bears (5-6).

(On paper,) the Eagles should reel off three straight wins starting this week in Miami, with a showdown at Lincoln Financial Field versus Dallas on the horizon in Week 16. That game would likely decide the NFC East. As bad as Philadelphia has played, (on paper), it’s all in front of them.”

In other words, the Eagles have a chance of making the playoffs, as their chances of winning the Division are good, but they’re only good on paper.

Good on paper. For more than a few folks, everything adds up, on paper.  It’s sad to say, but most of the majority of mankind (in the West, at least) may well have it all together, on paper. That’s what some people are like. They appear good and they show well. They have a good job, they drive a nice car and they live in a big house in a nice neighborhood. They may even go to church, but that’s all on paper.  

Truth be told, some Christians look good, but just on paper. They do the right things, use the right words, and give the right answers. They look nice and shiny on the outside. They go to church every week; they may even sing on the choir or play on the keyboard or even unlock and lock the church doors. They may serve as an usher or a deacon or a Sunday school teacher. They may even preach in the pulpit. But that’s all on paper.

Real people are more than the sum of their parts on paper. How do they actually live? What’s actually in their heart? And why do they do what they do? What is their motivation and inspiration for life?  Do these “good on paper” people actually believe that Jesus Christ is the center and focus of our life of faith?

Alright enough; enough about those “good on paper” patsies. How about you? Does Christ  dictate what you do and what you say? Are you authentically altruistic, genuinely genial and wholeheartedly wholesome?

This Christmas, let’s do better than be good on paper.

Let’s be true for real.  

Kareem Hunt and the National Football League: What’s Up With the NFL? – Fall 2018 Edition

Kareem Hunt
Kareem Hunt is cut by the Kansas CIty Chiefs after a video is released of him shoving and kicking a woman in a February dispute

Mike McCarthy just got fired, Kareem Hunt was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Bears lost to the Giants. Go figure.   

First, who would have thought that the Green Bay Packers would fire their beloved coach MIDSEASON? And who would have guessed that the Chiefs’ darling (now former) running back would be ditched for a February incident in which he shoved and kicked a woman, a video of which just so happened to surface on Friday?  And why didn’t the NFL interview Kareem Hunt or the woman he shoved and kicked when the league investigated the February assault? Incredible. Hunt now says he was “in the wrong”. How genuine of him, months after the incident and months after he misled the team and the NFL about what really happened. It’s yet another black eye for the NFL and yet another domestic violence incident that the NFL failed to handle correctly.  

And in actual games that were actually played on the field, the Giants beat the first place Bears in overtime.  Explain that one, pray tell?

It just goes to show, anything is possible. The good can go bad, and the very bad can actually turn out to be pretty good. Go figure. And to top it all off, my Eagles have a chance to move up in the world if they beat the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.

Failures are not final, and victories are not forever sustainable. So never say never. And don’t count me out. And don’t count your chickens before they hatch. McCarthy was a fixture in Green Bay, and he’s out. Kareem Hunt was the engine that drove the Chiefs, and he’s out, and the Giants have had the worse season imaginable, and they don’t look like they’re out (even though they are), and my Super Bowl Champion Eagles have played under par all season; yet and still, mathematically they’re not  out yet.  I said yet. 

And that’s the NFL, and that’s life. There’s always hope.  Yet things could go south or sideways in a hurry if you don’t do the right thing.    So do the right thing, even when you have a losing record or you don’t seem to have a snowballs chance in you know what to get out of the mess you’re in.  

Because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

Alex Smith Instead Of Kirk Cousins? Seriously?

Wow. Look at that pic. Two of the most recent Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks who are long gone or are about ready to go. Too bad.

The Washington Redskins just signed Alex Smith. Well, they signed him last week but it wasn’t important enough to pull me away from all of the Super Bowl hype. Now that my Philadelphia Eagles have won the Big One and are World Champions (man that sounds so good!) we can turn our attention to other more trivial NFL matters. Like where Kirk Cousins will be playing next year.

First of all, what was Andy Reid thinking? Are they mad at Smith for tanking this season after starting out so well? After all, the Chiefs started off 5-0, and their first two wins were against, wait for it, the Patriots and the Eagles! So what happened? What had happened was . . . Anyway, the Chiefs cooled off and couldn’t sustain their fast start and got booted from the playoffs in the wildcard round.

Which brings us to Smith’s sudden and unexpected departure from KC and his coming to DC. Statistically speaking, Kirk Cousins is better than Alex Smith. And he’s younger. So remind me again why the Redskins don’t want Cousins? Oh yeah, we haven’t answered that question, and we don’t have an answer, and probably never will.

Oh well; so much for the Redskins getting better this offseason. That’s one less team in the NFC East my Eagles will have to worry about next year.

Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

DC Sports

That’s EXACTLY what every Washington, D.C. sports team and sports fan should be doing this Christmas. And here’s why: the skinny is that Kirk Cousins can’t fish so he’s cutting bait; John Wall is wondering about wandering elsewhere, and Bryce Harper is soon to be a has-been in DC. There. That’s it.  So for DC fans, this Christmas may be the one to ask Santa for a new roster for the Redskins, Wizards and Nationals.

First, Cousins. He’s the one most likely to leave.  The Redskins can’t seem to get it together even with his stellar stats. They’ve been talking about what to do with him his entire time in this town, and nothing seems to be working when it comes to winning.

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BOSTON, MA – MAY 10: John Wall of the Washington Wizards looks on during the second half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 10, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Wizards 123-101. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

John Wall just looks so sad and unhappy. His team is a middle of the pack, just make the playoffs, wannabe championship team anyway, to why stay? Will the Wizzards win with Wall? Absolutely NOT! They need more help and more hope and more heart than they have or can afford. So, Wall may not stay – on the wall – with the Wizards in DC.

And then there’s Harper. He’s the poster child for the Washington Nationals. His name is Bryce and his game is nice but his team just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to get over the hump.

And dare I mention Alex Ovechkin?  The rockin’ red Capitals captain is culpable too, and the Caps can get some of this love as well. Their golden boy may bolt or buck for the back door, and if he doesn’t I’ll shocked.

If all of these stars fall from their studs, where will that leave sports in DC? Dreams of sugarplumbs and superstars with Super Bowl rings will dance right out of everyones head. Or maybe not.  All of these stars could succeed somewhere else. If they do, more power to ’em.

The best that can happen after the inevitable worst is that all of DC’s teams retool and recharge and restock their rosters.  “Next Man Up” should be the mantra for the Reskins, Wizards, Nationals and Capitals. 

So, hope for the best, but you better plan for the worst.  Stop trying to win with what will not work. In 2018, try something new. Hence, out with the old. Throw out that old rag or shoe or comfortable thing that’s not getting you anywhere fast. And forget about the game plan that’s got you nowhere.

So here’s a note for Washington DC teams and for all the rest of us who are struggling to get going: for 2018, it’s time to go with Plan “B,” especially if Plan “A” isn’t getting the job done.

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.  

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.

In Sports, Pretty Doesn’t Count: Eagles 30, Redskins 17

Logo-Philadelphia-Eagles-Wallpaper

Carson Wentz and my Eagles managed to pull off and pull out a big “W” at Fed Ex Field against their heated and hated Division rivals, the Washington Redskins in the 2017 season opener. Whew! It wasn’t pretty, but it was beautiful.

All of us who weren’t pretty enough to be prom queens or weather girls or NFL cheerleaders in life welcome and relish and fancy the fact that cute and pretty and adorable don’t count in sports. If life and sports differ on anything, it’s on style points. They may count in life, but thank God there’s no room for charm and good looks on the playing field. You can be ugly as sin, but as long as you win, you’re in.

In God’s Playbook, winning is beautiful, not pretty. Sometimes mistakes are made and for some we’ve all paid, dearly. But the gospel good news is that we can recover and rebound and regain the momentum we once had. Thank God.

God gives beauty. Anyone can make themselves look pretty, but looks are granted, and true beauty that wells up from within is God given. The Bible says that He will give us beauty for ashes. And God chooses to beautify the meek with salvation. So don’t worry about the fact that you make ugly mistakes and foul fumbles and hideous hiccups. Life in general can be messy. But God knows how to clean up the mess!

So, again, life is like sports. It doesn’t have to be pretty. But it can and will turn out to be beautiful in God’s sight when we commit our miscues and mistakes to Him.