Saturday's Baltimore win in Denver was epic, as was Atlanta's last-second victory over Seattle on Sunday. Between and after, San Francisco and New England flexed respective muscles, setting up a wonderful Conference Championship weekend ahead.
Oh, how I miss the postseason ...
We are reminded at times like this how it was a decade ago as the Eagles were in the midst of a four-year run to the NFC Championship Game. The gut-wrenching emotion of the playoffs is unrivaled and the feeling after a big win is like nothing that I've ever experienced, knowing how it impacted so many hundreds of thousands and even millions of Eagles fans in the years of the too-distant past.
It is not easy to win in this NFL, as evidenced by the slide this franchise has had the last couple of seasons. I always watch the playoffs to see just how far away the Eagles are from reaching that level, and what strikes me is not the level of talent or the front-line star power, but the precision and the passion that these teams have.
I didn't see that with the Eagles this year, not since the wins over Baltimore and then the Giants. Since that September 30 victory over New York, the Eagles lost 11 of 12 games. But there's no need to go into that not-pleasant recent history. Let's look ahead ...
- Is the wave of the current NFL to have a mobile quarterback? Just how mobile does a winning quarterback have to be. Colin Kaepernick, of course, is the new vogue, but we'll see how he responds once NFL defensive geniuses game plan to stop his mobility. I saw a bit of what Atlanta tried to do against Seattle's Russell Wilson, using a mush rush to contain him in the pocket, but Wilson had a ton of time in the pocket and found receivers wide open in the mid-range area. Plus, Wilson showed great patience and maturity, but still ... Tom Brady doesn't run at all, but his nimble feet buy time in the pocket and allow him to set up and throw the ball with precision down the field. Matt Ryan was dynamite in the first half against Seattle, and then he looked rattled in the second half right up until he had two big completions on the game-winning drive. So, is
Nick Folesmobile enough to buy time in the pocket and keep plays alive? I think so. It's something he needs to work on through improving his anticipation and his release time.
Riley Cooperbe as good as Eric Decker? It helps that Peyton Manning was the quarterback, but Decker had 85 catches and 13 touchdowns this season for the Broncos. I watched him on Saturday and I saw him do the things Cooper does when given the chance. I'm not saying that Cooper is going to catch 85 passes, but he can create separation and he's strong after the catch. I'd like to see what Cooper can do if given more reps in his fourth NFL season.
- I know every Eagles fan was watching Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley very closely on Sunday, as was I. He had an impressive scheme, including blitzing Ryan on that last drive. I have no problem at all with that. Ryan simply made plays. Bradley had his defensive players in the right position all game against an offense that borders on great.
- Brady is the best quarterback of our era. Does anyone disagree?
- In the David Akers vs. Asante Samuel Bowl, I'm rooting for Akers to win and advance to the Super Bowl. Just my opinion ...
- The Eagles are scheduled to meet with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and that is all that has been confirmed for a head coaching search that now reaches its second week.
- Not much else is happening at the NovaCare Complex these days. Those players who are taking treatment to recover from injuries are present, but that's about it. We're all waiting, as are you, as the Eagles close in on hiring the 21st head coach in franchise history. When it happens, I have no idea. Who the favorite might be, I also have no idea. I'm riveted by the suspense, I'll tell you that ...