I woke up this morning wondering if I would continue my general sluggishness of the last two weeks. No, is the answer. I'm not necessarily looking forward to the Super Bowl, but the television will be on here, and when kickoff comes, or shortly thereafter, I'll be watching.
I couldn't care less who wins the game. I have friends who work with both teams. I wonder what kind of game it will be -- Pittsburgh by more than a touchdown is the call here -- but it is still the Super Bowl and it is the last NFL game we're going to see for seven months. The love of the game is the attraction today. I don't want to see any of the how-the-Cardinals-got-here pre-game stories. I don't want to spend a moment watching the hype. At 6:28 p.m., I'll be there, watching. Having a few sodas, yeah, and maybe by 6:29 not really too focused on the game with some friends in the mansion, but the idea that a football game is on, hey, it brings me to the television.
I'm sure that once the game is over and the 2008 season is officiallly finished, and every team in the NFL is 0-0 in 2009, then I'll feel better. Now, I'm just going to enjoy the day and enjoy the showpiece event of the greatest league in the world.
* NEWS AND NOTES AND THIS AND THAT*
- Some thoughts on the coaching shuffle: It is very difficult to ascertain much at this point, other than Andy Reid thinks well in advance and eyes young coaches and watches them very closely as they develop. So I think that the promotion for James Urban, a former quality control coach now working with Donovan McNabb as the quarterbacks coach, is something to watch. Urban is a bright, energetic, extremely engaging guy who knows McNabb and who will work well with him. Does McNabb have areas in his game he needs to improve? Of course. Every player does. Urban will be great there, and, as I see it, is going to be part of a subtle tweaking of the offensive inner workings. The Eagles need to be better offensively, especially in certain instances, like the red-zone effectiveness, and they're moving a couple of pieces into the mix. Wide receivers coach David Culley will have more input on the X's and O's side and Doug Pederson brings his NFL experiences from some great offenses he was part of to add to the game-planning table. Should be interesting to see what kind of changes we notice when September rolls around.
- How were Ted Daisher's Cleveland Browns on special teams last year? The Browns ranked first in the league in gross punting average and net punting average, and their return game was sixth in the NFL. The kickoff return average wasn't quite as successful, ranking 12th in the league, while the coverage units on kickoffs ranked 22nd. With Quintin Demps and DeSean Jackson back for their second seasons, and with the core group another year more experienced here, Daisher has a lot to work with. Special teams should be a strength.
- One of Rory Segrest's first tasks will be to see how far along second-year man Bryan Smith is for 2009. Both Smith and Victor Abiamiri are the kind of young defensive linemen who can really give this defensive line a huge boost. I wouldn't be surprised if Abiamiri becomes the starting left defensive end who also goes inside and plays tackle in the nickel.
- I give Phil Sheridan of The Philadelphia Inquirer kudos for a story he wrote on Saturday explaining that the black tape on Donovan McNabb's arm in the Arizona game was not an indication of an IV that McNabb received, as indicated by Warren Sapp of the NFL Network. Sapp had criticized McNabb for being out of shape and blamed that for the Eagles' loss in Arizona. Instead, as Sheridan pointed out, the black tape was there to cover up an area on McNabb's area where he was tackled and skidded on turf and lost skin. McNabb's physical conditioning all season was tremendous, and the way he has handled all of this post-season speculation and nonsense is, again, admirable.
- We can count down to the start of free agency. It begins at 12:01 a.m. on February 27. I don't know how active the Eagles are going to be right away, but I do think that if there are quality players on the market, the Eagles will be interested. They are one of about five or six teams at the top of the salary-cap pile. Before then, though, the Eagles have some of their own unrestricted free agents to sign.
- This is the week, gang, when things start to really ramp up around the NovaCare Complex. The college scouts are in and the draft preparations get to another level. The Combine comes at the end of the month, and then the scouts visit all of those personal workouts and within about the next six weeks, the Eagles have their draft board in place and start to tweak it on a daily basis.