Some dude in West Chester, PA has a room full of these.
There was a lot of hype around the Philadelphia Eagles coming into this season. With several key free agent signings and the frenzy around born-again media darling Michael Vick, Philly fans were practically booking their trips to the Super Bowl already. Heck, even I had to acknowledge the Eagles were making some impressive moves to put themselves in contention.
Funny thing happened on the way to Indy. After barely squeaking by the as-yet winless Rams on opening day, the Eagles are on a 3-game losing streak. Evidently anointing oneselves the "Dream Team" does not make it so -- injuries, opponents, and just plain luck have something to do with it. With the "character" that's been revealed under such adversity (including in-fighting, contract hold-outs, and accusations the refs are biased), this thing could get worse before it gets better. So don't go buying your "Dream Team" t-shirts just yet, Philly fans!
Meanwhile, the Packers, despite plenty of blemishes of their own, are off to their first 4-0 start since 2007. I like their tone though -- no swagger, no boasting, no premature t-shirt printing, just focus week after week on what they can improve on. There's lots to like so far this season. Some highlights:
- The offense is ridiculous. They are #5 by yards (429 per game), but, much more importantly, #1 by points at 37 points per game!
- Rodgers is sharper than a laser-honed ginsu knife. He's #1 in the NFL in QB rating at 124.6, he leads the league in plays over 40 yards, and he's #1 in completion percentage (73%!). Plus, he doesn't appear to have lost any aerodynamics since shaving his handlebar mustache.
- The receiving corps, as we all knew, is the best in the NFL. Randall Cobb is making an impact despite a crowded field. And it was great to see the Packers re-signed Jordy Nelson to a 3-year, $13 million deal. Now they just need to secure Finley and they will be in great shape for years to come.
The areas for improvement have been mostly on defense. It's really been a tale of two defenses. Against the run, the Packers have dominated -- holding opponents to an NFL-second-best 71 yards per game. But the pass defense has been shredded to the tune of 336 yards per game, 31st in the league. They've also given up a lot of big plays -- 23 plays of 20+ yards so far this year, which is only topped by the Patriots. Their take-aways (tied with the Bills for first in interceptions at 8) and red zone defense have enabled them to avoid hemorrhaging points -- their 24.2 allowed per game is 14th in the NFL.
The porous pass defense is a little perplexing, particularly given the strong secondary. Losing Nick Collins hasn't helped, and Morgan Burnett needs to do a better job of not letting guys get behind him. But that doesn't seem to be the problem. A lack of pressure on opposing QBs is a contributing factor as well, although the Packers have logged a respectable 11 sacks so far this season. So it's a little hard to put your finger on, but clearly Dom and company are on the case and hopefully it will get shored up.
If the offense keeps racking up 37 points per game though, it may not matter. Even the "Dream Team" will have trouble keeping up with that kind of fire power.