Hornswaggler | The culture, the humor, a bit of the sports, not so much the politics, and the workplace distraction

Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

Culture, Humor, Sports
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The dumbest thing I heard during the three-day NFL Draft was uttered by ESPN's Todd McShay, who doesn't think Tim Tebow will pan out as an NFL QB. (I think he's probably right, but that's not the issue here.) After Tebow was drafted by the Broncos, McShay said Denver will likely use him in a variety of non-QB ways this season, including covering kickoffs. They're going to have the guy they regard as their QB of the future covering kicks? That's absurd.

The Eagles drafted a quarterback named Mike Kafka in the fourth round. This is perfect, obviously, because the experience of being an Eagles fan generally and the tenure of Andy Reid specifically, with the four NFC Championship Game losses and one Super Bowl defeat and the glaring problems that go on for way too long ("Hey, maybe James Thrash isn't the answer at wide receiver") or forever (not running the ball), have been like like nothing so much as "Before the Law."

UPDATE: Toast reminds me I never sounded off on Donovan McNabb's trade. Have to say I feel pretty terrific about it, though ideally he wouldn't have been traded to the 'Skins.

The thing is, McNabb was never a good fit for Reid's offense. And his flaws, accuracy and decision-making, and Reid's flaws, play-calling and scheming, combined to produce stretches of some of the most hideous offensive football you've ever seen, even when we had talent on offense.

Low Throw McBlow, as at least one Philly.com commenter refers to him, has a career completion rate of 59 percent, and that's actually inflated when you consider that the Eagles have run more screen passes under Reid than any other team in the league. He goes through stretches every season where he cannot hit the broad side of a barn. Yet Reid decided McNabb was the guy to run the most pass-happy version of the West Coast offense ever.

The West Coast offense, with its emphasis on short passes, must have a QB who's accurate, a la Montana or Young. And since he's called upon to do so much, the QB must be a good decision-maker. But McNabb too often fails to find open receivers and recognize even the most obvious blitzes.

There was a time when all Eagles fans were excited about McNabb's career, as the team began its ascent to the top of the NFC, but eventually that enthusiasm was tamped down by horrendous offensive football (not all of which was his fault), injuries, painful losses and McNabb's seeming lack of passion, which never sat well with us.

I'm ready for the Kevin Kolb era, as are most fans, I would imagine. We were never going to win a Super Bowl with McNabb and Reid together. Hopefully Kolb will be a guy who makes up for Reid's flaws instead of accentuating them.

As for McNabb, I think he may well thrive under Mike Shanahan, who ran perhaps the most balanced West Coast attack ever during those two Super Bowl years, though the 'Skins have question marks at RB and WR at present. John Elway didn't break the 60 percent mark in completion percentage, but having a strong running game meant that he frequently found himself throwing to receivers who were wide open off play-action. Plus Shanahan may actually design rollouts and bootlegs for McNabb, despite his age, something Reid never did and which Eagles fans chalk up to his general boneheadedness.

.: posted by hornswaggler 8:08 PM

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