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#WudderSports Presents Bird Droppings Week One Wrap-Up (CLE @ PHL): Carson Winz

#WudderSports Presents Bird Droppings Week One Wrap-Up (CLE @ PHL): Carson Winz

And…..we’re off!!

To the best opening week by a rookie NFL QB since….who?!?

Certainly nobody that’s ever played for the Eagles in my lifetime has ever come out their first game in the league set a secondary ablaze like that before.

Everything about this Mountain Mid-West, big, strapping, unflappable, ginger grantor of good wishes seems to be coming to fruition so far.

I know what you’re thinking…”Relax Bomb, it’s Cleveland”. 

That’s about to be the “forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown”-esque phrase running thru this entire week until we get to next Sunday. Which is not completely without merit either, because...well…it’s Cleveland. Not the revitalized Cleveland featuring LeBron James and his defending NBA championship Cavs team that plays at Quicken Loans Arena. Not the first place in the AL Central Cleveland Indians team that plays next door at Jacobs Field who are still in the hunt for the #1 seed in the American League heading into the MLB playoffs.

Nah…this is the Browns, who have never been in the playoffs in this millennium. They’re the franchise that makes a new plan to pivot from their most recent complete debacle, seemingly every season but at least every other. They’re a team in which Terrelle Pryor is currently their best wide receiver, despite having never played the position full-time before. Yet he may have to play Quarterback again soon, because RG3 has zero shot of making it thru even half the season still upright. Featuring a roster that for seemingly the fifth or eighth year in a row appear to only have two bona fide Pro Bowl caliber players, the two Joes: The Joe (Thomas) that plays on offense and the Joe (Haden) that plays on defense.

All that being said…if you’re a Birds Fan, how can’t you love what you’re seeing from our guy?!?

How good do you feel watching that first drive, a true thing of beauty, be capped off with a perfectly placed ball over the far shoulder towards the left corner of the end zone where only Jordan Matthews could catch it…and do so while being covered by one of Cleveland’s aforementioned All-Pro Joe's?

Were there a few shaky plays after that opening sequence of perfection?

Yes…tho they get points on the second drive if Sturgis can make a routine kick.

They extend the third drive if the ageless Darren Sproles aka Mighty Mouse, doesn’t drop a ball that he should absolutely catch while needing to beat only one man in the open field for a first down.

And most importantly, did Wentz ever looked rattled or uncomfortable out there?

And most importantly, did Wentz ever looked rattled or uncomfortable out there?

NOPE.

He almost laughed at the thought of nerves being an issue when a reporter asked him about it after the game. Mind you, this is a kid who:
-had yet to play in an actual NFL game
-hadn’t played in even a scrimmage in a month
-was said to be recovering from broken ribs
-has one of the more pedestrian wide receiving corps in the NFL to throw the ball
-didn’t know he was starting until a week before the game
-was last seeing action against Youngstown & South Dakota State as a collegian.

Under those circumstances, I’d be cool with seeing anything resembling respectability. We were instead rewarded with something closer to excellence. 

WORKS FOR US!!!

Meanwhile, that couldn’t have gone worse for Hue Jackson in his Browns head coaching debut. Hue is great for the media in terms of giving good quotes but hasn’t yet seemed to master the art of saying nothing in a way that won’t come back to haunt him yet. His “Wentz wasn’t a Top 20 pick on our draft board” doozy was like a scab that the Eagles seemed to keep picking at with each additional yard, pass, point they scored.

Not to mention, his “safe” plan of avoiding hitching his wagon to a rookie draft pick QB but instead rolling the dice on the Resurrection of RG3 looked about the same as it has for the past couple years.

Robert Griffin was still tossing those two-yard dump offs to his backs or tight ends on 3rd-and-long.
Still had happy feet in the pocket while completing next to zero midrange throws or timing patterns.
When he tried to zip it in there, he had several instances of missing his man high and wide by seemingly five yards.  
He's still holding the ball out like a loaf of bread while in traffic.

His scant few long pass completions seemed as lucky as some of Nick Foles’ dying quail TD’s in that game against Oakland a couple years back. Like the time he tossed a punt-like duck into triple-coverage, only to have all three Eagles seemingly lose the ball in the air or forget what they were doing at the same time. Or the time he tossed one up for Terrelle Pryor that would have been short, had Pryor not slowed down, then propped himself up on his defender’s shoulders to make the catch with no whistle.

Yet beyond all that is the fact that Griffin is still taking those cartoonish-like walloping hits, even if it’s by a damn corner and he’s running to the sideline to gain 5 instead of 3. Add to that Hue Jackson’s absolutely indefensible decision to send him back onto the field, down 19, with less than a minute to play in the game. This was after just two minutes of game time earlier watching his QB on his knees, laboring to the sideline holding his arm straight against his body after crumpling in a heap without getting hit after a failed fourth down toss. 

All in all, good win but expectations should still be kept to a minimum. This was supposed to be a confidence-builder game, which is why we got on board with the kid starting. They’ll be suspending Spiked-Vein Lane soon enough. The defenses will be tougher. More to the point, the other team’s offenses might be able to stay on the field and score some points. The first road game is next week on national TV at Soldier Field. But I’d be lying if I said I’m any more worried than Wentz is nervous.

Game Balls:

   Carson Wentz, Ryan Matthews, Eagles D-Line

Carson Wentz, Ryan Matthews, Eagles D-Line

   "I said Robert...go out there and finish the game the right way"

"I said Robert...go out there and finish the game the right way"

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