QUOTE: “Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” —Khalil Gibran
The Curious Case of Shawn Andrews
Wow, that didn’t take long. The Eagles ended two-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Shawn Andrews’ season before it even began. This will be the second year in a row that Andrews will miss the season. Last year, he suited up for just two games and now, entering his sixth season, Andrews has played in just 50 games.
When training camp started, the Eagles placed Andrews on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, which meant they did not pass him on his incoming physical and had the right to waive him at any point in camp without financial liability.
This move allowed the Eagles to make sure Andrews was rehabbing and healthy by the third week of the preseason, at which point they would have to decide to either pass him on his physical and assume the financial liability or wait six more weeks, placing him on PUP reserve.
The Eagles decided to pass Andrews on his physical (removing him from the PUP list), based in large part on the medical advice of Andrews’ Los Angeles back doctor, who pronounced him healthy, and he accepted his base salary for the season.
How’s this for a press release announcing the move of Andrews to injured reserve: "Despite receiving medical clearance from back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins late in the summer, Andrews was unable to overcome back pain to get on the field in the days leading up to the opening game of the regular season in Carolina."
"Andrews missed the entire training camp and the preseason after tweaking his surgically repaired back during the conditioning tests upon reporting to Lehigh University and didn't start practicing again until just before the final preseason game against the Jets."
Do you sense some anger in the tone of that message? I sure do. Then the Eagles decided not to play Andrews in the final preseason game, extending more trust in him and saving him for the opener. Now they’re saving him for next year. What’s going on here? If this was a Hollywood marriage, the next line we would read would be “irreconcilable differences.”
The Eagles have a real dilemma in the sense they have a 28-year-old potential Pro Bowl (I emphasize potential here because when you miss two years of football, it’s all potential) offensive lineman who seems to be battling bigger issues than his back.
Andrews is not dependable, but he is not expendable based on the move by the Eagles because they have not given up hope. Understanding the basis of their hope is where I have a little problem.
As many of you know, I love offensive linemen and understand a team wanting to collect as many talented players in that area as possible—but at some point in dealing with undependable players, regardless of the position, you must move along.
What does Andrews have going for him, besides an economically friendly contract for a good player—assuming he will play and then actually play well? Those are two very large assumptions based on Mr. Andrews’ past performance.
Now, I think the Eagles have reached their boiling point in the case of Shawn Andrews. It’s time to move on and on and on. As Khalil Gibran said in the opening quote, progress lies in advancing what will be. And what will be for Shawn Andrews is a new team.
Is There Trouble Brewing In Carolina?
Week One of the NFL season and the vultures are already out, circling above Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme and Head Coach John Fox. The Panthers had an interesting offseason after being handicapped by the enormous cap number of Julius Peppers, which curtailed any potential improvements following their 12-win season.
Supporters of the present regime in Carolina would say they return 21-of-22 starters from last year, so there’s no need to panic, everything will be fine, just be patient. Clearly, this is the right message, the right tone to send to fans.
But they’d better show some progress—fast. Delhomme has two touchdowns and 11 turnovers in his past two games, including playoffs (nine interceptions and two fumbles lost), and nine of his last 46 pass attempts have been intercepted. This includes the playoff game.
Delhomme has always been a bit of a gambler, but it’s time to pull back the reins and protect the ball. And what about some help from his teammates?
When defenses can build an eight-man front with the ability to double an outside wide receiver, they can neutralize an offense. And since everyone spent time studying the Panthers’ offense during the offseason—focusing on their run game—the Panthers must find alternate ways to make big plays.
Consistency in offense is not what the Panthers were about last year. They must make big plays, and so far this summer, after one week, those plays have not been available.
In the game of NFL chess, the next move is the Panthers’. They must find a new way to make the same plays that allowed them to win 12 games in 2008. They need to show progress very soon, or instead of circling, those vultures will be landing.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
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