Confessions of a (gulp) Dallas fan

Michael Vick and Andy Reid

I did something incredibly stupid last week. I became a Dallas Cowboys fan. In my twisted mind, I thought I was somehow hastening the departure of a coach I can no longer stand, Andy Reid. But it was stupid just the same. 

Rooting for the Cowboys is an act of desperation reserved only for the drunk and the insane. Of course, my reward for quietly cheering Tony Romo, Rob Ryan and (gulp) Jerry Jones was a 34-7 spanking by an Eagles team that finally matched its preseason hype. Wouldn’t you know it? As soon as I bail on the Birds, they play a clean, efficient, dominating football game. Just my luck.

Looking at the game from a different sideline did give me a new perspective. What I saw in the Eagles was a club unrivaled in talent — yes, including the Packers — and maybe even still a threat to reach the ultimate goal established during the free-agent frenzy last summer. The Eagles are very good, especially when their coach is using common sense.

For example, is there a better running back in the game right now than LeSean McCoy? After weeks of neglect, Reid has given McCoy 58 carries in the past two wins. Is it possible Reid finally realizes that there are other ways to score points than constantly risking injury to Mike Vick?

And what about Nnamdi Asomugha? A bust for the first few games after signing a mammoth $60 million deal, he smothered Dez Bryant on Sunday. Maybe he really can play at a Pro Bowl level if he’s simply asked to provide his specialty, man-coverage.

While we’re talking about adjustments, did you happen to notice the wide-nine defense that was such a disaster the first month is now the much-narrower-nine, with far fewer of the huge holes for opposition running backs?

Suddenly, new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo doesn’t seem so clueless.

What I saw in my brief time as a Dallas fan was an Eagles team that had finally corrected many of the mistakes of August and September, all of which the fans had identified long before the coach did. What I also saw as a Cowboys fan is a rival that deserved the hype, a foe that may still be the class of the NFC East.

What happens next will tell the real story of this season. If Reid gives these players a chance to excel — if he doesn’t outsmart himself again — the Birds might still surprise a lot of people who had written them off.

Especially people who were so dumb that they became Dallas fans.

Phillies survival guide

After three weeks in a deep depression, Phillies fans can now emerge with renewed hope. Hey, at least we’re not the Rangers, who were one strike away from their first World Series title twice, and still found a way to lose.

Finally, the Phillies can begin the process of making some tough decisions about their aging roster, and — of course — I’m offering my services at no charge. Here’s what I would do if I were GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Step 1: Say goodbye to Jimmy Rollins. Yes, it’s hard. He is the face of the most successful era in team history. But now that Amaro and manager Charlie Manuel are looking for patient, contact hitters with high on-base percentages, Rollins simply doesn’t fit.

Step 2: Use a big chunk of the available money to sign a closer. Most fans are assuming Ryan Madson will be that man, but he’s only third on my list. First, I’d make a call to Jonathan Papelbon, then Heath Bell.

Step 3: Find a new third baseman. Placido Polanco is done as an everyday player. He gets hurt too much, and he doesn’t provide enough power at a corner infield position. Polanco will help them better as a utility player.

Step 4: Light a fire under Manuel. As a hitting guru, he was AWOL in 2011. He needs to know that the window is closing on an amazing pitching rotation, and a first-round failure will not save his job. It’s time for Manuel to earn his undeserved folk-hero status.

Honesty still best policy?

The angry snarl of Philadelphia has claimed more than a few weak-hearted players, but never one with $51 million and a Stanley Cup dream. Meet Ilya Bryzgalov, either the latest victim of our demanding nature or a troubled soul seeking escape from a nightmare.

After one month of the new NHL season, it’s too early to draw conclusions about the signing of the Russian goaltender to a mammoth contract. Unfortunately, he may already be drawing some conclusions himself.

In one of the most honest and painful confessions ever by a local athlete, Bryzgalov said last week: “I have zero confidence in myself right now. If you throw a ball instead of a puck, I’m not going to stop it. I’m terrible and I want to apologize in front of the fans, in front of my teammates. I have no answer for you guys … I’m lost in the woods.”

Bryzgalov temporarily found himself with a 5-1 win Saturday, but his exploits so far show just how fragile the psyche of a goalie can be. In fact, the team announced a bizarre series of restrictions on when he will and won’t talk to the media.

Well, despite that announcement, here’s one voice of support for the struggling Russian. Anybody who respects the fans enough to say what he did last week deserves the benefit of our doubt.

– Angelo Cataldi is the host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send submissions to letters@metro.us.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.