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Blogging the bEast is going to the shed

This will be the last post you will ever read on Blogging the bEast. Probably. I’m packing my old friend away in the shed. It’s been a little over two years since I launched the site, and over that time I accumulated just over 2.7 million page views. That’s nothing in comparison to a lot of football sites out there, but it’s a whole lot more than I would have imagined when I launched in May of 2011. Without that audience, I probably never would have gone this long running my site.

It would not have been possible without my incredibly supportive family, my friends Tommy Lawlor from IgglesBlitz, Jason Brewer from Bleeding Green Nation, and my other friends at the NFC East SB Nation sites (Hogs Haven, Blogging the Boys, and Big Blue View). I’d also like to thank Rafael Vela at Cowboys Nation, John Fennelly at SNY, my “Eagles think tank” friends at the +, and both the Allentown Morning Call and Philly.com for giving me a shot at more traditional media platforms. There are so many others, but I don’t want to turn this into a boring award show speech.

I’m not going away. The “next thing” will be announced at the appropriate time. Until then, you can follow me on Twitter at @JimmyKempski. I moved my account over from @Jimmy_Beast, because, you know, my site was Blogging the “bEast.” I wonder how many people thought I chose that handle because I thought I was a “beast.” That’s kind of embarrassing if it’s a lot of people. OK, you’re saying goodbye, Jimmy. Focus.

Anyway… One last farewell:

Happy NFC East 4th of July!

There will be no journalizin’ today. I’ll be taking the advice of one Donovan J. McNabb:

DonnyJ

But before I load up on ribs, I should note that the NFC East is very American. The Cowboys self-proclaimed themselves “America’s Team,” the Eagle is the national bird and appears on the presidential seal, and the Giants’ uniform colors are red, white and blue.

But the most American of them all is the Redskins, who should be praised for their efforts to honor Native Americans. This is your day, Dan Snyder. Kick back with a beer and enjoy the day, knowing that you are truly a great, great man.

The 10 players the Eagles can least afford to lose to injury

10. Nick Foles: A couple weeks ago, we noted the very underrated rookie season that Nick Foles had last year. Of course, there’s that pesky QB competition he’ll have to win over Michael Vick. Whether he beats out Vick or not, there’s a safe bet he’ll get on the field at some point in 2013. The Eagles need to see if Foles can be a franchise-calibre starting QB so that they can attack the 2014 offseason accordingly. The only way they can do that is if Foles stays healthy, and plays.

9. Bryce Brown: According to Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, the Oregon Ducks’ run:pass ratio was 685:373 in 2012. That would be just shy of 65% run plays. Silva also put together a tremendous breakdown of Brown’s rookie season, and he noted some flaws in his game that need improvement. We’re all aware of Brown’s fumbling issues, but Silva talked other things like Brown’s penchant for unnecessarily bouncing runs to the outside. The good news is that Brown’s deficiencies are fixable, and he flashed the potential to be special. If Brown can eliminate some of his mistakes, he and LeSean McCoy may form the best 1-2 RB combination in the NFL, behind what might be one of the most athletic offensive lines in NFL history.

8. Jason Kelce: Charles Fischer of FishDuck.com highlighted the athleticism of center Hroniss Grasu in Oregon’s offense.

I can’t wait to see Kelce in action in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Continued at the Allentown Morning Call…

Random notes around the NFC East: Dez’s “maturity,” Donovan’s Twitter account, Redskins TE woes, and the Giants’ interest in Vonta Leach

Cowboys

• During the 2013 draft, there was a lot of talk about guards being drafted highly, and whether or not there was value there. A common thing for people to say about highly rated guards was “Well if he’s Larry Allen then hell yeah you’d take him that high.” Here’s a rare video of Allen chasing down a linebacker after an INT. His athleticism was incredible. Comparing a guard prospect to Larry Allen is like comparing a QB prospect to John Elway. You just don’t do it.

• Former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus went on 105.3 the Fan last week and said that Dez Bryant had the worst background he had ever seen. I’m not sure if dallasnews.com cut the article off because the rest is behind a paywall, or if the article is limited to just two quick blurbs by Broaddus, but I would have loved to have heard more.

Dez Bryant is in a weird spot right now, although a great one. He had an absolutely ridiculous 2nd half of the season last year, and people are beginning to think he’s among the elite WRs in the game, or at least on the cusp of that status. Additionally, although the offseason isn’t quite over yet, Bryant has so far managed to stay out of trouble during the downtime for the first time in his career. This has led to weird praise for Dez for “growing up,” although to be fair, it’s not like Dez himself is the one saying he’s reformed. Still, in the (amended) words of Chris Rock, “What you want, a cookie? You’re not supposed to (get in trouble every offseason)!”

DeMarcus Ware aside, Dez Bryant might be the best player on the team, and he’s only 24. However, while it’s fine and good that Bryant is keeping his pants pulled up and he’s not running up 6 figure tabs at Dallas-are jewelers, let’s take it slow with the maturity thing until it’s demonstrated over more than just 75% of an offseason.

• Phil Costa is engaged to Brooke Hogan, Hulk’s daughter. Wait a second! Brooke Hogan just got engaged, married, and divorced to some guy in a span of like 3 months, all in 2013:

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The Raiders reportedly would have drafted Matt Barkley if the Eagles hadn’t traded up to get him

According to Len Pasquarelli of the National Football Post, had the Eagles not traded up 3 spots to draft Matt Barkley in the 4th round, he would not have been available when they would have been on the clock at the 4th pick in the 4th round.

(The Raiders) planned to jump on Barkley with their fourth round pick, before Philly took him with the first selection in the stanza. The Raiders then opted for a fallback, Tyler Wilson of Arkansas.

To expand on that, at the beginning of Round 4, the Raiders held the 3rd overall pick. The Eagles were one spot directly behind them. When the Eagles traded up with Jacksonville to select Barkley with the 1st overall pick in the 4th round, there was immediate speculation that the Eagles snaked Andy Reid and the Chiefs, which Reid denied.

It turns out that the Eagles may have indeed snaked an AFC West team, but it was the Raiders. Further backing up Pasquarelli’s report is the fact that when the Raiders were on the clock in the 4th round after missing out on Barkley, they traded back with the Buccaneers, eventually taking Wilson with the 15th pick in the 4th round.

4th round intrigue!!!

The “Should (fill in the player) return kick/punts” question emerges again, this time with David Wilson

My buddy Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View brought up the debate of whether or not David Wilson should return kicks this season. That’s always a fascinating debate to me, and one that I’ve had quite a bit with DeSean Jackson and Dez Bryant as punt returners.

One way to look at the debate is to ask, “What would my opponent prefer?” Clearly, if I’m an opponent of the Giants, I don’t want David Wilson returning kicks, the same way I wouldn’t want DeSean Jackson or Dez Bryant returning punts against me. As an Eagles fan, last season I watched Wilson return kicks Week 3 against Philly for 36, 48, 45, 53, 23, and 37 yards. That would be 5 returns of at least 36 yards in one game. To put that in perspective, the Eagles have had one kick return longer than 33 yards in the last two years, which was 44 yards, and they actually lost a fumble on that one decent return.

If you have a guy that’s among the best in the game at doing something, it’s really difficult to have him stop doing that thing. Wilson was 6th in the NFL in KR average last season:

David Wilson

He also had at least 14 more kick returns than anyone in the top 10, which shows a certain level of consistency.

In the past I’ve advocated that DeSean Jackson and Dez Bryant not give up their punt return duties. However…

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NFC mEdiocre

Over the last 3 years, teams in the NFC East have averaged 7.75 wins. That’s not awful, but it’s obviously just below the league average of 8. The NFC East ranks 5th among the 8 NFL division in wins during that span.

1

The NFC East also ranks 5th over the last 3 years in point differential, which makes sense. Again, the NFC East isn’t awful here, especially compared to the AFC West and the AFC South, who combined for a point differential of -864 over the last 2 years.

2

But here’s where the NFC East gets really mediocre. Over the last 3 years, the division champ has averaged just 9.7 wins. That is the lowest total in the NFL among the 8 divisions.

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Jamie Dukes calls Philly media “fools,” says incorrect things while looking into a camera

This morning, Jamie Dukes went on NFL Network and spoke into a camera. Let’s put his words in print, just because:

“When you get to take the reps first, when you’re the first guy to step under center every day at practice, that means you’re the starter. But for some reason, those folks in the media room who see (Michael Vick) take the first snap every single day, they don’t get it.”

That would be an awesome point, if Michael Vick had actually taken “the first snap” every day.

Foles first

I’m not the best journalist in the world. I’ll probably never win a Pulitzer, nor will I have high schools and awards named after me like Edward R. Murrow. However, I do have juuuuuust enough savvy to attend a practice, watch the first snap during 7-on-7′s or 11-on-11′s, and be able to tell if the player at QB is Michael Vick or Nick Foles. Sometimes it was Vick. Sometimes it was Foles.

Dukes’ segment on NFL is awful analysis of the highest order. He is basically just making up information, while simultaneously calling the entire media of a team idiots… when they’re there… and he’s not! There are two great things here:

  1. Dukes is wrong, which is one thing, but he’s wrong while displaying such conviction, authority, and smarm.
  2. It would have taken Dukes one freaking minute to Google the topic to get some facts. Go right ahead and click the Google logo below, which will demonstrate how easy it is:

Does anyone enjoy Jamie Dukes? That’s a serious question. Can anyone come up with any reason at all why Jamie Dukes should be looking into a camera and talking about the NFL, for money?

Random notes around the NFC East: Tough guy Golden Tate, Tuck in decline, Kelce making line calls, and shameless Joe Theismann

Giants

Justin Tuck is in the final year of his contract, and he says he doesn’t want to think about a new deal. He shouldn’t, because his value has probably never been lower. Tuck is going to make $4.5 million this season with workout bonuses on top. He’ll cost $6.15 million against the cap. In reality, while Tuck has been a great Giant for years, he’s somewhat fortunate that the team hasn’t asked him to take a pay cut. From 2007-2010, Tuck was a monster:

Tuck 2007-2010

In the last 2 years? Not so much:

Tuck 2011-2012

Let’s put those averages side-by-side:

Tuck averages

If you’re a big Justin Tuck fan, enjoy him this season. If his production doesn’t improve, this may be the last you’ll see of him in a Giants uni.

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