The Kevin Curtis surprise surgery changed the focus for tonight's Eagles preseason game. (By the way, your Eagletarian has been pleasantly surprised by all the folks who agreed with our take in today's Daily News about the panic in the streets over losing a guy many of the panickers never thought was very good. Further buttressing our point is this astute post from Bleeding Green Nation. Also, some of my friends over at Igglephans should chill -- it's not always about you, guys. I was mostly referencing the board on the Eagles' site.
Normally, much of the talk going into tonight would have been about Tony Hunt playing fullback, or the offensive line playing together for the first time this preseason, or Asante Samuel's most extensive action, coming in his return to Foxborough, but Curtis suffering a sports hernia, and the resultant Anquan Boldinathon, pretty much blew away all discussion of that stuff, which remains relevant.
Also, special teams remains a big focus. Some people thought I was too hard on Rory Segrest's units after last week's game, but hey, you give away a touchdown on a botched fake field goal, your No. 1 kick returner can't pick up the ball, your punt returner finally gets loose for 27 yards and then fumbles (never mind that a teammate recovered) -- these are not signs of great progress. Oh, and David Akers missed a 45-yard field goal attempt, failing to quell concerns about his range, despite a strong camp performance, while the backup, some guy named Richmond Virginia or something, nailed a 40-yarder.
The Eagles will trim 5 players to get to 75 by Tuesday, then will drop to 53 after the final preseason game, at home on Thursday against the Brett Favre Jets. Finding 5 guys you can do without should be no problem, but when the final cut comes, there will be some interesting decisions.
It's a big week coming up for vets like Matt Schobel, Dan Klecko, Jerome McDougle, Nick Cole, Kris Wilson, J.R. Reed, Sean Considine, Scott Young, and a whole bunch of rookies. I think all the Eagles' draftees (other than Jack Ikegwuonu, who will be IR'd) will either make the team or be placed on the practice squad after being waived, assuming no one picks them up. There might be a crunch at OL that could leave out somebody like sixth-round Cal guard Mike Gibson. It'll be interesting to see if the Birds risk trying to practice squad somebody like fourth-round guard Mike McGlynn.
Of course, the NFL world is still reeling today over the unexpected death of NFLPA chief Gene Upshaw. I am told Upshaw did not reveal the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer he apparently received on Sunday to anyone outside his family, that NFLPA officials had no idea until his wife called them early yesterday with the news that he had passed away. That fits Upshaw's personality -- he vigorously rejected attempts to assure an orderly, planned leadership transition, as he approached the mandatory retirement age of 65. Most probably, Upshaw, who was scheduled to update players Sept. 4 on the upcoming collective bargaining agreement talks, thought he had at least a little more time.
One more thing: When I mentioned reaction to my Boldinmania column being positive, I was talking about e-mails, mainly. The comments under the online version are obviously a little different. After reading a few of them, I had to go back and read my column to make sure I'd written what I thought I remembered writing. Here's the Cliff's Notes Version of what I said: 1. Yeah, it would be nice to get Anquan Boldin or some other superstar, but chances of the Eagles being able to pull that off are slim. 2. Panic is a little over the top, given that we're not talking about McNabb or Westbrook getting hurt and 3. I set forth some ways I think the team will try to deal with the loss of Curtis, with the guys they have.
If you're really itching to feel insulted by that, feel free. Just be sure to keep taking your medication.
And to the guy who thinks the Eagles ought to be able to somehow trade for Boldin, because on "Star Trek: Next Generation," Captain Picard used to say "Make it so," I really hate to tell you this, but the Captain was a fictional character. Nobody ever really "made it so" after he said that. (Science fiction imagery was big with the commenters. Another guy envisioned Andy Reid as a Jedi Knight. I'm having a bit of trouble with that one.)
Also, I really am upset that a few of you figured out the truth -- I am indeed on the Eagles' payroll, that's how I fund my opulent lifestyle. Andy Reid and I gather at a top secret meeting place and laugh maniacally while we conspire to frustrate your Super Bowl aspirations. When he brushes me off at news conferences, well, that's just a clever ruse, to disguise the real situation.