Mailbag: Eagles chants, cookie cakes and more

Last week, I asked you to send in reader questions for a mailbag.

And to my surprise, several of you actually sent some in. So here's a roundup of some questions and comments to sift through as we inch closer to the start of training camp.

E-A-G-L-E-S chants are appropriate at any location, any time of year. C'mon Sheil, you're better than that! -- Via wondo425's Twitter

First, some background on the comment.

The tweet was in response to something I posted Thursday when the Phils were opening their four-game series against the Marlins in Florida. If you were watching in the later innings, you could hear Philly fans at the game doing EAGLES chants in the stands.

I love when Philly fans take over opposing stadiums, but the chant has no place at a Phillies-Marlins game. The Eagles chant, like the exclamation point (see video below), should be used only in appropriate situations, which are tough to identify off the top of my head. But I know them when I see them.

Examples of when it is OK:

** While at an Eagles game or while watching a game on TV.
** If you take a trip to an away city for an Eagles game, you're allowed to do the chant pretty much whenever you like once you reach said destination.
** Headed to Lehigh for camp? Chant it up. No worries.

And there are several other instances as well.

But it's a no-no when you're watching another Philly team. Just as you shouldn't wear a Donovan McNabb jersey to a Phillies game, you should avoid the chant during baseball games. Especially considering the Phils are the only team to provide this city with a championship in the last 25 years. But even at Sixers or Flyers game, abstain from breaking out the Eagles chant.

The other non-chant instance that comes to mind is when it's being yelled by the drunk guy at a bar who wouldn't know Jeremy Maclin from Jeremy Piven. He just wants a reason to high-five someone. Can't stand that guy.

What do you think? Am I off-base? In what other situations is it OK to do the EAGLES chant? And when should it never be broken out?

With no proven red zone target added in the offseason, can we really expect the Eagles to be any better inside 20 yards this year?   -- Paul

That is the question. We touched on this in the tight ends post yesterday. Brent Celek had four touchdowns in the Eagles' final four games last season, playoffs included. Three of those catches were inside the 10-yard line. So could Celek emerge as a solid option in the red zone? I think so. But that might not be enough. It's an issue we'll keep our eyes on all season, and one that could very well determine the Eagles' fate.

Last season, the Birds converted red-zone chances into touchdowns 49.2 percent of the time. Only the Redskins, Bucs, Vikings and Rams had a worse percentage among NFC teams. If you're looking at the glass half-full, the additions of Maclin and LeSean McCoy should provide two more options capable of getting into the end zone. But you never really know what you're going to get from rookies.

I happen to be and have been firmly entrenched in the pro-McNabb camp for years. Even though some people will stop at nothing to bash him, about 80 percent of the city still realizes he is easily the best QB we've ever had (groundbreaking observation, I know). I think that today's poll results firmly back up my theory. A few people will take the time to crush McNabb in the comments section, yet at the time I'm writing this, McNabb has a 4-5 rating among 81.6 percent of people who voted.
I think it would be fun to have a similar poll with other QBs around the league to see what their rating would be in comparison to McNabb's. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would no doubt be higher. Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger both would probably be higher, and maybe Philip Rivers would be in the same neighborhood. Every other QB would rate in the 3s or lower. That's my guess at least.
 -- Tim

And that was the condensed version...

All joking aside, appreciate the thought you put into the observation, Tim. And it reminded me that I never broke out the McNabb poll results, so here's how everyone voted:

4 - 43.3 %
5 - 39.1%
3 - 9.4%
2 - 4.1%
1 - 4.1%

As you can see, over 82 percent of you voted McNabb as a 4 or 5 in terms of confidence level going into the season. I would have voted him a 4. Just as Tim pointed out, there is a handful of QBs who probably would warrant more confidence, most notably Brady and Manning. Roethlisberger and Rivers too.

I think Eli Manning, despite having won a Super Bowl, would probably get a slightly lower number from Giants fans when compared to McNabb. Kurt Warner would probably rank higher, but then again, I don't know any Cardinals fans so it would be tough to judge. And Matt Ryan would probably get a high ranking in Atlanta.

I agree with your premise though. In general, the majority of fans realize McNabb gives the Eagles the best chance to win right now. In regards to those who rip McNabb, they generally fall into one of two categories. One group has legitimate criticisms. McNabb is not perfect, his game has certain holes, and his interaction with fans and the city (although this goes both ways) has always been a little shaky.

The other group will blame the quarterback and coach for everything that goes wrong. That's just the way it is. They get the credit, and they get the blame. But in reality, there are usually other things at work.

As for McNabb, I would have voted a 4 also in terms of my confidence in him. He should not be high on your list of concerns entering the '09 season.

Who do you think the five wide receivers will be for the Birds? Is Hank Baskett or Reggie Brown the odd man out?  You gotta figure they keep DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant.

That's one of the questions everyone will have in the back of their heads as training camp opens. And it's really too open-ended to figure out right now. Are we sure they'll only keep five? How will injuries play out? What about special teams? Jackson and Maclin are safe, but after that, who knows? I've heard some local media types suggest Curtis' job might not be safe. We'll just have to see how things play out at Lehigh.

Got married in a snow storm. Wedding cake could not be delivered. Had a Baskin-Robbins nearby, so we took what ice cream cake they had. Cake lasted longer than the marriage. Glad I didn't spend a lot; she wasn't worth it. Great cake though. -- Comment from ItalianSausage

Get the big cookie cake from the Echelon Mall. Then go buy some ice cream. Beat that combination. -- Comment from HahFace

Those were a couple I liked from the ice cream cake discussion.

I stand by my guns on the Carvel ice cream cake, but I can't deny that a cookie cake with ice cream added is also tremendous. I'm on-board with all things cookie cake. And frankly, I can't respect anyone who doesn't feel the same way.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. I'll get to some of the other ones later this week. Or if you have a new one, comment below, e-mail me or ask via Twitter.