What happened to the Dream Team?

Bill Riccetti, Columnist

The world is falling apart. Buildings are crumbling. The earth is shaking.

The Eagles are bad.

That’s right, a team that had so much potential is a measly three games below .500 half way through the season.

A lot of Philadelphia fans are freaking out and calling for blood. This was supposed to be the year that we won. It was supposed to be the year that the Eagles broke the curse of William Penn. We were supposed to have the world. We had a plethora of signings in the off-season of high caliber players. We beefed-up our secondary with three pro bowl corner backs. Our four man rush is ripe with relentless players. Our offense is fast and talented with a newly paid Mike Vick throwing and running. We had it all. Besides Green Bay, we had the best odds to win the Super Bowl before the season started. And then it all went to hell.

Vince Young said those three infamous words that plagued sports talk radio and blog sites for the next three months.

The dream team.

The talk and coverage of this horrid statement was more awful then the LeBron signing, Favre retiring and Tebow talk combined. A player that warms the bench should not be praising teams that haven’t played yet.

I cannot recall a more terrying proclamation than “the dream team.” The only collaboration that deserved that praise was the 1992 Men’s Olympic Basketball team with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley. They are the only group I consider “dream team” worthy.

Fortunately, the Eagles did not embrace the name even though the media output was overwhelming. This is probably the only admirable or successful thing they have done all season. After a shellacking of the Rams in week one, the Eagles have been lackluster, inefficient and just downright undisciplined. Now the season is at the brink of irrelevance and the Philadelphia nation is hyperventilating.

I personally think this is a blessing. Year after year I have watched the Eagles have a great regular season and fall short in the playoffs. Every Sunday I would watch in discomfort as the Eagles would try to come back or win a tough game and even though they have been successful of this in the past the tension and anxiety I felt would wear me out to the point where I didn’t even want to watch the rest of the games. Then they would lose in the playoffs after being heavily favored to some underdog wild card or team of destiny. Then they would pick a low draft pick that would inevitably be a bust and do the same thing next year.

I have always wondered why the Eagles can’t be a team of destiny. They have all the right pieces. But year after year it is the same old story.

This is why I am pleased that they let me down earlier in the year. Now my Sundays will be less stressful and not as depressing. In a way they have set me free. However, I am not the humdrum Eagles fan who has given up all hope and fandom for the birds. I think this is a good thing, a wake-up call if you will.

The Eagles will have an opportunity to right themselves this next year. With a high draft pick upcoming they will be able to draft a good player, hopefully a linebacker or safety.

And I pray to the football gods that they will fire Andy Reid. He is a great coach but I don’t think he is able to win here. It has been 13 years and the only thing he has won is one NFC championship game. He has been to five.He needs to go and so does Juan Castillo.

Castillo, the first year defensive coordinator, is not playing the right defense that these players excel at. Namdi Asomugha is playing loose coverage when he is a press coverage corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is playing in the slot which he is not trained well in, and we don’t blitz. Jim Johnson should be rolling over in his grave. The Eagles are not blitzing. With all these great corners and lackluster linebackers we should be playing press coverage on the receivers and blitzing everyone else. But no, we are letting quarterbacks like John Skelton and Alex Smith tear up our zone.

Castillo and Reid need to be out. Until they are this team will not win.

I hear Bill Cowher is interested in coaching a team that is already established. The Eagles are pretty established. One can dream, I suppose.

After saying all this, I will still watch the Eagles every week, I will still show support for the team I love, but I will not expect anything. Until these changes are made, this team can be nothing more but a .500 team. I am happy that this is happening now. They have plenty of time to right the wrongs and come out swinging next year. So the message I have to the Eagles fans that are freaking out right now is to just be patient. They will fix this. It may not be this year, but we will win one day.

And in the meantime, watch some hockey. The Flyers are pretty good.