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March 17, 2021

Eytan Shander: Roseman, Eagles are boring us to death this offseason

Do you remember how excited you were when the Eagles landed Demarco Murray in the offseason (way back in 2015)? Now, you have the benefit of hindsight, so no cheating. This was before we realized the head coach didn’t even watch tape on Murray before bringing him in, ultimately resulting in a now infamous plane ride home.

I’d kill for that right now. (Not literally. I wouldn't think I'd need to write that, but I’ve taken calls in this city on sports talk radio for over a decade.) But seriously, back to my analogy. I’d kill for that right now. Give me a name that I can pump up fake or unjustified enthusiasm for, a player who hasn’t even had the opportunity to be misused upon arrival.

I wish I was joking, writing in sarcasm font, or my poor attempts of being witty. But I’m actually serious here.

The Eagles' offseason has once again been mismanaged ahead of time, so that by the time Howie Roseman “works his magic” and pulls the Birds out of cap hell, it’s too little too late. What a boring couple of months ahead of us — and if the QB doesn’t work out, that will apply to the season as well.

Buzz about the Eagles trading for Deshaun Watson is absurd, and I just don't buy it. Maybe the Eagles want to, desperately, change the narrative by making a monster trade. But the potential of them outbidding a team like the Jets makes it hard to believe. 

It seems to be a recurring theme with this organization, taking cues from corporate and political America. Create a problem. Push a huge campaign to the public through media members that this is going to be a major issue. For example, all the pundits yelling, "OH MY GOD THE EAGLES ARE IN CAP HELL!" Once the hysteria builds, you swoop in with the solution, one you both had all along and needed to prove you can pull yourself out of your own mess.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The only thing that’s missing is Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman creating the narrative in some back room. 

And while the Eagles were busy making it look like they were buried beneath a salary cap from which they couldn't escape, we saw a bunch of releases and restructures, something the team has been working on — or knowing they would work on — for a little bit. It’s all been premeditated.

We all know why the Eagles are just now pulling out of a bad cap situation, but that doesn’t remove the fun that normally comes with any offseason. Movement in March helps fuel the dominating conversations in the NFL, and the Eagles are on the outside looking in right now.

Even Jacksonville is getting people to play for them. I’d rather be excited about the prospects of fresh blood on a bad team than gear up for the same faces on a really bad team last year. That is no knock on the players, it’s just putting the team’s front office on the spot.

They want to have their rebuild and eat their chocolate mousse too. Firing Doug Pederson to hire a brand new coach, moving on from Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts – all while keeping key vets on both sides of the line. Trying to ease the new head coach in with training wheels.

All that’s really happened here is the continued efforts by the Eagles front office to mask the harsh reality that the team is going nowhere this year. Like they did last year. The only wrinkle this week is we are reminded of it in the form of NFL free agency.

This all reminds me of an old King of the Hill clip, where Bobby Hill fails to kill a deer, and in turn completing some rite of passage. The father and son duo return to see all of the neighborhood kids — from Bobby’s best friend to his girlfriend – successfully completed their hunt.

Hill remarks about how everyone has a deer except him, how everything is so Christmassy and he now knows how the Jewish kids feel. I always loved that clip, but never thought we would be living it out this spring.

At least Hill eventually – through the most non-conventional method – killed his deer. I don’t see Howie “killing” anything this off-season other than our confidence. 

NCAA Tournament First Round Bets

Hopefully you’ve already checked out my thoughts on the First Four this Thursday night. I wanted to give you a couple of looks for the actual tournament. Nothing too crazy nor off the beaten path, you can find everything where I did, at We are also going to take a couple of risks here, but nothing too crazy.

Welcome to “Betting the Narratives” (with a little help from some data) as we open up with one of the best teams in the country. Baylor can – and has plenty of times this season – lost interest in the second half. The Bears seem to do the dirty work early, enabling some coasting in the second half, especially when they play inferior opponents and lay a bunch of points.

So, let’s flip it and make some money at Hartford’s expense. The Bears are looking to take out aggression from losing in the Big-12 tourney, it just so happens Hartford is in the way. I’m willing to push this up to 19.5 points, taking Baylor -19.5 (+200) to win the first half.

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Villanova ain’t dead yet, so can we give Jay Wright some benefit of the doubt here in being able to out-coach some major blows to his roster? I am going to do just that. This has counter-narrative written all over it and I can’t wait until Friday night to see 'Nova -6 cover.

Winthrop isn’t the team to take down 'Nova no matter how hard they try and press the 'Cats. The narrative – both locally and nationally – is that 'Nova is on life support and prime for the upset. They are, just not here. They can still score and defend, it’s their ability to break presses and consistently handle the ball that remains gigantic question. Once again, coaching is the difference here, enough to cover two possessions.

UConn seems to have three different modes, depending on the type of season. And Championship Mode is one we haven’t seen in quite some time. There’s … well, opposite of Championship Mode, some frigid, polar opposite of competing. Then there’s this year; not good enough to cut down the nets, but good enough to win three games.

Take the Huskies -3 and never look back. They are 16-5-1 ATS this year, the third highest cover percentage in the nation. 

Do you like scoring? Then allow me to take you on a quick tour of a game featuring just that: offense, and lots of it. Go OVER 139.5 on Texas vs. Abilene Christian and watch the sparks fly. Let’s get Texas out of the way, the easy part if you will. They are big but play fast. They won’t take ACU seriously enough to slow the game down. Shaka Smart will keep upping the ante, trying to out-push the pace versus the Wildcats. Plus, the over is 16-10 this year for Texas.

As for the – other – 'Cats, they like to score a lot of points and beat bad teams into oblivion.

The Middle w/ BROOKS, MAYES & EYTAN – Clip of the Week

What to do with the Eagles this season when you can’t do anything this off-season.

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Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan right here on PhillyVoice (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.). You can also catch him on FOX 29 Good Day and on his new show Props & Locks Thursday nights on FOX 29.

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