01.31.21

Eagles: a wounded wentz and a 3-round mock

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:38 pm by Administrator

i’ve been anxious to trade carson wentz for almost two years now, but his precipitous decline in 2020 actually made me reconsider this option (contrary to the direction most fans have taken) due to concerns about his fading value on the market. a few weeks ago i was inclined to keep wentz and to rehabilitate his value under a new coaching regime. then two things happened that have solidly resurrected my conviction that the time to trade wentz is right now.

first, we hired a fresh face head coach who looked like a deer in the headlights at his first press conference, and then we hired an offensive coordinator who is still figuring out how to avoid botching critical play calls at key moments of the game. this is not a coaching cast that will have the bandwidth or collective wisdom to mentor a physically and mentally broken quarterback like carson wentz, who needs to re-learn the nfl game. carson wentz, if he stays, will be an albatross around the neck of a first year head coach that simply cannot afford a quarterback controversy coming out of the gates.

second, matt stafford went to the Rams in a trade that has undoubtedly elevated carson wentz’s market value. most importantly, stafford went to a team that had no interest in wentz. secondly, the price of two 1st round picks and a 3rd for a jared goff contract possibly about as bad as wentz’s pretty clearly demonstrates that wentz is worth at least a single 1st round pick; this is a quarterback-hungry league that’s got four teams outside the top 10 picks (new england, chicago, washington, and indianapolis) desperate for a long-term signal caller. add pittsburgh to the auction, and this is a year in which wentz’s value on the market might actually be his highest, even if he has a rebound season next year.

i’m more convinced than ever before that the time to trade wentz is right now. the eagles are playing it right by pretending that the sirianni hire shows a commitment to wentz. but there’s no way they can enter the 2021 season with a quarterback controversy, a highly risky and chronically petulant wentz who still hasn’t publicly endorsed his new head coach, and an heir apparent in jalen hurts who really needs to get on the field as soon as possible to build on his successful nfl debut. i believe the price for wentz right now is a 1st round pick. but when teams start to line up their bids, we might even be able to drum up a moderately higher price. i won’t speculate right now, but we can’t rule out a 1st and a future 2nd.

here’s a 3-round mock that assumes a trade of carson wentz to the colts for pick 21, a trade of ertz to arizona for their 3rd round pick, and a trade down from pick 6 with chicago for picks 20, 52, and chicago’s 1st round pick in 2022. like i’ve written ad nauseum, the eagles must strongly consider trading down this year for future premium picks. this is a weak draft class, and the eagles have too many positional needs and too little draft capital to work with.

this mock nets the eagles a solid group: Rashod Bateman and Rashawn Slater in the 1st round, Tyson Campbell and Nick Bolton in the 2nd, and Elijah Molden and Richie Grant in the 3rd round.

Three Round Mock:

Round One

1. Jacksonville: Trevor Lawrence
2. Houston (gives Watson to NYJ for picks 2, 23, 2022 1st/3rd): Zach Wilson
3. Miami: Devonta Smith
4. Atlanta: Justin Fields
5. Cincinatti: Penei Sewell
6. Chicago (from Philadelphia): Trey Lance
7. Detroit: Ja’Marr Chase
8. Carolina: Mac Jones
9. Denver: Patrick Surtain
10. Dallas: Caleb Farley
11. New York Giants: Micah Parsons
12. San Francisco: Jaycee Horn
13. LA Chargers: Christian Darrisaw
14. Minnesota: Greg Rousseau
15. New England: Jaylen Waddle
16. Arizona: Kwity Paye
17. Las Vegas: Jaelan Phillips
18. Miami: Kyle Pitts
19. Washington : Kyle Trask
20. Philadelphia (from Chicago): Rashod Bateman
21. Philadephia (from Indianapolis): Rashawn Slater
22. Tennessee: Azeez Ojulari
23. Houston (from New York Jets): Christian Barmore
24. Pittsburgh: Alijah Vera-Tucker
25. Jacksonville: Rondale Moore
26. Cleveland: Zaven Collins
27. Baltimore: Terrace Marshall Jr.
28. New Orleans: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
29. Tampa Bay: Jayson Oweh
30. Buffalo: Joseph Ossai
31. Green Bay: Kadarius Toney
32. Denver (from Kansas City): Daivyon Nixon

Round Two

33. Jacksonville: Pat Freiermuth
34. New York Jets: Marvin Wilson
35. Atlanta: Patrick Jones II
36. Miami: Wyatt Davis
37. Philadephia: Tyson Campbell
38. Cincinnati: Amon-Ra St. Brown
39. Carolina: Levi Onwuzurike
40. Kansas City (from Denver): Jalen Mayfield
41. Detroit: Creed Humphrey
42. New York Giants: Alex Leatherwood
43. San Francisco: Trey Smith
44. Dallas: Trevon Moehrig
45. Jacksonville: Shaun Wade
46. New England: Samuel Cosmi
47. LA Chargers: Tommy Togiai
48. Las Vegas: Jevon Holland
49. Arizona: Dylan Moses
50. Miami: Najee Harris
51. Washington: Seth Williams
52. Philadelphia (from Chicago): Nick Bolton
53. Tennessee: Rodarius Williams
54. Indianapolis: Eric Stokes
55. Pittsburgh: Brevin Jordan
56. Seattle: Dillon Radunz
57. LA Rams: Jay Tufele
58. Baltimore: Jackson Carman
59. Cleveland: Tylan Wallace
60. New Orleans: Hamsah Nasirildeen
61. Tampa Bay: Liam Eichenberg
62. Buffalo: Boogie Basham Jr.
63. Green Bay: Jabril Cox
64. Kansas City: Cameron McGrone

Round Three

65. Jacksonville: Chazz Surratt
66. New York Jets: Paris Ford
67. Houston: Asante Samuel Jr.
68. Atlanta: Andre Cisco
69. Cincinnati: Hamilcar Rashed
70. Philadephia: Elijah Molden
71. Denver: Jamie Newman
72. Detroit: Joe Tryon
73. Carolina: Rasheed Walker
74. Washington: Hunter Long
75. Dallas: Jalen Twyman
76. New York Giants: Nico Collins
77. LA Chargers: Sage Surratt
78. Minnesota: Landon Dickerson
79. Philadelphia (from Ari for Zach Ertz): Richie Grant
80. Las Vegas: Teven Jenkins
81. Miami: Israel Mukuamu
82. Washington: Baron Browning
83. Chicago: Chris Rumph
84. Indianapolis: Ar’Darius Washington
85. Tennessee: Deonte Brown
86. New York Jets: Charles Snowden
87. Pittsburgh: Travis Etienne
88. Detroit (from LA Rams): Rashad Weaver
89. Cleveland: Caden Sterns
90. Minnesota: Paulson Adebo
91. Cleveland: Zion Tupuola-Fetui
92. Tampa Bay: Dazz Newsome
93. Buffalo: Quincy Roche
94. Green Bay: Tyler Shelvin
95. Kansas City: Ronnie Perkins

01.29.21

the eagles: quick take on the new coaches, and deshaun watson

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:26 am by Administrator

quick take on the new coaches: i like brian johnson?

as for the youth movement in general when it comes to the eagles’ coaching staff, i’m not a believer. as flimsy as the reasoning may have been for hiring nick sirianni, the case for shane steichen is even more tenuous. we needed a highly experienced and proven OC to complement our relatively inexperienced head coach. having two newbies coaching this offense is hardly reassuring, especially when our new OC is best known for two disastrous play calls last season. these are bad hires. but who’s keeping score anyways?

now that it appears that our coaching staff will need 2-3 seasons to figure things out, there’s almost no question at all that the path to success for the eagles does not go through carson wentz. this is a guy who needs a firm hand at the wheel and a turnaround plan that will work starting day zero of OTAs. carson’s not going to appreciate the change in regime, and it will do nothing to reassure him that he’ll be properly positioned to emerge a winner in the 2021 season. now that we’ve made these coaching hires, there’s almost nothing we can do to support nick sirianni other than to trade wentz. had we put duce staley or josh mcdaniels at the helm, carson wentz might have been a decent bet to rebound in 2021. now, i have no doubt that he (and the team) will continue to struggle next season. we need to move on from carson wentz now.

i read the most ridiculous piece today suggesting that we could actually trade for deshaun watson (and picks) by offering carson wentz and pick 6. that is beyond ludicrous. deshaun watson is a premiere talent that is worth 4 first round picks to most teams in the league; carson wentz is barely worth a single late 1st round pick. for the eagles to get deshaun watson, we need to offer a serious proposition: wentz (or hurts), pick 6, our first-round pick in 2022, and fletcher cox. i’d do that deal if i were the eagles. it’s time to flip the page, and deshaun watson is worth that hefty price if not much much more. howie roseman can’t sit back and count the costs here. if deshaun watson is available, we need to be in the conversation, and we need to be willing to pay whatever price is needed to get him on the team. we can worry about gaps and lost picks later.

01.26.21

finding less fault in the universe

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:45 pm by Administrator

how many levels are there to awareness? so many. infinite.

i begin today with the words of ajahn brahm. love is a “progressive not fault finding.” i meditate on this today. up until minutes ago, my life consisted of the things that the world has done to me. a police officer pulled me over last thursday and ticketed me for speeding. rats invaded my attic and kept me up at night with the sounds of their various activities. the roof leaked with the recent rains, and now the ceiling of my daughter’s bedroom has broken open. colleagues at work have pestered me with trivial complaints, and now even the sounds of their voices provoke my irritation. patients aren’t getting better, work isn’t getting easier, my body isn’t getting younger, and the nights are less and less forgiving. my life is full of these things.

but my life in general is empty of these things, because it is defined in particular by none of these things. i walked out of my house, and now i do not see the plaster peeling away from the ceiling or imagine the rats creeping in the crawl spaces. when i am in my car, there is no one with me, and i cannot imagine the people who need my attention. when i walk, i feel the sharp wind on my face after its long journey down the mountains, and i cannot hear the voices that have troubled me. i stepped out of my life for a moment, only to remember that this thing is my life—the moment i just stepped into. the thing i stepped out of—the cluster of innumerable things i find fault in—is no longer my life. it is what was, before i realized that the day has no meaning, the life has no purpose, and the moment is enough. the moment is always enough, even in the absence of things.

today, i remember that the universe does not demand my forgiveness. it always provides me exactly what i need. i love the policeman who called attention to my internal fury, the engine that has driven me through these perilous months. i love the rats, who sought out my home for warmth and reminded me of the very fragility of my own form. i love the people who need me and the people who mistreat me, because they tell me the truth of our lives. we are not problems to be fixed. we are fellows clambering through the sheer and tingling promise of a misty dawn, approaching the warmth of a spectacular day.

i love life and the universe within which i live, and this love is not manifest in my passion, my submission, or my sacrifice. it is manifest in my awareness, a thing that may look to some like resignation or acceptance but is in fact the most expansive embrace i can offer. i find less fault in the things that once troubled me, because my life is not the trouble itself but that which is illuminated by the trouble and indeed holds that trouble with ethereal satisfaction. the christians say that they no longer live, as Christ lives in them. i say that Christ—a mission for the world, a responsibility to conquer unbelief—no longer lives in me, and thus i live.

how many levels are there to awareness? so many. infinite, even.

i can appreciate even now that my troubles do not compare to the troubles suffered by those in my own neighborhood who are on the brink of financial ruin or death from chronic disease. and our troubles in this land do not compare with the troubles of those who risk starvation or death from battle, in areas of the world where people with ideas of conquest fight people with beliefs about liberty and justice. i am struck with helplessness and anxiety at the spiraling consequences of the social system that extends from me and builds upon my labor. am i privileged beyond any privilege heretofore experienced by the majority of humankind that has preceded me? yes, i am. i accept it—the deep trouble of our times, characterized by racism, sexism, imperialism, and moral judgmentalism, all essentialized in ideologies and even religions that justify the enslavement of human beings.

but as i stepped out of my crumbling house, i can step out of this crumbling society and see that though i have this privilege, i am not defined by my privilege. in small, subtle, and yet wonderfully profound ways, i can connect with those from all parts of the world and share a fundamental experience of our living. i can shift to respond to their suffering, the way a hand will move without preconception to cover a wound in the body. i can change what i think of and meditate on; i can change how i live; i can change where i put money, energy, and time. i can change how i breathe, how i listen, and how i talk. all goodness in the world, all movements toward awareness, all reform that means anything to anyone—these begin with the simple ways in which we breathe, speak, and most importantly of all listen. it seems desperately stupid and trivial to hold all the trouble of the world and confess such a simple thing, but that is all the universe asks of us in our brief time together: to authentically listen, and to live out that listening as compassion.

but how many levels are there to awareness? how many?

so many. infinite even.

the humans do not listen to the lives of the creatures and the movements of the planet. and thus the planet cannot listen to the movements of the celestial bodies that surround us. but first let us consider this basic thing. the rat did not ask to be born the rat, nor did it deserve to be labeled the carrier of disease, the bane of our cities. it gravitated to us because we offered food and shelter; it lived on our crumbs, accepting our disdain. so it is with all the animals and microorganisms of the planet, some of which we have chosen to favor and others of whom we have chosen to hate or fear. but think of this: we have so much more reason for intimacy and mutual understanding with the rat or the frog than we have with anything that exists on any other of the innumerable planets and stars of the infinite universe. to hate the rat is to have contempt for the very moment that we share: this brief experience of life that we will never have again.

to love is to be what the human is in her basic essence—a peer to all living things, a student of their intricate and beautiful lives, a preserver of the lands and the waters that give us all a precious home. to understand this is to recognize the suffering we bring upon ourselves and all of life when we burn, consume, and expand without an appreciation for the thing that we are taking away from others. we count the cost of our wars in human lives lost, but what of the grasses and insects and animals that our bombs and bullets and fires cost the world? can any of these lives be replaced? can the planet forgive us for what we have robbed from her?

to love is to find less fault in the untamed and undeveloped world—and to realize in our heart of hearts that as empty as the wild places may seem to us, they are as full as mother earth could ever be. like the moment itself, a place without humans is still sufficient and enough. we enter as guests. and if we stay, we stay as beloved, knowing that the earth finds no fault in us

01.24.21

Eagles 3-Round Mock Draft

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:35 pm by Administrator

here’s my latest 3-round mock for the eagles, based on a full 3-round mock for all teams that i’ll publish later. in this scenario, the eagles keep carson wentz. the mock draft factors in the following trades and sees 5 quarterbacks go in the top 6 picks:

1. houston trades deshaun watson to the new york jets for picks 2, 23, a 2022 1st round pick, and a 2022 3rd. they use pick 2 to take justin fields.

2. detroit trades matt stafford to indianapolis for picks 21, 54, and a 2022 1st round pick.

3. detroit trades picks 7, 21, and a 2022 1st round pick to miami to take pick 3, which they use to take zach wilson.

4. philadelphia trades zach ertz to arizona for their 3rd round pick (79).

5. philadelphia trades down in the 1st round with the chicago bears, giving up pick 6 to get picks 20, 52, and a 2022 1st round pick. chicago uses pick 6 to take mac jones.

Eagles’ 3-Round Mock:

pick 20 (from chicago): rashod bateman. the eagles trade down from pick 6 to get three high picks from the bears. at pick 20 they’ll still have good X receiver prospects, including rashod bateman, terrace marshall jr., tylan wallace, and amon-ra st. brown. they go with the biggest and best evaluated prospect in rashod bateman, a 6′2″ target monster with plus skills and athleticism.

pick 37: tyson campbell. jonathan gammon likes his corners big, long, and strong, and tyson campbell fits the bill. campbell is still somewhat raw, but gammon will relish the opportunity to bring along a highly athletic press corner with strong potential in his new-look defense for the birds. we really do have to pull the trigger on cornerback early in the 2nd round, as campbell, eric stokes, shaun wade, rodarius williams, israel mukuamu, and possibly even josh jobe will be off the board by the time the 3rd round begins.

pick 52 (from chicago): chazz surratt. the eagles flip the script here and spend a high pick on a linebacker, picking the former quarterback turned linebacker who’s already demonstrated vision, IQ, and tenacity early in his development as a defender. i have surratt, jabril cox, and cam mcgrone all going in the latter half of the 2nd round, in that order.

pick 70: tommy togiai. an interior d-lineman could be a surprise pick in the early 3rd round, but it may be the right one given the way the draft is likely to shake out. more established prospects like barmore, nixon, wilson, tufele, and onwuzurike are likely to leave the board between the late 1st and early 3rd, but togiai may end up being just as good if not better than all of these guys at the next level. his power and explosiveness as a 6′2″ 300 pound defender set him apart from the pack, and for an eagles squad that needs to think about a successor to fletcher cox in the next 1-2 years, togiai is a strategic selection. with TT in the wings, we can let malik jackson go without compromising the rotation on the inside.

pick 79 (from arizona): caden sterns. i see moehrig, holland, nasirildeen, cisco, and ford going between the mid-2nd and the mid-3rd, which is a fairly aggressive projection on safeties. given that the eagles don’t have a 4th round pick in this draft, i believe that they have to use their second pick in the 3rd round to grab one of the remaining safeties with significant upside; that’s a small group that includes sterns, lecounte, grant, and maybe bolden. sterns is the standout athlete of the group, and i think gammons will enjoy developing the young free safety to anchor his DB group as rodney mcleod’s imminent successor.

01.23.21

more thoughts about nick sirianni

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:09 am by Administrator

i’ve got more thoughts about nick sirianni and about the eagles, now that i’ve had another day to think about it. i’ll list them out, since i like to be organized and to the point when i’m criticizing someone. and in this case, i’m criticizing jeff lurie.

1. the nick sirianni hire absolutely smells like a capitulation to the ego of carson wentz. this is a young guy who’s nothing if not a frank reich disciple. from a mile away, anyone looking at this hire is thinking that they chose nick because he’ll have credibility with carson and not enough ego to antagonize him. and that’s not a good look for the franchise, because massaging carson’s ego is clearly not how you get the best from him. defilippo leaned on wentz in a way that an outsider and a newbie just can’t. carson wentz needs tough love—very tough love. duce staley would have put carson in his place. josh mcdaniels definitely would have demanded accountability from carson. nick, by comparison, looks like an olive branch. bad move.

2. the guys in the locker room are demanding a sheriff, not a counselor. it’s a group of guys that’s divided on their quarterbacks and positively unhappy with one another behind closed doors. they don’t need an ideas guy right now. they need a veteran presence who will make it fair, clear, and effective for everybody. duce fits that bill, and todd bowles does too. maybe sirianni has command skills; but a guy who’s never been a head coach or part of a super bowl team for that matter is going to have to fight for credibility with a group of guys who have won a super bowl and know a fair amount about what it takes to get there.

3. the fact that the eagles lost out on several high-profile candidates and then settled on the lowest-key head coach ever shows that they’re not interested in winning now. it’s not a good look that the hot prospects (i.e. staley, daboll, arthur smith) passed on the eagles. but it looks even worse when the guy they eventually settled on has no buzz and wasn’t on anyone else’s list this year. at best, it looks like maybe the eagles are thinking outside the box and looking for a next-generation guy. at worst, it looks like they want to groom a young guy who’s nice enough not to step on anyone’s toes—which just means that they don’t have high expectations for next season. how is jason kelce supposed to feel about that? how inspiring will that be for brandon graham, in what will possibly be his final season with the eagles?

4. since nick isn’t going to take on play calling for the eagles (since he didn’t even do it as OC of the colts), we’re going to have to work even harder to strike gold with an offensive coordinator. what kind of up and coming offensive assistant coach is going to come to a philadelphia eagles organization that is sandwiching a rookie head coach between a problem child quarterback and an overbearing management team? any OC candidate can see that mike groh and press taylor didn’t fare well in philadelphia even with a respected super bowl winning head coach; so why would an OC under even worse circumstances be expected to thrive? this is a dysfunctional offense embedded in a dysfunctional team. there’s no path to success here unless carson wentz has a miraculous return to greatness—which is a coin flip bet at best. maybe it’s a good job for a guy that really likes a daunting challenge. but most OC candidates out there want to succeed and position themselves for a future head coaching job. philadelphia is not a promising stepping stone for that journey.

i know that there are numerous eloquent narratives being constructed about nick sirianni and his intangibles. it strikes me as a howie roseman thing to focus excessively on the traits and not enough on the game tape. this is a role in which growth potential and intangibles really have to come second to one’s track record and results. sure, nick has had a good time with quarterbacks and wide receivers, when it comes to statistical production. where are the conference championships? where are the super bowl rings? where is the evidence that this guy has pulled a unit, a team, or a player through the playoffs and into history?

there aren’t two ways about this. this was a bad hire. i really want both nick and carson to blow up and succeed next year, but that’s a gamble. we shouldn’t be gambling! any guy with half a brain should be able to see what this eagles team really needs right now, and i’m sorry but nick ain’t it.

i hope duce staley gets the promotion he deserves with another team.

go duce!

01.22.21

philadelphia hires nick sirianni

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:49 am by Administrator

shrug.

i’m sure he’s a smart guy, and i’m sure he works really hard. i am absolutely positive this guy interviewed amazingly. but as far as i’m concerned, he’s a nobody. he was indianapolis’s version of mike groh. who the hell knows what he actually had to do in indy? he was probably hired because he’s clay; lurie and roseman can mold him, and specifically they can mold him around the stubborn and misshapen figure of carson wentz.

one thing’s for certain: the philadelphia head coaching job is going to be a trial by fire for young nick. if he doesn’t turn carson around quick, he’ll lose the fan base long before he loses his job.

it’s such a puzzling hire. the only thread that holds up under scrutiny is that he has linkage to frank reich, the last decent offensive coach that the eagles have had. but nick sirianni is not frank reich. there’s absolutely no good reason to believe that he will be the incarnation of frank reich in philadelphia.

in any case, now that we’ve inserted a young, untested, and virtually unknown commodity into our head coaching position, the OC and DC hires will be vastly more important now. we need a veteran playcaller at OC. we need a battle-tested defensive mind to rally our defense. to restate my point, now that i see who we hired to be head coach, i can see that our head coaching hire sheds almost no light on what direction the eagles are headed in. stunning.

am i disappointed with this hire? yah. i’m disappointed. the fact that we chose a guy with intangibles and very little production shows that what we were looking for was potential. it’s easy to imagine a guy’s potential when he’s never really been put to the test. we hired nick sirianni not because he is exactly what we need but rather because he isn’t what we don’t want: anything we have ever known.

thumbs down.

Go eagles

01.20.21

Finances: market allocations, timing, and financial planning

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:41 pm by Administrator

right now i’m managing a portfolio that combines most of my liquid assets and some of my mom’s. i’m using two investment companies (vanguard and td ameritrade), and i’m doing a mix of investment and trading.

right now, these are my allocations:

1. Stocks: 35% (60% S&P and 40% international)
2. Bonds: 15% (all US)
3. Precious Metals: 17.5% (mostly gold; 25% in junior miners)
4. Cash: 25%
5. Other: 7.5% (split between bitcoin, crude oil, and volatility)

it’s not exactly the allocation i want, but it’s the allocation that has resulted from a series of moves that i made over the past 18 months with a long-term allocation strategy in mind. ultimately i want to be less in cash and more in stock—but i’m wondering if i’ll ever get there.

what set me on this course was that i was convinced in late 2019 that the market would crash in 2020 due to overinflated stock prices and a reckoning in the credit markets. i was about 90% in passive mutual funds in the Fall of 2019, and by February of 2020 i was almost completely in bonds and cash. then covid happened, and i rushed back into the market in march 2020 with a third of what i had in cash at the time. it did turn out to be very close to the market bottom. the good news is that everything i bought in stock at the time has increased in value by about 60%. the bad news (at least for now) is that i kept a lot of cash in reserve, believing that a second dip was imminent. it didn’t happen, for reasons that still mostly confound me.

i also took the opportunity in march and april of last year to begin investing in gold, thinking that fiscal stimulus and easy monetary policy would spur inflation. the premise was wrong but the investment has done moderately well, growing by about 20% since i went in on gold and silver. i plan to stay long gold, but here again i’m baffled by why gold’s price has stalled despite a blue wave and the promise of further dollar devaluation.

oil and bitcoin were relatively smaller trades that i made in september, approaching these as speculative buys rather than long-term investments. i bought crude when it hit $37 a barrel and bitcoin when it was at around $10,000 a coin. needless to say, both have exploded since the Fall, with oil up about 40% since that time and bitcoin nearly quadrupling in price. i’ve been beating myself up for not going heavier into bitcoin as i originally intended to; but it was a speculative play to begin with, and i could have just as easily avoided the trade on a last minute reservation.

overall, my portfolio has yielded about 10-15% more than it would have had i just left all the money in the vanguard mutual funds. to me, that’s not a major difference for the amount of work and energy that i put into my trading. and it’s particularly unimpressive to me when i figure that i actually did time the market almost to perfection and totally by accident. had i mistimed the market, i would have significantly underperformed the passive 90% equity strategy that i had previously embraced.

i can hear the voice of my financial planner in the background. he’s telling me of course that only fools time the market, and the US stock market always goes up over the long term, and unless your job is to trade assets you’re wasting your time and exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. the current markets are obviously proving the truth of his traditional wisdom. i understand now why he always told me that his job is mostly to stop people from making irrational decisions about their money. at a price of essentially 2% of assets under management per year, his job is to leave investments in mutual funds and stop beneficiaries from moving that money around. it’s a job that seems totally unnecessary and superfluous until you realize how much one might need to be protected from oneself.

still, with everything going on in the world, i simply can’t imagine plugging and playing a 60/40 or 70/30 strategy any time soon. granted, i listen way too much to real vision, peter schiff, lyn alden, george gammon, jim rickards, and jim rogers, but i just can’t imagine that we’re embarking on another secular bull run. i’m hedging my bets for the storm. no financial planner in his or her right mind could possibly feel that i’m doing the right thing; but i’ve followed my instincts thus far, and i need to follow them for just a bit longer.

the first question i need to ask myself ends up being the final one i ponder as i close out this entry. what is the goal i’m trying to achieve by managing my own finances? for me, it’s simple. i’m in it to win it. i’m not trying to have a certain amount ready for me by the age that i need it. i’m trying to maximize, at all times; i’m trying to do my very best with what i’ve got, so that any given point in time i’m outperforming anyone else that i could have paid to do this. i always believe that at any given time there’s only one right way for me to be approaching the markets. and at this point in time, i just can’t convince myself that US equities is where the yield will be for the next 5-10 years. yes, i daresay the one thing that i have no business saying: the crash is coming very soon.

01.16.21

the real story behind the collapse of the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:40 pm by Administrator

in the past month, the eagles finished with their worst season record in more than a decade, witnessed the implosion of their once-MVP caliber quarterback, blatantly tanked their seasonal finale on national tv, lost their defensive coordinator to retirement, and fired their super bowl winning head coach amidst awkward and controversial circumstances. jeff lurie, once hailed as one of the best team owners in the NFL, is being widely panned particularly by the philadelphia media for mismanaging the team and irrationally siding with his unpopular general manager howie roseman in a sordid, behind the scenes power struggle with one of the franchise’s most successful head coaches.

the popular narrative is that doug pederson didn’t get a fair shake in his final season with philly and that indeed it is principally howie roseman and carson wentz who are to blame for the precipitous downfall of the once venerated philadelphia franchise.

that’s the popular narrative. but is it even remotely truthful? here’s my take on this most intriguing chapter in eagles’ history. buckle up. it’s full of speculation and psychology, and it’s not the truth most philly fans want to hear.

it starts with a marriage that fell apart because of a trauma they couldn’t work through.

doug pederson and carson wentz are introverts. people think of doug as a congenial, approachable, player-friendly guy, but underneath it all he’s an internal processor that doesn’t like confrontation. same with carson wentz. carson is a guy that withdraws the more pressure he faces. he’s not a diva. he’s not a stuck-up asshole. he’s just a guy that needs to figure it out in his own head before he can work on a solution with others.

carson wentz’s ACL injury is the relational trauma that doug pederson and carson wentz could not talk out, work out, or overcome. 2017 was supposed to be wentz’s breakout moment, but it was derailed by the devastating injury, and it forced wentz to watch a championship from the sidelines. doug pederson believed that what wentz needed from him was space to heal and to find himself again; so when wentz struggled to bounce back in the 2018 season, doug gave carson the freedom to do what felt right to carson. that meant that doug didn’t push carson to execute his game plan. who could blame doug? he had every reason to believe that wentz would eventually find his way back to being the elite qb that nearly won the league mvp award in 2017.

but something changed for wentz after that ACL injury, and he never found his way back. this was a guy that for years relied on his athleticism, strength, and instincts to power his way to big plays. the ACL injury threw him off; it chipped away at the thing that made football effortless for carson. this is not unusual for pro sports players. we saw it with derrick rose, for instance. carson couldn’t trust his body anymore; it didn’t respond the way he was accustomed to responding. and when the body didn’t bounce back, carson didn’t bounce back. what he needed in 2018 was more than space and time to heal. he needed to learn how to play football again with his new body and his evolving mental makeup. but carson’s an introvert to whom all things have always come easily. he didn’t know how to ask for that thing that he needed. and doug never understood what carson really needed. so carson withdrew into himself and tried to figure it out his own way, while doug, locked out of carson’s process, tiptoed around his star player, tried not to get in the way, and became totally ineffective as a coach and a mentor. two introverts faced the trauma of a lifetime, and they couldn’t talk it through, work it out, or overcome it.

roseman tried to save the marriage, but his therapy was misguided.

howie roseman believed as strongly in wentz as doug pederson did. and like doug, howie believed wentz just needed time and space to figure it out. when wentz and the eagles’ offense regressed in 2018, roseman believed that it was the offensive talent around wentz (or the lack thereof) that was holding back the star QB from climbing to new heights. so roseman did what roseman does best: he went all-in and negotiated a deal for the last critical piece necessary to a repeat championship. he traded a 3rd round draft pick to land golden tate, detroit’s star wide receiver. tate proceeded to disappear in the eagles’ offense, descending almost to career lows in receptions, yards per game, and yards per catch. aside from a touchdown catch against the bears in the wild card game, tate was a total wash after the eagles brought him on board. roseman was sharply criticized for the costly move and took all the blame for the trade deadline deal that yielded almost nothing for the team.

the golden tate trade was roseman’s best attempt to salvage carson wentz’s career—and it was the beginning of the end of roseman’s relationship with doug pederson. to put it simply, howie roseman got burned when he tried to counsel doug pederson and carson wentz back to relational health. and he learned the hard way that the problems with the eagles offense went a lot deeper than the quality of talent lining up on that side of the ball. roseman focused all his intention on offense in the 2019 draft—a draft that reeked of desperation—but he never again went out on a limb to do a big deal for a skill player, despite pressure from pederson and from the fan base to do so. he was panned for passing on the opportunity to get deandre hopkins from houston, but roseman wasn’t about to repeat 2018’s golden tate embarrassment.

the popular narrative is that howie roseman is a bad general manager, but that take simply isn’t true. roseman has had better success with roster acquisitions than most GMs, and he has a track record with philadelphia’s draft picks on the o-line (kelce and johnson) and with multiple high-impact free agent signings (brandon brooks, malcolm jenkins, rodney mcleod, nigel bradham, patrick robinson, legarrette blount, and jay ajayi), all of which built a championship roster in 2017. ray didinger recently had the gall to claim without any justification that roseman has had six bad drafts in a row. in fact, roseman’s 2018 draft was one of the best team drafts that year, landing us a future HOFer in dallas goedert (2nd round pick) as well as starters in the late rounds (maddox, sweat, and a 7th round steal in mailata). it’s not roseman’s fault that he drafted or signed legitimate talents that were wasted by futile and haphazard coaching in philadelphia. nelson agholor (nearly 900 yards receiving and 8 TDs this year with Las Vegas), rasul douglas (62 tackles and 9 passes defended in Carolina), lj fort (centerpiece of the ravens’ defense), and golden tate (back to 50 yards a game and double-digit yards per catch) have all done just fine since leaving the eagles.

howie roseman hasn’t been a bad GM, but he made one major mistake: he believed that wentz and pederson could fix their relationship and restore carson to his pre-injury form.

jeff lurie recognized where this was going and was man enough to force the divorce.

roseman tried in vain to save a broken marriage. lurie stepped in to end the relationship and spare the kids any further suffering.

reports suggest that doug pederson sabotaged his own post-season interviews with lurie, and of course that is understandable. part of doug pederson wanted a fresh start with a younger, less complicated, and more attractive quarterback talent because the ongoing futility with carson wentz sapped his love for the game. but he could see that this wasn’t going to happen in philadelphia, and he decided that the best way to fall on his sword was to go down fighting for his close friends and confidantes on the coaching staff. it’s an odd business decision to lose your job over middling coaching talents like press taylor and matt burke, but it was the only recourse for a man who’s been simply burned out by the soul-killing experience of watching carson wentz withdraw, implode, and evolve into the worst possible version of himself as a pro player.

it was an act of compassion when lurie let doug pederson go. lurie could have asked him to work it out; he could have committed to trading wentz; he could have pushed doug pederson to heal himself and give it another shot. but ultimately, he could see that doug pederson’s broken marriage with carson wentz also cost him his love affair with the game of football. lurie could see that he needed to let doug pederson go because doug hasn’t been happy for years—and because doug can’t be an effective coach when he’s this unhappy.

jeff lurie and doug pederson are not bad men who can’t see eye to eye. these are good guys who saw the dead end they had come to. they cut the cord to end the pain.

carson wentz is not the villain of this story; but his time in philadelphia is coming to an end.

carson wentz isn’t going to become an extrovert. he isn’t going to become the transcendent leader that everyone has always wanted him to be. he’s always going to be carson wentz—intense, hard on himself, and hard to coach when he’s struggling inside. it isn’t the super bowl he couldn’t play in that broke him; it’s the ACL and how much it has turned the game of football into labor for him. he’s done everything that he can humanly do to rediscover his 2017 self, and his efforts have been truly admirable. his late season run in the 2019 is a testament to his resilience and commitment, even though he needed the help of inferior competition to fuel that run to a divisional championship. he’s gone as far as he can go on his own.

carson wentz’s career outlook from here on depends on whether he can find a team that can help him complete the healing of his body, mind, and soul, a process that remains incomplete. he needs more than a congenial, approachable, and easygoing head coach. he needs the mentorship of someone who’s gone through this cycle of injuries himself and understands what it takes to relearn the game, one aspect at a time. carson needs a teacher, a confidante, a therapist, and a role model, all in one. theoretically he could find it with the eagles, but i don’t think he will. he is most likely to find it with someone that saw him at his best and truly believes in his ability to be great again. i believe that man is frank reich, a fellow quarterback and christian believer. for carson wentz, a trade to indianapolis is not just the right career move; it is where his redemptive journey must begin.

Xs and Os on the practice field is how the culture grows and the eagles heal.

it’s back to the basics. as distracted as they have been by past success and dysfunctional relationships, the eagles haven’t been focused on structure and discipline for years. they need to get back to that with a coach that loves the details of the scheme and everything that goes into planning for the next game.

i know that the jeff lurie wants innovation, energy, and cutting edge offense. it’s why he liked chip kelly. it’s why he got frustrated with doug pederson and his procession of dubious offensive coordinators. but more important to these eagles than innovation is an attention to detail. the eagles don’t need new gimmicks and explosive plays. they need good practices, tight execution, and accountability around all the little things: blocking, tackling, assignments, and game prep. veteran players have been complaining about the erosion of culture for three straight seasons. a young innovative coach who lacks credibility with the guys isn’t going to change that. this eagles team needs a veteran NFL coach who will command the respect of the players and motivate them to show up on the practice field.

lincoln riley, kellen moore, and joe brady are young guys with bright ideas, and generally speaking i like that. but for our next head coach, i’m looking for something different. this is a team that needs to come together and forge an identity, and for that we need more than a football mind; we need a veteran leader. ironically, that’s exactly what we found five years ago in doug pederson.

the other woman is actually the real deal.

one thing we have lost sight of in the midst of much controversy and disappointment is that the eagles have discovered their quarterback of the future. jalen hurts was spectacular in two games against the saints and cardinals, and while he was human in the final quarter against the cowboys and in one half of play against the washington football team, he showed enough poise, skill, and leadership in his first season to make us believers in this new era of philadelphia football. pick 53 of the 2020 nfl draft remains one of the most controversial draft picks in eagles history, but when the dust settles, roseman will almost certainly have the last laugh, and the eagles will have their franchise quarterback for the next decade.

the future is bright for the eagles, but it remains to be seen if we can rebuild a championship team. one thing is for certain: the road to a super bowl is built one relationship at a time. it didn’t work out between carson wentz and doug pederson; we need to learn our lesson from what happened and make sure jalen hurts finds the coach and mentor that he really needs.

the kids are all right.

philadelphia fans are angry at jeff lurie and howie roseman and carson wentz. they’re ambivalent about the head coach and hero they lost. they’re disgusted at where the team is right now. they want glory again. they’re clamoring like spoiled children, but really they’re up in arms because they’ve been locked out of all the difficult and troubling conversations that happened behind closed doors. they’re afraid of the future. they’re afraid that the best times are behind them. they don’t realize that these things had to come to pass as they did, because sometimes an entire franchise hinges on the health of a single relationship. broken bodies and broken relationships—sometimes that is what football is. it can be the most terrible thing in the world.

regardless, the kids are all right. philadelphia’s fans will emerge from these times understanding that we did the best with what we had. out of this marriage, for the time it lasted, we produced a championship. it was a miracle, really. it was something beautiful and perfect that came out of something human and imperfect. and it is something we will remember, when we think of doug pederson, carson wentz, and all the other great people that gave their best, even when it cost them everything

01.13.21

unity

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:55 pm by Administrator

i’ve had a chance to listen to a few of the GOP representatives today, some of whom support impeachment and others of whom oppose it. several of the Republicans who are opposed to impeachment voiced their view that impeachment proceedings would further divide the country, at a time when unity is most necessary.

does this mean that unity can be effectively defined as the passive acceptance of injustice? is unity best achieved through the silent tolerance of sedition or betrayal? is unity what happens when we decide that it’s too much trouble to hold a powerful man accountable? does unity imply a utilitarian approach to conflict and resolution?

if unity is all of these things, then unity is no moral thing to be desired. perhaps unity is best defined in that case as collective resignation—a mutual commitment to reject our personal values in the interests of avoiding conflict. unity, in these terms, is cowardice.

i had a conversation about unity with my neighbor this past weekend. he’s a foreigner from ireland and asked me if my own recommendations about how the capitol rioters should be handled (i.e. by a military tribunal in guantanamo) might not be in the best interests of unifying the nation. i told him that i’ve seen unity among americans in my lifetime. specifically, americans were unified in their grief and anger after 9/11. that grief and anger was appropriated by the military-industrial complex of the united states to precipitate a war in afghanistan that has lasted for nearly twenty years and has accomplished nothing, though at a great cost of lives. america is dangerous, violent, and cruel when it is united. and america is least harmful to itself and to others when it is divided. i dread the day when america achieves unity again—because our unity is a license to pillage and destroy.

that does not mean we cannot be civil. but the united states has a history and position that are too conflicted and too interwoven with slavery, mass destruction, and global empire to invite any convenient and moral sense of unity. disunity, division of power, and the checks and balances that are exercised on account of these protect the U.S. and the world from the unrestrained and cruel exercise of power by a reckless superpower.

donald trump, a reckless american president, warrants the checks and balances of a legislature that holds him accountable to personal decency and a basic respect for his job. he deserves impeachment because any tacit acceptance of his corruption is a prelude to an american form of unity that promises violence, injustice, and oppression for us all.

i have spent four years suffering on account of donald trump and trying to mitigate that suffering through meditation. fuck meditation. and fuck donald trump. it’s not enough to see him leave office in two weeks. the man deserves retribution and punishment; and i’m counting on a divided nation to bring him to his knees, as only a diverse and civil society can

01.12.21

Next steps for the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:45 am by Administrator

i read a couple of articles today that were very critical of team owner jeff lurie, including zach rosenblatt’s article in nj.com that accused lurie of “throwing pederson under the bus” for the thrown game against the redskins. all due respect to rosenblatt, who runs a good podcast with mike kaye, but lurie didn’t create this disaster of a season for the eagles. doug pederson and carson wentz did that all by themselves. jeff lurie is fixing that disaster now.

you can’t even blame this ugly season on howie roseman. howie roseman will surely be to blame for our extremely difficult (if not sordid) off-season that is about to happen, but roseman holds little direct responsibility for the nasty, sloppy, and totally ineffective play that transpired on the field this past season. back in the summer, this was a roster that was by many estimates more than talented enough to compete in 2020, and i heard all the philly faithful project a playoff berth for the birds before the start of the season. i was certainly one of the very few that projected a disastrous year for the eagles, but even i hesitated to place the blame for this squarely on roseman. no, i projected that the eagles would decline sharply in the 2020 season and miss playoffs mainly because of bad play from wentz and poor coaching from pederson. if lurie and roseman made a mistake before the 2020 season, it was that they did not recognize early enough that one of these two guys needed to go.

i absolutely agree with lurie’s decision to fire pederson, just as i agreed with the timing of his prior decisions to cut ties with chip kelly and andy reid. there is an absolutely ludicrous narrative circulating among the media that doug pederson is a great coach who progressively lost power and credibility within the organization due to politics and in-fighting. that narrative contends that pederson and the eagles struggled during the 2020 season because pederson was never empowered to make the roster decisions that he needed to make in order to improve the team. it’s a baseless conspiracy theory that has no rooting in reality. i’ll tell you what reality is: doug pederson has struggled for three straight seasons to craft a reasonable offensive game plan, develop his quarterback, execute routine plays on the field, and create a healthy culture in his own locker room. no one else can take the blame for those things.

the fact is that doug pederson had an all-star team and an all-star coaching staff built by jeff lurie and howie roseman that carried him during our magical 2017 season; but when pederson chose to carry the team on his own back—refusing to ask for a legitimate offensive coordinator and insisting instead on taking on play-calling duties by himself—he proved to be utterly incapable of the task. he wasn’t a strong enough personality; he didn’t have a specific enough vision; he wasn’t knowledgeable enough about his opponents; he wasn’t insightful enough when it came to his own quarterback. doug pederson is widely acclaimed for his emotional intelligence with the guys, but he doesn’t take nearly enough criticism for his lack of intelligence about the basics of the game.

i am grateful to doug for the 2017 season and in particular for the way in which he empowered frank reich and john defillippo to lead the team through adversity and to a championship. and i feel sorry for doug that he’s been so thoroughly exposed since he lost his brain trust. but the fact is that he’s not a good coach for the eagles, and he may never be a good head coach again unless he learns to select and lean on assistant coaches who are smarter and better than he is. i’ve said enough about this. it is time for doug pederson to go, and i wish him the best.

jeff lurie needs to hire a head coach who is offensively minded and who has a proven track record of developing young quarterbacks. i don’t think that there’s any doubt about this. we certainly need better coaches for the defense and possibly even a new install for the defensive scheme; but first and foremost we need our head coach to bring some confidence, creativity, and competence to this offense. i’ve written repeatedly that i favor greg roman for the role, and i think there are a few reasons to lean in his direction. firstly, he created that baltimore offense for lamar jackson, and that offense works not because lamar jackson is an elite talent but rather because the scheme makes the best use of the players on that team. roman took his lumps this year for jackson’s regression, but even in a down year roman was able to turn that baltimore team into a historically unprecedented run-game dynamo. greg roman will actually have better talent to work with in philadelphia than he had in baltimore two seasons ago. there’s no reason to doubt that he can’t help wentz and/or hurts become the very best versions of themselves.

i also like the idea of greg roman because he’ll be sure to bring ravens’ coaching personnel with him. that’s a terrific organization with an amazing culture, and any infusion of baltimore culture can only be a good thing for the eagles.

i do not think it is a pressing necessity to trade wentz now that pederson is gone, and like i’ve contended previously, i think that we need to give wentz a chance to show what he can do with a legitimate head coach in the house. one way or the other, we need to trade wentz away eventually, but i’d prefer to trade him after he has rehabilitated his value with a solid season. anyone who’s read my blog over the years understands that i don’t have much faith in wentz’s ability to sustain any kind of success in his career, as he doesn’t have the mental makeup to be a true star. but i absolutely believe in wentz’s ability to give us a turnaround season next year (the proverbial “flash in the pan”), and i want us to give him that chance to make us (and him) look good before we ship him off.

i’ve written at length about my unabashed admiration for jalen hurts. that’s a guy with more leadership and growth potential in his pinky finger than doug pederson and carson wentz have between them combined. i really don’t care how human jalen looked in the 4th quarter against the dallas cowboys. that guy has a future as an NFL starter, either with us or with some other team. i’d prefer that it be with us. i hope that jeff lurie can appreciate that as well.

we need to have an excellent draft in three months. i can only hope that lurie is looking at any and all options to get the right people in the draft room. i know a lot of people who’d love to help, if he can’t find anyone!

go eagles

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