Posts Tagged ‘Mark Sanchez’

Philadelphia Eagles uninspired, undisciplined in critical loss to Washington Redskins

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





(Sanchez Inaction Figure, via @RobTornoe of the Inquirer)

(Sanchez Inaction Figure, via @RobTornoe of the Inquirer)

There are few times when I am rendered speechless, but the Philadelphia Eagles’ 27-24 loss to the lowly Washington Redskins – with absolutely everything on the line – has left me as such. As RG3 , DeSean Jackson and Jay Gruden yuk it up, celebrate the win and agree to let bygones be bygones, Philadelphia has some serious soul-searching to do. The lack of discipline has cost the team its third-straight game and revealed an uncomfortable reality: this is not a very good team. While we shake our heads at the frustration of being Philadelphia sports fans, this is a team that is very lucky to have a winning record. But, the luck seems to have finally worn out.

But don’t cry for the Eagles. They’ve done this entirely to themselves. Perhaps the Cowboys will lose to the Colts tomorrow. But it likely won’t do much for the Birds. To win the NFC East now, Philadelphia needs for Dallas to then lose to the Redskins in their final game. Then, the Eagles need to win against the Giants. Say what you will about Eli Manning, but his passing attack can be potent. And he has a receiver that you may have heard a little something about – one Odell Beckham, Jr. Do you trust this secondary to diffuse that potentially deadly combination? Didn’t think so.

You know who is thrilled with his Sanchez inaction figure under the tree? Nick Foles. Controversy? What quarterback controversy? But while we make fun of Sanchez, this Eagles defense is a real problem. Billy Davis’ inability to react to the limitations of his secondary is an indictment of the coaching staff as well as the players.

My one-year old son kept walking up to the television and turning it off. While frustrating at first, it turns out that he wasn’t being bad. He was trying to spare his mother and father the pain and humiliation of a loss to Washington. The kid already knows what it’s like being an Eagles fan.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles face must-win against Washington Redskins to keep playoff hopes alive

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






The task for the Philadelphia Eagles this Saturday against the Washington Redskins is the same as it’s been all season: to win. But that goal now takes on an added edge of importance. It is what they must do in order to hold on to their already diminished odds of landing a playoff berth by taking the NFC East.

The Birds will step on FedEx field coming off of two humbling, back-to-back losses, first to the Seahawks and then to the Cowboys. Philadelphia’s season-long struggle with turnovers has proven to be too much to overcome against winning teams. A victory over the Cowboys in Week 15 would have given the Eagles’ ticket to their own destiny. Instead, they require help from other teams around the NFL to claim the top spot in their division.

So here we are. Fortunately, the Redskins are a team in complete meltdown, with coaches and quarterbacks battling each other rather than opponents. But that does not mean that this game is a given. Philadelphia has its own issues with lackluster performance from its quarterback, Mark Sanchez. The Birds can no longer overlook their mediocre secondary. The flaws of this 9-5 squad have been exposed and teams are taking advantage of that fact.

It’s conceivable that the Eagles will win their final two games and finish the season with an 11-5 record and still not make the playoffs. If that is the case, they have no one to blame but themselves. “Shame on us if that happens”, says Chip Kelly.

DeSean Jackson has a leg injury that has limited his production in recent weeks, but if he can find a way to light up his former team you know he’ll do it. But first, he’ll have to catch passes from an upright quarterback. Robert Griffin III has been sacked 23 times in his last four starts. His struggles with Jay Gruden’s offense are obvious, and they may serve to send the 3-11 team to 3-12. Washington’s running game shouldn’t prove to be much of a factor in this game, as Alfred Morris has yet to get 100 yards rushing against Philadelphia.

This week, we just need for Mark Sanchez to outplay RG3. That should be doable, right? With the playoffs on the line, the Eagles can ill afford to shoot themselves in their collective foot in what should be very winnable game against a divisional foe.

However, there is an added hurdle this weekend. Philadelphia can exhale if the Eagles defeat the Redskins, but only slightly. Sunday, all eyes will be on Dallas. Let the Cowboys’ ugly streak of home losses continue as they duel the Colts.  As much as the Eagles need this win today, they need that Dallas loss tomorrow.

But let’s focus on one thing at a time. Get that W today and head on home.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles can’t hang on in loss to Dallas Cowboys

Monday, December 15th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






The Dallas Cowboys got out to a quick 21-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles, a nightmare beginning to the rematch of the NFC East rivals. The 24 unanswered points then scored by the Birds in the second and third quarters were a rousing flash of the team we saw on Thanksgiving Day. Then came the final collapse, where Philadelphia ultimately fell 38-27 to Dallas at the Linc.

We waited for Tony Romo to be Tony Romo in December, but it didn’t happen. Instead, he finished the game 22/31 for 265 yards and 3 TDs. No interceptions. Boo.

The Eagles’ secondary could not contain Dez Bryant, who had 114 yards and three touchdowns. A slew of penalties against Cary Williams added insult to injury. Once Philadelphia pulled ahead to  a 24-21 lead in the third quarter, they quickly let it vanish.  The Cowboys scored two TDs within 2 minutes and 51 seconds – a DeMarco Murray touchdown, followed by Mark Sanchez throwing an interception and giving the football to Dallas at the Philadelphia 42-yard line to start the fourth quarter, ultimately ending in a Bryant score.

Philadelphia running backs put in work – Chris Polk saw the endzone twice as his team was mounting its comeback, and Darren Sproles got one in late in the third quarter. And that was all she wrote for the Eagles offense this game.

A now 9-5 record has covered many issues on this Eagles team, which have been terribly exposed in each game against a winning opponent. A woeful secondary can only get you so far, and Mark Sanchez has shown himself to be who he truly is: Mark Sanchez. He finished the game 17/28 for 252 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Eagles now lead the league with 34 turnovers, a distinction that has made all the difference against playoff-caliber teams.

What does the playoff picture now look for for the Birds? Philadelphia is now one game behind the dreaded Cowboys. Dallas controls its own destiny – if they win out, they win the division. For the Eagles to win the NFC East – far more likely option than getting a wild card berth – they need to win the final games on their schedule – road games against the Redskins and Giants. Philadelphia then needs for Dallas to lose one of its final two games – next week against the Colts, or the following week at Washington.

Philadelphia would also get the NFC East title if the Cowboys lost both of its final games and the Birds won both of theirs. That seems unlikely, given that the unsightly Redskins are one of their upcoming opponents.

Winning the division is still a possibility for the Birds, though they have made the situation far more difficult on themselves. But the question we all have to wonder at this stage is this: Even if this team gets a playoff berth, what have we seen that convinces us that they can do anything with it?

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

High flying Eagles offense takes on stingy Seahawks D in huge NFC matchup

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Birds VS

The Seattle Seahawks face the Philadelphia Eagles at the Linc today for a huge NFC showdown. Who will prevail?

The NFL’s top-ranked defense will meet a soaring Eagles offense, fourth in the league and cruising at 416.2 yards per game. Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving beat down of the Cowboys showed a Birds team firing on all cylinders, ready for their most critical matchups of the season. With the o-line finally finding its footing with the return of Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis, LeSean McCoy has had back-to-back games of  100+ yards.

The Seattle D allows a stingy 285.8 yards per game. Seattle is third-best against the passing attack, allowing just under 200 yards. And against the run, they have allowed just 86.3 yards per game.

While an excellent team, unlike the 2013 iteration, the 2014 Seahawks have revealed themselves to be fallible, standing at 8-4. As much as you hear about the team’s defensive threat, their offensive weapons are limited. Seattle averages just 192 passing yards a game, as quarterback Russell Wilson doesn’t have many targets. Doug Baldwin is the team’s leading receiver, who does a solid job but doesn’t send opposing defenses quaking at the mere sound of his name. The real concern for the Eagles is on the ground, both with Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s nickname of Beast Mode tells the tale of his prowess in the rushing attack. Connor Barwin will look to continue his streak of QB sacking after receiving Defensive Player of the Month honors, and Mychal Kendricks will have something to say about Lynch running all the turf at the Linc.

The big story of the game will be how the Eagles’ passing game holds up against Seattle’s secondary. Earl Thomas is one of the best safeties in the league, and Kam Chancellor won’t give the Eagles an easy time of things. Jeremy Maclin is having the beast season of his career, and Richard Sherman is just waiting to shut him down. Can’t you hear him mouthing off already? But the problem with Sherman is that he has the numbers to back up the talk. He has 23 interceptions since 2011, the most in the NFL. The next closest player has 8 fewer.

It will be critical for Mark Sanchez to not do too much this game, as we know he has a propensity to turn the ball over. He needs to play smart, lean on his teammates, and not make mistakes at critical points in the game.

This is going to be a good one, ladies and gents. The kind of stressful, heart-pumping Sunday affair that makes us love football. In the end, the many weapons and dimensions of the Eagles offense will outshine Russell, Lynch, and the famed Seattle D. Eagles 26, Seahawks 21

Extra: Will Shady surpass Wilbert Montgomery as the Eagles’ all-time rushing leader this game? He’s just 48 yards away. The legend himself hopes it happens today.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Preview: Eagles seek to throttle Titans

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






After the beating the Philadelphia Eagles received from the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, the Titans are the sort of opponent the Birds hoped to see. It’s no secret that 2-8 Tennessee isn’t a very good team. 7-3 Philadelphia should beat them handily. They need to get another win in the books to fully shake off what happened in Green Bay, and then focus all attention on their next task: Beating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. 

But there is another game to be played between now and then. Offensively, there is no comparison between the teams. The Eagles average 406.8 yards per game, fourth best in the league, while the Titans put up almost 100 yards less with 309 per game. There’s only one team in the league worse than that, and it’s the Oakland Raiders. Tennessee puts up just 16.8 points per game, as opposed to the Eagles’ 29.9 points.

The Eagles will face Zach Mettenberger, the Titans’ third signal caller this season. The rookie is completing almost 62% of his passes and has 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The most targeted receiver on the squad is Kendall Wright, who has 43 catches for 473 yards. However, tight end Delanie Walker tops Tennessee with 512 receiving yards. The likes of Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry will bring the pass rush, which should be too much for Mettenberger and the Tennessee offense to bear.

In the running game, rookie Bishop Sankey is the go-to man. Though averaging just 3.5 YPC, he’s rushed for least 50 yards on the ground in four of their last five games. Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton will continue to be strong defenders against the ground attack.

Defensively, the matchup is far more comparable between the teams, much to Philadelphia’s chagrin. Tennessee is ranked 21st in the league overall, allowing 370 yards by opponents, while the Eagles have an even worse 26th defense overall, allowing 378 yards each game.  The Titans are decent against the passing attack, ranked 9th in the league. And that’s not just on paper: Tennessee can and will bring the pressure, so Sanchez must adjust accordingly.

In the ground attack, the only team with a run defense worse than the Titans are the Giants (ha!). Much of the season has been filled with statements like, “the Eagles have got to get LeSean McCoy going. This team isn’t very good against the run, surely he’ll gain traction.” And yet, it rarely happens. Shady said this week that, “ I feel like we’re almost there.” Well,  if you are, then a fine time to debut the fully completed feat would be against the 31st run defense in the league. Currently averaging a meager 3.7 YPC, no one knows better than McCoy that he is long overdue for a breakout performance.

The Eagles should handily come out the victors in this contest, unless, of course, they beat themselves. Which they’ve come close to doing far too many times this season. Philadelphia is currently in sole possession of a title that no one wants – they lead the league in giveaways with 25. The number for the entire 2013 season was 19. The Birds must stop giving away the ball in order to have the best chance to win.

Tennessee comes to Philadelphia facing a home team eager to put the humiliation of a game gone awry out of the minds and memories of the itself and its fans. They want momentum heading into their huge contest with the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and they want to show that they can fire on all cylinders even with injuries taking their toll. Prediction: Eagles 34, Titans 20

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles look to end Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau winning streak

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Can the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to Aaron Rodgers’ streak of perfection at home?

Can the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to Aaron Rodgers’ streak of perfection at home?

The Philadelphia Eagles face a massive test in playing the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this Sunday. Can the Birds challenge the conventional wisdom that the Pack just doesn’t lose at home when Aaron Rodgers is under center?

It will be tough, to say the least. Rodgers is the picture of perfection at home. He has gone 286 consecutive passes without an interception at Lambeau. That means that the last time it occurred was in 2012, Week 13. And because of Rodgers’ flawless play in Green Bay, the team has a home winning streak of 15, which dates back to their 2012 season opener.

Then there is this nugget:

The Packers average just under 42 points per game at home, tops in the NFL, and they’ve outscored opponents at Lambeau by 101 points, also the NFL’s largest home win margin.

The Eagles are coming off of their incredible 45-21 defeat of the Panthers on Monday night. With the way Philadelphia is putting points on the board even with a backup QB leading the way, they’ve proven that they are one of the best in the league. And today, on the frozen ground of Lambeau Field, they will matchup against another one of the best.

The potent offenses of both Philadelphia and Green Bay are quite comparable on paper. They are fourth and fifth in the league, respectively, in points per game, with the Eagles averaging 31 to the Packers’ 30.8. Philly has 389.6 pass yards per game (5th), while the Pack has 256.4 (10th).

The Eagles D meant business and stole the show from Sanchez’ debut in the routing of the Panthers. Cam Newton didn’t stand a chance against the Philadelphia pass rush. The Eagles will bring the pressure to Rodgers,  but as he can do just about anything as well or better than any other QB in the league, including escape pressure, will it be enough?

Then there is the matter of Green Bay’s defense, who, with 18 takeaways, ranks second in the NFC. While Sanchez had a strong showing for his first full game as the Eagles’ signal caller, going 20 of 37 for 332 yards and two touchdowns, he has a history of turnovers. The Packers D has likely heard this as well, and will do everything in their power to force some takeaways. How will Sanchez fare?

All this considered, this is a perfect game for Philadelphia to try to get back on track with its ground attack. They certainly have the tools – LeSean McCoy, are you there? – but they rank just 20th in the league with the rushing game. With the Packers ranked 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up an average of 142.6 yards per game, you’ve got to get things going on the ground to increase your options.

The Eagles have the enviable ability to score points in a number of different ways. That will be important as it’s still too early to know what to expect from Sanchez. Even with that uncertainty, the fact remains that this battle between two of the best in the NFC will be a fight to the finish. A sure bet for Green Bay? Not really. But it’s going to be close.

It’s a beautiful day, let’s call for an Eagles defeat of the Pack in Lambeau to put an end to that home winning steak. Prediction: Eagles 31, Packers 28 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

WATCH: Darren Sproles’ punt return for touchdown against Panthers

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

It was a game with many, many Philadelphia Eagles highlights, as the team extended its record to 7-2 with the 45-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. Blowout games tend to serve as highlight reels for the team doing the blowing out.

The Panthers, on the other hand, were so bad that you felt for them. You knew how awful quarterback Cam Newton must have felt after suffering sack after sack after sack by Eagles defenders, particularly LB Connor Barwin, who played like a man possessed with 3.5 sacks on Newton. Cam was sacked a total of 9 times in the game. Ouch. But he kept getting up, only to receive more punishment.

So many highlights from the Birds this game that it’s hard to pick one – there were the multiple, steady, and productive Mark Sanchez-to-Jordan Matthew’s connections that resulted in two touchdowns. For his part, Sanchez, in his first full game leading the Eagles offense, finished the game with an impressive 20 of 37 for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Let’s go to an old favorite this season. RB Darren Sproles, the man so foolishly given up by the New Orleans Saints. He just won’t quit, and he has always delivered for this Eagles team.

The Eagles scored in all phases on Monday night – on offense, on defense, and on special teams. Watch Sproles deliver a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, his second TD of the game – all while still in the first quarter.


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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

All eyes on Mark Sanchez as Philadelphia Eagles face Carolina Panthers

Monday, November 10th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






As with any game, there are many important aspects of the Philadelphia Eagles on which to focus this Monday night. But who are we kidding?: Tonight’s game against the Carolina Panthers is all about Mark Sanchez.

Every step he takes, every move he makes, we’ll be watching him. Every throw. Every decision. Can Sanchez ably lead the Birds for the six to eight weeks that Nick Foles is expected to be out with a broken collarbone? If so, is he the quarterback on which we should hitch our trailers for an even longer stretch of time? If Sanchez can avoid the turnovers that became an all-too prevalent part of Foles’ performance this season and turn in a series of consistent performances, the answer could be yes. But those are big “ifs”. Sanchez has his own history of turning the ball over to overcome. Since entering the league in 2009, the former USC quarterback has thrown for more interceptions (71) than touchdowns (70) in his career.

Evan Mathis’will return to the o-line just as Todd Herremans exits for the season due to torn biceps. The Eagles have finally found some footing with their running game and would do well to take advantage of the 131.9 yards the Panthers have allowed on the ground each game. With a healthy Chris Polk added to the already powerful mix of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, the Birds could have a dynamic game on the ground tonight. The run needs to be a prevalent part of tonight’s game to allow Sanchez time to adjust to the role of signal caller for Philadelphia.

There is another important story to watch as the Eagles take the field at the Linc tonight and for the remainder of the season. How will Philadelphia fill in for the loss of DeMeco Ryans? Defensive coordinator Bill Davis plans for Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho to take over Ryans’ middle linebacker responsibility as far as making calls. On the field, the defense will use a combination of Acho, Matthews, and Mychal Kendricks to make up for the loss of Ryans. It’s a similar solution as to when Kendricks was sidelined for several weeks, Davis said last week.

“[Linebackers] Coach Rick Minter does a great job of teaching the concepts of both so we can move multiple guys to the MIKE or the WIL depending on what we need”, Davis said. “Whether we’re in dime or nickel or anything like that. Right now it’s the same rotation as when Mychal [Kendricks] was down. It’ll be [Emmanuel] Acho and Casey [Matthews] handling first and second down duties at the DeMeco spot instead of the Mychal spot. They’re cross-trained and they’ll be fine.”

While the Panthers defense features Luke Kuechly, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year at MLB, it is struggling this season. They have already given up 236 points this season. They gave up only 241 in all of 2013. They are missing Pro Bowl DE Greg Hardy. Their struggles will be a nice complement to an Eagles team adjusting to key losses on both sides of the ball.

Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense aren’t doing well on any front this year, putting up just 19.7 points per game, 25th in the league. By comparison, the Eagles average 29.2 points per game (5th in the NFL). Newton is completing just 57% of his passes, and Carolina’s receiving corps’ top producers are Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin and former Eagle Jason Avant. Love Avant as we do, that is hardly a stellar lineup. The Panthers are also putting together just 94.7 rushing yards per game, which leaves them with no clear answers for getting points on the board.

A Panthers team with significant issues facing an Eagles team adjusting to key losses on both sides of the ball may make for a more competitive Monday night matchup than we’d like to see. But the Eagles will still prevail.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Panthers 14

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles D comes up big in win over Steelers

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





LeSean McCoy doing his thing against Pittsburgh on Thursday night  (Photo: Drew Hallowell, Philadelphia Eagles)

LeSean McCoy doing his thing against Pittsburgh on Thursday night
(Photo: Drew Hallowell, Philadelphia Eagles)

It was only the first preseason win for the Philadelphia Eagles after three games, but it came right on time with the Birds’ 31-21 defeat over the Pittsburgh Steelers. During their preseason home opener on Thursday night, the starters on both sides of the ball put in a strong showing to ease lingering concerns as the regular season looms near.

The defense had the most to prove this game, and they did just that by shutting out the Steelers in the first half. At halftime, the Birds were up 17-0, and Philadelphia held on to an impressive 31-7 lead late into the fourth quarter. Notably, Pittsburgh kept their starters in the game until the third quarter but still couldn’t make much happen against the Eagles D. That’s what you like in the so-called dress rehearsal prior to the start of the season.

Defensive highlights included an interception by corner Nolan Carroll in the first half, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks had a standout performance with 4 tackles and a quarterback pressure. Safety Malcolm Jenkins eased some concern about the secondary by batting away a ball intended for Pittsburgh wideout Antonio Brown.

Both sides of the ball were impressive, with the offense also putting in a strong showing. Nick Foles threw 19/29 for 179 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception, Mark Sanchez was 7 of 9 for 85 yards, and Jeremy Maclin had 6 receptions and 43 yards. And after a rocky start, the offensive line showed just how good they can be when firing on all cylinders and working together on Thursday night.

There were injury scares to both LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, but they were thankfully just that–scares. Both returned to the field and quickly were back in action.

With good, there is always bad: Kicker Alex Henery missed a *31-yard* field goal attempt, so yeah…there is still a major problem on that front. One that can’t be left unanswered.

Next up: Players on the cusp will fight for their jobs next week against the Jets.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Understanding “Overrated”

Friday, April 26th, 2013

by Cory Jefferies


If some of the greatest players in the history of North American sports can be overrated from the narratives told about them and the social statuses given to them to describe their level of greatness, surely it isn’t too hard to figure out how or why a great player can be overrated DESPITE the player’s GREATNESS.  “Overrated” doesn’t automatically run mutually exclusive to extremely horrible, over-hyped players.  I think 99% of fans miss this point.  Well, maybe more like 87-90%.

Let me point out 3 types of overrated players:
#1. You can be HORRIBLE & OVERRATED (see JaMarcus Russell’s draft day position).  See Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Leaf, and Kwame Brown’s draft position, plus their actual production.
#2. You can be AVERAGE & OVERRATED.  For example, see discussions on whether or not guys like Derek Fisher or Robert Horry are Hall of Famers.
#3. You can be GREAT/ELITE and STILL BE OVERRATED.  See Steve Nash winning two consecutive MVP awards.  See Derrick Rose’s MVP season where he averaged 23 ppg & 8 apg but was outplayed in every sense by LeBron James.  See Michael Vick’s best season in Philly and Donovan McNabb’s career in Philly as well (DESPITE his otherwise nice playoff resume).  Just because you are elite doesn’t exempt you from being overrated.  If people say that Kobe Bryant is better than Michael Jordan, even though Kobe’s surely one of THE greatest players ever, he’s simply overrated.
My point: Whether you are awful, marginal, above average, mediocre, good, or very good, the narrative people have for you can make you overrated.
Cory Jefferies for War Room Sports