THIS WAS a couple of weeks ago, right after the Eagles announced that they had swapped running backs with the Cleveland Browns, exchanging little-used Mike Bell for Jerome Harrison.
Somebody asked general manager Howie Roseman to explain how he and head coach Andy Reid could have been so wrong about Bell, who they had signed less than 7 months earlier to be the changeup to LeSean McCoy's fastball.
In five games with the Eagles, Bell rushed for just 28 yards on 16 carries and was of little use as a receiver or a blocker.
"You're not going to bat 1.000 in this business," Roseman said. "You hope you're right a lot more than you're wrong. You've got to keep swinging."
While the Eagles have done a reasonably decent job of staying above the Mendoza Line as far as their draft decisions are concerned, they've done an inordinate amount of swinging and missing with their 14 most significant free-agent signings and trade acquisitions the last 2 years.
The only two veteran acquisitions by the Eagles since March 2009 that you can really give clear thumbs ups to at this point are quarterback Michael Vick and fullback Leonard Weaver. And who in God's name ever thought we'd be saying that about their decision to sign Vick last year? Weaver had a terrific first season with the Eagles after signing with them last year, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1.
The jury still is out on linebacker Ernie Sims, who the Eagles acquired in an April trade with the Lions, and defensive lineman Darryl Tapp, who was picked up from Seattle in March for a fourth-round pick and defensive end Chris Clemons.
Sims has played pretty well as their starting weakside linebacker. But they wouldn't have needed Sims if they had hung on to Will Witherspoon. Witherspoon, who was acquired last October from the Rams, was released 7 weeks after they traded for Sims, mainly because he was scheduled to make $5 million this season. He has been one of the keys to the Tennessee Titans' defensive success.
After a slow start, Tapp is starting to make a contribution as a decent pass-rushing tackle in their nickel package. But Clemons already has 5 1/2 sacks with the Seahawks, which is just 1 1/2 sacks fewer than he had in two seasons with the Eagles.
Left tackle Jason Peters hardly has proven to be worth the millions the Eagles threw at him last year when they acquired him from the Bills. Maybe that will change. Maybe he'll come back from his recent knee clean-out and be the player the Eagles hoped he would be. But considering his questionable work ethic and motor, I seriously doubt it.
Cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who was acquired from the Patriots last year, couldn't beat out Sheldon Brown for a starting job last season. Won the job by default this year after the Eagles traded Brown, but he has been inconsistent and a big reason why the secondary already has been torched for 13 touchdown passes. On Sunday, he was repeatedly undressed by Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt.
They blew it big-time last year with the Stacy Andrews signing, and also guessed wrong on Bell, safeties Sean Jones and Rashad Baker and linebacker Alex Hall.
Took one of their famous 1-year, what-have-we-got-to-lose fliers on another safety, Marlin Jackson, who was coming off two torn ACL in as many years in March. Jackson wasn't even able to make it through OTAs before breaking down.
No, they're definitely not batting 1.000.
INSIDE THE NFC EAST
* Unless the 1-5 Cowboys make a Lazarus-like recovery, you almost certainly can kiss coach Wade Phillips goodbye after the season. Don't look for anything to happen before that, though. Owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show (try and imagine Jeff Lurie having his own radio show; then try and imagine staying awake through it) that he's never been big on making coaching changes in midstream. No matter how badly things are going.
"I'm just not comfortable doing that," he said. "I've never done it. I think our best chance to win the next ballgame, the very best chance, is to certainly keep as much continuity as we can, especially when we have the experience that we've got. It sounds hollow. I understand it does. It's a natural thing to want to freshen up and do something different. But I'm not comfortable with doing that when it comes to the football team."
* The Giants are 5-2 despite a minus-5 turnover differential, despite a league-leading 21 giveaways. They committed five turnovers Monday night against the Cowboys and still managed to win. It was their first win in a game in which they had a turnover differential of minus-3 or worse since December 2007.
"The turnovers are an issue," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We thought we had that under control, and obviously we didn't."
Eli Manning is tied for the league lead in interceptions with 10. Only the 2-5 Chargers have lost more fumbles. That doesn't sit well with Coughlin, who always has stressed ball security.
"There isn't any question in my mind that this is a critical factor,'' he said of the turnovers. "It's an awareness thing and no one harps on it more than we do."
* Donovan McNabb still doesn't have a new contract, and his rough start - he's 24th in the league in passing efficiency with a 76.0 rating - has generated a lot of D.C. talk-show conversation about whether he will be with the Redskins in 2011. The answer is absolutely, positively yes. The 'Skins didn't spend a high second-round pick on McNabb so that they could let him walk after one season. If they don't re-sign the 33-year-old quarterback, what are their options? Rex Grossman? John Beck? I don't think so. Make another trade for another veteran quarterback? Several teams no doubt would be interested in McNabb if he becomes a free agent. But the Redskins will eventually get a deal done with him.
"Things will happen," McNabb said. "Right now, I'm just focusing on what we have to do here to improve our record and get better." Asked if he would prefer to get a new deal done during the season, McNabb said: "That's really nothing that I am concerned with at this particular point. That's something that my agent and Bruce [Allen, the Redskins' general manager] and Dan [Snyder, the team's owner] and those guys have been talking about back and forth. I'm just focusing on what we have to do here."
AROUND THE LEAGUE
* It has been a frustrating season for Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He's gone from having Kurt Warner throwing him the ball to Max Hall and Derek Anderson. Through six games, he's been targeted 64 times, but only has 29 receptions and two touchdowns. Last year, with Warner at quarterback, he was targeted 63 times in the first six games, but had 41 catches and five TDs. Fitzgerald, who, unlike many of the other head cases who play his position, isn't a diva who thinks the world revolves around him, has uncharacteristically displayed his frustration on the field a few times this season. "I'm human," he told reporters. "I want to be successful. I have a burning desire to be great, not only as a player but as a team. Sometimes my emotions flow over, but as the captain, I have to keep an even keel."
* Defensive end Aaron Maybin continues to be a major disappointment for the 0-6 Bills. The former Penn Stater, who was the 11th overall pick in the '09 draft, has started just one game this season and wasn't even activated for Sunday's game against Baltimore. "He's done some good things," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He's just not producing enough right now to get on the field."
* The NFL is headed back to London this week for another one of its senseless "international" games. The Brits must be really excited about the prospect of watching the 1-6 49ers play the 2-5 Broncos. But the owners no doubt are salivating at the thought of all of the additional Tim Tebow jerseys the league will be selling.
The Titans are 29th in the league in pass offense, averaging just 170.9 passing yards per game. But they're fourth in passing efficiency with a 95.5 passer rating.
The NFL announced this week that it has expanded its partnership with Spanish-language media conglomerate Univision, which now will be the league's "official Hispanic media partner." Does that mean Ines Sainz will be replacing Rich Eisen on "NFL Total Access"?
From the lip:
* "This is the Samson theory, right? Fortunately, I've sacked the quarterback without long hair before. So we'll see what happens." - Vikings defensive end Jared Allen on whether his decision to cut his hair is the reason his sack total is down.
* "Guys have gotten into a rut, to be honest with you. It's a lot of negativity and a lot of criticism and people don't respond too well to criticism, no way, shape, form or fashion about it. But the way we're playing, criticism is warranted. And that's what we have to understand." - Cowboys linebacker Bradie James on the effect criticism from fans and the media is having on his team.
* "Being 4-2 gives us a chance to be successful. [But] it doesn't do anything for us right now. When was the last time a team made the playoffs with four wins?" - Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel.
By the numbers:
* With seven interceptions already in 247 attempts, Donovan McNabb, who has the second-best interception percentage in NFL history, is averaging a pick every 35.3 passes this season. It's the second-worst interception ratio of his career. As a rookie, he averaged a pick every 30.8 attempts.
* The Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw leads the league in rushing with 708 yards. The last time a Giants running back led the league in rushing was Eddie Price in 1951. Price won the rushing crown in the then 12-team NFL with 971 yards. The only other Giants running back to ever lead the league in rushing was Bill Paschal, who did it in '42 and '43.
* Eagles tight end Brent Celek is tied with the Vikings' Randy Moss for most dropped passes after 7 weeks. Celek and Moss both have six drops. Rams wideouts Danny Amendola and Brandon Graham, both ex-Eagles, are tied for third with five.
* In his last four starts, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell has thrown eight TD passes and just one interception. He has a 108.9 passer rating in those four games.
* Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has won 16 of his 17 career starts in the Georgia Dome.
* Thirty-one of the 53 players on the Lions roster were first-, second- or third-round draft picks, selected by the Lions or someone else. They've got 11 first-rounders, 10 second-rounders and 10 third-rounders.
* The Colts, who will host the Texans on Monday night, are 8-0 at home against Houston.
* There were 34 field goals of 50 yards or more in the first 7 weeks, which is the most since 1970. That's an 83-field goal pace, which would shatter the existing record of 66 for 50-plus-yard field goals in a season set in 2008.
* Terrell Owens became the fifth player in league history to notch 150 touchdowns with a score Sunday against the Falcons. The other four: Jerry Rice (208), Emmitt Smith (175, LaDainian Tomlinson (158) and Randy Moss (154).
THUMBS DOWN I
To former Eagles offensive tackle-turned-aspiring television analyst Tra Thomas. Back when he played, Thomas seldom was a guy reporters turned to in the locker room for honest answers or comment. He usually couldn't be bothered to talk to you. But lo and behold, there he is every Friday on Comcast SportsNet, a regular Chatty Cathy, attempting to provide insight into his former team, now that somebody is willing to give him a few bucks to do it.
THUMBS DOWN II
To former journeyman quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who called Vikings coach Brad Childress "unprofessional" last Sunday night for having the audacity to criticize Brett Favre for his careless play in the Vikes' 28-24 loss to the Packers. Favre threw three second-half interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown and another that set up a score. "You can't throw it to them," Childress said in his postgame news conference. "You have to play within the confines of our system. Sometimes it's OK to punt the football. You can't have seven points the other way, not in a game like that with a high-powered team." Boy, that's really blistering him, huh? C'mon, Trent. Try to keep your man-love for Favre, who already has thrown a league-high 10 interceptions, under control.
THUMBS DOWN III
To the lame effort given by the Eagles' offense on Cortland Finnegan's 41-yard interception return for a touchdown on the final play of Sunday's 37-19 loss to the Titans. Yeah, the play was essentially meaningless unless the Eagles get involved in a playoff tiebreaker that comes down to point-differential, which is unlikely. But it would've been nice to see somebody at least try to stop him.
DOMO'S RANKINGS (Last Week's Rankings in Parentheses)
1. Steelers 5-1 (1)
2. Colts 4-2 (2)
3. Ravens 5-2 (3)
4. Jets 5-1 (4)
5. Giants 5-2 (5)
6. Texans 4-2 (6)
7. Titans 5-2 (7)
8. Patriots 5-1 (9)
9. Packers 4-3 (11)
10. Falcons 5-2 (13)
11. Saints 4-3 (8)
12. Redskins 4-3 (14)
13. Eagles 4-3 (12)
14. Bears 4-3 (10)
15. Chiefs 4-2 (18)
16. Dolphins 3-3 (15)
17. Bucs 4-2 (19)
18. Seahawks 4-2 (22)
19. Vikings 2-4 (16)
20. Bengals 2-4 (17)
21. Cowboys 1-5 (20)
22. Cardinals 3-3 (21)
23. Raiders 3-4 (30)
24. Rams 3-4 (23)
25. Lions 1-5 (24)
26. Browns 2-5 (29)
27. Panthers 1-5 (28)
28. 49ers 1-6 (28)
29. Jaguars 3-4 (26)
30. Chargers 2-5 (27)
31. Broncos 2-5 (25)