YOU DON'T REALLY want to read another Josh Huff take, do you?
Good, because we have football to talk about. In the words of the beleaguered reminder that Doug Pederson offered to reporters in the midst of his inquisition Wednesday morning, the Eagles play the Giants on Sunday, and, hey, that used to mean a little something around here. Not that there weren't some pertinent questions for the head coach to answer in the wake of his wide receiver/kick returner's arrest.
It's just that, the way our country works, there's a very good chance that if Huff had happened to get pulled over a mile earlier, in Pennsylvania, where his employer is located, his biggest concern would have been the traffic ticket he was issued for allegedly driving too fast. That's because Pennsylvania, like Texas, where Huff is from, and a ton of other states, does not require someone to register for a license or permit to possess a gun. And in Pennsylvania, like 48 other states that aren't New Jersey, it is perfectly legal to load that gun with hollow-point ammunition. Granted, Huff was where he was, and the law was what it was, and so, yeah, ignorance of the law is no excuse - he was arrested, he allegedly broke the law, and he'll need to accept any legal consequences.
But it's tough to get worked up into a lather about something in a guy's character that depends solely on which side of a river he happens to be on. Take that weed he allegedly had on him (though, let's be honest, the gun thing is the lather), in the city where he works, less than 30 grams of weed is a $25 fine. And let's not even bother talking about the state where Huff went to school. In Oregon, they have a term for that stuff that was allegedly in Huff's Tupperware, and it ain't "illicit substance." It's "breakfast."
Besides, this is America, where you can walk through the desert with a bunch of your drinkin' buddies waving AR-15s at federal marshals till the cows come home, and half the country will call you a patriot (raise your fist while the national anthem is playing, on the other hand . . . ). No doubt, some would argue that we as a society should strive to become a place where, at the very least, we can be content to load our guns with bullets that aren't banned in warfare by the Hague Convention. After all, if we sacrifice our dedication to use bullets that kill people humanely, haven't we in essence sacrificed our humanity? But, hey, it's a slippery slope to tyranny. Really, one could argue that the worst mistake Huff made was one that all of us have made at one point or another. He went to New Jersey.
So this isn't a column about Huff. It's a column about football, specifically the other stuff we won't get to talk about while the whole city is talking about Huff.
For instance, the Eagles could be starting their second-stringer at left guard, because Allen Barbre's hamstring is expected to keep him out, and while Pederson reminded everybody that Stefen Wisniewski has started a lot of NFL games in his career, Carson Wentz certainly seemed to be under increasing duress during Sunday night's loss to the Cowboys. And if Wisniewski happens to go down, the next man up is a rookie who hasn't even dressed for a game yet.
"We'll see where Allen is at the end of the week," Pederson said.
Given the questions that have developed at wide receiver and running back, Barbre's injury seems particularly significant. In fact, it's a good reminder that the Eagles' 3-0 start didn't magically bless them with all of that depth we knew they were lacking when all of us predicted they'd go 4-12. And when you hear people wondering why Howie Roseman didn't run out and spend even a third-day draft pick on an upgrade, you wonder whether they have a realistic view of where this franchise is at in its trajectory. Many of the problems everybody complains about can be fixed sustainably only through the draft, and they give you only so many picks. This team is still rebuilding. It needs time. Take those receivers. In Andy Reid's first two years in Kansas City, the Chiefs had only 24 pass plays of 30-plus yards. Last year, after he brought in one of his guys, they had 21.
In 1999, when Pederson played quarterback, the Eagles had only 10 such plays, the third fewest in the league. From 2000-04, the Eagles averaged 18 such plays, tied for sixth in the NFL. So, then, maybe this is a Huff column after all. Chances are, he won't be a big part of the team's future. But not because of what happened this week.