Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Future of Dawk


What do we make of Brian Dawkins for 2009? A month ago I thought his situation was a no-brainer. I thought he was done. Now, I'm not so sure.

I still have concerns about Dawk and his speed / ability to cover, but the issue is complicated. He just got his 7th Pro Bowl selection today. Dawk has played better in the last few games. 2 of his 5 pass break-ups came in the last 3 weeks. His only INT came in that span. He has 13 tackles, a FF, and 2 TFLs in there as well.

The defense has played lights out. They've only allowed 44 points. Actually, that isn't true. 14 of those points came on returns. 7 came against the prevent defense. The D has really only given up 23 points in the last 3 weeks. That is good stuff.

What makes me nervous is that Jim Johnson could adjust the defense in each game. ARZ had no real running game. That allowed him to keep the DBs back and let them attack receivers in front of them. The Giants were minus Plaxico Burress. They still had plenty of good talent on the field, but that team without Plax is very different. The Browns started their #3 QB.

I want to see what Dawk can do against a good, balanced offense. WAS is on a cold streak, but they are balanced. Dallas in Week 17 will be the real test. Dawk struggled against them in Week 2.

I still love Dawk and have also enjoyed Quintin Mikell this year. The problem is that both of them lack the speed and range to really control the deep middle. Both guys are very good around the LOS. Can you get away with a defense that has 2 Strong Safeties in the modern NFL? I have my doubts.

Dawk is a very important player to the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. I think he could be a HOF player. Keeping him would be great. The problem is that he'll be a year older next year. He won't get any faster.

You can look at Dawk's stats and see some good stuff. The big concern is the lack of INTs and pass break-ups. He has one pick on the year. He has 5 PBUs. One came on a deflected pass while blitzing. The fewest PBUs in a full season is 11. The fewest in any year is 6. He could finish with only 5 this year despite playing all 16 games and being healthy.

The sack and FF totals are good. He's making a lot of plays around the LOS. The problem is that you need someone to be the centerfielder. Dawk has been that guy for more than a decade. Can he fill that role next year? Do you bring him back, but pull him off the field on 3rd downs?

Dawk has to decide if he wants to play. He could go out while still playing at a solid level. He could decide that money is important and shop his services to the highest bidder. He could work out a one-year deal with the Eagles.

People are obsessed with Reid and McNabb's future, but every bit as interesting is what will happen to the man who's been here since April of 1996.

I have mixed feelings on the situation. I love Dawk, but we must get faster in the middle of the defense. We could bring him back, but give some of his PT to Quintin Demps or a rookie Safety. I think our defense needs a playmaking presence in the middle of the secondary to be at its best. We don't have that guy right now (although Demps could be that guy in 2009).

I'll cheat and reserve final judgment until all 16 games are in the books.

Dawk's stats for anyone interested:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/stats?playerId=978

New PE.com story is also up:

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=16973
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3 comments:

Fear and said...

Here is the thing about Dawk: yes, he is showing that he can still contribute right now. And he seems to have a stretch every year (often the closing stretch) where he plays very well.

But that stretch gets shorter every year. And he will certainly continue to decline next year. I love what Dawk has given to the franchise as much as the next guy, but the best thing for both the team and the player in 2009 is to let him go and put in a couple of solid years for the Patriots, where they can hide his declining athleticism and take advantage of his intangibles in the Rodney Harrision role.

The Eagles bring along a young guy or two each year in a starting role. With the rest of the secondary in place, the DL unlikely to see any significant change, and the LB corps looking at one new significant player at most, we have the capacity to break in a new safety, be it Demps or someone else.

Better to make this move a year early than a year late. Based on Dawk's early season play, one might argue we are already a year late.

Tommy Lawlor said...

"Better to make this move a year early than a year late. "

Very true.

I'm still leaning toward letting go of Dawk, but I am curious to see how he does against Dallas.

Also, we saw Trot go from Pro Bowl level MLB in 2005 to defensive liability in 2006. Sudden drops can and do happen.

T_S_O_P said...

I happy to see Dawk return in '09 on the proviso that there is far better competition. Two of those may be Demps and Ike, but I'd like more. But for sure, if we follow your mock, I can't think of a better mentor.