Monday, December 1, 2008

Misc Stuff

More on Shawn Andrews

This is a confusing situation. On one hand you've got me saying Shawn is done with football. PE.com is posting articles about him still trying to play this year.

What the heck is going on?

I've gotten info from multiple sources. They agree that depression is the main problem. It is causing him to not want to play football. Or I guess you could look at it that playing football is causing the depression. Either way, there is no passion for a game that requires a great deal of passion.

Shawn has never given less than 100% on the field from what I've seen. His weight and conditioning have gotten better each season. This is a focused, hard working young man. The problem is that he simply doesn't like football and all that goes into it.

Some fans will be shocked to read this. "He's getting paid millions to go play a game for Christ's sake". I understand that mentality. The key point I would tell them is that football is all encompassing. The season starts around July 4th and goes through New Year's, longer if you're lucky. Players are "off" from February through June, but even then they have mini-camps and passing camps to go to. They have to work out the whole time. You can't take time off. Do so at the risk of losing your job.

That puts a constant sense of pressure on players. I remember Shannon Sharpe talking about how he couldn't wait to retire so he could go to the movies and eat some popcorn drenched in butter. He was such a fanatic about his body that he wouldn't do that while playing, whether in season or not.

I don't think the average fan understands the level of dedication some players have to the game. They are handsomely rewarded for that, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I haven't spoken to Shawn himself. I'm going off reports I'm getting from sources. This isn't a 100% lock, but the sources I'm getting the info from are completely independent of each other. They also have no agenda with making the comments. This isn't a situation that makes anyone happy.

If true, why are the Eagles handling the situation so passively? Why is Shawn still on the roster?

I can only offer my thoughts. I don't have any inside info on that perspective.

My thinking is that the team is hoping that Shawn comes around and works his way through these feelings. They have been protective of him through this whole process. When you have a player who is one of the best in the entire league, you have to go out of your way to keep the situation positive.

Anyone who's read interviews with injured players knows that most of them feel like outsiders to the team. That's the way football is. You can't worry about the injured guys. The healthy players are the focus of the coaches and staff. They all work together toward winning games. By keeping Shawn on the 53-man roster you allow him to still be part of the team. You keep him in contact with his teammates. If there is a way to help Shawn through this it will likely be because of them. The bond in the locker room is strong and that can hold sway over a guy.

Just today the team put out an article talking about Shawn coming back this year. I think they are doing that in hopes that he will be drawn back to the organization, to his teammates.

I hope what I've heard about Shawn is wrong and he does in fact play. He is a great offensive lineman. He seems like a good guy who is battling a real tough situation. This is one situation where I hope my sources are 100% off target. I'd give anything to see #73 mauling defenders next year.

Here is the PE.com article on him still hoping to play in 2008:

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=16826

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Here is my newest PE.com article. There's some thoughts on division rematches and a look back at the Cards game.

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=16828

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OMAR GAITHER

Another complicated situation. Reports say that he was offered an extension, but turned it down. He was benched sometime after that. Are the two incidents related?

I've done some checking and they don't seem to be related. I think the team would love Omar to become the next Ike Reese. They'd love Omar to be a backup at all 3 spots. They'd love him to become the leader on STs.

The problem is that Omar sees himself as a starter. That is why there was a disagreement over his value.

Jim Johnson and the defensive coaches apparently weren't happy with the way he was taking on FBs or playing screen passes. Those factors led to the benching. Jim wants the best guys on the field. He doesn't care about money.

About Omar and his replacement, Akeem Jordan...I think Omar has been solid this year. He's looked really good in a couple of games, not so great in a couple of others. I don't think he needed to be replaced because he was a huge weak spot. I can't say that I noticed a specific problem with him and lead blockers, but the coaches know exactly what he's supposed to do and grade him accordingly.

As for screens, they have been a problem. Omar has struggled with screens going back to the CAR game in 2006. Deangelo Williams put moves on Gaither that probably still give Omar nightmares. I remember last year in the first Giants game Omar called out a screen. Sure enough, the Giants ran a screen. It went right at Omar and gained 8-10 yards. He knew it was coming but couldn't stop it.

I'm not going to tell you he's solely to blame for the problems with screen passes, but you do want the WLB to have enough speed, quickness, and agility to be able to get to the RB and make the play.

It doesn't help Omar's cause that the first game Jordan started he led the team in tackles and had 2 TFLs. I do like the added speed that Jordan brings to the lineup. Let's see how he does against a physical team like the Giants. If we handle the run better, then Jordan may deserve the job full time. If he struggles and the run defense isn't better, then maybe Omar deserves to get his job back.

I wish Omar had a hand in more turnovers. He has one FF and one FR. I'd prefer more than that from the WLB. Jordan has a FR in his 2 starts.

I am curious about Omar not playing at all. He went from starting WLB and being a Nickel LB to just STs. That is quite a drop-off. Is that a sign from the FO? Maybe. It could also have to do with matchups. Omar hit the bench against BAL, who likes to throw to RB Ray Rice, and ARZ, when our Nickel D was on the field a lot. Let's see if he gets any PT this week against the Giants.

They may just have to let Omar play out his deal and see what he can find elsewhere. Ike Reese was never thrilled with being a backup, but he made the best of the situation. The team benefited from that. I don't know if Omar is comfortable with the notion of "only" being the #4 LB and a STer.

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IMPROVED RUNNING

A combination of factors led to better running by the Eagles. The Cardinals defense really helped by staying in the Nickel for most of the 1st half. That allowed us to have some early success. When the run works early, we will stick with it (at least more than usual).

Westy ran better than he has in the last few games. He had some pep in his step. He was able to hit the hole better and get positive yards.

The OL got some confidence the more they got to run block. They also got into a rhythm. Jamaal and Todd especially worked well together. They had several combo blocks where they'd double the NT, then one guy would release and go get a LB.

The WRs did a fantastic job. You have Avant and Baskett blocking DEs on some plays. And I'm not just talking about chicken-fight kind of blocks. I'm talking about taking the guys on forcefully.

Blocking is contagious. Once the guys get going, it spreads and everyone gets involved.

Kyle Eckel and Lorenzo Booker fit in well. Eckel used his straight-ahead style (plus size and power) to be effective. There was no hesitation. He got the ball and went upfield. He only made simple cutbacks. On short yardage runs he simply attacked the line and fought for yards. That is what this team has needed. Booker used his speed and elusiveness to find seams and get through them in a hurry.

This was a total team effort. Everyone involved, including the Cardinals, had a hand in the Eagles success on the ground. I hope we get to see more of this in the final month. I'll go nuts if we completely get away from this. Like Charlie and Dee eating the "human meat" on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I've had a taste of the running game and I can't go back to the way it was before.
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6 comments:

Stephen said...

The Most exciting part about the division rematches is that it allows us to have a hand in our fate. Obviously we need to run the table to have a realistic shot at the wildcard, but 2 of the teams ahead of us in the race are teams we play. Here's hoping Dallas drops 1 game before they play us and it becomes a playoffs on the line game in the end of december!

Brad said...

Love the reference to Sunny. Classic episode.

I heard today that Justice may get some time at RG. Have you heard anything about this? I think it would be interesting to see if he can play it as it could help a lot for planning the o-line next year, but I don't think he has the attitude to be a guard.

On the same note, how do you see the o-line for next year? I would like to see Tra extended and Herremans out to RT. The inside, however, seems like a mess (assuming Shawn is out). I think it would be a good idea to get an O Lineman in free agency since they don't have enough resources to just wait for the draft and there also seem to be some good lineman that may be available this offseason (Gross, Andrews, Barnes).

T_S_O_P said...

Tommy,

On Shawn, I am also a sufferer of back spasms and long term back problems. All due to be a slouch and a lazy bum to boot. (not to be mixed with the US expression A BUM). Anyway, I have been suffering on and off (weekly) for nearly 3 years. I looked at my MRI and my back looks great (so says someone with no medical background other than hypochondria). Anyway, there may be many sceptics out there that just don't believe a back injury could linger like this, therefore add it up to mental health issues instead.

On Gaither, if they wanted Gaither to fulfil an Ike type role, they sure as hell went a funny way about it. Gaither probably has double the amount of starts in his young career as Ike ever did. You want a guy to be a key STer and back up, then that is where you play him, at the same time giving him shots on D. Gaither started as a rookie on a D where apparently (at that time) a graveyard Eagle Rookies. He was the 1st Eagles rookie LB to play and survive, he was the first in the change i.e. that we can draft LBers. His 2nd year he beat out the best MIKE JJ has ever had (albeit no longer THAT player) and then this year, the Eagles said goodbye to a serviceable former stud and replaced him with Omar. All that limelight, all that experience and then we say we view you as a backup. Huh! More likely we pay you as a back up

On the running game, do you credit any of the success on the fact that we were far less predictable in our approach to establishing a running game before running from it?

Oh and belatedly, Happy Thanksgiving, you were more than welcome to the Pilgrim Fathers.

T_S_O_P said...

That wasn't nearly meant to sound as aggressive as it may have come across. And the belated wishes were genuine.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Will no one rid me of this troublesome TSOP???

:)

J/K, of course. I don't want anyone going Becket on you.

I'm going to answer Gaither in the form of a post.

Your tone was fine. Not too aggressive at all. I certainly took no offense.

I had a bad back when I was a kid, 4th-6th grade. It sort of went away beyond that. My only problems now are due to the fact there are too many beers in the front.

T_S_O_P said...

Henry II, on of my favorite Kings, the Reginal equivilant of Mike Ditka. And that also make Buddy Ryan's role Thomas a Beckett!!! Buddy, a saint... no way.

Had Adderal been available in the 12th Century history may have been different!

Good follow up, I still think OG is tactically the best LB we have by far, and he is an undoubted leader. I hope the old adage "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" comes to play and Omar returns to better than before.

As for beer and backs, at least it offers anathesia and if Jared Allen is anything to go by, doesn't inhibit lvl of play!