Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oddball Note

I'm in the process of writing an article for PE.com and something just occurred to me. The Eagles had Jeremy Bloom on IR in 2006. His injury was hardly all that serious, but it was a way to get him ready to take over the RS job in 2007. He failed. Miserably.

The Eagles had Jason Davis on the Practice Squad in 2007. He spent the year preparing to take the fullback spot when Thomas Tapeh left. He was a disappointment in TC and the preseason and got cut.

Both players failed despite basically spending a year getting ready to take a job. Heck, they each were all but given the job. And that made sense. The players fit the profile of young guys to develop.

I wonder if the notion that it was "their time" built a sense of complacency that ruined each guy. Chris Gocong had a similar situation, but worked out. He did see the team draft Stewart Bradley and initially project him at SAM. Competition. It also probably helped that Chris is very talented and an extremely high character guy.

Let's hope King Dunlap and Mike Gibson are ready to compete for jobs this summer.


shlynch said...

I think the greater concern is that there was a failure in terms of self-scouting. The Eagles failed to recognize, after watching these guys develop for a year (two in the case of Davis), that neither guy was going to be able to perform at an NFL level.

That is staggeringly bad. Blame the players to some extent, but blame those who were watching the players for not realizing that, at a minimum, both positions needed to have people ready to step in even before training camp in case they failed.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Supposedly Bloom looked really good in the mini-camps.

I thought Davis played really well in the 2007 preseason. They had him battling with Tapeh. Thomas won the job, but it wasn't due to Davis sucking.

Self-scouting is certainly part of the problem, but moreso in my mind is that each guy got his shot on the big stage and didn't take advantage of that.

Did the coaches do anything to make the players relax and lose their edge or is this just a coincidence?

Both players spent time with other NFL teams after we let them go so it isn't as if they were talentless failures.

Maybe character is the key issue. We have better success with grinders than any other kind of player.

Tommy Lawlor said...

We are at fault for not making a move after Bloom's 2nd PS game in 2007. He was struggling and Andy should have brought in competition at that point.

shlynch said...

I guess I don't buy that the players eased up mentally, and that was what got to them. I believe Bloom's issue was physical -- couldn't hold up to any sort of wear and tear. That was knowable, or at least something that should have been worried about. There should have been a contingency in place.

With Davis, I can't figure out what went wrong. I don't know what lost him the job this preseason, in the coaches' minds. Part of it has to be that there wasn't anything that he did especially well. But nobody expected him to be a great blocker, did they? He was a guy who could run and catch some. But even that wasn't great.

I know the FO takes a lot of flak about how FB was handled, but they brought in a lot of alternatives, guys who had played the position at times in the NFL in the past (Klecko and Lawton). Collins was never meant to be a viable alternative to make the roster this year, IMHO, he was more of a developmental guy. Hunt was a case of everything else failing. The main failure, though, was poor judgment of what Davis could do. His mental readiness to win the job has to be part of that evaluation. I think the FO screwed up their evaluation of Davis, and that their alternatives collectively crapped the bed. I also think that the coaching staff wasn't especially patient, undermining the efforts of the FO. Klecko, for example, was moved to DT too quick. Clearly, with some coaching, he was an adequate FB, and with more time there in the preseason, could have been better. But they yanked him back and forth. Didn't AR used to be the most patient man in the world? What happened to that guy?

By the way, I don't understand why fullback is a hard position to fill, but it is. I know people want to draft a rookie, but look at Quinn Johnson, for instance. Yes, he looked good in the Senior Bowl, but if you watch him on every snap, he misses some blocks, lets up early on some, gets beaten on some, clearly goes after the wrong guy on some. His highlights were great, but his inconsistency shows that he is not ready to play in the NFL right now with that sort of game. He would get slaughtered for his mistakes. He would need time to develop into someone reliable.

Look at what the Eagles have done with rookies in the past: Cecil Martin played a year behind Kevin Turner; Thomas Tapeh played a year behind Jon Ritchie. Both moves by design. Maybe they get Quinn Johnson to play behind Klecko for a year, or maybe they go get a veteran FB. Either way, I think if we have learned one thing, it is that the Eagles probably will not, and definitely should not, rely on a draft pick to save the day. Hope, but don't rely.

The Old Buffoon said...

My hope is for Ikegwuonu, that this will be his time, and that as a result Sheldon Brown is given a chance at safety. Add Sheldon to a safety rotation of Q, Demps and Dawk in a limited role.

If we don't address safety this offseason, I don't have much confidence in a sufficiently improved red zone defense - a must, IMO.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Interesting thoughts about FB Lynch. You are right that Johnson wasn't great in the Senior Bowl. However, I can tell you he played much better in games for LSU. Physically he is ready to go. Clearly any rookie FB is going to need competition. Eckel and Klecko will have their shot at the job.

RE: Red Zone defense

That is something I need to study up on. Some of that stuff happened earlier in the year, but it must improve overall.

shlynch said...

re: Sheldon Brown -- Football Outsiders ranked him one of the top two or three corners in all of the NFL this year. He doesn't get picks, but the man is better in coverage than people think. He gave up 1 TD all year, and doing so to Larry Fitzgerald is nothing to be ashamed of.

The Old Buffoon said...

Just to clarify, my comment wasn't intended to be a criticism of Sheldon Brown. I have such respect for the guy that I think he really could make a great safety as well. Time will tell.

Thanks, Tommy, for looking into the red zone D. Can't wait to read your review of Dawk in the season review. Love the guy, made a number of huge plays this year, but the FS position has become one of our weakest.