Monday, March 30, 2009

Julius Peppers

I've said quite a few times that I don't have interest in the Eagles going after Julius. He's an incredibly gifted athlete, but is also a bit of a weird cat. He's quiet off the field. Some have said anti-social, almost. He wants out of Carolina for various reasons, but one is that he's tired of the "spotlight" of Charlotte.

That phrase may sound funny, but it does apply to him. Julius is from the area. He was a star at UNC. Steve Smith is the national star. Jake Delhomme is in more local TV commercials. Still, Julius might be under more scrutiny than anyone. He was brought in to be Superman. That has happened from time to time, but not the way it was hoped. Peppers was supposed to be their Reggie White. That level of greatness hasn't materialized.

The Eagles keep getting mentioned as a possible landing spot for Julius. I've been very dismissive of this notion, but I started I being close-minded?

Peppers is the kind of rare athlete the Eagles love to go after when they can. We know they love DL. Victor Abiamiri is a promising LDE, but Peppers is the better player right now. The Panthers might take pick 28 (their own pick we got last year) in return for JP.

There are questions. He's talked about wanting to play in a 3-4. We can't give him that. He moved to RDE last year. We have Trent Cole and he's not moving. Julius would have to come here as the LDE. We could use him as the Joker and that might appeal to him. We do have a creative defensive coaching staff.

Should the Eagles be interested? Are you guys interested in him?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jamaal Jackson comment

At the Owners Meetings Andy Reid answered various questions about the team. Most of his comments were pretty mundane. I did fine one of them interesting:

* On center Jamaal Jackson: "I thought Jamaal did a pretty good job in the pass game. I think he can keep working on some stuff in the run game."

I was glad to read that. Jamaal had a solid year, but his career isn't headed in the right direction. He looked like a Pro Bowl candidate in 2006. He has been up and down the last two years. I'm not looking for us to replace him necessarily, but I want Jamaal to understand that he needs to play better.

Reid rarely says critical things publicly. I don't think he's being unreasonable with what he said. Jamaal can read that and focus on run blocking.

I'm also glad to see that Andy is focused on improving the run game. It shouldn't be that hard to fix, but it does require resources and attention. Adding Weaver and Stacy Andrews is a good start. Comments about run blocking are nice. We still need to see what they do at TE and RB, but I'm encouraged.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Back to the Future

I haven't mentioned John Harbaugh's comments about Kevin Kolb. At the owner's meetings Harbaugh said some good things about Kevin.

"All I know is I saw Kevin Kolb every day in practice for a year when I was the secondary coach [in '07], where he was going against the defense as the scout-team quarterback," he said.

"When we did red zone, we couldn't defend him. I mean, he'd run the red-zone offense for the team we were going to play. We had the No. 1-ranked red-zone defense in the league 2 years ago. And we couldn't stop Kevin Kolb. Throwing to Mike Gasperson every day in practice. He picked us apart.

"[Eagles coaches] love him. He has all the tools. He's a leader. He's tough. He plays the game the right way."

That sounds pretty good, huh? I was happy to hear that. I'm a Kolb fan and have been since he was a Freshman at Houston.

Then I got to thinking. Those comments sounded eerily familiar. After some meditation, PBR, and shock therapy I recalled this nugget from the past.

Here is Ray Rhodes talking about Ty Detmer in March of 1996.

"You could see how crafty he was," says Rhodes, recalling Detmer's days on the scout team in Green Bay. "He'd be moving the ball on us and I'd ask my linebackers what he was doing, and they'd say, 'He's playing with us. He's staring us down, looking right at us and throwing in a different direction.'"

I also recall Ray saying that Ty was deadly at running the 2-minute offense in practice.

This doesn't mean that Kolb will turn out to be Ty Detmer, pt 2. I just thought it was funny to note the similarity of the situations and comments. Kevin is bigger and more athletic than Ty. I think Kevin's got about the same arm, but we'll know for sure when he gets on the field regularly. Maybe better, maybe worse.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Couple of Things

New article is up. I did a mock draft for the Eagles.

LJ Sounds Off

LJ Smith told some reporters he wasn't happy with the way some of the coaches treated him in 2008. Boo frickin' hoo.

I can think of an organization and fan base that wasn't happy with the way you treated them in 2007 and 2008.

This is sorta typical of LJ. He's making some excuses for why things didn't work out. You have to love it when a chronic underachiever blames poor play on the coaches and the way they communicated with him.

I wish him well in Baltimore. I'm frustrated with LJ because making comments like this is just dumb. He's got a 1-year deal with the Ravens. He'll be on the market next March. Why do something like this? It won't help your prospects in the future and it doesn't accomplish anything in the present.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trade Talk?

Yesterday it was reported that the Browns had talked about trading WR Braylon Edwards. That news excited Eagles Nation in a big way. It was about the same as me watching The Great Texas Dynamite Chase on HBO in 1977. Claudia Jennings was a very talented actress. I digress.

We all know the Eagles masses want a stud WR. Braylon might be that guy..."might" being the key word. He played like a Top 5 WR in 2007, but hasn't come close to that level in other seasons.

The argument for him is that '07 was the only year he got strong QB play. Braylon responded with 80 catches and 16 TDs. He looked the part of an elite receiver. He's only 26. He is big at 6'3, 215. He has pretty good speed. There is a lot to like.

The argument against him is that he's been inconsistent and he drops too many passes. People will point out that TO drops passes. Yes, he does. And for him to be productive an inordinate amount of throws have to go his way. In 2004 TO didn't seem to drop as many balls. He made big plays and the offense flourished. He was more erratic in 2005. Remember the season opener? Owens caught 7 passes for 112 yards. The numbers sound good, but he had about 15 passes go his way. The offense struggled (only 10 points), but TO got his catches and yards. They just didn't come in the flow of the attack.

According to STATS, Inc. here are some 2008 numbers for Braylon:

Target - 138
Caught - 55
Drops - 16
Pct Caught - 39.9
Pct 1st down - 30.4

Here is DeSean:

Target - 121
Caught - 62
Drops - 6
Pct Caught - 51.2
Pct 1st down - 35.5

I'm not saying Braylon is a bad player and the Eagles should avoid him. I'm simply trying to point out the whole picture. There is a lot to like, but there are concerns as well. If this was Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Calvin Johnson...I'd scream for us to make the deal. Those guys look special. Braylon had a great year in the middle of 3 solid seasons.

One of the keys is value. I would not give up one of our 1st round picks for Edwards. The report is that the Browns talked to the Giants and wanted a 2nd, 5th, and Steve Smith. NY offered Hixon in Smith's place and Cleveland said no thanks.

If we could do the deal for a 2nd, 5th, and Reggie Brown, that would be awfully tempting. I don't know if the Browns would be interested. They aren't just looking for a WR + picks. They turned down Hixon. They obviously want the right guy. Reggie might or might not fit the bill.

One thing does bug me about Braylon. He got mad at some point and said he wanted out of Cleveland because the fans wouldn't accept him. He thinks they hold the fact he's a Michigan guy against him. Cleveland is the heart of Ohio State country so I'm sure he gets razzed somewhat, but gimme a break. That is a lame excuse in my mind. Eagles fans had no problem accepting Jerome Brown. He was from hated Miami, but became a beloved figure because he played well. Is Edwards mentally and emotionally tough enough for Philly?

He has spent 4 years in Cleveland, a highly dysfunctional organization. That kind of situation can bring out the worst in you. The Eagles are a solid organization. Edwards would have a structured environment here. That might bring out the best in him.

I'm sure the Eagles will feel the Browns out to see what the asking price is. The Eagles do like to know what's going on. If the price is reasonable, you could see some talks going on. Don't count on anything. The Browns may decide at some point that Edwards is too good to get rid of. The Eagles could also get outbid by a team that is desperate for a WR. We have solid starters in DeSean and Curtis. Teams like Oakland, Jacksonville, and the Jets could all make a strong play feeling like they need a starter and not just an upgrade.

One thing to be sure of is that the Eagles will do their research. They'll check out Edwards, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Peters, and any other veteran players rumored to be on the block that fit holes on our team. The Eagles will only pull the trigger if they feel the price is right. Speaking of which...something tells me Joe Banner would be good in the Showcase Showdown. He's very good with assessing value.

* In a previous post I mentioned the Eagles not spending a 5th round pick on a Fullback because of the Weaver signing. I went back and checked and in 2004, with Jon Ritchie as the starter, we did spend a 5th (#162) on Thomas Tapeh. Based on that, we could spend a mid to late 5th on a FB. I don't know if Quinn Johnson or Tony Fiametta lasts that long. I'm certainly not objecting to adding a FB. I'm just looking back at previous drafting patterns for a reference point. The lack of good FB play could cause the team to be more aggressive than usual in addressing the spot.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Random Stuff

* Dave Spadaro of said that the addition of Weaver at FB definitely moves Dan Klecko back to DT. That makes me like the signing that much more. Klecko gives us a good #4 DT.

* Leonard Weaver isn't a top shelf blocker, but he is an upgrade on what we had in the 2008 season. When you mix in his ability as a runner and receiver the lack of special blocking skills is more acceptable. And it isn't as if he's terrible.

Weaver played TE in college. You see that in his blocking. He will engage a defender and block him. He's just not a downhill guy that runs through his target. We want all FBs to block like Moose Johnston, Lorenzo Neal, or Tony Richardson. There is a reason you see 35-year old fullbacks still bouncing around the league. It is hard to find really good lead blockers these days.

He signed a 1-year deal, but it sounds like Weaver and his agent are open to a long term agreement. Check out this blurb:

"I have a hunch he's going to be an Eagle a long, long time," Lewis said. "He always thought Philly was the perfect place."

Lewis acknowledged the Birds had drifted out of the picture over the past week or so, until they suddenly drifted back in again.

"I was looking at a three-horse race with Seattle, Tampa Bay and Houston," Lewis said. "Then I got a call from Andrew Brandt [who recently joined the Birds' front office]. We started goofing around . . . and shortened the gap," presumably with the incentives.

Lewis said they took less than Weaver could have gotten elsewhere, because they felt this was the best fit for Weaver's long-term earning potential.

"We're taking a little haircut now and hoping for a wonderful 'weave' later on," Lewis said.

* Our draft needs just got adjusted. I've had us taking a DT and FB in the 5th or 6th rounds in recent mocks. I doubt we go for either spot in the 5th at this point. We now may go 6th, 7th, or UDFA.

We're now 5 deep at DT. We've got the big 3 + Klecko and Amon Gordon. We need at least one more body. They may go UDFA at this point. I'd still like to see a big body added to the mix.

With Kyle Eckel and Weaver leading the group at FB I just can't see us taking one before the 6th or 7th. We have several options in terms of how we go at FB. We could keep both Eckel and Weaver. We could go with a rookie and Weaver. We could keep just Weaver and then have the rookie on the Practice Squad.

I should also mention that I think we'll use at least a couple of the 5th round picks in trades to move up. I don't think you want four 5th round picks on a team that is a SB contender.

Back to the notion of carrying 2 FBs on the roster. That has happened before. We had Cecil Martin and Kevin Turner in 1999. We had Thomas Tapeh and Jon Ritchie in 2004. Ritchie got hurt and Josh Parry took over. And of course last year we had Eckle and Klecko. It isn't ideal, but factor in that Weaver also plays the role of a big back and it makes some sense.

* Have we made a commitment to running the ball more? Adding Weaver gives us mixed signals. We did seriously address the position of fullback. We didn't add a great blocker. The problem is that we didn't have great choices in terms of blockers to go after. Very weak FB group. Weaver was the best FB on the market.

I think letting Tra Thomas go was a good sign. He was never a good run blocker. No matter who we add or play at LT, the run blocking will be better.

We still need to see what happens in the draft. If we add Knowshon Moreno, a blocking TE and another FB, then there will be no doubt. Let's just say I'm cautiously optimistic at this point.

* WR Hakeem Nicks scored an 11 on the Wonderlic. This is a concern. The Eagles have a complex playbook. You must be able to master it.

The Eagles won't rely just on the Wonderlic. We all know that some people don't test well. Reid met with Nicks at the Combine to get a feel for him. If the Wonderlic bothers them, they might bring Nicks in for a visit. They can test him on football matters or give him an oral exam. The goal is to find out if a player is just a poor tester or if he isn't very bright.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Leonard Weaver Signs in Philly

The Eagles added an interesting weapon on Friday. Leonard Weaver signed a 1-year, $1.75M deal. His addition makes the backfield that much deeper and more versatile. The only thing keeping me from getting really excited is the fact he's not a great lead blocker.

Weaver is a gifted receiver. He was a star TE in college at Carson-Newman. That receiving ability has carried over to the NFL. In the last 2 seasons he had 59 catches for 535 yards and 2 TDs. Eagles FBs have 58 the last 5 years. That should give you an idea that Weaver is an upgrade in terms of his receiving skills.

Go watch his highlights from the second SF game. Click on the link and choose SEA as the team. Go to Week 8 highlights and choose the 3:43 clip. You'll see a really impressive run and 2 long TD catches.

He only signed a 1-year deal. He isn't a great blocker. I tend to think the Eagles will keep another FB/RB type on the roster. It could be Dan Klecko, but I don't know if that would be smart. I'm of the mind to move him back to DT. Let Weaver, Kyle Eckel, and a rookie fight for the two jobs.

This was another solid signing. It isn't great because of Weaver's blocking, but it does make us better in the short term. I still hold out hope that we'll add Quinn Johnson or Tony Fiametta in the draft. That would make me feel really good about fullback.

Weaver's stats:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Couple of Things

New article is up. I wrote about the draft.

LJ Smith

The day I talk about his lack of suitors the jerk has the nerve to go and agree to a deal. He still needs to pass a physical, but he should officially sign with the Ravens today or tomorrow.

Interesting note...he only signed a one year, $1.5M deal. This will be LJ's third straight season in a contract year. He basically blew the last two. Will the third time be a charm? Consider that he's the backup TE on a running team and there is a chance LJ will never get that big deal he so badly coveted.

Answering Some Questions

RE: James Casey

He is a terrific receiver. Has very good hands and just plucks the ball naturally. His blocking doesn't really exist at this point. He seems like the kind of guy who would mix it up if needed, but at 6'3, 240 he lacks the ideal build to be much of a blocker. I prefer Travis Beckum. He's got similar size, but played at Wisconsin. Everybody in Madison blocks if they want to play.

I could see Reid loving Casey as a potential weapon. I just prefer Beckum. I see both guys going in the 3rd, but Casey might sneak into the late 2nd.

RE: trade for Cutler

Won't happen. The Broncos don't want McNabb. McDaniels either wants Cutler or another young QB to groom. McNabb is a proven vet who is set in his ways. I can't see Josh wanting any part of that. Egos are too inflated. Heck, Cutler's ego is a big part of the problem now.


I doubt Bey gets to pick 21. I think he first comes into play with JAX at pick 8, but more realistically will go in the 10-20 range. NYJ and Bears both need WRs.

@ Izzy ...

I'll write up a post about the defense and talk about some of those issues. They deserve more than a quick answer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And Then There Were...None?

LJ Smith turned down contract extensions for a couple of years. He wanted the Eagles to pay him big money or he wanted a chance to hit the open market. The Eagles tagged him for the 2008 season in a move that made sense for both sides. Then LJ went and had a mediocre year. Some would call it bad, but I'm trying to be nice to the man while he's down. Anywho...

LJ did get to hit the market this year. And the market basically said "No thanks". LJ talked for a long time to the Falcons, but they finally withdrew from negotiations a few days ago. The Lions were the only other team he was talking to. They signed Will Heller on Monday. That might eliminate them from the running for LJ's services. Unless he does good lawn work.

As of right now, LJ has no known suitors. I am getting as much interest as him. Zero. How the mighty (in perception only) have fallen. LJ will probably end up signing right before or after the draft. Some team will want the freedom to pass on a TE or some team that missed a TE will give him a deal. At this point he might have to sign another one-year deal and hope for the best.

Be careful what you wish for LJ, you just might get it. He wanted to test the market, but I don't think he was prepared for this kind of rejection. He's lonelier than a hitchhiker with pets.

Misc Questions

RE: Andre Smith

If the Eagles took him at 21 they would probably work him into the lineup at LG. I'm assuming Todd's at LT. JJ is the Center. Shawn can play RG or RT. Cole could handle RG on a temporary basis until Stacy is 100% and Shawn can slide back to G. McGlynn could also help at RG or at least compete with Cole for time.

RE: Disruptive DTs

We've altered our defense over the years. Corey and Darwin were allowed to penetrate. We now ask Mike and Brod to play more 2-gap. That clogs the OL and lets the LBs run to the ball. We finished Top 5 in run defense because of how tough are guys are in the middle.

We let backup DTs rush the passer. Most of Darren Howard's 10 sacks came from DT. Klecko had 2 at DT. We do pressure the QB more than you think up the middle. There is still room for improvement. If Bunk or Patt can improve, the D could start to become dominant.


I'm going to save this topic for a full post.

RE: Todd at RT

We drafted Todd to be a RT. He got to camp and Tra was hurt. They gave Todd a shot at LT and he's been "stuck" on the left side ever since. I think Todd could be a terrific RT. I'm excited to see him at either OT spot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back From a Quiet Weekend

Sorry about the lack of posting over the weekend. I focused on watching college players and even some college basketball.

A couple of people have asked about the OL in relation to the struggles of the running game. Let's all understand this. The running game was a systematic failure. There isn't one person, position, or position group to blame.

Let's start with Westy. In the Arizona game he looked almost as good as he did all year. He still had a couple of plays in that game where he got out in space and only had one defender to beat. Westy didn't beat those defenders. His long run was only 17 yards. In 2007 Westy had 11 runs of 20 or more yards. That total fell to only 5 this year. Those runs came against teams with slow LBs (CIN, NYG, ATL). He only had 2 catches of 20+ yards. One was against the Giants on the TD. The other came against Washington when he was covered by a DT on a zone blitz.

Brian didn't have his normal acceleration, speed, cutting ability, or shiftiness. Injuries really did a number on him in 2008. Those are the traits that help him break short runs into medium runs and then some medium runs into long runs. Without that ability, Brian was mortal and fell into the "4 yards and a cloud of dust category".

His blocking didn't help the situation. Fullback is the first place to start. Thomas Tapeh was a solid lead blocker for 2 years. He wasn't a jackhammer, but he took on his targets and usually won. That element was missing from a lot of 2008. Tony Hunt showed some promise, but simply wasn't trained to be a FB. He didn't seal off defenders as well as was needed. Then Dan Klecko took over. He was better, but was still highly inconsistent. There were times when he'd floor a defender and look really good. There were other times when he was unsure who to block and would freeze.

Tight ends didn't help the situation. As much as Eagles fans hate to hear this, LJ Smith had times when he was a very good run blocker. He wasn't the awful blocker so many (including Mike Mayock) make him out to be. LJ's problem was inconsistency. He'd have a great game and then struggle the next 2 weeks. You couldn't count on him. He was in and out of the lineup this year as the team went more to Brent Celek. That was good for the passing game, but not the running game. LJ didn't have many strong games this year. Neither did Brent. And when the team put Matt "blocking isn't my cup of tea" Schobel on the field it was disastrous. See the Bears game for proof of that.

You don't expect your TEs to always be great blockers. Back in 2003 when the team ran the ball so well with Duce, Buck, and young Westy the TEs were LJ and Chad Lewis. That isn't exactly the most physical pair of guys in the world. They did enough to be effective. Effort goes a long way. LJ was just all over the place this year in terms of his play. Very erratic. Celek simply needs to get stronger. Schobel needs a bus ticket to oblivion...or Yellowknife, which ever is further away.

And now for the OL. They too were inconsistent this year. Watch the Arizona game and you see our guys playing at a high level. Watch part of the second Giants game and you see some good things. Then check out the playoff games. The OL struggled to open holes and sustain blocks.

My biggest beef is with the tackles. Tra has never been a good run blocker, but he really went down a notch this year. There were a few plays in the NFC-CG when he didn't block anyone. Unacceptable. Go jump on a pile and at least show me effort. Runyan wasn't the same guy we've come to know and love. He had some good moments, but didn't consistently get the kind of push we're used to.

Max played RG more than anyone during the season. He disappointed me. Max last year showed some real potential as a run blocker. I didn't see much of that in 2008. He had a couple of poor games. He supposedly was sick for one of them. Nick Cole took over in the 2nd half of the ARZ game and started the last month, plus the playoffs. I liked what I saw from Nick. He was especially effective on screen passes. His run blocking wasn't great, but I thought he was better than Max.

Jamaal and Todd manned C and LG all year long. I thought JJ was solid and Todd was our best OL. Jamaal has flat-lined since the '06 season when he looked like a Pro Bowl type player. We haven't seen that in either of the last two years. At the same time, he's hardly a bad player. Todd had an outstanding year as a run blocker. He did well vs DTs and was very good on LBs. Unfortunately Todd isn't a dominant kind of blocker. He's not a Shawn Andrews type who can consistently create massive running lanes. Todd gets his guy blocked, but he's not a special player. The loss of Andrews did hurt the OL. No question about that.

So how do we solve the running game?

We work on every part. We need to get Westy healthy. We need to add another talented RB to the mix. We must improve FB play. We need to add a TE who is more of a blocker.

The OL will look different. We don't yet know the exact configuration, but it will remain big and it will be younger than last year. Both elements should help them to run the ball more effectively.

I'm glad the Eagles saw the various malfunctions that led to the problems. They are addressing the different areas. If they just added a RB or just changed one OL or something like that, I'd be worried. Thankfully they see that this wasn't a one person or one position problem. Let's hope the solutions work and the Eagles are a much better running team in 2009. Don't give Big Red a reason not to run the ball. That just makes it too easy on him to dial up 45 passes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random Stuff

The only real holes left on the roster are RB/FB and TE. The Eagles have done a good job in FA of filling whatever holes there were. Now the team should have a lot of freedom on draft day. That gives them the ability to go CB or TE or OT in the 1st round. They can grab a WR. They could take a DL if they happened to love a certain player even though we appear set up front. And this could be the year that Big Red actually takes a RB in the 1st round.

The roster still does have holes, but these are areas that we anticipated addressing through the draft. That was in part because we wanted young guys or there simply weren't good FA targets.

Klecko back to DT

One thing a lot of people forget is that Dan was getting DT snaps when Abiamiri was hurt. His move to FB coincided with Victor getting healthy. Victor played LDT in the Nickel and Dime. That is really the spot Klecko played. If we make Victor the starting LDE, then I'm fine with Klecko moving back to DT. We want Victor on the field quite a bit because of his potential. Klecko is valuable because of his versatility, character, and the fact he's solid on STs.

Andre Smith

I'd pass on him. Has nothing to do with his ability. Andre is a very gifted player. My concern is his character. He's not a criminal or anything like that, but he comes across as very immature and naive based on the last 3 months. We don't do well with guys like that (Justice, McCoy, Moats). We need guys that are disciplined and motivated (like Trent, Stewart, and Celek).

Michael Oher

Pass. He needs some special handling. He's very talented, but isn't a guy you just look and say "Here's the playbook. Study it and be ready for practice tomorrow." Oher needs hands-on coaching, both on and off the field. I just don't see him as an Eagles target.

Anthony Becht

I need to go watch some tape of him. In the past he was a very good blocker. Adequate receiver. If that is still true, then I'd be fine with signing him to be our blocker. We could get a blocking TE for the Practice Squad and develop that guy for 2010. Obviously we'd still spend a high pick on a pass catching TE.

Alex Mack

I do like him. I think he's the best C prospect. I don't think the Eagles will take a C in the 1st or 2nd.

Blocking TEs in the draft

Pettigrew is the best. Shawn Nelson is a good blocker/receiver. Anthony Hill is a very good blocker. He's a mid-round target. Richard Quinn is a good blocker. He's a mid to late round guy. Those are the standouts. Travis McCall of 'Bama has potential. Nick Walker of 'Bama is a solid blocker. David Johnson of Arkansas State is short, but a good blocker. He might be a FB or H-back.

The Eagles could take a receiver early and a blocker in the middle of the draft.

OL Culpability

Our OL wore down as the season went on. They came up short in the playoffs. Compare that to the Cards. Their OL was okay in the season, but got better in the postseason. Todd was our best run blocker. JJ was okay. Max didn't do a lot for me. I thought Cole was the better RG. The run blocking from TE and FB was adequate, on a good day. Tra and Jon were inconsistent as run blockers.

There is a reason I wanted some new blood up front. Get some younger guys who will last the whole season and will do a better job of opening holes.

Angelo Crowell

He has been a good LB in Buffalo. He's played ILB and OLB. I think he'd play WLB for us. I'm not sure if the Eagles are genuinely interested or just checking with his agent to see who else is talking to Crowell.

When healthy, Angelo is a good player. He's flown under the radar for most of his career. This is a complete LB. He can hit and tackle. He can rush the passer. He can cover for a LB. He knows how to make plays.

Knowing who is interested would help you in regard to making draft plans. Or maybe the Eagles want Akeem Jordan to spend another year on the bench getting ready. Crowell would sign a 1-year deal so that he could get exposure and look for a big deal in 2010. I wouldn't object to going after a guy like Crowell. He'd come cheap and would play with a chip on his shoulder. That would also free us to trade Omar Gaither if we wanted.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Article

I posted some thoughts on Leonard Weaver in there.


Eagles Add Another Safety

Rashad Baker is here with a 1-year deal. I mentioned him in a prior post.

Rashad Baker - 5'10, 198 - 27-year old player has been on 4 teams already, but is coming off a career year. Had career highs of 24 tackles and 3 INTs for the Raiders last season. In the past he was mainly a STer. Could be a solid role player.

Good signing by the Eagles. We now have 4 legit NFL Safeties. We also have Byron Parker in the mix. We'll add a rookie or two. That will give us a solid group from which to find 4 or 5 guys. Jones and Baker are here on 1-year deals. That should keep them focused and playing hard to try and impress the Eagles, or other teams, for 2010.

Slowly the Eagles are filling holes on the roster. Next up is RB and TE.

Leonard Weaver

I wrote about him in my latest column. I'll post a link to that when it goes up tonight. Weaver is a good runner and receiver, but only a marginal blocker. If we do add him we better still draft a fullback.

Reader Comments

RE: Alex Mack?

I'm not sure if he is the Eagles type of C. Bubba was here when Andy arrived. Hank was cut by the Steelers and sat here for a year. We drafted Scott Peters in the 4th round. We drafted Dominic Furio in the 7th several years ago. We signed Jamaal Jackson as a UDFA. Nick Cole was oringally brought here as a UDFA to develop at C.

Would we spend pick 28 on a pure C? I tend to think not. I do like Alex a lot, but the Eagles value versatility. They love Tackles who can stay outside or play Guard and Center. Most of our OL played Tackle in college. That includes guys like Jamaal, Nick, and Shawn. I do think we'll add an interior OL somewhere in the draft.

RE: Knowshon vs Matt Forte

I was shocked to see how well Matt played last year. He was outstanding as a runner and receiver. He was the Bears most reliable offensive player. I think Moreno is more dynamic as a runner. I don't think he will be as good a receiver as Forte. Knowshon will be lucky if he's anywhere close to the rookie that Matt was.

RE: Jay Cutler and the Eagles

Won't happen. Shouldn't happen. The Broncos were only interested in Matt Cassel because he and coach Josh McDaniels knew each other from New England. The point wasn't to get rid of Jay. He's been a very good QB for his short career.

That said, things have gotten awkward in Denver. Someone needs to backdown to help get everyone on the same page. I think Cutler is most at fault. He needs to realize that he's not such an elite player that he can hold the hostage franchise. If he'll pull his head out of his butt, Jay will see that he can have a very good career playing for Denver and Josh McDaniels.

I'm sure the Eagles would be interested if Jay hit the market, but we won't break the bank to make a deal. McDaniels would have little interest in McNabb. Donovan is a veteran QB who is used to doing things a certain way. That is the last kind of player Josh wants to have to bring into his team.

I anticipate Donovan being the starter in 2009. We'll see what happens beyond that point.

RE: my 180 on Shawn

He is openly showing enthusiasm about returning to the team and playing football. That wasn't the case last fall. Shawn was basically looking for excuses to stay away. The fact he called in during Stacy's signing to offer his thoughts showed me a lot. Actions speak louder than words, though. Offseason workouts start in less than 2 weeks. We'll see if Shawn shows up and how he acts. That will give us a quick hint that he's all the way back.

RE: Big Red and running the ball

I understand the skepticism. It is absolutely warranted. I think Big Red will be serious about adjusting the running game this offseason because he can specifically look back and see games we lost (CHI, WAS). You can argue that we should have run more at various points in 2004-07, but it is hard to find games where you can say with some sense of certainty that we lost because we couldn't run.

Andy can remain confident/arrogant about his passing game as long as it produces points and wins. We almost missed the playoffs last year. We were good enough to win the Super Bowl, but barely made the playoffs. Think about that. I think that scenario will be too big for Andy to ignore. He is a smart man. Unfortunately that wisdom is matched by a deadly mixture of patience and stubbornness.

If he doesn't add a blocking TE and skips RB in the first 2 rounds, we'll know I am wrong and nothing has changed. I don't anticipate that being the case.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quiet Tuesday

LT Orlando Pace was cut by the Rams today. Someone just called me to ask if I had any interest. Not really. Pace started 14 games last year. He started 1 in 2007 and 8 in 2006. His level of play isn't nearly what it used to be.

I'd rather put Shawn or Todd outside and see what they can do. The only way I'd have interest in Pace is if he wanted to sign a 1-year deal. Apparently that's what we offered Tra and he passed on it.

The thinking with a 1-year deal is that we'd buy some time. Hopefully next year we'd have a better feel for Shawn. Stacy should be healthy. We'll see how Mike McGlynn plays, whether as a starter or key backup. We might even have a better idea of what King Dunlap's future is.

I prefer the young guys up front, but I'd be okay with Pace for one season if that is what the team wants to do.

WR Targets in the Draft

I posted some notes on Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt today. Both guys could be Eagles targets in April.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tra Thomas is a Jag

Back in March of 1998 I was busy watching game tape of college prospects to figure out who should go where. One player and one team I knew for certain. I knew Tra Thomas was the LT that the Eagles needed and they'd pick him at 11. I coveted Tra Thomas.

Those where the days when Florida State was a powerhouse. I had more than half of their games on tape from the 1997 season (I still watch their 20-3 win over UNC from time to time). Tra was a great pass blocker. He was huge. The only down side was that he wasn't much of a run blocker. That didn't mean squat to me. Since Bernard Williams smoked his way out of the league in the summer of 1995, we'd needed a good LT.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when Tra made it to pick 11 and the Eagles took him. I've been spoiled since then. 11 years of good LT play. Wow. Think about that for a minute. Not many teams have that kind of streak going.

I wish Tra all the best in Jacksonville, but I'm glad he's gone. We needed to get younger and more physical at LT. Whether the job goes to Todd or Shawn isn't critical to me. I'm excited to see either guy out there. They won't be as good as Tra at pass protection. He was gifted when it came to keeping McNabb clean. We will get more push in the run game and that's something our offense desperately needs.

Good luck, big man. It was a hell of a ride.


Steve wanted to know what we should make of the Eagles being so quiet in the RB market to this point. I think the Eagles are finally going to spend a high pick on a RB. I'll be highly surprised if we don't go for a RB in the 1st or 2nd.

There wasn't much on the FA market to start with. There is very little out there right now. There are no RFAs of interest. That leaves us with 2 options. The Eagles can trade for a RB or they can draft one.

We could try to trade for a big back like Michael Bush. He'd be a great complement to Westy. Larry Johnson wants out of KC, but that doesn't seem likely. Fred Jackson of Buffalo would be ideal, but they have no reason to deal him. That leaves the draft.

The running game cost us wins in 2008. That wasn't necessarily the case in the past. I think losing games the way we did in WAS and CHI will cause Andy to realize that he must change things up. That's why I expect a RB in the 1st or 2nd. We could wait for the 3rd round if they think the right guy will fall there, but I'm not sure how likely that is.

I'm actually taking the non-action as a good sign. We're not going to make minimal changes. AR may have finally seen the need for another top shelf RB on the roster.


OC wants to know if there are any holes on the lines. I like our DL as is. That group is deep and versatile. We could use a #4 DT, but that is the only spot I see up for grabs. At this point, Juqua Parker might have a tough time making the roster. Remember that we have last year's 3rd Rder, DE Bryan Smith, ready to get on the field.

The OL is much trickier. I'm comfortable with the top 6 guys: Shawn, Stacy, JJ, Nick, Mike, and Todd. Beyond that I don't know what to think. We have guys like Chris Patrick and Mike Gibson who could be solid backups. Are they good enough? We have a prospect like King Dunlap to consider. Is he going to be good enough to earn a roster spot this year? How healthy is Max Jean-Gilles? I'm assuming Winston Justice is a goner, but they could always keep him around in case of emergency.

The Eagles could keep 9 or 10 OL. They have 6 spots sewn up. Max will probably take one spot, although he could hit the PUP list. Gibson/Dunlap/Patrick will produce either 1 or 2 players. That could take up 8 or 9 spots. We'll draft at least one player and stack up on UDFAs. We could easily take 2 players. I don't see more than 2 getting picked, unless they use a late pick and expect the guy to be Practice Squad material.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Answering Some Questions

I got a few questions based on yesterday's mock. Here we go...

Moreno vs Pettigrew at 21

Brandon Pettigrew is not just any TE. He's 6'5, 263. That is big for a college kid. That's good size for the NFL. Brandon is an outstanding blocker, arguably the best in the whole draft. He also has very good hands. The other TEs in the draft are good at something, but not complete. That makes Brandon unique and boosts his value. Pass on Pettigrew if you want, but don't be under the assumption that another TE will give you the same kind of complete package that he does.

Moreno is the top RB, but he's not necessarily special in any way. I'd love for the Eagles to be able to land him. Assuming we don't add a good veteran TE, I'd take Pettigrew over him. If we add a vet, go get Moreno.

No Early OL

I don't think the Eagles will take an OL in the 1st round at this point. It's possible they'll go for someone in the 2nd or 3rd if the right guy is on the board.

For now let's assume Todd is the LT.

LT Herremans
LG McGlynn/Cole
C Jackson
RG Andrews
RT Andrews

That is a pretty solid group. Everyone is under 30. The need is for depth. You can find those guys in the middle of the draft. I guess it's possible the Eagles could go for a C in the 2nd, but they also have Mike Gibson coming back from last year. The team might like him.

12 Picks

I don't think the Eagles will use all 12. They'll be aggressive about moving up if possible. They can also deal a pick for a higher pick next year. Trade one of the 5th rounders for a 4th in 2010, for example.

Skill Players

Big Red's track record says it is unlikely to go for skill players, but we've also never really had a situation like this. We have a clear hole at TE. We have an aging WR in Curtis. We have an aging RB in Westy. If the Eagles ever do decide to go for skill players, this is the time to do it.

Plus, they know if I don't get Hakeem Nicks there will be heck to pay. I have the strike teams ready to storm the NovaCare Complex.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weird Rumor + Mock Draft

PFT reported last night that Steelers CB Bryant McFadden had narrowed his choices down to 4 teams. They listed the Eagles as one of the teams. I'd love to think that is just the agent using our name as bargaining leverage with another team.

There is a possibility we're interested. It isn't a secret that Sheldon isn't thrilled with his pay. He's a high character guy though and isn't going out of his way to make an issue of the situation. If we dealt Sheldon we'd need a capable replacement. I doubt this is the case, but it isn't completely unbelievable.

I think the Eagles will keep Sheldon around for 2009 as they try to figure out how good Jack Ikegwuonu can be. I'm sure we'll add a CB somewhere in the draft as well.

Mock Draft

I posted a new 2-round mock draft over at .

I went ahead and did a full mock draft for the Eagles.

1 - Brandon Pettigrew, TE - Okla. State
1 - Hakeem Nicks, WR - UNC
2 - Rashad Jennings, RB - Liberty
3 - Cedric Peerman, RB - Virginia
4 - Xavier Fulton, OT/OG - Illinois
5 - Quinn Johnson, FB - LSU
5 - David Bruton, S - Notre Dame
5 - Jack Williams, LB - Western Illinois
5 - Joe Burnett, CB - UCF
6 - CJ Davis, C/G - Pitt
6 - Terrence Knighton, DT - Temple
7 - Rulon Davis, DE - Cal

Here's the thinking...

* Pettigrew gives the team a complete TE. He'll help the running and passing game.
* Nicks is the future starter opposite of DeSean. He has the size that Jackson doesn't. Great RAC ability.
* Jennings comes from a small school, but he's got big time talent. At 6'1, 234 he gives us a big back, but he is athletic as well.
* Peerman is an insurance policy. He can catch and run. He has KOR ability. He has played in a rotation.
* Fulton is a former DT that played LT at ILL. He can develop into a good backup all over the OL.
* Quinn is the best FB in the draft.
* Bruton offers immediate impact on STs.
* Williams is tough enough to be the SAM, but athletic enough to play WLB. Good backup.
* Burnett is a playmaker and RS. He'd be great value at this point.
* Davis can play C or G.
* Knighton is big at 6'3, 321. He could be the #4 DT or could be a good practice player at the least.
* Davis is 6'5, 281. He would be a project for backup LDE in the future.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sean Jones is an Eagle

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I thought Sean Jones might be coming here for a short deal. Jones agreed to a 1-year deal with the team this afternoon. This meshes with my thinking that it gives both sides a short term solution. Jones gets to go from a bad defense to a top 5 unit. He comes to a team that uses the FS creatively and aggressively. The Eagles get another year to decide if in fact Quintin Demps is the answer at FS. They also get to look at Jones in our system. We don't know how good he is when used all over the place. He has 1 career sack. Quintin Demps has 1 career sack.

Here's a couple of scenarios. Jones thrives in our defense. He gives us the speed and ballhawking ability we've lacked for a few years. The fit is great and we sign him to a long term deal.

Or...Jones is pedestrian in our defense. By the end of the year he's lost some of his PT to Demps. He leaves and Q takes over the FS spot. Or maybe we get Eric Berry or Taylor Mays in the draft. Where the heck is the drool smiley when I need it?

We are now 3-deep with good Safeties in 2009. We'll add one in the draft and probably sign a priority UDFA Safety. Mix in Byron Parker and you have a solid group that should produce 4 quality players for us.

Now we move on to TE. Maybe RB. Anything else in FA?

Sean Jones & Other Stuff

Sean Jones is visiting the Eagles today. I watched a couple of his 2008 games last night to get a better feel for him.

SEAN JONES --- Good size. Athletic guy. Covers a lot of ground for a guy his size. Plays centerfield or a deep zone most of the time. Only comes down into the box on occasion. Solid wrap-up tackler. Doesn't show much pop in his tackles. Missed 4 games in 2008, but started the other 12. Productive playmaker in coverage. Has 14 INTs in the last 3 years. Made a beautiful INT vs Philadelphia this year. Bit on a play fake in the endzone, then reversed his course when he saw it was a pass. Was able to get back into position and make a diving grab of the ball. Showed great hands on the play. Doesn't show killer instinct as a hitter or tackler.

Jones is talented, but he is nothing like Dawkins in terms of being a physical presence on the field. Jones might be bigger, but he doesn't play with the same kind of ferocity, physicality, or power that Dawk does. Not even close. He does have good speed and range. He'd be an upgrade in that sense.

In Jones defense, he wasn't used creatively at all. He was way off the ball most of the time. That limited his tackle attempts and didn't give him a chance to do much. Jim Johnson would be a lot more aggressive and creative with Jones. Dawk was a solid young FS before JJ got here. Once JJ saw what he had to work with and turned him loose, Dawk became Weapon X. I don't think Jones is going to make that kind of transition, but I do think he'd benefit a great deal from playing in our scheme with JJ using him in multiple ways.

I am curious why a player with Jones talent wasn't getting looks from other teams. That one has me confused. Remember, we went after an old CB in Shawn Springs before we talked to Jones. I didn't see any major deficiencies in the game tape. The biggest criticism might be that for all his talent Jones didn't stand out more. Or maybe he's simply tainted by playing for the mediocre Browns defense.

It will be interesting to see what happens today. Do the Eagles sign him? Do they give him a 1-year deal? From Jones perspective a 1-year deal could make some sense. He might see that he could be a star type player in our scheme and it would be worth it to showcase his skills for a year. Or maybe the Eagles love this guy and think he'd be a great long term addition and will give him a serious deal. Keeping Demps as the #3 Safety and primary KOR isn't a bad idea.

Extra Picks

Interesting thought occurred to me last night. We now have 4 picks in the 5th round. I wonder if one possibility is signing a RFA who's compensation level is a 5th round pick. I went back to the 2006 draft to look around and see who is available that would only require that pick.

Two player stood out:

SS Dawan Landry - BAL - 6'0, 220

TE Quinn Sypniewski - BAL - 6'6, 270

Both players missed all or most of the 2008 season due to injury. That kept them from getting higher tenders. Landry had a neck/back issue, but is supposed to be fine for the upcoming season.

Sypniewski was a player on the rise after a strong '07 season, but he tore his ACL last April at a mini-camp. I haven't read an update on him, but you'd think he should be in okay shape since that was 11 months ago. He would make a lot of sense for us. He's a big TE who can block and catch. Mix him with Celek and you've got quite a 1-2 punch. Go add some athletic guy in the middle of the draft and you have a good trio.

Just a crazy theory and it's probably nothing, but I figured you guys would enjoy the ramblings of a lunatic mind. Next Tommy Hutton is responsible for JFK's death. Hutton is guilty of one Dallas disaster so why not connect him to others?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Possible FA Targets

The two key spots I see us needing FA help are at TE and Safety. RB could be another spot where we'll add a veteran. I'm still working on what I think we'll do there.


Overview --- We could trade for someone like Tony Gonzalez, but the FA market is purely role players. I don't see anyone we'd pursue as a starter. The goal then is to find a Jeff Thomason type of player. We want someone who can block and play STs. If the guy has some ability as a receiver, that's great.

Billy Bajema - 6'4, 256 - Was reportedly a player the Eagles wanted to take in the 7th round the year he came out. SF grabbed him first. Purely a #3 kind of TE. Okay blocker. Will play on STs. Has okay hands, but only 7 career catches.

Tory Humphrey - 6'2, 255 - Interesting guy. Mainly a STer and blocker for the Packers, but did catch 11 passes last year. I don't know how good a blocker he is. Only 26. Could develop into a good #3 TE.

Tony Curtis - 6'5, 251 - The #2/#3 TE for Dallas last year. Caught 8 passes. Comfortable in his role as a backup. Can block and play STs. The Eagles always like to sign guys from division rivals if they can.

Darnell Dinkins - 6'4, 260 - Older guy at 32. Has some ability. Has 25 career catches and 3 TDs. Solid STs player.

Will Heller
- 6'7, 270 - Big guy. Could be a good role player. Has 36 catches in 5 years. Will play on STs. Has bounced around with several teams. Has time with Holmgren and Gruden so he should know the WCO.

Dan Wilcox - 6'1, 250 - Used to be a top flight role player. Had 3 straight season with 20 or more catches and was a very good STer. He's on the way down now, but can still block, catch, and play on STs at a solid level. About to turn 32.

John Owens - 6'3, 255 - Veteran has played for several teams in his career. Has 19 career catches. Will play on STs and is an okay blocker.

Bubba Franks - 6'5, 260 - He's 31 and has only played in 16 games over the last couple of years. He knows the WCO. He was a good receiver and adequate blocker. I don't know what kind of shape he's in. The other thing is that I'm not sure he'd be any help on STs.


Overview --- I want Quintin Demps to get the starting job. The Eagles probably want that as well, but also want an insurance policy. That means adding someone who has starting ability. It doesn't mean we have to find a starter. If the coaches like Demps enough, we're just looking for someone to be the backup and challenge him. We did lose Sean Considine and that means we could use a good STer. That is also a serious consideration.

UPDATE ... has announced that Sean Jones will be visiting the Eagles on Friday. Weird move. Sean is a quality player. He's big at 6'1, 220. He has speed and coverage ability for a big guy. He's picked off 14 passes in the last 3 years. The reason I think the move is weird is that Jones to me is the kind of guy you make a long term commitment to. Frankly, I'm surprised teams haven't been pursuing him more aggressively. Maybe he's tainted from having been on the Browns. I'll be real interested to see if he is offered a one-year deal or if the Eagles are actually thinking of him as the FS of the future. Color me confused.

Anthony Smith - 6'1, 200 - I was very high on Smith when he came out of Syracuse. He's only so-so athletically, but I loved his skill set. He played 3 years for the Steelers and started 16 games. Smith is most well known for his public feud with Tom Brady that turned disastrous when the teams met. Could be a very interesting guy to add. Has starting ability, but needs work.

George Wilson - 6'0, 212 - Former WR moved to S. Started some in 2007, but has mainly been a STer and role player for the Bills. Has good hands and is comfortable in zone coverage. Has 12 career starts and 2 picks.

Josh Bullocks - 6'1, 207 - Only 26, but has 49 career starts. Spent most of '08 on the bench. That should have him hungry. Sign him to a one-year deal and let him audition for teams as a starter or #3 Safety. 6 career INTs and 24 PDs.

Gerald Sensabaugh - 6'0, 204 - Coming off career year. 4 INTs, 8 PDs. The Jags are showing no interest in keeping him because of off-field issues. He could sign a one-year deal in the hopes of having a big season and getting a shot at FA next year while also cleaning up his image. I'd love to add a young, talented, athletic guy like Gerald, but the fact that JAX showed no interest and went and grabbed Sean Considine speaks volumes about what they think of the situation.

Terrence Holt - 6'2, 204 - Today is his 29th birthday. Younger brother of Tory. Has 43 career starts, but never developed into a good starter. Could be a dependable #3, but I'd prefer Demps as our starter.

Rashad Baker - 5'10, 198 - 27-year old player has been on 4 teams already, but is coming off a career year. Had career highs of 24 tackles and 3 INTs for the Raiders last season. In the past he was mainly a STer. Could be a solid spot starter, but I'd rather Demps be on the field and Baker stay a role player.

Keith Davis - 5'11, 207 - Very good STer. Limited DB. He does have starting experience, but isn't much of a cover guy. He'll tackle, but that's about it.

JR Reed - Our old friend. Does know the team and the scheme. Also has KOR ability.

Reader Comments / Questions

JoePanos asked about Jermaine Phillips and Sean Jones. I intentionally left those guys out of the list. Both are quality starters that will want long term deals. I think the Eagles are committed to Demps long term and just want insurance for 2009. I like both Phillips and Jones as players. I'm just not sure about the fit.

(oops. Jones is coming to Philly for a visit. See how much I know?)

Love the name, by the way. I hadn't thought about Joe in a while. He was a solid G for us for a couple of years. He was one of the few picks they got right in the early 90s.

Joe also wanted to know about Michael Bush. I'd love the thought of making a deal for him. Bush is big at 6'1, 250. He runs with power and speed. He was great in the season finale vs Tampa. He helped Oakland win that game and get us into the postseason. Bush was the first pick of the 4th round back in 2007. I think you could get him for a 4th or 5th. He's definitely a guy the Eagles ought to look at.

Greg wants to know what is going on with acquiring all the picks. The report on the Greg Lewis deal is that we got a 2009 5th for him and a 2010 7th. That's a good deal in my mind. GLew has talent, but he fell outside the main rotation down the stretch and you can get a younger guy to replace him on STs.

I'm curious about what is up with all the picks myself. I have to think we're gathering them to use in a trade or trades. We could be trying to acquire an extra 4th round pick or we could be looking to move up in the 2nd or 3rd.

Couple of Quick Updates

* The Eagles just traded Greg Lewis to the Patriots. No details on the deal yet. We've always thought Greg would end up in NE because of the success he has against them.

* TO was cut by the Cowboys. I know a lot of people are going to speculate about whether the Eagles would dare bring him back. I'll pass.

I think any team that wants him should only sign him to a 1-year deal. TO is great for a season. After that is when he pulls the team apart, like watching the Hulk rip off a shirt.

* Shawn Springs is now a Patriot. He signed with them today. That leaves us wide open at Safety in terms of free agents.

* I'll be posting a list of FA targets here in a little while. Just wanted to get this stuff up while it was fresh.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Springs Update

Shawn came to Philly, met with everyone, and took off for his next stop. The fact he left without a deal tells us the Eagles didn't covet him. The Eagles are extremely aggressive with players they really want. The best story in that regard goes back to 2004. The Eagles brought in CB Fred Thomas from New Orleans. They made him a good offer, but Thomas really wanted to stay with the Saints. He went back to his hotel and called the Saints. They worked out some deal. The Eagles kept calling. Fred didn't think they'd let him leave so he and his wife snuck out of town.

Back to Shawn Springs. He admitted the coaches were focusing on him at Safety. I'm guessing the idea was to sign him and have Shawn compete with Quintin Demps for the starting job.

If Dawk had returned, the job was his. You don't ask Brian Dawkins to compete for a starting spot. He earned his spot. Springs is a guy that you don't promise anything to. Clearly they didn't make him a big financial offer. You let Springs and Demps battle it out. May the best man win.

Springs is supposedly heading to New Orleans. He's going to look at several situations and see which one is best for him. I'm doubtful that he'll end up coming back to Philly, but this has already been a strange offseason with some "interesting" moves.

We do need a veteran Safety in the mix, whether projected as a starter or backup. Springs was option number one. We'll see who option two is in a few days...or maybe weeks. The Eagles don't appear to be in a rush at this point in the offseason. That may aggravate some fans, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So Much For Quiet Time...

CB Shawn Springs is visiting Philly today and tomorrow.

I have no inside info as to how they are looking at him. It's possible he's talking to them about playing Safety. More than likely he's here to talk about a backup CB spot. The only problem is that we've got our #3 CB in Joselio Hanson. #4 was projected to be Jack Ikegwuonu. He suffered a horrible ACL injury 13 months ago. Maybe Jack is healing slowly.

I'll be very interested to hear the comments from Springs and the Eagles tomorrow. Where is he gonna play?

For those curious...Springs will turn 34 on March 11th. He started 7 of the 9 games he played in last year for WAS. He had one INT and 7 pass breakups. He picked off 4 passes in 2007. He does have good size at 6'0, 207. +


Apparently Shawn played some S last year for WAS. They'd been trying to move him to S full time, but he was hesitant about making the move. It is very possible that the Eagles want him to challenge Demps for the starting FS job in 2009. The Eagles would only then have to add one Safety through the draft to fill out the group.

Quiet Time

This is probably going to be a quiet week for the Eagles. They don't have any visits scheduled as of now. My sources haven't alerted me to any new info or rumors.

I think the team has their eyes on some 2nd tier FAs. They could start talking to these guys late this week or possibly early next week. I expect the team to pursue a backup TE and a #3 Safety. I'm curious as to whether they'll add a backup RB or OL in FA.

One thing to keep in mind is that agents like to use the Eagles in the rumor mill. It got floated that the Eagles were interested in DE Antonio Smith. Really? He signed a 5-year deal worth over $30M. No way we were talking to him with Abiamiri and Clemons in place at LDE already. Plus Juqua Parker. Derrick Ward's agent must have been really trying to use us. It was reported all over the place that he visited Philly. That didn't happen. The Eagles don't keep visits quiet. They show those guys to the fans and media. Housh and his agent tried to get us involved in that deal. We had no interest. We were linked to Jim Leonhard. Apparently that was false.

Agents see the Eagles as a top shelf organization. They list our name as a team of interest when floating information to reporters. That is done for a couple of reasons. The first hope is that extra competition will push a team to come forward aggressively and overpay. The second goal is simply to get teams interested. People think of the Eagles as a quality organization. If we're interested, they should be as well. Most teams are rationale and well run and this stuff doesn't work too well. I'm sure it has worked on some occasions or agents wouldn't be doing it.


One player we haven't been linked to is Taylor. He just hit the market yesterday, but I'm still surprised we aren't being thrown in as a suitor.

I have real mixed feelings on Jason. He is my favorite non-Eagle of the last decade. I loved watching him play. He really struggled last year, although he did have a good game against us late in the year. I prefer to stick with Abiamiri and Clemons at LDE, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit part of me would be interested in Taylor. When he's playing well, Jason is a very disruptive force.

In the end the smart thing to do is pass on him, which we'll likely do. I wish we could have landed him in a deal 5 or 6 years ago. He'd have been a lot of fun to watch in Eagles green.


Tra Thomas is down talking to the Jags. That makes a lot of sense from their perspective. The Jags didn't let Khalif Barnes go because he was a terrible player. They let him walk because he was a so-so player with baggage. They are trying to get more character guys on that team. Tra is still a solid starting LT and he is a very high character guy. He's not the kind of run blocker that the Jags prefer, but the move would be smart for both sides.


The weird rumor of the last 48 hours was that the Eagles were interested in CB Jabari Greer. The news came from Adam Caplan of Caplan is very connected and knows his FA stuff. I do question this rumor. Seems like another case of an agent mentioning us with his client. Notice our name came up right after Lito was dealt? I bet the agent thinks we have a need for a CB and then floated the rumor.

I could be wrong. The Eagles do love CBs. Adding Greer just doesn't make sense unless you trade Sheldon or move him to FS. We've talked about that move for years, but I think Sheldon wants to stay at CB and will stay there. We'll see...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Some Follow-Up Comments

Sorry I didn't post last night. I lost power and that cut into my productivity for draft and Eagles stuff. I don't know how Laura Ingalls Wilder put out those first few draft guides.


There is a good chance that Mike McGlynn and Quintin Demps will be starters for us this year. I think some fans have the wrong mentality about this situation. The team isn't settling on these guys. "Since we couldn't upgrade let's throw McGlynn out there."

The team wants these young players on the field. The Eagles want to see what these guys do as starters. That doesn't mean they'll pan out. There are no guarantees in football. Demps may flop for us. Dawk may flop in Denver. I know people don't want to hear that, but it is a possibility.

I'm excited to see what Mike and Q can do. I liked both players very much last year in watching them as draft prospects. Demps was a target of mine because he was such a playmaker. We didn't get a chance to see that last year, but he's got excellent ball skills. He was an INT machine at UTEP. Dawk only had 2 picks in the last 2 years. I hope Demps speed and athletic ability will lead to more picks.

McGlynn reminds me a bit of John Welbourn. John is the best LG of the Reid era. I'd love it if Mike could pan out anything like Welbourn, aside from the contract problem. Mike is a mean, nasty player. With Runyan gone, we need someone to bring that kind of edge to the OL.


One thing you have to keep in mind is that what has happened did not catch the Eagles off guard. They expected Sean to leave. They knew Buck was going to shop around. The team hoped Tra and Dawk would stay, but prepared as if they might be gone.

The Eagles spent all fall watching prospective Free Agents. They studied Jason Brown to find out how much they liked him. They studied Haynesworth. And Canty and Houshmandzadeh. They studied backups and STs players.

Grades were given out and judgments made about who to pursue. This is a weak FA class. It was particularly weak where the Eagles need help, OL, TE, and RB. The Eagles aren't skipping over players because they are cheap. They simply don't see attractive targets.

Back in 1982 I went to the mall with my grandmother. I headed straight for the toy store. I had $3 and wanted to get some baseball cards. The toy store sold the packs that contained 40 cards. The cost was about $2.50. That was going to wipe out my cash reserves. I walked out of the store trying to decide what to do. My grandmother came up and said "when in doubt, leave it out". Those words have haunted me for almost 3 decades now.

Her words apply to FA. Don't spend money for the sake of making a move. Go find players you like and add them. It might be that you only add role players. Making moves just for the sake of making moves does not work in football. You have to come up with a plan in mid-February and stick with it.

Clearly the Eagles didn't see much they liked in the first wave of FA. They decided that Stacy Andrews was the only player that they truly wanted.

We're only 4 days into the offseason. Moves aren't over. The Eagles best option this year may be trades. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see them ask about RBs and TEs. The Raiders made some noise about trading Michael Bush. He'd be a heck of a power back to add to the backfield. The Eagles could try to trade for a TE like Tony Gonzalez or even talk to the Titans about Bo Scaife (tagged). These moves rarely happen in the first week of FA. Elite players get handled initially. Second tier moves happen in mid-March and beyond.


I did leave him out of the depth chart. I don't have any scoops on Reggie, but I think the Eagles have to deal him. Hopefully they'll start shopping him soon. Don't expect a great return, but he does have some value.


MJG broke his ankle badly on Thanksgiving. He almost certainly won't be ready for the summer. I'm not sure how much conditioning he can do. Max has to fight to keep in shape on a good day. That could really hurt him with a bum ankle. Very good chance he's on the PUP List.


I have faith. I've watched the Eagles build a good program. We heard about the window closing when Troy, Hugh, Duce, and those guys were headed out. Then we went to the Super Bowl. The team then won the division in 2006 and went to the NFC title game this year. That's a ton of success. If the Eagles had one trip to the SB and a bunch of 8-8 type seasons then you'd be write to assume we just got lucky one year.

The Eagles style of business is what the best teams in the league do. NE and PIT pass on FAs most of the time. Randy Moss was traded for a 4th round pick. He wasn't a big signing. NE has made some splashy moves, but not necessarily more than the Eagles. The Steelers don't believe much in FA at all. They've probably made the fewest moves of the good teams. Indy is almost all homegrown. The big moves they make are keeping their own guys.

My personal belief is that the Eagles don't use mid-level FAs enough. We're always going for young guys that we hope can develop into starters or terrific role players. Imagine last year if we'd signed Mewelde Moore and passed on Lorenzo Booker. Moore wasn't some huge signing by PIT. He was a solid role player. We did go sign Kris Wilson, but he didn't work out. Good move, bad result. I'd like more mid-level guys.

No one is saying the Eagles are perfect. All 32 teams make mistakes. Letting Dawk walk may prove to be a big mistake. What everyone should also acknowledge is that it MIGHT turn out to be the right move. Demps could be the better player in 2009. You can argue that he should be better in 2010. He won't be as good as Dawk of '99 to '05, but you don't expect to have a HOF player succeeded by a HOF player. Rarely happens.

I know it is frustrating to watch other teams being real active and making all kinds of moves. I get that. Be patient. It is called the "offseason". It isn't a day or two. It isn't even a week. Let's see what happens.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Where We Stand

We've lost several guys in FA. We only made one addition, OT Stacy Andrews. This has some people concerned. The argument is that the Eagles need to get lucky to even make the postseason and haven't really done a thing to improve. That argument does have some truth to it, but there is another side.

What have we lost?

* The starting OTs were terrific players for years, but started to slow down in 2008. Everyone loves to talk about the fact that the team didn't give up many sacks, but that is a skewed stat. Donovan eluded somewhere between 20 and 30 sacks with his mobility. Also take into account that the Eagles kept extra blockers in more in 2008 than any time in Reid's tenure. Both Tra and Jon will likely dip another notch in 2009.

* Dawk leaving does hurt, but he was only going to play one more year for us. His play has dipped the last couple of years. Demps was the FS of the future. We just assumed that was 2010 and not 2009. This move didn't catch the Eagles unprepared. Another year of development for Demps would be ideal, but I saw enough from him to be comfortable that he can get the job done.

* Sean Considine was the #4 Safety. He's very replaceable on defense. He was our best STs player. That role will be tougher to fill, but there is normally a lot of turnover on STs units from year to year.

* I hated losing Buck. He was a good backup RB. Still, for whatever reason the coaches have underused him. This isn't the same as the Giants losing Derrick Ward and his 1,000 yards. Buck had 369 yards on the ground last year.

* Lito is gone. Good riddance. Give me guys committed to the team and winning.

* LJ Smith is gone. Celek outplayed him late in the year and in the postseason. Brent is ready to be a solid starter. We could also upgrade the position by acquiring a quality vet or taking a TE early in the draft.

We didn't lose a key player who was in his prime. The Eagles could have kept any of these players, but chose not to. That should tell you the team feels confident that replacements will be available in free agency or the draft. Some people can say the team is being arrogant. Maybe. We need to see who the replacements are and how they pan out before we can fairly judge the situation.

The Eagles roster is talented. The team underachieved last year and still went 9-6-1 and had postseason success. Don't forget about that. Think about the teams who signed our guys. Dawk was brought to Denver because their defense was bad last year and needs immediate help. Buck is instantly the most talented RB on their roster. Considine was signed by the Jags to replace Gerald Sensabaugh, a more talented player. JAX is desperate for character guys. LJ Smith talked to ATL, but hasn't signed. No one has talked to Tra yet. Runyan is hurt. And so on. The Eagles have no giant holes in the starting lineup. There are no dire situations.

I know some people will disagree, but look at the depth chart:

WR-z DeSean Jackson.....Jason Avant
WR-x Kevin Curtis.......Hank Baskett.....Greg Lewis
TE Brent Celek
FB Dan Klecko
RB Brian Westbrook
QB Donovan McNabb.....Kevin Kolb.....AJ Feeley
LT Todd Herremans.....King Dunlap
LG Mike McGlynn.......Chris Patrick
C Jamaal Jackson.....Mike Gibson
RG Shawn Andrews......Nick Cole
RT Stacy Andrews......Winston Justice

RDE Trent Cole..........Darren Howard.....Bryan Smith
RDT Brodrick Bunkley....Trevor Laws
LDT Mike Patterson......Amon Gordon
LDE Victor Abiamiri.....Chris Clemons.....Juqua Parker
SLB Chris Gocong
MLB Stewart Bradley.....Joe Mays
WLB Akeem Jordan........Omar Gaither.....Tank Daniels
SS Quintin Mikell
FS Quintin Demps
CB Sheldon Brown......Jack Ikegwounu
CB Asante Samuel......Joselio Hanson.....Dimitri Patterson

P Sav Rocca
PK David Akers
LS Jon Dorenbos
ST Tracy White

I left off some guys who could make the roster, but have their work cut out (Byron Parker, Kyle Eckel, Lorenzo Booker, Danny Amendola). I also left off Max Jean-Gilles because he's a question mark health wise.

You can see there are definite holes. They aren't in the starting lineup, though. We need depth, especially at RB, TE, and Safety. You can find backups and role players in Free Agency without adding guys in the first few days.

Football is a team sport. The Redskins added a ton of name players, but never could turn into a top team. The Cowboys had the most talent in the NFC last year, but couldn't even make the playoffs. Teams need to find the right players, not just big names. The Eagles have added big name guys when they were needed or the fit was right. If an elite LT or TE was available you can bet the Eagles would have been writing a big check to those guys. This FA class was weak at the top and in the spots we needed. There are some interesting guys available. They just aren't big names.

I'll put up a post later discussing some FAs who could help us out. I've got to watch some college game tape and post some notes on ScoutsNotebook.