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.


T_S_O_P said...

A couple of thing re: the Big Kid. Shawn Andrews could have eaten and taken care of himself in a way that would have determined that he was fit for no other position in the NFL except RG. I recognize that you really like the idea of him returning to being the most dominant RG in football (with some argument from Giants fans), but I just wonder if he is not one of those personalities that says to himself, "I've done that, mastered that, time for a new challenge". But it is not that; there is an argument that Todd might be better suited to LT than Shawn, fine. But of the 3 candidates open for RT, I think Shawn wins, and wins handsomely and his brother can shift to RG. In fact, in any scenario I don't believe Stacy is he favorite for the RT position. For Shawn to just shift back inside, would be fine if he has a hankering to do, but otherwise isn't it a less demanding position? Isn't it a demotion of sorts? I could very well be wrong and viewing this "arse about tit" as we say over here.

shlynch said...

OT: LJ to the Ravens ... that is not necessarily a comforting comment on the mighty Quinn, I guess.

shlynch said...

@TSOP, I would be very surprised if the Eagles just invested big free agent money in a RG. I don't think their free agent pricing models would come up with such a big deal for a guard given his injury history.

I would also think that the team would be *very* cautious about leaving a such critical position on the OL to a card as wild as Shawn Andrews. Where would you rather be suddenly left high and dry, RG or OT?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I don't know what to make of LJ to the Ravens. Funny that he signed the day I wrote this. What an inconsiderate jerk.

1 year, $1.5M. Wow. Talk about a punch in the gut. That wasn't exactly what he had in mind.

@ TSOP...

We gave Stacy a huge deal. I doubt we did that unless we're pretty sure he's gonna play RT.

As for Shawn's personality...you could be right on the money. I could see him wanting a change. I could also see him wanting to play on the edge. It's less violent at LT than RG. That might suit his personality more. I'm really interested to see who lines up at LT in the post-draft mini-camp. Can't wait for that.

T_S_O_P said...

Shlynch, if the Eagles view Shawn as a year to year question mark I understand the sentiment of high and dry. Otherwise, have we not just left ourselves high and dry at OT? Clearly in Shawn, Stacy and Todd, the Eagles have players who they have seen and feel can play Tackle and that they know can play Guard. Shawn and Todd were in place as the contingency should anything happen to Tra or John since 2006 bar a short stint by one time left tackle elect Winston Justice. Before that, Artis Hicks. In fact, Todd and Artis in the same year once.

As of now, Stacy's injury determines that Todd or Shawn have the inside run at RT and contract wise, haven't both players got clauses for renegotiation should they end up at tackle? That would surely mean a move back inside would indeed be a demotion.

That contract thing would sure seem unfair to me if I'm either Todd or Shawn, the reason I'm not being given a chance to play Tackle being fiscal rather than based on whether I'm the best man for the job.

izzylangfan said...

Thanks again for a good discussion. Some follow up questions.

If Bunk and Mike are playing a two gap technique then the pass rush falls to the DE's if there is no blitz. But Trent Cole can't do it alone we need constant pressure from both sides. I am optimistic that we are stronger there since Albiamiri will be back, Clemmons should be more of a presence and Smith should be able to contribute this year. So there is some risk but the Eagles could have more of a two sided pass rush in 2009.

But isn't the purpose of the two gap technique to allow the linebackers to be free to wreak havoc. In this light it seems that the linebackers are underperforming and that the paucity of disruptive plays from the LB's is a significant statistic.

Also with a two gap technique the DT's should be moving the opposing linemen backwards to prevent the QB from stepping up in the pocket. I'm not sure they are doing a good job of that. Although it is difficult to gauge such performance on the TV.

My overall concern is to be able to get QB pressure without the blitz. After all isn't that what sunk us in the NFC-CG. Once we had to blitz Warner picked us apart. I don't think JJ is really as blitz happy as everybody says because he knows the risks. To be effective I think the blitz has to be somewhat of a surprise.

I don't mind bringing in pass rushing specialists on third and long or similar downs. But it just seems too safe for Eagles opponents to pass on first and second down. Sooner or later opponents are going to figure out that the Eagles are too good against the run and the best strategy is to pass more on those early downs.

ZackISM said...


At what point would you consider James Casey a pick for the Eagles (if he makes it to the 3rd round?). I know you want a blocker, but couldn't this kid be a very good waeapon for us on offense?

orangecrush007 said...

Yo Tommy can you speculate a little more on what it would take to get Cutler? Would the Bronocos accept McNabb and a 2nd rounder for Cutler? On nfl.com they are saying it would take 2 first rounders and a player. That is too high a price and I would rather take the chance on Kolb. But if Cutler could be had for a good price and McNabb I would take it. Cutler seems more clutch to me.

orangecrush007 said...

Heyward Bey is 6'2" 210lbs and rana 4.3 40. I think the Eagles just found their first round pick. Where is he projected to go? Could we get him at 28, Pettigrew at 21, and the guy from UConn in the 2nd round?

shlynch said...

@TSOP, suddenly being left high and dry was meant to refer to a guy who could suddenly not show up to training camp, or suddenly have a mysterious "tear jerker" of an injury mid-season. Leaving yourself time in an offseason to address issues is one thing, not knowing until August (or worse, October) that you have an issue is another.

I don't see how the Eagles could put Shawn Andrews, with his fragile and unpredictable state of mind, in a position where his volatility can most hurt the team. It isn't like preparing for injury risk, because it is far less predictable in terms of "rehab" and far more likely to occur.

BTW, only Herremans has a contract escalator tied to being a OT, as far as I know. He gets a $1.75mm one-time escalator if he is an OT this year.

I don't know for certain what Shawn's are not tied to being an OT, but I can tell you that he doesn't have any remaining escalators until 2013-2015, when he can get as much as $1mm - $1.5mm a year. Even if those are tied to being an OT, he has a lot of time to achieve them, and they are in years of the contract that he would hope to renegotiate anyway. But there doesn't appear to be any OT-related language in his deal at present.

Finally, I think the whole injury thing for Stacy Andrews is overblown. It isn't like he is going to be less laterally mobile than Jon Runyan was, even with the injury.