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.


Anonymous said...

You also left of Reggie Brown. Any Freudian subconscious subtext there...?

ZackISM said...

Again I'm going to disagree.

We may not have a ton of holes in the starting line-up...

But there is no way of knowing that Mike McGlynn or Quentin Demps can start (and perform at a high level). That also means, assuming they are able to step in without a drop off in performance, means we still haven't improved.

I really just look at this off season as a HUGE failure. There isn't much left out there, and the Eagles we're far worse than them playing in the NFC CG would indicate in my mind...

I have 2009 as a bad year, barring we really luck out with the draft. I know it's early, but I can't say there is a free agent out there right now who I'd want to come in and start for us...which means we have a MINIMUM of 2 unknowns starting.

mcud77 said...

A "HUGE" failure? Respectfully, I don't get that at all. Penciling in QD and MMcGlynn at starting spots is a calculated gamble, nothing more.

WRT Demps, we have game tape, both college and pro, to go on. In addition, the coaches have a year's worth of practices to use in their evaluation. Saying we have nothing to go on is simply not true.

Is he a sure thing? Heck no, but neither was Omar Gaither at MIKE, Sheldon/Lito at CBs, Bradley at MIKE, Akeem at WILL, and so on. They're not putting all their eggs in Demps' basket just yet, right? I haven't heard Andy say, "Demps is my guy. He's the starter."

Perhaps Dawk leaving is the motivating force to move up for Malcolm Jenkins. Maybe Sheldon moves over to S. Perhaps Mikell moves over and the Eagles draft a SS.

LG has even more contingency plans if McGlynn doesn't work out. Todd stays at LG. Nick Cole moves there. Gibson could shine. We draft Mack and move JJ to LG. We draft a LG.

Nearly all of the players on defense are young, and should be better this year. DeSean has a full year in the system under his belt. We get Shawn back. Todd and JJ are entering their prime. We have three picks in the top 53 that should be able to contribute.

I feel like we had a .500 team last year that got lucky, and had things fall into place for it for the last month of the season. Should we add some depth at DB, RB, and TE in the draft, I actually feel better about '09 than I did going into '08, and we're still just a few days into the offseason.

Christian said...

There was no way of knowing that Bradley, Gocong and Gaither/Jordan were ready last season either, but that worked out ok. Years ago we let Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent walk b/c it was time to turn the keys over to Sheldon and Lito. This is how it works in the NFL. You draft guys to either offer depth or eventually start. In Demps case, I think he was picked to one day succeed Dawk. This day comes a little earlier than expected, but give the guy a chance.

You can't declare the offseason a failure when we are two days deep into free agency and over a month away from the draft!

I think emotions are just really raw right now. Figures when you part ways with a fan favorite, I guess. Sigh.

ZackISM said...

I don't feel it's a huge failure because of one loss or one signing. I feel that there were a limited number of talented players available in free agency, and the Eagles didn't land a single one. Now I understand some will argue for Andrews, and I'm not against the signing, but we we're a average team last year, and we haven't improved.

I agree with Mcud that we got lucky last year, and don't like the fact that we're not improving. Maybe the Eagles tried everything they could to get Jason Brown, or Albert Haynesworth. But they didn't, and you don't get points for trying. 40 million in cap room and nothing to spend it on...HUGE FAILURE.

I'm sure they'll find 2, 3, 4 picks that will make this team better in the future, I just doubt they get that immediate impact (not this franchises MO).

As for history showing the Eagles have been successful in doing this, I think that has become false over the years.

Lito Sheppard - Yeah, started off great, but now he's gone, worked his way off the team.

Omar Gaither - Has proven he's nothing more than a back-up

Akeem Jordan - Won a job by default, and I'm not really "sold" on him.

Sean Considine - Lost his "gimme" job.

LJ Smith - Never challenged, never succesful.

Dan Kleko, Tony Hunt - Handed the reigns aat fullback and where less than stellar

Greg Lewis/JR Reed (at PR) - Didn't work out so well.

orangecrush007 said...

Jean Gilles is that hurt?????

orangecrush007 said...

LJ Smith never challenged???? H9is first game in the league they threw him the ball in the endzone on 4th down. He dropped it. They pressed him but he just couldnt man up. The Eagles will be good next year.

fordy88 said...

I agree with you, Christian, 100 percent. You can't judge this offseason now at all. The Eagles have a plan. It may not be what we all want or think they should do, but they have a plan (and many contingency plans based on the main goals for the team). They have put in countless hours studying players on the roster, players on other rosters, FA, and players entering the draft and have come up with lists of players that they like and want to target.

I think that GE made the comment that the Eagles have been known to get rid of a player a year early instead of a year late. I think that's where Dawk fits in this year. It's unfortunate that he's gone, but we all knew that it was going to be sooner or later. As I said before the Eagles had a plan for if he signed and they have a plan since he didn't sign. It just stings right now because he's been the face of the defense for so long and now he's gone.

The Eagles have also shown that they aren't going to make a move just to make a move. We had no need for a 100 million dollar DT. That's insane. There's no need to spend 10 mil. a year on a No. 2 receiver in TJ. There's no need to start making moves just because everybody else is. They have to be the right player for our team.

I agree with what a lot of you have said, I feel comfortable with the core players we have in place. We have to have patience (even though it's hard) the Eagles have a plan. Whether that means adding some depth through FA, the draft, or trades (or all of the above) they will add more talent. They aren't going to overspend for mediocre players just because they are available or because they feel like they have to do something.I know it's frustrating now, but I've got faith. We're going to be alright.

T_S_O_P said...

Just to add to the Buck thing - Over the last two years he has had 138 carries when arguably in the best form of his career. Take away his starts for an injured Westbrook and that number would significantly reduce.

In 2003, as part of a 3 headed running attack he managed 126 carries in one season! Just 12 less carries.

I think this shows that MM wants his primary back to be just that, and with that in mind I think we need a dynamic and durable back as a future replacement for Westbrook.

ZackISM said...

People who have faith, may I ask why?

Reid's 5 year plan is in year 10. The Patriots have won 3 titles in that span, the Steelers two, a division rival has won one and lost one. Add in wins from the Rams, the Ravens and the Bucs...and you have 1/5th the league (almost) winning a championship. The Eagles? 0 Titles in that span. Why continue to give faith? When/how have the shown they want to win a title?

I'm sorry, I'm done with the blind faith, I don't believe in this organization for the sake of believing.

As to why spend 100 million on a DT? I have a simple answer, it's because Haynesworth is better than anything we have. The name of the NFL isn't being conservative. The Steelers and Patriots almost always are near the cap maximum, not minimum. If there are players out there, who are upgrades, you should do what you can to get them.

The Eagles don't subscribe to this philosophy often, but when they do, it's often worked (Jon Runyan, TO, and Asante Samuel). They do have a failure (Jevon Kearse) - I don't consider Howard to be a elite free agent (so I didn't mention him).

Simply put, I don't think sitting on 40 million in cap room, is the right thing to do for a franchise that has 0 Lombardi least I didn't think sitting on it (at the start of free agecny was).

Now there is nothing out there that can really upgrade, so I geuss the Eagles are right to sit on their hands now, after the FAILED to be active during the start of free agency.

Jason Brown & Albert Haynesworth both would have been upgrades, neither is on this team.