Friday, June 12, 2009

Busy Friday

MCNABB RESTRUCTURE

Donovan McNabb got some extra cheese from Jeff Lurie yesterday. Donnie will get an extra $5M or so over the last 2 years of his deal. This would seem to be a good thing. It keeps Donnie happy, which we want. It doesn't hurt any other players on the team. The Eagles also show players that if you play at a high level we will keep an open mind. We saw that with Westy last year.

Mike Florio of PFT is confused by the move since the Eagles didn't get another year added to the contract. He sees it as the Eagles giving away money for nothing and McNabb being a lame duck QB. I've read Florio's site since the week it began. I'm a big fan of his, but he doesn't get the Eagles way of doing things. He never has.

Donovan will turn 33 this November. He'll be 34 when his deal is over. We don't know what kind of a player he'll be at that point. He could still be an above average starter or Donnie could have started to decline. The Eagles may not want Donovan for the 2011 season. If they do, they can work on a deal at that point.

We also don't know how long Donnie wants to play. He's made some comments about not wanting to stick around forever. He loves his wife and kids and wants to be able to enjoy them. At the end of his current deal, McNabb will have 12 years under his belt. That's a lot of football, especially in a high pressure town like Philly.

The only way Donovan is truly a lame duck player is if he really struggles during the 2010 season. At that point he could be benched. I don't think either he or the Eagles anticipate him struggling. After 2010 you step back and decide whether to keep him or move on. And he's got to decide whether he wants to play or ride off into the sunset.

One thing Joe Banner mentioned was the uncertainty with the future of the CBA. I'm not sure what the Rapid City Thrillers have to do with anything. Oh wait...Joe probably meant the collective bargaining agreement and not the Continental Basketball Association. I'm not sure if Joe is throwing the CBA situation out there as an excuse to not wanting to commit longer to Donnie or if he's really uncertain about what the salary landscape will be at that point and this is a legit reason.

How will this affect Kevin Kolb? Everything I hear is that the Eagles still love him and see him as the future. The problem is that his deal will be up after 2010. There is a strong chance he'll have very little experience at that point. What kind of a deal do the Eagles give him? Joe Banner is great with contracts and will figure out something. Let's just hope Kevin is a patient man. We need to get him on the phone with Danny White, Steve Young, and Aaron Rodgers. Those guys had to bide their time behind legends, but all played well when they hit the field.


MENDENHALL GONE

I spoke highly of RB Walter Mendenhall after he was signed as a UDFA. I liked his size, speed, and skill set. Unfortunately he was cut yesterday as the Eagles trimmed the roster. I was really hoping to see him at Training Camp or in a preseason game. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Also gone are DT Trevor Jenkins and QB Adam DiMichele. I didn't think either one of those guys had much of a shot.


TAPE TIME

I went back last night and watched a good portion of our playoff win over the Giants. I had forgotten just how exciting those 2 4th down stops in the 4th quarter were. Great plays. What a joyous day that was.

You could see that as good as we were the team still was off a bit. In order to be a championship team you need to be great at something. We weren't. I hope that guys like Akeem Jordan, Victor Abiamiri, Brodrick Bunkley, Stewart Bradley, Quintin Demps, and Chris Gocong can all take a step forward. All those guys are ascending players with good ability. If they can show progress this year, we could have a great defense.

The improved OL and a healthy Westbrook will hopefully have a big impact on the offense.
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9 comments:

Baloophi said...

Good on the Birds for restructuring the best QB they've ever had.

Though he certainly didn't seem like it in his press conference (let's chalk it up to media aversion?? "I didn't really want to do this press conference"), I hope this deal makes him happy and gives him some sort of confidence that he's the starting QB for the next two years. I'm not sure why he still has to evade questions like he's in the pocket, and perhaps we'll never really know what he's thinking until after he retires, but as a fan of the team I'm happy if he's happy.

RE: the Continental Basketball Association - could very well be what both sides were talking about... remember, McNabb played hoops at Syracuse.

RE: the 4th down stops against the Giants... were those big Juqua plays or big Akeem Jordan plays? I remember one of those guys really stepping up on both plays, but apparently I don't remember which one. They say memory is the first thing to go...

Thanks for feeding my procrastination, Tommy.

izzylangfan said...

@Baloophi. McNabb is a great quarterback. But if you want to hear an worthwhile interview forget McNabb try listening to Quentin Demps.

@Tommy. So for the Eagles to take a critical step up defensively you are looking for significant improvement for six players or more than half of the starters. I would also add Patterson to that list. Should we be optimistic?

Tommy Lawlor said...

@ Baloophi ...

Great point about the CBA. Maybe Donnie is ready to launch his hoops career. :)

The first stop was a QB sneak. Gocong shot into the A-gap (between G and C). That was Eli's target. Patterson got inside of his blocker and then grabbed Eli and stuffed him. Those two combined for the play, although Gocong never got hold of Eli.

The second stop was a Jacobs run. Our guys stuffed the FB and TE, limiting Jacobs options. He could have tried a cutback run, but decided to attack the middle. Bunk drove O'Hara backward and into Brandon. Stew came up the middle and grabbed Jacobs and held on until 4 or 5 other guys piled on.

Juqua came up with a big stop on 3rd down that forced one of the 4th down plays. Juqua got off a block and got Ward down for no gain on a run to our left side. Outstanding play by an undersized DE.
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@ izzy ...

I didn't say "significant improvement". Stewart Bradley is already a good starter. I'm looking to see if he can get even better. Ditto that for Bunk.

Gocong needs to be more of a playmaker. Ditto that for Jordan.

Abiamiri needs to show he can be a starter. I would say that means significant improvement in his case.

Demps...? I don't know how to term his situation. He got better all last year. I guess we just need to find out if he can play. I'm pretty optimistic with him.

The thing to keep in mind is that these are ascending players. They've each gotten better as they've played more. I think Patt has hit his plateau. He's a 4-year starter that came from a major program where he was a 3 or 4-year starter. What you see is what you get. Omar Gaither has shown us his limits. I don't expect Mikell to get better.

The other thing to keep in mind is that our defense was very good last year. The goal now is to try for greatness. We're not asking bad players to be good. We're asking for good young players to get even better. I think most of them will. Obviously someone will get hurt or just won't improve. The law of averages tells us that. We're Eagles fans. We know something crappy is bound to happen at some point.

Baloophi said...

RE: something crappy happening at some point, instead of speculating on who might get injured, I will simply nominate a body part:

calf

Tommy Lawlor said...

I would prefer "sore ear lobe", but calf seems pretty reasonable.

cliph said...

Geeze. You'd never think the media/blogosphere would get upset over a NFL owner giving a *deserving* player a raise, but they found material to write about for sure.

The Philly papers were downright condescending in their coverage and analysis of the contract restructuring, which just provides support for McNabb's attitude during press conferences and interviews. The media has trashed him in a way other cities wouldn't (outside of NYC and maybe Boston). I give him a lot of credit for even doing the press stuff because I sure as hell wouldn't after 10 years in this town.

Baloophi said...

Cliph -

Having grown up in Maine (and with my parents in New Hampshire), I can say that the Boston media would never cannibalize one of their own. They are very North Korean in their self-centric approach to reporting. It results in homer personalities like Bill Simmons and Bob Ryan and Peter Gammons and - should you ever experience the horror of watching a local Celtics broadcast - Tommy Heinsohn. All folks with a great passion for their team, but it manifests in an "us-against-the-world" motif rather than the more Philadelphian "we-suck-fire-everybody" attitude.

There's no better example of this than the reporting of the Patriots cheating scandal. The Boston media quickly labeled it "tape-gate" - insinuating the leak was more the story than the actual cheating. They were also quick to defend Belichick when he gave that ridiculous press conference where he said "we admitted what we did, and that's all I'm going to say about it." I mean, really? Instead of digging deeper to learn how the cheating process worked, they dismissed it, chalked it up to Belichick wanting to win more than other coaches (as if it was a virtue to cheat) and even made the case that the Patriots got no particular advantage through the cheating. They chose, instead, to focus the story on the guy who turned over the tapes in an attempt to destroy his credibility. Yet, can you imagine if we discovered the Yankees had a camera in centerfield that filmed Red Sox catcher's Jason Varitek as he signaled to the pitcher? Somehow I feel the coverage would be different.

It's infuriating as an outsider to read their coverage of local sports, though if you're a fan of their teams I'm sure it's great to constantly read how your teams are superior and infallible. I'm also sure it'd be great to have 3 Super Bowls, multiple World Series Championships, and a decade's worth of NBA championships... perhaps that entitlement leads to fluffy media coverage. One thing's for sure, as Philly fans we'll never find out.

Stephen said...

I was generally unhappy with the national media coverage of the Patriots cheating scandal as well. There was a lot of lets not ask questions and sweep this under the rug so we can all move on.

The most infuriating part about it all to me was that when they finally unveiled the tapes that Matt Walsh had, they showed the Pats had been cheating since 2001, and had been doing so in playoff games as well. We'll also never really know the extent of the stuff the Pats sent to the commissioner because he destroyed them.

The funniest part of the whole thing is that he destroyed them he said because he didn't want any other teams to gain anything from the information on the tapes.

Think about that for just 1 second, thats basically admitting that the Pats had information that was compromising to other teams. If there was nothing on the tapes of value, why would you fear any information getting out?

Of course the notion that the NFL couldn't keep that stuff under lock and key is ludicrous anyhow, its obvious it was just destroyed so we'll never know the extent of what was going on.

Nobody ever really investigated any of the stuff that Matt Walsh was saying was going on either. I'm not sure you could ever find out conclusively since most of it was in house, but it would have been nice to see some effort anyhow.

Most people would rather just pretend nothing ever happened so we can all pretend the Patriots dynasty was legit and aboveboard.

Tommy Lawlor said...

I think the NFL swept the Pats situation under the rug for a reason. I think they feared having people find out that several teams did stuff like that.

Jimmy Johnson said he was told by an assistant to do the taping when he came to the NFL. He said he tried it, but found it wasn't all that helpful. The assistant had done it with a team previously. That was 1989. This kind of cheating has gone on for at least 20+ years.

I'm okay with the coverup. It sucks, I know. I just hate the thought of the long discussion that might ensue about who cheated and whether that game and/or Super Bowl should count.

Imagine if we lost a close game in 1988 to a cheating team and that loss could have changed us from having to play at Chicago in the postseason. No Fog Bowl might have meant a winnable situation for that team. Buddy Ryan might have stayed on beyond 1990 because of that. And so on. You could drive yourself crazy.