Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Readers' Comments

RE: OL depth chart

As I said in that post, that listing is strictly in terms of where guys are slotted on paper. Reid and Castillo will put the 5 best OL on the field. They don't care who is slotted where exactly. The best players will be used. King Dunlap is the #2 LT for now, but clearly Shawn or Todd would take that spot in an actual game.

RE: Weaver as the #3 RB

I absolutely agree with this point. Leonard is the starting Fullback, but he will get used as the running back a decent amount. I think he could be used mostly in 1-back sets.

I'm not sure what will happen in short yardage situations. Eckel did a good job for us last year. Weaver could stay at FB and Eckel could be the runner. It's also possible Eckel could block for Weaver. Heck, we don't even know that Eckel will make this year's team.

Weaver didn't get a ton of carries in short yardage sets in Seattle. They used other guys. That doesn't mean he can't do it. There's just no definitive track record. We might get some hints at TC and in the preseason games, but won't really know Big Red's plans until the season gets here.

RE: Abiamiri and LDE

Victor's career won't be completely defined by the 2009 season. He could have another so-so year and still pan out in the future. The problem is that the Eagles are counting on him as the LDE of the future. If he doesn't show he's got "it" this year, the team will bring in another player to challenge him next offseason. That would make it tougher on Abiamiri to succeed.

Victor can play the run well. He can rush the passer from LDT. We need to see 2 main things this year: 1. he must stay healthy 2. he must show he can rush the passer from LDE. The season will be a success for him if he proves to be an effective starter. If he plays well, that would be a bonus. I'm not holding him to an unfair standard. Give me 5 sacks from DE and plays most of the LDE snaps and I'll be happy.

Why is LDE different? Most teams still line the TE up on the right side of the offense, across from the LDE. The RT and TE then double the LDE, at least initially, on run plays. Sometimes the TE will just downblock if the DE is lined up to the inside. This puts a lot of pressure on the LDE. He's got to deal with an extra blocker a lot of the time. He has a lot of runs come his way. That means battling blockers and dealing with runners as they come at you. That requires strength, leverage, and proper technique.

The RDE has more space to work with. He gets to fly off the edge. He also chases plays from behind more than the LDE, which obviously is all about speed and hustle. RDE is more of a pass rushing position. The LDE has to play run first most of the time. There is also the matter of the TE lining up to his side and forcing him to move further out. That can give the OT extra time to get set on pass plays. The main advantage to playing LDE is that you face the RT, who normally isn't as talented as the LT.

RE: Justice

Andy really liked him coming out of USC. He loved the guy's athletic ability. You don't find a ton of guys with Winston's physical gifts. Andy has been hesitant to give up on him because he keeps hoping the light goes on. I think this is the year that Andy will finally say enough is enough and send him packing. Justice would need to play unbelievably well to have a shot. McDougle was terrific last summer and still got his walking papers. Justice has a gigantic uphill battle.

RE: LoBo

I've said this a few times, but I just don't know what to make of Mr. Booker. He looked so good last year prior to August that we were all excited. He fizzled out in the preseason and did nothing in the regular season.

He's got the talent to be a good rotational RB. I'm not completely giving up on him. I just think he's got an uphill battle because of STs. If he were a good gunner or KOR that would help his cause quite a bit.

TSOP is right to say that Ted Daisher will have a lot to do with Booker's future. LoBo has got to shine on STs in the preseason. They don't go live up at Lehigh for fear of injuries. LoBo has got to do something to standout and show he can contribute if used on STs. It would also help his cause to make some plays on offense.

Last summer LoBo had 22 carries for 85 yards (long of 17). He had 11 catches for 62 yards (long of 13). I know lousy blocking or QB play can hurt stats, but Booker has to show more big play ability. He needs a couple of plays that go 20+. He's got that kind of speed and quickness. We better see it in August or he will be on the way out.

RE: Will Reid run more?

Tough, tough question. He is and will always be a pass-first coach. That won't change. However, the running game is more complex than many people realize.

Andy is an incredibly patient man. He will wait and wait and wait some more. This is true of personnel guys and assistant coaches. This is true of young players and newly acquired veterans. This is true of just about everything. There is one exception.

Andy can't stand a bad running game.

Parcells and his crew will tell you that every run adds up. It's like water on limestone in caves. Each drop seems useless, but over time they create stalagtites and stalagmites. You run all game long to wear down the defense in the 4th quarter. That means putting up with some 3 & outs and some crappy drives.

Andy likes an explosive passing offense and an efficient running offense. This is the Bill Walsh style. The difference is that Walsh came from an era of balance offense and really did run the ball more than people think. Andy is from the new era where passing is the way to go. That slants the offense to a 60/40 situation all too often. We'd all love 50/50, but would settle for anything close to 55/45. That is a reasonable pass/run ratio for a guy that prefers to throw the ball.

This season the pieces are in place for the running game to be more efficient. That means Reid should be more comfortable with the running game and may in fact call a few more plays. It won't be as much as we like, but we should see more running. Last year we finished 28th on the ground. That's simply unacceptable. We should be somewhere in the 15 to 20 range, depending on circumstances.

Andy fed Westy the ball a lot in 2006 and '07. The OL played well, especially in '06. This year's OL has a chance to be very good. If Weaver is solid and the TEs can be effective, the running game could be good enough that Andy will go to it more than we're used to. It would also help if we have some leads to protect. Don't look for true balance, but we can at least hope for less of a one-sided offense.



izzylangfan said...

Great Article. Thanks for answering so many of my questions.

jmercado said...

This is what kills me about Andy. He has no patience going 3 and out by trying to establish the run, yet he'll be fine throwing the ball 9 straight times with each possession resulting in a 3 and out. I swear in multiple games there were times where we had 3 or 4 possessions in a row of 3 and out where they threw the ball everytime or maybe ran it 2 our of 12 plays. I believe he's a great coach but this is by far his biggest flaw in my opinion.

izzylangfan said...

I share the frustration sometimes with Andy Reid's play calling. With me however, it is not so much with the frequency of the running plays but when they are called. If you try a long pass on first down and don't complete you are in a bit of a hole. Then you are more likely to pass again on second down. A four yard run on first and ten is a good result because you still have all you options open on second down - the defense doesn't know what you might do. But a four yard running play on second and ten still leaves you in a passing situation on third down.

True the defense is going to play you more for the run on first down so the pass has a good potential outcome. So I am not saying do not pass long on first down ever. But what I am saying is that balance is a very relative term it depends on a teams offensive strengths, the type of defense being played and the situations you are in. (For a trivial example if you are leading by a wide margin in the second half you will run out the clock; if losing by a wide margin you will pass more.) The ratio and type of pass and run plays should be optimized to balance the risk and rewards. While an accurate mathematical model is beyond the scope of this discussion (and the capabilities of this writer) if an accurate model to optimize the run/pass ratio were developed I suspect it rarely if ever would come out to 50/50.

Given the substantially higher yardage achieved on pass plays it makes some sense that passes could be more favored, In the case of the Eagles with McNabb having one of the lowest interception rates in history-thus lowering the risk, it makes sense that passes should be more favored than with an otherwise similar team with a higher interception rate.

jmercado said...

izzylangfan, i completely agree. i haven't done any research but i can't imagine any other team being in more 3rd down and 7 or more yards to go. as u said it's because we throw on 1st down so often. then the teams prepare for us to run on 2nd. it's so predictable. even if you get 3 yds on 1st down and 3 yds on 2nd down, now you're 3rd and 4. how many times have we been 3rd and 7 or more, and on 3rd down donovan throws a 4 yd completion at LJ's feet. if we'd run more on the first 2 downs, more specifically 1st down we'd be in much better position on 3rd down.

anyway, i tell myself every year that i won't get caught up in our running the ball, but every year i hope it will change and it doesn't, and then i spend my time wanting to put my head through the wall.

Stephen said...

Jmercado's post pretty much sums up about how I feel about Andy. He'll throw the ball to 3 and outs over and over, but never gives the run the same chance.

GE talks a lot about Andy's mentality with Donovan and that is when he's in a slump you keep letting him throw to get him out of it. I honestly don't think that works, because when Donovan's off he's just off. I'm not sure what throwing 6 incomplete passes in a row is going to accomplish so far as getting him back on track.

I'd love to see us run more early in games, especially with this OL. Our big guys could really mash on defenders, and even a 50/50 ratio early on in the game would be awesome.

Cliff said...

We need to be cautious, though, when thinking about previous seasons. Reid has not had a run-blocking OL like this before. He's invested a lot of money this year in upgrading the running game, which he has not explicitly done in the past. Perhaps this really is foreshadowing of change.

The Old Buffoon said...

Regarding Eckel and Lobo, and the question of who makes the roster, I wonder if the question really comes down to who is more needed on ST's. And I'm wondering how the new ST rules might favor Eckel's size, vs Lobo's speed.

Frankly, I think the coaches plan on giving either Eckel or LoBo almost zero carries. How often have we seen Reid hand off to running option #4?

If I had to guess, I actually expect Eckel to be the odd man out, b/c I think the coaches view a McCoy/LoBo duo after the McNabb/Westbrook '2 year window' has passed.

izzylangfan said...

Great article on the tight ends on I take heart from your view on the potential of the tight ends and the Ace formation. I also liked what you said about Jackson and using his body like a basketball player. If the defender is fronting the offensive man in the post the passer just lobs the ball over the defender and to the far side of his team mate for an easy catch. In football the TE just keeps the the defender on his hip and the QB delivers the ball to his other side, very difficult to defend. It would be great if Ingram had that abiility. Then give me some YAC.

I know that you and many of your readers would like to see the Eagles run more. But am hoping for a few more short pass calls or at least better efficiency on the short passes particularly when they are to someone other than Brian Westbrook where we have been effective and frequent most years.

Prem Prakash said...

It does make sense that Andy would use the run more this year, especially with the O line that we now have. If Westbrook comes back to form he could have a huge year. Brian and a promising package of rotational backs could make our run game a real force. I can't imagine we'd see a 50:50 ratio, but a balanced attack within the context of the WCO is a possibility. It would be great if Lobo steps up and McCoy has a big rookie year, but I think Westy's ankle might well determine just how much we run the ball.

roconnor said...

I don't see how the "pieces are in place" this season more than any other.

The Eagles have gone into training camp with excellent starters and solid depth on the OL for past 8 years.

This year the running back situation is an even bigger question mark, there are legitimate concerns of #36's health and durability and no proven commodity to back him up.

I'm afraid this may lead Reid to stick with his typical early season air-it-out game plan.

izzylangfan said...

Suggestion: Why don't you put the time posted and the number of comments at the top of the article. That way when I check in to see if there are any new comments - its right there, I don't have to toggle down to the bottom of the article and I can see right away if any new comments have been added.