Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rookie Signings & Other Items


For once this has nothing to do with getting a great tattoo (I'll let you decide if that is a contradiction in terms). The Eagles have quickly gotten most of the draft picks under contract. The lower round guys signed recently. Yesterday TE Corenlius Ingram signed his deal. That leaves only Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy unsigned.

It is important for McCoy and Ingram to not miss any time. Those guys will be key backups/role players this season. It would be great to have Maclin in for all of Training Camp as well.


CB Asante Samuel decided to skip this week's workouts and go home to work on his own. I don't see that as a big deal at all. He was here last week for some stuff. He was at the mini-camp. He's signed, happy, and a good player. I don't mind him missing a voluntary set of OTAs.

The only real downside is that the WRs don't get to work against our best CB. I don't see that as all that important, though. We have a veteran set of WRs aside from Maclin. They'll have plenty of time to face Sammie up at Lehigh.

The benefit of Sammie's absence is that young CBs get more reps. Dimitri Patterson took a lot of his reps. Good. We need to see how much we like comrade Patterson. I'm not sure if Jack Ikegwuonu has gotten extra reps or not. He had a court date moved and I'm not sure if he was there or his lawyer did that while Jack stayed here.


Some readers had good comments about the DL and the pass rush on Tuesday. Trent Cole is the only starting DL that gets consistent pressure. That has to change. Simple as that.

Victor Abiamiri can be the answer at LDE. He's got good size at 6'3, 280-285 and is a strong guy. He has the athletic ability to bring some heat off the edge. Abiamiri has proven to be a good run defender, but not much of a pass rusher so far. He's got 2 career sacks. That won't cut it this year. VA has got to be a 6-8 sack guy.

Juqua Parker has a couple of great games each year, then quietly fades. He's clearly not the answer. Chris Clemons is a good pass rusher, but is meant to be a backup and not a starter.

The DTs must improve as well. Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley know how to stop the run. Patt and Bunk now must get to the QB more often. Bunk has the strength and athletic ability to be a good pass rusher. Patt has the motor to make effort plays. Both guys have adjusted as the scheme has changed from a 1-gap attack to a 2-gap style of play. That's huge. No longer can you simply shoot your gap and find the ball. Now you must control 2 gaps, find the ball, and then work upfield. This all happens inside of 3 seconds.

I love our depth and rotational players, but the starters must be able to get consistent pressure. Bunk and VA are the guys who can offer the biggest impact. I love Trent Cole to death, but he's simply not the kind of impact rusher that can do it all by himself.


izzylangfan said...

Tommy, could you elaborate on the two gap technique? Specifically, do the DT's play the run by holding up their would be blockers to move to the left or right as the runner comes through, or just hold up the blocker so the LB's can make the play? If they do that does that mean they play run first and then adjust to the pass or can they potentially recognize the pass and just try and shoot the gap to the QB right off. Shouldn't they be able to recognize that the OL is pass blocking and then just go for the QB? Or do they get badly fooled on play action passes and thus get held up at the line of scrimage trying to control the gaps? Arent they strong enough, at least once in a while to push the OG straight back into the QB?

It always seems that pressure up the middle is so devastating to McNabb and the Eagles offense - shouldn't that be so for the rest of the league?

Tommy Lawlor said...

2-gap vs 1-gap is exactly what it sounds like.

In the 1-gap scheme each defender is assigned a gap. That allows them to attack those gaps and penetrate.

In the 2-gap scheme, the DTs are responsible for multiple gaps. It is their job to engage a blocker and hold him up. They look for the ball and then go to that side. It takes responsibility off the LBs and lets them flow to the ball.

Each system can be very effective. The Ravens use a 2-gap system. Tampa ran a 1-gap system. Those are 2 of the top defenses over the last decade, each winning a SB.

izzylangfan said...

But, what happens on passing plays?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Once the players can clearly see the play is a pass they are free to do whatever to get to the QB, as far as I've ever heard.

The only time there would be gap responsibilities that were really important is against a scrambling QB.

By the time guys know it is a pass, probably 1.5 or even 2 seconds have gone by. At that point, you attack the best way possible.

izzylangfan said...

Thanks for your comments. I do have more questions, however.

Is it reasonable to mix up the blocking scheme so if you go to a one gap approach on some plays but not necessarily blitz. If it turns out to be a pass there is a more likely chance to get to the QB? You might be more vulnerable to the run but the gaps would technically still be covered and the offense wouldn't be so certain as to what the Eagles will do.

The two gap system then seems to be a run first defense. But, JJ always has said that his priority was to stop the pass first. What do you think about that? The division has shifted to having better running games, in my view.

Tommy Lawlor said...

I'm sure there are times when JJ has the front 4 attack up the field. As you said, you do want to mix things up and give your guys a chance to make plays.