Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Update


I was away for the weekend. Sorry for the lack of activity. College football starts this coming weekend and that means I'll be held hostage by my army of TVs and VCRs until December. There were some interesting developments over the weekend.

* Omar Gaither was moved to the #1 MLB spot. He wasn't given the job on a full time basis, but it certainly looks like that will happen. Joe Mays never seemed to have the light go on this summer. He wasn't awful, but he just wasn't playing at full speed and getting to the ball as much as you need.

Gaither isn't an ideal MLB, but he did start there for a defense that finished in the Top 10 in 2007. He is a good leader, a key trait for the MLB. Some people may worry about his ability to stop the run. The DTs are outstanding run stuffers right now and will do a good job of controlling the middle. VA is a very good run defender and should be solid at LDE. Akeem Jordan is a physical WLB. Gaither needs to get to the ball and tackle well. He can do that.

We normally like to attack with our MLB a lot. Omar is okay when blitzing, but isn't good at taking on OL. We have the MIKE normally attack the C quite a bit during the game. We'll dial that down with Omar as the starter.

* Shawn Andrews returned to practice. He only played with the scout team, but this is an important development. Shawn is showing definite progress. I don't know that he'll be able to start the opener at this point, but it is at least a possibility. It's great to get Shawn back on the field.

* We need Shawn to get healthy because Todd Herremans will miss a couple of games. Todd's foot broke and he had surgery. He's expected to miss the first couple of games. We can live without him because of our depth at G. However, there was a thought that he could start at RT if Shawn missed time. Obviously that won't be the case.

* Trade rumors are floating around the Eagles. Reportedly multiple teams are looking at AJ Feeley. The Patriots were specifically mentioned. The Eagles won't be giving Feeley away. It will take more than a 5th rounder to get him. At the same time, teams will be nervous about trading anything too high for AJ. The Dolphins got burned by giving up a 2nd for him back in 2004. The Chargers got him from Miami and then released him. This will be an interesting situation to watch. The x-factor to all of this will be Roger Goodell's decision about whether to suspend Mike Vick or how long to suspend him.

The other spot where teams are looking is WR, believe it or not. A report out of NY says the Jets are checking Hank Baskett and Reggie Brown. Hank is a very good role player. Reggie has been an effective starter. Moving one of these guys would net us a mid to late pick. It would also open up a spot for Brandon Gibson.

We've really turned the corner at WR. We traded Greg Lewis prior to the draft. Now we could move another veteran. We still would have 6 receivers we like. That's pretty crazy. Used to be that we only had a guy or two that anyone was comfortable with.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Jags Game Review


DGR is posted on Scoutsnotebook and the EMB.

* PHI 33, JAX 32 *

Sloppy game, but there was plenty to be happy about. It is always interesting to read other opinions. Dave Spadaro had some thoughts on the game posted. We agreed on some things, but were wildly apart on others. Weird.


Thursday, August 27, 2009



My newest column is posted on I took a look at various parts of the team where we've answered some questions and others where we still don't know what is going on.

* Questions and Answers *


The big story line is about Ron Mexico. I'll get to him in a minute, but wanted to cover some other guys for now.

I'm told the coaches are actually happy with Joe Mays. That was good news to hear. Joe hasn't stood out on tape so far, but the coaches know exactly what they are looking for. The Jags normally run between the tackles. This gives Joe a chance to play well and ease any doubts we have.

Moise Fokou is one player I'll be focused on. When and where he'll play are definite things to watch. He will be the backup SAM, but also may get other snaps. A note about him getting reps at MLB the other day...the Eagles have cross-trained LBs now for a while. Ike Reese could play all 3 spots. Omar Gaither was trained at all 3, even as a rookie. Akeem Jordan played MLB and WLB in camps. Stewart Bradley spent time at SAM and MLB. Mixing Fokou in at MLB could be a way to see what he can do, but also to cross-train him so that he knows all 3 spots.

Stacy Andrews is scheduled to make his Eagles debut tonight. It will be good to see what he can do at RG. The Eagles have brought him along slowly, which was the smart thing to do. Jason Peters will start at LT. He was up and down vs NE. Let's hope for a better showing this time around. Winston Justice will be the RT. I'm still mixed in regard to him. He hasn't struggled or anything like that, but he's not playing so well that you feel safe with him as a potential starter.

TE Rob Myers had a very good game last week. I'm excited to see what he can do. Another good game from Rob could move him up the depth chart and into the mix for a roster spot.

The DL should be greatly improved. Trent Cole will start. VA has now practiced a couple of weeks and has some game experience. Same for Trevor Laws. The man I'm really looking forward to watching is Jason Babin. He played really well last week. I want Jason to continue being disruptive. He is on track to get a roster spot if he keeps up his level of play.

The secondary has been an interesting group so far this year. Ellis Hobbs needs a good game. He doesn't look like a proven veteran out there. And confidence is huge at CB. Those guys need to be able to think of themselves as a combination of King Kong, Superman, and Alexander the Great.

It would be nice if Dmitri Patterson continued his good play and Jack Ikegwuonu finally showed us what he can do. Jack's big test will be next week when he plays a lot.

For some reason there are people who aren't satisfied with the play of Quintin Demps so far. I'm not real sure why. I think he's looked pretty good. Macho Harris is getting better as his ankle improves. I'd love to see him make a coverage play.

Finally we get to Mr. Vick. I honestly don't know how I'll feel when I see him on the field for the first time. I might be excited. I might get a queasy feeling. I might spew chocolate pudding everywhere as it really hits me, "Michael Vick is an Eagle. When the heck did that happen?".

I'm a lot more excited to see Myers, Babin, and Fokou than Vick. That puts me in a bizarre minority, along with people who think Bea Arthur is sexy or people who log onto the internet with their Commodore Vic-20.

I heard that the bad showing last week had a lot to do with the players having dead legs. Players were worn down from TC and playing 2 games in 7 days. Mix in the road factor and Peyton Manning's presence and you can see what happened. This week is a whole different ball of wax. We're rested. We're at home. We aren't playing the Colts. I fully expect our starters to play well. This is only a preseason game, but it is important to see the guys have some sustained success. I'd really like a red zone TD. The defense just needs a couple of 3 & outs. Good pressure on the QB would be nice, since we have all our DL back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interesting Moves


The Eagles added a couple of players today, TE Tony Curtis and LB Curtis Gatewood. Each move is a bit different.

We're pretty banged up at LB. Tracy White got hurt in the Colts game and won't play this week. Omar Gaither has a sprained knee and won't play. That means we needed a body for STs and as a backup defender. Enter Gatewood.

I liked him as a LB coming out of Vandy. He played DE there, but looked out of place. Curtis isn't a pass rusher. He's meant to play the run and chase the ball. He can be physical at the POA. He can shed blocks.

Gatewood spent last year with WAS and KC. He played in a few games, mostly on STs. That means he is perfect for what we need now. He's also a bright guy and should pick up on things quickly. I would tell you he's strictly a body, but the last couple of guys I've said that about have turned out to be good players (Jason Babin, Rob Myers).

Curtis is an interesting addition. I haven't liked our backup TE situation for a while. I'm ready for Schobel to be deported to the Van Allen Belt. Eugene Bright is strictly a developmental prospect. I don't hold that against him. We finally got something right with the addition of Rob Myers. That kid looks like a legit prospect. He's more of a receiver than a blocker. That still leaves a spot for a bigger guy.

This is where Curtis comes in. He's 6'5, 251. He will block. He will play on STs. Curtis has played in the NFL for 3 years and has 11 catches. He knows how to fit on a roster without being a key offensive weapon. That is the kind of backup TE you like.

Right now Tony has a bad ankle. He won't play in the Jags game. We'll see on Saturday if he's able to practice. There isn't much time left until the season gets here. We need to see if he fits in.

I'd love it if Curtis looked good enough to challenge for a spot. I'm not sure he's good enough to be a #2 TE for us. I'd still like to find more of a proven veteran. Curtis would be ideal as the #3 guy. Myers has another couple of weeks to show what he can do. And the Eagles are still looking around at other TEs. Ben Watson of the Pats is serious cut material. Keep an eye on that.

In order to make the moves we had to cut WR Shaheer McBride and QB Adam DiMichele. McBride could hook on with another team. DiMichele isn't an NFL guy, but I'm glad he was able to play last week and look good. That 4th quarter action gives him a story to tell for the rest of his life. I mean he almost single-handedly beat Peyton Manning. At least that's the way I'd tell the story if it was me.


Ruben Frank is reporting that Moise Fokou saw some snaps with the starting the MLB. That gets a big "wow" from me. Here's the link to Ruben's story.

* Foukou Getting Reps With The 1's *

Joe Mays has not set the world on fire so far this summer. He's looked okay since taking over as the starting MLB, but Joe hasn't done anything to make us feel at ease. Fokou began as the #3 or #4 WLB. He played so well that the coaches moved him all the way up to #2 SLB. They wanted him on the field.

Fokou looked good in the camps. He was even better in Training Camp. He's continued that good play into the preseason games. Fokou leads the team with 9 tackles. He had a couple of TFLs last week. Moise looks natural on the field. He's fast and aggressive. You don't see him and think "rookie". Matt Wilhelm has started 21 NFL games, but he's playing more tentatively than Fokou.

The goal with this move is to encourage Fokou to keep working at the same time as challenging Mays. We need someone to emerge at MLB. Mays has been quiet so far in the preseason, partly due to limited snaps. He did miss an easy tackle last week.

Stewart Bradley is done for the year with his ACL. We need Mays or Fokou or someone to step up and take control of the situation. Mays was the backup LB last year that got our attention. Fokou is that guy this year. Thursday's game against the Jags will be a big opportunity for the guys to show what they can do. Mays has been put on notice with this move that he's got to pick up the pace. "Okay" isn't good enough. We need Joe to give us more. I like the fact the team is giving Fokou more and more reps and mixing him in aggressively. If the guy can play, find a way to get him on the field. Reward him for what's he done this summer.

Fokou isn't an ideal fit for MLB. The Eagles list him at 6'1, 228. We seem to prefer MLBs that are 240-250. Fokou isn't adept at shedding blocks. He has little to no experience in the middle. Fokou played on the outside at Maryland. So can he make it in the middle? Maybe.

Fokou is playing tough, aggressive football right now. He is attacking upfield when he has the chance. He's tackling well. These are traits that fit MLB. We do like our MLBs to play "downhill" football. I know some fans hate that phrase, but it's accurate with us. We have the MLB attack upfield at the snap more than any other team in the league. We mix in a lot of run blitzing. Fokou would be natural at this. He also would bring more speed and agility to MLB than Mays and probably Stew. You sacrifice size and strength, but do gain something.

I know some people are wondering about Omar Gaither. Obviously he could take over at MLB. Gaither has a banged up knee right now and hasn't been practicing. He might get a shot to start at MLB if the situation continues as is. For now the battle is between Joe and Moise. Let's hope one of them stands out on Thursday. We'll add Gaither to the mix when he's able to get back on the field.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kolb and 2009


The lingering memory fans have of Kevin Kolb is the disastrous pass he threw to Ed Reed in the endzone in the embarrassing loss at Baltimore. People tend to forget that Kevin led us down the field and inside their 10-yard line for the first time all day. Our only TD of the game came on a Quintin Demps KOR.

I understand that a lot of people resent Kolb. He was guilty before he ever took a snap. Many people think the Eagles were idiotic to take him early in the 2nd round of the 2007 Draft. I happened to like Kevin a lot, so I was okay with the pick. The player I preferred us to take was ILB David Harris, now a starter for the Jets.

Kolb has played quite a bit in the last couple of preseasons. His numbers are okay.

2007: 70 - 106 - 617 ... 66% ... 2 TDs ... 0 INTs ... rating 87.7
2008: 48 - 83 -- 480 ... 58% ... 1 TDs ... 1 INTs ... rating 73.4

This was supposed to be the year where Kevin really took a step forward. He's got a couple of preseasons under his belt. Last year he got game action against STL, PIT, and BAL. We have a terrific set of WRs. That would give him plenty of targets. The setup was there for Kevin to really play well.

And then he got hurt.

Kevin has missed the first couple of preseason games. I think he'll play this week, but I'm not sure it is a total lock. Kevin needs to get on the field. He needs the game reps. Kevin won't see much time in the regular season, barring an injury. He comes in at the end of games, but that kind of mop-up duty is mostly hand-offs and basic stuff. Preseason game reps are golden to backup QBs. That is their one chance to actually run the offense.

I'm not sure how Andy is going to handle the backup QB situation this year. Vick's presence complicates things. The Eagles still like Kevin and see him as the future starter. However, he's got to get on the field and play well for them to have confidence in him for 2009. If Kevin looks rusty and struggles he could find himself buried on the depth chart for this year.

One of the big challenges for a QB is how he responds to adversity. Kevin had the bad Ravens game last year and has now been hurt this summer. Will he come out fired up and focused? Has his confidence been shaken? We need to see what Kevin can do and where his head is at. He says all the right things, but you learn in football to trust your eyes and not your ears.

Any real talk about his future at this point is useless. There are just too many unknown factors. Let's see how he does the final 2 games. Let's see how Andy uses the backup QBs this season. Kevin doesn't exactly control his own destiny, but he sure has a strong hand in how things will play out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Must Get Better


In the preseason opener the Patriots actually played with a sense of purpose. Tom Brady was edgy because he hadn't played in almost a year. Bill Belichick was on edge because his team missed the playoffs last year. Sure they went 11-5, but in Bill's world that means nothing if they don't get to the postseason.

In the 2nd game the Colts came out fired up. They had been really flat in their opener and Peyton Manning and Coach Jim Caldwell felt it important that the team come out sharp this time around. They did.

The Eagles have been sloppy in both games. Andy Reid used the word embarrassing after the Colts game. That's strong for Andy, especially after a preseason game. I wonder if Big Red will feel the need to push the guys this week.

The good news is that some guys should be coming back. Jason Peters should be the LT this week. That will (hopefully) help us out. He also needs the reps to get ready for the regular season. Stacy Andrews is slated to start at RG, finally. We need to see where he's at. Nick Cole struggled last week so getting Stacy in there should help.

Westy may actually play against the Jags. He won't see much action, if he does play. You just want him to get out there and get a few snaps to get loose.

In the end it doesn't matter who is on the field. The sloppiness has to stop. The mistakes are the kind you expect in a post-draft mini-camp. Players aren't sure where to lineup. Players are blowing coverages. Guys are dropping punts and kickoffs. Simple tackles are getting missed.

I don't see a lack of effort, just a lack of precision. Our TC had one of the earliest starts in the league. Maybe the guys are worn down. They've now had a couple of weeks back in Philly. They should have their legs back under them. The whole Vick thing has died down. The focus needs to be on playing well.

What you do in the preseason doesn't necessarily translate to the regular season, good or bad. It would just make me feel a whole lot better to see a good, crisp performance from the starters and key backups. We've had plenty of individuals play well in the first couple of games. Now we just need to see whole units do the same.

Thursday would be a good time to start. That's the game where the starters normally play the whole first half and a series or two in the 2nd half. A good showing against the Jags would definitely make me feel a lot better. And the set up is there. We started with the 2 best QBs in football and 2 of the best teams. Now we're at home against a middle of the pack team. If the Eagles can't play well in this situation the questions are gonna start flying about where this team really is.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Game Review is Posted


Here it is:

DGR - Preseason Loss to Colts

I am also putting it on the EMB.

Some players did well, but the overall team performance wasn't good. Andy will not be happy with these guys. Too many mistakes.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Early Thoughts


That was an ugly game. Sometimes the scoreboard in a preseason game can give you a false read. We lost 23-15. The only false thing about that might be that the score should have been wider in Indy's favor.

I was extremely disappointed with the amount of mistakes made. The only good thing is that everyone shared part of the blame. The offense was sloppy. The defense seriously struggled at times. Special Teams play was error prone as well. We had veterans and young guys making mistakes. This was truly a team effort.

Let's get onto some random tidbits:

* King Dunlap was okay at LT. He got beaten by Dwight Freeney for a sack and FF. King had good position on the play, but didn't get his arms up. How the hell do you expect to block a DE with your hands low and close to your body??? This has been a continual problem for King. Use your long arms, dude. You're driving me crazy.

* Leonard Weaver left early with a knee injury, but Spadaro says it isn't serious. They don't even need to do an MRI. Great news.

* I didn't focus much on Justice.

* Jeremy Maclin did not have a good game. I wanted to see him improve from last week, not regress.

* DJax had a long TD catch. That was fun to watch, but didn't really tell us much. He split a couple of backup Safeties for a 39-yd TD. I'd rather have seen a methodical drive and Red Zone TD.

* Both Eldra Buckley and LoBo had down games. Buckley had a fumble and drop. LoBo had a poor run on 4th/short. I was happy that Buckley was the first of the two to play with the offense.

* TE Rob Myers actually looked pretty good. That was encouraging. We might have found a guy with some potential.

* QB Adam DiMichele had a good game. He lacks functional arm strength for the NFL, but I enjoyed watching him get out there and compete. He played with a lot of spirit and that can be infectious with backup players. Adam is a good athlete and that showed as he ran around and made some plays with his legs.

* MLB Joe Mays didn't stand out. He missed an easy tackle of a RB. He should have recovered a fumble, but the ball got away from him.

* CB Ellis Hobbs is really destroying any good will he had with Eagles fans. Hobbs missed an easy 3rd down tackle that would have led to a punt. He was partially to blame for a blown coverage that led to a long Reggie Wayne TD.

* DE Jason Babin wants to make the team. And he just might. He was good last week and even better tonight. This is what the other guys on the team need to do.

That's it for now. I'm going to start watching the tape. These are always long nights.

Here's the link to the Gamebook:


Colts Preview


My column is posted. I wrote about the key players to watch in the Colts game.

* Eagles at Colts *

I covered some of the guys on here yesterday, but went more in-depth in the column.


I'm curious about how many of you are watching Hard Knocks on HBO. For those who don't know, it is a weekly show done by NFL films on a Training Camp. This year they are following the Bengals. I've got some thoughts on the show, but I wanted to get your take first, just to see if we're all on the same page. Let me know what you think so far.


Don Hewitt, the creator and longtime producer of 60 Minutes, died yesterday. I was saddened to hear that.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s made me a big fan of the show. I didn't live in Philly so Sunday wasn't about watching the Eagles. I was an NFC fan so I watched CBS and that meant football followed by 60 Minutes. It was a great formula for fun Sundays in the Fall and Winter.

The football was obviously fun. Those were golden days for the NFC East. Dick Vermeil, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, and Buddy Ryan were running teams and that meant good football.

Believe it or not, there were no highlights shows on Sunday night back then. Sunday night football was a rare commodity. So when the 4pm games were done you needed something to watch. Enter 60 Minutes.

I loved Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Harry Reasoner, Ed Bradley, and Andy Rooney. Those guys were the best in the business. I received quite an education from their reports. They covered all kinds of subjects, at a time when news and information weren't as readily available as today. One night the best report might be on a new phenomenon called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The next week the best report could be on Lamborghinis. And so on. 60 Minutes was very important for me. It helped to teach me about people and subjects I otherwise wouldn't have known about.

The other sad aspect of Hewitt's death is that he's one of the last great newsmen. The first 25-30 years of TV's history involved news as a service of the network. It was an honor to work in TV news. Your reported serious information and covered the stories that people needed to know about.

That all changed in the mid to late 1970s. Someone figured out news could make the networks a lot of money. Things haven't been the same since. Guys like Edward Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Don Hewitt were from the original generation that saw news as serious business. These days it is hard to tell what is news and what is entertainment. That's a shame. The legends created a powerful, important industry and it has morphed into a circus. I feel sorry for kids today. At least I got to experience part of the golden era of TV news.

Thanks Don.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Player Updates


This isn't a full blown preview of the Colts game, but I wanted to talk about some players that are injured or coming off injuries and their status.

Big Red announced some playing news on Monday. The starters will play the 1st half at Indy. The 2nd and 3rd string units will split up the 2nd half of the game. This is pretty standard stuff.

Here's the note from about who's out:

The list of players staying back in Philadelphia is: Trent Cole (AC sprain), Kevin Kolb (MCL sprain), Brian Westbrook, Omar Gaither (knee sprain), Shawn Andrews (back), Sheldon Brown (rib strain), Todd Herremans (stress reaction in foot), Darren Howard (groin strain), Jason Peters (quad strain), Bryan Smith (concussion), Stacy Andrews and Michael Vick.

About the players:

* Victor Abiamiri will get his first action of the summer. Can't wait to see him play and find out where he's at. If VA looks good it will make me feel a whole lot more comfortable about LDE. If he struggles big time...I'll get worried in a hurry.

I think VA starting at LDE will move Juqua to starting RDE. That will be interesting to watch. Juqua has a body that is better suited to the right side. I'm assuming that Babin and Clemons will be the backup DEs. I wonder if Tank Daniels will get some DE snaps.

* King Dunlap will play the whole 1st half at LT. He may also see time with the backups as well. Great test for him. We need to find out if King has what it takes to play in the NFL. He'll face Dwight Freeney and I seem to recall Dwight being sorta quick. Great opportunity for Dunlap to show he belongs.

* Ellis Hobbs is the starter at RCB. Good. I want to see how he does with extended time in our scheme.

* Trevor Laws gets back on the field for us. Our backup DTs struggled a bit last week. Trevor's presence will help that bunch out. He gives us a legit talent on the backup DL.

* I don't have an inside scoop on Shawn's situation. It sounds like things are improving. Keep your fingers crossed.

* Most of these guys would play if this was a regular season game. I don't mind Andy taking it easy on them. The guys who need to play are the ones who are on the bubble. Bryan Smith is one example of a guy who needs every rep he can get. I hate that he can't play. I hope he's able to get well so he can play the final 2 games.


Safety Rashad Baker was told to hit the bricks on Tuesday. Apparently he didn't win the Cadillac or the steak knives.

Baker is a veteran player. I didn't think he played all that well. Going up against scrubs should be easy for him. You saw how AJ Feeley looked good. Jason Babin looked good. Quality vets against backups should be a mismatch. Baker wasn't terrible by any stretch, but he didn't look right. I don't know if it was a lack of effort or maybe he just didn't take the game seriously.

We signed Brandon Harrison to replace him. Harrison played at Michigan. He's purely a body as far as I know. Harrison (5'8, 193)started off and on during his 4 years for the Wolverines. He doesn't exactly stand out in any way. Here's a link to his UM bio.

* Brandon Harrison Michigan Bio *


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's Talk About Akeem Jordan


Sorry for the late post. I had this ready earlier, but decided to come back and re-watch the 1st Quarter of the Pats game to make sure I didn't miss anything.

For some reason a lot of Eagles fans are nervous about Akeem Jordan going into the season as the staring WLB. He earned the job with his play in 2008. I have no problem with him at all as things currently stand. My only hedge...he is a young player. You do have to keep a close eye on those guys.

Young players have a funny habit of going up and down. Some guys get a taste of success and want no part of the bench or being a role player. Other guys get success and lose the edge that helped to get them the job. They get complacent. Predicting which players will go which way is tricky. It doesn't matter whether the player is a linebacker or running back...whether he went to Tennessee or Tennessee State...whether he's from a well-to-do family or is dirt poor. Handling success is tricky for all young players.

Jordan is a player the Eagles seem happy with. They did keep Omar Gaither behind him and I think that was done with the intent of making sure that Akeem didn't let up. Players are more likely to stay focused if they have serious competition for their job. Jordan knew that any slacking on his part would mean the job could be Gaither's.

As to Jordan and what he has done on the field...let's go back to last year. Jordan took over for Gaither at WLB in the middle of the Giants game. His first start came against the Ravens, 2 weeks later.

In 6 starts Jordan had 38 solo tackles, 6 assists. The defense allowed 68 points in those 6 starts. There were 4-non offensive TDs given up for a total of 96 points. The defense did not give up 300 yards in any of those games.

Jordan wasn't a playmaker. No one disputes that. However, he was a great fit for the defense. He was asked to stuff FBs on lead blocks. He did a great job of that. He also took over some TE coverage responsibilities. That was a problem area early in the year, but not down the stretch.

Jordan was credited with 3 TFLs. He didn't have a part in any turnovers and didn't sack the QB. Those are areas he must improve in. The WLB needs to be a playmaker. I think the Eagles expect that the plays will come with him being on the field as a full time starter.

For comparison's sake, let's look at Omar. He started 10 games at WLB. He had 46 solo stops and 8 assists. He had 2.5 sacks and 7 TFLs. He broke up or deflected 6 passes. He also had 1 FF. Omar was more of a playmaker than Jordan.

The flip side of that is that the defense gave up more than 300 yards in 5 of his 10 starts. The defense allowed 179 points in those 10 games. There were 2 non-offensive TDs scored. While Gaither made more plays, the defense was much stingier with Jordan on the field.

Jordan had an uneventful Training Camp. I heard that he looked good. Nothing earth-shattering, just good. He started in the Patriots game on Thursday, but didn't stand out. The starting defense wasn't on the field much. Jordan did allow a TD pass to TE Chris Baker. Akeem got beaten because he used sloppy technique and was flat-footed. Those are the kind of mistakes you can live with in the preseason opener. It has nothing to do with lack of talent or being out of shape. I'll get worried if Jordan is doing stuff like that against the Colts.

The Eagles like Akeem Jordan. They want to see if he is the future at WLB. The only way to do that is to play him. If Jordan does flat line and struggle the next 2 weeks then Gaither may get his WLB job back. Unfortunately Omar is hurt right now and won't be playing against the Colts. Akeem will have the whole 1st half to play.

We'll review the WLB situation again after the Colts game on Thursday. It does bear watching, but I really see this as Akeem's job to lose and I don't anticipate him playing so poorly that he ends up on the bench. We'll also talk about the future at WLB late in the season. At that point we should have a good feel for whether Jordan is the answer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More on Vick


I watched the 60 Minutes interview of Mike Vick. He certainly said all the right things. Let's hope those words are true and have meaning.

I want to again focus on the football side of his situation. Vick acknowledged his problems of the past that were football related. He owned up to being lazy with his work habits -- "last on in the building, first one out". Those were his words. This is a big step for Vick the player.

Talent can be overrated, whether football, golf, hockey, or skateboarding. You need someone to match their raw ability with focus, work ethic, and the right attitude. Michael Vick has more natural talent than any other QB in NFL history. Guys like Elway, McNair, McNabb, Steve Young, and even Brett Favre were all incredibly gifted players. They could run or throw. They had fast feet and strong arms. All of those guys had sustained success in the league. They all made it to the Super Bowl. Steve McNair came into the league as a raw player, but worked hard. He finished with more than 30,000 yards passing.

Vick has played in 74 career games. He has 71 TD passes. We know the Falcons didn't have a great set of receivers, but how much of that was due to Vick being the QB? Guys get tired of running routes and never having the ball come their way. They get sloppy and develop bad habits. Matt Ryan was a rookie last year. Suddenly Atlanta's WRs played well. The passing game was efficient. It was well run. Amazing how much better receivers look when they have a consistent QB at the helm.

Vick now seems to realize that he was an arrogant athlete. His attitude, shared by players of all sports around the globe, was always that he would make something happen. Why study film if you can just take off and create a big play? The problem with that thinking is that you can't always create the big play. It can work in the regular season, but not the playoffs. You must be able to move the ball in a conventional offense at critical junctures.

Eagles fans know this situation all too well because of Randall Cunningham. He was a dynamic player...except in the playoffs. Defenses put together special schemes and shut him down. Randall was so gifted that he just knew he could get the job done his way. But he never did. Randall wasn't like Vick in the criminal sense of things, but they were very alike in their approach to the game. Randall never changed his ways. Sure he had the great 1998 season, but that was still a lot of improvisation with Cris Carter, Jake Reed, Randy Moss, and Robert Smith.

Vick now gets a chance to change his football persona. Will he take advantage of it? He's off to a good start, but the hard part is keeping that up and making it a way of life. He's with the right team. The Eagles are methodical. Andy Reid believes in practice and repetition. He won't let Vick do things the old way. Mike will change or pack his bags and hit the bricks. Big Red's way or the highway...that's the choice.


I remain somewhat confused about Vick's role on the team. Andy is adamant about him being a QB. That's fine, but it doesn't make total sense to me. If you strictly have Vick at QB he's going in the game for 4 to 5 snaps a game. At that point you have to wonder if he's worth all the trouble.

I hope Andy is just saying the QB bit to keep his real plans quiet. I still think that Vick's best value is if you can use him at QB, RB, and in the slot. His presence on the field will be distracting to defenders. Have him run, throw, and catch this year. That will keep defenses guessing. And with the explosive guys we have a moment of hesitation can lead to a big play.

Some people are focusing on Vick as a QB to challenge McNabb or take his place down the road. Vick isn't here for Donnie's job. That isn't the case. Vick is here to join the QB rotation and be part of some special packages.

I don't think Vick is part of any future plans. He's no spring chicken. He is 29 and with him spending 2 years in prison you don't know if he'll ever get back to being a starting QB. You can argue that Vick has some tread left on the tire because of his time in prison. That might be true, but his style of play also has to be considered. Check out these numbers:

McNabb --- 134 games played ... 322 sacks (2.4/game)... 536 carries

Vick --- 74 games played ... 187 sacks (2.5/game)... 529 carries

Look at those rushing totals. Vick took a lot of hits in a very short time. That kind of stuff can add up. RBs have a limited shelf life in the NFL because they take such a beating. That is why runners like Steve Young, Steve McNair, and Donovan got away from scrambling as they got older. Can Vick make that transition? That is a huge hurdle for him to deal with.

Whether Vick is a threat to AJ Feeley or Kevin Kolb...I don't know at this point. AJ was terrific vs the Pats. Kevin got hurt, but the team says all the right things. I'd like to see him play before really passing judgment.


One other concern I have with Vick's addition is the toy factor. Big Red is a smart man and gifted coach, but he's too enamored with outsmarting the opponent. Football at its core is a violent, brutal game where one side wants to physically beat the other.

This has never been Andy's strong suit. He likes to come up with tricks, gadgets, and brilliant plays. Some work, some don't. The more toys Andy has the more likely he is to get creative. He now has McNabb, Westy, LeSean, DeSean, Maclin, and Vick. That is 6 versatile guys with good athletic ability. The possibilities are endless, unfortunately.

The Cardinals beat us last year in the NFC-CG. The go-ahead play was a short pass to a rookie RB who fought his way into the endzone. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are great WRs, but the Cards got the ball to their RB. Arizona out-physicaled us on that play. They did run a trick play earlier, but the point is that when you are in the Red Zone or at a critical juncture in the game you should go back to the basics.


I'd prefer not to talk this much about Vick since there is so much else of interest. I get questions about him and the 60 Minutes interview was somewhat of a big event. I won't be talking about Vick everyday. This will become a backburner subject for me sooner rather than later. I'm working on an Akeem Jordan post for later tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good News


Some of the walking wounded returned to practice on Saturday. Brian Westbrook, Victor Abiamiri, and Trevor Laws all got back in action. That is huge for us, much more important that the signing of Ron Mexico.

Westy seems to be ahead of schedule. That is great news. Everyone was all worried about him back in the spring. Would he be healthy this year? Would he be ready for Week 1? Now he's back in time to get on the practice field in August. Hopefully he'll get a little preseason action so he can get loosened up a bit.

Abiamiri's return is also big news. The Eagles are projecting him as the starting LDE. VA needs practice reps to work on his game so he can get ready for the season. Victor doesn't lack talent. He needs experience and technique work. He'll benefit from every practice rep he can get. VA wasn't able to play much last summer because of injuries. Hopefully he'll be able to play in the next 2 preseason games. Starters normally sit out of the finale, but VA could even play in that if the team feels he needs more work.

Laws is a backup player so his return isn't as critical. Still, our backup DTs are not very good without him so we do need him back in the rotation. We got little push by the backup DTs against NE. Laws presence will make a big difference for the #2 defense. We also need him to get up to speed in case anything should happen to Patt or Bunk.


The young guys and new players looked good against the Patriots. Some of the injured guys are coming back. If we can go find a legit backup TE I'm going to start feeling pretty darn good about the team.

The OL is still a bit of a mess, but the team is expecting Todd to be fine for the season opener and Stacy could play this week. Adding those guys to the lineup will be a big help. Now we just need Shawn's back to stop being a problem. Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Game Notes


I went back and re-watched the backups. Here are some additional notes:

Some additional notes:

Rob Myers --- Needs to play with better pad level. Rob is only 240 or so lbs. He's got to use good leverage when trying to block.

Mike Gibson --- Doesn't have great feet. Too often he'll stop moving and reach. Also had trouble anchoring. Got driven backward a couple of different times in pass pro.

Mike McGlynn --- Had one really fun moment. #91 came upfield as a rusher. Mike fired his hands out and knocked the crap out of the guy. I love OL that play with a nasty streak.


Chris Clemons --- I re-watched most of his snaps. Chris actually played better than I realized. One thing that hurt Chris was the lack of push up the middle. The QB was able to step up in the pocket on basically any play.

Omar Gaither --- Didn't play many snaps at all. Didn't look great when he was on the field. Went around a blocker on a run play and let the RB get inside. That is the kind of thing that got Omar benched last year. He's got to take on blockers, shed them, and get to the ball. Omar made a questionable tackle attempt on a receiver on a crossing route. He should have gone wide to make the stop, but got aggressive and went for the guy immediately. The player got away from the tackle. Omar did get good pressure on a blitz.

Matt Wilhelm
--- Solid game. Showed a nose for the ball. Doesn't always look great, but has a feel for how to slip blocks and twist and turn to get to the ball. Needs to work on his ability to take on and shed blocks.

Jack Ikegwuonu --- Didn't tackle well. I didn't get to see him in coverage as much as I'd like. Most comfortable when pressing. Has okay feet and athleticism.

Rashad Baker --- Looked like his tackling was sloppy. Didn't have great coverage on Moss on a pass play. Seemed like Baker should have focused on #81 on the play.

D. Patterson
- Played some slot as well as outside. Has pretty good feet. Quick. Mostly played off in coverage.

Sean Jones
- Big time hitter. Call him "Friendly Fire". Sean got big hits on teammates Joselio Hanson and D. Patterson.

Macho Harris - Had a real good play on 3rd/short. Got penetration and disrupted a run play in the backfield.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Game Review is Posted


I put it on the EMB and at Scouts Notebook.


I'm a little rusty, like the team. You forget how much goes into these things until you start doing them again. Labor of love.


Freaky Friday


Mike Vick is an Eagle. Weird. I just didn't see this coming.

I'm not going to get too much into the moral side of things. I certainly don't condone what he did, but I also don't think that he is the worst person since Hitler. Vick was convicted of crimes and served his sentence. He spent time in a real Federal prison. There was no slap on the wrist in this case. Some may argue that he wasn't punished enough, but that's more about how strongly people feel about animal rights and that kind of thing.

I don't think Vick is completely remorseful and a totally changed man. I'm just going off the vibes I get from him and his comments. Most people, including me, feel bad that they got caught and not that they actually did whatever it was that got them in trouble.

I do think that he got a serious wake-up call in regard to his life. I've never been in prison (I did see very epsiode of Oz), but I don't think you can spend a year and a half inside without changing somewhat. And it isn't like Vick was a career criminal. He was a punk and spoiled athlete, but prison was a major culture shock.

Vick got a couple of gigantic pieces of humble pie, at the very least. I think he now realizes that his actions do have serious consequences. That simply wasn't the case in the past. That may be good enough for him to be a functional memeber of the Eagles in the 2009 season. I hope he has changed more than that, but I certainly don't think he's going to be mistaken for St. Francis of Assisi anytime soon.


Let's talk about Vick the player. This is the area that most interests me.

The key reason I didn't think he would be an Eagle is fit. Where the heck does he fit in? We are 3-deep at QB. We have guys in place that can run the Wildcat. How does Vick get used?

Most of the talk centers around him being used in a Wildcat package. Vick could be a dynamic weapon if used in that way. I'm curious about how many snaps we're talking about. Is it worth it to have Vick active on gameday for 3 or 4 plays? Maybe. Is he willing to be used like a RB with Donovan at QB? Imagine running Flip 90 with a running threat like Weaver at FB and Vick at RB. If Mike got a pitch on the edge he could be very tough on defenses.

Is Mike willing to line up in the slot for an End Around? Back in 2002 we had James Thrash come in motion on a good percentage of run plays. Thrash had 20 carries on the year, but the rest of the time was a decoy to freeze the backside of the defense. It worked really well. We did some of that with DeSean last year. Vick could really be effective in that role, both as a runner and decoy.

We could throw short passes to Vick and use him as part of the passing game. We have plenty of receiving weapons, but Vick is special when he's got the ball in his hands. If he makes one defender miss in space, we're looking at a big play.

I think Mike originally hoped a team would aggressively come after him to be a QB for them this year, whether as the outright starter or to be part of a QB competition. That clearly didn't happen. He's now embraced the notion of being a backup player and getting re-adjusted to the league. My question is whether he's willing to be used as a hybrid player in the ways described above. That is where Mike has real value in 2009.

Vick won't be ready to be the true backup QB until about midseason. He's got to learn the playbook. He's got to practice and get back in football shape. He's got to get used to the receivers. For the first 4 to 6 weeks he isn't likely to be a good backup. Vick can still be a good weapon in the Wildcat, though.

We don't know what kind of shape he's in. Football isn't a game that just anyone with athletic ability can play. Timing and technique are critical factors. Vick had those before. Are they still there? He will need lots of practice to get back in the flow of things and to get his football feet back under him. I do think Vick will work hard and is committed to resurrecting his football career. That is a good thing. He relied mostly on athletic ability in the past. Maybe now he'll work on specific skills.

Vick does have experience running the WCO. However, the terminology will be different. And honestly, I'm not sure he had the playbook mastered when he was in Atlanta. They ran a really simplistic attack. At least things will be somewhat familiar to him.


This move is wise in the sense of low risk, high reward. The Eagles are paying him $1.6M. They can cut him if things don't work out as hoped. Vick was a dynamic playmaker in the past. If there is a QB injury he does make a heck of an insurance policy.

I mentioned the other day concerns about how Vick's presence might affect Donovan. Apparently McNabb was on board with the signing. That's good. I do think the Eagles are the right kind of team for Vick. He needed to go where there was structure and a clear chain of command. Lurie, Banner, Heckert, and Big Red all are on board with signing Vick. He's not a coach's pet project. There is no GM/coach feud or anything like that. Vick is a welcomed addition by the organization. That's important. He will have enough problems with the public and media. Vick needs his team to want him.


I'm finishing up my Game Review from last night. Overall, I was pretty happy. The young guys looked pretty good. Most of our problems will be fixed by guys like Cole, Abiamiri, Herremans, and the Andrews brothers rejoining the team.

Except for TE. Let's hope Celek's shoulder is okay and the team is getting closer to making a deal for a legit backup.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shocking Move


Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Eagles signed Michael Vick to a 2-year deal.

I wrote just the other day about why this move didn't make any sense. I stand by those previous comments. Unless there is an angle we don't know about, I don't get this move at all.

Now, there could be something going on that we haven't found out. Maybe the Eagles have worked out a deal involving Kevin Kolb or AJ Feeley. Maybe Kolb's injury is worse than was being reported. If either of those proved to be the case, then I'm fine with acquiring Vick.

The only other notion that comes to mind is if we brought him in to use as a RB. That's probably a reach, but I'm trying to put on my thinking cap and understand this odd move.

I have no problem with the Eagles signing Vick because of the whole dog-fighting angle. I'm ambivalent about that situation.

I'll check with my sources and see what I can find out.

Extended Preview


I added some more to the preview and posted on the EMB and at ScoutsNotebook. Here's a link to SNB:

More on the Preseason Opener


Pregame Thoughts on Preseason Opener


Some things to watch for:

I am stoked about getting to see the team play. I know it will probably be sloppy and awkward, but I'm a desperate man. I need some Eagles football.

I live outside of Philly, so I won't be able to see the game until tonight at 11pm on the NFL Network. I may put up a quick post late tonight or I may wait for the morning. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To Vick, Or Not To Vick


That is the question. And the answer in Philly is not to Vick. I haven't asked anyone about Mike's status. There have been reports that the Eagles might be interested. PFT today said a source told the Eagles are NOT interested.

I looked at the roster and figured it just wouldn't work.

Why would you bring Vick in? For a few possible reasons:

1 - To add a veteran backup with talent
2 - To "test drive" him for the future...possible starter.
3 - To add a weapon to use in the Wildcat offense.

None of those reasons fits us well. We have a couple of backup QBs in Kevin Kolb and AJ Feeley that have been in the system for a couple of years. Both guys were drafted by the Eagles. Not all fans are sold on Kolb, but I'm told the team still thinks very highly of him. They see him as the future. That may change over time, but that is what they see right now. Feeley is a good #3 and has starting experience.

As for the future, McNabb is in place for 2010 and Kolb is the guy they want to play after that. Done and done.

The Eagles are pretty deep at the Wildcat for now. DeSean was that guy last year. LeSean McCoy took some snaps last year and could be worked into that spot this year. We also have Jeremy Maclin. He took Wildcat snaps last year. That is 3 guys who can do it and who all have really good ability. Vick isn't needed.

If Kevin or AJ gets hurt, going after Mike Vick would make some sense. As things stand now, I'm not sure I see where Vick fits on this team. The other x-factor in all of this would be that Reid, Banner, and the Eagles know (or should know) that adding someone like Vick would not be welcomed by McNabb. The first bad play by Donovan would have some media and fans calling for Vick to start. That isn't what you need in Philly.


* Todd Herremans has a foot injury and could miss the entire preseason. The team still expects him back for the opener at Carolina.

* I'll be writing a game preview and posting it tomorrow.

* The Eagles did sign QB Adam DiMichele. He will play in the 4th Qtr. I'm told the team was very ticked off about the Nagy situation. My guess is that the NFL is using the AFL contract as an excuse. You can bet the league will be pushing a rule about coaching interns through in the near future.

* Stewart Bradley had his ACL surgery. He'll be disco dancing soon enough.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

No Nagy


The NFL didn't approve Matt Nagy's contract so he won't be at QB for us. I thought they might address this loophole in the future. That's normally the NFL way. Unfortunately they decided to close the loophole before it really opened this time.

The one time that Reid and the Eagles do something cutting edge and it gets disallowed. What a bunch of poppycock (whatever that stuff is).

The Eagles will now have to go find another QB off the street. All we need is someone to run the 3rd string offense in the 4th quarter of the game. Adam DiMichele, maybe? He was here for a tryout earlier in the spring.


Chris Mortensen was going to be at Lehigh today on his TC tour. Check out ESPN tonight to see if he files some kind of a Camp Update and has a story. Mort is a pretty smart guy and normally offers relevant thoughts.

Random Stuff


ProFootballTalk had a post up this morning where a league source or two was unhappy with the Eagles signing Matt Nagy to be the temp QB. They wondered if that was like the team having an 81 man roster.

No way. Go suck an egg. Big Red wanted Nagy around to help as a coaching intern, but also to be a fall back plan if an emergency QB was needed. There is no rule about that as far as I know. That is Reid being smart. The guy isn't an 81st player if he's not practicing with the team. One source mentioned the fact that Nagy threw some balls to Westy the other day as a problem. Again, no. Coaches throw to players all the time. How would Nagy tossing some passes to Westy be all that different than Mornhinweg? Sure, Nagy is younger and can still pass for a player, but he's not out there in a uniform. Nagy is working with the coaches, not the players. Nagy isn't running gassers. He didn't have to pass a conditioning test. Teams are jealous because Big Red pulled a Belichick and got creative.

PFT Story


Hank Baskett suffered a knee injury today at camp. He left on the cart and put a scare into some fans, but apparently it was just a hyperextension. Those can hurt like a son of a gun, but nothing tears. We don't know if Hank will play on Thursday, but he should be fine in a few days.


If you want to depress yourself take a look around the league at the TEs on everyone's roster. There just aren't many guys that are likely to be available. Luckily, there should be a couple of teams we can talk to.

The Titans have 4 good TEs right now: Bo Scaife, Alge Crumpler, Craig Stevens, and Jared Cook. They could keep all 4. Scaife is undersized, but is a good receiver and adequate blocker. He's got the Franchise Tag on him this year. Crumpler is the veteran pass catcher who has developed into a good blocker. And apparently he likes the food in Nashville. Alge looked pretty fat the other night. The announcers said nothing, but he clearly had a big gut (something I know all too well). I wonder if the Titans are mad about that at all. Stevens is a 2nd year guy from Cal. He's athletic and a good blocker. They took him in the 4th round so that's a player they like. Cook is the gifted prospect from this year's draft. He's not going anywhere.

Tennessee could deal Scaife if they are comfortable with Crumpler as the starter. I don't think Bo is in their long term plans. They could trade Alge. He's older and out of shape. The young guys are likely sticking around.

Denver has a solid group as well. They have: Daniel Graham, Tony Scheffler, Jeb Putzier, Richard Quinn, and Marquez Branson. Graham is the starter. He can block and catch and knows the offense from his time with the Pats. Scheffler is big and athletic. He's a gifted receiver. There was talk of them trying to deal him prior to the draft, but nothing went down. Putzier is a good backup. Quinn was a 2nd round pick this year and isn't going anywhere. Branson was a late round pick and is a body for camp/the future.

Scheffler would make the most sense to go, but then again he is very talented. Would they be willing to deal him away? I tend to think so, but I'm curious what the asking price will be. They could keep Tony and move Putzier. That would allow them to keep the better player on the roster. Jeb would be a solid target to come here as a backup. He had some injury issues last year, but has been a good backup for several years.

The Pats and Colts also have big TE groups, but I'm not sure they'd be willing to deal anyone we'd want.

What we need to hope for is some young TEs to have really good summers and then make a veteran expendable. Any preseason game you watch should involved cheering for the TEs of both teams to play well. Unless you are watching the Boys and Skins, of course.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Eventful Monday


The updates on Kevin Kolb and Trent Cole are in. Kevin has an MCL sprain and will miss Thursday's game with the Pats. Cole has a shoulder joint sprain and will also miss the game. The players are day-to-day beyond that.

Having Kolb get hurt is the smaller problem in the long run, but it caused a problem for Thursday night. The plan was for McNabb to play a couple of series and then for Kolb and AJ Feeley to finish the game. Kevin's injury meant the Eagles needed to add a QB for the game. They decided to "sign" Matt Nagy. He'd been part of the team as a coaching intern. He has some knowledge of the offense. Nagy also has experience from his time in the Arena League.

All we need Nagy to do is play about a quarter and a half. Eat up some snaps. Run the offense in a functional way. Take the snap and hand the ball off. If we can pass the ball effectively that will be a big bonus. I do feel sorry for the 3rd team receivers because of this. Those guys aren't likely to get much of a chance to shine.


* I thought Dan Klecko had a lock on the #4 DT spot. Not so I'm told by a source. Willie Williams and Josh Gaines each are making a run at that spot. Klecko needs to pick up the pace.

* DE Bryan Smith needs to really come alive in the preseason games.

* Stacy Andrews mentioned that he will start getting some reps at RT. That's good. If Shawn's back is a problem, we need Stacy to be able to move outside. We have a slew of solid OGs.

* Jason Peters got some work in practice. Hopefully he'll play some on Thursday and we can see where he's at. We sure need him back on the field.

* The Eagles are taking a look around the league to see what is available at TE. No hints on any specific targets at this point.

* Two guys to keep an eye on in the game are LoBo and Eldra Buckley. We're two deep at RB, but behind them is a major mystery. Those guys will be judged on running, blocking, and catching. Big night for them.


* ESPN writer Matt Moseley visited Lehigh and posted some thoughts.

Couple of Things


Both Kevin Kolb and Trent Cole left practice this morning with injuries. Cole had some kind of a wrist/forearm problem.


Quarterback Kevin Kolb and defensive end Trent Cole each left Monday morning's practice with injuries. Afterward, it was reported that Kolb has a left knee sprain and Cole has a left shoulder sprain. More details to follow.


Since the Eagles have a game coming up they had to release a depth chart. I'm not getting into every position because so many aren't worth discussing. I just want to highlight a couple of spots.

Moise Fokou is listed as the backup SLB. That's interesting. I had him pegged as a WLB. Obviously the Eagles have solid depth on the weakside with Jordan and Gaither. SLB is different. No one has emerged behind Gocong. My guess is that Fokou has shown enough that the Eagles want him to be a part of the backup defense. They'll see how he handles the spot and go from there.

Jeremy Maclin is listed on the #2 offense at WR. He and Reggie are the primary backups. I'm sure Hank Baskett isn't thrilled with that. I haven't heard much about Hank this summer, good or bad. We'll see how Maclin does in the games. If he struggles, you can bet that Hank will move back ahead of him.

VA is the #1 LDE. I'm not sure if that is a compliment to him or a slap at Juqua for his recent pot bust. Apparently Andy was pretty ticked about that. Not hard to believe.

Josh Gaines, the DE from Penn State, is listed at DT. Not important, but interesting.

LeSean McCoy is listed as the #2 RB. Excellent news. Shady has had a very good TC and the team is handling him right. I'm excited to see what he can do in the games. Did we finally get RB right? Is he this year's DeSean?


Sunday, August 9, 2009

More on TE, Ingram


There is all of a sudden a lot of chatter about how the Birds were dumb to take a chance on Cornelius Ingram. Or that they were dumb to work him hard in the OTAs and Training Camp. Wrong and wrong.

The Eagles didn't just take a flier on Ingram in the 5th because he was good value. I heard from a source that the Birds coveted Ingram back in March. I knew he was someone they really liked. I'm sure the Eagles had concerns about his ACL, but apparently someone (Big Red probably) really wanted him. They liked his hands and athletic ability. Ingram showed why they liked him in the spring and early summer. He looked like a gifted, natural receiver and athlete.

The team was smart to work Ingram hard in practice. People are using flawed logic in relation to his ACL. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network reported that multiple teams had concerns about the ACL. They didn't like the repair job done by the surgeon. If an injury hasn't been properly fixed, then the problem is structural. Taking it easy on the player won't help him at all. The Eagles worked Ingram hard. That is the way to test the repair job. Would the Eagles have been better off taking it easy on Ingram only to have him re-tear the knee in Week 2?

I think the smart thing was pushing him to see if the knee could hold up. Clearly the repair job wasn't good enough. Now the Eagles can send him to a top shelf surgeon and get it properly repaired. Ingram will then have 11 months to rehab before the 2010 TC. I do believe that Ingram will be able to come back. Again, the knee was not repaired well. This injury is a result of poor surgery and not a chronically troublesome knee. My only hedge is that the doctor could have screwed the knee up with his sloppy work. If that is true, then Ingram could always be at risk. I have not heard that this is the case.

The Eagles are at fault in this situation for keeping Matt Schobel around and having him backed up by a project (Eugene Bright). Andy Reid is a really smart man and gifted coach, but I cannot understand why Schobel is still on the roster. It literally defies logic. Obviously Reid or someone feels that Matt is a viable backup, but that is where they lose me. He's come up small every chance we've given him. I'm not sure how the coaches see the situation differently. Unfortunately, they do.

One thing I think we do need to remember...we're better at TE this year than last year. Celek is a better starter than LJ Smith was in '08. We do need help behind Brent and that will be addressed. You may think I'm being presumptuous to say we're better at TE with the current situation, but I really had little faith in LJ and I do trust Celek.

I'll let you guys know if I catch wind of any possible moves. I haven't heard a word to this point.


* I was recently told that Big Red has been running a "strict", tough TC. The players aren't real thrilled with it, but players generally hate all training camps. My theory is that there is so much change that Andy felt like he needed to be tough and by the book.

There has always been an "Eagles way" of doing things. With guys like Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, and Brian Dawkins gone and so many new and young faces, I think Reid wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page and does things the way he wants them done. Reid did a similar thing back in 2006 after the tumultuous 2005 season. That team managed to win the division and played well in the postseason. The '09 team looks better on paper. Will the results be even better than '06?

* Shawn Andrews remains sidelined with a bad back. He missed most of TC last year and then was fine for the beginning of the year. I wonder if we'll see a similar dynamic this year. Might Shawn get healthy when camp comes to an end this week.

* One player who hasn't gotten a ton of notice, but I'm told is playing lights out is DE Chris Clemons. Last year he struggled with learning the scheme and handling the grueling nature of Reid's practices. This year those are not issues at all. He is flying around the field and looks like he's ready for a big year. That's great news.

* I've heard mixed things about Winston Justice. It certainly sounds like he's having the best summer of his NFL career, but I get the feeling that he is this year's version of Jerome McDougle. Remember that J-Mac was really good last year at Lehigh and the preseason games, but didn't even make the team. The Giants claimed him, but he played very little for them.

RE: Training Camp injuries for other teams?

All teams lose guys in camp. Football is a tough game in that sense. In order to practice you have to know that guys will be getting hurt. Practice is crucial. Guys need tough camps. You can't focus on injuries. Coaches don't want to be stupid, but they can't try to be too easy on their players. This is football, after all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ingram Done For The Year


We got some bad news on Saturday. TE Cornelius Ingram has a torn ACL. Tight End was a position that I wasn't comfortable with at any point. I think Brent Celek will be terrific for us. I was fine with Ingram as a backup. My concern was the guys behind them. If anything happened to Brent or Cornelius I didn't want to have to rely on Matt Schobel or Eugene Bright. I think the team was taking a risk in having them as the #3 and #4 TEs.

Celek is going to be a first time starter in the NFL. Ingram had a questionable knee. Both guys have a lot of talent, but don't you need guys behind them that can really push them? Look at the Tennessee Titans. They have Bo Scaife coming off a career year. They have Alge Crumpler. They have a 2nd year player named Craig Stevens that has a lot of potential. Then the Titans went and spent a pick on Jared Cook in the middle of this draft. Now that's a set of TEs.

Anyway, that is all spilled milk at this point. The Eagles worked out 3 TEs on Saturday. I haven't gotten word as to who the players were. Dave Spadaro may have given us a hint in his column by mentioning Bubba Franks, George Wrightster, and Nate Jackson. If true, I'd prefer Franks. He's experienced and accomplished. He can block and catch. And he knows the WCO pretty well.

I know the Eagles talked to the Titans about dealing Scaife back during the spring. Nothing came of that, but you wonder if the Eagles will take another run at Bo. In a fantasy world we'd get both Scaife and Franks. Then we'd have Brent, Bo, and Bubba as our TEs. That would mean a sure SB win.

The Eagles will make a move pretty quickly. Schobel has been injured and not practicing much. That has meant a lot of reps for Celek and Bright.


My column is about Joe Mays taking over at MLB. Some of the info is stuff I've already written here, but there is some new material.


Apparently DJax hurt his knee at practice on Saturday morning, but it was a simple hyperextension and he'll be okay. That would have been a devastating injury for us. DeSean has looked great and appears poised to establish himself as a special receiver this season. You can't replace guys like that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Misc Stuff



The Pats traded for former Eagle Derrick Burgess yesterday. They gave up a 3rd and 5th for him, according to the report I heard. What makes this interesting is that the Eagles tried to get him as well. They reportedly offered a 3rd round pick and a player.

Burgess won't make or break this team, but he would have been a nice addition. He would likely have meant the end for Juqua Parker. Burgess only had 3.5 sacks last year, but he's had some very good years in the past and still is talented. I am shocked that teams were willing to give up 3rd round picks for him. That caught me off guard.

Burgess was my favorite player in the entire 2001 draft class. I was ecstatic when the Eagles took him. Unfortunately things didn't work out so well in his time here. He rebounded with a great couple of years in Oakland. I would like to have seen him return to us.

This attempted move and the 4th round bid on Jeremy Jarmon absolutely tells you the Eagles feel uncertain about LDE and are going to keep looking for help. We might be okay with VA, Juqua, and Clemons, but the Eagles would love to add someone else to improve the situation.


RE: Jim Johnson

I didn't put him in yesterday's list of recent troubles. I have known for a while that Jim wouldn't be coming back. I was told by multiple sources that he was in a real bad way. I kept that quiet because the Eagles hadn't said anything publicly and I didn't want to bring the situation up for public discussion. I figured the Eagles were trying to do what Jim and his family wanted in terms of keeping the situation private.

The organization has been planning for Sean to run the defense for several months. I can only assume the players knew about this as well. Jim's passing was certainly tough on people emotionally, but it wasn't a complete shock to the people around the organization. Preparations had been made for this situation.

We certainly don't know how the defense will function this year. Sean will be a coordinator for the first time. We have some new faces. The upside to the situation is that the Eagles, Reid, and McDermott were able to prepare for this.

Finally, change isn't always a bad thing. Kurt Warner was a complete unknown when he took over for Trent Green and the Rams were able to win the SB. Jon Gruden replaced Tony Dungy and coached the Bucs to a SB win in his first year. Steve Spagnuolo took over the Giants defense in 2007 and was able to help them to win the SB. Change doesn't always work to be sure. We can see that from the Raiders and Redskins. There are times when a new player, coach, or coordinator proved to be key in a team taking the next step. We can only hope something like is true in our case.

RE: Optimism

I'm not sure what to think. Westy sounds to be on schedule. He's the key to the team as far as I'm concerned. McNabb is happy. DeSean is having a great TC and seems focused on becoming a great player. LeSean is doing and saying all the right things. The defense still has an awful lot of talent. We've heard a lot of good things about Quintin Demps. Also, Big Red is good at keeping the team focused on the big picture. The wheels didn't totally come off the bus in 2005 until we had Todd Herremans at LT, Mike McMahon at QB, Darnerian McCants at WR, and Ryan Moats at RB.

I still believe the Eagles are one of the best teams in the league. To be fair, part of that is due to the fact that I don't see a league full of juggernauts. As good as the Giants look in some places, I'm still not sold on that offense without Derrick Ward and Plaxico Burress. Those guys were really key players for them. Can they score in the Red Zone? We know Jacobs will miss a start or two. Is Ahmad Bradshaw the answer at RB?

RE: Weaver Fever

I saw that comment the other day and loved it. I'm not sure who originated that phrase, but that will get used regularly this year. Well done.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Obstacle Course


The offseason went so well. We got Jason Peters. We landed Maclin, Shady, and Mr. Ingram in the draft. We signed Stacy Andrews and Shawn got his head cleared and was ready to play. Things felt oh so good.

Now things are much...murkier. Nothing disastrous has happened, but things have simply been more difficult as of late. Let's review:

* Disco Stu tore his ACL and is done for the year, unless Big Red says otherwise.

* Maclin held out and missed a week of Camp.

* Shawn Andrews back flared up after doing a conditioning run.

* Stacy Andrews is actually in and out of practice. Originally I was skeptical of him being ready for TC, but I fell into the belief that he might be way ahead of schedule.

* Juqua Parker got busted for marijuana possession. This isn't the biggest deal in the world, but we didn't need the distraction.

* Trevor Laws has missed TC so far with a minor injury.

* Victor Abiamiri tore a pectoral muscle (his I think) and will be out another 7-10 days.

* Jason Peters has had some minor injuries that have put him in and out of the lineup.

* Matt Schobel still hasn't been banished to Siberia.


The injuries aren't a huge concern at this point, but they are lingering more than I had hoped. The biggest issue for me is getting a cohesive OL together. Todd Herremans is pulling a Bert Campaneris this summer. Todd has played LT, LG, and RT. We love versatile guys, but that isn't an ideal scenario. You'd rather have Peters at LT, Todd at LG, Jamaal in the middle, and Mount Andrews on the right side all learning to play together and how to deal with blitzes and combo blocks. Jason and Todd need to learn how to double team a DL. Jamaal and Stacy will be facing Albert Haynesworth twice this year. I'd like them to be on the same page before that game. While the injuries aren't season enders, they are hurting the players ability to get ready for the upcoming season. That can have long term effects on the year. The good news is that the Steelers OL was a mess for all of 2008 and they won the SB.


Cornelius Ingram has missed a bit of time with some swelling on his knee. He's been healthy and on the field for most of TC. My big concern with TE is depth. We have Matt Schobel and Eugene Bright behind him. Matt has apparently struggled in TC. Good. Maybe that will finally open Big Red's eyes and get him to make a move. I would really like to see us find a #3 TE. Brent Celek has been very good from everything I've seen and heard, but you need 2 or 3 TEs that you can rely on.


VA is still on the mend. Juqua didn't help his case with the hippie lettuce arrest. I hope that an incident like that won't result in a suspension. Seems like he'll be forced to enter the league's drug program, but I can't imagine the Commish will want to sit him. At least I hope not. Chris Clemons has reportedly played well so far. I was hoping for more stability and production at LDE. This summer things have been all over the place.


Adversity is a good thing, believe it or not. The only way you win a Super Bowl is by getting tested during the year, both on and off the field. The Patriots had a lot of smooth sailing in 2007 and it caught up to them in the end. The 2001 team had a ton of problems to overcome and they did just that. They weren't as talented as the '07 team, but had the mental and emotional toughness to overcome adversity and win. Plus they had the ***** tuck rule.

We were going to face adversity sooner or later. Stew's injury isn't good, but at least Joe Mays has plenty of time to get used to being the starter. The OL injuries have given lots of reps to Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles. I can't believe I'm typing this sentence, but Winston Justice is making the most of his time at RT. I don't know if he's just going to be this year's Jerome McDougle or if the light has just finally come on. Some of these players will be more important than we thought. Good teams get backups and role players to step up when they get on the field.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Thoughts


All kinds of short subjects to cover. Let's get started.

RE: Joe Mays size

Joe is 5'11, 246. That isn't ideal size, but he still has a MLB build. You prefer a MLB to be thick and powerful. He's got to battle OL. He's going to have to deal with Fullbacks some of the time. He'll make a lot of tough tackles around the LOS that require strength and power.

Someone raised the question of whether he'd wear down as the season wore along. Maybe. You never know how first time players will respond to the grind of the season until you see them go through it. Some guys fade. Other guys have no problems. Stewart was a first time starter last year and got better as the season went along.

Joe does have a Kamikaze playing style, at least based on what we saw last year. That is something that has to be considered. I don't think Joe would play like that all year. Last summer he was trying to make the team and went all out every snap in order to impress the coaches. Starters normally understand how to play hard while also pacing themselves for the long haul. Joe was able to do this in college. I would think he could do that in the NFL as well. It is something to watch, though.

RE: Reid and LBs

The best defense of the Reid/JJ era had Carlos Emmons, Trot, and Mike Caldwell as the starting LBs. That was the 2001 season when we only allowed 208 points. Let's look at some LB stats:

According to ESPN (

Trot, Caldwell, and Emmons were 1,2, and 4 on the team in tackles.

They combined for 7.5 sacks, 20 TFLs, 2 INTs, 5 FFs, and 18 PDs. Obviously there is no simple stat to use to point to how good CE was at covering TEs and limiting their effectiveness. That was a big time help.

Emmons and Caldwell were both Free Agent signings, but neither was a high pick by their original team. Trot was a 3rd rounder.

Recently the Eagles spent a 3rd on Gocong because they felt he was starter material. They spent a late 2nd on Matt McCoy because they felt he could be a good starter. They spent a 3rd on Stew because they felt he could be a starter. The team spent a 5th on Omar because they projected him as a role player. Joe Mays was taken in the 6th for the same reason. Akeem was a UDFA that they hoped could become a role player.

Some moves worked. Some didn't. In the end we did come up with a solid set of LBs. Remember that Clyde Simmons was the 2nd DE taken by us in 1986 and Seth Joyner was the 3rd LB. Nobody remembers the players Buddy missed on (Alonzo Johnson, Dan McMillen, and Byron Lee). People just know that Buddy came up with a couple of great players in the 6th and 8th rounds in 1986.

Gocong is an ascending player. He's gotten better each year. SLBs take time to develop. Emmons had a total of 11 tackles after his first 2 years in the league. He was on a deep Steelers team and given time to develop. Gocong was thrown into the lineup and told to learn on the run. He's done fine based on that.

We were all curious to see what Mays could do after watching him last summer. Joe excited us all. The question was how to get him and Stew on the field together. Some wanted Stew to shift to SAM so Mays could have a shot in the middle.

Gaither has proven to be an adequate starter, which is good value for a 5th round pick. Jordan played well when he got the starting job last year. If he's able to build off that, we'll have a strong set of LBs.

I don't mind Reid's philosophy, but I'm not always on board with some of the moves that we've made. I hated when they put Barry Gardner at WLB in 2000. I hated that they cut Willie T. to do that. Ugh. I was fine with the Caver pick in '01. Didn't work out. I loved the McCoy pick. I was a big fan of Matt's. He wasn't ready for the business side of pro football. He turned pro to support his mom and just couldn't handle that football went from a game to something a lot more serious. I wish we had ponied up some more dough back in 2003 to keep Shawn Barber around. When you find a player who is such a good fit, do everything you can to keep that guy around. I wasn't in love with the idea of Keith Adams at WLB. I want a playmaker. I had hoped they'd keep Takeo for 2008.

Let's see what the 2009 group does. They have the potential to be very good if the players build on what they did in 2008. They could also flat line or go backwards. I at least like the group right now.

RE: Leadership Void

Some guys are born leaders. Others rise to that spot by the position they hold. The MLB of a defense is going to be somewhat of a leader. Joe was a leader at NDSU. That part of his personality will come out as he gets used to looking the other starters in the face when they huddle up. Plus, I think the real leader on defense is Quintin Mikell.

The MLB will have the radio helmet and will have the plays called in to him. That will be Joe as of now. It will be interesting to see what they do with the other set. They could put it in Omar's helmet or Matt Wilhelm's. I'll have to check and see if I can find anything on that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More on the MLB Situation


Several items to dicuss. First up, the Eagles added a MLB to the roster. They signed Matt Wilhelm, formerly of the Chargers. Matt is here as a safety precaution. He has starting experience. God forbid anything else happens, you need a veteran player who can step in right away, either as a starter or key backup. Matt is that guy. He'll need some time to learn the defense. He played in a 3-4 at San Diego. He did play MLB at Ohio State. Matt has one of Chris Berman's better recent nicknames...The Kaiser.


Now let's talk about the loss of Stewart Bradley. What does that mean to the defense? The Eagles were thrilled with him and expected a really good season from Bradley. Losing him isn't a positive. No one should try to make it sound that way. At the same time, he was the MLB. That is a fairly replaceable position. The MLB needs to play the run well and make tackles. If he can do more, you've got a good player on your hands. CB and DE are much more critical positions. Those are guys that you really fear losing. The Steelers could have won the SB without ILB James Farrior last year. They would not have won without James Harrison, who is like a DE in their scheme.

I think Joe Mays can be a solid run defender for us. I do not know where his pass coverage skills are at this point. That would probably be an area where he'll need work and the only way to get that is by learning on the job. Stewart looked like someone that could challenge for a Pro Bowl spot. Joe will be a first time starter. Heck, he didn't even get much STs experience in 2008. There will be mistakes. There will be growing pains.

Joe did play MLB in college so he doesn't need to adjust to that position. He's got MLB instincts and that will speed his adjustment to the starting gig. We don't need the MLB to be a major playmaker. Our defense is built on the DL and the DBs. We ask our LBs to tackle well and handle some blockers. The defense goes from good to very good when we do get plays from the LBs. Mays will benefit from having a pair of good DTs in front of him. We'll ask him to run to the ball and hit like a ton of bricks. Joe can do that.


There is a case to be made for putting Omar Gaither at MLB. He did start there in 2007 when the defense finished Top Ten in yards and points allowed. He's not a bad player.

My point in calling him "adequate" is that we have an idea of Omar's limitations. He's nearing the end of his contract. What is to be gained by putting him on the field? He hasn't shown anything that would indicate he's special in any area. Joe Mays is a complete mystery. He could turn out to be in over his head or he could be a very good starter. The coaches love what they've seen from him. They want to give him a chance at the job to see how he handles it.

You aren't going to lose a bunch of games because Omar is the starting MLB, but the opposite is also true. He's not going to lead you to many wins because of something he specifically did. I had hoped Omar would have a good season last year since he seems more at home on the weakside. He played really well vs PIT and CHI, but then took a nosedive. He was bad vs WAS and NYG. He couldn't handle blockers. He wasn't getting to the ball. He earned a spot on the bench.


I think that may be taking things a bit far. Andy Reid wasn't mad because the media broke the story. He was upset that the media was calling his players to find out about the situation. Apparently that is a big no-no in his world. Andy wants to be "the voice" in injury matters. That way there is no confusion and he's able to control what gets announced. I don't think this makes Big Red a bad guy. Football coaches are notorious control freaks, especially about injury information. I'm not bothered by him getting upset at this. If he carries this thing forward a few days, then he'll look petty and it will be something to criticize.


Jeremy Maclin has agreed to terms. He'll be signing a 5-year deal today. Maclin is behind schedule, but he will still have a decent amount of TC to get ready and he will have the entire preseason. Let's just hope he didn't go on the Brod Bunkley holdout diet/workout plan. "I'm washing this bag of Cheetos down with a 2-liter Mountain Dew and then it is nap time."

Open message to Jeremy...Welcome to the Eagles. There is no pressure on you. Score 10 TDs and lead us to the Super Bowl and all will be good. Anything less and ... well let's not go there. Today is a good day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hey Joe...


Stewart Bradley is done for the year with an ACL injury. The question then became who would replace him. In Monday's practice Joe Mays took over at the #1 MLB spot. Charleston Hughes was with the backup defense at MLB. Omar Gaither remained the #2 WLB. Omar did take over Bradley's role in the Nickel defense.

This is smart.

We lost the starting MLB to an injury. The smart thing to do is promote the backup MLB. I'm glad the Eagles did just that. They could have gone with the more experienced Gaither, but initially I think you need to give Mays a chance to show what he can do. Joe was good in Training Camp and looked great in Presason games last summer. His PS games were spent on the field against 2nd and 3rd string players. We've talked about that before. The question is how he'll do against front line players. I do think Mays earned a chance at the starting job.

I'm sure Omar is going to be ticked off about not getting the starting job. Again, I think the Eagles made the smart move. We know what Gaither can do at MLB. He's adequate, but nothing special. Leave him as the fall back plan. Keep him at WLB for now. That also keeps pressure on Jordan to play well at WLB. And it keeps Omar on edge, which might be a good thing. He seemed to get a little complacent last year after a good start. Getting Omar on the field in the Nickel is smart. He can be a good role player for us. The extra playing time is a way to make Omar somewhat happy in a contract year (maybe - CBA).

Charleston Hughes could be the real winner in all of this. He's got a real shot to make the roster. It will be interesting to see how he does as the backup MLB. That means he'll face the starting offense in practice. Hughes will get a chance to show if he has MLB potential or if he's just a camp body.

More about are my notes from last PS:

vs PIT --- MAYS – The guy who helped himself the most last night was backup middle linebacker Joe Mays. He led the team with six tackles. Several of those were big hits. Mays was instinctive. He showed good range. He tackled with authority. He showed why the coaches have him as the backup, despite the fact he was a sixth-round pick in April. This kid can hit. Needs to work on shedding blocks. Unloaded on a WR who caught a short pass across the middle. Did it again as he upended Limas Sweed after a catch across the middle.

vs CAR --- MAYS – Another good game. Didn’t have the dramatic hits like last week, but tackled well and showed good range. Was credited with a pair of tackles, including one TFL. This kid looks like a player. Mays made a tackle in punt coverage.

vs NE --- MAYS – Terrific game. He led the team with 8 tackles. Mays flew to the football and tackled well. He has some real pop when he hits. He had a tackle-for-loss when he fired into the backfield and blasted the running back. The most impressive thing is that he shows good instincts. Mays isn't the fastest player in the world so he has to read formations and plays quickly. He does a good job of that and seems to sense where the ball is going to be. Takes good angles to the ball. Blew up the FB as he tried to catch a pass over the middle. Does everything at 100 mph. Fun to watch.

vs NYJ --- MAYS – Another outstanding game. Had 13 tackles. Flew to the football. Really fought to get off blocks. Had a TFL in the 4th when he fired into the backfield. Still showing good instincts. Might not be the biggest guy, but he is a tough, physical player.

Joe is 5'11, 245. He's strong and physical. Excellent hitter and tackler. Has real pop. Good downhill player. Instinctive. Has good range. The two areas where we need to see progress from last year are shedding blocks and pass coverage. Joe is now in his 2nd Training Camp and knows the scheme well. He no longer has to worry about adjusting to the Eagles defense or the speed of the NFL. Mays is now in the process of fine tuning his game. We'll see in the next few weeks whether it is enough for him to keep the starting MLB job. I'll be pulling for him.


The Eagles reportedly signed DE Jason Babin (6'3, 265). Abiamiri is still out and I'm thinking this is a move to keep a fresh body on the DL. Babin was a terrific prospect when he came out of Western Michigan, but never really panned out in the NFL. He's got 15 career sacks, which puts him halfway between Mike Mamula and Jerome McDougle on the DE success scale.