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.

OL

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.

TE

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.

LDE

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

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.

_

9 comments:

ZackISM said...

Tommy,

Patriots just aquired Derrick Burgess...do you think he would have been a worthy target? Or do you think we're content with Parker/Smith/Abiamiri/Babin/whomever else competing at LDE?

rick said...

I would think Jimmy Johnson's passing would be at the top of your list. I'm excited to see what Sean McDermott can do, not least of which because he attended my alma mater. But I have to wonder how much more weight Andy Reid feels in game planning now that Jim is gone. There was a comfort zone built up over years of working together that will be missing this season. No matter how good of an X and O guy McDermott is, Reid will be shouldering a greater bulk of the responsibility for success or failure this year. Johnson's passing can't be easily smoothed over by the Eagles.

Cliff said...

Jimmy Johnson was that jerk who used to coach in Dallas and Miami. JIM JOHNSON is the late Eagles Defensive Coordinator.

Sorry, but as a Hokie and Philadelphia Eagles fan I refuse to let other fans call him "Jimmy" Johnson.

Cliff said...

@ ZackISM

Just saw this in relation to Burgess and the Eagles: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/Report_Eagles_made_offer_for_Burgess.html

Cliff said...

Oops. Try this link:

http://bit.ly/CQoLx

mcud77 said...

Tommy,

I'm suprised you led off with Bradley's injury.

Remember, "Disco Stu...doesn't advertise."



I'm not very optimistic about the season at this point. I think we're looking at more of the same head issues from Big Shawn this year, I'm still of the opinion that we're going to struggle in the RZ, and I've struggled with idea of VA as a starter even before his latest injury.

(Sigh)

Stephen said...

I think the most fortunate thing is that despite our little rash of injuries, none of them except for Stews are likely to be a factor going into the regular season.

I think the 2 biggest questions right now are whether Joe Mays can be a solid starter for us in Stu's absence, and whether or not VA will pick up the pace once he gets back from his injury.

The OL I think is just a matter of time till they get healthy, and hopefully they can do all the gelling they need at that point.

izzylangfan said...

My first thoughts when Stew went down were not good. But the team has rebounded quickly signing Wilhelm and getting Mays and Gaither into the fray. I am no longer worried about MLB. Many of the comments in this blog helps assuage my fears. The offensive line is similar. Look at Winston Justice, Cole Max, and some of the real long shots - they are all playing well. Guys who had no shot are going to make this team at a bunch of positions. The depth is amazing.

I long for the days when a lights out defense crushes the last hope of any team even completing a three yard pass. But maybe this year the offense will be so good that defense won't matter as much.

What a great job the coaches have done.

rick said...

Cliff - For what it's worth, I've heard Jim being referred to both as "Jim" AND "Jimmy". And if you re-read my comment you'll see that I use both names. Maybe it would be better if you reacted to the idea in the comment rather than just picking on some small detail...? Just trying to keep things civil here.