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.


orangecrush007 said...

The whole leadership issue is a farce. These are professional football players. If they needed motivation outside of themselves they wouldn't be where they are today. These are the guys who hit the gym practiced hard dieted correctly played hard on every play. They don't need some guy in pom poms cheering for them or yelling at them when they mess up. The whole leadership thing is soooo old and boring.

Broderick Bunkley is such a strong player. Can you imagine Sheldon Brown running up to him after he missed a play and yelling at him "You stupid m'Fer don't f'ing do that again!" Or whatever. Bunkley would be like...are you serious.

mcud77 said...

Neither here nor there dept.:

Juqua got caught with some squeef. LE just got a little more interesting.

spencerfamily5 said...

orangecrush: Leadership is not all about the rah rah stuff.

Like any good company, family, or team, you need leaders and you need followers. I think that's all he was getting at... who will the leader be.

Sheldon Brown has been a leader on defense for a couple of years now... not the yelling screaming type but the lead by example type.

get it?

orangecrush007 said...

No I dont get it You need leaders at work to motivate the slackers None of these players are slackers Did you hear the interviews with Brown and Bradley on 610 with Eskin They both make the point very politely that it doesnt matter that Dawkins left It has no bearing on anything due to loss of leadership We hear all of this leadership crap from the media and even the callers on WIP whos the leader of the phillies whos the leader of the flyers and the sixers Those subjects have NEVER been discussed as far as I know

izzylangfan said...

Just to compare the 2008 team to the 2001 team I compiled a few statistics. The linebackers in 2008 had 27 TFL compared to 20 for the 2001 team. But in the other measures the 2001 team was better 7.5 to 5.5 in sacks, 2 to 1 in interceptions, and 8 to 3 in force fumbles. The numbers probably show what we already know - the 2008 team was very good and maybe better against the run. While the stats in the pass game might not be meaningfully different due to the very low numbers - I'm sure we all believe that the 2001 team was better against the pass and the numbers are better for the 2001 team. Even with that- if the defensive tackles and the LDE position would have played better against the pass in 2008 then the linebackers stats could easily have equaled or bettered those of the 2001 group.

The leadership issue is a bogus issue in my view and I am tired of it. The Eagles have high character players and many have the intensity, will and stature to be leaders. Multiple leaders will emerge if they haven't already.

izzylangfan said...

There is a typo above - it was 5 to 3 in fumbles.

Stephen said...

GE, I'm catching some Weaver fever man. I just watched the latest TC highlights and he had a nasty nasty blitz pickup on there. He's just a stout, powerful looking guy and when you combine that kind of power blocking with the speed I've seen from him and his soft hands, I'm just terribly excited about getting this guy on the field.

orangecrush007 said...

And none of my criticism is aimed at Tommy. I am just trying to make a point and it was just Tommy's quick blurb about leadership that got me going.

izzylangfan said...

Everybody mentions the fact that Wilhelm has a history of playing in a 3-4 so he has a transition to make to the Eagles' 4-3. But the Eagles like to use 2 gap blocking techniques with Bunk and Patterson and they sometimes use a three man front and often use the zone blitz. That sounds a lot like Pittsburgh's 3-4. So Wilhelm has to adjust to the way the Eagles do things but I'm wondering if the Eagles 4-3 might not seem so strange to him. What do you think?

izzylangfan said...

I love that the Giants are overpaying Eli Manning. The only thing I really like about Eli Manning as a quarterback is that he has a great attitude. He doesn't get discouraged, has confidence and takes smart chances. However, he has average arm strength and probably slightly below average accuracy. He does make some bad decisions when pressured. His reputation was solidified by Plaxico, who was impossible to cover, by the great helmut catch in the superbowl, and because Asanante's drop on the play before the helmut catch. Well, you know thats what makes him a great quarterback opportune drops by opponents and unlikely catches. In the mean time the Giants are chewing up $16 million of cap space for an average quarterback. How cool is that?

tobylove said...

Weaver-fever. I've been enamored with Weaver since his rookie year, when I saw him in a Seahawks preseason game tearing it up.

I think we should temper our expectations with him though. I expect him to be somewhat mediocre as a run blocker which makes all the comparisons to Richie off the mark. Too many times I've seen a good player get blasted by the fans, only because he didn't live up to our inflated expectations.

I expect Weaver to be a dream for a coach like Reid, who will have lots of fun with him. But I don't think he'll be what us fans expect per se. Like I said, I don't think he's going to pave the way for Westbrook like Richie did.