Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eagles Talk

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Our first game is coming up in 5 days. Rather than focus on the Panthers today I wanted to talk about the Eagles, since things have been in such a state of flux recently.

Today's big move was cutting TE Tony Curtis and signing TE Alex Smith. I've been a fan of Smith's since before he was drafted. Alex impressed me at Stanford and he was a good player for Tampa. Smith (6'4, 258) has 129 career catches and 11 TDs. He never developed into an outright high quality starter, but he was always a part of a good corps of TEs for the Bucs.

Jon Gruden coached him in Tampa. Gruden uses a lot of TEs and really shuffles guys in and out. Smith will clearly be the #2 guy for us and will have a chance to catch 25-35 passes. His blocking isn't great, but Smith has okay size and he is a cagey veteran. One reason we're able to sign him at this point and get him on the field right away is that he knows the WCO from his time with Gruden. The terminology will be new, but the plays should be the same or very similar.

I hated to see Curtis go. He really impressed me in his short time as an Eagle. If anything happens to Celek or Smith I'd be very comfortable bringing Tony back. I'd love to add him to the roster, but I just don't know who you cut. We'll move a WR to clear room for Mike Vick some time in the next 2 weeks.

MACHO MAN

Snap into a Slim Jim, the Macho Man will be starting at FS. Macho Harris is getting the nod over Quintin Demps for now. This move isn't set in stone. I'm sure the coaches will try to get Demps some reps if they can. There isn't a goal of any particular guy winning the job. The Eagles just want someone to step up and grab it. Demps was quiet in the last couple of game. Sean Jones disappointed me all summer. Macho showed up the most. I think he earned the job.

I've been a big fan of his for a while. Macho is tough and skilled. He's instinctive. This is the kind of guy who can play as a rookie. Don't expect him to go light it up right away, but don't look at him as some scrub. The coaches liked Macho when they picked him. He's done nothing but impress this all spring and summer. He might have won the job a week or two earlier if not for a sprained ankle that slowed him down in late July.

Demps and Jones will see time on STs and as role players on D. Let's hope they respond well to starting the year as backups. Some guys pout. Others realize they need to work harder to impress the coaches and earn playing time. Demps is saying all the right things, but actions speak louder than words.

MIKE

Omar Gaither
is scheduled to be the starting MLB on opening day. Can he handle that task against a running team like the Panthers? Sure.

Omar isn't huge. He doesn't shed blocks well. He is a good tackler. Our DTs will control the middle of the OL most of the time. That frees Omar to run to the ball and make tackles. He will struggle on those plays when blockers get to him. Omar also won't be as much of a force when we have him attack upfield. He might get a TFL when he gets by the C, but he won't drive the C back and disrupt plays when he does get picked up.

The defense finished 10th overall with him as the starting MLB. Bunk and Patt weren't as good then as they are now. Omar can be an effective starter. The Eagles know his limitations. They looked at Joe Mays and Moise Fokou because those players could were unknowns and the Eagles wanted to see what they had. Mays was too tentative this summer. Fokou is just too new to MLB to really fight for the job at this point.

DEAD WEIGHT

One thing I am happy about with the current roster is there's no real dead weight. Matt Schobel should have been cut a year ago. Now he's gone. Lorenzo Booker is gone. Bryan Smith is gone. These guys didn't earn jobs. The Eagles didn't just keep guys around for the sake of it. Sure, they added Antonio Dixon and he's clearly a project. However, he's new here and has some upside. Smith had one good preseason game in 2 years. Schobel quit on us a long time ago. Booker never played with any sense of desperation.

We kept guys that were hungry and productive (Babin, E-Buck, etc). That's good. In the past we stuck with our projects too long a few times. That didn't happen this time around.

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7 comments:

Dollar Brand said...

One thing I will be looking at is the way our defense handles those stretch run plays that seem to trouble the Eagles early in the season. Not that Stew's loss impacts this directly but those runs just seem to give us fits. Will Mikell/Macho have to come up and help with frequency?
Conversely, I am encouraged by the make up of this team and the earn it or lose it mentality being forged. Thankfully there are fewer question marks about starters and more about back-ups than I recall.

D.A. said...

What happened to Smith...anyone pick him up? Are you surprised that he didn't land on the practice squad?

mally mal said...

@ D.A. I think Smith ended up on the Rams PS. Looks like Spags will bring him along...

Stephen said...

Alex Smith should help stabalize the position but we're still just 2 deep here, an injury to Celek or Smith will leave us precariously thin.

T_S_O_P said...

Stephen

I think they are waiting to resolve the how they will lose the 7th receiver, i.e. will anyone trade for Reggie or Hank and then they will reclaim Curtis or another body otherwise.

Cliff said...

Hey, if all else fails, Peters might want to play some TE in goalline sets.

T_S_O_P said...

Thursday tomorrow. Is there a D, G, or a P in Thursday? Hoping so.