Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More on Trot


I mentioned the other day that I thought the initial workout of Jeremiah Trotter was very odd, almost a stab in the dark. ProFootballTalk was speculating that it was done as a favor to him. That made sense because of Trot's close relationship with Andy Reid. I questioned how serious the workout was because the Eagles did it on a Thursday, which isn't normal. Standard operating procedure for workouts is Monday or Tuesday.

The Eagles did work out Trot again this week, even bringing out an offensive player for him to cover. I was told by a source that the workout was great. Trot looked like the guy we remember from 2004-05 when he played at a Pro Bowl level.

I can't confirm why the initial workout in fact took place. Regardless, Trot got the Eagles attention. They took him more seriously the next time around and by his own admission he was even better ("2 or 3 times better") in that second workout.

All I can say is wow. This is some crazy stuff. I laughed at the notion of Trot coming back last week. Now I'm hearing that he looked great? How the heck did that happen? I guess getting rested and healthy did his legs a lot of good. Maybe Sean Payton quit sticking pins in the Trot voodoo doll he had made back in '06. Whatever, something worked. Trot weighed in at 257 pounds, which is solid for him. Trot's value lies in his power. You want him in the 260 range. He also has to be able to run well, which he apparently did.

Welcome back, Axeman.


* I have no idea what to make of Dallas. They were shut out for a half by the Panthers? Then the Cowboys got hot and dominated the 2nd half. Still, they only had 14 points late in the game and CAR was right there to steal the game. Dallas could not shut down Byron Leftwich and the Bucs, but they put the clamps on Steve Smith, Deangelo Williams, and Jake the Snake? Weird, very weird.

* WAS lost to the Lions. I watched parts of the game and loved it. WAS struggled in that meeting last year before pulling away to win. The Skins have a real bad habit of playing to the competition. I don't know what to make of that team. Too talented to dismiss, but too dysfunctional to praise as a good team.

* The Giants just keep rolling along. They are good. They shut out Tampa. I'm so jealous. We haven't had a shutout since 1996. Bill Clinton was still in his first term as President. The internet was something only computer geeks had any understanding of. Brett Favre hadn't won the SB or retired. Jennifer Love Hewitt had a limitless future. Ahh, the good old days.

* I know I'm not the only Eagles fan to wonder what it would be like to have Rex Ryan as our coach. Buddy's hiring in 1986 is the reason I'm an Eagles fan (along with Spadaro's sexiness of course). Ryan has gone to the Jets and put them atop the AFC East. They're 3-0 and playing good football. Rex is a good coach, but he also walked into a great situation. The team fit him perfectly. They've got a good foundation on defense. They have a good set of RBs, a good OL, a solid possession receiver, and a playmaking TE. Give Rex a lot of credit for using his players well, but understand that he didn't have to rebuild the team like some coaches who are brought in to completely clean up a mess (see KC for example).

Darrelle Revis is an elite CB. He has great cover skills and his hips are so fluid that it'll blow you away at times. His presence is a key component of that whole defense. Bart Scott and David Harris are terrific ILBs. They make the middle of the D tough. The guy up front that is special is Shaun Ellis. He plays DE, DT, and goes to NT in the Nickel/Dime units. He split double teams a few times vs TEN to pressure Kerry Collins. His presence up front has a lot of impact.

The Jets are getting pressure right now, but that's it. They have 4 sacks and 4 INTs in 3 games. We topped both totals in the season opener. The pressure hasn't led to plays, but it has disrupted offenses. People are not moving the ball against them very well at all. They have the #3 defense in the league. I'm impressed by what I've seen, but they do need a big time pass rusher to emerge.

So how would Rex do in Philly? Hard to say. He'd like most of our defense. We don't have the kind of shutdown type corner that he loves, but I think he and Trent Cole would be a marriage made in heaven. The offense would have to be completely rebuilt. That would be both good and bad. I think the weird part would be re-adjusting to a coach that speaks his mind. I'm used to Reidspeak. I'd freak out the first time Rex told Tony Romo we're coming to get him.

* MIN might be 3-0, but I was not impressed on Sunday. Favre took an absolute beating. No way he lasts 16 weeks with that kind of punishment. The Vikings offense is still dysfunctional. They outplayed SF for much of the game, but had no points to show for it.

* I'm feeling better each week with my pick of Tampa as the league's worst team. Raheem Morris is the wrong guy for this team. Young coaches need to take over established teams. Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin were very young when they got the Steelers job. Both guys took over teams that had a lot of pieces in place. They didn't have to reinvent the wheel. They could go in and coach up the guys. Each man had great success. Immediate success.

Morris is a guy I've liked for several years. I saw him coaching at the Senior Bowl and he was great with the players. They responded to his coaching and him as a person. He was a teacher and a leader. That's what you want in a coach. The problem is that he's only been a positional coach to this point. Andy Reid got away with that kind of move, but he was 41 when the Eagles hired him. Andy had worked for 5 colleges and the Packers for almost 20 years prior to getting the gig in Philly. He might not have been a coordinator, but he'd been around enough teams and coaches to know what he was doing.

Morris learned under Monte Kiffin, but was only a full positional coach (DBs) for 2 years at the NFL level. Prior to that he was the assistant DBs coach. He was the DC for Kansas State for a year as well. This just isn't the kind of experience you want in a guy taking over a team in the middle of rebuilding. I guess the Bucs don't feel like they are rebuilding and that is probably why we see things differently.

I wish Morris well, but he and the Bucs need a few years to get that ship really headed in the right direction. Finding DBs that can tackle would be a great start.

* The NFC West is a real mess. The Cards are once again a Jekyll and Hyde team. One week they look good. The next week they look highly dysfunctional. Did you guys see Warner take the 28-yard sack on Sunday? What the heck was RT Levi Brown thinking? He saw some phantom blitzer and let the LDE come free and chase Kurt all over the field.

SEA has some good moments, but injuries are a problem for them. I also wonder about the character of that team. TJ Houshmandzadeh needs to just shut up and play.

The Rams are bad, but they know it and understand they are rebuilding. Coach Spags is using this year to teach his guys and find players for the future. Danny Amendola is their RS now. He had a 43-yard KOR on Sunday. Good for him.

San Fran is 2-1, but hardly a juggernaut. They have trouble moving the ball and scoring points. Seeing them block the FG before the half and run it back for a TD was eerie. They did the same thing to us last year and turned a potential 20-9 lead into a 17-16 game. Thankfully we won. Former Eagles Mike Lewis and Takeo Spikes are still starting for the SF defense (13th overall).

* The Saints look like the real deal. They played poorly vs the Bills and still won in a blowout. They still make STs an adventure too often, but the offense is great and the defense has gotten better. Be careful about the hype the Gregggg Williams is getting right now. The Bills offense was dreadful more than the Saints were good.

* I have yet to closely watch a Falcons game. They are 2-1. They do some good things, but I also think they are finding out that going from 1-year surprise team to outright good team is a tough task. The Falcons got everyone's attention last year. No more surprises.

* Don't give up on the Titans just yet. They are 0-3, but I still like a lot of what I see from that team. They played just well enough to lose close at PIT, to HOU, and at the Jets. It isn't like they are struggling to be competitive. Little things are killing them. We'll see if Jeff Fisher can correct those mistakes and get the team back on track.

* The Steelers do have me worried. They still play BAL twice. They have to play MIN, SD, and GB. And since they are the defending champs you can bet they'll get the best that scrub teams like DET, CLE, KC, and OAK have to offer. Starting 1-2 isn't the end of the world, but it does get your attention. They play the Chargers this week. A 1-3 start would start to put some heat on the team.

* What do we make of the 3-0 Broncos? I'm glad to see Kyle Orton and Coach Josh McDaniels off to a good start. McDaniels had to go in and get rid of the turd festival that Mike Shanahan had left in place. That may sound harsh, but Shanny is the guy who drafted Maurice Clarrett in the 3rd round, remember. Denver is winning ugly and isn't a good team, but they are doing the little things right. That puts them in a position to win. And you can bet the players will pay more attention to McDaniels with each W he puts up.


Tommy Lawlor said...

Oddball note on Trotter.

He is only 23 months older than Jerome McDougle despite the fact they came into the league 6 years apart.

McDougle will turn 31 in December. Trot will turn 33 in January.

Stephen said...

I dunno Tommy I think Cleveland is worse than Tampa Bay. This a team that hasn't scored a touchdown in 91 consecutive offensive possessions. Thats an unreal figure.

I stand by my statement that theres too many bad teams this year. St Louis, Cleveland and Tampa Bay are the bottom of the barrel, but just barely above them are KC, Oakland and Detroit.

I really believe none of those teams will finish above 4-12 this season. The only reason Oakland has a win so far is that they played another team on that list, KC. You could be looking at multiple 1-15/2-14 type teams in that list.

T_S_O_P said...

I'll take a wait and see on Ryan, his mouth, like his father's wins as many enemies as it does friends. I notice that Lito didn't start this week the nod going to Lowery instead. Bad news for us.

Once Father Ryan's DQB, Mike Singletary is impressing me as a head coach and certainly didn't take over a team with as much talent as the Jets. However, I bet he wishes he could have pick 11 again.

On Trot, I hope his degerative knee condition has reversed rather than relapsed without the rigmarole of day to day NFL life. I fear that once the rust is off, those knees won't feel anywhere near as good as they do now.

Cliff said...

I echo the sentiments on Rex Ryan. He fell in to a stable situation. TSOP made a great comparison between Rex and Singletary in San Fran. Their situations are like night and day, but Mike seems to be making something work.

You have to really hand it to Andy, though. He really built this team. In fact, you can make the argument that he's re-built the team also. That's something not many coaches have done or were given the opportunity to do with their franchises.

Cliff said...

Oh, and I'm excited to see how Trotter plays. Let's face it, the Eagles aren't facing Murderer's Row the next couple weeks so we have a chance to check Trot out in real game situations with minimal risk. I'll be freaking giddy if Trot gets a sack and chops some wood.

But I am really concerned with the way Omar handles this. Whether Trot plays well or not, we'll need Omar playing at a high level for the rest of the season. He's still a key to the offense because Trot couldn't cover then and won't be able to cover now. If Omar pouts, we're in trouble and we need to have a Plan B.

T_S_O_P said...

Great point on AR Cliff. What I like about Andy is/was his ability to hire good coaches. From the original crew, Harbaugh, JJ obviously and Brad as well as the coaches under them who have come up threw the ranks and continued here or elsewhere, RR and Frazier spring to mind. Of all of those decissions however, I still don't like MM as a fit here with Andy, they are too alike, neither keep each other honest. The damn U, I was hoping that Whipple was a keeper.

T_S_O_P said...

Tommy, as there will be a fortnight between games, any chance of some thoughts on the honor roll inductee you remember playing?

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Lito

I think he may have been hurt.

RE: Ryan

I'm not in love with the guy as a coach. He's entertaining, but also annoying. I prefer guys like Jeff Fisher who give honest answers (as much as a coach can), but who don't go looking for the camera. Rex clearly wants to say over the top things.

I'd be lying though if I didn't say that I didn't wonder what it would be like to have a guy like him running the Eagles.

Ryan is super-aggressive. Someone posted a stat that the Jets have blitzed more than 60% of the snaps this year. He also believes in running the ball and being a physical offense. I'd say 90% of Eagles nation would be on board with that idea.

The interesting thing with Ryan will be to see how he handles adversity. Does he have what it takes to keep guys focused? The rah-rah stuff won't get you through down times. That's when you need strong fundamentals and high character players.

There is only one guy in the league that I would fire Andy to get and that is the witch doctor himself, Bill Belichick. He's the best in the business and if he stays around the game for another 8 to 10 years will go down as one of the best of all time.

I guess the point with Ryan is that he at least interests me enough to wonder what it would be like with him. I've never really thought about "what if Ken Wisenhunt or Lovie Smith or John Fox was our coach?". This certainly isn't meant as a slight at Andy or a lack of appreciation for what he's made us.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: CLE worst team?

They lost to MIN, DEN, and BAL. Those teams are 9-0.

The Bucs lost to DAL, BUF, and NYG. Those teams are 6-3.

I think Cleveland will get better as Mangini figures out the players and as the players adjust to the new systems.

I certainly could be wrong. Mangini isn't making many friends and hasn't handled the QB situation well. The Browns could prove to be awful.

RE: bad teams

Someone asked the other day about all the bad teams.


All of those teams have new coaches and that is because the teams were bad last year or headed in the wrong direction and the owners wanted a change. I'm lumping Tom Cable in as a new coach since he wasn't really hired as the HC until this offseason.

Most of those teams have QB issues. This league is based on offense. You need a QB who can lead the offense to points and win games.

I still don't have a read on:


These teams could right the ship with some breaks or they could fall apart and have really bad years.

Things will even out somewhat as the bad teams play each other. Carolina is 0-3. If they can sweep the Bucs they're back to 2-3 and that's reasonable. If they lose one or both games, the Panthers may be in a world of hurt.

The AFC South is a major mystery, aside from Indy. Someone has got to emerge as the 2nd place team. Right?

izzylangfan said...

The thing about Ryan is that he has mass. When he says something it just carries a lot of weight. That makes him a rare motivator of men. I'm sure guys want to play for him and play better than they would for most other guys.

The funny thing is, I believe that Andy Reid is similar in the confines of the meeting rooms and locker room. But Andy has chosen to mask his true self to the public and the media. Too bad for Eagles fans. But I'll take Andy every time.

Pitmanite said...

In talking about Carolina, how nice would it have been if they could've had this type of year last year!! We could've had a much higher pick and could've gotten Maclin or another top flight player without having to trade a 1st round pick. I still love the top end of our draft, but was just playing the "what if" game.

Cliff said...

Ironically, as we compare Reid vs. other NFL coaches the same discussion is going on over at Move The Sticks.

For those who don't know is a site started by former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah. I discovered him on Twitter. Anyway, he talks daily with NFL coaches, scouts and exec.

Today's topic on Twitter was top 5 coaches. The executive he spoke to said Belichick, Fisher, Reid, Harbaugh, then Whisenhunt.

Last week, I had the "honor" of suggesting his "Ask 5" question (he asks 5 scouts/coaches a question): Who has the brightest future - Vincent or DeSean Jackson? His 5 scouts/coaches were split 3-2 in favor of Vincent Jackson (Chargers WR).

Cliff said...

Speaking of scouting/coaches...

Tommy, have you ever thought about going to a coach's clinic (usually put on my big university football programs) to further your football knowledge?

I ask because - as a birthday present - I'm going to a coaching clinic in a couple weeks. It's basketball, not football, but I think it'll be a lot of fun. I'm going to my alma mater's clinic put on by Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg.

Anyway, football programs put on clinics all the time. I think you mentioned you live in the Triangle down in NC. I'm sure one of the schools puts on an annual clinic. Now the question is - would you actually want to learn anything from Butch Davis?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I have thought about attending a coaching clinic, but haven't done so.

I do like Butch Davis. Tried to get an intern position with his staff, but couldn't work anything out at the time.

I listen to his radio show about every week. Smart coach who does a good job of explaining things.

I love football coaches. I love listening to them, talking to them, and reading about them.

Cliff said...

He's certainly made the Carolina program respectable. I hope to God they're ranked when they make the trip to Blacksburg on October 27th. The Hokies need the rest of their wins to look as good as possible.

geoff said...

@ Cliff

I'm a high school asst football coach and had an opportunity to go to a coaches clinic this past spring.It was put on by the U of Maine. great time. would def do it again. not only was it great to get to talk to college coaches(none were 1a though) it was great to talk to other high school coaches.You'll have a blast even if it is basket ball ;)