Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday Stuff


The starting WRs for the Jets game will be Brandon Gibson and Jeremy Maclin. This will give Kevin Kolb a good pair of targets to work with and it will give the guys the kind of reps they need.

Maclin is on the team, obviously, but he's still catching up due to the time he missed with his holdout. Getting him a bunch of reps in the preseason finale is the smart thing to do. Maclin will only play during the regular season if he has the trust of the coaching staff and Donovan McNabb. The best way for J-Mac to show he's ready is on the field in a live game setting. We've seen some real good moments so far, but also some mistakes. I'm hoping he runs good routes, catches the ball smoothly, and plays full speed. That's what we need to see.

Gibson is still fighting to make the team. Right now he's one of our best 7 WRs. The Eagles want to keep him, but a couple of things need to happen. Brandon needs one more good showing to show that he definitely belongs. The other thing is that we need to clear a spot for him. More on that in a minute.

Brandon looks like a fairly polished player. He runs good routes. He catches the ball well. He's tough and physical (for a WR). There isn't one specific thing I'm looking for out of him. Just more of the same, basically.


ESPN's Adam Schefter, formerly of Mother Schefter, the Denver Post, and the NFL Network, reported that the Eagles are willing to trade WR Reggie Brown. This isn't shocking news. We've talked about him being trade bait going back to March. I think the team is comfortable enough with Maclin and Gibson, as well as the veteran guys, that they don't feel the need to keep Reggie.

The Jets and Ravens need a starting caliber WR. The Rams could use one as well. I would think those teams are the favorites to make a deal for him. Reggie isn't worth a high pick, but he's not someone you give away for a 6th or 7th rounder. We might have to settle for a conditional pick.


Some rookies come in and show a great feel for the game. They play by feel, by instinct. This helps them to make up for the fact they don't know the ins and outs of the scheme like a veteran. Mike Lewis was this way back in 2002. Omar Gaither was like this in 2006. Stewart Bradley showed some of this in 2007 and Joe Mays some in the summer of 2008.

Now we see Macho Harris and Moise Fokou playing aggressive, instinctive football in 2009 and pushing for playing time. One thing you have to understand is that most of these guys picked up the scheme quickly. It isn't as if they are relying strictly on instinct. Some players learn quickly, while others take time. This isn't about being smart or dumb. Some guys can just see the playbook and then put it into action on the field at a much quicker rate than others.

Ever see the movie Amadeus? Great, great film. In one scene Salieri has composed a short piece to welcome Mozart's arrival. The Emperor plays it for Mozart and they have a short meeting. Salieri offers the music sheet to Mozart as a gift, but Mozart says he doesn't need it. He's already memorized the piece from just hearing it once (and not played particularly well by the Emperor). Mozart sits down and plays it for the group and then makes changes so the piece flows better.

That is a bit of an exaggeration to what we're talking about, but the point is somewhat the same. Some rookies can see the X's and O's and they soak them up quicker, which enables them to play more confidently on the field. They don't hesitate because they know the plays and they have good instincts. They feel what is happening as much as they see it.

Rookies can give us a false read. Last year Joe Mays played full speed, but he was a bit reckless. Veterans knew he was playing fast, but not always getting to the correct gap. That is okay with backups, but won't fly with starters. This year Joe is more disciplined, but he's thinking more. That has slowed him down and he looks tentative.

I haven't seen Fokou or Macho playing out of control. Both guys seem to be playing fast, but under control. That's why each guy has been moved up aggressively during the spring and summer. The coaches love what these guys are showing. They are trying to find ways to get them on the field.

I could tell Macho was an instinctive playmaker at Va Tech, but I didn't see Fokou playing like this as a rookie. I'm really surprised.


I think the Eagles coaching staff is playing guys that they are still trying to decide on. I went back and watched some of the Jags game. The backup OL had Tupou at LG and Gibson at RG. Fanaika was on the 3rd string unit. Now Gibson and Fanaika are starting at the G spots.

It might be that Tupou is already guaranteed a roster spot. Justice and Dunlap are battling for the final OT spot. And Fanaika and Gibson are fighting for a spot on the Practice Squad. Maybe. This is pure conjecture.

It will be funny to see a PHI/NYJ game with no Max or Nick Cole. They have started each of the last few games and played just about every snap. I guess Andy is sitting them to give the snaps to the guys who have something to prove. Max and Nick have shown they can be effective NFL starters. The 5 guys starting in this game all have a lot to prove.


Jason said...

Hey Tommy,
So I have a question about how you view our WR corp shaping up. The way I see it, we can keep no more than 6 WRs on the roster, meaning one of Baskett, Brown, or Gibson do not make the team. The question I have is, do you think it really makes sense to have a 6th WR if it is not Gibson?

This is not a bash on Brown or Baskett, but the way I see it, the 6th WR on the team will most likely be inactivated for the majority of games (barring injury of course). My guess is that even if Maclin is not to have a Desean-like rookie season, they will want him on the field to at least develop further (and I think he can put up respectable numbers this season). Thus, either Brown or Baskett would have to be that 6th WR, and to me, neither guy makes sense keeping on the roster if they are just to be inactivated. I would think that the players that are inactive should either be 3rd string QBs, injured players, or developmental type players which doesn't describe Brown or Baskett at this point in their careers. On the other hand, Gibson can continue to develop without risking losing him to other teams, thus making him a better fit as the 6th WR. What do you think?

izzylangfan said...

Last year it was obvious that when Jerry Jones wanted to hire PacMan Jones, that Jerry already had a clear indication from Goodell of how he was going to rule on PacMan's suspension.

One has to suspect that Andy Reid got similar indications from Goodell in the case of Michael Vick. Even if Goodell specified necessary progress that Vick has to make, its still a bit suspect. After all in their weekly conversations with Goodell I'm sure that neither Vick or Andy Reid will be telling Goodell that there are any deviations from the ideal.

When Vick was with Atlanta he did not hang out with team members, preferring instead to hang out with his posse from the hood. Now we are to believe that he is content to be only with a bunch of teamates he barely knows. Well, he can force anything he has to for a short time, but who knows what is really going on inside his head. When I see interviews with Vick, I see a man who desperately does not want anyone to know what he really thinks and feels and he does not reveal much. Who can blame him. But he did not lead the life he did growing up in the neighborhood he did without acquiring a few rough edges in his personality. Fighting dogs is just one manifestation of a more troubled, angry and unsettled personality. While he is allowed to drink, he didn't even have enough of a sense of public sentiment to avoid having a drink in an airport bar where anyone could be watching.

Goodell is going to allow Vick to play soon, they say after two games. My guess is that there is no way Goodell allows Vick to be a story on opening weekend. After that anyting is possible. He allowed PacMan to play on opening weekend last year didn't he.

To me it is mostly an exercize in Goodell trying to show that he is morally superior to Vick. Well, I suppose so -- but not by much. When the court ruled in the StarCaps case it said that it could not understand why the NFL would not want to warn players that there was an illegal drug that the league new about in a frequently used supplement. But the court ruled that the league has the right to make stupid decisions.

Goodell is trying to get us to believe that he has a consistent well thought out system of judging the moral make up of NFL players and coaches. But he allows Bill Belichick to cheat and whitewashes over potential further cheating by New England and in the rest of the league. He ignores tampering which is obvious when free agents are bagged less than one minute into the free agent signing period.

Goodell can pretend that he is being professional but his rough edges are easily apparent. He is just stomping around showcasing his moral outrage. A real, consistent system of dealing with problem players and integrity in the NFL is needed.

Dollar Brand said...

Good stuff on the instinct vs scheme knowledge part. The Mozart/Salieri analogy was on point. How do you see the PR/KR jobs shaping up?
(I sincerely hope I see the Karate Kid only on extra-points tonight.)

Tommy Lawlor said...

Re: WR Corps

The only reason to keep Reggie Brown at this point is for insurance. Keeping Gibson makes a lot more sense.

Hopefully we'll get a decent offer and send Reggie somewhere he can play. Then Brandon takes over the #6 spot and can be inactive on gamedays.

This all changes should someone get hurt.

@ Izzy...

That's a tough subject. The Commissioner isn't trying to get on a moral high horse and tell players to be perfect. He's trying to set up some kind of standards and punish guys that go above and beyond.

As to Vick, he's got a long way to go. He'll never be a saint, but at least he is headed in the right direction. Guys like him can be "good" for a short time, but the hard part is having those changes last. We'll see how that goes.

I think we'll see Vick suspended for the season opener, but that's it. As you say, that makes him a non-story on the opening weekend. It also lets him start out in a home game, which should be easier in terms of fan reaction.


I want Hobbs as the KOR and DeSean as the PR. We'll see how Maclin does tonight. I'd love him to have the job, but he's too uncertain at this point.

rick said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the scheme vs. instincts question. I suspected it wasn't an "either/or" situation. Also, there's the factor of coming from a pro -type scheme in college which facilitated DeSean's assimilation into the pros last year. At some point, I'd love to ask you which schools have programs that match up well with what the Eagles are trying to do ...but maybe that's a question for scout's notebook.

One point of disagreement. I think both Justice and Dunlap will make it but not Tupou - just a guess.