Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eagles Stuff & Around the League


Westy will play. Bad news. He'll disrupt the rhythm established by Thunder (Weaver) and Lightning (McCoy). Can't someone tell old man Westbrook to stay on the sidelines until we need him?

I kid, of course. Always good to throw your starting tailback into the mix when facing a 3-4 team that can blitz. Westy will help in protection quite a bit. He also is good at finding small creases to run through. A few of McCoy's 2 or 3 yard gains might have gone for 5 or 6 with Brian back there. He knows how to make himself small and get upfield. McCoy was masterful at that in college, but he's still thinking too much right now instead of letting his instincts take over.


RE: Offensive line at home vs on the road

I haven't noticed a significant difference. I guess we need to see the version with Todd at LG on the road a bit more to judge. The OL played well on Sunday at home. I expect them to do that this week and on the road if they stay healthy.

The struggles in Oakland had to do with our personnel as well as the Raiders playing with a chip on their shoulder. Richard Seymour was fired up in the opener and played well. He wasn't all that great the next few weeks. Then Pierce cracks on Oakland and Seymour comes out ready to kick butt.

RE: Gocong's future

I think that Chris will get looks from a 3-4 team to come play OLB. He can put his pass rush skills to better use in that scheme. I'm told the Eagles would like him back, but won't overpay for him. I could see a few 3-4 teams being really interested in him. He's athletic. He's high character. His best days are still ahead of him. Good player with potential.

I don't want to lose him, but we may not have much of a choice.

All talk about Gocong, Sean Jones, Winston Justice, Omar, etc. depends on the CBA. If there is no new one or an extension those guys will be ours for another 2 years. The downside to no Salary Cap is that players need 6 seasons before becoming FAs.

RE: ESPN & soap opera angle

They do pander to the lowest kind of sports fans, which is unfortunate. Employing guys like Steven A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and Keyshawn Johnson tells you where the network stands...louder is better. Don't do research, but make sure you have a strong opinion and make it as bombastic as possible. I do give them a lot of credit for getting rid of Michael Irvin and also replacing Tony Kornheiser on MNF.

I understand that football is always trying to appeal to casual viewers as well as fanatics like me. I give the networks some leeway with trying to combine entertainment and sports. Just don't lose focus of the game. ESPN does a great thing on one of their college games by having Todd Blackledge eat at a famous place in each town he goes to. That's a great segment and appeals to non-football fans as well as people completely focused on the game. Great idea by someone and Todd is perfect. He loves to eat, no matter what the style of cuisine.

RE: Draft needs

The only spots I'm 100% sure of are LDE and CB. We could address them in Free Agency. I tend to think CB is more of a pure draft target, though.

The big problem with projecting needs is that we don't know about Free Agency. Sean Jones, Leonard Weaver, Gocong, Justice, and Gaither could all be outta here. Juqua Parker, Darren Howard, and Kevin Curtis are older guys that aren't a lock to return. We also need to see what Westy does the rest of the year. Can he ever settle in as "the man" at RB? We may need a starter at FS. That position is up in the air. We might need to add a young QB to groom as a backup, for either McNabb or Kolb.


* Before we all write off the Giants as a bad team let's remember that we didn't face DT Chris Canty, LB Michael Boley, or CB Aaron Ross, all projected starters. Adding those guys will have an impact on the defense. They still do have bad Safety play and that isn't likely to change this year.

* Congrats to Steve Spagnuolo on getting his first win and Gatorade shower. I liked the smile on his face when that bucket of icy goodness hit him. 2009 has been a miserable season for the Rams and Spags, but he seems to understand that this is just an unfortunate part of taking over a team that lacks talent.

* The Saints did it again on Monday night. They won in interesting fashion. Last week it was a big comeback. This time out they got stagnant after building a lead and had to put down a comeback. These "ugly" wins are great for them. A team needs to know it can win a close game. It also needs to know that it can win when things aren't going smoothly. New Orleans remains the best team in the league.

* I don't know what to make of the Colts, the other undefeated team. The offense is great because of Peyton Manning's brilliant play. DEs Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are a deadly combo. Bob Sanders played pretty well in his first action of the year. I have a couple of concerns. Can they stop a good running team? I think we'll all remember what the Dolphins did to them a few weeks back. Also, can the Colts run the ball? Rookie Donald Brown looks great, but got hurt. Joseph Addai isn't the same player he was back in 2006 and '07.

* Anyone notice that Carolina is back to 3-4? They have a Top 10 defense. The running game is starting to click. Steve Smith bured ARZ for an easy TD pass. Anyone who completely wrote off this team was mistaken. John Fox has never lost 10 games in his tenure as coach there. He's like the lesser version of Andy Reid. In bad years he starts slow and gets better. In good years he starts okay and gets better.

* The Vikings have the 2nd best record in football, but there is something about that team I don't trust. Can Brett Favre keep up his level of play? Recent history has him wearing down as the season moves along. The Vikings have played 3 good defenses that like to blitz (SF, BAL, PIT). They went 2-1 in those games, but Baltimore missed a winning FG at the end of the game and Dre Bly dropped an easy pick-six that would have sealed the win for SF. MIN should probably have lost all 3. Does that make them lucky for now or a team of destiny? I hate that phrase, but you know we'll start to hear it as the season rolls on.

* Does anyone know what to make of Atlanta, San Diego, or Chicago...all future Eagles opponents? On good days, those teams look like definite playoff clubs. Other times they look very pedestrian.

* Cleveland is just a mess. The team lacks talent. The organization lacks structure and leadership. The Browns are the worst team in the AFC. The winless Bucs are the worst team in the NFC. I had them pegged as the worst team in the NFL, but Cleveland is fighting for that title. Tampa has played a brutal schedule. They do have somewhat of an excuse.


Cliff said...

I know my judgement is too heavily influenced by last week's game, but the off-season priority to me is re-signing Weaver. He's a weapon. McNabb wants weapons.

I'd also re-sign Alex Smith as insurance if Ingram isn't healthy enough or we draft a rookie not quite ready for the NFL.

izzylangfan said...

Normally the Eagles go with three tight ends so resigning Alex Smith is a pretty good bet. I hope the Eagles resign Weaver as well, but Reid usually wants to go cheap on the FB. I think Weaver was signed at a bargain price this year and if he resigns next year he is going to want a multiyear deal at a good price. So Reid may have to get over himself a little bit to resign him.

Stephen said...

I hope we don't offload Gocong. I think he's a very underrated part of the D, he blows up so many running plays to his side. He might not get the stats for it but he does a good job, and I haven't seen him get abused by any tight ends yet this season. Again it might be out of our hands if someone offers him some kind of ridiculous contract, but I'd rather keep him.

I don't feel like the storybook/fairytale stuff appeals to even casual fans, maybe like someone said its a way to make it more appealing to women. Who knows. I just know I can't stand it.

Stephen said...

Dave made an interesting point in his article today, with the ascension of Winston Justice from collassal bust to solid starter, the 2006 draft needs to be re-evaluated. Check out the list of players we got out of those 7 rounds:

Brodrick Bunkley, Winston Justice, Chris Gocong, Jason Avant, Max Jean Gilles and Omar Gaither. The only washes were Lajuan Ramsey and Jeremy Bloom.

All in all thats quite a haul imo. Starting DT, starting RT, starting SAM, 3rd/slot specialist reciever, part time starting MLB and backup who doubles at times as a starting guard.

All in all the 2005/2006/2007 drafts have really rebuilt the core of this team.

We got Trent Cole, Mike Patterson and Todd Herremans in '05, and Kolb, Abiamiri, Brent Celek and Stewart Bradley in '07.

From 3 years of drafting we picked up 8 players who are currently starting and 3 others who have filled in and played solidly as starters at some point over the past 3 years. Thats a hell of a job by the front office.

The 2004 draft looks downright ugly, though if J.R. Reed hadn't messed up his heel and Shawn Andrews wasn't off with back problems/other problems right now it wouldn't be so bad, but as it stands we have 0 players from that draft on the active roster. Yuck.

2008 isnt looking as hot as the previous 3, a few more people on the list need to step up their game but we did get Desean Jackson and Akeem Jordan. Guys like Laws and Mcglynn and Demps and Mays still have a chance to become good players but they arent there yet.

Factor in the contributions we are already getting from the '09 class and I think we're on a solid little 5 year run with the whole draft situation.

Cliff said...

Never thought of it that way. With Winston Justice emerging as a solid starter, that 2006 Draft looks half-way decent.

If you go back and look at the players drafted after we picked Bloom in the 5th round, there aren't many any of us would be crying about today. We picked Gaither later in that round, of course, but the only other player drafted behind Bloom who I would want today is TE Jeff King (Carolina). SS Dawan Landry is sort of a toss-up because of his injury history and the fact that he plays opposite Ed Reed. But other than those two, our Bloom pick doesn't look as awful when compared to the rest of the 5th round selections in 2006.

izzylangfan said...

I remember that 2006 draft. I figured we really wanted a top DT but there were only two elite DT's in that draft: Bunkley and Ngota. Most of the pundits had the Eagles taking Winston Justice with their first pick because they figured the two DT's would be gone before the Eagles picked. Low and behold, Buffalo surprises just about everyone and does not pick a DT. That meant that the Eagles would likely have a chance to pick either Bunkley or Ngota - whichever was left. Then Justice falls and we get him in the second round and later we get Max Jean-Gilles who was rated by some as the best guard in the draft. Everything worked like a charm.

The 2007 draft was interesting in a different way. I thought that the Eagles wanted a corner or safety. There were four elite defensive backs in the draft and they were all gone by the time the Eagles picked. But the Eagles went with their value board assesments and traded down to nab Kolb and I think (but am not sure) Albiamiri. But the key was that even when things didn't all fall into place the Eagles were ready with a good plan B. Great Job!

Adam S. said...

Uh Cliff I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with your players you would rather have drafted after Bloom(147) in the 5th round of 2006.

Quinn Sypniewski (166), Antoine Bethea (207),Cortland Finnegan (215), Marques Colton (252)

Those are the guys I would gladly of had this team draft. Now obviously nobody could have predicted Colston would turn into the player he is today. I would take Quinn or King as a backup TE, but that may have led to us not selecting Celek the following year. Finnegan would clearly be an upgrade over Hanson or Hobbs. Bethea started at safety in his rookie year didn't he?

But nobody has that mystical crystal ball so all in all a very good year.

Stephen said...

With the trade back with Dallas we actually infamously passed on Anthony Spencer (which all of TATE predicted we would deeply regret, and Spencer would go on to become a holy terror who would sack Mcnabb 3 times a season... idiots) and picked up 3 selections from Dallas. With those picks we took Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley and CJ Gaddis. I will gladly take one quality starting MLB and one quality potential future starting quarterback over one underperforming defensive end any day of the week.

The thing that kills me is that everyone was so convinced just because we gave Dallas a first rounder that Dallas had absolutely fleeced us in the deal and we would regret it forever. I thought this was stupid, and now its obvious that the actual fleecing was done by us, because we picked up a good starting MLB, and a potential future franchise quarterback and all they got was anthony freaking spencer, who has like 5 sacks in his career so far, and certainly doesn't play anything like a first rounder. Of course you won't find any of those idiots on TATE who were howling for Andy Reids head coming back to eat their humble pie over the fact that we made a shrewd move by trading with our most hated ally and then got the better end of the bargain. I'll trade with Dallas all draft every draft if thats how it works out.

Coincidentally the person we picked 3 players after CJ Gaddis, who we may not have selected if we didn't have both picks was... Brent Celek.

Tell me late round picks are worthless.

Cliff said...

Adam, I was referring to players just drafted in the 5th round. My logic there is that Bloom was taken among players rated similarly by other teams (i.e. players rated as "5th round talent").

Bethea (6th) and Finnegan (7th) were certainly GREAT value picks. Colston (7th) was a complete flier by the Saints though. There's no way they, or anyone, saw him becoming the WR he is now. How much of that is due to Brees?

I'm not quite sure what you see in Sypniewski. He's not an Andy Reid TE at all.

izzylangfan said...

It's true I guess that no one saw Colston as the talent that he was, but someone probably should have. By the first week in training camp everyone saw how good he was and he was a starter by opening day. It's not like he took years to develop. Amazing that someone could be that good and go completely unrecognized.

Stephen said...

Part of it had to be that he went to Hofstra. Anyone remember that NFL network spot, the "get your story strait" one where the Saints fan is acting all doom and gloom, and he's like "guess where we got our new WR from?" "where?" "Hofstra" "Hofstra?" "Hofstra". I thought that was a good indication of how most people probably felt about Marques Colston before he started blowing people away.

He's such a great target for Brees, because Brees can really just put it up for him and he has great hands and body control, can just literally go up overtop of a DB and take the pass in. He did that over Joselio Hanson against us and did it again against the Falcons this past MNF.

Adam S. said...

I realized after I posted that you meant players in the 5th round, my bad.

The reason I had Quinn listed was because he would have been an upgrade over Schobel. He probably isn't in the mold of an "Andy Reid TE" but he is a good blocker.

Like I said though if we had selected either King or Syp. then we probably don't select Celek the next year which would obviously have been a bad thing.

31 teams blew it by passing on Colston 7 times. I just find it hard to believe that everybody passed on him late in the draft. With the size he has I'm suprised nobody took a chance on him before #252.