Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big Red Re-Ups


The Eagles and Andy Reid agreed to a 3-year contract extension. We've heard talk about this off and on this year, but it was pretty much inevitable that it was going to get done.

Let's talk about a couple of points. First, was it the right move? Yes. AR has his faults. We discuss them all the time. He also knows how to build up an organization and delivers wins. Think about the last 4 years:

2006 10-6 NFC East title , lost in Div. round in the playoffs
2007 8-8
2008 9-6-1 (you can tie?) Wildcard team , lost in NFC Champ.
2009 8-4 tied for div. lead , on pace for the postseason

That isn't a great record, but also realize that in that span Andy had been rebuilding the team. We're the youngest team in the NFC East. We're ascending. Not so bad when you factor that in.

We're all frustrated by the lack of a Super Bowl victory. That is the ultimate goal. There are some fans convinced that Andy can't win the big game. I understand that argument and they could be right. I do think Andy can win. He's changed over the years. Maybe not as much as we all want, but this is a different team.

The extension gives us stability. That's important. John Harbaugh is gone. Jim Johnson passed away. Vets like Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan, and Dawk are gone. We do need a leader for the team to keep the "Eagle way" in place. Sean McDermott will emerge as a strong coach. Marty is Marty. No idea about Ted Daisher. There are players who are becoming the new veteran leaders. Reid is the guiding force in all of this.

The other part of the extension that merits discussion is the length - 3 years. That isn't the longest time in the world. Is this a sign of the Eagles not wanting to commit long term to Andy? I don't think the length has anything to do with him or the team specifically. Andy is coaching his 11th year right now. 3 more seasons will give him 14 years as coach of the Eagles. Not many men run an NFL team for 14 years. That is rare air. It isn't because there haven't been good coaches.

A coach and his team wear down over time. The coach can lose his edge. The players get used to the same things over and over and the message from the coach doesn't have the same effect. Long stays can lead to stagnancy. That's why Bill Walsh stepped down from running the Niners despite the fact they had a SB squad in place. Joe Gibbs and the Tuna both sort of burned out after running the Skins and Giants in the 80s/early 90s. John Madden walked away from a loaded Raiders team. Saint Vince left the Pack for the Skins after about a decade.

It is incredibly tough to do what Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Chuck Noll did. Those guys are anomalies. I think the Eagles would have been wrong to commit to Big Red for more than 3 or 4 years. They can always re-up again if the situation feels right down the road. Lou Holtz likes to joke that at his age you don't buy green bananas. You just don't know how much longer you'll be around. Andy's life as Eagles coach is somewhat the same way. He's closer to the end than the beginning. Don't make a long term commitment. 3 years is a good length.


RE: Shutout

I'm glad that Sean pulled the starters. I desperately wanted the shutout, but I didn't complain at all with his moves to play backups. I'd rather have our key guys healthy for the last month and hopefully postseason.

Why is a shutout so important? Because we haven't had one in forever. It won't change anything in a major way, but I love defense and it kills me that we always find a way to give up a FG or fluky TD in a game where the D is dominating. Give me one shutout every few years and I'm a happy man. None in the last 13 years is frustrating.

RE: Reid and winning the SB

I understand the doubts. Trust me, I do. Andy has made changes, though. Think of the way we have aggressively added skill players in the last few years. We traded for Donte Stallworth. We signed Kevin Curtis to a big deal. We drafted DeSean. We traded up to draft Maclin. We drafted Shady in the 2nd round with Westy already in place. That is a commitment to adding firepower.

Andy has added STs weapons in the last 3 years. DJax, Maclin, Demps, Macho, Hobbs, etc. We never had that kind of depth at RS in the past.

We're scoring more than ever. We set a franchise record for points last year and we're on pace to break that this year.

The use of personnel has changed. Andy is more open than ever. Think about the Wildcat stuff that we ran earlier this season. Think about a pure backup like Buckley getting carries in key short yardage situations. Think about feeding the ball to Weaver in the 1-back sets. Making Avant a key Red Zone target is smart. Mixing in Vick in some short yardage situations is a good move.

I used to get really mad at Andy for not taking better advantage of his personnel. For some reason he's become much more open minded about this.

I know people will point to Andy's game management and wonder if he can handle a tight game in the postseason. I think so, but that remains to be seen. I do feel encouraged by the comeback wins vs CHI and WAS. Maybe Big Red, Donnie Mac, and the team have turned the corner in tight games. Maybe...


rick said...

I've had my complaints about Reid too but this was the right thing to do based on the way the Eagles finished last season, started this season and having had what I think was their best off-season ever.

Back to the draft for a moment. What do you think it would take to move up to the 5 to 8 range to nab an Eric Berry? Would Vick and our #1 do it if you're dealing with a team that needs a QB? Which CB/S prospects do you like late in Rd. 1 and which DE's? Is Carlos Dunlap worth the risk? Thanks.

Cliff said...

Let's get the Eric Berry stuff out of the way now so we don't have to discuss it all winter (after we win the Super Bowl). I'm not directing this at you, rick, alone, but at everyone. I can see Eric Berry being a recurring theme until April despite us not having a realistic shot at signing him.

First of all, Berry is projected as a top 5 pick right now. That a LOT of money to invest in the FS position when we have "value" guys already on the roster (Macho, Demps). Berry is an upgrade, but at what cost?

Second, the cost of moving up would be huge. I like your idea of using Vick as a trade piece. Let's assume we'll have the #25 pick. Using the infamous draft trade values chart, we'll have to give up our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks AND still be 500 "points" shy of the #5 pick.

So, what is Vick worth? He's not going to be worth a 1st rounder (Oakland doesn't have there's anymore) straight-up. I think a 2nd rounder would be dreaming, BUT for the sake of argument, that valuation could put us in range of the 5th selection.

Eric Berry would cost: Vick + #25 + #57 + #89 + $30 million in GUARANTEED money

izzylangfan said...

The Eagles will not trade up into the top ten to overpay by 10's of millions. Maybe in the next tier but it would have to be someone they wanted badly.

Stephen said...

I think Vick will get a first, someone who is quarterback starved is going to fall in love with him.

Anonymous said...


Cliff said...

Matt Cassel started a full season and was only worth a 2nd. Besides, which team is "QB starved" enough to give up a 1st for Vick as opposed to just drafting McCoy, Bradford, Clausen, LeFevour, Tebow, or Pike?

And let's not forget, Vick wasn't the greatest franchise QB before his incarceration.

Boyboy said...

There weren't a lot of teams clammoring to sign Vick when it was going to cost them ZERO draft picks. It's hard for me to believe that any team would give more than a second day pick for him now.

Let's talk about the QBs in general though right now. I mentioned yesterday that a lot of people are 'confident' that McNabb won't be here next year barring a Super Bowl victory. And I do think a lot of folks that cover the team do feel that way. However, this is where my theory falls apart, and I didn't think about it until this trading Vick thing came up:

If we trade McNabb AND Vick in the off-season, we're left with only Kevin Kolb. That doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. McNabb and Vick both want to be starters, but I get the sense that Reid is ready to hand the keys over to Kolb.

And suppose Reid does want to stick with McNabb another year; is Kolb going to be okay with that scenario for yet another year? Doubtful. At some point, the team has to pull the plug on one of those two guys, but which one?

Tricky situation...

@ Cliff -- I agree that they don't want to shell out that kind of guaranteed money for an unproven rookie. Nor do they have the ammo to get up that high in the first place. But man, it would sure be nice to get a crack at a top rated defensive prospect at some point. I wish we had more playmakers on that side of the ball. The problem is that we draft too low each year to get a crack at those guys.

Pitmanite said...

kolb becomes a free agent after the 2010 season unless the CBA falls through. in that case he wouldn't be eligible for FA (at least i'm pretty certain).

i 100% want to keep kolb over mcnabb. as much as i appreciate everything donnie has done for this city, i'm ready for a fresh start next year. it could be tricky if they let kolb sit on the bench for another year because then you've got to negotiate a new contract without seeing him play a full season.

i do agree boyboy that it is a little scary to think there won't be anyone behind kolb. prob just add a veteran (jeff garcia and age rejuvenation chamber)and draft a guy in the middle rounds.

thank you cliff for trying to put a rest to eric berry talk. it's not happening. they need an edge rusher far more than a safety anyway.

Cliff said...

The Eagles will pay to keep Kolb, even if that means paying a "lot" of money to a back-up for a couple more years.

I also think we're overestimating the market for QB's. Who would want Kolb? Carolina, Denver and St. Louis; maybe.

Now think about all the QB's projected to be 1st round talent in the next draft: Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Tony Pike, and Jimmy Clausen. Guys like Tim Tebow, Max Hall, and Dan LeFevour will be early picks, too.

Are teams going to draft one of those guys and out-bid the Eagles in order to sign a guy who's not the future? Is Kevin Kolb going to sign with another team knowing he's not the future there?

rick said...

And Tommy thinks.........?

Cliff, you make a lot of good points and while I agree that it's highly unlikely that the Eagles would trade up to the 5 spot, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Most likely they'll sit tight or move up slightly and grab an edge rusher as you suggest. But as Boyboy says - we need more playmakers. Also, I wouldn't dismiss Vick's value so casually. I think it's been increasing as the season has worn on. Yes, he hasn't gotten many opportunities and when he does, they've been on the predictable side. But last week he had a chance to make some plays and he looked good. That can only help his value. Also, being on our team with a head coach who used to be a QB coach can't hurt. Factor in the fact that he's been on his best behavior (some might say is a changed man) and suddenly, Michael Vick has value. This isn't August anymore. A team that needs a QB could take Vick in a trade and then pick another with our 1st round pick. Vick gives them an instant upgrade while the rook sits for a couple of years learning the ropes. Ultimately though, getting to 5 will probably be too expensive. But maybe we could get a mid-2nd rounder for MV.

Cliff said...

rick, I agree that Vick could be worth a 2nd rounder.

Myron said...

I don't care if they don't want to trade up to get a top 5 pick. I just hope they draft either Eric Berry or Taylor Mays. The Eagles need an elite play-making presence at safety next year. Just imagine how awesome Berry or Mays would be alongside our already solid CB corps.

Another pass-rushing DE would be great too. And that's really all the Eagles need to draft on the defensive side, imo.

So hopefully Berry or Mays will drop to our level or we trade up for either one of them. Obviously top 5 will be out of our range but one of them should drop below that considering that many of the scrub teams picking first will most likely be in the hunt for a Suh or a franchise QB prospect.

Cliff said...

Haha. And with that, it comes full circle.