Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Column Posted

***

I wrote about the OL this week.

--LINK--


As much as we love the skill players, the Big Sexies up front are just as important. They have a lot to do with the 5-game winning streak.

I remember back in late October on of the ESPN jackasses saying that our OL problems were going to be a factor all year. Essentially he said "there's nothing they can do about it". Ha freaking ha.

OL is one of those areas you can improve if you have good coaching and some depth. The Eagles have both. Look at WAS from last night. They had a bunch of old guys on the line. Mike Williams? Is that really a guy you want on the field? WAS keeps playing these older re-treads and it keeps them from developing young players. I know they've been badly hurt by injuries, but the point is that they choose bad replacements. Go sign guys from Practice Squads. Levi Jones? Sure, he can be an effective band-aid. Giving him this PT won't help you in the future. 2009 is a lost season. You need to develop guys for 2010 and beyond. Jones and Williams should not be guys on the field at this point.

We signed Stacy Andrews as a FA, but had Nick Cole and MJG already in place. We have young guys like King Dunlap and Mike McGlynn ready to fill in if needed. We had Justice in place if anything happened to Shawn Andrews.

Things were rough at the beginning of the year when we were shuffling players around. That caused problems. We didn't lack talent. We simply needed to get healthy and figure out which 5 guys to play. Normally that happens at Lehigh, but injuries pushed that into the season. By mid-November we had our answers and the OL is now playing lights out. Let's hope the boys stay healthy for the postseason.

_

17 comments:

Myron said...

The unsung heroes of the offense.

Yeah, lately, the O-Line has been playing so well that I've been surprised by how much time McNabb has had in the pocket. At first I chalked it up to weak pass rush in the few teams we've faced, but he's consistently had all day to make plays, especially with his pocket mobility and ability to extend plays.

I can see now why Andy threw all that money at Jason Peters in the offseason. If he's playing as if he gives a crap, he's one of the best LTs in the game.

Cliff said...

Ha freaking ha.

So a lot of people here in Redskins Country are saying Mike Shanahan is very close to signing with the Skins.

Are we worried? I think the Redskins are very talented team and good coaching will make them dangerous. I wonder if Shanahan would stick with Campbell or draft his "own guy" to start over fresh. ESPN showed a graphic last night that listed all of Lionel Ritchie's offensive coordinators from college to now, I sort of feel bad for him.

The Cowboys will probably be making a coaching change this off-season, too. I wonder if they still plan on staying in-house with Garret or looking elsewhere.

jamie said...

i can't remember the last time mcnabb was sacked. the past few games no one has even gotten a sniff on mcnabb.

when peters and herremans are playing together the eagles are 7-1.

we lost the oakland game because mcnabb was running for his life the entire game. peters was injured in the chargers game.

the O-Line IS THE reason why the eagles are playing so well right now.

Edward said...

With Nick Cole playing pretty well and Stacey being a complete non factor he certainly seems like a massive waste of money at the moment. Do you reckon the eagles are really down on him or are they just giving him a season to heal and don't want to disrupte chemistry? This line certainly does seem to be playing well but most of the time someone gets flat out beat it seems to be Nick Cole. Any thoughts on Stacey Tommy?

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Stacy

I expect him to be the RG next year. Remember, it hasn't even been 365 days since he actually tore his ACL. He got hurt in late December last year. I warned people in the offseason that he might take some time to get right. Clearly I didn't expect him to be a non-factor. I think part of that is due to us aggressively working him into the lineup.

If Stacy struggles in the spring and summer then we have an issue. At that point he should be 100% healthy and he'll know the playbook and new techniques.


RE: Shanny

I like him better in WAS than Dallas. The Redskins problems are similar to those he had in DEN. Mike had some great pieces, but failed to fill out the entire roster. He wasn't great with role players.

I'd be scared of Mike getting hold of Romo and the Dallas skill players. No thank you.

Jason Campbell is a good fit for the Shanny system. He's big, strong, and runs well. I think Jason can be a good starter, but he needs help. Shanny could be the guy to save his career.

I don't know what Dallas will do. Wade isn't the right guy, but I'm just not sure who is. You need a tough coach, but also someone who can put up with Jerry's nonsense.

I've got it. Hire a lion-tamer. He can use the whip on the players and the owner. If he's lucky, the cheerleaders too.

Boyboy said...

Super Bowl bound:

http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/2_1135_2009_Defensive_Hog_Index.html

shlynch said...

"I know they've been badly hurt by injuries, but the point is that they choose bad replacements. Go sign guys from Practice Squads."

Not sure if you mean they SHOULD go sign guys from PS or they DO go sign guys from PS, but it is worth nothing that they did go sign Paul Fanaika off of our PS.

Boyboy said...

So...is anyone else afraid of Week 17 against the Cowboys? I was really hoping we'd have the division wrapped up after this week. But based on what I saw from the Redskins last night, I'm not as confident in their ability to pull the upset as I was just a week ago.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: link

Interesting info. I certainly like the trend.


RE: Fanaika

Yeah, I remembered they signed him after my post. I just get frustrated with that team and their style of doing things. Right now they have 9 OL on the roster.

Mike Williams ... age 29
Levi Jones ... age 30
Derrick Dockery ... age 29
Casey Rabach ... age 32

They have 2 guys in their mid-30s on IR. That is a lot of old guys for a team that has struggled all year.

Andy has his faults, but thankfully he will give young OL a chance to get on the field. You must build an OL. That requires a balance of youth and experience.

The one upside to a down year is getting to play young guys and see who belongs. I like what I've seen of Devin Thomas and Fred Davis in recent games. Quinton Ganther has shown some talent.


RE: afraid of Dallas?

Not afraid. I do think too many fans assume we'll wipe the field with them because it is the end of the season and Dallas will suck. We know some year that Dallas will get hot late in the year. No trend lasts forever.

Stephen said...

Tommy I'd love if you took some time to do a column on the futility of the Redskins trick play at the end of the half of the MNF game. I just love how they tried to run it again after TC took a timeout. It was the ugliest looking thing I've ever seen in the modern NFL era.

My guess as to what was supposed to happen? It looks like the kicker was supposed to be the decoy for some kind of wide reciever screen. He motioned out there and at the snap him and about all the blockers just stood there, but one Redskin started running to the corner, and thats the direction the punter threw towards. I guessing it was a fake WR screen to the kicker and was instead to supposed to go to the guy running for the corner. The only thing I can see that they didn't account for was the 3 unblocked lineman running strait at the punter. Aside from that it looked like a well thought out and designed play.

izzylangfan said...

Tommy,

You didn't quite say it so I will complete the thought. The problem with both Dallas and Washington is their owners. As an Eagles fan I can only hope that they continue in their total jerkiness.

Boyboy said...

Slow news day...I'm dying here. The worst thing is that there isn't a lot to talk about. It may be becauae this game doesn't have a lot of meaning for the Eagles unless Dallas and/or Minnesota lose. It looks like no matter what happens with the Eagles this week, Week 17 is what it will all come down to.

I don't see Westbrook's return being a huge factor either. I have a feeling the screen game will be ineffective because teams will key on that when he's in the game. He may be better suited as a decoy with him and McCoy in the backfield at the same time. Motion Westbrook wide to pull a LB or saftey out of the box type of thing.

I'd really like to see Clemons build off of last week's game. I'd really like to get some sort of confidence that someone besides Cole is going to step up in the post season.

I'm still not comfortable with our LB and S situations. Not long term, anyway. Once we start facing Kurt Warner or Tony Romo instead of Alex Smith or Kyle Orton, things could get ugly.

Anyway, that's all I got for now...

Myron said...

Ironically, maybe bringing back Westbrook will *decrease* our chances to win the Big One.

Remember the 2007 Giants? Tiki Barber was their aging star running back until he retired that year, and two young guys named Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw took over, and the rest is history.

Now I'm not saying Jacobs and Bradshaw are solely responsible for their Super Bowl run, but there has to be some possible truth in the idea that perhaps two talented young players looking to make a name for themselves and possibly secure a nice contract (Weaver & McCoy) will try to make a better impression than an aging veteran who has already signed a lucrative contract extension (Westbrook). Just something to think about.

Baloophi said...

@ Myron

The Tiki Connection (currently in development at Paramount) is interesting though one could make a counter argument laden with terms like "fresh legs" and "experience." Also, Westbrook hasn't retired - he was the starting RB and was running well - elusive - before getting craniumed. Also, you seem to suggest that Westbrook isn't as hungry as McCoy or Weaver - I would argue the opposite - he knows he's aging and he's been close to the promised-land before so he understands how fleeting it is. I would never question his heart.

I do think one thing to consider is whether inserting him into the gameplan at this point will disrupt the run chemistry at all... i.e. - will adding 36 subtract 43? I'm guessing they'll glean as much as they can from the Broncos game to determine whether that's the case. All of that said, remember it was a 70 yard(?) Westy screen against the Vikings in the playoffs (when he had been struggling late in the season) that won the game for us.

RE: Redskins
If Shanny comes to town he's going to need to overhaul that OL to run his style of game - Campbell is almost irrelevant in that sense. Did anyone notice that Ganther likes to hit the line and then turn his back to it? That's how I get in the ocean. It's probably not a great way to break off a run of any distance...

@Boyboy
Good call on Clemons... someone needs to step up on the DL as far as pressure goes. One possible alternative if nobody steps up? Hanson off the corner. I forgot how surprisingly effective he is on the corner blitz. Didn't work against Warner last year in the NFCC but that was "just" one game...

GIANTS?
Maybe I'm alone here, but I don't think I'd be excited to play them for a third time in the playoffs. I thought we handled business two weeks ago when they were coming off their "big" win over the Cowboys so I was emboldened then, but that OL looked solid against the Skins and as hard as it to say this - Eli has looked decent of late. They put up 70 points against our D and the Skins D.

Looking (too far) ahead, what's everybody's ideal playoff scenario?

Boyboy said...

@Myron

Re: Giants

I'm with you...I don't want to see them anywhere near the playoffs. I'm not sure what has gotten into them. It's hard to beat a team three times in one year and that is reason enough for me to not want to see them make it. The Cowboys are probably more talented, but you never know when they'll lose focus.

Re: Ideal playoff scenario

Well, IDEALLY we'd end up the number 2 seed. But I don't want too get greedy. For now, I'll settle for #3 and hosting a wild card game. In that scenario, I'm not sure who I'd rather host between Dallas and Green Bay. Of course, I'm assuming that the Giants don't squeak in. Ironically, we could use New York to beat Minny in week 17 to help our cause for that 2nd seed.

rick said...

Well, I'm not as optimistic as most of the people on this board. Coming into this season, I thought we'd maybe win 10 games and possibly slip into the playoffs via a wild card. The reasons for this were the injuries to Stew and Shawn - 2 huge losses, the death of Jim Johnson and the loss of leadership from Dawk, and the fact that we had to assimilate so many new guys including new skill guys like Maclin, McCoy and Weaver. Here we are already in the playoffs with 2 games left to play and the team I thought would dominate the division - the Giants - might not even make it. Even though we're doing much better than I thought, I would like a little more please, thank you very much. I get the sense that we haven't played our best game yet, we haven't put it all together in all 3 phases with no mistakes. We are moving in that direction though and that's a great
credit to the coaching staff.

I want no part of either the Giants or Cowboys in the playoffs. If I had to choose......I guess: the Cowboys. I AM looking forward to that final game of the season though - anything resembling last year's decimation would do just fine.

I still don't think this is a SB winning team (I'd be VERY happy to be proven wrong) but I do think we get a win or two in the playoffs. Look out next year though!

Boyboy said...

Great thread going on over here:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/12/23/more-evidence-of-the-risks-of-rooting-for-the-road-team-in-philly/