Monday, January 11, 2010

Game Review is Posted


For intrepid souls only.


I know you may wonder about the wisdom of doing a review, but look at it as an autopsy. We do need to know what killed the 2009 Eagles.


The Browns are set to announce Tom Heckert as their new GM. Good luck to him.

Howie Roseman will move from Vice President of Player Personnel to either GM or President. The exact title isn't important. He'll be running the personnel side of things.

I know some people see Howie as a bean counter and have concerns with this. There are legitimate questions, but I tend to trust the judgment of Andy Reid. If he didn't like this move he wouldn't have signed a contract extension. Andy could have left town and used this as an excuse. Roseman is a Banner guy, but if Reid is okay with him that makes me feel better.

Say what you want about Big Red, but he knows who to hire and how to train them. Just look at the ex-Eagles around the league.


The big announcement at Reid's PC today was that Donovan McNabb would be returning as QB in 2010. Andy had to say this, folks. There is a very deliberate way of doing things, hallowed by usage and consecrated by time. The team has to say the safe thing initially. That way teams can't truly read their hand. If Big Red announces that Donovan is on the way out that hurts our leverage. This may seem somewhat dumb to logical people, but that's the bizarre nature of negotiations.

Donovan might return as QB. He might not. We won't find out for a while.



izzylangfan said...

Intrepid indeed. I'm going to print it out, not sure I'm going to read it. I can only imagine how hard it was to write. Thanks Tommy.

Chris said...

Domowitch asked McDermott about those WR screens that were killing them since the Broncos game. Seems McDermott was trying to do press coverage to stop them but Asante won't do it as he doesn't like it. It is in an article in today's Inq. called "Don't pin losses on McDermott".

Second, I don't like Romo, but if you noticed, even when he was getting hit at the start he got rid of the ball very quickly. 1, 2, 3 and the ball was already gone. He threw mostly really short passes (accurately) and he relied on Austin, Williams and Crayton to get most of the yardage. Why doesn't McNabb ever do the same? If he did that, he wouldn't have been pressured nearly as much. And DJax and JMac would be great at running after the catch.

I like McNabb but it is time to trade him while he still has good value and have Kolb do the quicker, more typical WCO throws.

izzylangfan said...


Oddly, McNabb's biggest weakness is the short passing accuracy and touch. But this year he regressed in his discipline - holding the ball too long, and locking onto receivers instead of going through his progressions.

Sadly you might be right about trading McNabb. In particular if they dealt both McNabb and Vick they should get at least number one for McNabb and Vick plus a two or three should yield another number one pick. So with three number one picks they should be able to get the LDE and defensive secondary personnel they need to be competitive in the playoffs.

Pitmanite said...

even though i previously made a joke about andy saying we're going to keep donovan, i agree on andy having to be coy about the situation. it would do them no good this early on to say, "oh yeah we're going to start the kolb era. thanks for your time donnie." if they decide to move him they'll make the trade and then say, "we really never had an intention of trading him, but team x offered us a great deal and we thought it was a good opportunity to make our team better, etc, etc, etc."

that old saying, "be careful what you ask for," keeps ringing in my head each time i say i want to move on from donnie. if for some reason kolb proves he can't get it done we're screwed. if donnie stays one more year at least next yr we'd still have kolb as insurance. what to do???

Pitmanite said...

i'd be shocked if they got a #1 for donovan. i'd think at most they'd get a 2nd rounder this year and next year. i know cutler brought in 2 #1s, but he was coming off a big year and is like 7-8 yrs younger.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Domo's article

Good read. Disturbing info on Asante Samuel.

RE: be careful what you ask for

Exactly. I'm leaning toward dealing Donovan, but you don't trade a franchise QB unless you are sure it is absolutely the right move. I want to think about the situation for a few days to make sure I'm not just disappointed with the loss.

RE: McNabb's value

Hard to say. We need to see who the coaches are with the teams in transition. That could affect things. There are a lot of external factors to take into account.

izzylangfan said...

In what world is Cutler better than McNabb?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Youth. Cutler's best years are ahead of him. Donovan's best are likely behind him.

This is speculation, but that's how it goes in sports. We always want the young guy with 10 good years left in him.

izzylangfan said...

Well yes Cutler is younger and I'm surely not an expert in NFL trade value. But good quarterbacks can go well past 30. McNabb has his faults but is certainly a polished quarterback. Cutler is an undiciplined disaster with a strong arm. Sure he could get there, but given what a prima donna he is what are the odds.

Chris said...

When McNabb was at his peak (from his 2nd-5th year) he was a legitimate threat to run. They used to have to keep a spy on him asides from anyone rushing. Now he rarely if ever runs. Combined with holding on to the ball for a long time looking for bombs, it allows the D to tee off on him. His game now is more Al Davis type, vertical passing, than West Coast offensive type. Speaking of which, they should be looking for a new QB about now...

Montana could barely break an egg throwing it against the wall. Most of their long touchdown passes were him throwing to Rice and Taylor on short slants and letting them rack up yards after catch. This is Kolb's strength and we have the receivers for it. No one is a sure thing but I think he can be our Aaron Rodgers. No one thought he'd be *that* good when Farve was let go. In college, Kolb was comparable to Rodgers, if not better. He went in the 2nd as he came from a run and shoot team and Rodger's came from Telford's QB factory. BTW, I was hoping Marty was going to Cleveland so we could get someone like Norm Chow to call plays. Hoping someone else Reid respects (Chow used to be at BYU also) could get him to run the ball some more as well as tailor the system to our QB.

We could still get good picks for McNabb; pieces we can use to rebuild the D the way the offense was rebuilt this year. I like McNabb a lot but we've seen his best already. It would have been better if Reid got him these weapons earlier but this is how is shook out.

Pitmanite said...

tommy and i weren't getting into a discussion of who is better. just how nfl guys will view their value differently bc of age. and remember your strong opinion on cutler is coming after his atrocious season. when the bears gave up 2 #1 picks they thought they were getting a 25 yr old QB, just coming off a 4,000 yd season, who was going to be a franchise player for the next 8-10 yrs.

a lot of these QBs who stay very productive into their latter years are accurate pocket passers. it's why you haven't seen much of a drop for a guy like manning bc he just needs to stand there and sling it. as chris said, donnie was so dangerous early on because of his mobility. as his mobility decreases with each passing year, his accuracy issues will only become more glaring. this is why it's so upsetting that andy wasted his prime surrounding him with JV skill players at WR.

speaking of mobility, how frustrating is it to watch donnie on like 3rd and 5 have an open lane for the 1st down and instead of running he starts toward the LOS and then fires a laser into the WR's ankles. ahhh, tommy, you've got the right idea...we need to take a couple of weeks to clear our heads.

Edward said...

This D is a Safety, Left End, a corner or two and a LB away from being great and injury resilient. Lets hope we can sort that this offseason.

That info on Asante is extremely worrying. If he's not gonna man up and do whats required we're going to see screens to his side an awful lot next season.

If we can get a high second or a first for McNabb i reckon we should take it. The Kolb style should work with our playmakers.

Ideally McNabb learns how to throw short passes consistently and then i'm happy as a pig in shit but i can't see that ever happening. If it hasn't by now why would it!

izzylangfan said...

I agree that when young he could run for big yardage. Now after all those injuries he can run to buy time and he is still capable of getting first downs. However, he has lost his nerve to run most of the time and I think often steps out of bounds rather than going for the first down.

Nonetheless, he still has a strong arm and is capable of passes most quarterbacks can't make. He can read defenses and I think can be a formidable quarterback for many years. Perhaps a change of environment would do him good. He needs a coach who can better teach him how to deal with his current abilities. It is because he still is formidable that trading him is a big risk. Thus if we don't get significant value for him there is no point to trading him.

Chris said...

Just the fact he could or would run back then slowed the rush. They had to respect it and gameplan for it. If young McNabb played yesterday Ware and Spencer would have to worry about keeping their lanes (containment) instead of going all out for the sack and Bradie James would have had to spy (no coverage help).

He still does have a lot of talent and could easily help a team. But he isn't getting better and we have a youngster that might fit this team better right now. If we can move McNabb and get a good return, it can allow us to fill some critical holes we have on D. Now if teams offer cr@p for him then we ought to hold onto him.

On the D side, they better make it a priority that whoever they pick can / will tackle someone or every team is going to play this screen, slant, quick-hit style on us. In the past, all our defenders were pretty good tacklers.

rick said...

Thanks Tommy for another great year of game reviews and daily posts!

I'd love to get your take on the coaching of this past game. I was surprised we didn't make more adjustments offensively like calling more slants or WR screens, anything to get DJacc going.

Also, your previous point about getting a big back in the offseason is a good one, but the bigger question is can a tiger (in this case, Andy Reid) ever change his strips?

I was also bothered by the McDermott quote - Asante not carrying out his assignment is a bad sign. Kind of let's you realize how N.E. could let him go. Do you think the good (lots of interceptions) far outweighs the bad (ignoring assignments, poor tackling, missed gambles)? I'm beginning to think they equal each other out. I think I'd rather see just solid physical defense...
Also, I had this other wacky idea as we move toward renewing our team with youth. Would a team at the top of the draft board be tempted to take Samuel in exchange for a spot where Eric Allen would be available? Wouldn't salaries be comparable? We could throw in another player, etc.,....

Chris said...


You weren't talking to me but were you referring to Eric Berry, S from Tennessee? Eric Allen is retired and is a TV commentator.

In general, I like that idea too if we could get a team to go for it. Personally, I'd rather a shutdown corner that can tackle than one that sells out for INTs.

rick said...

That's my early onset Alzheimers speaking, not me! Yes, Eric Berry.

Myron said...

izzylangfan: Cutler is actually an elite quarterback stuck in a bad system with a bad o-line and zero decent wide receivers.

If you watched his last two games where they activated Devin Aromashadu, he actually made some nice plays due to that guy's presence. If Cutler has 1-2 skilled receivers, instead of scrubs like Devin Hester (great return man but poor receiver) he can be very effective. He's got an amazing arm, and great mobility and toughness. All he needs is a few playmakers around him and he'll shine. Easily a top 5 quarterback given the right environment, and obviously tremendous upside.

Cliff said...

Cutler's passer rating has gone down each season he's been in the NFL. The Bears offense is a mess, but Cutler threw for a career-high number of TD's this season with the Bears.

He's more hype than "elite."

Edward said...

Ahahahahahaha, thank god we aren't chargers fans!

Pitmanite said...

just read Spuds year-end review. he tells us how we can look to some of our young guys like dimitri patterson, geoffrey pope, q. demps, trevor laws & joe mays could possibly step up big for our defense next year. i'm not trying to bash spuds here bc i know what his role is, but i just love how he makes our fringe roster guys sound like they are on the verge of the pro bowl. it reminds me of like 3 years in a row when he kept including tank daniels in the mix as a guy who might be ready to step in and play big for us at LB.

anyway, it was worth a good laugh and i'm feeling a bit better now.

Dan said...

IMO, Kolb's contract is the elephant in the room regarding whether McNabb stays or goes next year.

Next year is the last year of Kolb's contract. If Kolb sits on the bench all year, how can we be sure that he'll resign a contract with us? More than likely he'll be tired of getting jerked around and want to sign with a team where he'll actually start. So if McNabb stays next year, it would HAVE to be his last year. We'd have to promise Kolb that he'd be the starter in 2011 to get him to sign another contract.

Of course, if McNabb stays, he will probably play as well as he usually plays, giving us a slim but unlikely chance of winning the Super Bowl. Maybe our chances are worse next year with Kolb, but what about 3-4 years from now? I'm personally leaning towards getting Kolb on the field so we know what we have for the future. If he can throw with as much or more accuracy than McNabb, I don't think our offense will miss a beat.

Prem Prakash said...

Maybe I've climbed out of the pit of dispair enough to think about 8 straight quarters of getting punched in the gut by the hated Cowboys. Maybe not...

Reading Tommy's review, I agree that Sean dialed up a good d plan, but our guys stunk up the place, especially the cbs. Has Sheldon ever played a worse game? Asante was exposed again by a sharp qb who knows he can be beat physically. I disagree about the offense needing to make plays so the d can get off the field. The way for the defense to get off the field is to make some stops. I had this arguement with a buddy during the game, and I'm still p.o.'d at how bad we got punked. Dallas tyranized.

On offense, I'm amazed but not surprised that Andy and Marty surrendered the ground game. What else have they done when things really get tough? I also think McNabb is getting too much blame. Yea, he missed a couple plays, but his protection kept breaking down and his recievers weren't open. Desean simply got taken out of the game. I don't kow if Celek was being kept in to block but I was hoping he would see more action. If another qb was in (think Kolb), there might well have been twice as many sacks.

This week we get to see Prima Donna Farve vs. Darth Vader Romo. I must be in hell.

Sidenote: When I came home from the game I found that my wife and son had gone on-line to catch the score. Figuring I'd be bummed, my boy took some of his toys and put them in a small backpack as a gift "to cheer up Dad." Put things in perspective.

Edward said...

Its hard to gauge sacks with McNabb vs Kolb. He's more likely to get sacked on the plays where a defender comes free and is there in a couple of seconds but he showed some ability to get the ball off fast and that could have negated some of the other pressure McNabb received.

I'd like to know how the Cowboys handled Desean so easily, was he just getting pressed and never being allowed to get into his route?

Pitmanite said...

maybe mcdermott could've done a few things here or there, but people keep pointing out that if a guy made this or that play maybe it would've made a difference.
the fact is that we had glaring weaknesses in every part of our defense and if you don't have playmakers, then guess what people...they're not going to make plays!!!! we weren't playing the 49ers or the bears. there is a reason we were 0-5 against playoff teams!

dallas has some real weapons on offense and they're clicking right now. it's not like you can just look at one thing like the WR screen and say, "oh that killed us. if we stop that it's a different game."

dallas literally did whatever they wanted to us in both games. if they wanted to run the ball they did it. if they wanted to screen to their RBs they beat us up there bc our LBs couldn't get off blocks. if they wanted to beat us w/ a wide receiver screen they did. and they picked us apart with their WRs whether it was crayton and williams beating us on slants or austin beating on intermediate to deep patterns and drawing PI.

we can dissect this game a million times and wonder if sean jones makes the INT if that would've swung the game, but it doesn't matter bc they were just plain better. the only thing that would've swung this game is if you plucked 3 playmakers who aren't on our roster and plugged them in at DE, a LB spot and FS (shoot maybe a 4th at CB). then maybe if you switched QBs and you had a coach who liked to the run the ball so we weren't so 1 dimensional. let's just moved on from dallas at this point.

Edward said...

Any thoughts on Nate Allen Tommy? I've seen a few places take him with our second rounder. He certainly looks the part.

Edward said...

In fact the Walter Football draft has us taking

1st: Carlos Dunlap, DE
2nd: Nate Allen, S
3rd: A.J. Edds, OLB
3rd: Devin McCourty, CB

That selection of positions by round would certainly make me happy. Thoughts on the players?

Sorry for the double post.

Myron said...

The more I think about it, the more excited I would be if the Eagles somehow acquired Julius Peppers. Imagine the pressure the front four could get with both Julius Peppers and Trent Cole as DEs.

If they can make their front four elite that way, all they need is to shore up the safety position with a NFL-caliber FS, which would not only make Q play better but the cornerbacks too. Move Sheldon Brown to FS and make Q the SS, and draft/sign a CB, or just draft/sign a FS outright.

Then, as long as Stewart Bradley comes back and plays well, the LBing corps will be very solid if they have Witherspoon and Gocong/Jordan/Fokou bookending him.

Our defense could be elite once again if this all comes together this way.

Boyboy said...


I am of the opinion that everything goes in cycles. I think that Sean McDermott had a good first year as DC, and the numbers (top 10 D, give or take) prove it. The problem is that, in my opinion, the league has caught up to the system. The system is predicated on smaller, faster players. Dallas just flat-out manhandled the defense this year. Yes, we were deficient at MLB and FS, but we were overpowered across the board. The defense is no longer physical or intimidating. We don't have CBs that excel in press coverage. That's why every 3rd down they had a WR wide open. We don't have a DL that can overpower anybody. When do you ever see an Eagle get a sack with a bullrush? Sometimes you just need to be able to man up. Dallas' defense by comparison is big and physical first, athletic second. They pounded our receivers and offensive line. And that's not to say they don't have speed, they're just not built on it. Personnel on the defensive side of the ball is going to have to change. That means the philosophy needs to be tweaked, not overhauled.

On the offensive side of the ball, we need to look at the OL. Andy Reid and Co. gambled big time on the Andrews brothers and Jason Peters and lost big time. I still believe Stacy was just never physically ready. The jury is still out on Shawn and whether it's his mental makeup or an actual crippling injury. Jason Peters, as Tommy said in response to one of my questions, doesn't look natural dropping back into pass protection. He's been hit or miss. I don't know what other options were out there in the offseason but we took too many gambles. Winston Justice became solid, but unspectacular. Herremans and Jackson were good, but RG was a revolving door. Nick Cole is serviceable, nothing more. Stacy wasn't ready. MJG just can't play. Ugh. The Dallas defense was just too much for them. Which leads me to...

Donovan. He never looked comfortable against Dallas and rightfully so. But there were times that he held the ball too long or simply missed throws. He is just not built for this offense. He needs time to survey the field and buy time. He isn't a quick decision maker. By contrast, Aaron Rodgers, who also faced heavy pressure and blitz packages made read after read and delivered the ball to the correct receivers consistently. I'm sure our small receivers struggled with the press coverage but Donovan wasn't getting the ball much to Avant or Celek (save game 2) or the RBs either. Dallas' defense isn't that good that everyone could have constantly been covered.

Also, we still can't consistently run the ball. Look at the winners of the Wild Card games. They were all able to RUN THE FOOTBALL. Our OL certainly has the size to dominate. I don't think anyone has a killer instinct. And if it's not working, Andy won't stay with it. We don't consistently open holes or blow defenders off the ball. I just don't get it. The whole team needs a whole new physical attitude.

And I've said this before, but we still over-value what late round picks and undrafted rookies are doing up in Lehigh. Case in point, Joe Mays, Quentin Demps, Macho Harris and Max Jean-Gilles can't play -- well, at least not yet. I thought we were on the right track this year with Leonard Weaver, Ellis Hobbs, and Sean Jones -- proven veterans that can contribute. But only Weaver panned out. So those things, plus the OL decisions make you have to question our personnel decisions.

Um, yeah...that's just off the top of my head.

Edward said...

It is definitely not an outdated system.

We did get manhandled by Dallas but its not as if other teams that tried to play power football against us had their way with us. In fact the teams we did lose to other than Dallas and the raiders were New Orleans and San Diego. They are predominantly passing teams and our lack of ability to rush the passer and our safety play forced us to back off. This helped them establish the run and our linebacker play was then not good enough to stop it.

A legit LDE and a healthy linebacking core that gets to play as a unit for more than a week at time and we're right up there as a very good defense. Throw in some star power at free safety and more consistency from our slot corner and you have a great D. Its all pretty fixable.

The offense has me worried, they have all the talent in the world but the coaching/qb combo will have me on edge no matter what if we don't get incredibly solid play from our o-line.

Pitmanite said...

let's be honest, even when the run is working andy won't go to it. it's not like he really pushes the run early and after it doesn't work he moves on. it's always like 2 runs early and then he abandons it. i made a point many times this year when he wasn't running the ball to check what our RBs were averaging & multiple times they were averaging at least 4 yds per carry. granted weaver might've only had 3 carries for 12 yds and lesean might've had 8 yards on just 2 carries, but they still were avg 4 ypc.

i promise that i'm not complaining about running the ball anymore. it's just not going to happen under AR and i can't keep stressing out over it. for a fact though, we will never win a SB with Donnie as QB without running the ball. teams with QBs like P. Manning, Rivers, Brees, Rodgers, etc, can get away with 13 play drives, where they throw it 11 times, that go 80 yards and take 7 minutes off the clock. the reason is their QBs are so accurate. You can't do that with Donnie because he will always at some point miss 2 or 3 key passes to wide open guys that stall the drive. unfortunately, AR can't seem to get this thru his big fat head so we'll continue to be big play or bust. if we get some big plays early and build a lead then he'll run it a little more than usual, but against good teams at the end of the year it's always going to be the same pass crazy gameplan. this has to be the last time i mention it, otherwise i might go crazy and you guys will see on the news that a lunatic fan in commando gear made an attack on the Reid compound.

Edward said...

With the load of talent coming out in this draft it does seem like we loaded up early in this draft intentionally. 6 picks in the first 4 rounds could end up being quite a haul.

Pretty envious of the Pats picks right now though. A higher first and then a high second with 2 more seconds. Mocking for that would be so much fun!

I need to stop thinking about the draft. I'll be burned out by early march at this rate.