Wednesday, January 20, 2010

McNabb / Kolb Situation & A New RB

***

I finally finished by lengthy write up on the Future at QB.

--LINK--

I'm sure most of you expected me to choose Kevin or Donovan. Who knew that Mike McMahon would still be a candidate? I guess I just missed the glory days of December 2005 too much.


NEW RB

The Eagles signed Martell Mallett on Tuesday. He played in the CFL last year, winning Rookie of the Year. 214-1,280-6 TDs. 5.8 ypc. 43-342-2 as a receiver. He lists at 6'0, 210. Mallett played at Arkansas-Pine Bluff prior to the CFL.

I put in a game tape from his APB days to check him out. PE.com also has some highlight clips up. Here's what I saw:

Physical runner. Doesn't go down on first contact. Runs behind his pads and will finish runs when he has a chance. Lacks ideal speed, but runs hard. N-S runner. Effective on cutback runs. Generally a 1-cut runner. Okay burst. Not overly elusive. Has good balance. Shows good vision. Will trust the play. Good receiver. Has soft hands and can pluck the ball. Shows potential as a pass blocker. Not shy. Effective catching screens.


Here is a link to his stats from college. Ran for 2,888 yards and caught 50 passes.

--Mallet at APB--

I'm glad the Eagles signed this kind of RB. He's not the small shifty runner that we've targeted in the past. Mallet's success in Canada is good, but that doesn't mean much when it comes to making an NFL roster. Every year CFL stars come to NFL teams. Some pan out, some don't.


QUESTIONS

I apologize for the lack of answers. Writing the QB piece took forever. I'll be getting to some of the FA/draft topics soon.
_

35 comments:

Boyboy said...

A couple things come to mind here...

--Donovan's trade value will only decline going forward.
--Donovan hasn't gotten us over the hump in the big games and he's had plenty of chances.
--I don't think people realize just how far removed we are from the glory years. 2005-09 haven't resembled the teams of 2001-04. The 2008 NFCCG appearance is the exception not the rule. How long do you hold onto hopes of rekindling the magic?
--We drafted Kolb to be the QB of the future. That was 3 years ago.
--In doing so, we passed up on players that could have been contributing to this team while he's been on the bench (Ben Grubbs, Joe Staley, Greg Olsen).

Oh..got to run...I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this later.

izzylangfan said...

Great piece on the QB's. I agree Kolb is our man. I was interested to know of any politics that occurred for you to post it on the Eagles website. I notice they are not running an abbreviated version as a "Fandemonium" piece.

Thank you Donovan McNabb you have been great!!!

Myron said...

Could this be the second coming of Duce Staley?

DUCE V2.0!

Myron said...

Also, regarding the article, Tommy - that's probably the best piece of yours that I've had the pleasure of reading. It outlines exactly how I feel, and how probably 90% of the Philly fans feel, about the QB situation next year. McNabb is the safe choice, and Kolb is the smart choice, but both are gambles to some extent. Just have to bite the bullet and roll the dice.

jamie said...

great article. eloquently says what i think.

Myron said...

One more thing about McNabb though:

One one hand, you can point to his stats the past few years and be very underwhelmed by what he brings to the table. One of the arguments *for* McNabb is that for almost his entire career he has had very little to work with, i.e. the "amazing" talents like Todd Pinkston and James Thrash.

And for the first time in many years the organization has committed to giving Donnie some actual skill players to work with: Brent Celek, Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson. These are legitimate, talented receivers. And 2009 was really the first year Donnie had the opportunity to work with them all as a group. 2010 will be the first year in which Donnie will be able to work with Jeremy Maclin after a full season and a full offseason at training camp. 2010 will be the first real year in which all of these skill players will truly be entering their prime as a cohesive group: Celek his fourth year, D-Jax his third year, and Maclin his second year.

Might it not be interesting to give him just *one* more year to impress us with what he can do with a legitimate receiving corps working together as a group? As far as I can tell, he's literally never had that before, excepting potentially the T.O. year, where it was merely: T.O. and Westbrook, plus the other scrubs.

I personally think it would be smarter to make the switch to the future QB now, and get some picks for McNabb while we can, but in all fairness to the man, he might still be able to do some amazing things with his weapons if we give him one more chance. Unfortunately, if we do that, we probably have to trade away Kolb.

Adam S. said...

I've watched quite a few games with Mallet playing as I live in Canada and the BC Lions are in the same division as my home team so they play at least 3 times a year. he is a good hard-nosed runner but nothing to jump out of your seat over. He was probably the 4th best RB in the CFL last year. He played on a bad team with a constant rotation at QB so he was relied on heavily. Saw him run through plenty of DB's but lacks breakaway speed.

I'd be suprised if he makes the roster after training camp, but has good PS potential. Out of any RB to come out of the CFL he would be the best choice because he is so young still and does have some upside. I'm a little excited to see what he does in the spring with a full offseason around the Novacare.

Chris said...

Great article. I agree with your points.

One thing. When people discuss McNabb going they say we are giving up a franchise QB. For his first 5 years, I'd agree. He was amazing and carried the team on his back. He isn't that guy anymore, he is slightly better than average and is not elite. And since he no longer runs (one of his biggest strengths of old) his flaws of holding the ball forever and accuracy problems really stand out.

Kolb seems to get rid of the ball quicker and seems to hit the guys in stride more which fits the style of guys we have and the offense we choose to run.

frankfurtler said...

Excellent write up on the future of QB. It gets right to the point and is a smooth read all the way.

Crazy how the team is at a crossroads at the QB position at the same time the league is at a crossroads with the CBA.

The season for speculation,

Are there teams that could covet Donovan, or Kolb, or Vick and make an offer the Eagles can't refuse?

Does the sense that Donovans trade value will decline hurt the Eagles leverage in negotiating trade compensation?

Is it possible that the best trade compensation may be from a team that wants to get 2 of the 3 Eagle Qb's? OK that sounds way unlikely and would make people crazy if it were to happen but..

Pitmanite said...

Tommy-

I loved your assessment and I agree going forward w/ kolb. There is a risk in that we don't know what we're going to get w/ Kolb, but more importantly, we do know what we're going to get with Donnie and it's not a SB.

I do want to say tho that I don’t think the system from AR & Marty hurting Donnie can be highlighted enough. I'll make an analogy to a basketball player. Assume you have a guy who is a great perimeter player who can hit the 3 and needs space (i.e. picks) to score. Pretend this guy’s weakness is having his back to the basket and playing in the low post. His coach knows this, yet he still runs an offense that consistently puts the player down in the post with his back to the basket. Over time, the guy might develop a few post moves and have some success, but he ultimately struggles because it’s not his strength. Then every once in a while the coach runs the offense with him out on the wing and the guy shines, yet before long the coach goes back to his old way and puts him down low.

This isn’t the perfect analogy, but it’s pretty damn close to the AR and Donnie situation in my opinion. We’ve had a QB who isn't a very accurate/precision passer yet we've got a coach who has consistently tried to force him to throw 40+ passes a game. Even though Donnie has been successful, his flaws always show up. Like Tommy said, when he used to run the ball more it was easier to cover up.

If you told me we were going to come in next year and build a running game to build around Donnie’s strengths, and for the most part have Donnie throw the ball around 25-30 times a game, then I'd say bring him back!! The problem is we know that won't happen, and Andy will continue to be a defenses best friend come playoff time. Since Kolb is built better for this offense, I'd rather we jump start his career and let him grow w/ the young guys. I'll point out though that even though Kolb is better suited for our style, unless he's the 2nd coming of Peyton Manning, we can expect much of the same results in coming up short in the playoffs if we don't ever establish a running game.

Edward said...

Great read Tommy, as Myron said i think you hit the nail on the head, that is what lots of us are feeling. The article provided some proof and clarity for those of us just slinging random ideas around! (Me)

On a draft note, i watched some pre-injury highlights of Corey Wootton earlier that are floating around on youtube. He looks like a completely different very explosive player, i wouldn't be opposed to the Eagles picking him up.

H said...

Tommy,

Thanks great read. Hopefully Big Red read it this morning.

Cliff said...

I never thought we could see an Eagles team with McNabb and Vick. We did.

I never thought we could see an Eagles team with Vick and no McNabb. We might.

Adam S. said...

What do you think the trade values are for McNabb and Kolb? I'm all for getting the Kolb era underway, if we can get decent compensation for McNabb. I'm not expecting anything Cutler-esque but I don't want them giving him away for nothing either. If McNabb stays and Kolb goes there is NO WAY I see us getting even close to the 2nd round pick we invested in him.

I just don't have a clue as to what value these guys have on the trade market. I guess you could lump Vick into that same question.

I hate when we aren't deep in the playoffs, it makes waiting for stuff to happen that much longer.

Edward said...

Anyone worried that we've lost our GM, haven't replaced him and have now just lost Director of Player Personnel Jon Sandusky and Personnel Executive John Spytek. This draft could be interesting.

edinburgheagle said...

Excellent food for thought Tommy, thanks. Something that might also be worth considering is the potential impact of an uncapped year on the QB decision. Even with our injured players back I think the D is short of championship calibre, without a CBA there will be a dearth of free agent talent and it'll be very hard to plug the holes for next year. Sure, some rookies might contribute, but you can't rely on that. So uncapped year might mean a rebuilding year, which would add weight to the case for Kolb...

This is going to be a long offseason, isn't it?

Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

I originally replied to Edward that the Eagles replaced Heckert with Roseman, but I hadn't realized that this wasn't made official yet.

What's the hold up? ESPN reported the move over a week ago.

Call me crazy but something bigger could be going on - what if Reid was assuming control over the GM responsibilities as part of his Executive VP role and we were hiring a new H.C.?

Just a thought. I've been playing with that idea in my head as a "life after Reid" scenario for a while.

Chris said...

Best and most objective Kolb vs. McNabb write up I have seen. Great job. I think you have said several times that McNabb's best performances have probably hurt any chance of Andy/Marty playing balanced ball. Even if Kolb has a lower ceiling, if it shifted the game plan to be more balanced, that would be a welcome change.

Nathan said...

Great article Tommy.

tom said...

Great read, Tommy. Thanks a bunch. I think I'm still slightly on the McNabb 2010 side of the fence, but I see the trade argument more than in previous years, and especially when you make it with reasoned, measured logic (as opposed to the junk we've heard in Philly for years that just says 'get rid of him' with nothing behind it except anger over not having any rings).

Regardless, there's a separate point I'd like to address here about the injury to Jamaal Jackson. Unfortunately I can't find a link, but the New Yorker ran a profile of Hank Fraley a bunch of years ago that talked all about what an important role the center plays in general, and *especially* in the kind of offense Philadelphia runs.

Although each position on the offensive line has its own role in different plays and formations, the center is a really unique skill position. As I understand it (and please correct me here if I'm wrong), the center is McNabb's eyes and ears on the o-line. The center has more to do with directing the blocking assignments, picking up the blitz, and identifying a need for run audibles than any other player (and even sometimes relays information about coverage back to the secondary via the QB).

To some extent, guards and tackles can be swapped around in the event of injury with a minimal (though not insignificant) learning curve. But, the center is a whole different ball game. Trying to change him out for a guard, even one who had C experience in college is not apples to apples. Losing a great receiver to injury is bad, but at least someone else can run their routes. Losing a center constitutes a major breakdown of communication at the heart of the offense.

I'm not trying to make excuses for poor play by the whole team in the last two weeks of the season (which there was a lot of), or to discredit the Dallas D in those games (who, as much as it pains me to say it, played well). But I keep hearing people boil down the loss of our starting center for 71 straight games to the fact that there were a couple of questionable snaps. I have to believe it's more than that. For whatever mistakes were made, the Eagles were visibly a different team without Jackson.

If the center is the pivotal position that I'm suggesting, rather than just another linemen who happens to snap the ball, then it could explain more than it seems on the surface. If you don't assign proper blocking on run plays then the opposing defense will get penetration every time. If you can't pick up the blitz properly then the QB is pressured to dump the ball off too quickly, and you get sloppy, hurried incompletions. Then the defense has to come back on the field after yet another 3-and-out. They get exhausted, unable to tackle, cover, or chase down anymore, and you give up more points. Then out comes the offense to repeat the process all over again.

Add this to the fact that our only TD drive in the first half of the last game took 2 plays (not exactly a heap of time to rest the D) and I think you get a slightly better picture of what happened at the end of the Eagles season.

Again, I don't mean this to discount a lot of poor play, or to refute the argument for trading McNabb. I just haven't heard anyone suggest that the loss of our center was more than just another in a series of problems for the Eagles. I think Jackson's injury contributed heavily to major systemic problems with our offense that affected every aspect of those last two games.

Is the lack of real depth at center a separate problem, or just another thing we can lump in with the series of o-line problems the Eagles had all season? I'm not sure. But I do think it was a significant factor in those last two losses that has been glazed over in any analysis I've read so far.

-tom

Prem Prakash said...

Pat on the back, Tommy, very fine work.

For some context, I still think the Kolb draft pick was dumb. As Boyboy pointed out, there were quality players still on the board that could have helped us immmediately and be playing right now. I know Don's health was somewhat questionable at that point, but we could have found someone suitable as backup (was AJ on the roster?) Plus, I think it points to a problem with the big picture. Eagles management does a great job keeping the team competetive from year to year, but they spend too much time and resources on the long-term, falling short in investing money and draft picks on guys who can push us over the SB wall. I wonder if Bill Giles saw this and made it a point to run the Phillies differently.

As for Kolb and McNabb, I disagree that #5s trade value will naturally diminish, that somehow his career is automatically on the downhill. My wife's family is from Colorado, so I remember clearly Elway's success. He won his Super Bowls late in his career, after the weapons he needed were finally put in place, and he shook off the tag that he couldn't win the big one. I truly believe McNabb can be the same kind of guy.

In addition, Kolb is an unknown. Period. He has no body of work to evaluate his talent. Looking at the Ravens, Saints and Chiefs games tell very little, next to nothing, about how he'd perform through a 16 game season, and even less about playing under playoff pressures. I think there's a certain temptation to rolling the dice on him because we're bored with the status quo and it would be interesting to see what happens. He's new, young and it would be exciting to break out of the same patterns. You guys who have been married for 10+ years may know what I mean about boredom leading to considering something young and new, even if it's a really dumb idea! I like the kid a lot, he seems like a competitor and a team guy. If we were in a rebuilding period I would agree completely that Kevin is the guy, and McNabb is worth only what we can get in trade. But this is not where the Eagles are at, so I say we stick with a guy who is a top 10, 11, or 12 quarterback.

Pitmanite said...

@Prem
I agree to some extent w/ your post, however I don't think the kolb pick was dumb. There were players on the board that could've helped, but at the same time go look at all of the 2nd and 3rd round picks who are busts. We've had quite a few in the last several years so it wasn't a guarantee that we'd take a position player and he's help us.

QB is such a premium position that if you truly believe you have a guy who can be a good starter in this league and you see a transition in the next couple of years, then you take him. Kolb is still only 25 yrs old. there's no guarantee that there would've been a 2nd round QB last year or this year that we liked as much as kolb. He's got 3 years in our system now and played 3 games for us last year and showed promise.

To your point about Donnie, as I said before if he was being put in a situation to take advantage of his strengths I'd keep him. That's not the case though. He's not built to be a 40+ pass attempt QB and that's the offense he is in. Year after year we watch him implode or put up avg performances at the end of the season, bc at that point Andy forces the pass even more and it's against better teams. Donnie's biggest strength used to be his ability to scramble bc at least that kept defenses honest. He ignores his biggest strength and doesn't run anymore, so now we just have a QB who struggles with accuracy and whose coach just keeps letting him fire away. How many times do u want to go through the same thing?

Boyboy said...

Kolb is no more of an unknown than any other young QB. Hell, McNabb was an unknown when we drafted him. The point is that both were chosen to be groomed to lead the team. It's the natural assumption to think that Kolb can't possibly perform better than McNabb has. But it's like the Shrodinger's cat paradox. Put a cat in the box with a vial of poison. If the poison bottle breaks open the cat will be dead. But there's no way of knowing if the cat is alive or dead until you actually open the box to find out.

The Eagles should open the box and find out what they have. They're not as close to a championship as people want to think. In actuality, now is a good time to make the switch because Kolb is surrounded with a lot of talented players. Also, don't forget, we won games with Garcia and Feely at the helm of this team. At some point in time, McNabb is going to be gone. You have to embrace it eventually. When is ever the right time?

Prem Prakash said...

@Pitmanite & Boyboy

When I was in school we had a debate class where you had to take both sides of a topic and make an arguement for each position. You guys make reasonable and valid arguements that are hard to find fault with; the types of things I would say if I was in your camp. I still disagree, though, for the primary reason that I don't think McNabb is washed up. In fact, I think he may have some of his best years ahead of him. He has certainly been abused by Reid during his career, playing with weak receivers and not getting to play to his strengths. No doubt, there. But the guy is a legitimate talent and is now has some real wide receivers, a tight end, a backfield and, if guys get healthy, I believe we could have a powerful O line next year.

I also do think we are close to a Championship team and, therefore, this is the time for a veteran at the helm and not an untested guy. If the Eagles go with Kolb, I will be the first to hope he's another Sanchez (maybe Rogers is a better comparison, but Mark is deeper into the playoffs than Aaron has ever been). In the meantime, I still think Donny can be another Elway.

T_S_O_P said...

"That's not the case though. He's not built to be a 40+ pass attempt QB and that's the offense he is in."

And why isn't there uproar about this? We wouldn't win consistently with this offense even if Drew Brees was our QB!!!

Proof: In 2007 and 2008, Drew Brees of the Saints actually did attempt around 40 attempts passes a game, while at the same time his rushing offense finished 26th (both seasons) in rushing attempts a game. Combined record, 15 - 17. Balance 62.5/37.5 (Pass/Rush)

This year he made just 32 attempts a game and the rushing offense 29 a game (good for 7th in the league). Before they claimed the number 1 seed and tuned down, the had won nearly as many games in one season. Balance 52.5/47.5 (Pass/Rush)

Kolb or McNabb? Neither will provide a SB while Marty calls the O, more so when paired with Air Reid. So while we bleed talent around this league, why not trade McNabb, where in the right offense (run oriented) he could most certainly still win an SB, and therefore still have legitimate value.

T_S_O_P said...

**Correction**

Brees only played 15 games, therefore he passed 34 times a game making the balance 54/46 (Pass/Rush)

T_S_O_P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pitmanite said...

Prem-

I definitely don't mean to say Donnie is washed up. I'm a huge Donnie fan, I just don't think Andy knows how to use his talents. Back when Donnie was in his prime AR put the bad news bears version of receivers around him year after year. That still pisses me off. I know we have weapons now, but Andy won't run the ball...Donnie just isn't built to be a guy who can consistently lead his team up & down the field picking apart a defense w/ his arm. With him we're big play or bust. I think Kolb has promise, but the bigger reason I want him in there is he's better for our system and it's clear AR won't change.

A vindictive side of me wants a trade to happen so Donnie can move to a team where a coach knows how to use him properly, and he wins a SB. This way many of his critics will see that it's not so much about Donnie choking, but rather not being put in the best position to succeed. Also, maybe Fat Red will maybe see that he throws the ball too damn much!

Pitmanite said...

Amen TSOP

shlynch said...

Congrats on getting written up by Les Bowen today!

izzylangfan said...

Tommy,

I think that you may have understated how good McNabb is. That Romo comes out better than McNabb is telling. McNabb is a quarterback in an offense that passes all the time and not just little dinks and dunks. The Eagles want to move the ball in big chunks all the time. Defenses know this and blitz all the time. He takes sacks, evades tacklers breaks free and makes things happen. He doesn't throw interceptions.You don't disorient McNabb just by hitting him. Look at Romo - you get to him, rough him up a bit, disrupt their pass protection scheme and he fumbles and throws interceptions.

How many quarterbacks could survive in the overly pass oriented scheme that McNabb thrives in. I don't disagree with your overall conclusions but I would move McNabb up four or five notches in your overall rating of quarterbacks.

Cliff said...

Yeah, I saw that Les Bowen article and thought "not fair." Where's the shout-out to the sometimes-witty, sometimes-accurate commentary that serves as a backdrop to your analysis? This is bullshit.

I hope you got some extra site traffic out of it, at least.

Of course you could do that by mentioning random celebrity scandals in every post, too. Get that Google algorithm crawling, Tommy.

Here, I'll help: Tiger Woods John Edwards Heidi Montague

Kevin said...

Congrats on going national :)

---

I loved the article...and not because it echoed a lot of my thoughts. I never realized how "easy/simple" the TDs were. I rewatched part of the Saints/Chiefs games afterwards...and never felt that Kolb looked fantastic, but that he looked pretty darn good for his first ever starts. Keep in mind that he was working in Shady/Peters/Maclin and it's even more impressive.

1st and 3rd for McNabb = retooled defense + potentially better QB play.

qqq said...

happy new year............................................................