Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Column is Posted


Some DT talk.



Andy Reid will miss the Senior Bowl again this year. He missed last year because we were still alive in the playoffs. Andy has some issues to work through up here (DB coach for example). Normally the Senior Bowl is a good place to go shop for coaches, but Andy isn't that kind of a guy. You bet he's already got a list prepared and is making calls.

We haven't named a GM yet. I have no idea what the holdup is. Howie Roseman basically has the job. The question is what title they give him. GM? President of Player Personnel? Director of Player Personnel? It is all very similar as far as I know. Could be that the Eagles want to bring in someone from the outside to help him and that is the delay.

As for the DB coach opening...I do hope we bring in a good coach. Our DB play was off this year. We would be wise to find someone who knows what he is doing and works well with the players.


RE: Kerry Rhodes?

He didn't turn out to be a great fit for Rex Ryan's system. Someone today mentioned that he wasn't physical enough. Maybe. I can't say that Kerry has ever seemed shy to me.

That defense puts a lot of pressure on the Safeties. Those guys have complex roles that require the ability to make good pre-snap reads and do a lot of shifting even before the ball is snapped. You need a thorough knowledge of the offense and defense. Some guys thrive with all the chaos. Other players get slowed down by all the reads and adjustments. They prefer "see receiver, hit receiver".

I need to watch a tape or two of Rhodes and see how he played. I'm certainly interested in him. Kerry had terrific seasons in 2006 an '07. He's been off a bit the last couple of years. Still a talented player who can make plays. In 5 years he has 15 INTs and 9 sacks.

RE: coaching changes / mass exodus?

We fired the STs guy so we could hire an upgrade. The DB coach left for a demotion, which essentially sounds like we wanted him gone. Am I missing something? I would hardly call that a mass exodus. We did lose some guys from the personnel department, but that is different. I'm not worried by these losses.

The strength coaches...I still haven't read or heard anything on that. Those guys are easily replaceable. As I've mentioned before, several of our guys were already going to an outside trainer for extra help.

RE: the draft

I don't want to load up on defense with all the early picks. We need immediate help. You can't count on rookies. I'd rather solve a problem or two with pro personnel and then hope for one rookie to help out a lot.

When it comes to draft talk I like to play the "what if" game. My goal is to imagine how a particular scenario could unfold and how the players would affect us. Kindle at SAM is something that seemed dumb last month. I've watched Sergio recently and he's grown on me. I can't decide if I like the idea or not at this point. I like thinking about it and trying to imagine how he'd fit in.

We all have our delusional fantasies. I'll lay mine out next week. Hopefully I'll remember that it is the offseason plan fantasy and not the Amy the cheerleader fantasy (we're trapped all alone in NFL Films and won't be rescued for months).

RE: Peyton hatin'

Peyton Manning is a perfectionist. That's an admirable quality in many ways, but not necessarily at QB. Terry Bradshaw won 4 SBs with a playbook that was pretty thin. He didn't worry about outsmarting you. Terry knew that he had good players and the key was execution. He certainly wanted to dial up a good play from time to time and burn you with a misdirection run or maybe a play-action pass.

Peyton is constantly trying to find the perfect play to burn your defense. That drives me crazy. I absolutely love the cerebral side of football, but there are some times when you line up and outplay the guys across from you. Everybody remembers the time we stopped Dallas when they ran "Load Left" on 4th/1 in 1995. People don't remember the dozens of times that Dallas ran it and moved the chains. We knew that play was coming plenty of times, but you just couldn't stop it.

The other thing that drove me crazy about Peyton is that he came into the league and had these players to work with: Marvin Harrison, Marshall Faulk, Ken Dilger. That's an elite WR, elite RB, and good TE. Peyton had star players throughout his time to work with...until this year. Finally he had to deal with young guys. To his credit, Peyton stepped his game up and got the young guys to play at a high level. I always said Tom Brady was the better QB because he won with less. Now Peyton is doing that. I give him all the credit in the world. I doubted whether he could succeed with lesser guys. Peyton has proven me wrong. Kudos to him.


Edward said...

Good stuff on the DT's Tommy cheers. You don't mention the possibility of trying to mix in some one gap stuff with the two gap stuff, is that feasible? It would allow us to get more pressure from our base D and make it less predictable. It would help prevent offences doing what you mention, playing personell to make us play one look in order to play against its weakness. (The 3 WR set to make us play nickel then run it thing).

What do other 4-3 teams run? The Vikes, Colts, Saints, and Bengals are all top 10 against the run. Is that via a 2 gap system? All of those teams other than the colts got more sacks from their top 3 or 4 Dt's than we did.

Stephen said...

I don't know if you can say Brady won with less regardless, because no one is going to confuse the Patriots defense with the Colts defense in the early part of the decade. They're a bit better now, but they're a long way from Gang Green or the Purple People Eaters, or even the Pats defense during the early decade.

Manning is very cerebral about things like you said but I also feel confident they would have run the table if thats what they really wanted this year so I suppose it works well enough. I actually thoroughly enjoy watching Peyton disect defenses because its such a unique thing, especially in todays NFL where players will audible but rarely will call entire drives themselves like Peyton does.

One of my favorite ESPN shows was the half hour piece on the Colts superbowl run, it was enormously fun to listen to how that came about, with London Fletcher "The Suggestion Box" calling his own number twice and coming through bigtime on the second play in the championship game against the Pats. Then how Marvin Harrison of all people suggested running the 3 times strait to get into the endzone for the winning score.

I agree about the yelling at guys thing, thats not really cool but if you think Tom Brady doesn't explode on his guys you'd be wrong, remember the Eagles Pats game in '07, when Juqua Parker got around and had a clean sack on Brady early in the game? Go back and watch his reaction, he had a furious snarl for Matt Light after that one.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: 1g vs 2g

When we use certain blitzes our DTs will attack gaps and head upfield. In short yardage defense teams normally go 1-gap and have guys fire off the ball. No team uses strictly a 2-gap system. There are times when you must attack off the ball.

MIN and IND are 1-gap teams. I'm not sure about NO or CIN. Gregg Williams and Mike Zimmer were 1-gap coaches at other stops, but I don't know for a fact that they are running that system in the current stops.

RE: Brady vs Manning

The "won with less" comment is in regard to offensive weapons. HOF players...

Tom --- Randy Moss

Peyton --- Marvin Harrison, Marshall Faulk, maybe Edgerrin James, Dallas Clark, and Reggie Wayne

Cliff said...

I read that the Eagles were checking out Eagles Blitz favorite Kyle Wilson at Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice.

Also mentioned were Tennessee DT Dan Williams and WVU QB Jarrett Brown.

This is probably no-news, though, because I'm sure the scouts will observe everyone this week.

Pitmanite said...

manning def had a better offense, but there was also a big gap between defenses. maybe not a bunch of hall of famers on defense, but a bunch of clutch, very good-to-great guys.

r. seymour, teddy bruschi, w. mcginest, vrabel, ty law, rodney harrison, lawyer milloy (1st one) & asante.

let's also not forget that other part of the game, which was special teams. they had excellent special teams and always seemed to come up w/ big plays. troy brown made a lot of big plays giving them good field position in the PR game. viniateri in his prime was one of the most clutch kickers of all time (i.e. snow/tuck game).

i think brady is a great great QB, but i also think he was in the perfect situation...enough weapons around him on offense with a great defense/special teams and a great coach. i mean, do you think if peyton is on those teams thaty they have less success? furthermore, i used to think it was brady making belichick (sp) look so great but after the 2008 season maybe some of it was the other way around. u had cassell going from a bench warmer for the last 6 years to taking a team to 11-5 and putting up huge numbers??? he obvi had moss & welker, but part of that has to be the system billy b. runs.

i've always said how nice would it have been if donnie had peyton's weapons. but for guys like marvin, reggie wayne and dallas clark don't you have to give peyton credit for some of their success? they've all only played w/ each other so we'll never know who should get more credit, but how can u totally discount it when u see how well collie and garcon have been. collie was a 4th rounder nobody heard of and garcon is from D-III Mount Union...all the sudden he's a world beater??!! also, is it a fluke that brandon stokley had far and away his best yr of his career w/ p. manning as his QB?

i'm not some big manning lover, but i feel like bc of the media hype he's always gotten he's one of those polarizing figures where u love or hate him. i think he's amazing and is a top 3 QB in the last 30 years (i don't go back further than that). i know it's easy to say this after brady's knee injury, but i take manning over him all day.

Jason Paris said...

Tommy, I read your last All Stars column on PE.com, one name that i didn't see was LB Darryl Washington.

He has the speed to stick with tight-ends (something that our LB's haven't been able to do) coupled with very nice all round skills and instincts.

His size is similar to Moises Fokou, however he could probably add about 20 lbs to his frame.

Everything that I have read has also said that he is performing well in the Senior Bowl Practices.

Do you think that he is a potential 3rd round SAM target?

Chris said...

Very good article on the DTs. I didn't know the difference between 1-gap and 2-gap until your explanation.

A quick question. You were mentioning us needing to get some free agents as we couldn't rely on the draft. I know Vernon Gholston has been / is a bust for the Jets. I also know Ohio State uses a 4-3 and he was a natural 4-3 end and not a rush linebacker (where the Jet played him). Do you think we could get him for cheap (as the Jets want out of his contract)? If we were going to try a high upside guy maybe he'd be the ticket and the least risk (sort of like we gave Babin a chance this year). I can tell you at Ohio State he was a hard worker. Maybe as a 4-3 end he could turn it around.

Jay said...

Great article on the DTs, Tommy. But, it brings up my biggest gripe about McDermott as a Defensive Coordinator. By employing an essentially situational personnel strategy, ie entirely different personnel groupings for running and passing situations (not only on the Dline but also with the LBs and in some instances the DBs) invites opposing offenses to do exactly what they ended up doing to us...running against our pass defense personnel and passing against our run defense.

Situation does not dictate what the offense will do, and at no time on defense can you ever predict what an offense will do or enforce your will on them to do as you would expect. By employing a strategy so tightly constrained by the personnel grouping on the field, you are essentially choosing to play a game that you cannot win.

Your substitution, which you did purposely to give you an edge in a particular situation, becomes the very easily identifiable weakness for which your opponent can exploit. You literally give your opponent something painfully obvious to attack.

If McDermott is ever to succeed as a defensive coordinator he has got to learn that it is always best to go with your best defensive players and simply scheme to take advantage of their strengths and hide the player's individual weaknesses or opposing teams will continue to exploit our different personnel groupings...one solely dedicated to playing the pass and one solely dedicated to stopping the run.

Edward said...

Thanks Tommy. Lets hope the DT's step it up a bit and Dixon takes a step forwards.

izzylangfan said...

In my view the top priority Eagles needs are left defensive end, safety and cornerback. Then we probably have a high priority need for a running back to replace Westbrook should he be finished.

Safety and LDE are positions that one does not normally expect a rookie to step in a take a starters role even if drafted in the first round - particularly at the 24 spot. This is also true with regard to cornerback but perhaps a bit less so than the other positions since a great athlete might be able to move in and become a starter on a lot of teams. However, not necessarily the Eagles with Sheldon and Asante already in place. But with those two in place and Hanson and Patterson to compete the Eagles don't need to sign a free agent unless they want to replace Asante and or Sheldon. My preference would be to keep Sheldon and pay him and replace Asante with the next elite free agent (who can cover! What good is route jumping if you can't cover. If you can pay Asante $9 mil then you can pay an elite corner that can cover $10 to $11 and blitz without worrying that you are going to get beat.)

But at LDE and Safety it seems to me that the Eagles are going to have to sign a free agent for now and draft for the future in both positions. I know Macho Harris will get a shot at safety and he certainly has some potential in general and particularly to take a major step up in his second year. But he made few if any disruptive plays in 2009 so you would be taking a big risk by counting on him in 2010. We have already seen how counting on Demps worked out. So if you can sign an elite free agent at these positions do so. Otherwise sign and draft at both positions.

Boyboy said...

Great article on the DTs. Since football is like a chess match, it sounds like we need to get a little creative. If teams are passing on run downs when we have our base defense on the field, perhaps we should counter with a curveball of our own -- have Patt and Bunk shoot the gaps more in these situations.

It leaves us a little more susceptible to the run, but it would probably screw up the blocking assignments of the OL since they're looking for our DTs to play run first. If you subscribe to JJ's philosophy, we can give up yards on the ground as long as we're not getting killed through the air. And if we have better MLB play, we can take some more risks.

6p0120a540b234970b said...

You say "The ideal set up now is one good-sized run stuffer and an athletic guy."

Why can't we do that against balanced teams? Bunkley and Abiamiri? Patterson and Howard? Why not mix them up?

Edward said...

@ Random Number Man

That sounds like an extremely good idea. If Dixon improves he could very easily be that guy. Him and a DE like Abiamiri would be a very interesting combo.

ZackISM said...

McNabb question....

I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I have a side question.

What is the price point for trading McNabb. I understand you're piece you determined taht you felt it was time to move him - but I have to believe there is a level of compensation required.

If he plays out his deal here (evven as a back-up) one would assume he'll get a big enough contract to warrant a 3rd round comp pick - maybe 4th. So in my mind the pick we receive would have to be at least a 3rd rounder this year. Where do you stand?

Stephen said...

When analyzing quarterback greatness I think superbowl wins is the most overrated aspect, though it can be important in the context of clutch play, which is important. Brady has been clutch in some key situations, and I admire his ability in that regard. But football is a team sport, and if you put Brady on the Cleveland Browns he wouldn't have won anything. Thats why when you analyze the first part of the decade Colts/Pats rivalry, it really jumps out at you the disparity of the defenses they played with. Do you think Brady would have won 3 SB's with the Colts defense? Keep in mind how close the games were, its not like the Pats blew anyone out in the SB like the 49'ers did.

izzylangfan said...

Lets see. You can trade McNabb for a number one draft pick. The Vikings, St. Louis, Arizona or many others should be interested. You can trade Vick to the same potential group for a number two pick. Then you lose McNabbs 12 million in salary and Vicks 5 million or was it two million in 09. Then you cut Curtis and rework Westbrooks contract. Then you have Easily enough cap space or money saved to sign to elite free agents and you end up with two picks in round one, two in round two, two in round three, plus two in round four plus I think a six. Kolb will be just fine and draft another QB to train and resign AJ Feeley.

Edward said...

Breaking News on NFL.com

Kurt Warner expected to retire on Friday. One more place McNabb could go.

Myron said...

They're running a mini-interview with McNabb on Sportscenter right now in which he's being interviewed on a practice field somewhere and he adamantly denies any rumors of a trade to Minnesota, and stresses his affinity for the city of Philadelphia and its fans, and his desire to win a Super Bowl for said fans and how "they deserve it".


Myron said...

Even bigger segment on NFL Live in which the talking heads discuss the McNabb situation in Philly, including possible interested bidders.

Also, Mark Schlereth on NFL Live is of the opinion that McNabb is, in fact, an elite quarterback, and that Andy Reid's reluctance to run the ball is the cause of the Eagles' struggles. His theory is that the lack of practice time devote to the power running game hinders the team during game time when they need to convert critical short yardage situations, and it causes far too many 3-and-outs because the one-dimensional offense is more easily shut down by elite defenses in the post-season, and this all leads to a tired defense after a quick succession of 3-and-outs.

Definitely worth watching. Mark seems to know his stuff about offensive line things, as he was once a lineman on the 97/98 Broncos team.