Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Column Posted


You guys have read most of this in my game review and other posts, but there might be a new nugget or two.



* Last year, strong safety Quintin Mikell had the best season of his career. Played so well and was such a key to the Eagles’ defensive success last season that I put him on my All-Pro ballot, ahead of Troy Polamalu. This year, though, Mikell has struggled. The departure of Brian Dawkins has affected Mikell’s play more than anybody else on the defense. With neither Macho Harris nor Sean Jones adequately filling the void left by Dawkins, Mikell often seems to be trying to play two positions at once, and his play has suffered. Dawkins wasn’t the player he once was. But when he was back there, the four members of the Eagles’ secondary played like one. This year, that hasn’t been the case, which is what happens when you don’t have complete trust in the guy that’s lining up next to you.

* Sean McDermott has a dilemma. The Eagles were much more effective against the run Sunday with Jeremiah Trotter at middle linebacker in their base defense than with Akeem Jordan. The problem is, Trotter just can’t cover, as was evidenced by Jason Witten’s 25-yard catch-and-run against Trotter late in the third quarter. If he keeps Trotter out there for very long, the Cowboys will attack him with the pass. On Sunday, with Jordan playing MIKE, the Cowboys ran the ball 9 times for 83 yards in the first 3 quarters. That includes Marion Barber’s 32- and 18-yard runs on the Cowboys’ opening scoring drive. With Trotter at MIKE, the Cowboys rushed for 68 yards on 10 carries, but 49 of those 68 yards came on Felix Jones’ long third-quarter touchdown run around left end. On their other 9 runs with Trotter on the field in the first 3 quarters, they gained just 19 yards.



As we move forward to Saturday, my brain is full of brilliant ideas about what to do. As my friend Hedley would say, "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." The awesome part is that I can take credit for the ones that work, but blame the failures on poor execution by the players. "If Macho had just jumped over Witten and picked off the pass my Cover 2.7 scheme would have worked!!!".

I have faith in Sean McDermott. He is a good young coach. That doesn't mean that I have to agree with everything he does. If I was put in charge of the defense I would put Will Witherspoon back at MLB. I would make Akeem Jordan the WLB. I have no problem with Fokou staying at SAM.

Trot played pretty well at MLB on Sunday, but we all know that if he's in there the Boys will go after him with passes. See the above blurb from Domo. Jordan looked lost at MLB last week, after showing some promise in the past few games. The best solution that I can think of is to have the guys switch spots to the earlier alignment.

I would consider playing Victor Abiamiri at LDE. He is a good run defender on the edge. Jason Babin had a good game vs Dallas in November, but was all too quiet last week. Can I get both guys on the field? Babin played some DT in the first game and had a sack from that spot. I would like VA out at LDE in some sets.

I think Macho Harris should stay at FS. He doesn't help vs the run very much, but he does help on big plays. We must keep Dallas out of the end zone if at all possible.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Dimitri Patterson and MmmBop split time at the Nickel CB spot. Hanson got burned by Crayton in the middle of the field, but Joselio is a good defender in tight areas. That INT was a very heads up kind of play.

I would also throw an aggressive gameplan at Dallas. That's what we do best. "To thine ownself be true." We like to attack, always have. Playing conservative might work if we had an experienced FS who could fly up in coverage and a gifted MLB would could cover a lot of ground. We don't have those pieces. I'd rather go down swinging than to sit back and let Romo pick us apart. I have faith that Sean will do the right thing. If he doesn't, I can't guarantee that the Crazy 188 will be enough to protect him from me, Beatrix Kiddo, and Buddy Ryan.

We'll talk offense tomorrow.



mcud77 said...

I hate that Hedley quote...


Chris said...

I know we are focusing on the games at hand, but what do you think of the potential about the Heckert interview? Seems like he gets interviews every year and one of these days he is going to get one of these jobs. I think the recent draft successes speak for themselves...how much of that success is Heckert?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I'm gonna put up a post tomorrow morning covering general NFL topics:

* Heckert
* Shanny to WAS
* Giants situation

Feel free to list any other topics you want covered.

Chris said...

Don't know the credibility of this site, but if there is truth in this story, I am happy. Eagles Weaver Interested in Long Term Deal

Joe said...

I've never really seen you venture into CBA, Union, or NFL business topics. I'd be interested to know your opinion on matters like: Players Association, CBA, Expansion, competition committee, etc. Even if it waits till post-superbowl.

Tommy Lawlor said...

The Weaver thing could be right on the money. I know the Eagles like him a lot and have been working on some things.

Ronnie said...

Tommy, you use your tongue pertier than a 10 dollar whore.

Dan said...

Signing Weaver to a long term deal is one of the things that absolutely MUST happen for us in the offseason. Weaver & McCoy sets up our backfield for the future.

Tommy Lawlor said...

@ Ronnie...

With inflation that should be more like $37.

rick said...

"If I was put in charge of the defense I would put Will Witherspoon back at MLB. I would make Akeem Jordan the WLB. I have no problem with Fokou staying at SAM."
I was thinking along the same lines Tommy with the exception of having Gocong play the 1st and possibly 2nd down at SAM depending on the situation. Can't he get off a block a little better than Fokou? Also, I was thinking Abiamiri at LDE for the first 2 downs (or Howard) and then switch out to one of our rushers on 3rd down (again situationally).

Pitmanite said...

i'm just sitting here taking a quick break and I am getting a bit nervous about this game. i really don't think we match up well w/ this team.

i think their defense has been playing lights out the last month of the season. for the year they gave up about a TD less per game. I think their front 7 is far better than ours. we only get a pass rush from cole and our LBs are below average. between ratliff, ware, and spencer they've got some real playmakers.

i'll take our corners but i don't think it's by a landslide and i don't know enough about their safeties, but we've played musical chairs between macho, jones & demps (not so much demps), which tells you we really don't have much of a FS.

i think that since we've seen how dynamic our offense can be on a weekly basis that we just assume our offense will outscore dallas this week. when you break it down by unit, with Jackson out and MJG in at G I think their OL is better. I like our WRs better, but again bc of Austin's playmaking ability I don't think it's a landslide. i think as maclin improves dramatically over the next 2 yrs it will be, but not at the moment. Would you take Witten or Celek? Celek scored more TDs this year but Witten always seems to hurt us and has typically been a better run blocker. If you want you can call that a wash. I like their RBs better as a group, considering we don't run the ball! Jones, when healthy, is a beast on screens. On average Dallas rushed for 30 more yards per game (28% higher than us). And the way Romo has been playing I don't think you can say we've got a huge advantage at QB. Donnie handles pressure better so we need to pressure Romo! In total they out-gained us by about 631 yards on offense but we scored about 1 point more per game. 72% of our yards came from passing and like 67% for them. they've been more balanced than us. if they continue to contain our deep threats we'll have to run the ball to sustain drives. do you feel confident we'll make an effort to do this?

Saw a stat from Diddy that we've scored 1 TD on 22 offensive possessions against them this year. 1 for 22 is scary! I know numbers only tell a part of the story, but taking all of the above into consideration, it seems like some of us (me!) are ignoring it all and riding on the fact that it's hard for a team to be an opponent 3 times in 1 year and in consecutive weeks?

tommy - please come up with something to make me feel good about saturday?

Myron said...

Pitmanite: there's nothing to feel good about come this Saturday. You're just going to have to watch the game and hope for an upset. If the Birds somehow win it, we'll be pleasantly surprised. But in all likelihood they will lose again. The Cowboys are simply a more talented team that is playing better right now with fewer injuries.

I won't be entirely deflated if the Eagles lose again, but I hope they at least put up some points this time. And I pray to God that the Cowboys don't make it all the way to the Super Bowl. That would be simply unacceptable. :)

I'll be rooting for the Saints to win it all this year if the Eagles get eliminated. I think Drew Brees has paid his dues and deserves a ring for his amazingly high level of play. Although, again, I'd be happy if anybody but the Cowboys win it.