Monday, January 18, 2010

Some Quick RB Talk


Howard Eskin reported that Brian Westbrook could be done as an Eagle and/or in the NFL. I've mentioned this as well recently. As I love to point out, actions speak louder than words. In the playoffs the Eagles gave more time to the rookie than the "franchise RB". That told you all you need to know.

Big Red is saying all the right things, but reality is different. Westy was a great player, especially in 2006 and 07. He put up big numbers and was the heart and soul of the offense. Westy struggled a bit more last year. The big plays disappeared and he lacked the burst he once had. In the offseason he had ankle and knee surgery. I was hopeful that these procedures would help him out, since done in the sense of preventive maintenance. Wrong.

Brian had some good moments, but too few. He only had one run of more than 20 yards. He only scored 2 TDs. Westy did average 4.5 yards per carry, but that was partially inflated by his game at Oakland (6 carries for 50 yards). Look at my game notes on him:

Had 6 carries for 50 yards. Caught 9 passes for 91 yards. My only beef with him was his speed. On a couple of plays it looked like he might be headed for a monster gain or TD. Players were able to close in him in a hurry. Still has great vision and patience to let plays develop. If only he had LeSean's wheels...

Brian started the year off well, running 22 times for 109 yards and looking good. Then he hurt his ankle late in the 1st half of the Saints game. He was never really the same. He showed some burst prior to that injury, but not after it. In the playoff loss he caught a screen pass and had acres of room to run. I thought we had a TD, but he was tackled for just a 27-yard gain. It just doesn't look like he can run anymore.

A full offseason could make a big difference, but that's only half the battle. Westy is due more than $7M next year. I would not even pay him half of that. Would he accept a lower figure to be part of a rotation? At that point I can see Westy just hanging up his cleats. His concussion problem is a whole other issue that Brian and the team need to figure out.

The Eagles worked out some RBs recently. The big names were DeDe Dorsey and Dwayne Wright. Dorsey is a good STer and 3rd down type RB. Wright has more size and strength. I liked him quite a bit coming out of Fresno State, but he's struggled in the NFL. These guys face long odds to make the team, but so did Eldra Buckley when we added him this time last year.

The guys at Bleed Green Forever have up some additional background details on the guys if you're interested.

- link -

The team will make a real move at RB if in fact Westy does get cut or traded.



Cliff said...

Hahahaha! Did you guys see this crap about Wade Phillips and Keith Brooking complaining that the Vikings ran up the score?

I didn't see it in real time, but apparently Brooking ran over to the Minnesota sideline after their final TD and yelled at Childress about running up the score, calling it "classless." After the game (or today?), Phillips was asked about it and said it was "unnecessary."

Because I guess the 24-0 and 34-14 games prior to their Vikings beat down had no "unnecessary" scoring.

Give me a break.

Cliff said...

Link: (via ESPN)

Edward said...

I've definitely come round to cornerback as a priority. On a par with Free Safety, especially as with an offseason to gain weight and focus on safety Macho could be much improved.
If either of the starters go down we are essentially playing slot corners at best to replace them. Someone to help in the nickel/dime next year, backup the starters and develop into the starter in a few years would be a great addition to the D.

I think someone mentioned this, would a stud SAM increase the number of snaps that the D took with base personel? Or does 3 Wr's essentially guarantee nickel personel? (generally at least)

izzylangfan said...

If the Dallas Cowboys thought that Minnesota was running up the score I guess they should have let the Vikings know that they were no longer putting out any effort or trying to win the game. Then Minnesota would have known they were playing a bunch of hapless wimps and therefore didn't need to put fourth any effort.

If you respect your opponent you play hard the whole sixty minutes. Being a die hard Eagles fan I always felt that feeling that the Cowboys were a bunch of weak kneed, empty headed cowards was an act of faith. But maybe its really true.

Myron said...

We now have LeSean McCoy and (hopefully) Leonard Weaver next year. Knowing that the run game has never even been a big part of Andy's gameplan, why not just stick with this two-back rotation for the few rare times he does decide to run the ball, and perhaps draft a backup in the late rounds of the 2010 draft, if we can assume that Westbrook is going to retire?

I mean, McCoy+Weaver has worked fine for us this year during the regular season...

Edward said...

Just watched the Jerry Hughes highlights/lowlights linked there. I can see why you're so high on him Tommy. Just seems to have great awareness of whats happening on the play, doesn't seem to overcommit very often and has great moves and burst. Obviously a limited sample but i watched all the other DE highlights on that site and only Derrick Morgan and Hughes made me think, "Lets draft him!"

Jason Pierre-Paul is interesting, sometimes looks fantastic and then other times looks completely lost or just doesn't make the play. Could be worth a pick if he really falls.

Baloophi said...

@ Edward

Yeah, the tape on Hughes is impressive. I would describe him as a DE version of Dawkins.

Chris said...

I think Brandon Graham would be a very good pick for us also. He has a non-stop motor which is saying something as Michigan had a crummy D otherwise. He reminds me a lot of Cole as he's slightly undersized but he's absolutely relentless and you can see he uses a variety of moves in his rushes (bull, swim, rip, etc).

Jerry Hughes is good but he seems to me more of a 3-4 Rush OLB.

Dunlop is interesting as he is a physical freak but he seems to take 1/2 the plays off.

Myron said...

You know what would be cool? If Tommy did a breakdown / ranking of all of the DE prospects in both free agency and draft that the Eagles could target this offseason, complete with Pros & Cons and such.

I personally think from reading Todd McShay and other scout experts that Carlos Dunlap is the #1 DE prospect in the draft this year.

rick said...

Tommy, assuming we don't go for the Dwyer kid from Ga Tech in the 1st round (and I think like everyone else that we go either d-end or d-back), who do you see as potential big back targets in rounds 3 and 4?

Chris said...

Two things:

Did anyone hear about this (supposedly the young Eagles were going to Kolb for advice over Don)?

Occasionally Eskin has gotten a scoop. Not sure exactly how to take that news. I'd be happy giving Kolb a shot and getting draft picks for McNabb. We'd be able to rebuild our D much faster that way.

@Myron - Dunlap is close to Mario Williams on a size, speed, strength level (not quite as fast or strong but in the ballpark). But he is one of those guys who doesn't seem to play that hard all the time and he doesn't seem to have a variety of moves either. He is getting compared a lot to Jamaal Anderson, DE on Atlanta. If the light goes on he could be exceptional but, most often, those guys wind up being a disappointment.

Myron said...

Wow. I just finished watching the Jerry Hughes highlights and I have to say I like the passion and energy that guy plays with. Looks like a beast.

Obviously the problem with him as a DE is that he's a bit on the small side (6'2" 250ish) and probably best suited to an OLB position in a 3-4. But is there any way he we could make him work as a 4-3 DE despite this size problem? He just looks too explosive otherwise.

Edward said...

Sheldon Brown seemed incredibly positive about Kolb around the time he started, much more so than he ever has about McNabb from what i can recall. Man this is gonna be an interesting offseason!

Prem Prakash said...


I agree. We have an all-pro FB and a RB who set the team rookie rushing record. This is a solid foundation for a running game. Unless there will be a new emphasis on the running game (fat chance), I'd hope they'd spend time developing the more pressing needs on D and the O-line.

Cliff said...

I don't buy any of the Kolb over McNabb stuff. It's not as if Kolb invited players to a competing off-season training camp and they showed up there instead of McNabb's thing in Arizona. We have no idea what goes on in the locker room or on the practice field so it seems foolish to even speculate. I mean, if I want gossip I'll go to TMZ or some other B.S. news source.

I wish the sports outlets would stick to FOOTBALL coverage.

On another note, I really like Hughes too.

Dan said...

2nd/3rd RB is definitely a need, I think we'd use a mid-round pick on a solid player.

I am *thrilled* to have McCoy and Weaver forming the foundation of our backfield, but just imagine a big strong RB running behind Weaver on short yardage situations.

Also, if Shady gets injured, we'd be hosed.

Prem Prakash said...


The Kolb/McNabb recent stuff came from Eskin. Consider the source.

Cliff said...

Good point. Eskin's one step away from covering Brittany Murphy autopsies and Kanye West tantrums.

Altoona Eagle said...

"Also, if Shady gets injured, we'd be hosed"

Bingo! that is the reason the Eagles are looking for a RB: insurance at the position.