Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Sun Came Up


Last night's disaster is still pretty painful today, but life must go on. The offseason has started. Be patient, though. Don't expect changes or moves to happen any time soon. We have to wait for certain dates until the team can actually make some moves. The uncertainty with the CBA situation makes even those dates uncertain.

There is a lot of anger with the Eagles players and coaches right now. That's to be expected, but it skews reality. We went 11-5, our best record since the SB season of 2004. We had one of the youngest teams in the NFL. We had some serious injury issues. We overcame the youth and injuries to have a strong season. This team is headed in the right direction.

Changes are needed. Not wholesale drastic changes. There is a lot more right than wrong with the Eagles. For that reason we can feel pretty good. The flip side of that is that going from good to very good can be the hardest progress to make. Think of the actual football field for comparison's sake. Moving the ball between the 20s is one level of difficult. Moving it inside the Red Zone is much harder. That's the difference between building a winning team and a championship team.

Where do we need to improve? The secondary is the group that needs the most help. FS is unsettled. Joselio Hanson struggled the last few weeks. Most distressing was the play of Sheldon Brown. Pro Bowl snub? Gimme a break. Last night he wasn't even a solid starter. I'm not sure what to make of this. Did injuries just catch up to him over the last month? Did facing a good passing attack just expose some issues that have been here a while?

The coaches know the answers to these questions better than us. Sheldon wanted a new deal last summer. I can't see the Eagles giving him a raise. My question is whether we think about moving him around. Could we move him to the slot? There is always the long discussed possibility of moving him to FS. One of the problems that Sheldon developed this year was taking risks. I think watching Asante had an effect on him. The problem is that Asante is a freak when it comes jumping routes. He's quick. He is very good at anticipating plays. He also has great hands and ball skills. Sheldon isn't gifted in these areas. He's okay, but nothing like Samuel.

If the team thinks Sheldon simply wore down due to injury then we are okay with the starters. We need to add a couple of CBs in the draft to act as insurance and to develop for the future. I mentioned Hason earlier. Dallas got the best of him a few times. We need to push him to be better.

I'm not going to get into all the possibilities at CB and FS (or other spots). We'll have plenty of time to discuss draft targets and possible FAs or trade targets.

The next position that is a major concern is LDE. Juqua Parker is an adequate starter, but we need better. He could be a very good backup. We need someone on that side who can consistently pressure the passer. This could be done through the draft or a pro personnel move.

The other area that needs help is the running game. Shady McCoy is going to be a very good runner. Leonard Weaver is a good FB and runs well from the one back set. Brian Westbrook probably played his last game as an Eagle last night. The fact he was used so little last night is writing on the wall. I'd like to see us bring in a runner that is in the 215-225 pound range. That way we can have a RB with some size running behind Weaver in the I-formation.

In 5 of the last 6 games our RBs totaled less than 80 yards. I'm not counting Vick's yards in those totals. He did get some RB-like carries. I think the McCoy/Weaver combo is a good foundation, but we need another quality back in the mix. We must be able to run the ball effectively against good defenses.

I'm sure many of you will talk about LB problems. That group will get a huge boost with the return of Stewart Bradley. Will Witherspoon will be the WLB. Yesterday we rotated Chris Gocong and Moise Fokou at SAM. I thought that combination worked pretty well. I'm certainly open to adding a LB, especially an impact type player, but I think that is a longshot.

The OL should be better next year when Stacy Andrews is healthy and better adjusted to our style of doing things. Jason Peters should be better. Maybe Winston Justice can improve. The big question will be what happens at C. Jamaal Jackson has a torn ACL and has to be considered a question mark for September. Nick Cole was somewhat disappointing at C, but he would have a lot of practice time to work out some kinks. Mike McGlynn also deserves a chance to fight for that job. I doubt the Eagles make an outside move, but never say never.

Donovan McNabb's future is going to be a great subject of debate over the next 6 to 8 weeks. I'm not super happy with Donnie right now, but I want to re-watch part of the game and study his season as a whole before making any pronouncements. There is a definite argument to dealing him, but you better be darn sure when talking about trading a franchise QB.

To sum everything up I can only think of two words...Go Vikings!!!

(for this week at least)


Myron said...

Call me a huge Brett Favre fan this coming Sunday.

Also, Jared Allen is going to show us why he's a Pro Bowl End, preferably by inflicting some injuries. Muhahaha.

Angelo said...

Now that the offseason is upon us I was wondering what pick we will receive form the Jets in the Lito Sheppard trade. I remember it was contingent on how much he played, but don't remember the exact details. Now that the regular season is over do we know what we having coming back to us?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I don't think we're going to get anything for Lito. He only played in 11 games. He isn't likely to get an extension from them. I don't know all of the special clauses, but I'm doubting Lito hit any of the key ones.

Baloophi said...

No mention of Shawn Andrews...

Is that from a "we can't count on him" standpoint, or an "I have secret intelligence" standpoint?

Also, any ideas on off-the-field movement either on the sidelines or in the F.O.?

Sad that we will most likely lose Westy... he burned brightly, though.

Edward said...

Our O-line is up for "Best O-line of the year" on What is that about? We had some good stretches but due to injuries and other things there is no way they were that good!

If you had to pick one position to get a major impact player, be it via the draft or free agency, what would it be Tommy?
I'm thinking Left End but we need a big time play maker at Safety too.

mcud77 said...

0-5 vs. playoff teams this year.

Combined record of the remaining teams: 64-96, or a .400 winning percentage.

I don't think this team is as good as it looked at times this year. Dallas is CLEARLY better, though we are a bit younger, and will be younger still if McNabb/Westy/Darren Howard/Curtis are shipped out or retire.

I realize the guy is 30, and is only dominant "some of the time", but the name that has to be at least considered is Peppers. He's an UFA with a ridiculous salary coming to return as a franchised player in 2010, so the odds he'll actually reach free agency are at least pretty good. He would fill a pivotal spot, LDE, and while he'll make enormous money, I think the benefit of having him across from Cole (while Trent is in his prime) outweighs (for me) the potential cap hit if we end up cutting him after 3 years.

It would cost us nothing but money, and wouldn't prevent us from drafting (another) developmental LDE early on in April. I don't want to waste Bunk/Cole's prime on waiting for the next VA to develop.

Myron said...

What do you guys think about this idea:

Trade up - way up - for Eric Berry. Guys like that come along maybe once a decade, and if even if you have to give up alot (picks+a qb or two) to get him, you could be *set* @ the safety position for years.

If we could improve our FS position, it would make Q better, and it could make our CBs better.

Cliff said...

Ha. The season's been over for less than 24 hours and the Eric Berry mania has begun already.

Myron, why do you think Berry is a "once in a decade" player? Why can't Berry be a bust? And as much as it would cost to get him, a bust would be franchise-killing costly.

Pitmanite said...

you can go back on my comments and see i never bought into their winning streak against a bunch of losing teams. i said we should wait to "crown their ass" until we played a winning team. unfortunately, that was dallas twice & we didn't fare well.

still, i think it was a very good year for a team in transition. p. sheridan pointed out that this year we lost some longtime veterans like dawkins, tra, runyan, lito, LJ and westbrook (not saying lito & LJ are big losses but were guys here who helped at one time). in addition to losing stew bradley, stacey andrews not being healthy and then jamal at the end. we were also deal w/ losing JJ and breaking in a new coordinator.

I'm not making excuses, I'm just saying that in a season with a lot of turnover we still made some good things happen and this was our best offense since 2004. hopefully we get 2 or 3 more playmakers on defense, get some guys back healthy and then just add some pieces on offense.

still not sure how i feel about donnie. prob have to wait a few weeks. def think he gives us a better chance than kolb, but i'm also kind of worn out and think it might be good for kolb to grow with these other young guys.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Shawn Andrews

I count on him for nothing. If he comes back and we can fit him in, great. I still see him as a longshot. He's now missed 30 straight games.

RE: key position

LDE is my #1 priority. That player could help vs the run and pass. He could cover up coverage issues. CB and FS are also possibilities.

RE: Julius Peppers

In the past I've talked about this move and why it wouldn't work. This morning I was on the phone with a friend and brought up the possibility of going after JP. There are still reasons it may not work, but I think we at least have to take a serious look at it. Our defense could use an impact player. Those guys are hard to find. JP may be the best one to be had.

RE: Eric Berry

I'm a huge fan of EB's, but we have to be honest...I think there is virtually no way we're able to move up for him. The price would be huge and at that point I'm not sure he'd be worth it.

Myron said...

Peppers is a monster when he feels like playing, but this past year in Carolina, it looked as if he phoned in his performance half the time.

He's kind of like Albert Haynesworth/Jevon Kearse in that respect. I don't know if you want to throw a ton of money at him just to see him stand around and not do much.

Stephen said...

Deal Vick for a high first rounder and take Berry with that. Maybe to Buffalo.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Michael Vick has minimal trade value. We're still not sure he's capable of being a starter.

Edward said...

I think the point mcudd77 brought up about going 0-5 against playoff teams is huge. This offence can live on big plays against lesser teams but playing from behind and eeking out a long drive is a rare feat for them. We did it against Denver a little bit but thats really it and they were only an 8-8 team.

The coaches on this team need to sit back and look at that. Lots of the successful plays on offense are either big plays or involve some trickery and confusion. Like that weird TE reverse blocking run play we've been using Alex Smith for. This offence doesn't seem to have any plays where it goes, "I don't care if you know what we're doing, try and stop us". The cowboys ran certain run plays over and over this season because they could simply beat us with it.

I think thats the difference in this offence.

ZackISM said...

I think I'll be sick if McNabb is the Eagles QB next yaer. 1 for 5 for 2 yards....through 28 minutes? Seriously? I don't care how his day finished, I care that he helped put us in a hole, he couldn't dig us out of.

Sure some will blame the defense, but when you are on the field 66% of the time, it gets a bit tough to muster the energy each and every play.

I am already dreading next season, based on Reid's comments, surely' we'll find a way to go somewhere between 8-8 and 11-5 with a hot strech by McNabb leading to his calls of greatness. He's not great, and hasn't been for some time...

orangecrush007 said...

McNabb never sits in the pocket and fires. He is always running around and not trusting his oline. Look at the intentional grounding play. He had a good 5 second pocket. What the heck is he looking at? Was Freddie Mitchell doing jumping jacks in the endzone?????

I watched the Kolb highlights and he drops in the pocket and fires. We have to get him on the field because I think McNabb has taken as far as he has taken us.

orangecrush007 said...

Two times to open the game we forced the cowboys to punt. Those two times we received the ball we went 3 and out. You can't keep asking your defense to step up and stop them. This is all on the offense. What a freaking disgrace. McNabb says get him weapons and he still sucks it up.

Pitmanite said...

have very mixed feelings about this decision.

the earthworms who preside at lincoln financial field are having nightmares about balls exploding into the ground like tomahawk missiles and destroying their homes again in 2010.

Anonymous said...

I'm also fairly wary of relying on Bradley as a one-stop fix for our LB problems, but it seems like McDermott believes he's all we need to turn the LBs around. SB tore his left ACL in college, then tore his right ACL in the preseason, not a good pattern.