Sunday, February 28, 2010

This and That


* Geoff Mosher reported that the Eagles are going to tender Max Jean-Gilles at the level he was drafted in, the 4th round.  Mosher seems to not understand this move.  He talks about how it means that Max will be back.  Maybe. 

Teams who tender guys at a low level like that are actually sending a sign that they don't feel strongly about the player.  The Eagles would love for some team to sign Max and give us a 4th round pick in return.  Heck, I bet we'd be willing to trade him for a 5th. 

* Mosher also said that TE Alex Smith wasn't tendered.  I thought Alex did a good job for us this year.  He blocked well.  He played some on STs.  He only caught 3 passes, but wasn't used much as a receiver. 

We have Cornelius Ingram in place.  He's coming off an ACL tear, but that was back in August.  He should be ready to go by this summer.  We also have Martin Rucker.  Adam Caplan recently reported that the Eagles are pretty high on him.  Interesting.  We've got a young trio of players that all know how to catch the ball.  Let's hope we go find a guy with size and blocking potential to bring in as a UDFA. 

* Leonard Weaver's agent has been saying good things.  He says there are ongoing negotiations between him and the Eagles.  Keep your fingers crossed.  We need Weaver back. 

* I've got some Combine notes posted over on ScoutsNotebook.  They are general notes and not Eagles-specific.  Lots of good stuff so far.  I'm behind with some writing projects so I'll have to leave it like that for now.  One funny note.  The NFL Network cut to a shot of Big Red while he was watching RB Toby Gerhart run.  Andy had a big grin.  Gerhart is a 231-pound power runner, but he's got good feet, ran well today, and also showed good hands as a receiver.  I've doubted the Eagles would seriously consider him, but who knows. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

McNabb Under-appreciated?


Westy went on a Chicago radio show and made the comment that Donovan McNabb is under-appreciated.  We've heard this from quite a few people recently.  Let's talk about it. 

I think most Eagles fans do appreciate Donovan McNabb.  There is a lot of frustration with him right now because of the end of the 2009 season.  Getting shut out in the season finale and then leading us to a TD in garbage time in the playoff game is not the way to endear yourself to fans.  Do that against the Cowboys and your reputation hits rock bottom. 

This doesn't mean that Eagles fans don't love McNabb for what he's done.  We're upset with him.  Can't you get mad at a relative or friend?  Just because I threaten to turn my nephews over to the Childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang doesn't mean I hate them.  Okay, maybe that's a bad example. 

I think anybody who's followed the Eagles for a long time knows that McNabb is the best QB in team history.  He has been a winner for us.  He's been a good face for the organization.  Donovan hasn't had any off-field issues.  He's the kind of athlete you can be proud of playing for your team.  I absolutely get frustrated with McNabb at times, but I definitely appreciate how good he is.  I would have given anything to see Donnie, Dawk, Westy, Tra, Runyan, and Big Red all together with the Lombardi Trophy.  Now Donovan is the only player from that group that is still around. 

There are some fans out there who have never liked McNabb.  I'm certainly aware of that.  They think he's cost us some Super Bowl titles or that he isn't a vocal enough leader or that he's not dedicated to the game.  Whatever.  Those are the kind of people that have an agenda.  They don't like a guy and don't care what the facts are.  The unfortunate thing is that these people are very vocal.  They get far too much attention and that leads some people to think maybe a lot of people feel this way.  Remember Shoulder-Pad Shawn and the Dirty Thirty?  That group of nutso vocal fans booed McNabb on draft day.  Somehow that has morphed into the fact that Donovan wasn't wanted in Philly.  Wrong.  Plenty of fans were ecstatic when McNabb was picked and have loved him being our QB for more than a decade. 

Things do get tricky when talking about McNabb's status and future.  Some people say "how can you even consider trading him?  Would you deal Manning or Brady?"  Those guys are first ballot HOF selections and SB winners.  McNabb isn't on their level.  He's a notch below.  That isn't an insult.  It is just reality.  People are too eager to hate or love.  Guess what.  There is ground between HOF player and "he sucks".  Donovan may play his way to the HOF level, but barring a crazy run in the next few years he won't be a first ballot guy.  Those players are the best of the best. 

I think smart fans understand all of this and love McNabb for what he's done.  Whether his last year was 2009 or some time in the future, I'm sure as heck thankful for all Donovan did for the Eagles and city of Philadelphia. 

What is his future?  I think it really depends on the other teams in the league.  My guess is that the Eagles will trade him for the right offer, but will not give him away.  Would a 1st round pick get the deal done?  Would a pick and star player be enough?  We'll have to wait and see. 

I'll post some Eagles related Combine notes on Sunday. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Westy, Dawk, and Cash Money


I heard Brian Westbrook on the Dan Patrick show earlier today.  For those with poor memories,  Westbrook was a RB for the Eagles for much of the previous decade. 

The interview was about what you'd expect.  Brian was surprised by getting released.  He expected the team to try and re-negotiate with him.  He was willing to do that.  The team skipped that and just told him he was going to be released. 

Brian isn't bitter toward the team.  He mostly said all the right things.  He did comment about how the Eagles were money driven.  Dan asked him if he thought the team was focused more on winning the Super Bowl or the bottom line.  Westy said the players were all about winning, but was open-ended in reference to the team.  You could hear that he was a bit upset with the release in those comments.  He made mention that he's seen a lot of guys let go over the years so that a younger, cheaper replacement could take his place. 

Westy said that he still believes he can be a feature back for a team.  He blamed last year's struggles on the fact he had 2 surgeries and never got into shape prior to the season.  Dan asked if he had an ideal team to sign with.  Brian said he'd love to join any team that was a true SB contender. 


Let's talk about Brian for a second.  I think he's being overly optimistic when he says that he can still be a feature back for a team.  I hope I'd dead wrong and that he signs elsewhere and bounces back to form.  That just isn't what happens with most older RBs.  Those guys tend to hit the point of no return and they're just never the same.  I also think that Brian is fooling himself if he really believes last year's struggles were due to not being ready for the season.  Brian has always been a guy that needed minimal practice time. 

About the Eagles and money...tricky situation.  The Eagles aren't cheap.  That's just a fallacy used by fans and the media.  The Eagles are value driven.  They will pay older players who still perform at a high level.  Donovan made big bucks last year and is scheduled for big bucks this year.  Dawk got a contract extension when he was about to turn 33 because he was still playing like a  top FS.  Jon Runyan was signed to an extension as he was about to turn 33 because he was still playing well. 

The flip side of that is that other veterans who were in clear decline were allowed to walk.  Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor left after 2003.  Taylor was out of the league quickly and quietly.  Vincent moved to S and held on for a couple of years, but was a shadow of himself.  Tra Thomas left for the Jags last spring.  He was a backup and got released recently.  Brian Mitchell left for a miserable year with the Giants before calling it quits.  Carlos Emmons played 21 games in his 2 seasons as a Giant.  He was an okay player, but had trouble staying healthy. 

Now let's get back to Dawk.  The Eagles wanted him their price.  Again, the Eagles are value driven.  They won't overpay to keep an older guy.  Joe Banner is like an insurance agent with actuarial tables.  Joe has values set on players.  Veteran Safeties have a certain number.  He was probably willing to go a little beyond that for a guy like Dawk, but simply wasn't going to pay what Brian could get on the open market. 

You can disagree with this strategy.  It has generally worked well, but nothing is perfect.  You can argue that Dawk was a good enough player that the team should have done anything within reason to keep him because of his history. 

One thing I absolutely disagree with is the notion that the Eagles didn't have a plan in place.  They expected Quintin Demps to be the starting FS.  He spent a year learning from Dawk.  Q got better all year and looked pretty good up until he had a nightmare game in the NFC-CG.  The Eagles decided to play it safe and bring in Sean Jones as a FA to be their insurance policy.  Then they spent a pick on Macho Harris in the draft.  This gave them Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.  Demps got complacent and had a very forgettable season.  Jones simply was an awkward fit.  Macho did okay, but looked like a rookie.  He also didn't make any plays.  The Eagles plans didn't work, but this was not a case of the Eagles not having something ready.  You can point to 2005 and the backup TE spot as an example of the team royally screwing up. 

We don't yet know the Eagles plans at FS.  We'll see in the next few weeks how that situation will play out.  Let's just hope this year's plans work out a lot better than last year's. 


Here's some Howie talk from Les Bowen. 



I posted a mock draft on the front of SNB today.  Check it out if you're a draftnik.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FA + Draft Info


The Scouting Combine will be getting underway this week in Indy.  I've posted a complete list of players, with breakdowns by school and position. 



I wrote out some thoughts on possible FA targets. 


 Antrel Rolle could definitely be of interest, assuming he gets cut.  Thank god for wacky bonuses being due, right?  Rams FS O.J. Atogwe really impressed me.  I'd love to land him in a trade.  That would give us a veteran FS and not any kind of project.  We could then add a mid-round guy to develop. 


RE:  someone asked about CB prospects in the draft

The Eagles are picky, but the good news is that there are plenty of guys who appear to be our kind of players.  You never know who will get eliminated due to character issues, but it looks like a strong group of CBs at this point. 

RE:  Jon Amaya?

I haven't watched enough of him to offer a good opinion right now.  He's on the to-do list.

RE:  Adewale Ogunleye

I'll watch some Bears tape and post some thoughts.  He might be of interest for a year, but he's definitely a band-aid more than an answer.  For the money, Parker might be the better player.

RE:  landing spots for Westy

I'm not real sure.  Someone mentioned MIN to me.  That would be interesting.  STL and SF could use help.  CLE could make a play for him if the price is right.  JAX could work.  I just wonder if they have interest in more ex-Eagles.  Really, the key point is whether other NFL teams are going to trust him physically.  The concussion issue will scare many teams off, right or wrong.  Maybe the smart thing for Brian would be to sign with someone this summer when another RB has gotten hurt. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Exit Stage West


The Eagles made it official today...Brian Westbrook will be released on March 5th.  I wasn't the least bit surprised by this.  I wrote about the possibility in my column for just the other day:

LeSean McCoy is the starting running back at this point. I don't know if Brian Westbrook will return. I have my doubts. He reportedly is due a big salary. He also is coming off an injury-plagued season. These are not good news for an aging runner, even one who has been as great for us as Westbrook has. NFL teams have to make decisions with their brains and not their hearts. That is a nasty reality of professional sports, especially in the modern age.

Actions speak louder than words.   We went to Dallas for a playoff game and our franchise RB had one touch.  That said it all.  Westy was as good as done.  People will point out that he took that play for 27 yards.  It looks good in the gamebook.  However, re-watch the play.  Westy was all alone in space.  That play should have gotten us more yards.  I love Brian Westbrook to death, but that play showed that he simply no longer has the wheels that made him Westy, hero to all under-used RBs.

Why cut a guy who still averaged 4.5 ypc, is a good receiver, and good blocker?  Simply put...Westy is a descending player.  He struggled in 2008.  His final numbers looked okay, but were padded by good games against weak defenses.  He had 2 surgeries prior to 2009 that we hoped would ease nagging lower leg injuries. That didn't seem to happen.  Then the concussion problem came out of left field.  His injury situation got worse, essentially.  He's aging and expensive.  Not good.  He's breaking down physically.  Not good.

I blame Tra Thomas.  Westy had a great year in 2006 and 07.  He opened '08 in good fashion.  He ran for 91 yards against the Rams.  He had 103 total yards at Dallas and scored 3 TDs.  We then hosted Pittsburgh.  Brian ran to the left side.  Tra had fallen down and Westy went to jump over him.  One foot came down on Tra's leg and that led to a badly sprained ankle.  Brian missed the next game.  He came back vs WAS and got a rib broken.  That cost him another game.  He just wasn't the same after that.  Brian put up big numbers against ATL and ARZ, but those defenses were terrible.  Brian had super-highways to run though as he piled up 44 carries and 277 yards in those games.

There is an adage in football that it is better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late.  The Eagles handled this situation well.  They gave Brian 2009 as a bounce back year.  It didn't happen.  Now it is time to move on.

I'm sure some will wonder about why the Eagles didn't simply talk to him about a lower salary.  This wasn't about just saving money.  It is time to cut the cord, so to speak.  Westy was a great player for us.  He was truly a complete back.  Unfortunately RB is a young man's position.  LeSean McCoy is now the RB.  We need to bring in players to put around him.  Westy would have been an odd fit as a role player.  It might have been a slap in his face to even ask if Brian wanted to play for less and be a role player on a team that he helped to some lofty heights. 

Now Brian can talk to other teams and see if he's able to find a home for 2010.  I wish him the best, as long as he's not in Dallas.

Some favorite memories?  Back in 2003 we started off 0-2.  The next game was in BUF, following a bye week.  Andy realized that young Mr. Westbrook needed to be a bigger part of the offense.  We had a lead late in the game and were trying to eat some time off the clock.  Brian took a handoff and raced 62 yards for a TD.  2003 was also the year of his great punt returns.  He had the one vs the Giants that won us an ugly game, 14-10.  That may have saved our season.  He later had one vs SF where he put an incredible fake on a defender.

There was a run at DET in 2004 where Westy went up the middle and actually knocked a tackler back.  I remember watching that play over and  You just didn't see Brian do that.  Against GB he put on a show as a receiver.  Brian caught 11 passes for 156 yards and 3 TDs.  Watching him run the wheel route was a thing of beauty.

The last 7 games of 2006 were magical.  Brian ran for 714 yards on 142 carries (5.0 ypc).  He really carried the offense in that stretch.  That was the best combination of him and the OL playing at a high level in his time as an Eagle.  The highlight of that year was his 71 yard TD run vs SF early in the year.  Westy used one of the most violent stiff arms I've ever seen.  He just tossed away the defender and trucked on into the end zone.  Freakin' Earl Campbell.

2007 was statistically his best year.  I have 2 really good memories from that year.  The first is the Miami game.  Donnie got hurt and AJ replaced him.  Westy became the offense in that game.  He had 32 carries for 148 yards.  That was one of the few times when we just fed him the ball like a true RB.  The other great memory is the Dallas play.  Westy broke free up the middle late in the game.  We led 10-6.  Brian went down at the 1-yard line and we ran out the clock for the win.  He was ordered to do that by Runyan, but Westy was smart enough to listen and then do it.

2008 wasn't a pretty year, as I mentioned earlier.  The one game where Brian came through against a good team was at the Giants.  We fed him the ball more than any other game in his career.  Westy had 33 carries for 131 yards.  He also caught 6 passes for 72 yards.  He had a 30 yard TD run and 40 yard TD catch in the game.  That was my first hint that Antonio Pierce was getting old.  There was also the long screen pass in the playoff game against Minnesota.  We had the lead, but that long TD play sealed the game.

2009 was sadly forgettable.

I loved watching Brian Westbrook play for us.  I loved his style of running.  He wasn't the biggest or fastest, but he was very instinctive and had the ability to find a crease in the defense.  Brian was great because he could catch and block better than he could run.  He was just one of those guys who could make something special happen any time he touched the ball.  Remember the Seattle game in 2007?  We trailed 28-24 late.  Andy Reid put Westy in as the punt returner.  He got the ball and did his usual magic.  Next thing you know he was running free down the field.  He got us inside the Red Zone and gave us a chance to win.  Unfortunately things didn't work out as hoped, but Westy showed his electric ability on that punt return.  Simply put, he was a special player.

I'm going to really miss #36, but that's only fitting.  The thing he did maybe best of all was make people miss him.  This time it will be Eagles fans instead of opposing defenders.

Couple of Things


My column posted yesterday evening.  I did a mock draft for the Eagles. 


As  you can see from the comments posted, not everyone loved it.  That's actually what I expected.  Most people get excited by big names. I also didn't have us aggressively addressing LB.  I'm just not sure what is going to happen there.  I'm not sure how many people realize that because of the lack of a new CBA we'll have our top 6 LBs under contract in 2010...if we want them. 

I have a short post up on draft prospects today. 



Monday, February 22, 2010

Answering Questions


There is no pressing topic right now so I'll just answer some questions from yesterday's post.  First, I do want to address LaDainian Tomlinson getting cut.  I don't see any way he'd be interested in coming here to be LeSean McCoy's backup or part of a rotation.  LT wants to run.  Our starter doesn't get a ton of carries.  LT would be a situational guy for us and I just can't see him being interested in that.  Let's concentrate on finding someone in the draft or a veteran role player.  I love LT and think he'd be a terrific asset for helping McCoy to develop.  I love his ability as a goal line runner.  I just don't think we're what LT is looking for. 

RE:  Vlad Ducassee / value

I think Vlad could end up going in the 1st round.  The key question is whether that player looks like a good future starter?  Ducasse has NFL size at 6'5, 330.  He was very good against his level of competition.  He held his own in the Senior Bowl.  Was there a better LT in Mobile?  Ducasse has good feet and athletic ability.  I can easily see him being a good LT for an NFL team. 

As for the King Dunlap comparison...he was benched as a Senior.  The coaching staff didn't think he was playing up to his potential.  Vlad is somewhat raw because he hasn't played football his whole life.  Dunlap was a HS star and went to Auburn.  He had a football background and plenty of good coaching.  Vlad is a much better prospect than Dunlap. 

RE:  Cole at Center?  

He's not too short.  Nick is 6'0.  Bubba Miller was 6'1.  Nick was the backup C for his first couple of years here.  Last summer he played with the starting OL most of the time, at G.  Mike McGlynn was the backup C.  In the preseason finale Cole used to play the whole game at C.  This year McGlynn was there for most of the game and then someone replaced him.  Cole didn't have one rep at C in that game. 

The point of all that is that Nick was very rusty when we turned to him in the Broncos game.  He hadn't seen significant time at C since the 2008 preseason finale.  That caught up to him and he struggled.  I think Nick will do fine with plenty of practice time at Center.  I don't feel strongly about this, though.  There is doubt in my mind.  I do want Mike McGlynn to get a chance to win the job. 

RE:  taking an OL early

Andy has only taken one O-linemen in the 1st ... Shawn Andrews.  He did trade a 1st for Jason Peters.  Other players were free agents, holdovers from Ray Rhodes, or developed players. 

I am fine with Big Red taking a blocker early if he finds us a DE in free agency. 

RE:  Maurkice Pouncey

He just doesn't look like pick 24 to me.  I see a big, talented guy, but nobody special.  I'm still watching tape on him, but Pouncey hasn't stood out as a guy that is so good I covet him. 

RE:  Antrel Rolle

I am intrigued by him.  He has found a home at FS after being inconsistent at CB.  I need to watch some Cards tape to get a good feel for him. 

RE:  Shawn Andrews

Very complicated subject.  I can't share everything I know, but trust me when I tell you that Shawn deserves a lot of his reputation.  He has battled depression and a bad back, but has hurt his own credibility with certain actions and attitudes.  Bottom line for me...I think Shawn is more interested in being a star than a football player.  I hope he proves me wrong, but consider me doubting Thomas until I see him actually take a preseason snap, let alone a regular season snap.  Think of him as a lottery ticket.  If he pays off...great.  If not, oh well.   Would have been nice, but we'll be okay since we didn't count on him. 

RE:  McGlynn vs Max

Andy likes certain guys.  I think he's always liked Max.  I'm not real sure why.  The Eagles had a 2nd round grade on him when I had him listed as one of the most overrated players in the whole 2006 draft.  I think Mike is a victim of circumstance, but I could be wrong on that.  I've asked a few people about him.  No one says anything about Mike, good or bad.  The team could be real down on him or absolutely giddy about his potential.  I have no idea.  This offseason will tell us more about how the Eagles feel about Mike and Max.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More on the OL


Let's look at the starters as of now.

LT Jason Peters
LG Todd Herremans
OC Nick Cole
RG Stacy Andrews
RT Winston Justice

This appears to be a solid group.  Cole would be somewhat of a question mark at Center because he hasn't played much there in the last 2 years.  He has played well as the starting RG.  I think with a full offseason to get back into the habit of snapping and making line calls Cole can do at least an adequate job.  Maybe better.

Stacy Andrews is someone we've talked about.  He and the Eagles have to work on a restructured deal, but it sounds like that will happen.  Stacy isn't going to get a better deal anywhere else.  On the field I think he can be a good player for us.  The coaches are still excited about what he can bring to the offense.  He showed excellent potential as a run blocker last year.  Pass protection was the area where he really struggled.  Jay Ratliff gave him fits and ate up Donovan McNabb. 

Stacy has the athletic ability to be effective in pass pro.  He'll have the whole offseason to get comfortable with his knee.  That's his biggest challenge.  He also now knows our offense and style of blocking.  I fully expect the guy we see this spring and summer to be light years better than last year. 

The other starters I think we're all pretty happy with.  Backups are a whole different story. 

King Dunlap
Mike McGlynn
Fenuki Tupo
Dallas Reynolds

Dunlap struggled in the Oakland game.  He was overpowered by Richard Seymour.  Before we completely dismiss Dunlap because of that game we need to remember a couple of things.  That was Dunlap's first real NFL action.  Also, he faced one of the few 4-3 DEs that goes in the 300-pound range.  We don't know how Dunlap would have fared against a 260-pound guy, a much more common matchup.  I am not ready to give up on Dunlap, but I do think the Eagles need to bring in a player to compete with him.  We need a good backup at LT, whether Dunlap or someone else.  One problem with King is that he doesn't have the body to play G or RT.  He needs to excel at LT. 

McGlynn is a major mystery.  He's impressed me in the last 2 preseasons, but hasn't been able to get on the field at G or C.  I don't know if that is an indictment of him or simply the fact that Mike has been stuck behind a slew of veterans.  I still have high hopes for Mike and would like to see him get a shot at C. 

Tupou is another mystery.  He played LT at Oregon.  In the NFL he projects to RT or G.  He was put on IR prior to the season so all we can go on is last summer.  Tupou spent most of his time at LG.  He started slow, but got better as he got more accustomed to playing on the inside. 

Reynolds stood out to me when watching some mini-camp and Training Camp highlights last year.  He wasn't great or anything, but he didn't look as lost as many rookies do.  Reynolds was a 4-year starter at BYU so experience isn't an issue with him.  Dallas isn't physically gifted, but he's smart, mature, and tough.  Those are pretty good qualities for a backup Center. 

There are a couple of guys I didn't mention. 

Max Jean-Gilles
AQ Shipley
Shawn Andrews

Max is a RFA.  The Eagles will probably tender him, but I do wonder if he's a player they really want back.  He hasn't gotten better with experience.  He's flat-lined.  Maybe you keep him around in case of injury, but I'd almost rather see someone completely new get the chance to play.  Max just isn't a player I believe in. 

Shipley is interesting.  He spent all of 2009 on the Steelers Practice Squad.  Do you sign him because you want maximum depth in case Jamaal can't come back?  Do you sign him because you are disappointed with Cole or McGlynn?  Do you sign him to simply take Reynolds spot away? 

There isn't much to say about Shawn.  The first test for him will be showing up to the post-draft mini-camp.  If he does that and plays we'll start to talk about how he might have a chance on this team. 

Here are a few possible depth charts:

LT  Peters .......... Dunlap
LG  Herremans ... Tupou
OC  Cole ............ Reynolds/Shipley
RG  St Andrews .. McGlynn
RT  Justice

LT  Peters .......... Dunlap
LG  Herremans ... McGlynn
OC  Cole ............ Reynolds/Shipley
RG  St Andrews .. Jean-Gilles
RT  Justice ......... Tupou

LT  Peters .......... Dunlap
LG  Herremans ... Tupou
OC  Cole ............ McGlynn ..... Reynolds/Shipley
RG  St Andrews .. Jean-Gilles
RT  Justice


Friday, February 19, 2010

Random Friday


I watched the Okla State / Texas tape last night.  I was trying to see OSU Corner Perrish Cox, a possible Eagles target.  Cox played okay.  He was credited with 5 tackles and a PBU.  Unfortunately he mainly played off the receiver.  I was hoping to see him press and jam guys.  Cox has good cover skills and looks like a 2nd round prospect.  Might go in the 1st.  One thing to note...he already has a couple of kids.  The Eagles don't have any policies against that, but it is something to consider.  I need to watch the OSU/UGA tape to see Cox go up against the Bulldogs stud WR. 

I watched Earl Thomas as well.  I swear this kid is going to drive me crazy.  I feel like the little girl with the flower "He loves me.  He loves me not."  Instead I'm sitting there with a can of PBR "Draft Earl.  Don't draft Earl."  I'll let you know how that works out. 

Earl had a very interesting play in the game.  He lined up in the slot, off the WR.  The receiver went inside, with Earl trailing.  Earl stopped.  He looked at the QB as he pivoted outside in one motion.  He then jumped the route of the outside receiver, who was running a slant or some kind of inside route.  It totally looked like Asante Samuel.  I assume Earl had a Safety behind him to take on his receiver.  You could tell Earl had done his homework and knew that route was coming.  He looked incredibly fast and fluid on the play.  Earl ran the pick back for a TD. 

Do we want a FS with those kind of skills?  Earl reminds me a great deal of Asante.  Earl tackles better and is faster.  I guarantee you some teams will look at him as a CB.  Maybe us.  I love his playmaking potential, but I do have concerns about him at FS.  I know many of you would love a physical guy back there.  Earl  hits on occasion, but is much more ballhawk than hitter.  If  you had to label him as an enforcer he'd be somewhere between crossing guard and rookie cop.    Dawk was an angry cop.  Andre and Wes were Dirty Harry, Lone Wolf McQuade, and Bud White rolled into one. 


I posted some general NFL offseason thoughts.



RE:  Reshad Jones

I think Jones is a solid 2nd round prospect.  He's not great in any area.  1st round prospects are usually special players or guys with tremendous potential.  Jones is all around good, but isn't so compelling that he goes in the top 30-40 picks.  Safeties don't go as early as other positions. That means that Jones could be available at our 2nd round spot, possibly even our first 3rd round pick.  Remember now, I don't know that the Eagles are interested in him.  I like Jones.  We'll see if the team agrees with me. 

RE:  Hits and Misses

I've got something written on that that I need to dig up.  I'll do that and post it. 

RE:  Joicque Bell

He didn't stand out the way I hoped.  Nice D2 player, but not a guy that grabbed your attention.  I don't know that he'll be an Eagles target.

RE:  J'Marcus Webb

I liked what I saw of him at the Texas vs Nation AS game.  He has good size and showed some pass blocking ability.  I'm not sure he's athletic enough for LT in the NFL, but he could be a G/RT target for us for sure.  I have at least one WTxA&M game tape.  I'll watch and post some notes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Draft Talk


I get a lot of questions about the Eagles and the draft.  I'm going to answer a few that seem to be of the most interest. 

RE:  Maurkice Pouncey / Jamaal Jackson / C position  

I don't know what the Eagles are going to do at C.  Jamaal Jackson tore his ACL late in the year.  Everyone assumes that means that he's going to miss 2010.  Maybe.  People point to Stacy Andrews struggles since he had a similar injury and time frame.  There is one huge difference.  Jamaal only has to rehab.  Stacy moved to a new city and joined a new team.  He had to learn a different offense.  He had to adjust to a different blocking scheme.  He also had to adjust to a new position.  That's a lot for a healthy guy, let alone someone coming off a December ACL injury. 

Jamaal might be ready for the 2010 season.  He might not.  There's no telling how his rehab will go.  Because of that uncertainty we do need a good backup plan.  Nick Cole played mostly G in the last couple of seasons.  He was brought here to play Center, so the team obviously feels like he can do that.  Nick will get a high RFA tender so he isn't going to be switching teams.  The Eagles can project him as the starting C for now.  Mike McGlynn has spent plenty of time learning C over the last two seasons.  He could challenge for the job, but is a complete unknown at the NFL level.  Before you make too much of that remember that both Hank and Jamaal were unknowns who rode the bench before they got the job.  And each guy did get the job only because the guy in front of him got hurt. 

The Eagles ask a lot of the C.  He has to make line calls and blocking adjustments.  He has to be able to anchor in pass pro.  We like to do a lot of reach blocking, which requires lateral quickness and good hands.  We use a lot of screen passes so mobility is important.  I'm just not sure any rookie is going to be a great fit for the what we like to do.  Maurkice Pouncey is the top C prospect in the draft.  He has the kind of size we like, but is only a Junior and needs some work.  I would not be comfortable with the Eagles spending a 1st rounder on him and expecting Maurkice to start right away. 

RE:  Stacy Andrews

Why ask him to take a pay cut?  Couple of thoughts.  The Eagles are all about value.  They had no problem with paying him big money for his services.  However, they got very little out of him last year and the reduction is probably tied to that fact.  You don't feel bad about asking for some help since he got a lot of money for very little playing time. 

Second thought...maybe the Eagles are trying to make some financial plans so that they can make a big move in FA.  There is no Salary Cap, but teams still have budgets.  Take Westy and Kevin Curtis off the books.  Add in some money from Stacy and you're in the $12-14M range.  If this logic is true it means that we are going to take a run at ... PLAXICO BURRESS !!!  Okay, I'm probably off with that, but bribing the guards would be costly and that's where I figured most of the money would go. 

RE:  Vlad Ducasse

I've mentioned Vlad a few times as a guy the Eagles could like.  One of the things you have to consider when evaluating the draft is how the players fit on the roster.  You like to draft for the future, so that players can develop and be ready when called upon.  It looks like we'll have a solid starting O-line in place.  We could use an OL to develop for the future. We had several guys battling injuries last year.  Who knows what the future holds for the blockers we have in place?

Heck, think short term.  We know Jason Peters isn't like Tra Thomas when it comes to durability.  Tra played through all kinds of back pain over the years.  He struggled at times, but was better than any option we had.  Jason missed some time last year with small stuff.  If he goes down for a month we're in trouble.  One of the things that hurt the O-line was the shuffling we had to do due to injuries.  King Dunlap didn't look good in his one game (OAK), although matching up with Seymour was the worst case scenario for King. 

Ducasse could play either T spot or G.  We love versatile OL.  He has the kind of size and athletic background we like.  He uses his hands well and has a powerful hand punch. I'm not sure that I'd be all that excited by picking a blocker at 24, but it is a possibility. 

RE:  Backup RB / Staphon Johnson

Westy is almost sure to be cut.  He's due big money and coming off a year when he was hurt.  Bringing him back at a reduced salary doesn't make a lot of sense.  Backup RBs normally need to play on STs.  Westy covered kicks as a rookie, but not since.  LeSean McCoy is going to be the starter in 2010.  He does need a good backup.  We might go for a veteran, but also could look to the draft.  This isn't a strong class of RBs, but there are several who fit our needs. 

Someone asked about Staphon Johnson of USC.  He has some size and power.  He was a good Red Zone runner this year.  I don't think he has the athletic ability we're looking for.  Ben Tate is my favorite RB.  I'm also interested in LeGarrette Blount, Lonyae Miller, and Montario Hardesty.  CJ Spiller is the only early player that could be of interest.  He's likely to be long gone by 24.  Spiller is a great receiver, good runner, and dynamic KOR/PR.  You don't pass on that guy unless you have a full stable of backs. 

RE:  Reshad Jones

This is a Safety that I've talked about recently.  Here is a -Link- to watch some highlights.  Yes, he's big, but I think he is athletic enough to play FS for us. 

RE:  Safety

I get quite a few questions about different candidates at FS.  In 2008 we took Quintin Demps.  He had played FS and CB in college.  He was very productive and then went and ran a 4.35 at the Combine.  He seemed like an ideal FS candidate in the mid-rounds.  Demps had a good rookie year, but got complacent and lost his job last summer. 

We drafted Macho Harris last year, unsure whether to play him at FS or CB.  Macho was slow for CB, but that was his position coming out of Va Tech.  He impressed the coaches all spring and summer and stole the FS job from Demps and Sean Jones.  Macho was okay, but you could tell he was a rookie adjusting to the NFL and a new position.  He showed promise, but didn't do enough to nail down the job for the future. 

I don't want us to take a FS for the heck of it.  I only want a "sure thing" type of player.  What I mean by that is that I don't want any projects.  I don't want guys with major question marks.  I'll pass on Taylor Mays.  I don't want to find out that he can't make plays.  I'll pass on Chad Jones.  Great athlete, but I want someone who has started for at least 2 full years at Safety.  You have to understand what we're talking about.  Safety is a position where instincts and the mental side of things are just as critical as the physical attributes.  Small, slow guys like Ryan Clark and Jim Leonhard are good starters while bigger, faster guys sit on the bench or fall out of the league.  Ryan and Jim are smart, instinctive players. 

With that in mind, I really prefer Nate Allen (3 year starter at FS) and Reshad Jones (28 game starter at S).  Both guys have a good combination of size, athletic ability, physicality, and cover skills.  Earl Thomas is a great athlete, but tackling and size are major concerns.  He's only a RS-Soph.  That bugs me.  The Eagles may feel different.  I want players, not projects.  I know I'd be passing on guys with great upside, but Safety is full of talented failures. 

RE:  Eric Norwood

 I get quite a few questions about Eric.  Here's the deal.  He's 6'1, 252.  Eric played some DE early in his career before moving to LB.  He is at his best attacking off the LOS.  Eric has a nose for the ball and has made a lot of plays, especially in big games.  I loved him as a college player. 

Projecting him to the NFL is tricky.  I don't see him as a MLB.  He lacks the ideal frame for SAM.  He lacks the athletic ability for WLB.  I think he would be best suited for ILB in a 3-4.  That would limit the area he needed to cover.  It would also allow him to blitz a decent amount of the time.  I think Eric could be a terrific player if the right coach gets him.  In a fantasy world he becomes a Tedy Bruschi type (moved from DL to ILB in the NFL).  I don't like Eric for the Eagles.  I just don't see a position where he fits well. 

RE:  SAM / hybrid guys

Chris Gocong might be done as our SAM.  People wonder about the wisdom of taking a DE and trying to convert him.  Plenty of guys have made the move over the years.  Carlos Emmons as a DE in college.  He made the move to LB.  Mike Vrabel was a DE at Ohio State.  He's played LB in the 3-4 and 4-3 in the NFL with good success.  Jarrett Johnson of the Ravens played DE at Alabama.  Julian Peterson was a DE in college. 

Just because Chris hasn't panned out doesn't mean we can't try another conversion guy.  I understand the hesitance.  We'd all love a great SAM.  The problem is that SAM linebackers are hard to find.  Most guys that go 6'3, 250 and have some athletic ability end up at DE.  That means most of the time you either go for an undersized guy or a conversion guy. 

The Eagles have Moise Fokou penciled in as the SAM for now.  Gocong could get that job back.  We could make a pro move or go for someone like AJ Edds in the draft.  For now, though, we're leaning toward Fokou.  He is undersized, but is a very active defender and shows the ability to play in space.  I'm sure the Eagles will have him bulk up some in the offseason, but he'll never get over 240.  He doesn't look like that kind of guy. 

I think the Eagles are keeping an open mind.  They'll see what players are available before making any final decisions. 


Here is a link to a list of Draft Sleepers.  This isn't my own list.  I figured I'd mix in the insane ramblings of some other guy in case you are tired of my lunacy. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Media Reports


Let's talk about Stacy Andrews.  Domo has a piece up today saying that the Eagles are going to force him to take a pay cut or get cut.  I haven't heard any inside stuff on this move.  I have heard that the Eagles are happy with Stacy and feel like his problems were strictly due to the knee.  We all know the Eagles focus on value and they might feel that even though they like Stacy he's getting too much money based on the situation.  Or Domo could have bogus sources.  I like Paul Domowitch quite a bit, but he's never been the guy to break news. 

The part of this that makes me question the validity is that the Eagles wouldn't be dealing from strength.  We're set at LT and RT.  Todd is in place at LG.  We don't know what is up with Center.  Right now you project either Nick Cole or Mike McGlynn there.  If you take out Stacy then you have Nick or Mike moving to RG.  That's a lot of shuffling for a group that needs stability.  I did leave Max Jean-Gilles out of this.  He could play G, but I really hope the team has seen that he's just not the guy for us. 

It is possible that the team could threaten to cut Stacy and then go after a guy like Stephen Neal, Bobbie Williams, or Keydrick Vincent.  We also could spend pick 24 on a blocker, but counting on a rookie seems like a stretch. 

The story is probably exaggerated in some way (or outright false), but the fact that hasn't mentioned it is interesting.  This year they have posted links to a lot of rumors and oddball reports.  As of 4pm EST this isn't mentioned on the site. 


One of the reasons I like Kevin Kolb so much is that he gets "it".  He was on WIP with Howard and Ike and of course had plenty of chances to say inflammatory things.  He didn't. 

"I don't even talk to my agent that much about it because ultimately it doesn't have anything to do with what we say. So we're kind of just sitting back right now and letting things iron out. We know there's still some time here and I'm sure there'll be a phone call some time in the near future or a meeting. But as of right now we're just going to let it iron out and have faith that the right decision's going to be made."

"I never did (think of going anywhere else)," he said. "Only because of this: I feel like I fit in this system so well. And not just the system, but the coaching staff and the players and the personnel all the way around, even on the other side of the building with the business side and all that. I just feel like our personalities really fit well together and I look forward to taking over this thing one day and working with those guys. So I would never wish myself to be anywhere else."
"It's tough (being the backup QB). It's tough because I felt like last year was the best I've ever been. I felt like I was prepared for the season. I trained hard in the off-season. Even though I had the injury in the pre-season, my other two games were pretty good. Then of course getting to play there early you know and proving that I could do it. I wish that I could have played last year. With that being said I'm going to wish it even more this year so it's tough but I know it's an even harder situation for the Eagles. My gosh, there's three of us back there that can play so I'm going to keep their feelings in mind and try to remain positive no matter what happens."

You can read a few other bits at PEcom

Kevin could have played the victim.  He could have been overly-aggressive.  He could have stuck his foot in his mouth as he tried not to say anything.  Instead he basically said all the right things.  He was honest, but careful.  One of the concerns with a kid from the University of Houston is whether he can handle the spotlight.  Kevin hasn't gotten the full Philly media frenzy yet, but he's done well when given the stage.  That's just another sign of why I think he's ready. 


I havne't taken the time to address every report about our QBs.  We hear a lot of stuff.  Dealing with every report would be a waste of time.  Jason LaCanfora of is saying that the team will hold on to Mike Vick until the summer and will then look to deal him.  This is interesting.  Vick might have the best value at that point.  Some team could be disappointed with a draft pick.  A starter or key backup could get hurt.  There are several possibilities that could help us out.  The risk the Eagles take is not getting a deal done and being stuck with an expensive backup who might not be so happy this year.  Is it worth it to take that chance?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Column is Posted


Variety of things:   -Link-

I also posted some thoughts on Safeties in the draft:      -Link-


RE:  Kyle Vanden Bosch

Interesting guy.  I've heard his name from quite a few people.  He has experience at RDE and LDE.  He has a great motor and is very much a team guy.  The problem is that he's only got 7.5 sacks in the last 2 years combined.  He'll turn 32 at midseason.  Is this the guy to really help?  Maybe.  I've got to watch tape of him so I can give you more than numbers. 

RE:  Gocong to DE

I doubt the Eagles do this.  We have several guys that are 6'2, 260.  Gocong wouldn't necessarily be any better than Babin, for instance.  Chris does have 40+ games of starting experience at SAM linebacker.  That gives him some value at LB because no one else can match that. 

I'm not fervently against moving Chris to DE.  I think the notion that he's going to move there and be a stud player is wishful thinking.  The guy hasn't shown any special athleticism at all in 3 years.  If the Eagles really believe in Fokou and take a SAM in the draft then I'm fine with giving Chris a shot to rush the passer.  I love the guy and really want him to find some niche in the NFL. 

RE:  dealing for Kerry Rhodes

I'm open to this, but I need to watch tape on the guy.  Rex Ryan supposedly isn't happy with his hitting/tackling.  That has to concern us as well.  Rhodes looks good from afar, but might end up having more warts than we like. 

RE:  4-3 defense

3 of the last 4 Super Bowl winners ran the 4-3.  3 of the 4 teams in the title games this year ran the 4-3.  Find the right players and you'll win.  Scheme is overrated.  Baltimore has gone back and forth between both styles.  They continue to play good defense because they have good players.  I am a 4-3 guy.  Always have been.  Always will be.  I'd only consider changing my mind if Buddy Ryan, Tom Landry, and Megan Fox told me to do that.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random Stuff



Here is the depth chart as I'm comfortable with it:

RDE - Trent Cole
RDT - Brodrick Bunkley
LDT - Mike Patterson  --- Antonio Dixon
LDE - Juqua Parker

*Victor Abiamiri - I want him to take over the Darren Howard role this year as the primary DT pass rusher. 

That is 6 of 10 spots.  The other players each have to earn their way onto the roster as far as I'm concerned. 

*Trevor Laws - should get traded.  Just isn't a good fit.
*Darren Howard - production dropped from '08.  He will turn 34 at midseason.  Likely to be cut.
*Chris Clemons - hasn't lived up to potential.  Is versatile and plays on STs.  Could be worth keeping.
*Jason Babin - had 2.5 sacks in first 3 games.  Finished the year with 2.5 sacks.  Could be re-signed. 

I'm not looking to get rid of these guys in a bad way.  Laws is no longer a good fit so I would deal him for a pick.  We'll lose value, but I don't see Trevor developing into a 2-gap player. 

The DEs are all guys I like.  They are also all replaceable.  None of them did anything so great you must keep them.  Howard did have 6.5 sacks, but that is down from 2008.  A couple of those sacks were as much the design of the blitz as anything Darren did.  He still has a great spin move, but he's not a consistently disruptive force.  Actually, I'm fine with bringing everyone to Lehigh and letting them battle for jobs.  I like all the guys.  I just want the best players. 

Here is the way I'd like it to look on May 1st.  

RDE - Trent Cole -------- Jason Babin
RDT - Brodrick Bunkley - Rookie
LDT - Mike Patterson  --- Antonio Dixon -- Victor Abiamiri
LDE - Free Agent -------- Juqua Parker --- Rookie

RE:  Derrick Burgess

 I'm planning to write something about free agent DEs.  I'm watching tape of the guys so that I can offer something more than stats, highlights, and memories.  I did watch some of Derrick recently.  He's still a quality player.  He isn't Plan A, but I do have interest in him. 

RE:  Earl Thomas

I can't decide if Earl makes sense for us or not.  Watching him tackle Brandon Jacobs would be painful.  I doubt he'd do much better against Marion Barber or Clinton Portis.  At the same time, it would be nice to have a FS who is able to cover lots of ground and play the ball well.  Right now Reshad Jones is the guy I like best (aside from Eric Berry of course). 

RE:  big NTs for 4-3

The 3-4 has 4 LBs that can fly to the ball and make plays.  The 4-3 only has 3 LBs.  All D-linemen in the 4-3 need to be able to pursue so that on the play where that guy is free he can help out.  If a 4-3 team designates one guy as the NT all of the time they could get away with a massive guy.  It just isn't ideal. 

The 4-3 is a defense built on the line making the plays.  When you think of Gang Green you first think of Reggie, Clyde, and Jerome.  The 3-4 is built on LBs.  Think about the Steelers.  You have Harrison and Woodley making plays off the edge and James Farrior as the man in the inside.  The 3-4 needs a NT who can eat blocks.  He really doesn't have to make many plays.  The 4-3 likes a DT who can eat up blockers when needed, but who can also make plays in the backfield. 

Understand, when I refer to guys as big NTs I'm generally talking about guys that are 350+.  Those guys can effectively play in the 4-3, but they aren't ideal fits.  You'd rather have a guy that is 330 and can still run somewhat.  3-4 teams must have an anchor in the middle of the defense.  Girth/bulk isn't a bad thing when your job is to take on double teams 40-50 times a game. 

The Ravens were the last 4-3 team to win a title with mammoth DTs.  The game has changed since 2000.  Look at these numbers:

2000- 3 QBs with 4,000 yards...5 QBs with 25 or more TDs...10 RBs with more than 1,300 yards

2009- 10 QBs with 4K or more yds...12 QBs with 26 or more TDs...6 RBs with more than 1,300 yds

I think you can see how much more of a passing league this is now.  Hopefully this makes better sense. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Special Teams Stuff


Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News puts out STs rankings for all NFL teams each year.  The Eagles have been at the top or near the top plenty of times.  This year...17th.  Here is the report:


You might notice that Buffalo was 3rd.  That's important because we just hired their STs coach, Bobby April. 


Quick thoughts today.  Derrick Morgan would be a good fit for us.  He is about 6'3, 270.  That is really good size for an athletic LDE.  He will play the run.  Derrick gets into the blocker and looks for the ball.  He can shed blocks.  He uses his hands pretty well and has a good motor.  Derrick is also a gifted pass rusher.  He stays low to the ground and has a good burst.  Very agile guy.  Does a good job of turning the corner.  He could go in the top 15 or could slide down to our area, pick 24.  Morgan is good, but not a 100% lock to be the first DE.

Let's not overlook Juqua Parker.  He can be a very good backup at LDE.  We're looking to upgrade the starter, but Parker can be a terrific role player.

I watched some tape of Victor Abiamiri the other day.  I really think he's better suited to DT.  He's very athletic when going against a Guard or Center, but looks pedestrian when dealing with an OT.

Someone asked about whether we could have any interest in DT/NT Terrence Cody.  No.  Cody is 6'4, 370.  He is enormous.  That size is okay at NT where his job is to occupy blockers.  We need our DTs to be able to clog the middle, but also help in pursuit.  Patt and Bunk have very good motors for big guys.  They will get out and chase plays.  Cody is a 3-4 player.  I'll be shocked if any 4-3 team considers taking him in the Top 100 picks.  


This is the story of how the Ravens put together their first draft board.  Good stuff for anyone who is a draftnik. 


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's Talk About Aaron Kampman


We want an upgrade at LDE.  Julius Peppers is available, but I'm back and forth on him.  Heck, he may want no part of Philly.  Is there a more pressure packed role than high priced free agent in Philadelphia?  Set Peppers aside for a minute.  If he's off the table we have to consider other options. 

One guy that I absolutely love is Aaron Kampman, the Packers LDE for several years.  They moved to a 3-4 defense last year and he became an OLB.  Aaron had 3.5 sacks and 28 QB pressures before tearing his ACL on Nov. 22nd.  The Packers are not going to tag him.  They are going to offer him some kind of a deal, but he's expected to leave because he'd rather play in a 4-3. 

I think Aaron would be a great fit for us at LDE.  He goes about 6'4, 265.  He has a great motor.  He's quick and fast, but isn't an explosive rusher.  He will play the run.  Aaron is a high character veteran who will give you 100% on every snap.  He's been very productive over the last 5 years. 

2009 - 3.5 sacks, 30 solo tackles, 1 FF
2008 - 9.5 sacks, 47 solo tackles
2007 - 12 sacks, 48 solo tackles, 1 FF
2006 - 15.5 sacks, 59 solo tackles, 3 FFs
2005 -  6.5 sacks, 59 solo tackles, 3 FFs

Now let's talk about the downside.  Don't you hate this part?  Aaron is coming off a torn ACL.  That is a huge factor, both good and bad.  The only reason that he is likely hitting the market is the injury.  If healthy he'd get tagged by the Packers.  Do you want to go after a free agent coming off a torn ACL?  Is that playing with fire? 

Here are a couple of things to consider:

"We're going through all of the information, continue to gather it and so forth," coach Mike McCarthy said of Kampman.

"We'll watch his rehab, which will be a big part of it. He is off the charts as far as where he is at in his rehab. It's pretty remarkable how he has responded in coming back from his surgery so fast. Those are all the things that we'll look at."
and ... 

Kampman's season-ending knee injury came during the Nov. 22 game against San Francisco, and he had surgery Dec. 4. He said he is "very encouraged" by his progress in rehabilitation and expects to be ready to hit the field by training camp.

"Things have gone very, very well," Kampman said. "I'm very thankful."

Is that true?  Is that just posturing?  This isn't agent-speak, which makes me feel more at ease.  Stacy Andrews and his agent spun a real positive story last year, but they had reason to.  Kampman is saying the right things, but the first set of comments is from his soon-to-be former coach.  Mike McCarthy doesn't gain anything by saying that Aaron is ahead of schedule.  Those comments don't mean that Kampman is truly on a great pace, but it does make me feel more confident about him. 

There is another factor that makes Kampman different than Andrews...6'4, 265 compared to 6'7, 340.  Aaron is in great shape.  He's got a chiseled body.  You can bet he's killing it in the gym to get back on the field ASAP.  Stacy isn't lazy, but O-linemen just can't do the same level of workouts because of their size. 

Obviously you'll never be 100% comfortable with a guy who tore his ACL late in the year.  You'll always be nervous about the knee.  One good aspect to Kampman and the ACL tear is that he's never been an explosive athlete.  Some guys lose their explosion and never get back to being good players.  Aaron makes plays based on effort, leverage, and technique.  Osi Umenyiora injured his knee in the summer of 2008 and wasn't back to his old self in 2009.  He didn't have the same burst and speed.  He's never been a player who was technically proficient.  Osi used athletic ability.  Kampman knows how to beat blockers when he isn't able to just run around them. 

The other major issue with Aaron is age.  He'll turn 31 in November.  How many good years does he have left?  Patrick Kerney had 14.5 sacks in the year when he was 30 going on 31.  Greg Eliis has remained an effective player in his 30s.  Jason Taylor is still a quality force off the edge.  Aaron Smith remains a key player for the Steelers.  Shaun Ellis is turning 33 this year.  Kampman could have 3 good years left.  Maybe more.  Maybe less. 

There are no guarantees in football.  If we're going to take a chance, Kampman is the kind of guy to do it on.  He won't fail due to lack of effort or work.  I think he'd be a great fit for our defense based on his style of play.  Aaron is relentless on the field and will do whatever it takes to win.  I think Aaron would be a fan favorite because of his motor.  What you see is what you get with him. 

What do you guys think?  Could you be happy with the signing of Kampman?  Is this too risky?  Who thinks this is just a flat out dumb idea? 

I'll post thoughts on other targets in the next couple of weeks.  For now try to limit this discussion to Kampman.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Stuff


Mike Mayock appeared on Daily News Live yesterday and said some interesting things.  He spoke at length about how Donovan can win a Super Bowl.  He said that McNabb is still a good QB.  Mayock put him in the second tier of QBs (with guys like Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Tony Romo).  That sounds about right to me.  Mayock said that Donovan still has a strong reputation around the league. He says fans are being too hard on McNabb and that we lost to Dallas because of poor line play and problems in the secondary as much as anything. 

I respect Mike as much as any football analyst there is.  I still disagree.  He says personnel people around the league feel strongly that Donovan can win a Super Bowl.  Fine.  Do they feel he can win one in the Reid/Mornhinweg offense?  That is the key point so many people overlook.  I used to believe Donovan could win us a title, but his streaky play now has me feeling otherwise. 

I also think Mayock is in a fantasy world when he suggests that we should sign Kolb to an extension and keep McNabb at least one more year.  That theory is great on paper.  There are 2 main problems with that:  the Philly media and the locker room.  Every time McNabb throws a bad pass or we lose a game the press will be all over the place asking if Kolb should start.  That leads to a dangerous atmosphere in the locker room.  I can tell you now that not all 53 guys want McNabb over Kolb at this moment.  If there is a stretch where Donnie is struggling or the offense goes in a funk that situation could boil over.  You cannot ignore the human factor in this decision.  I think keeping Kevin and Donovan would be playing with fire.  And as someone who has seen Backdraft a lot I can tell you that's a bad idea. 

Mayock says you tell Kolb he's your guy in the future and you pay him good money.  I think Mike is overlooking the fact that Kevin is dying to get on the field.  Guys only have so many years of prime ability.  Kevin is in his mid-20s.  He needs to get on the field ASAP.  Kevin started for all of HS and college.  This is not a guy used to sitting on the bench.  One of his best qualities is his competitive nature.  Sitting is absolutely killing him. 

I am glad to hear Mayock's point of view.  Our QB situation isn't a no-brainer.  We take a big chance no matter what we do. 


Steve Steiner wrote about moving Chris Gocong to DE.  I'm not fully on board with that, but again it is good to hear other points of view.  Here's the piece.



SalPal says the Eagles are telling teams that neither McNabb nor Kolb is available in trade.  Even Sal knows, if true, that this is just posturing.  The value of an item goes down when someone puts it out for sale.  Have people come to you and the market goes up.  You can bet the Eagles will be a very popular team at the Scouting Combine in 2 weeks.  That is when trade talks really get going.  The Feeley deal was done at the Combine back in 2004. 

GCobb is reporting that the Eagles have offered an extension to Kolb.  He's right more than Sal, but still isn't deadly accurate with news. 


RE:  DE/LB tweeners

I do my draft rankings based on 4-3 values.  I only list guys at LB that I think essentially "must" play there.  If a guy is a tweener with realistic DE potential I leave him at DE. 

As for the Eagles and tweeners...mixed results.  Trent Cole was a tweener coming out of Cincy.  He weighed 243 pounds at the Combine.  The Eagles believed in his ability to add bulk and rush the passer.  Bryan Smith was a favorite player of former DL coach Pete Jenkins.  That move failed.  No team has great results with tweeners.  There are going to be some guys who adjust well and some who don't.  The Ravens do a very good job with most defensive players, but even they miss on some guys. 

The draft is a crapshoot for all teams, all styles, and all schemes.  There are a ton of variables that go into success/failure.  We're generally among the league leaders in sacks.  We generally have a good defense.  I'd say we're getting more right than wrong. 

RE:  class of DEs/DBs

If you want pass rushers you better get them early.  If the Eagles want a big LDE they can wait til the 2nd or 3rd round.  There will be good CBs and Safeties in the first 3 rounds and maybe more.  Good year for DBs.  I wrote about a couple of Texas defenders on ScoutsNotebook.  Earl Thomas's tackling is an issue.  Here's the --LINK-- for those interested. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

QB Trade Value


I had a nice long write-up going along, but lost power momentarily and it all got wiped out.  I'll take that as a sign from the Football Gods that I should keep things short and simple. 

Donovan McNabb --- He is still a good starting QB.  Think about this.  The worst record he had as a starter in this decade...4-5.  That came in 2005 when TO went nuclear on us and we had a ton of injuries.  Every other year was .500 or better.  Andy Reid was a big part of that.  Jim Johnson and the defense were a big part of that.  Donovan gets a lot of credit as well.  He knows how to win. 

McNabb has issues to be sure, but what team wouldn't be interested in a QB that wins games and stays out of trouble?  Teams like STL and BUF need to show their fans some sign of hope.  McNabb would be perfect.  He's camera friendly with that smile of his.  Players love him.  He's a family guy and handles the spotlight well. 

Other teams may be interested because Donovan could push them over the top and into the playoffs.  SF would have to strongly consider him.  Cleveland has some talent, but desperately needs a QB.  I'm not going to cover every team that could fit.  The point is that there are plenty of teams who will have interest and for a variety of reasons. 

I don't think the Eagles can get a Top 15 pick for him.  Teams hate to give up those picks, even for a QB.  I'm not sure a team in the bottom of the 1st will be QB shopping.  Maybe ARZ.  Kurt Warner didn't exactly give a great endorsement to Matt Leinart in a recent radio interview.  The Cards might be willing to part with pick #26 to get Donovan if they have doubts about Matt. 

Donovan is too valuable to just get us a 2nd round pick.  I think a likely scenario could be a 2nd this year and then a conditional pick in 2011.  If he makes the Pro Bowl and leads the team to the playoffs we get a good pick next year.  Probably a 2nd.  Maybe we could get a 1st, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. 

There have been some QB trades of interest in the last 10-15 years, but normally it is a young guy stuck behind a franchise player.  Matt Hasselbeck was behind Brett Favre.  Matt Schaub was behind Mike Vick.  AJ Feeley was behind McNabb.  Proven veteran starters are a different story.  Jay Cutler was traded for a 1st round pick last year.  Chicago didn't hesitate because Jay has 5-10 good years (physically) ahead of him.  McNabb doesn't have that much time left.  The only similar trade situation I can recall is Drew Bledsoe.  Buffalo gave up a 1st round pick for him back in 2002.  Here's a good article on that situation.  If Brett Favre retires that could create a perfect scenario where Childress would give up his 1st rounder for McNabb.  Cross your fingers on the Favre retirement. 

One thing that helps us is that this is a poor group of college QBs.  There is no guy that clearly says "I'm an elite prospect."  That fact could force the hand of some desperate team or multiple teams.  If any kind of bidding war erupted we could be in an enviable situation.  That is when a mid 1st could become available.  Don't count on this scenario.  It is nice to dream, though. 

Mike Vick --- I am much less certain about Vick.  I can't reasonably see how a team could spend a Top 75 pick for him.  That takes you into the early part of the 3rd round.  Mike last started a game in December of 2006.  He was 2-7 in the last 9 starts of that year.  The number of games Vick threw for 250 or more yards in '06...1.  Heck, he's only got 6 career games where he threw for 250 or more.  Kolb has 2 such games in 2 starts.  Kolb and Mike have the same number of 300-yard passing games. 

I understand that Mike was a dynamic weapon as a runner and that's why he doesn't have many great passing games.  That is part of my point, though.  He's no longer a dynamic runner.  He never showed anything close to the speed from the old days.  If a team sees Vick as a starter in 2010 he'll need to be able to make it as a passer as much or more than as a runner.  Can he make that transition with so little QB time in the last 3 years?  I don't know. 

There is simply no way I believe any team covets Vick as their starter in 2010.  He was 6 of 13 this year.  He completed one great pass in the playoff game, but you don't plan your offense around one pass that a guy made.  That would be nuts.  I do think teams have interest in bringing Mike to camp to challenge for the starting job.  Because of this I think the best scenario is getting a conditional pick for him.  That would obviously come in the 2011 Draft. 

I hope I'm wrong and that some team offers us a 2nd or 3rd round pick.  That would make me ecstatic.  I just don't see that realistically happening.  I'd be happy with a 4th rounder.  This is where I could see some team rolling the dice.  Maybe.  Whoever makes the deal will still have to deal with the controversy of adding Vick.  He'll also be paying $5.5M for a guy that might not be a good starter anymore. 

The other factor that hurts us is that I think plenty of teams will say no to a trade and wait to see if we release him.  I'm sure several teams would have interest if they didn't have to give up a pick or pay him $5.5M next year.  Vick could blow us all away and turn out to be a good QB.  He'd be a great acquisition as a low risk-high reward move. 

Kevin Kolb --- I think the Eagles would be insane to deal him, but you never know what will happen.  I think STL and CLE would covet him.  I think the Rams would gladly hand pick 33 and a future pick to us for Kevin.  I think the Browns would do a similar offer.  BUF and DEN could be real interested.  We'd get a good deal for him.  The problem is that we'd have to turn around and draft a QB with one of our early picks to have someone ready for 2013 or 14.  You're not really gaining anything. 


RE:  Sean Weatherspoon in the 1st?

I think Sean would fit pretty well at WLB for us.  I need to check some tape to see how well he does at taking on blockers.  He's got the size and build that we like.  He played between the tackles a lot at Mizzou.  We love to take MLBs and move them to WLB.  Sean is a good pass defender.  He'd be a good fit in that regard.  I don't think it is very likely that we go for a LB in the 1st, but the Eagles will make that move one of these days. 

RE:  Mike Lombardi's article Kolb-for-Shaun Rogers

Here is the link.  No way to that deal. 

I am interested in Rogers.  He is inconsistent, but absolutely dominates at times.  I would not trade a QB that I believe in for him.  Now, McNabb for Rogers?  That is something I'm more open to.  I've talked to some friends about Rogers.  He fascinates me.  Shaun has a reputation as a problem child.  In his defense, the man has been stuck in Detroit and Cleveland.  Let's put him in a good locker room...on a winning team.  Let's give him a good coach and see how he reacts.  Shaun could put us over the top.  Or he could be a disaster.  I'd have a hard time not at least looking into a deal for him if the price was right. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Column is Posted


I wrote about lessons we can take from the Super Bowl teams. 



Stew will be the MLB.  Spoon will be the WLB.  SAM is up for grabs.  I know many of you want Jordan back on the field.  Spoon didn't make many plays on the weakside, but he also had really bad MLB play that affected him.  Sean McDermott likes Spoon a lot.  He expects big things from Will in 2010.

Spoon will get to spend the offseason really learning the defense.  This year he had to learn on the fly.  Next year he'll know the playbook inside-out.  He'll get to go through mini-camps with his teammates.  Same for Training Camp.  Spoon can find a comfort level.  Guys generally make plays for a couple of reasons.  First, they are in the right place at the right time.  Jordan had the ball come right to him on his INT vs the Panthers.  Any player could have caught that ball.  Second, players know exactly what it going on with the players around them, both offense and defense, and they can anticipate plays and get to the right spot. 

I'll be shocked next January if Spoon has no INTs or FFs or sacks.  He has proven to be a good playmaker for most of his career.  One area where he did help us was in coverage.  I don't think enough people give him credit for how well he did against TEs.  Jordan struggled vs TEs.  Remember how they ate us up early in the year?  Akeem showed real potential this year, but he does need to get more consistent.  I'd love to see him as a backup this year and as a starter in the future. 


RE:  Myron Rolle

We seem to prefer playmaking Safeties.  Rolle I think had only 1 INT and 1 FF at FSU in 3 years as a starter.  Smart.  Big.  Pretty good athlete.  Talented.  Those are good qualities.  The lack of production doesn't make sense for a guy with his potential.  You do wonder if he's committed to football or if his other interests, while noble, are a distraction.  The Eagles will meet with him at the Combine to try and decide if this is a case of a guy who will be a much better pro than college player.  Maybe McDermott will covet having a super smart guy back there to run the defense. 

RE:  Eagles/Saints

Andy can be every bit the gambler Sean Payton was in the SB.  Andy went for it on 4th down inside his own 35 this year.  Andy is the king of onside kicks.  We used to run a good amount of fake FGs when Koy was the holder.  We've done all kinds of aggressive, creative stuff. 

Donovan vs Brees...not much to say.  Donnie is streaky.  If he had ever played really well in a SB we'd have won by 3 TDs.  Brees is reliable.  That is a big advantage for the Saints.  No question about it. 

The Saints had a great year.  Before we hail them as the best team ever, though, let's examine the whole situation.  10, 7, 8, 13.  Those are the win totals for Brees/Payton in New Orleans.  This isn't a juggernaut organization that we all knew was going to finally break through and deliver.  That's the way most people felt about the Colts in 2006.  The Saints had a lot of stuff go right this year.  How many INT-TDs did Darren Sharper have?  How many unbelievable catches did Devery Henderson and Marques Colston make?  And so on. 

The Saints played great this year, but I do wonder if they can sustain this.  I've been trying to think of a team that the Saints remind me of and no one is a great fit.  The 1986 Giants are a bit similar.  The coach and QB had been together for a few years.  There was some success, but not a clear path that pointed to elite status.  Parcells is a button-pusher.  He finally got the right group of players and everything he did worked brilliantly.  Payton is a Tuna protege, from their time together in Dallas. He also plays mind games with his players.  You could say that he pushed the right buttons this year.  Obviously the Giants had an elite defense and effective offense.  The Saints are the opposite in that regard. 

The Giants were good, but not special the next couple of years.  They couldn't regain the magic of '86.  They did go 12-4 in 1989 and then broke through and won another SB the following year.  I won't be shocked to see the Saints dip down to 8 or 9 wins next year.  Payton knows that complacency is their biggest enemy.  He'll take steps to try and prevent that situation.  You just don't know how the players will respond to what Sean does this time around.  You also can't forget the NFC South curse.  No team has repeated as Division champs since it was formed in 2002.  Can the Saints even repeat as winners of the NFC-S?

I do think very highly of Brees and Payton.  I know those guys will do everything in their power to keep the team playing great football. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wrapping Up Senior Bowl


I finally finished reviewing the Senior Bowl in depth.  The notes are here:



I've wondered about the possibility of the Eagles making a big move at SAM.  We could try to sign Karlos Dansby.  We could trade for Derrick Johnson.  There maybe another free agent or two available that would be an upgrade.  Something occurred to me.  Spoon is due a salary of $5M this year.  Stew could be in line for a new deal, depending on how he looks coming off the injury.  I could see the Eagles talking to him midseason about an extension.  They'll want to see how he plays and also have a feel for the CBA/labor situation.  I'm hoping Stew plays well and gets a hefty contract. 

If we're spending good money at WLB and there any chance the Eagles go and throw a bunch of money at SAM as well?  I know there won't be a Salary Cap in 2010, but I'm of the belief that it will be coming back in the future.  I'm not saying definitively that the Eagles won't make a move at SAM, but I don't know that it is likely we'll ever have 3 high priced LBs at the same time.  You can't pay every player top dollar and we believe in DL and DBs first and foremost.  I do admit to some interest in a guy like Johnson who wouldn't require elite money, but would bring some athleticism and playmaking skills to SAM. 


Good game.  I'm happy the Saints won.  I love Drew Brees. 

The Saints played a lot of 3-4.  They also played Cover 2 behind hit and made the Colts play small ball.  The strategy worked well.  Brees and the offense didn't get many big plays either, but they were very efficient. 

As I watched the celebration I told a friend "Someday I want that to be the Eagles.  I want to know that feeling."  Let's just hope John Fogerty wasn't talking about the Eagles when he sang "Someday never comes". 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

O-line Help?


Dave Spadaro has a piece up on about how the OL "needs another boost".  His logic is that the OL has too many "he's good" types and not enough dominating players.  He points to the Jets run to the AFC title game as proof of what a dominating OL can do. I hope this is just Dave talking and not the team using him to send us a message. 

I agree that we need to be better up front.  I don't think that means we need to go out and make the OL a focal point in the offseason.  Dave mentioned the Jets.  He failed to point out the 2 Super Bowl teams.  Neither the Colts nor Saints spent huge resources to build up their lines.  The Saints have one of the best lines in football because they have a QB who gets rid of the ball quickly and that gives them confidence in pass protection.  The coach sticks with the run game and that allows the guys to be physical and aggressive.  It is always easier to be confident when you're attacking.  Retreating in pass pro doesn't exactly build up a killer instinct in blockers.  As for the Colts...they don't run block as well as they should.  Their pass blocking success has as much to do with Peyton Manning as anything else.  Coach Howard Mudd does a great job of teaching his players.  The Colts also wisely find guys who fit their system.  They get coachable players who are overachiever types.  This means that the guys will play with an edge, even when they don't get to run block as much as they want. 

We have a LT with Pro Bowl ability.  He was inconsistent this year, but I think Jason will be much better in his second year as an Eagle.  Todd Herremans has Pro Bowl potential at LG.  He is a gifted run blocker, but can get sloppy in pass pro at times.  RT Winston Justice had a good season.  He was consistent and looked like a good player.  I expect him to improve now that he's got some confidence in himself.  This will be his first offseason where he "knows" what he does will matter.  Some young guys fail to understand how much hard work is needed to earn playing time.  They see a veteran player in front of them and have a hard time "paying the price" because they don't feel they will get on the field.  Justice now knows he will be the RT, barring some big move.  It will be interesting to see if he trains harder or if he gets complacent.  I tend to think the light will go on for him now that he's tasted success. 

The Eagles have 2 holes, C and RG.  We hope Stacy Andrews is the answer at RG, but we don't know for sure.  We hope Jamaal Jackson will be healthy by September, but we don't know.  If JJ isn't ready, we hope Mike McGlynn will handle the job well, but we don't know. 

I have no problem if the Eagles make a move at C or RG.  I'd like to see Stacy and Mike get a chance at those spots, but I won't be upset if the team wants to go for other players.  What I don't want to see is the team trying to upgrade LG or RT. 

In order to get better players than Todd or Winston we'd need to sign big time FAs, draft guys in the 1st round, or trade for top talent.  I want those resources spent fixing problem areas on the team (LDE, FS, CB). 

Dave wants to see a dominating OL.  Here's the formula:

* Good LT
* Stability
* Plenty of running

We have the LT.  The way to get stability isn't to make a bunch of changes this offseason.  The Jets OL has been in place for a couple of years. 

The last time we have a dominant OL was 2006. 


That group really dominated starting about midseason.  They all had at least 10 starts in our system by that point.  They had played together since midway through the '05 season.  We also started to run the ball more.  Westy had 97 carries in his first 7 games.  He had 142 carries in his final 7 games.  Interesting.  2 of those games came with Donovan starting.  The other 5 featured Jeff Garcia at the helm.  The lowest number of carries for Westy in that span was 16.  Buck also averaged 5 runs per game in that stretch.  We let our big guys attack and they opened holes.  The offense got in a good rhythm and led us into the Divisional round of the playoffs. 

If we could truly add dominating players I might be open to change, but where exactly are those guys going to come from?  Are Nick Mangold or Steve Hutchinson available?  Does anyone know if Erik Williams is still retired?  Want to trade a high pick to the Saints for Jahri Evans?  I wouldn't do that with our defensive needs, as well as the fact whoever we bring in is going to pass block 60-65% of the time.  What about trades?  Think the Rams will take Mike Vick for Jason Brown?  No.  Would you trade McNabb for Brown?  I'd have to think about that one. 

Solve the defense first and foremost.  Do not make the OL the priority right now.  Think about recent SB teams. 


We've now had 4 straight years without a bunch of elite offensive linemen in the big game.  The groups in this time span have been lines that were developed.  You have to go back to 2005 when the Seahawks had Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson to find a pair of truly great blockers on the same team. 

It will be interesting to see what happens at C.  The free agent class isn't good at all.  We'll probably have to make a trade if we want to add a quality pro.  Or add a really old guy like Kevin Mawae.  He's still a good player to be sure, but he's 39.  I'm still a believer that Mike McGlynn should be our first solution.  The team has watched him practice for 2 years and should know if he's ready or not. 

We'll know what the team thinks of Stacy Andrews when they make the decison on his upcoming bonus.  If he gets the money you can bet he's the favorite at RG.  If they let him go we'll need to go find a RG.  Nick Cole is a good backup, but that's not the guy you want penciled in as the starter. 

I'm not going to say anything about Shawn Andrews.  We'll just see what happens with him.


RE:  More on Kolb / QB

We don't know the answer to many questions at this point.  Will he be the starter in 2010?  Will he turn out to be a good starter for us?  Will he be better than McNabb?  Will he be not as good, but get lucky and lead us to a SB?  Will McNabb be traded?  What will we get in return and how will that player work out?  Do we deal Vick? What does that lead to? 

Until we know all the answers we won't truly be able to assess the situation.  I do think the Eagles made the right decison to take Kevin in 2007.  QB is a spot where you can never be too careful.  Bill Walsh had Joe Montana lead him to SB titles.  In 1986 Walsh fell in love with a QB prospect.  He tried to trade up for Jim Everett, but didn't have enough ammo to make the deal.  Walsh wasn't looking to get rid of Montana, but the thought Everett could be a great QB and didn't want to pass on taking him.  Walsh traded for Steve Young and brought him to SF, which turned out to be a great move as Montana started to break down physically.  Think about GB and the QBs that went through that team in the 90's.  Brett Favre was in his prime, but they still had Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks, and Kurt Warner on that roster at one time or another.  Because of Favre's freakish durability they traded or cut those guys.  I think we all know the story of Favre's successor and how that went down, another sign that you take a QB when you can. 

I understand the notion of questioning the move, but I don't think you appreciate the significance of finding and acquiring good QBs.  They just aren't available each year.  Get them when you can and then figure out how best to use them. 

RE:  Trade Kevin?

No way.  You'd have to sign Donnie to a 3 or 4 year deal.  During that time you'd have to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on another young QB to develop.  At the end of Donnie's deal you'd still wonder if you had the right replacement.  Kevin isn't good enough to bring a king's ransom so you need to keep him. 

RE:  Leonard Weaver

Apparently we can't re-sign him right now.  He was here on a 1-year deal and we have to wait until the new season starts.  I thought that Leonard didn't fall into that category, but Spadaro said that was the case on Eagles Live recently.  You can bet keeping him is a priority. 

RE:  Jason Babin

I'd only keep him if I let someone go.  Jason did some nice things, but didn't show me anything that makes me think he should be a starter.  I want a new LDE.  That means that Clemons or Babin has to go.  Chris is more expensive, but also more versatile.  The coaches may decide that Jason is the guy to keep.  Neither guy is a lock to return. 

RE:  veteran RB

Westy is as good as gone, whether retiring or getting cut.  He's due a big salary and isn't going to take a pay cut to be a role player for us. 

If we keep Weaver around I'm thinking we may go for another rookie runner.  Weaver can be a FB and RB.  If Weaver somehow ends up elsewhere then we need to add a veteran RB.  I'm not against adding a veteran.  Just trying to guess what the Eagles will do.  I'd be all for adding a vet and then bringing in a rookie to challenge Eldra Buckley for his spot. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mock & Kolb Talk


I posted a mock draft on ScoutsNotebook and had the Eagles take DE Jerry Hughes from TCU.  I've gotten a few questions about him.  Hughes is reportedly 6'2, 257.  Some people have a concern about taking a player that size to play LDE.  I'm looking at him first and foremost as a pass rusher.  There are big guys we could get to play LDE that go 270 and 280, but I don't think those guys will get after the QB as much as we need them to.  My goal is to give Trent Cole help in the form of a consistent rusher on the other side. 

Hughes might be the best fit of any pass rusher in the entire draft.  He's an odd player to watch.  Jerry doesn't get down in a track stance and just explode off the ball.  He lines up in a conservative stance and then comes off the ball under control.  Remember what Jevon Kearse said about our defense?  He didn't like having to rush under control.  Jim Johnson wanted his DEs to play the run on the way to the QB. 

Hughes is "springy".  He can come off the ball under control and then take off when he sees the QB dropping back for sure.  Hughes is disciplined.  He isn't going to get burned by sucker plays.  There were several plays in the Senior Bowl when guys bit on inside fakes and left the outside open on bootlegs and misdirection runs. 

When Hughes sees 3rd and long he will get down in a track stance and fly off the ball.  He has the speed and quickness to beat OTs and get to the QB.  He totaled 26.5 sacks over the last 2 years. He has good agility, but also will mix in some bull rushes. 

As for size/strength...Hughes isn't huge.  Juqua Parker only lists at 6'2, 250.  Derrick Burgess was 6'2 and about 260 for us.  Hughes played LDE for TCU.  He has muscular arms.  His legs have some thickness.  He's got a powerful core.  Jerry isn't just some sleek pass rusher like Chris Clemons.  I think he can be a complete DE.  He will need to get stronger in the NFL.  He will need technique help.  I'm sure Hughes will have some struggles in run defense initially, but I think he can be a serviceable run defender in time. 

I know there is a lot of interest in Brandon Graham.  I had the Patriots take him prior to our pick.  I like Graham a lot, but I do have concerns about him fitting in our system.  He is a guy that likes to explode off the edge.  He's a speed guy.  Can he play under control?  I'm still studying tape to look a that stuff. 

Think about our scheme and the guys who've been succesful.  Hugh Douglas wasn't a great athlete.  Nor Trent Cole.  Nor Burgess.  These guys had a thick build even though they all played in the 260-270 range.  They played bigger than their size.  They were quick.  They had great motors.  None of them focused on speed.  Graham has the right kind of body, but I wonder if his style of play is exactly what we're looking for.  You never want to pass on talent, but you do need to make sure the guy can thrive in your system.  I could be wrong on Graham.  I'll be checking with my sources to see if the Eagles are interested.  No juicy rumors to report at this point. 


The Eagles recently worked out CFL star Ricky Foley.  He played for BC last year and had 12 sacks.  Foley lists at 6'3, 250.  No word on if the Eagles were looking at him as a SAM or DE.  Foley played his college ball up in Canada so I'm flying blind on this one.  I don't have any input beyond the numbers. 


Readers had some follow-up questions and comments to yesterday's post.  Prem still thinks that taking Kolb in the draft was a bad idea.  I couldn't disagree more.  If you find a QB you believe in you go get him.  Reid did just that by taking Kevin in 2007.  Why take him and then have the guy sit for 3 years?  Isn't that a mis-use of resources.  Not at all.  Most of the QBs taken in the 2nd round in recent years have failed.  Why?  These guys didn't go in the 1st round because they had some issue or limitation that pushed them down.  Kolb played in a spread offense.  He played at a mid-major school.  He also had an average arm.  This is a guy who needed some developing.  He needed time to adjust to playing in a pro style offense.  He needed to adjust to the speed of the game.  He also needed to "master" things so that he could overcome any physical limitations.  Coaches have a saying..."it is better to play a guy a week too late rather than a week too soon."  Make sure the young players truly are ready, especially at QB. 

Also, the NFL is a QB league.  Buffalo had a HOF player in Jim Kelly.  Since he left that team has struggled to find a starter and/or be competitive.  I don't think they've won 4 playoffs games since they lost that 4th Super Bowl.  Never hesitate to keep good QBs around if you can get away with it. 

A couple of people brought up the issue about Kolb throwing over the middle a lot and whether that would lead to big hits and possible injuries to our receivers.  This isn't a huge concern for me.  If Kolb turns out to be as accurate as I think it means the receivers will be able to catch the ball on the move without having to slow down for it or reach behind for it.  That's when you worry about a WR.  He's exposed and in a bad position.  We'll re-visit this issue next year if Kolb is the guy.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I watch a lot of football and there are plenty of small and medium size guys who make a living over the middle. 

Finally, a couple of people wondered about the "infatuation with Kolb".  I think that is based on the way Donovan played to finish the season.  He led us to 2 TDs in the final 10 quarters of the year.  That isn't bad.  It is dreadfully awful.  Having 8 of those quarters come against Dallas only magnified the problem.  When people see a performance like that they want change.  We'll see what happens and whether it was the right thing to do/not do.