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.




Cliff said...

Well said, Tommy.

Imagine if Demps, Jones, or Macho had a really good season... would fans still be clamoring about Dawkins? Doubt it.

I guess Westbrook's departure puts an emphasis on re-signing Weaver. That's a great thing, in my opinion, because I badly want to re-sign Weaver. Maybe the Front Office will be more willing to fight with other teams for his services now.

Cliff said...

Just looked at your mock draft. Are you sold on either of the first round QB prospects at this point?

I don't like either Bradford or Clausen. Bradford has durability issues. Clausen failed to live up to any of the hype he received as a freshman or later as an upperclassman. I guess that's not entirely his fault because the ND hype machine is always pretty strong, but won't he face the same problem as a 1st round draft pick? I wonder if that stuff gets to his head and effects his performance.

Dan said...

Tommy, assuming we draft/sign a safety, do you think we will keep Macho in contention for the safety spot, or will we move him back to CB?

Myron said...

That mock draft is a thing of beauty, Tommy.

I think you nailed almost every pick except for maybe Kansas City and Denver... I'm not so sure those are right.

Surprisingly, I wouldn't be dissatisfied by Kyle Wilson in the first round. He's the second best cornerback in the draft, and as long as we sign either Kampmann or Peppers in free agency, it will be fine. You can always use more added depth at cornerback. If Eric Berry and Earl Thomas is off the board, and so is Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson is most likely the best DB prospect at #24.

That having been said, if they don't sign Kampmann or Peppers in free agency, however, I will be disappointed if the #24 pick isn't a DE.

izzylangfan said...

You mention that Banner is an insurance man. Well that is exactly the approach that I am taking. I'm not even saying that the Eagles made the wrong decision going in. I agreed with it. However, in hindsight, it didn't work.

Yes we all knew that Dawkings was a step or so slower and in 2008 he got beat too many times in pass pro. Although he was still pretty good in the box. In fact my concern going into 2009 was replacing those five forced fumbles. We did in a sense replace them with interceptions. But interceptions don't come with the same intimidation that hard hits do.

How many of those hard hits and forced fumbles would have occurred in those three Dallas games. How many times would Dawkins caught up to Miles Austin before he got to the endzone or before he got 60 yards. Yes Dawkins was a bit slow in pass pro but our opponents took such advantage of our DB's in 2009 as to put them in dissarray.

So maybe the next time when you have the greatest player of all time at his position loosing a step but still effective it could behoove you to risk more than 1.5 million a year. Maybe and I'm not saying for sure, Banner should jiggle those actuarial tables just a bit based on the Dawkins experience.

Prem Prakash said...

I hated when we lost Taylor, Vincent, Emmons, Mitchell, and even Douglas. But they were the right decisions. Looking at the history that's a plain fact. Dawkins is another story because he showed he still has some gas in the tank, and because the plan the Eagles had to replace him didn't work (I thought Jones would be a real good fit, and don't forget Mikell had a lousy year).

I already hate that we'll never see Westy again. It was a pleasure, pure and simple, to watch him play. A rare guy. But, once again, it's the right call for all the reaons that have been pointed out.

I hope Brian looks long and hard in the mirror of his skills before making claims that he can't live up to. I find it hard to believe he's a feature back anymore.

Eddie said...

have you guys seen the"brian westbrook" phone call to ESPN, it was a prank. Howard Stern called in and pretended to be westbrook. it was bad.

Myron said...

Oh, by the way, you're going to have to modify your mock, Tommy.

Adam Schefter is reporting that Sam Bradford to the Rams is a "lock":

Matt said...

Didn't the Eagles really want Dawk for last year? They knew he'd be a valuable member of the team for 2009. However, 2010 and beyond was a totally different story. Denver was willing to commit to 2010 and beyond and the Eagles weren't. Don't we need to see how Dawk's season plays out this coming year before making judgements on whether it was the right or wrong decision?

em26jamie said...

Tommy, if you look at Andy Reid's first round draft picks, all but 1 came from a school in the southern half of the country. McNabb is the lone exception. My guess is he's looking down there again.

Cliff said...

em26jamie, I think if you look at the other 31 teams, the majority took players from the south too. That's just where all the good schools and players are.

But McNabb isn't the lone exception. Mike Patterson was drafted from Southern Cal. Oh, well, I guess you could say that's the "southern half" of the country, but I'm not so sure about that. Haha.

Netherman said...

Unless we bring in a younger proven veteran, I hope Macho still gets a shot at starting FS. I thought he did pretty well for being a rookie in such a heady position. I hope they do bring someone in to compete though. I just hope it is not in the 1st round of the draft unless that is BPA.

It is disappointing that Westbrook could only mostly say the right things, but I guess the real competitors rarely see the writing on the wall. He was fun to watch and was the ultimate team guy. I just don't know how you make a move like that without hurting the guys feelings...guess that is why they pay Andy the big bucks.

arby said...

Off topic - interesting interview with Jerry Hughes:

Of note: he's a converted RB and went from 200 lbs. to his current 255 to play LDE and he plans to maintain his current weight. So he's not a guy you take with the idea that he can put on an additional 20 lbs, his frame is probably maxed out and you accept him as more of less, a finished product.

arby said...

that is "more OR less a finished product"...

Cliff said...

I hope this off-season makes the NFL realize they need a rookie pay scale. We now have the top 2 teams trying to trade back because they don't want to pay a DL all the money a #1 and #2 pick will demand.

From a purely market perspective, that seems like a good problem to have. Perhaps STL or DET can gain in a trade more than their picks would be worth anyway. However, the other teams have no incentive to trade up that far because there are no franchise-changing players out there. Suh will be a dominant DT, but he's not a franchise-saving QB. Bradford isn't either.

The last few years have seen the first 5 picks become hot potatoes. Add the fact that no pick, even chosen that high, is a lock to be good. So it's almost impossible for a team with the #1 pick to get true value from their selection due the excessive salaries these rookies demand.

I'm glad my team is good so we don't face these problems.

Edward said...

Any thoughts on Rodger Saffold Tommy? Has looked good at the combine and Mayock really likes him. You seen any tape on him? Could be a good mid round pick up maybe?