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". 


Kevin said...

Is it possible that the Eagles don't keep Witherspoon, give the job to Jordan and spend the LB money on Dansby/DJohnson. While I like Witherspoon, I was happy with a Jordan/Bradley/Gocong trio. That's a big physical group that plays excellent run defense. I think Witherspoon is an excellent #4 LB...but I don't want to spend 5M on a backup LB.
Just once I want a WILL who makes plays and at this stage of his career, that's not the case for Will.

Jay said...

@Kevin ... I completely agree! After Witherspoons fantastic performance against Washington he really seemed to play mediocre for the rest of the season. He definitely didn't seem to be worth $5M.

Maybe it was due to not having a bye week. I'm sure all the shuffling and position changing didn't help. But, he seemed lost out there more than a few times, and didn't really make many plays outside of that Washington game.

I'd much rather have Jordan-Stew-Dansby/Johnson, than Witherspoon-Stew-"Journey Man"

Cliff said...

I have a feeling our LBers next season will look like this:

Spoon - Bradley - Fokou


Spoon - Bradley - Jordan

The coaching staff will look at a healthy Bradley and full season of Spoon as being enough of an upgrade to the LBers, I think.

Dominic said...

I agree completely with both of you guys. I actually thought that Akeem did a better job at WILL than 'Spoon did.

Tommy, the review of the Senior Bowl was very informative. I see that you liked the way Myron Rolle played. Do you think we might possibly target him with a middle round pick (3rd - 5th rounder)? He has a ton of physical talent and is a high character guy. I guess the big question is his commitment to football.

Myron said...

The Eagles will never be able to do what the Saints did.

Some of the things Sean Payton did in that game were simply brilliant: the onside kick to start the second half... proper use of the clock at the end of the first half... These are things that I could never picture Andy doing effectively.

And Drew Brees is simply a machine. McNabb could never replicate that performance in a million years. Even if he had the technical skills to be as accurate as Brees, he doesn't have the drive, the determination, or the will to engineer a comeback victory after being outclassed in the first half of the game.

Next year either the Saints or the Cowboys will be favored to win the NFC, I'm afraid.

Dominic said...

@ Myron

Andy Reid has never done brilliant things like that, huh? Onside kicks? I've never heard of Andy using a surprise onside. Remember the pickle juice game in Dallas in 2000. Let's not mention the way that Payton called four horrendous plays at the goal line at the end of the half, where he decided to run laterally on one of the fastest defense in the league rather than pound it inside against an undersized dline.

Donovan has never led a comeback either, never the games against Chicago, Washington, Denver or the NYG this season.

I can see reasons for getting rid of Don and Andy, but to say that they have never put together games like that is completely false

Cliff said...

@ Myron

1) The Saints might be favored to win the NFC next season, but they'll have a hard time defending that honor. They have 29 free agents, 11 of which are unrestricted. I don't know how the CBA effects those numbers, but that's a lot of turnover.

And when are the Cowboys not favored to win the NFC?

2) I agree the Payton and Brees are football geniuses. They had an incredible night. I'm glad. I like both of them and had money on the Saints (ahem). However, they were 1 unbelievably improbably Manning screw-up away from going in to OT and from there no one knows.

I also agree Brees is better than McNabb, but it's not like he was playing against the 2000-2001 Ravens defense.

Adam S. said...

And why isn't Myron a Saints fan? I'd be more than happy to have the Saints (rightfully so) and the Cowboys as favorites to open the season. When was the last time a "favorite" won the SB? Other than maybe the Patriots.

Myron said...

I love the Eagles, and will always love the Eagles, but let's be realistic here.

The Eagles had a window of opportunity from 2000-2006, and they never sealed the deal.

It's still the team I watch, but I know they don't have what it takes to be among the elite anymore. They will certainly have the potential to be "good" in coming years, and potentially make the playoffs again, but I'll be shocked if they ever make it back to the Super Bowl within the next decade.

Cliff said...

The Eagles still have an opportunity to win the SB. It didn't close in 2006.

Use your new favorite team as an example. What was the Saints' opportunity 3 seasons ago? Last season?

Netherman said...

I disagree on the Payton is a genius talk. On the onside kick, he only looks like a genius because our old friend Baskett did not handle the ball well. I would hardly call that a textbook execution of an onside kick. As to the two running plays a few yards out, I felt like Nance and Simms went out of their way to find something positive in what looked like a horrible decision. That comment alone during the game almost made me turn the sound off.

Netherman said...

One last point. Congrats to the Saints. However, my worst fear is that their performance will embolden Andy to continue with the pass/run imbalance and trick play crap. I hate trick plays and I hate the wildcat. Whatever happened to getting your best 11 guys on the field and focusing on solid execution?

Cliff said...

Well, there's a difference between trick plays and the wildcat. The wildcat does rely on good execution to be successful. That's why Miami is so much better at it than everyone else. They spend a substantial amount of time on it.

As for trick plays, what's wrong with the occasional flea flicker or onside kick?

I don't neccessarily want Reid to call more runs, but to call enough that they're effective. That's what Payton does. He wasn't afraid to call a run in crucial moments. Reid showed this season that he'll do the same on occassion (the Bunkley red zone rushes and failed short yardage conversions against the Cowboys), but not nearly enough, of course.

Stephen said...

On an amusing side note, its nice to see Hank Baskett making his mark on super bowl history, botching the onside kick recovery. Good thing Kendra doesn't have any decision making power around here.

Edward said...

Damn just saw a PFT article that the Chiefs had released 2 LB's. I was really hoping one was Studebaker but alas it is not the case.

Looking forward to ploughing through this write-up, need some good reading food. If only it came in an audio version read by Ian Mckellan, that would be an evening in!

Netherman said...

I don't like the wildcat because I feel like you substitute the better QB for a lesser one. If McNabb stays in as a WR, you substitute a better WR for McNabb. I know we had some success with it, but it feels a little like bringing in the backup squad just to give the other team "a different look". They might catch someone by surprise once in a while, but they are still the backup team.

The trick plays I do not like because too many things have to go right to make them work. On an onside kick, the kick has to be just right, the opposing team has to be surprised, your team has to get down there quick, your normal kick coverage (not your "hands" team) has to secure the kick. To get all that to go well, you need to put the time in to perfect it, which takes away time from other practicing your bread and butter plays. Our team can be woefully inconsistent at times. Where is the practice time better spent? If I had a limited amount of practice time between games, I would rather see it spent working on perfect execution of a short yardage run than a flea flicker. That is just me though.

edinburgheagle said...

as per

"Onside kicks are surprisingly successful when they are not expected. Since 2000, slightly over 60% of unexpected onside kicks have been recovered by the kicking team. An analysis based on Expected Points suggests teams should occasionally attempt surprise onside kicks if they believe their chances of recovery exceed 42%."

60% completion really is pretty good... Of course you may not agree with this particular site's Expected Points formulation. Still, I would maintain that many NFL coaches are simply too risk averse. Of course your bread and butter is good execution (32 completions of 39 passes being pretty good) but having these high variance plays for when your team needs a lift is pretty useful too.

izzylangfan said...

I do not think the Eagles will be spending a first round draft choice on a linebacker in the upcoming draft.

1. It goes against the Eagles philosophy and that of most teams in the league that linebackers are less valuable than linemen and defensive backs and therefore not the place to invest the larger part of your assets.

2. The Eagles already have good players at the linebacker position. Bradley, who should be back, is that stalwart in the middle and once he shows he is back will get a good contract absorbing a large part of what the Eagles are willing to pay for their LB corps. Fokou is the kind of guy the Eagles like and will give a chance to start as the SAM. They have a great group of potential starters/backups in Gocong, Gaither, and Jordan.

3. Witherspoon is the unknown. Is he a premier WILL who will resume his playmaking and disruption with a full year in the Eagles system or is he overpaid for somewhat adequate but generally lackluster play?

So they could sign a free agent or draft a guy second round or lower to replace Witherspoon this year or next or generally to develop. But I think Even if they were looking at going into next season without Witherspoon they would feel pretty good about the LB position. At $5 million a year Witherspoon does not seem like a great bargain in any case. The chance of Witherspoon remaining beyond 2010 is small.

4. The needs at LDE and DB are much more pressing than LB.

Myron said...

Cliff: When the Saints beat the Eagles in the playoffs in 2006, I knew right then and there that they (Saints) were going to be a contender for the next 5+ years. It was obvious to almost anyone with football knowledge that Brees was an elite quarterback from the start. Those 7-9/8-8 seasons following their 2006 NFCCG appearance were solely due to an abysmal defense. Once they shored up their secondary with a few elite players in key positions (Vilma, Greer, Porter, Sharper), several people, including myself, pegged them as strong favorites to win their division, and even the NFC, in 2009 before the season started.

The Eagles could climb back into the ranks of the contenders just like the Saints did following their two seasons of mediocrity, but they are similarly going to need a pretty substantial infusion of talent on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to do so (mostly defensive). And even then, I honestly don't know if Andy is aggressive enough of a coach during gametime to make the calculated risks necessary to win big games like the Super Bowl. (see: Sean Payton outcoaching a more conservative coach like Jim Caldwell)