Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Chosen Position


I wrote about Moise Fokou at SAM for PE.com.



There are some people who now say that McNabb has to be dealt.  There is no going back.  In as sense, I agree.  When the team and players have to deal with the Philly media you are asking for trouble by having a delicate, but complex QB situation.  The Eagles should aggressively seek a deal for McNabb.  They need to be careful about trying to get max value in this situation.  The best solution for everyone involved is a trade. 

That said...you cannot give him away.  Get a good offer.  Franchise QBs are too valuable.  This is a game of chicken and you must be willing to lose in order to really win.  Favre could always flip on the Vikes in July.  What happens if Drew Brees or Peyton Manning gets hurt in TC with no legit backup?  What if Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson are god awful for the Cards?  And so on.  You can trade McNabb prior to the draft.  You can do it in June, July, August, or even September. 

We all want this situation resolved ASAP.  I think we're all tired of talking about it and thinking about it.  This just isn't a situation that we control, in a manner of speaking.  We must have a good offer.  If not, then holding onto McNabb is the prudent thing to do, despite the media circus that would ensue.

Before everyone goes to jump off the roof at the notion of this thing dragging on or not happening at all...relax.  The Raiders are talking to the Eagles.  Trust me on that.  There are multiple team involved and they all legitimately want McNabb.  The teams are making plans at this point.  The only point in dealing for McNabb is if you have some pieces in place and a good plan on how to use him.  Teams are trying to come up with a good draft strategy.  Can they deal a 1st to us and still get a LT in the 2nd round?  Can they find a WR in the 3rd?  Is there a young QB to develop in the mid rounds?  And so on. 

I really think that a trade will go down and it is just a matter of time.  Let's not get too fired up on what to do if McNabb returns until that is a pertinent scenario.  Focus on something relevant...like what Kevin Kolb will say when he's giving his HOF acceptance speech. 


RE:  Raiders LBs as targets

Kirk Morrison is a MLB.  I don't see him being a WLB target for us.  Thomas Howard?  More of a finesse guy, but he is a good athlete with coverage skills.  I would be interested.  The catch is that he's a RFA and we'd have to make some plans to sign him to an extension.  What kind of salary demands is he going to have?  If reasonable, then I'm interested.  If he's looking for a mega-deal...he isn't worth it. 

RE:  Asante Samuel

He is not on the trade block.  Asante is simply spending time with his kids.  He will be an Eagle in 2010.

RE:  ProFootballTalk

It is one of my favorite sites to visit and it is the very first thing I click on in the morning and the last thing I click on at night.  Great site.  Mike Florio does a terrific job of providing all kinds of info.  However...the key part of his site is called "The Rumor Mill" for a reason.  It is rumors.  Conjecture.  Hearsay.  Florio at time gets sloppy by reporting some nuggets of info that don't make sense.  You do have to understand that he's not an Eagles fan.  He doesn't know the ins and outs of our team.  Mike also has lousy sources in Philly.  He actually seems to think Sal Paolantonio knows the Eagles and has a feel for things.  Mike has great sources in certain towns, not so in others.  Don't focus too much on what he says about the Eagles. 

RE:  Eric Berry

I've asked around to see if the Eagles are interested or just curious.  No answers yet.  I'm sure they like him.  The question is whether they covet him and will do whatever it takes to get him.  Personally I think we send Jonas Blane and his team into Tennessee to extract Eric and bring him to Philly where he will be free to live a life of religious fulfillment.  I'll let you guys know if I get wind that the Eagles are really hot for Berry.  Trust me.  I'd be like a kid in a candy store if I got that news. 


Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Thoughts


Sorry for the late update.  Busy day.  I did a lot of checking, but didn't come up with many good answers.  With Reid and Banner out of the office* there isn't much going on in terms of negotiations.  The rumor mill is in full force.  The feeling in NFL circles is that the Raiders are still the team to beat.  I'm still hearing that Jacksonville and Buffalo are in the mix.  No real updates on offers.  The same names are still being thrown around.  I'll keep checking and will let you know when I get wind of something new or really interesting.

* UPDATE --- Banner / Reid might be back in Philly by now.  


RE:  1-gap / 2-gap

There is still a lot of confusion on this issue.  Adam Caplan continues to say we're a 1-gap team and have always been one.  I think he is confused on this issue.  Dave Spadaro is going to interview Sean McDermott on this issue at some point.

RE:  depth at RDE

Juqua Parker becomes the top backup on both sides.  We have Abiamiri, who is recovering from knee surgery, to play on the left side.  There is a hole to be filled in the draft.  There is always the possibility of adding a veteran FA.  I don't think we'll go this route, but it will depend on how the draft goes.  I'll post a list of mid-round targets in a day or two.  We all know the names at the top of the draft. 

RE:  timing of QB trade

I think the Eagles would like to get something done in the next 10-14 days.  The key is the other teams.  They have to put the right offer on the table.  As soon as that happens, the deal can go down.

RE:  Berry early / Kyle at 24?

That is a distinct possibility.  We allowed 27 TD passes last year.  That is completely unacceptable.  The pass rush wasn't great, but we had serious coverage issues.  We're not one player away from fixing this.  We could easily go DB-DB in the 1st with a trade or DB-DB in the first couple of rounds without a trade.

RE:  Daniel Teo'Nesheim

There is a lot to like, but he's not a great pass rusher.  He was real athletic at the Combine, but that doesn't show up on game tape.  Good role player, but I see him more as a LDE than a pass rusher on the right side.

RE:  compensation

I think a lot of people will be surprised with what we get when the deal goes down.  There will be no yard sales with our franchise QB.  He stays or we get a good deal.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Draft Talk


It is a quiet Saturday so I thought we'd talk a little NFL draft.  I'm just going to address various players and/or topics. 

* Top 10 targets --- It the Eagles do somehow land a high pick, who are we going after?  S Eric Berry is the obvious answer.  Macho, Marlin, and Demps notwithstanding, we do have a hole at FS.  Berry is a great prospect.  The Eagles may have some other ideas.  We could also go after:

DT Dan Williams
DE Derrick Morgan
CB Joe Haden
FS Earl Thomas

Williams would be brought here to give us a big, athletic DT.  Morgan is a good pass rusher who has excellent potential.  Haden is the top CB.  Thomas is a rare ballhawk. 

Forget about Rolando McClain.  That won't happen.  The Eagles love Stewart Bradley...at MLB.  There is virtually no chance of moving him.  A wildcard target could be OL Mike Iupati. 

Back to Berry for a second.  The Eagles are bringing him to Philly for a visit.  This could be a sign of significant interest.  If so, the Eagles could try to move up after him even if the McNabb trade doesn't help us with resources.  One of the reasons you spend a lot of time with certain guys is to find out just how much you like them.  Is this a guy we covet and go after even with a high price tag?  This is a deep draft.  If you are going to use up multiple resources on a player he better be someone you think is absolutely worth the price. 

* WLB --- We all are curious about LB.  Moise Fokou will be the starter at SAM.  Stew is the man in the middle.  Akeem Jordan has the lead at WIL, but I've heard that the team would ideally like him to be the backup.  Reid said at his breakfast that Joe Mays was the backup inside and that Gaither would be the backup WIL.  The team must really feel that the light went on for Mays last year with his development on STs.  He was terrific for us.  Gaither is coming off an injury and can't be counted on.  We need a WIL. 

My preference is Sean Lee of Penn State.  He played inside and outside at PSU.  He is a physical player with good instincts.  He has no problem with shedding blocks.  Sean isn't a great athlete, but he's good enough.  I also like Navorro Bowman of PSU.  I don't think we'll spend pick 24 on a LB so forget about Weatherspoon and Washington.  I'm still watching tape on Perry Riley of LSU and Dekoda Watson of FSU. 

* CJ Spiller --- Is there a chance the Eagles could take him, whether trading up or if he somehow slides?  I haven't heard a word about whether the Eagles have any interest.  Spiller is our type of RB.  He is a big play guy with tremendous receiving skills.  He's also a dynamic return specialist.  Back in 2006 the Eagles had Reggie Bush #1 on the overall draft board.  Spiller is a similar player.  CJ is the better straight-line runner.  Bush was a more dynamic guy.  His moves had moves.  It would be hard to pass on a talent like Spiller, but that would also be a big investment for a team that doesn't run the ball enough and has a couple of RBs already in place.  I certainly wouldn't be mad at them for taking Spiller.  I think CJ is a tremendous player.  Just don't count on that happening. 

* Targets at 24 --- Tom Heckert always said the Eagles liked to have 5 names in place when their pick was coming up.  Sometimes there would be an obvious choice, but other times guys had similar grades and there might be some discussion.  We're still weeks away, but here is my preliminary list of 5 names for pick 24:

CB Kyle Wilson
OG Mike Iupati
DE Jerry Hughes
DE Brandon Graham
FS Earl Thomas

Wilson is the only CB I think that will be available and is worth the pick.  Iupati might be available at 24.  He's the kind of big, dominant run blocker we love to grab and then turn into a pass blocker.  Hughes is a guy that I can't get a read on.  Will he go in the Top 20 or last to the 2nd round?  I like Jerry a lot and think he'd be a good target for us.  Graham doesn't seem likely to make it to 24, but if he does we could use a pass rusher like him coming off the bench.  I feel pretty certain that Earl Thomas will be long gone by 24, but there is a hint of doubt.  He's not a strong tackler.  He only played 2 years.  The draft is pretty deep at Safety so teams may pass on him and focus on the lines.  There is still a bias against Safeties by NFL coaches, GMs and scouts.  We'll see if that changes this year. 

Back to the grindstone now.  I've got to watch more tape so that I can find us some good mid and late round targets. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

No New News


I don't have an update at this point.  I'm assuming that negotiations are ongoing.  The Eagles have been talking to multiple teams.  You have picks and possibly multiple players involved.  This quickly becomes a complicated scenario.  One of the keys is that one or more players will need to talk to their new team about a contract extension or a raise.  As much as we all want this over now, we have to be patient.  There are a lot of moving parts to the deals being looked at. 

Let's talk about a few things.  ProFootballTalk had several posts on the McNabb situation.  One report they posted had us sending McNabb and Asante Samuel to the Raiders for CB Nnamdi Asomugha.  Don't worry.  That won't happen.  I don't doubt that someone told Mike Florio this was on the table.  All that means is that the Raiders said it as one of their offers.  The Eagles wouldn't touch a move like that.  Now, Sheldon Brown and McNabb for Asomugha?  That is a different story.  That could be talked about.  I haven't heard that as a definite proposal.  I'm simply speculating. 

PFT also talked about an AP report that the Eagles were requiring at least a top 42 pick.  I don't doubt this is true.  PFT focused on the fact that the article involved picks as low as 42.  Their conclusion was that the Eagles weren't getting 1st round offers and would have to settle for a 2nd round pick.  The actual AP article got the key point right.  The Eagles will only accept a pick in the 2nd round if the other teams is also adding veteran players to the deal.  There is no way that McNabb is dealt straight up for a 2nd round pick. 

I'm still hearing that teams are willing to give up 1st round picks.  I could be getting bad information, but I trust the sources.  Hopefully we'll get a deal done soon and we can find out who really knew what was going on.  As Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.


A lot of people have made one big false conclusion regarding Andy Reid and the McNabb trade.  He was talking to reporters at the coaches breakfast the other day when someone asked him about the new draft format.  Big Red said that the new set-up is going to be interesting.  He said that he'd love to have pick 33.  That is the first pick of the 2nd round.  The 1st round is Thursday night.  Whoever has pick 33 then gets a whole day to look at the situation.  They can shop the pick.  They can rshuffle the board if they want.  They can make a pro move to fill a hole and then draft some player who has slid out of the 1st round.  There are lots of options.  This is why Reid said he wanted pick 33. 

All kinds of people assumed that Andy said this because he wanted the Rams #33 pick in a McNabb trade.  No.  Andy was giving a generic answer about the format. 


Eric Berry is my favorite player in the upcoming draft class.  He was a star Safety at the University of Tennessee.  He's expected to be a Top 10 pick.  The Eagles are bringing him in for a visit prior to the draft.  Great news, right?  Sort of. 

The Eagles are arguably the most thorough team in the league when it comes to pre-draft preparation.  They look under every rock in hopes of finding a hidden gem.  The Eagles will bring some guys to Philly that don't always make sense.  They bring in underclassmen to get a better feel for them.  Scouts spend all summer and fall studying Senior prospects.  Underclassmen don't get really looked at until they declare in January.  Berry is a player I'm sure the Eagles like, but don't read too much into the visit.  The Eagles are trying to figure out how much they like him.  Is he worth trading up for?  How big a price should we be willing to pay? 

The Eagles also use visits to Philly as a smokescreen.  They know that other teams around the league track who goes where.  The Eagles bring in a few guys every year that they have no interest in.  Zero.  Guys not on the draft board at all.  The goal is to make the other 31 teams unsure about what we really want to do. 

If we do land a Top 10 pick in a trade, the Eagles had better not pass on Eric Berry if he's available.  I'm prepared to lead the Eagles Fan Militia to storm the gates of the NovaCare Complex.  Hopefully bringing Eric to Philly is a sign of genuine interest and not just a smokescreen.  Berry would be an ideal FS for us. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oakland in the Lead


The latest reports I'm getting are that the Raiders are the frontrunners.  ProFootballTalk is saying the same thing.  The Jaguars remain interested, but it seems as if the Raiders are being more aggressive with their offer.  I don't have any firm details, but the 8th overall pick in the 2010 draft is being talked about.  Jacksonville may try to come up with a counter-offer, but it doesn't seem like they want to get into a bidding war. 

The Buffalo Bills were the primary focus in yesterday's talks.  I don't know what is happening with them.  Maybe McNabb refused to sign an extension.  Maybe the Bills and Eagles couldn't agree on compensation.  I don't have good info on this angle right now.  Don't count Buffalo out, but they are no longer in the lead. 

As for Donovan going to the Raiders...this move makes some sense when you think about it.  They have a pair of talented RBs in Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.  They have a good TE in Zach Miller.  They have 3 talented young WRs - Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and Darrius Heyward-Bey.  DHB could turn out to be a Sidney Rice type player with McNabb throwing him the ball instead of Bruce Gradkowski or JaMarcus Russell. 

Also, wearing the Silver and Black doesn't mean much to younger people, but those of us who watched football in the 70s and 80s loved the Raiders.  They won games, played a wild brand of football, and were a lot of fun to watch.  Being a Raider still means something to people over the age of 30.  Since 2003 the organization has fallen on hard times.  Adding a Pro Bowl QB might be a great way to change that. 

I think McNabb might be more open to going to Oakland than many people think.  It would give him a great opportunity to prove how good he can be.  Kurt Warner solidified himself as a Hall of Fame player by leading the Cardinals to consecutive division titles and the Super Bowl.  McNabb could do a similar thing if he could restore the Raiders to glory. 

Stay tuned. 

McNabb Talks Getting Serious


Here's the latest on the QB situation.  The Eagles are talking to 3 teams.  Buffalo, Oakland, and Jacksonville have all made serious inquiries into trading for McNabb.  The Eagles are trying to see who will make the best offer.  All 3 teams have shown some willingness to deal their 1st round pick.  There is a lot of talking going on.  The Eagles are also exploring scenarios where a lesser pick and veteran player would be the compensation. 

This is all good news.  The Bills, Raiders, and Jags are aware of each others interest.  The situation has gone from the Eagles hoping for a suitor to the Eagles being able to negotiate with multiple teams.  I don't think anyone is going to put together a blockbuster offer.  While all 3 teams are interested, none of them "must get" McNabb.  The Bills need a QB, but just got a new coach and know that 2010 isn't likely to be their year.  The Raiders are growing weary of JaMarcus Russell, but Al Davis might not be willing to completely give up on him yet.  The Jags have a solid QB in David Garrard.  They would make the deal in order to add a marquee name improve the QB situation.  They are open to dealing their pick in part because they've had such miserable luck with recent 1st rounders. 

This situation is pretty complicated.  The Eagles have to settle on an offer from one of the teams.  Then that team will certainly want to talk to McNabb to see what he thinks about playing there and signing an extension.  His contract does run out at the end of 2010. There have been reports that Donovan won't sign with some of these teams.  I'm not so sure.  He doesn't have a lot of bargaining power right now.  If one of those teams makes the right contract offer that may be good enough. 

What kind of a timeline are we looking at?  Believe it or not, this could all get done in the next day or two.  Or it could drag on for a couple of weeks.  The sooner the better, obviously.  Even McNabb said that.  Nothing good happens from letting this situation linger. 

As encouraged as many of us are by the last 24 hours, there is still stuff to be nervous about.  The Eagles had a similar situation with Corey Simon that ended up in disaster.  They had a good offer from the Ravens, but Corey's contract demands were too much.  Same thing with Lito.  The Eagles had worked out a good deal, but then Lito made his contract demands and that deal fell apart.  The Eagles need to be careful about trying to hold out for the best possible offer.  If things go too long that can drive teams out of the negotiations and then all it takes is McNabb being difficult to completely wreck the situation.  There is a big difference this time around.  McNabb is still a good player.  Lito and Corey were inconsistent players who focused more on money than anything else.  Plus, McNabb is a quality available QB in a year when there isn't much to choose from.

Be patient, but you can be optimistic.  Things are heating up and heading in the right direction. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

QB Update


I'm hearing that something could be going on with the Bills.  The info comes from a new source so I don't know how well connected he is.  He feels strongly that the Bills are going to land McNabb for a few reasons.  First, they have very little at QB.  Trent Edwards flat-lined after suffering a nasty concussion vs Arizona in 2008.  Yes, 2008.  Despite this fact, the Bills did not try to sign any free agent QB.  They didn't try to trade for anyone.  Not a peep.  Either they love Jimmy Clausen at pick 9, think that Tim Tebow is the answer in the 2nd round, or they have something else lined up.  McNabb would make sense. 

The Bills have not made the playoffs since the Music City Miracle.  That was back in the 1999 season.  Owner Ralph Wilson is in his 90s and is desperate to see the team get back to winning.  Finally, while Bills fans are as rabid as any in the league, the organization has to fight the battle of people becoming apathetic about the team.  They signed TO last year partially for the allure he brings and the extra media attention.  McNabb would give them immediate star power and would help with maintaining good will with the fanbase.  The team is coming off another losing year.  The team hired Buddy Nix as GM and Chan Gailey as coach.  Neither guy is "exciting".  Buffalo is in the same division as Bill Belichick, the Tuna, and Rex Ryan.  The Bills might feel the need to do something in order to make the fans feel like the organization truly is committed to winning. 

What kind of trade could we be looking at?  I guarantee you that pick #9 is being talked about.  I do wonder if we would settle for their 2nd round pick if the Bills included FS Jairus Byrd, who had 9 INTs as a rookie in 2009 and looks like a star in the making.  Stay tuned...


There is a ton of talk about the Rams.  I just don't buy it.  Pick 33?  The Eagles want more.  The Rams could toss in the rights to O.J. Atogwe, but he doesn't require compensation as it is.  I think STL is going to take Sam Bradford with the #1 overall pick.  Adding him and McNabb makes some sense, but probably isn't likely. 

Oakland is a wildcard.  I'm looking into that situation, but don't have anything to pass on right now.  Owner Al Davis will do anything it takes to get a player he wants.  We could talk to them about pick #8 or we could see if Namdi Asomugha is available in a deal. 

Big Red Opens Up


The big news of the day is Andy Reid finally admitting (be brave, Big Red...be brave!) that our QBs just might be available in a trade.  No confirmation from him on whether water is wet or if the Pope wears a funny hat.  All jokes aside, this is a big step. 

Publicly admitting that the team is "entertaining offers" doesn't mean that a deal is imminent or even that a deal is guaranteed to happen.  It does spare us the horror that Andy was in denial and genuinely expected all 3 QBs to return.  He still says that is possible, but it no longer seems like his main goal.  Thankfully. 

You can read the full intereview in the Daily News blog here.

Now that Reid has acknowledged that a trade is real and being talked about we have to jump on the rumor mill and deal with all kinds of crazy reports. 

Ashley Fox of the Inquirer has an article up that has some interesting nuggets.  She says one "source with ties to the team" thinks we'll deal Kolb and keep McNabb.  My reaction?  No way.   There is virtually no chance that happens.  The Eagles did talk to at least one team about Kolb. They told the other team what the asking price is and the conversation quickly shifted over to McNabb.  Nobody wants to give up a pair of 1st round picks for Kolb. 

There are a few people reporting that the Eagles have lowered their asking price and now will settle for less than a 1st rounder.  I'm highly skeptical of this.  I doesn't jibe with what I've heard and some of the other offers that the Eagles have already had thrown their way.  The Eagles asking price in one potential deal was a 1st and a 3rd round pick.   Obviously compensation changes from team to team because of where the trade partner may fall in the draft.  There is a huge difference in a Top 10 pick and a pick in the late 20s or early 30s. 

 Comcast has a good report up.  Derrick Gunn heard from one source that the Eagles would settle for as little as a 3rd round pick.  Impossible.  Reid will keep Donovan another year before he deals him for that low an offer. 

Reid also acknowledged that the team is getting trade offers for Sheldon Brown.  I mentioned the other day that there was some likelihood to a deal involving him.  I think it is a matter of who and when, not if. 


RB Mike Bell is officially an Eagle.  The Saints decided not to match his offer.  I can say without hyperbole that we now have the deepest, most talented stable of running backs in the history of football.  Give or take.  I do like the addition of Bell and think he's what we need.  The last thing I wanted was another scatback with great hands.  We don't want to give Andy or Marty any extra reasons to throw the ball. 


The NFL awarded us a pair of Compensatory picks in the 7th round.  This isn't much to get excited about, but every pick helps in a deep draft.  One reminder...Comp picks cannot be traded.  We have to use them.


One good bit of info in the Reid interview is the fact that Trevor Laws will be given a chance to play DT in the Nickel/Dime defensive units.  Darren Howard had that main role the last two years.  He had a variety of guys play alongside him.  I hated the fact that we didn't put Laws out there.  He is the kind of upfield attacking DT that I want out there on 3rd/long.  Laws is big and strong enough to play the run (draw plays), but has the quickness and penetrating ability to get in the backfield and be disruptive.  Trevor has battled small injuries the last couple of years at Training Camp and they've slowed his progress.  He needs to have a strong summer and take advantage of the opportunity in front of him. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gap Talk and Some Loose Ends


Adam Caplan of Scout.com has opened up a can of confusion via Twitter.  Someone asked about us cutting Darren Howard.  Here was Caplan's response:

They need a one-gap disruptive DL that's younger. RT @bleedeaglesfan: @caplannfl Howard was not in a decline.

Later on that led to these Tweets:

Yep, Reid confirmed it. Actually asked him yesterday. 90% 1-gap. RT @NFLGoEagles: @caplannfl Sure about your one gap DT idea?

Nope, said they have been mostly one-gap. RT @eaglesnut: @caplannfl - Did Reid say the Eagles are going back to 1-gap?

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of all this.  Caplan is a pretty bright guy when it comes to football.  I feel safe that he knows the difference in 1-gap and 2-gap.  However, there are some real mixed areas being covered. 

The initial question was about Darren Howard being cut.  Darren played DT in the Nickel/Dime units.  That group does play 1-gap.  Our base defense is the group that would play 2-gap.  Howard wasn't part of that group. 

The key point then becomes what Caplan asked Reid.  If he asked about finding a replacement for Howard that would be a 1-gap DT.  That's what Darren was.  If Caplan asked Reid about the base defense and was told that we played 90% 1-gap then I am highly confused.  That wasn't the case in 2008.  That group did play 2-gap.  Watch the tape and you'll see it.  Pete Jenkins was the D-line coach and that is his specialty. 

Could there have been a change last year that I missed?  Possible, I guess.  The tape sure didn't look to me like we were playing 1-gap.  Our guys weren't firing off the ball and trying to get penetration on a consistent basis.  Bunk and Patt are more athletic than you might think.  They would make more plays if allowed to attack upfield consistently. 

We did play 1-gap for most of the Reid era.  Maybe Caplan asked and Reid responded along those lines.  The final possibility is that we'll be playing a 1-gap system in 2010 and there was just mis-communication about that. 

I'm trying to find out a good answer, but haven't gotten anything concrete so far.  I'll continue to check into this.  Could be a really interesting change if we do play 1-gap in 2010.  Trevor Laws would be a very happy man. 


RE:  Fokou at SAM

That is where he played last year.  That is where the Eagles want him.  Moise wasn't physically overmatched last year.  His mistakes were due to inexperience, not a lack of size or talent.  He's now up to 236 pounds.  That added bulk will help him anchor vs the run.  He's still athletic enough to cover plenty of ground and be an effective pass defender. 

RE:  covering TEs

We've done that in a variety of ways the last few years.  In 2008 we had Akeem Jordan and Quintin Mikell focus on TEs in the last 6 or 8 games.  They did a good job and the defense was terrific.  In 2009 we struggled mightily until Will Witherspoon was given that task.  He did a good job on TEs.  I'm not sure how McDermott wants to handle them this year. 

RE:  Sheldon

I love what he's done for the Eagles in his time here, but there is a real strong chance he's played his last game for us.  He was a good soldier last year and didn't complain publicly, but he wants more money and the Eagles just don't think he's worth it.  The best thing for both sides is probably to part ways.  We'll get younger at RCB and he might get someone to pony up some extra dough.  No matter what, Sheldon wasn't going to be here long.  He's a bit short, lacks ideal speed, and is on the wrong side of 30.  At some point he'll go over the cliff.  I'd love to move him to FS, but Sheldon is a proud man and I don't think he wants to do that. 

RE:  Plan B at SAM?

If the team trades Gocong  you can bet they'll add someone in the draft for depth.  We all love AJ Edds from Iowa.  He's a very talented guy with size and coverage ability. 

RE:  McNabb to SF

I've sniffed around on this issue, but I've always heard that Mike Singletary was truly committed to Alex Smith as his QB.  I think SF is an ideal spot for McNabb and he's just what that team needs.  They have a good D, but scoring points is a major challenge.  The NFC West is wide open right now.  Why not make the deal and make a push for the playoffs?  I haven't heard anything that makes me think a deal is likely.  My fingers are crossed, though.

RE:  Jim Johnson adjusting in division games / in the season

There are various reasons why the defense went down hill and McDermott's lack of experience I'm sure didn't help matters.  Still, the biggest problems we had were personnel issues.  Go back and watch the games.  There was poor tackling.  Players took bad angles and missed assignments.  And on and on and on.  The struggles were more about the guys on the field than the man on the sideline.  I wish that wasn't true.  It would be easier to train a coach than replace players. 

RE:  Jerry Hughes at LB?

The Eagles could try to use him ala Brian Orakpo.  Hughes is shorter, but has a similar build.  He is a terrific athlete.  This is an idea that I'm sure the coaches and FO are talking about, even if it isn't likely. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Offseason and What is Going On


In 2008 the Eagles defense was sensational.  They finished in the Top 5 in virtually every category and Top 3 in a lot of them.  The stars played like stars and the role players did a terrific job as well.  In 2009 the defense fell to 12th in yards allowed and 20th in points allowed.  There was a real mixture of problems. 

Before we talk about the problems, let's look at a trend


That is the point total allowed in the first 8 games, the second 8 games, and the playoffs.  Notice how the numbers went up?  Anything we can read into that? 

We had some veteran players who either wore down or just weren't getting the job done.  We had role players who had shone in '08 disappear down the stretch in '09. 

* Chris Clemons started slow in 2008, but played well late in the year and got our hopes up that he was going to be a good player in 2009.  That never happened.  He was credited with only 4 solo tackles and 3 sacks this year. 

* Joselio Hanson got off to a good start in '09.  He picked off a pass and had 3 PBUs in the season opener.  That was far and away his best game of the year.  MmmBop was solid for the first 7 games, but then got suspended for a month.  He returned and got hurt.  At the end of the year he was a liability in coverage.  Tony Romo was targeting him with regularity in the last 2 games. 

* Will Witherspoon was great upon arrival.  He had a sack, INT, and FF in his first game here.  He ended the season with... 1 sack, 1 INT, and 1 FF.  The playmaking ability disappeared instantly, for some odd reason.  He did cover well throughout the year, but his run defense was very inconsistent.  I'm not knocking the guy falsely since he's been cut.  Go back and read my Game Reviews.  Down the stretch I was writing "Up and down game" in regard to Will more often than not. 

* Sean Jones never showed that he could handle playing FS.  He wanted to come up and play in the box.  The Eagles took a chance because of his potential, but it didn't work out. 

* Chris Gocong was a 2-down run stuffer.  He is good at that role.  The problem is that he's only made small strides as a pass defender.  He isn't terrible, but after 2 1/2 years of starting it is disappointing not to see more progress.  The Eagles gave him some snaps at MLB.  If he was versatile, that might make him worth keeping around.  Chris was completely lost in the middle.  One of the problems Chris had is that teams figured out the way to run on us was to go to a 3-WR set.  That took Gocong and the DTs off the field.  Draw plays out of the shotgun killed us.  The team obviously feels that committing to a 2-down run stuffer isn't the smart way to go. 

* Darren Howard is a tricky subject.  You look and see 6.5 sacks and 2 FFs and think that he was a valuable reserve.  2 of those sacks came in the season opener.  2 came late in the year against the Giants.  The rest of the year he was pretty quiet.  The problem with Darren is that he's not a guy that gets regular pressure.  Mike Mamula got good pressure on QBs, but had trouble getting sacks.  Let's use a baseball analogy.  Howard isn't a guy that hits mostly doubles, but gets the occasional homer.  He is a guy that strikes out or hits a home run.  The simple case against him is this...his sack total dropped from 10 to 65...he's about to turn 34 this fall...and he didn't have so much as one solo tackle in any of the games against Dallas.  He's an aging player who's play is declining and who failed to show up in 3 huge losses to our biggest rival. 

* Sheldon Brown played well early in the 2009 season.  He got burned for the go-ahead TD in the first Dallas loss and that seemed to be the beginning of the end.  He struggled the next week at SD.  He hurt his hamstring and struggled at Chicago. Dallas ate him alive in the last couple of games.  Multiple guys got the best of Sheldon.  Sheldon was very up and down in the 2nd half of the season.  Injuries hurt him to be sure.  Still, he's going to turn 31.  He wasn't a fast corner even in his younger days.  Is Sheldon a top shelf CB when healthy or a player who will begin to decline?  Playing well against a pedestrian passing attack like SF is fine, but we can't have a CB who struggles when we face a good passing attack (DAL, SD). 

Sheldon and Joselio are the only players on this list who are still Eagles.  The question is whether that is true at the end of this week, this spring, or this summer.  At the very least, Hanson will be challenged for his spot.  Brown is probably headed in a different direction.  He wants a raise.  That won't happen.  I've heard rumblings that the Eagles will shop him around. 

So what are the Eagles thinking?  Why make these moves now? 

The point is to find players you are committed to.  The defense was very good in 2008 so the team brought back those guys for 2009.  Things didn't work out so well.  You decide who the building blocks are and then make that the foundation.  For us that is the DTs, Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley, Asante Samuel, and Quintin Mikell.  Moise Fokou and Darryl Tapp will join them as starters.  We have other players to mix in with them:  Juqua Parker, Antonio Dixon, Akeem Jordan, Macho Harris, Quintin Demps.  There are still holes to fill. 

The Eagles could have kept Spoon and Howard around, but simply didn't see either guy fitting in to the long term plans.  Spoon only had a year left on his deal.  Howard was a player on the decline.  Keeping them around would have been the band-aid solution we talk about.  Howard's role can be taken by Juqua and/or Victor Abiamiri this year.  Both guys have played DT in the Nickel.  VA actually does it quite well.  WLB is still a mystery to me.  I have to believe the Eagles have some plan in place. 

There are still moves to be made.  GM Howie Roseman was interviewed by PE.com this week and made mention that moves would take place between now and the draft.  Dave Spadaro had this blurb in a recent column:

League meetings in Orlando straight ahead. This is the time when the talks really heat up and trades and deals are made. Why do I have the feeling that this week is going to be very, very interesting?

The moves could just be trades involving Gocong and Sheldon.  That would likely net us some draft picks, which is a good thing with such a deep draft.  Maybe the Eagles have been talking to teams about player-for-player swaps.  Those aren't all that common in the NFL, but this is an odd year.  I wish a QB move would happen, but don't hold your breath.  I'm still hearing mixed things about what exactly is going on. 

There are some pro targets we could still look at.   

* S Donte Whitner
* S O.J. Atogwe

* DL Anthony Hargrove
* DL Jimmy Wilkerson

* LB Derrick Johnson
* LB Rocky McIntosh
* LB Nick Roach
* LB Clint Ingram
* LB Thomas Howard

* CB Richard Marshall
* CB Carlos Rogers

I've talked about many of these guys already.  Some are UFAs and other RFAs.  One of the things to keep in mind is that we might gain picks if we do trade Gocong or Sheldon.  If so, we might turn around and use a pick to deal for an RFA.  Say we get a 3rd rounder for Sheldon.  Could we turn that into CB Richard Marshall or LB Derrick Johnson?  That's an intriguing thought. 

I haven't heard any good rumors about these players.  This is pure speculation.  I listed Hargrove and Wilkerson as DL because they are the kind of guys that came into the league as DEs, but have really made their mark as Nickel DTs.  We just cut Darren Howard and that could possibly make them attractive targets.  Each guy has issues and that may be enough to keep them off our wish list. 

I didn't list any guys that play C or TE.  It sounds like Nick Cole is going to get a chance to be the C.  We also have a few other guys behind him with some potential.  TE is a solid position in my mind.  Brent Celek is a terrific young player.  Cornelius Ingram is a player the team is excited about.  He is coming off a torn ACL, but that happened last summer so he should be ready by May.  The team is also optimistic about Martin Rucker.  They like what they've seen in practice.  The only problem I have with this group is that all 3 are pass catchers.  I'd love to have a blocker or at least a blocker/catcher among the group.  Alex Smith did well in that roll for us last year.  There is a real deep group of TEs in the draft.  We could find a blocker or big guy to challenge for a roster spot without having to use a high pick. 

The Eagles may not like any of the players I listed above, due to their talent evaluation, baggage, or the compensation required to get them.  Again, I'm just speculating.  You can bet the Eagles are talking to the other 31 teams about all kinds of players.  You want to feel teams out to see who is available and at what price.  One guy that a lot of fans have asked me about is Browns ILB D'Qwell Jackson.  I don't think he is going anywhere.  Cleveland knows how good he is.  Plus, we're set at MLB with Stewart Bradley.  There is virtually no chance that Bradley is moved from the middle.  A guy as talented as Jackson could move to WLB for us, but I don't think we're giving up a 1st for him and then moving him to a spot he's never played.  I know the Eagles like to be creative, but not so much when 1st round picks are involved.  One thing to keep in mind to the RFA situation...the compensation asking price for players may have been higher in early March.  With so little action in the RFA market you may see teams lowering their demands as they realize that something is better than nothing. 

I do think the Eagles will add a player or two between now and draft weekend, if for nothing other than depth/competition.  The recent cuts have opened some spots on the roster. 

These cuts are not about saving money.  The Eagles would gladly pay Darren Howard if he was consistently disruptive.  The Eagles would absolutely have kept Will Witherspoon if he was a playmaker in multiple games.  Instead, the Eagles saw a pair of older players who didn't play well in consecutive losses to Dallas at the end of the year.  You can argue that there is a youth movement going on.  We have a strong defensive core in place.  Let's surround them with ascending players or guys in their prime so that the defense can get back to championship level by 2011 or 2012. 

I know some people think I'm being too optimistic in regard to Darryl Tapp.  That's a possibility.  He could turn out to be a lesser version of Juqua Parker.  I don't think that is the case.  The arguments against Tapp are the fact that he's coming off a 2.5 sack season and that Seattle was so willing to let him go. 

The Seahawks would like to transition to a 3-4 defense.  Pete Carroll obviously doesn't see Tapp as the guy he wants for OLB.  Plus, that franchise is in the middle of rebuilding.  Take the draft pick and go add a young player who is a better fit for the team.  Tapp wasn't available because he was a lousy player or someone the 'Hawks were looking to dump. 

As for his performance in 2008...Tapp was pushed back to being the #3 DE.  The coaching staff had Patrick Kerney at LDE and 1st round pick Lawrence Jackson at RDE.  The fact that Tapp was benched in favor of a 1st round pick hardly makes him unique.  As for the notion of only having 2.5 sacks...ever hear of Derrick Burgess?  He was our starting RDE for all of 2004 and had 2.5 sacks.  He went to Oakland the next year and got to spend a lot of time at LDE and posted 16 sacks.  Burgess was able to play a lot on the left side, which is where he's most comfortable.  He had played RDE opposite of Kearse for us in '04 and struggled to beat LTs.  Tapp is more natural at LDE.  Am I saying he'll turn into Derrick Burgess?  No way.  I do think he can be a solid 8-sack guy on the left side.  For some players there is a huge difference in playing LDE and RDE. 

The return of Stewart Bradley to MLB will give the D a huge boost.  He played very well in 2008, especially late in the year.  Moise Fokou will have a whole offseason to practice at SAM.  I know many are concerned about his size.  He's up to 236 pounds already. 

We do have holes at FS, WLB, and very possibly CB.  Those areas must be addressed.  Draft picks can contribute in the secondary.  LB is more of a mystery.  I'm just not sure what the Eagles want to do. 

The offseason is 2 1/2 weeks old.  Things started quiet, but we've seen the action pick up in the last 10 days.  That trend could continue with some wheeling and dealing at the owners meetings.  Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for some QB action. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Off You Go


Back in April of 2004 some kid sent me a message on the Eagles Message Board. "What's going on? Who are we going to pick?" Here was my answer:

"Could be Shawn Andrews. He would fit the profile. Big OL. Dominant run blocker. He could be the RG or RT of the future. I have no sources. I just "read the tea leaves" and make my guesses. Again, let's keep this talk between us til Sat. afternoon."

Why the hell I wanted that kept a secret I have no idea. Everyone else was screaming for Steven Jackson. I would have looked kinda smart. Oh well. I also wondered if WR Roy Williams was a potential target. We had just landed TO so that likely would have been overkill, but coming off the 2003 title game loss to Carolina that might not have been a bad thing.

Back to Andrews. He was a dominant RT at Arkansas. He had some weight problems and that made a lot of people wonder if he could play on the edge or if he'd have to move inside to G. No matter what, he was so dominant that you felt like he was worth a pretty high pick. Here was a quick blurb I wrote on him prior to the draft:

Dominant drive blocker. The best I've seen in college football. Pass blocking will be a bit of an adventure, but this guy could be special in the right situation.

We traded up on draft day and took Shawn with the 16th overall pick.  The next weekend was the post-draft mini-camp.  Shawn was the starting RG by the end of that camp.  He had a great spring and summer.  We were all excited by our new stud O-lineman.  He then broke his leg in the season opener with the Giants.  That should have been an omen for us.  Shawn missed the rest of the year.

He returned in 2005 and played pretty well.  He was terrific in 2006 and looked like one of the best Guards in the entire league.  Shawn and the O-line were dominant down the stretch with Garcia at QB and more of an emphasis on the run game.

The summer of 2007 is when the train started to go off the tracks.  Shawn suffered a high ankle sprain.  He then told the media that he feared it could be career threatening.  Everyone wondered what the heck that meant.  Careers rarely end due to an ankle injury.  Shawn later said it was a joke and that he was just having fun with the media.  Uhh, okay.  I don't think any of us were concerned at the time, but in hindsight that is a huge red flag.  Stalin and Chairman Mao would have been proud of the size of that red flag.

The next summer Shawn didn't show for Training Camp.  I was told by a source that Reid was absolutely furious.  He thought Shawn was holding out for more money.  Reid let cooler heads prevail and we found out that Shawn was battling depression.  The Eagles gave him space and were supportive, publicly and in the locker room.  Everyone knew how good Shawn was and wanted to do anything to keep him around.

He was on the field for the first couple of games, but hurt his back against Dallas.  Max Jean-Gilles replaced him.  That was Shawn's last ever game as an Eagle.  And it may be the end of his NFL career.  The Eagles didn't put Shawn on IR immediately.  They kept him part of the roster.  Players on IR are treated differently than guys that are just injured, believe it or not.  Someone still on the roster remains part of the team.  Guys on IR are ghosts of Christmas past or future, but they don't exist in the current time continuum.

The Eagles hoped that keeping Shawn on the roster would keep his spirits up and that it would keep him interactive with his teammates.  Camaraderie on a football team can have a major impact on some guys.  Shawn's back didn't get better.  The Eagles eventually put him on IR.

The 2009 offseason brought about new hope.  Shawn talked a great game.  He was going go move to RT and seemed fired up about being healthy and getting back on the field.  All that positivity ended when Training Camp rolled around and he was once again hurt.  The Eagles didn't hesitate to put him on IR this year.

The Shawn Andrews who was a dominant blocker in 2006 is long since gone.  That guy seemed to enjoy football.  He was very good at it.  Something happened between then and now.  Forget about the back and depression.  There was a personality shift.  Shawn decided that he wanted to be a "star", not just a football player.  That is against the laws of the offensive line universe. 

Linemen are allowed to have some personality.  They are allowed to enjoy occasionally being in the limelight.  Still, they must remember that they are first and foremost football players.  And amongst players they are the ones who do the thankless dirty work.  Most linemen not only know this but they love it.  They wear that as a badge of honor.  Not Shawn.

He was busy on YouTube and Twitter and any other media source that would let him get the word out about what was going on in his world.  He was excited to talk about his rapping career or how loud his neighbors were when they had sex.  Football was just a subject that got mixed in occasionally.  There was no real passion for it.

An offensive linemen who's heart isn't in football is done.  Done.  You have to want to play.  Being part of 50 to 70 car wrecks per game isn't something for people to approach casually.  Being a blocker isn't easy.  It isn't "fun" in the traditional sense of the word.  You need to have a mean streak and a high tolerance for discomfort (pain just doesn't seem like the right word).  Jon Runyan loved being a lineman.  He played with a broken tailbone late in his career.  Sitting down hurt, but he didn't miss a game.  Jon's consecutive games streak meant a lot to him.  That gave him the kind of pride and joy that apparently Shawn got from one of his own YouTube clips.  Shawn is off in his own little world.  As Captain Willard might say of the situation, "He broke from them, and then he broke from himself". 

That is why I'm fine with the Eagles cutting Shawn.  He's not an NFL guy who can't stay healthy (see Jerome McDougle for example).  Shawn is a guy who loves being an NFL celebrity, but not an NFL player.  He's not committed to the game.  In my opinion (and that's all it is), the depression is partially due to the fact that he doesn't like football, but knows he needs it for the money and attention it brings him.

The best thing for Shawn to do is give up on the NFL and go be the quirky guy that he wants to be.  There is nothing wrong with his desires.  It just happens to be torturous to us Eagles fans because Shawn has Hall of Fame football ability.  It does feel at times as if the Football Gods are out to get us.  Why can't we put Nick Cole's personality in Shawn's body?

Letting go of Shawn was the right thing to do.  Keeping him around was a distraction.  Best to send him on his way and focus on players who are committed to playing and helping us win.


On Sunday I'll be answering some questions and talking about some possible player moves.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Night Thoughts


A few people have been asking about the offseason.  What are the Eagles doing?  Is this all about money?  All we see are players getting cut.  The Eagles have added a couple of role players, but no one worth a flip.  In the immortal words of Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on out there?"

I understand that mentality.  I can see where that is the way things appear if you are skeptical about the front office.  Your first inclination is to doubt moves, to find the gray lining in every cloud.  I don't mean that as a criticism.  It is just a behavioral observation.  The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl.  There are times when Andy Reid, Joe Banner, Jeff Lurie and the Personnel Department seem as if they know something the rest of the world doesn't.  Their somewhat unorthodox ideas mixed in with a secretive, business-like approach to things can lead someone to wonder about the guys.  I get that. 

I'm generally an optimistic person.  I'm not unrealistic, though.  I'm  a fan of the Sixers as well as the Eagles.  The Sixers were god-like in the late 70s and early 80s, but that organization has done very little in the last 15 years to make me feel that they know what they are doing.  When they make a move that is odd, I question it.  The Eagles have a track record of success.  Not perfection, but success.  When they do something odd I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I think they've earned that with the winning ways of the Reid era.  This doesn't mean you can't be skeptical or critical. 

The offseason so far is a mixed bag.  The Eagles, and most fans, coveted Julius Peppers.  I had real mixed feelings about him so seeing Julius go to Chicago didn't break my heart.  My goal is for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.  Julius seems interested in money and making Julius happy.  I'm not sure that goes well with winning a SB. 

I do like the Darryl Tapp move.  He is the right kind of guy.  He fits our team and our scheme.  I wish he was a difference-maker, but he's not an elite talent.  I think he does make our defense better and that really is the key.  People point out that he only had 2.5 sacks, but the guy only started 5 games.  He was the #3 DE last year.  Darryl still managed 40 solo tackles and 7 TFLs.  That tells you that he's a good run defender.  He'll be an effective pass rusher at LDE for us.  I think he's likely to be in the 6-8 sack range, but Darryl could be better than that.  He's never gotten to play on a defense that blitzes like us.  That should mean some more sack opportunities where he comes free due to confusion among the blockers. 

Marlin Jackson is a mystery.  We just don't know what to make of the ACL situation.  The key point for you to remember is that Marlin wasn't brought here to fill the FS hole.  Marlin was brought here to compete for a job.  The Eagles do not see FS as solved.  They are keeping their eyes open.  This isn't a case of the Eagles being cheap.  They feel like Jackson was worth the risk.  He can play CB, NB, SS, and FS.  This is a guy you invest in and see what he can do.  The Eagles didn't want to pay huge bucks to Antrel Rolle because they didn't like him all that much as a player.  No team has yet to make a run at O.J. Atogwe.  There might be an injury issue none of us knows about. 

Mike Bell is what we need at RB.  He isn't a great athlete or receiver.  He isn't a scat back.  He isn't someone to play out in space.  Bell is a 225-pound runner to feed the ball between the tackles.  Isn't that what we've wanted for several years?  We finally get him (maybe) and fans are somehow disappointed.  I don't get criticism of this move.  We need a physical runner with some size to be a backup and role player.  What's not to like?  Bell is good enough that he could start for a game or two if McCoy got hurt.  Bell isn't anything great, but again...he's what we need. 

As for the cuts...forget about the money for a second.  Let's talk just about the players:

Shawn Andrews - nothing.
Kevin Curtis - couldn't stay healthy.
Brian Westbrook - health issues.  
Darren Howard - good sack total, but wasn't consistently disruptive this year.  Descending player.
Will Witherspoon - slowed down in the stretch run. 

Chris Clemons - traded.
Reggie Brown - traded.

I'm writing a column about Shawn's situation.  Cutting him was smart.  Same for Kevin.  Trading Reggie and CC was smart.  Neither guy was a lock to make the roster in 2010.  That leaves us with Darren and Will. 

Darren is a player that I've mentioned to friends as cut material for quite a while.  He was good in 2008, but not nearly as effective in 2009.  I'm not sure if he slowed down or teams just caught on to him.  Yeah, he had 6.5 sacks, but Howard got a few of those because he was in the right place at the right time.  Those sacks are replaceable. 

Witherspoon is the trickiest cut.  I'm okay with letting him go, depending on what the Eagles do to replace him.  I've heard that this wasn't done to get Akeem Jordan back on the field.  I hope that is true.  Jordan ideally is a backup and STer.  If the Eagles add a pro player or draft a LB fairly high, then I might love cutting Spoon.  If we sit here on August 1st with Jordan as the WLB I'm going to be ticked off. 

I haven't heard a specific target at WLB, college or pro.  I'm sure the Eagles have some guys they are interested in.  The question is whether they can pull off those moves.  Because they cut Spoon so early I'm assuming they feel confident in landing a target.  I could be dead wrong, of course.  Time will tell. 

I do think we're a better team now than on March 5th.  We added a starting LDE in Tapp.  That moves Parker to the bench, making him more effective.  Parker played DT in the Nickel at times in the last few years.  He could take that role full time now that Tapp is here, as well as Juqua being a good backup DE.  I think Bell is just what our backfield needed.  We traded a broken down Westy for him.  That's an improvement in my mind.  Don't think of Brian the star RB.  Sadly, doesn't seem like that player exists anymore.  And I definitely like Hank over Reggie as the #4 WR.  Brown was needed in '09 because we didn't know what to expect from J-Mac.  Now we know he's a good starter.  Hank is here to be a role player, something he's good at and happy to do. 

We will make another pro move or two, not necessarily involving starters.  We'll have to see how that goes.  We have 4 picks in the Top 100 on draft day.  That's good ammo.  There will be good players added to the roster.  The offseason isn't over.  I know I keep saying this, but the key is to add the right players and not the biggest names.  I think we're doing a solid job so far.  A little work on the back seven and I might be real happy with this offseason. 


* Sounds like the Gocong deal might be on hold for now.  Chances are that he will be dealt between now and the draft, but I think the Eagles and Browns are both trying to figure out exactly what they want to do before finalizing the trade.  Scouts and coaches are working out players on a daily basis and that can affect the plans for next round of moves. 

* Someone in the comments section asked about Victor Abiamiri being on crutches after some kind of operation.  I've heard rumors that he might have to undergo a procedure.  Sounds like that happened.  Let's hope he gets well by the summer.  You can't count on the young man, but you hate to count him out because he's still so young. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Cuts


There I was typing away at a brilliant piece on the release of Shawn Andrews when my buddy Matt called to tell me the Birds gently nudged Kevin Curtis and Darren Howard from the nest.  By "gently nudged" I mean that Andy Reid told each guy to "hit the bricks, pal".  C'mon Howie and Big Red.  Can't a guy get 5 minutes to type a confusing overly-long player obit before you go and get rid of more dead weight?

Curtis departure is a surprise to no one.  He was terrific when healthy, but just couldn't get back to 100% in the last couple of years.  He was due a big salary this year and that wasn't good for him.  Old, expensive, and fragile is fine in the world of antiques, but not the NFL.  Curtis can hopefully catch on with a team as a slot receiver at a lower salary.  There is still a place for him in the league, but you can't rely on him as a starter. 

Howard had a very good showing in 2008, notching 10 sacks.  He seemed reborn with the primary role of pass-rushing DT.  He was in terrific shape and played like a much younger man.  Darren wasn't the same guy in '09.  He had some good moments and even finished with 6.5 sacks, but he wasn't consistently disruptive like he was in '08.  I think the Eagles saw him as a descending player and decided this was the time to let him go.  Like the old saying says, "Better to let a guy go a year too early rather than a year too late."  If you could guarantee the Eagles Darren would play at his 2009 level they may have kept him around.  With that being uncertain they decided to cut bait and go find a new disruptive force for the interior of the Nickel and Dime units. 

Actually, I'd love for the Eagles to mix in more true DTs in passing situations.  Those guys can push the pocket and clog the middle so that draw plays aren't as effective.  We had major problems with draw plays in 2009.  Several teams killed us at times, most notably Dallas and the Giants. 

We now have Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Juqua Parker, and Victor Abiamiri left at DE.  Victor isn't 100%.  That means we need to add some guys in free agency or plan on finding some bodies in the draft.  I'll keep my ear to the ground and let you know what I hear.


Cleveland is talking to the Eagles about Chris Gocong.  Tom Heckert is the man who drafted Chris and Eric Mangini is the coach who coveted Gocong back in the 2006 draft.  Chris actually thought he was going to be a Jet.  He was caught off guard by the Eagles.  We'll see if the teams can agree on compensation.  Word is that the Eagles are hoping for a 4th round pick. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And So Say All of Us...Tapp Into Philadelphia


UPDATE --- Shawn Andrews has officially been released.  No real shock.  He's missed the last 30 games.  His persona on Twitter and YouTube is more of a crazy teenager than a man trying to make a comeback and salvage an NFL career.  Sad story.  He and Bernard Williams headline the All "What if..." Team.  I'll write more on Shawn when there isn't something more pressing to discuss. 

The next Eagle who could be getting walking papers is Kevin Curtis. 


Let's talk some more about Darryl Tapp.  I popped in the first couple of Seattle game tapes I came across.  I wasn't looking for his best game or anything special.  I just wanted to see how Tapp played in a couple of average games.  Here goes:

* Quick off the ball, but not explosive.  Darryl isn't athletic enough to consistently beat LTs. 
* He plays both sides, but looks more natural at LDE.  He can beat RTs. 
* Good awareness. Tapp comes off the ball under control and reads the play as he's on the move. This keeps him from getting burned on screens and draws.
* Lots of 4-point stance. Not many guys do this, but Hugh, Trent, and Juqua have all done it for us. 
* Very good motor.  He will make hustle plays, both in the run game and pass game.
* Uses his hands/arms well at times. Good shoulder dip. Re-directs well. Poor spin move...brutally slow.  Lose that from the arsenal. 
* Effective when he has to drop in pass coverage because of a zone blitz.
* Not a "run around" guy.  Darryl will battle blockers to hold the point of attack.  He lacks ideal size, but plays with good leverage and is tough.  He is able to shed blocks and find the ball.

I saw about what I expected.  Darryl was a solid player for Seattle.  Nothing more, nothing less.  He was miscast at RDE.  He just doesn't have the burst that it takes to get by LTs.  He was a try-hard guy on that side who made plays with effort.  LDE is a whole other story.  I think he is a starting caliber player on that side.  I also think Darryl is an ideal fit for our system.  He is a good run defender, which is something we like in our DEs.  He's still a solid pass rusher.  We can use him creatively if desired, but I think he'll mainly stay at LDE.

Darryl is young (25) and durable (64 straight games).  He brings youth and toughness to the DL.  He is not an impact player that offenses will fear.  Darryl does make the front line better.  He and Juqua will battle for the starting job.  I'm sure the coaches will give Tapp the inside track.  They'd love a young guy to get that job so that he could possibly hold it for several years.

While Darryl lacks great production, it will be interesting to see how his numbers are affected by playing in our system.  Seattle doesn't do the exotic blitzing we do.  That creates some mismatches and some easy opportunities for guys in the front seven.  Darryl's numbers could also go up due to the fact he's playing at LDE with Trent Cole on the opposite side.  In Seattle he benefited from Patrick Kerney being the other DE, but Tapp still had to beat the LT to get to the QB.  As I said earlier, he lacks that kind of ability. 

In my offseason writings I never mentioned Tapp as a target.  Seattle placed a 2nd round tender on him.  Darryl isn't worth a pick in that range.  I assumed they wanted to keep him and it would require that kind of compensation.  The Eagles got him at a good price (Clemons and our late 4th).  Darryl is a very good acquisition at that price.

We no longer go into the draft needing a LDE.  We could still take one if the right player falls to our pick.  The Eagles covet D-linemen and won't pass on a talented pass rusher.  I do think we'll concentrate on the back seven, the group that really needs work (27 TD passes allowed).

We still do have Victor Abiamiri in the mix.  He's not 100% healthy right now and wasn't for much of the 2009 season.  If he were to emerge this year or some draft pick were to light it up we could always make Tapp a backup DE.  We don't have such a big investment in Tapp (trade or money wise) that we will feel obligated to have him as the starting LDE.

Darryl doesn't have a high ceiling.  I don't see him coming in here and turning into a 12-sack, disruptive force.  I do think his numbers will go up and that he can be an improvement over Parker.  Tapp fits our system and he's also our kind of player (high motor, overachiever type).

Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.

Darryl Tapp is an Eagle


Chris Clemons + 4th round pick for DE Darryl Tapp

This trade caught me completely off guard.  I hadn't heard a word about this.  There is a lot of stuff to talk about so let's get to it. 

Good move.  This is a weird offseason.  You have to be aggressive and creative to find players this year.  Tapp is a solid DE.  This isn't a high impact move that thrusts us to the top of the NFC or anything like that.  It does make us a better team. 

Tapp is now the likely frontrunner at LDE.  We still have Juqua Parker there.  Both guys have started and had success in the league.  Tapp is younger, bigger, and more talented.  He should be the starter.  Parker is best when he's able to come off the bench.  Think of it this way.  Tapp is a better starter than we had in 2009.  Improvement.  Parker is a better backup than we had in '09.  Improvement. 

Clemons was not a lock to make the team in 2010.  Really, this deal is a 4th round pick for Tapp.  While this draft is talented and deep, the DE class isn't great.  Tapp is far and away better than any prospect who would have been available in the 4th round. 

By acquiring him, we can now focus on the back seven with our early picks.  That is good news.   We need help at CB, S, and LB.  We can now focus our resources on those positions, if the right players are available.  We don't have to reach for a LDE. 

Tapp has been up and down in his young career.  Here are the numbers:

2006 - 16 Gms, 0 Starts, 22 solo tkls, 3.0 sacks, 2 TFLs, 1 FFs, 1 PD, 1 INT
2007 - 16 Gms, 16 Starts, 41 solo tkls, 7.0 sacks, 5 TFLs, 3 FFs, 8 PDs, 1 INT
2008 - 16 Gms, 11 Starts, 46 solo tkls, 5.5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 4 FFs
2009 - 16 Gms, 5 Starts, 40 solo tkls, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFLs, 3 PDs

Darryl has played LDE and RDE in his career.  Most of his time was spent on the right side.  He was a full time starter in 2007 and posted really good numbers.  Injuries slowed him a bit after that and he also lost time with the arrival of Lawrence Jackson.  The reason the Seahawks dealt him is that he wasn't a great fit for what Pete Carroll wanted to do in the next few years.  Tapp was not a guy anyone was looking to get rid of because of his ability or attitude.   The vibe out of Seattle is that he'll do well with the Eagles. 

I am going to watch some tape of Darryl so I can post some notes on his play in the last few years.  For now I'll leave you with the notes I had on him coming out of college. 

Notes on Darryl Tapp

Goes about 6'1, 256. Very good college player, but is not a naturally gifted athlete. Gives terrific effort. Relentless. Thick-ish build. Good swim move. Spin move. Quick off the ball. Good inside move. Plays with good leverage. Makes his share of plays vs the run. Lines up at a really wide angle. Can shed blocks. Seems to make a lot of tackles. Gets the most out of his ability and works as hard as any player in CFB. A lot of people want to compare him to Dwight Freeney because of similar size, but that is a bogus comparison. Dwight was an explosive athlete who wowed the scouts and coaches at his Pro Day. I don't see Tapp being anywhere near that level of athlete. Effort is great, but the lack of explosive ability is a concern.

Tapp at NFL.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update: Mike Bell Signs Offer Sheet


Per Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Saints restricted free-agent running back Mike Bell and the Philadelphia Eagles reached an agreement Tuesday on a one-year, $1.7 million deal that includes $500,000 guaranteed and could be worth over $2 million if he hits his incentives, according to a source.

The Saints will have a week to match the offer.  We don't owe them any compensation if they refuse to match since Bell is strictly a right-of-first-refusal player.

Good move.  Now we sit tight and wait for the Saints to officially let him go.


I wrote some thoughts on possible Eagles prospects.  You guys have asked about some of the players. 


I wrote a column on some of the FA moves so far. 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Mike Bell Coming To Town


The Eagles will be hosting free agent RB Mike Bell on Tuesday.  Good move.  The RB I coveted was Justin Fargas, but there are injury concerns with him.  Bell is a similar player so the Eagles and I are on the same page.

Bell is 6'0, 225.  He has a thick, sorta squatty build.  He lacks breakaway speed, but has enough burst that he can break off the occasional 20 or 30 yard run.  Bell is a one-cut runner.  He likes to stay N-S as much as possible, but if given a cutback lane he can see it and has the ability to get there.  That shows he has good feet and body control.  Bell runs behind his pads and is a physical back, but he's not a power runner that will just steam roll tacklers. 

He played a lot as a rookie with Denver and then this year with the Saints.  Bell was quiet in 2007 and '08.  This year he was 172-654, 3.8 ypc.  He ran for 5 TDs.  He only caught 4 passes so that is something he'll want to work on.  He's only got 26 in his career.  He did catch 50+ passes in college and showed the potential to be a solid pass catcher out of the backfield.

Bell would give us a nice complement to LeSean McCoy.  We need someone that can come off the bench for 8-10 carries a game and be effective.  Bell also can be a good short yardage and goal line runner.  Him running behind Leonard Weaver gives us a good combo on 3rd/1.

Bell is a RFA, but the Saints tendered him low.  No compensation is required.  They kept the right of first refusal, but New Orleans has a crowded backfield with Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, and Lynell Hamilton already in place.  Chances are the team that signs Bell will be free and clear.

The addition of Bell wouldn't rule out the Eagles taking a RB in the draft.  Since 2004 we have not had a RB by committee approach.  Brian Westbrook was so good that Reid wanted him on the field as much as possible.  Shady is a good young RB, but hasn't shown anything so special that you feel obligated to make him "the man".  I'd like to see us add Bell and then a bring in a rookie to challenge Eldra Buckley for his spot.  I want to get back to the days of using all 3 RBs on a regular basis.  That is one NFL trend I'd definitely like the Eagles to follow.

Mike Bell at NFL.com


RE:  1st Round DE?

Not going for Edwards doesn't mean the Eagles are definitely thinking DE in the 1st.  With Trent Cole and Juqua Parker in place we won't reach for a DE.  They'll only take a position due to need if there is a huge hole to fill.  In 2003 we had to go DE.  Our projected starters were ND Kalu (career backup to that point) and Derrick Burgess (coming off a major injury).  We traded up for Jerome McDougle and the rest is history. 

RE:  Graham / Morgan

Brandon could easily go in the 15-20 range.  He is the kind of guy that some teams could absolutely love due to his motor, speed, production, and toughness.  I wouldn't be shocked to see him go before Morgan, but I think most 4-3 teams will prefer Derrick.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quiet Weekend


Not much going on this weekend for the Eagles.  I'm just going to offer up some thoughts on subjects that people are talking about.

RE:  Ray Edwards

Sounds like this will not happen.  The Eagles must feel that Edwards is good, but just not worth pick #24.  There is a possibility that Edwards will only sign a 1-year deal with the Vikings and then hit the open market next year (assuming a new CBA is in place with old FA rules).  We could then make a run at him without having to give up any compensation. 

We don't want to make a move for the heck of it.  Find players you believe in.  If the Eagles have any doubts, leave Edwards out. 

RE:  Andre Carter

Interesting idea.  He doesn't want to play LB in the 3-4.  That might put him on the market.  The problem is that he's more of a RDE.  We're looking for a LDE.  I don't know if Andre would be a player we would pursue for that role.  I've always thought of him as more of a pure pass rusher.  We need someone who can be an effective run defender and solid pass rusher.  Carter doesn't seem like a good fit to me. 

RE:  McNabb overrated?

This is a tricky notion.  You have to figure out who you're comparing Donovan to.  I think McNabb is in the 2nd tier of QBs.  He clearly isn't as good as guys like Brees and Peyton.  There are a handful of QBs in the top tier.  McNabb is below that, with players like Eli and Romo.  Donovan is still a good starting QB.  He can be great at times.  He can be...not so great...at times.  I do think he's still got 2 or 3 strong years left.  I also think he could be a perfect fit on a team that uses a more balanced offense.  That would take pressure off McNabb and he could actually thrive in that situation. 

RE:  Big moves coming?

I think Spadaro just made that comment in trying to make a point.  This isn't the typical offseason where we knew what would happen.  Peppers to Chicago caught a lot of people off guard.  Think about some of the trades.  Who saw Chris Houston, Kamerion Wimbley, and Antonio Cromartie being dealt back in January?  Who thought Shaun Hill, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace, and Charlie Whitehurst would be on the move prior to Mike Vick? 

This is a weird offseason.  I can see the Eagles making a small signing or two in the next 5 weeks or I could see some big trades.  It really is hard to predict what will happen because there are just so many strange circumstances (odd FA rules, coaching/GM changes, major cuts, changing to 3-4 D, big players being on the trade block, etc.). 

RE:  DE move? 

All things being equal I'm fine with signing Derrick Burgess and going with the band-aid approach.  There isn't a great choice left in Pro Personnel.  Edwards is tempting, but pick #24 is a steep price.  There are some talented players in the draft, but we've also got to address CB and would like to still add help at FS.  We could sign Derrick and then go for a DE in the 3rd if the right guy is there.  We could also pass on a DE and see if Abiamiri shows us anything at LDE.  Most likely we're just putting the LDE question off a season, but that might be okay.  The FA class next year should be much stronger.  It is way to early to even speculate on the draft. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hank Signs + Some Ray Edwards Talk


Hank Baskett signed a 1-year deal to return to Philly.  Good news for everyone involved.  Hank is perfect for what we need.  He gives us a good #4 WR.  Hank can play, even start if needed.  He also will block and play Special Teams if that is what we need.  High character, low maintenance.  We will have a spot open to add a 5th WR.  That will likely be filled through the draft.  Hank is just a good insurance policy.  I'm glad he's back.  We can now look for WRs at our discretion.  There isn't a need to get someone that is polished or able to contribute right off the bat. 

No official word on Justin Fargas.  That leads me to believe he may have some injury concerns.  Justin has talked to a couple of teams.  He visited KC and here.  You know money isn't the issue.  If he's not signing there may be some problem with how he checks out on the team physicals.  That is the reason Oakland reportedly cut him. 


Ray Edwards has been getting quite a lot of pub recently.  Some Minny writer speculated that the Eagles could make a run at him.  Now Bob Grotz is saying that we could go after him.  I have mentioned Ray a few times as a potential. RFA target. 

Here's the case for Ray.  He is 25 years old.  He plays LDE and has an ideal build at 6'5, 270.  That gives him the frame and bulk to be able to hold the POA.  He's also athletic enough to be an effective pass rusher.  Ray isn't an explosive up the field guy.  He's a complete LDE, something we hoped Victor Abiamiri would develop into. 

Ray is an ascending player.  He gets a little better each season.  People think he just had the good game vs Dallas in the playoffs.  Not so.  He emerged this year to being a real quality starter. Check out his numbers: 

Year 1 - 15 Gms - 10 Sts - 3 sacks - 10 Tkls
Year 2 - 12 Gms - 11 Sts - 5 sacks - 30 Tkls
Year 3 - 15 Gms - 15 Sts - 5 sacks - 54 Tkls
Year 4 - 16 Gms - 16 Sts - 8.5 sacks - 51 Tkls

He is just hitting his prime and has 4 or 5 really good years left.  He also doesn't benefit from playing in a blitzing defense.  MIN likes to use their DL to get most pressure.

For comparion's sake, check out Aaron Kampman's numbers in his first 4 seasons:

Year 1 - 12 Gms - 6 Sts - 0.5 sacks - 24 Tkls
Year 2 - 12 Gms - 10 Sts - 2 sacks - 29 Tkls
Year 3 - 16 Gms - 16 Sts - 4.5 sacks - 67 Tkls
Year 4 - 16 Gms - 16 Sts - 6.5 sacks - 81 Tkls

Aaron followed this start with 37 sacks in the next 3 years.  That was the prime of his career.  I don't know that Ray will end up being as good as Kampman, but he's definitely headed in the right direction.  

The case against Ray is that he plays on a great DL and that skews his production.  He rarely has to deal with double teams.  He can count on pressure from RDE and up the middle.  There are also questions about whether he will pay the price to become a Pro Bowl type of DE.  

We'd have to give up pick #24 to get him.  I know some people think you could negotiate with the Vikings, but they're not letting him go for less than a 1.  The only reason they would let him walk is that they have so many other high-priced players.  AP and Sidney Rice will want mega-deals soon.  Same for Chad Greenway.  Percy Harvin will be in that category in 2 years.  They already have 3 high-priced DL.

Do you give up #24 and a big deal to sign Ray?  Maybe.  The DE class has lots of potential, but each guy also has issues.  Jason Pierre-Paul is raw.  Derrick Morgan isn't an explosive athlete.  Jerry Hughes is a bit undersized.  Sergio Kindle is more of a 3-4 LB.  Brandon Graham is short and doesn't have long arms.  Corey Wootton is still dealing with the after effects of an ACL injury from December 2008.

I haven't had a chance to watch a ton of tape on Ray.  I know he's a good player, but I'm not exactly sure how good.  I'll trust the Eagles on this. 

I wouldn't get too worked up one way or the other.  This reeks of a situation where writers are starting to write about other writers' speculation.  Somehow this morphs from random idea to rumor with legs. 


The Eagles signed former Air Force star Chad Hall.  He was a WR/RS and extremely productive for them.  He's spent the last 2 years doing his duty, but is now hoping to get a chance to play football.  He's only 5'8, 180, but Chad has excellent quickness, good hands, and is just a natural football player.  Think of him as a Danny Amendola type.  Chad realistically projects to the Practice Squad, if things work out for him. He's been out of the game for a couple of years. It can take time to shake that rust off. You'd hope for him to really make a run at the roster in 2011.

Now, it is possible he'll get here and won't be able to overcome the size/speed issues. If so, you cut him and say "Off you go". It is also possible that Chad will exceed expectations and grab one of the final roster spots. You don't know what to expect with a guy like him. No matter what, it is highly unlikely he'll offer any impact in 2010 outside of being good in practice.

Dave wrote a great story about how he got signed.  Must-read material.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

McNabb Update


Good news and ... odd news.  The Eagles are talking to teams about McNabb.  The stories you hear about "the Eagles aren't negotiating" are partially true.  Apparently the Eagles are telling teams "here is the price...take it or leave it".  Obviously they aren't using adversarial words like that, but the point is the same.

I'm very encouraged to hear that the Eagles are at least acknowledging that McNabb is available.  That is the first step in all of this.  I have mixed feelings about the hard-line stance regarding compensation.  If there are multiple teams looking at McNabb then you are smart to ask a high price and drive a hard bargain.  We are talking about a franchise QB, after all. 

At the same time, I don't want the Eagles to burn bridges because they are being too greedy.  I know some NFL people are ticked off right now by the Eagles refusal to haggle.  That is part of the negotiation process to a certain extent.  However, you don't want the Eagles seeming so obstinate that other teams throw their hands in the air and move on. 

The asking price for Kolb is super high.  I didn't get specifics, but it was enough that it definitely scared off suitors.  The asking price for McNabb isn't as high.  He's an older guy who will also want big money.  Those factors lessen his value. 

Right now I make the key suitors as Cleveland, Seattle, and Buffalo.  They have pick 7, 14, and 9 in the upcoming draft.  Seattle also has pick #6, but it is very doubtful that they will let go of that pick. 

This situation is headed in the right direction.  The Eagles are working things and trying to get the best possible offer.  I guess there is still a chance that Andy Reid can't pull the trigger, but I'm starting to think that even Big Red realizes that it is time to move on.  Don't expect a quick resolution.  I get the feeling this could still take a few weeks as teams try to decide what they are willing to pay and as teams go to Pro Days and evaluate just what they think of the draft prospects. 

I'm not hearing anything about Vick.  He appears to be on the back burner.  Maybe they hold him until the summer and then deal him to a team that has an injury. 


I'm fine with the Eagles signing of Marlin Jackson.  He comes here to compete with Quintin Demps and Macho Harris for the FS job.  If the right guy falls in the draft we will grab him up, but we're not forced to reach for a FS. 

I'll watch some tape of Marlin when I get a chance and post some thoughts. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marlin Jackson Visit - UPDATE - He Signed


The Eagles hosted DB Marlin Jackson last night and today.  He left without a contract.  He came to us from Baltimore and is now headed to the Jets.  Is Marlin on a free agent tour or just trying to travel along the eastern seaboard?

Jackson tore ACLs in 2008 and '09.  All of his suitors are trying to see where he is physically.  Jackson says he's in a good spot in the rehab process, but what else is he gonna say?  Wouldn't you love just once for a guy to say "Wow, I am so far behind it is ridiculous.  I sure hope none of these teams is dumb enough to think I'm worth signing for the upcoming year."

No official word yet on whether Jackson would play CB or FS, but I have to think it would be S.  Jackson was never a burner and coming off 2 ACL surgeries rarely increases your speed.  I was going to dig up some Colts tape from his days as a starting Safety, but put that aside when it became clear he was going to continue meeting with teams.

Jackson would come here as a band-aid.  You sign him and then draft someone in the 1st or 2nd round.  That player can have the job if he earns it.  If not, Marlin is the man in the middle.  I still like O.J. Atogwe very much, but if the Eagles are going to make a strong push in the draft to land Earl Thomas or Nate Allen...then going after Atogwe wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.  Going after Jackson would.

The Eagles still have hopes for Quintin Demps and Macho Harris.  The problem is that you can't count on them.  You sign Jackson, or a similar vet, and then have a competition between the 3 guys and the rookie.  May the best man win.  It is possible the board will break wrong and the team won't land a top flight rookie.  Then you just have Jackson battle the young guys for the job.  No one is guaranteed anything at FS.

Marlin already has an in with the team.  He and Jason Avant were college teammates.  It sounds like they remain close friends.  If Avant vouches for the guy...how am I supposed to say no?

UPDATE --- Jackson just agreed to terms with the Eagles.  Here's the story


The Mayans were wrong.  The world won't end in 2012.  It is coming much sooner than that.  SalPal actually offered up some worthwhile news, which in itself is a worthwhile news item.  Sal says that he's hearing that Pete Carroll is making a strong push for either McNabb or Kolb.  Apparently Pete is desperate to win right away and thinks our QBs could help him do just that.

Look at the NFC West for a minute.  The Rams are bad.  The Niners are tough and physical, but can't score any points.  The Cardinals have been good with Kurt Warner at the helm, but now he's off to eat dinner at 430pm with the other retirees.  Are the Cardinals still a good team?  Nobody knows, including them.

If Pete Carroll takes his 1st round picks and trades them for McNabb and WR Brandon Marshall, that might be enough firepower to make Seattle the favorites in the division.  I think McNabb and Carroll would be a great fit personality-wise.  Donovan might thrive in a balanced offense that used a lot of bootlegs and other throws on the move.

Stay tuned to see if anything comes of this report.  Let's hope SalPal is dead on the money this time around.


The Browns signing of Seneca Wallace doesn't really make a difference to us.  I didn't think of the Browns as serious contenders for Mike Vick anyway.  They want Kevin Kolb.  They'd love to pair him with Wallace to solidify QB.  Kevin isn't going anywhere minus a trade offer so ridiculous that you simply could not turn it down.  Cleveland might have interest in McNabb.  Again, the addition of Wallace shouldn't affect any desire to deal for Donovan.  Seneca is a good backup and spot starter, but I don't see him as a full time starter.

BUF likes McNabb a lot.  The question is whether he'd be willing to go there and sign an extension.  They won't give us a high price to rent #5. I really think the Bills are the team to watch.  That fanbase is jonesing for a good QB and the owner is an older guy who would give anything to get back to the playoffs.  The Bills are apparently open to dealing their 1st.

CLE is a mystery team.  No one knows what they'll do.  Quinn isn't the answer.  Wallace is mostly a backup.  Single-wing with Cribbs?

Are the Eagles being too ambiguous?  I don't think so, but it is possible.  I'm fairly certain that 31 NFL teams know that Vick is available.  Working out the details is the tricky part.  I also wonder if any team sees him as a future starter.  That affects things greatly.

The McNabb situation is confusing.  There are NFL teams, fans, and media members who are convinced that Big Red means it when he says that McNabb will be the guy in 2010.  Other see this as a smoke screen and negotiating ploy.  Andy does have a great poker face.

McNabb will not get an extension to stay in Philly.  The only way that could happen is if he does stay for 2010 and we have some magical 15-1 year where we break scoring records and win the SB.  Anything short of that means McNabb is on the move after this year.  Kolb trusts Reid very much and wants to be an Eagle, but he would walk the second that McNabb signed a deal to stay here.  Kevin wants to play. 


RE:  Lito trade

I was told the team had a good deal worked out, but Lito had crazy contract demands and the other team nixed the deal.

RE:  Greg Ellis

To the best of my knowledge, Greg played LDE for the Raiders last year.  He started 14 games.  He had 7 sacks and posted okay numbers.  He could be a player we'll target just before or after the draft.  Greg still knows how to get to the QB.


I posted a list of my Top 35 prospects over at ScoutsNotebook