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.


Mike said...

The most brilliant headline I've read yet, courtesy of Sir Dennis Eaton-Hogg.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Well done, sir.

geoff said...

The thing that struck me is you said he plays under control whic is exactly what we want. The DE needs to play run, etc on the way the QB. This is a good trade, not spectacular but good. They have some flexability in the draft w/ this. I'm pleased.

Josh said...

Nice write-up, thanks! What makes it more difficult to face the LT rather than the RT? Just better caliber players at that position to protect the QB's blindside?

Mike said...

Thanks - I was the guy who grabbed your hidden Led Zep I references in a column a few months ago. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.

I believe you mentioned it in an earlier column, but essentially, with this trade, you've given up a 4th round pick for a guy who's capable of starting and who becomes a nice compliment to Cole. The addition could make both players, and your whole line, better, and I'll certainly gamble a 4th on that. Watched a bit of video of him on NFL Network website, and he brings that "always moving forward" hustle that I love in Trent Cole.

I really like the Bell signing a lot and would be interested in a Tapp-style writeup on him. I haven't seen him that much, but I think his hard-nosed, no-dancing, "one cut and go" running style will be a nice compliment to McCoy and Weaver. I think he played out a game in his rookie year in DEN with a compound fracture of his middle finger - pretty tough, too.

Dr. Ogrodnick said...

Hopefully this one goes to 11.

Dominic said...

Tommy, thanks for the informed writeup on Tapp. I think he gives us a more physical presence upfront to match up with the Cowboys massive line. I also like the Bell move, I think Andy was looking for another Buck type runner.

What do you think about Darryl Washington as a possible WILL prospect for us? His highlights are awesome; he is a great cover guy and he is lightning quick (for a linebacker). That of course would do little to solve our SAM problem. Do you think Akeem could play SAM? From what you have said, namely that he is great at taking on blockers. I know he would be a departure from our previous SAM linebackers, who were former dends, but I wonder if McDermott prefers faster players at SAM than JJ did.

Clawed said...

You know what the title of that book should be? "Yes I Can if Frank Sinatra Says it's Okay". Cause Frank calls the shots for all of those guys...

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: LT vs RT

Left Tackle is a spot normally played by a big guy with good feet, long arms, and plenty of athletic ability. His primary job is to be a pass blocker. Think of Tra Thomas.

Right Tackle is a guy who can be big (Jon Runyan) or might lack ideal size (Willie Colon). He isn't a gifted athlete. He is more of a run blocker than pass protector. He's more brute than athlete. RTs lack ideal agility and balance. Remember when little ol' Strahan would throw Runyan on his butt? That was about balance and power instead of pure size and strength.

It is much easier to beat a RT and get to the QB on a pass play than it is to deal with a LT.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Darryl Washington / LBs

I don't think he's our ideal WLB. Darryl is a terrific cover guy and athlete. We like our WLBs to also be physical and able to deal with blockers. Omar Gaither lost his job in 2008 because he didn't handle fullbacks well. The Giants and Skins ate his lunch. Akeem Jordan stepped in and did a good job against blockers. He got in the coach's doghouse in 2009 because he got sloppy in coverage.

We're still looking for the one WLB who can consistently play the run and pass.

I'm not sure if we'll address this with a pro move or draft pick.

As for SAM...the coaches like Moise Fokou and want to see what he can do. They will challenge him, either with Gocong or a draft pick.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Glad to see so many Spinal Tap fans. You can expect a lot of Tap references in the coming years.

Dr. Ogrodnick said...

I actually saw the Tap live in NY back in the early 90's. Actually a pretty good show. Certainly helped that the gods smiled on me and I was somehow seated next to Jamie lee Curtis with Christie Brinkley a few seats down on the other side. If anyone has the Critereon Collection DVD there is over an hour of extra scenes. It's like its own hilarious companion movie.

Oh yeah, Go eagles.

T_S_O_P said...

We're still looking for the one WLB who can consistently play the run and pass.

Akeem Gaither?

Stephen said...

I like both moves. Is it just me or do these moves feel a little more aggressive than what we've done in the past?

T_S_O_P said...

How does this effect Stacy? Many fans have lumped him with his brother which may make the Linc feel like less than home to him. Could he be a draft day trade possibility? Did the reworking of his contract make that more or less plausible? Probably a question for Sam over at Iggles Blog.

Eddie said...

Releasing Shawn Andrews was a mistake. he was a dominate run blocking and someone who i thought if healthy could leaps and bounds above justice. it cant be about hthe money because he is making a low base salary. i think at the very least we should have allowed him a chance to come to training camp. if he wasn't healthy then, then you could justify release him.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Shawn

He talks a good game, but has shown no indication that he's really committed to playing football. At some point you're wise to let go of projects and focus on players.

This move had nothing to do with money. The Eagles put up with a lot of stuff from Shawn and were as patient as humanly possible. It was just time to move on.

I don't think Stacy will be upset with this. I think he knew Shawn was a goner. Stacy wants to stay an Eagle, win some games, and make some money.

Shawn is off in his own world, or at least it seems that way.

Myron said...

Tommy, does it still bother you that in 2007 they passed on Anthony Spencer, who is now beastly in Dallas's lineup? He led the league last year in Stops and Tackles for 3-4 OLBs and 4-3 DEs and generated consistent QB pressure in the latter half of the season.

The more I think about it, the more annoying it is to me - Spencer really came into his own this past year, and looks to be a top-flight DE/OLB now. He could have been putting up those great tackle/sack numbers for the Eagles this whole time instead.

The recent signing of Tapp is nice, but I was recently pondering the previous drafts and that 2007 trade-down still sticks out in my mind as a potentially bad move for the future. I mean, they could have had the LDE of the future in Spencer, but now Dallas has him. Couldn't they have just waited to see if Kolb was available in the bottom of the second round instead of trading down? It still bothers me.

Adam S. said...

Re: Myron

I don't think that you pass on a quarterback that you believe in at any point. If he doesn't make it to the end of the round we don't have a QB of the future on our roster right now (obviously they could have changed that between now and then). Given McNabb's health concerns at the time, I think it was reasonable to move back to grab him. Am I glad they traded with Dallas to accomplish that, hells nah!

Their scouting reports obviously didn't see Spencer becoming the force he is today. After his first season few saw this coming. Plus I think if Jon Beason isn't picked the selection before there is no trade and Beason is in Midnight Green.

ALSO you have to keep in mind that the trade also netted us Stewart Bradley.

Kolb + Bradley > Spencer

Cliff said...

Spencer is also a much better fit for the 3-4. Would he be as good in our defense? We don't know.

Plus, if Kolb starts this year and goes all Aaron Rodgers on us, will you still be thinking about Spencer? Doubt it.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Spencer / Kolb

This will be a fun/annoying duo to study for the next several years. Anthony got off to a slow start, but really emerged last year. Good young LB/DE. Kolb might do the same thing this year, depending on a potential trade of McNabb.

Adam S. is correct that you just don't pass on a QB you believe in. That is the most important position in football. A great defense without a QB won't get you much. The 2000 Ravens are the rare exception.

If Spencer becomes an All-Pro and Kolb washes out, history will show that Dallas got the better of the situation. That doesn't mean the Eagles made a bad move. You have to judge moves based on the circumstances at the time of the deal. Donnie was coming off a torn ACL. We needed a young QB to start grooming. Getting Kolb was the right thing to do at that time.

Let's hope history proves it was a good move in the long run as well.

Myron said...

What I'm wondering is if Kolb couldn't have just been available in the bottom of the second round if the Eagles selected Spencer in the first. He wasn't exactly a highly touted QB prospect in that draft, if I remember correctly.

I really don't understand the move down the board. If Kolb was indeed a hot prospect, why not pick him with the #24 pick? If Kolb was a late round prospect for most teams, why not just wait until your 2nd round pick to select him and still utilize your first on Spencer?

Ian said...

Miami was really interested in Kolb aswell and they drafted a pretty close to us in the top 2nd there, so either way i doubt kolb would of lasted to the end of the 2nd.

Matt said...

I get irritated when people talk about that trade by comparing Kevin Kolb to Anthony Spencer, as if the two were traded straight up. The Eagles received other players in that trade, you know. Without extra picks in the 3rd and 5th rounds that year, it's possible the Eagles are currently without Stewart Bradely, Brent Celek, or even both.

Stephen said...

Can't discount the fact that we got Stewart Bradley out of that deal as well. It's not like we didn't get someone with pro bowl potential already, Kolb would just be a kicker.

Netherman said...

Myron, you could make yourself crazy second guessing who would have fallen where with almost any pick. Heck, people are undecided about who should go number 1 this year even if St Louis keeps the pick.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: Kolb's value

Kevin was not a late round prospect to most teams. That is hogwash.

The Eagles may have had a higher grade than most, but it is unlikely he would have lasted to our 2nd round spot.

Tom Heckert was a master at knowing when players would go on draft day. He felt confident we could move back and still get Kevin. That netted us additional picks, but still got the player we coveted.

Bottom line is this when dealing with QBs: better safe than sorry. If you find a QB you like, go get him. Period. Don't reach a couple of rounds early or anything like that, but do not try to wait until the last possible moment. QB is the most important position in all of football. Better to spend a 2nd on Kolb than to have to use a pair of 1st rounders on Jay Cutler or to have the team bottom out which gives you the high pick to invest in a franchise QB.

Cliff said...

Another problem with comparing Kolb to Spencer is how do you even compare a QB to a DE? Both positions impact a team differently. If Spencer averages 10 sacks a year over the prime of his career and Kolb only achieves a mid-80's passer rating with 25 TD's a season (i.e. becomes something more like Flacco than Rodgers); who had the better career? Who helped their team more?

You simply can't make those comparisons using empirical evidence, which means we'd be debating forever. I don't see the point.

Steven said...

If Seattle offered you their 6th and 14th pick overall for Kolb, would you take it?

Also, I know it's an unfair question but based on the two games he started how do you see him panning out in the future? To me I see him as a top 10 QB. Not a superstar but an above average QB. Somewhere along Eli Manning's level

Myron said...

Cliff: So far Kevin Kolb has done little more for the Eagles than generate some QB controversy.

Spencer, on the other hand, this past year, led the league in tackles for both 3-4 OLBs and 4-3 DEs, generated 7 sacks, and also led the league in QB pressures for both 3-4 OLbs and 4-3 DEs.

I'd gladly give up Kolb, a solid TE (Celek) and an average MLB (Bradley) for a top 3, elite DE/OLB.

So basically speaking, unless Kolb truly does become the future of this franchise and put in at least a respectable career as quarterback, I'd chalk this move up as a failure.

Steven said...

Stewart Bradley is more than just an average LB. He is a probowl LB prior to his ACL tear,and I believe he will be back to his old form. Brent Celek is a decent TE. Even if Kevin Kolb is the next David Gerrard this will still be a good deal. If he is the next Brady Quinn this is an awful deal.

Myron said...

Bradley is solid, but he's far from being a Pro Bowl MLB. I don't know where you get this idea he played on a Pro Bowl level in 2008.

According to profootballfocus, he was mostly middle-of-the-pack in stats for MLBs in 2008. And of course, he was a nonfactor in 2009 because of his injury, which of course was a concern heading into the 2007 draft.

Anyway, the point is, DE is such a critical position that if you have the chance to snag an elite top 5 DE, you must take him. An elite DE is far more valuable than a backup QB, a solid MLB, and a solid TE.

Unless Kolb turns into a reliable starter for the Eagles, again, it was a failure for the Eagles on draft day in 2007 to make that move down the board.

Netherman said...

Myron, by your logic, why did every team pass up Trent Cole several times? You are going back in time with the knowledge you have now. If I remember correctly in Spencer's draft class he was one of those JPP like guys with intriguing intangibles but was a potential boom or bust candidate. Rewind back to last year and it looks like we came out ahead in that trade deal.

To your points on stats, any time you need to rely on that to make your case, you are on shaky ground. There is no way possible to boil down a single defensive player's effectiveness by a stat and measure him against his peers. There are simply too many variables like scheme, surrounding cast, opponents, etc that make it ludacris to even try. Stew is a very good LB. Spencer looks like a very good 3-4 OLB. Celek is a very good TE. Who knows about Kolb, but if he even turns into a decent QB, I think this goes in the books as a "win" for the Eagles.

Chris said...

Check out the Charger's haul for their *3rd string* QB who hasn't ever thrown an NFL pass.

If this guy got that kind of return, how can we not get something good for Vick (former Pro Bowler) or McNabb (consistently one of the top 10 QBs in the league)?

em26jamie said...

Myron, you're downgrading Eagles players and upgrading Spencer. How is Spencer a top 3 elite DE/OLB? Are you saying he's better than Demarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Dumerville, Freeney, Cole, and Peppers? He had 2 fewer sacks than Juqua Parker and just 1 more PD. He has more tackles because he's a LB and Parker is a situational DE.

Plus, if the Eagles did not trade the pick, were they going to pick Spencer?

Cliff said...

Yeah, I don't understand the love for Spencer all of a sudden. I think it's a case of "the grass is always greener..."

Kevin said...

I honestly don't understand how anyone in their right mind would take Spencer over Bradley & Kolb. I mean...i'd take Bradley over Spencer straight up (Pro Bowl MLB over solid DE)...when you had Kolb (at WORST, very good backup QB), it's a no-brainer.

Ben said...

Kevin Curtis and Darren Howard released...

KC was expected.

Seems like VA has the inside track at being the nickel DT now.

Honestly didn't expect Howard to get cut, but I don't think it's a bad move either.