Saturday, March 6, 2010

More on Spoon and LB


Last year the Giants signed a pair of high quality DTs, Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty.  Star Safety  Brian Dawkins signed with the Broncos.  The New Orleans Saints, coming off a season where they finished 26th in scoring defense, had needs at DT and S.  They signed backup DT Anthony Hargrove and ancient FS Darren Sharper, hardly impact the offseason.

Those guys did turn out to be impact players during the season.  Sharper picked off 9 passes and ran 3 back for TDs.  Hargrove had 5 sacks, 3 TFLs, and a FF as a backup.  That's pretty darn good impact.  The Saints didn't get the big names.  They got the right guys.  They also got to carry home a hunk of silver that says Lombardi at the end of the year. 

We're all frustrated right now (including those inside NovaCare) that the biggest target of the offseason went elsewhere.  He was going to be the centerpiece to the offseason.  Without him, we have to adjust the plans.  This doesn't mean the offseason is a failure.  This doesn't mean the world is ending.  One player isn't going to make or break an offseason, outside of a QB. 

The Eagles have other moves in the works.  We just have to be patient to see what happens.  I know all of us want to see action.  Let's remember, free agency has been open for 36 hours.  It isn't like the Eagles have been sitting on their hands for 10 days.  Moves will be made. 

One of the real complications this year is that there just aren't many good UFAs to choose from.  Most of the key targets are RFAs.  Those players rarely get looked at this early.  When going after an RFA the Eagles would have to negotiate with the agent, talk to the player, and possibly deal with his current team to work out compensation if the player is "available".  You can bet the Eagles are thinking about going for an RFA as well as looking at potential trades.  Remember that the point isn't just to make moves.  Be selective.  Find players you genuinely like and go after those players. 


The key to our LB corps is Stewart Bradley.  The Eagles love him.  They don't just see him as a good MLB.  The coaches think he is a perfect fit for our scheme, a perfect fit for our team (character/personality), and a damn good MLB.  Barring some crazy development, he isn't moving to SAM.  You find a key player and build around him.  Disco Stew is that key player. 

Cutting Spoon did catch us off guard.  That move doesn't exist in a vacuum.  We need to see what else happens to decide if the move makes sense or not.  I wasn't happy when the team cut Takeo Spikes after the '07 season.  He's still playing good football and we're still juggling LBs.  I don't have a strong feeling with Spoon because I'm just not sure what the move means. 

As for the Spoon trade...we had to make that move.  Remember, we had lost our top 2 MLBs for the year at that point.  Joe Mays clearly wasn't the answer.  We felt that we had a potential SB team and had to go get a quality veteran LB.  Without Spoon the defense would have really bottomed out.  To get Spoon we gave up a 5th round pick and WR Brandon Gibson.  Forget the pick.  Let's talk about Gibson.  He is a good young player.  He got a lot of PT for the Rams and went 34-348-1.  I watched tape of him recently.  I'm still not sold that he has the speed to be a good full time starter.  I do think he can be a good role player.  Let's just temper the notion that Brandon Gibson was some great player or big time loss.  He was (and is ) a nice player, but nothing more.  When it comes to trades, you have to give something to get something.  Sure, we ended up just renting Spoon, but the move made complete sense at the time. 

What is the future at LB?  I'm thinking about that.  There isn't a clear course of action for those of us on the outside.  I'm sure the Eagles have a player or players that they are targeting.  Cutting Spoon opens a starting spot and frees up salary.  I have to think the Eagles have a plan based on this move.  We just have to wait and see what happens.  And waiting is the hardest part.


No one outside of NovaCare really knows what the plans are.  Do not listen to what Reid says.  His words could be the truth, a smokescreen, or complete lies.  You are just wasting your time trying to read into what he says.  The Eagles know that McNabb and Vick are tradeable commodities.  They will explore various options and do what they feel is best.  Again, just be patient.  The Eagles know every angle of this situation.  I know what I want them to do, but we all have to sit and wait to see what actually unfolds. 


Cliff said...

Thanks for the perspective. I was initially shocked and disappointed, but I had to remind myself it's only been a day and it's not like there were all-pro's out there waiting for us to sign them anyway.

I think a lot of fans - including myself - get too caught up in the present. If the Eagles didn't sign Peppers, we must be cheap or have no plan. But if we look at the past, we know that when this organization wants a player they act aggressively (see: Asante Samuel, Terrell Owens, Jason Peters, Darren Howard, the Randy Moss offer).

On to Plan B...

Who are some RFA linebackers we may be looking at? Or do you think the draft is a more likely approach to our new LB vacancy?

Stephen said...

Peppers contract with the Bears would have been hard to match. The Redskins absolutely ruined the contract market with that Haynesworth deal last year. Thank you Daniel Snyder.

Prem Prakash said...

I don't understand the timing of cutting Spoon. If the lb situation isn't settled by training camp, it would make sense to bring him back to compete for a spot. If they had no interest in him, they could have released him prior so he could presumably try and hook up with another team.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I believe Reid when he says McNabb is the qb. I hope you guys will all forget I wrote this after he proves me wrong! My thinking is that if the Eagles now move McNabb, Andy loses all credibility. I guess they could end up saying they got such an amazing offer they couldn't resist, but unless it's truly a remarkable deal I would think the press guys and fan base would call him out. Maybe I'm just nieve...

Myron said...

Well that was an anticlimactic free agency.

Except for the what was expected (re-signing Weaver), Eagles fans didn't get anything interesting out of this at all.

And now the hated Giants finally have a safety who can cover, and will undoubtedly be harder to beat next year. Yay?

There's not much that could have been done, anyway. I realize that pulling the Brinks truck up to Julius Peppers' house is not necessarily the smartest thing to do. Chicago was *desperate*, and needed this signing alot more than Philly did. Without Peppers, due to the passing of Gaines Adams, they literally have NO pass rush. I understand why they wanted to unload all of that money on Peppers when they don't have first or second round picks this year. It's not the fault of the Eagles FO. But it still stings that they can't improve the team in an uncapped year through free agency.

So far, I'm not very confident that this will be a top team in the NFC next year.

If they don't draft some impact players like Sean Weatherspoon or Brandon Graham, and instead do something ridiculous like trade down for another project QB/DE, I'll really be depressed.

Myron said...

Also, Tommy, I'm looking forward to your Combine review of the defensive players, and how they pertain to the Eagles.

Netherman said...

Good post...been reading a lot of sour grapes over what we lost to get Spoon. I was thinking the same thing, and I think most people were applauding the Eagles for doing the deal last year without really factoring him in to our long term plans. I do agree cutting him before the draft seems foolish...thought I read somewhere they were working on a deal with Avant, and if that money got earmarked for him, I am good with that.

AKBowden said...

I'd keep an eye out for Nick Roach. Played really well for the Bears last year filling in for Urlacher. He's 25 and has a second round tender. Is a proven NFL linebacker with low mileage and decent upside better than what you might get in the draft? Hard to say.

Keep in mind that Fokou is almost 25 too. And we think of him as a young player. And wouldn't it be nice to stick it to the Bears?

Tommy, what do you think of Roach?

Adam said...

Tommy, do you think the eagles not getting Peppers and possibly other targets can partially be attributed to losing Tom Heckert and Howie's learning curve?