Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Evening Update



Hopefully the CLE/PHI trade has had time to sink in by this point.  Quite a few Eagles fans are up in arms about this move.  That's understandable to a certain extent, but let's get a few things straight. 

* The Eagles did not trade their best CB.  Sheldon is a guy that we all loved because of his toughness and ability as a hitter/tackler.  That's great, but it doesn't make him a better CB than Asante Samuel. 

* This move wasn't done in order to save money.  I have given you hints about this move for a while now.  Older players who did little in the late season losses to Dallas are getting the boot.  Sheldon was targeted by Romo quite a few times in those games.  He was called for a penalty on an early 3rd down in the first of the two losses.  The Eagles were going to draft Sheldon's replacement no matter what.  The fact that he wanted his deal re-done sealed the fact that he was let go.  The Eagles were fine with paying him his salary, but were not about to give a raise to a 31-year old CB who lacks ideal size and speed, 

* The Eagles are not rebuilding.  I don't think people understand what this word means in relation to a team and its roster.  Rebuilding is when you basically strip things bare and start over.  Nothing close to that his happening here.  We are adding new and/or younger pieces around our core players. 

Trent Cole
Brodrick Bunkley
Mike Patterson
Stewart Bradley
Quintin Mikell
Asante Samuel

That is the core of the defense.  Add in new/young players we want on the field.

Darryl Tapp
Moise Fokou

That ties up 8 of 11 starting spots.  WLB, FS, and RCB are all up in the air.  We have experienced starters at each spot.  The question is whether we can bring in upgrades. 

There is a lot of change.  We are letting go of veterans in most cases.  None of these guys was an elite player or anything close to it.  They were all descending players or role players.  We saw "rebuilding" back in the early 90s.  We let multiple Pro Bowl players walk in the middle of their careers.  Nothing remotely close to that is happening at this point.  The names are big in some cases, but again...these are descending players. 

Think about Sheldon for a minute.  He's got a terrific reputation in the locker room.  Players and coaches love him.  He's the anti-Lito Sheppard.  Sheldon has been on the market for a month.  John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, and Steve Spagnuolo all coached or were involved with Sheldon while here.  3 of those guys need a CB.  Rivera might, depending on what they think of Cason.  Did any of them make a move?  No.  Sheldon went to the Browns for a 4th and 5th, hardly a king's ransom.  Cleveland was desperate and that is why they made the deal.  I'm not trying to insult Sheldon and say he's a bad player, but he's a old and expensive band-aid. 

Should we have made the move without more of an ideal solution in place?  That would have been nice, but you can't always do things like that.  Remember, Sheldon was taken in the 2nd.  This is a deep group of CBs.  We can get our guy in the 1st or 2nd round for sure.  We also have the pick in the early 3rd round. 

The Eagles had targeted some CBs last year.  The Redskins and Vikings took the players we really wanted.  The Eagles didn't panic.  They traded for Hobbs and decided to go get a CB in the 2010 draft.  This is a much better crop of players to choose from. 

This move could blow up in our face.  I absolutely acknowledge that.  Sheldon could play for 3 or 4 more years.  Our side of things could fall completely apart.  I have no problems with what the Eagles did.  We needed to get better at CB.  Keeping Sheldon would have meant at best status quo, plus some aging.  If we can get the right young guy in there, we could be just as good.  Remember, we're not replacing 2009 Sheldon, but 2010 Sheldon.  We don't know what level he'll play at.  Remember how quickly Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor went from outstanding to pedestrian?  Simply put, it sucks when star players and fan favorites start to show their age.  That's a side of sports we all hate.


I will watch some tape of Alex Hall and post notes.  Haven't had a chance to do that yet. reports that he will play SAM for us.  He can also be a situational rusher.  He did have 3 sacks back in 2008.  Hall's biggest advocate in Cleveland was a guy named...Phil Savage.  He was GM at the time.  He's now a draft advisor for us.  You can bet Howie Roseman talked to Phil about Hall and what kind of player he is. 


Myron said...

Tommy, how can you say that Asante Samuel was a better cornerback in 2009 than Sheldon Brown and keep a straight face?

Twice the blown coverages, none of the tackling ability, and only 4 more interceptions.

Tommy Lawlor said...


The coaches study every snap thoroughly. If Sheldon had outplayed Sammie he would not have been traded. We value CB too much.

Sheldon had some terrific moments, but don't overlook his problems. He bit on Romo's pump fake in the first Dallas game and that gave Dallas a long TD and the winning score. Sheldon was eaten alive the last 2 games. He was up an down in the middle of the year. Part of that was due to his hamstring injury.

I hope he is great for the Browns. I love Sheldon to death. He is the kind of player you can really enjoy cheering for.

Carson's said...

Only 4? That's a lot IMO

Now if we could just het some resolution at qb...

Eddie said...

Sheldon was slowing down hard so its best to get a fresh rookie to at least back up hoobs fors like half the season or a year at most. i personally want kyle wilson but i dont see him falling to our 24 maybe we need a trade up 19-20 is a range we should go if he slipps alittle.

Myron said...

Earl Thomas / Kyle Wilson or bust in the first round unless we do something amazing like get a top 10 draft pick and move up for Eric Berry.

That's how I want the draft to shake out now, period.

Nathan said...

I'm totally fine with the trade. Unfortunately the NFL is a business, not a popularity contest. I would have loved to keep Sheldon around just for the fact that he seems to be a good guy and a good locker room guy, but I also want to see the Eagles win a Superbowl and I don't see us doing that with Sheldon as one of our starting CB's next year. Tommy, can we safely assume that Nnamdi Asomugha won't be part of any McNabb to Oakland deal? It seems the Eagles are wanting to get younger at CB and Asomugha, while a huge upgrade, doesn't get us much younger at the position.

One more question for you Tommy. Hypothetically speaking, let's say you knew you could have one of the following: Eric Berry and a 2nd/3rd round type CB or Earl Thomas and Kyle Wilson. Which combo would you rather have?

Thanks in advance.

So Cal EaglesFan said...

Hey Tommy,
Ed Thompson of is saying that the Eagles are showing interest in Dwyer. With the Eagles getting Bell what do you think of their "interest" in Dwyer is this a smokescreen or could it actually be legit?

shlynch said...

Man, I had forgotten about Phil Savage until you pointed that out. Great point.

By the way, there has been a guy named Brown or Lewis or Thomas, and often multiple guys with each of those names, on the Eagles for the whole time I have been a fan of the team. No more.

Eddie said...

my dream draft would be we trade mcnabb to the raiders for there 8th and get Eric Berry, and with the 24th pick get Kyle Wilson, with our 2nd round pick i want corey wotton, with Seattle's 3rd i want Sean Lee, and with our 3rd i want a OG/OT Vladimir Ducasse OR Navorro Bowman(but that might be overkill with Will LB) with our Browns 4th i want AJ Edds. and ill finish my dream draft after i learn of some developmental guys that i want like QB Edwards or Jarret Brown.

Pitmanite said...

We're basically doing with our defense what we've done with our offense the last couple of years. Shed veterans and replenish on the fly. I'm very happy about this. We didn't have a championship defense last year. The last thing I wanted them to do is pretend like we were close and try to add a few band-aids. The real key here is that we've hit home runs on a lot of the key positions on offense. Let's hope we do the same for our defense in this draft. I'm hoping we go defense in the first 2 rounds and if we want to add to the o-line wait do it in the 3rd round.

I really don't think we can emphasize enough all the extra mid-round draft picks we have. Andy knows he needs some real playmakers on defense so if he sees his guy for the taking in the 1st rd, I think he'll throw a combination of our extra 3rd-5th round picks at a team to move up in the first and/or 2nd round.

I loved Sheldon as well, but I'll gladly give up an aging, unhappy Sheldon for 2 picks that could help us move up early in the draft to grab a stud. At worst, if we don't use them for trade bait, we've shown ourselves to be very effective in the mid-to-late rounds over the years at adding players who can really help us (i.e. Herremans, Celek, T. Cole, Avant, etc). So let's hope one of these picks lands us a solid starter.

frankfurtler said...


So glad you (insert proper verbage) the Phil Savage connection on this trade, and likewise the Heckert connection . Keep up the good work. Cheers

Cliff said...

What do we know about Ellis Hobb's recovery from injury?

Hobbs is set up to be an important player in 2010, at both KR and CB.

VC said...

Tommy - what have you heard above the eagles filling the CB / S positions. Only through the draft or any talk about trades?

What do you think about Rob Sims? Chatter about the eagles looking to trade for him. Tks, you do a great job

Prem Prakash said...

I don't see how this trade benefits the Eagles. The purpose of trading players should be to improve the team. This move apparently has done nothing to move us forward. I can't agree that keeping Sheldon would have settled us at status quo. He played through a bad hammie last year, played tough and had 5 interceptions. No way to know if he would slow down a step this year with age, but he's a surer bet than either Hobbs or Hanson.

I'll also throw this out -- If I was Sheldon I would have been unhappy with my contract, too, considering how Asante has underperformed his megadeal.

Oh well, good luck to him. Go Eagles.

Cliff said...

Prem, you think Asante has underperformed his contract? He had 9 INT's last season, 22 pass-defenses the year before. He also brought a ball-hawking attitude to our defense that we simply didn't have in the seasons before where Lito was hardly ever on the field.

Sucks to lose Sheldon, but be honest, it was miserable watching him get beat every game for huge gains. Sheldon was solid, but it'll be nice to add new blood.

So Cal EaglesFan said...

Hey Tommy,
I listened to Adam Caplan talk with Spuds yesterday and he was saying that he heard at the owners meetings that there could possibly be one more trade by the Eagles besides the possible moving of McNabb. If you had to speculate who do you think it could be? I cannot think of any of our starters that would be moved outside of Big 5.

Eric said...

Tommy, what's the status of AQ? I keep hearing about McGlynn backing up Cole or even supplanting him at center, but are we forgetting about AQ or is he just a perennial backup/journeyman?

bthackra said...

I am totally fine with this trade and view it as pretty balanced. But, what strikes me as odd about the messaging from Tommy, Spuds, etc is that 4 months ago, we were talking about how Sheldon deserved to be in the Pro Bowl and not Asante. Now, the message seems to be Sheldon was pretty much done. Yeah, Sheldon gave up some big plays and Asante has more potential/upside when he plays well, but I am trying to understand what changed in the last few months.

In my view, taking off the rose colored glasses, we lost a good corner and he is going to be hard to replace but given the youth movement/retooling of the defense, this move had to be made.

I don't think there is a coincidence between the retooling aspect and the fact Andy and Joe just got three year extensions. All the more reason McNabb will be/needs to be traded.

T_S_O_P said...

Tommy, should I presume any more from Fokou than I did from Jordan exactly one year ago? To add Moise at this point I believe is premature, though I don't doubt he'll start. Further, you are surely less excited about him than you were about Chris going into the start of last season on the back of our run to the NFCCG.

On that list of starters we have 2 difference makers and one of those is enigmatic. Stew might be added to that list, but coming off a ACL injury means it would take a fool to guarantee it.

As I see it we have more questions marks and less depth at linebacker than 1 year ago. The draft will be interesting. Do you think we'll target any vets like last years trade for Hobbs?

On Hobbs, as it stands, I have complete confidence that Macho (reverting to corner) would beat him out without breaking sweat.

Prem Prakash said...


I could have made my main point better, which is that Sheldon's level of play, relative to Asante's, should earn him a bigger salary considering the big bucks his teamate gets. Does Asante underperform his salary? I think it's a reasonable question, without a quantifiable answer. I really like having Asante on the team, his ball-hawking is a blast, but we all know how weak he is in his tackling.

I don't watch film and my memory is increasingly leaving town, but I remember seeing teams throw underneath Asante a lot. They deflated his ability to get a jump on the ball, after which he was vulnerable to yac. Until the final two games of the season I considered Sheldon the better cb on the team.

Maybe I'll miss Sheldon because I've never seen anyone with such a, well, weak name tackle so hard. Except for maybe Rosey Grier.

Gregory said...

Tommy, what do you think of Ole Miss player Greg Hardy? do you think he could fit to our system?

Stephen said...

Sheldon actually had an absolutely phenomenal first half of last year. He was up there with Revis and other elite corners so far as successful targets against him and yardage allowed. He was stopping everything, picking off passes, playing good run D. Then the second half of the season fell off.

I'm sad to see him go, but he's not as powerful a franchise presence as Dawk or Trotter was. Frankly the only person on the roster today that I would really be sad to see leave is Trent Cole, at least on the defensive side of the ball.