Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Was the Future of the Eagles

These are some starters that are supposed to be long term fixtures at the positions (or are now).
QB - Kevin Kolb
WR - DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin
RB - LeSean McCoy
FS - Macho Harris
RT - Winston Justice

I want to start off the article by saying that McNabb's job is NOT in any form of jeapordy. But Kevin Kolb played pretty damn well. He is the first QB in the NFL to throw for 300+ yards in his first two starts. He and Jackson clearly have a chemistry going. He hit Maclin several times for decent gains. He is giving Brent Celek the opportunities necessary to become the pass-catching TE in the NFL (he has the most receiving yards for the NFL so far). He even ran for a touchdown! He is moving the ball up and down the field. While he may not be starting when the Eagles play Tampa Bay (McNabb should be back by then) he has shown that we can trust him to be the Quarterback of the Future for the Eagles.

LeSean McCoy played an outstanding game. While Westbrook will remain the starter for the remainder of the season, McCoy clearly is the long term solution. He showed great vision, and was able to hit the holes quickly. Had McCoy juked slightly harder on one play, he could have had a 30 yard TD run. Eldra Buckley is a nice back up, but McCoy showed that he can carry the ball as often as necessary.

DeSean Jackson- Need I really address this? The past two weeks he has 71, and 64 yard TDs. The week before he returned a punt 85 yards for a TD. The kid has the penchant for the big play. He is the best receiver since the Eagles had Terrell Owens, and he's only a sophomore.

Jeremy Maclin - He played well. He had 4 receptions for 33 yards. What's important to remember is that that could've been 5 and a TD had Kobb throw the ball slightly in front of Maclin. Maclin and Jackson should be tearing up opponent's secondaries for years to come.

Macho Harris - You want to know what makes me happy? The fact that Brian Dawkins, by far and away one of the greatest players to ever don the Eagles uniform and a seven time Pro-Bowler, left town and we're not worrying about his rookie replacement. Harris is making tackles when he needs to, and has not given up the big play yet. Eventually he will make a mistake or two, but he looks leaps and bounds better than Demps ever looked last year.

Winston Justice - The kid has simply played. No one expected him to come in and make a Pro-Bowl, but he is playing for his life. He is simply dominating while run and pass blocking. I'm glad that Andrews got hurt early on, so Justice could improve vastly during the preseason. He is only going to get better as the season goes on.

Notice I said nothing about Vick. He played well, didn't turn the ball over, but nothing that memorable. Simply not turning the ball over does not win you a salary in the NFL, and definitely with the Eagles. While I'm glad the Eagles made the move, until I see a payoff in the regular season I'm not going to fully understand the move.

The Eagles go into the bye 2-1, and the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Redskins (they looked terrible today) the Eagles could realistically start 5-1. Much better than last years 3-3. Today was just a brief glimpse of what the Eagles will be in the future, and it looked pretty good, even if it was just against the Chiefs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What To Make of the 53 Man Roster.

The Eagles Waived-
B Trae Williams, CB Jack Ikegwuonu, DE Bryan Smith, DE Josh Gaines, LB Tank Daniels, FS Reshard Langford, WR Danny Amendola, RB Lorenzo Booker, C Dallas Reynolds, G Paul Fanaika, G Mike Gibson, TE Rob Myers, FB Marcus Mailei and FB Kyle Eckel. These players are now subject to waivers.

Ikegwuonu simply hasn't recovered from that knee injury which allowed him to slip to the 4th Round in 2008. He lacks the speed necessary to play CB with the Eagles, and he continuously got beat during the preseason, against second string WR's.

Bryan Smith was a project. The Eagle's failed at turning him into a successful player.

Danny Amendola was a favorite of mine going into the preseason. I loved seeing him make plays in the receiving game and return game. But we are already holding 7 WR's on the roster (will get to that later). I hope that he gets signed to the Practice Squad, but he may get picked up by another team first.

Booker has been on his way out of town for a while.

Myers and Bright were projects. Unfortunately neither could show any talent at the TE position.

I loved Kyle Eckel last year. There was simply no space for him on this year's roster though. The addition of FB Weaver almost sealed his fate.

The Eagles Cut-
DT Dan Klecko, LB Matt Wilhelm and TE Matt Schobel. These players are now unrestricted free agents.

Wilhem was simply a Training Camp Body. Schobel hasn't really done anything for this offense in recent history. And Klecko was the reason that a jet's rookie running back accumulated so many yards.

Important Retentions
Quarterback- McNabb, Kolb, Feeley.
Vick is on the commissioner's exempt list. Right now the Eagles are keeping Feeley on the roster so they don't lose anything they could gain out of a trade. If he isn't traded within a few days expect him to be cut. There are also rumors of Kolb getting traded, but I don't see that happening.

Running Back - Westbrook, McCoy, Buckley
No surprises here, except maybe for Buckley. Buckley absolutely played his way onto this team though.

Full Back - Weaver
No surprise.

Tight Eend - Celek, Curtis
Celek is the obvious starter. Curtis has proved he can block in Dallas. He also proved in the Jet's game that he has the ability to catch. Look for the Eagles to maybe add a third TE early on.

Wide Receiver - Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Hank Baskett, Reggie Brown, Brandon Gibson
The Eagles cannot keep seven WRs. Eventually either Basket or Brown will be cut or traded. Gibson has played his way onto the squad.

Offensive Line - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Max Jean-Gilles, Nick Cole, Mike McGlynn, Winston Justice, King Dunlap
While the Eagle's like to have lots of linemen, don't expect everyone to stay. I just don't know who the Eagles will give the boot to.

Defensive End
- Victor Abiamiri, Jason Babin, Chris Clemons, Trent Cole, Darren Howard, Juqua Parker
I'm not sure if all 6 will stay in Philadelphia. While they are quality ends, unless Trent Cole is going to be switched out a lot more often than last year I can't see them all getting field time.
Note on Babin: Great Preseason, man absolutely played his way onto the team. Hopefully returning to his rightful position will allow him to excel.

Defensive Tackle - Brodrick Bunkley, Trevor Laws, Mike Patterson
I expect them to add one more sometime soon. Only three DT's is concerning. Especially if Bunkley or Patterson goes down for the season (or even worse both)

Linebacker - Moise Fokou, Omar Gaither, Chris Gocong, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Tracy White
We all knew this was going to be the lineup. Tracy White and Moise Fokou played their way onto the squad. I can't really envision this changing. The backups pretty much have the ability to play any of the three positions.

Cornerback - Sheldon Brown, Joselio Hanson, Ellis Hobbs, Dimitri Patterson, Asante Samuel
No surprises. Dimitri Patterson is the gunner on special teams so that really helped his case for making the team.

Safety - Quintin Demps, Macho Harris, Sean Jones, Quintin Mikell
No surprises again. Jones and Demps are still battling it out. Harris' play has caused some rumors that he may even be in the mix now. I doubt it. I envision Sean Jones starting the season at Free Safety.

Specialists (3) - David Akers, Jon Dorenbos, Sav Rocca

Again this roster is ANYTHING from final. There will be lots of changes in the upcoming days.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Happened in Indy?

Andy Reid called the performance in Indianapolis " embarrassing, absolutely ridiculous on both sides of the ball and special teams, and unacceptable." Reid was clearly trying to send a message: "The regular season is coming real fast, it's time to get our selves in gear."

While Reid is absolutely allowed to be mad, the performance was about as embarrassing as it gets in the preseason, it just gives the Eagles more to focus on.

1. Getting the Offensive Line together.

Donovan McNabb was originally slated to play an entire half, but then Reid became aware of the offensive line situation. King Dunlap simply could not block Dwight Freeney. Although Reid will never say it, McNabb was pulled out after the TD pass because Reid did not want his Franchise Quarterback to get injured in a meaningless preseason game.

2. Ellis Hobbs doesn't know the system yet.

That Reggie Wayne touchdown was completely unacceptable. Hobbs thought that he had safety help over the top but he didn't. This is all because of a misunderstanding of the play. While we know that Sheldon Brown knows the system, Hobbs needs to get on the same page.

3. Maclin is not Jackson

He looked hesitant while returning kicks. He dropped a third down pass that hit him right in the hands. We can only hope this is because of the missed time and it will get better as the season goes on.

But here are the good things about the game.

1. Skill Position Offense looked good.

That TD throw to DeSean Jackson is exactly what was missing last year. McCoy looks great while running, and will only get better as he adjusts to the speed of the game. McNabb looked on target with most of his passes, the problem was a couple of dropped passes on third down.

2. Hobbs looked good as a Kick Returner.

He had a return for 35 yards with poor blocking. He looks like he will be a plus from Demps last year.

3. Babin looks good.

He's had 4 tackles and one sack in both of his preseason games. And this game was going against the first team offensive line. He also forced a fumble on Peyton Manning, a feat that is not easily accomplished.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Remains To Be Fixed in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles are a team that is on the brink of success. There a couple of things that are holding them back... and here they are.

The Offensive Line

This is the most publicized problem with the Eagles right now. In May the Eagles had the following projected starting lineup.

RT: Jason Peters

RG: Todd Herremens

C: Jamaal Jackson

LG: Stacy Andrews

LT: Shawn Andrews.

When the Eagles played last thursday only Peters,who went out of the game with an injury anyway, and Jackson even played. While the back ups didn't do a TERRIBLE job, the game definitely would have gone better had they played better. Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters look on pace to return either this week or next week. Todd Herremens is expected to return in the season opener. The biggest question mark is Shawn Andrews and his ability to recover from some back muscle issues. Winston Justice, the former second round pick, is currently playing Right Tackle. The Offensive Line needs to sort itself out before the Eagles head to Carolina for the season opener.

Depth at TE

Right now Celek, Bright, Schobel, and Mayers are the only TEs on the 80 man roster.

- Celek is the obvious starter.

- Matt Schobel has been here for several years, knows the system, but has never really produced during the regular season.

- Robert Myers is a project the eagles are working on.

- Bright is a converted defensive end who looks like he needs another year on the practice squad before he can play at this level.

If the Eagle's ever want to line up in a dual TE set and hope their opponents take them seriously they need at least another TE. If Celek is ever seriously injured the team is going to be in dire need of one.

The Linebackers

If you took one thing away from the Patriots game it should be that a TE was allowed to score 2 TD's with relative ease. Covering the TE is the LB's job. While I don't know which LB had the specific assignment on Baker that problem needs to be fixed. I think that this will be fixed as the preseason goes on and the LB's get better chemistry, but it cannot happen during the regular season.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Practice Update: Michael Vick arrives and more!

A Couple of Big News Items
1. Michael Vick
Yes Michael Vick practiced today. He originally practiced in offensive only drills, completing slant patterns and regular routes. He worked studiously with McNabb and Marty Mornhinweg: trying to get his footwork and basics back in place. What is notable about this practice is that
a) He handled the media well, spoke very little,
b) He was the first one on the field and the last one off
c) He hooked up with Maclin twice for 50 yard throws down the field.

2. Sheldon Brown
Sheldon Brown was injured his ribs today while defending Kevin Curtis. His ribs are bruised and I Don't Know how long he'll be out.

3. Shawn Andrew's Speaks!
Yeah, a lot of you guys with the ink pens question my mental toughness. I know a lot of people are trying to keep their jobs and do good for their paper, so I guess it’s OK. It’s tough when a guy can’t defend himself. People just kind of make me out to be a nut case. It’s all right. I’m content with myself and where God wants me to be."

Get back on the field PLEASE!

4.Westbrook Practiced.
Philly.Com had this to say about Westbrook
-- Westbrook ran during intalls, but not during team drills. The running back looked very sharp.

Gcobb had this to say about practice.
Brian Westbrook was out getting some work during the individual drills. We went in after those were over and I'd estimate that he looked about 70%. You can see that BWest still has a ways to go before he's all the way back. He doesn't put all of his weight on that injured ankle. It's understandable. It's good to see him out here so far ahead of the first game.

Friday, August 14, 2009

PreSeason Without Michael Vick (Offensive)

So I know that everyone wants to talk about the signing of Michael Vick right now, but let's keep this discussion as uncontroversial as possible. PreSeason is an incredibly important time for rookies and a few veterans as they are fighting for a spot to make the team.

Here a couple people I'm going to talk about quickly and absolutely encourage anyone's views on these players or anyone else I don't mention.

1. Jeremy Maclin - It took Maclin a drive or two to get acclimated to the environment but he played well during the game. He had 2 catches for 44 yards, which made him the Eagle's leading receiver behind Eldra Buckley (more on him later). He also drew the pass interference which obviously gave the Eagle's great field position inside the 1 yard line. He also played incredibly well as a punt returner; returning 2 punts for over 20 yards each.

2. LeSean McCoy - He averaged 5.5 yards/carry and was very explosive. He made his way through some tough holes. He gained 19 yards on one reception, but then lost 7 yards on another. Those 7 yards are NOT his fault. Donovan McNabb was being pressured and he just dumped it off to McCoy when McCoy was still standing right next to him. McCoy attempted to scramble but there is only so much you can really do.

3. Eldra Buckley - This is the player who I was by far the most impressed and surprised by. I expected Buckley to make a push for a roster spot, but he blew me away. He had 2 touchdowns (1 receiving 1 rushing) and was the Eagle's top receiver. Definitely the best contributor on the offense.

4. The Entire Offensive Line - They looked pretty good without 3 of the projected starters. Not the best offensive line in the league, but they were effective.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Injury Update: (As of Sunday June 09)

Injuries have plagued the Eagle's this offseason, making a once optimistic camp seem dark and dismal (it's really not, but I'll get to that later).
Let's start with the worst first, and then move into less severe.

Stewart Bradley - Torn ACL: Out For Season

This may be the worst injury that the Eagle's have suffered in the offseason. Bradley was the starting Middle Linebacker and primary signal caller for the Eagle's Defense. After Dawkins left it seemed that Bradley was tapped to become the Defense's new leader as well.
In regards to the X's and O's, his replacement will either be Omar Gaither, who is currently competing with Akeem Jordan for the Weak Side LB position, or Joe Mays. I like Joe Mays in this battle. Gcobb wrote a very good article about Joe May's recent progress. Here's an excerpt:
But Mays had a good day today. He made some very good open-field tackles. He had one on LeSean McCoy where it was just the two of them out there in space. He got McCoy to the ground. He did a great job of taking away McCoy’s cut-back lanes and using the sideline as a defender. It was a very nice play.

And On Omar Gaither:

There are plenty of leader's on the Defense to replace Bradley's spirit. Mikell has always been an assumed leader, and he will continue to rise in that role. Asante Samuel has been making some noise every day in camp. Trent Cole is the unquestioned leader of the line. There are plenty of good people that will step up.

Cornelius Ingram - Torn ACL: Out For Season

This is a big loss for the Eagles. They were expecting Ingram to become the X-Factor in the red zone. His height, and athleticism would have been invaluable for Donovan McNabb had he been available. He was injured in a goal line drill on Thursday. The Eagles thought it was just a small amount of swelling until they conducted an MRI. Last Year Ingram tore the ACL in the same knee and was out for the season with the Florida Gators.

Shawn Andrews - Back MUSCLE Soreness

This injury doesn't have me overly concerned. According to Andy Reid Shawn Andrews is having some issues with the muscles in his back. Andrews reported to camp and completed the flexibility and agility drills required but then started complaining. Andrews has been seen around Lehigh rehabing and staying in shape by doing cardio. Filling in for Andrews at Right Tackle is Winston Justice.

DeSean Jackson- Hyper Exteneded Knee: Already Back

DeSean Jackson is already back on the field as of Sunday Afternoon. Andy Reid said he would have been back earlier had it not rained Sunday Morning. I really only included this here because I got several frantic texts last night about this showing up on sports center.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Happened To Training Camp?

So this is my first post in a while... so I am going to talk about a lot!

1. Jim Johnson Passes Away
This is a terrible tragedy. Jim Johnson was an incredibly important part of this organization and you know that when Andy Reid placed Sean McDermermott as the official Eagle's Defensive Coordinator things were bad. First off I want to send out my condolences to everyone who was affected by Jim Johnson's death. We all miss him greatly.

What does this mean for the Eagles on the field though?
I think it does some good things and some terrible things.
The terrible thing is obviously that Jim Johnson will never again call a blitz. While we may not feel that right away, his ability to find the wrinkles in an offense and expose them through complex blitz packages kept this defense in top 5 shape for the past decade.
It also gives players a drive. It gives them something to fight for. They all loved Jim Johnson and respected him like no other man in that locker room. They'll want to do it for Jim. You cannot replace that motivation with any contract incentive.

2. Flight Night, or more like Injury Night.
So Ellis Hobbs apparently only has a stinger, and that should be resolved in the next day or so. Stewart Bradley on the other hand is a much bigger issue. According to the reports he tore his ACL. This means he is almost guaranteed to be out of the season. Bradley is the player who wore the communication helmet and called out the plays. He also seemed to be tapped to be the heart and soul of this defense now that Dawkins is gone. Who will replace his position? At this point it looks like it will be either Omar Gaither or Joe Mays. Gaither played MIKE throughout 2007 and led the team in tackles that year. Joe Mays played well in preseason last year and has potential. Another question is who will step up and replace him as the emotional leader on the defense? Asante Samuel? Sheldon Brown? The options are limited but someone needs to step up soon.

3. Juquae Parker.
I'm just going to refer to this. What the two of them did was very stupid and if it impacts the team at all I will be very dissapointed.
These guys went to college, right? Don't they know how to block the bottom of the door with a towel, turn on the lava lamp, and chillax in private?

4. Jeremy Maclin
I am gladded that he is FINALLY signed to a contract but it took way too long. A Rookie coming out of a spread offense needs all the time he can get.

5. DeSean Jackson
I can't report anything myself so I will just refer to this.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb talked Wednesday about how Jackson's desire to be one of the league's best propels the skinny little wideout, who seems to relish facing off 1-on-1 with Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel. Samuel and Jackson jaw at one another constantly, taunting and baiting.

If DeSean can really blossom this year it will help McNabb a lot. I don't need to explain how that will work.

6. Brian Westbrook may be back!?!?!?!?!
Early reports from the Eagle's said that Westbrook MAY be back by preseason and most analysts said that there was no way that was happening. Well apparently Westbrook was running drills very well on the side. If Westbrook can slowly get his way back into the rotation I think that will only help LeSean McCoy. I know the Eagle's won't work him too hard, but McCoy has an opportunity to learn directly from the best in the business. It can only make the team better when Westbrook is on the field doing his thing.
"Yeah, (we are) just trying to get him involved with some football drills,'' Reid said. "Rick has done a handful of conditioning and rehab drills with him. We brought a quarterback over to throw him the ball, throw him some routes just to see how he's cutting. I needed to get a little feel on it, just see where he's at.''

So on a happier note... I still like the way this season looks.
We had some minor to major bumps in the road but I still like our chances. We just need to resolve a few key issues succesfully and we're on our way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Defensive Coach Jim Johnson Passes Away


He had a way about him, whether he was coaching his players, or conducting an interview, or bouncing his grandkids off his knee or playing a round of golf with friends that defined Jim Johnson: Inviting, loving, demanding, respectful, generous. He was a man of men, someone who touched everyone whom he met. Jim Johnson, 68, passed away on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer, news that shakes to the core all who knew him, his family, his loved ones.

You knew Johnson as a defensive wizard, a genius who for 22 NFL seasons and 10 with the Eagles dazzled offenses with his array of blitzes and unique combinations of personnel and strategies. I knew Johnson as a friend and a colleague who always had an open door, always had a hearty hello and who always gave it everything he had every single day.

That Johnson died on Tuesday was not a shock. He had, in fact, been ill for many months after a re-occurence of melanoma. Taking part in the post-draft mini-camp, wheeling around on his motorized golf cart, interacting with the players and the staff ... that was pure joy for Johnson. It was his final moment in the glory of the moment around the Eagles and it was something to cherish. He loved the game of football as much as anyone, and along with his family and his faith and his friends, built his life around those passions and dedications.

Johnson is to be remembered as a pioneer in the game of football. He attacked offenses from his unique perspective and wrote up on his chalkboard in his NovaCare Complex all of the different blitzes and names of defenses. The stories are legendary about how Johnson would sometimes think of a different wrinkle to his defense and jot down the notes on a dinner napkin, put it in his pocket and then bring the napkin to the office to bring it to life.

Andy Reid hired Johnson in 1999 because, well, he knew how difficult Johnson's defenses were. How do you go against a defense that changes on the fly, that lives to come from so many unpredictable angles and that has no apparent weaknesses? If you can't beat it, invite the coach to join your staff.

So that is what Johnson did, and for the decade to follow the Eagles enjoyed an unprecedented level of sustained defensive success. Year after year, no matter the personnel, the Eagles ranked among the best defenses in the league. As Reid built the Eagles into an NFL power, Johnson was right there alongside, not-so-quietly building a defense in his mold: Aggressive, passionate, intelligent and highly successful.

Johnson demanded that his players care about the game as much as he did. He lit into his players when they needed to be prodded, and he patted them on the shoulder pads when they deserved some love. More than anything else, Johnson earned the respect of every player he coached, whether or not that player made the roster. He gave his players a fair shake, no matter how talented they were.

Johnson leaves behind a loving immediate family and an Eagles family blessed to have known him. He was an honest man who was as comfortable sitting down and talking about his kids as he was talking about the "Okie" package. Football, family and friends. Those were the loves of Johnson's life, one that ended far too soon, one that lives on for the Eagles and the fans who admired what he brought to the table each and every week.

For those lucky enough to have met and call Johnson a friend or a co-worker, well, the memories will last a lifetime. How can you forget a man like Jim Johnson? Simply put, you don't. You don't ever forget him. Over the days and years ahead, this coaching staff and these players and all of those who have worked with Johnson will remember moments here and there about Johnson -- about his coaching, about his golf game, about the way he walked and talked and joked and approached his rich and varied life.

We will all miss Johnson, a man who set an example in life that all should follow in his death.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some News...

Sorry Guys, I've been really busy lately.
Here are two posts from the Eagle Tarian I'm just going to copy here.
Ingram Says No Problems With Knee
This has to be good news for Eagles fans: Rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram reports that his surgically repaired left knee has had no problems during his summer training.

Ingram tore the ACL in a preseason workout last August and missed Florida’s national championship season. He then slid to the fifth round in the NFL draft because of concerns about the injury. The Eagles grabbed Ingram with the 153rd overall pick and he was instantly hailed as one of the “steals” of the draft.

“This summer has just been about getting back out there and getting back into doing the little things like fundamentals, running and catching,” he told the Gainesville Sun. “Everything else has been fine.”

Ingram said he felt like he picked up the system pretty quickly during the minicamps and OTAs this spring.

“I’ve been catching on really good with the offense,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to be in there and get a lot of reps. My knee has been healthy the entire time. I’ve been getting better every day. I can see that I’m making strides and I feel real good about where I’m at right now.”
He also said that he made sure not to allow his fall in the draft to affect his attitude or performance once he landed with the Eagles. He easily could have come in with a chip on his shoulder and feeling like he had something to prove to the teams that passed him by. The Eagles signed him to a 4-year contract reportedly worth $1.9 million.
“I told myself that I wasn’t going to start off like that, because I feel like everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I don’t want to go out and put so much pressure on myself to do something that I wasn’t used to doing.
“My whole mindset was to be relaxed when I started my first camp and make sure I get better. I didn’t want to do something crazy like re-injuring my knee because I was trying to impress someone.”

And Regarding Jon Runyan
It's funny (and probably sad) how often ideas for MTC pop into my head.
I was in the 12 items or less line at the Columbus Boulevard Wal-Mart tonight and realized I was going to be waiting for awhile to pay for my Soft Batch cookies, Right Guard deodorant and other assorted items.
So I took out my Blackberry to check on the Phils and then jumped on Twitter to see that PFT had posted an item on Jon Runyan.
And that's when I remembered I meant to write about Runyan earlier today.
Better late than never, right?
The veteran offensive lineman was on WIP yesterday with Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano to discuss the death of his former teammate, Steve McNair.
But near the end of the interview, he provided an injury/rehab update.
"I'm doing well, haven't had any setbacks," Runyan said, adding that the doctor told him to ramp up his activity before seeing him again in about four weeks.
Runyan said he's right on pace and was told he won't miss any of the season.
But has he heard from any teams?
"I hear from teams occasionally, but it's more of a 'When are you gonna be ready?' And I'm like 'I'll call you when I'm ready,'" he said.
Gargano suggested half-jokingly that he'd probably be 'ready' as soon as training camp was over.
"Probably exactly that day," Runyan said.
When asked if he had any desire to be in Lehigh in August, the 14-year veteran responded, "Why? Do you have a desire to go up there and broadcast?"
So it appears he'll continue to rehab, see how injuries and contract squabbles play out during training camp and then hopefully join a team in mid-to-late August

Monday, June 29, 2009

LeSean McCoy Signs Deal!

The EagleTarian said this about the deal:
Eagles second-round pick LeSean McCoy has agreed to a 4-year contract, according to the Twitter feed of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus says McCoy becomes the first second-round pick to agree to a deal.

An Eagles source has now confirmed the signing.

With Brian Westbrook recovering from ankle surgery, the Eagles obviously wanted McCoy on hand for the July 26 opening of training camp. For all the adventures Rosenhaus has authored with veteran clients, his rookies don't tend to hold out. Rosenhaus knows that missed time usually leads to disappointing rookie years.

"I haven't had a rookie holdout in 5 years," Rosenhaus told the Daily News last month.

He agreed that the Eagles' offense is tailor-made for McCoy, much as it was for Westbrook.

Rosenhaus adroitly sidestepped a question about how McCoy might benefit if Westbrook really is on the decline, after knee and ankle cleanouts this offseason. He noted that "just about all the really good teams" are going to two-back systems, suggesting more than an apprentice role for McCoy, regardless of Westbrook's situation.

McCoy posted 3,365 total yards from scrimmage and 36 total touchdowns during a productive two-year career at Pittsburgh. McCoy registered 2,816 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns on 584 carries (4.8 yards per carry), while catching 65 passes for 549 yards and one score.

Once McCoy's deal becomes official, the Eagles will have all their draft picks under contract except first-round wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and there is still plenty of time for that deal to be completed.

And my posting will be light for the next month. We're nearing a very slow part of the offseason, and I have gotten very busy. But I will try and post all relevant news topics, but maybe without my words (sources cited!)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Juan Castillo Controversy

This is what I find hard to believe. Juan Castillo is definitely one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. He has been with the Eagles since before the Andy Reid era, and has earned Andy Reid's respect in every way. When you draft low round tackle's and know that Juan will eventually turn them into solid players. Look at this way, last year when Shawn Andrew's went down, Max-Jean Gilles had to step in. When MJG went down, Nick Cole had to step in. The very solid depth at offseason is amazing. This is why this controversy surrounding our beloved coach is so ridiculous.

"Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo is scheduled to be honored by his hometown of Port isabel, Texas and being given the key to the city.

This was a classic case of a young man who has climbed his way up from the bottom and become a tremendous success in a very demanding field.

Unfortunately, it's turned into a controversy because they have sceduled the event for July 4th which of course is Independence Day.

A number of the city's citizens object to him being honored on that date. They say that is a special date which should be reserved for honoring the people who have helped attain and maintain our freedom."

The fact that this man can not be honored by his hometown is ridiculous. We'll do it for you here in Philly!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who Will Step Up on Defense to Replace Dawk?

It was a spirited scene when the defensive backs ran down to the one end of the field to join the linebackers for a screen drill. There was cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stewart Bradley engaging in a chest bump; cornerback Joselio Hanson and linebacker Akeem Jordan leaped for a shoulder bump. Even safety Quintin Mikell got involved.

When Bob Kent said that on the Philadelphia Eagle's Bloghead I was reminded about one of the offseason's most important story-lines. With the departure of Brian Dawkins a huge leadership role needs to be filled, and I think the Eagles have the characters to do it.

Quinten Mikell:
There is a certain amount of respect every player has for Mikell. He came to the Eagle's as an Undrafted Free Agent, and has slowly worked his way up to a starter position. Originally playing a very large role on special teams, Mikell is now the starting Strong Safety opposite Quinten Demps/Sean Jones. Mikell has the respect of the locker room, the mentality, and the skills on the field to become a very effective defensive leader. I think that he is poised for a breakout season on and off the field.

Stewart Bradley:
The Middle Linebacker position is perfect for someone with leadership skills. Often they are receiving the calls via the headset (which Bradley does) and then they have to relay that information to the rest of the team. This automatically makes Bradley a leader because he leads the defense into a play. He is also a very strong defensive player, coming of a great season. He has been taking part in the Eagle's offseason conditioning program this year, so he has been with members of the team year round, and he has the charisma to be a leader. Just watch some tape of him during last years playoffs.

Asante Samuel:
This should be the most obvious one. Let's start with Samuel's on field performance. He is the NFL's leader in post season interception leader, and he has the most INT's returned for TD's in league history. He plays big in big games. Then we see reports like this where Samuel is challenging his defense and McNabb. I'm not too worried about his lack of attendance at the last few OTAs, they are voluntary after all. Samuel will be a large part in this team's on and off the field success.

Trent Cole:
He's the leader of the defensive line. I don't think anything more needs to be said.

While Dawkins will be missed, and his pre-game antics are going to be tough to see in an orange and blue jersey, the Eagles are more than set with leaders on their defense.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Adam Schein on Brian Westbrook

Adam Schein had this to say about Westbrook's injury: (sorry I couldn't make it embed)
"Stop writing the epitaph on the season for the Philadelphia Eagles. I understand Brian Westbrook had surgery and I understand he's a player who we talk about from September through January - Will he play, won't he play ... he's nicked, he's nacked ... he's fragile, as some naysayers and critics like to say.

"Look, it's all part of the Brian Westbrook equation. Brian Westbrook is not a model of health and durability. It's clean-up surgery. Better he has it now than later on in the year.

"You know what you're going to get out of Westbrook. You're going to get about 14 games in the regular season and you hope that he is 100 percent or close to 100 percent come playoff time.

"Brian Westbrook is to the Philadelphia Eagles what LaDainian Tomlinson is with the San Diego Chargers. He's that important to Philadelphia.

"And I think that people saying that this benefits the Giants or the Dallas Cowboys, you're just not focused and paying attention. He'll be fine by August. It's not like they have a new system in Philly or he doesn't know the playbook. Andy Reid doesn't want to hear me say this, but minicamps, OTAs, even training Camp are all overrated for Brian Westbrook."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why The Eagles are Going to the Superbowl (cough, cough)

The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!!!
In these dull days of the offseason in between OTAs and Training Camp there is only so much we, as fans of the NFL, can read about Brett Favre's retirement plans. I'm going to identify what almost stopped the Eagles from making the playoffs and what kept them from the Super Bowl in the 2008 Season.

1) Short Yardage Situations
There is no doubt that had the Eagles been able to convert short yardage more succesfully last year they could have won at least two more games (Chicago and New York #1). Jeff Lurie and Andy Reid have adequately addressed this this offseason. The acquisition of Leonard Weaver helps convert short yardage downs in two ways.
a) Leonard Weaver can run. At roughly 50 lbs (47 lbs to be exact) heavier than Westbrook, Weaver clearly has the ability to move the pile a little bit more successfully than Westbrook's 203 lbs frame.
b) Run Blocking. When Weaver hwas first interviewed by David Spadaro for Weaver said:
I'm here to block for Westbrook and the other backs. If Coach Reid decides to hand or throw me the ball then I'll show them what I can do with ti but I'm not here to become a ballhog.
You cannot underestimate the value of a true run-blocking fullback. It's just one more body carving the way through the hole your offensive line opened up. Andy Reid's decision to not carry a fullback on last year's roster could have cost the Eagles two games.
The second thing to help the short-yardage game, and the running game in general, is a new offensive line. Tra Thomas was a dependable, dominant pass-rushing Left Tackle, but his run blocking was deplorable. Jason Peters is a vast upgrade over Tra, His size and athleticism allow him to dominate any defensive end. Shawn Andrewsis back, and at his natural position of Right Tackle. Jon Runyan was (and still may be)a warrior at Right Tackle but at the age of 35, coming of a knee surgery which has sidelined him even in his own home he is not fit to be a starter in this offense. The addition of Stacy Andrews at Right Guard only helps the offensive line, as last year the Eagles were working with back ups at that position all year. The pairing of Shawn and Stacy Andrews is the answer to the right side of the offensive line.

2) The Deep Threat
Last year Donovan McNabb was forced to play the "dink and dunk" style of offense. In the "dink and dunk" offense you move the chains by completing short, crisp passes to receivers that will get you some yardage but will rarely take you deep. This style took a level of explosiveness out of the offense. The "dink and dunk" offense works for some but it does not play to the strengths of the Eagles. You saw late last season that Donovan McNabb threw his best passes down the field (towards DeSean Jackson in particular in the Cowboys and Giants games). This style of play has always been McNabb's specialty, all the way from his days in Syracuse. Last year with Curtis and Brown, the starting receivers at the time, sidelined for the first six games McNabb had no dep threat to go to. The one time he did go deep successfully DeSean Jackson dropped the ball right before the goal line =P With speedsters Jackson and Curtis ready for the season and the development of Jeremy Maclin the Eagles and Donovan McNabb will finally be able to go deep again.
Another aspect of the deep pass is time. The receivers need time to get deep and separation from the secondary. The new and improved offensive line will provide that time for the play to develop.
Now you may be saying, "but the Eagles made it to the playoffs and the NFC Championship despite these weakness. They even broke several offensive Franchise Records on the way." But the point is that the ever elusive Lombardi Tropy remained out of reach. One reason the Eagles were tampered with on their way to Tampa is evident: Larry Fitzgerald. He managed to score 3 touchdowns in one half on a defense that had not alloewd a single receiving TD since the week 15 Cleveland Browns game. A Cornerback cannot be expected to cover Larry Fitzgerald by himself. With no discredit to our Cornerbacks: that man is a beast. The Cornerbacks need over the top safety help to make plays on the ball and to help make the tackle. You probably asked yourself when Larry Fitzgerald strutted into the endzone with Qutinin Demps lying on the ground "What was Demps, and not Dawk, doing covering him!" Well the answer is simple: Dawkins couldn't. Larry Gitzgerald has the size and speed to make Dawkins ferocious gameplay ineffective. Quintin Demps was fooled by the fake handoff to Tim Hightower and left Fitzgerald alone for two seconds. He could not catch up. Demps' lack of experience led to Fitzgerald's touchdown. Now that Demps has a year more of experience and has played in some big games he has the mindset to go and help the cornerbacks over the top.
But remember, this article, this offseason hype, these ratings could all be for naught. If McNabb gets injured or goes through a longer mid-season slump, Westbrook's injury sidelineshim for more time or hampers his play, McDermott cannot handle the pressure of Defensive coordinator, or Andy Reid goes ultra-pass crazy this could just be another disappointing year (for the record I don't think it will be). But as of right now the Eagles look destined for a Lombardi Trophy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ESPN Releases their all decade Defense.

On Monday ESPN released their all-decade defense:
DE: Michael Strahan, N.Y. Giants,
DT: Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay/Oakland
DT: Kris Jenkins, Carolina/N.Y. Jets
DE: Jason Taylor, Miami/Washington
LB: Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay
LB: Ray Lewis, Baltimore
LB: Brian Urlacher, Chicago
CB: Champ Bailey, Washington/Denver
CB: Troy Vincent: Phil./Mia./Buff./Wash.
S: Ed Reed, Baltimore
S: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh

Now for the most part I do agree with this list. I agree Strahan belongs on there, and I love that Troy Vincent is on there, but the safety position is where I, and Iggles Blog, have a problem with the list.
Obviously I am talking about Brian Dawkins, and he absolutely belongs on the all decade team. Throughout ESPN's explanation of the list, Sando says that he made it a point to choose a player who has dominated throughout the entire decade. Polamalu only entered the league in 2003. That's a full 3 years that Brian Dawkins dominated the safety position before Polamalu was even drafted. I'll let Derek show you the stats:

That is, as they say, not even friggin close. Dawk destroys Polamalu across the board, in literally every single category.

Now wait, you're saying, let's be fair. Polamalu only came into the league in 2003. Surely it's not fair to compare his numbers to Dawkins', when Dawk played three more seasons?

Answer: It's the all-decade team, right? Not the 2003-2009 team? So shouldn't all stats through the decade count? After all, we're not doing anything crazy like including Dawk's ridiculous numbers from the 90s, just the ones from this decade.

But OK. Let's compare apples to apples. Here are their numbers starting with the 2003 season:

Much closer. Polamalu gets the edge in assists and INTs, Dawk has sacks, forced fumbles and passes defensed.

But check out that column at the left. Polamalu actually played an extra half season during this timeframe, since 2003 was the year when Dawk had the bad injury that limited him to only seven games.

Just out of curiosity, what happens when you compare the two players on a per-game basis during that time period:

Polamalu has the edge in assists and (just barely) in INTs. They tie tackles and Dawk wins solos, sacks, forced fumbles (hugely) and passes defensed. And this despite Dawk entering the twilight of his career and Polamalu being in his prime.

Beyond the stats, Polamalu has five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections (two first team). Just during the last decade, Dawk has six Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pros.

Look, Troy Polamalu is a great player. He really is. I'm not trying to take anything away from him.

But Dawk has the acccolades, he's got the numbers and he's even got the edge if you just compare them game-to-game for as long as Polamalu's been in the league. (Which, again, is spurious, since we're talking about the all-decade team.)

McNabb love and. hate

On Friday Sports Illustrated's Ross Tucker posted his Mailbag and one of the highlights was whether or not McNabb was the best thing for the city of Philadelphia
When Donovan McNabb wins three Super Bowls, I think he will get the same respect from the fans as Tom Brady would if he got hurt again. As what happens with most national media, you need to be here week in and week out to know that 80 percent of Eagles fans love the fact that Donovan McNabb is our quarterback. Focusing on the negative 20 percent is more convenient because it is a story you can write. Same as 'they boo, they threw snowballs at Santa, yada yada yada...' Come to Philly and do a poll of people walking the street and find out the facts before you write an article. Don't ask your family either; they must be nitwits not to like him too.
--Craig Hanlon, Wayne, Pa.

Judging from my e-mails, it seems like it is more like 50/50 in terms of the Eagles fans and their feelings towards McNabb. I am from near Philadelphia and have a pretty good sense of the arguments both for and against McNabb, I just think the people that want to run him and Andy Reid should be careful what they wish for. And the people in my family actually like McNabb for the most part; it is my friends who dislike his "phony" (their word, not mine) personality and think he comes up small in the biggest games.

The answer to your question is easy. I will take one championship every 12 years and no wins all the other years vs. losing the NFC championship each year. McNabb creates his own problems by being an arrogant, conceited jerk.
--Rod Speiss, Reading, Pa.

Ross: Yeah, that is what most people said, and I can imagine if you have never won one that would pretty much be the sentiment. But I'd like to talk with you at the end of those 12 years and see if you really felt that way. Ostensibly, that title would last forever but my guess is by midway through the next season it would be just a thing of the past.

This is how I've always felt about Donovan McNabb. He and Andy Reid have put the team in playoff contention for nearly all of the past decade. I would rather be interested and excited every year in football, writing these blogs, following the news and eagerly watching the games than hope to win one every twelve years through a one hit wonder. This seems to the be typical "Philadelphia Ignorance" that wanted Donovan McNabb to be run out of town after the Baltimore Ravens game. If he had, I ask you what you would have been doing on January 18th, 2009 (NFC Championship Game)?

Charles Barkley is on our side:
"Good luck to my Eagles too," he said near the end of the interview. "I think the Eagles are gonna win the Super Bowl."

"And I'm glad Donovan got his contract cause y'all have not been treating him well here Howard," Barkley continued. "You know I've been on your ass all the time. McNabb's the greatest quarterback in Eagles history and y'all have not gave him the love he deserve here."

Hopefully this will be the season where McNabb wins the big one and dispels all the haters.

Monday, June 22, 2009

ProFootballTalk Predicts NFC East

ProFootballTalk did an over-under for each of the NFC East team.
They predicted the Giants would have 10 wins, without really adding any commentary to that.
They predicted the Eagles would have more than 10 wins, taking note of the speedy receiving corp. He also said that the Westbrook Injury is nothing to worry about, it seems like it's overhyped. Lesean McCoy and Leonard Weaver will both play well in Westbrook's potential absence because of the blocking provided by the offensive line.
They predicted that the Cowboy's would have 9 wins, taking note of the team chemistry. He cited the report coming fro the Cowboy's that T.O. was released so Romo could step into his role as a leader.
If he was a leader you would never have had to release T.O. He could lead no matter who's in the locker room.

They predicted that the Redskins would have over 7 wins. Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell are playing for their balls.

Dave Spadaro's Offensive Line Preview

Dave Spadaro wrote in his Daily Column about the state of the offensive line, with the tackle's specifically in mind. He has this to say about Jason Peters:
At left tackle, the Eagles have a beast in Jason Peters. He is listed at 349 pounds, and I wonder if he has played at that weight. The guy just looks gigantic. He has so much bulk and power and even watching him in the spring camps he showed incredible feet. He has to get up to speed with what Juan Castillo wants -- as we have discussed -- but you see it in Peters. You see the "special." You see the ability.

There is a bit of the unknown here after so many seasons of knowing what to expect from Thomas, and that is going to take some getting used to. But the possibilities seem endless. The Eagles are going to run left and make Peters a focal point of the offense. They are going to have his Gene Kelly feet there in pass protection and his Rambo drive blocking punishing defensive linemen in the running game.

I believe that Jason Peter's does have the potential to be the answer at left tackle. For the longest time Tra Thomas was dependable, but his run blocking was never great. Jason Peter's strength is run blocking, and with Juan Castillo's coaching, he could do wonder's for the running game.

Here's what Spadaro had to say about Shawn Andrews:
At right tackle, the Eagles are banking on Shawn Andrews. The mega-talented young man is in a good place mentally and physically right now. He loves the challenge of playing on the edge, and Andrews has responded to the responsibility. It is quite remarkable that Andy Reid chose to push Andrews' buttons after last year's disappointing performance by sliding Andrews to right tackle. When the season was over, many wondered if Andrews would be a significant piece of the puzzle. Could the Eagles count on him at all?

Turns out, Reid had more than status quo in mind with Andrews, and the two-time Pro Bowl guard could become as significant as any player on this roster. If Andrews blossoms as the Eagles hope at right tackle, the team has a chance to have the most dominating tackle tandem in the league. Peters is going to play well. He's just too good, and Castillo is too good a coach, for that situation to turn out otherwise. Andrews has all the skills -- there may be no better pair of feet in the league -- and he is mentally motivated to be the very best tackle in the game.

If Andrews returns with a Pro-Bowl caliber season at Right Tackle than the Eagles will be set for this upcoming year.
Because if they make it happen, if they play like the Eagles think they can play, wow, the dynamic of this offense will change immensely. Want a power running game? The Eagles can do that? Screen passing game? Yup. Play-action passing? Sure thing.

DE Bryan Smith's Opportunity

I read this article about second year pro Bryan Smith. Leo Pizzini started the article by stating some facts about Bryan Smith's build and college career.
Bryan Smith stands at 6'2" and weighs in at 250 lbs. He has been trying to build more mass, but has also stated that he feels good about playing at or around 250 lbs.
He is conventionally undersized for an Eagles' defensive end. In fact, Chris Gocong was converted to strong side linebacker from defensive end and weighs about 265 lbs.
At McNeese State, Bryan Smith was a two time Division 1-AA All-American and conference defensive player of the year. He recorded 31 sacks and 187 tackles from 2005 through 2007.
Smith is known for his burst and straight line speed coming off of the edge and rushing the passer. At the NFL combine in 2008, Smith ran a somewhat disappointing 4.75 second forty yard dash.

Smith will have a lot of trouble getting any spot on the defensive line this year. Trent Cole is a lock for Right End. Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson are the starting tackles. The Left Defensive End spot is where theoretically Smith could see some time. Currently there is a highly reported "position battle" between Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker, and Chris Clemons. The problem lies in the fact that there is so much competition ahead of him. All three of those ends have more experience than Smith, and can arguably play better than him.
It would make a lot of sense for him to convert to a Linebacker position:
I also can't help seeing Bryan Smith in another position besides linebacker. He appears to be formed in the raw mold of a Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas.
Not to say that his expectations should be set to those kinds of hall-of-fame and greatest-ever standards, but it's fair to expect a shadow of their style of game from Smith.
There is a problem still.
In Jimmy Johnson's defensive scheme, the linebackers are critically required to do a quality job in coverage.
Omar Gaither was a former starter at middle linebacker and was bumped from the weak side linebacker position (in 2008) by Akeem Jordan, largely for his pass coverage abilities.

If Bryan Smith can make the conversion to LB and work on his pass coverage skills ALL before training camp then I think that he may have a shot to make the roster this year and play in a reserve role behind Chris Gocong.

Redskin's Quarterback Situation

Over the course of the Redskin's Quarterback Jason Campbell has been undermined twice by his front office. The front office went after Jay Cutler and were very public about their interest in Mark Sanchez. recently wrote a very interesting article regarding the Redskins backup quarterbacks.
While Jason Campbell is almost guaranteed the Starting Quarterback position for the 2009 season, Fox Sports talks about the development of backup QB, Colt Brennan. Brennan had this to say about his performance:
"I can already feel this gigantic difference from the quarterback I was out here last year to the quarterback I am now," Brennan said. "Not only because I'm healthy, but because I'm so much more confident with not only the playbook, but the people around me, the coaches and the whole environment."
Head Coach and Quarterback Coach Jim Zorn had this to say about his backup QB's:
"Todd has been working out religiously; he (has embraced) the offense with full passion and I'm going to get him some time in preseason, but I want to see Colt more," Zorn said. "I'm still working on his feet. He wants to prance. He's learning. I'm looking for him to really step up and take charge. He's taking little steps, but he's not ready yet."
Brennan finally had this to say about his opportunities:
"I can already feel this gigantic difference from the quarterback I was out here last year to the quarterback I am now," Brennan said. "Not only because I'm healthy, but because I'm so much more confident with not only the playbook, but the people around me, the coaches and the whole environment."

While this is all very interesting, and I'm sure the Redskins organization is very confident about their Backup QB situation, this article by Seth Wickersham of ESPN entitled The Art of QB Insurance lays out what a backup QB should and should not be saying.
But most of all, he has to know and accept that for the foreseeable future he's not starting. "You don't want guys who come in with a chip on their shoulder that they get screwed," says ESPN's Trent Dilfer, a former starter-turned-backup. "It can divide a team."

Now I'm not saying that the Washington Redskins are going to have a divided locker room come this season with a visible QB battle between Brennan and Campbell; but I believe that with Colt Brennan waiting for his opportunity to start, Campbel will either flourish under the pressure or crumble. We'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Wide Receivers of Philadelphia (Past and Present)

Terrell Owens
Recently Terrell Owens had this to say about Philadelphia and it's fans:
I do miss you guys (referring to the city of Philadelphia)
I had a year and a half of my best career there in Philly. It was short-lived but I did enjoy the fans there. They were fanatics. I know when I came to that stadium and I drove up to that stadium, they got me psyched, they got me ready to play ball. I'm very fortunate to have played for that organization.

Bob Cunningham went on to stipulate in his article on The Bleacher Report that a possible reunion between the Eagles and Owens may happen. When asked by ESPN's Mike Massinelli about this he said:

"Honestly when everything happened, it happened so fast," he said. "I didn't really have enough time to ponder that situation. It was a matter of 24 to 48 hours before things got to where I am now. We obviously talked about team possibilities, options, what have you.

"I think things ended so badly with myself and management, I never even thought they would even consider it, even though since then Donovan and I, we've talked, we've hung out and things are very amicable with us right now."

I don't know about you, but I most certainly don't think that Owen's will ever be welcome back on this team. The poll results were very puzzling. At 1:33 AM Eastern Time 52.2% of voters said they would welcome back T.O. if he were to come to Philly. This puzzled me quite a bit, especially because this season we have one of the best, if not the best, fleet of receivers the City of Philadelphia has ever seen.

Reggie Brown
Dan Bandekow wrote this article on The Bleacher Report titled: Can Reggie Brown Start For The Philadelphia Eagles In 2009? Bandekow basically summarized Brown's career with some statistics.
Reggie Brown made his first start against the Redskins, catching five passes for 93 yards and a TD. He went on to have an impressive rookie debut totaling 43 receptions for 571 yards.

In 2006, 2007 Reggie Brown appeared to be on the track to good things. With nearly 1600 yards, 12 TD's and over 100 receptions, Brown seemed set to have his best season so far in 2008. This would not be so.

Missing 6 games in 2008 Brown hauled in only 18 receptions. Spending the majority of the season injured and/or benched Brown put forth his worse performance to date. Those 18 receptions were good for only 252 yards and one TD.

I don't know about the rest of Eagles Nation, but I still believe in Reggie Brown. I don't think that he had opportunity last season to prove what worth he had as a receiver. As you just read, he was injured for 6 games, and was replaced as a starter by Desean Jackson. I believe that he must prove himself in 2009, and can become a very reliable 2nd or 3rd receiver. After OTAS's Brown had this to say about his performance in camp.
"It's going pretty good. I just want to go out there and be consistent and work on the things I need to work on. Feeling good, running good routes and catching the ball. It’s good to go out there and have the opportunity to make plays. Hopefully that will continue into training camp."

It's all in Reggie Brown's hands now...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Makes Me Happy

To remind you what the Eagle's are capable of when determined.

DeSean Jackson's "Coming of Age"

After reading GCobb's Article and watching and reading this from I understand the transformation that DeSean Jackson has made this summer.

Right before the Eagle's playoff run last year William Jackson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and by the time the Cardinals game came around he was lying in a hospital bed. Throughout the offseason DeSean has been hard at work at the Eagle's NovaCare Complex participating in their Voluntary Offseason Conditioning program. During the draft process Desean Jackson was frequently quoted as saying:
I may be small, but I got a big heart.
Jackson has been attempting to prove that he can fix his small stature,"5'10, 175 lbs, by bulking up during the offseason so that he can break tackles and plow through defenders on his way to the endzone. Dave Spadaro, Chris McPherson, and Garry Cobb have frequently said that Desean was by far the most crisp receiver in his routes during OTA's. I don't see any sophmore slump for Jackson, I see a determined, work-driven effort to only get better.
"This whole season, the rest of my career, I'm dedicating to my dad,"

-Desean Jackson

Friday, June 19, 2009

WhatIfSports calls Eagles Super Bowl Season

Dave Spadaro of wrote an article about what WhatIfSports predicted for the 2009 Eagles.

"We use a simulation software that we've been building for almost 10 years (since 2000) that we've been honing for the NFL. We've also been doing it for baseball, basketball and hockey ... that takes into account every possible statistical interaction of the players on the field. By using all of the interactions to come up with probabilities for what could happen on each specific play, we simulate every single play of every single game to come up with an outcome.

Spadaro then goes on to show that this statistical machine has been accurate:
They've been on a roll… North Carolina to dominate the NCAA basketball tournament, Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl (by four points), the Phillies over the Rays in the World Series, the Celtics taking out the Lakers in last year's NBA Finals (in exactly six games), Detroit over Pittsburgh in the 2008 Stanley Cup (as of the end of the regular season) and last year's March Madness, where they hit every game from the Sweet 16 through the Championship and finished in the 99.9+ percentile on every major bracket pick'em.

Defense will lead the way. According to all the numbers crunching and the analysis, the Eagles defense -- led by Trent Cole's 11 sacks, Asante Samuel's five interceptions and Stewart Bradley's 71 solo tackles -- will allow a league-low 13.4 points per game against a schedule featuring six games against teams that made the playoffs last season.

Offensively Eagles will average 22.4 points per game. Donovan McNabb will toss 21 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions while completing 56.2 percent of his passes for 3,449 yards. Brian Westbrook is on line to gain 1,059 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 241 attempts. He will also catch 49 passes and score another 3 touchdowns and account for 1,534 total yards and 11 touchdowns . McCoy, the rookie whose numbers are hard to project, is slated to run for 534 yards and score 6 touchdowns and to chip in with 25 receptions and another 2 scores. Desean Jackson is projected to catch 59 passes for 848 yards and 4 TDs. Brent Celek is down for 34 catches, 443 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Spadaro does note that the machine does not take into account for injury's to key players like McNabb or Westbrook.
These predictions are interesting, and they provide an optimistic outlook for the 2009 season, but they don't mean anything. Until the Eagle's go out on the field and prove these statistics rights (or hopefully better) than this is just another bold prediction on the Eagle's Website.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kevin Curtis Say's He's 100%

Kevin Curtis did an interview with ABC 4 Station in Utah. He said that he's "100% this year" and that is a good thing for this offense.
In the 2008 season Kevin Curtis had to have surgery after the second preseason and he was out until Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. You can see from his stats what a difference there is in his production when he is not injured. In 2007, he caught 77 passes for 1,110 yards and 6 touchdowns averaging 14.4 yards/reception. In the 2008 regular season he caught 33 passes for 390 yards and 2 touchdowns averaging only 11.8 yards/reception.

Here is how we know that Curtis' numbers are not just declining with his age, his postseason stats. In 3 games Curtis caught 12 passes for 211 yards averaging 17.6 yards/reception. I can't find his YAC (yards after carry) stats anywhere but I know that they were significantly higher than his regular season's. Kevin Curtis still has the ability to catch and run with the ball.

Lorenzo Booker says he is unproven

Fair or not, the tag on Booker is that he falls to the turf if a defender happens to breathe on him too heavily — a bum rap, he said.

“I’m not going to be like Eddie George and break eight tackles,” said Booker, who turns 25 on Sunday. “I’m going to break some, but I’m not going to move the pile four yards. That’s not my style of play. ... I don’t expect people to know that because everything I do is during training camp. They wouldn’t know. How can I be mad at people who don’t know?

-Lorenzo Booker

I don't believe that Booker is unproven. This is the same Booker we saw last year during preseason and the regular season. He ran the ball 42 times, and had averages of 3.9 and 2.6 yards/carry in the pre season and regular season respectively. Last year during training camp he was repeatedly touted as a back who could both run AND receive, much like Westbrook. His preseason reception average was 5.6 but when it mattered, when working with the REAL defensive tackle's and linebackers, he averaged 1.8 yards on 11 attempts. If Booker does not really show up in training camp, I expect him to be cut and a back like Kyle Eckel to make it to the 53 man roster.

Regarding Brandon Marshall's non-existent future with the Eagles

I am sick and tired of hearing that the The Eagles should pursue Brandon Marshall.

ESPN wrote a very good article about why he won't be leaving Denver anytime soon and I happen to agree with him. The Bronco's have no reason to trade him: he is under contract, has less than stellar trade value because of his off field values, and they cannot give up their only two offensive pro bowlers in the same roller coaster of an offseason.

And to be completely honest, the Eagle's don't NEED him. It would be nice yes, but the Eagle's are pretty set with their wide receivers. On the Philadelphia Eagles Official Website Blog Spadaro says this about Jackson:
DeSean Jackson was far and away the best receiver in the post-draft camps. He is more confident in his routes, gets in and out of his cuts with great precision and caught the ball with consistency. Given Jackson's experience already and his speed and quickness, he will be a handful to cover one on one.

Kevin Curtis is still coming off an injury but will have better numbers than last year because he will play a full season.
All of the rookies (Maclin, McCoy, and Ingram) are hard at work learning the offense.
Trading for Marshall would only stunt the growth of the rookies and Desean Jackson, young players who will hopefully be here for the next 4 to 5 years.

Cowboys Receiver Roy Williams

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams and quarterback Tony Romo have been playing catch since February.

However, the two remain a work in progress.

Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star Telegram

One of the major offseason moves in the NFC East was the release of Terrell Owens from the Dallas Cowboys. While Owen's was often silenced in the rivalry games against the Eagles, he always required double coverage and he took advantage of coverage for a touchdown once last season when Brian Dawkins was covered. Needless to say, he was on Jim Johnson's mind.
Now the torch of Big Play threat has been passed to Roy Williams, who was acquired from the Detroit Lions for 1st, 3rd, and 5th Round pick in the 2009 draft. Clearly it may not be working out as well as they thought.
There is still miscommunication and some visible signs of frustration when they don’t or can’t connect in practice.

Williams barked at Romo on Monday after a ball didn’t come his way when he was open.

"I was frustrated and I let him know," Williams said. "But that’s what we’re supposed to do. This is our job. His job is to deliver the ball. My job is to catch it and get open. That’s how you win, and that’s all I want to do."

After the outburst, the next two balls were thrown in Williams’ direction. He then caught an over-the-shoulder deep ball between two defenders for the catch of the day.

And the Cowboy's thought they had enough of the ball-seeking drama T.O. brought...

And in an article on The Bleacher Report Grisso say that the Cowboy's major downfall, and the reason they won't make the playoffs, is because too much of the offense is based on this relationship. He point's out that Williams' numbers have regressed annually.

8 TD's in 2005 compared to just 7 in '06, 5 in '07, and 2 last year, and he had only 2 more receptions in 10 games with Dallas last year than he did in 5 with Detroit

Just some more information on our hated division rivals

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hollis Thomas takes Physical with Eagles

According to Garry Cobb Hollis Thomas has reported to Eagle's facilities for a physical.

Thomas, who was released by the New Orleans Saints after playing in only 8 games, has been contacted by a total of eight teams and the Eagles are one of them.

I could understand the Eagles bringing Thomas back to the defense if he keeps his weight under control. Thomas is an outstanding run defender when his weight is around the 320-330 pound mark.

He's very strong at the point of attack and does a good job taking on the double team. Thomas isn't much of a pass rusher but occassionally he will break through for a sack or pressure on the passer.

He would be brought in as a backup and serve as an insurance policy for Mike Paterson, Brodrick Bunkley and Trevor Laws.

Brandon Jacobs has "bitter, bad, disgusting taste" in his mouth

Maybe he should get whatever is in his mouth out and focus on not being stopped by Bunkley and Patterson. When Jacob's commented on their NFC Divisional Playoff 23-11 home loss to the Eagles he said:
"We have a very bitter, bad, disgusting taste. It hurts more than anything,We know how good we were last year and the opportunity we had in front of us. We did not take advantage of it the way we were supposed to. We have another crack at it and I think we are going to have the same kind of season. I think we are going to go a little bit further."

Jacob's was stopped repeatedly by the Eagle's Defensive Line and Linebacker Corps in short yardage situations, and eventually limped off the field. He failed to convert a key 4th and 1 conversion for the Giants.(Look at the picture and go to 5:30 and watch)
The Eagles will have their say on the Giant's future on October 4th and November 1st.

Otis Smith leaves Eagles

The Eagles have released Secondary Coach Otis Smith. Smith was with the Eagle's during OTA's but is no longer listed on the team's website. It can be presumed that Brian Stewart, former Dallas Defensive Coordinator, has taken over the full role of Secondary Coach.
Otis Smith was a former Eagle's Defensive Back and won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots

Full Look at the McNabb Deal

That's a great overview of the deal with all of the minute details.
Rather than give McNabb an extension, they decided to increase his income for the next two years by about $5 Million dollars. His new deal is worth a total of $24.2 Million with approximately $1 Million in incentives categorized as "not likely to be earned."

Extension vs. Pay Raise
Super Bowl or Bust
Garry Cobb does a good job explaining it but it's a pretty simple concept: McNabb has two years to get to the Super Bowl and win or his future in this city will remain hazy.

Here's the press conference regarding the Pay raise
The Eagles are saying that the reason for the Raise vs. Extension is the uncertainty regarding the CBA (for fans who don't know what that means ). I personally don't believe any of that, everyone seems fairly confident that the owners and the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) will come to an agreement but it is a political way of dancing around their lack of an extension.

"Financial Apology"
Rich Hoffman and several others like him are calling it a financial apology:
You wonder if Andy Reid knew it would cost the team that much when he benched McNabb that day in Baltimore.
Because that's what this is -- flowers, candy and $6.3 million all wrapped up in a pretty bow. It isn't an apology, not exactly, but it is an acknowledgment that the relationship changed on the day when Reid had quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur tell a terribly-struggling McNabb to sit down at halftime against the Baltimore Ravens. McNabb was personally offended and could not hide the fact.

Iggles Blog has picked up something that Reuben Frank said that I had never seen before.
Donovan McNabb's contract was a fossil, a relic from another era.

Before he signed his restructured deal on Friday morning, McNabb's contract dated back to 2002, which made him - according to NFL Players Association documents - the only active NFL quarterback with a contract that predated 2005.

And only four quarterbacks have deals that go back that far - Carson Palmer, Andrew Walter, Jason Campbell and Matt Hasselbeck.

So McNabb's deal was the oldest in the NFL by three years. And since signing it, he's taken the Eagles to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl.

So it's pretty simple to see why the Eagles gave him a raise.

This makes the McNabb almost look like a necessity than praise for McNabb's leadership late in the season and into the postseason.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2009 Offseason

I'll go over the general offseason headliners and acquisitions that the Eagles went through.

Pre Free Agency:

Eagles Sign Joselio Hansen and Hank Baskett to new deals.

This is just keeping a core group of special team contributors and important players with the Eagles.

Joselio Hanson is the featured nickel cornerback in the Jim Johnson's (or Sean McDermott's now) nickel schemes. He is a solid cornerback who also adds valuable depth to the incredibly talented secondary the eagles have.

Hank Baskett has been struggling to find his way in the eagles wide receiving corps since he came to the team in 2006. He has the potential be a valuable red zone target at "6'5 and a deep threat as well as he has caught 3 passes for 85 yards or more, only the sixth player in NFL history to do so. As of right now Baskett remains a solid contributor on special teams, and a great blocker at whatever position he's playing at.

Free Agency:


Brian Dawkins

The loss of Brian Dawkins is something that the city is still crying about almost 3 months later. Dawkins contributed 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles as he was drafted by them. He was the voice of the defense, possibly the entire team, and was a proud member of the Philadelphia Community. Dawkins was acquired by the Denver Bronco's and was at the time made an offer that would make him the highest paid safety in the NFL. The Eagles offered him a conservative 3 year deal that could not hope to match the likes of the denver deal, which guaranteed 5 years. Dawkin's presence on the field, as he was consistently a thread in coverage or in blitz packages. While i do resent the fact that we could not retain him, I think that we are covered at the safety postion (more on that later).

Correll Buckhalter:

Buck was lost to the Denver Bronco's as well. While Buckhalter was a solid, physical, vertical runner who averaged 5.1 yards/carry, he deserved to be a starter. The Eagles stuck with him through two knee surgeries which sidelined him for almost 3 seasons. He was still fresh at the age of 28 because of these surgeries, and the Bronco's had supposedly taken him to become a starter (although I don't know now that Knowshon Moreno is in town)

William (Tra) Thomas & Jon Runyan:

Tra was lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jon has not signed with another team (yet). Tra and Runyan had served as McNabb's guardians for some ridiculous number of consecutive games, and should be honored for their actions in their prime. Unfortunately Tra and Jun had lost a step when it came to run blocking and Runyan has, while courageously, been playing through injury's that have caused him great pain for the last two seasons.

Lito Sheppard:

Lito was traded to the New York Jet's for a 5th Round Pick in the 2009 draft. Lito still remains a shutdown cornerback in this league and deserved a starting spot somewhere, and he will get one in New York. He had been demanding a trade since the duo of Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown essentially benched him for the season.

Additions: (In free agency)

Stacy Andrews:

Offensive Lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. A beast at "6'7 and 342 pounds, this offensive lineman is projected to slide into the guard position as Shawn Andrews, his brother, will start at right tackle. Not only will this possibly be an upgrade from Runyan, but it will also add stability to Shawn Andrew's mental health. Last year Shawn stated publicly that he was suffering from depression, and he skipped a significant portion of the offseason workouts in the 2008 offseason because it. The Eagles brought Stacy here in the hopes that he will stabilize a new and improved offensive line and Shawn's psyche.

Leonard Weaver:

Weaver is a fullback who used to play for the Seattle Seahawks. Weaver is the first "true" fullback that the Eagles have had since the mid 1990's and will be a vast improvement over the hybrid defensive end project that was Dan Klecko. He has been quoted as saying that "blocking is my top priority." He can block for Westbrook and McCoy plow through the holes that the offensive line opens himself. While in Seattle Weaver did not get many opportunities, he did have an impressive 4.5 yards/carry average in situations where he was mostly being handed the ball to convert short distances. He is also a passing target for McNabb as he averages 9.1 yards/reception. In the end Weaver will be blocking for Westbrook and McCoy, running the ball, and on the opposing defensive coordinators mind.

Sean Jones:

Jones was a safety with the Cleveland Browns last year. He led the team in interceptions with 14 interceptions in the 2008 season. He intercepted DeSean Jackson in the endzone last year on his lone NFL pass. He is a more physical safety that can be brought in against the run, but clearly has tremendous coverage abilities, displayed in his 14 interceptions. He was brought in to compete with Quintin Demps for the starting job left by Brian Dawkins and has a very legitimate chance to beat out Demps. He can play both safety positions so he adds great depth to the secondary

Rashad Baker:

Rashad Baker was a safety with the Oakland Raiders. He intercepted three balls last year, and inadvertently salvaged the Eagles’ season. In order for the Eagles to make the playoffs Oakland had to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Late in the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers were trying to regain the lead, and Baker intercepted a Garcia ball. The Raiders went on to beat the Buccaneers and the Eagles went on to stomp all over Dallas. At this point Baker looks like he is going to back up the safety position, providing more depth with the departure of Brian Dawkins and Sean Considine.


1st Round, Jeremy Maclin:

The Eagles traded up two spots with the Cleveland Browns to grab Jeremy Maclin. While his pro career has not yet been documented, his collegiate career is full of headlines. He scored 33 TD’s in 28 games (28 receiving, six rushing, 3 punt returns, 2 kickoff returns). He had 5,609 all purpose yards in two years being one of only two players in NCAA history to get 2,000 yards in both receiving and kickoff returns. As of right now Maclin looks to slowly work his way into three receiver sets. He will not come along as quickly as Jackson did, as his route running is not as crisp as Jackson’s (although certainly improving) and the situation is not nearly as pressing (Jackson started his first game when Curtis and Brown were both injured). With Jackson, Maclin, and Curtis working out of three receiver sets, the speed on the field may not be containable.

2nd Round, Lesean McCoy:

In the second round the Eagles were patient and lucky enough to grab Lesean (Shady) McCoy. He started 22 of 25 games in college, gained 2,816 rushing yards on 584 carries (4.8 yards/carry) scoring 35 TD’s rushing. At “5’10, 198 lbs McCoy is going to back up Westbrook (assuming that he is healthy at the start of the season). He is currently “battling” for the second string RB job with Lorenzo Booker, but the 2nd round commitment the Eagles made all but ensures that he will be backing up Westbrook in the 2009 Season.

5th Round: Cornelius Ingram

This has been speculated by many to be the steal of the draft. At “6’4, 245 lbs Ingram is a monster of a man. During the offseason between his junior and senior year Ingram tore his ACL and was forced to sit out his senior year, and watch his Florida Gator’s win the national championship. He looks very impressive so far in the OTA’s with the Eagle’s and looks to backup Brent Celek and work in many two tight-end sets. With his size he should serve as a red zone target for Donovan McNabb. His main weakness is his blocking, something that the Eagles coaches are determined to fix.

1st, 4th and 2010 4th Round Pick: Jason Peters

The blockbuster trade that Eagle’s fans were waiting for to shore up the offensive line. Jason Peter’s has been called “the best left tackle in football” by Head Coach Andy Reid. Peters, at “6’4 and 340 lbs, is going to add to the size of the already huge Eagle’s offensive line. He replaces Tra Thomas and is projected to be a starter at left tackle and a force in pass protection and run blocking.

If there is anything I forgot let me know and I can add my 2 cents + stats in the comments section.