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.