Eagles Q & A

Posted: April 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 4 Comments »

I’ve gotten a bunch of good questions in the comments section recently and thought I’d answer them in the form of a post.

Was Justice bothered by the poor play at RG?

Yes.  It is hard to quantify how much, but when an offensive lineman isn’t in sync with the guy beside him it will have an effect.  Linemen have to trust each other.  I’m not talking about talent or personality, but rather that they are seeing the same things and taking the same counter-actions to whatever the defense is doing.  We’ve all heard the old saying that “he who hesitates is lost”.  That’s absolutely true with OL play.  Guys can’t doubt the players beside them.  They need to know what the player will do.  That chemistry and rapport takes time to build.  We had all kinds of shuffling in the offseason and preseason.  Justice never got comfortable with anyone at RG.

I’m not trying to excuse Winston for being an inconsistent player last year.  He absolutely has to improve in 2011, no matter the circumstances.  He had a good year in 2009.  He was up and down in 2010.  Winston’s performance this year will tell us what kind of a player he really is.  Was the aberration ’09 or ’10?

How many OL do you think we will draft? At least 2? More?

I think we’ll take a minimum of 2.  At least one of the picks will come in the first 3 rounds.  You can’t guarantee anything more than that because you just don’t know how the board will shake out.

We need 9 or 10 guys on the OL.  Right now we have Peters, Herremans, and McGlynn as the foundation.  Jamaal Jackson and Winston Justice are other starters.  That’s 5 so far.  Mix in Max Jean-Gilles, King Dunlap, and Austin Howard.  That’s 8.  The problem with that group is that several of them could be gone in 2012.  We do need a couple of guys to add to the mix, both to upgrade the overall talent and to add interior depth for the future.

Should the Eagles look to FA, specifically OG/C Jason Spitz and OT Jared Gaither?

Gaither – no.  Howard Mudd needs guys that he can push and prod.  He will be tough on his players.  Guys that don’t respond well to aggressive coaching wouldn’t be a good fit.  Gaither has a lot of talent, but I don’t bring him in to replace Justice.  Winston has just as much potential as Gaither in my mind.  The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Spitz – maybe.  The Eagles did like him prior to the draft a few years back.  Jason has started at LG, C, and RG in the NFL.  That’s the kind of versatility you like.  I think the problem will be that Jason wants a regular starting gig.  Do we make him the RG?  What about Mike McGlynn?  You always look within for answers before looking to other teams.  Is Spitz such an upgrade on McGlynn that he’d be worth giving a nice deal to?  Is he an upgrade at all?  I don’t think this is a move that’s likely to happen.

I’m all for upgrading the OL, but Spitz seems more like change than upgrade.  I’d love to add him to the mix to compete for a job, but that doesn’t seem like something he’d be into.  And sadly, there is a legitimate chance that he won’t be a free agent.  If we use last year’s FA rules Spitz will be a year short (only 5 years in the league — 6 are needed).

What draft prospects might the Eagles like more than some other teams?

Here are 4 guys that could go late 1st or in the 2nd:

CB Jimmy Smith – we need a CB and seem to like him quite a bit.
DT Stephen Paea – great motor + a strong guy.  Castillo could love his playing style.
DE Brooks Reed – seems like a great fit for Washburn’s system.
DE Jabaal Sheard – see above.

Should we draft OL/DL early or let Mudd and Washburn coach up the guys we have?

I’m all for drafting an OL or DL early, if it is a player that we don’t already have in place.  I don’t want Gabe Carimi as my RT when I haven’t seen what Mudd can do with Winston Justice.  Winston is basically the same size as Carimi.  He’s stronger and more athletic.  Winston has shown he can be an above average starter in the NFL.  Carimi has good potential, but is still unproven.  Taking him makes little sense to me.

Adding someone like Tyron Smith with elite potential is a move I couldn’t complain about.  Adding a top shelf G or C to help with depth and challenge for a job is fine as well.  We have some guys penciled in at C and RG, but there are question marks.  Adding players to those areas makes some sense.

DL is a bit different.  You rotate guys and mix things up so finding snaps for guys up there isn’t as hard.  We could have a lot of turnover at DT after the year so adding a body there does make some sense.  Adding a DE would be long term thinking because of the uncertainty with Brandon Graham and the fact that Trent Cole is entering his 7th year in the league (time really flies, huh?).

I don’t want the Eagles to have the mindset that we must add a DL and reach for a player.  I am fine with us taking a good player who happens to be available and fits the new system.  I’ve seen some fans say “take away Cole and everyone else is garbage”.  I don’t get that at all.  I think we’ve got an above average DL.  I think the DEs will enjoy the new system and it will bring out the best in young guys like Sapp and Teo.  Darryl Tapp is probably a better fit for this system as well.

We need a talent infusion at CB.  How many should we draft?

I combined a comment someone made with a discussion I had with a friend recently.  I was killing time and scratching out mock draft ideas for the Eagles.  I had them take CBs in the 1st and 3rd rounds.  Is that overkill?

Asante Samuel is set at LCB.  Joselio Hanson is a good slot guy.  Beyond that we have a lot of question marks.  I’m not a huge Trevard Lindley fan.  The Eagles believe in him, but how much?  Will Dimitri Patterson return?  I was impressed with Brandon Hughes, but don’t want to make too much of one game.  After all, Dimitri was terrific vs Reggie Wayne and the Colts.

I fully expect the Eagles to take a CB in the 1st.  I hope we add another one in the 3rd or 4th.  CB is a premium position.  We need better talent at that spot.  Worst case scenario, Hughes and Lindley pan out and we’ve got too many good CBs down the road.  I’ll live with that.

Does LT and RT change with a left-handed QB?

Yes and no.  LT is a premium position because he protects the QB’s blindside.  Offenses and defenses built around that notion for the last 30 years.  Put in a lefty QB and that changes, somewhat.  You do need a RT who can keep the QB clean since he won’t see pass rushers coming.  At the same time, the best pass rushers tend to be RDEs.  You still need your best overall blocker at LT.  I guess the key thing to take away is that the RT can’t be a traditional RT that is a great run blocker, but only mediocre in pass pro.  You need a RT who can pass block.

Is Akeem Ayers visit a waste of time or legit interest in a 1st round LB?

Pre-draft visits are a mixture of genuine interest and smokescreens.  Ayers is best suited for a 3-4, but the Eagles might in fact have interest.  Ayers would be a SAM in the base defense and pass rusher in the Nickel/Dime.  We could use him on zone blitzes in passing situations because he’s actually experienced and comfortable in coverage.  I doubt Ayers is a realistic target, but I’m not ready to completely dismiss this just because he’s a LB.  He’s more than that.

Could the Eagles have interest in Vernon Gholston as a reclamation project?

Doubtful.  Vern played for Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan, a pair of gifted defensive minds.  Ryan has especially been good at finding how to use pass rushers/LBs to maximize their potential.  Rex had guys of all different shapes and sizes in Baltimore that played well for him.  The fact that he tried so hard to make Gholston a good player, but couldn’t do it really hurts Vern’s future.

I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating.  I talked to a former NFL scout about Vern prior to that draft.  The scout was adamant that Vern would be a bust.  I told the guy he was crazy (respectfully of course) and ran through all the numbers and accolades.  The scout just said to wait and see.  He couldn’t explain why, but he knew Vern would bust.   Some NFL guys just have that 6th sense about certain players.

* * * * *

Specific players readers asked about:

OT Byron Stingily – 2-year LT at Louisville.  Had a great showing at his Pro Day.  Real athletic.  Looks good on tape, not great.  Has good feet.  Shows the potential to be a good pass blocker.  Does need work on how to use his hands.  Good run blocker.  Gets off the ball and works hard to sustain blocks.  Good size at 6-5, 313.  I need to watch him against a top flight pass rusher before I know his true value.  Could be of interest in the middle rounds if we want an athletic player for Mudd to develop.

OL Mike Pouncey – Pouncey played G in the past, but moved to C in 2010.  I liked him a lot better at C.  He never stood out to me as a G.  I do think he’ll be a 1st round pick.  If CB is off the board, Mike could get a look from the Eagles at 23.  I don’t think it is likely to happen, but is possible.  Heck, I’m not sure Mike makes it to pick 23.

CB Ras-I Dowling – Absolutely should be a player of interest for the Eagles.  If Jimmy Smith is gone at 23, the Eagles will move back or take another position.  I don’t see a CB worth 23 aside from the big 3.  Dowling is one of a few guys in the 2nd round who could be of interest.  He has good size and speed.  Senior year was ruined by injuries, but not an ACL or anything that will follow him to the NFL.  He was durable for the other 3 years.  Picked off 8 passes and covered well.  Could be good value in the 2nd round.  Maybe he slides even farther than that, but doesn’t seem likely.

4 Comments on “Eagles Q & A”

  1. 1 JVB said at 1:50 PM on April 6th, 2011:

    I’m intereted in the suggestion that Tapp will be a better fit in 1 gap than 2 gap. Can you explain why you think so?

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:58 PM on April 6th, 2011:

    Here is the pre-draft write-up I did on Darryl:

    “Goes about 6’1, 256. Very good college player, but is not a naturally gifted athlete. Gives terrific effort. Relentless. Thick-ish build. Good swim move. Spin move. Quick off the ball. Good inside move. Plays with good leverage. Makes his share of plays vs the run. Lines up at a really wide angle. Can shed blocks. Seems to make a lot of tackles. Gets the most out of his ability and works as hard as any player in CFB. ”

    At Va Tech he lined up out wide and attacked off the edge. He was a very good college player in that system. He has a great motor, which fits in well with the scheme. Guys are out in space and have a chance to run more. Tapp isn’t a burner, but is a supreme effort guy. That can be a big help in Washburn’s scheme.

  3. 3 JVB said at 8:05 AM on April 7th, 2011:

    Thanks for the reply, I’m still not convinced he has the first step, but its certainly food for thought.

  4. 4 BJK said at 1:01 PM on April 7th, 2011:

    Any chance the Eagles move Herremans from LG to RT? It would likely be easier and cheaper to find a guard rather than a tackle through free agency (Robert Gallery?) or the draft that could come in and play right away. I always thought Herremans looked great at tackle during his rookie year. Also, his skill set seems to fit exactly what Howard Mudd is generally looking for in a tackle.