The Quiet Man

Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , | 31 Comments »

Lost in all the talk of players and coaches in regard to the lockout is the strength/conditioning side of things. Players can go to local gyms or hire a trainer or do whatever to push themselves, but they aren’t getting the direct supervision of Barry Rubin.

The Eagles hired Rubin last year to come in and revitalize the strength/conditioning program. He replaced Mike Wolf, who had done a good job in the past, but wasn’t challenging players the way he needed to. Rubin brought a fresh perspective to the team and the players loved him. Go read or watch player interviews from last spring and you’ll see the name Barry Rubin pop up quite a bit.

Often times we wonder what kind of an impact a strength coach can truly have. These players were gifted athletes in college. What difference can one workout routine make compared to another? Go ask Trevor Laws. He bought into Rubin’s ideas and worked hard last offseason to change his body. Laws needed to get bigger and stronger, but wanted to retain his quickness and athleticism. I’m sure he took a look at Mike Patterson and wondered if that’s what would happen to him. Laws and Patterson were about the same size when drafted. Patterson bulked up for the Eagles 2-gap scheme. He’s now at least 325 pounds. His athleticism is largely gone. Laws knew he needed more bulk and power, but probably didn’t want to go down the same road as Patterson.

Rubin found a way to get Laws up around 300 pounds, with added strength and power, but while letting him also keep his athletic ability. Laws was not a functional run defender in his first two years. He struggled with single blockers, but was absolutely dominated by double teams. People would drive him 10 yards off the ball at times. That changed last season. Laws was able to anchor better against the run. He was better than ever at getting off the ball and into the backfield. He had a career high 4 sacks. He deflected 5 passes and picked off one. Suddenly Laws showed signs of why the Eagles spent a 2nd round pick on him in 2008.

LeSean McCoy tweaked his body under Rubin’s supervision. McCoy was able to be a workhorse runner all year (assuming you consider 15 carries a game a workhorse). He blocked well. He caught passes. The one thing he didn’t do was get hurt and miss time. McCoy looked faster in 2010 than he did in his rookie year, despite being heavier and stronger. Rubin designed a really effective program for McCoy. Shady bought into it and the results speak for themselves.

King Dunlap added bulk to his frame so that he could anchor more effectively. I guess having Richard Seymour push you around for 3 hours will inspire a body change. Dunlap easily had the best year of his young career.

Unfortunately Rubin isn’t able to work with his players right now. I hope there is some secret communication going on. Rubin can design a workout program that the players can do on their own. They don’t need him watching over their shoulders every day. That would be ideal, but it isn’t necessary. Honestly, there is probably more benefit for players to talk to him than assistant coaches. Players who have questions about scheme and the playbook need extensive, complex answers. Often times they need to watch film with the coach to fully understand the point being discussed. Rubin is a guy that can answer a simple question or offer short advice and get some impact from it.

There are plenty of young players who would benefit from working with him. CB Trevard Lindley needs to bulk up, but in the right way. Rookie Center Jason Kelce needs to get bigger and stronger. LB Keenan Clayton must get stronger if he hopes to push for a starting job. LB Jamar Chaney may tweak his build if he’s expecting to play on the outside. DT Mike Patterson might need to re-invent his body to be a better fit for Jim Washburn’s system. And so on.

Obviously the guys rehabbing injuries would also benefit from Rubin working closely with them. Not every trainer in the world is experienced in how to build a program for someone who is recovering from a torn ACL or shoulder injury or whatever.

Barry Rubin quietly had a big impact on the 2010 Eagles. I hope we soon get a resolution or lifting of the lockout so he can get to work on the 2011 Eagles.


  • http://Website Thunderlips

    I seem to remember an interview with someone from the Eagles (Reid maybe?) that hinted that they’ve been in contact with the player’s personal trainers (because they can’t contact the players directly).

  • http://igglesblitz.com Sam

    Technically, they promoted Rubin. He’d been here since the 2008 season.

  • http://Website izzylangfan

    What do you think that the players can meaningfully accomplish in the off-season with no official workouts. Can Vick effectively study film to improve his pre snap reads. Can the new draftees talk to the veterans to learn something meaningful about the offensive and defensive schemes . Can the veterans teach the newcommers about footwork and other techniques that are the Eagles’ way. Did last years rookies learn enough about strength and conditioning to improve in the right direction. It seems to me that practices like seven on sevens and even head to head blocking drills and such would be unwise given the potential for injury and would yield minimal learning anyway without a coach present. While some of the things I ask about above might actually result in a more prepared team when official practices are allowed to begin.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Sam is correct that Rubin was here for 2 years prior to 2010, but Mike Wolf ran the strength program and did things in a much different way. He didn’t challenge the players nearly as much as Rubin did. Wolf had a simple, generalized program. Rubin tailored things for each individual. The results were very impressive.

  • http://Website MikeD

    Like you said Tommy, the workout plans don’t seem like they need to be explained in detail. There has got to be some degree of separation that they could pass workout plans to players (rubin to assistant to random trainer to players own trainer perhaps) without angering the NFL. It just seems like certain teams (coughcowboyscough) are definitely communicating with players through some channels and that those teams who do will have a leg up when the season begins.

  • http://www.scout.com Iowa Eagle

    All this talk about taking big name corners in Free Agency once it starts, but I just ran across an article that got me thinking. I’m sure they wouldn’t be interested in Kolb, but is it possible we make a play for one of the Cheifs corners?

    http://kan.scout.com/2/1071305.html

  • http://Website Name

    If Rubin didn’t give these guys specific workout instructions before the lockout was in effect, he should be fired. That being said, he won’t be there to oversee and tweak the program, but all in all I’m less worried about the vets than the rookies, as you reference. Particularly I hope we were able to communicate some kind of workout program to Watkins in the 2.7 hours we were allowed to talk to him after drafting him.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    RE: Watkins

    I think his body is fine for the NFL. He needs positional coaching to finalize his transition to G.

    RE: KC corners

    I doubt KC lets them go. Brown needs time to develop before he can replace one should they leave. I’m not sure Brown is a starter anyway. Might be a good #3 or #4 CB.

  • http://Website McG

    Iowa, thanks for the reading material. Certainly looks like KC has a good secondary. It also looks like we may be a year early to make a play for one of them, and I for one certainly hope that Banner et al don’t decide to wait that long to find a starting RCB.

    Fun read Tommy, and yes I remember watching plenty of videos on PE.com about how much the players enjoyed the new strength and conditioning.

    Honestly I’m on the fence about whether I would want our Eagles to be operating strictly “by the book” or “bending the rules” to gain an edge. I can see pros and cons to both sides.

  • http://Website Samsung

    If we trade Kolb to Arizon it will be for Greg Toler and a 2nd round pick

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    No way.

    The Eagles know the value of QBs better than just about any other team. They will get fair value for Kolb or he’ll stay an Eagle.

    Toler and a 2nd would be an insulting offer.

  • http://www.draftcountdown.com Morton

    All I am going to say regarding the CB situation is this: the Eagles had better get a legit NFL-caliber RCB before the season begins, and that CB cannot be Curtis Marsh, Dimtri Patterson, Trevard Lindley, or anyone else with less than 3 years of starting NFL experience. If they can’t get Asomugha, they need to get someone of at least a Jonathan Joseph type of caliber. Period. You simply can’t sell me, or most Eagles fans, on Curtis Marsh or Trevard Lindley as the starter next year.

    And regarding the post about Mel Kiper – I didn’t get a chance to respond to it but I want to point out that Kiper gave the Eagles a bad grade not because the individual players were bad prospects per se, but because they were not chosen in the most efficient or value-conscious manner possible. Pretend, for example, that Jaiquan Jarrett does become a Pro Bowl safety. You might be tempted to say that, well, if he turns out OK, it doesn’t matter where he was picked. Well, because Jarrett was considered nothing more than a 4th round prospect by *most* teams and analysts, there is a good chance that the Eagles could have selected another player in the 2nd round, and still had selected Jarrett with a 3rd or 4th round pick. This way, they would have had Jarrett, AND another player. No matter how good of a safety Jarrett turns out to be, it will still be considered a “reach” because he was considered a later-round prospect. If you can have your cake and eat it too, why not? Take him in the 4th round and still get a quality player in the 2nd in addition to Jarrett.

    In the words of Mel Kiper – “it’s not who you pick, but where you pick them”. Getting value at your picks is just as important as getting quality. You want to get good players, but more importantly, you want to steal good players in later rounds and steal the good players that drop. Picking 4th round prospects in the 3rd round and 3rd round prospects in the 2nd round is not the way to maximize value and quality.

  • http://Website Davesbeard

    You could just glance at the team at the start of last season and see the difference that Barry Rubin made, so many players were more cut and built better for the roles they were to play. Other than starting Vick promoting Rubin was the best move the Eagles made last season.

  • http://Website Samsung

    I think Eagles will get a 1st round pick from Arizona and they’ll throw in Greg Toler. The Eagles will then hype up Greg Toler as some unknown rising star.

    He’ll end up as the starting CB in the opener, but will struggle by mid season. He will then be replaced by Joselio who will then be replaced by Lindley. Lindley will then start out well and later get exposed at the end of the season.

  • http://Website Jerry

    Does Darrell Tapp and Juqua Parker fit Jim Washburn’s system?

  • http://Website ATG

    @Morton

    I completely disagree. Using your example, if Jarrett turns into a pro bowl safety and *most* teams had him as a 4th round pick, that means (a) we were right and *most* teams were wrong, (b) it was a great pick because teams find 0.7 probowlers in an average draft class, and (c) if *most* teams (analysts are completely irrelevant once the picking starts) had him as a third or fourth rounder, lets say 30 teams to put a point on it, that means if we had waited on him we would have seen a pro bowl safety on team #31.

    Were Akili Smith and Tim Couch good picks because the got the value *most* teams expected? Was Trent Cole a bad pick if they could have traded back 10 spots and still probably gotten him?

    The draft is not about impressing analysts or rubbing teams noses in how many times they passed on a guy. The draft is about getting as many talented guys as possible for your team.

    If you wait and still get the guy, you have a better chance at getting two guys that help, something anyone with a keyboard can claim is true but no one knows. Being the team that had a pro bowl player ranked higher than 30 other teams is little consolidation, though.

  • http://Website Stephen

    @Morton also,

    It is completely flawed to assume that you know where *most* teams have a player rated. No one has information on who was ranked where on all 32 draft boards. Just because Draftnik A thinks that player B is rated to go in round C does not mean that thats how the 32 teams doing the drafting see player B.

    In my mind if you really value player B you had better be sure you get him before the other 31 teams decide its time to grab player B.

  • http://Website Arno

    Only one other team has to see Watkins worthy of a first round pick, Jarrett of a second or Henery of a fourth.

    I prefer the educated guess of the team (they got their share of getting the right guys) as long as their within their requirements of height, bodytype, motor etc.

    The only guy I don’t see panning out for the Eagles is Lewis. He’s Tony Hunt all over again, a workhorse back not used to getting a few snaps per game and a bad pass blocker.

  • http://Website eagles nut

    Ken Croner is no longer listed as a coach or in the front office staff as being an employee of the Eagles. He was the assistant strength and conditioning coach. Probably the first casualty of the lockout. If he is in private practice, hopefully he’s hired by some of the current Eagles players.

  • http://Website McG

    @Jerry, I would say that Tapp is ideal for Washburn’s system. I think Juqua can still be a rotational guy, but has lost a step.

    @Arno, In my opinion you are right on about the value thing. If we didn’t take Watkins in the first you can almost 100% bank he is wearing black and gold. Not sure who is was looking at Jarret, but rumors were there were teams very interested in “stealing him” in the 3rd, and same can easily be said of our new kicker Henry.

  • http://Website Iskar36

    @Morton

    I can’t disagree with you more. The fact that the Eagles drafted a guy “ahead of their value” proves that AT LEAST one team had them rated higher than the draftniks. What it doesn’t prove is that there was no other team that had that guy rated as highly. If the Eagles feel Jarrett can be a difference maker, and instead of drafting him when they did, they traded back, only to loose him to another team, that is a bad draft strategy.

    Sure, the Eagles may have been the only team to value Jarrett that highly, and for all we know he could be a flat out bust, but at the end of the day, if he performs well, he was a good pick. End of story. The Eagles are a team that have consistently done their homework on players and have consistently gotten good value. Sure, they have their misses like every other team, but I trust the Eagles’ value board over Kiper’s, or any other dratnik’s for that matter, any day.

  • http://Website Thunderlips

    Obviously opinions on Jarret vary, and Todd McShay is kind of a joke, but he felt Jarret was a great value where the Eagles took him (I think he wrote it was the highlight of their draft).

  • http://Website mcud

    You stick to your board. Howie obviously had Watkins as a 1st round value, Jarrett as a 2nd (or better), Marsh as a 3rd (or better), and so on. If he didn’t, and took the players several rounds earlier than he had them on his value board, he should be fired, today. Howie obviously decided that he wasn’t going to get cute and try to outsmart other GMs (or himself), and took the players he wanted. That I disagree with his evaluations, and fail to see the value upside in ANY of them is my problem.

    On the other hand, I do think it is a big, big gamble to not come out of this draft without a starting caliber RCB, no matter what under the table deals have been struck. To me, that is the real failure here. While Howie may not have outsmarted himself WRT to teh draft, it seems he may have with the pro personnel side of things. Going all in that you’re going to be able to outbid others for Asomugha, or that a team like Buffalo (McKelvin) or Arizona (DR-C) are going to give you what you want for Kolb is very, very dangerous. I think the Eagles fumbled this. Peterson was there (at a cost which must have been astronomical), Prince slipped to a spot that wouldn’t have been cost prohibitive, and Dowling/Williams were on the board when we picked (and we available later for a trade back up into the top of round 2). I am mystified that we didn’t get any of them.

  • http://Website iskar36

    @mcud

    While I fully agree that the Eagles are taking a major risk with not drafting a CB early in the draft, I have to imagine that it was a very calculated and thought out decision. I can’t imagine for a second they go into the season trying to push Lindley, Patterson, Hanson, or Marsh. I think they understand that none of those guys are legitimate options opposite Asante. There are a few options out there once FA starts and trading is allowed. While Nnamdi is the obvious big name, I don’t think it is him or bust. We do have some cap space to make moves as well as Kolb to make a trade happen, so I feel fairly confident we will fill our need at RCB with a quality starter somehow.

  • http://Website mcud

    @iskar

    I certainly hope you are right. Its the strategy itself that is not sound IMO. We went into the draft with one gaping hole, RCB, and two or three positions where we had a starter in place, but could obviously be upgraded (I count RG and Safety in this category). We came out with two players that could challenge for starting jobs in the latter, but no viable candidate for the former. In an offseason without free agency, I just don’t know how you can pass up the opportunity to fill your most glaring need when there are at least 4 viable options to fill it.

    Want to see the nightmare scenario? Nnamdi signs with the Texans. Johnathan Joseph re-signs with Cincy. Josh Wilson re-signs with the Ravens. Buffalo really does like Fitzpatrick, and takes themselves out of the Kevin Kolb negotiations. Hasselbeck re-signs with Seattle. Now, Arizona holds us hostage. They say no to a DR-C or Peterson package, and offer future picks instead. Now, we’re left without a RCB. Howie then suggests to Joe Banner that we sign Ronde Barber for a one year deal while Lindley continues to develop. Banner spontaneously bursts into flames.

    Perhaps I am overthinking it. I’m just tired of jonesing for a RCB. It seems like it has been 4 straight offseasons where another CB has been a priority.

  • http://Website ATG

    I am so excited to see what I can only describe as Iggles Blog-type discussion growing on your new site, Tommy. The respectful, thought out disagreements with a healthy smattering of humor has been sorely missed since IB came to an end.

    That you have cultivated this during the off-est of off seasons speaks well of the future.

  • http://Website Daniels

    @Iskar36

    Is Sebastian Janikowski considered a reach even though he is a probowl player?

  • http://Website mcud

    @Daniels

    You didn’t ask me, but I’m compelled to volunteer something: Sebastian has been selected for one Pro Bowl.

    One.

    As an alternate.

  • http://Website mattman

    I swear there are some people who assume that 31 NFL teams have rankings identical to Mel Kiper’s and the Eagles are the only ones who think differently. You can’t *ever* make an assumption about when a player would still be available. That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t play the game at all (Tom Heckert played it to the hilt,) but it does mean that you can’t say, on Monday morning, ‘So-and-so would have been there a round later.’ You can’t, because you have no idea.

    And don’t forget that the ‘conventional wisdom’ mock draft that analysts parrot is dead wrong about a bunch of players every year – projected 2nd and 3rd rounders wind up dropping to the 6th and 7th or out of the draft altogether. DeAndre McDaniel, for example, would have looked like a ‘steal’ in the 4th round, when in fact we DO have evidence that he would have been available in any round.

    Another thing people seem to lose sight of is that ’rounds’ of the draft are arbitrary tiers. The 1st player taken is a lot different than the 33rd, but there’s not necessarily so great a difference between the 54th pick (where Jarrett was taken) and, say, the 67th pick (early 3rd rounder) which would have theoretically been ‘proper’ value for Jarrett.

  • http://Website mattman

    re: Daniels – I would still consider Janikowski a reach as a 1st round pick. Were he a second rounder, I’d probably still consider the pick a poor use of resources.

    But that’s an extreme example.

  • http://Website Tracer Bullet

    @iskar36: In the past few years, the Eagles have entered a season with major question marks at FS, FB, PR and RG. Now, it’s possible they expected a certain player to step up and he couldn’t do the job, but we do know that they will absolutely put the lie to a statement like “I can’t imagine for a second they go into the season trying . . .”