Bobby April – Are You Ready?

Posted: July 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 56 Comments »

Think about this.  The Eagles are going to have a rookie PK in Alex Henery.  It appears they are going to have a rookie P in Chas Henry.  Likely, Henry will be the holder for Henery.  Rookies in both spots is going to require some great coaching on the part of Bobby April.  He’s got a reputation as the best Special Teams coach in the NFL.  We’ll find out just how true that is.

Henry I and Henery II, as one reader so brilliantly called them, are both very talented kickers.  Both guys had great college careers.  The problem is that not all college Punters and Kickers translate well to the NFL.  The speed of the game is tough to adjust to.  Kicking in the NFL requires precise timing and technique.  Just having a strong leg isn’t enough anymore.

RS is also up in the air.  We know DeSean can be an explosive PR.  The Eagles would rather him not be the primary guy, though.  Jeremy Maclin still shocks me with how lost he looks as a RS after he was so dynamic in college.  I keep waiting for the light to go on for him as a returner.  Maybe this is the year.

Jorrick Calvin had some good moments last year, but also struggled at times.  He’s not a lock to make the roster.  Chad Hall and Sinorice Moss would fit nicely as the #5 WR and RS.  They’re fighting for roster spots.  Gerard Lawson was added to the team late in the season and he’s got good RS potential.

WR Jeremy Williams spent time on the Practice Squad last year and has RS ability.  I liked him quite a bit coming out of Tulane.  UDFA rookies Graig Cooper and Noel Devine each have RS experience and could factor into the equation.

There is no definitive answer at RS, but this is far from 2007 when there was no one.  Half the team has the ability to handle the job.  April needs one or two players to emerge as the front runners.  There’s still the possibility of adding a player in free agency, assuming the team ever does make a move.

* * * * *

The Eagles are just getting up to Lehigh today.  Negotiations with teams and players may have been slowed this morning due to logistics.  Hopefully the phones will be going full bore this afternoon and we’ll get some action flowing.

I remain confident that the Kolb/Cardinals deal will get done.

* * * * *

I need to spend a full post on RB, but for now I’ll update my thoughts on the position.  I still see us going after a veteran back, but I am confused by what the Eagles have done.  They added rookies Dion Lewis, Graig Cooper, and Noel Devine.  All 3 guys have NFL ability.  Normally we have one good rookie and a longshot or two.  Adding 3 guys with that level of potential flat out confuses me.  Maybe we’re going young at RB and won’t pursue a veteran (aside from maybe Reggie Bush).  RB is a young man’s position.  The thing that hurts the rookies is that I’m not sure any of them could be an adequate pass blocker right now.  I really don’t know what to expect.  I do very much like the fact we added 3 talented rookies at a spot we often pay marginal attention to.

Someone asked if the Eagles could target BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  He’s a RFA.  Not sure what his compensation is, but I doubt we go for an RFA this year.

I do think Brian Westbrook is a possible veteran addition.  I don’t think Andy Reid would want Buck back.

I do have some interest in Marion Barber.  Honestly though, I’m not sure how good a pass blocker he is.  That would be a critical factor in deciding whether he’s someone I’d go after.  I still like Cadillac Williams and Clinton Portis, if they can accept 80 carries a year.  That may be too little work to interest them.

* * * * *

Donovan McNabb will play for the Vikings this year.  Good spot for him.  Sounds like basically a one-year deal.  He’s turned into a roving QB now.  I hope things go well for him.  Glad to know that I can cheer for him in purple.  Hated seeing my man in burgundy.  Barf.

* * * * *

What’s up with Vince Young?  Reports say he’ll be cut tomorrow.  Should the Eagles be interested?  No.

Vince isn’t 100% coachable.  Many people don’t remember that Vince was struggling at Texas early on.  He was losing out to Major Applewhite.  Mack Brown said the thing that turned Vince’s career around is that they quit coaching him and told him to just go do his thing.  Vince was great at that.  His last year and a half was the stuff of legend.

Fast forward to the NFL and we see the raw ability still there, but the coaching issues remain.  Vince drove Norm Chow nuts the first couple of years.  Jeff Fisher did what he could, but Vince was still awkward to handle.  He deals well with pressure on the field, but not off it.

Vince would come here and have to learn a whole new offense in 4 to 5 weeks.  And this is a guy who isn’t real keen on being micro-managed by coaches?  Sounds like a bad fit to me.


  • http://Website Netherman

    The silence is deafening…I hope we get some news soon…so far “aggressive” plan seems…overstated.

  • http://Website ppk

    Good luck to Donny M. I hope he has a huge year, I sense he still may have a lot in his tank.

    Why is there such a reluctance to place DeSean at PR? I’ve heard the “potential injury” argument, but considering what the guy is capable of, I’d argue that it’s worth the risk. He certainly got injured more last year as a wr than returning punts.

  • http://Website Davesbeard

    There is no fear of putting him in with the game on the line but they need ‘the man’ to bear the brunt of the PR duties, especially in situations where a big punt return isn’t necessary just a bonus.

  • http://Website mcud

    DeSean will run out of bounds anyway.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    No reason to have DeSean returning punts all game, every game. Pick and choose your spots with him. His body isn’t meant to take a ton of hits.

    As mcud says, he’ll run out of bounds quite a bit, but all it takes is one big hit to drastically change our season. Risk – reward situation. Use him when you need it.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ Netherman…

    This is the aggressive plan.

    You should have seen the passive one. We were going to give the UDFA market a week to settle down before we went after our guys. Why rush in and overpay?

  • http://Website CVD

    desean didnt get hurt on punts cuz he only returned a few if i remember correctly. i would love him to do it but he is just too fragile. we cant risk him getting hurt unless its 4th qaurter or obvioulsy a playoff game.

    maclin seems like he runs out of bounds when he returns kicks. he is getting better though. he was only 20 when we first got him, so that can be scary at that age. he doesnt seem as fast as he was his first year, maybe he bulked up and lost a step, or he could just not look fast to me because i am used to desean

    i dont like having a rookie kicker and punter. i really liked akers in the reg season, not so much in the post season. but i would rather have him kick this year for us and not dallas

  • http://Website CVD

    niners and the almight namdi? i dont see it

  • http://Website ScouseEagle

    Does anybody know if Ollie Ogbu has been snapped up yet? I was hoping that we would sign him.

  • http://Website iskar36

    Tommy,

    I understand the concern about Vince Young not being coachable, but it seems like he should come cheap, is a mobile QB (which until proven otherwise, seems to be a must in our system with our Oline), and has a winning record as a starter. With our other options as a backup starting to dwindle, assuming we trade Kolb, is there options available that would really be all that much better than Young?

  • http://Website makarov

    I think the 3 rookie RB thing is simply a factor of the increased roster size. You can’t be real sure about any one of them, even if you have positive expectations. With a 90 man roster, you have the luxury of bringing in multiple people and letting them compete. If the Eagles sign a veteran, it will be because they already feel they “know” what they’ll get out of them. So, we may not see that kind of move until the weekend or even a couple weeks.

    Right now, teams are cutting cap and signing some of their own FAs. There’s been few reports of agreements with others teams’ FAs, with the exception of QBs.

    I’m not worried yet. If Saturday night is here, and we still don’t have a vet LB, CB, and DE, I’ll be concerned. Howie Roseman and Joe Banner have said they’re ready to be aggressive this year. Too soon to judge, for now. By this weekend, once FAs can officially sign with other teams, it will be a different story.

  • http://Website John C

    The only thing they have been “aggressive” with so far is announcing when the tickets go on sale.

    We better see something soon… they have far too much to do to have done nothing by this point. They have only so much time this year! And to think how much we heard about how prepared they were and how aggressive they would be!! Lol – they were indeed prepared to get training camp started and very prepared to get the tickets sold.

    In addition to filling the many holes on the team, I hope they are working with #10’s agent to get him his contract to avoid a completely unnecessary and avoidable distraction.

  • http://Website Iowa Eagle

    Tommy:
    It seems to be coming more and more apparent that Nnamdi will be taking a lower deal to go to the Jets… if he was willing to take a lower deal to play with a contender and the Eagles haven’t even contacted him, do you think that’s a big sign that they have a targeted CB already? (Possibly DRC)

  • http://Website Iowa Eagle

    Either that or Nnamdi is just more intrigued playing for a proven DC rather than coming to Philly to play for a “Rookie”?

  • http://Website makarov

    @ScouseEagle – Ogbu was signed by the Colts

  • http://Website Big Don

    Unrelated.

    Just now on PFT Live, Jason Babin talks about teams he is in contact with… the Eagles are in his top 3 teams.

  • http://Website Netherman

    @tommy – thanks for bringing me back down…after the months of not being able to grab our cb, i am a little impatient. I will feel a lot better when i know we have secured a legit cb.

  • http://Website CVD

    orton is almost traded per PFT. they say the teams are working on a contract w him.

    so isnt it possible that kob could be working on a contract with the cardinals?

  • http://Website CVD

    If AZ believes Kolb is a franchise QB, the deal will eventually get done. Franchise QBs are very hard to find. Its not like they can go on to the next FQB on the market if they don’t land Kolb. But if they don’t think Kolb is a franchise Qb, I doubt the deal gets done because eagles will want too much. But it seems as though AZ feels he is the guy

    im hoping they already kind of have a deal but the eagles are trying to figure out if they are gonna grab a RCB in free agncy and wouldnt want DRC, and instead would just take pics.

    if orton gets traded to arizona, there could be a riot in philly

  • http://Website Mike

    Please NO Vince Young, but who is our back-up QB gonna be?

    Also please sign Ray Edwards. I know people are pushing for Babin but I would much rather have a 26 years ascending player than a 31 DE that had 1 good year.

    Tommy, Michael Lombardi also reported that the Eagles went hard after Doug Free but lost him when he returned to Dallas, interesting.

  • http://Website CVD

    babins/edwards

    i would take whoever comes at the best value. i would not give a big contract to either of them. johnson i would have given a big contract but not these guys

    eagles are selling DRC jerseys on their website, but i doubt that means anything.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Mike Lombardi is the worst source of inside info there is. Doesn’t mean that he’s wrong on that point, but Lombardi is wrong far more often than Mort or Schefter. Glazer is right most of the time. He doesn’t float rumors based on just what agents feed him and that gives him the highest success rate. Lombardi is terrible.

  • http://Website Cafone

    Why not bring back Westbrook as a backup and also use him to return punts?

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ iskar36…

    Young has great talent. Dude could be a star QB if he puts his mind to it and is willing to work hard in practice. No veteran is going to have his talent.

    The reason I want other veterans is that I trust them. Bulger, Gradkowski, Delhomme, etc. — those guys know who they are and what they have to do to be successful. They will listen to the coaches. They will work hard to be ready if called on. They lack VY’s talent, but he lacks their ability to fit into an organization and style of doing things.

    I won’t be mad if the Eagles go get Young. I’m not anti-Vince. I just think the issues he would bring make him a player I’d rather pass on.

    You never know how these guys are until you talk to them. I had no interest in Vick when we signed him. Turned out he was completely changed by prison. He is 180 degrees from the guy he was in ATL. If Vince has a similar change (minus time in Leavenworth), then he would be an intriguing addition. I don’t think Vince thinks anything is wrong, though.

  • http://Website Stephen

    Not interested in VY. He will win some games based on his pure athletic ability, but he’s not a guy who is going to carry you to wins over good teams.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I am glad we’re talking to Babin. That would be smart move. He fits what we do and what we need. Good value.

  • http://Website Midnight Greenville

    I hear Bobby April is trying to track down Wally Henry to bring back as a return specialist to complete the set.
    Honestly, it scares me a little how young our two kicking specialists are–you can’t overlook the importance of these positions, and we were very stable there before these changes. If April is as good as billed, I guess we’ll be o.k. If not, we can always try to bring back Norm Johnson, Dirk Johnson, and Billy White Shoes Johnson.

  • http://twitter.com/cliphord Cliff

    RE: Babin

    The thing that makes me hesitate is that if Washburn can work his magic on someone like Babin, why can’t he do the same thing for Sapp or Teo?

    If Babin were looking for a short deal, that’s one thing, but I’m excited to see what Washburn can do for our current DE’s too.

  • http://Website mcud

    Pass on Babin. I want Kiwi!!!

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ Cliff…

    Don’t forget, Babin was once a 1st round pick. He struggled to find the right system for years. Houston made him 3-4 OLB early on. Jason found a home in the Washburn system. He never lacked raw ability.

    @ mcud…

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Kiwi in the last few days. He’s very under the radar. Some team will want him. Maybe the Eagles. I’ve not heard him mentioned from any one, but things are pretty quiet right now.

  • http://Website Iowa Eagle

    I guess the Eagles website knows something we don’t know…

    http://yfrog.com/hs8twaoj

  • http://Website CVD

    cliff i agree

    but if we dont have to pay alot i would be cool w it. i think parker gets cut and BG is hurt. so we need to pcik someone up. as long as we dont pay alot i will take whoever. teo, hunt, and sapp are like 3 free agents we just picked up. maybe wash can work his magic with them

  • http://twitter.com/cliphord Cliff

    RE: DRC jersey

    I find it hard to believe the Eagles online shop people knew about a deal before it was leaked to the media. I think this is just some IT guys being funny.

  • http://Website justrelax

    Instead of signing Reggie Bush, how about Steve Breaston? Solves the RS issue and he’s a dynamic receiver. If DJax proves intractible, we’d still have a deep threat. Probably will cost less than Bush too.

  • http://Website Mac

    Yeah but now ESPN is reporting that Kolb is expected to be dealt to the Cardinals by the end of week for DRC and a pick, so good sign.

  • http://Website Mac

    Also I don’t think Reggie wants come here, I think when he was allowed to explore his options he ruled out the Eagles because they were already loaded on offense and wouldn’t get as big a role. Though that could change but I still doubt he’s worth it for the Eagles you could probably find a cheaper option.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ justrelax…

    Is that really you?

    Breaston would be an interesting addition. He is probably looking for a starting gig at WR. I’ve been shocked at how well he’s played in the NFL. He’s a guy I projected to be good RS, okay WR. Overachiever.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Tweet from Derrick Gunn:

    “kolb deal is close stay tuned”

  • http://Website Walter

    How would you feel about Wallace Gilberry? He had 7 sacks for KC last season and people say that he is better suited for the 4-3. The only problem is that he is a RFA (2nd round tender).

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I liked Gilberry coming out of college, but no way I give up a pick to get him.

    Adam Caplan reported the Eagles are in the running for Babin. ATL and CHI also involved.

    If anything happens, we may turn to Dave Ball, another DE from TEN. He had 7 sacks last year. Not great athlete, but good size.

  • http://Website justrelax

    Yes, Tommy, ’tis I.

    I thought Breaston was worth a 3rd when he came out. Turns out I was the blind chicken.

  • http://Website Iowa Eagle

    I highly doubt we’re going to bring in a DE that’s projected as a long term starter, that’s why what Tommy said about signing Babin makes tons of sense if he’s resonably priced… We have Graham for the future, we just need a good starter for this year, and maybe next.

  • http://Website mcud

    @justrelax

    Awesome to see you here. I’ve learned a lot about OLine from your posts.

    By the way, we traded for Jason Peters!

  • http://Website Dan

    Browns to release Delhomme. Interest??

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    RE: Delhomme

    I need to write out a post on him to explain, but I do have interest. He’s done as a starter, but could be good backup. Not sure if Eagles are interested. They want a good backup QB. Will pay for quality. Just not sure who specifically they have targeted.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Big Red arrives at Lehigh. If that ain’t sexy, what is?

    http://yfrog.com/h0t7crgj

  • http://Website TSA

    Tommy,

    What do you think of going after Jacob Ford? He’s coming from the Washburn system in Tennessee. With the two deep rotation I see having him and Tapp at LDE and then having Teo, Sapp, Hunt, Abrimiri, UDFA #364 all compete to rotate with Cole. It’s more cost effective than Edwards or Babin and while it may not be popular it will give us more money to pay DJ and Cole.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I don’t think Ford is a UFA. He’s only played 3 years.

  • http://Website CVD

    i think ford was on IR his first year. he should be unrestricted

  • http://Website TSA

    I just double checked and even though he has five years in the league I think its like the Brent Grimes situation where he only has 3 roster years. That’s what I get for looking at Grantland for FA info

  • http://Website Walter

    RE: Gilberry

    Not even for a 4th round pick? He’s 26 and has good size. We gave up a 4th for Tapp and a 5th for Ernie Sims last year.

  • http://Website TSA

    Scratch that SB Nation’s Titans site has him listed as a FA

  • http://Website izzylangfan

    This whole thing about the Eagles trying to extract a higher pick from AZ sounds wrong. The deal between the teams is probably done. But Kolb still has to rework is contract and I suspect he is a tough negotiator. Those negotiations weren’t allowed to start until yesterday morning at the earliest so it could easily take a day or two since no one knows what Kolb’s value is anyway.

    On DeSean Jackson. He is a bit of a loose cannon so its hard to predict what he will do and in hiring Drew Rosenhouse trouble can always be in the offing. But reasonably speaking: he couldn’t sign a deal last year because of the uncapped year rules, then he couldn’t talk to management because of the lockout, and now the Eagles would seem to need to sign free agents and rookies and make trades before getting to rework existing contracts. So the Eagles have had really no chance to satisfy DeSeans needs should they be, and they appear to be, so inclined. Further if he was going to be a no show then there would be no reason to presage it as he is suggesting. If he doesn’t show then he would probably be hurting himself and giving the Eagles a chance to dig in. So DeSean is trying just to fire a shot over the bow and remind the Eagles that they better start negotiating as soon as they can. This silly action he is taking probably won’t hurt him too much and lets him feel like he is doing something. But if he doesn’t show up real damage is possible, both to him and the Eagles.

  • http://Website Arby

    @Tommy
    Proposal for your next blog entry title:
    Hurry Up and Wait

  • http://Website McG

    I’m with izzy… I think the lack of the deal being consummated lies with Kolb’s contract.

    Will we be able to be happy about this off season if we come away with DRC, Albert, Delhomme, and the UDFAs?

  • http://Website Boyboy

    I’m still not seeing anything that constitutes an aggressive approach to the off-season…..

    Ok, if we pull off the trade for Cromartie and a pick, we still need help at DE, S, LB, and OL.

    And a backup RB…
    And a backup QB..
    And someone, anyone, who can help in the red zone.