More On MLB And CB

Posted: July 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , , | 22 Comments »

Stewart Bradley, Jamar Chaney, and Casey Matthews are 3 very different players.  Those are the 3 candidates the Eagles have to be the starting MLB in 2011.  Let’s talk about what they do well and how they would function in the new system.

Stewart Bradley is the biggest of the bunch.  NFL.com lists him at 6’4, 258.  Even if that is off a bit, he’s still the biggest.  Stew runs well for a guy his size.  If you put on the 2008 tape you see a LB that is tough and physical.  He’s able to shed blockers and get to the ball.  Stew is underrated in terms of coverage skills, but can be awkward at times in space.  At his best, he’s a vertical player.  He is a short area guy that wants to attack North-South.

The new system is going to have the MLB play off the ball and be more of a read and react player.  This requires a LB that is more of a horizontal player.  Jamar Chaney has the speed and range to make plays all over the field.  Chaney wasn’t very good in college at getting off blocks, but the coaches worked with him a lot last summer and I was very impressed with the progress he made.  Chaney had the physical tools to shed blocks.  He just needed to work on technique.  He did that in practice and it showed on the field.  Chaney is athletic, but didn’t show much of a feel for pass coverage.  I’m sure that’s the area the coaches will focus on when the lockout does finally lift.

Casey Matthews is the most instinctive player of the trio.  Casey is lighter and slower than both Stew and Chaney.   Casey makes plays because of his eyes.  He has good field vision.  He trusts what he sees and then goes for the ball.  Bradley likes to attack immediately.  Chaney doesn’t have ideal key and diagnose skills.  He reacts to what is in front of him, but doesn’t process things as quickly and smoothly as Casey.  I think Casey has the best cover skills of the group.  He knows how to handle man coverage, but also how to get in the passing lanes and make things happen.  I guess I should temper that and say that he knows how to do this at the college level.

Casey is totally unproven in the NFL obviously.  He plays faster than he times because of his instincts and ability to know what will happen.  If those instincts don’t work as well in the NFL, Casey might not have the speed to be a good starting MLB.  Casey also has to show that he can handle blockers.  That was a weak point for him at Oregon.  He’s a physical player and should be able to improve in this area, but it does need a lot of work.

The new scheme requires the LBs to read the play and then go get the ball.  You cannot just attack at the snap.  Ernie Sims head might explode if he tried to fully embrace this concept.  Hesitation just isn’t in his nature.  Stew has the physical ability to play in the scheme, but I don’t know if he can adjust his style of play.  Old habits die hard.

One thing all 3 guys have in common is great intangibles.  All 3 are leaders.  All 3 are highly competitive, something that is critical at MLB.

I really think Chaney will be the WLB.  Stew and Casey then would battle for MLB, assuming Stew sticks around.  It is possible he’ll go to another team.  I think the stability of staying here will make it tough to leave unless he’s blown away by an offer.  We’re making changes in scheme and on the staff, but he still knows Andy Reid and his teammates.  Stew would still be in a comfortable environment and part of a successful tradition.  Were he to try and go to Carolina or Cleveland and meet up with an old coach, he’d be surrounded by strangers and less than ideal circumstances.  If he wants a 1-year deal, the Eagles are his best match.

We still don’t know if the Eagles want Stew.  I’m guessing they do for 2011, but that’s just a stab in the dark.  This isn’t like Quintin Mikell where you can read the tea leaves and see that he’s a goner.

So much uncertainty and confusion on July 1st.  This lockout mess is insane.

* * * * *

Adam Caplan recently responded to the talk of a Kevin Kolb trade to Arizona.  Caplan said he didn’t see the Cardinals giving up on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  He did throw out the name of LB Daryl Washington.  Interesting.

I don’t know if the Eagles would have serious interest in Washington.  He would fit the new system quite well as a WLB.  Daryl is a gifted cover LB.  I remember watching TCU against Clemson in the fall of 2009.  He broke up a downfield pass.  I made a note to find out about the Safety from TCU who had the impressive PBU.  That pass break-up didn’t come from a S.  It was Washington.  He’s not just a finesse cover ‘backer.  Washington played inside a lot in college because TCU ran a 4-2-5 scheme.  It’s possible he could play MLB in our new system.

Washington had a solid rookie year for the Cardinals.  He started 11 games and played in all 16.  He had 78 total tackles, 6 TFLs, 1 FF, 1 INT, and 2 PDs.  By comparison, Stew had 60 total tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack, 6 PDs, and 1 INT.  He played in fewer games, of course.

Washington would give the Eagles a boost in the LB department and that does make him an interesting potential trade target.  The flip side is that we just drafted 2 LBs last year and 3 more this year.  We’re rebuilding our LB corps already.  That may make Washington less important.

The other key point here is that we’d have to get a pretty good pick with Washignton in a deal for Kolb.  Would Arizona pay that price?

I don’t see Washington as a likely target for the Eagles.  He could be a second or third option if the right picks aren’t available and DRC is truly off the table.  I just don’t anticipate Daryl playing for us in 2011.

* * * * *

After the recent discussion about Ike Taylor and some other CBs, someone on Twitter got on me for earlier saying the Eagles would pursue a top CB.  Let’s examine this for a second.

The Eagles have Asante Samuel, who most think is a Top 5 CB in the NFL.  Even if you disagree a bit, he’s still Top 10.  The Eagles are looking for a #2 CB, someone to play the right side.

The notion that this is Nnamdi Asomugha or bust is silly.  Nnamdi is the #2 CB in the entire NFL.  He’s the guy you get and then build your secondary around him.  That’s drastically different than what we require.

Do I still love the thought of signing Nnamdi?  Heck yes.  It isn’t a “must” though.  Adding someone below him doesn’t mean the Eagles are settling at all.  Ellis Hobbs was the kind of guy we settled on last year.  He was purely a fallback option.  Had he been on the market, do you think multiple teams would have pursued him.  No way – as a starter at least.  Good KOR and role player, but marginal starter.

The CBs I mentioned the other day were DRC, Ike Taylor, Carlos Rogers, and Josh Wilson.  All of those guys would be upgrades on Hobbs.  All will have offers from multiple teams.  All of those guys are or have been the top CB on a defense.  Those are the kind of targets we should have at RCB.

I understand how as fans you fall into the “Nnamdi or bust” mindset, but holding the Eagles to that standard isn’t fair.  If we needed him, the Eagles would do whatever it took to land him.  That’s how they went after Troy Vincent in 1996 (great job by Joe Banner with a poison pill).  That’s how they went after Asante Samuel in 2008 (great job by Banner and the coaches who recruited Asante).

We might want Nnamdi Asomugha, but we don’t need him.  We need better play at RCB.  There are other options that might fit the better overall plan for the team and the offseason.  I would still love to see the Eagles work something out and land Nnamdi, but he’s a luxury item at this point.

* * * * *

Newest PE.com column is up.  I was doing some research recently and got to thinking about the Colts, Pats, and Eagles.  What will Indy and NE be like without Manning/Brady?  We’ve already had our change and things are holding strong.


  • http://Website Fyzx Guy

    What about a free agent MIKE, like Kirk Morrison or Stephen Tulloch? Both had success in systems where they were off the ball and would allow Juan a fresh start in the middle.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I talked about Kirk Morrison yesterday. Not sure he’s a legit target. Would he come to Philly for a short deal? Is he a guy Castillo wants long term? Just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Tulloch? Not sure what to say about him. Good player. Doesn’t wow me the way he does other people. I don’t know that he is worth a big contract. I certainly won’t be upset if we do go after him. He would give us stability at MLB. Tulloch seems like the kind of guy that some team will overpay.

    I really get the feeling Castillo likes Casey Matthews a lot. Just a guess, though.

  • http://Website TyPhilly21

    I’ve been reading a lot of various info on our CB situation and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is unlikely that we make a play for nnamdi other than a “take less to play for a contender” offer. Then go after Ike Taylor if we don’t go for DRC.

  • http://Website TyPhilly21

    Also I don’t see us trading for a LB with all the young guys we have drafted. I semi agree about needing a #2 CB but the premium AR puts on CBs could put DRC as #1 on the wish list bc of his ability/age.

  • http://Website OZ

    Tommy,

    What do you think of Manny Lawson at WLB (if Stew is gone and Chaney at MLB)…and giving Gholston a chance at DE (cheap signing, see how he does in the preseason)…???

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    Manny is meant to be a SAM in the 4-3. He will not be an Eagles target. We’ve got Fokou. Jeanty will challenge him. If we want a new SAM, the smart thing is to put Bradley over there.

    No thanks on Gholston. Waste of time.

  • http://Website eagles nut

    This doesn’t pertain to the subject matter at hand necessarily but Jim Trotter of CNNSI had an interesting tweet:

    “will the Cards make a move for Kolb? And what/who will they give up?”<–yes. the name i'm hearing will surprise you. (patience)"

    He later clarified is the name was who the Eagles wanted not necessarily who the Cardinals wanted to give up.

    Any guesses to who he'd be referring to? I don't think either of their corners, Washington, or one of their RBs would qualify as a surprise since they've already been mentioned. I'd guess a player at a position the Eagles are already thought to be strong at.

  • http://Website D3Keith

    Interesting that we all have detailed opinions on the LBs and secondary despite how very little data there is on all our key players in those areas.

    Personally I like Lindley and Marsh and think they should both make the roster, but I don’t think their presence should affect our pursuit of a corner. We should be hoping whoever we sign lasts at least 3 years to avoid the problem of replacing Asante and our No. 2 CB at the same time. I don’t think we can really know yet whether either will pan out to be a dependable starter, though we can hope. We need to start the year with Asante/new corner/Hanson unless Lindley or Dmitri Patterson can win the No. 3 CB job (because Hanson does make a nice salary; but he also grades out pretty high when in the slot)

    On the other hand, I don’t think we need to add any LBs (or DE or DT for that matter). Anything we get there is a luxury. We’ve got a bunch of young talent on hand (and I’m in the bring Stew back camp) and just have to see how it sorts out. It’s possible we’ll have different combos in different weeks or against different offenses.

    My opinion isn’t much better than anyone else on the outside, but aside from that legit No. 2 CB, I don’t see the need to go out and make major acquisitions. Let Sims walk (addition by subtraction) … and if potential bargains turn up in the free agent frenzy I’m all for them (Haynesworth, Babin, etc.) but I feel like we’ve rebuilt the back end of the D pretty well and need the young guys to grow into their roles. Shaky thinking for a Super Bowl contender but the offense and STs can be good enough to where we just need the D to be good not dominant.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ eagles nut…

    Interesting.

    The only big names I can think of would be S Adrian Wilson or DT Darnell Dockett.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    For anyone who wants a look at the Cards roster…

    http://prod.www.cardinals.clubs.nfl.com/team/roster.html

  • http://Website ATG

    “…worked with him a lost last summer…”

    Wait, I thought this year was the lost summer?

    I can agree that there are other reasonable options at RCB than Nnamdi. I am enticed by the idea of having a pairing that could be historic, however. I even learned how to spell his name (his first one, at least).

    For the surprise name from Arizona, how about Matt Leinert? Maybe Andy really does have confidence in Kafka and wants to develop his next trade bait?

  • http://Website TyPhilly21

    @ above. Dockett maybe?

  • http://Website eagles nut

    Probably not Dockett as he has a $15M option bonus that he’s due when the lockout ends.

  • http://Website eagles nut

    Guesses -

    1. Dan Williams, DT – I don’t know if the Eagles showed interest in him in the 2010 draft process but he excelled at that year’s Senior Bowl and the Eagles usually target those guys.
    2. Stephen Williams, WR – Looked really good in preseason, taller guy to compete with Cooper.
    3. LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB/KR – If we want to have an all Pitt RB corps.
    4. O’Brien Schoefield, OLB – Would probably play DE for us

  • http://Website mcud

    @ATG

    Leinart is a Texan. But I agree that he could a player that Andy might want to give a shot.

    Re: suprise target

    No way in hell we’re interested in Beanie, right? Levi Brown? Neither seem like good fits here, though we do need another tailback, and Justice could be on thin ice. All the logical choices have been named.

  • http://Website Thunderlips

    KOBB 4 FITZZZZZ!!!!!!!!11111

  • http://Website GermanEagle

    To be honest none of the players on the current Cardinals roster is of interest to me, apart from DRC, Dockett and Wilson (also in that particular order).

    Wilson seems highly unlikely as we have just draftet JJ. Also it wouldn’t make much sense because we could rather resign Q then…

    The more I think about the more I want a 1st round pick for Kolb with the eagles going after Aso!!!

  • http://Website eagles nut

    Leinart was cut by the Cardinals last offseason. He played for Houston last year(as the 3rd string QB) and is an UFA now assuming they go back to 2009 rules.

  • http://Website Arby

    Patrick Peterson.

  • http://Website Tball

    Skelton the qb. He is someone they brought in pre draft 2010. If I am not mistaken…

  • http://Website Noah

    Calais Campbell, Beanie Wells, Dockett, Schofeild, DRC, Wilson. Only guys I’d want.
    I do think Campbell could put up 10+ sacks, even as a 4-3 LDE. He is oversized, but has that freak speed and height that Washburn loves
    Wells could be an interesting reclamation project, and we all know Andy’s storied desire for a functional ‘big back.’

    re: underachieving pass rushers
    What about Aaron Maybin? I assume he gets cut or traded for scraps at some point this offseason. He has been terrible in the 3-4 and not good when they go 4-3. It goes back to Washburn, and Maybin has the height/speed. I’d say its worth a shot.

    same question applies for Derrick Harvey / Larry English

  • http://Website ian no 2

    Eagles have the opportunity to put Chaney in the middle and have him assume the leadership of the defense, and they should take it.