The Importance of Perspective

Posted: July 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 23 Comments »

I was listening to an interview with the Carolina Panthers play-by-play announcer Mick Mixon on Thursday. Mixon had a few interesting things to say. He was asked what would be the key difference from John Fox to Ron Rivera. Mixon said that under Fox the Panthers were very basic and showed little imagination. Mixon talked about how the offense was old school – run and play it safe. That is going to change with the new coaching staff. They want to be more of a throwing team. Then Mixon talked about how exciting it would be to have Rivera and Sean McDermott running the defense. They would blitz, attack, and be aggressive. He genuinely sounded excited about having coaches come in that would be less basic and more innovative.

We Eagles fans grew frustrated with the defense in the last couple of years because it seemed overly complex. Players were coming and going play after play. We ran all kinds of fronts and did lots of exotic things. McDermott was innovative. Too innovative, it seemed. On offense we get frustrated with Big Red when it feels like most 3rd/2 plays are passes. Why not just stay basic and run behind your big O-line?

I guess the old saying is true … the grass is always greener on the other side.

How you do things isn’t as important as doing them well. Execution is king. The Carolina offense was terrific in 2008. They ran the ball great. Jake Delhomme had a very good season. Steve Smith was Steve Smith. Life was good. Delhomme hasn’t been the same player since his playoff disaster against the Cardinals. The O-line had a lot of injuries and wasn’t nearly as effective. That hurt the passing game and the running game suffered as well. Back in 2008 the Panthers were 7th in scoring and 10th in yards gained. Last year they were dead last in both categories.

Mixon, and many Panthers fans, may want innovation and creativity, but they really need better execution than anything. Just look at Mike Martz and the Bears. That offense didn’t take off last year until Martz simplified things and ran the ball more.

The Eagles are going to be more basic on defense. I think that is a good thing, but the real key is better play from the back seven. It doesn’t matter what your playbook looks like when LBs and DBs are sloppy in coverage and tackling.

* * * * *

There’s been some good talk in the comments section about Ike Taylor and Nnamdi Asomugha. Going back to the comment from Greg Cosell that “they aren’t as far apart as many would think”, we don’t know exactly what Cosell meant because we don’t have a full set of detailed comments. I follow him on Twitter and listen to him in interviews so I think I know what he was getting at. Asomugha is the #2 CB in the entire NFL. He and Darrelle Revis are in a class of their own. However, Taylor is a better player than many people realize. There is a definite drop-off from Asomugha to Taylor. It isn’t great player to mediocre player, though. Taylor is a good CB. I watched several of his games and came away impressed.

Cosell certainly wasn’t implying that Nnamdi is “just” an above average player. He wasn’t trying to make Ike Taylor the #3 CB in the NFL. I think he was simply showing some support for Taylor, who he feels is underrated or maybe under-appreciated. I think we tend to love guys that have big time man cover skills or guys that are playmakers. Taylor doesn’t fit either category. He’s played more man coverage in recent years, but Dick LeBeau likes to play it safe with his coverages for the most part.

I think the Eagles will make a call to Asomugha’s agent, but I think they’re going to be scared off by the asking price. Or maybe the agent has already leaked an asking price to some teams and the Eagles know it’s not a number that they’re comfortable with. I’m sure Andy Reid, Howie Roseman, and Juan Castillo would love to have Nnamdi. He is a blue chip player. You always want those guys when they come available. There’s only so many of them in the league.

Money will also be a factor with Taylor. He wants a big payday. How big? That’s the key question with him. The Steelers don’t pay CBs big money because they don’t use their guys in tight man coverage all the time. LBs rule the roost in Pittsburgh. That’s where the money goes. The Steelers would love to keep Taylor, but they aren’t willing to pay top dollar. Taylor has already said there won’t be a hometown discount. He’s got his rings. He wants some cash.

* * * * *

Someone in the comments section asked about the Eagles pursuing Titans MLB Stephen Tulloch once free agency starts. Not likely. I think the Eagles want to build a LB corps. They’ve drafted 5 guys in the last 2 years. I know Tulloch has plenty left in the tank. He could be the MLB for 5 years. I just don’t see the Eagles going after him. Just a guess on my part. Maybe they’ll throw me a curveball and go after him.


  • http://Website TyPhilly21

    You cannot build a LB core from virtually scratch and expect to contend at the same time.

    We have a pretty bad track record of developing LBs. They need a reality check. Go get a LB that is already good.

    How do you really expect the Eagles to contend with so much youth up the middle of the defense?

  • http://Website eagles nut

    I don’t see the Eagles pursuing a MLB. They have Chaney there and Matthews to groom. I think it’s a different story at SLB. Stewart Bradley could play SAM but he is unsigned. I’m not saying that he can’t play in a read-and-react defense like Castillo is expected to install but ideally he is more of a fit for a downhill scheme. With him never seeming to re-gain all of his speed after his ACL tear, I think his best fit is as a TED LB in a 3-4. Fokou is just okay and Jeanty is a guy that may surprise but you don’t count on to be a starter. The guy I’d like to see them get is Manny Lawson. He is very good in coverage and was miscast as a 3-4 OLB.

  • http://twitter.com/cliphord Cliff

    @ TyPhilly21

    But we’re not building LB corps “from scratch.” We already have a few good blocks to build with. We added some more in the draft and the coaches will shake it up when things finally get underway to see what rises to the top and what falls out the bottom.

    Fokou, Chaney, and Clayton are young, but they now have experience. Matthews and Brian Rolle were solid draft selections. If Bradley re-signs for a short deal, that’s icing on the cake.

  • http://Website CVD

    43 defences dont always have stud backers. 34 seems to have the big name backers. not saying u cant use a big name in a 43 but it seems like 43 is all about the dline and you just have decent backers

  • http://Website CVD

    i really think the dline is the key. you get fat AL to play like he did b4 and we will be deadly. fat al should want to shove it in shany’s face and show he made a mistake.

    or c johnson comes to town and plays well. with our offence, we should be playing with the lead. so you get a dline that can really get after the qb and we should be winning alot of games.
    or gimme namdi.

  • http://Website CVD

    maybe andy realized he needs to have a more basic defence because he knows we can score 28 points pretty regularly, so no need to be so complex.

  • http://Website TyPhilly21

    Not the point guys. It stands to reason that you need to have a defensive staple, something that we know we can do, (almost) no matter what. We used to have one. This year who knows. We may be fine, I know it’s all speculation until FA is started/settled.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say nnamdis price is too high. And we settle for plan B, whoever that may be. So I’ll say we will be fine at CB.

    If we give up on the Bradley project, which we should. Stew can’t get off blocks. That doesn’t fly in a 1 gap system. Chaney and Fokou I am on board with as starters. I’ll take Bradley back as a backup(1st guy off the bench). That leaves Will as a question mark. Safety will be either allen and jarrett or Allen and Coleman. Either way it leaves us with alot of youth in the back 7 without the full offseason of work to make that “jump” that is often seen between year 1 and 2. Its cause for concern.

    I can’t believe everyone seems brainwashed by the Andy era into thinking an actual starting caliber MLB doesn’t make any difference. Check the last few 43 Defense SB participants. Vilma, brackett, pierce, urlacher, trotter, Brooks. MLB isn’t a big deal ehh?

  • http://Www.eaglesaddict.com Dave Stoessel

    If we go after a LB in FA, I think we’d look for an upgrade to Fokou. I know the Eagles are said to be high on him but he’s certainly not cemented as a starter.

    What does anyone think about Carolina’s James Anderson? He’d be an upgrade at SLB, in my opinion.

  • http://Website CVD

    i get what ur sayin ty and i agree that i would like a good mlb but i will always take a stud dtackle or dend over a backer. obvioulsy if an absolute stud mlb was available that would be a diff story. i would be happy if we got tulloch, i dont know much about him but if we went after him it would show me wash wanted him and if wash wants him, i want him

    i heard of anderson but dont know much about him.

    im not saying i dont want a backer, just that i dont c us doing it. we drafted a bunch and we just never seem to go after them. grab tulloch, ike and fat al and im a very happy man

  • http://Website Jeppe

    Is it a lock that Dmitri Patterson is leaving the team? How would he fit in as a slot CB? His sure-tackling ability would be great, and with more and more 4 receiver sets, there is a need for that 2nd guy in the slot. Or am I wrong??

  • http://Website Stephen

    You know, even though Mcdermott didn’t really work out here in Philly, he seems like a bright guy who was kinda tossed into the fire before he was ready. JJ thought highly of him and thats a pretty good endorsement. I hope he learns from his time here and goes on to have a good career because anyone who starts from the eagles nest, especially someone with close ties to JJ, is someone I can root for.

  • http://Website CVD

    i agree about patterson. he was a good tackler and good special teamer. he could be good if not ur #1 guy. but with the rookie we drafted and if we pick someone up, someone gotta go

  • http://Website Midnight Greenville

    Is it absolutely clear exactly what our defense will be once Castillo gets to implement it? I keep hearing a lot of talk that we’ve moved to a cover-2/Tampa-2 scheme, and I understand that with Washburn he likes to use a wide-9 technique to get pressure from the d-line without as much blitzing. But, the cover-2 (and especially tampa-2) defenses I’m familiar with have always had some dominant linebackers. So, do you change your defense completely without an offseason to implement the change and without the personnel to run it to the fullest, or do you coach to your team’s strengths and maybe tweak some things but rely on a system that your team already knows? I really believe they’ll go with the latter. And, I also think that Stew can still be a good player now that he’s 2 years removed from the ACL. I’d like to see him back at Mike in a system that works to his strengths.

  • http://Website McG

    I’ll throw my hat in the ring and say that I want Dim. Patterson to stay on the team. I know he may well be gone, but I believe he may be our best gunner on the punt squad (which as become waaaay more important than kick offs thanks to the new rules).

    Our CBs are going to be:

    Asante Samuel
    Trevard Lindley
    Curtis Marsh
    Joselio Hanson
    Dimitri Patterson
    **new guy**

    I believe the kick off rule change now makes Jorric Calvin expendable unless he comes to camp a proves to be a more serviceable corner than Patterson.

  • http://Website mcud

    Patterson is gone. Brandon Hughes takes his spot. Not a good enough player to re-sign, and a change of scenery might do him good.

  • http://Website PhxPhilly

    Great post on ‘grass is greener’. Never more true than backup QB. Also why so many FA fail to live up to their hype.

    I think that is where excellent coaching can be noticed. GM’s get the ‘best’ players. Coaches then need to meld their philosophy with their personnel. If you want man-to-man defense but have Samuel do you adjust to take advantage of his zone skills?

  • http://Website Dan in Philly

    The grass is greener, it is true. Given the extreme lack of training camp we’ll have this year, a very basic defense is certainly ok with me. Throw in the inexperience in the DC, and I would be very concerned if we were going to have a complex D, no matter who the DC was this year.

    I think we’ll see a lot of defenses be pretty basic this year, especially starting out. This should really help our offense, by the way, given they worked together all last year, and the way Reid loves to attack a predictable defense. We shall see if the league Ds ever catch up to the league O this year, I’m thinking this will end up being the year of the high powered offense for teams with established systems, coaches, and stars, and a terrible year for thos installing new anything.

  • http://Website Sjampen

    I have been seeing a lot of this Cover/Tampa 2 as well, and i dont believe in it one bit. I think all the “insider” saw Castillos comments about the Bears’ defense, and thought that. I think that Juan ment that we wanted to be more physical, a move i REALLY applaude, and we wanted simple defense, with players giving it all and flying to the ball. The again, i really dislike the Tampa 2

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    I’m not dead, in case anyone’s wondering. Had friends in town this weekend.

    I’m busy writing a couple of things. I’ll post in a while.

  • http://Website CVD

    i agree McG. i forgot about calvin. i would dump calvin and keep patterson. but will patterson cost more since he has 4 years played? that could be a reason they want to dump him.

  • http://Website CVD

    PFF has their top CB’s available

    it says josh wilson probably wont be unrestricted but i dont think that is right, it looks like he should be unrestricted. i like him if we get an upgrade on the dline

    http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/03/05/ranking-the-free-agents-cornerbacks/

  • http://Website McG

    @ Tommy

    We didn’t assume you were dead. We assumed you were called up to the big leagues to get the CBA finalized.

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