A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To 4th Down

Posted: August 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

Casey Matthews is the worst MLB in history.  Maybe the worst person.  He was so awful last night that it’s hard to believe the UN hasn’t sent people to detain him for questioning.  Think about his game.  That play where he was out at LCB and jumped the route, only to give up an easy TD?  Horrible gamble.  Or what about the play where he threw on the 42 jersey and missed the tackle near the goal line and the RB ended up running for 12 yards.  I hated the play where he put on the 29 jersey and came off the other side and missed another tackle on a run play that went for a good gain.  Just dumb.

And I really hated the one play where he was at LDE and went too far inside, allowing Big Ben to roll to the right with no one near him.  Casey made that play even worse by flying downfield, putting on the 29 jersey and losing Hines Ward in coverage.  What a friggin idiot he is!!!

Get my point?

Casey Matthews didn’t have a good night.  However, this notion that he’s the reason we lost is utter nonsense.  Anyone who watched that game and thought that a different MLB for us would have meant a different outcome is off target.  Replacing Casey would have been like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

*1st drive*

3rd/1 – Nate Allen buys play fake, lets TE get wide open.  Gain of 11.

3rd/20 – Cullen Jenkins sacks Big Ben, but is also called for facemask.  1st down.

3rd/8 – Big Ben has too much time in pocket and hits Battle for gain of 18.

3rd/7 – Big Ben hits Antonio Brown for TD. Nate had poor blitz, Asante gambled and lost big.

*2nd drive*

3rd/1 – Redman runs up middle for 3 yards.  No player clearly at fault.

3rd/4 – Big Ben hits RB with swing pass vs our blitz.  Either S or OLB at fault.  Gain of 23.

3rd/18 – Babin goes too far inside. Ben rolls right with no pressure. Nate loses Ward in coverage. TD.

*3rd drive*

3rd/9 – Cole gets some pressure and Leftwich’s pass toward Asante falls incomplete

*4th drive*

3rd/24 – Leftwich hits WR down seam for 29. Casey should have gotten more depth. Hanson slow to get over.

3rd/7 – Leftwich hits WR on drag route. DRC dives and missed tackle. Gain of 14.

At that point, Pittsburgh had 224 yards of offense.  147 them came on 3rd down.  Both TDs came on 3rd down.  Casey was on the field for most of those plays.  He’s only off the field in Dime looks.  But Casey wasn’t the major problem on those plays.

The good and bad news is that we can’t blame one player.  Nate Allen might have had the roughest night.  He was aggressive vs the run.  He missed a tackle that resulted in a good gain.  He gave up 2 3rd down completions, one that went for a TD.  Aside from Asomugha and Cole, about everyone else had a hand in the poor 3rd down defense.

Back to Casey.  He did have a sloppy game.  Early on he was struggling with blockers.  He either moved around them ( a no-no) or got driven out of the play.  Casey got better in the 2nd quarter.  He had one tackle at the LOS and was part of a couple of group TFLs.  When Cullen Jenkins made things happen up front, Casey played well.  You’ll find that’s true of a lot of MLBs.

Casey must get better at shedding blocks.  Last night was a big test and he failed.  I still think he can do it.  Jamar Chaney had a couple of plays last night where he jumped around blocks as well.  Most college LBs do this.  It is a hard habit to break (just ask Peter Cetera) when you get to the NFL.  Chaney made a lot of progress last year.

I wish I could tell you that replacing Casey with Kirk Morrison would have made all the difference.  That would be an easy solution.  Casey was part of the problem, but sloppy team defense was the bigger problem.  There has to be a union between rushing and covering.  That didn’t take place last night.

There were plays when we covered really well.  There were plays where the DEs brought good pressure.  There were plays when the DTs got good push.  Those things didn’t happen on enough of the same plays.  Honestly, it almost felt like we let our guard down on 3rd/long because we felt we had things wrapped up.  Oops.  Not quite the case.

I haven’t finished the whole game yet.  Covering the starting defense took for freakin’ ever.  I’ll finish tonight and post the DGR when I’m done.

65 Comments on “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To 4th Down”

  1. 1 J.O said at 12:08 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Great write up as always Tommy! I live in PGH and am taking a TON of flack for that game…”dream team my a$$”, seems to be the choice words for me.

    I agree with your analysis of Casey. I think working on shedding blocks and having patterson and dixon in front of him will help immensly. But I really think investing in a Kirk Morrison, at least for a year to help bring him along may be a wise move.

    What if this continues? Teams are going to target him game in and game out until he fixes his problems. Let Kirk mentor him. Kirk isn’t the greatest MLB in the world, but certainly is a savy vet that can help the kid. If the defense has problems with Cleveland, this might be a long year.

  2. 2 Kevin (RC) said at 12:08 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Tommy, you’re saying that Casey Matthews isn’t the reason I got a speeding ticket to work this morning?

  3. 3 Steve D. said at 12:12 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I’m still pissed that Casey Matthews gave my son a stomach virus and screwed up my work schedule all week.

  4. 4 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:12 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ Kevin…

    I’ll check with my Eagles sources before answering that.

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:16 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ J.O.

    The Eagles may stick with Casey for one more week to make sure they know what they want to do.

    Young players don’t grow arithmetically. They do it exponentially. (dictionary.com)

    Ced Thornton was light years better this week. Doesn’t even look like the same guy from last week. Maybe Casey makes a similar leap to the next game and he is the guy we should play at MLB.

    Eagles are taking a risk. Casey could struggle this year. I don’t think Howie and Andy would sit idly by if they didn’t have confidence in him.

    If they make a move, that tells us what we need to know.

  6. 6 Iowa Eagle said at 12:18 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    “Replacing Casey would have been like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” HA HA HA that was awesome Tommy because its soo true…

  7. 7 rage114 said at 12:22 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Wow. Didn’t know that.

    So you are saying that if they re-arranged the deck chairs on the Titanic, they could’ve counter balanced the list and the ship wouldn’t have sunk?


  8. 8 iskar36 said at 12:23 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    You are absolutely right that Casey Matthews was not the only problem, very arguably not even the biggest problem. On top of that, you are right about the fact that replacing him likely doesn’t change much in terms of how poorly our defense played. That being said, Matthews still had an awful game, and the criticism is due to the fact that the guy was flat out handed the job, especially when we have a guy who showed he has the talent to play in the middle (and has yet to show the talent to play on the outside…). The coaches believe in Matthews, and that’s great, but it is one thing to believe in a guy, it’s another to refuse to acknowledge that he could fail. Bringing in a solid veteran, even if you let Matthews keep the starting job on a relatively short leash to begin with, at least provides competition and a safety net. In addition, the alternative of Fokou, Chaney, and Clayton requires us to reshuffle LBs and still leaves us with a LB core that no one can be truly comfortable with. Although Clayton has a year of experience in the defense, he is still a relative unknown for us.

  9. 9 TyPhilly21 said at 12:24 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    That the whole question! Why do they have confidence in him? He was given the starting job! No competition. just shows up, n yup he’s the starter. It seems like they tossed him in and are just hoping for the best. Wouldn’t it be better for his development if he started out fighting for WLB with Clayton/jordan where he has less responsibility and can get his feet under him? What has he shown that makes them think he’s better for MLB than Chaney?

  10. 10 Max said at 12:24 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Tommy – what did you think abt playcalling of Castillo?? Did he have the right defense called?
    Also looking at the Vick interceptions – to me, he seems to be looking for the big play time and again – forcing balls into double triple coverage when he probably could have gone somewhere else…also I may be wrong – but I though the Offensive line for the most part was doing a decent job but he rushed his throws when could have gone through his progressions and maybe held on to the ball a little more – but again I am sure you will be able to tell better after watching tape

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:28 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ TyPhilly…

    This isn’t a normal offseason. Limited snaps. Guys can’t compete and learn. Only morning practices.

    Eagles rolled the dice on him. If they decide to replace him, will go get some veteran who can pick things up quickly.

  12. 12 J.O said at 12:28 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    on a side note….how bout some creativity on the first play of the game. Defenses know you are going deep, how bout slipping the tight end that is blocking out into a route, or running a screen the opposite direction as the roll out??? I don’t make Marty $$$, but I told my friend last night, first play of the game, they will test Desean against William Gay. It seemed like 8 of the 11 steelers ran with Desean on that play.

  13. 13 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:30 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ Max…

    Haven’t studied the offense at all. OL passed the eyeball test, for the most part. Shady’s poor block led to the one INT.

    Just going off live stuff…seemed like Vick was too casual. Remember the early 3rd down throw over the middle that got batted down? Vick real casual on that play. Can’t do that against the Steelers.

    As for Castillo and playcalling…no idea. When I study PS tape I’m focused on individuals more than coaches/strategy. I’ll try to get to that angle this weekend. Relevant question.

  14. 14 iskar36 said at 12:47 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    Actually, I don’t really mind that long bomb to DeSean in this game, particularly because of what you said. Keep in mind this is the preseason. Last year, teams often knew we were going for that play at the beginning of the game. Now, showing it once in the preseason keeps it on their mind once the season starts. Once the season starts though, that’s when you can run the trick play off of it to catch the defense off guard.

  15. 15 Dr. Ogrodnick said at 12:50 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Does this mean that Juan is the captain of the titanic? Still waiting for him to prove that he is a legit defensive coordinator.

  16. 16 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:50 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ iskar36…

    I would be happy if Marty and Andy were of the same mindset as you regarding the play.

  17. 17 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:52 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ Doc Ogrodnick…

    We won’t know the answer on Juan til February. Defense could start red hot and then get exposed. Could start slow and then get hot.

    We need to see what he does with a full season. I hope the answer is good, but my confidence is just a tad under 100%.

  18. 18 Kevin (RC) said at 1:00 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @Tommy, @ Iskar

    I’ll bet you guys a Philly Cheese-steak that the first play of the Giants game is a variation of what you just talked about. Reid loves tendency-breakers in division games (not so much in “normal” games).

    Somewhat lost in discussion around every single article online: Vick played most of the 1st half without Jackson (left early), Maclin or Avant (and obviously Smith). He played against the Steelers #1 D without his RT and Chad Hall/Riley Cooper as his WR. No wonder he pressed.

  19. 19 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:04 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ rage114…

    Missed your comment earlier. Well played, sir.

    Who knew the answer was so simple? All those wasted books and films.

  20. 20 ATLEagle said at 1:20 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    The other thing about Vick and pressing… the Steelers know that Vick is under direct orders not to scramble. This is preseason, none of the starship7 antics. They could sit back and watch the routes of our non-starter WRs running around out there. Let the real games come when Vick takes little 8 yard nibbles every time your fast guys run down the field, and when that starts to wear on the D then all of the sudden DJACC and Maclyn show up. If all the PS tapes show is a tendency to go long, I am good with that.

  21. 21 Cliff said at 1:27 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Fortunately for us, our preseason sort of extends in to the first few weeks of the season this year.

  22. 22 Dan in Philly said at 1:34 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Every time I see an team convert a lot of 3rd downs, I know it’s going to be/been a long night for one team. That’s a boatload of 3rd down conversions for Pitt, and you have to assume either:
    1) The Eagles 3rd down defense is going to be pretty horrific, or
    2) the Eagles 3rd down defense had a bad night.

    The funny thing is if you assume the second, then you can see that the game was only 2 3rd down stops away from being 0-0 going into halftime…

  23. 23 Matt D said at 1:46 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ every Henny Penny out there

    I remember the great Jim Johnson looking awful in the preseason on quite a few occasions. He turned out all right, no? Also, I saw Celek looking like he was out on a leisurely jog for one play. There was obviously very little effort put into (a) the coaches play calling or (b) the players playing. That said, they looked terrible. But put this in some flippin’ perspective and hold off before jumping off the bandwagon and getting all Angelo Citaldi-like.

  24. 24 Pitmanite said at 1:46 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I’m not concerned by one preseason game, but I’ve always been concerned by the fact that we’re going into the season with 3 linebackers, all with less than 3 years experience under their belt. We’re a supposed SB team with two 7th round picks and a 4th rd rookie manning the LB spots…let’s just say my little pink thing isn’t coming out at the thought of our LBs. Now Kate Upton…that’s a different story.

  25. 25 Thunderlips said at 1:55 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    The most reassuring thing to me was watching Andy’s press conference. Seemed like he was hiding a smile. Contrast that with the way he looked after last year’s Vikings meltdown, and he’s obviously not very concerned.

  26. 26 TyPhilly21 said at 1:57 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ Tommy

    we were so red hot last night we got burned.

    Anyway, the 3rd down thing is valid. Facemask on 3&20. then 45,000 seconds to throw on 3&18 and resulting TD. Those aren’t just 3rd down conversions, those are back breakers, confidence breakers, game changers.

    And that’s what they did. We had a stop on an early drive and were about to get off the field w a sack, but it was a facemask. defense deflated from there.

    Big time blown coverage on 3&4. then rebounds to get a 3& 20 only to get no pressure AND give up a TD.

    I have to think Allen just wanted to be the invisible man on the plane ride back

  27. 27 Matt D said at 2:00 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Also, how much of last night had to do woth players having their starting jobs handed to them because of the shortened offseason? C and FS (and possibly RT and some DL positions) are the only starting positions up for grabs. I’ll bet those guys played with more urgency than those with positions locked up (ie Celek). For instance, last night, Coleman looked better than Allen. Who’s job is more secure?

  28. 28 Austinfan said at 2:10 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Reality check, Steeler RBs ran 20 times for 76 yards the first half, 3.8 ypc, guess they weren’t exactly stomping the Eagle defense into the ground?

    The whole problem was screwups on 3rd down and not getting off the field. And that has little to do with RBs, except maybe the play when Chaney and Allen couldn’t decide who had the RB covered in the flat.

    Thought Thorton played better, but better than a doormat doesn’t equal good, he’s still very raw, got blocked out of a lot of runs. But when 3 of your 4 DT on run downs are Hargrove, Landri and Thorton, only giving up 3.8 ypc looks a lot better.

  29. 29 Sean said at 2:39 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Broderick Bunkley, Stewart Bradley- Please come back!!

  30. 30 izzylangfan said at 2:45 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    It looked like there were a bunch of Eagles in the Steeler backfield during running plays. But the running backs avoided the tackle and the Steeler linemen went on to block the LB’s. Thus once the RB’s avoided the DL in the backfield that had lots of running room. Is that how you saw it?

  31. 31 Stan said at 2:48 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Don’t worry guys. We can always bring back Trotter

  32. 32 izzylangfan said at 3:04 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    You mean

    “Welcome Back Trotter”


  33. 33 Stan said at 3:26 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I’m deleting my fantasy football team. I created one last Monday and I think it’s bad luck. The other two times I’ve ever had a FF team was back in in the 05-06′ and 07-08′ seasons. Coincidence? I think not

    The sacrifices I make for this team…


    I don’t understand why everyone uses that phrase. I just googled that phrase and at least 6 different news organizations used that phrase. Is there some social reference to it?

  34. 34 iskar36 said at 3:27 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    I noticed the same thing with the Dlineman. My understanding is that part of that is by design. Our Dlineman are supposed to penetrate and get into the backfield with less of an emphasis on “read and then react.” Now with that type of scheme, I think the lineman need to play under control and intelligently and that was part of the problem. Even if they don’t make the play, they need to slow down the RB or at least change the hole he is trying to hit. If the lineman get into the backfield out of control without slowing the RB, the oline will very quickly have a huge advantage in terms of the number of blockers vs. defenders.

  35. 35 fran35 said at 3:49 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I guess using the Wide 9 technique more on passing downs or maybe making it a little less wide would be out of the question? I could not believe when Ben ran for 9 yards on a quick snap. That is coaching, scheme and scheme. I was so hoping that someone would take his fat head off with a big hit on that scramble.

  36. 36 ian no. 2 said at 3:55 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Both preseason rivals game-planned the Eagles, and the good part of that is that you get to prepare how teams are going to play you, but the bad news is that there’s a new book on the Eagles. The book is:

    1) attack the safeties, especially Allen;
    2) screen passes, especially in front of DRC;
    3) run plays.

    The Eagles were shorthanded at DT against one of the best running teams, and you could say that the MIKE was having some issues getting off blocks. I think the way to fix some of these issues is to flip DRC to a team that wants him and let Allen stand on the sidelines to let his knee heal and figure out how to play safety. Also, they had success with Chaney at Mike and Fukou at Sam last year, success at LB that has been rare for the team, but didn’t leave will enough alone.

    The other thing I saw, tho I didn’t watch the whole 1st half, is that the Eagles were so nervous about a pass rush they kept guys in to block for Vick, so by emphasizing coverage, there were a lot of Eagles standing around the backfield and nowhere for Vick to go. Like the blitz packages Vick saw last year, it is a case of Vick having to realizethat the league is gunning for him and he has to make adjustments all the time.

  37. 37 ian no. 2 said at 3:56 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Ben’s run was heady, but less so as it was pre-season. In a way he was doing the Eagles a favor by exposing that glitch.

  38. 38 Thunderlips said at 4:02 PM on August 19th, 2011:




  39. 39 izzylangfan said at 4:11 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    The old TV series “Welcome Back Kotter”.


    Yes, you would think that after one step or two after the snap the D linemen would be in the backfield at the same time as the handoff was taking place and then, recognize that it was a run in time to mess up the play.

  40. 40 Dan in Philly said at 4:24 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    ian 2 RE: The book on Eagles.

    I don’t think that’s a suprise given the kind of D the Eagles seem to run. They are going to allow the run and short pass and emphasize shutting down the WRs, attacking the backfield (both QB and RB) and limiting the big play. When your offense is expected to score a bunch of points, this is a very good idea. When your QB gives up 3 INTs and you are facing one of the best running teams in the NFL and they convert 3rd down after 3rd down, not so much…

  41. 41 ian no. 2 said at 4:26 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Roger Goodall ought to tell Lofa Tatupu he needs to take less money to play for the Eagles.

  42. 42 Zatoichi said at 5:20 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    The hyperbole pendulum can now swing away from all of chatter of how good the Eagles are, SB favorites, blah blah. Questions remain on the Eagles roster and there’s not a lot of time to develop a Plan B/C if in-house options don’t work. I have hard time believing the Eagles would gamble this heavily on the starting LB situation. Next week’s PS game is the dress rehearsal for the opener. The Eagles first two opponents have big RBs. The LB situation needs to be fixed. Matthews may be decent player that can contribute, but is anyone confident that in 3 weeks more or less, he’s going to significantly improve with shedding blocks?

    Unfortunately, there are not many options at LB in the FA market. Love to hear peoples’ thoughts on Kirk Morrison, Channing Crowder and Julian Peterson (at Sam). I think Lofa Toputu is either done or has not fully recovered from his 2 knee surgeries.

  43. 43 Kammich said at 6:07 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    It was an ugly game to watch, but it will be a blessing in disguise.

    We all knew that there would be a clunker of a game out there for us. A game where our new assets failed to coalesce, where the LBs got picked on, where Castillo and his philosophy were tested, where the offensive line and the offense in general were outclassed and outcoached.

    Fortunately, that game came for us in the middle of August, and not somewhere down the road in the dead heat of our NFC East schedule. It gives the coaching staff and the players adequate time to regroup, man up, and head into next week’s game against Cleveland with some fire in their collective belly. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m plenty concerned… the LB group looked as bad as we feared it could, Nate Allen looks like a shell of the player he showed glimpses of last year, and Vick melting down in the pre-season scares the shit out of me. But, I digress. A brutal pre-season loss shows the coaching staff some of the warts they need to work on, and it also brings a lot of the “Dream Team” nonsense to a screeching halt(a definite positive in my eyes).

    Dion Lewis looked awesome, though, I’ll say that. Glad that I named my fantasy team after him last weekend(“Dion Lewis and The News, Hip to Be² “).

  44. 44 ppk said at 6:12 PM on August 19th, 2011:


    I think your wit missed the mark in your opening post. There’s not been a whole lot of hyperbole about Matthews (ok, maybe some, but this is an Eagles blog, for cryin’ out loud). This was our first real look at two huge, and controversial, decisions for this year’s team — the promotion of Juan and giving Matthews the LB job without competition — and most of the comments seem reasonable.

    Certainly there’s not been enough football played to reach firm conclusions, but first impressions do mean a lot in life and last night did not inspire confidence in either guy. My feeling is that both Juan and Casey have to prove themselves. Neither has any body of work to fall back on and indicate last night was just a rough patch. Maybe it was, time will tell, and I’m hoping like crazy that both men succeed. If the Eagles were a team that was rebuilding or might be on the cusp of some success the seeming gambles of untested critical components would be one thing, but a team with SB aspirations better be running on all cyclinders.

    Replacing Casey may not have saved the Titanic but maybe it would have kept the S.S. Minnow from running aground (couldn’t resist).

  45. 45 D3Keith said at 6:48 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I’ve watched but not that closely.

    Has Asomugha been targeted yet as an Eagle?

  46. 46 D3Keith said at 6:58 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    As for Pittsburgh fans, nothing we can say today. But for anyone else looking to get digs in, let ’em hate. Their sorry teams still gotta deal with the Eagles eventually.

    We’re gonna lose some unexpected games like we always do, probably early, but October looks like a nice get-right month: vs. 49ers, at Bills, at Redskins, vs. Cowboys.

    Let ’em talk now. This season is about the big picture; let us not get too hung up on the little details.

  47. 47 CVD said at 7:27 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    if i remember correctly last year the chiefs was our 2nd preseason game and we looked horrible in the first half

  48. 48 D3Keith said at 7:34 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ Kammich,
    I agree having a clunker early is good, and so do a lot of Eagles fans. We can only hope losing the dream team crap is a byproduct.

    I agree with the assessment too, except for with Vick. I think it was mostly him pressing once they got behind and knowing he was coming out at the half. And while that likely won’t be as necessary in a four-quarter game, at least he recognizes that pressing is unnecessary and admits it.

    re: “but it is one thing to believe in a guy, it’s another to refuse to acknowledge that he could fail.”

    You can’t say they’ve refused to acknowledge the possibility it can’t work by trying it in the preseason. Just by the sheer absence of a more experienced player on the roster? If we’re still doing it in Week 3 and getting drilled like so, then that’s valid.

  49. 49 Cliff said at 7:46 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Guys, didn’t we realize that our new wide-9 meant getting gashed in the run game? Calm down. It’s game 2.

  50. 50 D3Keith said at 8:10 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I like Chaney as much as anybody, but he’s been a good MIKE for for about as many games as Casey Matthews has been a bad one.

    Let’s stop acting like that solution is so much more foolproof than what we’re currently working with.

  51. 51 Arby said at 8:58 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I’m still laughing at Tommy’s comment from last night: “He’s indestructible.”

  52. 52 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:46 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    @ ppk…

    Last night on Twitter and a bit in here there were plenty of people getting on Matthews hard. Jeff McLane put up a column about needing to replace him before the game was over.

    I think discussing Matthews performance is a good thing. Being critical is a good thing. I just think sometimes we fail to put things into proper context. What did he do wrong? What part of the defensive struggles were due to him? What can be fixed? And so on.

    Matthews was better in the 2nd Qtr than the 1st. I think that is an important point. He made progress as he played. He now has a week to practice before playing in his 3rd game. The guy has 40 or so NFL game snaps and people are ready to dismiss him.

    My argument isn’t that Casey is some great player beyond scrutiny. I just think people have overstated the problems. I don’t see a guy who lacks NFL ability. I see a player who has issues.

    Greg Lloyd is a player I’m not sure has NFL ability. His speed, quickness, and change of direction looked poor vs Baltimore. He was fine when plays came right at him, but that was it. That’s not football anymore. You need a time machine for that.

    Casey can be a starting MLB. He must get better at taking on and shedding blocks. That is something that all LBs struggle with at times. The question then becomes whether Casey can improve at this now and be the starting MLB of a defense that is pushing for the Super Bowl.

    I don’t know.

    The Eagles seem to think “yes”. If they sign a veteran, that opinion will have changed.

    * * * * * *

    I watched tape of Lofa Tatupu a few weeks back. He stunk up the joint. Slow. Couldn’t get off blocks. I was shocked at how old he looked considering he came in the league in 2005. I’ll take Matthews over him right now for sure.

    That’s part of the issue. There needs to be someone better out there. Kirk Morrison? I just watched one game from 2010 and wasn’t impressed. Notice that JAX had no interest in keeping him and he’s not gotten a sniff from anyone else.

    Question Casey all you want. Let’s just keep things in perspective.

    And it’s a good thing no one saved the Minnow or Mary Ann and I wouldn’t have had those special afternoons in the jungle together.

  53. 53 Jon said at 11:09 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    The problem is that Eagles decided not to bring back Stewart Bradley and they decided to have their 4th round draft pick to be their starting MLB. They could have signed a veteran FA LB like Stephen Tulloch for one year and allow Casey to develop. They could have signed a veteran OLB like Rocky Macintosh and moved Chaney to MLB in case Matthews struggled. But right now we are a few weeks from the season and our best option for a veteran is Kirk Morrison. It was poor planning. What will the Eagles do if Matthews flat out sucks at his job? We will have to reshufffle our LB crew, take people out the position they were playing all year or hope that a veteran LB is on the market.

  54. 54 ian no. 2 said at 11:31 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    The coaches put Matthews in a position where after his second PS game the fans and columnists are jumping all over him. That’s called rushing a 4th round pick. It’s not a question of whether he can play in the NFL at some point. It’s puzzling that Chaney wasn’t given the Mike job if they weren’t picking up a vet.

  55. 55 ian no. 2 said at 11:34 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    I also don’t think Allen is one of the best 4 safeties on this team, probably not in the top 5. He plays because he’s the FO’s Plan A.

  56. 56 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:43 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Nate had a rough night, but he’s working back from an injury. Most playing time since early December.

    I still think he’ll be a terrific player. Really like him.

  57. 57 Austinfan said at 11:55 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Tulloch wasn’t coming to Philly for one year, he went to Detroit to be with his old DC. He tried for the big deal and found no takers.

    McIntosh, where do you play him? He was an ILB last year, getting a little beat up for WLB, not really a 4-3 MLB.

    Matthews doesn’t have to dominate in his role, just be quietly competent. The real key is getting everyone on the same page, and Dixon and Patterson back.

  58. 58 Austinfan said at 11:57 PM on August 19th, 2011:

    Did anyone actually watch Bradley play MLB last year? Late reading plays, stuck on blocks, it wasn’t the knee, he just never played ‘read and react’ before and his lack of MLB experience and instincts was exposed (in 2008 he playd the Trotter “mini-NG” role).

    They had six months to examine film, they let Bradley go because they realized he didn’t fit this system.

  59. 59 ppk said at 8:56 AM on August 20th, 2011:

    “The question then becomes whether Casey can improve at this now and be the starting MLB of a defense that is pushing for the Super Bowl.” Agreed.

    “And it’s a good thing no one saved the Minnow or Mary Ann and I wouldn’t have had those special afternoons in the jungle together.” Another great debate: Mary Ann or Ginger? No one ever seems to pick Mrs. Howell.

  60. 60 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:20 AM on August 20th, 2011:

    Mrs Howell wasn’t called Lovie for nothing. That woman knows a thing or two. She went through pool boys like Mike Shanahan does RBs.

  61. 61 Alex K said at 9:29 AM on August 20th, 2011:

    Ginger. Man, I do love those redheads. I’ll bet Lovie Howell was something special back in the day to land Thurston III, though.

  62. 62 mcud said at 10:40 AM on August 20th, 2011:

    Well, signing Reggie Wells again makes a helluva lot of no sense.

  63. 63 ian no. 2 said at 1:01 PM on August 20th, 2011:

    “…2. Gilligan’s Island may be periodized into an early,
    Barthean phase, in which most episodes ended with an
    exhibition of Gilliganian jouissance, and a second
    phase whose main inspiration is apparently that of
    Nietzsche, via Lyotard. The absence of any influence
    of Habermas is itself a testimony to the all-
    pervasiveness of Habermas’s thought.
    3. The 1981 television movie Escape from Gilligan’s Is-
    land represents a reactionary attempt to totalize what
    had been theorized in the series as an untotalizable
    herteroglossia, a bricolage. The late 1970s influence
    of the Kristevan semiotic needs no further comment
    4. Why do the early episodes privilege a discourse of
    metonymy? And what of the title-Gilligan’s Island? In
    what sense is the island “his”?”

    from “How Not to Write for Iggles Blitz”

  64. 64 Matt said at 1:09 PM on August 20th, 2011:

    Hey guys, new to the site but really like the work and dialogue so far.

    Tommy, I get what you’re saying with Matthews. Sure it’s not all his fault, or perhaps even mostly his fault. But that doesn’t absolve him of poor play. He still didn’t play well. I think what the real issue people are having is that this was something most everyone expected, but they did it anyway.

    The scouting report on him was that he wasn’t really an NFL ready LB; too small, can’t shed blocks. Philly drafts him in the 4th round and plugs him in as a starter immediately. Everyone in the world except the front office is left scratching their heads thinking what exactly do they see in him? At some point you need your LBs to make plays. Your Dline isn’t going to make every tackle or stop in the backfield for minimal gains. You don’t necessarily need Ray Lewis as you MIKE, but you need someone who will make the play when they have to. May be one day Matthews will be able to do that, but it does not look like he’s close to being that player yet. I think it will be a problem for them all year long.

  65. 65 Kyle said at 3:18 PM on August 20th, 2011:

    Putting the defense aside 4 a minute, are we seeing a continuation of michael vick’s poor decision making in time pressure situations where he throws the ball into small windows for interceptions? It almost feels like that’s when he plays his worst football (excluding the comeback vs the giants). I dont want to say its the ghost of mcnabb playoffs past but jinkies someone has to solve that mystery.