DeSean, DTs, and a New DE

Posted: August 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 34 Comments »

Bill Barnwell, formerly of Football Outsiders, did a piece for Grantland on DeSean Jackson.  He argues that the Eagles should not give him a big contract.  Barnwell uses stats to make his point.  Based on the numbers he uses, Barnwell does make a solid argument.  The problem is that he’s judging DeSean as you would any other receiver.  You simply can’t do that.

I wrote about the difficulty in rating DeSean a few weeks back for SB Nation Philly.  He’s as much a weapon as a receiver.  Judging him on standard receiver stats simply misses the point.

* * * * *

I’ve been meaning to bring this up for a couple of days.  Dave Spadaro has said multiple times on Eagles Live that Trevor Laws isn’t a lock to make the roster.  He says it in a way that makes you wonder if Trevor isn’t already on the outside looking in.  I’ve mentioned before that sometimes Dave is giving us hints and sometimes he’s just guessing.  I don’t know what the truth is in this case.

Laws has been hurt and missed several practices.  He hasn’t stood out to me when I have seen him.  I don’t know that he’s looked bad or anything like that, but you have to remember that Jim Washburn is a new coach.  Laws needs to impress him.  It doesn’t sound like that is the case so far.

I do wonder about Trevor’s size.  He looks pretty thick.  Not fat, but thick and muscular.  The new scheme is build for speed and quickness.  In 2009 Trevor was in the 285 range.  That’s where he should be this summer, but he looks closer to 310.

Right now we know Cullen Jenkins and Antonio Dixon as locks.  I think Cedric Thornton is leaning toward getting a roster spot.

That would leave one or two spots open.  Anthony Hargrove has impressed the heck out of everyone since getting here.  If he lights it up in the preseason games, Hargrove will get a spot.  He’s a proven inside pass rusher.

Derek Landri could get a spot if someone gets hurt or he absolutely lights it up in the preseason games.

Mike Patterson?  He remains the mystery man.  Big Red said on his radio show that Mike practicing was “a while away”.  For a supremely patient man like Reid, “a while” could be 2013.  Patterson’s agent keeps talking in terms of days.  I have no idea what to make of this situation.  I hope we get Mike back, but we sure can’t plan on it.

If we go into the season with Jenkins-Dixon and Hargrove-Thornton, I could live with that.  One quick guy and one big guy in each grouping.  Really interested to see the new guys play on Thursday.

* * * * *

The Eagles added  DE Chris Wilson on Monday.  I think he’s just here  “in case”.  We did lose Ricky Sapp so adding a capable veteran like Wilson makes sense.  Wilson isn’t anything special, but it is funny we signed him.  I was watching a Skins game recently to check out some other player.  Rocky McIntosh I think.  This DE kept getting pressure and being disruptive.  I looked up who it was…Chris Wilson.  I sorta wondered what happened to him, but didn’t pursue the matter.  A few days later, Wilson is an Eagle.

Our Director of Pro Personnel is Louis Riddick.  He came here from the Skins.  Wilson was in the CFL when Riddick brought him to Washington.  Now Riddick has brought him to Philly.

Wilson has a nice frame at 6’4, 247.  Decent athlete.  Split time at DE and LB for the Skins.  Solid STs player.  I think he’s just here to eat up reps in preseason games and up at Lehigh, but we’ll see what he does.  We’re deep at DE already so I don’t think of him as serious competition for anyone.

* * * * *

I’ll put up a post in the morning talking about the defense and LBs.  I wanted to tackle this stuff while it was fresh in my mind.

34 Comments on “DeSean, DTs, and a New DE”

  1. 1 Eric said at 10:33 PM on August 9th, 2011:


    Where do you get your tape to watch games?

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:51 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    I tape games and keep them in boxes. I don’t have every game, but I keep at least one game for each team from every season. Some years I have lots of tapes, others less.

  3. 3 Flyin' said at 10:51 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    @ erik

    VHS recorder (unless he has upgraded in the last couple years) or is it beta?

  4. 4 Thunderlips said at 11:00 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    Where do you keep all those tapes? I’m assuming they’re somewhere between your copies of “Robocop” and “Blade Runner?”

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:04 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    Tapes are everywhere. I would post pics, but then you guys would call the authorities on me and I’d have to go away for a while. It isn’t Hoarders level bad, but it’s kinda crazy.

    I am starting to use DVDs more now. That will change things substantially.

  6. 6 Eaglesfanatlarge said at 11:13 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    If you are interested in looking at old games, you should check out NFL Game Rewind on the website. It gives you access to all of the games from the past 2 years.

    I thought Laws really played well last year. He seemed to have a lot of QB pressures and batted balls, and even seemed to show up against the run. I was hoping the light had finally come on for him. It would be too bad if he came to camp this year fat and slow, and failed to build on last year.

  7. 7 Mac said at 11:15 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    Interesting DT combo there, I guess in that scenario Mike Patterson ends up on the IR. But I have to say that has potential to be a very good core.

  8. 8 ATG said at 1:14 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    I am glad DeSean won’t be playing Thursday, the risk is not worth it. Is there any word on how Maclin is coming along or the issue?

    That is a shame about Laws. I have no problem with replacing him, but I would much rather it be because the new guys were so good rather than him dropping off.

    I think I am more interested in seeing what the team looks like after the starters come off. I can’t remember ever being this excited about the competitions for the lower half of the roster before. We are so deep with talent this year that the cut-downs are going to be tough.

  9. 9 T_S_O_P said at 2:57 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    Tommy, just a note back on OLine. How good does Ryan Harris have to look for us to consider accepting offers for a young under contract incumbent RT from last year?

  10. 10 nzflyer said at 4:24 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    i just read Bill Barnwells article. Utter BS. He compares desean to Tedd Ginn and those types. Ugh. Don’t even get me started. Yeah desean needs to improve, but to say he is not worth getting a big payday is beyond stupid. Desean defies logic, he is the exception to what a WR should be. For all his “negatives” pointed out by Bill, he still remains a threat in almost all facets of the game. He can catch the ball, run the ball, he demands double teams every game. He can kill you from the opening seconds(a la redskins game) and break your heart in the last seconds(Miracle at the new Meadowlands). Tell me who else in the league possesses that skill set. I know I sound like a one eyed fan, but you can’t honestly say what he’s getting paid now matches his level of play.
    He has room to improve, no doubt, but who in doesn’t? For the people who point out just how “not good” desean is, look at his affect he has ATM, and think about how good he’ll be when he improves even more.

  11. 11 PK said at 4:44 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    I hope you’re touching on this in your next post, but I’m quite concerned about our run defence. Considering the wide 9 is built to rush the passer and our LBs are built for good coverage.

    Won’t someone have to shed blocks and tackle a RB coming straight at you? Or do we expect our safeties to man the middle and let OLBs play ‘run first – coverage second’ hoping Fokou and Chaney are good enough and our CB don’t need help from safties?

    I can just see it, DE flies past the RB, tackle takes out LB and SS gets killed by a guard… another 8-10 yard run…

  12. 12 izzylangfan said at 6:43 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    The question to me is what is DeSean worth. It feels to me like he is going to want $10 million while his real worth might be $3 to $6 million.

    Then what do the Eagles do with LeSean and the others who have outplayed their contracts.

  13. 13 GermanEagle said at 7:22 AM on August 10th, 2011:


    thank God you’re not writing out paychecks for the Eagles, cause 3-6 million is way too low for Desean, who’s arguably a top 10 WR, if not a Top 6 WR.

    I am not expecting him to get the same bucks Santonio Holmes got, especially since Holmes was a UFA and Desean is simply not. However I think that a 6 year, $50 million contract including 20 Mio gtd are fair and will get a deal done.

  14. 14 Frank said at 7:28 AM on August 10th, 2011:


    You and me both. I’ve pictured that same exact scenario half a dozen times. There’s a reason we switched to the 2-gap a few years ago, because our run defense was killing us.

    That’s why I’m happy that we’re going against Baltimore on Thursday. Either we’ll handle their run game and be happy that it’s not a problem, or they’ll kill us with it while we still have time to make adjustments/aquisitions.

  15. 15 Cliff said at 7:54 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    At the rate we’re burning through DT’s, I wonder if that will be our #1 pick next draft. Obviously it’s too early to predict any such thing, but it’s an area we would kill to have a star at, right?

  16. 16 ATG said at 7:57 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    The running game concerns me too. We seem to be relying on (1) guys in the backfield can disrupt a run before it starts, (2) if we score a whole lot, the other team has to stop running. On the other hand, I am sure we have addressed the run, just as Tenn did, and that it just isn’t being discussed in the media as much. I’d imagine that we will give up a few more big runs, but also get a few more negative runs, which will help us end drives.


    “…look at his affect he has ATM…”

    I’m not sure if you meant “after the catch” or “at the Meadowlands,” I am just hoping he doesn’t view the Eagles at an ATM.

  17. 17 cvd said at 8:12 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    I actually thought laws could have a big year. He quietly played well last year. We just have so many good players. I hope he shows it in preseason. The league is gonna have a field day with our cuts

  18. 18 Eric said at 8:26 AM on August 10th, 2011:


    Got ya. I thought maybe you had access to coaches’ tape. That’s why I was curious. 🙂

  19. 19 mcud said at 8:42 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    Valuing DeSean is tough. He might be the most dangerous player in the league when we’re on our own 20, but I don’t think he cracks the top 3 on his own team when we enter the red zone. Once his speed goes he’ll be useless. How long before that happens? 3 years? 5? I honestly have no idea. Maybe you average the salaries of the 6-10 WRs around the league. Like I said, I’m on the fence with this one…

  20. 20 deg0ey said at 10:33 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    @mcud: You raise some valid points there. Whilst people are right in saying that he that he adds a dynamic to the position that nobody else provides, he also struggles with some of the basic things that a top (or even average) wide receiver is expected to do.

    It’s fair to say that he adds a lot to this offence and that he deserves to get paid, but he’s not going to be a player for the long-term. Hopefully the FO can get him to agree to a 5 year deal at about $7m/year and then we can move him on before he starts to slow down.

  21. 21 McG said at 10:52 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    Since DeSean’s value is good to cover 80% of the field, then perhaps he should receive approximately 80% of a top 10 WR salary?

  22. 22 Dan in Philly said at 10:58 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    Tommy, didn’t know if you were aware of this:

    $40 for full rewind for 2011, including apparently some coaches views, which allow for seeing all 22 players every play.

  23. 23 GermanEagle said at 11:05 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    The Eagles should have cut VA and Marlin Jackson a long time ago…! Now they will count against our salary cap.

  24. 24 Austinfan said at 11:17 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    DeSean is a tough one to put a value on for a number of reasons:

    1) yes, he’s the best deep threat in the league, but he’s not Randy Moss, teams may shift things a little for him, but they do that for any speed WR who can make big plays (Jennings, Wallace, Knox), it’s more a matter of degree with DeSean, not a complete shift in scheme like the Eagles used to do against Minnesota with Moss in his prime.

    2) I doubt he’ll get much better, and he could get a lot worse in a few years, DeSean has short arms and small hands, that will always limit him when it comes to jump balls or making catches when he’s tightly covered, he’s not 6’1 with 33″ arms and soft 10″ hands who can grab the ball over a CB. He has good body control but no strength. Problem is his game is built on a combination of exceptional speed and quickness – and what qualities are the first to erode as a WR ages?

    3) His body limits his ability to go inside, he’s an injury waiting to happen over the middle, he’s invisible to his QB in the red zone and can’t fight through traffic, and his run blocking is basically imitating a speed bump. So he’ll never be a complete WR, and if he loses a step or two, can’t adjust like Steve Smith.

    How much is he worth?
    I’d say tack Holmes’ new deal on top of his last contract year, and give him $20M guaranteed instead of $24 because he’s a year from free agency. Backload the last two years (I’m sure Holmes’ deal is backloaded), and you basically pay him $30M for the next four years, which will result in a manageable cap hit. In the fifth year of this new deal, he’ll be 29 years old, and the team will have a $10M option with a couple million in dead money, also a manageable situation.

    Question is whether DeSean will accept a reasonable deal or does his ego demand top dollar?

  25. 25 Dan in Philly said at 11:41 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    DeSean’s ego will take a back seat if the Birds offer him $20M guarenteed. His concern is quite real, ironically the same one the Eagles have, that he’s maybe one big hit away from his career ending. If it ends this year, he gets his $900K and it all ends. With a promise of $20 Million, I suspect his ego consults with his greed and common sense and decides being the highest paid WR on a SuperBowl contender is quite enough.

    Whether the Eagles offer that is another question…

  26. 26 Kevin (RC) said at 11:47 AM on August 10th, 2011:

    I would love to take DSJ off red-zone duties and make him the full-time PR. It’s almost the same number of snaps + lets him optimize his skill set. It’s also easier to justify him making more money.

    Does his ego allow that?

  27. 27 GermanEagle said at 11:50 AM on August 10th, 2011:


    I am pretty sure that the Eagles will offer him $ 20 million guaranteed. And I also agree with Austinfan that Desean’s contract will be rather backloaded, while Vick’s new contract will be frontloaded, given both their different age.

  28. 28 Morton said at 12:01 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    If you read Barnwell’s article fully, you realize that he does address the applicability of traditional WR stats such as catch rate to a WR that runs primarily deep routes.

    “Out of context, catch rate can be a very limited metric. Comparing the catch rates of Jackson and, say, Wes Welker (73.9 percent over the past three years) is unfair since Welker runs six-yard option routes all day, while Jackson routinely sprints 30 yards downfield. But things don’t get much better for Jackson when you start to take a deeper look at the numbers. There are several players similarly styled to Jackson who have better catch rates over the past three years. Lee Evans and Ted Ginn, neither of whom has lit the world on fire recently, have catch rates narrowly ahead of Jackson. Steve Smith of the Panthers is at 52.8 percent. Santonio Holmes is at 53.4 percent. Downfield threats Bernard Berrian and Dwayne Bowe are at 54.4 percent. The offensively limited Devin Hester hits 58.6 percent, while Santana Moss is all the way at 60.8 percent.

    While catch rate doesn’t take quarterback play into account, every single one of these receivers played with worse quarterbacks than Jackson’s combination of Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, and Michael Vick.”

    Those two paragraphs alone should be able to dispel the myth that DeSean is some kind of special WR to whom ordinary stats do not apply. How can other players who basically run the same route tree (Hester, Moss, Bowe, Smith) all have higher catch rates and yet be considered inferior receivers?

    If anything, this underscores the need for the Eagles to restrain themselves from giving DeSean a top-tier WR contract. He should be given only slightly more money than a team would pay, say, a Santana Moss or a Devin Hester, and he certainly should not be paid nearly as much money as Santonio Holmes.

    Factor in the fact that after being paid, DeSean most certainly will not be returning punts, thus reducing his overall value because punt return value was a large percentage of his value in the past three years.

    Also factor in the fact that he is an absolutely terrible blocker. He offer almost nothing as a run/pass blocker when the play does not involve him as the #1 target. Other WRs such as Terrell Owens and Andre Johnson, besides being superior pure WRs than DeSean, also add increased value in their run/pass blocking.

  29. 29 GermanEagle said at 12:07 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    ‘ He should be given only slightly more money than a team would pay, say, a Santana Moss or a Devin Hester’

    That’s when I stopped reading.

  30. 30 izzylangfan said at 12:30 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    Jim Johnson’s mantra had always been to bend but don’t break. Be excellent against the pass because the pass is the thing, and good enough against the run. But in his latter years he went to two two-gap DT’s and the Eagles became excellent against the run and saw their pass defense slowly deteriorate until in the last two years under McD it reached intolerable lows.

    Jim Johnson’s complex defense wilted under the strain of declining talent and a new and inexperienced defensive coordinator, who only made the defense more complex without having the base of talent or the base of understanding in the players or in himself to pull it off.

    When the Eagles D was great in the 2002-2004 time frame the thing that set it apart was the third down efficiency. And this is what deteriorated. We could stop the run and short pass on first and second down but with declining ability in the defensive backfield and in the linebackers to cover we would get gashed on third down. It seems like a lot of these passes were across the middle where the Eagles linebackers were not efficient in coverage.

    So it does scare me a bit that two of our three linebackers were holdovers from last year. But with the strengthening of the D-line and D-backfield we should be better against the pass. And while two of the linebackers are the same we are trying out a new SAM who is thought to be able to cover even if he isn’t the second coming of Carlos Eamons.

    So yes the Eagles are going to get nicked a bit by the run on Thursday night but if we can be just OK on the run and squelch them on the pass – well, that is what I am hoping for.

  31. 31 Morton said at 12:36 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    GermanEagle: DeSean is a better WR than those guys, but you can’t tell me that his overall value is dramatically greater than either one.

    Devin Hester offers more in the return game than DeSean, especially after DeSean will likely refuse to return punts on a regular basis from here on out. Hester is a similarly skilled WR.

    Santana Moss basically runs the same route tree and offers similar impact as a deep ball WR. In their prime, they are basically identical in terms of value, and Moss is doing it at an age at which DeSean, at the same age in the future, may be out of the game.

    2010 stats:

    Santana Moss – 93 rec., 1115 rec. yards, 6 rec. TDs
    Devin Hester – 40 rec., 475 rec. yards, 4 rec. TDs, but also 991 KR/PR yards and 3 KR/PR TDs

    DeSean Jackson – 47 rec, 1056 rec. yards, 6 rec. TDs, and only 231 KR/PR yards and only 1 KR/PR TD.

    I’d rather have Hester on my team than Jackson at this point, because he adds so much more in the KR/PR game than DeSean at this point, while also functioning as a *decent* WR with a higher catch rate than DeSean.

  32. 32 Austinfan said at 12:36 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    Actually Santana Moss is a good parallel, took him a coupl eyears to develop, but he had 3 big years at age 24-26 which were similar to DeSean, including punt returns.

    Since then he’s bee a solid WR whose production has slipped due to dings. Given that he’s more physical than DeSean and has been able to transition to more of a possession receiver role, that does not bode well for DeSean’s long-term future.

  33. 33 nzflyer said at 6:09 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    Sorry I kicked off the debate…
    But @morton

    You’d rather have Hester ??????????? You. Have. Got. To. Be. Joking.

    Now I’m not saying DeSean is Randy Moss or even Greg Jennings, but come on, Devin Hester?

    Ask any CB one on one who they would rather cover, the answer will never be DeSean. When you compare how many KR/PR yards both receivers get, do you note how many K/P they are actually returning, DeSean does it on a need to basis. Hester does as a need, if he didn’t return he would be a nobody.

    DeSean has his flaws, he drops alot of balls, doesn’t go over the middle as much as you want him to, etc. But tell me what eagles player has made you get out of your seat more and cheer more than he has in the last few years. He may not go over the middle, but why play to your weakness ? Thats like saying to Peyton Manning he doesn’t scramble enough. Do what you do well.

    This age argument everyone talks about, yes yes yes, speed deteriorates with age. But what kind of negotiator would say we are going to pay you less because we feel your going to decline, when on the other hand we have the same negotiators trying to decrease rookie wages because you can’t justifiably foresee the future. Age is envitable, but DeSean has been grossly underpaid and he deserves to get a generous payday. Backload the heck out of it, but give him good guaranteed money. If he starts to decline then you work it from there whether you trade or cut.

    When your underpaying a player coming into his prime and then offer him a lesser(than what expected) contract cos you think he will decline in the next few years, that is not right.

  34. 34 nzflyer said at 6:10 PM on August 10th, 2011:

    *DeSean need to basis(the team needs him to pull out a big play)