Eagles Are Not The Skins

Posted: August 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

We’re all excited by the Eagles moves here in the last week. The team made impact acquisitions (Nnamdi Asomugha), solid acquisitions (Ronnie Brown), and even some smart gambles (Johnnie Lee Higgins). The Eagles added talent, experience, and guys hungry to win a Super Bowl. Heck, some of the players just want to win anything. Coming from Oakland has got to be weird. Analyst Brian Baldinger went up to Asomugha at Lehigh, shook his hand, and said “Welcome to the NFL”. Classic.

All these moves are great, but they don’t guarantee anything. We know from watching the Washington Redskins that winning the award for Best Offseason Moves doesn’t always translate to wins. Still, the moves will have impact. We’re a much different team than the Skins and the moves are quite different as well. Let’s talk about that.

I’m going to start with a quick list: Norv Turner, Mart Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, and Mike Shanahan. These are the men who have coached the Skins since the late-90’s. None of them had a winning record in their time as coach. Clearly, I’m not counting Gibbs first stint in Washington. Much different organization back then.

Here’s a second list: Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Tony Banks, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, and sadly Donovan McNabb. These are the primary starting QBs since the late-90’s.

Those two lists should tell you all you need to know about the Snyder era. It has been highly, highly dysfunctional. Change is the hallmark of his time as the Skins owner. Spurrier was going to save the organization. Then it was Gibbs. Then it was Shanahan, with McNabb as his veteran QB.

When it wasn’t coaches, it was players. Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss, Jeremiah Trotter, and Mark Brunell were all “the answer” at some point. Heck, I probably left off a few guys. How crazy have things been? The Skins once traded Champ Bailey, an elite CB, for RB Clinton Portis. The Skins also threw in a 2nd round pick. They then gave Portis a huge contract. My head hurts just thinking about the stupidity of that deal.

Remember in Apocalypse Now when Captain Willard meets Colonel Kurtz? Willard says he was told that Kurtz’s methods were unsound.

“Well, are my methods unsound?”

“I don’t see any method, at all.”

That’s the Skins under Dan Snyder. No method, just madness.

There is no infrastructure. Who really runs the team? There have been a variety of personnel guys and GM types, but really the man in charge is Snyder. That would be fine if he was a football guy or if he listened to a wise advisor. That’s not the case. The man walking behind the man for most of the Snyder era was Vinny Cerrato. Since leaving the Skins he’s not exactly been fighting off NFL teams who were trying to hire him.

Players didn’t sign with the Skins to play for Norv Turner or Steve Spurrier or even Joe Gibbs. They came for the money. Their loyalty was to Snyder. He paid his stars big money. He developed friendships with them. When Schottenheimer was coach back in 2001, there was a mini-revolt. Bruce Smith and other veterans didn’t want any part of his old school practices. They had signed big deals and expected to be treated as the stars they were. The team started 0-5. Schottenheimer and the veterans finally got on the same page and the team finished 8-8. Marty was fired at the end of the season. Clearly, the players ran the show.

Things remained dysfunctional under Marty’s replacement, Steve Spurrier. My favorite Skins story of all time took place in 2003. Spurrier was sitting in on a Special Teams meeting. He started to criticize a player. Spurrier asked the player to respond. There was silence. Finally another player spoke up and told Spurrier that the other player had been cut that morning.

Can you imagine any other team in the NFL where a player would be cut midseason without the head coach knowing about it? One hand had no idea what the other was doing.

The Eagles and Skins are nothing alike. There is stability here. Reid has been coach since 1999. He got along very well with the previous GM, Tom Heckert. Reid gets along very well with current GM Howie Roseman. Owner Jeff Lurie lets his football guys run that side of the organization. He lets his business people run that side of the organization. Lurie approves of all major decisions, but never plays GM. He doesn’t second guess his GM and coach. He trusts them. And that enables them to trust him.

The Eagles are a team built through the draft. That has been the philosophy since Reid got here. Free agency is a tool, but it isn’t how you build a team. The 2011 Eagles are no different. This team isn’t being built through free agency. Holes are getting plugged. The core of this team came through the drafts of 2005-2011. Those guys are Eagles players. They were developed by Andy Reid. They know the Eagles way of doing things. The players have experience one losing season (2005) and one .500 season (2007). That’s it. They are used to winning.

Free agents coming in this summer aren’t here to save the team. They aren’t here to turn the team around. Asomugha would have to ask Dimitri Patterson for advice on how to handle playoff football. The players added are here to help push the Eagles from good/very good to great.

The Skins have had 3 winning seasons in the Snyder era. In 1999 they were 10-6. In 2005 they were 10-6. IN 2007 they were 9-7. The Skins were looking for players and coaches to come in and save the day. They needed the offseason moves to be what turned them from an average team to a good team. There was no patience. There was no building. The Skins wanted a quick fix.

Reid made it clear when he was hired that he wanted to build a “football program”. I’d never heard that phrase used in regard to the NFL at that time, but thought it was brilliant. Reid wanted to win, but also wanted to keep an eye on the future. There had to be a balance. Football is the ultimate team game. You can’t throw all your resources into a couple of star players. What if they bomb? What if they get hurt? You must build a team and mix in some big stars.

The Eagles have added a lot of big names in the last week, but remember what these guys are here to do: their job. No player is coming here to be the “it guy”. The Eagles aren’t trying to solve problems with star power. They are going to put the new players in positions to succeed. The players are part of a team. Asomugha makes life easier on the DL. Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins should make life easier on Asomugha. Everything is part of a plan. These aren’t splashy moves to grab headlines. These moves make sense. They are designed to work on the field, not just as offseason headlines.

2011 is an anomaly. The Eagles felt they had a Super Bowl contender already. The team needed some pieces to put it over the top, thus the moves. The great thing about the moves is that the Eagles didn’t just blindly throw huge money at the players. Asomugha got a mega-deal (although less than was expected). The other players got reasonable deals. There will be no Haynesworth situations where the team feels obligated to keeping a player because they invested so much money in him. If the new players don’t perform well, the Eagles can cut them and move on. Some of the guys signing for just a year actually came here at a bargain rate.  The bizarre nature of the 2011 offseason had a big hand in that.

Meanwhile in D.C., to Snyder’s credit, he seems to have finally seen the light somewhat. He’s backed off and is now letting Shanahan and Bruce Allen run the team. I don’t agree with all their decisions (John Beck…what the heck?), but they are running the team like an actual football organization for the first time in years.

The Eagles didn’t borrow the Skins playbook. The moves are getting headlines, but they really are nothing like what Washington did over the years. The Eagles were already winning.  The foundation was already in place.  The team has lots of picks in the upcoming draft.  There is no “selling out to win now”.  And you can bet no player will ever go behind Andy Reid’s back to talk to Jeff Lurie. They know better. Lots of new names and splashy moves were made, but this is still Andy Reid’s team. Big Red rules the roost. Or aerie.

* * * * *

Out of curiosity I started jotting down starters added by WAS through free agency.  I just did the first few years of the Snyder era.  Wow.

1999 – QB Brad Johnson, FB Larry Centers, DE Marco Coleman
2000 – QB Jeff George, DE Bruce Smith, CB Deion Sanders, S Mark Carrier, S Sam Shade
2001 – QB Tony Banks, OG Ben Coleman, OG Dave Szott, PR Eric Metcalf
2002 – OG Brendan Stai, DE Renaldo Wynn, DT Darryl Gardner, MLB Jeremiah Trotter, LB Jessie Armstead
2003 – RB Trung Canidate, WR Laveranues Coles, OG Randy Thomas, DE Reagan Upshaw, RS Chad Morton
2004 – QB Mark Brunell, *RB Clinton Portis, OT Ray Brown, DT Cornelius Griffin, DE Phillip Daniels, LB Marcus Washington, CB Shawn Springs

Washington had some pretty good players of their own.  Why the heck did they let Antonio Pierce leave?  Keep guys like him and quit signing outsiders.

37 Comments on “Eagles Are Not The Skins”

  1. 1 Mac said at 12:03 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Great blog, I agree 100%.

  2. 2 tball said at 12:22 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    This is the year we really get to see how special of a leader how fearless our starting qb is. Many soldiers in tow. Reading for battle. He, in a lot is ways makes this “all in” real…. for real.

  3. 3 Eric said at 12:32 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I love NFL Network’s Top 10 piece on draft day trades.

    To quote Adam Schefter after the ‘skins received the Saints’ entire 1999 draft and a significant portion of the 2000 draft for Ricky Williams, “how did that team not become a dynasty?!”

    Imagine Reid/Roseman/Banner making that trade? Could you imagine having several first and second round picks, plus a bevy of lower draft picks, in the span of two years? That’d be crazy. Imagine the talent you could bring in. The Redskins just never get it. Or I should say Snyder doesn’t.

  4. 4 Fran35 said at 12:37 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Great article.

    Another misperception that I think alot of people are having is that Reid is going all in because he is on the hot seat. I completely disagree and have more faith that ever in Reid. Has he won the big one yet? No, but he has put a good to great product on the table pretty much every year. We as fans have taken that for granted. I think that regardless of how this season ends up, Reid is not even close to the hot seat.

  5. 5 Name said at 12:54 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    This does have an Eagles ’04 feel…

    However, those who think they are neglecting the future aren’t paying attention.

    They’re drafting by the bushel…
    13 picks made last year, 11 this year, already added an extra 2 and 4 for next years draft and if they choose to move Asante, I’m sure they’ll get even more Ammo…

  6. 6 JVB said at 1:04 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Tommy I was wondering if you knew the easiest way to find out how many D-lineman Tennessee kept under Washburn. Might make roster predictions easier …

  7. 7 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:19 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Great resource.


    You can go season by season to see who played for TEN.

  8. 8 Naik said at 1:20 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Profootballtalk says the Eagles may have a mil or two left under the cap ($3.9 mil before Brown, Harris and Page). Now to restructure Vick and extend DJax!


  9. 9 T_S_O_P said at 1:20 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I know we signed both Kearse and TO in ’04 and didn’t Asante and Peters come in the same offseason? We make big splashes in FA if as you point out – the player adds value to the team. This year we have just been extraordinarily successful but circumstances of 2 uncertain CBA years have given us that opportunity and it certainly isn’t anomalous that under Reid/Banner/Lurie we have taken advantage of those.

  10. 10 CVD said at 1:23 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    There is only one person in the entire eagles organization I would hate to lose. Its not Vick or Desean, its Reid.

  11. 11 Kevin (RC) said at 1:25 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Asante came in 2008 (NFFCG loss to Arizona)
    Peters came in 2009 (Loss to the Cowboys

    Really liked the read. I made the same point about the coaches in another thread. It’s funny. If you talk to fans of other teams + analysts, to a man, they say Reid is a top 5 coach (other than Mike Lombardi, who’s a moron). We just can’t get over his lack of clock management skills + stubbornness about running the ball. We’re so lucky to have Andy…although he’s OUT of here if he doesn’t win a ring in the next 2 years IMO.

  12. 12 Nick said at 1:25 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    If/when Sam’s able to chime in, it would be nice to get a writeup on the Eagles remaining room plus the “bubble” salaries that might be cut (Marlin Jackson, JParker, JHanson are the ones that come to mind) or the other moves that the Eagles could make to fit Vick’s and DJax’s new contracts under the cap (trade Asante, how much Vick’s restructuring might save). That would really truly make my little Eagles nerd heart glow.

  13. 13 ian no 2 said at 1:41 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I’m certain Shanahan had nothing to do with McNabb’s arrival, even though he said he did. All of his criticisms were based on past years. But with Snyder, the coach tries to pretend he’s in on decisions he’s not in on to pretend he has some power. I remember when Snyder stripped Zorn of his playcalling to induce him to quit (and surrender the remainder of his guaranteed salary) and when the team scored a TD, Zorn would look at the playcard to make it look like he called the play. The GM is trying to build for the future a little this year and get younger players but I think Snyder is pining for the Gaffneys, Donte Stallworths, etc.

    When you see a stupid fan on some chat room and think “what if he had tons of money and ran a team without delegating,” that’s happening in DC. Trade your draft picks for this guy, that guy, “we need guys who’ve done it before..”

    The fact that they can’t sell tickets is a combination of the s— hitting the fan, fans getting wise to Snyder, and the fact that they’re not trying to look like contenders this year. Snyder is suing the City Paper for defamation and as a result is bringing more publicity to the article.. worth checking out if you haven’t…


  14. 14 CVD said at 2:01 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    This could be the way every NFL team does it but, One thing I love about the way eagles structure contracts is the salary always goes up each year. So even if there aren’t incentives in the contract, there really are incentives in the contract. Every year you are playing to not get cut so you can collect that salary that keeps getting bigger and bigger. And we always have the option to cut u if we don’t feel ur playing good enough to collect that big salary.

  15. 15 Steve D. said at 2:04 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Re the skins free agency moves under Snyder:

    “The horror…the horror…”

  16. 16 CVD said at 2:04 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    When you see a stupid fan on some chat room and think “what if he had tons of money and ran a team without delegating,” that’s happening in DC

    dude i swear i was thinkin the exact same thing. hahahah

  17. 17 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:19 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    @ Steve D.

    Well done. That reference gets lost on too many people.

  18. 18 Name said at 2:58 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I don’t want this to sound harsh but I don’t see Justice as a guy that loves playing football. Obviously I don’t know the guy and I could be way off but I just feel like he could be milking the injury cuz he isn’t dying to get back on the field. I think some guys worry about life after football and aren’t die hard football guys. He has some decent $$ coming the next 2 years so that should really motivate him. I think when Mudd gets a hold of him, it will make him or break him. We need Justice to play well this year

  19. 19 LT said at 3:04 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Name, I think there is at least a decent chance that Justice never sees the field for the Eagles this year. I think he could be released if they are comfortable with Harris as the starter and Dunlap/Howard as the primary backups, with maybe Herremans in the wings.

  20. 20 ian no. 2 said at 3:07 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Justice is potentially the biggest cap hit on the team, a species more common to DC.

    I was befuddled when Shanahan took that job (and said so). He would have made 7M for sitting around the house in ’10 and waiting for a good job somewhere. Spagnuola had no HC experience when he turned down the job (Zorn was hired). Shan has gone from having a reputation as a top coach to being a joke. Surely he demanded that Kyle be offensive coordinator and that was a factor.

  21. 21 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:09 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    RE: Justice

    He’s not a football lover. Big, athletic guy who plays football because he’s big and athletic.

  22. 22 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:11 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    @ ian…

    Word is that Shanny took the job and hoped to groom Shanny Jr. (Kyle) for the HC job in a couple of years.

    Obviously that train is way off schedule, unless the Skins pull off some Rams 1999 miracle and shock us all.

  23. 23 CVD said at 4:26 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    sorry that was me

    I don’t like those kind of players. I love having those guys that never want their football career to end. I don’t like the guys that play cuz they are talented and they like the $$.

    I am curious to see how Justice works with Mudd. Unless like LT says, he is cut. Which I completely agree with IF we like one of these other guys. Problem is what if Harris gets injured like he has in the past? RT really worries me, its like RG from last year all over again

  24. 24 Baloophi said at 4:32 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    @ Steve D. and Tommy…

    Jason La Canfora just posted this pic from Redskins’ camp:


  25. 25 Stacy Andrews joins the Giants said at 4:41 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    dude enough with these two

  26. 26 Has a nice ring to it said at 5:12 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Given the cap situation for the Cowboys, they had to cut $19 million out.

    They’ve got $20 million in dead money NEXT YEAR

  27. 27 William said at 5:14 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Looks like Abiamiri’s career is over. Shame, I wanted to see what he could do this year.

    Just saw #Eagles DE Victor Abiamiri on crutches and with his right foot in a boot.

  28. 28 Dan said at 5:30 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    What’s up with Moise Fokou? I heard that Chaney is playing SAM. I thought Fokou played well last year at SAM.

    I’s surprised to see Rocky Macintosh still on the market. The Giants and the Lions could use him. I wonder if he would be willing to come here on a one year deal and possibly sit on the bench. He’s still young- 28 yrs old.

    With him on the weakside, we can move Chaney to MLB just in case Matthews struggles. Do you know if Macintosh has played other 4-3 LB positions?

  29. 29 Dan said at 5:31 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    What’s up with Moise Fokou? I heard that Chaney is playing SAM. I thought Fokou played well last year at SAM.

    I’s surprised to see Rocky Macintosh still on the market. The Giants and the Lions could use him. I wonder if he would be willing to come here on a one year deal and possibly sit on the bench. He’s still young- 28 yrs old.

    With him on the weakside, we can move Chaney to MLB just in case Matthews struggles. Do you know if Macintosh has played other 4-3 LB positions?.

  30. 30 CVD said at 6:10 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    VA. I had 1% confidence that he would make it through preseason. Its been 3 years straight of injuries. I wish him the best but I don’t ever see him playin football. Makes you think about how cruel this sport can be to some people.

  31. 31 some thoughts straight from cowboys fans said at 6:12 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Jerry’s turned the proudest and most storied franchise in NFL history into a homeless person dumpster diving though other teams’ free agency scraps. We’re bidding for and romancing free agents nobody else wants!! Because our players are even worse!!

    This is the Dallas Cowboys!! Doesn’t this state of affairs make everyone sick to their stomach?

  32. 32 CVD said at 7:27 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Anthony Hargrove, any thoughts?

  33. 33 Frank said at 7:40 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I wonder when we’ll finally go a day without signing someone

  34. 34 Dan said at 8:06 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    I was a fan of Derek Landri back in 07′. I was annoyed with the Eagles when they didn’t draft the guy even though he fell to the 5th round. Anyway, he still had a better career than the “next coming of B-dawk” they drafted, C.J Gaddis.

    07′ was a funny draft. I remember being high on Tanard Jackson. I thought the Eagles would draft him in the 2nd round with the 36th overall pick.

  35. 35 McG said at 8:48 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    Tommy, I realize I may be late to this party… but Adam Caplan recently almost “bet his house” that Randy Moss comes out of retirement and comes to Philly. Thoughts?

  36. 36 fran35 said at 8:57 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    @ some thoughts straight from the Cowboys

    Dude, even when humbled Cowboys fans carry insane hubris.

    “proudest and most storied franchise in NFL history”


    I think there are some Steelers or Packers fans who may disagree with you. But don’t pat yourself on the back too much while you kick yourself when you are down. Nobody else thinks of you as the “proudest and most storied franchise in NFL history”.

  37. 37 McG said at 9:05 PM on August 3rd, 2011:

    any chance Andy buys a plastic donkey to hand to Jason Garrett after a major whoopin this season?