We’re Trying A New Bulb

Posted: September 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 56 Comments »

Kyle DeVan will start at RG in place of Danny Watkins.

The angle getting all the attention is the benching of Watkins so I’ll start there.  First, any notion that Danny is a bust is crazy.  The Eagles loved him prior to the draft.  They were ecstatic to get him.  They still have high expectations for him.

That said, you can’t ignore the fact he’s behind schedule.  One of the selling points for drafting a player who was 26 1/2 years old was that he would be a quick learner and could get on the field right away.  That’s logical thinking and I don’t fault the team for having that mindset.

The problem is that the light never went on for Danny this summer.  This isn’t about his holdout costing him a couple of days.  Danny simply isn’t playing with the kind of certainty and confidence you need in an O-lineman.  He’s thinking, but too slowly.  Danny is methodical at a spot where things must be done instantly.

Danny has shown the physical skills the Eagles were looking for when they took him in the 1st round last April.  What he hasn’t done is adapt well.  He’s learning a new position.  A new side.  A new offense.  A new blocking scheme.  And adjusting to life in the big city (literally).  Danny admitted in an interview the other day that he’s overwhelmed by it all.  Is this a cause for concern?

I don’t think so.  Just because you’re behind schedule doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.  Some players take to the NFL like a fish to water.  Others need some time to adjust and get in their comfort zone.  The situation is tough on Watkins because he didn’t have the normal offseason.  Normally rookies learn in May and June.  They come to Lehigh and then have to deal with putting what they’ve learned in drills into live action.

So if Jason Kelce is able to adapt, why not Watkins?  Kelce played Center last year at Cincy.  He was a LG the year before.  He knows how to play on the inside.  Danny was a LT for 2 years.  He was in a 2-point stance 95% of the time (maybe 99%).  Danny played in a spread offense where he was blocking pass rushers on the edge.  Now he’s taking on 330-pound DTs in a phone booth.  Kelce doesn’t have nearly as complicated a transition.

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that Watkins has been disappointing, but understand we’re talking strictly about results.  He’s got the talent.  He’s got the work ethic.  He’s got the right attitude.  The light will go on.  He just needs reps and coaching.   The Eagles gave him as long as they possibly could.  They kept waiting for that moment when things would click and Danny would show that he’s ready.  Hasn’t happened yet so we have to move him to the back burner and go with another player at RG.

Now, onto the man of the moment, Mr. Kyle DeVan.  I watched the PHI/IND game from 2010.  Here are the notes I took:

Kyle DeVan — LG. #66. Plays with good leverage. Really locks on with his hands. Good block on WR screen. Not a smooth athlete, but moves well enough. Smart. Tenacious. Dirty, but with some wisdom. Semi-hooked Dixon’s arm to keep him from pursuing. Didn’t “hold”, but held. Needs to play with good balance. Overextended in pass pro vs Patt and got pushed aside. Called for holding on block out in space on WR screen. Able to anchor in pass pro when he’s clean (feet planted, hands on defender). Stays active. Blocks to the whistle.  You can see he’s a former wrestler. Uses his hands really well. Good lateral agility.  Pretty good feet.  Great block of Stew on 3rd/3. Embarrassing to see our MLB pushed away so easily. Ball went right up that gap for a 4-yd gain. Let Trent get by him on a stunt and hit Peyton.

Kyle is the exact opposite of Watkins.  Kyle is undersized (under 6’2 and about 305).  He’s a limited athlete.  He’s not physically gifted.  But…he plays smart and with confidence.  There is no hesitation.  He has a lot of experience on the interior and shows a good feel for things.  I think he can be an adequate RG for us…at the least.

Kyle isn’t going to be a guy that will win games or wow you, but he’s reliable and won’t lose you games or make major mistakes.  Indy let him go because they are trying to get bigger.  There’s nothing  compelling about Kyle so he got the boot.  He can still play, especially in Mudd’s system.

One thing I loved about watching him is what an active blocker he is.  Kyle will double the DT with the C and then peel off as he feels the runner going outside.  Kyle will get on a LB at that point.  This is common thing known as a combo block.  However, Kyle blocked multiple defenders on more plays than I’m used to seeing from a G/C.  I guess part of that is watching our biggies over the years.  They just aren’t going to get to multiple targets all that often.  Kyle did it with regularity.  This is crucial for getting RAC yards on screen passes and helping runners to turn short runs into gains of 15 to 20 yards (or more).

I think having Kyle play at RG will be a big help to Kelce.  Kyle knows the blocking scheme.  He also was a C in college so he understands what Kelce is dealing with every play.

Danny Watkins will be the starting RG at some point this year.  Until he’s ready, I’m completely comfortable with Kyle DeVan manning the spot.

* * * * *

Oddball notes.  I assumed DeVan was the RG.  Started watching the game.  #78 is getting pushed around by Mike Patterson pretty bad.  I flew over to check out the gamebook at NFL.com and verify who was playing where.  I was greatly relieved to find out 78 was Mike Pollak.  He struggled for much of the game.

Early on Asante picked off Manning.  Asante returned it up the middle of the field.  I think Kyle was the OL who tried to make a diving tackle…from 5 yards away.  I couldn’t verify the number, but I’m 99% sure it is him.  And if that’s true, he’s the white guy, OL version of Marlon Favorite.  Awesome.

I wondered why the hell the Colts signed Ernie Sims this summer.  He actually played okay against them.  Had a sack and a TFL.  Still missed tackles and did dumb things, but wasn’t all bad.

Stewart Bradley…not so great.  I hope he gets back to his old self, but he was not good last  year.  The bar isn’t set all that high for Casey Matthews if we’re judging him in comparison to 2010 Stew.

Mike Patterson is very underrated and I’m as much to blame as anyone.  He’s not a dominant DT or a playmaker, but he’s so much better than he gets credit for.  I really hope dude has a good year.  He deserves the spotlight a bit.

DeSean is fast.  So is Vick.

If an asteroid had hit Earth on the Monday after this game, we’d all have died thinking Dimitri Patterson was a star CB that we got out of nowhere.  Terrific game.

56 Comments on “We’re Trying A New Bulb”

  1. 1 Gary said at 11:32 PM on September 7th, 2011:

    Tommy, you’ve probably touched on the topic before, but I’m curious: What the hell happened to Dimitri? Did he just get really hot for a stretch of games like a quarterback gets hot? Or did teams just not any film of him at first?

    Nice choice of Colts games to review by the way.

  2. 2 Iskar36 said at 11:35 PM on September 7th, 2011:

    As I alluded to in the previous comment section, I am not too down on a rookie who ended up not starting. Yes, he is an older rookie and may have a shorter NFL life than other guards because of it, but he is still a rookie by any standard. That being said, my complaint about the RG position is the same one I have for the MLB position. Both Watkins and Matthews were option A and B and option C forces us to scramble. In Watkin’s case, fine, he was a first round pick, you expect him to be the starter, but the fact that the best option was a guy we were lucky to get after the Colts cut him is poor planning. Even if you expect Watkins to start, having a serviceable backup should still be something the coaches make sure of. I’m curious what the coaches would have done had Watkins not asked to play in the 4th preseason game or if he didn’t look horrible in that game. Would we still have gone out and signed Devan? It just seems there are a couple guys on the team the coaches believe in so much, they are barely even willing to consider that they might even get injured, let alone not play to their potential.

  3. 3 Sattymike said at 11:40 PM on September 7th, 2011:

    I’m still okay with Danny as the future at RG. I agree he’ll get it soon, he has everything he needs to get there. If the OL is clicking though it will be hard to insert him at mid-season I would think. Have to see how it goes. How about that OL depth now? JJ, Danny, Justice on the bench. Huh…

    As an aside – I really appreciate your writing, Tommy. The Kyle / Marlon Favoite similarity cracked me up!

  4. 4 Johnnybegoode said at 11:49 PM on September 7th, 2011:

    @Iskar36: We had Evan Mathis (and Jackson, if you think he can backup the guard positions effectively) as a backup all training camp. It was only with the Herremans move that our Guard depth was lost.

  5. 5 Flyin' said at 11:58 PM on September 7th, 2011:


    once again you turn ugly (negative awad opinions) into rational thinking. concern is one thing, but let’s get some playing time to evaluate…reg season .

    i love the team, and i am feeding off of their words…the ones that really matter. i predict the eagles win the turnover battle and game by a wide margin. +3 and +21 respectively.

  6. 6 theguyotc said at 12:03 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    I have to say, I’m a lot more comfortable in general with a veteran who has starting experience and knows the system than I was with Watkins. The thought of a rookie 6th round center, struggling rookie 1st rounder, and RT playing out of position in a new system with minimal practice was a bit scary. Now at least the inexperienced block of guys has been broken up. I can’t imagine there won’t be growing pains though.

    I also can see Watkins working his way back into the lineup once he’s had some time out of the pressure of the spotlight to study and practice. It’s disappointing he’s not there yet, but it happens.

  7. 7 Flyin' said at 12:06 AM on September 8th, 2011:


    why is it so hard for you to to ride out the tide? things happen…the Eagles make a move…get a guy they like…but it is poor planning? Show me your blueprint on how things should and would unfold AND THEN we continue our conversation.

  8. 8 Cafone said at 12:55 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    When you draft an offensive guard in the first round he better be great or it’s a wasted pick. When you draft a 26 year old offensive guard you hope he can play right away.

    Watkins can’t start right away so that is disappointing. We’ll have to wait and see if he’s a great player. But if he’s not and he only becomes a decent starter then it was a bad pick. Decent OGs can be found without spending first round picks.

  9. 9 iskar36 said at 1:39 AM on September 8th, 2011:


    I’d be curious to find out what Mudd would think about JamJax at guard. In Mudd’s system, wouldn’t you want a more athletic guard still? I guess I am not convinced that JamJax is a legitimate backup at guard. That being said, your point about Mathis is a good one. I was only thinking back to the last preseason game and cutting the roster down to 53. I stand corrected.

    That being said, I still think it would be interesting to find out, hypothetically speaking, once Mathis was put at LG and Herremans was put at RT, if Watkins doesn’t play in the last game, or does play and doesn’t look as uncomfortable as he did, would we still have brought in DeVan? I guess the answer very well could be yes, and that we were hoping to get him as a backup to Watkins either way.


    Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about this team. I think it could be one of the most talented teams we have had in awhile. That being said, there still are questions remaining, and for the time being there is no harm in discussing them, right? I’m all for the Eagles seeing a guy the like and going after them. I have nothing against Watkins or Matthews. I actually think Watkins has the talent to be a fantastic player and Tommy has eased at least some of my concerns over Matthews. While I stand corrected over Watkins and the fact that they did have a backup plan for him that unfortunately got messed up with the problems we had at RT, I am not convinced that MLB has a strong backup plan. I guess my point is, what happens if Matthews gets injured, let alone not play to the level the coaches expect from him?

    At the end of the day, will Matthews make or break our season, I truly doubt it, but he is one of the legitimate questions about the team, so I think it’s fair to have concerns and discuss them.

  10. 10 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:52 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Cafone…

    I tend to agree on OGs in the first round.

    That said, Ross Tucker was on PE.com last March talking about the growing importance of RG and how it was 2nd only to LT as the most important OL position. This was prior to the draft so it wasn’t some sales pitch to push Watkins.

    Part of Tucker’s point is that RG is the spot that will single block in pass pro the most. I hadn’t really thought of that before his comments, but then I had flashbacks to 2010. I always wondered why McGlynn would look left first in pass pro than right. Why help Todd and not Nick Cole? Apparently that was the design of the protections and it’s done that way around the league.

  11. 11 iskar36 said at 2:00 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Tommy

    Is that true for both a left handed and a right handed QB? Is there any specific reason for it?

  12. 12 Toby said at 2:28 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    If nothing else, all the chaos on the O-line leads to some fun what-ifs until the season gets rolling.

    What if Justice get’s healthy? Does he get his job back and if so, where does Herremans go? It might make more sense for him to slide into right guard, even though he’s never played it, merely because of the instability there.

    What if the light comes on for Watkins? Does he get shuffled into the starting lineup and if so where? Or is he merely the sixth man at that point, first OL subbed in because of injury.

    Not to mention the inevitable OL injuries. Sorry to bring it up, but lets face it, every team has them. Who is our first OL off the bench? Most years it seems we have one guy who’s a safe bet for first off the bench, this year it’s murky and might be totally dependent on who get’s injured.

    The continuity factor is almost a non-factor. I’m sure it still get’s weighed in but continuity is a lost cause at this point.

  13. 13 Davesbeard said at 5:30 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    I really think sitting Watkins for a few weeks is a great move. You can tell he’s scrambling just to keep his head above water with all of the new experiences and pressure being piled on him. A couple of weeks to shift down a gear could really help things click into place for him. Instead of fighting to survive he’s fighting to play and improve.

  14. 14 Anirudh said at 7:37 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    I’m getting a little upset by what’s happening with the line. I’m not going to go through all the complaints or concerns that you’ve brought up (and, for the most part, answered). Continuity. Talent vs. Experience. The difference in starting lineups going into the preseason vs. coming out. The absolute number of different “starting” lineups we’ve played with. Why is it different to let the less athletic veteran start at RG but not at C (even though we have a pro bowl-caliber backup there).

    Howard Mudd is being a lot more finicky than I like – he reminds me of Niles Crane more than Marty Crane, which is a huge issue. All this talk about “well, he doesn’t fit the Mudd system” makes me question – isn’t the coach supposed to do some coaching? Instead of trying to find the Mudd-ian platonic ideal at each O-Line position, shouldn’t the coach maybe at some point decide that he has to work with what he’s got? It’s Mudd’s job to get the most out of every player he has – I think that’s more important than spending a month and a half (in a drastically shortened offseason) being indecisive about which players he really wants. He also, as Iskar36 pointed out, hasn’t seemed to have put together any backup plans (or at least, any backup plans that have worked). I’m not going to fault him for taking two or three weeks at the start of camp to figure out his lineup, hell, maybe benching Watkins is the right move as well, but the fact that it took him forever to figure this out doesn’t give me confidence in his coaching. What happens if, god forbid, one of the current linemen goes down? Are we going to be treated to another 5 weeks of shuffled linemen? Hey! Herremans is athletic. Maybe HE’S the perfect LT and we move Peters to C. (Exaggeration for effect.)

    All of last year, we kept hearing (and saying) that part of the reason the line was playing so badly was because they had no continuity and they just weren’t used to each other. That hasn’t come close to going away this year. This guy who was supposed to come in and make the O-line dramatically better has done nothing in preseason and is now going into the regular season with more uncertainty than we had last year.

    Sure – the above isn’t entirely rational, but no one’s ever equated rationality with being a sports fan….much less an Eagles one.

  15. 15 cvd said at 8:09 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    Maybe rg is so important to the eagles cuz Vick struggles with pressure up the middle or I would think all qbs struggle w that. Or maybe cuz teams were blitzing up the middle if I remember correctly because Vick could burn u if blitz outside and he makes u miss. Or cuz he is shorter than most qb the pressure up the middle really bothers him

  16. 16 mcud said at 8:10 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    Its amazing how the offseason angst about our former OL coach moving to defense has been replaced by the current trepidation re: Mudd.

    Its also pretty crazy that Dallas’ O-line is even more questionable shape than ours. I think its going to be a long year for the NFC East.

  17. 17 mcud said at 8:16 AM on September 8th, 2011:


    Tucker really said that? That RG was more important than RT even? Most important interior OL? Maybe. More important than RT? Ridiculous, in my opinion.

    Question. If the Eagles had it to do all over again today, do they pull the trigger on Watkins in round 1?

  18. 18 CTAZPA said at 8:21 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    “Hey! Herremans is athletic. Maybe HE’S the perfect LT and we move Peters to C. (Exaggeration for effect.)”

    It struck me as funny that there’s a huge difference in the obviousness of this exaggeration to the readers of this blog relative to the general public.

    Peters at C?

  19. 19 ubrab said at 8:33 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    iskar36 (Tommy please correct me):

    Due to DL alignment, the 3 technique is often ligned up to the strong side, which is often the right side of the OL. The RG has a DT on his external shoulder and the RT can’t help because of the LE, so he’s often one-on-one.
    Sidenote: That’s why pass rushers like Tuck, when they slide inside, often slide inside at the 3-tech position, where it’s a lot harder to double them, instead of playing at NT.

    Tommy: I’ve read about Titans defense last year, they apparently had Left and Right side OLBs, not SLB/WLB, is that something we would tend to here with the Wide 9 ?

  20. 20 netherman said at 8:39 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    I think many folks are also overlooking how disappointing other guys have been who were at least being counted on as backups. Howard went from promising rookie to guy who spent all off season eating bags of double stuffs. McGlynn went from being a solid replacement to a disappointment. Dunlap looks like a slow learner to my eyes…this really stood out to me in the Cosell/Caplan film room thing where they were showing a play over and over to illustrate how Mudd’s philosophy is attacking and not retreating and yet you saw Dunlap still dropping back very deep. I still think he can be an ok backup but he was not good enough that the coaches felt comfortable with him filling in until Justice returns. I think painting the front office as irresponsibly creating another Jeremy Bloom situation is not a fair representation. It is frustrating that not all of these guys aggressively prepared for the season without someone riding their backsides, but that is life.

    One thing I am curious to see is how the oline change, once it really gels, will change Mike’s running. Seems like in Juan’s style, natural running lanes would open up as guys drip past him, but with Mudd’s philosophy there may be a lot more trash in front of him. Ideally, that will encourage him to stay comfortably in the pocket and pass, or maybe they would boot him out left or right to threaten the run/pass option. Do you think we will see any change based on the change in oline philosophy?

  21. 21 Ballsy said at 8:57 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    McCud: “Tucker really said that? That RG was more important than RT even?”

    Tucker didn’t write that. I remember the article. He thinks right tackle is nearly as important as left tackle these days (but not quite). He ranked the positions (in importance): 1 LT 2 RT 3 RG (largely because of all the single blocks RGs must make) 4 LG 5 C. Tucker did say that center is still critical and requires smart, consistent players, but not the same level of athleticism as the other positions do.

  22. 22 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:28 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    RE: OLBs

    We’re moving guys strong and weak.

    Some teams do LLB and RLB. That’s what we did with Ray Rhodes.

    It isn’t a huge deal either way. We don’t have any LB that we need to hide in coverage.

  23. 23 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:31 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    RE: taking Watkins with do-over?

    Fair question. I still think they would because they believe in him so much.

    If not, I’m not sure who’d replace him. I haven’t studied preseason games that much and don’t know all the hot-shot rookie from around the league. Who would have been a good alternative?

  24. 24 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:38 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    RE: chemistry / OL stuff

    There is no stability or experience with the guys and that does hurt. Guys need to play together in order to get used to each other and develop some chemistry.

    Our guys will be learning each other in real time. That’s not good.

    At the same time, I think it is important that Mudd finds the 5 best guys and gets them on the field. Watkins was given 4 games to show what he could do. The team couldn’t wait any longer. Mathis and Kelce earned spots with good play. Herremans sorta earned his by being a good player in his career.

    No player starting for us now is struggling. That’s important. Kelce will have some growing pains, but also will make plays that most other Centers couldn’t because of his athleticism.

    The right 5 guys are on the field. They don’t have chemistry yet, but that will come as they play together. The guys do fit the scheme. They do have talent.

  25. 25 Morton said at 10:14 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    If they were dead-set on taking an offensive lineman, either Derrick Sherrod or Gabe Carimi (preferably Carimi, who was rated as a top 15 talent on most draft boards, almost unanimously ahead of Watkins) should have been the pick. This is not a “hindsight is 20/20” thing; Watkins was considered only a borderline first round prospect whereas both Carimi and Sherrod were considered two of the top offensive linemen in the draft by guys like Kiper and Mayock.

    I would have taken a defensive linemen in the first round due to the depth of the position: either trade up for Phil Taylor, or pick Cameron Jordan or Muhammed Wilkerson.

    There really was no reason to pick Watkins in the first round over someone like Carimi, or one of the defensive linemen. It was just a bad pick and it’s looking worse every day.

    The Jarrett pick was god-awful too, because he was such a reach. He’s a developmental project with limited athletic ability; guys of that ilk shouldn’t be selected until the 3rd round or later. If you lose out on him, you deal with it, but the chances were that you’d be able to select him in the 3rd round or later.

    I’m deeply unimpressed by Roseman’s drafting thus far. If it wasn’t for the 7th round, he’d be 0-for-X. Unfortunately, it takes more than just good 7th round drafting to build a championship team. You *have* to hit on some of those 1st and 2nd rounders at some point.

  26. 26 Morton said at 10:17 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    If they took Carimi, he’d be starting at RT right now. So far he’s looked like the best lineman on the Bears (I know that’s not saying much, but he is clearly going to be an effective Pro OT). Then, if they could count on Carimi @ RT, they could just fill in RG with one of those free agency signings (Mathis, DeVan, etc) or one of the young guys such as Kelce, Vandervelde, or even McGlynn.

    Tell me that line (Peters-Herremans-Kelce-Mathis/McGlynn-Carimi) wouldn’t be better than what they have right now.

  27. 27 Max said at 11:00 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Tommy
    “No player starting for us now is struggling.” – Tommy how can you say that – Todd Herremans was moved, Mathis taking Todd’s place and the acquisition of Kyle De Van – we have not seen them in a live game at all – so we have no clue whether they are struggling or not – the Eagles are going into their first game with an totally untested OL – hoping that Mudd has made the right choices….I will really not be surprised if Vick is knocked out of the game….we are going in with a huge risk – add that to the fact of Marty and Reid’s propensity to call 70% pass – the risk becomes greater – I just hope they decide to run more than normal till the line jells

  28. 28 Dan in Philly said at 11:18 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    I’m an optimist, so take this for what it’s worth. I suspect Watkins will be slowly worked into playing time as the first month goes on, and by week 6 he’ll suddenly be taking more than half the snaps – and everyone will be suprised how little he’s noticed – at least until he gets on a LB or maybe even a CB (poor guy) in a screen or draw. I saw a whole lot to like from him in the running game in the preseason, and I know if he can handle the pass, he’ll be deadly in that phase…

  29. 29 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:19 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Morton…

    Your projected OL still has 2 rookies starting. This is a year of change for us on the OL. You can throw up different combinations and talk about how they’d be better, but it’s just speculation. We need to see the OL play a game before we can judge them.

  30. 30 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:24 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Max…

    No one is struggling. Todd might have some issues, but also might not. Let’s deal with what we know. The right side was less than ideal with Watkins and Dunlap. One guy was adjusting to the league/position and the other to a new scheme.

    We’ve replaced them with veteran starters who have the track record to make you believe they’ll be at least adequate. DeVan is new to the Eagles. Todd is new to RT. Still, their learning curve is greatly diminished because of their experience. DeVan knows the Mudd scheme and is a pure OG. Todd has practiced at OT for years. He was originally projected outside and has been an emergency option there throughout his career.

    The current line as it stands is unproven and you can fairly question them all you want. You can’t say that they’re playing poorly or struggling since we haven’t seen them on the field together.

  31. 31 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:32 AM on September 8th, 2011:

    RE: Derek Sherrod

    He’s been a major disappointment for the Packers this summer. They hoped he would win the LG job. He didn’t and now is a backup at LT. He’s gotten some time there and hasn’t looked great at LT either.

  32. 32 Anirudh said at 12:01 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Aside from the ‘Boys and Giants, there is no team I’m rooting against harder than the Packers. I get why they’re good, but it seems like this year, more than most, the media is automatically giving the crown to the championship team from last year.

    Rodgers is likeable and their coach isn’t a jerk, but the overriding image I have of them is Greg Jennings on the sideline doing his imitation of how easy it was to run by Dmitri Patterson.

  33. 33 Stephen said at 12:17 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Another thing to consider is our first game is against the Rams, who figure to be a decent team this year but its not like we’re facing the Pats or the Packers right off the bat, if there was a game where you could take some lumps and growing pains, this is a good game to do it with I think.

  34. 34 MJ said at 12:33 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Sorry to report but this seems like a better discussion:

    I know that when we brought in Howard Mudd we more or less were going all in on his scheme and would shape our O Line around what he wants, but can anyone say they anticipated this much overhaul on the line?
    I understand that there are certain guys he likes, but is their literally no in-between where he can get by with some guys who have been good players over the years but aren’t “Mudd guys”.
    Tommy, what do you think our ideal offensive line will be in, say, week 10? When do we want to get Watkins into the fold here?

  35. 35 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:33 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Great point Stephen.

    A lot of Andy’s opening day losses have been to good teams.

    2001 – Rams, SB team
    2002 – Titans, won division
    2003 – Bucs, defending champs
    2005 – Falcons, had gotten to NFC-CG year before
    2007 – Packers, ended up hosting NFC title game
    2010 – Packers, SB champs

    Hard to say what Rams are at this point.

  36. 36 Watkins and evaluating draft picks said at 12:55 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    First, thanks Tommy. Long time reader since before the Igglesblog days (fondly remembered), first time poster. Two points I’d like to make:

    1. Can’t remember the link, but I’m sure many of you remember an article a couple of weeks ago on Watkins and his adaptation to the college game. Basic story: he naturally asked a lot of questions and was overwhelmed at first. Then he became a star. Oddly, the article (as I remember it) didn’t draw the parallels to the current situation too strongly, but from the first it’s given me more confidence in the young man.

    Furthermore, I think Watkins pretty clearly has a very explicit learning style. He might be athletic and strong, but he’s obviously not an intuitive learner. From the quotes it seems he has to understand everything intellectually before he can do it smoothly. Guys like that take longer to learn things – on the other hand, sometimes they end up knowing the most. Another reason to be patient with Watkins.

    2. I am so confused by all the people who write some version of “if x happens, then pick y was terrible.” In Watkins’ case it’s “if he doesn’t start on day 1, then the pick was terrible”. But that’s meaningless: if you find someone willing to give you an over/under of 6 on tonight’s Packers/Saints game then you’re making the right bet if you take the over even if the Packers ultimately win 3-0. And if that happens and you took the under, it doesn’t make you a genius – you’re just lucky.

    So if you want to say Roseman is terrible, please don’t base it on subsequent events – base it on information available at the time. Some folks are doing that, just to be clear, and their criticisms are much better taken. (I personally think he’s a bright guy doing very well, but I could be wrong.)

  37. 37 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:19 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ MJ…

    I knew LT would remain the same. I knew RG would be new player. I got the feeling we’d have a new C.

    RT was a mystery because of Justice’s knee.

    No one anticipated Todd moving to RT.

    There is a lot of change going on. Set that aside for a minute. Focus on what we know:

    LT is a stud.
    LG is a veteran who played well this summer and has a good rep.
    C is a rookie the team likes a lot.
    RG is a veteran who the OL coach knows and likes.
    RT is a veteran who’s been here since 2005 and has the ability to fit the new spot, plus has some OT experience.

    As of Aug 1st, the team wanted Peters, Todd, and Kelce on the field. Kelce proved as good as they hoped.

    The team wanted Watkins, but he didn’t play well enough to keep a spot.

    The team hoped Justice/Ryan Harris would handle RT, but injuries scuttled those plans. Mathis earned a spot with his good preseason play.

    DeVan is here more by default, but Mudd does like him.

    There is change, but this isn’t a group where there is no rhyme or reason. Mudd likes the players. He thinks they fit his system. I’d be more worried if he was trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

  38. 38 justrelax said at 1:24 PM on September 8th, 2011:


    Love the concept of a Mudd-ian platonic ideal lineman!

    I don’t know how you can call him indecisive, though. He sees something he doesn’t like and he makes a change. He sees a player who isn’t good enough at his position and he makes a change.

    Not only is he a good coach but he’s lucky too. Having DeVan fall out of the sky was like hitting the lottery. Maybe not the Powerball, but at least the Pick 6.

  39. 39 Matt G said at 1:31 PM on September 8th, 2011:


    i know the eagles tried to claim 2 fb’s off waivers, any chance they have interest in Tony Fiammetta? Any idea’s about FB?

  40. 40 Cliff said at 1:35 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    When Watkins was “given” his starting spot, everyone complained that he shoud have won it first. Now that he’s benched, everyone’s complaining that as a first rounder he should be starting from day 1. OK…

  41. 41 ian no. 2 said at 2:02 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Morton makes good arguments. The Eagles were trying to find a part to plug in to an “all in” team. The thing about Carimi (Sherrod would be a bad fit and hasn’t showm much) is that the Eagles have made a long term commitment to Winston Justice and can’t move Justice inside. Roseman said in an interview he focuses on position of need rather than the best player on the board. It’s of course way too early to evaluate the Watkins pick and the Carimi pick. The Eagles spent a lot of picks on DL in recent years, the talent on the board wasn’t great, and they were going to use free agency to get two key starters.

    I conjecture that Winston Justice’s early years spoiled Reid’s taste for using top picks on OL, and it’s possible Justice may spoil their taste for resigning linemen. The media frenzy over the Watkins saga (created by the team PR) may lead to more years without high OL picks.

    What you have on the field Sunday at OL isn’t bad at all. The guards will play well, and Herremans should be ok. Kelce in the dome is the main concern but the team is electing not to use JamJax. I agree that if Mudd weren’t treated like a legend and was proving himself he may not make the bold move of fasttracking Kelce, and Castillo’s line about where you are at the end of the season seems to assume they’ll make the playoffs rather than try to win one game at a time. The national pundits aren’t assuming that, and they’re not picking them for the conference championship.Morton makes good arguments. The Eagles were trying to find a part to plug in to an “all in” team. The thing about Carimi (Sherrod would be a bad fit and hasn’t showm much) is that the Eagles have made a long term commitment to Winston Justice and can’t move Justice inside. Roseman said in an interview he focuses on position of need rather than the best player on the board. It’s of course way too early to evaluate the Watkins pick and the Carimi pick. The Eagles spent a lot of picks on DL in recent years, the talent on the board wasn’t great, and they were going to use free agency to get two key starters.

    I conjecture that Winston Justice’s early years spoiled Reid’s taste for using top picks on OL, and it’s possible Justice may spoil their taste for resigning linemen. The media frenzy over the Watkins saga (created by the team PR) may lead to more years without high OL picks.

    What you have on the field Sunday at OL isn’t bad at all. The guards will play well, and Herremans should be ok. Kelce in the dome is the main concern but the team is electing not to use JamJax. I agree that if Mudd weren’t treated like a legend and was proving himself he may not make the bold move of fasttracking Kelce, and Castillo’s line about where you are at the end of the season seems to assume they’ll make the playoffs rather than try to win one game at a time. The national pundits aren’t assuming that, and they’re not picking them for the conference championship.

  42. 42 ian no. 2 said at 2:06 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    repeating myself in error and not for effect

  43. 43 Toby said at 3:10 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Tommy, you are an eternal optimist, an exceptionally patient man.

    Our OL is going to have problems, visible to the naked eye. It won’t be pretty. I know, wait till we see them play a game… but nah, we have enough to go on. Our OL is a shuffle. Untested without game time together. It won’t be pretty.

    I don’t think Vick will get knocked out of the game or anything catastrophic, rather I think we could lose most or all of our first 5 games. I’m just guessing that’s how long it’ll take for things to gel. If we are 0.500 after 6 games, I will be opening a bottle of wine to celebrate.

    I mean, yeah, I could hope Andy will rely on the running game and lean on the defense. BTDT. Come on… I just can’t even bring myself to hope anymore. Every year we have a justification why this will be the year he comes to his senses. Ain’t gonna happen

  44. 44 Kevin (RC) said at 3:33 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Things to keep in mind.

    In the pre-season, our OL played better as each game went on. They just played better as a unit. The guy who struggled the most was replaced. Kelce hasn’t looked out of place.

    Oh, and unlike the Steelers when they played us, we don’t game-plan in the pre-season.

  45. 45 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:52 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Toby…

    There will be some struggles. No one doubts that. Vick will face some guys coming free at him. We need Vick to work his magic.

    Let’s hop in the wayback machine to 2010.

    LT – Peters started slow for some reason
    LG – Todd was Todd
    C – Jam Jax 1/2 game, then McGlynn – up and down
    RG – Nick Cole struggled mightily
    RT – Justice struggled mightily early on

    Is it out of the question that the 2011 group can beat that standard? Last year we had no continuity in the summer due to Jamaal’s injury and mess at RG. The players who emerged at those spots weren’t great. McGlynn was up and down, while Cole/Wells/Max ranged from awful to adequate. Justice was up and down all year.

    How is it that Vick and the offense thrived behind that, but suddenly the idea of Peters-Mathis-Kelce-DeVan-Herremans has everyone ready to write off large portions of the season and/or Vick’s long term health?

    I get some sense of doubt and worry, but not the gloom and doom.

  46. 46 Midnight Greenville said at 3:55 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Unquestionably, there will be growing pains with this team; not just the O-line, but all the additions. We’ll need to steal a few early games based on talent, which I do not think is out of the question. Even if the O-line is below par (as they were for many games last year in our 10-6, division-winning campaign), we have enough talent to make plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to win some games while the team is coming together.

    They key from my perspective is not playing themselves out of contention in the first half of the season, and hitting the end of the season in stride and playing well entering the playoffs.

    It’s easy to forget that the Packers were not great week-in and week-out last year. They barely made the playoffs as a 6-seed. In retrospect, everyone remembers them as a juggernaut that was unbeatable. But there were many points during the season last year they were very beatable, in large part because they had to shuffle their line-up in the beginning after many injuries.

    Keep the big picture in perspective. We might drop a few games early that we will wish we had back, but if everything falls right (and we stay healthy), we have a good shot of being very strong when it matters most.

  47. 47 ATG said at 4:35 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    I think the characterization of indecisive or scrambling at the last minute are a bit hyperbolic. While I am sure the coaches would have liked to get the line that will start some time together, I also think they would make very similar decisions on playing time for Watkins had they known the outcome.

    @ Morton

    “Carimi, who was rated as a top 15 talent on most draft boards…”

    I am interested in where you find teams’ draft boards published. It would be interesting reading. Also, if he was a top-15 talent on most boards, why wasn’t he selected in the top 15 picks? Surely at least one of “most” of the teams got to pick in the top half or the round, right?

    @ Watkins and evaluating draft picks

    Welcome, it is always see readers join the ranks of the posters. And with a name like that, you couldn’t have picked a better thread to start.

    Also, while you have a good point about not overvaluing Roseman on information that was not available, I guess the counterargument is that these guys are supposed to be able to predict talent better than the talking heads and “draft experts” that teams choose NOT to hire. So, the injury stuff is ridiculous, but maybe the FO should be on the hook for some of the head scratchers.

    Of course, that has to be balanced by praising the FO for knowing not to draft a player like JPP. First he takes out a CB for the year, and now Goff is hurt in practice by “a teammate.” Like we don’t know who that was.

  48. 48 FYZX Guy said at 4:52 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    How would the line look if we signed Doug Free to open free agency? (I read that we went hard after him and almost got him.)

  49. 49 Arby said at 4:53 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ ian no. 2

    My reasons for wanting Carimi in the draft was because he seemed to provide flexibility to the Eagles, something the team highly values. Because of his performance during senior week, many scouts thought he could play guard in a pinch. If Justice is fine and can return to form, fine, Carimi plays guard for a year. If you have any kind of delay or problem, Carimi plays RT and you have a very intelligent, tough John Runyon-like player for years to come. I suspect Watkins has better feet than Carimi and that’s why he was the pick. I also don’t think Watkins would have made it out of the 1st round. I have no problem with the choice of Watkins – he will come around.

  50. 50 FinnEagle said at 5:00 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    I am starting to get really annoyed by the talking heads in NFL network. It feels like that because Vince said “dream team” everybody is looking for excuses why Eagles wont be successful. I wont expect them to give Eagles the Lombardy trophy but you can give some credit. Kurt Warner was telling that there is nothing scary about Eagles but I wonder how D-coordinators feel about them when game planning against Eagles. You can have perfect play called and they can still hurt you. I think that is scary.
    And every time Irvin is saying something I feel like I want to rip my fingernails out.
    And the worst part is that NFLN is my only option to watch football talk so I am stuck with it.

    Okay now I feel better…

  51. 51 McG said at 5:13 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    @Finn… don’t forget that Kurt is highly suspect as a guy who seems to exude Napoleon complex or penis envy type comments. I’m pretty sure no one around the league was “scared” of him when he played, but most teams probably “respected” him because of his ability to beat the blitz. Too many of these traditional style QBs are scared that some of these new mobile QBs can actually learn how to become pocket passers, which in turn makes them infinitely more amazing that someone who only has the pocket passing skill set. Vick is leading the charge. VY, Freeman, Cam, and maybe even Tyrod could shake things up a ton.

    I still occasionally dream of what might have been with Cunningham on an Eagles team with an actual game plan for offense…

  52. 52 Bryan said at 5:14 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Tommy…I’m a huge fan since the days of EMB…..what are your expectations of Steve Smith this yr…assuming he is healthy….is it fair to say 30-40 catches with 3-5 Td’s? I personally think he will prove to be an excellent free agent pick up as well as Ronnie Brown will be

  53. 53 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:39 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    @ Finn Eagle…

    I feel your pain. Back in ’90s I dreamed of NFL Network. Oops. Old adage is true…be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

  54. 54 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:41 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    RE: Doug Free

    I’ve asked around and still can’t confirm from any source if he was the player Banner referenced. I’d love to know. Find it hard to believe we couldn’t have landed him if we really wanted to.

    RE: Steve Smith

    I think he could catch 40 or so passes. I get the feeling we’ll run more 4-WR sets than ever. He’s great in slot. D can’t easily cover him and Avant in slot, plus DJax and Mac out wide.

  55. 55 will said at 8:34 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    another scrap heap guy to replace the 1st round pick who still doesn’t understand the playbook. howard mudd has destroyed the continuity of this offense. zero chance of them even sniffing the numbers they put up last year. to those who say mcglynn disappointed. it;s hard to impress when the position coach won’t give you reps in practice. mcglynn was out the day mudd was hired. his pals in the locker room certainly weren’t happy with the decision to release him and bench jamal. they know these young guys are far from being ready. i see 0-2 for sure.

  56. 56 Anders said at 8:57 PM on September 8th, 2011:

    Go look at the starting Oline over the last 3 seasons, only Peters and Herramans have been constants and still we are broken the team record 3 years in a row.