State Of The Franchise

Posted: October 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 66 Comments »

I have much stronger feelings about the current state of affairs than Tommy. In fact, I believe that starting today, Jeffrey Lurie faces one of the biggest tests of his tenure as the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. After yesterday’s debacle against the 49ers, an organization rife with failure has floated to the top of the bowl. And it is Mr. Lurie’s job to fix it. The hardest question he has to ask is where to begin.

There are still 12 games to play this year, and the team and organization should do everything it can to try to win as many of those games as it can. It is not unheard of to come back from a 1-3 start to make the playoffs.

But it is hard to imagine this team doing so. The weaknesses are everywhere, starting most blatantly on defense, but the offense and special teams are each serving up their own steaming piles of ineptitude. That said, I can imagine scenarios where the offense and special teams improve.

I hear the calls to replace Juan Castillo, but I can’t imagine a way that the defense improves this year. How can a new coordinator implement a new scheme, especially within the confines of the Wide 9 which we are wedded to thanks to the presence of the one outstanding coach on defense, Jim Washburn? And more importantly, where does that coordinator find enough NFL-quality players at linebacker and safety to actually run any scheme effectively? Castillo is surely in way over his head, but I don’t know if the mess can possibly be fixed by changing coaches in October. It’s worth a try, if the right guy is out there, but I don’t expect much to come of it.

What this makes clear is that even if the season can somehow be turned around, if the offensive problems can be fixed and we just outscore opponents in high-scoring games, the organization needs a serious and thorough review from the man who owns it.

The questions that Mr. Lurie must answer follow the jump.

Who Is Responsible for Juan Castillo?  If there was one move in the off-season that defied explanation, it was the decision to promote Castillo to defensive coordinator. Andy Reid said he wanted to give him a shot on defense, but as far as I know, Reid never has been forced to answer the question, “Well, why didn’t you just make him the linebackers coach?” That isn’t a shot at the media (though I’ve had my fill of their whinging about press conferences; it’s been 12 years, find another way to get the story already) but at the organization. Somebody needs to be able to put heir foot down and tell Andy that this is not a good plan.

After allowing Rory Segrest to be the defensive line coach, after having to fire (or “allow to leave”) all of Reid’s hand-trained former personal assistants go in the off-season (McDermott, Shuey, Urban), how was this choice allowed to be made? Who was responsible for giving this terrible idea the green light? Was it Lurie? Joe Banner? And if for some reason he had sole authority in making that call in spite of all prior evidence that he was prone to terrible decisions in filling out his staff, that authority clearly needs to be stripped now.

Who Is Responsible for the Linebackers?  Once Castillo had been chosen, his defensive scheme had to be devised. Jim Washburn and his Wide 9 were already in place, so it was a question of organizing the back 7. Mike Zordich and Mike Caldwell were promoted to be full positional coaches for the first time, and the experienced Johnnie Lynn was added to coach the cornerbacks and presumably add a veteran presence in scheming the back 7. That scheme has been a nightmare. It is hard to blame Castillo alone; Lynn must be at least in part to blame, and to a lesser extent, Zordich and Caldwell. They all have failed in coming up with a solid plan.

But it runs deeper than that. Castillo was given no help at LB. There have been lots of questions about why Casey Matthews was asked to be a starter from day 1. Who else on the roster should have been in the top 3? The 6th round pick? The guy who showed zero ability to play LB last year? The free agent that nobody else wanted and who had lost a starting job in two consecutive years? Castillo was given nothing to work with.

Mr. Lurie has to find out why that happened. Was it the coaches insisting that they had everything they needed? Was it a personnel staff that just decided that they had enough? Or was it an inflexible organization-wide philosophy that you don’t invest any resources in LBs in spite of the fact that the logical consequence of a Wide 9 is that you need strong LB play? (My guess is that the correct answer is d: all of the above.)

Bottom line: who was responsible for saying, “What if none of these marginal pedigree, minimal NFL accomplishment LBs can actually play? What then? What’s the contingency?” Nobody seems to have asked, and if they did, they clearly weren’t answered. Because the Eagles don’t have three NFL quality LBs on the roster right now. It’s to the point where you wonder if they wouldn’t be better off just signing some practice squad players from other teams and throwing them out there to see what happened. Somebody had to ask, “What if you’re wrong?” But it seems that nobody did. Just as they did not last year when they went with Stacy Andrews at RG for a SECOND year and the decision to go with Ellis Hobbs at RCB without any viable competition, and earlier, when they went with nobody at FS, and earlier, when they went with nobody at FB, and earlier,  when they decided to go with nobody at RS, and earlier, when … ok, I’m just getting frustrated.

Who Is Responsible for Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett?  The selection of Danny Watkins continues to befuddle me. You just hired Howard Mudd. You are clearly going to change your OL philosophy. The one thing that Howard Mudd doesn’t need is an expensive guard — he has a long history of getting adequate play out of flotsam and jetsam (see Devan, Kyle). So what does the team do? It takes one in the first round. WHAT?

Ok, maybe you can justify that if you took a sure-fire starter and likely Pro Bowler. But no. The team took a raw guy who needs development time. During a lockout. A guy who will be 30 when he is eligible to be extended. On a franchise that doesn’t like to extend players over 30. Really? That was the PLAN?

But fine, people loved his upside, his potential. Allegedly, these people weren’t affected at all by the fact that this was a 26-year old man at the Senior Bowl playing against guys several years his junior. He was ready to go, looked like a can’t miss.

Well, he missed. Oh sure, maybe he can salvage his career. But the only way to justify using a first round pick on Danny Watkins is for him to be starting competently right now. That is not happening anytime soon. This was clearly a mis-read of talent and ability.

This pick was followed up by the drafting of Jaiquawn Jarrett, presumptively to start at strong safety. This pick was considered by many to be a reach, but made sense if you believed that he was a starter from day 1. Wrong again. Jarrett reportedly looked totally lost in training camp, and has had trouble getting any playing time despite being a member of a totally over-matched unit of safeties. Again, somebody blew it on reading talent and present ability. In a big way.

That responsibility clearly falls primarily on Howie Roseman, but positional coaches and scouts also bear responsibility. How did these bad calls get made? Is Howie operating in an echo chamber, full of yes men? Is he ignoring otherwise good advice? Are the position coaches evaluating the talent they see adequately? Where did this all go wrong? And why didn’t it get spotted earlier? Again, there is a flaw in the decision making process and it needs to be fixed.

Who Is Responsible for Steve Smith?  The team then went on a spending spree once the free agent flood gates opened. Flush with cap space generated by front loading contracts for years, as well as having many of its star players still working under their rookie deals, the Eagles got every big name they could. 30-year old Nnamdi Asamougha (despite the presence of two other Pro Bowl corners). 30-year old Cullen Jenkins. 30-year old Jason Babin. All signed to deals that can be escaped from relatively quickly. Fine.

As they signed players, their cap flexibility began to disappear. So now, when alternatives are proposed to solve the LB talent gap, we hear that if they make a trade the player they get will keep them from re-signing DeSean Jackson. Really? The organization that prides itself on how smart it is with the cap left itself with so little flexibility that they can’t afford to fix this massive hole they dug for themselves?

And where did that flexibility go? Well, in part it went to sign a fourth WR, who got a guaranteed $2 million coming off of a knee injury. Not to a LB, where they didn’t have enough talent, but to a WR, where they didn’t need any help at all, to a guy who couldn’t fill in for Maclin even in a worst case scenario because he can’t play the X position in the Eagle offense, he’s a slot guy where they already have an expensive reliable veteran WR.

That was really the best use of your resources? Where is the fiscal prudence this organization used to be known for? You can’t overspend for a LB, but you can blow that much extra space on a luxury part — excuse me, an INJURED luxury part, like Steve Smith?

Who Is Responsible for the Organization?  Somebody set up the system of checks and balances, who reports to whom, who wins arguments about players or coaches or schemes. That system has failed. And the person who put the system in place, who failed to fix it in the prior instances where it has failed in exactly the same way in prior years, that person needs to be identified and have that responsibility given to someone else.

Every company has a structure of reporting — who makes a decision. On paper, that is Andy Reid. But in truth, I have no ideal who is in charge at NovaCare. As currently set up, this organization doesn’t function at all like it says it should on paper. The time has come to compare the model to the reality and decide which is incorrect.

Who Allowed This To Happen?  This the bottom line. Where did the buck stop? Maybe it’s Mr. Lurie himself, the one guy who can’t be fired in this organization. If that’s the case, he needs to find a system where he can better monitor what is going on with his business and make better decisions about who is calling the shots. To the extent that it is a problem with the guy he left in charge — and that could be Reid, it could be Roseman, and it very well could be Joe Banner himself — then Mr. Lurie needs to find another person to make those calls. Reid and Roseman can be replaced. Banner can be stripped of what seems to have become increasing influence in the player-personnel area.

As an outsider, I don’t know which of those three are or are not responsible for this mess. But it seems likely to me that all three have become the problem. My advice on how to go forward: Pull Banner back towards the business side of the fence. Limit his involvement in the players to structuring deals. Let him sign players, but don’t let him pick which players to sign. Find a new person to run the player side of the business, and let him decide who stays and who goes.

Maybe that’s a head coach who is lord of all he surveys, like Bill Belichick, and like Andy Reid was for a while. Maybe that’s a GM who runs the operation, like Tom Modrak was here for a while. Maybe that means someone in the role that Mike Holmgren fills in Cleveland (for the record, I don’t think that Andy Reid makes sense in that role, as the Castillo choice, among other things, illustrates). In the end, it doesn’t matter what the answer is, as long as Mr. Lurie picks the right guy.

I think that above all else, that is what horrifies me the most about where we stand today. This franchise hasn’t had to start over in a long time. There is no real way to know for sure who is a good choice and who is a bad choice as we stand here today. A bad choice sends us back to the years of terrible play. A good choice can make us perpetual contenders.

The only thing that is for sure is that making no choice, no change at all, is going to be a disaster. This organization is fundamentally flawed right now. The only action sure to fail is the failure to take any action at all.


  • Anonymous

    I think you hit the problem perfectly, and the problem is that no one within or outside that organization has any idea what the root of the problem is and even if they do they sure make it seem like they don’t

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GI5IPMFUMTN2K55TSZFCNGMNJU Todd B

    Well written Sam.

    I would also like to point out that who’s decision was it to allow veterans who, while maybe not probowlers, were still more than servicable like Mikell or Bradley? Yes, we saw SOME holes in their games but they had holes, not chasms.

    And then why not try to go after Stephen Tulloch. You know, that guy that could cover Witten yesterday.

    Hate to say it, but it seems like they built this team like I built my fantasy team.

  • http://twitter.com/Noah_Becker Noah Becker

    Awesome read.

    Great job, Sam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.gleklen Brandon Gleklen

    Is it possible that we’re just a couple missed field goals, red zone turnovers, and a Mike Vick concussion from being 3-1? And that the house isn’t on fire?

    • Anonymous

      That’s the counter to Sam’s post and what has me reluctant to throw dirt on the team.

      I do think you have to look at the situation from all sides. Such a disappointing start…

      • Anonymous

        I’m not Sherlock Holmes, but I smell a conspiracy … Sam is MORTON.. MORTON is SAM!

        • Anonymous

          Can’t be. Sam wrote 2270 words and didn’t mention mention JPP or Sean Lee once.

          • Anonymous

            Awesome

          • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

            Or Anthony Spencer.

    • http://twitter.com/Noah_Becker Noah Becker

      Yes, it’s possible, but the process is still clearly flawed (I mean, they gave up 24 points to the worst offense in football, yesterday.).

      Positive results shouldn’t obscure massive, fundamental failures in processes.

    • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

      I once heard the CEO of a top tech company speak. He started his career as an engineer at an aerospace firm. They had worked really hard to design a guidance system for a missile. They reached the point where they had done all they could do, and went out and tested it. Bang. Hit the target dead in the center. There was much celebrating.

      They then went back and designed features of the missile, unrelated to guidance. They then went and tested it again. This time, it missed the target. Literally, by dozens of miles.

      At that point they went back and really studied the data from the first test, the “success”. It turned out, they had only hit the target by blind luck, because the guidance system hadn’t done anything it was designed to do.

      The lesson was that you should study success with the same harsh light as you study failure.

      There is nothing, I don’t believe, that is written above that isn’t equally appalling or true if we are winning. In fact, the winning of the past few years is why this stuff has been ignored rather than corrected.

      No number of good bounces can explain the defensive ineptitude. In fact, if we hadn’t faced average-to-terrible offenses each week so far, it would be even more apparent.

    • Anonymous

      If you want to marginalize the RZ hiccups then maybe, maybe not….but really….WTF was that play call with a ronnie brown run with a pass option to the FB…..all this tomfoolery to get a half yard TD. This is not the only thing that we have seen. How about the reverse that we tried to pull of teams. Absurd. Right now there are too many data points that seem to indicate something is not right. In the past we had stated that Donovan, Andy and Marty brought out the worst in each other. Our offensive playcalling in critical situations, lack of ball security, and poor defense have Vick right in the middle of that perfect storm now. Something is not right, coincedence or not. However, I am hopeful we can pull it together. If not, I am curious as to what Lurie will do or whether behind closed doors he gave Andy and ultimatum to make it work this year or else….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GI5IPMFUMTN2K55TSZFCNGMNJU Todd B

      That can be said (or nearly so) for most teams. What are Eagles different? Because we “know” them better?

    • Anonymous

      The problem is that those things (injuries aside) don’t happen to good teams. Good teams — Super Bowl contenders — master the little things and don’t beat themselves. With the parity in the NFL, that’s all that really separates contenders from also-rans. Play smart (this seems like a particularly dumb group), execute in key situations (red zone) and don’t let Special Teams beat you. Good teams don’t have to think in terms of what-ifs. Because they excel in the moments that count.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve thought the same thing, but a 3-1 record of close wins would just temporarily cover the deeper problems that Sam so accurately portrays. Eventually the dog would bite and the underlying problems would have to be dealt with. Practically speaking, there’s next to nothing that can be done immediately to fix the organizational problems. Right now there’s a game to prepare for on Sunday. There’s also probably little that can be done during the season without throwing the season completely down the drain. At the close of the season, Lurie will have decisions to make.

      I’ve been a Reid supporter for his entire career, but the continuation of the same damn problems — we all know what they are and wonder why the hell he doesn’t seem to — has worn me out. I also hate to think of a guy like Shady playing his career in an offense that pathologically cannot run the ball. It’s time for Reid to either change in a significant way, which is not reasonable to expect of a man at this stage of his career and psychology, or he should be replaced.

    • Matthew Butch

      That’s how I feel. You don’t hold these teams to nothing through three quarters and then let them win in the fourth if you’re bad. You do if you aren’t thinking. I think Cullen Jenkins had it right. Each player thinks somebody else is going to save the game. But its time for all of them to be a man, go out there and do the damn best you can, despite what anybody else is doing.

      I’m confident this team will be back.

    • ohitsdom

      Nope.

  • Anonymous

    Preach it brother. Wonderful call for accountability. However, I don’t think we will get answers anytime soon. While the lockout has a lot to do with our struggles along with total new scheme defensively, total new scheme on the O line, a ton of new coaches that were and still are foreign to the culture, and lot of new personnel that must have been viewed as nice new toys for Andy and company; with little regard to how it was all (coaches and players) going to come together. Oh well, time to do what I always do. Hold out hope for the best for this season and possible dream of next year with a full offseason and all those high draft picks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L2JVA5WYEWBB2GEBMPY2S4F5NE Jon Blank

    Nicely done

  • Anonymous

    Phenomenal dissection of what’s going on. I’m very negative on this team (I think the talent level on it is a lot lower than others do) but I’m not completely negative on the Reid Administration. I think this is a fairly typical case of an organization decaying as it gets older. Certain things become more firmly entrenched, bad habits become ingrained, and due to success or other factors you end up losing people like Modrak, Heckert, Spags, Harbaugh, JJ, etc.

    They need some change to sweep through. And I don’t necessarily think Reid needs to be fired, but something needs to change. Lurie should tick through these questions one by one and answer them honestly.

  • Anonymous

    This is what I’m talking about. Sam comes out full of piss & vinegar. We’ve been hearing excuses about how Danny Watkins is raw bc he just started playing football last week, yet it’s contradicted by the fact that he’s 26 yrs old. The guy can’t start in front of a couple of street free agents. Jarrett can’t get on the field in front of Jarad “i’m sorry sir go ahead and run by me” Page. And the LBs…good god you knew they were going to be bad before the season even started. Well you knew they were going to be bad unless you were in the eagles FO.

    Anyway, great work Sam.

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      His age is irrelevant. He has less experience with football than a current college 22 year old Senior.

      • Anonymous

        Now see this comment just makes no sense. They have combined 2 concepts here that together do not work. When you use a high pick on an older guy, the idea is usually, “well he’s older/more mature and will step right in and play.” The other idea is “hey we’ll get this guy who is raw/inexperienced but who has a very high ceiling because of his talent and we’ll coach him up and once he gets experience he’ll be a stud.” For the latter guy it makes sense if he’s 21 yrs old and might need a couple years before he’s a stud. So if he takes a little time to develop he’s maybe 24 yrs old. But you don’t take a 27 YEAR OLD ROOKIE who needs a couple years to figure things out, so that by the team he’s worth a damn to us he’s 30 yrs old!

        Keep in mind we were told at first that the guy was a grader, who worked hard and could come in and play right away. Once Watkins proved to be worth a sh*t right now, there’s been heavy emphasis on how inexperienced he is. I don’t want to hear he missed the rookie camps and that’s why he’s behind, it’s not like he’s a QB, and there’s other rookies starting and playing well.

        Also, it’s not exactly a dynamic duo keeping him off the field. It’s a guy in Mathis who has been a career backup and Devan who was an UFA and is an average player. If you’re drafting a 27 yr old rookie, his a$$ better be playing from early, instead of piling up DNPs behind average players. And honestly, we don’t know when he’ll get it. We’re “hoping” he’s a player but Tommy’s idol Mike Lombardi will tell you that “hope is not a plan.”

        So please spare me “age is just a number” in this case because it very much matters.

  • Anonymous
  • http://twitter.com/PhillyFollower PhillyFollower

    This was an enjoyable read because it speaks of the truth. This was a painful read because the truth is scary.

    Thank you for this, Sam. I want to be optimistic about this team (as do all fans), but the system just seems to be flawed.

    Earlier this morning I tweeted:

    “Had a hard time sleeping last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about the awful start to this Eagles season. I just don’t know what can turn it around. Part of me wants to believe that we can turn it around but another part of me just thinks it’s time to “blow it up” and make some major changes. I don’t see how things are going to change for the Eagles if they keep making the same mistakes. There’s no forward progress. It’s downright embarrassing, frustrating to be an Eagles fan right now.”

    I couldn’t help but notice how we thought the same thing; that we can’t figure out what the solution is at this point.

    I hate to be all doom and gloom, but it’s hard to sugarcoat things with a start like this. Thanks for being brutally honest.

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      I’m never against blowing things up, but where? Just the management of this team? Which players? Most of the guys signed long term are actually quality NFL players.

      I don’t think replacing the safeties (I still love Nate Allen regardless of what’s going on thus far this season) and linebackers is “blowing it up” considering anything you bring in is an improvement. I think if you get those two areas right, and fix the coaching/scheme, this is a good team. Obviously the latter is probably not likely.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3ZVECAFYMOHSQU4BFRQLUZW3EY Ty

    We are the Dallas Cowboys of 2010, 2008, and 2007.

  • Anonymous

    Nepotism. I won’t say it defines this organization, but you can certainly reference it when telling the story about the fall of the once mighty Eagles. It started years ago with Tom Modrak. He gave to us Donovan McNabb, Corey Simon and Hugh Douglas. But he also didn’t always see eye with management or the “Chosen One”, Andy Reid, and was relieved of his duties. That move thrust And Reid into complete control and more nepotism followed.

    What we have seen the last 3 weeks have been the result of 10 years of the Sacred Cow Regime. We all like to talk about Andy keeping problems in house, but there’s more truth to that than we all realize. There’s Sean McDermott, Mike Caldwell, Mike Zordich, Doug Pederson, Duce Staley, David Culley….I’m sure there are other past coaches that aren’t coming to mind. But what we are talking about is the hiring from within philosophy. Surely there are more qualified coaching candidates than some of those listed above. But Reid won’t go out of his way to bring in fresh eyes from outside of the organization.

    You can argue Washburn and Mudd, but please, just wait a second on that. The heat was on after last season’s defensive woes and changes HAD to be made. So yes, we hired Jim Washburn. But I can almost guarantee that he gets a good paycheck and has complete control of the defensive line, but what other input does he have? Notice we didn’t hire him to be a defensive coordinator. No, that position was given to Jaun Castillo…we all know the story. Oh, and his position coaches are Zordich and Caldwell. Interesting.

    As for Howard Mudd, he wouldn’t be here if, you guessed it, Jaun Castillo wasn’t named defensive coordinator.

    But let’s be fair to Andy. He’s not the only one in the organization guilty of nepotism. Can we talk about Joe Banner and Howie Roseman? I’m pretty sure Roseman used to do my taxes. Now he controls the Eagles future. And early indications say that he’s not very good at it. He was Banner’s boy. And when Heckert left, Banner made sure he got some control back in the FO by getting Roseman in there.

    Seriously, Banner and Reid have become more obsessed with power and control than they have with winning. They’re like the Emperor and Darth Vader. They have become overconfident to a fault. And then along comes an unlikely hero, Alex Smith, to blow up the Death Star and leave organization reeling from questions that they don’t have answers to.

    If the Eagles fail to recover and make the playoffs, it would be an injustice to Eagles fans if the Jeff Lurie doesn’t blow this thing up. Banner will never leave his side, so that would mean taking his power away and have him focus on the cap and contracts. It would mean taking power away from Andy, which would most likely mean the end of the Andy era. Howie Roseman can’t possibly oversee another draft. Right? It’s too early to talk about who comes in to take over the franchise. A few familiar names will get thrown around, but who knows.

    But what can the Eagles do right now? First, they need to overly-simplify the simple defense. Put Asomaugh on one side of the field and let him and play man-to-man, press coverage. Mix up zone looks on Asante’s side. Leave the 3 linebackers alone. Each of them gave up some plays yesterday, but the each made some plays too. Remember, the Wide 9 is going to expose the defense to big running lanes. We can rush the passer. Let #22 and #24 do what they do best. Hope the linebackers improve. Hope Jarrett can take over for Page. Geesh.

    On offense, who the hell knows. We still can’t convert short yardage or take advantage of red zone opportunities. That’s another question for Andy that will never get answered.

    • Anonymous

      Mike Zordich never played for Andy Reid. His last year as an Eagle was 1998.

      Mike Caldwell did play for Andy for 3 years. He only started for 1.

      I’m not sure nepotism is a fair complaint with these guys. Some other coaches, yes.

      • Anonymous

        Yep, that’s was off the top of my head. I definitely erred with Zordich. The overall point remains the same, however.

        • Anonymous

          If Washburn wanted to run the defense he would be running it. Andy hired him before naming Castillo coach. Wash was the priority. Wash and Mudd. I’m fine with Andy wanting those guys. They’re pretty universally regarded as the very best position coaches in the entire league, as April was for STs. Andy wanted all three.

          The hiring of Juan was a favor. A stupid one. And thats on Andy and Howie (for not having either the guts or the intelligence to convince him otherwise).

          Its like when I hear that Andy traded Donovan to the Redskins to take care of him, rather than exile him to Buffalo or Oakland, and took less in the process. Asinine if true.

          If Juan wanted to keep a job, he should have been better as an O-Line coach, making the Mudd hire unnecessary. Since when is a coordinator job a consolation prize to the loser of a position coach battle?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QAFPMGBMKM5HPPPGKT5AVL53LA Gary

            Did you really hear that about the McNabb trade? I never did and I was under the impression that Washington offered the most. If what you’re saying is true though, then you’re right, that’s idiotic.

          • Anonymous

            It was much speculated about at the time,

          • http://www.facebook.com/BoyboyACW Mike Roman

            I’m not totally buying what you are saying. Jaun wasn’t a good enough o-line coach to keep his job so they made him defensive coordinator? The fact that Washburn was hired before Castillo proves my point. Who hires the position coaches before hiring a coordinator? Typing on my phone is a pain in the ass, else I’d elaborate more…I’m not totally buying what you are saying. Jaun wasn’t a good enough o-line coach to keep his job so they made him defensive coordinator? The fact that Washburn was hired before Castillo proves my point. Who hires the position coaches before hiring a coordinator? Typing on my phone is a pain in the ass, else I’d elaborate more…

          • Anonymous

            No, I’m saying that Juan was a competent O-Line coach, but Andy had his sights set on Mudd. He wanted Wash to coach the defensive line, and both guys were hired prior to Juan as DC.

            In other words, Mudd and Wash were the priorities. Juan was hired as DC rather than be fired as OL coach. Lets assume for a second that Sean McDermott hadn’t been fired; had been a success.

            Juan would be an O-Line coach for the Rams (or whoever) right now, not an Eagle.

            I agree that it is a completely ass-backwards way of building your coaching staff.

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      I actually think Andy has become a victim of his own success and coaching greatness. He had all these great assistants that have become top level coaches and assistants elsewhere and it has depleted his core.

      He’s said he’d never prevent his underlings from achieving success elsewhere, but I think that loyalty and belief is what has ultimately depleted the organization.

      If Andy would have just said no to a few people, things could have been vastly different. I think letting Spags walk was the biggest fault on Andy. Obviously you’d never expect JJ to end up passing in a few years, but the writing was on the wall with regards to his age. He just wasn’t going to make it another few seasons anyway, regardless of his health.

      Personally, I liked McDermott a lot. We never really heard why the players just didn’t like him. Was it simply that he put the DEs too much in coverage and those guys sort of were the main voices in the locker room, and the rest of the team followed suit? I think if he would have just let his DEs do what they do best, and had a quality RCB, he could have had an amazing season last year and a great career.

  • http://twitter.com/MKivland Michael Kivland

    Well thought out post, Sam.

    Good teams compliment the roster they’ve built through the draft in free agency. We decided to spend lavishly on free agents hoping to take advantage of a so-called buyer’s market. I was excited at the signings but always knew the dangers of free agency and just assumed they were smart enough to know better and I hoped it would work out. It hasn’t.

    The failures of Howie in the draft the last 2 years certainly haven’t helped this organization. Eagles have missed badly the last 2 years and instead of looking inward at their failures (i.e. at scouts, coaches, gm) they tried to cover the mistakes up during a spending spree this past summer. It has failed miserably to this point. You can’t point to one area of the team that was tweaked over the last 2 years and say the future looks bright. It’s maddening when after 2 drafts the only 3rd round or lower pick playing on Sundays is a hobbled FS. His late round picks that do play (Kelce, Cooper, Chaney, Rolle) aren’t exactly all world either.

    I’m hoping for change, but not holding my breath. It also pains me to say that as much I want a playoff run and a winning streak of epic proportions I think it may be a deterrent to the change needed for this organization.

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      See, I just don’t buy the argument that the team hasn’t been building through the draft and spent lavishly on free agency to compensate.

      If Brandon Graham doesn’t get hurt, Babin probably doesn’t come back. Regardless of Washburn being here – the Eagles just probably wouldn’t want him.

      Free agency this year, for the most part, was very much complementary to how they’ve drafted. Here’s the issue, they’ve failed continuously to not draft well at linebacker. If they got that even somewhat right at two of the three positions, I think you’re looking at a very good team.

      Asomugha is a good player. I think Nate Allen is a good player. Asante is still an elite player. Jenkins has proven himself. Cole is still insane. See what’s missing? The linebackers.

  • Anonymous

    Sam – kudos – finally someone calls it like it is – wow – just an awesome read – I love you to death Tommy – but sugarcoating this is no use….this situation that the Eagles find themselves in have been sometime in the making – Banner, Roseman and Reid have been the cooks of what will turn this broth of a season into a disaster – them thinking they are smarter than everyone else…I have had a hard time since watching the game yesterday to come to terms with how on earth could it have gone so wrong – but this situation has been sometime in the making..there has to be widespread change…

  • Anonymous

    Damn.

    Nice.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent analysis, particularly of the strangely obvious holes left on defense in the midst of an “all in” spending spree. To me, the most baffling acquistion was Nnamdi, once DRC was already on board. Take away Nnamdi,and DRC was perhaps the best and most important acquisiton — he fills the biggest prior hole, is still working cheaply on his rookie deal, and is young and promising. Fine. One problem solved. Now move on. But instead, the very next move is to back to the same hole, and try to pour in more talent, after that hole is already filled; essentially, they reopened that whole, tossed DRC to the side of the road, and re-filled with Nnamdi. That one move makes DRC about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle. Suddenly, you’ve gotten nothing for this season from the Kolb deal. And you’ve lost Kolb as a back up. And you’ve spent a TON of money for the privilege of wasting both DRC and Kolb. And now — much more so than after signing Smith, the admittedly, and equally, redundant receiver — you’ve blown the cap. So Stu Bradley and Mikell are unattainable. They weren’t good enough? I agree. But were they better than what’s left? They cannot possibly be worse. And who says we had to retain THEM? The point is, we desperately needed a backer and a safety, and for the price of Nnamdi, we could have had two of each. Maybe four of each. Compare the lists of departures and arrivals: much more talent came in than went out, but the moves weren’t symmetrical; bad as the backers and safeties were, talent left, but none arrived, unless you are damned fool enough to count on low draft picks and long reaches. I blame first and foremost the decision to get Nnamdi, whose marginal value over DRC is not worth one tenth of what we pay him. I hope that second rounder for Kolb leads us to a title, because right now, we blew the Kolb deal on Nnamdi, further blowing the backer and safety units. Bad, bad, decision. And as the author asks above, exactly whose decision was it, and how did it happen?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FEYVONL5YQ546HOVRSJB6ABD7E Jonathan

      I don’t disagree entirely with the premise of what has been said so far, but I think that some of the criticism is a little premature. You can argue that signing Nnamdi was superfluous, but there was no one in the NFL who thought that was a bad move when it was made. He was the best free agent available and we got him, and everyone was on board. I don’t like the way we’ve used him, and I hope they’ll figure out how to play to his strengths, but I don’t think it’s quite right to say it was a bad move just because it hasn’t worked out after 4 games.

      Likewise, I don’t think there’s anyone who would argue that it is wise to evaluate a draft after 4 games, or after 1 season and 4 games. All the criticism may ultimately be absolutely on target, but to say Watkins or Jarrett is a bust because they haven’t cracked the starting lineup after 4 games is premature, especially in a season where there was no offseason preceding it.

      The Andy Reid act has worn thin with me as well. I’m tired of the lip service about doing better but not appearing to ever make any changes. But the flip side is that we’ve all heard the same song and dance before after abysmal starts and somehow he usually gets it turned around. I’m not saying they will this year, and the defense in particular is light years away from where they need to be, but there’s no one who really scares me in the NFC East right now, there’s 12 games left, and if you believe that past is prologue then chances are: 1) Somehow we’ll be better in the 2nd half of the season and be in the conversation for the division title at the end. 2) If we make the playoffs, we have a shot at making it to the NFC title game. 3) If we make it to the NFC title game, we’ll lose it to a team that is inferior to us (probably at home). 4) We’ll be having a similar conversation next year.

      • Anonymous

        Good points, Johnathan, particularly in observing that it is much too early to give up on the draft picks. But I am still bothered by the draft picks: even if they prove in a year or three to have been excellent investments, the Eagles, almost by default, didn’t pick them as investments, but for immediate impact. At least, that is how it appears, when you consider the gaping holes into which they were dropped. And even THAT wouldn’t so bad, if the team didn’t otherwise, in other spots on the roster, seem to pursue such a win-now philosophy.

        Watkins, Jarrett and the linebackers just aren’t ready to support that philosophy. Nor is Castillo, who himself might become, in future hindsight, a good investment. Ditto, the radical changes to O- and D-line coaching in a year without minicamps.

        There is an odd inconsistency here; some moves look “all in,” and others like the usual, methodical effort to be strong, and stay strong, and contend for the playoffs, over a perpetual five year window. Was THAT the real plan, and all the “all-in” and Dream Team crap was just crap that shouldn’t have been said aloud? Did they simply gobble up the talent that they could when they could, even at the expense of a few holes to be filled in future years? Was Nnamdi too much to pass up? And Jenkins and Babin and DRC? Did they consciously choose to grab these guys now, and simply stink for a year at some other spots? With precise roles, and future trades and adjustments, to be settled later?

        If this offseason was the first step in the next three year plan, it makes more sense; I’m saying I like that approach, but it does make some sense. The big acquistions and signings, like Vick, might have three year horizons. Brown and VY and Smith and some others who got too much attention, in this scenario become nothing more than short term band aids, which every team applies every year, and the real acquisitions were not expected to put us over the top NOW, but to be around when some draft picks mature, and some others are acquired, and maybe when an extra corner is traded to fill some other hole.

        In that light, some things make more sense. In that light, though, we’ll be looking at the fat man on the sideline for a few more years than we’ve been told to expect. Is Andy looking five years down the road? If so, he might have a new, smart plan. But if he was only looking to this year’s Superbowl, then he or his bosses or all of the above did some really odd things. Because they might yet make the playoffs, but if they can carry those holes all the way tot he title, Andy is a game day genius. And that isn’t so likely.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FEYVONL5YQ546HOVRSJB6ABD7E Jonathan

          I totally agree about the schizophrenic “all in” vs. “build for the future” approach. But some of the highest praise they got in the offseason was about how these big name contracts they handed out didn’t hamstring them for the future, so in a way, they’ve always had an eye towards the future with each move. Personally, I would have liked to see a little more attention to winning it this year if possible, in particular the LB’s and safetys, just like everyone else feels.

          However, you have to admit that this year so far has been a bit of a perfect storm for the people who want to criticize the team. Every single potential weakness identified before the season has turned out to be a real weakness. Most years, that isn’t the case. And, how often does your back-up QB get injured in the last preseason game? If VY plays the end of the Giants game, maybe they win. (Can’t really fault Kafka for the Atlanta game, although maybe with VY, the playcalling is more aggressive in the 4th Q).

          But, those are actually some of the reasons I’m not as down on the team as a lot of people (and I’m still pretty down on the team). How many times in a season can you expect them to turn the ball over on the 5 yard line? How many times will a team blow a lead in the 4th quarter? If you believe in regression to the mean, you have to at least feel a little optimistic that this trend will not last throughout the year.

  • Anonymous

    More hyperbole from this site, so much overreaction. You guys have really gone over the top, if the Eagles do turn it around you guys will feel like fools for questioning the organization already.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know. I think it’s very possible that the Eagles win the next 2 games, putting them at .500 before the bye. But even if this happens and the Eagles eventually make the playoffs this year, I don’t think it will invalidate most of the criticisms here.

      The criticisms of the Castillo choice in particular are not reactionary. They’ve been made since he was selected.

      You could say the same thing about the lack of attention to the linebackers. Sam raises a good point that the installation of the Wide-9 scheme should have prompted a reconsideration of the long standing “linebackers are not very important” philosophy .

      • Anonymous

        That’s a valid point, I just think the whole the organzation is a failure, and this team is full of weaknesses is overreacting. I could be wrong they could be terrible all year, but I think you have to wait before you say this team is a failur and needs drastic changes.

        • Anonymous

          I think that even if the team does not need drastic changes, people would like to see some attempt to correct the reoccurring problems that never seem to get addressed.

          For just one example: Andy Reid’s poor clock management. Why do we need to just take it as a given that this problem can’t be corrected, that it’s a necessary evil that comes along with having Andy Reid run the team?

          And we know that’s just one example of many. Year after year we see the same issues with no real attempt to fix them. Hey, maybe if you fix some things, other problems will arise. But that’s no excuse to ignore existing problems. Perhaps what we are seeing now is an accumulation of problems that the organization just felt were not important enough to address over the years.

    • Tom McAllister

      I check this site pretty regularly. I can’t think of a single instance on here that could be described as “more hyperbole… so much overreaction.” Some weeks, half the comments are from people who are angry at Tommy for NOT overreacting.

    • Anonymous

      Overreaction from me? That’s a first time accusation. I’m not offended. Heck, I’m almost flattered. That’s almost like calling me normal.

  • Tom McAllister

    Hard to disagree with a word of it.

    The most damning thing about all of this is that it’s coming from Sam, who is as levelheaded and rational as any Eagles fan I’ve seen online.

    Nice work, Sam.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry Sam but this just seem like a more sophisticated fire everyone post. The hiring of Castillo, seemed odd at the time and it’s not looking good now, something needs to change so this doesn’t happen again, no doubt. The lineback crew doesn’t look good, no doubt, and sadly it’s not the first time we have had a huge hole at a position, with no back-up plan.

    But when did we start judging players 4 games into their career or after only 1 season? What about the first 3 quarters of the games, do they not matter at all?

    If all these problems have been here for so long, then where was this post or all of these comments during our spending spree in the off-season or at any other point in the past? Hindsight is easy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m upset and I want to see some changes, but I’m more on the Tommy bandwagon than this gloomy one.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah it’s clear hyperbole for hyperbole’s sake. I hope he comes out and posts how wrong he is if the Eagles turn it around, but he probably won’t.

      • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

        I don’t think it is hyperbole to question the hiring of an oline coach as your DC when his only defensive coaching experience is at the high school level. I don’t think it is hyperbole to call out the fact that we overloaded in some areas while ignoring others and have not successfully leveraged our excesses at either CB or WR. Personally, in the scale of disappointment and pissed-off-ness, I fall somewhere between Tommy and Sam, but dismissing the arguments as “hyperbole for hyperbole’s sake” is the definition of hyperbole.

  • http://oriolesupdate.blogspot.com/ Brian

    Sam, this is phenomenal. Usually I’m the most pessimistic Eagles fan that I know, but it seems like we (I mean “the Eagles”) went from perennial contender and high-quality organization to utter crap unbelievably quickly.

    Almost every season, there seems to be a tragic flaw in the roster that Reid, the GM, or whoever(?), just doesn’t think will come back to hurt them. (Greg Lewis can return punts! Casey Matthews is a starter! Ellis Hobbs!) This year’s version seems to be especially huge. Combined with the short offseason and all the roster turnover, it’s too much change in one offseason.

    But is the foundation of the organization rotten to the core, or are they really, really unlucky? How many of their high draft picks have missed time to injuries, to the point that it has undone their careers?

    Abiamiri, Laws, Graham, Allen…if those guys stay healthy, the last few drafts look better. I think Watkins was the wrong pick for an abbreviated offseason, given the situation — his age makes him a bust if he doesn’t start from day one. The Castillo move, idiotic, especially with the same short offseason caveat.

    Is it possible that the Eagles made too many high-risk changes in an offseason where there would be opportunity for the team and coaching staff to gel, and where there would be less margin for error than usual.

    I’m not an Andy Reid supporter, but maybe if he can keep from losing the locker room (and there are other times in his regime where I was sure he had, but he’s seemed to win back the respect of his players or not have lost it) this team can bounce back strongly next year or can rebound quickly next year under the leadership of another coach.

    The Eagles made many bad decisions, and someone needs to be accountable, especially since going with Vick solidly puts them in the “win now” mode, but I’m wondering if the short offseason just makes everything look even worse than it really is. There’s been a lot of comparing the Eagles to other teams (2010 Cowboys), so maybe the 2005 Eagles is a point of comparison. A very unfortunately timed “everything that can go wrong, does” year.

    I think changes need to be made, but maybe we’re not in for years and years of rebuilding as it appears we are now.

    Or…we’re just completely %$@ed.

    (Thanks for the article Sam. I don’t really disagree and you’re much more knowledgeable than I am…I’m just hoping for some reasons to hope.)

  • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

    By the way, Tommy. After 4 games of a 1-3 record, and no DeSean contract, I’ve figured out the Eagles’ strategy.

    Alshon Jeffery in the first round. haha

  • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

    You make some good points Sam.

    One thing I wish we could know though…how much of what we see now was the “brain trust” executing plan B. And don’t get me wrong, even if that is the case, they deserve the full boat load of criticism for plan B sucking pretty bad.

    What if Juan was not plan A? I was travelling a lot during the time in question, but there were other higher profile guys interviewed too. Is it out of the realm of possibility that Andy described his vision of the defense behind Wash’s wide 9 and a candidate he was counting on politely declined his offer because he was not on board with the defensive philosophy he would be forced to support? When he lost his shot at his guy, he gives Juan the job and pretends like that was his plan the whole time.

    What if the plan all along was to go with DRC and Nnamdi and trade Samuel for a critical piece or a fool’s ransom in draft picks. When no decent offers were received, plan B was to find a way to use all three. What looked good on paper blows up with one disgruntled pro bowler and two others struggling to find continuity.

    This is all complete speculation, but didn’t both situations seem odd at the time. Isn’t “plan B suckage” pretty much a hallmark of the Reid era (Bloom, Hobbs, D. Patterson, Thrash/Pinkston, Watkins, etc, etc, etc). It is also consistent with this management to pretend everything went according to their master plan (“we’re fine there”). We will never know, but something about both situations seemed fishy, and who knows what other things that are even less obvious are the result of no plan B (coveted draft pick going before they predict, free agent choosing to go elsewhere, etc).

    I am not quite on the “fire everyone” boat yet, but I would love to see some accountability for these highly questionable decisions. I know I for one forgot the common sense reaction that it makes no sense to make your oline position coach the DC, because Juan is the kind of guy you hope will succeed against all odds. I blame Hollywood. In the interim, I am still kinda depressed about how we can realistically turn this thing around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deshawn-Bentley/100000596290582 Deshawn Bentley

    Aaron Curry for a 4th and put him at SAM

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      He’s set to make $5 million this year.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there are many coaches that you could replace Andy Reid with and expect to win with this group. Can’t say the same about Juan and Howie. Both guys are completely replaceable in the offseason. Not sure how changing them mid-season would work…

  • http://openid.anonymity.com/7rEdEXyZ Dewey

    I dunno, I find this silly and knee-jerking.

    This calling on Lurie to get to the bottom of things, somehow implies that an activist owner is needed I think we all know that activist owners never lead to good things.

    The Luries and Joe Banner chose Reid as a leader of their team, they should let him run the team and evaluate him on how the team does. Reid’s done really well, and it makes no sense to do anything after a simple quarter of a season.

    The Castillo move still has me scratching my head, and his schemes seem clueless. But he’s the DC and that’s not changing ’til the end of the season at the earliest, I imagine.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSYLC67JMWVXBSRLBIFGM4ANJU Mike

    I guess I’m in the minority here, but while I’m concerned, I’ve been fooled by Andy too many times and not in the way you may be thinking. I’ve seen this team be 3-3 at the bye week before, or 2-3, etc. with far less talent and similar results. I start thinking “F Andy Reid. I’m done with him. He just doesn’t get it.” Then some how, all he does from then on out is find a way to win games. I’ll eat crow for this at the end of the season if I’m wrong but I just think Andy will turn this thing around. It’s going to be a slow process, and it won’t be pretty at first, but I think we’re gonna win the next 2 games and get to the bye week 3-3. Then after the bye week I think we really go on a run. I still say we finish 11-5.

    I expected that we would struggle with the shortened off season and the new coaches and schemes as players and coaches adjust to one another. I figured we’d go 3-3 by the bye week. I didn’t think we’d start 1-3. I figured maybe we lose one or two, then win one, maybe lose another, etc-aka be up and down. But, 3-3, no matter how you get there is 3-3.

    I think everyone had over-inflated expectations for the start of the season because of all of the great FA acquisitions. Now that things haven’t quite come together as fast as we wanted to, everyone is jumping ship. These things take time and it isn’t like we are some talent-less team. There are parts of games where we are just downright walking up and down the field or sacking the QB every other play. The potential is there. We just need some consistency.

    I think everyone forgets too that we could have just as easily started 4-0 and then had a 3 game losing streak in the middle of the season. What difference does it make when it is? 3 losses is 3 losses in that column. Either way you are 4-3. Does anyone really think the Bills, Redskins, etc. are going to maintain this for 16 games? Really? I mean come on. And you don’t think our guys are going to get better?

    I just think people need to wait a little longer before jumping ship and getting into the “FIRE EVERYONE AND START OVER” chants.

    Yes, it’s been ugly, but let’s see what happens over the next 4 games. Then if you want to jump ship, I just might jump with you.

  • Aaron Greene

    While I think there were some strong points made, I do not look at this as a doomsday scenario for the organization. The Castillo experiment was a failure from the beginning. If you fire Andy, the organization will be back many years. With that said, I thought the same when they traded Mcnabb.

    In my opinion, the problems in the last 3 games are many, but have more to do with No leadership and cohesiveness than talent evaluation and certain FO folk having too much autonomy. Andy/Marty are thinking WAY too much. How about running ronnie brown out of the power I on 2nd down and doing the same on 3rd? Maybe play action out of that set, hit Celek or Harbor? They have failed 3 weeks in a row in the red zone by over thinking. How about doing what worked last year? They are moving the ball well 20 to 20. Get focused, get mad, PUNCH IT IN. Fixable, but we’ll see.

    There is no leader on defense. Nnandi looks softer than advertised, Babin didn’t even know they lost(just happy he had a career day), and not having JP and Tapp has proven to hurt them in the 4th quarter. Oh ya and Juan has been taken to school with his back against the wall all 3 weeks. They can’t tackle well either. Whatever happened to getting reamed by your coach and having a practice(s) where you beat the snot out of each other? Most of all, these guys need to man up and play ball: for 4 quarters. Who’s going to step up? It’s a game of emotion. They need to show some.

    I thought all along that they were a year away even with all these signings due to all the changes. No way they all come together right away. Safety must/will be solidified with a veteran in the off season. They will address linebacker as well. Problems are too glaring at this point, not to. The O-line will have a year under their belts as one (maybe Watkins figures it out). Easier to think something, than it is to watch it play out. Next Year (A true Eagles Fan’s motto).

    …I just hope they beat the Giants Cowboys and Redskins at least one time each this year.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

    I just want to be clear on one thing, which seems to be misunderstood by some: I don’t think changes should or could be made immediately. You could sell me on a new defensive coordinator, I guess, I just don’t know who that is, exactly, or how it would really help at this stage. The only benefit there would be to keep the players from just quitting on the season.

    What I am talking about is changes after the season. Does that mean everyone gets fired? It depends on what Lurie finds out. Maybe all that needs to be done is to “tweak” it a little, as Marty would say. Maybe there needs to be a new president, or a new coach, or a new GM, or all or some of the above. Who knows what the answers to the questions will be.

    The ultimate point of the post is that what we are seeing is not bad luck; it is bad design. And it looks like a team effort. It isn’t just Andy Reid. It isn’t just Howie Roseman. It isn’t just the assistants or the players or Joe Banner. There are multiple hands all over this mess. That is a classic management problem, and I don’t envy Lurie in having to deal with it.

    We don’t know from the outside what has gone wrong. We can surmise. But I hope that the outcome isn’t just driven by office politics down at NovaCare, where problems aren’t identified or solved, just allocated and ignored. Because, if nothing else, I am most afraid of that outcome … and it happens often in professional sports.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad you said that you don’t think changes should be made immediately. I was a little unclear on when you meant, and doing anything that drastic now (for me, including anything with Juan) would be desperation and a panic decision.

      However, my viewpoint is still closer to Tommy’s right now.

      On who is responsible for LBs:
      I’d say this is merely a more extreme version of the last 12 years. Emphasize value on CBs and DEs, and then DTs. Lower value on LBs. They possibly just took it too far this year with the situation they were given (two available pro bowl corners, new stud position coach who wanted his guys)

      I’m not ready to completely dismiss the D coordinator decision as bad yet. Right now, it looks bad. If these 4 weeks turn into 16 (not 12 blown 4th qtr leads, but minimal improvement in general), Juan should be fired that Monday, if they can’t get the paperwork done Sunday night. But, 4 games is too small a sample size.

      He has 5 new starters on the defense. Maybe you shouldn’t expect them to perform to their potential in the first 4 games, with all but one on a new team and system. And the one who is in the same system is performing great. It’s a fair argument to say they shouldn’t have had that much change in a lockout year, but you don’t get many chances to sign these types of guys.

      I’m not ready to throw out the system they have in place. A few of these decisions could still work out, and it’s impossible to know if it’s really that different of a system from the one when Heckert was here.

      That’s where I stand right now. In December, I might agree with a lot more of it. (Un?)Fortunately, there’s nothing really to gain by making changes now, so we’ll have a better answer to some of these questions when a time for a decision comes.

  • Anonymous

    Very well put Sam but overly reactionary in my opinion.

    I would be as worried as you if we hadn’t put together stretches of absolutely dominating, the problem is that this team isn’t clicking. Yes quite possibly because of too many moves in a shortened offseason but no one, not one of us was complaining when they made all those moves.

    I’m not excusing the appalling appalling defence overall and the sloppy sloppy offence at times but if this pathetic first 4 weeks can light a fire inside our players and shrink their egos this team can be still make 10-6/9-7. I’m very worried the LB’s and Safeties will never improve enough to be adequate but if this team gets some fight back we should ok.