Odds & Ends

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 79 Comments »

The Eagles put WR Steve Smith on IR.  Boy, was that a wasted move or what?  One of the worst moments of the season came in the first Giants game.  The offense moved down into the Red Zone on the opening drive.  Vick throws to Smith, and the ball bounces off his hands and is picked off.  I don’t know if the coaches pushed for the addition of Smith or if he was a Howie Roseman addition, but someone made a bad decision.  Glad we’re done with him.

To fill his spot on the roster the Eagles promoted DT Cedric Thornton from the Practice Squad.  I wrote about Thornton quite a bit in the spring and summer.  He was a guy I had targeted back before the draft as a potential Eagle.  Thornton was undrafted, but signed as a UDFA.  He had a good Training Camp, but still looked raw.

Thornton has excellent quickness off the ball.  He’s got a big, tall frame.  He is made for the 1-gap system.  He needs coaching and experience, but has the potential to be a good NFL player.  I doubt he gets on the field this year, but I’m glad he’s off the P-Squad.  I feared some other team grabbing him.  I don’t know if Thornton will ever pan out, but he’s the kind of DT we haven’t had in a while. I’m really interested to see if he can develop into a good role player.

* * * * *

The future at DT is interesting.  Cullen Jenkins will be one starter.  Mike Patterson has played well this year and could remain the starter beside him.  Antonio Dixon is on IR, but could challenge for a starting role next year if he has a strong offseason.

I think Trevor Laws is gone.  He’s got 1 sack this year, despite playing in a system that should fit him perfectly.  I don’t see a lack of effort or a lack of talent.  For some reason, he’s just not getting the job done.  Last year Laws peaked and looked like a player on the rise.  Maybe he’s heavy this year.  The lockout hurt some guys in regard to conditioning and shape.  Austin Howard went from potential future starter to cut material because he thought Cheerios were a fruit/vegetable.

Thornton will be in the mix for a roster spot.  He needs to show progress.   I really pray we re-sign Derek Landri.  He’s been terrific this year (I’m working on a full post on him).

We’ll look to see who’s available in the draft.  Adding another quality DT to the mix is always fine with me.  The Eagles are high on Thornton and his potential, but he’s far from a sure thing.

* * * * *

The more I think about it, the more happy I am with Casey Matthews performance on Sunday.  He showed some potential, but didn’t do anything special.  I fear some guy playing well the last few games and giving us a false-positive read on the LB situation.  I want Casey to have his shot in the future, but I do not want us counting on him for anything more than depth/competition.  If he turns into Dick Butkus Jr, great.  If he is Whit Marshall Jr, that’s okay too.

Jamar Chaney was terrific for the Dallas and NYG games last year, but then had struggles vs MIN and GB.  It nagged at me that I didn’t focus more on the struggles.  Dumb.  Don’t want a repeat of that.  We need a real MLB next year.

* * * * *

Speaking of which…people have asked what I want at MLB.  A good one.

I don’t know if any good veteran MLBs will be available and/or a good fit.  Stephen Tulloch may decide he wants to stay in Detroit.  Or he might decide he still wants $5-to-6M per year.  I’m certainly open to a veteran addition.  There isn’t any player I covet.  I don’t know if someone will be available via trade or is a cut target.

In the draft, I’m still set on Luke Kuechly from Boston College.  That’s one player I flat out covet.  After the Senior Bowl we’ll talk about some other potential targets (realistically).  We did find out that Manti Te’o is returning to Notre Dame.  Good decision.  He wasn’t a lock to go in the Top 20.

79 Comments on “Odds & Ends”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 1:03 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I was joking about us taking an OT in the 1st round last week, of course, but I could see us taking an OL with one of our 2nd rd picks. Maybe a RT and move Todd back to LG. Thoughts?

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 1:08 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I really like Evan Mathis at LG. I’d like to see Todd stay at RT for now.

    We do need a RT to develop for the future. Justice may not return. Dunlap might get a starting gig from some team that’s desperate for help.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 3:59 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    After Peters, Mathis has probably our best and most consistent offensive lineman this year. I wouldn’t mind getting a project in the third round or later but they need to resign Mathis and keep this line together as is for next season.
    Before the Dolphins game, the Eagles had the number 1 rated o-line in the league according to PFF. Now we can argue if thats right or not but the bottom line is this group has become very good over the season, minus the Phins game. The best thing for an o-line is consistency especially when you’ve already got a good one.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 8:40 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Sorry for the bombardment of PFF stats but I just read this in their observations article and it fits the topic:
    “Guard Evan Mathis has a run block rating of +14.9–which is by far the highest in the league–and has yet to allow a sack.”

  5. 5 Thorin McGee said at 10:18 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I couldn’t agree more. Even with the losing record, there are some positions on this team they just need to let alone to take root and grow, and o-line is the biggest one.

  6. 6 Matthew Verhoog said at 9:47 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    So, we have the King as Tackle backup, The Dutch Guy as backup interior, plus new awesome guy to develop into new awesome RT, perhaps being the backup interior from the get go.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 5:57 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    The King is too tall, especially now that we have a 6’0″ tall quarterback.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 11:11 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    The only problem I have with Mathis is that he’s an URFA. You’d think he’d want to keep the good chemistry here and Howard Mudd but there’s the chance he will try to get paid for his best NFL year so far.

  9. 9 Alex Karklins said at 11:43 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    It would be wise to make him a generous offer but also press for the “hometown discount.”

  10. 10 Anders Jensen said at 3:58 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    One can hope that Mathis has the some chain of thoughts that Babin, he would rather be with who made him succecful then get 1 mill more a year

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 3:47 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Miami, for example. Dunlap is definitely superior to Columbo.
    And probably 9 or 10 other starting RTs around the league, and maybe a couple LTs.

    Though I’d like to keep him, think he’s just coming into his own and is still relatively young.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 1:27 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    “The more I think about it, the more happy I am with Casey Matthews performance on Sunday. He showed some potential, but didn’t do anything special. I fear some guy playing well the last few games and giving us a false-positive read on the LB situation.”

    I thought this statement was particularly odd. It sounds very much like someone trying to justify getting second place when they really were hoping for first. If Matthews played spectacularly, that wouldn’t have been a bad thing. That being said, what I find really odd about the statement was that it sort of seems like an unnecessary stretch to find a silver lining. I was very much against starting Matthews at the beginning of the year, but in that last game, I felt I saw significant improvement. I still don’t think he is ready to start, but when he was in, he was more noticeable in a positive way and I wasn’t seeing him making huge mistakes, getting consistently blocked out of the play, or seeming as hesitant. Again, he didn’t have a spectacular game, but I saw improvement and as Jonathan Tamari put it, Mathews’ play “was about what you might reasonably expect from a fourth round pick.”

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 1:39 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I think you’re over-reading that. I’ve said for months I want a MLB. I do. I’ve said for a while I’m fine with Casey competing for a job next year. And I am. If we draft my guy Luke Kuechly and Casey beats him out, so be it. I want good MLB play in 2012. I don’t care who it is.

    I’ve been thinking about the roster here recently. This time last year we thought Jamar Chaney was the MLB of the future. He played lights out vs DAL, NYG. Brian Baldinger was raving about the guy on NFL-N.

    Turns out that was a false positive. We needed more of an investment at MLB than a 4th round pick.

    I didn’t want a repeat of that. We must learn from history so as not to repeat it. Right?

    I’m not anti-Casey. I would love him to develop into a good player and win some job. If all he does is become a force on STs and good Nickel LB, that’s good value for a 4th round pick.

  14. 14 Steve H said at 1:47 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I dunno Tommy, I feel like Mathews just doesn’t have “it”. I’m not sure what “it” is but I know it when I see it and I don’t think he has it. I think “it” might have something to do with the way he avoids contact. He just doesn’t seem like a physical player, and I don’t think bulking up or experience is going to change that. I want someone who isn’t afraid to knock the snot out of someone at MLB. I could be wrong though, he and Juan might just need to have a few more dinners over at the Mathews house.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 9:29 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    The IT factor can be pretty hard to judge in first year players, sometimes it comes out immediately (i.e. DeSean) or can take a bit longer (i.e. James Harrison)

    I agree Casey hasn’t looked comfortable, we’ll see if he makes a jump or not.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 3:51 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Come on, other than lacking size, speed and instincts, what’s wrong with Matthews?

    To be fair, he had no business starting as a rookie, and adding 10 lbs didn’t help, often takes a player a year to get used to playing with added weight – “I used to be able to get there.” But even if a full offseason helps with his recognition, he’s not explosive, even at 240 lbs he’s kinda small and weak, and he’s got below average speed for a LB.

    I disagreed with Tommy before the draft, thought Rolle was a better prospect. I like WLBs who play MLB in college, they’re used to contact, unlike someone like Clayton who likes to dance in space.

    However, once Foster and Wright went off the board, there were no quality LBs left to draft, but I’d still rather have Marsh, big fast CBs are a lot rarer than decent LBs with average speed.

  17. 17 Steve H said at 11:50 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Yeah I suppose “it” might also be the lack of size speed and instincts lol.

    For me personally, its all about the eyeball test and from the first time I watched him play I pretty much saw someone who wasn’t thrilled about making contact, and thats more or less a prerequisite for linebacker.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 3:46 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Despite not standing out this game as a poor performer according to PFF Matthews didn’t show a whole lot of improvement. “Casey Matthews played 49 snaps this week, his most since Week 2 against the Falcons. His results in this game (-3.1) were a reminder of why he was benched after starting the first three games of the season.”

    I hope things work out for him too and he improves but I just don’t see any signs of it so far. Hopefully, Kuechly runs a bad 40 at the combine so he falls to us at pick 32 😉

  19. 19 Michael Wolfe said at 12:29 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I see what you did there at the very end. Now THAT’s optimism!

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 10:57 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I guess my point was that I want the players to always play great and succeed. It is the job of the talent evaluators on this team to recognize a false positive and my fear would be in their inability to do that, not in Matthews playing well at the end of the season.

    Jamar Chaney playing well last year does not excuse the team for not evaluating him more carefully and drafting a quality player. I said it at the beginning of TC. We only had a small sample of games for Chaney and he was far from a guaranteed thing despite what Juan and the Eagles were saying about him. It wasn’t Chaney’s fault that he had a few good games at the end of the season. It was the Eagles’ talent evaluation that put too much trust in Chaney.

    I agree with your overall point though. I definitely want us to get a stud MLB. I really don’t think there is any excuse for the Eagles to not draft a LB within our first 3 picks (unless they go out and get a true first tier FA at MLB, which I am not sure will be available). On top of that, I don’t think how Matthews plays the rest of the season should weigh heavily on that decision. If 13 out of 16 games, LB has been one of the biggest weaknesses on the team, 3 games at the end of the year doesn’t change that opinion, at least for me. However, if Matthews plays great, then maybe we have a stud early pick and a quality second year player on the field, a good problem to have.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 11:26 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I keep hearing that PSA line at the end of the old “GI Joe” cartoons, “now I kow and knowing is half the battle.” It’s obvious Eagles need to address LB in the offseason, that’s half. The other half is that the Eagles have consistently done a poor job evaluating LBs. I’m not confident in the ability of Reid, Roseman and whoever to find good LBs in the draft, and if some of the underclassmen come out there will be a good crop of LBs available (e.g. Kuechly, Hightower, and the “beast” Burfict).

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 11:38 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I think you’re absolutely right, but frankly, I think it is possible that the Eagles are still battling the first half. For us, we all see the absolute need at LB. From there, we are making the conclusion that the Eagles will draft or sign an impact LB, but there is a distinct possibility that the Eagles go into the draft having signed a 2nd tier or 3rd tier guy they try to sell to us as a stud and then pass right over LBs in the first 2 rounds of the draft. We’ll see what they do, but I certainly think it is the number one need on the team and has to be addressed with an impact player.

  23. 23 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 7:07 AM on December 14th, 2011:


    Even though I agree that if you get the opportunity to add an impact player at a premium position (like DT), I hope we won’t add one until after round 3.

    Assuming Laws is let go and Landri is resigned, our DT rotation next would be:
    Cullen Jenkins
    Mike Patterson
    Derek Landri
    Cedric Thornton
    (Antonio Dixon)

    I could see Dixon being traded or cut, but the other 4 I really like! We keep 5 DTs at most. Is it really worth adding a high pick to this group considering our other needs?

    I guess this boils down to the discussing of BPA vs. Need…

    Regarding the O-Line: Is it possible that we could put Todd at RG and move Watkins to RT?

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 8:19 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    No way Dixon is cut. Very talented young player. Had good game day he was hurt. Just started to figure out the new system. I think he’s got a legit chance to start in 2012, assuming he heals okay. His injury isn’t one that is anything like ACL where you know guys will struggle on comeback season.

    Watkins has struggled with pass pro. I don’t think putting him at RT would go well at all.

  25. 25 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 9:59 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Then I don’t see us drafting a DT at all… You’ll have Jenkins, Patterson, Landri and Dixon as your starters… Thornton as the developmental guy. Can you keep more than 5 DTs?

    I really hope Watkins improves on his pass pro until next season! How important do you think an entire offseason will be for him? We need him to step up his game a notch!

  26. 26 Eric Weaver said at 11:02 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I was thinking this morning that there really is no top 15 impact DT. I know you’ve talked about Coples as that potential person for this system, but other than him, unless someone wows at the combine, I don’t think there is one there.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 12:13 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    If we are high enough and Devon Stills is sitting there, do you think the birds take a long look at him?

  28. 28 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 7:12 AM on December 14th, 2011:


    We all know that an impact player HAS to be added! IF we go the draft route, is there really anyone besides Kuechly that would make an upgrade to our current corps? I don’t think so! Burfict isn’t ready to start, even though his potential is great. Te’o is going back to school, and the next tier of MLBs is in the 3rd – 4th round range…

    My point is, if we don’t like Kuechly enough to spend a 1st round pick on him – we HAVE to trade for a MLB.

    Who could be available? We’ve talked about Ryans, but is there anyone else that doesn’t fit the current scheme? I’ve looked through a list of potential FAs and wasn’t impressed at the possibilities…

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 11:44 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I haven’t had a chance to study FA lists yet. On my To Do list.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 12:12 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Send Trevor Laws, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown and Juan Castillo to Houston for DeMeco Ryans straight up!!!

  31. 31 Philippe Boulanger said at 9:23 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Luke Kuechly from Boston College seems a good fit at MLB. He had a terrific year. If he’s not available when we

  32. 32 Philippe Boulanger said at 9:27 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Luke Kuechly from Boston College seems a good fit at MLB. He had a terrific year. If he’s not available when we pick, could you see us drafting Sean Spence in late 2nd round/beginning of 3rd round. Do you think he’s a guy who could succeed in the NFL ??

  33. 33 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 9:44 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Sean Spence could become a good WLB in our scheme, but he doesn’t fit in a MLB…

    How about we draft Kuechly in the 1st and Spence in the 3rd? Then Spence and Rolle could battle about starting at WLB, Kuechly and Matthews could battle about starting at MLB, and Chaney and Jordan could battle about starting at SLB…

  34. 34 Philippe Boulanger said at 11:07 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Well, if you put it that way, sounds like a good plan. Nut the Eagles rarely draft like we think they gonna do anyway… so lets not get ahead of ourselves right now.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 11:44 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    I like Spence. Watch him vs Ga Tech and you’ll love him. Very active. Good tackler. Physical despite lack of ideal size. I’d be fine with adding him to the LB mix. Senior Bowl will help us determine his value. Can he play MLB or just WLB? How big is he? What skills does he have that we’re not seeing due to scheme? And so on.

  36. 36 James Casagrande said at 10:40 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    If Derek Landri isn’t re-signed, I will have serious concerns about our self-scouting. How obvious is it that he can just flat out play? And why the hell did we cut him in the preseason? He looked great then, too.

    I hate to bring up “effort” any more than it has been brought up for this season, but boy, it sure seems to me that Landri is never caught giving less than 110.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 11:42 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Landri can’t be re-signed until FA starts. Players on 1-year deals can’t be extended.

    I will be extremely disappointed if he’s not re-signed at that point.

  38. 38 Dewey said at 11:12 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    “the more happy I am with Casey Matthews”

    More happy?

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 11:16 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Well it may have been wishful thinking Smith could come back so soon but it was a bit of an insurance move because of the uncertainties surrounding Maclin and Desean. Wasn’t the right guy but you can’t overly criticize Smith, he had a knee injury and wasn’t exactly getting a lot of time and a lot of receivers had the dropsies after the short offseason.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 11:41 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Awkward wording on my part.

    I was happy to see Casey have some success in the game. I think he’s got the ability to be at least a good role player.

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 12:16 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Matthews, Chaney, Jordan are great B/O LBs….We need to add a stud MLB and another OLB, Rolle having one of the spots I am fine with I think with an offseason, he could be really good….I would love the draft to go MLB or DT (1st) OLB and WR 2nd round.

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 11:33 AM on December 14th, 2011:

    Tommy —

    Landri’s definitely brought a spark, ‘specially in short yardage.

    Question: Why did no team sign Landri after the Eagles cut him (until he resigned here)?

    What do you read into that, particularly given that Landri had been a starter in the past?

    Is Landri strictly a run-stopper type?

    Also, I thought Cullen Jenkins signed a 1-year contract. If not, how many years?

    Projected Eagles D-line Starters for next year will all be over the age of 31 by year’s end.

    Youth comes from Graham, Hunt, Tapp at DE and Dixon and Thornton at DT.

    Looks like the Eagles need more DLs from the draft.

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 12:00 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I could be wrong, but I think Jenkins signed a 4 year deal. What you might be remembering is that if he didn’t work out (due to his injury history for example), we could cut him after this season without a significant cap hit.

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 12:14 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I think it was 5 yrs, $25M or something like that.

    iskar is right that we did have an out after a year if things didn’t work. I would say Cullen isn’t likely to be going anywhere. Terrific player.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 3:53 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Think he costs $7.5M next year with roster bonus and salary, then cheaper the last three years when he should be limited to 500 snaps or so (a la Howard his last two years, when he got 16 sacks).

  46. 46 Anonymous said at 7:53 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    $4million salary next year. BJ seems to think he’s got a 1.5 roster bonus if he makes the team. No dead $ if cut or traded.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 12:19 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Jenkins has a 4 yeard deal, can be cut after one, but not gonna happen. Landri and Dixon are more run stuffing DT’s, Jenkins, Patterson, Thornton are more penetrating, rushing the passer DT. Devon Stills may be a target in Round 1, if we are high enough….barring a setback, he should be the first DT off the board.

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 1:03 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Re: Jenkins’ contract

    iskar36 . . . you’re the man. thanks. (And Tommy, too)

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 1:15 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Seems to me that a close cousin of ignoring Cheney’s struggles last year is not paying closer attention to the weak arguments offered in support of the Steve Smith signing at the beginning of this year. Fans got drunk on the free agent frenzy– just as Skins fans have done so often– and bought into the idea that there’s no such thing as a bad signing as long as it doesn’t include a lot of guaranteed money. The Eagles had a lot of success in the early Reid years by trusting their instincts that the bottom rungs of a depth chart were better served with UDFAs playing for the league minimum than with “proven veterans,” EVEN IF the team had the cap space to support those proven veterans. Suddenly this year that mentality changed, and fans bought into the idea that there was nothing lost because, hey, what the hell, we’ve got the cap space anyway, so why not?

    It seems patronizing to point out on a blog with the sort of readership as this one the benefits of filling out a 53-man roster with young, cheap players, so I’ll do it quickly. That’s the true farm system of a competitive franchise. You find long-term bargains by giving a chance to guys who can play special teams early on while giving themselves time to learn the position. That’s how you find the Quentin Mikells of the world. The players are more likely to stay healthy. They’re more likely to find different ways to contribute.

    No matter how cheap the players are, when you’re choosing between two players who are going to receive minimum playing time no matter what, it’s very hard to justify paying one guy four times the salary of a guy who is younger and healthier, especially when you know going in that the more expensive option is also, by definition, a short-term option.

    Hopefully people will think about the Steve Smith signing next time they feel compelled to defend a move by saying “Well, it’s a short contract, and it’s only $2-4 million, and if he gets healthy he’ll be a nice [marginally important role player], and worst case scenario we can just cut him anyway.”

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 1:59 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    The Steve Smith signing was a bad one, but I do think that one aspect of that signing that should be kept in mind is the fact that there was very significant concern about Maclin’s health and maybe to a lesser extent, Jackson’s hold out. With both of our starting WRs potentially being out for an extended period of time, the FO had to do something to fill in for those players. I think the bigger problem with the signing is not so much sacrificing young, developmental talent for a veteran but rather the huge miss in talent evaluation/health evaluation. Fortunately, Maclin and Jackson didn’t really miss time, but had Maclin in fact been sick and needed to be put on PUP/IR/etc, for the season, and/or Jackson held out until he got a contract, we would have had major problems with our WR corps.

  51. 51 Anonymous said at 2:11 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I don’t see this as justification for the signing.

    For one, the failure of talent and health evaluation in signing Smith, in my mind, isn’t an isolated instance of this transaction, but a necessary reality of signing “proven veteran” players. By their very definition, those transactions require the signing team to bid against another team despite a pronounced information asymmetry. The Giants knew Smith was unhealthy. Why would we propose that we knew better, after one physical, than they knew after monitoring his entire career as well as the surgery and initial recovery period? It’s insane. Likewise, we knew about Smith what he had put on tape through his career, which includes only the things that his coaches schemed in order to emphasize his strengths. We could reverse engineer his weaknesses from there, but we could never hope to know as much as the coaches who were with him in practice on a daily basis already knew. So I don’t see this as something that allows us to say “Boy, we really whiffed on assessing his health and talent level,” as much as something to say “Boy, that’s a good example of why heavy reliance on the free agent market, especially for marginal role players who are going to make four times what a cheaper, younger option would make, is rarely a good idea.”

  52. 52 Anonymous said at 4:22 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I disagree that this was so obvious. Steve Smith is the all-time single season receptions leader for the NY Giants with 107 in 2009 and he was always clutch against us. I also like the idea of weakening a division opponent at the same time you’re (supposedly) strengthening yourself. It was a good gamble IMHO – didn’t work out in a big way – but one I wouldn’t fault the team for trying.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 7:55 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    When you neglect other areas to sign Smith, who wasn’t aggressively pursued by his own team, who knows both he and his knee very well, it becomes a terrible decision. Was at the time…worse now.

  54. 54 Anonymous said at 9:51 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I agree it wasn’t a priority with Avant healthy and in place. It was an extravagance. I would’ve rather us get a vet LB but I did like Smith a lot. That’s why I give the team a pass: for taking a chance on him; but I don’t give them a pass for leaving the LB position to the kids, which was idiotic.

  55. 55 Gary said at 1:53 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I still think Smith was insurance for Maclin, even though Smith was hurt in the beginning of the year (and still is, apparently). In that sense, at least Maclin turned out alright.

  56. 56 Eric Weaver said at 2:12 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    That would make sense if there were concerns about Avant. Smith is a slot guy. Tommy said this earlier in the year that it made no sense to justify the signing as “a replacement for Maclin”. Now, an argument can be made that if Maclin is out you need better overall WR talent.

  57. 57 Anonymous said at 3:06 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Re: Eric Weaver & owumd

    If I remember correctly, Tommy made that comment before Maclin announced why he was missing from camp. At the time, all the Eagles knew was that Maclin was initially diagnosed with lymphoma and additional tests were being performed to confirm the diagnosis. While you certainly would hope for the best, I would think it would be incredibly hard to hear that and just assume that Maclin would be back that season. They had to do something to fill in for Maclin.

    I hate trying to defend the Smith signing because I definitely think it was a bad signing. Still, I do think there was a need to do something beyond just hoping for the best considering the circumstances. Steve Smith may have been the wrong choice, and owumd, you are right that the Giants had more knowledge about Smith than we could possibly have had, but I do think there was a need to sign someone who could come in and fill a potential void. I don’t remember all the guys that were available, but Burress and Smith are the only two names that come to mind from last offseason that could have possibly fit that role. Signing a 4th or 5th string WR does serve an important role in terms of developing a team for the long term, but I sincerely believe that wasn’t the role they had in mind when they signed Smith. Fortunately, Maclin was fine so Smith didn’t need to fill that role. Unfortunately, Smith has been a bad player for the Eagles, so regardless of the intentions of the signing, it was a bad one.

  58. 58 Anonymous said at 4:25 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I’m here to man up that I liked the Smith signing. Before he got hurt he was a stud with the G’ants for the past several years. I think he was in the Pro Bowl in 2009. I was glad the Eagles got him and glad NY lost him. I was looking forward to him making Couglin look like a fool for losing him. I figured it was possible he would get on the field at some point and contribute. If he didn’t play early on, he could rehab and we’d have him in time for the playoffs (‘scuse me). If nothing else, he was a reasonable insurance policy for DeSean and Maclin. Hey, what could go wrong?

  59. 59 Mac said at 9:42 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    As it turns out… the Steve Smith signing may still have value. Last time I checked the Giants were not a lock to make the playoffs…

  60. 60 Anonymous said at 1:59 PM on December 15th, 2011:

    And you relate this to their not having Steve Smith?

  61. 61 Mac said at 2:21 PM on December 15th, 2011:

    I know Cruz is having a good year, and Eli(minated) is playing better than normal, but I can’t help but wonder how they would look if they have Smith coming back healthy in say… late November… when they seem to start having struggles.

    I don’t think it’s a direct correlation, but I don’t think it can be completely ruled out.

  62. 62 Anonymous said at 2:24 PM on December 15th, 2011:

    I think it can be completely, totally ruled out, without the slightest of qualifications.

    Steve Smith isn’t healthy. They knew he wasn’t healthy. His coming back healthy in November (to be their fourth best receiver, no less) isn’t a hypothetical as much as an impossible fantasy.

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 3:45 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Not to put too much of a damper on the Landri awesomeness but do you think some of him playing well is due to being fresher than other players? I don’t believe the FO should think like this and not bring him back, he must return, but do you think it has an influence on his performance?

  64. 64 Anonymous said at 3:45 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    They’ll have no trouble resigning Landri, he had 40 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 stuffs in 2010 and signed with the Eagles for the vet minimum, then resigned with them when no one else offered him a chance. He’s a perfect rotation DT, asking him to play 800 snaps is unfair, he’s too small, ask him to play 400 snaps and you’ll get 400 nonstop snaps. And this system is perfect for him.

    Dixon is an interesting question, before he was injured he got zero pressure, seems to lack the quickness for the wide 9, is it his lack of athleticism or lack of shape? Big body but if he can’t penetrate only has value in short yardage situations or if they want to go to a more conventional 4-3 with a true NT at least part of the time.

    Laws is gone. At his age, lack of progress doesn’t make him worth keeping even at minimum salary.

    Thornton and Hunt are auditioning for backup roles next year, with Graham and Tapp, that’s 8 slots, with Dixon 9, but I’d draft late/sign a couple athletic undersized DTs, these guys always fall in the draft. Look at Klug, for example, he’d be a perfect fit off the bench.

    Chaney isn’t a lost cause quite yet, playing him at SLB in TC and the first two games really hurt his progress this season, he’s not the most instinctual player around, but he still manages to make plays with his athleticism, with reps and coaching he may turn out to be a solid if not top tier LB. He has still outplayed Bradley last year by a sizable margin.

    I’d move on from Fokou and Jordan, draft a LB in the first 100, sign a veteran SLB, and sign some UDFAs. Bring Chaney, Matthews and Clayton to camp and let them compete.

    This is the season to get really aggressive with UDFAs, just tell agents after last year that no roster spot is written in stone.

  65. 65 Anonymous said at 3:59 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    One thing to keep in mind is the run defense has substantially improved the last 8 games:
    4.0 YPC, 97 yards per game, only two backs have given them trouble, Forte and Lynch, and they ain’t chopped liver (though they do illustrate a problem with tackling, too many defenders are weak tacklers).

    Those numbers are about equivalent to the Steelers for the whole season and would put the Eagles about 10th in run defense.

    So while LB needs to be upgraded, the pass defense is actually a bigger problem.
    Though both may simply be helped by young safeties getting more experience, though a solid veteran safety wouldn’t be a bad addition. The games Coleman and Allen have played well, the Eagle defense looks pretty darn good. The games they look lost, so does the defense (and we’ll just treat Page like a bad memory).

    Just saying that since the first five games, which can be attributed to both the lockout and Juan’s inexperience, both the defense and Juan seemed to have steadily improved (game to game is inconsistent, but 8 games is a sizable sample). Doesn’t mean improvement isn’t needed, but the scheme works (with better execution could be a top defense), just need to tweak it, not blow it up.

  66. 66 Anonymous said at 3:57 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Quick Q about the Jets game, is it on Fox?

  67. 67 Eric Weaver said at 4:19 PM on December 14th, 2011:


  68. 68 Anonymous said at 6:06 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Damn, Tebowmania running wild. The Eagles/Jets would usually be broadcast practically everywhere, even going against a game with New England in it. Now the broadcast zone is like one of those little patches usually reserved for the Seahawks or Jaguars.

  69. 69 Anonymous said at 1:55 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    Thank you again for this info Eric, I am sure you have posted this in answer to very same question earlier in the season. Much appreciated. I must now bookmark it.

  70. 70 Mac said at 9:45 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    Wow… I just barely squeak into the Eagles zone… thank goodness!

    Thanks Eric for posting that map. That is cool!

  71. 71 Anonymous said at 4:18 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I just had a feeling that AR will bring the super bowl trophy to Philly.

    Am I crazy now???

  72. 72 Anonymous said at 4:59 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    No, you’re not crazy. Andy has a history with Green Bay. McCarthy might let him borrow it.

  73. 73 Anonymous said at 5:14 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Thanks bud. I was really worried though…

  74. 74 Anonymous said at 5:19 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    Pow! Boom! Right in the gut.

  75. 75 Anonymous said at 6:02 PM on December 14th, 2011:

    I think the deal for Smith was mostly made just to screw the Giants, which I support. It didn’t work out because Cruz filled his spot well, but I think the intentions behind the move were good.

  76. 76 Anonymous said at 6:00 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    The Eagles’ home record of 1-5 this year might be misleading. When looking at their record at the Linc since 2003 the Eagles have a decent 40-24 record with a 0.625 winning percentage.

    Indeed this makes me believe that this year’s terrible home record is only an anomaly with hopefully better things to come. A good start for the turnaround would be Sunday against the Jets (who are only 2-4 on the road by the way).

  77. 77 Brian said at 8:55 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    So, Tommy, and others, are we pretty much in agreement that there’s no chance DJax is back next year? He’s been a pain this year, but I still will hate to see him go and feel like that while DeSean has been immature this year, that the Eagles still botched the situation pretty badly.

  78. 78 Anonymous said at 9:02 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    I still think the Eagles FO is to blame more. They should have given Desean a contract extension before the season.

    Looks we’ll have a need at WR again. Great….

  79. 79 Anonymous said at 9:03 AM on December 15th, 2011:

    And it’s not like Jeremy Maclin is Mr. Reliable in terms of staying injury-free either!!!