Wednesday Night Stuff

Posted: December 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 27 Comments »

No one huge topic, but a few things to cover.  Kurt Coleman was placed on IR today.  The team hasn’t announced a replacement for his roster spot yet.  Jaiquawn Jarrett will start in his place on Sunday.  This actually is kind of a good thing.  We know what Kurt is.  Regular readers know he’s one of my favorite players so this isn’t anything against him.  It will be good to take a long look at Jarrett.  One game won’t give us any definitive answers, but it can provide some hints.

* * * * *

Let’s go back to the Spags rumors for a minute.  A reader sent me a link to an old story on Spags.  It is a great read for getting some background on him.  One of the elements in the story is about Spags frustration with Andy Reid not letting him leave for a DC job.

The next morning, Giants coach Tom Coughlin called. On Sunday, Spagnuolo drove to Giants Stadium, nailed the interview and was offered the job. When he returned to the Eagles complex, it was to pack up his belongings, not sign a contract, which would have been difficult because Spagnuolo felt Eagles coach Andy Reid had kept him from a promotion.

People close to Spagnuolo say he was in the running to become the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator in 2006, but Reid wouldn’t release him from his contract. Reid was worried that longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson would take a head-coaching job, and Reid wanted Spagnuolo to move into that slot.

But when Johnson dawdled, then decided he didn’t want to interview for any available head-coaching positions, Vikings coach Brad Childress already had hired Mike Tomlin. Spagnuolo was crushed.

“Those were probably the darkest days,” said a friend, who requested anonymity. “Working for the Eagles the last year was very tough for him.”

Blocking assistant coaches from moving on is a common practice.  Head coaches don’t want to lose valuable assistants unless they have a good replacement for them.  Clearly Big Red wanted Spags to take over for JJ back at that time.  When JJ didn’t leave, Spags was stuck as the LBs coach.  That was highly frustrating to a guy like him.  Spags joined the Eagles as an older guy and had less time to climb the ladder.

So, is he still angry with Reid?  Doubtful.  Reid was doing what was right for his team.  I’m sure Spags understands that now.  Reid let Pat Shurmur leave to be Spags OC with the Rams.  The Eagles had enough offensive coaches so losing Shurmur was something the team could handle.

Plus, Reid is great at mending fences.  Jeremiah Trotter stormed out of Philly back in early 2002.  He was furious with Andy Reid due to a contract squabble.  Reid kept in touch with Trot and he re-signed with the Eagles in 2004.  Trot is an adamant Reid supporter.  I’m sure Reid has stayed in touch with Spags on some level.  They may not be best friends, but I find it hard to believe that Spags still holds a grudge.  After all, it was Reid who gave him his biggest break when he brought Spags to the Eagles in 1999.  His prior job was DC of the Frankfurt Galaxy.

We’ll see how all of this plays out, but I doubt some grudge from 2006 is going to be any kind of serious issue.

* * * * *

Someone asked me if the Eagles could go after MLB London Fletcher as a free agent.  I’ve covered this before, but since he’s one of my favorite players, I’ll do it again.  Fletcher absolutely could be a target.  Here’s the thing.  The Eagles need to figure out if they think Casey Matthews or Jamar Chaney could be the long term answer at MLB.  If so, then the team could sign Fletcher to a 2-year deal and have him start, while also mentoring the young guys to take over when he retires/leaves.

If the Eagles have serious doubts about Chaney or Matthews ever being the starter, then they might be aggressive about finding a long term answer by signing a younger player or drafting someone early.

As for Fletcher, I would love to see him running around crushing things while wearing midnight green.  He’s the Brian Mitchell of MLBs.  I loved it when we stole Mitch away from the Skins back in 2000.  It would be cool to do that again.

27 Comments on “Wednesday Night Stuff”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 9:58 PM on December 28th, 2011:

    I would love to have London Fletcher, but he sounds like he wants to be a Redskin for life.

    “One game won’t give us any definitive answers.” <— Good point. Three didn't give us any about Chaney.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 2:06 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    You’re right about Fletcher, he’d love to lead the ‘Skins back to respectability.

    His mind can be changed by $$ and playoff possibility, however. I would love him here for 2 years and then figure out who is best to play MIKE.

    In the current state of the league, London is a 2-down player at best. He won’t play in nickel or dime and we see more teams playing nickel on 2nd down now.

  3. 3 Eric Weaver said at 10:54 PM on December 28th, 2011:

    I’d sign him and still draft Kuechly. haha

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 11:46 PM on December 28th, 2011:

    Please stop with the Chaney and Matthews. I know you are just saying “the Eagles have to decide” but lets not consider them as “pivotal” but a surprise if they can contribute as starters in 2012. We need to eliminate the unknown as much as we can in 2012. We treaded out this season with false assumptions and it cost us this season.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 8:23 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    Say what?

    “Please stop with Chaney & Matthews”? Do you read this site? I’ve ripped Jamar Chaney for the last 3 months. I’ve been plenty critical of Casey Matthews.

    Now, that doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t include the players in future plans. The team cannot count on them. And that isn’t what I wrote above. I made the point that if the Eagles still have hopes for them developing over time that the team can add a veteran LB who could help teach the young guys.

    That’s not a real complicated idea. Don’t try and twist it.

  6. 6 Steve H said at 9:01 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    I think most Eagles fans are pretty sick of the idea of “developing” our linebackers. It seems like we’ve been talking about hoping that most of our core could “develop” for several years now. Everyone from Akeem Jordan, Chris Gocong, Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, now Mathews… we’re constantly “developing” someone.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 9:29 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    too bad gocong has turned into a decent LB. kinda wish he was still here

  8. 8 Steve H said at 10:08 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    I dunno maybe he’s just in a better system in Cleveland, maybe they’re asking him to do different things there. He was always pretty good against the run.

    On the bright side, Rolle looks like a hit, so that means we might have 1 out of 3 linebacker spots figured out! 4 years later we’ve only got 2 to go !

  9. 9 Eric Weaver said at 11:54 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    It helps that he has somewhat better linebackers around him too. Especially Jackson.

  10. 10 Anders Jensen said at 2:06 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Gocong was a really really good run defender, he just couldnt cover anybody. There was a reason why he was projected as 3-4 OLB and not a 4-3 OLB.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 11:10 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    All teams are constantly “developing” players. Starters get old, leave in FA or get injured. And sometimes players just fall off the cliff unexpectedly.

    Basically, the key at LB is to find two solid starters, Bears have been exceptionally lucky with Urlacher and Briggs, not just because they’re exceptional, but because they’ve stayed healthy over a long period. But they’ve gone through a bunch of SLBs. Eagles should have signed Fletcher in 2002 instead of trying to resign Trotter, giving them an anchor at LB, but hindsight is 20/20.

    Right now they have a group of 5 young LBs who they’ve managed to fit into suitable roles. Question is how much can they improve and to what extend do they need to be upgraded. The fact that they’re giving up only 4.0 ypc the last 10 games suggests they’re no longer a disaster. Rolle seems set at WLB, Jordan is doing a decent job as a two down SLB, Matthews and Clayton are improving as nickel LBs. The one player who seems unsuited to his role is Chaney as the run down MLB. Replace Chaney with a better MLB and you not only improve the base defense but you also improve depth (a mediocre starter is good depth, since most backups aren’t even mediocre, or they’d be starting somewhere). Replacing Jordan is a lower priority, since you’re talking a player who’s only on the field for 45-50% of snaps.

    Given that all these LBs are green, even Jordan, with the most experience hasn’t played a lot at SLB, there is reason to believe that there will be some improvement next year, certainly Matthews and Clayton have progressed in the nickel role, Rolle is learning to play WLB after playing MLB in college. Chaney is tougher, he has great athleticism but doesn’t seem to have the instincts to play inside, WLB may well be his best position where he can run to plays instead of having to react quickly in traffic.

  12. 12 Steve H said at 4:09 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    I feel you, I think the basic feeling though is that we haven’t really been able to get any of these guys to pan out the way we’ve wanted them to, and thats why people have lost patience with the idea of waiting for them to develop. We’ve figured out a decent rotation atm, but it seems like every time we take a step forward with this group, they find a way to take a step backward at a later date. I guess what I’m saying is that people don’t have faith that this group will actually improve to the point where we’re happy with them. That could end up being totally bogus, but our track record thus far hasn’t been terrific, which I think is why people have lost patience.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 9:16 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    It has been a fustrating season for all of us. I am just trying to say let the Eagles find more credible skilled players to man our linebacker corps and at least 1 safety position. We are not a rebuilding team this season. Recovering injured players and rookies especially low round drafted rookies (and an inexperienced DC) should never have been counted on to help this team win this year.

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

    The first part of that section of the post is about us signing London Fletcher. He would be the MLB and could help the young guys develop for the future.


  15. 15 Anonymous said at 12:17 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    There’s no chance the Eagles would go to a 3-4. I can’t imagine a team missing nearly every piece needed.

    Except two: I think Mathews, whom I’ve been rooting for hard every game, is a natural WILB in the 3-4. I think he’s a natural blitzer, plays the pass pretty well, and would benefit enormously by having someone like Hali Ngata (and a couple big DEs) in front of him.

    Same for Chaney, to a lesser extent.

    As long as the Birds remain in the 4-3, they’d really benefit from a bit, athletic, nasty MCB — a Trotter or Ehrlacher type.

    The exception is an explosive, quick, fast, super-athletic, and ultra instinctual 230 lb MLB (out of college) like Ray Lewis — who come around once every lifetime, it seems. [In 1996, the Eagles had the 25th pick; the Ravens the 26th. The Birds chose Jermaine Mayberry, who game them 8 season — about 4 of which were pretty good to excellent. Lewis of course if still playing, although just about through.]


    I know you love the kid at MLB from BC: Kluechy (forgive the spelling).

    Is he in the ballpark a Ray Lewis . . . with the quickness, strength, and instincts — and I mean killer instincts — to compensate for a present lack of size

  16. 16 Jeremy S said at 1:02 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Fletcher has been playing for what seems like 100 years. But he plays the game right and is VERY durable. I’d still sign him for a few years, he’d be a good teacher for the younger guys and a good locker room guy too. He’d be a good defensive leader that this team needs.

  17. 17 Steve H said at 12:21 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    We can only pray that the Eagles plan for next year isn’t to let Mathews and Chaney battle it out for the right to be our MLB.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 2:15 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Tim Tebow approves of this post.

  19. 19 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 9:47 AM on December 29th, 2011:


    I know we’ve had defensive problems through most of the season, but can you count on Spags being better than Castillo? I know he won a Super Bowl, but other than that, what has he accomplished? If one SuperBowl ring makes you great, how about we hire Shanahan as well.

    I am not saying I don’t want Spags, I think I do. But how can we know he’ll be better than what we have?

    Can you make a post sometime about younger assistant defensive coaches who is on the rise? Is it even possible that Reid would be willing to take in a bunch of young coaches? Or will he go with veterans (because he only wants to be here for 1-3 more years). Or does Reid wants to stay here for another 10 (assuming Lurie lets him).

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 2:51 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Most of the best DCs are veteran guys. Think about how old Buddy Ryan, Bud Carson, and JJ were when they got here. Young guys can emerge on offense, but not so much on defense. Takes time for some reason.

    There aren’t a whole lot of young Def coaches I’m all that enamored with. The DB coach in Houston has done a great job, but I don’t think is DC material. Jim Tomsula is a great DL coach in SF, but again…not sure if he’s DC material. I’ll look around once the offseason gets here and I’ve got more spare time.

    Is Spags a slam dunk? No, but I trust him. Good track record.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 9:48 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    Don’t tease us about London Fletcher. We’ve had multiple opportunities to sign him and never pulled the trigger.
    I’d tell him “with the Eagles, your likelihood of making the Pro Bowl increases”

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 2:44 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Silly. Just ask him if he wants to be a member of Dream Team II: Electric Boogaloo. No mortal can refuse that.

  23. 23 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 9:55 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    On a side note: Would we’ve had the 35th pick in the draft if Kolb hadn’t been injured??? He started 1-6, and they are 6-2 without him. Is he sure of a starting position next year? Can Arizona cut him without losing too much money (if Wisenhunt is fired)?

  24. 24 Eric Weaver said at 12:36 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    They stated yesterday he was going to stay on. Last report I saw said they could release him prior to the new league year and only owe a few million still.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 2:45 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    Cards could cut him in Feb., but reportedly want to keep him. Remember that Kolb was new to the team and played early on when the whole team was struggling. I still think he’s got a good future.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 10:31 AM on December 29th, 2011:

    As for London Fletcher, do we really want to roll the dice on a 37 year old LB. The guy has been highly productive. In fact he is a rare player with regard to durability and age. However the end is going to happen at some point. Any Eagles fan knows that would happen after signing him to a good contract (LOL). In all honesty, I think the best we could or should do is a 2 year (or 5 year with 3 years voidable) and modest signing bonus.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 2:16 PM on December 29th, 2011:

    I think you absolutely roll the dice on a 1-2 yr deal.

    You know what you’re gonna get, effort and hustle on every play with a weakness in pass defense.

    I’d be all for signing London and drafting Kuechly.

    Go into 2012 with Fletcher at MIKE and let the other guys compete for the other spots (WILL, SAM, NICKEL).