Eagles Notebook

Posted: January 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 31 Comments »

Mixture of things today.  First, some personnel moves.  The Eagles re-signed CB Trevard Lindley yesterday.  Those who have followed me a while know that I was never a huge fan of his.  Didn’t like the pick.  Saw some flashes in 2010, but I never came away thinking we had a future starter.

Lindley was okay in the summer of 2011, but the talent around him had jumped substantially.  He was cut.  Lindley did not do anything to get cut.  It was simply a matter that the team had really upgraded CB.  His main competition was Brandon Hughes.  The difference there is that while Lindley was “okay”, Hughes looked really good.  He stood out at CB and on STs.  He showed the ability to play slot or outside and was very good as the gunner.

I was shocked that no one signed Lindley.  Again, this isn’t a guy who stunk up the joint.  He just failed to stand out, hardly the world’s worst sin.  I think signing him is a good move.  Lindley gets another chance to show what he can do.  He does have potential.  Quality kid.  Just has to raise his game.  If things don’t work out, no harm, no foul.

The Eagles also re-signed Dallas Reynolds.  He’s a G/C type who’s been on the Practice Squad a few years (since Kotite maybe?).  He’s a poor man’s Mike McGlynn, if that puts things in perspective.  Good practice player, but not much (if any) of an NFL future.

Interesting note from Dave Spadaro.  He said on Eagles Live that the team is high on rookie Stanley Havili, a FB from USC.  Havili had serious shoulder issues that hurt him as a Senior and then last summer.  Havili is a gifted pass catcher.  If his shoulder is completely healthy and he improves as a blocker, he could be an interesting option at FB or even big RB.

* * * * *

Links of interest.

PE-com… Importance of players having confidence heading into the offseason

SB Nation Philly … An in-depth look at Steve Spagnuolo

Mr. Kapadia also has some thoughts up on Spags.  He covers some interesting stuff in terms of blitzes.

* * * * *

Back to the subject of Lurie accepting failure for a minute.  Some people think I failed to address that part of the topic in yesterday’s post.

I don’t think keeping the status quo in terms of GM, coach, etc. means that Lurie is accepting failure.  Remember that Lurie said he had high expectations for next season.  If Reid doesn’t meet them, there will be a coaching change.

Lurie’s “punishment” for Reid is that his goodwill savings account was emptied.  It took Reid years to build that up and it is all gone.  He’s now a short timer.  Don’t dismiss the importance of that.  Reid went from being a tenured professor to one who has to publish or perish.

Lurie didn’t make specific demands and that was wise.  We want a Super Bowl, but trying to define a good season is complicated.  What if the team goes 15-1, but loses in the SB on a Hail Mary?  What if the team goes 9-7, sneaks into the playoffs, and then wins the SB?  We need to see how 2012 plays out to judge whether it was a good season.  The ultimate goal is the SB, but there are varying degrees of success under that.

I think Reid needs to:

* Win 12 games  and/or
* Win the NFC East and/or
* Have a bye in the playoffs and/or
* Advance to the NFC title game

Anything less than that will likely be considered a failure and cost him his job.  Backing into a division title at 9-7 and losing in the first round of the playoffs isn’t going to cut it.   The Eagles need to get back to being one of the best teams in the league.  Period.

As for Howie and Joe…I don’t think any of us expect Banner to be fired.  He’s still a very good contracts guy.  Howie is a subject I’ll address next week.  I think Lurie sees a talented roster and that’s why Howie stays.

* * * * *

Per Tony Pauline, who is very good with this kind of info, Luke Kuechly is strongly considering staying in school.  BC had a terrible year and Luke wants to change that.  He loves the place and his teammates.  I think Luke should absolutely come out.  He’s ready for the NFL.  His stock is as high as it will ever get.  We’ll see what happens.

I don’t have a set backup plan to Kuechly.  I’m watching lots of LB tape to see who else I like.

* * * * *

I’ve gotten quite a few questions about Mike Vick.  I’ll be writing a post on him at some point.  He must be better in 2012.  He must stay on the field.  We can’t compete for a Super Bowl with a repeat performance of 2011.  Long subject that I’ll get to after the DC stuff settles down.

* * * * *

Oddball note…there was a report on Twitter last night that Raheem Morris was dining with some members of the Skins front office.  Morris and Kyle Shanahan know each other from earlier days in Tampa.  Could something else be up?  They already have Jim Haslett running the defense.  He runs a scheme that is nothing like what Morris ran at Tampa.  Maybe the Skins are going after him as a DBs coach/Assistant HC.  We’ll see.

31 Comments on “Eagles Notebook”

  1. 1 Jonathan said at 4:11 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Great post and links. I still like the idea of Spags as a Asst HC-Defense, or something of that ilk. And, admittedly I don’t know the personalities involved or the ins and outs of being a DC in the NFL, but logically I don’t see why Spags couldn’t come in and help tweak the defense without overhauling it, even though he is more of a blitz-reliant coach than Castillo/Washburn. I mean, doesn’t the idea of using the front 4 to get pressure on 1st and 2nd down, only to unleash some blitzes on 3rd and long, or when the other team gets to the RZ make sense?

    Or, give JC the Asst HC-Defense title, and make one of his responsibilities being the one to do the after game press conferences. I’ve never heard anyone in the media say anything bad about JC. Maybe he could build back some of the good will that 13 years of AR press conferences have depleted.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 4:15 PM on January 5th, 2012:


    Three questions for you.

    FIRST, regarding Roseman, you wrote that you believe Laurie sees a talented roster so therefore Roseman’s safe. QUESTION: Among the players under age 30 on the current roster, who are in the *Top 3* at their position in the NFC or *Top 5* in the NFL — besides Trent Cole and, I’d argue, Jason Kelse.

    SECOND: Any thoughts about Jay Gruden as a head coach? He seems like he could end be an Andy Reid-type somewhere—lengthy tenure, lots of success, and very good with QBs . . . as long as he’s not like his brother in terms of interacting with the rest of management.

    THIRD: O’Brien possibly as Penn State’s next HC? Whaddya think? WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

  3. 3 Drew McAuliffe said at 4:18 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    On your first point, that’s kind of a high bar. Having top 10 talent in the league is commendable enough at certain positions. And you can’t just dismiss Kelce, since he should count. Also, if we’re grading Howie, you have to take into account free agent picks as well. People like Jenkins and Babin may be over 30 but they were brought here by Howie. You can’t cherry-pick results if you’re trying to do a fair evaluation of the guy.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 4:37 PM on January 5th, 2012:


    A couple things.

    First, I did list Kelce as a Top-5 in the NFL center . . . I think he’s great. The kid reminds me of, and I think has the potential to equal, Dwayne Stephenson and Dermotti Dawson — both HOF quality centers. (I added McCoy, too, via an edit — who is #1 in the NFL, in my view).

    Second, my point — and I’m sorry if it wasn’t apparent — is to get T-Law to gauge how the Eagles’ roster stacks up for the “under 30” group.

    I’m not attacking Roseman — since the question covers essentially the past 6 drafts.

    I’m just trying to get a bearing on where the Birds’ stand with the guys who will be here for the next 3-6 years.

  5. 5 Drew McAuliffe said at 6:15 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Gotcha, and sorry. My mind goes numb after reading the moronic posts at Philly.com so I can’t recognize a legit question when I see one.

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 4:37 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    1. Shady is arguably the best RB in the league. Maclin is a very good WR, but not elite. Jason Kelce has excellent potential, but must get bigger, stronger. Antonio Dixon is a guy who flashed major talent in 2010, but was slow to adjust to the W-9. DRC at his best is one of the top CBs in the league. Jason Peters turns 30 in a couple of weeks and is no longer eligible for this talk. Trying to rank Top 3 and Top 5 by position is tricky unless you thoroughly study all 32 teams. I split my time between college and the NFL.

    The Eagles do have some good young talent. One big problem is that we don’t know what to make of it right now (for various reasons). 2012 will be a huge season for a lot of these guys as we try to figure out who’s really good, who’s adequate, and who is still developing and/or needs to be replaced.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 4:40 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    2. No real thoughts on Jay. Haven’t studied him close enough. He’s not just riding Jon’s name. Their dad was a scout for a long time so these guys know the game. Jay has lots of AFL experience/knowledge. Maybe that has helped him to be creative.

    3. Bill O’Brien is a guy I’ve known about for years. I live in ACC country. He was part of a great staff at Ga Tech. He then worked at Duke when Belichick hired him away. Good coach. Odd background. Not sure if he’s right for the job, but it sounds like a ton of people turned it down.

    Key isn’t to hire the biggest name, but rather the right guy. We’ll see.

  8. 8 Mac said at 5:06 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    I think this may be the first time I have heard anyone argue that the Eagles aren’t loaded with talent so I’m confused…

    Possibly the most talent laden D-line depth in the NFL.

    Solid corners… I believe that Nnamdi, DRC, and Hughes will be more than adequate, possibly a very good trio next season.

    Weak LB… though the rotational method covered some flaws. Rolle looks to be a good contributor going forward.

    Solid safeties… Allen and Coleman are not elite, but with health and a real off-season to improve, I think we have a good pair. Jury is out on Jarrett.

    Very Good O-line… Peters is one of the elites on this team. Mathis is rated highly by pro-football focus. Kelce is good with flashes of brilliance to come, Watkins needs some work but both he and Herrimans are good linemen.

    Very Good Receiver corps… These guys have been better than just solid. Sure we had some key drops this year, but it hasn’t been chronic like it was in the past. I add Celek and Harbor to this list because they are good (not great TEs)

    Elite RB… McCoy, unknown but great potential with D Lewis

    Very Good QB: Vick (obviously very good, not as good when he coughs up the ball so I’m not willing to call him Elite), not sure what we have with Kafka yet, but I believe he’s a smart and physically capable QB.

    Again, outside of LB, I’m just not seeing the lack of talent…

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 5:38 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    I think the original comment focused on players *under the age of 30* — not all players.

  10. 10 James Coe said at 6:11 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    But this team is expected to win now. The number of players under the age of 30 is not the most relevant metric to be assessing them by. Obviously it’s important to keep an eye to the future, but there’s still plenty of time to start working other guys in.

    It’s also worth considering that we have quite a few guys under the age of 30 that are yet to reach elite levels, but there’s no telling where they’ll get to in the next couple years.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 8:23 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Excellent Post. Allen has been inconsistent but does have a high upside. Agree Celek isn’t great but over the last half of season approached elite. Harbor look solid. Their best red zone offense now is the two-TE set. Thought Chaney had potential but didn’t improve and they can’t wait. MLB is top need followed by SLB. I do think Rolle can be more than adequate. They are not far away if Vick can cut his turnovers > 50% and stay healthy.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 4:21 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Tommy, I have a question about hiring Spags. Say we do hire Spags, fire Castillo, and Spags does not want to work with defensive line coach Jim Washburn. We fire him, and Spags adopts his own scheme. Could this potentially anger some of our players who succeeded greatly in the “Wide-9″(looking at Jason Babin). To my understanding, the main reason Babin wanted to come here was because of Washburn and the Wide-9. He flourished in that scheme. Would that negate what he brings as a pass rusher and player? Would he be angry over the firing and want to leave? I want a successful defense, but I wouldn’t want to anger the man who just got 18 sacks…

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 4:42 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Spags got good production from Osi, who is hardly a physical run stuffer. I’m sure Spags could find a way to use Babin as a pass rusher.

    There could be a marriage of the W-9 and Spags system. This isn’t some combination of the 4-3 and 3-4 that simply doesn’t make sense. The W-9 is based on 1-gap DL that attack. Spags system is based on 1-gap DL that attack. Difference is alignment and angles as much as anything.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 4:42 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Great question.

    And I hope Reid — and his successors — keep the W-9. But just upgrade at LB and safety as needed. And tinker with 3rd-down blitzes . . . like JC was doing in the last quarter of the season.

    I think Washburn’s shown the W-9 can make great players out of guys who might be less productive in more conventional defenses.

    (Of course, he also showed how important having quality LBs is, too.)

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 8:06 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    The Wide 9 gave the Eages the most sacks this season. If Spags, or anyone, comes in, I think he’d need a helluva’ arguement to change what Wash has created.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 4:39 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    As far as a good season, looking at next year’s schedule, if teams as good as they look on paper, 10-6 would be a solid season, I have a simple rule, beat almost all the weak sisters (at least 80%) and split with the 10+ win teams, next year that might get you 10-11 wins. The key is being able to beat top teams, Cincy made the playoffs but was 0-7 against playoff teams (in that division, you have to go at least 1-3 against Balt and Pitt to be taken seriously).

    Howie didn’t maximize value in the 2010 draft, that’s a knock, but he did do a good job from the middle of the 4th. However, he has made some mistakes in the first 3 rounds (forget the injuries, skipping guys like Graham, Burnett, Bowman, Sheppard, etc). He seems to have a better feel for safe starter types than high upside talent. Maybe he should rethink the “Modrak only take ’em from big schools with lots of experience” school of CYA drafting.

    They’ve also added too many stiffs to the 80 man roster, you know, the guys like Reynolds, Fountain or Hamler who have zero shot of being anything more than camp fodder. I think everyone on the roster should have a legitimate shot at making the final 53, or they should be replaced. Better a talented small college athlete who’s raw than a polished mediocrity from a big school. Though I do like Cooper, I put injury guys with talent when healthy from big schools in the same category as good athletes from small schools. Same with guys like Brackett who are switching to more suitable positions (most big WRs just aren’t sudden enough for the NFL, as a TE he’s an above average athlete, though there’s this little thing called blocking he needs to master).

    I like Havili, and I’m glad they’re keeping him around. I really think his future is as the big WCO RB who can fill in at FB, but he’s doesn’t look like he’s big enough to be a “I” FB, and if you bulk him up, you lose the athleticism you want him to retain as a runner and receiver. Eagles could use a big back in passing situations who can pass block, catch dump offs and run draws. McCoy isn’t a good enough blocker and Schmitt, well bless his heart, he just lacks any sort of offensive skills.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 4:52 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Tommy, I’ve liked this series on CSN all year but was curious what you thought of the latest article: http://www.csnphilly.com/blog/eagles-talk/post/Under-Review-On-film-Eagles-didnt-improv?blockID=625160&feedID=704

    They always seem to point out specific plays to back up their points and if what the latest article says is true, it may change my opinion on Castillo staying or going…

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 5:00 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Bad article. I was going to cover that in a post. Their logic is highly flawed. I don’t understand why people can’t be critical of the Eagles in a smart way. Didinger is a great writer. Baldy knows football. I’ll save my comments for a post since I’m sure more than a few people have read that article.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 5:33 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Sorry Tommy…but I agree with this article…both the RB’s of the Skins played hurt…hobbling in and out…and in spite of that they could not stop the run…I immediately notice Casey Mathews at MLB and he was clueless….if people think the D was fixed with those 4 games they are fools….Roseman has drafted some major duds which in a short time we will see will no longer be in the NFL…I agree the D had some good moments in the last 4 games but thinking this team going up against the likes of the Saints, Packers or Pats…they would get humiliated!!

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 8:09 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    It seemed likie Matthews was on the field a lot. I imagine the coaches wanted to give him more playing time, they must still believe in his potential. Looking forward to the DGR for his evaluation.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 8:34 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    I agree bad article. I think Ray like so many in the press has a problem with Andy that leaks into their coverage and there is also a herd mentality thing happening. I’d bet $1K if Jaws and Greg Cosel wanted they could take the direct opposite positions and find tape to make their points. Royste’s 5.7 yd average was ugly but his average for the year was 5.9yds. The kid can play.

  22. 22 Eric Weaver said at 10:58 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    I still think we were getting poor play from Vick and bad tackling and the poor tackling was definitely still there in the ‘skins game.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 5:09 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Here come the “draft Burfict at 15 if Luke stays in school….do you see his edited 3
    Min highlight tape on YouTube?!? Dudes a beast!!!”.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 5:18 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Let’s make Burfict the first 255-pound SS in NFL history.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 6:41 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Nickel DT!

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 7:19 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Both! SS on run downs, DT on pass plays. So dumb that it just might work.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 5:35 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    this statement sums it up:

    “They can sugarcoat it all they want, but if they really think they are ready to play at the level of the elite teams, they’re delusional.”

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 5:46 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    True . . . but add a QB in his prime who plays like Peyton Manning and you’d have a SB contender. [What Manning and Brady do for their teams — and maybe Brees and Rodgers, too — is incredible. Talk about a QB-driven league.]

    Are any QBs like that available?

  29. 29 James Coe said at 6:17 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    I say we should trade all 10 picks in the upcoming draft to Indy for the 1st overall and take Luck. He’d take us to the SB!

    (mostly joking)

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 8:26 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Mike, you’re back!

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 9:16 PM on January 5th, 2012:

    Couple things I hope you hit on with your future Vick post. First, obviously the drop off in performance is very concerning but is it all on Vick? I look at Green Bay and I’ve said all year that their success is three parts; A-Rod, and his weapons but must importantly the scheme implemented by McCarthy. GB vs DET with Flynn at the reins, showed very little to no drop off. Yes yes I know its an extremely small sample size but you see where I ‘m going with this. W/ out McCarthy offensive scheme I’m not sure GB’s offense is as successful on a consistent basis. Also, I noticed especially in the last 3-4 games when Vick had all day in the pockets he was still having trouble finding and hitting open receivers. You would think with the speed we have that a QB with ample time in the pocket would pick defenses apart all day. Not the case. Obviously I don’t have the film access like you but it just seems to be a lack of creativity and maybe even urgency on Marty’s behalf? Look forward to your next post Tommy.