Trusting The Eagles?

Posted: January 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 75 Comments »

Yesterday I made the comment that while I preferred Luke Kuechly as a MLB out of the draft, I would trust the Eagles if they preferred Donta Hightower and took him over Kuechly.  A few people wondered how I could trust the Eagles after some past blunders.  After all, they just got MLB wrong in 2011.

Here’s the thing…the Eagles tried to fill the spot with a mid-round player.  We can dispute the merits of that thought process, but the key at this point is acknowledging that the plan failed.  To me (and most fans), the failure to have good MLB play in 2011 means that the team must have more of a “sure thing” approach.  I think they need to add a proven veteran in free agency or trade or that the team needs to spend a Top 50 pick on a MLB.  I have preferences within those groups, but I won’t be furious with the team if they choose someone else as long as the player fits the “sure thing” description.

Clearly there is no such thing as a true sure thing.  I use that phrase to mean a player who has the size, experience, talent, and/or athletic ability to get the job done.  Casey Matthews was more of a project.

Casey played for Oregon, a team with an explosive offense.  As a Senior, the Ducks were only held under 37 points twice all year.  In 7 games they had 48 or more points.  That meant Casey played in a lot of shootouts and usually with the lead.  Heck, they didn’t play a truly close game until November.  Casey was allowed to blitz a lot.  He had good coverage skills.  Dealing with inside runs just wasn’t something he had to do a ton of.

Now the situation calls for someone who is more of a plug ‘n play solution.  That’s why I love Luke Kuechly so much.  He played at BC.  They run a pro style offense and defense.  That means games where he was in situations that he’ll face in the NFL.  Luke can blitz, but it wasn’t something he did with regularity.  His job at BC was to roam the middle and make tackles.  He is a pure LB.  He’s not an athlete playing LB.  He’s not an overgrown Safety or undersized DE that got shifted there.  He’s a LB.

Casey wasn’t a tackling machine at Oregon.  He finished his career with 123 solo stops.  Kuechly had 102 solo tackles in 2011.  That should illustrate just how different these players are.  The two players are very similar in most other categories.  The big difference is that Kuechly is a guy that gets to the ball over and over and over.  He has good vision and great instincts.

Hightower isn’t a tackling machine.  He finished his career with just 101 solo stops.  However, that number must be put into proper context.  First, Bama had a great defense and that meant fewer chances for tackles.  If the opponent goes 3 and out you just aren’t going to pile up big numbers.  Also, Donta played 3-4 ILB.  That means sharing tackles with the other ILB.  MLBs are going to have more tackles.  Finally, Donta played DE in a lot of Nickel and Dime sets.  That took away more chances for tackles (and INTs).

Hightower is special in some ways.  I think he’s the best hitter in the whole draft.  He can just devastate guys with big hits.  Hightower has the burst and skills to be an effective pass rusher.  Hightower is also a huge ILB.  He lists at 6’4, 260.  Might actually be heavier than that.

There are some questions about him, but he’s not a project in the sense that Casey Matthews was.  Let’s compare the numbers from the two of them in their final college season:

Matthews – 79 total tackles, 9 TFLs, 3 sacks, 3 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 FF, 3 QB hurries
Hightower – 85 total tackles, 11 TFLs, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 1 FF, 8 QB hurries, 1 blocked kick

The numbers are very similar, but Casey got his while protecting some huge leads.  Donta got his while being the key figure on a defense that finished 1st in the nation vs the run, pass, overall, and in points allowed.  I think Brent Musburger said the other night that Bama gave up just 9 TDs all year long.  That’s not good defense.  It is dominant, stifling defense.

While there are similarities between the two players, Hightower is much more NFL ready.  He’s got the size and strength for the NFL right now.  Hightower is much more of a physical LB than Matthews was.  Hightower’s used to playing in a complex defensive scheme.  He’s used to having multiple roles.  Hightower would have some definite adjustments to make if the Eagles took him, but the transition would be less than what it was for Matthews.

If the Eagles spend the proper resources on MLB and don’t make some ridiculous reach, I’ll be fine with who they choose.  If the team tries to go for another mid-round guy and pass him off as the answer, that will be a different story.  I’ll be irate.  And I acknowledge that is possible.  When it comes to LBs, the Eagles have a bad track record.  I really feel like things are different this year, but that doesn’t mean squat until we see them address the problem the way they need to.  I don’t blame anyone out there who doubts the Eagles when it comes to LBs.

* * * * *

There have been several recent questions about Stewart Bradley and whether he could return to the Eagles.  I’m open to bringing him back, but we can’t count on him for anything.  Disco Stew was very good in 2008.  He tore up his knee in the summer of 2009 and missed the whole season.  He came back in 2010, but was a shell of his former self.  I thought his knee looked okay.  He didn’t trust it and avoided contact to keep guys from hitting it.  The Eagles had some interest in bringing him back on a tryout type deal, but Arizona ponied up big bucks for Stew.  Didn’t work for either side.  He had just one start and 21 solo tackles on the year.  Now the Cards may cut him.

I’m fine with bringing him back to compete with a rookie for the MLB job.  I’m open to having Stew compete for the SAM job.  The last time he played well was 2008 so you simply can’t count on him for anything.  I was a big fan of his and would love to see him turn his career around, whether as an Eagle or elsewhere.

2012 will be a make or break year for his career.  He must show he trusts the knee and can be a physical LB.  260-pound guys aren’t allowed to be finesse LBs.  No word yet on if the Cards will cut him.  It is possible, but they may keep him til after the draft to see what happens or even through training camp as insurance.  There could be some dates in his contract where he’s due bonuses and that could expedite the situation.  We’ll see what happens with him.


  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    Do you have any FA or someone you would particularly go after in trade?

    • Anonymous

      Several FAs are interesting. London Fletcher is the band-aid guy. Short term fix. Curtis Lofton is the young guy who could be the long term answer. Stephen Tulloch is a guy I’m back and forth on. D’Qwell Jackson is a player I’ve liked since college, but he has some injuries in his background. He was healthy in 2011 and played lights out.

      • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

        Is Lofton a FA or trade target? He’s a player I like quite a bit and seems to be an ideal solution to this problem. I’d actually like to see them sign someone like him and still draft an OLB.

        • Anonymous

          FA. I don’t have any trade targets right now.

  • Cliff Hall

    What are our thoughts on Dion Lewis? Is he a guy who sticks around and takes on the back-up role or is he vulnerable to be replaced by someone in the draft?

    I guess I’m wondering – is he Ryan Moats or does he have a real shot at having a role on this team?

    • Anonymous

      Eagles like Dion quite a bit.

      Ryan struggled to learn the playbook. Good guy, but just wasn’t smart enough for the NFL. I loved him as a runner, but that’s not enough in the NFL.

      Dion could be the primary backup in 2012.

      • Anonymous

        Question is whether Havili can be the power back.

        Both McCoy and Lewis have serious questions when it comes to pass blocking, and keeping Vick vertical is key to the 2012 season.

        So I’d like a “Weaver” type in the backfield on passing downs who can pick up blitzes and be a credible outlet target (Schmitt does NOT quality).

        There were a couple late round picks last year who fit that role (I think Saine – GB and Fannin – Den as well as Bradford), are there going to any 6’0 220 lb RBs who are mediocre runners but good blockers and receivers with open field speed we could pick up?

  • Anonymous

    Trying Casey Matthews was a legitimate experiement. Any thoughts on why it took the coaches so long to recognize he wasn’t up to it? Seems like most of us could tell early on.

    • Anonymous

      I think because of the shortened offseason they were more patient and kept hoping the light would go on.

      Also, he did get better each game. He was never good enough, but he was headed in the right direction. I think that factored into the thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me that if the Eagles drafted Hightower/Kuechly or signed Curtis Lofton — and those guys played like Dick Butkus and Ray Lewis combined — it won’t matter unless . . . the DTs get consistent penetration on running plays.

    The Eagles LBs looked fine this year every time the DTs played well.

    If your DTs are lousy, it won’t matter who the MLB is.

    Just ask Bill Bergey, circa ’74-’75.

    • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Sjampen

      Cullen Jenkins wa sthe best DT in the league vs. the run and number 5 pass rushing, with Landri being 6. Patt would have had to be awful for your premise to be true, and we both know he wasn’t.

      I agree that you need good DL play to stop the run, but we did have that this year. Patt, Jenkins and Cole are all very good vs. the run, and Babin is better than people seem to give him credit for. We do however lack a linebacker with true NFL talent. Rolle might get there, but currently we don’t have a LB that couldn’t be upgraded “pretty easily” .

      • Anonymous

        DT play picked up after Landri entered the rotation, and improved as Patterson lost weight and got more mobile. This matches up pretty well with when the run defense stiffened.

        However, if you saw Lynch run through our LBs, an upgrade is in order.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

      Eagles DTs were pretty damn good last year. I don’t think line play wasn’t the problem with our LBs. The line scheme was a little bit, but not the performance.

      • Anonymous

        Generally, the Eagles DTs played well.

        But, as T-Law’s DGRs documented, when the DTs’ play stood out, the defense played especially well.

        When the DTs didn’t, the defense didn’t.

        The Eagles’ DTs did not dominate week in and week out. They just didn’t.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

          Well it’s the NFL, the other guys get paid too.

          • Anonymous

            That’s exactly why more talented LBs are needed

          • Anonymous

            Wait… what?

            I thought the LBs didn’t matter?

          • Anonymous

            You’re lawyering my comment.

            That aside, the point is — since both teams get paid — wouldn’t it help to have good LBs so that when the DTs aren’t dominating, the defense isn’t playing like a complete sieve? The Eagles seemed to prove that this year.

            Lawyer that up.

          • Anonymous

            Totally. I thought the whole point of this discussion thread was that you were claiming it didn’t matter if we had Butkis and Lewis behind our DTs.

            I fully expected your comment to be that that is why we need better DTs, then you switched up and concluded in direct contradiction to your initial comment that began the discussion.

  • Anonymous

    I watched Bradley start against the ‘Skins for the Cards and he was physically manhandled. He is a waste of size, though quite useful on special teams.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy, I told you Matthews wouldn’t work last year, too small and slow, and those great instincts never showed up (how would anyone know given Oregon’s defense?). Unfortunately, the same criticisms apply to Jarrett, but I’ll give him another year. To be fair to Casey, he looked decent in the nickel and has a change to be another Gaither, a solid reserve you don’t want to start for you. That’s the same reason I don’t want D’Qwell, a tackling machine as a ILB who I suspect will be exposed at MLB (how many ILBs have successfully converted to MLB? (It seems more 4-3 LBs make the successful conversion to ILB as they age and slow down, Spikes, Barnett, etc). MLB requires more range and all around skill than ILB.

    I’ll have to see how Hightower tests out, the fact they moved him to DE in the nickel counsels against him being a 3 down MLB in the pros, in that case he might be better as a 2 down LB (but how high do you draft a guy you take off the field for 40% of the snaps?). With a projection, you want him to at least demonstrate the athleticism to make the shift and cover on passing downs. If he shows the requisite athleticism in tests and position drills, then you take the gamble knowing your downside is still pretty decent.

    Bradley makes sense at SLB, we only have our SLB play about 45% of snaps, so all he has to do is be solid against the run and adequate in coverage, something I think he can be at SLB. I don’t think he has the instincts to be a read and react MLB, that, not his knee, was his problem in 2010. But if healthy he should be an upgrade over Jordan at that spot.

    The real mistake the Eagles made was taking Matthews instead of a SLB prospect, and spending training camp coaching Chaney up at SLB. By the time he switched over in the 3rd game, he had spent this whole period at SLB, and regressed as a MLB from the end of 2010. Certainly worth bringing back to compete for both MLB and WLB.

    If they can’t sign someone like Hawthorne, I’d pick up Grant or Goff or someone else as a low cost insurance policy to compete with Chaney going into the draft, while Luke may be the optimal solution, shit happens, so the old Boy Scout motto applies – “Be prepared.”

  • Anonymous

    Tommy, I told you Matthews wouldn’t work last year, too small and slow, and those great instincts never showed up (how would anyone know given Oregon’s defense?). Unfortunately, the same criticisms apply to Jarrett, but I’ll give him another year. To be fair to Casey, he looked decent in the nickel and has a chance to be another Gaither, a solid reserve you don’t want to start for you. That’s the same reason I don’t want D’Qwell, a tackling machine as a ILB who I suspect will be exposed at MLB (how many ILBs have successfully converted to MLB? (It seems more 4-3 LBs make the successful conversion to ILB as they age and slow down, Spikes, Barnett, etc). MLB requires more range and all around skill than ILB.

    I’ll have to see how Hightower tests out, the fact they moved him to DE in the nickel counsels against him being a 3 down MLB in the pros, in that case he might be better as a 2 down LB (but how high do you draft a guy you take off the field for 40% of the snaps?). With a projection, you want him to at least demonstrate the athleticism to make the shift and cover on passing downs. If he shows the requisite athleticism in tests and position drills, then you take the gamble knowing your downside is still pretty decent.

    Bradley makes sense at SLB, we only have our SLB play about 45% of snaps, so all he has to do is be solid against the run and adequate in coverage, something I think he can be at SLB. I don’t think he has the instincts to be a read and react MLB, that, not his knee, was his problem in 2010. But if healthy he should be an upgrade over Jordan at that spot.

    The real mistake the Eagles made was taking Matthews instead of a SLB prospect, and spending training camp coaching Chaney up at SLB. By the time he switched over in the 3rd game, he had spent this whole period at SLB, and regressed as a MLB from the end of 2010. Certainly worth bringing back to compete for both MLB and WLB.

    If they can’t sign someone like Hawthorne, I’d pick up Grant or Goff or someone else as a low cost insurance policy to compete with Chaney going into the draft, while Luke may be the optimal solution, shit happens, so the old Boy Scout motto applies – “Be prepared.”

  • Anonymous

    Von Burfict — if he wasn’t a head case — would be a great early 2nd round pick.

    My guess is he’ll end up with someone like the Ravens . . . and flourish at some point in that system.

    Are the Ravens the best team at handling talented head cases? I can’t think of another one at the moment.

    Sort of like the Raiders of the late-60′s to the late 80′s.

    I don’t know how much that’s because of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. But both of those guys are gone in a year or two, it looks like, and that’s really going to change the Ravens’ defense — IMHO.
    _______________

    T-LAW:

    I’ve watch the youtube Kuechly highlights. Reminds me a taller, more rangy Zach Thomas. Great nose for the ball.

    Is Kuechly a 3-down MLB?

    If not, do you spend the 15th pick in Rd 1 on the kid?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Coe/749860957 James Coe

      Do we need a 3-down MLB? With the amount of time we spend in the nickel, it would seem that it’s not so much of an issue. What we really need is a guy to stand in the middle and not let the big man run past him – Kuechly can do that :-)

    • Anonymous

      I think Kuechly can play in the Nickel. Not sure about the Dime.

    • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Sjampen

      I would be really scared if we drafted Burfict. Not only is he a immature head case, but he gets stuck on blocks and struggle to read the play. Reminds me of a chicken with its head cut off. Burfict need to learn to study and prepare from a great LB and thats certainly not us. Hes interesting because of his physique, just not to us.

  • Anonymous

    The Niners are laying the wood today. Fun watching that defense fly around and pop guys.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

      Yeah they are! Harbaugh couldn’t have scripted this 1st Q any better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    Am I the only one who finds the whole conversation about “trusting” the team a little ridiculous? I saw the comment Tommy’s referring to yesterday too and considered saying something then. It’s overly dramatic for discussing a game. Trust implies the trusted party must be careful not to let you down. There’s something about it that smacks of being a fair-weather fan to me, too.

    I feel like we’re letting Angelo Cataldi frame the debate when we talk about “trust,” because unless they win an SB, the team has let you down, and what’s worse than someone who let down your “trust”? Leave that word to the world of talk radio drama queens.

    • Anonymous

      Dude, I don’t know about all that. This is simply me talking about how I’d feel if they chose one rookie LB over another. Wasn’t meant to be anything more than that.

    • Cliff Hall

      I agree to the extent that Eagles Nation is constantly having this macro vs. micro debate about the Eagles. When Tommy says he trusts the Eagles to draft a good LB in the first round, it all of a sudden becomes a debate about whether or not the Eagles have ever drafted a good LB and whether or not the front office is any good. A lot of readers seemed to look at his comment and interpret it as if Tommy was making a statement about the Eagles as an organization.

      In other words, talking Eagles is like talking politics these days.

      • R G

        Well said Cliff Hall. Talking Eagles is supposed to be fun right???

        Whether Tommy is right or wrong is not as important is being able to read a strong opinion on the Eagles. The man has a pretty good track record of dissecting the big picture. Statistically, his mock draft abilities are amazing. That being said, his love of PBR is unable to be defended. Disgusting. Seriously, a terrible beer.

        As a huge fan of the SEC, I can tell you that Mark Barron and Hightower will be very good NFL players. I have been on the Barron bandwagon all season. He is a good good cover man and a great tackler. I am not sure he is worth the 15th pick but I would love to see him in Eagles green. Hightower is a very good and tough player. I don’t understand the Eagles scheme well enough to know if he is a good fit. Like Tommy, I trust the Eagles to make the right decision. That being said, I have this feeling the Eagles will pick a DT.

        • Anonymous

          Good points, especially about the beer.

          By the way, I’d love to see your grandson in Eagles green.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

        Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m picking up.

    • Anonymous

      Dude cataldi would tell u that when the eagles miss on a early draft pick that the eagles r disrespecting u and ur mom and u shouldn’t stand for it. And if Reid doesn’t give a good interview then he hates the fans. But somehow his garbage works on some people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    Sub 10 in Baaasten tonight. Jesus better send Tebow a coat. I don’t think he’s played in anything like this yet (despite playing in Denver).

    • Anonymous

      Hopefully, it will not be technicolor and rainbow.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy, this sums it up quite perfectly:

    “If the Eagles spend the proper resources on MLB and don’t make some ridiculous reach, I’ll be fine with who they choose. If the team tries to go for another mid-round guy and pass him off as the answer, that will be a different story. I’ll be irate. And I acknowledge that is possible. “

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    If Alex Smith had pulled a Westbrook on his TD run, they coulda run out most of the clock and kicked a game-winning field goal.

    • Anonymous

      49ers fan in the office suggested that. I say always take a TD, especially if you have a great defense. Obviously my advice was horrible in this case, because they needed to drive down and score again … but with the TD the worst they could go was go down by a FG, while they gave themselves a chance to go up 7 with the 2pc … I think making the Saints go the full length of the field as opposed to having Brees drive for a tying FG was wise.

      Did anybody notice how the 49ers had a timeout left in case Vernon Davis was tackled short of the end zone on that route? I didn’t know you were allowed to keep one for such instances.

    • Anonymous

      Someone mentioned this on Twitter. I’m of the belief you always score when trailing. Don’t take a chance on the one in a million screw-up (i.e. Romo’s botched hold back in 2006).

      • Anonymous

        That’s what I was getting at. As sure a thing is Akers is, something can always go wrong. If you can score a TD — WHEN TRAILING — do it. Especially when they had a chance to make it a 7-point game with the conversion.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

          Those are great rules of thumb and I don’t disagree for most games. But when you’re playing Drew Breeze (or Brady or Rodgers) I think you have to keep him on the bench. I felt like the tide had swung and the Saints were going to drive right down and punch it in, and they did. The Niners got lucky they were able to answer. That might have been their best offensive game of the year.

  • Anonymous

    NO/SF was amazing game. Lots of fun. Reminds me why I love the NFL and not just the Eagles. Let’s hope the nightcap is half as enjoyable.

    • Anonymous

      Heck of a game, the trading of TDs at the end was great.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Was that a TE or Superman making that catch??

    • Anonymous

      Graham or Davis? Those TEs abused defenses at least three times in the final three minutes.

  • Anonymous

    It will be interesting to take in this weekend’s games and see how that affects our feelings on the Eagles and the offseason. Suddenly “Is Brent Celek good enough” seems like a legit question.

    • Anonymous

      You definitely have to let the playoffs shake out, because they greatly influence how everyone thinks. Alex Smith just led two TD drives in the final 4 minutes for the 49ers, outdueling Drew Brees … if that doesn’t knock the 49ers off the fence about bringing him back (though they seemed like their minds were made up to do it), maybe beating Rodgers and Brady would?

      Joe Flacco is another guy who could become a league-wide superstar … or remain in the realm of “fairly good QB” based on what he does in the playoffs.

      We probably put too much influence on the outcomes of single games in the playoffs to be honest, but then again, if you have a great O all year and it flops, or vice versa, you have to consider making changes.

      • Anonymous

        Well, given that Smith looked like dog crap most of the game, I’d withhold judgment, a couple passes under pressure are either brilliance, or sheer luck.

        A couple DOZEN passes under pressure, then you have an idea what a QB can do.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s take the Saints for instance … you think they’re drafting all defense? Or at least looking for an impact guy over there?

      • Anonymous

        They could use a pass rusher, SS, and LB.

        • Anonymous

          They could use a freakin’ OT who could block someone.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, that’s very true. OL struggled in a big way today.

          • Anonymous

            In light of how that OL played, you realize how amazing Brees record breaking season really was, he covered for two below average OTs with his field vision and quick release. Even against SF, he put up 32 points and 400+ yards despite constant pressure.

            Brees probably would have flopped in Miami, in NO he had the right coach who designed the offense around his strengths. His arm is decent, but there probably 20 starting NFL QBs with stronger arms, but how many with a release as quick, the field vision and accuracy? So Payton gives him a lot of options, including quick easy throws that don’t require him to gun it in there.

            MM should make Vick watch every game the Saints played last year, how to find throwing lanes at 6’0, how to use your outlets, and how to be patience and wait for the defense to make a mistake then strike like a Cobra.

    • Anonymous

      Or, maybe they should use Harbor and his 4.6 speed more often?

      NE’s TEs are having a big game, and Gronkowski isn’t that much more talented than Celek as a receiver, he just gets a lot more throws. Graham only caught 65% this year, but Brees uses his RBs and TEs, if a WR isn’t open, he pulls it down and takes what the defense gives him, then goes back to the huddle. Same with Brady.

      The problem with the Eagles is Vick doesn’t get it – you have 65-70 snaps on offense, you don’t have to make a big play on every one of them. No reason to force it to DeSean when there’s a safety over the top (he ain’t gonna make a Graham jump ball catch), just dump it off.

      Oh yeah, and have Westbrook or Duce coach McCoy on the basics of RBs in the passing game.

      • Anonymous

        Watching Hernandez run, maybe they should expand Harbor’s H-back duties. I like the idea of a 255 lb TE in the open field with 4.62 speed running over people.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Coe/749860957 James Coe

          I’m sure Marty could come up with all kinds of crazy ways to get him in the open field. Does anyone run an end around with a TE instead of a WR?

      • Anonymous

        I agree 100percent on Vick. He thinks it alway has to be a big play. I think celek is a good te but gronk is a freak of nature dude.

        • Anonymous

          Graham is a freak of nature.
          Gronkowski is a good receiving TE with a QB who feeds him the ball.

          Celek isn’t as athletic as Gronkowski, but is there a tougher runner after the catch in the NFL?

          • Anonymous

            Gronk and Graham r both freaks. I usually agree w ur posts but I just c gronk differently than u. Gronk is harder to tackle than celek. Have u seen how many guys it takes to bring gronk down? You tube the pats redskins game. I like celek a lot and I agree gronk gets more targets but he gets those targets cuz he is one of most dominant offensive players in the entire NFL

    • Anonymous

      T-LAW:

      It’s why the Eagles drafted Cornelius Ingram — to get down the field. The guy, if he’d ever gotten healthy, easily could have added 15 pounds and played at 260.

      The Eagles’ missed w/ that pick because — for reasons that I still don’t get — Ingram’s knee just never came back.

      BUT . . . give credit there. It was a damn good idea.

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

      Should the Eagles target Dwayne Allen early in the second?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    The thing that always stands out to me about the Pats is the way they can do something gadgety and tricky, and makes it look like 100% sound, solid football. Hernandez in the backfield looked like a born RB today. If we tried that, there’d be a fumble on the first play and he’d be benched for 6 games.

    Why doesn’t it work like that for the Eagles?

    • Anonymous

      Belichick is a better coach. Brady is a better QB. Those two demand perfection and the players play up to that standard.

      Hernandez may have some RB experience, but your point is dead on. The Pats do things that are unorthodox and make it look right as rain. Really a testament to the structure they have in place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    As good as NE looks tonight, I think they’ll lose next week. This has been an angry, vicious game from them, and I think they’ve blown their load emotionally.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

      Ahhh its beautiful to remind the NFL world just how far behind Tebow is compared to the elite guys.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

        I don’t think anyone was beating NE tonight. Tebow looked bad, yeah, but so did everyone else from Denver. They were beaten everywhere. That o-line was the best in the NFL last week and they looked like a little girl’s tea party out there tonight. That was like watching14-year-old kids play their dads.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t tell u what Jake locker looks like, I never watch college except for every now and then. I was watching notre dame and BC a few weeks back and fell in love with this white MLB. I didnt find out till Tommy starting talking about him who he was. But he really stood out and I hope eagles draft him.

    ND ran some play where they threw a Wr screen and the Wr then pitched it back to someone, it was a set play to pitch it back. Kuchley may have know he was gonna do it because at full speed he blew past the Wr that was pitching it w no hesitation right to the guy receiving the pitch. U have to see the play to know what I am talking about. Dude is a stud

  • Kammich

    I love all sports, in general, but today was yet another example of why the NFL reigns supreme for me. You don’t need to have a dog in the fight to become completely enraptured in the on-field product. That NO/SF game was just terrific.

    Going into the playoffs I had New Orleans pegged to win the whole ball of wax. The pass defense was susceptible(well, thats an understatement), but I felt they had such a dynamic offense that they could and WOULD outscore anyone on any given weekend. You have to give kudos to San Francisco’s defense, because with the exception of a few HUGE passing plays, they kept Brees in check well enough. Justin Smith is one of the better, unheralded-at-the-time FA signings in recent memory. Smith made Jermon Bushrod look like a shopping cart all day long. And a secondary made up of first round castoffs like Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner came up big all day long. Just a highly, highly entertaining game.

    A crazy career arc coming to light for Alex Smith, too. One of my best friends is a die-hard San Francisco fan(in fact, we met at the 2003 SF/PHI game where the Eagles lost in OT due to that blasted Pinkston fumble through the endzone that resulted in a touchback), and I’ve been ribbing him for nearly 10 years about the team’s inequities. And Alex Smith was at the forefront of all of it. On draft day 2005, my friend hung his head in shame as we all jabbed at him for “drafting that option QB from Utah with the tiny hands.” And, for about 6 years, it looked like we were right.

    Alex Smith is getting the last laugh today. As is my good friend Powell. Tip of the hat to the 49ers for an excellent show today.

  • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

    Hightower is a much cooler last name than Kuechly. Not only does it sound badass (“Hightower just blew up that play behind the line of scrimmage”), but it brigs back fond memories of the Police Academy movies I watched as a young man.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47904149 Liam Garrett

      I was thinking the same thing. This alone makes me wish Hightower has an awesome Combine.

      • Anonymous

        Hightower v. Kuechley . . . it’s like Butkus vs. Federspiel (Saints MLB in early ’70s).

        Sometimes, it’s all in the name.

  • Anonymous

    Where’s the let’s go packers beat Sheli thread!?