Sammy, Randy, and More

Posted: February 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

Let’s start off with some SAM LB talk.  I think we all need to get on the same page here.  Jim Johnson had James Darling as his SAM in 1999 and then replaced him with some guy named Carlos Emmons.  That turned out to be a brilliant move.  Emmons was a 6’5, 250 LB.  He had played DE at Arkansas State, but became an OLB for the Steelers.  He lacked the pass rush skills to thrive in their 3-4, but JJ saw enough to want him at SAM.  And Emmons was terrific for the next 4 years.

Emmons left after 2003 and the Eagles made an odd move.  Rather than go for Emmons 2.0, JJ targeted Dhani Jones, 6’1, 240.  Why?  I never heard JJ specifically address this, but the timing says it all.  The NFL was going to crack down on contact at the LOS after what happened in the 2003 title games.  The Pats and Panthers had their DBs maul receivers at the line.  It was over the top.  I think JJ wanted a player who could handle being on the LOS, but could also play off if needed.  Jones was an adequate starter, but a huge drop-off from Emmons.

In 2006 JJ had the Eagles draft him another big SAM, Chris Gocong.  The rules were very tightly enforced in 2004, but softened in 2005.  I think JJ saw that he could go back to his big SAM that could battle TEs at the line.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011.  Juan Castillo moved Jamar Chaney from MLB to SAM.  Castillo was asked about the move at a press conference.  After talking at length about family, the city of Philadelphia, playing fast & physical, and dinner time at Casey Matthews house, Juan  finally addressed SAM.  He said that he considered the position to almost be a Safety/LB hybrid.  The LB corps was built around Chaney as the SAM.  He would play base, Nickel, and be the Dime LB (only one LB is on the field in that look).  Chaney was going to be a key player.  SAM was a key position.

A few games later Casey was benched due to not paying enough attention at dinner and Jamar was back at MLB.  Moise Fokou took over at SAM.  He was up and down.  Eventually he lost his job to Akeem Jordan.  Akeem was also up and down, but did have a couple of real good games.

By the end of the year, the LB duties were split by 5 different guys.  There was no one player that was featured.  Everyone had a different job and was able to handle that.  What does Juan want to do heading into 2012?

We don’t know anything for sure.  Juan’s original vision for the defense didn’t work out, but that was hardly due to one player or schematic idea.  Juan might want to go back to having a really athletic player for the LBs corps to be built around.  Or he might have changed his mind and decided that a more rugged run defender is a better fit in the Wide-9.  We don’t know.

I think you can throw out the ideas of the old JJ days.  The Titans never had huge SAM LBs.  There isn’t a need for a huge SAM unless he’s going to play up on the LOS.  We don’t do that.  When a SAM plays off, he needs to be able to react to the TE.  That requires quickness and agility.  Forget taking undersized DE types and putting them at SAM in this system.  And frankly I’m not sure many 4-3 teams want that anymore.  3-4 teams?  Yes.  Hybrid teams?  Sure.  Most other teams are going to want guys that can run/move.

Some fans are asking about Courtney Upshaw at SAM.  No way.  He’s 6’2, 273.  He’s a 3-4 pass rusher, not a 4-3 SAM.  This isn’t Von Miller, who was an explosive athlete.  He was 6’3, 245 and showed at the Senior Bowl that he could be very good playing in space.  Upshaw is meant to be on the LOS.  He’s also nowhere close to being as athletic as Miller.

What about Luke Kuechly?  Maybe.  He goes about 6’2, 240.  We’ll find out what he runs in 10 days at the Combine.  He had 7 career INTs and is very instinctive, but he’s hardly a great cover LB.  If Juan wants a run stuffer, then Luke could make some sense.  I just don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense.  Go get him for MLB.  That’s where he can make a difference.  SAM?  That’s an experiment that could be brilliant, awful, or anything in-between.

Nebraska LB Lavonte David (6’1, 225) played SAM at the Senior Bowl.  I don’t project him there in the NFL, but that should give you an idea of how things have changed.  Jo-Lonn Dunbar is 6’0, 229 and started at SAM for the Saints for part of the year (shifted to MLB when Vilma was hurt).  Forget about the days of Carlos Emmons.  Ancient history.

It will be very interesting to see what player Juan targets at SAM.  I think he’ll look to the draft. There are a variety of guys to choose from.  I wrote about them the other day at ScoutsNotebook.  Juan could get his dynamic athlete in Zach Brown.  He could get the complete SAM in Keenan Robinson.  He could go for the guy with big upside in Shea McClellin.  Or he could go for a guy like Travis Lewis who can play any LB spot and has tons of experience.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy has posted another highly entertaining MAQB column.  His prose makes Hemingway look like a hack.  That’s Junior Hemingway, the Michigan WR, of course.

* * * * *

Doug Farrar posted a great column yesterday.  His mother died recently and he shared a very touching story.  Must read material.

* * * * *

So word got out yesterday that the Eagles are at least a little bit interested in Randy Moss.  That could mean that they simply returned his agent’s email/call.  Or it could mean they are genuinely interested and will consider going after Moss.  I have no idea.

Moss didn’t exactly light it up in 2010.  He sat out 2011.  Now he wants back in.  I don’t know what to make of Moss.  He is one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game.  He posted big time numbers in 2009 (83-1264-13).  I think his 2010 struggles were mental/emotional more than physical.   Can he bounce back?  With freaks like Randy (and I mean that as a compliment), you never want to write them off too early.

I think the Eagles would be wise to look at him as a backup plan.  The first priority should be to either re-sign DeSean or add a top FA receiver.  If that falls apart, then go for a guy like Randy and spend pick 15 on a WR.

Andy Reid is going to be under big pressure in 2012.  He’s got to be careful to balance personality and performance.  He doesn’t need a bunch of choirboys, but he also can’t have a locker room that falls apart on him.  The 2011 Eagles had lots of issues on the field, but the locker room was pretty good.  Does Big Red trust Moss?

Randy says he doesn’t expect to be a #1 WR.  I don’t know if you can count on him as a starter.  Would he accept being a role player?  Understand that doesn’t mean the same for him as it would Chad Hall.  Randy would be on the field 30 to 40 snaps as a role player.  A starter would be out there 50-60.

Right now this all just feels like agent talk.  The guy is trying to create a market for Randy.  We’ll see if the story has legs or if it turns out to be much ado about nothing.

64 Comments on “Sammy, Randy, and More”

  1. 1 Anders Jensen said at 12:16 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I would love us to take Keenan Robinson, he seems to be able to do what Juan meant Chaney to do.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 12:26 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I’ve been having this argument over the SAM in the wide 9. Some want a big SLB who can handle blockers b/c the DE is split wide and the OG can get out to block the SAM. I think that’s missing the point.

    In the wide 9, the SLB is more like a ILB with greater coverage responsibilities on run downs (you’re gonna pull one LB in the nickel, since your WLB is usually your fastest and most athletic LB, it’s normally the SLB or MLB). Mosts ILBs are not 260 lbs, they’re in the 235-245 lb range because instincts and quickness (and open field tackling) are more valuable than size. With the DE playing wide, the SLB doesn’t need to have the range to get to the sideline, but he will have to cover in the underneath zone so he can’t be a slug.

    Robinson looks on paper like the perfect candidate, but he wasn’t consistently physical at Texas, Acho was the better LB, but lacks the athleticism you’d want at SLB.
    McClellin has the skills but might need a year to get up to speed.
    DeMario Davis will probably weight in at 235 at the combine and could be up to 240 in a year or two, Arkansas State probably doesn’t have a top flight weight room and trainer. He might be a real good bet.
    I think all three should be on the board around the Eagle 3rd rd pick.
    Brown and Lewis could do the job, but they might go too high to justify fitting them into the position, since they’re kinda undersized and more suited to WLB. Though you can draft one from column A and one from column B and let them all sort it out the next couple years.

    If you don’t like Lawson, the only credible FA solution I see is Erin Henderson if he came at a reasonable price. Mario Williams could probably handle it, but he’d be a tad bit expensive for that role. Spencer would be a thought just to mess with Jerry Jones, but I doubt he’s good enough in space.

    As far as Randy Moss, just say no. I just can’t see him accepting a secondary role and putting real effort into it.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 12:53 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Mario Williams SAM backer? Good god. 6-6, 285, I know he’s an atheltic freak but I doubt he can turn and run w/ these new age TEs.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 1:01 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    At 6’7 295 in 2006:

    4.70 1.60 35 4.37 7.21 40.5 10’0

    Now he could probably drop down to 275 lbs to play SLB, and would have movement skills equivalent to most of the potential SLBs in this draft.

    Of course, I’m being facetious, you don’t pay $12M a year for a SLB.

    However, he’s probably athletic enough to pull it off if he wanted to reshape his body to play LB. It’s an obvious waste of a great DL talent, I’d sign him to play DT in the wide 9 (though like Peppers, he probably wouldn’t want the job b/c he has a mental image of himself as a 260 lb RDE).

  5. 5 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 1:54 PM on February 14th, 2012:


    Thank you for this explaining post! I like it that you take your time to make these lenghty posts that enlighten me, who is not that in to X’s and O’s of football!

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 6:32 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Yeah I appreciated that one too. Sometimes I don’t feel like putting effort into writing, but I enjoy reading the posts from those who do.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 12:59 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Tommy – Bobby Wagner at SAM?

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 1:17 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    He’s 6’0, 240. Possible. Good run defender. Adequate cover guy. Pretty good athlete. See his INT in the Senior Bowl for an example of what he can do.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 1:53 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Hey T
    I think we can consider the 2012 draft successful if 2 things happen.1) we draft a run stuffing MLB..2) we get a guy who can cover the TE at SAM…can u see the FO drafting Don’t’a and Zbrown.Also if J Saturday is retiring do u think we could trade Jjack to Indy for say a 5th or 6th rounder.I think he has trade value no?

  10. 10 Eric Weaver said at 2:54 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    JJ didn’t play this year for the same reason Indy wouldn’t want him. He doesn’t fit the scheme.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 3:36 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Jamaal would be worth a conditional 6th or 7th at best. Hasn’t been a regular starter since Donovan was our QB. Older guy with some injuries in recent years.

    Now, I’m not knocking him the player…just his trade value. JamJax could go start for a number of teams. Some teams love a big, physical C to run the line. High character guy. I hope the Eagles let him go so he can pick his new team and get back on the field.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 3:46 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    JamJax doesn’t get nearly enough credit for handling the Kelce promotion like a pro next year. He was a great team guy. I wish him nothing but the best.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 5:43 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Agreed. That’s why I’d like to give him his freedom and let him catch on where he wants.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 7:37 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Rams need a C, WR, CB & LT. If the Rams could tell the Eagles what they would like to spend on DJAX & were willing to negotiate a deal with Drew for them maybe a deal could be made. Can give them JamJax, DJAX, Asante and swap 15th pick for 2nd & 46th for 33rd. They’d get 3 Pro Bowlers & can draft a LT at 15 which would dramatically change there team. Then when the draft comes we’d control it with that 2nd pick(RG111) and have multiple options including trading him & Winston Justice to Cleveland simce they need a RT for their 4th and 22nd pick and swap 4th rds. Can draft Blackmon, Z. Brown and with the 33rd pick DE Curry or Mercilus(or TE Fleener) and still have the 51st pick. Resign KingD for probably less than Justice to compete for RT, or be an improving backup like he’s been. Extend DRC’s contract since we don’t no if he will be worth a FA Tag next yr & maybe Shadys contract if possible. Would you do some of these things.

    Sorry for rambling on Tommy

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 8:11 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Rams to get older since even with those guys they’re not a contender.

    More likely landing spots for a player like Asante would be a team that is close to contention and doesn’t have to give away its future. The Rams need the No. 2 pick even more than what we’re offering, IMO. Especially when the Redskins and Browns are going to trade their entire drafts to jump up.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 8:28 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    What about if they didn’t swap 2nd rd picks. They could draft the LT from Ohio State, have a good OL to protect Samford then, a WR threat for opposing D’s, PR threat, an interception machine and they were supposed to be the top team in the NFC West if it weren’t for all the injuries including Bradford and I think 6 CB’s. They’d probably be at worst 2nd next yr.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 8:44 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    They mentioned, I think it’s Joe Thomas, would be better at RT than LT. Steven Jackson’s would be able to run the ball a lot better again with the improved OL. I don’t think Skins or Cleveland could offer them nearly as much of an instant upgrade with the 3 Pro Bowlers we’d give them along with a great LT in the draft(JamJax playing C) and Joe Thomas on the right side; should be very solid in pass protection as well as running.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 10:48 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Rams are saying how Bradford really needs a talented WR going into his 3rd yr and needs protection in the pocket or he’s going to end up like David Carr. It’s actually Roger Saffold who they want to move from LT to RT. Jason Smith is playing so poorly and is due $10mil, so their thinking of cutting him and their starting C is due $5mil and was benched last yr; they’d get great value from JamJax. Haveing an experienced Pro Bowl C to control that young line and a LT like Adams could probably save Bradford’s career. Not to mention a young dynamic WR like DJax who can open things up on the field and grow with him. I don’t think any WR has the speed to open the field up for him like DJax and no ones really better at creating interceptions like Asante. Asante could probably play another 4 yrs on a team that could use his talents like the Rams and if we didn’t have Mudd I think JamJax would be playing at a Pro Bowl level this past yr. In St. Louis he’d play at a very high level for probably 3-4 yrs or so. The draft picks Washington and Cleveland have can’t save Bradford’s career he needs immediate help, or the Rams are going to have to start rebuilding with a new QB in a yr or two. I just don’t think they have the right players to offer them. You could check out the Rams situation and see what you think. But I think you’ll find Bradford doesn’t have long if they don’t change things quickly.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 10:59 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Hears the link to where I found some of this info.

  20. 20 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 2:00 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Assuming we get
    1) Kuechly/Starting MLB in FA and
    2) FA SLB/project in draft (Robinson, Kaddu, McClellin or Davis)

    Who do we let go?
    Fokou and Jordan would be the most likely players to leave, right? Or is there any other scenario that I am overlooking?

    How would a 2012 LB corps like this look to you guys?


    Would you trust Chaney with another shot at starting at SLB or do you wish for another scenario? I just don’t see a FA who I think will be any better than Chaney, nor do I trust any rookie SLB to start immediately…

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 2:30 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    You have a 80 man roster.

    Lot’s of things occur between April and September.
    You shouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over who won’t make the cut, unless you need to free up some cap room.

    These things resolve themselves in TC, someone gets injured, someone calls with an offer Howie can’t refuse, some one has the light go on or shows up 20 lbs overweight.

    Key right now is to add talent, first in FA to fill obvious holes, then in the early part of the draft to bring in potential starters, finally to add depth in the later part of the draft and UDFAs. And keep looking for street free agents (think Harris, Mathis, Landri, Hargrove, Hunt, and Page last year) who can provide competition for roster spots at low cost.

    At this point, we’re looking at adding talent, come August, we’ll have lots of discussion about who should be kicked off Eagle island.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 3:40 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Some good points by A-fan.

    Project things like this:

    SAM: Chaney / rookie ………….. A Jordan
    MLB: UFA ….. C Matthews ….. G Lloyd
    WLB: Rolle ….. Clayton …………. Fokou

    That’s 9 guys fighting for 6 or 7 spots. Lloyd could still be PS material. Fokou isn’t guaranteed a spot. Let the guys compete and keep the best ones.

    Worry more about talent than numbers.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 2:07 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Wouldn’t Zach Brown be a reach at 15. Also given that he is not a good tackler how does that fit with our CBs.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 2:33 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Zbrown on film just looks like a playmaker.Guys can get coached up in the pros,but you can’t coach talent and speed and dude’s got both.if Juan can light a fire underneath him..look out.If Dont’a or Zbrown makes the probowl as a member of the Giants next year Iggles fans are gonna be on suicide watch…just saying.
    Also what if Vontaze is sitting their when it comes to our second 2nd rd pick.Do we take a chance on him?I know he’s a bit of a loose canon.But like I said if Juan and/or Andy can get this dude to focus…maybe Iggles fans can 4get about passing on JPP……just a thought…i think he could play MLB or SAM…size,speed and talent..just needs the right locker rm and coaches….Say what you want about Big Red..but guys seem to love playing for him

  25. 25 Eric Weaver said at 2:56 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Guys can get coached up? That’s all Juan talked about, being fast, physical and fundamentally sound. How did that work out for tackling this year?

    Yeah, they can be coached up, if they have the right coach doing it.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 3:27 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I don’t know why they give the best positional coaches the best players and the LB’s or least talented coach the least talented players on D. Should be the opposite.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 4:46 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I definitely see your point and agree with it, but I think it comes down to the Eagles prioritizing positions. Whether they admit it or not, it is clear that the oline and dline are prioritized over the LBs. Thus, they get quality coaches and quality players at those positions, and this may come at a cost to the LBs or other positions with less priority.

  28. 28 Mac said at 11:40 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    A team has limited resources to work with.. you are suggesting presenting a product that is more consistent throughout, but has few to zero gems.

    The Eagles seem to have elected to have strengths and weaknesses. As Iskar36 said… o and d lines are the top priority. I do believe that with another off season and the acquisition of Bowles at DB coach that our Safety play will improve in 2012.

    Would it have been nice to also grab an elite LB coach… of course, but how many of those are there in the league?

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 3:45 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Zach would be a reach at 15. If he has a sensational Combine, that could boost his value, but I’d rather not take him at 15 no matter what. You could always trade down into the mid-20s and get him there. Better value.

    You balance Zach’s great athleticism and erratic tackling. If you value the cover skills and athletic ability enough…you live with the tackling. Think of it this way…Brown vs Jermichael Finley. Zach is athletic enough to run with him and be right there to make the play. Sometimes he will, sometimes he won’t. You could put another SAM who tackles better on Finley, but he won’t be able to keep up with him. Is his tackling ability being wasted when he’s in space against guys that he will struggle to run with?

    There is no right answer. Sort of a football philosophy question.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 4:47 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Hey T

    it sounds like if LK40 isn’t sittimg at 15 and the FO fails to sign a MLB FA we’re pretty much screwed at that position for 2012.Also I’m taking Zbrown over anybody with have right now at SAM.If you don’t have the LB’s the wide nine ain’t gonna work.Just ask the 2011 Eagles…sigh…….Atlanta and Detroit will NOT let Lofton and Tulloch hit the market……

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 5:42 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    No. I’m actually starting to like other MLBs. Mychal Kendricks of Cal is quite good. James-Michael Johnson of Nevada is a guy I like as well. I’ll be writing about them for ScoutsNotebook in the next few days.

  32. 32 Kammich said at 9:57 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I’ve liked Kendricks for a little while as an under-the-radar prospect. A bit on the short side, but I was on the bandwagon for drafting Des Bishop out of Cal a few years ago and his piss-poor straightline speed killed his stock. Packers look pretty smart now for gobbling him up.

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 2:57 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Tommy, a couple of thoughts. Very good analysis of the SAM in wide-9 as historically run by the Titans, they’ve generally been 6′-6’1″ 240ish lb range (e.g Eddie Robinson, Greg Favors). However, the NFL is not static league, those historical Titan’s teams did not face the big TEs with soft hands that we see today. Those Jeff Fisher teams were playing the likes of Marcus Pollard and Kyle Brady (and post 2003 D. Clark). With the resurgence of the TE as an offensive weapon (e.g. J. Finley, A. Graham) don’t you think that would lead to readjustment as to how a team would view the SAM? If the Colts under J. Mora Sr. fielded a 6’5″ TE who could run routes and catch like a WR, do you think the Titans would have looked for a different build of player/athlete at the SAM?

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 3:47 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Your point is somewhat right, but you’re kinda missing it. These athletic pass catchers do require a new SAM. Not a bigger one, but a better athlete. In the last decade the best athlete went to WLB. He was the “space player”. Now you might want that athleticism at SAM to deal with the freak TEs that can run and catch so well…and have some size. Give me a 6’1 athlete with a 36″ VJ over a 6’5 guy who is stiff.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 4:40 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Though I think you have to balance a bunch of issues:

    1) few LBs big enough to play the run are going to be able to cover the new TEs who are really big WRs, you need a nickel back (Clayton) or big safety (Allen) or big CB (Aso) to shut down those guys. However, an athletic LB can “squeeze” them by keeping up with them in the underneath zone and allowing the safety to take them over the top. That allows multiple looks against a team like the Patriots, use the SLB, use Aso, move Allen around, make the pre-snap read harder.

    2) in the wide 9 the SLB has to have ILB tackling skills and be physical, if the DE gets sealed off he has to control his gap, including taking on a FB and allowin the FS and/or the MLB to make the play. Doesn’t have to be 250 lbs, but is going to struggle at 230 lbs.

    3) you also want an explosive athlete, as we saw toward the end of last year, the LB blitzing lanes aren’t to the outside so much as through an inside gap, and if all three LBs can threaten gaps, you can mess with pass blocking schemes by having them fake blitzes and come at times. If the DT takes the C-G gap, and the OT and TE are focused on Babin, the G-T gap is clean. This allows LBs to threaten blitz without leaving their rush lanes, and makes it easier to stunt with DL. The more effective your LBs are at blitzing, the less you have to send secondary players and they can focus on preventing away the big play. This provides you the benefit of zone blitzing (send 4 or 5, but which 4 or 5?) without the disruption caused by “Chinese Fire Drills.”

    Conclusion: under the wide 9, using resources on SLB makes more sense than in a conventional 4-3, because you can use that SLB more creatively without having to play him out of position (i.e., it’s hard to blitz Kiwanka from a base formation, where he has to run all the way around the RT and maybe the TE, which is why they move him to DL on passing downs and move Tuck inside).

  36. 36 Anders Jensen said at 5:04 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    What I get from all this is that Castillo had the right idea according to what a SAM needs to do, problem was just that Casey was to bad a MLB and Chaney wasnt setting the world on fire at SAM either.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 5:40 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    This is why Travis Lewis interests me. Physical player. Has some cover skills. Not huge, but big enough. We’ll find out just how athletic he is at the Combine.

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 5:54 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    hey tommy, where does that leave the WILL?
    that is traditionally the role that covers the RB out of the flat, no?
    it would seem like leaving your defense with two “space players” that are better in coverage would leave you very susceptible to a power run team. does that mean the WILL is less of a “space player” and more of a guy who can mix it up with lead blockers?

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 9:09 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    WIL is about what you’re saying. Rolle was a MLB in college. He’s athletic enough to play in space, but tough enough to play the run. Good fit.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 5:33 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    No doubt yo have to have an athlete at SAM. You know who I’m starting to get the sense that Zach Brown may turn into, James Anderson in Car. Anderson was a little over 6’2″ and weighed in at 230. An athletic freak who was a little unpolished in traffic. He’s really grown into a very productive SAM in Car. Another guy who was polished and athletic coming out: Sean Weatherspoon. A hair over 6’1″, 239, ran anywhere from a 4.52-4.62, with a 6.99 in the cones and a 40″ VJ. Brown is no where near as complete a SAM as Sean was imo, but the point I’m making is that athletic freaks who aren’t giants can easily turn out to be very productive players. I wouldn’t be crazy about taking Brown at 15, but I wouldn’t cry if they did or traded back and took a chance on him.

    In fact, only 2 of the top 27 OLBs listed on draftcountdown go taller than 6’3″–Tyler Nielsen and Kyle Wilber. Only 7 are 250 or above; the 25-27 rated players, Courtney Upshaw, Brandon Lindsey and Darius Flemming. You just don’t find many 6’4″, 250 LB athletic freaks that can play OLB that often. Just like you didn’t find 6’5″ 260lb athletic TEs that could run sub 4.6 until very recently.

    To reiterate the point Tommy is making, I really think you can continue to find adequate LBs in the 6’1″-6’2″ ish range, sub 250. I think your hybrid S/LB is going to be a package player that defenses utilize to match-up with a few freakishly athletic TEs. Unless teams suddenly find a rash of 6’5″ 260lb TEs that run sub 4.6 or who can jump out of the gym with great hands and body control, it doesn’t make much sense to me to drastically change your LBs. Perhaps you place a higher premium on athleticism now to play the majority of the snaps, and look for a hybrid to play 1/3 of the plays you are sure are passing situations.

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 5:56 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    how does keenan clayton fit in with all of this talk at LB? he seems to be the S/LB hybrid sort of player that would excel in coverage vs these big, fast TEs, but also be somewhat of a liability in the run game. ok, ok. more than a liability. haha.

    is clayton strictly a nickel or even dime LB?

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 6:20 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    imo, yes, he’s the S/LB hybrid type I see as having a very unique role in defenses going forward. I don’t think he’d last banging play after play with offensive lineman for a full season. He’d wear down and would be a terrible liability against the run. I think the way they used him toward the end of the year last year is perfect, but they should do that for 16 games instead of 4!

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 9:07 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Too much of a liability vs the run. That could change, but we can’t count on it. Gotta see proof that he can be an adequate run defender before we go all in on him.

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 6:34 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    What’s your take on the possible FA class of all LBs?

    Quite a few good players are available, but would they match what we’re looking for at SAM or MLB? I’m thinking we go FA and a high draft pick on those two spots, but no idea which way…

    Possible targets:
    Stephen Tulloch
    David Hawthorne
    Erin Henderson
    Jarret Johnson
    London Fletcher
    Curtis Lofton
    D’Qwell Jackson

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 9:06 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    I’m studying FAs to find out who I like based on game tape, not just stats and reputation.

  46. 46 Anonymous said at 7:30 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    You guys are making this way too hard. Run stuffer versus good in space. Play-maker versus sound tackler. Take on blockers versus getting to the edge. The answer is easy. Yes.

    Why don’t we just get a linebacker that can cover the super TEs, stuff the inside runs with two OGs holding him, get to the QB around the edge or through the gap and beat the WR to the edge on the end around? That way we won’t have to argue over which traits are essential.

    Actually, we don’t need to argue about positional differences either. Just sign three of those guys and they can line up alphabetically to make things easier on the commentators.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 9:01 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Genius!!! I’m firing off an email to Howie right now. Consider it done.

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 7:30 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    Great. With that out of the way, I’ll start working on the QBOTF issue. I’m thinking athletic, smart, durable, strong armed, and accurate. I should have it figured out by the end of the week. I’ll let you know.

  49. 49 Mac said at 11:39 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    Once there was a footballer like that. I think his name was Jerome. Rest in peace big guy.

  50. 50 Sam Lynch said at 9:56 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    I’m with you, except we should make sure those guys are named Sam, Will and Mike. Position problem = solved.

  51. 51 Anonymous said at 10:36 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    With Juan though, you know Sam would be at MIKE, Will would be at SAM, and Mike would be at WIL.

  52. 52 Sam Lynch said at 11:55 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    Disagree. Nick L. would surely be the MIKE, Sam the WIL and Jag would be at SAM.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 8:14 PM on February 15th, 2012:

    Actually, if we are being realistic here, we won’t draft Sam, Will, or Mike. Instead, George will turn out to be below average once he converts from a DE. Morton will know the identity of Sam, Will and Mike all along, but won’t share with any of us until two years from now when he will inform us how obvious it was all along.

  54. 54 Anonymous said at 8:11 PM on February 15th, 2012:

    Damn, how did I miss that?! Well done.

  55. 55 Anonymous said at 11:06 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    great article! i didnt know that chaney was a centerpiece at SAM. that makes sense, and i guess i like the idea…

    btw. JAMES DARLING! i forgot about him..

  56. 56 Anonymous said at 11:19 PM on February 14th, 2012:

    i dont want to think about who the eagles will get with their first pick. they’re going to do something crazy there. im more interested about their 2nd -through- 5th rounders. they dont out think themselves as much there…

  57. 57 Anonymous said at 9:01 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    They don’t? Since 2002, have we really hit on any 3rd round pick?

    Curtis Marsh – Unknown still, but certainly didn’t do anything his rookie year.
    Danial Teo’Nesheim – Already a bust. Never did anything.
    Bryan Smith – Bust. Never did anything.
    Stewart Bradley – One solid season, but nothing beyond that. I wouldn’t call him a bust, especially because it was an injury that derailed his career, but I don’t think he lived up to his 3rd round selection.
    Tony Hunt – Bust, never did anything.
    Chris Gocong – Easily the second best 3rd rounder on this list… and that should tell you enough.
    Ryan Moats – Had some flashes in his rookie season, but never progressed beyond that.
    Matt Ware – Career backup. Lasted with the Eagles for only 2 seasons.
    Billy McMullen – Another career backup whose most notable accomplishment as an Eagles was being traded to the Vikings for an UDFA (Baskett).

    For me, the third round is always the round I just assume the Eagles will make a head scratcher of a move. Heck, even in 2002 when we hit on BWest it was on a local kid from Villanova.

  58. 58 Anonymous said at 8:03 PM on February 16th, 2012:

    ah good point. i didnt realize they misfired so much recently on their 3rds. also, dont forget derrick burgess.

  59. 59 Anonymous said at 10:50 AM on February 17th, 2012:

    Yea. In 2001 there was Burgess, who showed flashes of quality play while he was with us but got injured too often. Really only succeeded once he left.

    Before that was Doug Brzezinski, and honestly, I don’t remember much about him, but based on stats alone, he only lasted on the Eagles from 99 to 02, and after starting all 16 games his rookie season, only started 6 the next three (and was active in all 16 games each year, so likely not out due to injury). Went to Carolina were he didn’t play his first year (only active 1 game) and then started 8 the following year before being out of the league.

  60. 60 Anonymous said at 8:39 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    On the MIKE front, PFF has Stephen Tulloch rated as their #14 overall free agent available, rated well ahead of Curtis Lofton. Interesting…Hawthorne is their next highest rated LB at #24. Hawthorne could be a nice pickup as well.

  61. 61 Anonymous said at 10:27 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    Im sure you guys came across on this on Bleeding Green blog but seriously I hope the Eagles actually are serious about addressing the LB position (all 3 LB position that is with NON projects)

    “How much of an afterthought have linebackers been in the City of Brotherly Love? Of the team’s top five linebackers, one (Akeem Jordan) was undrafted, two (Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou) were seventh-round picks, and one (Brian Rolle) was a sixth-rounder. Casey Matthews, a fourth-rounder last year, has the best pedigree — but he was such a disaster that he was benched after just three games.

    His last point is one I’ve been talking about forever now. Where’s the investment in the position? Where’s the pedigree? They’re stocking it with late round picks and hoping for what? To get lucky? “

  62. 62 Anonymous said at 12:01 PM on February 15th, 2012:

    And the least talented positional coach on the D side..

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 11:49 AM on February 15th, 2012:

    I still cannot believe the Packers won the Super Bowl…

  64. 64 Anonymous said at 1:16 PM on February 15th, 2012:

    Tommy – keeping an eye on the enemy. Good website and material to keep an eye on what the Giants fans are saying.

    Wasn’t nice, though true, that they say how “Reese proved he knew better than the Eagles GM” (at the end of the 2nd paragraph in the middle of the page under bold “MLB” section).

    “Linebacker is a position that requires a lot of side to side movement so the question is does Goff come back right away and play to the level he did before, I truly doubt that. Since he is a free agent I think the Giants should cut ties with him and move on. Do you want to pay a player who can’t play? The Giants don’t know if or when Goff will come back to play. I don’t think Reese will do that as evidenced by what happened with Steve Smith who had 102 catches. He was not signed and Reese proved he knew better than the Eagles GM who signed an injured player that never contributed to the team. With the cap space situation you cannot waste a dime, you must make every penny count for your roster. To tie up money in a player that has such a huge question mark would be imprudent.”