Brains and Brawn

Posted: March 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 129 Comments »

The Eagles needed a MLB.  They didn’t jump out and chase Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch, and David Hawthorne. so some people panicked.  They just knew the Eagles were once again going to throw together some crappy solution in the form of a less than desirable player.  Not this time, Betty.  The Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans, the greatest LB in the history of the Houston Texans.  He’s half legend, half flesh.  Why I once saw him knock down 5 O-linemen at once and then drop kick a RB for a 62-yard FG to win the game.  True story.  Saw it with my own two eyes.  Pretty sure I was sober, too.

Isn’t it fun to have a stud MLB?

Ryans is exactly what the Eagles needed.  He isn’t a dynamic athlete.  He isn’t an amazing playmaker.  He is a smart, instinctive, tough, physical tackling machine.  He is a great leader.  Ryans immediately becomes the leader of the defense.

I love this move on a lot of different levels.  First, it gives the team its first stud MLB since Stewart Bradley in 2008 and really its first stud veteran MLB since Trot in 2005.  Ryans helps the team out by just being “The Man in the Middle”.  He will know where to get everyone lined up.  He will know what offenses are doing.  He can run the defensive huddle.  He can calm teammates down.  He can fire them up.  Ryans has that presence about him that only confident veterans have.  You’re not going to fluster this guy with a bad play.  He’ll focus on the next snap and be ready to play.  Jamar Chaney was erratic.  When he screwed up, things had a tendency to snowball.

Ryans also brings a physical presence to the middle of the field.  The area between the hashmarks at The Linc just got a new landlord.  And the rent is paid in flesh.  Ryans hits everyone and everything.  Receivers who cross the middle best look out.  Ryans will floor guys inside of 5 yards, whether they have the ball or not.  I watched him knock down several Saints on underneath routes.  Ryans will stuff FBs that try to block him on iso runs.  Ryans is a good hitter and forceful tackler.  He can really pop you.  And he will take on OL.  No LB likes to battle the big uglies, but Ryans will do it.  He’s got the size and strength to win his share of battles.

Ryans is smart.  Chaney is more physically gifted than Ryans, but Jamar made mental mistakes at an alarming rate.  He got in the wrong gap.  He overran plays.  He fell for fakes and was slow to recover.  I love watching Ryans play.  At the snap he doesn’t go firing up the field.  He reads the play and then moves to the ball.  If he has a clear path, Ryans will burst upfield and unload on someone.  If he has to get through trash, Ryans can do that.  You don’t post his kind of tackle totals without being able to find the ball.

Watch Ryans on a pass play.  He’s not all that fast, but he is a solid pass defender because of his brains and instincts.  He gets in the right position and keeps his eyes active.  Ryans has good feet and is quick.  He’s good on short routes in the middle of the field or in the flat.  He’s not a guy you want covering a TE 25 yards downfield, but if he can keep things in front of him, Ryans will do just fine.

I love the move from the Eagles perspective.  They traded an early 4th round pick (and swap of 3rd rounders, dropping from 77 to 89).  This isn’t a steep price, but also isn’t a throwaway deal.  The Eagles intend on keeping Ryans at MLB for the next few years.  You don’t trade a pick that high to rent a player.  Also, Ryans isn’t cheap.  He’s due $5.9M this year.  That goes up to $6M next year.  The Eagles weren’t looking for a cheap solution at MLB.  They were looking for the right solution.

Not everyone is thrilled with the move.  Some question why the Texans would make such a good player available.  He wasn’t their best ILB.  That was Brian Cushing.  Ryans had been a great MLB for the team for years.  They switched to the 3-4 last year and Ryans role changed.  He went from playing every down to playing in the base.  The Texans didn’t use a Nickel defense.  They went base or Dime.  Cushing was the guy who played in passing situations.  The Texans have quite a few young players who are going to be looking for deals so Ryans price tag made him expendable.

Ryans had an Achilles tendon injury after 6 games in 2010.  He came back to start all 16 games in 2011, but didn’t show his previous speed.  Is he 100 percent healthy?  Are they any Achilles concerns?  The Eagles will give him a physical to make sure they are fully happy with things.  The fact that Ryans started all 16 games showed that he could stay healthy.  It generally takes 2 years for a player to fully recover from an Achilles injury and get back to 100 percent.  Ryans should look better/faster this year than he did in 2011.

Other people wonder why not go after Lofton or a FA MLB.  The Eagles are picky.  They might not have liked some part of Lofton’s game.  Maybe they just think his asking price is crazy.  Ryans is a player the Eagles clearly like and wanted.  I think he is a terrific fit.  Reading the comments from his Texans teammates probably tells a big part of the story.  Go read Les Bowen’s story on Ryans for some good quotes.  Ryans was seen as the heart and soul of the Texans.  His teammates loved him.

One popular bit of skepticism…is Ryans the 2011 Ernie Sims?  No.  Ernie was a talented, but erratic player that we hoped would change his stripes when he got onto a good team and in a winning environment.  You could watch his game tape and see talent, but also mistakes and issues.  The thought was that getting him off an awful Lions defense would bring out the best in him.  That didn’t happen.  The bad habits were permanent and he also remains the least instinctive LB I’ve ever seen.  One of my friends used to joke that watching Sims play LB reminded him of a neighborhood dog chasing cars that drove by his house.  All effort, but no thinking going on at all.

Ryans is a good MLB.  He’s coming here from a Texans defense that really had a great year in 2011.  Ryans is a beloved teammate and leader.  He was a good student at Alabama.  He plays smart on the field.  He has good size at 6-1, 247.  That’s plenty big for MLB.  He’s got enough athletic ability to be a good player.  We don’t have to hope that Ryans changes.  We need more of the same.  That’s a huge difference between him and Sims.

The Eagles made a really smart move and solidified the middle of the defense.  Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans…that sure has a nice ring to it, huh?

* * * * *

One of the side benefits to this deal is Ryans influence on our young LBs.  Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, and Keenan Clayton all have talent.  Set the snarky jokes aside for a minute.  Those guys were terrific college players.  Clayton is a special athlete.  Chaney is fast and has shown flashes of big talent.  Even Casey is a guy with real potential.  Now these guys will get to watch a true pro in action.  Brian Rolle had a solid rookie season and could benefit a great deal from playing alongside Ryans.  The young guys can learn a ton from him.  Heck, Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou can learn from him.  Don’t underestimate what this can mean to the LB corps.

* * * * *

I watched a lot of Texans football before writing this post.  I actually fell asleep while watchign one game and started dreaming about DeMeco Ryans.  I think that is a good thing.

I watched 2010 and 2011 games.  I watched him vs passing teams and running teams.  I wanted to see a lot of different looks.  I came away very happy.  Ryans is a legit stud MLB.  Can’t stress enough how much I love his physicality.  Also a lot of fun to see a smart LB in action.  Last year we had the 3 stooges on the field way too many times.

* * * * *

I’ll talk about SAM, Luke Kuechwalker, and the draft later.  Can’t use all my good topics in one post.

129 Comments on “Brains and Brawn”

  1. 1 Eric Weaver said at 9:31 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    What do you think Ryans’ adjustment will be playing in a wide 9 system where the tackles are not eating up a lot of blocks off him?

  2. 2 Jack Waggoner said at 12:10 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Fits in with his skill set well.

  3. 3 Skeptic_Eagle said at 12:28 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Weren’t his best years behind a 4-3 Texans defense with worse defensive tackles than Patterson/Jenkins? Guys like Amobi Okoye and Shaun Cody were doing the work in the trenches then. I don’t see that as being an issue.

    I’m pretty sure Wade and the Texans play a 3-4 front with a lot of 4-3 gap concepts, anyway. Meaning, the ROLB is more like a standup RE (Ware, Mario, Barwin), the RE is more like an UT, and the NT is more of a penetrator than block eater (more Jay Ratliff than Kelly Gregg). Obviously, JJ Watt is more a passrusher than a guy like Tyson Jackson at LE. In that scheme, Ryans, as the RILB, would operate more like a WLB in a 4-3, and Brooks Reed would operate as kind of a SAM when he didn’t have passrush responsibility. That’s my understanding of the way they play their base package, though I could certainly be wrong.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 12:37 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Ryans can handle OL just fine. Has the size, strength and physicality to be very good in our system.

  5. 5 Davesbeard said at 9:42 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I’m so psyched by this move, I and many others were dreaming about it quite some time ago but never thought it would happen. As you say, he is a completely perfect fit. Can’t wait to see him smash some Cowboys.

    Great point about his influence on the younger players, Rolle – Ryans – Chaney is a combo with significant potential if they learn as much as they possibly can from him.

  6. 6 Thunder_lips said at 9:47 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I’m on cloud fifty-nine! Great move by Howie to sure up MLB before the draft; a stitch in time saves fifty-nine. Can’t wait to see Demeco in midnight green, dressed to the fifty-nines. I’ve got 59 problems but a stud MLB aint one!

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 10:06 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Slow down, son. You’re using all your A+++ material before 10am.

  8. 8 Thunder_lips said at 10:09 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Before 7am (west coast). But I don’t work a regular 59:00 to 5:00 job…

  9. 9 AustinMax said at 9:49 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    The good part abt this is the “leadership” aspect…last year I felt there was no strong leaders on the team other than Cujo…Demeco will set the tone on the D….good move by the FO…I hope the FO still pick up Luke if he is still on the board…

  10. 10 Mac said at 11:00 AM on March 21st, 2012:


  11. 11 Kammich said at 1:48 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    We haven’t had a surefire leader since Dawk left, really. All of the comments from former Texans teammates seem to first and foremost mention that they’ve lost their singular “leader.” Can’t understate the importance of leadership on a defense.

  12. 12 Mac said at 6:18 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I think Jenkins is a legit leader, but we needed a guy who didn’t have his hand in the dirt to get people lined up and motivated outside the huddle.

  13. 13 aleandro green said at 3:56 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    who is cujo? vick?

  14. 14 Barry Pilgrim said at 4:46 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Cullen Jenkins

  15. 15 TheRogerPodacter said at 9:50 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    with the MLB spot filled, and rolle likely to start the offseason in the WLB spot, who do you think they will use for the SLB?
    i remember that Chaney was originally slotted to be the SAM last season with Matthews in the middle, but then Chaney slid to the middle since he seemed to be the best we had at the time. Do we try Chaney back at SAM? i feel bad for the guy that keeps getting his position changed. Might impact his growth if he has to keep learning a position over and over…
    or would we go with the group we had at SAM last year? some combination of fokou, jordan?
    maybe a draft pick? or another FA LB? nah, thats pushing it…

  16. 16 JRO91 said at 10:02 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I think they will give Chaney first crack at it…Having a vet in the middle should take a lot of pressure off him. He has shown glimpses of being a solid LB. I am sure they will draft some competition for him though in the 3rd-5th round range. Keenan Robinson, Bobby Wagner…..I am just hyped because this means our first three picks can be BPA. Cox, Curry Boykin could now be your first three picks!!

  17. 17 D3Keith said at 7:18 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    One quibble … he shouldn’t be learning a position over and over again, he should be perfecting it. He’s an NFL SAM/MIKE with starting experience, he should have an idea of a lot of his responsbility.

    But I agree too much change is a big deal. Has Jason Campbell ever had the same OC two years in a row? That was a running thing for a while.

    And for Chaney, sharpening his reads and technique might be what’s stopping him from making the leap from inconsistent to dependable.

    So in essence, I agree. If he’s gonna be a SAM or The SAM, keep him there for a while

  18. 18 nopain23 said at 9:55 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Some draft pundits are predicting Luke might fall all the way to the Giants at 32….as an Iggles fan this really bothers me for some reason.would hate to see the Giants get Luke. Also with Ryans in the middle trading back if cox isn’t there at 15 and drafting Zbrown is not a bad idea.DR would aid in his development.If Tommy is right..this dude might make everyone around him better.I would still draft Kendricks in the second rd though..can’t have too much talent at the LB position….

  19. 19 Donald Kalinowski said at 11:03 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I doubt it. There’s been talk that the Eagles would have had to trade up for Luke. I doubt NYJ, PIT, DEN, or NE pass up on him.

  20. 20 47_Ronin said at 11:19 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I like L. “Kuechwalker”, but now that the Eagles have Ryans, I hope they use their 1st rd pick and if necessary add’l picks, to ensure they are in position to draft one of the top 3 DTs (Fletcher Cox #1 on the list) and try to get Mychal Kendricks in the 2nd rd.

  21. 21 Kevin_aka_RC said at 10:09 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Of all your posts, this probably made the most happy. Where can I buy my Ryans jersey?

  22. 22 JRO91 said at 10:21 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    They are 90% off right now on

  23. 23 Dewey said at 10:26 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I think we ultimately see Matthews as the SAM. Chaney’s lack of instincts are what caused him to drop in the draft and, like size, you can’t teach instincts.

    As for Clayton, the general feeling is that the NFL game is too hard for him to pick up. I don’t envision him moving beyond sub packages.

  24. 24 Kevin_aka_RC said at 11:08 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Matthews is way too small to play SAM in this defense. He can’t take OTs straight up.

  25. 25 Nick said at 1:06 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Whose general feeling are you talking about? Playing him at safety against Peyton Manning doesn’t suggest the game is hard for him to pick up. I think it’s better to say he’s in the sub packages for size reasons.

  26. 26 NoDecaf said at 10:28 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    And there was much rejoicing.

  27. 27 DeAUtiger said at 10:59 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    What about Mark Barron in the first round? We’ve invested heavily in safeties the last few years but Barron is a stud

  28. 28 Eric Weaver said at 11:10 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I’d be cautious about his surgeries.

  29. 29 TommyLawlor said at 12:38 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Not worth it since we have guys in place. Barron is good, but not special.

  30. 30 Donald Kalinowski said at 10:59 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I bet the Eagles screw this up by putting Ryans at SAM

  31. 31 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:25 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    nah, i hear that he’s here to replace henry at Punter…

  32. 32 Donald Kalinowski said at 11:06 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Hypothetical: If Trent Richardson slips past pick 10, would you trade up for him?

  33. 33 dislikedisqus said at 11:17 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Not a chance. RBs are not top of first round picks in today’s offenses.

  34. 34 TommyLawlor said at 12:39 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    No. Love Trent, but we don’t need another stud RB.

  35. 35 dislikedisqus said at 11:15 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    As an Eagles fan for 49 seasons, this one to come being my 50th, I am used to having my hopes annually raised and then crushed in some fashion. The Eagles always win the General Manager Bowl brought to you by Moneyball and the Scrooge McDuck Salary Cap trophy. Then the games start and something turns out horribly wrong. WRs get alligator arms, QBs get injured, Scott Young forgets the snap count. Etc. This development is so positive that something awful is bound to happen. Surely some key player will be injured, probably at a position where the Eagles decide to skimp on backups.

  36. 36 P_P_K said at 12:34 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Eagles fans know that every silver lining has a touch of grey.

  37. 37 Thorin McGee said at 2:01 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    And that the cloud was caused by a dirty bomb in the first place…

  38. 38 D3Keith said at 7:33 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    The Eagles won the GM Bowl once, last year. The Redskins take home that trophy almost every other season.

    But yes, usually in January sometime, our dreams get crushed.

  39. 39 ACViking said at 11:18 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Love the move. [Someone who regularly comments on this blog started proposing a D-Ryans trade back in October. CUDOS!!!]

    But the Eagles have just committed about $6MM to the LB position — one the front office hasn’t particularly valued in the past.

    So I don’t see the Eagles committing any draft picks among the top 3.

    The D-line could use an infusion of high quality youth. So could CB.

    MORTON made the argument that, in relative value terms, D-lineman are more valuable than LBs. I think the same is true of CBs.

    The Eagles definitely think that way, based on past moves.

    With Ryans’ addition, the Eagles can now easily move down and add a pick or two if the guys they like are gone by 15. Or, the Eagles can package a couple of picks and jump up for a DL or CB. But no LBs

  40. 40 GermanEagle said at 11:27 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    [Someone who regularly comments on this blog started proposing a D-Ryans trade back in October. CUDOS!!!]


  41. 41 Ben Hert said at 11:34 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    [Someone who regularly comments on this blog started proposing a D-Ryans trade back in October. CUDOS!!!]


  42. 42 Baloophi said at 11:46 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    [Someone who regularly comments on this blog started proposing a D-Ryans trade back in October. CUDOS!!!]

    No thanks.

  43. 43 Mac said at 12:28 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I recall someone considering an Asante for DeMeco trade…

  44. 44 miked718 said at 1:10 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I was just going to ask where the Sheils, Leses, Grazianos, Tamaris were on this possibility in the kajabillion LB posts since early January. Glad I know where the true pundits reside: Tommy’s PBR Comment All Stars. And now we know Howie reads the blog as well.

  45. 45 JRO91 said at 2:18 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I had mentioned Demeco as a possiblity on this board months ago and got killed for it….something along the lines of why would we take a WIL LB and play him in the middle. (not to pat myself on the back!!)

  46. 46 Mac said at 2:58 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Word… and props… According to what’s coming out a lot of the Texans aren’t diggin this trade. Apparently DeMeco is talented and a leader, hallelujah we may finally start seeing LBers play with Fire instead of scared/confused!

  47. 47 Donald Kalinowski said at 11:26 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    I bet he has a solid season, not great, not bad but slightly above average. He’ll then get released when he refuses to take a pay cut

  48. 48 Pitmanite said at 11:32 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Tommy, let’s get a new mock eagles draft up now for what we do in the first few rounds. 🙂

  49. 49 TommyLawlor said at 12:40 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Trust me, I’ve been working on that. Head is spinning with ideas.

  50. 50 Eric Weaver said at 12:43 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I would think Tommy’s estimation would still work out. Cox, Vinny Curry and Boykin are still very relevant and needed picks.

  51. 51 NoDecaf said at 1:23 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I liked the latest Walter Football one.

  52. 52 Thorin McGee said at 2:03 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Would hat it if signing Demecco means we skip Kuechly if he’s there. That feels like avoiding BPA.

  53. 53 Anders Jensen said at 3:01 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    If the Eagles believe the same as Tommy that he can play SAM, they might still draft him

  54. 54 Mac said at 4:06 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Don’t discount the possibility that DeMeco is a smokescreen.

  55. 55 D3Keith said at 7:35 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    BPA means BPA … whoever it is.

  56. 56 47_Ronin said at 11:40 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    This is a very savy move by the Eagles FO. They get an established MLB, a former pro-bowler, for a 4th rd pick (but there is some risk, albeit small, b/c of the Achilles). Ryans is under contract through 2015. By doing a trade the Eagles avoid having to pay guaranteed money in a new FA contract. Great move!

  57. 57 Donald Kalinowski said at 11:43 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    Now that we have our MLB what positions do you think we’ll address in the draft?

    I really don’t know how the Eagles should use their 1st and 2nd round picks-:

    OL ? -3/5 of OL are 30+, Watkins is 28
    DT ? – Jenkins and Patterson are 30+
    DE? – Cole and Babin are 30+
    CB? – Nnamdi is 30, Asante will be traded, DRC is inconsistent
    OLB? – Chaney and Matthews have been disappointing
    QB? – Kevin Kolb Saga Part II
    TE? – The Eagles might want to replace and upgrade over the pricey Celek
    WR or RB? – If the right players fall the Eagles could pull the trigger

  58. 58 D3Keith said at 7:39 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I think they set the board and see what falls. Pounce if they love somebody, trade back if they don’t.

    Bottom line, as your chart shows, we have no real need for starters (if you think we can get by with our current SLB candidates), but we have lots of needs for depth and future guys.

    This might be that draft like the Sheldon/Lito and Kolb one where the top picks don’t fill an immediate need but in a few years we’ll appreciate them.

  59. 59 bridgecoach said at 11:51 AM on March 21st, 2012:

    We need two top tier LB talents this offseason. Ryans certainly fits the bill and I couldn’t be happier with the acquistion, but hesitate to think that this is any sort of a slam dunk.

    If he struggled behind a 2 gap 3-4 with extra LB help and thrived behind a 2 gap 4-3 before rupturing his achilles; there is certainly a question as to how well he will adapt behind a 1-gap wide nine front. Something about the “he doesn’t fit 3-4 ILB but does fit 4-3” doesn’t smell right. Usually the problem goes the other way, solid 3-4 ILB struggles when moved to 4-3 MLB. The gap transition also gives me pause as does his injury.

    I think he and Kuechly are both compliments to each other and insurance against one another. If Ryans returns fully to pro bowl form and takes to the Wide-9 like fish to water – slam dunk and worth every penny. Again, very happy with the move, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

  60. 60 Kevin_aka_RC said at 3:47 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    The Texans play a 1 gap 3-4 defense. Houston and Dallas are pretty much the only teams that do that.

  61. 61 bridgecoach said at 4:04 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    If that is the case, then that would explain the smell. His “system difficulties” last season could stem from the 1-gap line he was playing behind – not the 3-4 system line that keeps being thrown around as the official excuse. If Ryans needs a 2 gap line in front of him in order to excel, we could have a red flag.

  62. 62 Kevin_aka_RC said at 5:12 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Ryans played well last year. He’s just not worth 6M as the #2ILB on a team in which they have to pay Joseph, A.Johnson, Foster, Myers huge dollars. Keep in mind that ILBs are less protected than MLBs are.

    Ryans also played the “FB” in the 3-4. He’s the ILB that attacks the run first. The other ILB gets to clean up.

  63. 63 Mac said at 12:28 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Generally a terrible source of news… but this article is pretty funny!

  64. 64 P_P_K said at 12:35 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    “The area between the hashmarks at The Linc just got a new landlord. And the rent is paid in flesh. ”

    Great line.

  65. 65 D3Keith said at 7:40 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Yeah, one of the best in a while.

  66. 66 Brett Smith said at 12:53 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Sean Payton Suspended for the season no pay.

    Greg Williams suspended indefinitely

  67. 67 TommyLawlor said at 12:57 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I am shocked Payton is gone for a whole year. That is a huge signal from the NFL.

  68. 68 JRO91 said at 2:20 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    How is he going to survive a whole year without pay? Gonna have to slum it and garage the Bentley and switch to a more pratical type of travel like a Lexus.

  69. 69 Mac said at 3:03 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    What do broccoli and the Saints have in common?

    They’ve both been chewed up and spit out by Roger Goodell.

  70. 70 Eric Weaver said at 12:53 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    So do we think the Rams can get out of Gregg Williams’ contract?

  71. 71 Brett Smith said at 12:55 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Fisher “McGinnis you are the DC”

  72. 72 Anders Jensen said at 1:10 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    He is suspended without pay. I dont know if like any other suspendsion the Rams just have to pay them to the pension fond or they can just terminate his contract (would assume they can based on the knowledge they had when they signed it)

  73. 73 ACViking said at 2:02 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Yes . . . the legal principle is called “Impossibility of Performance.”

  74. 74 Brett Smith said at 12:54 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    AND !!!

    Tebow to the Jets for a 4th rounder. Yeah! No Tebow in Phili.

  75. 75 TommyLawlor said at 12:57 PM on March 21st, 2012:


  76. 76 Alex Karklins said at 1:16 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Thank Jeebus! The Jets are going to be a hot mess this year.

  77. 77 Kammich said at 1:52 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Couldn’t agree more. What in the hell are Tannenbaum and Ryan thinking? You give Sanchez a fluff extension to shut his teammates mouths and assert that Sanchez is “the guy”… and then you go and trade for the biggest QB spectacle(/headache) in the league, in the biggest media mecca in America?

    This has absolute disaster written all over it. I would not be surprised, AT ALL, if the Jets clean house after this season. Rex, Sanchez, Tannenbaum… all gone.

  78. 78 ACViking said at 2:01 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    What they’re thinking, I believe, is the Jets Offense lost a weapon when Brad Smith went to Buffalo — who scored a TD against the Eagles out of the wildcat formation last season for the Bills.

    Tebow will be the new “Brad Smith.”

  79. 79 Mac said at 2:59 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Sparano is their OC… so yep.

  80. 80 Alex Karklins said at 3:10 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    There are so many great jokes making the rounds already. My favorite so far: “Rex Ryan just fell in love with Tebow’s ability to make things happen with his feet.”

  81. 81 Kristopher Cebula said at 10:35 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    over/under for when the jets fans start calling for tebow to be the starter? i’d say game 2 or 4 sanchez int’s. whichever comes first

  82. 82 BreakinAnklez said at 1:21 PM on March 21st, 2012:


    Maybe right before or after the draft, could you do a write up about players you loved (as a scout) in prior drafts and what happened for them in the NFL? Kind of like what Matt did a littl while back on Scoutsnotebook regarding the high school class.

    Would be pretty neat to see how thy fared, maybe any insight into what might of happened, etc. just thought it was a pretty cool article.

  83. 83 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:30 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    that would be cool to read.
    i remember seeing a list you put up before the draft last year that was basically ‘i’d love to see us get a couple of these players’ sort of a thing that had guys projected in all rounds

  84. 84 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 1:54 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    That would be an excellent read!!

  85. 85 Kammich said at 1:55 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I would enjoy that as well. I only have laptop files of my draft coverage dating back to 2005, but I do enjoy reading them from time to time to see my hits and misses. Definitely more misses than hits for me, but its still cool to check out.

    I had a third round grade on Marques Colston after watching him at the Shrine Game. Had high grades on guys like Chris Johnson and Ryan Clady and Rob Gronkowski before a lot of people were familiar with them.

    On the opposite side of the coin, I went into the 2008 draft with Brian Brohm ranked as my #1 QB. Whoops.

  86. 86 the guy said at 4:26 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Considering the best 2 QBs to come out in 2008 were probably Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, neither of which I’ve ever been impressed with, I wouldn’t feel so bad.

  87. 87 Kammich said at 1:46 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Heheh, the Kuechwalker moniker is taking off. Kind of sad that we’ll likely never get to use it on him as a member of the Eagles.

    I love this move for solidifying the middle of our defense. I love this move for solidifying the single biggest weak spot on the roster. I love this move for the modest price tag. I love this move for the flexibility that it brings us in the rest of the free agency period. I love this move for the flexibility that it brings us in the draft.

    What can I say? I love this move.

  88. 88 Thorin McGee said at 1:59 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Tommy, Luke Kuechwalker should be your porn name.

  89. 89 D3Keith said at 7:42 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Only if it’s pronounced COOCHwalker and not KEEKwalker.

  90. 90 Brian Murphy said at 2:46 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    With Demeco in the fold (one of my favorite MLBs in the game, probably right behind Patrick Willis & Jon Beason) I think it’s safe to move on from Kuechly as our priority #1 pick. With that in mind I think we should target Whitney Mercilus. Here’s how I think it might break down:

    1. Colts Andrew Luck, QB
    2. Redskins Robert Griffin, QB
    3. Vikings Matt Kalil, OT
    4. Browns Trent Richardson, RB
    5. Buccaneers Morris Claiborne, CB
    6. Rams Justin Blackmon, WR
    7. Jaguars Quinton Coples, DE
    8. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill, QB
    9. Panthers Fletcher Cox, DT
    10. Bills Luke Kuechly, LB
    11. Chiefs Riley Reiff, OT
    12. Seahawks Michael Floyd, WR
    13. Cardinals David Decastro, OG
    14. Cowboys Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
    15. Eagles Whitney Mercilus, DE
    16. Jets Melvin Ingram, OLB
    17. Bengals Peter Konz, C
    18. Chargers Jonathan Martin, OT
    19. Bears Michael Brockers, DT
    20. Titans Zach Brown, OLB
    21. Bengals Mark Barron, S
    22. Browns Stephen Hill, WR
    23. Lions Mike Adams, OT
    24. Steelers Cordy Glenn, OG
    25. Broncos Dontari Poe, DT
    26. Texans Janoris Jenkins, CB
    27. Patriots Nick Perry, OLB
    28. Packers Andre Branch, OLB
    29. Ravens Dont’a Hightower, LB
    30. 49ers Kendall Wright, WR
    31. Patriots Courtney Upshaw, OLB
    32. Giants David Wilson, RB

    The top pass rushers are basically Quinton Coples, Melvin Ingram, Nick Perry, Andre Branch & our man Mercilus. Mercilus is attractive for a number of options. He has nice height at 6’4″. He’s a high character individual (go check his combine press conference for an example). He had exceptional production last year, especially in the TFL and forced fumble departments, not to mention sacks, where he led the nation as well. He sets the edge nicely against the run, especially for a guy his size. What he may lack in pure instincts I think he makes up for in physicality and toughness. He also posted a 4.68 40 at the combine, nothing to sneeze at. I’d put him at RDE and let him work in about 35-40% snaps. Would take a ton of pressure of Graham if he ends up unable to come back from injury as well. Just my 2 cents.

  91. 91 NoDecaf said at 3:02 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I think we either make a move on Cox (nopun)/ LK or trade back. Eagles brass gets antsy on draft day.

  92. 92 Richard Bayes said at 10:20 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    I’m inclined to agree. I just don’t see the Eagles staying put at 15.

    That said, I would LOVE to see and Eagles End called Merciless (or whatever…).

  93. 93 47_Ronin said at 3:53 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Nice mock list, however, the Browns tried to trade up to #2 to be in position to draft RG3, they bungled the deal with the Rams. I don’t think they are going to wait until after round 1 to get a QB, no way Tannehill makes to the Dolphins at #8. I think T. Richardson could be a possible pick for the Bucs and the Rams.

  94. 94 Brian Murphy said at 4:16 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I’ll admit the Browns are tough to mock…only in the draft sense though; their squad has some serious holes. They could pick Richardson, Claiborne, Blackmon or Tannehill at 4. I am just not certain Tannehill is a top 5 talent. Is he that great an improvement on McCoy that you miss on another top talent to take him? I know QB is the end all be all of the league, but I’m just not sure.

  95. 95 Eric Weaver said at 3:53 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I have no idea if Mercilus will be good or not, but I’m a little turned off anymore by Big Ten (also including Notre Dame in here) defensive linemen.

  96. 96 DaO_Z said at 8:37 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    for every Trevor Laws there is a Justin Tuck….Abiamiri is plagued by injuries, not really a talent problem per se…

  97. 97 dislikedisqus said at 5:13 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    It would be cool to have a guy named Merciless on your defense.
    But I think Washburn may be looking at Poe and thinking he is the second coming of Albert Haynesworth.

  98. 98 Steve H said at 2:57 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Wow, I bet the Saints feel like they just got sucker punched in the face. I was expecting harsh punishment but that is pretty much submarining their season.

  99. 99 Alex Karklins said at 3:08 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    No kidding. The Ginger Hammer came down really hard today. Looks like Spags is a Head Coach again.

  100. 100 Liam Garrett said at 3:33 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Clearly, this has been part of his master plan since Day 1.

    (Crafty Spags.)

  101. 101 ACViking said at 4:36 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Gotta disagree.

    Last week Peyton (along with owner Benson) went to NYC to personally plead his case to Goodell. “Beg” is probably more like it.

    One thing Goodell’s been clear about, and he’s no different from federal prosecutors: “DO NOT LIE TO ME WHEN I ASK YOU AN IMPORTANT QUESTION”

  102. 102 D3Keith said at 8:30 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I really don’t think this makes them a much less dangerous team. Payton gets credit for being a genius and he always has been one even back to the Cowboys days, but I think Drew Brees can survive with another coach. They even had a little practice or time to think about how they’d function without Payton last season.

    They’re gonna be all fired up on that us against the world crap.

    And they haven’t lost a single player for next year. Just HC.

  103. 103 BreakinAnklez said at 10:39 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    They lost Nicks. And I would expect they’ll lose Vilma to a suspension…at the least

  104. 104 DaO_Z said at 8:38 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    Besides their left guard in free agency?

  105. 105 ACViking said at 4:40 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    The Eagles once had Takeo Spikes at WLB — two years after an achilles-tendon injury.

    Spikes was 30 years-old from most of that season (2007).

    Anyone want to weigh in on whether they think Spikes (i) ever returned to his pre-injury form with the Eagles or any other team, and (ii) whether, if he didn’t, it was more about age than anything.

  106. 106 austinfan said at 8:01 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    It was more age than anything, Spikes had thickened up and slowed down, the achilles didn’t help, but he was moving inside in any case. He was 28 when he had his peak season as a WLB, and 31 when he played for the Eagles, so you would have expected him to lose a step or two. Left the Eagles and was a premier ILB for the 49ers for 3 years.

    Ryan will probably be a step slower than he was at his peak, but he’s still only 28, he ran a 4.65 at the combine, so if he’s a 4.70, 242 lb MLB (I’m not sure I buy 247 lbs, those roster numbers are often inflated) if he’s smart with good instincts, that’s plenty good enough. He’s still faster and better in coverage than Lofton or Tulloch, and bigger than Hawthorne.

  107. 107 metaReign said at 4:47 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I would love to entertain the thought having both Kuechwalker and Cap’n D-mec, as a compliment to one another. Both are instinctively, borderline high profile tacklers. They’re patience, follows the ball and one is a downhill specialist (DR), the other is a broad EAST-WEST coverage (LK40). Both can hybrid between MIKE/SAM, staying on the field 100% of the time. My concern was holding down the entire 4th qtr, would be eliminated with this duo combo, with Demeco’s running the defensive unit. Guess we’ll wait and see what happens at Draft Opening night, patience (been alot of those lately).

  108. 108 dislikedisqus said at 5:16 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Linebacker Luke Kuechly put on a show Wednesday during Boston College’s pro day, running through a series of positional drills in front of 27 NFL teams.

    Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell conducted Kuechly’s drills, which was notable due to Philly’s heavily perceived interest in BC’s all-time leading tackler.

  109. 109 Kammich said at 5:36 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Brod Bunkley signed a 5 year, $25 million dollar deal with the Saints. $9 Mil guaranteed.

    Do you think they paid him with envelopes full of cash?

  110. 110 Mac said at 6:31 PM on March 21st, 2012:


  111. 111 RabidEagle said at 5:48 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Kuechly isn’t an option at this point, and if I were the Eagles I would hope that some team calls and offers a deal to trade down so we get an extra 2nd.

    Fletcher Cox will probably be gone, and none of the DE’s interest me at that spot.

  112. 112 ACViking said at 6:11 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    RE: Kuechley & Ryans

    With Ryans on board, it seems to me the Eagles shouldn’t invest the 15th pick in Rd 1 in a player whom the coaches would (i) immediately move to a *new* position, and (ii) not be using as a 3-down player.

    As reported, LB is one of the lowest paid positions (lowest?) on defense. The Eagles are not alone in their valuation of the position.

    A D-lineman or CB is where the value is in the early part of this draft.

    If the Eagles can’t trade up to get a impact player at those positions, then they should trade down for more picks.

    But adding an MLB for the purpose of moving him to a new position as a rookie where he’ll play about 60% of the plays (if that) doesn’t make seem to add up.

  113. 113 Mac said at 6:34 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    How would it strike you if they dropped back to say… 20 got a pick and draft Kuechley with the thought that Ryans and he would be the Nickle LBers… Would that strike you as good value? Just curious…

  114. 114 ACViking said at 9:09 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    With the addition of Ryans, I think the Eagles are pretty well set at every position . . . though safety appears to be, in today’s NFL, the weakest link on the defense [no matter who fills the WILL and SAM positions].

    Dropping back into the 20s in the 1st round, getting a premium pick (2nd or 3rd round) may provide *value* that makes taking Kuechley sensible.

    That assumes three things at least, I think:

    First, the Eagles believe LK can play SAM at a high level.

    Second, LK is the best player — clearly the best — on the board when they choose and no one’s offering a deal worth taking to drop further back.

    Third, the Eagles brass does NOT believe Jamar Chaney was *forced* to play out of position last year and (at full health), he’s a very good SAM just waiting to happen.

    10 years ago, I think it’s a no-brainer that the Eagles take LK to combo w/ DeMR at LB.

    Now, I’m not so sure. Even with the added value of additional draft picks.

    Seems to me, after 13 years of AR, that if a DL or CB is on the board with a value (per the Eagles) several slots above their pick, I see them taking the DL/CB.

    I guess, after all these years, I’ve been conditioned to believe the Eagles just don’t spend 1st-round picks on LBs.

    Of course, with DeMR now on board, the Eagles could fly under the radar and snag LK without worrying about someone jumping ahead of them.

  115. 115 Mac said at 9:57 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    Can’t argue with any of that logic. I agree that the Eagles have devalued LB and aren’t likely to take any LB in the 1st round. But there’s something sneaky about how they do business that makes me wonder if they aren’t trying to hide their infatuation with a genuine stud LB.

    Of course all this will be a moot point when they land Fletcher Cox in the draft. Or trade out of the first round again… haha

  116. 116 Mac said at 6:34 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    How would it strike you if they dropped back to say… 20 got a pick and draft Kuechley with the thought that Ryans and he would be the Nickle LBers… Would that strike you as good value? Just curious…

  117. 117 nopain23 said at 6:18 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Ok..I hate to say this but the one thing we can learn from the Superbowl champs is u can never have too many good players at one or not..the Iggles should take Luke if he’s there at 15.what if DR gets hurt…do we trust anyone on the current roster to step in..NO WAY….Luke is versatile enough to play SAM..and DR59 in the middle will only aid his development….whats wrong with 2 guys with great instincts being on the field at the same time…I think it was clear last season that a plethora of the mistakes on the field were mental errors..guys not being able to diagnose what they were seeing and were out of position too often…in LK40 and DR59…u have two guys who can put guys in the right position and erase their mistakes as well…and if a team goes no NE….no problem..these two guys can play all 3 downs…..and that’s a luxury THIS iggles fan would love to have

  118. 118 Alex Karklins said at 6:52 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I’m totally on board with adding Kuechley. Just because the Eagles added one quality starter at MLB, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try to gain a lot of depth in the draft. If he’s available at 15, grab him and worry about the depth chart later! I’m not opposed to trading down for Zach Brown, either.

  119. 119 wee2424 said at 6:16 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    I am also on board with adding kuechly, however I
    Think if a dt falls our way then it might be the smartest move to go
    In that direction. When you really think about it, the dt position is very thin right now.without having landri signed of course

  120. 120 TrentColeHammels said at 6:32 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Should’ve gone with Luke Skykuelchy

  121. 121 wee2424 said at 9:47 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Why? He is no garuntee, Ryan’s is an established pro bowl lb with leadership capabilities that we desperately need. You make it sound like the 14 teams ahead of us in the draft weren’t going to pick him just so he could go to us. There was no garuntee that we could have gotten him. He isn’t a free agent ya know.

  122. 122 TrentColeHammels said at 4:38 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    I didnt mean it like that. I love trading for Ryans, and given a choice between him or Kuelchly, I would take Ryans. I was only commenting on Tommy’s language humor, calling Luke “Luke Kuechlywalker”. I think “Luke Skykuechly” rolls off the tongue better.

  123. 123 wee2424 said at 6:09 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    O ok, got you brother

  124. 124 Chris_Tomlinson116 said at 7:31 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Any truth to the rumor that the picks that Miami got in the Marshall trade were going to be used to acquire Desean Jackson (a 2nd and 3rd and 2013 3rd round pick)? Obviously not anymore with the new deal, but I wonder what they had in store if that did occur…

  125. 125 Cliff said at 7:38 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    Did y’all see the thing about meeting with coaches in one of the Ryans articles:

    “Ryans faces one challenge in learning his new team: under new CBA rules he can receive a playbook, but can’t meet with coaches until April 16.”

    That’s stupid to me. It’s not like free agents are out there getting run through drills after they’re signed.

  126. 126 metaReign said at 11:31 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    I may be wrong, but even if they can’t be with coaches, nothing says that they can’t work among the other players, to have some real understanding about the playbook. Ryans is experienced enough to understand, he may have some ideas of his own, once he gets to know the guys around him.

    CBA rules is something I’m still trying to grasp. Like society’s law, some things just don’t sounds right, there’s always some reasons behind them, whether they make sense or not.

  127. 127 Kammich said at 8:15 PM on March 21st, 2012:

    More praise for the deal, this time from WallyFootball:

    “This is a great trade for the Eagles. They had a desperate need for an inside linebacker, and they now have a stud playing at the position for the mere price of a fourth-round pick and the swap of third-rounders.

    Ryans was considered one of the premier inside linebackers in the NFL prior to tearing his Achilles in 2010. He struggled early on last year, but played well toward the end of the season. Now two years removed from that injury, Ryans is ready to play at an elite level. There’s no cause for concern, by the way, about his being in a 3-4 recently because he was more effective in a 4-3 earlier in his career.

    Houston fans have to be sad that they’re parting ways with one of their most talented defenders, but Ryans is not an ideal fit for the 3-4. He also cost too much ($5.9 million) for the cap-strapped Texans. I feel like they should have gotten more for him, however.”

  128. 128 Anders Jensen said at 3:50 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    Tommy, will there come a post soon about the DT situation? Im really intruged by adding Amobi Okeyo, seems to have a lot of talent and seems a good fit as in a 1-gap scheme

  129. 129 izzylangfan said at 6:39 AM on March 22nd, 2012:

    ” The area between the hashmarks at The Linc just got a new landlord. And the rent is paid in flesh.”

    Gotta love it. Both the writing and the reality.