Stanley Havili & FB

Posted: May 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 41 Comments »

There continues to be a lot of interest in what the Eagles are going to do at FB.  Right now the job is Stanley Havili’s to lose.  Owen Schmitt just signed with the Raiders.  The Eagles showed no public interest in bringing him back and haven’t talked to other veterans.

So what is going on?

The Eagles didn’t play the FB very much last year.  He was on the field less than 15% of the offensive snaps.  When Howard Mudd was with the Colts, they didn’t even keep a FB on the roster most of the time.  Mudd’s blocking scheme affects the plays that can be run.  His blocking scheme works really well with the stretch run.  That is not a play where you need a FB.  If your base run play doesn’t need a FB, then that is offically a de-prioritized position.

Should the Eagles just do away with the position?  No.  It is easy to say “just plug someone in there” since we’re not talking about many plays.  The problem with that is that the times when you do need a FB are generally critical plays.  On 3rd/1 you are more likely to run N-S than E-W.  The stretch is an E-W play.  The RB is going to be parallel to the LOS.  That’s fine on 1st/10 or 2nd/7.  It isn’t good on short yardage plays.

The problem in those situations is that defenders are focused on the run.  They are penetrating and trying to blow the play up.  If the RB goes sideways, he presents a good target for the defense and they have more chances to go hit him.  Also, he’s not nearly as likely to break a tackle if his shoulders are facing the sideline and not the LOS.

Short yardage runs call for the I-formation.  The RB sits behind the FB and runs up the field.  The FB can take on any defender who does get penetration.  The RB can run behind his pads and fight for yards since he is headed in the right direction.

Since we aren’t a predominant I-formation team anymore, we don’t need a sledgehammer at FB.  We can get away with having a smaller, more athletic guy.  That allows him to be better on pass plays.  The key is that he must be at least an effective blocker.  And that’s where Havili comes into play.

He is a good runner.  He is a very good receiver.  Why not use him at RB?  Stiff hips/body.  He turns his body as one whole thing.  That might be okay if he was huge, but Havili isn’t.  Take a look at this highlight video.

Not bad, huh?

I think you can see what a gifted receiver he is and why the Eagles are interested in having him as the FB.  He can be a weapon (although a limited one) in that role.  He is more athletic than most FBs and is a much better receiver than most FBs.

As I’ve mentioned all along…the question is whether he can block.  He wasn’t consistently effective at USC, but he had a shoulder issue that hampered him.  That has been fixed and he’s reportedly all good to go.  Now he has to show toughness.  He must select the right target and attack that player full speed.  Shady scored a lot of TDs last year and a lot of them came while running behind Schmitt.  All of Havili’s pass catching abilities are useless if he can’t block well enough.

The primary competition for him is UDFA Emil Igwenagu.  He played all over the place at UMass.  That showed versatility, but also that he had trouble finding a home.  The one thing he always did well was catch the ball.  Igwenagu is 6-1, 249.  He would love to be a TE, but just doesn’t have the build for it.  He’s also not a great athlete.  I think he can make it in the NFL if he will embrace the role of FB and playing STs.

Igwenagu played in the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl.  He looked like a good receiver at both places, but his blocking limitations were also obvious.  Put him in an NFL setting and have him concentrate on FB and he might make big strides in that area.

For comparison’s sake, Leonard Weaver was an undersized TE from a small school that had to move to FB.  He embraced the role and became very good.  I don’t know that Iggy (tired of that full name) can do the same thing, but it shows that you can find FBs at other positions and at small schools.  There is some hope.

I have no problem with the Eagles having Havili and Iggy battle it out for the FB spot.  It would be more comfortable if there was a name we knew better in that battle, but FB is a dying position.  There aren’t many good ones left in the NFL and there are very few coming out of college football.  This is another product of the spread offense.  Your best bet these days is to find someone with the right build and/or skill set and put them there.  We’ve seen quite a few LBs make the conversion in recent years.

I don’t mean to leave out Jeremy Stewart.  He’s the UDFA from Stanford.  He’s only 218 pounds.  He might be tough as nails, but that is super small.  He needs to get up to 235 or so to be functional in the NFL.

I do not think the Eagles will go without a FB this year.  I know that Chris Polk and Bryce Brown have some size.  I know that Clay Harbor and Brent Celek have had some snaps in the backfield.  I just think FB is still an important enough role to require someone who can have that be his primary job.

If Havili and Iggy really struggle, I think the team will go pick up some veteran off the street.  I don’t see them going heavy at TE and/or RB and just overlooking the spot.  I know some people think the Eagles will do this.  Hopefully Havili has a good summer and this all becomes a moot discussion.  Stanley was on the Practice Squad last year so he does have a feel for the offense and how the coaches want things done.

We have to wait for Lehigh to have any sense of where Havili is.  We know he can run and catch.  We’ll find out if he can block when he starts going up against DeMeco Ryans in some live drills.

* * * * *

Tim McManus has a nice article up on Fletcher Cox and his adjusting to life in the big city.  I really like Fletch and hope he pans out for us.  Great prospect.  Seems like a likeable guy as well.

* * * * *

Safety update…Drew Rosenhaus told a radio station in Miami that his client Yeremiah Bell will be choosing between the Jets, Chiefs, Titans, and Eagles in the next 24 hours.


Can Drew be trusted here?  Hell no.  Bell has been on the market for a while.  He hasn’t signed because no one has offered him anything significant.  No one will of course, but often players are a bit delusional.  Bell is going to get a minimum type deal.  Maybe he gets a small bonus.  I don’t even know how likely that is.  Drew could be using the Eagles name in order to generate some interest or have a team pony up a couple of extra bucks.  This is how the game is played.

Maybe Drew is telling the truth and the Eagles are in the running.  It doesn’t mesh with what the team has said publicly or what I’ve been hearing.

I’d prefer to stick with the young guys, but adding a vet like Bell on the cheap wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  If we do it, you know Todd Bowles is vouching for him.  In Todd We Trust…so far.

* * * * *

For ScoutsNotebook I wrote a piece yesterday called Football is a Drug.  There has been a lot of talk recently about the game of football and the effects it has on people, good and bad.  One angle I think not enough have covered is just how unique the sport is and why players are so consumed with it.  Football is much more than a game.

41 Comments on “Stanley Havili & FB”

  1. 1 Kristopher Cebula said at 12:16 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    i like iggy better. every time you write igwenagu, i read ikegwanu, as in the ex corner.

  2. 2 nopain23 said at 12:39 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Really hope iggles sign Bell.You don’t break the bank for him of course.But if you can sign him on the’s what you get.a solid run defender who provides veteran leadership for our DBs.Jenkins is clearly our leader on the DL.LBs will be under Cap Ryans.That leaves Likeour DBs.Kurt is a nice kid but he does nothing well,liability in coverage and sloppy tackler.can’t have that in the wide 9 where your back 7 must be stout against the run.Like Ryans,coming from the AFC Bell has experience preparing for guys like Peyton and Brady..arguably the best 2 QB’s of the decade.I really want Jaijaq to win the job but if he can’t I don’t trust Kurt as a starter

  3. 3 iskar36 said at 2:46 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I am definitely in the sign Bell camp. To me, I think it is fair to say the safety position is the weakest position on the team right now. By bringing in Bell, at worst, you improve a back up spot which is currently being held by an UDFA. On top of that, Bell has worked with Bowles and can be a veteran leader among the group (which contains all young guys) that can help translate what Bowles wants. Lastly, if Allen, Coleman, or Jarrett struggle, Bell can step in. Heck, we don’t even have a backup plan if Allen goes down. Currently, Coleman would probably slide over to FS and Jarrett would end up being the default starter at safety.

    The argument that Tommy has used of the current plan being good because it provides the young guys practice time is a valid one, but I don’t think signing Bell has to really disrupt that. Bell knows what Bowles wants and as a player who is going to be signed this late in the offseason, you are not obligated to start him by any means. On top of that, it is not likely that he is going to get a substantial contract. Thus, you can still focus on the young guys and give them every chance to earn the starting role. We are not talking about a log jam of players at the position.

  4. 4 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:58 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Bell might not be too thrilled about going to a team where he is slated to be the backup. heck, he might not even want to have to fight for the position. maybe he expects to start.

  5. 5 ian_no_2 said at 3:07 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    If they Bell and his agent familiarize themselves with the Eagles safeties, they would be assured Bell will get a chance to start at some point.

  6. 6 iskar36 said at 3:21 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I don’t know where he would go that he would not have to face competition at all to start. As for fighting for the position, he would have a solid chance to compete for the starting spot here. Lastly, I am arguing this from the perspective of the Eagles, not Bell. You’re right that you would need to entice him to come here some how, whether that was through giving him an opportunity to start or financially, but that all depends on what other kind of leverage he may or may not have. Doesn’t seem like he has a ton right now. Still, my point is the Eagles should be interested in bringing in Bell as competition at safety. They could end up having plenty of interest and Bell saying no, but I hope we can at least get to the first part before I worry about the second part.

  7. 7 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:32 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    good points to you and ian_no_2.
    i’m just thinking that AR has only recently said that he likes our starting safeties and identified them as the starters (that did, happen, right? lol i hope i’m not making this up).

    from bell’s perspective, that might not look too appealing. of course, i have no idea what the situations are like for the other teams, maybe its the same or worse like you were getting at.

    i would love to have him here to compete and at worst be a high quality backup!

  8. 8 iskar36 said at 3:45 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    You didn’t make it up. AR definitely said that.

  9. 9 Septhinox said at 12:43 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    OMG Tommy….

    I’ve been in Jamaica for a week (I know, I know) with no internet access. I think I almost lost it with no internet access. I didn’t realize how much I depended on your blog to keep up with the Eagles…sigh….

    1st world problems right? lol

  10. 10 TommyLawlor said at 12:50 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Lesson learned…next time take your vacation in Delaware. It’s like Jamaica, but with the internet.

  11. 11 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:01 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    thanks for that. i just spit out part of my burrito on my monitor. where are those napkins…

  12. 12 Septhinox said at 1:08 PM on May 17th, 2012:


  13. 13 DanM said at 7:04 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Really, you mean next time take your vacation in Delaware, that way when you go back you realize things aren’t so bad. It will make it seem like you are having a year long vacation!

  14. 14 D3FB said at 7:37 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    And no sales tax

  15. 15 JRO91 said at 1:00 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I like Havili as the Leonard Weaver type fullback role. I still remember Leonard lining up as the lone RB and popping that long TD run against the G-Men. I think Stanley can be that guy. When we need a short yardage run, they could use Harbor, or Brandon Washington as the lead back…he looks pretty stout.

  16. 16 NoDecaf said at 1:07 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Why not bring Owen back then? Was his blocking or receiving lacking? Was there a drop off?

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 1:34 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Only a so-so blocker. Not a gifted receiver. Also didn’t stand out on STs. Okay all around, but not strong in any area. Why not take a chance on a player who could be a good receiver? You hope that he can be an effective blocker. And I didn’t study Havili as a STer in college. Not sure if he’s got experience there or not.

    Owen didn’t do anything wrong, but he also didn’t do anything so special that the team felt like bringing him back was a must.

  18. 18 D3Keith said at 2:21 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Stanley sure ate up those real bad Wazzu teams. The one run he made a couple moves, but as in many offensive highlights, the tackling is atrocious.

    This came up in the post about safeties, but there’s some point in a DBs mind when it’s already a long play and the only goal is to prevent a TD, slow down, make an ugly tackle that allows four or five more yards, but ends up being a tackle. Running right by the dang thing does nothing.

    Anyway, I think the table is set for Havili to impress, but I stand by my assertion that he has to earn a job. The Eagles aren’t going to keep him just to keep an FB … I would like to see him be as functional a blocker as Schmitt, because I know Marty is drooling with the FB-that-can-catch capability.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 3:01 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Havili only gets to keep the job if he’s an adequate blocker. If not. Igwenagu will have a chance or the team will go get a veteran.

  20. 20 ian_no_2 said at 3:03 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Having an extra receiver on the field like Havili is intriguing and dangerous, but the problem is his blocking, which is what he gets paid to do – when they need a receiver they put one in. It makes sense, reading your painstaking analysis of the team’s needs at FB, to just get a 3rd or 2nd TE who can do the same thing, who excels at blocking. Those guys are out there and many don’t get a chance. It could be Brett Brackett. It won’t be Chase Ford. Brackett apparently doesn’t have experience in a 3 point stance, but he’s the right size and he can block. Harbor was considered a FB prospect coming out of college but Brackett or someone else seems a better fit for the role.

  21. 21 rage114 said at 3:08 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    One of my pet peeves with the Eagles USED to be their interest in finding a high quality FB (that and getting a blocking TE). But with the FB only in on 15% of the offensive plays, the position really is devalued. There really isn’t a good reason to use a ton of resources (cash or draft picks) to upgrade the position.

    Still, my only gripe is that if you carry a FB because you might need a lead blocker, then why not get a great lead blocker and not worry about the receiving aspect?

    As the FB, what would he be? The 6th option on any play?

    Frankly, who cares if he can catch if he is only going to be on the field (a little over) 1 out of 8 plays.

    I would be curious how many of those plays would be as a lead blocker and how many as a receiver/pass blocker/safety valve.

  22. 22 GeorgeFleep said at 6:48 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I am tired of hearing this 15% hogwash. People are just repeating… for what reason? Do you think that is what the eagles ideally want? My guess is their ideal player is Leonard Weaver 2.0. What percentage of offensive plays was Weaver on the field for?

    Obviously Schmidt and Weaver were different FBs and so are each of their respective percentage of plays on the field. And whoever thinks that 15% is too little to have a roster spot is delusional. i think 15 is pretty significant because those are significant plays like Lawlor pointed out.

  23. 23 GeorgeFleep said at 6:58 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    n also since eagles extended Shady a FB snaps or throws or whatever would be useful to keep the workload or wear and tear off of him. Also a good leading blocker would keep the wear and tear off of him as well. So i really hope people would be rooting for a FB on the roster instead of not. People just see the number and think it is low. Think people the team perspective.

  24. 24 rage114 said at 7:17 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Color me confused.

    I am not arguing that a FB should be on the roster. A matter of fact, I agree with Tommy. Those snaps ARE important, even if it is only 15% of the offensive plays.

    It is not a position should be considered “good enough”. You need someone there that can be a FB, not just a big guy.

    I only question what would be more important to this team: a FB that is OK at blocking but good at receiving or a a FB that is OK at receiving but is good at blocking? I, personally, would like a FB that can block and block well (lead blocker or blitz pick up) before I am concerned about the players receiving ability.

  25. 25 GeorgeFleep said at 7:26 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    When i saw the number in your comment i brought thoughts to my head so that is where i commented. they were general statements.

  26. 26 HazletonEagle said at 5:16 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I dont see why its important to have a legit FB on short yardage situations. A good FB who can block a guy and then get down field and block another guy is important on 1st and 2nd down. In 3rd and 1 or 3rd and inches, all you need is someone willing to plow that 1 guy out of the way to gain that little bit needed. You dont need some spectacular lead blocker imo.
    For as much as we will use someone lined up in the FB position, I say just find out who is more willing between Polk and Brown and you get to keep a 4th very talented RB who you can just line up at FB 2-3 times a game if needed.

  27. 27 Yuri said at 5:20 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Now you are onto something. furthermore, ordering roster by weight, King Dunlap is my choice for goalline fullback… maybe a running back!

  28. 28 HazletonEagle said at 6:34 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    I sense some sarcasm. Ill answer seriously though. You at least need someone quick enough to get up to the line in time to clear some space. Nick Cole and Klecko werent very good because they couldnt get there before defenders were already penetrating into our backfield.
    Theres no reason why a big RB like Polk or Brown wouldnt be able to clear out the little bit of space needed in short yardage situations. All you need to see is whether they have the willingness to go be a battering ram on a few plays.
    Short yardage is not a tough job for the FB. He doesnt need to have any open field blocking skills like a top FB would in the past. You know the hole the play is designed to go to. So you run to that hole and whoever is occupying that space, you knock him back. Simple.

  29. 29 GeorgeFleep said at 5:35 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Mudd’s style didnt promote having a FB with the colts, however the eagles offense promotes having a FB. Did the colts carry 3 TEs when Mudd was there and thy didnt have a FB.

    Would the eagles really have 4 FB/RB 6WR and 3 TEs. seems unrealistic but i guess its possible. Maybe would then keep 8 OL instead of 9.

    I despise the idea of adding another safety. I remember when the eagles played the Jets and Miami there TE didnt do much first and foremost horrible QB play and then eagles got pressure on the QB but also because they had Kurt on them. Ja Jar should have learned a lot during the offseason as Spud has mentioned he has been watching tape a lot n whatever else they do in something where heavy things are lifted.

  30. 30 Corry Henry said at 5:56 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    My biggest concern with the Eagles having a question mark at fullback is that their red zone (and short yardage) woes are only going to get worse. You even said so yourself, Tommy, a lot of Shady’s touchdowns came running behind Schmitt.

    I full understand getting another receiving option on the field, but the Eagles haven’t had any issues driving the ball between the 20s. The problem in the past 3-4 years or so has been the red zone where our drives seemingly go to die. Not having a decent fullback option could only make a bad situation get worse. Hopefully Havili steps it up.

  31. 31 GeorgeFleep said at 5:59 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    i believe in short yardage the eagles were good. however the same cannot be said about redzone

  32. 32 nopain23 said at 6:40 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Shady 5yrs 45 mil….Tommy…..your thoughts?

  33. 33 TommyLawlor said at 6:42 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Great news. He’s got a PC coming up at 730pm. I’ll put up a post when that is over.

    Always good to have the stars and core players locked up long term…and happy.

  34. 34 nopain23 said at 6:48 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Tommy with djax and shady getting paid does that push jmac to have a monster season?

  35. 35 D3Keith said at 7:25 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    You know I was here like “come on Tommy, you get the same text messages I do, let’s get a post going!”

    Public service is a thankless job.

    Good idea waiting til after the PC.

  36. 36 ACViking said at 7:35 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    RE: McCoy’s deal

    Using the numbers ID’d on, it seems like McCoy’s deal is really a 3-year contract — although, besides the signing bonus of $8.5 M, it’s unclear where the remaining $12.265 M in guarantees are allocated. Maybe the salaries are guaranteed for the first 3 years. Need more info.

    But if he’s still producing after 2014 the way he did in 2011, the deal will need to be redone based on the salaries in years 4 and 5.

    Here’s’s post:

  37. 37 Steve H said at 8:29 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Love that the Eagles are locking up their home grown talent. No more nickle and dime bullshit.

  38. 38 Brett Smith said at 9:21 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    It is good to see. I loved the Shady pick and I thought he would be a great RB in our system. I was right! Love the Sanders like ankle breaking change of direction.

    I wonder if Andy’s job is safer than they let on. It seems like they have locked up a lot of “Andy” guys for the next few years.

  39. 39 Cliff said at 9:55 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Interesting way to look at this, but I wonder if we looked at teams around the league in the off-season before firing a HC if we wouldn’t see the same thing. A new coach would just have to come in and get rid of guys he doesn’t want. It’s not like a new coach wouldn’t want LeSean and Todd.

  40. 40 Brett Smith said at 12:06 AM on May 18th, 2012:

    My point extends beyond Shady and Todd. Though Shady is not a normal RB he would be amazing in any zone run blocking scheme.

    They also fixed DeJax. DeJax is special and requires a QB with an arm…(ala Vick). I am just saying that they have locked up several guys tailor made for the latest AR/MM offense. Not many coaches run an offense like this.

  41. 41 JEinOKC said at 9:26 PM on May 17th, 2012:

    Tommy, what are the odds Andy can talk McNabb into gaining back those 15 lbs he’s dropped and converting him to be the goal line FB? Imagine the Ronnie Brown-like dive/pass option possibilities with that one