Dawk On Banner

Posted: June 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 19 Comments »

I’ve got some more thoughts on the Banner situation, but I read Sheil Kapadia’s post covering Dawk’s appearance with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 and I wanted to jump on this first.

First, Joe did admit today on PFT Live that his biggest regret is the way he dealt with some players.  He specifically mentioned Dawk’s situation, where things weren’t handled well.  Joe made the mistake of negotiating with him the way he would with any other free agent.  Dawk was a special player and deserved to be treated differently.  That doesn’t mean the Eagles should have paid him whatever he wanted.  It just means that the negotiations should not have been as adversarial as Banner let them become.  Some guys you play hardball with.   Not Dawk.

Dawk’s attitude toward Joe is greatly affected by that situation and I don’t blame him one bit.  Dawk should be ticked off.  That said, Dawk is a bit off base with some comments.

“I just think that the way things have been done for so long there, and we did have some success, but the way that some of the guys that are in house had to always scrap, fight and do different things in order to just get a deal, it kind of wears on guys,” Dawkins said. “And that was really the philosophy of this team, the way that they did things. I’m not saying that it’s going to change 100 percent going forward.

The thing that I would love to see is guys in house be able to be kept. That was one of the things that always kind of frustrated me as a player, that guys who are in house and doing everything they can to improve the team are let go pretty easily, and then you go out and pay big bucks for free agents coming in.”

Dawk is right that players have had to fight for new deals in some instances.  I think that is just part of life in the NFL.  Look at how the Saints/Drew Brees negotiations are going.  You have the Bears and Matt Forte.  Osi and the Giants.  And so on.  Teams have limited resources.  They can’t just pay players what they want.  Getting new deals should have some level of difficulty.

The next paragraph is where I think Dawk is way off.  “I would love to see guys in house be able to be kept.”  Like who?  Troy Vincent?  Hugh Douglas?  Duce Staley?  Corey Simon?

Again, I understand where Dawk is coming from.  The guys who left the team were like his brothers.  Seeing them go elsewhere wasn’t easy. Heck, it killed me.  I was devastated when Troy Vincent left.  I loved him to death.  How do you left that guy walk?  The Eagles made the right call.  Troy was a descending player.  He left here and started 27 games over the next 4 years.  Neither Duce nor Hugh did much after leaving.  The Eagles have generally been right with their philosophy of letting guys go.

I hated that philosophy back then.  I had flashbacks to 1992-94 when Gang Green was broken up by free agency.  The difference is that those players were in their prime and the guys let go by Banner and Reid were descending players.  Those are the guys you let walk.

Dawk added this in regard to Banner’s departure and how it will help Andy Reid:

“Sometimes when a coach tries to make decisions on what he wants and he has to go through three different people to get that guy, that’s a tough, tough position to be in,” Dawkins said “However many of the middle men that you can get out is always a better thing for a coach.”

Uh, wrong.  This is where Reid has convinced so many players that he is on their side when in reality Big Red is playing both sides.  Coach Reid does love his players and does want to keep them.  Personnel guy Reid is willing to let the vets walk to bring in young talent and help balance out the salary cap.  Reid always let Banner play bad cop to his good cop.  The players got mad at Banner and never had an issue with Reid.  Well, now that’s done.  Maybe Roseman becomes the bad cop.  Maybe Reid has to let players know that he is okay with them hitting the bricks.  This is one area where Banner will be missed.  He was willing to be the bad guy.

Dawk is one vet that Banner really didn’t handle well, but for the most part Joe did his job the way that we needed it done.  Players may think there are going to be a lot of changes, but that won’t be the case.  The Eagles will focus on the draft and having plenty of young players on the roster.  Banner’s way of doing business is what let us go a little crazy last year and still be able to turn around and keep the guys we wanted this year as well.  Do not expect to see the Eagles suddenly choose the Quintin Mikell’s over the Kurt Coleman’s.

Howie apparently is a less adversarial negotiator and that is a good thing.  Players and agents will like that.  It doesn’t mean that every player is going to get the deal he wants or be kept around.  This offseason worked really well, but there will be some bumpy roads in the future.  That’s just part of life in the NFL.

* * * * *

I will post more on Banner and how things went down on Friday.


19 Comments on “Dawk On Banner”

  1. 1 Cliff said at 12:05 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    We see time and time again players do not make good personnel guys or even coaches. I think it’s actually a remarkable thing when a player is able to transition to the coaching or front office world. That just doesn’t happen very often.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 12:40 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    It is tough for players to adjust their mentality. The guys who usually succeed are lesser players who understand the dog eat dog nature of football. Stars feel a sense of entitlement and that affects their mentality.

  3. 3 Mac said at 9:50 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Cough, Elway, Cough… We’ll find out soon how well his little move to get an aging glass cannon works out.

  4. 4 austinfan said at 12:08 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    The interesting thing is Trotter’s comments, he’s been a lot less negative than other players. I think because after all his posturing, he got the same money from the Redskins that Banner offered two years before, and the Redskins were an awful fit. So for him, gee the little Weasel was right about me.

    The real problem is the same ego that gives these guys supreme confidence on the field encourages them to overvalue themselves off the field, and you have to handle their egos gently. Joe and “gentle” went together like the Gallagher brothers, or Alex and Slash. Joe liked the bad cop role a bit too much, he was in the wrong business, should have been in a profession where you’re allowed to wear brass knuckles. Or eating chocolate strawberries in law firm conference rooms while you practice your Dr. No routine.

    Howie on the other hand, can bargain tough but let the other guy think they got 55% even when they’re walking away with 35%. That’s an important skill, in any situation where you have an ongoing relationship, negotiating isn’t about “winning” a mano-mano contest, but making everyone feel like a winner. Joe made everyone feel like they lost, even when they won.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 12:40 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Some real truth to the last line.

  6. 6 Arby1 said at 8:24 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Well put!

  7. 7 Mac said at 9:53 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    I find a bit of irony here in the similarities…

    Joe “Knuckles” Banner
    Joe “Nickles” Banner


  8. 8 Vini Gonçalves said at 12:09 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Hey Tommy.

    First of all, thanks for posting the results of the poll that puts Eagles as the 2nd biggest fan base in Brasil the other day. We are very happy with the results and we are trying to bring more poeple to enjoy NFL and start to Bleed Green. Next year we are going to be the first one! =)

    Talking about the topic, do u seen this moves in front office could be beneficial for Andy Reid to stay more years as our head coach? Do u see him in some point stop being the head coach and assuming other functions in the franchise?

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 12:41 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Andy stays if he wins. Simple as that. If he doesn’t win, maybe he and Joe will reunite with some other team. Now that would be funny.

  10. 10 iskar36 said at 1:26 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    I think AR has a good appreciation for the GM side of his job, and I certainly don’t think he disagreed with Banner in general on how he handled the personnel-type decisions. That being said, I do think what often gets confused as “power struggle” is that AR does lean towards the coaching/player side of things. I get the sense that he tends to come at things from the coaches perspective first rather than the GM perspective. I think we have seen a few examples of that. If AR had his way without other people persuading him otherwise, I think guys like Dawkins and McNabb would have been here longer. Now just to be clear, I’m not saying Banner out ruled AR what-so-ever, but I do think a likely scenario is AR would come into a meeting over a player leaning towards keeping the player being in the best interest of the team while Banner would come into the same meeting with a more economic approach. After debating both sides, in the cases of Dawkins and McNabb, AR would be convinced towards the GM side of things as being in the best interest of the team and then support that idea fully.

    To me, I think that is the difference players often talk about when it comes to AR versus the FO. AR is absolutely part of the FO and once discussions take place, I think the moves that happen are 100% supported by AR. The difference is that prior to discussions, he does fight for his players and support his players and it requires a quality argument to convince AR otherwise.

    In terms of Dawkin’s comment, I agree with Tommy that it’s not a simple thing of cutting out middle men. I would imagine AR wants and appreciates having guys that come from the GM perspective and ultimately help the team make better decisions. In other words, I think what Dawkins is missing is that the middle men are there by design, not as barriers to what AR wants.

  11. 11 Matt Hoover said at 6:09 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    I think maybe Dawk was going back a decade and talking about How Trotter was able to leave and go to the Redskins? When it comes to players not being able to stay, maybe Carlos Emmons as well? I am not sure 100% on his stance but maybe he was team owens? And wanted TO to get a new deal back in 05? Just speculating

  12. 12 Mac said at 9:56 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Could also be the more recent treatment of B. West. It’s hard to quantify who he is talking about (which is a good thing imho).

  13. 13 Bighouse1 said at 8:26 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    I for one am so excited that Lurie is taking steps to clean out the front office and change the structure to align with other successful teams. I have been harping on this for how long now??

    Joe Banner had no business making the kind of football decisions and having the kind of influence and “financial final say” that he has had for so long. It was a ridiculous arrangement in many respects. It wasn’t just the situations that he messed up that cost the team dearly in both play on the field and fan perception (Trotter, Dawkins, DeSean Jackson), but also the free agents he didn’t get due to his negotiating style.

    As usual Domowich and Didinger both have outstanding articles on the situation that characterize what has happened very well. Particularly interesting are some of the quotes from agents and executives that Domo provided, which I happen to agree with 100%:

    “I just don’t know what Joe brought to the table anymore,” another agent said. “In terms of scouting and personnel, you get that with Howie. In terms of negotiations and managing the cap, between Howie and a guy like [manager of football administration] Jake Rosenberg, where is his value at this point? Especially if he’s not on the same page as the head coach.”

    Said another agent, who has represented Eagles players for a number of years: “There’s no question that a lot of the Eagles’ success, no matter how you measure that success, was because of Joe and his philosophies. The Eagles did things a lot differently than other clubs did, and that had a lot to do with him. But I also think their inability to take the final step [and win a Super Bowl] also had a lot to do with him.

    “The way he dealt with things, the way he had to win everything, and the condescending approach he often took with players, that didn’t help them. I just feel he could have done some things a little differently from the personal side that would’ve allowed them to have even more success than they did.”

  14. 14 NoDecaf said at 9:01 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Tommy, could it be that the good cop/bad cop has been recognized as an antiquated, “production era,” ploy that is inherently divisive? Is there a chance that a fundamental mantra of “open, honest, thorough and valid,” in dealings internally/externally cultivates better will?

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 9:47 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    I doubt it. When a player wants more money/new deal and he’s not going to get it, he is going to hold that against someone. Players are delusional when it comes to their value. They see themselves as special when they are all replaceable.

  16. 16 ATLeagle said at 10:37 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    They may be replaceable, but replaceable by what? Last year we had a disgruntled DJacc and an overpaid steve smith. There is no way that can be overlooked as wrong by all the players. If there is any truth to the meme, there is no way to pretend that it is better to come from outside the team when that is going on.

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 11:27 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    There are going to be some situations where there is no right answer. If a player thinks he is worth X and the team doesn’t, the player is going to resent someone for it. That was Joe. Now it will have to be Andy, Howie, or Lurie. You can’t pay the player if you don’t think he’s worth the money. You just have to let him be mad and hope things get sorted out over time.

    The line about guys being replaceable…we’re talking big picture. Sometimes the replacements step in right away and thrive. Sometimes it takes a year. Sometimes 3 or 4 years. Kurt Warner took over for Trent Green. SB. Tom Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe. 3 SBs. Dan Marino never won a SB, but the Dolphins have struggled since he left. They haven’t found a replacement for him yet. It is up to the team to find guys.

    The point is that football is a team sport and no player is above the team. You can’t give a blank check to players. You must have values for the players and stick to them.

  18. 18 ATLeagle said at 2:42 PM on June 8th, 2012:

    100% agree. There are times when the players perceptions are just that, and there are times when everyone except the front office group agrees that a guy is getting screwed. The general feel from the players the last few years was consistent.

    It is going to be interesting in a few years to see if all of the deals are too friendly, or if too many guys are held onto that should have been let go. Banner was definitely the adult who took the rap for making the tough decisions, and maybe he did it too often, or didnt make enough exceptions, but someone is going to have to wear the bad guy pants or we can easily end up with a Dallas/DC situation where fun talent is viewed as better than affordable/good enough/necessary.

  19. 19 JRB5555 said at 9:39 AM on June 8th, 2012:

    Excellent article and right on the mark. Banner was willing and able to be the “bad guy” all these years. In almost every situation they made the right call on letting personnel leave and over the 13 years they have not become an old roster with deals that are suffocating them. Just look at the Phillies and you will see a situation where bad contracts and not making hard calls on personnel will hurt the franchise for an extended period of time. I want a super bowl more than anyone but credit where credit is due.

    Dawkins may be the one exception to the above but he just could no longer cover receivers in our system. Really tough call there.