Eagles To The Super Bowl?

Posted: August 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 35 Comments »

I’m new to the site PredictionMachine.com, but I sure like their line of thinking.  They simulated the upcoming NFL season 50,000 times and came up with the Eagles as Super Bowl champs 18% of the time.  Why even bother with the season?  It is parade time.

The most likely outcome is the Eagles beating the Patriots, 28-26.  How sweet would that be?  We’d have revenge for 2004.  We’d have our title.  And we’d have enough offensive highlights that the game would likely be fun to watch.

In case you were wondering, we also had the #1 seed.  That means we got to enjoy a pair of home playoff games.

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Football Outsiders has an interesting column on CB play.  Andy Benoit doesn’t use numbers, but rather goes into different styles of CB play and talks about Asante Samuel vs Nnamdi Asomugha vs other CBs.

I know people love to throw numbers up to show how good Samuel is, but I often think those numbers are flawed.  First, he’s so erratic that it scares QBs and they don’t want to throw his way.  That erratic style of play would be great, but it burns his teammates as well.  No one can say what he’ll do on a given play.

Also, because Asante is so erratic I think the number of passes completed on him is higher than people realize.  If he decides to go play a hunch and jumps a route, but the pass actually goes to his assigned receiver, the person charting the game may not know that and won’t attribute the catch to him.

I know it comes off like I hate the guy.  Not so.  Asante is a brilliant playmaker.  He is one of the most instinctive CBs I’ve ever seen.  He has very good hands.  He’s actually underrated as an overall corner.  When he wants to, Asante can jam receivers and play man coverage.  He can be physical.  The problem is that he chooses not to.  He’s like a baseball hitter that is obsessed with HRs.  If Asante was less selfish and played a more complete game, he’d have an even better reputation around the league.

I’m real curious to see how he does in Atlanta.  It won’t surprise me if he has a very good year, in part because the Falcons are desperate for playmakers and the coaches will give Asante a lot of freedom.  Also, the fact that the Eagles dealt him for so little has put an enormous chip on Asante’s shoulder.  He’ll be a highly motivated player this season.

The flip side is that Mike Smith and Mike Nolan have always coached tough, physical defenses.  The first time they see Asante back away as a RB comes near him, one or both of them might spontaneously combust.  Asante isn’t just a poor tackler.  There are run plays when he literally avoids contact by backing up.  Not all coaches will tolerate that.

It will be very interesting to see how Asante and the Falcons do compared to the Eagles and the new focus on press coverage.  One stat I’ll definitely check on is if their Red Zone defense gets worse and ours gets much better.  Asante’s gambling can be very beneficial to a team, but I fervently believe that he is a major weakness in the RZ.

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Trent Cole has a minor shoulder injury.  His AC joint is swollen so he’ll miss some practice time.  As long as he’s good to go when the games count, I’m not too worried.  Still…seeing the words “Trent Cole” and “injury” in the same sentence isn’t something I’m real fond of.

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I’m not a fantasy football guy, but many of you are.  One of the readers has started a league.  Here is the info for those interested in joining.

League

League ID#: 250092
Password: PBR

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For those of you who like links to Eagles articles, check out a new site that does that.  It is called ProFootballZap.  You go to the Eagles page and there are links to key sites and articles. Pretty cool.

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  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    The way you beat Asante is pump fake him and throw over his head. Or run screens to his side.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

      short passes to the inside is also a killer against him, because the WR will be able to shield, where he is able to jump throws to the outside

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

    Jeez, how about a spoiler alert, Tommy? I was really looking forward to seeing how the season played out.

    • TommyLawlor

      Sorry, dude. I won’t tell you who wins SB MVP.

      • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

        Its going to be Cliff Harris of course. 100%, that guy is Deon good. Pair of pick 6′s on Brady and a game that changes the dynamics of the position forever

        • A_T_G

          Yeah, I was sure it was going to be Cole after his 5 first quarter sacks of Brady, but when Harris sacked Edelman three times while he was running from the pocket, it kind of sealed it.

          It was nice to see Andy put in McNabb, Westy, and those fans from the cheap seats (relatively speaking) for the fourth quarter, even if it did lead to those three meaningless touchdowns for the Pats.

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

            I never thought I would see Tom Brady ejected for indecent exposure in the Super Bowl. Color me surprised.

  • aerochrome2

    Thanks for sharing the Link Tommy.

    There is only ONE spot left in the league at this point. Hopefully it gets filled today! For those already joined, there are two threads on our league screen, one regards changing the default yahoo settings for scoring and rosters, one regards whether the draft time I set works for everyone. Feel free to give your input on either thread.

    • aerochrome2

      League is full, if we have two more ddefinite yes’s, I can try to add two slots. Let me know here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.pringle.94 Joshua Pringle

        I would love to join

        • aerochrome2

          Do we have one more? I don’t want to change to 12 and then have an odd number of teams…

  • rage114

    I’m so glad the season is over. That was stressful.

    So Tommy, when will your first mock draft be complete?

  • D3Keith

    Love it!

    Although every time we lose I say “it’s about enjoying the journey, not obsessing over the outcome.”

    So now that I know we’re going to finally win it all, I can relax and enjoy the journey.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m already half way down with my game review of the Super Bowl. Cool, huh?

  • iskar36

    I have to say, I think the smear campaign against Asante seems to be a bit overdone at this point. I know you are providing your honest opinion, but as a reader, if I didn’t watch him play myself, I would think Asante was a huge liability on the field and an awful player, when in reality he is still a good player. Yes, he may not fit with what the Eagles want to do now on defense, but that definitely does not mean he is not a good football player. I know numbers for CBs don’t mean a lot to you, but they do hold value in terms of general trends and it is entirely unfair to through them out entirely (just like it would be to use them and ignore the tape entirely). On top of that, making a QB uncomfortable throwing in your direction is a positive, not a negative, for Asante.

    I think to bring some balance to the conversation, people should take a look at Derek’s Eagles Almanac Notebook Dump on IgglesBlog.

    http://www.igglesblog.com/iggles_blog/2012/06/wednesday-notebook-dump.html

    I’m not saying we should have kept Asante by any means. It is true that with what it seems like the Eagles want to do, Asante was clearly the odd man out. That being said, trading him away, despite what I have seen some people argued, was not as simple of a situation as “addition by subtraction.”

    • TommyLawlor

      Smear campaign? Andy Benoit writes for FO. He’s got no Eagles agenda. Plus, if you read what he and I wrote, we both acknowledge Asante’s skill set and great ability at what he does.

      No one questions whether Asante can play. The problem is that he must be used in a specific way and it can limit what a defense is able to do.

      If you’re referring to the “steep decline” line from Jeff McLane, I’ve written about that already. I find it very hard to believe that Andy Reid would say that to a reporter. I don’t know what is going on with that situation.

    • austinfan

      Don’t think it’s a smear campaign at all. At his height, Asante was such a good playmaker you could live with his flaws, and with veteran, physical safeties like Dawk and Mikell, the Eagles could finesse those flaws. Last year he left his young safeties out to dry.

      Watching Asante in 2011, I though he had lost a half step, was a little slower on his break, cheated a little more, was a little more vulnerable on double moves because he was committing a little early to compensate for that lose of burst. Not something huge, but it was reflected in the drop in his production. I expect him to lose another half step at age 31, and for a guy who’s entire game is predicted on his quickness off his great recognition (he has average size and speed, and is one of the least physical CBs in the league), losing that great burst to the ball could quickly change him from a top CB to a complete liability – because if Asante is consistently late breaking on the ball, he’s gonna have to do a lot of open field tackling.

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    Patterson, Babin, Cole, Jenkins… The entire starting defensive line is now out with injuries.

    This is clearly Tommy’s fault for bringing up the prediction.

    • aceandson

      Patterson we (or at least I) had a pretty good idea wouldn’t be 100% for training camp. The other three, let’s just say sitting them for 3 weeks nursing a hammy, is better than giving the opportunity to really get hurt in TC contact. It also gives the team a better idea what they’ve got in the second and third strings who are mostly young guys.

      But I agree, all this talk of “dynasty” and Super Bowl predictions are begging for a curse. (joking)

    • TommyLawlor

      You know what else is my fault? Honey mustard, sunshine, and girls in short dresses. Gotta take the good with the bad.

      • austinfan

        I saw Forbidden Planet (1955), there was a girl in a short dress before you were born (didn’t know the miniskirt dated from then!). So you’ll have to sacrifice credit for that one. And my wife came up with dark chocolate pudding (now if she just looked like Nicole Kidman with Jenna Jamison’s talents I’d be in heaven).

        • TommyLawlor

          Digitally altered to make the film appeal to today’s men.

          Dark chocolate pudding is a very good thing. Telly your wife…kudos and keep up the good work.

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        Not a fan of honey mustard. Why can’t I just have mustard?

        • TommyLawlor

          You will be sent to a re-education camp.

        • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

          Honey mustard is an ok glaze on barbecued chicken, and totally intolerable on anything else, I guess you can sign me up as well tommy.

    • austinfan

      After watching Curry – Dixon – Thorton – Hunt stone the first team offense on goal line drills, does it matter?

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        Well none of the injuries are serious (knocking) but hypothetically yes.

        The concept of Eagles depth on the DL is great, but I’m seeing reasons for hope, not confidence. Tapp is a known quantity. Landri was good for brief periods. Graham barely has a full season on his resume. Cox doesn’t even have that.

        I feel good about depth when they’re depth, but as a starting line?

  • Cliff

    Thank God we got Shady off the cover of Madden!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

    Shit! Jenkins with Hamstring injury? Please let the MRI come back ok

  • westerndistrict

    Hey guys I’m definitely keen for a 2nd league

  • http://www.facebook.com/kowebsolutions Kenneth O’Malley

    Nothing frustrated last year more than seeing Asante give up huge plays in the red zone and then throwing his hands up in the air like oh well. I know he’s not the type to get frustrated and has an “I’ll get him next time” attitude. But, there isn’t always a “next time” in football.

  • izzylangfan

    We all know that Joselio Hanson was cut last year. So the thinking seems to be that he is fighting for a job against Boykin. However, I wonder if the Eagles think that cutting Hanson was actually a mistake and they were lucky to get him back. If the NFL is changing so a team needs three good starting quality corners including a slot corner, doesn’t a team then need a backup slot corner who can cover WR from the slot and not just TE like Nnamdi does so well. So I’m wondering if both Hanson and Boykin don’t make the team regardless of who is #1 and if the Eagles might go with 6 CB.

  • izzylangfan

    OK I have to get this one off my chest. There is a short story by Kurt Vonegut titled “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story the title character is a brilliant ballet dance so far above average that the Minister of Fairness or some such thing mandates that he dance with sandbags tied to his arms and legs so as to bring his dancing in line with the average dancer. One day while dancing Bergeron and his similarly talented partner throw off the sandbags and wow the audience with a sublime and masterful pas de deux. This is when the ministry sends someone out of the wings to blow them away with a shotgun.

    Getting to the point – last year Juan Castillo had a safety recovering from injury, an inexperienced and not so talented crew of linebackers and a mismatched set of corners. In addition he was a new coordinator dealing with a new defensive line coach who was changing the blocking scheme up front. Those are some heavy sandbags. And just to carry the analogy too far – that doesn’t mean that fans should blow Castillo away.

    I think that Castillo is a great defensive coach. Not “going to be one” but “is now”. By last year he had figured things out, has the whole team buying in and excited to play and already has created a defense that is ready create havoc for opponents. Its fine if you want to remain skeptical until you squeeze the last drop of proof from the bottle, but open your eyes. This guy is wonderful and we are going to win with him. Andy deserves so much credit for having the courage to go with an unproven guy. But Andy knows who Castillo is.

    By the way none of this means that we should listen to Castillo’s press conferences. At that he still sucks.

    • austinfan

      Juan we hardly knew ya.

      I was impressed with his fortitude last year, but let’s see how they perform this year. With the talent Juan has, there really is no excuse for not putting together a top five defense, he has 6 starters who’ve been to Hawaii (Cole, Jenkins, Babin, Ryans, DRC and Aso) and his other starters include a 1st rd (Patterson), and two 2nd rd (Kendricks, Allen) picks. His depth at DL is probably the best in the league, including a 1st (Graham), 2nd (Curry) and three former starters in Dixon, Landri and Tapp. He’s got a bunch of guys with starting experience backing up at LB (Chaney, Jordan, Fokou) and S (Otwagwe).

    • Mac

      I really like Juan, and in general defend him in conversations (but there is no defending his pressers). Anyway… I agree with your premise, but be aware that most folks are going to give credit for a successful Eagles D this year to the talented roster more so than the former O-line coach.

      My hope is that his terrible interviews make him unapproachable for any Head coaching gig and that we can enjoy another long tenured D-Coordinator.