Westy To Retire An Eagle

Posted: August 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

Brian Westbrook will retire an Eagle.  Good to hear, although not much of a surprise.  He remained very close to Big Red even after leaving for a year in SF.  Westy is an Eagle through and through.  Heck, he went to Villanova so that makes him even more of a Philly guy.

Westy was the first real offensive weapon of the Reid era.  Until his emergence in 2003, you had Chad Lewis, Duce Staley, Charles Johnson, and James Thrash, and Todd Pinkston as the “weapons”.  Those guys made some plays, but defenses never had to gameplan for them.  There was respect, but no fear.  Nothing close.

In Week 3 of the 2003 season, Westy came alive.  He didn’t have a great game, but made a huge play.  The Eagles led 16-13 late in the game.  The team wanted to run the 4-minute offense and eat up as much clock as possible.  Westy took a handoff and went 62 yards for a TD to turn a tight game into a definite win.  He was great for the rest of the year.  He had the PR for a TD to win the Giants game.  Late in that year he used an amazing move on a PR vs SF to make a fool of a tackler and that turned into a spectacular TD.  Westy got into the endzone 13 times that year on only 197 total touches (runs, receptions, PRs, and KORs).  That’s a weapon.

The only thing that stopped Westy was injury issues.  His knees were a problem for years.  A wicked hit by London Fletcher gave him a concussion that basically ended his time as an Eagle.  Westy didn’t practice a whole lot, but he showed up on Sunday and made big play after big play.  He was a complete back.  Very good runner.  Great receiver.  Very good blocker.  Great teammate.  He was so smart and so versatile that the Eagles could use him in a variety of ways.  Defenses had their hands full every time they faced Brian Westbrook.

I wish his career had lasted a bit longer, but I’m glad we got to watch Westbrook play as an Eagle.  He was special.

* * * * *

Rough time for ex-Eagles.  Vince Young was cut by the Bills.  I don’t know what his future is.  Trevor Laws is headed to IR in St. Louis.  Omar Gaither was cut by the Panthers.  TO was cut in Seattle.  Kevin Kolb continues to struggle.

* * * * *

Q&A

Rather than just write a bunch of short, random thoughts, I’ll answer specific questions that you guys have.

Should we be concerned by Nnamdi getting beat this PS?  No.  I’m not worried.  He gave up a couple of completions vs CLE.  One was a pass that missed his hand by inches and it took a perfect throw/catch to beat him.  The other was a short pass where he played off, then came up and tackled the WR for a short gain.  I’ll worry about Nnamdi when we see crappy players beating him down the field or good players dominating him.

His time in Oakland has people thinking of him as a mythic creature.  The Raiders let him do the same thing all game long.  And they had a terrible defense virtually every year he was there.  The Raiders were at the bottom in run D over and over. Teams got the lead on them and then ran the ball.  That meant fewer attempts for Nam.  Life is different in Philly.  Teams know we’ll score.  They have to attack.  That means he’s going to get tested.  And he will give up some plays.

What’s going on with backup Safety?  I’m not sure.  I think OJ Atogwe is close to a lock.  Think, being the key word.  Jaiquawn Jarrett has played himself into the mix.  Colt Anderson could start on PUP.  Phillip Thomas played really well vs CLE.  A big game vs the Jets could push him up the ladder.

It is also possible that the Eagles could look to other teams.  I have not seen any teams with so many good Safeties that they could be called “loaded” at that spot.  The best hope for the Eagles, if they want an outsider, is for a team to fall in love with a young SS/FS and cut a veteran to save money.

The Jets game is huge for Jai-Jar, Phillip Thomas, and Atogwe.  They need to play really well.  I would love the Eagles to move Keenan Clayton back there, but don’t see that happening at this late time.

The good news here is that Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have played well.  The only concern is that Nate’s had some hamstring issues.  If he is hurt, we must have a good backup who can come in.

What’s up at QB?   Vick will start the opener.  The coaches don’t want to say it, but Nick Foles sure looks like the backup.  He’s certainly earned the job in my eyes.

That leaves the #3 spot open.  Has Trent Edwards stolen it?  Should Mike Kafka get the job?  I really think Kafka is the way to go here.  Ask yourself this…if you cut Trent Edwards, do you realistically expect another team to sign him?  I don’t.  He’s done well against backups, but hasn’t done anything special.

Kafka got hurt in the opener, but he had played pretty well at Lehigh.  He knows the offense inside-out.  He could be a help in explaining things to Foles.  Edwards does have more game experience, but Kafka has 2 1/2 years of training in the scheme and the Eagles way of doing things.

Let’s say the Eagles win the Super Bowl this year and Vick decides to retire so that he can focus on his career of selling shirts at Modell’s.  Foles would be the starter.  Kafka could be your backup.  He’s young enough that he can still get better.  Edwards is what he is.  I was hoping he might get back to his 2008 level, but he just doesn’t deal with pressure well and I don’t think that will change.

Some have asked about just going with 2 QBs.  That’s just not the Andy Reid way.  You can argue the logic of the idea, but some coaches are very set in their beliefs.  Bill Belichick loves TEs.  Jon Gruden loved lots of RBs/FBs.  Reid wants his 3 QBs.

What’s up with Casey Matthews?  He’s dealing with a high ankle sprain right now and that’s cost him the last couple of PS games.  Probably will keep him out vs the Jets as well.  Casey is focused on getting back for the opener.

Is he a lock at backup MLB?  Impossible to say.  The Eagles like him, but not being able to watch him in much PS action does hurt.  If there was a definite upgrade, they’d make a move, but I don’t know of any backup MLBs that would fit that description.

Casey would actually like a chance to get in the mix to be the starting WLB, but I think for now he should focus on being a good backup MLB.

Brian Rolle vs Keenan Clayton for a roster spot?  I’m taking Rolle.  He is a legit LB.  Clayton is a STer and cover guy, but cannot play the run.  He is a specialist.

Thoughts on the DL?  I prefer to trade Darryl Tapp and keep the other 5 DEs.  I don’t want Antonio Dixon here.  I hope we can deal him for another DT who better fits the Washburn system.  I get the argument that he’s a run stuffer, but watch the tape from this summer and he’s not doing that well.  I’ll pass.

Any shot at cutting Dixon and keeping Trotter or Ogbu as the 5th DT (inactive for games)?  I don’t see that.  Trotter doesn’t look like a keeper.  Ogbu has shown progress.  I want him on the P-squad.  I’d rather have another DT in place of Dixon that I think can contribute this year if needed.

What do we do at CB?   The locks are DRC, Nam, Boykin, and Marsh.  That leaves Hanson, Hughes, and Lindley fighting for 1 or 2 jobs.  I’m leaning toward cutting Hanson.  Still haven’t decided on 5 or 6 CBs.  Trying to figure out the active roster for gamedays is the tricky part.

Do we just keep 5 WRs?  Sure seems that way.  Marvin McNutt hasn’t done much in the preseason.  He hasn’t looked bad, but I don’t know that he’s done enough to earn a roster spot. Ideal candidate for the P-squad.  Won’t shock me if they keep him on the roster.  Eagles need to see when they think Riley Cooper will return to action.

* * * * *

The new MAQB column is up.  Gimpy had some good thoughts on Russell Wilson and short QBs.

_


  • Mac

    Any chance they PuP Matthews and sneak Clayton onto the roster?

    • T_S_O_P

      He can’t be PUPed as he has already taken part in football this year. He can be IRed.

    • Thunder_lips

      Matthews has practiced so not eligible for PUP

      • Mac

        Ah, thanks for the info guys!

  • T_S_O_P


    I’m glad we got to watch Westbrook play as an Eagle. He was special.

    +1

    I wanted us to draft him so much in what was my first Internet pre draft visiting draftnik sites. He was therefore my first mancrush so to speak. I wanted him like Carfagno + infinity. Boy was I lucky, I lost my virginity to a star over a scrub.

    • TommyLawlor

      Ha, now that is a great tale.

  • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Jim Reynolds

    Tapp will not play Thursday. Either he’s locked up a roster spot, or Howie is on the phone trying to trade him right now. Whichever is true, his fate has seemingly been decided.

    I think they will keep Tapp, and trade or cut Dixon. Dixon is expected to play Thursday. Tapp, of course, can play DT in a pinch.

    • TommyLawlor

      No reason to play him. What if he gets hurt? No benefit.

  • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Jim Reynolds

    regarding WRs – no freaking way the Eagles go into week 1 with only 4 active WRs. Either Riley Cooper, who is working out with rubber bands at the moment, has the fastest healing collarbone in medical history, or the Eagles will have 6 WRs on the 53 man roster.

    One thought I had was starting Cooper on PUP. Eagles seem confident he will be ready by week 3-4 or they would have done that. So, who is the final WR spot? Easy. It’s not McNutt (who I think they will sign to the PS). It’s probably not Gilyard. It’s Chad Hall.

    Hall can allegedly play all 3 WR positions, knows the routes and the offense. If Cooper was healthy, he would probably land on the PS (which, I’m informed) he’s still eligible for). Since Cooper won’t play week 1 or 2, Hall makes the roster.

    • TommyLawlor

      Hall is possible. His value is diminished by Damaris Johnson, though.

      • P_P_K

        I hope they go with DJ. I don’t see Hall ever being an NFL player.

    • austinfan

      Cooper is not eligible for PUP, injury occurred after TC began.

  • aub32

    I would go Edwards over Kafka. If Kafka isn’t good enough to beat out a rookie with 2 1/2 years of experience, then I don’t see him getting much better. Moving forward, if Foles becomes the franchise guy, I could see Edwards as that consistent vet who everyone knows what he is, a backup. His starting experience could be good for Foles going forward, and although he may not win you games, I don’t see him losing them. Kafka on the other hand still has something to prove. He will take unnecessary chances like he did with the screen play. Edwards feels like he could be what Batch is for the Steelers.

  • Arby1

    Edwards has good tape now, so someone could pick him up. If you’re going strictly on who has performed better, Edwards should win the job. But I”m sure they’ll factor in their 3 year investment in Kafka. Maybe it comes down to Thursday’s game…

    • TommyLawlor

      Preseason tape is tricky. What has Edwards shown? Who was he facing? He’s been solid, but do you think he would handle the Giants DL well? I’ll get more into him after the Jets game. We’ll see how he does with that much PT.

      • austinfan

        Watching last week, I wouldn’t touch Edwards.
        Panicked on the first play, throwing it up for grabs under pressure, for a young QB that’s part of the learning curve, for a veteran QB, a no-no, and a sign he’s still shell shocked.
        Plus, did he throw anything over 10 yards all game?

        • TommyLawlor

          Yeah, that first play was really bad for a veteran QB.

          • ian_no_2

            Eagles will turn to a no. 3 QB in time of duress, and it’s better to have a vet like Edwards. As Spadaro says, he’s younger than Weeden. What has Kafka shown? Nothing. Edwards was drafted higher because he has more skills and and has years left in the tank.

          • austinfan

            When a QB goes south, rarely do they turn north.
            Don’t buy that QB rating crap, Edwards was throwing dump offs and short passes against scrub defenders, he wasn’t even trying to air it out – which tells me he’s afraid of getting hit.

          • aub32

            Or he knows what he is. I would rather a vet QB not lose a game trying to air it out than a young with something to prove taking too many chances. This team has enough talent to win a game or two with Edwards playing smart. As we saw last year, it’s tough to overcome TOvers

          • laeagle

            I think the problem is that Edwards is young and still plays like he has something to prove. He’s not the grizzled vet you’re describing.

          • Arby1

            Agreed. It was just as bad, or worse, than Kafka’s turn around no-look intercepted screen.

          • TommyLawlor

            Worse. Edwards already had played in 2 games. Can’t blame rust.

          • ian_no_2

            Edwards’ preseason passing rating (48ATT): 96.9, career (927ATT): 75.4, 92nd pick in the draft.
            Kafka’s preseason passing rating (9ATT): 23.1, career (16ATT): 47.7, 122th pick in the draft, here being rationalized to death.

      • Arby1

        So Kafka is being held out because his hand is still tender and Edwards will get 3 quarters. So the game won’t help Kafka, it can only help Edwards.

  • Arby1

    Hanson is still better than Boykin, I’d like to keep him for the year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Coaches just might agree with you. I’ve got research to do on this topic.

      • ian_no_2

        Hanson’s not playing Thursday, which usually mean’s he’s on the team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy,

    I asked you this on twitter, but do you think that Grigson was the biggest advocate for drafting V. Davis in 2009, when the Eagles according to you, were very high on him, and was thinking about drafting him?

    • TommyLawlor

      Never heard that Grigson was a huge fan of Davis, but the Eagles liked Vontae a lot and Grigson was the head of the scouts so it would make sense that he probably was high on him.

  • James Casagrande

    Tommy,

    any take on Ryan Rau? I only saw part of the CLE game, but it looked like he was disruptive on a few running plays. Any way he sneaks on as MLB #3 or challenges Casey’s spot?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Buchanan/1557343118 Scott Buchanan

    I thought Austin Howard looked really good against Car the other night..too bad we couldnt keep him

    • TommyLawlor

      He was really fat last summer and that killed his chances of staying here. Glad Austin landed on his feet. He’s got talent. He must work hard to stay in shape. He’s not so gifted that he can be lazy and succeed. He must work hard. Can play in this league. Wish him well.

      • austinfan

        He was a Juan OL, don’t think he’d work with Mudd.
        But kudos to the scouts who found someone who fit the old system.

  • aceandson

    Also in ex-Eagle news, Gocong was IR’ed.

    • TommyLawlor

      Knew I forgot someone. Thanks.

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

    The other day, I heard a Cowboys fan loudly proclaim that dumping Romo and bringing in Colt McCoy and/or Vince Young would set things right in Dallas. Good news for Vince!

    • A_T_G

      Better news for us and the rest of the NFCE.

      • P_P_K

        But then we’d miss that goofy face that Romo makes when he screws up.

  • T_S_O_P

    I have a question: The great Brian Westbrook wore #20 in college and then in his 1 year sojourn in SF. When he arrived at the Eagles an already great Brian was wearing the #20, does anyone know why Westy then chose #36?

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ve sent an inquiring email. Will let you know the answer, if there is one.

  • Todd B.

    * Westy: I feel very fortunate that I was able to watch the Eagles while he played. One of the best play makers in the league. Best combination of running, receiving, and blocking in the league for a few years.

    * Brian Rolle: I have a theory on his play. I believe Rolle was the MLB at Ohio State and while I don’t know for sure, I assume he was a MLB for his entire life before the NFL. Correct?

    My theory is that in the heat-of-battle, Rolle plays/reacts per his instincts…which is as a MLB, not a weakside LB….the jumping over the pile, getting caught being over agressive in an inside gap, even getting picked…if he was playing the MIKE position, all these plays where he was out of position would have been acceptable plays for a MIKE.

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t play MIKE. What do you think? If you “pretend” he is the MIKE and not the WILL, how does he play?

    * Foles and #2 QB: I am in the minority here but while I have been impressed with the results of the last two PS games, there are parts of his game that concern me…parts of his game where if these were regular season games, the outcomes would not nearly be as fortunate. His mechanics (to me) are way off on deep balls for instance. Also, he puts a lot of air under his throws which have a greater chance of being picked off by the faster #1 defenses.

    So while I have been impressed, I keep him at the #3. Knock him down some. Don’t let him think that because he did well in two preseason games that he is “ready” for the NFL. Make him think he still has to work to do.

  • ArnoMaris

    Your notes about the (back up) safeties and other teams made me think. Do the current rules/larger WR’s and TE’s  in the NFL make it harder to find “great” safeties as opposed to 5-10 years ago? They need the tackling ability to tackle 265lbs TE’s and cover the 4.3-4.4 WR’s and RB’s without being able to jam them after the 5-yard from the line of scrimmage.

    I remember you not liking Kenny Philips of the Giants coming out of college. Hesitating about Earl Thomas tackling ability. Calling A. Rolle a liability (in pass coverage). The drafting of Barron as too high. 

    Who do you like in today’s NFL as a safety? What do you look for?

    • TommyLawlor

      I liked Kenny Phillips…just not as a 1st rounder or special player. Thought he was overrated. Earl Thomas’ tackling did frighten me.

      Eric Berry was a S that I loved. Liked Barron, but thought he was overrated as a Top 10 guy.

      I want someone who can execute coverage assignments, hit, tackle, runs at least okay, and who isn’t afraid to play in the box. If the guy is a ballhawk or a great athlete or a huge hitter, that’s even better. It just isn’t required.

      I loved Berry because he was a ballhawk, but also a terrific hitter/tackler who wasn’t afraid to take out a pulling OG to blow up a run play. He was truly special.

      Sean Taylor looked like a freak at times, but wasn’t consistent and then died tragically. LaRon Landry was an amazing prospect when he came out, but has been highly inconsistent in the NFL.

      There is a lack of good Safeties in college and the NFL. I’m not sure why. Drives me nuts. It’s my favorite position.

      Malcolm Jenkins in NO is good. Dashon Goldson in SF too. Kam Chancellor in SEA is better than I ever imagined he would be. Eric Weddle is a gifted playmaker. Tyvon Branch is a player I need to watch more of. I intentionally avoided Troy and Ed since they are obvious answers.

      • austinfan

        Think the reason for the lack of safeties is the emergence of the big WR, and thus the shift of big DBs to CB.

        If I were a GM, on the second day I’d have a list of big CBs with average speed but high IQs who are willing to tackle (Chancellor) – playing CB teaches cover skills, but you need good size and toughness and intelligence for safety, speed (anything faster than 4.6 is acceptable) is optional.

      • Anders

        Who is your favorite in next years drafting class (I assume the honey badger will take a year off and then play another year)

        • TommyLawlor

          Gotta see the guys play this season. Not in love with anyone right now. Several do interest me.

      • T_S_O_P

        Aren’t safeties your favorite players to watch? I can’t remember the guy from the Fighting Illini, but wasn’t he was like your favorite player to watch in the draft despite the fact that he had no chance of being drafted? His name will come to me, but probably to you first.

        • T_S_O_P

          Justin Harrison?

  • ian_no_2

    I like the idea of cutting the midround backups that are hurt and signing them back when healthy and needed: Cooper and Casey Matthews, maybe Chaney as well. In none of these cases do you have a definite future starter you have to keep.

    I also like the idea of keeping rookie WRs that can develop synergy with Foles: Damaris will be one, and maybe Gilyard or McNutt could be another. Foles wants to anticipate breaks which is a new wrinkle at the Linc.

    • TommyLawlor

      Gilyard isn’t a rookie, but I get your point. Some logic to that thinking. Damaris will make the roster. McNutt could, or could be PS.

    • aub32

      I would hate for someone to pull a Bellichek though and take Cooper. He has shown he can step in if DJax or Mac go down. I’m not sure if the young guys are ready for that.

      • ian_no_2

        I thought “pulling a Belichick” meant taking a guy who had no chance to make the team, like Jabar Gaffney and Kyle Arrington. You may be hearing about Brady to Hamler and seeing Foxboro cheers for Cliff Harris returns.

        • aub32

          I was more thinking about how he took Ballard, but I see your point too.

          • ian_no_2

            oh yeah, well maybe he’ll cut Ballard to pick up Cooper, seeing as the Giants had a better record

  • alex

    Do you think the Eagles could be interested in trading for Jason Jones? He was great with Jim Washburn and a perfect fit for the wide 9. Could the Eagles trade Dixon and a pick for him, are the Titans not interested in trading him, are the Eagles looking for more of a nose-tackle?

    • TommyLawlor

      Seattle signed him as a FA back in March.

  • Chris

    One thing people may be overlooking when seeing how “starters and key reserves” are not playing the finale is that some of the players not playing (Tapp and Hanson) could be traded NOT safe to make the team. I like Tommy feel we should move past Hanson simply because I think Boykin has shown more explosiveness and Castillo still wants to implement Nnamdi in the nickel in certain packages with Marsh on the outside. I think Hanson is closer to being traded/cut than making the team and having him not play is a way to guarantee he and Tapp are healthy for any teams in need of either player in a trade. Let’s be honest here though in value we would be lucky to get anything better than a conditional 4th for Tapp and a conditional late rounder for Hanson but I think cap wise and ceiling wise Eagles are deep enough to let the younger guys play at those spots with the aforementioned guys to fall back on should they need more time to develop.

    One final point, Hanson almost signed with the Ravens when he was cut but came back to the Eagles so we can always risk getting him back that same way this year as he didn’t light it up last season and is strictly a slot db.

    • A_T_G

      I see it as a question of whether Hanson playing instead of Boykin improves the team now and whether he improves us enough to justify letting go of someone for depth or development. I’m not sure that he does.

  • dislikedisqus

    Because 2 TE’s is a little thin, I would not be surprised if the 53rd player turns out to be Chris Cooley, whom the Skins just cut. He can also play FB which is nice.

  • iskar36

    In terms of the Edwards vs. Kafka debate, I think you could argue that Edwards is about just as likely (or unlikely) to be signed by another team as Kafka is at this point. Kafka’s knowledge of our offense is valuable, but let’s be honest here, if Kafka is put in, we will focus a lot more on the run and short dump off passes/quick routes. Kafka simply has not shown that he has the necessary skill set to run the offense that the Eagles normally try to use. In terms of the offense we are more likely to see if Kafka is on the field, I think I would rather have a veteran like Edwards running the offense than Kafka.

    All that being said, I fully expect the Eagles to go with Kafka. I just don’t see what Kafka provides this team (in terms of your comment about next year… I see no point in holding on to him over getting a vet or drafting a late round guy to develop).

  • GermanEagle

    Re Kafka/Edwards you gotta ask yourself this: do you really wanna keep 2 prospects with Foles and Kafka on the roster, with the latter having absolutely no upside?!

    I personally go with experience over a second prospect, hence Edwards would be my choice!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1116101444 Erik L. Richardson

    Is the DGR going up anytime this week?

  • Mark Frey

    Where is the DGR???