Eagles Notebook: OL, Howie

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 26 Comments »

The only move on the OL was King Dunlap getting his job back at LT.  Glad to see this happen.  Demetress Bell had made progress at LT, but was still missing assignments and making mental mistakes.  That stuff drives you nuts.  I can live with DeMarcus Ware beating you off the edge, but I don’t like you not knowing who to block.

Les Bowen and Reuben Frank summed up the King Dunlap situation pretty well on Twitter yesterday.  Roob was telling an Eagles fan that Dunlap is a better player than most people realize.  Les chimed in to agree, but also noted that Dunlap has trouble staying on the field.  And that’s it.  Dunlap is a solid player.  He’s just not durable.  Should be interesting to see how he holds up now.

Dunlap is a poor run blocker.  Bell wasn’t exactly a road grader so the drop-off isn’t significant, but there is a difference.

This move isn’t going to magically make the OL better, but it can help.  Stability at LT is a good thing.  Dunlap knows the offense inside-out.  He’s started at LT and LG in the last year and a half.  He should be good with assignments.

Why no change at C?  My guess, and it is just a guess, is that there isn’t an upgrade available.  Steve Vallos is more athletic, but hasn’t started in our system.  He’d be learning on the fly.  Dallas Reynolds knows the offense and has 4 games of starting experience.  You only bench Reynolds if you have a clearly better option.  We don’t need Reynolds to be Dwight Stephenson or Dermontti Dawson.  He just needs to be good enough.  I think he can do that if he’s able to learn quickly.  Reynolds must make up for his physical limitations by playing smart.  He needs every little edge possible.

Danny Watkins ruffled a few feathers yesterday by refusing to talk to the media.  He’s not happy with some critical comments and stories that have been out there recently.  I could care less if he talks.  Block and I’ll be happy.  It certainly doesn’t look good to treat the media like that.  Watkins is a difficult subject.  As I wrote in my last DGR, he looked really good at times vs the Lions.  He made some terrific blocks.  He also got beaten on several plays.  There is hope, but he’s still too erratic.  I don’t expect him to win every battle, but he is losing too many.

* * * * *

Another media sniper came after Howie Roseman.  Check out this blurb from Pro Football Weekly.

 “The front-office situation in Philadelphia is not a good one. Scouts are not allowed to talk to coaches during training camp. You’re talking about some scouts who have known the coaches for years. Coaches coach, scouts scout and that’s the way it is. It’s not a happy environment. It’s a divisive, paranoid place, and it’s hard to grow and jell as a team in that type of setting. That’s the result of hiring a very insecure GM who does not know football.”

I’ve done some checking around.  Can’t confirm the thing on scouts in TC.  I’m sure there are some limits on them interacting, but not allowed at all?  Sounds over the top.  The reason you don’t want scouts and coaches spending too much time together is you don’t want scouts selling coaches on players.  You want coaches to keep the 53 best players in camp.  The scout has studied the prospect for a year and knows him inside out.  The coach needs to make an evaluation based purely on what he sees in practice.

As to the “it’s not a happy environment”…I don’t buy that at all.  Ryan Grigson remains close to Howie Roseman.  If Grigson was miserable and couldn’t wait to get away, would he stay close to Howie?  Scouts gossip more than just about any group on Earth.  If it was a miserable situation, would veteran personnel guys like Tom Donahoe and Rick Mueller have signed on to work here?  Trust me, word gets out quickly in the scouting community about who you want to work for and who you don’t.  I could see one of those guys biting the bullet to take a job, but not both of them if Howie was such a problem.

As for Howie, I’ll never forget seeing him on the day he made the announcement about Garrett Reid’s death.  Howie fell apart as he stepped away from the microphone.  That showed a very human, vulnerable side of him.

There have been some differences since Howie took over.  He truly is a grinder.  He watches tape, more tape, and then some more tape.  He’s not as social as Tom Heckert was.  I hardly think that makes him Attila the Hun.

Howie was the subject of a nasty attack a couple of years ago in an article by Michael Silver.  The comments came from former Eagles personnel guy Jason Licht, who lost some kind of power struggle either to Howie or someone on Howie’s side.  Silver’s article put Howie in a very bad light, but Howie didn’t go on the offensive.  He stayed cool about the situation and now has Silver on his side.

Could Licht have been the source of these comments?  Yes.  The other possibility is Joe Banner.  Right now he’s not happy with the Eagles.  He takes shots through the media when he can.  I’m not sure he would come after Howie directly so I don’t know that this is him, but that is a possibility.  Howie was a Banner guy for a long time.  Howie is now either a Reid guy or is just on his own.  I’m not sure.

Roseman is always going to be open to charges like this because he has a non-traditional background.  Until he gets to a Super Bowl or puts together a great team, people are always going to point fingers.

Study actions.  Are other teams willing to deal with Howie?  Yes.  He is as active a GM as there is in the league.  Are scouts fleeing the Eagles?  No.  Grigson left for a GM job.  Daniel Jeremiah left, but I think he was tired of the scouting lifestyle.  He’s now writing for NFL.com and very active on Twitter.  He talks about his kids a lot on Twitter.  When scouting, he spent a lot of time away from them.  Now he’s able to drive them to school if he wants.  Phil Savage did leave, but he took over somewhat of a dream job.  He’s now running the Senior Bowl.  Savage is from Mobile, AL, which his the site of the Senior Bowl.  Savage doesn’t have to answer to a coach or GM, but stays part of the scouting community and works out of his hometown.  Life is good for him.

If Howie is this know-nothing tyrant that people hate, you can’t see it from the way people deal with him.  Maybe we’ll find out something in the future that will change that, but for now this seems like another hatchet job from someone.

* * * * *

The new MAQB column is up.  I added some stuff to Gimpy’s normal brilliance.

* * * * *

I’ll write about Todd Bowles and the defense tonight.

_


  • ACViking

    T-Law wrote:

    “We don’t need Reynolds to be Dwight Stephenson or Dermontti Dawson.”

    Well done. Those two may be the two best centers — along with HOF Dolphin center Jim Langer and HOF Steeler C Mike Webster — covering the period 1970 to the present.

    • TommyLawlor

      I figured you would appreciate those guys. Funny how PIT and MIA have the best Centers, huh?

      • ACViking

        Thought exactly the same thing . . . some teams have great centers. Some teams — like the Bears — have great MLBs.

  • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

    Tommy, I had the same misgivings as you when Sam posted a link to the Howie article on Twitter. I was hoping you would weigh in on that one. Sounded like someone with an ax to grind when I read it. As you said, Howie makes an easy target based on his non-traditional background. But background is far from everything, as Matt Millen so infamously proved.

    • TommyLawlor

      Results > background.

      Howie has moves that can be questioned, but too often his critics seem to go overboard. Can he do a better job? Heck yes. Is the biggest issue facing the 2012 Eagles a lack of talent? Heck no.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    You’re kickin’ it today in history.

    You wrote:
    “Howie was the subject of a nasty attack a couple of years ago in an article by Michael Silver. The comments came from former Eagles personnel guy Jason Licht, who lost some kind of power struggle either to Howie or someone on Howie’s side. Silver’s article put Howie in a very bad light, but Howie didn’t go on the offensive. He stayed cool about the situation and now has Silver on his side.”

    Key point: Roseman stayed cool and quiet.

    Reminds me of an anecdote about General George Patton after he slapped two soldiers (suffering what we now call PTSD) in Med-Evac tents during the Allies’ 1943 Sicily campaign for being “yellow.” And a whole bunch of other colorful terms.

    Patton took some serious heat in the U.S. after a radio report by the legendary Drew Pearson, which actually came 3 months after the incidents. (As a result, Patton lost the chance to take command of the the U.S. 5th Army in Italy from General Mark Clark.)

    After Pearson’s report, Patton was whiling away the time in Sicily — and being called lots of very nasty things by the media and especially a number of U.S. Senators. (Secretary of War Henry Stimson was a very close friend of Patton’s from WW-I, who did some heavy lifting behind the Washington scenes to keep Patton in the good graces of the politicians. Patton also had the unyielding support of Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, along with Supreme Allied Commander Ike Eisenhower — who knew that Patton was going to be, and had to be, a key player in the Overlord operation to win Europe.)

    So anyway . . . Patton’s aide-de-camp, Colonel Charles Codman (the officer who lights Patton’s cigar and speaks to him in French in the movie “Patton”), counseled Patton to keep his mouth shut and not respond to the attacks. Patton listened.

    And a few, very long months later, Patton received command of the U.S. 3rd Army as part of Overlord.

    Not saying Roseman’s any kind of Patton. (Buddy Ryan, I’d guess, thought of himself that way.)

    But he either knew intuitively or received some very good advice of the kind Colonel Codman gave Patton. Stay quiet, let the story die.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m sure Howie was furious at the Silver/Licht story. He did do the right thing in letting it go away. I’m sure Howie will do the same here. PFW isn’t as big a format as Yahoo so the story won’t have near the same set of legs.

      Buddy Ryan & Patton…I can sure see that. Andy Reid as Henry Knox maybe?

      • ACViking

        Henry Knox?!

        T-Law, you’re digging into to serious American history now.

  • Ark87

    Hey Tommy,

    I got a question, another fan was discussing O-line options a few articles back. Talking about trading draft picks for some stud O-linemen out there. It got me wonder about Howie. How do you think Howie’s job has changed since the Ultimatum was put over Reid’s head. If Reid goes, Howie is still here right? As the GM, how does he approach the future? Is he scouting coaching candidates? Can he trade draft picks to improve this year’s team when he might need those picks to rebuild (I’m sorry, retool is the word our front office uses)?

    Even more scandalous, if Reid is gone, it’s Howie’s team to build from scratch. Make a legacy.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think Lurie likes Howie, but I don’t know that for a fact. Just a hunch. My guess is that Howie would stay and help select the new coach.

      If Lurie fell in love with some HC that wanted total authority, maybe that would change. I just don’t know that I see Lurie going for anyone quite like that. I get the feeling he’d go with a younger coach than Cowher, Gruden, etc.

      The best way for Howie to keep his job is to find solutions for the problems that arise. If Jason Williams becomes a key STer, that would look good for Howie. Moves like that.

    • Mac

      How do you as the team’s owner get rid of a guy who has just completed one of our best drafts, is constantly searching for players to tweak the bottom end of our roster, has successfully negotiated new contracts with the players we all wanted to keep, and was part of the crew responsible for a really good free agent class in 2011?

      • Ark87

        That’s exactly what I’m thinking. That would put him on a distinctly different boat from Reid right? He can’t be as all-in as Reid right? Meaning he probably can’t trade draft picks for help this year/ push the limits of the cap if he has to be ready to rebuild if a new coaching regime comes in.

        • Mac

          It sure seems to make sense to keep the management team intact at the end of the season in my opinion. I would assume any head coaching candidate would be salivating to take over this roster… kinda like Gruden lucking his way into Dungy’s Bucs

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    I dont buy the Roseman article. That kind of “messed up” organization doesnt function. Everyone feels it, from the players to the top. Funny how every player we got seems happy, loads of young guys just resigned and we never hear stories about Eagles people calling draft prospects moms prostitutes.

    Im sure Andy, Howie, Lurie or who the hell is the actual “top dog”, have some things they do different and their own way, but i just dont buy that our organization should be screwed.

  • ChaosOnion

    The other possibility is Joe Banner. Right now he’s not happy with the Eagles.”

    Why is Banner upset with the Eagles? I thought his move was about progressing on to another challenge, not about being drummed out.

    • Anders

      I think he wanted new challenges because he had lost all the power he once had with the Eagles.

    • TommyLawlor

      I thought that was the case as well. Apparently, not so. Banner was nudged out. Not sure of all the dynamics, but some things got strained in the last year or so.

  • Anders

    Tommy, the Eagles have just signed Matt Tennant, any words on him?

  • Mac

    RE: Vick and playing angry… I posted this on twitter and wanted to share it with you guys to see if you like it.

    Psalm 4:4 In your anger do not sin. (the word sin in some translations is replaced with “turn the ball over”)

  • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

    C Steve Vallos out. C Matt Tenant in. With 41 starts at Center for the Eagles, the just-signed Tenant already has more than all other current PHI linemen combined (22).

    • goeagles55

      I wish Matt Ryan could start at QB for the Eagles again.

  • GFF

    Very happy to see the King starting against the Falcons. Remember October 2010? Some guy named Tommy wrote about his performance on Igglesblog: “King Dunlap not only wasn’t a problem, he
    played fine. We quit helping him on Abraham in the 2nd half when it was clear
    that John was not going to show up for the game.” Here’s hoping…

    • TommyLawlor

      Would be great to see a repeat of that, by him and the whole team. We need a big win.

  • Pingback: Iggles Blitz » Blog Archive » The Matt Tennant Era Begins

  • ACViking

    Matt Tennant . . . at 6’4″ seems kind of long for a center.

  • SteveH

    Poor Howie, he seems like a really inoffensive guy too. Frankly right now not a great time to be criticizing him, he just had a great draft and got Demeco Ryans in here to shore up our biggest weakness in the offseason. I thought the last offseason was the best we’ve had since I can remember. Hard to be critical of those results.