Q&A

Posted: October 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 45 Comments »

No game to talk about from today, but you guys have fired off plenty of questions recently.

At the end of a game, do you want the offense to have the ball but we’re behind or do you want the defense protecting the lead?  Which group do you trust more?    If I have a TD lead, then I want the defense out there.  Anything less, I’d prefer to have the offense but be down.  I don’t say this so much because I trust/don’t trust the units as it is just so easy for veteran QBs to move down the field and score late in games.

Think about what you saw today.  The Skins took a lead on the Giants.  They came out and played aggressive on defense to protect their lead and Eli hit Cruz for a long TD to win the game.  The Jets tried to protect a lead by rushing 3 and dropping 8.  Couldn’t do it.  When teams have to throw to win, they can get on a hot streak in a hurry.  You also have penalties that can kill you.  Illegal contact is a free 1st down.  PI can give you huge chunks of yards.  The game is rigged in favor of the offense.

One note about the Eagles defense…they did protect leads in the first 2 games.  The last 2 leads they gave up came when facing an opponent coming off the bye week.  Fresh legs can be a big help late in the game.  Curious to see how the defense does the next few times we have a lead.

Any chance the Eagles play Trent Edwards if they want to sit Vick and don’t think Foles is ready?   Doubtful.  There were a few games when Edwards was inactive.  Had Vick gotten hurt, the team was ready to go with Foles.  I doubt that has changed at all.  Foles should actually be further along.  He’s not playing, but is there in meeting rooms and is getting regular reps in practice (although not with our starters).

Will the Eagles be looking at any trades?  Howie Roseman is a very active GM and I’m sure he’ll make a ton of phone calls to see what is out there.  What would we want?  C?  Maybe a LT?  I don’t think we’re likely to find help at those spots.  We’ll see, though.  The trade deadline is later this year.  There could be a couple of teams that are out of it and willing to deal.

You recently talked about HC candidates to replace Reid and didn’t mention Mike Zimmer.  Do you still like him?   I am still a very big fan of Zimmer’s.  My reason for going away from him is that he’s a defensive guy.  Think about the recent Super Bowl winners.

2011 – Tom Coughlin – offensive background
2010 – Mike McCarthy – offensive background
2009 – Sean Payton – offensive background

Prior to that there was a stretch with a lot of defensive coaches, but we seem to be in an offensive cycle right now so I would look for a coach with an offensive background.  I’d certainly interview Zimmer.  If he really blew me away, could change my mind.  Key is finding the right guy.  I just don’t think you can ignore the recent trend.  And throw in the fact that Jim Harbaugh might have the best team in the league and he’s an offensive guy.

Are the Eagles good enough at WR?  Tough question.  The starters are good.  DeSean looks much improved from the last couple of years.  After that, things get trickier.  Jason Avant is an excellent possession receiver, but isn’t a returner, can’t play outside, and offers little in the way of RAC ability.  Ideally, he’d be your #4 WR.

This is a huge season for Riley Cooper and Damaris Johnson.  Cooper needs to show progress and that he can be a viable part of the passing game.  He did catch 2 passes last week.  We need him to make some plays.  If not, then he’s a #5 type guy and we must upgrade.  Johnson is just a rookie, but must show that he can contribute as a role player.  Mardy Gilyard is strictly a STer right now.

We do have a pair of big WRs on the practice squad in Marvin McNutt and BJ Cunningham.  They’ll have a chance to push for roster spots next summer.  I do agree we need more out of the 3, 4, and 5 receiver spots.  I love Jason Avant to death, but we need more than just catches from the #3 WR in today’s NFL.  You need impact from that spot.

Try to imagine someone like Tavon Austin in that role next year.

* * * * *

Here’s my question for you guys.  After watching football this week, do you feel better or worse about the Eagles?

* * * * *

Posted some draft notes at ScoutsNotebook.

_


  • shah8

    I watched the Cardinals at the Vikings…

    That…was horrible from an offense standpoint, especially after the first half heroics by Adrian Peterson.

    I watched the last bit of Redskins@Giants, and wondered why Madeiu Williams couldn’t be pleasantly toast for us in ’10.

    The afternoon games were horrible looking, and the scoreboard didn’t tell me I was missing much that was great from two overtime games of mediocrity.

    Does it make me feel better about the Eagles? Not really.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    How about not better??? We may have the worst QB in the division. I’d rather see RGIII behind center than Vick right now.

    As bad as Dallas looks offensively, they look pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. I’m not sure we’ll be able to outscore Washington except they lost Davis for the year and Fletcher got banged up. Hopefully they’ll still be limping when the birds get them in a few weeks.

    Another question: will they be able to outscore NO on primetime in NO? If not they could be staring at 3-5 before Dallas comes to town.

    The Eagles look like one of several mediocre teams that will struggle to do anything significant this season.

    • eagles2zc

      For someone with such a subpar supporting cast, RG3 sure makes the ‘skins O look explosive.

      • shah8

        I remember Vick in his first full year in Atlanta. RG3 was no Vick. Vick didn’t put up the kind of passing attack that RG3 did, but he never really had good receivers in Atlanta. So much of what you see in young players is sheer dang youth, though.

      • miked718

        I was salivating, watching RGIII yesterday especially on the last TD drive. He looked like Vick combined with Rothelisburger (sp) aka Vick 2010.

  • eagles2zc

    I’m hoping Roseman can bring in an athletic C so that Mudd can work his magic. Reynolds doesn’t seem to have quickness to block effectively in Mudd’s system. Maybe Vallos can be that guy, but he had his chances back in offseason

    • TommyLawlor

      Vallos is an athletic C. Problem he had is not using the athleticism to be a good blocker. Just getting to the 2nd level does me no good. Must execute the block.

  • Keith Petres

    Neither better nor worse – mainly curious. Eagles could finish 5-11 or 11-5 and I wouldn’t be shocked at either.

  • DaO_Z

    I feel worse. Looks like the teams that were playing mediocre, gb no etc, are playing better. I’m very worried the eagles aren’t going to be able to do the same. Those are the teams that the eagles will be battling for the wild card; i don’t see the giants blowing the division lead. They face a couple of must wins after the bye, if they don’t want fans to lose ALL faith. If they don’t win a big game vs ATL; it could be down hill for the rest of the season. Maybe that’s too melancholy, but I’m really down on the team after the last two debacles. Pitt was tough, and forgivable, but they did it again the next week. Gets those 2011 feelings to bubble to the surface. They seem mediocre in all areas, obviously they’re playing well in some, but the perception doesn’t have to match reality.

    • TommyLawlor

      Coming off consecutive losses does tend to affect perception. Beating the Lions would have made a world of difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BoyboyACW Mike Roman

    I don’t think I feel better or worse. The Eagles are what they are. I certainly think that they’re underachieving and that starts from the top down. I’m sure someone else has mentioned this already, but I haven’t been on top of the articles recently; you’re looking at an entirely different offense if Foles is under center. Rookie or not, I promise the Offense would be a far more efficient and consistent unit. That’s why Reid was able to win in the past with guys like Feely and Garcia — he called a different game. Andy can do more with less as well as any coach in the league, but give him a Corvette at QB and he’s just plain stupid and reckless.

    It’s really, really tough to bet against Andy to turn this thing around, but until he un-hitches his wagon from #7’s star, this team isn’t going anywhere. I don’t believe that Reid trusts Vick to run a short-pass, timing offense. Vick obviously doesn’t read and recognize well enough to do that. So we’re looking at boom or bust until AR makes a switch and it may be too late at that point.

    Barring a miracle, Andy won’t be back next year, and that is really his own doing. In some ways, I feel bad for Michael Vick too. Yes, he got a chance at redemption, and I think that’s great, and I believe he really has changed. But at the same time, I don’t think that AR “put him in the best position” to succeed – at least not long term.I don’t care if you have Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, you can’t ask your QB to consistently take 7 step drops and throw the ball “downfield” without the risk of negative repurcussions.

    I’m in Germany for work and it’s not quite daybreak here. My sleep schedule is is a mess so I apologize for the misspelled words that I won’t even attempt to correct. What was Tommy’s original question? Oh…right…”better or worse?”. I don’t think it matters much, really. We are facing an end of an era and it’s very sad, even for someone who hates AR 90% of the time. No, seriously, Andy is a good coach and an even better man. He’s a bit like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor though, right? If he has a belt sander, he’s going to use it — even if sandpaper is sufficient to get the job done. It’s his ultimate undoing and very unfortunate.

    • TommyLawlor

      Andy is a flawed coach. Let’s hope the flaws were in the 3-3 start and he’ll fix them for the stretch run.

      Have fun in Germany. Everyone I know who’s been there loves it.

  • Steag209

    Worse, today showed me just how bad this OL/Vick/whoever-you-want-to-blame-it-on is. What really concerns me is that last question you answered though, that’s what stood out to me today. I love Avant, he is my favorite offensive player, maybe player on either side of the ball, but we need an impact guy behind DeSean and Maclin. By impact I mean either a talented KOR or a big guy who can use his strength and size. Like you said, either Cooper needs to finally learn to be a big guy and use his genes or Damaris needs to start getting good returns. I am optimistic about the D though. After watching this week, I am more and more convinced our problems were centered around play calling and not execution, bordering on 99.9 percent sure

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

    I feel the same about the offense, and worse about the defense.

    Offense: Team still loaded with talent but needs to “show me”. Still haven’t put up big points in a game, but certainly should. I see no reason they can’t against the Falcons. In short, nothing this team does next Sunday will surprise me. Turn it over 4 times and only kick 2 FGs or Vick having 4 passing TDs. Sadly, I have little confidence in Vick to execute the Eagles vertical passing attack scheme, and little in Marty or Andy to make adjustments to fit the limitations of Vick and the offensive line.

    Defense: The Vikings recorded 7 sacks vs AZ today. Seven. I’m pretty sure that’s more sacks than the Eagles recorded this year as a team through 6 games. One of those games was AZ, albeit with Kolb and not Skelton over center.

    Replacement coaches: Special note for those who’ve watched Penn State this year and may be high on Bill O’Brien making a move back to the NFL. It won’t happen before 2015, at the earliest. O’Brien has a contract that gives him about $1M in salary and another $1.3M in Media/Nike money, for $2.3M / year. If he terminates the contract early, he has to pay out what he would have made for the remaining years. In Feb 2015 that will be $4.6M. Some team might be crazy enough to pay that out to get him as a coach, but I doubt it. In 2014, it will be $6.9M and this coming spring it will be $9.2M.

    Personally, I think O’Brien took the job partly to provide a stable environment for his family while his children are growing up. His youngest (6-7, I think) is autistic. It was widely known at the time of his deciding to take the Penn State job that the Jaguars wanted to interview him for the head coaching job. If he had a strong desire to be an NFL head coach in the next few years, the Penn State job with contract restrictions isn’t the direction he would likely have chosen.

    O’Brien’s contract with Penn State automatically extended 1-4 years (I’ve seen differing reports) with the announcement of the long term sanctions this summer. Given what he’s shown so far, he has a long term future at Penn State if he wants it.

    • TommyLawlor

      Interesting info on B-O-B. As a PSU fan, I want him to stay.

  • McMVP

    I agree about the league going in cycles…offensive Head coaches winning recently…but how long do cycles last? That’s the million dollar question. If the cycle becomes defense while we hire an offensive minded HC, does that mean we are a dog chasing its tail?

    I don’t personally feel it matters which background the HC is from…as long as he hires the right team for the other side of the ball.

  • McMVP

    To answer your question, Tommy…I feel no better nor worse about the Eagles after today. I can only judge them as I see them…and that will have to wait until next Sunday…

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair answer.

  • GvilleEagleFan

    Hey Tommy, somewhat unrelated question: what position are you looking at as a priority for the Eagles in next year’s draft? I know the season is far from over, but aside from following my own school’s team I have little interest in college football except for watching potential Birds. Do we go OL heavy due to this years debacle even though Peters and Kelce will return? Is upgrading at safety our biggest need? Do you think that, assuming for whatever reason that Vick and/or Reid are gone, Foles would or should be viewed as the starter or as a quality career backup (I.e. what Shanahan chose Cousins for)? I respect your opinion, might be a good topic for a podcast ;)

    • shah8

      QB talent is ultra shallow, so far, this year. I also think that this forecloses any move away from Vick unless there’s a true meltdown, because there’s no QB of note testing the FA market next year except retreads. The Eagles are not the Browns, and there will almost certainly be no Foles-mania next year without certainty that he’s ready. So that aside, where else would the Eagles look? I think they will look at guys from smaller places, because what I suspect any continuing Reid administration wants would be more depth, rather than an instant superstar. So I think they will be strictly BPA in the early rounds. If there isn’t one, then they will take a project like Bruce Irvin last April. I think I would look at DE, but we already have Curry in the wings. Safety as well–so Matt Elam, Ogletree, OG Jonathan Cooper, Jonathan Banks, and Kenny Vaccaro seems to be the big time prospects to watch. Also keep an eye on Stanford’s new big time TE.

    • TommyLawlor

      Draft

      OT/OG – need good insurance policy
      OG/OC – see above
      S – would love stud player
      WR – need impact slot guy or big WR
      CB – might need player if Nnamdi is let go
      DT – might need help…Patt, CuJo older. Landri will be UFA.

  • http://twitter.com/EaglesPride_ Aleandro green

    Any reason why you didn’t mention maclin?

    • TommyLawlor

      Injuries have affected him this yr. When healthy, looks very good.

  • bdbd20

    Not sure I feel better, but I look at some of these teams with little talent and I do feel fortunate. At least we can compete with any team in the league. Teams like Cleveland and Buffalo start each game with a disadvantage.

  • aub32

    I was only able to watch the two NFCE games. After seeing them I feel a little more concerned if the team doesn’t start playing up to its potential. That bring said, the other 3 teams in the division are vulnerable. RGIII can do some really special things, but he still will make rookie mistakes. Also, I feel confident in how we match up with their WRs & TEs. Their secondary can be taken advantage of as well. Dallas may have more trouble putting it all together than we do. I was watching that game with my boy (a diehard cowboy fan) and at one point he threw his hands up and yelled “that’s it Dez Bryant is a child”. Eli showed signs of coming back to earth, although part of me thinks he threw those picks on purpose so he could be the hero late. I think he saw that Cruz could get over the top at any time and just wanted to be the talk of ESPN. They also looked really susceptible over the middle. I think if Reid can straighten things during the bye, the Eagles have a great shot at taking this division.

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

    Tommy,

    Ryan Clady will be a FA next year and has publicly denied Broncos contract offer. Isn’t that exactly what happened with Peters when we traded for him? Would you trade a 1st + something for him to come in here and be your new RT (Vicks blindside) or our new LT if Peters is too injured (and he’s getting old).

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

    The good thing AND bad thing about the NFL is that it’s so competitive. That’s what I love coming from a background of hardcore football (soccer) fan! There’s only 2-4 teams that dominate every year, and unfortunately we miss a few percentages to be one of those teams.

    I get absolutely heartbroken every single time we loose, but again, the NFL is so competitive that a few plays here and there makes a world of difference.

  • pkeagle

    I feel a little bit worse because of RGIII. I have a feeling that we’ll split our games against the skins this year and that will ultimately cost us.
    At the end of last season, when the eagles were out of contention, I was hoping they would lose to the skins – not necessarily to get Andy the sack (which may have been a good option in retrospect…..I’m looking at you Jeff Fisher……) but more in terms of draft order.
    By losing to us, the Skins had enough ammo to move up and draft RGIII who will be a thorn in our side for the next decade. Will he win it all? Who knows but it would’ve been better for us if he had gone to Cleveland.
    As for the cowgirls, the loss of Costa may impact the team in the long term but they will live or die with their secondary IMO.
    The giants “are who we thought they were” and while I’m not ready to crown their asses just yet, they must be seen as the favorites for the NFC East title

  • Sb2bowl

    I actually feel worse; we all know that a team must have a QB in this league who can read defenses, audible, make plays, and play consistently. No one is a machine, and even the best have “off days”.

    I don’t think we have that in our current situation. Vick has the respect of his teammates, but his quick decision making process leaves a lot to the imagination. Couple that with the fact that we have an offensive coordinator that is stubborn when it comes to calling plays, to me it smells like a recipe for disaster.

    It really feels like an end to an era. If that’s true, it has been a great ride.

    • TommyLawlor

      Agree on the great ride. Not so sure it’s over, though.

  • Julescat

    would a hurry up offense benefit or hurt the Eagles? most opponents blitz the Eagles. I’m thinking a combination of draw plays, screen passes and hurry up might wear down defenses and allow Vick some time later in the game to put up some numbers.

  • Nick

    This week’s ProFootballWeekly Audibles column takes down Castillo as being unqualified (easy shot) but then includes this weird comment:

    “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.”

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/2012/10/21/insider-bowles-promotion-was-long-overdue

    • Ark87

      Interesting indeed…the front office seems to be the only phase in which this team has done well this year. Good drafting, good contract extensions (actually in retrospect, there is a conversation to be had over the Herremans and Cole extensions, has their productivity kept up with their salary?), good trading. They whiffed in F/A a bit, but it wasn’t like there was another free agent that you can point to and say, “that’s clearly the one we should have picked up”. I think F/A was lackluster due to lack of talent out there.

      Wonder who the source is for that note.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m looking into it.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    I feel worse about the Eagles, but primarily about Marty. You watch other games and see offenses exploit what the defense is committing to; you watch an eagles game and know it’s going to be the same mid to deep passes over and over.

    Where are the 1) screens 2) draws 3) bootlegs 4) any creativity. It’s deep pass, stretch, seam to Celek, deep pass, random really bad call (i.e. last week’s shuttle pass to McCoy) all day.

  • Ark87

    I’m about where I stood before, which is slightly sunnier than the average Eagles fan. No teams looks dominant yet. Don’t get me wrong, a ton of experts are saying there are no great teams out there like there have been in the past. I disagree with that, that feared team will be revealed by December.

    All depends on the state of our team, not the other 31. Is the somewhat extreme firing a sign of a team in a tailspin, a desperate coach? Is the offense about to round into form? Have defenses figured out Mike Vick, or is he in a slump that he can get out of?

    Hold no illusions, “We’re mediocre, everybody else is mediocre, we can win the Superbowl” is false hope. Not everyone will be mediocre when the playoffs hit, I promise. We need to become great to compete just like every other year.

  • T_S_O_P

    No Whipple or the like on the horizon then?

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    I don’t know if the NFL has caught up to Andy Reid as “Offensive Innovator” from Monday to Thursday.

    But I do believe enough teams have passed the Eagles in terms of talent, scheme, game-day coaching and the players’ execution to make the 2012 Eagles a *pretty good* team — but no Super Bowl threat. Not right now, at least.

    The loss of Jim Johnson — and to a slightly lesser degree Donovan McNabb — can’t be understated. JJ’s scheming, game calling, and in-game adjustments allowed Reid’s offense sufficient time to wake up 2 or 3 times. That was usually enough in tight games . . . because, generally, Donovan McNabb did not turn the ball over to the other team. McNabb’s ball security is in stark contrast to the current place-holder at QB.

    Donovan McNabb wasn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But he wasn’t Mike Vick either. With the current O-line, I don’t see Eagles winning 10 games . . . right now.

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair enough. All valid issues.

      2012 Eagles are very different from 2002 group in makeup and style. Reid has shifted with the times. Can the new guys get it done?

  • ACViking

    Re: The Falcons on the horizon

    T-Law:

    By way of post-script . . .

    I think the Eagles will beat the Falcons. And the D-line will have a break out game. Atlanta’s O-line has been a weak spot.
    ___________

    Nonetheless, my long-term 2012 prognosis of the Eagles is that Andy Reid will be leaving after the season.

    “To every thing there is a season . . . a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

    That biblical season is 2012.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think that was part of a Byrds song. Bible got it from them.

  • Ark87

    Thought of the day. If/when Vick doesn’t round into shape and Reid switches to Foles, this may not be a play to go deep into the playoffs and save the season. You’ve pointed out many great reasons to believe that Foles won’t be able to do enough to hit that magical 9 to 10 wins to save Andy’s job/get to the playoffs and win a game or 2 there. The only logical way to hit that mark is to stick with Vick and pray he can get it done.

    At what point does Andy get into the mode of doing the best we can with Foles, drum up as much hope as he can, as much intrigue as he can around Foles to save his job. At what point does he bank on us and Lurie saying “Wow, imagine if Foles had the whole season, we might have hit that point we wanted to, but too little too late this season (Vick=fall guy), I’d like to see this kid after an off-season and give Andy one more go.”

    Lurie set a pretty clear marker in the off-season, but this can’t be set in stone. Imagine if the Eagles wen 11-5, won a bunch of games in the play-offs, went to the NFC championship game and just didn’t show up. 35-0 blow-out at home. Lurie has to fire Reid in that situation. I would argue, there are also conditions in which we finish 8-8 this season and Reid keeps his job. If Reid convinces us that he found our future franchise QB, it could save his job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/acousticferg Chris Ferguson

    I would LOVE to see Austin to the Birds…just like you said – Avant is a great guy, but it’s almost like he can’t stand up if he has the ball in his hands. As a WVU fan, I see Austin as a great fit in the slot – kind of like a faster / shiftier Wes Welker. I think he should probably put on just a few pounds, but not so much as to slow him down.

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    I feel worse, but primarily because i see Eli Manning taking home the MVP title.

  • shah8

    Chicago illustrates why Castillo was fired.