The Matt Tennant Era Begins

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

Today our beloved Eagles welcomed in one of the greatest Centers in recent Boston College history.  Don’t pinch yourselves…it is true.  Matt Tennant is an Eagle!!!!!!!

Tuesday is the day when teams workout players.  I assume the Eagles had Tennant (6-4, 300) in for a workout and then decided to add him.  Steve Vallos was cut.  Tennant was a 5th round pick by the Saints in 2010.  He spent 2 years there and was with NE this season.

Tennant has never started an NFL game.  He has played in 28.

I liked Tennant quite a bit coming out of college.  I had him rated as the #2 Center that year.  To be fair, it was a weak class and I thought he’d go around the 4th.  It wasn’t like I expected him to be a great player.

Tennant started 41 games at Boston College.  Very good blocker in the zone scheme.  Not the most physically gifted player.  Smart and technically proficient.  Able to get to the 2nd level or pull to the outside and be effective.  Got exposed a bit at the Senior Bowl.  You could see he wasn’t meant to handle stud DTs 1-on-1, but fared well in the game.

The Eagles brought Tennant in here to compete.  Dallas Reynolds will remain the C for now. but Tennant will have a chance to push for the job.  Tennant can also play OG so he’s here to push Danny Watkins as well.  Tennant lacks starting experience, but could prove to be a better player than Reynolds.  I certainly had him rated higher coming out of college.

Greg Bedard, a Pats beat writer, said he felt the Pats had hoped to bring Tennant back.  They recently cut him in one of the in-season roster shuffles that injuries can cause you to make.  Let’s not overrate Tennant and make him out to be a savior.  At this point, he would just need to be better than Dallas Reynolds.  Give Tennant this week to learn the offense and see if he’s able to push Reynolds in the next week or two.

Tennant is from Cincinnati.  I don’t know how that registers vs going to the Univ of Cincinnati. We have very good luck with the Bearcats (Cole, Kelce, Celek).  One can only hope that the WKRP in his DNA will be just what our O-line needed.

Booger.  (who gets that reference?)

* * * * *

Today’s earlier post is also on the OL and Howie Roseman.


  • Anders

    He sound alot like Kelce coming out of college.

    • TommyLawlor

      Not nearly as athletic, but bigger. And more experienced. Kelce started at C as a Senior. I think he played G as a Jr. Was a LB for a couple of years.

      • Ark87

        Kelce is a marvel really. How the heck did he do it? He came in with nothing, and over the course of the year he becomes a beast. I’m talking about the facial hair of course. Goes from scruff to this at age 24! We can’t hold Matt Tennant to these standards, it’s just not fair to Matt.

        • eagles2zc

          And the beard has it’s own twitter!!

      • Kevin_aka_RC

        I just hope he maintains his athletic ability. Kelce without great athleticism will struggle due to his size.

  • iskar36

    This is more towards the previous post, but I figured we are fine continuing the Oline discussion here…

    My issue with Watkins is that I am happy with how he plays when he gets in front of his defender. What drives me crazy about him though is that WAAAAY to often, it seems like he is lost on the line and leaves a guy with a wide open run to the QB. It seems to me that with Watkins, the problem is not physical but more mental. I just don’t think he should be still making those kinds of mistakes in his second year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Some of those times, Watkins isn’t to blame. Just because a guy goes by him does not mean that was Danny’s guy. This is where talking specific plays can be so important.

      I do agree that he still makes too many mental mistakes. That also drives me crazy. Those need to stop, ASAP.

      • iskar36

        Just to give two examples that have been covered carefully by Sheil Kapadia (Play 2 and Play 3):

        http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2012/10/10/all-22-what-we-learned-about-the-eagles-offense-3/

        As I watch games myself, I also see plenty of plays similar to those two where Watkins seems should be able to make the right block and still the guy comes free. If some of those mistakes are not on Watkins himself, Mudd (Reynolds/Vick and MM/AR as well) deserves some serious criticism for not making proper line adjustments which allow a free rusher when you have enough blockers to block them. It’s one thing to get beat like that on an overload blitz, it’s another to get beat like that when they aren’t sending a ton of extra guys/you have enough guys staying in and blocking.

  • nopain23

    Hey T
    I just don’t say what Mudd saw in Watkins.He’s an avearage G at best. I’m no talent evaluator but I dont see first rd pick when I look at Watkins. I’m I way off here????

    • TommyLawlor

      I loved Watkins at Baylor. Looked great at the Senior Bowl. Naturally strong player. Can anchor. Tough. Physical. Competitive. Not a gifted pass blocker, but was good enough. Not a great athlete, but was good enough.

      Not sure why he’s so erratic for us. Maybe he was good enough to dominate in college without being a polished player. In the NFL you face such strong competition that you can’t rely on raw talent. You must study. You must practice. You must develop good technique.

      Something is missing. Not sure I know what.

      • austinfan

        Maybe just time. He’s really inexperienced, at LT there’s less thinking, outside of stunts and outside blitzes, mostly mano mano, especially in the Big 12, working out of a spread offense which limits defensive options.

        Now he moves to RG, new side, new position, new technique (Mudd), a lot to process, things are more complex inside, and just when he starts getting comfortable Kelce goes down and he’s paired with Reynolds who’s even more clueless.

        The fact the the only side the Eagles are running well to is the right side says he’s a pretty good stretch run blocker, he just has to get more instinctive recognizing what’s happening in pass protection. I think he’ll continue to improve, but may not break out until next year when Kelce returns and he can focus on technique and his responsibilities and let Kelce do the heavy thinking.

        • Ark87

          I’m of the same mindset. Watkins is relatively new to football in general, not just the guard position. The ins and outs of the game just aren’t something he grew up with in any capacity (player, fan or otherwise), it’s not instinctive for him. I hope things click before he passes his physical prime. Maybe it won’t click, but the best thing we can do for him is surround him with consistency and get him experience and then just hope. I’ll say this: I think he is done if there is a major coaching change next season and Howard Mudd is gone.

      • Neil

        I think avoiding the media is telling. Whereas some guys use criticism from strangers to give them an edge, add to their intensity, Danny doesn’t seem to know how to do that. Instead he just takes it personally and shuts down.

        • laeagle

          really? He takes it personally and shuts down? That’s pretty detailed psychological analysis based on pretty much nothing. How about he’s tired of hearing crap from the media micro-analyzing everything he does and he wants to concentrate on football? I really don’t get why a right guard not wanting to talk to the media is being perceived as such a problem by people. If I had a job to do and didn’t feel like I was getting it done as well as I was capable, I’d try to remove every distraction I could, too.

          The sense of entitlement the public has over their right to know everything about everybody all the time is just staggering these days, only topped by the way everyone seems to be able to make huge psychological character judgements about people based on limited information.

        • A_T_G

          What evidence is there that he shuts down?

        • Ark87

          He’s a different sort, Neil. I remember after he was drafted, he was in the studio with spuds, and then the next day his dad was in the studio with spuds….WOW those two dudes are Canadian. VERY Canadian. Just about the nicest people I ever saw. Just pleasant, grounded, simple folk, and really just not good media fodder, plain and boring. I remember thinking then that this poor sap has no concept of the Philly media and fanbase.

          The kid takes criticism all day from coaches with the intentions of helping him. He knows he needs to get better, his team mates know it. It’s in the open, he keeps working at it. He works with criticism. Reporters criticize and smear to get people to read their crap, and then go back to you the next day all schmoozey to get more material to rip you with. I’m not offended that he reacted the way he did. Consistent with his Canadian bumkin background in my opinion. I wouldn’t grin and bare it either…regardless of my paycheck.

          • Steag209

            I think he just doesn’t want to have to think about PC answers to questions that he doesn’t know the answers to, or is working on fixing. He’d rather use that time to think about his upcoming assignment then on reporters’ questions, and it’s not like it’s a big deal. He’s an OG, not the QB or Team Captain who has to be the “face” of the team to the media. I’m glad he did this, now he doesn’t have to worry about any of his answers being taken out of context and can, hopefully, fully concentrate on his game. I don’t think it’s cuz of his “Canadian bumkin” background, however.

          • Ark87

            I meant no insult to his background. But we are talking sticks British Columbia here. These are innocent folk: http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/Like-Father-Like-Son/f2a2fe1a-c959-40e2-96ae-bf79de8223a4 This is the media he grew up with, http://www.kelownacapnews.com/ Read the headlines. Look at what makes headlines for sports further down. They don’t ignore negative news, but it is and after thought and handled responsibly not sensationally. That is his culture, that’s how he grew up. We accept our media for what it is, and the journalists are just out making a living like everybody else, trying to stay relevant. I don’t expect him to “take it on the chin like a professional” like all the media folk are whining about.
            Too many people look at his decision like he’s some 1st round diva that needs to grow up. I think he’s just a small-town kid in a world of over-exposure. I’m with you with pretty much everything you said.

          • Steag209

            I understand what you meant, I guess what I was saying was more semantics, it seems to me that his decision is more of a personality trait than a culture thing, which is what you were also saying and I definitely could see his upbringing contributing to that. I’m not saying you were wrong or arguing with you, that’s beside the point. The point I was trying to make is that I think he’s trying to process a lot right now especially with Kelce gone and he doesn’t want to take the extra time needed to come up with answers that won’t be thrown back in his face or picked apart by the media, which is easy for, what seems like, lots of athletes out there. Due to his background/personality though it is more difficult for him to come up with generic answers because he probably doesn’t want to lie/sidestep a question like most do. He would want to give an honest answer and to do that without it being picked apart would be hard for him to do and might cause him to be distracted/stressed. It would make sense to me either way or we could both be right or wrong. Of course, I have no idea I’m just avoiding learning/memorizing Energy Metabolism right now. Plus, I agree with you 100% about what you said down below about his head spinning, I’ve thought that ever since I heard Kelce, his draft buddy, was teaching him when he was the 6th/7th rounder and Watkins was the 1st Rounder.

      • SteveH

        The problem is that he’s canadian Tommy. Everyone knows Canucks would rather sort things out over a cold Labatt Blue than get physical.

        • D3FB

          Get the man a PBR and tell him the DT said his favorite hockey team is soft. That will get Danny going.

    • Anders

      He was a solid LT in college and impressed at the senior bowl, the only knock on him was his age. Theoritcly a good solid LT in college should be able to be a good/great guard in the NFL

  • austinfan

    Reynolds started 3 years in college, 2 years on the PS yet he plays greener than Kelce did last year as a rookie. Which makes me wonder about his football IQ, especially since he was on a Mormon mission and is older than the norm. You can live with physical limitations in a center, but he has to run the OL, and with a raw talent like Watkins, he needs to take charge.

    Which may explain Tennant, Vallos did not show much in camp and was here as an emergency body. Tennant really belongs in a zone blocking scheme, problem in NO is that they only went with 8 OL, so the backup C had to be a solid OG prospect. However, losing out to C Brian de la Puente, who was a journeyman until he came to the Saints is not a good thing. de la Puente was a college OG, and probably a more powerful blocker than Tennent, but not as athletic.

  • Julescat

    “I almost forgot, fellow babies: BOOGER!”

    • TommyLawlor

      Awesome.

  • Joe

    I just don’t think Danny Watkins is meant to be a starter and was meant to be a high draft pick.

    Think of it this way. Howard Mudd has…
    - Improved the play of Jason Peters. (He was already very good)
    - Brought in a “journeyman” OG in Evan Mathis… Mathis is now our long term LG and a top 10 NFL G.
    - With the lockout situation in effect, he only had like 5 weeks to get Jason Kelce ready to be the starting Center. Kelce was a 6th round pick, and started all 16 games. He played very well last season and is our future at C.
    - Moved Todd Herremans to RT and got him playing very good football. Todd was giving a extension/pay-raise during the offseason.

    The Eagles selected a first round OG named Danny Watkins, who was 26 years old.
    Watkins has started 18 NFL games thus far and has had one full offseason under his belt. In my opinion, Danny has yet to have a GREAT game.
    Very disappointing.

    • Ark87

      Lets face it, most fan’s raised their eyebrows to the pick. 26 year old Canadian fire fighter that didn’t grow up playing football and played tackle in college. I kinda of bought in when every expert i could find reassured me that he is a very good pick, one of the safest picks of the draft. They assured me he is 26, but he doesn’t have a lot of football mileage, and hey, he’s great and hasn’t played for very long, Howard Mudd will forge this guy into a stud.

      Well….he isn’t making a whole lot of progress on gameday. He doesn’t strike me as overly smart, football IQ or otherwise. I do not mean that as a sleight, he seems like a great guy. His head just seems to spin in these protection schemes. I’m hoping he just needs extra polish being so relatively new to the game before things click. He seems to have all the physical tools. I’ve seen his mean streak. He’s serviceable enough to keep playing, get some competition for him, and hope he comes along. I wouldnt take a guard in the first round next year (tackle!!), grab a guy in the 4th or 5th to push I say.

      • Anders

        Watkins has all the physical tools to play RG in the NFL, right now its all about the football IQ.

  • austinfan

    I repeat this, the guy to watch on the OL next year is Menkin.
    DIv III, I mean no one makes the NFL out of Division III, especially OL.
    Has he ever been in a bon fide weight room?
    Who the heck was coaching him?
    Yet he was one of the last cuts on the Texans, and watching him you could see he has NFL feet, maybe not tackle feet, but he’s plenty athletic enough.

    To me he’s this year’s Thornton, a raw player who needs lots of coaching and a year with Rubin, I can see him showing up in August a ripped 6’4 310 lbs (he was 296 lbs at his pro day) and quicker and more explosive. Most rookie linemen are redshirt freshmen who’ve lived in a big time college weight room for five years, and even they improve with pro training, imagine the upside with this kid.

    Then again, maybe he’ll turn out to be a dude, but I don’t think so, they’re using a roster spot to stash him, they must see something there.

    • Anders

      Agree with this. I think Menkin could unseat Watkins next year.

    • Ark87

      If it happens I will definitely always credit you for calling it everytime I see him walk onto the field. It’s no guarantee though. Danny Watkins picked up the game of football at age 22 and dominated with raw ability. It doesn’t get any more raw than that. I’m sure coaches were salivating over the thought of what they could forge out of him with pro-style coaching/ life style when they drafted him. Watkins may yet come around, time will tell.

      I hope you’re right about Menkins. If he see’s his potential, and if he and the coaches work their butts off to get it out of him, it could be a great story and a great pick-up. But it’s and uphill battle for him, no doubt.

      • austinfan

        Those are the gambles that can make teams.
        You find a Victor Cruz out of Hofstra.
        A Jason Peters, an oversized TE out of Arkansas.
        A Ratliff, a raw 7th rd pick.
        Sign an underachieving college RB in Adrian Foster
        Gamble on a very short small college LB in London Fletcher

        The guys on the Eagles who fit that mold are Bryce Brown and Menkin.

        • http://twitter.com/deshawnbentley BG

          Cruz went to UMass. Colston, who I assume you had in mind, went to Hofstra

        • Ark87

          Absolutely agree. Picking up starters out of the late rounds, UDFA, and waiver wires is key to squeezing as much talent out of the salary cap as possible. Not to mention building depth.

          Recently the Packers and Giants have excelled in that process. They hit in the high rounds and find gems among the over-looked. It makes for excellent talent from top to bottom.

          To your point, Howie is a gambler. In high rounds he drafts people he can see being perennial probowlers. In low rounds he looks for people that he thinks can be starters. That sounds obvious. Every GM HOPES for that. Howie actually takes the risk, think Bryce Brown.

  • GermanEagle

    To me Watkins is a BUST. Purely due to the fact that he was 26 years old when the Eagles drafted him at #26 OVR.
    If he’d been selected in the 3rd or 4th round it would be a different story. But simply because the Eagles wasted their 1st round pick on him proves to me that he’s a BUST.

  • BC1968

    I shit you not, I picked my nose and threw a booger out the window just before I started reading this article.