Eagles Notebook

Posted: November 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 44 Comments »

Andy Reid updated the injury situation.  Mike Vick, Shady McCoy, Jason Avant, and Chris Polk are out.  That means Nick Foles and Bryce Brown are going to start and lead the Eagles to a dominant victory on Monday night.  Maybe.

I’ll post some game preview stuff on Sunday and Monday.

* * * * *

The Eagles signed WR Greg Salas and released Mardy Gilyard.  Salas has some size (6-1, 209) and is a good slot guy.  He could help if Jason Avant misses more time.

Notes from PE.com on the move.

Apparently I was a pretty big fan of his coming out of Hawaii.  To be honest, I couldn’t remember.  Here are my notes:

Salas is a great route runner who knows how to get open. He has great hands, maybe the best in the draft. Salas is more quick than fast, but that’s fine for the slot. He is comfortable working the middle of the field. Salas has better RAC skills than I expected. Very slippery runner. Salas ate up the WAC, but any concerns that he was just a system guy beating up bad DBs went away when he went to the Senior Bowl. Salas showed he can beat good DBs while playing in a conventional offense. Natural, gifted receiver. Might not be a starter, but could be a great slot receiver.

Mid-round pick.

* * * * *

My SB Nation Philly column is easily explained by the title:  Eagles Must Find The Next Jim Johnson.

The defense is 11th in the NFL in yards allowed right now.  They had decent rankings last year.  They were up and down in 2009 and 2010.  There are some good players in place.  There is potential.  Either the new coach or the new DC needs to be a veteran defensive mind who knows exactly what he’s doing.  Enough experimenting.  Go get a proven coach.  That won’t guarantee success, but it is the smart move.

* * * * *

Ready for some draft talk?

Jimmy Bama and I did a podcast talking about Top 5 prospects.  We also covered the possibility of the Eagles moving to a 3-4.

David Syvertsen wrote about the top Senior TE prospects over at ScoutsNotebook.

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  • Cal Setar

    In reference to the whole 3-4 vs. 4-3 thing…if we do get a new HC who wants to transition to the 3-4, any interest in Rex Ryan as DC if/when he get’s fired by the Jets?

    • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

      Nope. None. Whatsoever.

      I can’t wait for both Ryans to be out of the league.

      • Cal Setar

        They’re both pretty talented DC’s so I think they’ll be around the league for a while still. And if we were to transition to the 3-4, Rex would be the kind of coach who you could hand the reins of the D over to and just let him do his thing, i.e. JJ.

        Now, they’re both also obnoxious and loud. And they’re Buddy Ryan’s offspring. So I get the whole not liking them thing.

        I’m not saying I want Rex. But beyond simply not liking him, he’s got a pretty good track record as a DC, as evidenced by what he was able to accomplish in Baltimore, and I think it would behoove the Eagles to at least explore such an option.

        • eagles2zc

          I just don’t want his loud mouth bringing the media circus to town. It’s funny because I don’t remember him being this obnoxious with Ravens.

          • Anders

            He was the DC, he wasnt the face and imo the owner of the Jets is also a part of it. He loves the attention.

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

      Why don’t we trade for Tebow as well

    • austinfan

      It’s hard to come up with a 3-4 coach that’s exceptional who’d be available. Ryan in NY seemed to unravel when Revis got hurt, a coach who needs two elite CBs to make his defense work is not a good bet (compare to the CBs in Pittsburgh, for example). Fangio has had the same MO everywhere, start strong and his defense collapses after 3 seasons.

      Capers was a perfect fit for GB, but they also had the personnel to quickly install a 3-4, and drafted Matthews and Raji. Fangio took over a 3-4, Phillips converted Houston, but again, they had the linemen for the 3-4 and the LBs, drafted Watt and Reed but let Mario walk (who isn’t physical enough for 3-4 DE, which is why heart is as important as talent on the DL).

      I don’t think the 3-4 gives you any advantage anymore, too many teams use it, which means too many teams chasing NTs and OLBs in the draft. For the Eagles to go in that direction would require a complete makeover, can Curry and Graham play OLB? Cole and Babin are at best pass rush specialists when you go to a 4-2 on passing downs, Patterson is small for NT, you could play Jenkins, Cox and Thornton at DE. You’d have to dedicate most of your draft and FA money to get the right players, a starting NT, at least one top OLB, maybe another DE, and remember, 3-4 or 4-3, odds are you’re replacing 2 CBs and looking for a SS.

      Move to a more conventional 4-3, you dump Babin, Landri, maybe Cole or Jenkins, Graham, Curry at DE, Cox, Patterson, Thornton at DT, now you just need to add depth, maybe a high draft pick or two. Kendricks shifts to WLB, pick up a veteran SLB, And fix the secondary. Far more doable for 2013.

      • Anders

        Rex Ryan coached some great D’s in Baltimore where the only 2 star players he had was Lewis and Reed.

        Also GB had a terrible D the first year in Capers new 3-4 D and Houston let Mario walk because of money (same reason they traded Ryans away).

        I wouldnt call Patterson small for a NT, when we played a 2-gap system he was in the 310-320 range and that is plenty size depending on the DC.

        • austinfan

          2008: GB ranked 22nd in points allowed, 20th in yards

          2009: Caper’s first season, GB 7th, 2nd

          2010: GB 2nd, 5th

          2008 defense:

          Kampmann – Pickett – Jolly – Montgomery

          (Jenkins started 4 games then IR)

          Poppinga – Barnett – Hawk

          2009 defense:

          Jolly – Pickett – Jenkins (Raji, J Wynn on the bench)

          Kampmann – Hawk – Barnett – Matthews

          2010:

          Raji replaced Jolly (legal problems)

          Bishop replaced Barnett

          Zombo, Werden replaced Kampmann

          • Anders

            You are right, I just thought Capers already coached them back in 2008

      • deg0ey

        I think that you’re right about not having any intrinsic advantage from being in a 3-4 over a 4-3 anymore. What I’d like to see is targeting some real versatile guys in the draft.

        Dion Jordan, for example has mostly played 3-4 OLB at Oregon, but they’ve used him as a 4-3 DE and a slot corner at times (not sure whether he’d be much use at corner in the NFL with the stricter rules on contact, was mostly trying to highlight that he can at least cover pretty well).

        One of the more interesting guys to me is Johnathan Hankins. He’s big enough to play 3-4 NT but quick enough to play DT in a 4-3. I’d like to see a team try to convert on 3rd and 1 against a D-line of Jenkins, Hankins, Patterson and Cox.

        There must be some other examples but those are the only two that spring to mind. I certainly don’t object to having 4-3 as our base defence, but being able to sprinkle in some 3-4 sets to create matchup problems at times would be nice and I’d quite like to look at DL/LBs that enable us to do that.

  • nopain23

    From what I have read David Shaw
    loves Stanford as is not leaving. He has emerged as my number one choice to
    replace AR. I want no part of Chip Kelly. No NFL experience, No thank you! I
    hope Lurie and Roseman hire Vic Fangio. With a top 5-6 pick I hope we draft Star Lotulelei from Utah to man the NT in our new 3-4 defense .I know Tommy might ban me permanently for
    saying that. But if Vic is hired I want him to run HIS system. Most of
    the top safeties in this year’s draft
    have second round grades and with an early 2nd round pick I hope we
    grab one of them ( I personally like Bacarri Rambo from Georgia). We
    should sign a RT in FA. Babin, Nnamdi ,Bell need to be jettisoned at
    seasons end. Under Fangio I think we play a run first offense and a
    physical defense that gets after the QB. Fangio needs to find an OC who
    can maximize the talent we already have. I can’t believe Mcnutt can’t
    find a spot on this offense, especially in the Red Zone. MM and AR
    have lacked creativity in their schemes and play calling. Change is
    coming one way or another. I just hope it’s change for the better.

  • austinfan

    Just say no to Fangio, 3-4 coach which means a major rebuild and his career track record is not very good. He stepped into a perfect situation in SF, talented but underachieving defense, they gave him 2 FA starters and Aldon Smith in the draft. Similar to Wade Phillips in Houston, and Wade has a far better track record than Fangio, but he also inherited some top talent, and injuries are exposing that defense. And don’t think about either Ryan, both are media inventions.

    The advantage of an experienced DC/HC is as much his ability to teach younger assistants as it is to teach players – just look at all the successful assistants under JJ, now look at Caldwell and Zordich, are they really dissiimilar to Frazier and Rivera? Having a wise old man to confer with allows you to add bright young assistants, the old grey hair won’t be threatened and the young turks will be more comfortable bouncing ideas and asking for help.

    Looking at the SB winners (and losers) the past 15 years or so, the key is a QB who can run a ball control passing game, it’s nice to have Peyton, Brees, Brady, etc., (though their offenses were really primarily short passing schemes, especially Brady when he got his rings), but guys like Gannon, B Johnson, Delhomme and Hasselback have also made it to the big game. Forget the offensive gurus like Chip Kelly, what you want is someone like Gruden who can build a dependable offense around a second tier QB, if you get lucky and land a Brady, great, but assume you’re gonna end up with Garcia or Dalton, and plan accordingly. This works if you have a top 5 defense, and if you don’t, only an elite QB or a lot of luck will get you to the big game. So focus your resources on building a great defense and be happy with a functional offense, not the other way around unless you hit the QB jackpot.

    Which of course means a defensively oriented HC is the right way to go. Offensive gurus pad the stats but tend to come up short in big games.

    • deg0ey

      So who do you fancy as a defensively oriented HC?

      I’m kinda wondering whether it’s worth bringing Rivera back as a DC and putting in a younger guy at HC.

    • holeplug

      ” Offensive gurus pad the stats but tend to come up short in big games.”

      Bill Walsh says hi

      • austinfan

        Walsh was far more defensively oriented than people think, and his offense was ball control oriented, only as he amassed exceptional talent did it become explosive. And no one would accuse Joe Montana of having a big arm. The WCO was build around a weak armed QB, and uses short passes, runs, and spreads the ball around to all skill people, including the FB and TEs. Much like Gruden’s offense, and Reid in his first few years with the Eagles.

        If you look at his drafts, Walsh tended to take defense and RBs.

        • Anders

          People forget that the niners had a top 10 defense 13 years in a row or something insane, but because they had Montana and Rice, people forget that the defense was also very very good

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      I’d say Fangio’s record is more mixed than not very good. He’s been apart of some very good units and some very bad ones.

      He fits the bill for what it seems like you want; a defensive minded guy who has been around for awhile. Honestly, who could they bring in that has a great track record? Most of them are mixed.

      This utopian notion of the perfect fit generally doesn’t exist. The reality is that almost all potential candidates have blemishes or are wet behind the ears. Take your pick. If there were sure things they’d already have jobs, unless they’ve chosen to retire.

      I think now is the time to think about a switch to a 3-4 if there ever was one. This team is without a QB, weak along the Oline if Peters is done, and mediocre if he isn’t, and has a hand full of vets that are overpaid and underperforming. This is going to be a rebuild for at least two years regardless of who they bring in.

  • ACViking

    Re: 3-4 Projection with Current Players / New Coach Possibilities

    T-Law:

    In your excellent podcast, you really surprised me with your comments about Brandon Graham. That is, since his knee injury he’s not as athletic as he was when drafted. You made the remark that you’d not like seeing BG trying to cover a TE. If that’s the case, it’s hard to see Graham sticking with a 3-4 coach.
    _________________

    Doug Marrone – Syracuse.

    Here’s a guy who’s turned around the Syracuse football program — as best you can given the inherent recruiting problems. He runs a WCO that’s just about 50-50 pass-to-run and a 3-4 defense.

    After playing o-line at Syracuse, he moved into coaching 20 years ago — with all his experience on the offensive side of the ball. He’s spent 7 of those 20 years in the NFL: (1) Jets’ O-line from ’02-’05 under under HC Herm Edwards, and (2) Sean Payton’s OC in New Orleans from ’06-’08.

    His QB is a senior from the Philadelphia-area named Ryan Nassib. Marrone’s turned him into 2nd-rounder and — I leave it to T-Law — the kind of kid who could creep up into the 1st round.

    Just a thought . . . .

  • ACViking

    Re: C Polk / Bobby Wagner

    T-Law:

    I can’t imagine a player on the Eagles more disappointed, personally, this week than Polk. He might have had a chance to get some reps Monday night with McCoy down — creating some tape for the next coach.

    That said, I’m really looking forward to seeing Bryce Brown. (Premised on the, perhaps ridiculous, idea that the Eagles will try to shorten the game and run the ball.)

    Not sure where I read it, but his size-speed ratio and the way he runs is being (loosely) compared to Bo Jackson. Personally, I’m not ready to go that far. But Brown’s a physical runner with great speed and — I think — a perfect between-the-tackles guy, as opposed to a stretch-play guy.

    Brown seems like a great 1-cut runner perfectly suited for the kind of zone-blocking scheme run out of Houston and DC.
    _________________

    At draft time, you were high on Utah OLB Bobby Wagner — who went to Seattle a few picks after the Eagles selected OLB MK.

    Any thoughts about how Wagner’s performed? And how much of that is the result of Seattle’s scheme and the guys around him.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews coming out about Wagner. That’s the guy I really wanted with that pick.

  • deg0ey

    I’ve just found myself wondering whether we might be able to convince Chip Kelly to come on board as an OC…

    It seems the biggest concern with him among most people is that he doesn’t have any experience of the NFL and it might be difficult for him to adjust from the college game.

    If Lurie and Roseman, hypothetically, pointed out to him the struggles that he might have making the jump from College HC to NFL HC and the damage a bad first impression could do to any aspirations he might have of remaining in the NFL (Saban and Spurrier being prime examples) then might he be willing to take a role under an older HC with the intention that we groom him to take over the top job once the other guy moves on? Could be worth asking the question at least…

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

      That would be like convincing God to come down from heaven to be the Vice-President, not exactly a selling point.

      • deg0ey

        I don’t know enough about him as a person to know what he’d believe. He’s obviously gonna get HC offers, but it’s still not necessarily the right move for him in the long term and he might be reflective enough to realise that.

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

          Yeah, I agree on the point. But I don’t think it would ever happen.

  • ACViking

    Re: Chip Kelly

    If the NFL outlaws cut-blocks (which is reportedly on the Competition Committee’s agenda for this off-season), Chip Kelly won’t have a future in the NFL. Nor will David Shaw.

    Backside blocking on running plays will be effectively eliminated. That means NFL coaches will become even more pass-happy . . . out of necessity.

    • TommyLawlor

      That rule change would be huge.

      • Baloophi

        And would come after we hire a new coach, per ACVike’s sage observation…

      • austinfan

        It’ll end Shanahan’s coaching career.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      Great observation.

  • SleepingDuck

    Tommy,
    You and Jimmy said that Ryans would be one of the ILBS along with Kendricks in the 3-4, but wasn’t Ryans expendable in the Texan’s D because he couldn’t stay on the field for 3 downs?Also, will you guys be doing a more depth podcast on head coaching candidates once the season is officially over?

    My heading coach wish list in no particular order: Chip Kelly, Vic Fangio, Jay Gruden, and Mike McCoy,

    • eagles2zc

      I think Ryans’ last year at Houston was more a result of his knee not fully recovered yet. Watching him operate behind the wide 9 instilled a lot of confidence in me of his ability to stuff the run in a 3-4

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      The Texans (Wade Phillips) don’t have a nickel package. They play a Base 3-4 D, and use Dime on passing downs with rush LBers at DEnd, and Watt & Antonio Smith inside. They only need one LB on the field for dime, and they liked Cushing’s ability to cover ground more than Ryans’. Considering they were only in their base 3-4 about 50% of the time, Ryans’ price tag was just way too high.

      He played well in Houston, even after the injury.

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

    To: Tommy and Jimmy

    Thank you for mentioning Tavon Austin in the last 2 mins of the podcast. I had 2 flight attendants and 3 passengers threaten to “Throw my ass off the plane” because I wouldn’t turn my phone off before takeoff…..the rest of the flight was slightly awkward and my fiancee still refuses to speak to me.

    • eagles2zc

      Shoulda told them you work for NSA

      • goeagles55

        But he works for CTU

    • P_P_K

      After you are married, your wife will spend her Monday mornings looking back on this event and thinking, “I should have known!”

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

    I had a blast listening to your podcast Tommy. I could listen to your drafttalk for hours and hours.
    What month do you think a new HC will be installed? I hate the fact that we don’t know what to look for in the draft.

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    “Enough experimenting.”
    Amen, brother, amen!

  • Mac

    I think we address OT in the draft… but what do you guys think of Jake Long?

    • holeplug

      He is really really good and will be really really expensive

    • deg0ey

      I think the OT situation depends what they think of JP’s ankle. If everyone comes back healthy, we’ve got Peters and Herremans, with Kelly as a backup. A mid-round guy with upside and I think we’ll be set. Obviously if Peters doesn’t look like he’ll be good to go next season then OT becomes a very high priority.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      Something is wrong with Long. He’s not anywhere near the same blocker he was. Can’t say I know the reason (shoulder injury?), but there is a reason Miami is letting him walk. I’d steer clear.

  • brza

    Funny that your notes on Salas coming out of college sound exactly the way I remember Avant at Michigan, minus the system WR concerns.