Eagles Notebook

Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

How many of you suffered through the MNF game?  I was in and out of it while doing some oddball research.  Painful game to watch, but the last couple of minutes were priceless…in a bad way.  I won’t try to explain what happened.  Go read the recap if you missed it.  The end of the game was absolutely amazing.  That was the worst end to a MNF game since Tommy Hutton flubbed the hold vs Dallas back in 1997.  So bad that I won’t soon forget it.

* * * * *

I am glad the Jets lost.  I hope Rex Ryan gets fired so that he could be a potential Eagles hire as a DC.  For my money, Rex has the best defensive mind in all of football right now.  I put him above Belichick.  Rex is a genius with his zone blitzes and overload blitzes.  Where Buddy believed in outnumbering your blockers, Rex believes in outnumbering your blockers on one side, but still leaving plenty of guys back in coverage.  In 7 of 8 years as DC or HC, Rex’s pass defense was ranked in the Top 8.  That’s impressive in the modern game.  Rex is brilliant at designing complex coverages behind the blitzes so that QBs get confused.  I really loved what he did vs Peyton Manning in the playoffs a few years back.  Rex went simple and played basic coverages.  He knew Peyton would expect all kinds of exotic looks so Rex stayed simple and it worked for most of the game.  Very creative.

Clearly Rex would have to be hired by the HC, but I just want him on the market.  We do need a defensive guru.

How about Rex as the HC?  Don’t know what to tell you.  There are times when I think he could be the next Belichick (defensive guru who flames out at his first stop and learns some key lessons on what not to do).  There are other times when I think Rex is so flawed that he’ll never be able to put a team truly over the top.  The big question is whether the Jets were a circus that he joined or whether they became a circus when he arrived.  I don’t recall Rex being a jackass in Baltimore so I do wonder how much is really on him vs that organization.  Clearly he’s not blameless, but some environments bring out the best in you while others bring out the worst.

He does fascinate me.

* * * * *

PE.com has some terrific videos up.  Several are from the show called Eagles Gameplan.  Check them out.  They show some coaches tape on Jamar Chaney and Mychal Kendricks, among others.  You can see how talented those players are.  What they don’t show are the mistakes that the guys make that get you so frustrated.  Kendricks is a rookie so I expect him to be up and down.  Chaney has suffered from a lot of change (schemes, positions, and coaches), but at some point you must show that you belong.  I’d love a veteran coach to get some time with Jamar to see if he could develop him.  I’m confident Kendricks will turn into a good LB.

* * * * *

News broke on Monday that Garrett Reid had steroids in his possession when he died in August.  People like Mike Florio have jumped on the angle that this is highly fishy since Garrett worked as an Eagles S & C coach.  Was he giving or selling them to players?

I’m not naive and Garrett Reid wasn’t a saint, but to automatically assume the worst seems unfair.  No Eagles player has tested positive this year.  Joselio Hanson get suspended a couple of years ago, but he swore his innocence and that’s the only guy I can recall.  There aren’t many players who came to camp looking significantly jacked up.  Phillip Hunt is the one player I remember reading about being noticeably bigger.

If a player does test positive, then fine…this becomes a story.  If no player does test positive and no proof exists of any wrongdoing between Garrett and the players, then leave the story alone.  Let it fade away.  I hope Florio doesn’t abuse this and bring it up over and over.  It needed to be reported, but if no further evidence exists, quit speculating.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy posted his MAQB column.  Really good this week.  Talked a lot about playoffs.  Wrote a lot about the rookie QBs, which is more interesting than ever now that Foles is part of the group.  Be sure to check it out.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama has a couple of posts of interest.  First up he offered some notes on OCs around the league.

Next he posted thoughts on the CLE-WAS game.  We face the Skins on Sunday so you might be interested.

* * * * *

Who is the biggest Nick Foles fan in the world?

Not Andy Reid.  Not Jeff Lurie.  Not Mama Foles.

Jerry Jones.

Dallas needs us to beat the Skins and Giants in the next 2 weeks to help their playoff bid.  Does that mean Foles should try to lose the games?

* * * * *

Fake WIP Caller’s brilliant tweet of the day:

“The Eagles should fire Andy Reid today, because the world could end on Friday”

Pure genius.

_


  • SteveH

    I saw the end, and it was priceless. I haven’t laughed so hard while watching football in my entire life. I don’t know why but it just warms my heart to see Mark Sanchez flubbing one play after another. The butt-fumble was the play of the year no doubt.

    I didn’t realize Bellicheck was even in the running for best defensive mind in the NFL right now, much less actually considered the best mind. He hasn’t had a good defense in a while and frankly his personnel decisions on D over the last 4 or 5 years are kind of baffling, and he’s flat out whiffed on a bunch of first day choices. I’ve watched a bunch of Patriots games this year and imho, if Vince Wilfork wasn’t playing like an ageless wonder that D would be really struggling. Vince makes so many plays along the interior both stopping the run and rushing the passer its amazing. I’m surprised he’s not brought up more when talking about the best interior DL in the league, he’s old, but he’s the best DT I’ve watched play this year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

      I too feel as though Belichick isn’t the same “mastermind” he was back in 2002. However I can’t argue with his results. That team constantly posts at least 11 wins every year and has advanced far into the playoffs. He has stockpiled a lot of picks but hasn’t gotten tremendous results out of them. Ras-I Dowling? Shane Vareen? Dont’a Hightower? Jermaine Cunningham? Brandon Spikes? Pat Chung? Ron Brace? Darius Butler?

      Those are all 1st and 2nd round draft picks.

    • TommyLawlor

      I do a lot of research on these types of things. Belichick is a complex coach to evaluate.

      His D hasn’t ranked high in yards allowed since 2007. That said, they have ranked highly in fewest points allowed and most takeaways. Those are the crucial stats.

      I think part of the issue is that the Pats are so dynamic on offense that teams are often in comeback mode and no D is going to shut down a team that throws the ball over and over from getting yards. When that team gets to the RZ and has to play in condensed space…life gets much tougher.

      Bill can still scheme. Did you realize that last year for a good part of the season he played half 4-3, half 3-4…at the same time? It takes a friggin’ wizard to come up with this idea and then be able to teach it.

      http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7537225/bill-belichick-vince-wilfork-new-england-patriots-defense

      Bill the GM has let down Bill the coach over the years. I think that has partially cause the D to be more erratic.

  • http://twitter.com/Balagast Matthew Donaldson

    Personally I think I want the Skins to win the division at this point. It is the least of 3 evils for me. So Foles needs to have a good game this week, but we still manage to lose, and then we need to blow the doors off the Giants in week 17 up in Jersey.

  • Anders

    I would love Rex Ryan as our next DC. Really think he is what we need. A good veteran DC there knows how to both coach and scheme a great defense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    I was thinking the same exact thing last night about Rex Ryan. Having him as our DC would be tremendous, but I wouldn’t want him as a HC.

    Rex’s downfall has been his selection of Mark Sanchez and his insistence that he remain the starter. At some point a good coach should know when to cut his losses and not let his pride get in the way. Mark Sanchez was Ryan’s first pick and he did do a good job of developing a game plan that was compatible to Sanchez’s skillset and experience. I don’t blame Ryan for making that pick but Sanchez has never developed into a starting caliber QB. Ryan has gone out of his way to accommodate him- He acquired a stud receiver, established a stable RB group, hired new offensive coordinators and gave him more money. At some point Ryan had to realize that Sanchez was never going to develop as the type of QB he needed him to be.

    Andy Reid spent a high draft pick on a relatively unknown Kevin Kolb when McNabb was 30 (in his prime and 2 years removed from the Super Bowl year), developed him for 3 years and gave him a pay raise once McNabb was traded. Andy decided to bench Kolb after 1 game despite all of the criticism he took from the Kolb ordeal.

  • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

    The Tommy Hutton game story.

    I drove from Houston to Dallas on a Monday night. We got to the stadium just a little before kickoff. We parked in one of those $10 lots. I paid the attendant, and parked the car. My buddy and I got out of the car, and I had one of those moments.

    As I was closing the door I tried to stop myself, but my hand was in motion. Noooo I locked the keys in the car. As my brain realized this, my hand was already in motion and could not be stopped. I leaned my head against the side of the car in disgust. Then I felt a vibration, the car was still running.

    This was pre-cell phone days, so we walked to a little convenience store. I let my friend head into the stadium and was alone in the dark in a crappy part of Dallas wearing my Eagles colors. I was out there forever, and the ‘locksmith’ who picked my lock would only take cash. So I had to drive around with him for a while to find an ATM. He had this gigantic Chow in the backseat who’s head was always leaning over in my face. This dogs head was the size of a full grown lion.

    Got to the game at about halftime. We had a lead, and things were back to normal.

    Then Dallas was trying to come back from our lead with about 1 min left. I was towards one end zone. Aikman threw a pass which clearly looked like it was picked off in the endzone from my vantage point. I stood up to cheer, but then was drown out by a wave of cheers that originated from their endzone with a better view then drowned me out and I realized the pick went through his hands, and the evil empire scored.

    But there was a little time for us to come back. Then the Hutton play was the capper for a craptastic trip. Long drive home, no sleep followed by a crappy day at work.

    • Arby1

      Great story!

      • TommyLawlor

        That is a great awful story.

    • P_P_K

      You lived through Hell.

      • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

        That season we all did.

  • Ark87

    Has Rex ever had a good defense without a hall of famer on his roster? I’ve got Bobby April-itus. Reputation doesn’t do much for me anymore.

    • Anders

      His defense when he started on for the Jets didnt have anybody playing at a HOF level (yes Revis have developed into a potential HOF’er, but he wasnt playing at that level when they went to the AFCCG)

      • TommyLawlor

        Exactly. Rex can scheme. Hasn’t always has top pass rushers to work with either, thus the need for blitzing.

        • Anders

          I think this http://smartfootball.com/defense/overload-blitzes-and-angle-stunts-against-one-back-formations is a very good read on how creative and how good Rex can be at scheming.

        • Ark87

          But still, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis in their prime? Damn, who DOESN’T coach a top 10 D in that situation? And how often is the difference between a sack and a touchdown Darrelle Revis?
          I’m sure he wouldn’t be bad, but…is he worth the antics? Unless we become a consistently top tier D, I’d say no (winning, the great deodorant).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

            The Jets are ranked #8 in total yards and #12 in total points despite not having Revis and having a QB that has 17 interceptions and 12 fumbles. Their offense is ranked 30th in yards per game and 28th in points per game

          • Anders

            Should we dismiss Jim Johnson because Dawkins? Should we dismiss Buddy Ryan because of the endless list of HOF’ers he coached? What about Monte Kiffen in Tampa? You see a connection? Great coaches, great players and great defenses go hand in hand.

          • Ark87

            should we dismiss buddy? How many Hall of Famers, how many playoff wins (in philly)? Seems to answer itself.

            Ok, I accept that Rex is a great defensive mind, and stamps the right attitude onto his defense. But between the switch to the 3-4 (will take time to get the right personnel while sapping our draft resources) and a personality that is a little large for an assistant coach. In general I’d prefer someone that can just pick up our defensive roster. Toughen ‘em up, coach ‘em up, and get right to being a top tier D.

            Not only will Rex not have the HOF players he is used to having, but he won’t have the right personnel for his scheme at all. It will take time to get his D right. Big picture: our offensive skill players are about to hit their peak, I prefer the D be ready October of next season at the latest.

            But I’d probably be thrilled to land Rex Ryan if we got him, so who am I kidding haha.

          • Anders

            I think Rex Ryan would be smart enough to adapt his scheme to the Eagles personal. Remember while he might be a 3-4 guy, he have coached and learned 4-3 from his father.

            The whole circus thing about Rex Ryan didnt really exist before he joined the Jets, so I believe that once he is a DC again it will go away because he wont be the front figure. Also some of all the antics from Rex Ryan is just to protect his players in a similar way Fergie or Mourinho does it in international soccer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Riccardi/100000855463486 Michael Riccardi

            Could you imagine an NFL coach calling himself “the Special One?”

          • Anders

            In alot of ways Bill Belichick reminds me of Mourinho

  • Mac

    I wonder what kind of numbers Sanchez could have posted during our 5 game slump.

    • TommyLawlor

      The immovable object vs the irresistible force.

      Or crap vs crap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    Did anyone else notice that Austin Howard was starting for the Jets yesterday?

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, he’s been starting for a while. Very up and down. Better run blocker than pass protector.

  • eaglesfan23

    Tommy,

    What do you think about Jack Del Rio as a HC? He had pretty good level of sustained success in Jacksonville without very many star players. He seemed to get the most out of his players and now he has a pretty good defense in Denver.

    • TommyLawlor

      Pass. He did some good things in JAX, but I think he’s best suited as a DC. Don’t think he’s meant to run an organization. Being a coach now means you must have a CEO side to you.

      Trivia time…Jack Del Rio played baseball at USC. He was the catcher. Randy Johnson was a pitcher and Mark McGwire the 1B. Not bad, huh?

  • CheesesteakWilly

    It looks like Lovie Smith could be on his way out of Chicago if they don’t make the playoffs. Any interest as either a HC or a DC if he’s willing to take a step down?

    • TommyLawlor

      I’d love Lovie as DC. Big fan of his.

      As HC? I like some of what he does. Big thing would be who he hired to run the offense. Bears have never been higher than 15th in Yds. How is that possible? Only been higher than 14th in scoring once (2nd) and I think that was due to a lot of STs/D plays.

  • ChaosOnion

    Would bringing in Rex signify a transition to the 4-3? Some in the Eagles blogosphere seem to revere the 3-4 as much as they revile the Wide9. The Eagles have D-lineman and LBs suited to play the 4-3. They have shown some pretty good talent the past two weeks less the Washburn influence. Is there a reasons to dismantle the talent to shift to an entirely different base defense?

    We all watched (some of us bewildered) when Shanahan brought in Haslem and dismantled a top 10, 4-3 base defense in favor of a 3-4. If you got by Pro-Football-Reference team defense rankings, they have not been better than 19th since the transition. If he has left the existing defense in place, WAS would be much further along in its rebuilding process.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

      Green Bay and Houston have done a nice job adjusting to the 3-4 and they’ve done so by adding a corner piece with a high draft pick (BJ Raji and JJ Watt).

      I wonder if anyone in the upcoming draft can be that type of player.

      • austinfan

        GB and Houston had the lineman in place, Raji didn’t even start as a rookie b/c they had Jenkins, Jolly and Pickett. Houston drafted Watt and had Cody and Smith at DL. GB drafted Matthews but has never been able to fill the other OLB spot. Houston had Barwin and Mario at OLB and drafted Reed to back them up.

        Eagles would have a much harder transition, Cole and Graham aren’t athletic enough for 3-4 OLB, Curry might be but wouldn’t be ready to start, Jenkins is long in the tooth at 3-4 DE, Cox and Thornton might work at DE but they lack a NT. And they’d have to add those pieces while rebuilding the secondary. Too many pieces to add in one off season. So you’d have to write off 2013 or bring in a bunch of veteran patches to fill out the front seven.

        • Anders

          How much rebuilding does the secondary really need? Keep DRC, see if you can keep NA cheap, bring in a veteran FA safety and the secondary should be set.

          I dont understand your comment about Jenkins and long in the tooth at 3-4 DE. Last season one of the reason the Packers struggled on D was because they lost Jenkins as their impact 3-4 DE. Cox and Thornton are imo prototype 3-4 DEs and Patterson could play NT for us if he bulks up again (I think he was around 320 back when we played a 2 gap scheme).

          The only thing we would really miss would be an OLB there can cover, because Cole might be best of the bunch but its not optimal.

          My biggest concern is not about if we can make the transition, but it could make a player like Graham useless unless the DC is creative and is going to use more of a hybrid scheme.

          • austinfan

            NA is 32, and he’s not going to accept a significant pay cut when he can pocket $4M and hit the FA market. Why would he accept a pay cut to say $8M when even a cheap new deal would garner him a $6M bonus and a $4M average salary for 3 years (i.e, $18M total) on top of his $4M? You’d have to offer him between $10-12M (from $15M) for him to accept.

            DRC is worth resigning at a reasonable rate, but some team will give him a Brandon Carr contracts ($20M guaranteed, $50M for 5 years) because of his age and potential. Eagles could franchise him for 1 year at $10M, but a new coach might just want to move on and add a tougher CB.

            So I predict neither will be back.

            Patterson can’t play NT in a 3-4, he was a mediocre player at 320 lbs, much better at 300 lbs in a one gap system.

            Jenkins wore down last year, and in his last five games this year has 7 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 stuff, at this point he’s better suited as a pass rushing reserve than a starter.

          • P_P_K

            I think you’re right — DRC will be too expensive and NA too old. So, what do we do for cbs? Trade? Draft? Whatever moves are made, it’s a drop from having 2 Pro-Bowlers.

          • Anders

            I think we will keep DRC. We got the cap space to franchise him if needed. I do think NA will stay at a reduced cost (around 6-7 mill)

          • ceteris_paribus1776

            DRC’s play doesn’t warrant #1 CB money. He’s not that good. It’s why Zona traded him AND a top 2nd rounder for a QB who had played 4 games, only one which was truly impressive. DRC should be your 2nd CB. That tells you how much they need help in the secondary. Coleman isn’t a starter in the league at this point either. Nate is marginal at best. This secondary needs two new starters next year at a minimum

    • Anders

      In todays world where teams spend most of their time in nickle defenses, whether you are a 3-4 or a 4-3 does not really matter.

      A 3-4 nickle would most likely be 3-3-5. For us without potential draft picks it would mean Cox(playing 3 tech)-Jenkin(1 tech)-Graham(6 tech) with their hands in the dirt and then Cole-Ryan-Kendricks as the LBs.

      In this formation Cole could either pass rush from a 2 point or with his hand in the dirt and it you wouldnt know it was from 3-4 base, very similar to how the Ravens use Suggs.

      In the long run we would need to draft an OLB with coverage skills (like Oregon’s Dion Jordan).

    • TommyLawlor

      Rex runs a hybrid system. He’s coached the 3-4 and the 4-3. I would be willing to let him figure out what was best. I trust a guy with his track record of success.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    Speaking of Rex Ryan, is he strictly a 3-4 guy? I wonder how Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox would fare in the 3-4.

    • Anders

      I think Ryan is strictly a 3-4 guy. I think Cox would make a dam good 3-4 DE, but Graham would make a terrible 3-4 OLB. Graham is strictly a 4-3 DE.

  • austinfan

    One caution about defensive stats, they often look much better when paired with a really bad offense – that may sound counter-intuitive, but think about the difference playing the Eagles and Jets.

    Eagles can move the ball and score a bunch of points, but if you keep the pressure on, they’ll self-destruct. Which counsels a fairly aggressive offensive game plan, you don’t want to give the Eagles a chance to build a lead and then play conservative and not make mistakes.

    Jets have a terrible offense, if I’m an opposing HC, I tell my OC to play it safe, don’t give them any easy points, settle for field goals and don’t be afraid to punt. It’s not like Sanchez is going to drive for two TDs at the end of the game. So the Jet defense looks better because opposing offenses play it close to the vest. Same holds for a team like KC.

    • TommyLawlor

      Extremely good point. That ties in to what I wrote about Belichick. Teams know they have to score points, will be aggressive. When they get behind, they get aggressive. That affects NE’s stats. Vs the Jets, teams know that they don’t need to score 40 to win.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

        At least last year, the game plan vs. the Eagles was to let them get a nice lead. Then… “we got ‘em right where we want ‘em!”

  • Iskar36

    As an Eagles fan, I hate seeing the Garrett steroid story. I also hate seeing a story that adds to negative stories about Garrett Reid. For ARs sake, you just wished he was aloud to move on without these stories circling back to training camp.

    Having said all that, I can’t blame Florio at all for the article he wrote. In fact, relative to a lot of other articles Florio has written conjuring up conspiracy stories, controversies, etc., this one is absolutely fair and largely non-controversial.
    Steroid use in sports is a real problem and the fact that Joselio Hanson was the last person to get caught using anything doesn’t mean no one in using steroids now. The tests to detect steroid use is faaaar behind the strategies to conceal and beat the tests. Garrett Reid had many drug related issues, and we certainly hope that steroids were just part of his own drug problems rather than him being a distributor, but his connections to the team and his possession of steroids is a troubling circumstance. I can’t blame Florio one bit for the article he wrote.

  • ACViking

    Re: converting to a 3-4 / personnel

    • TommyLawlor

      Dead on the money. 3-4 is a generic description. Can run 1-gap or 2-gap version. Can play Cover 2 behind it (PIT) or play lots of man coverage. Bill P/Bill B both love big LBs. Steelers are fine with smaller guys.

      Massive NT isn’t for everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    Please no Rex Ryan media circuses in Philly. I can’t imagine his personality would work with Lurie either.

    Definitely prefer a no nonsense type guy.

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      I’d prefer a “get’s the job done well” kind of guy. If that’s Rex Ryan, so be it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Riccardi/100000855463486 Michael Riccardi

    My but that was a repellent game last night. Gave up on it in the 2nd quarter to catch up on “Homeland.” A memorable finish could not make up for the hours of semipro-quality dysfunction on the field. ESPN should get a make-up game for that. Lets flex a game into Dec. 24!

  • ACViking

    Re: Reid’s Biggest Miss

    I have to believe that his decision in the 2001 draft to select UCLA WR Freddie Mitchell over U-Miami WR Reggie Wayne was AR’s biggest miss.

    At that point, in terms of the team’s organizational chart, AR and Tom Modrak were still co-equals. Though I suspect AR was “more equal” than TM — especially given that within just over a week of the draft, Modrak was fired and AR became King of Football Ops.

    Anyway, if the Eagles select Reggie Wayne that year (or even Chad Johnson, though he had the kind of character issues that, back then, scared off the Eagles), I’m not sure Terrell Owens ever comes to Philadelphia.

    But Reggie Wayne had the benefit of growing in a Colts’ offense that had a future HOF at QB in Peyton Manning and an All Pro WR on the other side in Phila’s own Marvin Harrison.

    Nonetheless, of all the No. 1 picks by the Eagles during the time AR was in Philadelphia, I think 2001 was the biggest miss.

    • P_P_K

      I hate to admit it, but I liked the pick of Freddie. Yea, time has proved me wrong. Danny Watkins may give FredX a run for title.

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, I did want Chambers. Don’t remember my thoughts on Wayne. Clearly I thought he was good, but for some reason I preferred Chambers. Just don’t recall why specifically.

  • SleepingDuck

    One of my major turnoffs from Rex is that he isn’t very media-savy and that could be an issue here in Philly.

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