Q & A

Posted: December 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

There were some interesting questions that I wasn’t able to get to yesterday so let’s fire off some answers.  Maybe one or two will even make sense.

What is Nate Allen’s future?  This is a major mystery.  The guy showed he could play in the NFL as a rookie.  He looked good.  He’s had good games in the last 2 years, but they’ve been in the minority.  There is no guarantee that he’ll ever get back to what he was.  Safety is a very mental position.  You must see things clearly.  You must think clearly.  You must play with confidence and make good decisions.

Nate still has the physical skills.  His issues are all between the ears.  A new coaching staff could have a major impact on him.  Or not.  Michael Lewis played well as a rookie in 2002.  He was a good starter in 2003 and made the Pro Bowl in 2004.  He lost focus after that and was bad in 2005.  He got benched in 2006 and never again got back to his previous level.  Once his confidence was shot, that was it.

Should the Eagles have picked Nate in the first place?  Absolutely.  I thought that was a terrific pick.  Nate was a complete Safety at USF.  He was productive.  He had good size.  He could cover, man or zone.  He was a solid hitter/tackler.  There were no major holes in his game.  My worry was whether he would last to our 2nd round pick.  I still think the pick was right.  His development in the NFL was greatly hurt by a knee injury and then some highly questionable coaching.

What do we make of the revelation that Nate does a poor job with making calls and communicating?   I can see where some would be suspicious of this comment and think it to be an excuse.  It might be.  However, there is plenty of evidence in the form of broken coverages, missed assignments, and wide open receivers to make you think it could be part of the problem.  We’ve had more guys running wide open in the secondary in the last 2 years than in the last decade.  That isn’t all coaching.  It can’t all be poor pre-snap reads by DBs.  Communication has to be part of it.

The passing game now is so complex that DBs and LBs must talk before and during plays.  In the old days you didn’t have bunch sets and tons of rub routes.  You didn’t see plays where a zone was flooded the way that happens now.  You could have one field general barking out calls and running the show.  Now, everybody must talk.  The more complex offenses get, the more good on-field communication is a priority.

Could Jason Kelce play OG?  That is definitely possible, but I don’t think it is likely.  The OG will single block more than the C.  That would mean Kelce’s inablity to anchor well would be more noticeable.  You are better off leaving him at C.  Think of it this way…how many 340-pound OGs are in the league?  How many Cs that big?  You want the beef at G, not in the middle.

Would Rex Ryan be a long term option at DC?  No, clearly not.  If he came here and built a good defense, he’d become a hot HC candidate pretty quick.  You’d have to groom someone on his staff to take over or keep your eyes out for possible replacements.  I don’t think Rex would be one and done unless he built a great defense and if he did…I’d live with that.  To me, the risk of him leaving is worth having him here to put a good system in place and get this unit to playing at a high level.

What do you make of the rumors of Chip Kelly being the top target?  He’s the prettiest girl at the dance.  That’s all.  No one is going to go ga-ga over Mike McCoy or Greg Roman or Mike Zimmer or Jay Gruden.  Chip is edgy.  He’s got a national reputation.  That makes him the sexiest candidate.  The Eagles will have interest in him, but I don’t know if that will go beyond a casual “what if” kind of moment to actually really getting involved with him.  You have to consider any coach who has the success he has had and is highly thought of by Bill Belichick.  All of the unknowns are what make him scary.  Eagles may not be ready for that kind of risky move.  We’ll see.

What happened to Cliff Harris?   I assume you mean the Eagles CB and not the Cowboys SS from the 1970s.  Cliff showed he can play, but he obviously didn’t send the right vibe to the organization.  There is a reason he went undrafted.  No one trusted the young man.  Even Bryce Brown went in the 7th Rd.  I don’t know what Cliff’s specific issues are, but it is a shame he’s wasting NFL talent.  Remember, the NFL is a business.  Players are employees.  They must do more than just play on the field.  Lots of preparation and work goes into playing.  If a guy doesn’t do the behind the scenes stuff well, he’s not going to make it.

What is Fletcher Cox’s future?   He is already a good DT.  I think he can become a very good DT.  The question really is how good.  Can he become an impact player?  He certainly has the physical ability.  He seems like a focused, driven young man.  He needs to stay healthy and play in the right system.  He’s at his best as a 1-gap DT.

I hope he becomes an elite player that offenses have to fear.  Can’t say for sure that’s what will happen, but it is encouraging to think that it’s possible.  Patt didn’t have that level of talent.  Bunk showed that in college, but not in the NFL.

Could the Eagles go for DE Bjorn Werner?   Werner is a stud DE from Florida State.  He has yet to declare, but I think he will.  I think he’s worth a Top 10 pick.  I’m a big fan of his.  Goes 6-4, 255 and that’s a good frame.  Can bulk up to 275 or stay thin.  Plays the run well.  Can get after the QB.  Really good player.  I think the Eagles would definitely be interested in a player like that.  You do have to see what the new coaches think of Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry.

* * * * *

A fan asked where to find a good Sixers Allen Iverson jersey online.  Wanna help him out fellas?

* * * * *

The defensive stars were out in force in last night’s BYU win over SDSU.  LB Kyle Van Noy had a great game.  DE Ansah and CB McFadden also played well.  How weird is it to see BYU playing great defense and ugly offense?  Can Andy Reid stand to watch?

There are 2 games on Saturday.  Here are David Syvertsen’s players to watch.

_


  • austinfan

    Nate Allen was never the same after the PCL, which is a tricky injury, in some ways more serious than an ACL (which has become an almost routine snip and rehab). May just be lack of confidence in the knee, because he always looks to be a step behind.

    Cox already IS an impact DT, 5 sacks, 5.5 stuffs, that will put him among the top 5 or so in TFL for DTs. And he has the frame to bulk up to about 310 lbs without losing his athleticism, kid turns 22 in January, should be in college positioning himself as the top 3 pick in this draft – just compare him physically to the kid on BYU, not even in the same league.

    Ryan wouldn’t be a good idea, when a coach installs a complex scheme then leaves, it’s going to be hard for a new coach to run it, as we saw with Sean trying to take over for JJ. Eagles need to install a simpler scheme until they develop a personality on defense and settle on their core personnel, then you add wrinkles. Complex schemes require veteran groups that play together, you have to balance the impact on opposing teams with the difficulty of integrating rookies and FAs for a team in transition.

    • DanJ3645

      I’d think a key thing would be requiring Rex to groom his replacement(s) among his staff.
      How long would we need Rex to be around to institutionalise his system as has happened at the Ravens?

      • austinfan

        Ravens have been a top defense since 1999, when Marvin Lewis was the DC. Amazing coaching staff under Billick, Ryan was the DL coach, Del Rio the LB coach, Mike Smith was a defensive assistant, DL coach.

        In 2002, Mike Nolan went from WR coach to DC (Juan isn’t alone!), Mike Smith became LB coach. 2003, Mike Singletary became LB coach.

        Rex Ryan didn’t become DC until 2005.

        Note, Baltimore went 5-11 in 2007, only scored 275 points, gave up 384 points, turned it around the next year.

        • ACViking

          austinfan:

          Regarding Nolan’s move from WR coach to DC — and I think you’re playing this tongue firmly planted in cheek — Nolan had already been a DC for the NYG, Redskins, and NYJ from ’93-’00.

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

          That is a great list of coaches. It rivals the famous GB coaching staff under Holmgren.

          We had a decent list early, and a lot of future head coaches were on staff. But we replaced those with former head coaches who may have been going through the motions instead of guys trying to break in.

      • Ark87

        JJ was here for a lot longer than Rex was at Baltimore, his protege coached under him for a long time. It didn’t turn out well. There are no guarantees. You can teach scheme, you can’t teach leadership or personality. You can teach genius plays, you can’t teach genius play calling. You have to hope he picks and comes in with an assistant who has these intangibles.

      • A_T_G

        You had me at “I’d think a key thing would be requiring Rex to groom…”

    • Anders

      I would still hire Rex Ryan. The 2-3 great years of defense he would give us would be fantastic. Rex Ryan is imo the greatest defensive mind in the NFL right now. If you can add a guy like that, you do it.

      • A_T_G

        Seconded.

      • jshort

        How about this scenario, Chip Kelly HC Rex Ryan DC. We get to see if Chip Kelly’s offense works at the NFL level, and have a back-up HC if things don’t.
        My first recollection of seeing the eagles play was in the college all-star game after the 1960 championship. I do believe they lost that game. I was 8 then and thought I would have seen a SB champion by now. I’m starting to doubt I ever will. I just hope it doesn’t become a revolving coaches’ door.

        • Anders

          This is my dream scenario.

        • bridgecoach

          I would audibly cheer if we landed Chip Kelly as our new head coach. I would throw up in my mouth if we undermined his vision before he had a chance to get started by selecting Rex Ryan as DC. You think Washburn was bad undermining Castillo, just wait til you see Ryan… no thank you. Chip Kelly must be allowed to select his own coaching staff; otherwise, whats the point of bringing in a visionary trailblazer?

          • Anders

            I dont think he said anything about making the DC hire before the HC hire, but Oregon actually uses the same type of defense that Rex Ryan believes in (3-4 with alot of fire zone/overload blitzes).

          • bridgecoach

            My point remains. Every member of our coaching staff should be hand picked by our next head coach. I have zero interest in assembling a smorgasbord coaching dream team – that gets us Washburn, Morningweg, Mudd, April types.

            To say Rex Ryan runs the same kind of defense as Kelly only illustrates how much we have to learn about Chip Kelly. The key to understanding Kelly’s defense is to understand his offense. His defenders play more snaps than other defenders, they play with a lead more than other defenders – because of the offensive philosophy. Kelly doesn’t care two shakes about 3-4, 4-3 or wide 9 fronts much less fire zone or overload blitzes. He will use them if the personnel and situation merits it, or not. Kelly cares about speed, endurance, productivity, and versatility. There is only one chef in his Kitchen, I’d be shocked if he wanted to invite an Ego like Ryans into his war room.

          • Anders

            Let me ask you this, before Rex Ryan was hired as the Jets HC, how did you hear about him?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1514128048 Kristopher Cebula

    Andy Reid, new head coach at BYU? i mean probably not. Andy can get a job in the NFL which is better competition and more pay. And he could probably get a more prominent college position if he wanted to. But the less hours and pressure in the college football world might be what Andy needs at this point in his life. he’s getting up there in years and i could see him wanting to work less and spend more time with his family while still wanting to coach football.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.schneiderlochner Kyle David Schneiderlochner

    Question for ya: I heard Mike Pettine turned down a extension with the jets. He should be on the market this offseason any chance he will be our next DC?

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

      Apparently he has ties with Greg Romano. they both coached at BAL.

      • Ark87

        That would be a combo I’d be good with

        • Anders

          If I cant get my Kelly/Ryan combo, Romano/Pettine would be 2nd.

  • GermanEagle

    Thanks for answering my German related draft question in one of your articles. I far from being a draft expert but the consensus seems to be that Werner (what a typical German name lol!) will declare for the draft. Especially after reading his interview on a German sports website where he hinted that he will enter the draft…!

  • nicolajNN

    I’m curious what you are referring to with highly questionable coaching? Could you elaborate on that?

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

      Opponent WRs running wide open. Penalties, turnovers.

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

    Tommy,

    Thanks for mentioning my ask for help regarding a Iverson jersey. I really hope someone can help!

    I watched a bunch of Lotuleleis games last night, and I came away highly impressed by his level of play – in the first half of the games. He seemed to loose gas and become an ordinary DT after 30 minutes. Is that a bad sign? Or just unnatural for a DT to play every snap?
    If he can remain his level of play during a whole game, he really is my number one choice on defense. Joeckel is still my top rated target on offense. Now, I just hope that one of them falls to number 4. There’s been a lot of talk of no QB being worthy of going in the top 10, which is bad for us.

    Fletcher Cox is a stud, and I love watching him play! Defense has always been my favorite part of football, and it’s a joy having a young stud again. Pair him with Star, and we could have one of the best D-lines in all of football. That would make the defensive future look bright!

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

    Tommy,

    What do you think of CB Jordan Poyer out of Oregon State? He is my favorite CB so far, even though Milliner and Banks are more known players. Do you think he could drop to our 2nd?

    He has Revis-light potential n my opinion.

    Another favorite of mine is CB Bradley Roby. What do you think of him?

  • Iskar36

    Thanks for answering my two questions. I will say though, the idea of hiring a DC who would only be here short term (1-2 years) is something I would not be in favor of. Over the last 5 seasons, our defensive players have played for 4 different coaches. It will be 5 at the beginning of next season. I think having some continuity is going to be essential for our players to play at a high level moving forward. Even if Ryan can groom someone (something that I think has been clearly shown over the last several years is not a simple task, nor can it be reasonably assumed will definitely happen, especially in only a short term span), whoever he grooms will have ideas of his own and will adjust the defense accordingly, causing yet another shift in scheme. I just think the constant changes hurts our defense and a coach who can be kept at DC at least longer term has significant advantages.

    If our team was only a piece or two away from being legitimate superbowl contenders, I would definitely be all in for Ryan. Realistically though, this team, with a new coach, question marks at the most important position on the team (QB), and basically a complete overhaul of the coaching staff, is at most likely a few seasons away from being true contenders, and I think it is important that our DC (and OC for that matter) are brought here with the long term plan in mind.

    • Ark87

      Great points. Not to mention, we had a legend…his protege ( who worked a lot longer under his mentor than 2-3 years) took over and it was…..not the same. You can’t count on the next guy to carry the baton.

      • ACViking

        In fairness to McDermott, his problems were not as much on the field as in the locker room.

        Check the stats from ’09-’10 and compare them to the past 2 seasons. Under McDermott, the Eagles had more total sacks and more turnovers than after his firing. Turnovers have been a huge problem post-McD.

        That said, I remember — like everyone else — how historically dreadful the Eagles defense was in the RZ in ’10.

        If memory serves, I think T-Law’s pointed to Assante Samuel as being responsible for a part of the RZ issues. (There were other coaching-related issues, too, no question.)

        If McD had not had the interpersonal problems he did as DC, I don’t think he’d have been fired. But from all accounts, he had to go.

        • Mac

          I wanted him fired just on principle… for dropping Trent Cole in coverage on 3rd and long. As my shorter term memory serves, we burned him with that this year as Dennis Kelly abused McD’s best d-lineman Johnson who was dropping into zone.

          • A_T_G

            To be fair, though, that was something he learned from JJ. Derek had stats, of course, and if I remember correctly McD dropped Cole into coverage once every two games more often than JJ.

            As for Ryan, if he builds a great defense and looks to move on we are then in a position where we have a great defense and need a new DC, which is a big step up from where we are now.

          • Mac

            Thats good to know. Did derek break down the effectivness of that play when JJ used it vs when McD did? I am far from knowledgeable enough to know that kind of thing. I just recall it going poorly when McD dialed it up.

          • A_T_G

            I found it. Derek was focused more on trying to identify trends for McD’s future, which, in hindsight, might not have been the best use of his time…

            “Defensive linemen as coverage guys. According to ProFootballFocus, an Eagles’ lineman dropped into pass coverage on about 4.2% of pass plays last year. That figure was was 3.7% in 2008. That made not sound like a large difference (13 plays all season), but a few things make me think it’s the beginning of a trend.”

            http://www.igglesblog.com/iggles_blog/2010/08/what-those-defensive-wrinkles-could-be.html

            So, closer to once a game. Still, I think McD has plenty of his own self-defined flaws for this to be the one that is so often mentioned.

          • Mac

            Good read. Thanks! Ugh reading about Fokuo, Demps, and Harris wasnt fun. Haha. Better S pair… Demps/Harris vs Coleman/Anderson?

        • Ark87

          And that is part of what I mean. You can teach a genius scheme. You can teach the genius plays. You can’t teach genius innovation, genius play calling, You can’t teach leadership. Basically you have to hope Rex Ryan brings one hell of an heir apparent along with him. Which I guess is the case fore any coach. When it comes to assistant coaches, we are benefactors and victims of their success. Not many Jim Johnson’s or Dick Lebeau’s out there anymore (ace coordinators who have no desire to be HC’s).

  • Ark87

    After listening to your podcast I like the sound of Greg Roman, my only issue is that the 9ers aren’t a stand out offense in my mind. Which would make the DC hire extremely important. Still, for the time being he is at the top of my list, Bruce Arians is right there on my list as well. Hey who is the QB coach in Green Bay?? Is he chubby? Does he have a mustache? I’m on board if so!

    • ACViking

      The GB Packers’ QB coach is a guy named Ben McAdoo — who (like AR) coached the Packers’ TEs before ascending to QB coach. And he’s never been an NFL coordinator, like AR.

      T-Law has identified McAdoo as one of the “Asst Coaches to Watch” to watch this coming off season (correct me here, T-Law, if I’m misremembering).

      By the way, McAdoo’s not — uh — large bodied. But he has potential.

      (Nor is he related to NBA HOF Bob McAdoo.)

      • Ark87

        Perfect, girth and stache can be acquired later.

        • A_T_G

          I don’t know. I’m all for going back to the well that supplied such sweet water, but Andy had the frame and the upper lip. A coaching candidate can’t just learn the physical aspects.

          • Mac

            Philly is a good place to be for that extensive physical conditioning.

  • Todd B.

    I like the idea of Rex Ryan but I think you are right, if he were to accept a DC job, it would still be with the idea of getting a HC job sooner than later.

    And to really be a good candiate, he would need a good defense. The Eagles have a good base but he likes 3-4 defenses. How long would it take to get the right personel in to transfer this defense into a good 3-4 defense?

    Seems to me that could take too long for his liking. I think he would want to go somewhere where the pieces are in better shape.

    • Anders

      While Rex Ryan is a 3-4 guy, his defensive scheme is a tweaked 46 defense or 5-2 monster look.

      Its tough to know how long a switch will take. Wade Phillips managed to change the Texans defense in the strike shortened season with no problems and I would think Rex Ryan would be able to do the same.

      The real problem is if Graham plays two more good games, he should be a big part of the future for this defense, but Graham is a 4-3 DE only.

      • Todd B.

        ***OUT OF OFFICE ALERT***

        The office of Souza, True and Partners is closed starting on December 21, 2012 and will be reopening on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.
        Additionally, I will be on vacation and will not be returning to the office until Monday, January 7, 2013.
        Access to voicemail and email will be limited during this time.

        Please contact the Principal-In-Charge if you need immediate assistance once the office reopens.
        Have a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

        Best,

        Todd Blake

        • A_T_G

          Wow, you take your vacations seriously.

          • Todd B.

            ***OUT OF OFFICE ALERT***

            The office of Souza, True and Partners is closed starting on December 21, 2012 and will be reopening on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.
            Additionally, I will be on vacation and will not be returning to the office until Monday, January 7, 2013.
            Access to voicemail and email will be limited during this time.

            Please contact the Principal-In-Charge if you need immediate assistance once the office reopens.
            Have a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

            Best,

            Todd Blake

  • 47_Ronin

    Tommy,

    I’ve been following some BYU defensive prospects this season and DE Zeke Ansah really impresses me. Love his size and athleticism (and track background). I just can’t get a read as to where he might go in the draft. Some people are making comparisons to JPP (I’m not there), but with his really late football introduction do you see him going in the 1st rd? Top 10 pick or late 1st?

    With no standout QB in the draft, I can see the Eagles going anywhere in the draft, but most likely OT in the 1st, but if Ansah is available could he be a BPA option in the 1st for the Eagles?

    Regarding Nate Allen, I liked him coming out of college, but I’d quibble with you on his tackling. I didn’t think Allen was an aggressive hitter coming out of college–very few TFLs and FFs.

  • http://twitter.com/deshawnbentley BG

    Thomas, your thoughts on Dion Jordan?

  • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

    Upside of a guy like Rex turning around our D quickly and bolting is that he would have to find a way to leverage some real question marks we have on that side of the ball…this team has some significant holes to fill and it would be nice to see someone turn at least a couple of these guys we recently drafted like Nate, Chaney, Kurt, Marsh, or Matthews into serviceable/solid players….would also legitimize Howie’s personnel evaluations if that happened. That has to be worth something.

    Foles’ performance makes me leery to just jettison Vick. He has his flaws but it seems like a Chip Kelly or Greg Roman type might better leverage him as the short term solution. Maybe renegotiate his contract to make it more palatable, and spend some money or draft picks to solidify this line. I will be seriously disappointed if we go into next season counting on Peters and Toddfather returning at 100%. Would love to see them make a run on Jake Long.

    Whatever happens, I hope Jeff secures his guy fast…a lot of key decisions to be make in short order.

    • D3Keith

      I agree re: Vick, though I think we’d be in the minority.

      It has everything to do with who the new coach is and if he thinks he can win right away (I hope the answer is yes). Then you evaluate what Vick is willing to take pay-wise, and what the options are (Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Geno, Barkley, Sanchez, Kolb, *throws up a little in mouth*) and where to go from here.

      Foles should be the leader going into the offseason but I don’t think he’s been so good you just hand him the job without competition. If Vick is willing to come back with no guarantees, I like — nay, I salivate — at the thought of what a coach like Chip Kelly could do with him and the rest of our offense.

      I might be just not willing to give up on the dream. But clearly whoever’s back there, we need turnovers to stop, we need to rely on the RBs, get the ball to the WRs quickly and let them work, and we need Jason Peters and Jason Kelce back. Dear God do we need them back.

  • JJ_Cake

    Tommy, who do you think would be better for us to take in the draft? Luke Joquell OT from Texas, DT star lotui, LB mantai from Notredam, or DE Werner? Ps sorry about the spelling, I’m typing this from my phone and not easy to look them all up. Thx

    • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

      There is no way, absolutely no way, without a doubt no way in hell, that we take a linebacker with the 4th pick unless its a guy like Von Miller, who essentially got selected that high because he was such a lethal pass rusher. He might be listed as a SAM, but i have a feeling he has quite a lot of snaps at DE for the Broncos. Manti Te’o isnt a pass rusher and to me seems like a MLB in both the 43 and 34. He will probably go somewhere just after the number 10 pick.

      Joeckel, Star Lotulelei and Werner all seem like good options, and it seems right now that Werner wont be the only pass rusher in the top 10. Then again, we’ll have to see what happens with the coach situation.

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