The Lineup Shuffle

Posted: December 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »

There will be several changes to the lineup when the Eagles take on RG3 and the Skins this Sunday in the 2012 home finale.  These changes are happening for a variety of reasons.  The biggest one of note is LeSean McCoy getting back on the field.

Several people asked me if he should just be put on IR to protect him for 2013.  I said no and think the Eagles are doing the right thing.  This is football.  You play your best players.  If someone is injury prone, you sit that guy.  If someone is a veteran on the way out (Vick), then going with the young guy makes sense.  Shady is healthy.  He’s young and should be a big part of the future.  Let him play.

One of the reasons you want to do this from an organizational standpoint is to see how a 1-2 punch of Shady and Bryce Brown works.  Earlier Brown was a little-used backup and not a regular part of the rotation.  Now that Bryce has shown his special ability, you must get him the ball.  Shady is one of the top RBs in the game so he also needs touches.

Will being part of a rotation affect Shady?  Some RBs are workhorse guys that must have carries.  I don’t think he fits that description, but we’ll see how he does.  And maybe Bryce will thrive in an offense where he is in and out.  All of his fumbles (as the starter) came in the 2nd half of games when he may have been worn down.

* * * * *

That wuss Clay Harbor decided he couldn’t play through a couple of broken bones and selfishly demanded to be put on IR.  The Eagles signed TE Evan Moore to take his place.  Moore was recently cut by the Seahawks after doing nothing there this year.  He was a big, tall WR at Stanford that moved to TE in the NFL.  Has had some success in the league.  Averaged 20 yards per catch in 2010 (16-322).

Eagles will get Brent Celek back in the lineup.  Emil Igwenagu will play a lot as the #2 guy.

* * * * *

FB Stanley Havili is banged up and Chris Polk has taken reps at the FB spot this week.  We’ll have to wait and see how that goes.  We haven’t run much from the I-formation recently so this isn’t critical.  Could be important in short yardage and GL situations.

* * * * *

The most interesting move was the benching of Nate Allen.  Kurt Coleman will take his spot in the lineup, alongside Colt Anderson.

Big Red said Nate was out because he’s not as good a run defender and tackler as Kurt and the Eagles clearly expect the Skins to run a lot.  Nate has struggled with tackling in space this year, moreso with receivers on the run.

There was word today that another reason for the move is that Kurt is more vocal on defense. He makes sure to yell out what he sees and communicates with his teammates.  Nate is a bit more subdued.  He may assume guys see the same things.  In football, you cannot assume.  you must talk to your teammates and make sure everybody is on the same page.

This clearly isn’t a good sign for Nate, but we cannot read anything long term into this because the key will be the new decision-maker(s) that gets hired.  Will that coach and his staff see a talented, but flawed player?  Will they see a player that is not worth keeping around?  As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We haven’t had good Safety play this year so I’m all for trying different combinations to see what does work.  Welcome to the Kurt and Colt show.  Should be interesting to see how they do.

* * * * *

David Syvertsen wrote a preview of the draft prospects in tonight’s bowl game:  BYU vs SDSU. There are some legit defenders, including at least one 1st rounder.

* * * * *

Mr. Jimmy Bama and I did a couple of podcasts for your listening pleasure.

1 – OL discussion … mixed with draft talk about players who could help the OL in 2013

2 – coaches show … discussed Greg Roman, David Shaw, Perry Fewell, Kyle Shanahan & Rex.

We did not talk about Chip Kelly.

Apparently there are some Oregon boosters who aren’t so fond of Chip.  He isn’t big into schmoozing and kissing booster butt.  There is a great college football writer who heard about their complaints and wrote a brilliant, hysterical piece on why they should shut up and kiss Kelly’s ring (or butt).  Lots of foul language, but incredibly funny.  How good is this?  There are 1200 comments on the piece.  That is amazing.

Kelly did find out the NCAA is going to place some kind of sanctions on Oregon, I think in March.  That may push him to leave Oregon.

David Shaw signed an extension to stay at Stanford.  Only makes me want him more.

* * * * *

FakeWIPCaller has a new column on why the Eagles must fire Andy before the Mayan Apocalypse.  Brilliantly funny, as always.

* * * * *

If I missed any questions from the previous post, re-post them in here and I’ll get to them.


48 Comments on “The Lineup Shuffle”

  1. 1 Guest said at 3:07 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Nate is not as good a run defender and tackler as Colt*

  2. 2 Guest said at 3:10 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Big Red said Nate was out because he’s not as good a run defender and tackler as Colt*

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 3:58 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Fixed. Thanks.

  4. 4 ian_no_2 said at 3:23 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    The Mayans didn’t believe in an apocalypse, tho there is some influence they had a sense of humor in ancient times, and told tall tales about neighboring tribes.

    I was relieved that Reid was so quick to ID Jaiqwan Jarrett as a bust and get him out of town. Nate Allen has done more damage by showing flashes of raw talent his showed in college, dragging it out. I’ve been typing about this over and over, how they should play Colt, even Sheil K stuck up for Allen last year despite his own Game Reviews. I’ve also been saying that it’s not illegal to get a starting safety, that Coleman is a smart borderline backup who plays his heart out, but a backup.

  5. 5 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:39 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    ive been a big nate allen fan mostly from his great start to his rookie year. i’ve been holding out hope that he could return to that form…
    i’m starting to get the hint, though.

  6. 6 Ark87 said at 1:11 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    I want to see what a different set of coaches can do with him in the off season. Everybody on the D played like garbage…..particularly after Juan got fired. The only players that actually played up to expectations for me were Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox….possibly Cedric Thornton. Every single other player has either fallen off as the season has gone on or has been a major disappointment.

    In general, for this entire defensive roster, I’ll write nobody off, Let a new staff go through the offseason, do the TC, evaluate. See what they can or cannot do with this roster. I suspect we will see some surprising cuts, but also some surprising resurgences.

  7. 7 falese said at 3:25 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    kurt coleman should probably be less vocal. nine times out of ten he’s probably screaming run on a play action pass

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 3:59 PM on December 20th, 2012:


  9. 9 bdbd20 said at 7:09 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    That’s the brilliance of Todd. The defense will be trained to do the opposite of Kurt. It will be known as the Costanza defense.

  10. 10 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:37 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    i think in your case, tommy, beauty is in the eye of the beerholder.

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 3:59 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Very much so.

  12. 12 T_S_O_P said at 3:56 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    “One of the reasons you want to do this from an organizational standpoint is to see how a 1-2 punch of Shady and Bryce Brown works.”

    I like this for a laugh. Forget touches, if McCoy gets less than 80% of the snap, colour me shocked.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 4:00 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    They’ve already said he won’t have a normal workload. I’m trusting them. They could prove me wrong, but I think they’ll keep it mixed up.

  14. 14 Iskar36 said at 4:09 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    I had the same thoughts as T_S_O_P. McCoy probably will get less snaps than a typical workload, but I would not be surprised if Brown got around 6 or so carries all game. AR has made the same comment about getting backup RBs the ball more often for years and it has never happened. Unless Lurie or someone is making him use a 1-2 punch (something I 100% doubt ever would be the case, even in a season like this), I just can not give AR the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  15. 15 nicolajNN said at 4:12 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    I wonder what Polk’s shoulder thinks of playing FB, but if it doesn’t work out I’m pretty sure Tony Hunt or Dan Klecko will fill in nicely, both should be available .

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 4:23 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Sign Stanley Pritchett!!!

    If needed, Iggy can fill in for a few plays.

  17. 17 Guest said at 4:52 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    This guy? Well Tommy, you are the expert! I’ll just have to trust you on this.

  18. 18 Iskar36 said at 4:16 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    The benching of Nate Allen to me says a lot. Colt and Kurt are both guys who should be backups at best, and while Allen has been bad this season, he is the one guy you just hope can be better (although I think it is more hope than anything at this point). The fact that the coaches are picking Colt and Kurt over Allen tells me they don’t believe in him at all which makes it harder for me to think he can be a guy that will succeed next year.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 4:24 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Is this a wakeup call type of move?

  20. 20 ceteris_paribus1776 said at 4:21 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Another Roseman 2nd rounder down the tubes…

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 4:24 PM on December 20th, 2012:


  22. 22 ACViking said at 6:08 PM on December 20th, 2012:


    Your comment is very intriguing?

    In Rd 1, the Eagles had a choice of UT safety Earl Thomas or DEs B-Graham, JPP, and Derrick Morgan (along with every other player taken after the 13th slot like C Maurkice Pouncey ).

    In Rd 2, the Eagles selected Nate Allen one spot ahead of the Brown’s choice of Oregon S TJ Ward and one round ahead of the Packers choice of GATech S Morgan Burnett.

    In 2010, per Roseman, the Eagles were targeting needs not the BPA.

    So, with the preface, what are driving at regarding the selection of Allen?

  23. 23 Anders said at 6:10 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    DE is a more important position than S. Also at the time Allen seemed like a really good pick.

  24. 24 ACViking said at 6:13 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Right. Agree in terms of the value analysis — which is always true unless you have an Eric Berry available.

    But T-Law used the word “possibly” in a very cryptic way.

    I’m just drying to figure out what he meant exactly.

  25. 25 Anders said at 6:15 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Depends on the new coach, he might not think Allen is worth keeping.

  26. 26 ACViking said at 6:17 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Agree. Same as everyone else — including Cole.

    But T-Law said “possibly” in response to the comment that *drafting* Nate Allen with the Eagles’ 2010 2nd Rd pick was a slam dunk.

    The comment to which T-Law responded wasn’t directed at next year. But, it seemed to me, at the 2010 draft.

  27. 27 Jamie Parker said at 10:19 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    I think it was “Possibly” another 2nd rounder down the tubes.

  28. 28 Ark87 said at 12:26 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    I think you think Tommy was responding to:
    “He has missed on a few, but I can’t really blame anyone for picking Allen, it was such a no-brainer pick at the time”

    When in fact he was responding to:
    “Another Roseman 2nd rounder down the tubes…”
    simply saying Allen just might be a bust, but maybe not. Tommy has always said that Nate has the physical tools and intelligence to be a good or great safety in this league. The hope is some good tough coaching and motivation and a well taught scheme could turn Nate’s Career around.

  29. 29 47_Ronin said at 2:35 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    My theory on Allen:

    1) Allen was a heralded senior in college, top 5 FS, and played in Sr Bowl. The Eagles have shown a preference for Sr Bowlers (e.g. BGraham).

    2) At that time the Eagles D was headed by SMcD who “stressed” coverages, so they wanted safeties who theoretically would be adept in man coverage. Scouting on Allen had him as a good cover guy but with some deficiency in tackling (something that one might assume coaching could fix, Allen has the size)

    3) Combined with a weak safety class in 2010 and the Eagles in need for safety after the Macho experiment (and souring on Demps) the Eagles had a “need” for safety that could start right away.

  30. 30 nicolajNN said at 4:32 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    He has missed on a few, but I can’t really blame anyone for picking Allen, it was such a no-brainer pick at the time

  31. 31 ACViking said at 5:28 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Re: Finding a Good Safety is a Tough Job

    Since the first draft after the AFL/NFL merger in 1966, the Eagles have drafted 25 safeties who spent at least some time on either the active roster, IR, or the practice squad over the past 47 years. [The list does not include (i) the safeties drafted but who were cut in training camp like ’74 Kansas grad Skip Sharp, or (ii) any rookie free agents who made the team, like Andre Waters.]

    — Out of those 25 players . . .

    * 4 made All Pro at least once: Bill Bradley – 2x, Randy Logan – 1x, Wes Hopkins – 1x, and Brian Dawkins – 4x)

    * 4 made the Pro Bowl at least once: BB – 3x, WH – 1x, BD – 8x, and Michael Lewis – 1x.

    — Only 1 was a 1st-Rd pick
    * Leroy Keyes, Purdue – drafted 3rd overall in 1969 as a RB but move to S / played only 4 years for the Eagles.

    — 6 were 2nd Rd picks:
    * Wes Hopkins, SMU – ’83 draft / played 10 great years for the Eagles
    * Jesse Campbell, NC State – ’91 draft / 1 year on IR then cut by Kotite
    * Brian Dawkins, Clemson – ’96 draft / 13 HOF years in Philadelphia
    * Michael Lewis, Colorado – ’02 draft / 5 years as an Eagle
    * Nate Allen, SoFL – ’10 draft / 3 years and counting
    * J-Jarrett, Temple – ’11 draft / 1 year

    — 4 were 3rd Rd picks:
    * Bill Bradley, UTexas – ’69 draft / 8 great years
    * Bobby Majors, Tenn – ’72 draft / 1 year
    * Randy Logan, Michigan – ’73 draft / 11 great years
    * Mike Reid, NC State – ’93 draft / 2 years then cut by Kotite
    * Eric Zomalt, UCal – ’94 draft / 3 years

    — 5 selected in Rd 4:
    * Damien Robinson, Iowa – ’97 draft / 1 year on PS
    * Damon Moore, Ohio St – ’99 draft / 3 years (catastrophic knee injury ’01 NFC title game — he was on his way to being a damn good player)
    * JR Reed, SoFL – ’04 draft / 3 years (injured doing something stupid)
    * Sean Considine, Iowa – ’05 draft / 4 years

    — 1 chosen in Rd 5:
    * Macho Harris, VaTech – ’09 draft / 1 year

    — 1 picked in Rd 6:
    * Jack Smith, Troy – ’71 draft / 1 year

    — 2 drafted in Rd 7:
    * Norm Lejune, LSU – ’03 draft / 1 year
    * Curt Coleman, Ohio St – ’10 draft / 3 years and counting

    — 1 in the 10th Rd
    * John Mallory, WVA – ’68 draft / 1 year
    [NOTE: In ’85, the Eagles drafted S Mark Kelso from Wm & Mary, but cut him. The Bills picked him up where he started for 8 years, including on all 4 of Buffalo’s SB teams.]

    — 2 in Rd 12:
    * Artimus Parker, USC – ’74 draft / 3 years
    * Ray Ellis, Ohio St – ’81 draft / 4 years (cut by Buddy Ryan in favor of a 2nd-year vet and college FA from Cheyney State named Andre Waters)


    No coach had a worse record drafting safeties than — SURPRISE! — Rich Kotite, who blew one 2nd and two 3rd rounders on 3 players who gave the Eagles a collective total of 5 years, 39 games, and just 1 start.

    In the AR era, he inherited Dawkins whom he paired first with Damon Moore. They were the best tandem in Eagles post-1960 history (ahead of Bill Bradley and Randy Logan – ’73-’76 and Hopkins & Waters – ’86-’92). If Moore doesn’t blow out his knee in ’01, the Eagles could have had the best safeties in the NFL for most of the ’00s.

    But we’d still be where we are today.

    In any event, the data shows that getting a good safety, at least in Philadelphia, is a once in a decade event — give or take a couple years.

  32. 32 A_T_G said at 12:38 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    Well, sure, Kotite didn’t get a lot of playing time out of his draft picks, but how many coaches were able to draft, and subsequently cut, two safeties from the same college secondary?

  33. 33 ACViking said at 10:20 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    You’re the only other person I know who’s noticed that in 20 years.

  34. 34 ACViking said at 5:34 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Re: Coleman more Vocal than Allen


    My experience (a long time ago) was that the coaches designated one safety to call out coverage/alignment adjustments.

    I’m assuming the Eagles operated that way this year.

    So Reid’s remark about Coleman being more vocal seems like a red-herring — especially with the Back-4 playing better the past few weeks since Coleman went out.

    More going on here, it seems to me.

  35. 35 Iskar36 said at 6:12 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    I listened to both H2H shows and thought you guys both did a great job. A couple questions came to mind while listening to them. First, does Kelce have any potential of being moved to guard? Would his size be even more of an issue at guard? I like Kelce at center, but as you mentioned in the podcast, the new coach may think he is too small there. Alternatively, if the new coach likes him, does moving him to guard (if he can play there) open up any other potential possibilities in terms of reshuffling the line (such as drafting a center and keeping Herremans at RT as opposed to moving Herremans to RG and drafting a RT)? In general though, I do like the idea of Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, and draft pick/FA in general.

    My second question is about Rex Ryan. I agree with you that he would be a fantastic DC, but I am curious if you think he would be a long term option. I would think Ryan would want to be a HC again, which would mean that if he had success (which is what we would be hoping for obviously), he would be likely to leave to take another HC position. I hate to not think of the Eagles as legitimate contenders for next year, but I think with a new coach coming in, the best HC would be one who has a 2 to 3 year plan plus a long term plan for the organization rather than an “all in for this year” attitude. Seems to me, Ryan would likely not fit into that plan well. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on that though.

  36. 36 SleepingDuck said at 6:40 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    What do you guys make of the rumors already flying around Kelly being the top target?
    Usually the Eagles are very good when it comes to keeping things under wraps, so it’s making me think it might be a smokescreen of some sort. But Peter King, a guy who has been pretty well in predicting Eagles moves (see mock drafts), wrote in his MMQB column a few weeks back that he expects Kelly to be a legit candidate to take over.

  37. 37 Anders said at 6:41 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Its all based on a report about Howie meeting with Kelly a few weeks back.

  38. 38 SleepingDuck said at 6:48 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    The interesting thing is that King wrote that in his article about a week or two before the report that Howie met with Kelly. Maybe King has better sources than everyone else. Who knows? I guess we’ll all find out in a few weeks.

  39. 39 Daniel said at 7:03 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Shocked by Coleman over Allen. Allen may have been invisible but at least he wasn’t a liability.

    If by better in the run defense, Reid means biting on every play fake, I suddenly understand why the defense was so bad.

  40. 40 ppnutpc said at 11:47 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Question Tommy, what was the reason we ever cut Cliff Harris, he was so promising in TC?

  41. 41 Sb2bowl said at 10:06 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    I think there were issues outside of football that he was dealing with……….. or maybe not dealing with

  42. 42 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 11:49 PM on December 20th, 2012:

    Does anybody know where I can buy a Sixers Iverson jersey online?
    Tommy, I hope it’s okay to ask my Philly network for help on this one?

  43. 43 Dude said at 12:52 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    Do you think Cox could be a blue-chip player in 2013?What is his ceiling?Would you compare him to Suh or Geno Atkins at this point?

  44. 44 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 1:01 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    I for one am outraged that McCoy is going to play again this year. How the f can you allow that, especially given what happened with Westbrook coming back too soon from his and it essentially ended his career?

    Borrowing from Ricky Watters: “For who, for what” Andy?

  45. 45 Ark87 said at 8:48 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    For beating the Redskins and ruining their playoff hopes? For the millions he makes, in part paid by the people who are coming to see him on Sunday? For the integrity of the game? For winning for the sake of winning? Those things used mean something to Eagles fans. The Eagles are soft, if Shady hides from injury….jeez we don’t need anybody with that attitude next season. You concern is legitimate, but don’t get pissed when a football player plays football. It’s kind of what he does. It’s what he wants to do.

  46. 46 A_T_G said at 9:49 PM on December 21st, 2012:

    If he gets hurt in the next two weeks, people are going to bring it up for years. But I agree with you. He wasn’t rushed back. If we were in the playoff hunt, I bet he would have been back in half the time.

    How can a coach ask the rest of the team to put their careers an health on the line for pride and professionalism at the same time he is wrapping Shady in bubble wrap and storing him away for next year?

  47. 47 bridgecoach said at 1:48 AM on December 21st, 2012:

    Kyle Van Noy really punctuated his case to enter the draft tonight. He had a forced fumble and fumble recovery in the endzone for a touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown, a sack and he even recorded a blocked punt. This season, he has 13 sacks, 2 interceptions, 52 tackles, 19.5 TFLs, 5 passes defended, 10 Qb hurries, 6 forced fumbles, and two blocked punts. And he has put up similar numbers all three years. At 6’3, 235lb junior (same size as Luke Kuechly pre-combine), Van Noy is a playmaking OLB.

  48. 48 GermanEagle said at 5:48 AM on December 21st, 2012:


    Is there any chance the Eagles will draft DE Bjoern Werner with a top 5 pick?

    I might be biased here but it would be really cool to see a German in an Eagles uniform…