Young Players

Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 69 Comments »

OG Kraig Urbik signed a contract extension with the Buffalo Bills today.  He’s played RG for them for the past couple of years and has done a good job.  Urbik was once a 3rd round pick (79th overall) of the Steelers.  He was cut by Pittsburgh because he struggled and got beat out by an undrafted player.

Judging young players is incredibly tricky.  Darwin Walker was a 3rd round pick by the Cardinals in 2000.  They cut him loose…less than 6 months later.  The Eagles claimed him and Walker sat for all of that year.  He sat for most of 2001 and then replaced Hollis Thomas when he got hurt late in the year.  In 2002 Walker started and was a force.  He was outstanding that year and earned an extension.  He finished his career with 28.5 sacks, solid for a DT.

Were the Steelers dumb to cut Urbik?  The Cards with Walker?  Those guys had not performed as expected.  Urbik did stay for a year.  I do think the Cards jumped the gun on cutting Walker.  The guy had 4 1/2 months.  How do you cut someone that quick?

The players deserved to be taken where they were.  I scouted both of them and liked each player quite a bit.  They had size and talent.  Walker was a good athlete.  Urbik was a pretty polished blocker.  Each should have been an above average NFL starter.

So what happened?

In a word…life.  A team can make a good evaluation of a player, but that doesn’t mean that the player will work out.  Just because a guy has the size, skills, strength, athleticism, and ability to play in the NFL does not mean he will succeed.

Some guys don’t handle adversity well.  Some guys don’t handle money well.  Some guys don’t handle free time well.  And on and on.  Football is a sport until you get to the NFL.  Then it becomes a business.  You’re a commodity…a replaceable commodity.  Rutgers can’t go find another talented DL just anywhere.  If say…Ramon Cooper-Smith (how’s that for a made-up name?)  doesn’t light it up, the coaches have to try and figure out how to reach him.  They’ll be patient.  If Urbik or Walker doesn’t work out, they lose their job.  The pressure at the NFL level is beyond anything players have ever experienced.

Those guys found a new home and succeeded.  Maybe getting cut was the best thing possible.  It woke them up.  Or maybe they just fit the scheme better.  Maybe the positional assistant who worked with them was able to have a better relationship and motivate them.  All kinds of possibilities.

I mention all of this because we’re coming to the end of the regular season and a lot of fans will want the Eagles to cut a variety of players for a variety of reasons.  Has Danny Watkins been a disappointment?  Yes.  Does that mean he needs to go and he’s got no NFL future?  Absolutely not.  The same is true for Nate Allen.  And Jamar Chaney, Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews, and other young Eagles.

The new coaches will study tape.  They’ll meet with the players.  Then the coaches have to decide if this is a player they want to keep around and try to work with or if they do think the guy is a lost cause.  I gave examples of guys who succeeded earlier, but we all know that those are exceptions and not the rule.  Most players do not bounce back.  Jaiquawn Jarrett and Mike Kafka work at a local Dairy Queen under co-managers Jerome McDougle and Ryan Moats.  Matt McCoy has a pending application.

This isn’t always about players who struggle so bad they get cut.  I thought Donte Whitner was the next Brian Dawkins coming out of Ohio State.  Loved him.  The Bills shocked the world and took him in the Top 10.  Whitner played there for 5 years.  He was an average player.  Finished that period with 3 FFs, 1 FR, 5 INTs, 1.5 sacks, 19 PDs, and a lot of boos.  Whitner is in his second season with the Niners.  He has 3 FFs, 3 FRs, 3 INTs, 14 PDs, and a lot of cheers.  He isn’t a star, but is now considered a good player.

Carlos Emmons was a disappointment in Pittsburgh, but was a stud LB for the Eagles.  Ryan Clark bounced from team to team, but has found a home in Pittsburgh and is the enforcer for that secondary.  His steady play might be the most underrated part of the Steelers.

Trying to find a balance of cutting underachievers and giving young players a chance to develop is tricky.  Very tricky.  You never want to be the team that let go of the star early.  Johnny Unitas was cut by the Steelers.  How different would football history look if that move hadn’t happened?  Would Johnny U have panned out anywhere close to what he did?  Dallas had UDFA Brian Waters in camp in 1999 and cut him. He became an All-Pro OG for the Chiefs for almost a decade.  Thomas Jones was an underachiever for the Cardinals, scoring 9 TDs in 3 years. He became a star for the Bears and Jets, rushing for more than 1,100 yards in 5 consecutive seasons and scoring 43 TDs on the ground.

There are times when behavior is an issue and the team that dumps/deals Jared Allen, Brandon Marshall, Brett Favre, or Cris Carter is going to look foolish.  That kind of stuff can’t be helped. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed for a player to stop his self-destructive ways.

The new coaching staff will make changes.  There will be a surprise cut or two, but you also may be surprised to see a player or two that we’ve written off turn out to be a solid role player or even starter.  Don’t be too quick to completely write off Allen or Watkins or whoever.  You never know when the light might come on and suddenly we’ve got a different player. Doubting them is fine, but keep in mind that their struggles aren’t necessarily permanent.  Just ask Kraig Urbik’s wallet.

_


  • Ark87

    Huh, never thought about it like that. It’s kind of like In high school, the teaching staff is stuck with the students they have, they will bend over backwards, hold hands, give extra credit, curve grades, whatever it takes to get the student to hit the goal of graduating. Get to college, they will just fail you. Get your stuff together or you’re toast. That being said, many people drop out and come back later with a better mindset for success…but getting dropped was necessary in making that happen.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good analogy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

      Or as I found out in the “real” world, in college if you answer a question correct 90% of the time, you are at the head of the class. In the business world, if you are wrong 1% of the time, you lose your job. VERY different world, indeed.

      • austinfan

        If you’re CAUGHT being wrong 1% of the time.
        Most people I’ve worked with in business, including high level executives, aren’t rocket scientists, but they’re very good at CYA.

        • Arby1

          CYA?

  • TheRogerPodacter

    i’m usually of the mindset where we should keep the young guys until they have lost their job to someone playing better. then they get bumped down the depth chart.

    the problem there comes in when you have to choose to keep a player on the roster or not. do you stash this young guy and give him the chance to develop over time, even if he isnt playing much? or do you cut him in favor of the veteran playing better right now, but with a much lower ceiling?
    these are the decisions made by people making much, much more money than me!

    • TommyLawlor

      Enough excuses Roger. Find the perfect solution now or I’m cutting you in favor of a new commenter!!!

      • TheRogerPodacter

        pfft. if they don’t give me a raise, i’m bringing in Tebow. end of story.

        • TommyLawlor

          I’m sending over a crew of guys to adjust your line of thinking on that move. Rocco and Mongo are the brains of the outfit so let them know when you’ve changed your mind.

  • austinfan

    Fit is also a key element of success in the pros.

    A player like DRC struggles inside because he’s long-legged and simply doesn’t change direction well in tight spaces, nor is he physical. Outside, the only thing that limits him is the alien probe that goes off intermittently, rendering him brain dead for an indefinite period.

    On the other hand, Trotter couldn’t even get a whiff of PT as a rookie behind James Willis, the perennial all pro MLB. JJ makes him an all pro MLB in his own right, signs a big contract before flopping in Washington and blowing out his knee. Comes back contrite, and JJ gets him another trip to Hawaii. Shawn Bradley looked great on the LOS, lost in space when Sean asked him to read and react in 2010.

    Outside of a few exceptional players (Reggie White excelled at every line position and any system he played in), most players are better fits in certain systems (and as they age, this will change, they get slower, stronger and smarter). Much of good coaching/personnel moves is recognizing when you have to adjust schemes for players in the short run (this season) and players for schemes in the long run (next season).

    Andy is right, it was his responsibility to put players in a position to succeed, his failure to do so the last few years is why he’ll have a new address next year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Totally right about fit.

      Totally wrong about “Shawn Bradley” looking great on the LOS. Pretty sure he’d get manhandled. His long lost cousin Disco Stu is a different story.

      • austinfan

        You’re right, but he’d lead the league in blocked passes!

        • TommyLawlor

          Touche.

  • bdbd20

    So this Cooper-Smith guy, is he better in a 3-4 or 4-3?

    • TommyLawlor

      He’s only able to play in the 3-3-5.

      • bdbd20

        Just heard Mayock say he would be best suited in a 5-1-5

        • TommyLawlor

          Don’t listen to that hack.

          • A Roy

            There’s our problem…lack of creativity. If the Eagles had run a 4-5-4, we wouldn’t be 4-10.

          • TommyLawlor

            Yep. If we can see it, how can’t Reid?

          • Ark87

            the 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, only team in the league fielding a tertiary, quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary. Yeah, just try to stop the pain train.

          • A_T_G

            With the coordination between our players, it feels like we already run this some days.

          • Mac

            I wish I could just keep hitting the +1 button on this. haha

  • shah8

    Well, I think healthier organizations are the ones that drop players quickly. They broadly have the talent to not feel that it’s worth the bother. They also have a concept of sunk costs that allows them to say “see ya, mebbe you catch on elsewheres.”

    What healthier organizations do well is evaluating whether it’s worthwhile or not. Talib or Terrell Owens, for example, is a very good example of a player you dang well put up with and try not to alienate in the process. It’s just hard not to see Schiano having really messed up wrt Talib. And I think the way the Eagles have handled talented players could be altered to their profit. The Eagles bean counters have a problematic way of interacting with the coaching staff such that they tend not to take into account a broader perspective. The bruhaha with Mike Patterson is a really fresh example. The tendency to try to wring every dollar value out of star receivers was totally not worth it. They pay T.O. without the fuss or the animosity, the Eagles get at least one more Super Bowl run. They pay Desean Jackson on time, that’s probably one or more game that turns from a L to a W, and an entry to the postseason where the Eagles would among the most dangerous teams playing efficiently. The Eagles staff tends to undervalue star experience and try to go young inappropriately, leaving an oftentimes cancerous hole at the position, like with Dawkins. Sometimes players are not really replaceable right just then.

    As for young players? In the case of teams that do it right? Those young players play their way into games, or eventually are on the way out.

    • austinfan

      Like the way the Steelers cut James Harrison four times and kept him around for three years?

      The issue with TO was he wanted a new contract with a lot of GUARANTEED money. He got the same money in Dallas he would have gotten by playing out his deal in Philly, but as Jerrah found out, when you guarantee money to TO, you lose your leverage.

      DeSean was a matter of self-delusion, he wanted to be paid like an elite WR, anyone think he’s an elite WR? Trotter wanted to be paid like an elite defensive player, he ended up taking the same money two years later from Washington that he was offered in Philly.

      You have to negotiate with a lot of players every year, start overpaying a few players each year to keep them happy and pretty soon you live in cap hell.

      • shah8

        at some point the guaranteed money just didn’t matter. Winning one would be entirely worth the cap inflexibility. And DJax? Yes, he’s at least very good. He’s better than Maclin and far more fearless. He just ain’t Tim Dwight. We still paid him what he wanted, for the most part, and it was always a stupid mentality to be cheap when that player virtually HAS to be extremely concerned about injury before the payday.

        And Cap Hell, Schmap Hell. People convince others that salary caps are a good idea because they promote “balance”. No, they are loved because people power-trip behind the more innocuous sounding logic of “caps”. What wins is not being good about the caps or bad about the caps, but simply on how determined your organization is to manage assets well. That willingness to manage happens regardless of whether you have a cap or not, and the big market teams still are pretty dominant in the playoffs.

        • GermanEagle

          I like your fresh perspective you bring on here, though I don’t always agree. You are not Morton, are you?! ;)

          • shah8

            Why would I be Morton? Dude, I’ve been literally around since the beginning of the popular Internet, and I’ve been shah8 since the late ’90s. Any bit of googling can find my posts on various politics/policy, tea, and football blogs going back a very long stretch. Albeit, I’ve been banned from a couple of football sites in my time.

            I also have a bit of notoriety by being *right* a good bit of the time. Let’s see this coming winter after the season–My estimation is that the Eagles will keep Vick as the starter. My reasoning is pretty simple–At the very worst, Vick is a functional starter, and that effectively means he’s at least top 15 or so. At my current estimation of what he can do, he’s a difference maker who can go out and win a game for you. This reasoning basically means that I think many Eagles fans, like CalSFro, for example, are sniffing glue–Foles is not better than Vick, and he currently clearly has a ceiling lower than a late thirties Vick. I simply just don’t have to be very mean about this. You all can be in some alternate reality world where there is no Locker vs Sanchez Ineptitude Bowl. Where popular QBs like Schaub and Ryan don’t depend on having stacked teams to win. Where teams like the Vikings don’t deliberately put out an inferior QB out there to help scam a new stadium out of their host city. Where teams always have a non-horrible QB on the roster, unlike Arizona, Kansas City, or Jacksonville. Where other teams like Detroit and Tampa Bay are beginning to see some important limitations of their young QB’s play. Where Eli Manning doesn’t have stinkers of games worse than Vick has had, for fewer good reasons.

            I can see the Eagles letting Vick go because he’s unpopular, but certainly not because of his lack of skill. Donovan McNabb is not worse than Ponder, Beck, Grossman, or Kolb, but he’s old and didn’t play enough higher to make that silly. Colt McCoy is not better than Seneca Wallace, but they are both, like, backup QBs. Can see where you’d have a popularity contest in that old rusty city. I’ve been watching football a long time now, and I definitely can do a rough evaluation by eye. Just like I don’t need anyone to tell me that Wilson was better than Flynn by a pretty big margin, or that Kaepernick offers playmaking ability that Smith just can’t offer, I can estimate that Vick is still playing at a high level, has good excuses for his lack of effectiveness, and that we will be sorry if we let him go.

            That doesn’t mean I am Morton, or have the least bit of clue who he is. And I don’t intend to try and google some random character.

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

            My ears are burning…

            Seriously though, I think you’re a bit mistaken about my stance on Foles vs. Vick. Foles, right now as a rookie, is better at certain things than Vick is. Pre-snap reads, post-snap reads, audibles, pocket mobility. And the fact that as a rookie, he’s better than Vick at those things, is pretty sad for Vick. Vick’s been in the league a long time. He should have honed those skills by now.

            But, and this is a BIG but, Foles does not now, nor will he ever possess the “skill” that Vick does. Vick is faster, stronger, more athletic. If Vick had better pocket presence/mobility and the ability to process his reads better, he could be the greatest QB the league has ever seen. He really could fulfill Marty Morninwheg’s ill-fated preseason boast that he could be like Steve. Foles on the other hand has no chance to be that guy because he’s simply not as athletically gifted as Vick. At best, and I mean absolute hands down, million to one chance, BEST, the hope for myself at least, is that Foles can become Tom Brady-light. At worst, and honestly most likely, he’s Bobby Hoying 2.0. Either way, he needs lots of work on his mechanics, recognition skills and overall strength to become even a quality NFL starter in the mold of a Matt Schaub.

            I think where we differ the most is in what we see as his ceiling based on attributes we’ve gotten glimpses of from him so far. I really think it’s as simple as I’m coming at it from the angle of brains, and you’re coming at it from the angle of athleticism. A truly great QB, like Aaron Rodgers, of course has a fantastic combination of both. In my view, Foles has ENOUGH athleticism, that if he augments that “mediocre” athleticism with quality reads, quality audibles, intelligent decision making, leadership skills, guts, work ethic, etcetera, etcetera, then he has a pretty good chance of being a quality starter in this league. Vick on the other hand, has all the athleticism in the world, but couldn’t CONSISTENTLY audible his way out of a paper bag. You obviously disagree.

            Now, that being said…if there were an Andrew Luck or RGIII in this draft class, would any of us be banking on Foles? Of COURSE not. And that’s an important aspect of all this.

            I want Foles to maybe be the guy going forward because he’s got room to improve from where he’s at, and I don’t think Vick does, and there don’t seem to me to be any other worthwhile options in the draft or free agency. Plus, he’s already on the roster. I loved Vick when he was putting up 50 points on Monday night and things were golden. I was hopeful he’d continue his upward trend. But that’s in the past. What has he done for us lately?

            We fundamentally disagree on whether or not Vick is a “quality” starter at this point in his career. But don’t mistake it. I think he’s insanely talented still, and that if we had a run heavy offense with quick reads, he’d probably play well. But what concerns me most about him is, now that his talent has started to wane, he hasn’t developed or honed the necessary skills to continue to survive in the NFL. Nothing else about his ability to play QB has improved. He’s the same player he was when he took the Falcons to the NFCCG, but with decreasing athleticism, thus I don’t think he’s an elite QB anymore. Will he start somewhere in the league next year? Yes. Will it be with the Eagles? Only the new coach will know that, but it won’t be at the price tag he currently carries.

            I just like certain attributes that I see out of Foles mentally (and to a lesser extent physically), and am cautiously optimistic that he continues to develop those, while simultaneously developing his weaknesses enough that he can become a good or, if we’re really, really, REALLY lucky, great QB.

            Also, I don’t think you’re Morton. Nor would I care if you were. I get frustrated when I read what you write sometimes because I often don’t agree. But I love the opportunity to come to a place like this and trade viewpoints in an intelligent and honest manner. Your viewpoint is valued. So is mine.

        • austinfan

          With TO the guaranteed money mattered a lot, because it allowed him to act out – as long as the money wasn’t guaranteed, he had a strong motive to behave – Joe may be a weasel, but he’s a really smart weasel.

          If you don’t manage your cap well, you end up cutting players you want to keep to stay under the cap, see Redskins, Dallas.

    • Ark87

      The irony of irony is we paid a lot of players over the offseason, good soldiers who have earned it…and then there is DJax. Turns out Djax is the only one that has lived up to his contract. To be fair, Mathis doesn’t seem to have dropped off. But still, you never can tell…

      Probably should have just paid DJax in retrospect….tough call…woulda been easier if DJax produced…anything when double covered….ever… like everybody else who makes the money he was asking for does….but still.

  • ACViking

    Re: Eagles’ Mistakes / Steelers Other QB Error

    The Eagles have a few notable mistakes of the kind T-Law described.

    In 1963, the Eagles drafted C Ray Mansfield but then cut him after the season. He joined the Steelers and anchored their O-line in SB ’74 & ’75.

    In 1966, the Eagles’ 1st Rd pick was a lineman (played both O & D) named Randy Beisler. He struggled for a couple years and ended up in SF as a starting OG opposite future Eagles Woody Peoples and helping the 49ers to 3 straight NFC West titles and 2 NFC title game losses from ’70-’72.

    The absolute worst example was ’69 4th round pick Bob Kuetchenberg from Notre Dame. Cut in training camp, Kuetch caught on with the Miami Dolphins where he became a 6-time Pro Bowler/ 1x All pro at LG on one of the truly great O-lines in NFL history (HOFers Larry Little and Jim Langer), winning 2 SBs and playing into the ’80s.

    • TommyLawlor

      Wow. Didn’t know Kuetch was an Eagle pick.

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

    One other factor in all of this. We have had a very stable coaching staff.

    When you get a turnover in coaches, you get players who did fit who now do not in the new scheme. Keeping the same scheme which we did for a long time, prevents waste in dropping talent that doesn’t fit.

    We got Hugh when the Jets switched from 4-3 to 3-4 and same with DeMeco. We have had a variation of the WCO on offense. The new coach may not like the speed midget approach, and prefer big-strong slow guys.

    Either way we can expect more turnover in personnel than a normal off season.

  • A_T_G

    With guys like Whitner and Watkins, they are playing against the shadow of expectation. Fans want Watkins cut because he has not been worth his 1st round pick. Hopefully the new coaches are smarter than that. Cutting him doesn’t get us that pick back. The only thing Watkins needs to beat now is the other options for that roster spot.

    This might be one of the reasons a new coaching staff could turn things around. They bring fresh eyes and are not biased by comparing players to their draft day expectations, in either direction.

    • GermanEagle

      ‘This might be one of the reasons a new coaching staff could turn things around. They bring fresh eyes and are not biased by comparing players to their draft day expectations, in either direction.’

      In German we call this ‘company blindness’. Well done!

  • ATLeagle

    yup. I ordered a blizzard from JaiJarr, but he was too slow and the icecream missed the cup. Moats thought about trying to keep it from hitting the floor, but went the wrong direction and had no chance to get there on time. JaiJarr was angry at the machine, went to hit it, and laid out McDougle on accident.

    • TommyLawlor

      Those guys!!!

  • SteveH

    In other words, we’re going to regret cutting Jaiquawn Jarrett one day? At his hall of fame induction speech he’ll probably say something about how “some teams didn’t believe in him…”

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

    What happens after a player gets to the NFL is far more important than what happened before. Very seldom can we determine what a player is from where he was drafted. JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Trent Cole, and Tom Brady can all testify.

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

    Watkins isn’t really a “young player”

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

    What’s frustrating to me about all this, and young Eagles players in particular, is when guys like Nick Foles, Brandon Graham and Colt Anderson come in, and play better in replacement of the vets who had been starting ahead of them. Or when you have guys like Winston Justice, Chris Clemons and Danny Amendola play very well after they’ve left (I know some of these guys probably needed the kick out the door to get them going, and Amendola was still an evolving player when he was here, but there was enough talent there for the Eagles to bring them in in the first place, so you’ve got to think the Eagles could have coaxed it out of them at some point).

    It’s frustrating because it’s still an indictment of player evaluation. Perhaps an even more egregious one than simply not being able to identify talent in the first place.

    Maybe they truly never were “Put in a position to succeed”. Or maybe there was an incorrect premium put on experience over skill. Obviously every player and every situation is different, and no decisions are made in a vacuum. But you had the freaking players. You have/had good players, and for some ungodly reason you refused to let them play. That is beyond ridiculous.

    • austinfan

      Actually, it’s more a question of fit, and why changing schemes screws with player evaluation and personnel decisions:

      Justice – this was more frustration, he was frequently dinged, he didn’t adjust well to Mudd, they didn’t feel they could depend on him.

      Howard – big physical RT who has limited athleticism and belongs in a man scheme where he beats up the guy in front of him

      McGlynn – more of a man blocker, athletically limited in zone blocking schemes, wasn’t going to stay as a backup.

      Clemons – scheme, he’s not very good in a conventional 4-3 set, Seattle lines him up in a wide 9 set off a 3 DT formation, had they known they were going to the wide 9 they probably keep him.

      Amendola – Eagles didn’t have a role for a true slot WR

      Teo – drafted for a conventional 4-3, didn’t work out with Washburn, went to Tampa Bay and looks like a solid draft pick.

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

        I saw you said this below. And I agree to an extent. But it’s becoming a consistent theme here. In years past, you still could have faulted the Eagles for a lot of things, but I don’t think the ability to bring in and correctly assess talent would have been chief among them. But what of Foles vs Vick, Graham vs Babin and Colt vs Coleman? Each player has been an improvement on the player they replaced. And we can talk about scheme changes and playcalling till we’re blue in the face. The fact is they’re doing a better job, and could possibly have been doing said good job since the start of the season, had they been given the chance. But they weren’t. That’s a failure in player evaluation.

        I discount Howard, McGlynn and Teo as worthwhile examples because, though they may be starting now, they’re not good players. Howard replaced an awful player, and has been at best a moderate upgrade. McGlynn grades out as one of the worst guards in the NFL. Teo is a mediocre athlete and wouldn’t be starting if the Bucs didn’t have defensive end injuries. Justice is the only legitimate one, and even assuming he needed the kick in the ass to get him to play up to his potential, why couldn’t the Eagles coax the type of play out of him that the Colts could?

        And what about the other side of it? Assume fit as in issue for all these players. Why then did the Eagles bring them in? I know hindsight is 20/20. But that’s why certain people get paid the big bucks, and why certain franchises continually do well with player evaluation and acquisition, and others don’t. Clemons for example. Why sign him in the first place if he’s a bad fit, wide-9 or no?

        Fit is a factor. But at some point the sample size becomes big enough that you have to factor in other possible answers as well.

  • tag1555

    IIRC one of the issues with Walker was that the Cards front office/scouts and their coaching staff weren’t on the same page, and their coaches in camp thought that a couple of low-round DTs were performing better than Walker. Since they didn’t feel any sense of investment in him, it was easier to cut him. Another example of why a divided organization doesn’t work.

  • ACViking

    Re: Johnny Unitas . . .

    [meant to say this last night]

    The Steelers cut John Unitas as a rookie 9th Rd pick.

    Several years later, the Steelers cut former 1st Rd Pick QB Len Dawson.

    Both Unitas and Dawson made the HOF.

    The Steelers were the worst franchise in the first 35 years of the NFL — never making the playoffs until Chuck Noll became the coach in 1970.

  • Fred

    Babin has to be a good example of this? Awful as a 3-4 LB in Houston, excelled (to a degree) under Washburn in the W-9

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    You make a good point. Sometimes players that have played poorly can turn it around. I agree that most often, this is not the case.

    It really comes down to a player-by-player evaluation and a numbers game. Cutting someone should not be a punitive measure because the GM has become frustrated by the fact the player is not who the GM thought he was drafting. I don’t think that prudence in making a “final call” on a player should ever dissuade a GM from trying to improve a position that has been lacking.

    For instance, Nate Allen was benched today in favor of Kurt Coleman, who has been as bad, if not worse. I believe, as I’ve stated numerous times, that the Eagles need to add 2 safeties this offseason, because neither of these players is starter quality. If the Staff only wants to carry 4 safeties, including Colt Anderson, that’s where the numbers game comes in. Coleman takes better angles and has more play-awareness than Allen, though Allen has the better physical skill set. Add safeties from the draft, or FA, or both, and go with the top 3, along with Anderson for 2013. I do think the fact that both Coleman and Allen have been benched multiple times during their careers as starters should weigh in on the decision. If Coleman beats out Allen for a backup spot next year, I wouldn’t hesitate in cutting Nate, despite the fact that he’s a second rounder.

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

      Per our conversation from the other week, if Coleman comes in and plays really well in place of Nate then to me that will be a fairly tangible, and significant, indictment of Nate Allen’s ability to be a starting safety in this league. Especially because, like you said, Coleman is himself pretty awful. I still don’t think you get rid of Nate after the season, and based on his physical capabilities, see if he can play well in a new scheme with some improved talent around him. But if Colt and Coleman are better than Nate and some combination of the two, then I’ll definitely lean more toward your side of things.

      That being said, I hesitate to put too much stock into “starting” spots at this point in the season. It could simply be evaluation.

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