Tuesday in Mobile

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 69 Comments »

I’m going to make a bold statement, but I feel strongly this needs to be said…the Eagles secondary needs just a wee bit of help.  Just a tad.  Please don’t label me as crazy for this opinion.  After much deep deliberation, it’s just how I feel.  I’m baring my soul.

The good news is that this draft has more than a few good CBs and Safeties.  The Eagles will find help.

I wish I could tell you what direction the team is heading in.  I don’t know if we’ll replace all 4 starters.  Maybe we keep DRC and Nate, hoping to surround them with better players.  Maybe we just keep one of them.  Kurt Coleman has to be done as a starter.  Nnamdi would need a huge pay cut and attitude adjustment to be embraced by Chip Kelly.  Chip won’t be as much of a benevolent dictator as Andy Reid was.  Nnamdi would get away with the blame game once before Kelly would tell him to look in the mirror.

While it is frustrating that this draft isn’t loaded with elite stars at the top, the class has good depth.  There will be quality players in rounds 3 and 4, maybe even lower.  Someone reminded me the other day that being 4-12 means you have a high pick not just in the 1st round, but all the way through the draft.  That sounds obvious, but sometimes I think we overlook that fact.

The Eagles will have basically their choice of players in each round.  We’re used to the Eagles picking in the 20 range.  Normally an extra 15 or so guys are off the board by the time we pick.  This year the Eagles will have the chance to add key guys in the first 4 to 5 rounds.  When you get to the 6th and 7th, there is more luck involved…usually.

There is no S worth pick #4.  I’m not sure there is a CB worth that spot.  Dee Milliner is good, but I’m still trying to figure out if he’s worth that investment.  There will be good Safeties available early in the 2nd round.  There will be good CBs.  At that point it is a matter of choosing the players you most want.  This is not a one player fix.  The Eagles need a wave of bodies.  Every player in the secondary should have to earn his job.  I hope the team drafts a pair of Safeties to compete with Allen, Coleman, Colt Anderson, and David Sims.

CB is still a mystery due to Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes.  Those guys have flashed at times, but Andy Reid and Todd Bowles didn’t offer much praise when they explained to the media that the starters wouldn’t be benched because the guys behind them weren’t anything special.

It is possible for the team to sign a free agent or make a deal to upgrade CB or S.  I don’t even want to get into that stuff until we really know who will be on the market.  The key for me in all of this is that the Eagles will have the chance to fix a major problem.  Adding the right DC will be a huge part of the solution.  Adding the right DB coach will help.  Bowles did a good job with the DBs until he had to move up to DC.  There is no question that the talent needs to be upgraded as well.  At this point, we simply can’t trust DRC, Allen, Coleman, and company to be the answers.  We don’t have to get rid of them, but they must earn their jobs on the field.

* * * * *

Speaking of the Eagles and DBs, the team met with a couple today.

CB Jamar Taylor – Boise State
CB Desmond Trufant – Washington
S TJ McDonald – USC
WR Chris Harper

The Eagles are meeting with tons of players behind the scenes so we don’t want to make too much of this, but it is fun to track.

Taylor is a tough, smart CB.  I like him a lot.  Trufant is a player I must study more.  McDonald is a guy that didn’t become the elite player that was expected, but he did grow on me this year.  Harper is a guy that I must study more.

Trufant has the best cover skills.

* * * * *

My practice notes on the North.

On the South.

Jimmy Bama’s take on the day.

* * * * *

Quick note on Howie.  A lot of you got mad at him.  I’ve got no hard feelings.  The Senior Bowl is an odd place.  Some guys get talked to by everyone.  They’re hounded for various reasons (jobs often).  I don’t know if Howie had just been talking to someone annoying or what so I can’t put the moment in context.  I still like the guy.  I do wish he’d been more friendly/talkative, but I’m not anti-Howie and didn’t mean the story to come off that way.  More weird than anything else.

* * * * *

I did make an ass of myself at lunch.  I was in line with a group of scouts/coaches.  One of them was Turk Schonert, a former NFL QB and the guy who John Elway replaced at Stanford.  Schonert was telling a story about someone to a group of us.  When done, I asked if he heard the story that Mike Mayock told about him the previous week at the Shrine Game.  Turk said no.  I started to tell the story, which involved Turk getting benched for Elway.

Oops!!!

Turk didn’t like that.  I figured the guy would be comfortable with something that happened 30 years ago, but nope.  He immediately became defensive and I had to kiss his ass for 5 minutes to make sure he wasn’t pissed at me.

Nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him, but that was an awkward moment.

* * * * *

I stood next to new DL coach Jerry Azzinaro yesterday.  What a voice.  I think he gargles acid and gravel just to get the right combination.  Listening to him up at Lehigh will be fun.  He has a real presence about him.

The Eagles have a full contingent of people here.  I have yet to see Tom Donahoe, but everyone else is here.  Took me 2 days to figure out who Greg Gabriel is.  I do like the fact the Eagles have added some veteran guys to the personnel department.

_


  • Jonzee72

    Is Honey Badger still worth investigating, or has he totally ruined his chances?

    • scratcherk

      Doesnt seem like a Kelly kind of guy. From what I understand, he would rather have a less talented guy that works his butt off than an entitled physically gifted clown

      • dislikedisqus

        Don’t think a new to the league coach can take behavior risks. The Belichicks can and wannabe Belichicks no longer among us think they can but newbies can’t take the risk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.a.thomas.50 James Aaron Thomas

      I would like to know this as well. To get a player of his talent at potentially a mid round pick, I think its safe to take a flyer. I just wonder where he would fit in. I believe Tommy was the one that said he could play slot corner and not so much outside. He’s a little small too for safety.

  • scratcherk

    What is the update on McGovern? I thought he was coming in as LB coach but did that go to Minter?

    Thanks for the updates! They better treat you well there. I dont think they know how influential you are! (not being facetious)

    • awful waffle

      If they’re moving to a 3-4, they could have an inside LB coach and an outside LB coach. Green Bay and Baltimore do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.a.thomas.50 James Aaron Thomas

      Some Kentucky newspapers are saying Minter to Eagles as LB coach, but I’m not sure how much fact there is in their statements.

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    how has quinton patton looked so far?

  • ACViking

    Re: Roseman

    T-Law:

    Message heard loud and clear.

    You’re very gracious. And very classy. So we’ll turn the page.

    But I’ll find some other reason to complain to Lurie about Roseman’s lack of social skills.

    Sounds like your a hog in pig-suey heaven.

  • http://twitter.com/ViniEagles Vinícius Gonçalves

    Heard some reports that Eagles are talking to lots of QBs.
    Do u think we will draft someone to compete with Foles?

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.a.thomas.50 James Aaron Thomas

      I am almost 100% sure they add another QB to compete. Vick is most likely gone. Do you think Edwards will hang around? Me neither.

      • D3Keith

        Yeah even though Vick and Nnamdi might be salvageable, clearing their salaries — which are no longer commensurate with performance — puts the Eagles squarely back in ‘able to spend money to improve the roster’ territory. With Bell also gone and carryover cap room, those two moves make it an easy move.

        I bet Edwards would stay if they want him to. But Kelly might go entirely young, Foles plus two new guys. Who knows?

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    Am I the only one who has a de ja vu feeling about hiring a DL coach before the DC? (note: I said hiring, not granting a fiefdom, but still.)

    • goeagles55

      I think that may be the main reason they won’t confirm any hires until the full staff is in place.

  • ACViking

    Re: FSU QB E.J. Manuel — recruited by Kelly 4 years ago — now wants to play for CK in his Read-Option Offense

    Has EJ been reading the papers to see what CK’s been saying about his pistol-power offense.

    In truth, does anyone believe that Kelly’s been telling the media the whole story? No coach does. (Kotite excepted.)

    Seems to me that Kelly will install the pistol-power formation offense. Period. Whether the QB can run is beside the point. That’ll turn on who the QB is. (That statement by Kelly I believe.)

    Earlier today, U-Nevada coaching great Chris Ault — who coached Kapernick — was asked about the pistol offense.

    Ault, like CKelly, is a renowned offensive guru. He’s every bit the offensive genius, or more, that Kelly’s reputed to be. (Ault’s now 66 years old, just retired . . . and already in the College Football HOF.)

    His Nevada teams gave those great Boise State teams of the past few years fits . . . and were just about the only team to do that, really.

    Ault said that when he installed the pistol scheme, it was strictly a power/trapping run-based offense with play-action off the runs. Because he had no QB with any running ability to speak of, there was no “read option.” But the QB still had to be able to throw the ball well — not like KSU’s Collin Klein.

    Then along came Kap. And the read-option was birthed in Reno.

    The last iteration of Ault’s offense operated (it sounds) on the identical principles as the 49ers offense. Power football between the tackles, but with a QB who can expand the playbook by creating a threat on the edge.

    CK’s Oregon offense seems to work the same way: Lots of power running between the tackles, trapping, the occasional sweep . . . and big play-action plays.

    Anyway, Ault’s a huge believer in the scheme with or without a running QB.

    Can Nick Foles succeed? Sounds like it . . . if the Eagles’ O-line returns to form. And Foles won’t have to worry about reading anything except pass defenses. Can Mike Vick succeed? I suppose . . . but the guy just can’t stay healthy — and he can’t help himself when it comes to running. (Go young, I say.)

    My guess is CKelly’s going to install a power-running offense out of the pistol formation. If Foles is the QB, Kelly won’t call read-option plays. If Vick’s the QB, everyone will keep their fingers crossed that he doesn’t run head first into someone and get another concussion . . . while executing a read-option play.

    Circling back to EJ Manual, I have to believe — no matter what Kelly says publicly — CK wants a QB who’s young, who has an NFL arm, who’s sufficiently accurate . . . and who can expand the Eagles’ new playbook by threatening the edge. Even if it’s just two or three times per game.

    EJ Manual, or someone like him, is worth taking a flyer on — assuming he’s as decent a passer as AJ Feeley.

    And the Eagles should keep drafting QBs like that until either (1) Foles becomes a very good QB, or (2) the team finds someone to threaten the edge as a complement to being able to throw the ball.

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      CK could be biding his time until Marcus Mariota enters the draft.

      • holeplug

        Johnny Manziel too. Now that we have Chip I wish Tajh Boyd would have declared. Lit up LSU in their bowl game this year.

        • JulzPE

          I love Boyd, real pity he decided to stay.

      • http://twitter.com/ezgreene ezgreene

        Mariota may be the number one pick overall, no way Kelly can expect or think he’ll definitely have a crack at him.

        Maziel is literally like 5’8″. No chance to be an NFL QB.

        • Steven Dileo

          Isn’t Russell Wilson 5’9?

          • DaO_Z

            dude is 5’11….lets not make him flutie…

        • holeplug

          Manziel is 6’1″ which is plenty tall for the NFL

        • Cliff

          No chance?

    • dislikedisqus

      Impressive

    • JulzPE

      Some great nuggets of info there.

      re: ej Manuel, I like the idea of him, he seems like a great fit for an offense built around the run but he’d have to show he can be a consistent passer first. I don’t trust his accuracy but I’d be more than happy to spend a pick on him to develop as long as it’s not too early.

    • aub32

      Great post. I am not sure I trust Foles to be able to complete big plays off the play action though. Even some of his intermediate throws take some time to get there. Watching RG3 in the pistol this season, he threw darts after faking the handoff. I honestly don’t worry about Vick getting killed as much as most fans. The problem with Vick running is that teams expected it, and were ready to kill him. After Kap demolished GB, ATL tried to focus on his running ability. Kap defeated it by simply handing the ball off. Vick doesn’t have to run a ton to be effective. He only needs to put enough fear in the DE to hesitate. Then when teams focus on Shady, Vick can escape out the back door untouched. I think this can work until we find a better option in next year’s draft or free agency.

    • ian_no_2

      We know that they’ll use a hurry up but read option is an option. Manuel doesn’t have the ability to read defenses that you need for the hurry up offense. He will most certainly be overdrafted and is not worth a 3rd.

      There are better guys you can get for free like Dixon, Darron Thomas, even Troy Smith. I’ve been a broken record about his lack of arm strength, but I would seriously rather have Mike Kafka than Manuel. Kafka has the brain and the legs for the read option.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Great post. My only quibble would be that Chip’s #1 play at Oregon was inside zone. His #2 play was out

  • ian_no_2

    I’m pretty sure Milliner is not worth 4. He’s a trade down and if you don’t get him you don’t get him guy. I generally like CBs that overcome second rate measurables but not at 4.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Milliner reminds me a lot of Nammdi when he used to be great.

  • nopain23

    If we do switch to a 3-4 defense( and from the list of potential DC canfidates we can infer that we are).the eagles off season plans should be dump vick,nnamdi, DRC. Use some of that money they save by dumping those salaries and sign J byrd from buffalo

    DRAFT

    RD1 j.Jones( rush OLB)

    RD2 j.williams (NT)

    RD3 c.thomas (rush olb)

    RD4 p.thomas (S)

    RD5 t mathieu(S/CB)

    • dislikedisqus

      We have to go all D, I agree. The O has enough talent that Super-coach should be able to wring 400 points out of them next year so the W-L depends on the D.

      • xeynon

        Disagree. I think OL is at least as big a need as any spot on defense and if they don’t add one or two quality prospects there I will be disappointed.

        • D3Keith

          I would love if they got Joeckel, then they’re not depending on Peters to come back or the rookie to play from Day One, but if both do, then you have Herremans who can play G, and you’re no longer depending on Watkins.

          With one news guy in the fold and three guys perhaps getting healthy and then Mathis, Watkins, Kelly and maybe Dunlap, OL could go back to being a strength, fast, which would be great if we’re going to pound McCoy and Bryce Brown.

          Then the rest of the draft, Rounds 2-7, you look for a QB and DBs, with a BPA sprinkled in. Assuming we’re not drafting to make a 3-4 work, which changes everything.

    • Steven Dileo

      Ugh. Buffalo isn’t letting Byrd walk. Theyre going to franchise him

      • D3Keith

        Seriously. If this were Madden maybe …

  • quest4fire

    Hey Tommy keep the news coming. Dont pay no mind to Howie. Most GM’s are prima donnas. You would have better luck with people much lower on the org chart or the old timers who are visiting. Sorry, I still believe that the secondary needs to be blown up. Hate to say this but I missed Assante. Saw what he did down in Altanta, he wouldve helped.

  • dislikedisqus

    Nnamdi is toast. A new to the league coach can’t afford an under-performing nger-pointing veteran like that.

    • Steven Dileo

      Wow. That was an awful typo.

      • aub32

        yeah it is

      • A_T_G

        Yep. That sure woke me up.

  • Iskar36

    I don’t know how much to believe this, especially since it can’t be official until after the Super Bowl, but:

    Howard Eskin
    ‏@howardeskin
    2 NFL sources and another report have #49ers DB Ch Ed Donatell likely 2 B #Eagles DC for C. Kelly. Kelly knew Donatell as DC at U of Wash

    Personally, I am slightly disappointed if true, but it’s not an awful hire IMO. As RC5000 pointed out in the previous post, Fangio did not have great success on previous teams but is doing a great job in SF. I still question if that is a likely outcome, but it is good to know that other DCs have managed to turn things around like that.

  • Steven Dileo

    As of right now, who are the top 4 players on your Eagles draft board?

    • aub32

      I am also curious to know. Stupid Eagles. Why couldn’t we have sucked this bad last year?

  • aub32

    Do you think Greg Williams is a possible choice at DC? He’s been given permission to pursue employment, and we know he will demand a tough defense.

  • aub32

    I am not sold on getting rid of Nnamdi. He was excellent against megatron and took away the Bengals second option. He isn’t a guy to be placed on speedster, but can take care of decent WRs. Also, he may be the only person currently on the team that can match up against TEs. No offense to Kendricks or Boykin, but they are just too small for the V. Davis, D. Pitta, J. Witten etc. of the world, and DRC is abysmal when left to cover the middle of the field.

    • D3Keith

      There’s an argument that he can be salvaged, but he’s probably going to have to prove he wants to be here, starting by renegotiating his deal.

      It’s not like the team can’t live without him at this point. But if the guy really has the hunger to show he’s no bust and that he came to Philly to do better than 8-8 and 4-12, I’d take another shot under a new defensive coach and scheme.

    • holeplug

      I think they will keep 1 of Nnamdi/DRC just b/c you can’t replace an entire secondary in one offseason.

      • DanJ3645

        If we draft a CB to start and then use Marsh / Hughes to play the other side I think you absolutley can drop both NA and DRC.
        I don’t think that CK needs to get to the playoffs next year. We need to give players like Marsh the chance to play and prove themselves – its not like we don’t have plenty of other needs to use our draft picks on.

        You only keep NA if he takes a paycut, and CK is happy with his attitude.
        DRC again will depend on attitude and his expectations for pay.

        • aub32

          Letting both of them walk would leave us with a huge depth problem at CB. Also, outside of the first two picks I don’t know if there are any starting corners to be had. This move would leave us handcuffed to draft a corner based on need, and we know how bad that’s worked out. I’m not sold on free agency either, unless it’s for Talib, but there’s no way the Pats let him go. Other than that we will be over paying for a guy less talented than DRC. Lastly, no coach is going to put a crappy product on the field on purpose. I’m pretty sure Chip didn’t take the job to lose, nor would he be okay with purposefully neglecting the secondary, in a division with Romo, Eli, and RGIII, so that he can just deal with it next year.

          • D3FB

            As of right now I have a minimum of 7 corners in the draft that could start immediately, the last two or three of which should last until the late 2 or until our pick in round 3. That is not even taking into account the next wave of guys who can be drafted that have starting potential, but have to win the job. Also Boykin can play outside, as long as it is not a press man heavy scheme. So assuming we draft a corner at the top of round three assuming value equals need, then that would leave us with Marsh, Boykin, New CB, and Hughes all battling it out to start. Whoever earns a spot has earned it and isn’t starting due to financial obligations or name recognition. All that being said if Chip wants DRC back, and he can be had for around 8 mil a year, I won’t have a stroke. If Nnamdi is brought back however I’m going to go broke paying for baby aspirin.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Which 7 corners?

          • D3FB

            Milliner, Ryan, Rhodes, Banks, Poyer, Trufant, Mcfadden

          • DanJ3645

            I’m not suggesting that Kelly is planning on going into next season and accepting losing.
            However if he looks to maximise success next year, over a longer term view, isn’t that the error of the last couple of years? 2011 draft in particular.

  • D3Keith

    OMG there are more Trufants?

    They are becoming like the Israels.

    • D3FB

      Name that Trufant is going to become a Sportcenter theme.

  • nickross23

    if Nnamdi takes a pay cut to stay he cannot stay at corner that is given by his play these past 2 seasons but if he is moved to safety in the 3-4 like Charles Woodson was i think he could make the transition. Woodson has played excellent ball since moving to safety after it was evident he could no longer play CB. Could Nnamdi duplicate C Woods success… idk but i would give it shot. What do you guys think about that.

    • A_T_G

      I’d give him a shot; it’s not like we have too many good safeties to consider options.

      I don’t think he would match Woodson’s success, though. He is not the sure, physical tackler that Woodson is and that safety requires. Maybe if he keeps things in front of him he would be in better position and take better angles and have more success, but I think he is, at best, another guy facing long odds.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Woodson can tackle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christian.therealw Christian Therealw

    For the Ed Donatell Fans here his numbers as DC and AC as 49er. That´s no judgement. Was just interested in the numbers!

    GB/Falcons years points allowed (league rank): 14,5,12,11,14,18,5

    GB/Falcons years yards allowed (laegue rank): 15,12,12,17,14,22,22

    GB/Falcons/49ers INTs (league rank): 6,9,3,8,9,14,25,2,16

    INTs is good. The rest is medicore.

    Another point I found was that Ed wanted to leave 49ers last season and join the Bucs with Kelly. 49ers refused to let him go.

    He changes his job every two to three years.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    Not excited about Donatell, but he did get great production out of Rogers, gholdston, and Witner. Those guys have some talent, but didn’t put it all together until in SF. Some of that is the play of the front 7, but the results were nice either way

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    Per the safeties:

    Sounds like two of the best safeties in this draft are Juniors, Eric Reed from LSU and Matt Elam from Florida. Thoughts on those guys, where they’ll fit and grade out???

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