Busy Day

Posted: March 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 97 Comments »

The Eagles signed CB Cary Williams, S Kenny Phillips, and OLB Connor Barwin.  This is an interesting trio of signings.

Williams comes to town to be a starting CB.  He has good size at 6-1, 190. Williams can be a tough, physical corner.  Is he going to dominate any receiver and be a lockdown guy? No. The stats for him last year aren’t pretty.  He struggled at the beginning of the season.  The Pats attacked him in the early season meeting and had good success.  Getting burned by Tom Brady is nothing to be ashamed of, but the fact they targeted him so blatantly isn’t good.

Here’s the thing to like about him.  While Williams isn’t nearly as talented as DRC or Nnamdi (in his prime), Cary will give you everything he’s got, on every play.  There will never be a question of effort or intensity.  Williams is comfortable pressing or playing off.  He’s able to jam receivers and throw off the timing of their routes.  He’s able to play off and then break on the ball.  Williams has a good combination of speed and quickness.  He started the last 32 regular season games (plus some playoff games).  You like that durability.  He turns 29 in December so the Eagles are getting years 28, 29, and 30 out of him.  CBs should still be good at that point.  He broke up 35 passes and picked off 4 in his 2 seasons as a starter.

The thing to love about Williams is that he will hit and tackle.  In the last 2 seasons, Nnamdi and DRC combined for 174 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 FF.  Williams alone had 153 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 FFs.  Cary plays with an attitude, not a sense of entitlement.  I promise you that he’ll be a much different corner than the guys we watched the last 2 years.

Here is a highlights video.  I’ll watch tape and give a more detailed evaluation, but for now this should at least be entertaining.

Kenny Phillips is the mystery man.  When healthy, he’s a good starter.  He had injuries in 2009 and 2012 that cost him most of those seasons.  There is talk about him possibly having a degenerative knee.  Phillips started 31 games over 2010 and 2011.  He had his best season in 2011.  He still started 6 games last year, but the Giants let him walk.  That tells you something is up.

Howie said that Phillips is healthy.  The Eagles also told us Marlin Jackson was healthy.  We’ll see.  I love the signing.  This is like buying a lottery ticket.  Don’t make any firm plans around Phillips, but if he wins a job and plays well, that’s great.  LaRon Landry did that for the Jets last year.  I’m just going to need to see Phillips out at practice before I pencil him into the starting lineup.  The beauty of this is that he could be the starting FS or they could move him to SS if Patrick Chung gets hurt.  This should be a huge wake-up call to Nate Allen.  I don’t care if it is him or Phillips, I just need one of them to step up and play well.  And the Eagles will add a Safety in the first 4 rounds of the draft.

* * * * *

Connor Barwin is the one who confuses me.  Roseman said that he is here to play on the “open side” as a pass rusher.  This would make him the Predator in Bill Davis’ 4-3 Under.  I have no problem with that move by itself.  Barwin played that very same role for the Texans in 2011 and had 11 sacks.  Barwin is young and athletic.  He has good size at 6-4, 268.  What’s not to like?

The question is what this means for Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, and Vinny Curry.  I honestly don’t know.  I’m going to throw out some possibilities, but I really don’t know what they are going to do.

The Eagles could put Graham or Curry at SAM.  I just can’t see Trent in that role.  Graham doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but they could decide that they want him on the field and the risk is worth it.  Curry has the size.  Question is if he has the skill set.

The Eagles could draft Dion Jordan or Ziggy Ansah to be the SAM and make either Graham or Curry the backup.  Cole would be the backup Predator.

The Eagles could get rotational.  They could say that Barwin is the Predator in the base and then designate Graham the LDE and Cole the RDE in the Nickel/Dime defenses.  That would keep them in roles they are used to.  Curry would get worked in somewhere.

It’s possible that Trent Cole or Brandon Graham gets traded.  Cole would be very tough to move and would bring little in return. He’s 30, coming off a poor season, and has a high cap figure.  You won’t get much for that guy.  You could instead keep him as the backup Predator and deal Graham.  I know some of you are going to go nuts at this suggestion.  You’ll quote me the PFF stats and talk about how he was our best DE.  I’m not advocating for his trade. I’m telling you what is possible.  I would have stuck with the old 4-3 and truly built around the guys we had.  That isn’t happening.

Graham would get you a mid-round pick, most likely.  The reason he’s an odd fit is that Kelly wants tall guys and Brandon is just a hair over 6-1.  That’s fine in general, but Kelly just had us sign a guy that is 6-4.  At Oregon he had a lot of 6-4, 6-5, and 6-6 guys.  If Graham isn’t what he wants, the smart thing is to move him and get your kind of players.  Coaches have a specific vision of how their systems should work and how players fit those systems.

Maybe Davis, Kelly, and Roseman have a vision for how this can work.  We’ll see.

One thing Howie said did make me nervous.  He talked about getting as many pass rushers as possible and then figuring out how to use them. I hope this was just a comment that came out wrong.  In 2011 we collected big time corners and tried to find a way to make that work.  It blew up in our face.  Pass rushers are different.  You can rotate them.  You can move them around.  It isn’t nearly the same thing, but the comment still got my attention.  I hope there is a specific plan in place and their just not sharing it.

The Eagles can’t explain everything because it affects their draft plans and could weaken their hand if they do want to trade Graham or Cole.  I understand the need for ambiguity, but I sure do look forward to the time when Kelly or Davis sits down and explains exactly what they want to do.  You can’t avoid specifics forever.  Players need to know how they’ll be used.  And it sure as heck would help those of us who cover the team.

Barwin does give the Eagles a guy who has played 3-4 OLB in the NFL.  That can be helpful.  Everyone else is going to be learning on the fly.  Barwin signed for 3 years, $13.5M so he was a good deal. If he gets back to 2011 form, that’s a steal.  If he doesn’t and gets pushed to being a backup, that’s not the end of the world.  Wouldn’t be good, of course, but it isn’t like you handed this guy a mega-contract with all kinds of pressure and high expectations.

The good angle is that this does give the Eagles good depth and lots of options.  I do not think Barwin’s arrival affects us drafting a SAM at all. The Eagles can still go get Dion Jordan or Ziggy Ansah.

Barwin is also a better athlete than Cole, Graham, or Curry.  That will help in the era of mobile QBs.

* * * * *

Kudos to Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly for the way they’ve used free agency.  The Eagles have added the right kind of players.  Time will tell if the Eagles added the right players or not.  I think in order to get the old complacency and entitlement  vibes gone it was important to bring in tough, hungry players.  None of these guys signed a huge deal.  They all come here with something to prove.  History tells us that some of the moves will fail.  That’s just the numbers.  The key is that I don’t think anyone will fail for lack of effort or focus on football.  We added grinders…blue collar, worker bees.  That’s exactly what this team needed.

97 Comments on “Busy Day”

  1. 1 fran35 said at 10:11 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    With all of the hype building about us taking Geno Smith, are you starting to change your thoughts and think it is a possibility? It seems like our FA acquisitions are addressing major issues to allow us to possibly go after him.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 11:35 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    I still don’t see us going for Geno.

  3. 3 bridgecoach said at 1:38 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    We could pick him, and then trade him. We still trade back, only we get more than 10 minutes to work out the deal.

  4. 4 deg0ey said at 2:39 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Gotta know for sure that somebody else wants him before you try to pull that. I don’t see Chip risking the possibility that he gets stuck with a guy he doesn’t want because he can’t find somebody prepared to trade for him.

  5. 5 Neil said at 3:18 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Nah, you aren’t allowed to trade drafted players like the NBA. Or at least that’s the practical effect of certain salary cap rules pertaining to rookies.

  6. 6 D3FB said at 11:44 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    I think it could happen but I think it is more Howie wants to at least have relatively competent pieces in place to avoid forcing us into overdrafting for need. The moves we have made allow us to take more of a BPA approach to the draft.

  7. 7 Skeptic_Eagle said at 10:24 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    Very fair take Tommy. I was surprised by the Barwin signing myself. Very interesting that you see Barwin as the Predator, I agree that’s the spot where he fits best.

    I’d offer this for another perspective: apparently, this is a hand-picked guy by Chip. Does he see some Dion Jordan in Barwin? I tend to think that mid-career guys like Barwin are pretty much the “finished product”–you’re not going to fundamentally change what Barwin can do at 26–but maybe Chip sees the athletic ability, and thinks he can turn him into a SAM.

    I’d really hate dealing Graham. He may not be the #2 DE in the league, or whatever PFF might rank him as, but he was definitely the most consistently disruptive player we had last year. I agree, returning from the microfracture surgery, he doesn’t show special traits as a passrusher; the COD skills, the bend, etc., but he does use his leverage advantage pretty well on the bullrush. A possible landing spot could be a place like Detroit, or even Oakland. Harder and harder to find 4-3 teams looking for Ends these days.

    I’m hoping the Kenny Phillips signing turns out better than the last Giants post-microfracture signing Roseman made, Steve Smith. I hadn’t heard about his condition being degenerative until a poster here told me about it, but after some digging, I have to say it sounds pretty grim. A lot of guys never come back from that microfracture surgery–from what I understand, it’s kind of a last ditch effort to salvage a knee.

  8. 8 Jack Waggoner said at 12:42 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I’m not convinced we are playing any type of 4-3 or that there will be such a position as “Predator”.

  9. 9 Birdsrookie said at 4:47 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I just read the wikipedia article. The success rate is up there for successful surgeries (75-80%). The chance of him returning to 100% on the field will be less. Its on Phillips to do everything the docs say to take care of it and do the rehab. A lottery ticket is a great example. If he returns at 90% he will start in in September.

  10. 10 austinfan said at 1:06 AM on March 16th, 2013:

    Phillips already came back from that surgery, it was in 2009.
    He played 31 of 32 games in 2010-11 and had his best season in 2011.
    2012 was a MCL sprain in the other knee.
    The concern is how long the left knee will hold up before it ends his career, not recovery from the surgery.

  11. 11 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 11:04 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    “One thing Howie said did make me nervous. He talked about getting as
    many pass rushers as possible and then figuring out how to use them.”

    Uh, oh: Sounds like the old “throwing fastballs” approach rearing its ugly head again.

  12. 12 Eric Weaver said at 11:21 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    As long as the team remains the gold standard, that will not matter.

  13. 13 xlGmanlx said at 8:17 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Yeah, because having a great front four and depth on the DL is a bad thing? Where did you read “small fast” from what was written? Or did you jump leap to your own conclusion?

  14. 14 T_S_O_P said at 11:17 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    Just RoPo to go. That should probably be come and not go, but it doesn’t sound as good 🙂

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 11:34 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    Besides you and I, how many people know what the heck you’re talking about? 🙂

  16. 16 D3FB said at 11:41 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    Ropati Pitoitua

  17. 17 nicolajNN said at 11:29 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    I’ve just watched the media interview with Roseman on PE.com, and he didn’t say Connor would necessarily play on the open side, merely that it’s what he did in 2011 and not in 2012 when explaining the drop in sacks

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 11:35 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    He indicated that to one of the writers. Not sure if that was before or after the stuff on PE.com

  19. 19 AustinMax said at 11:40 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    What is with the Eagles and signing players with injury issues….Ingram, marlin jackson, steve smith…I am sure there are quite a few more….with the track record that the Eagles have I will bet the Kenny Phillips signing will be another waste

  20. 20 dawkinsfan said at 1:28 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    How were they a waste exactly? None of those deals were very large and neither were the investment in each player. They were not EXPECTED to be large players in our scheme, just taking a chance on an injured player that we COULD hit the jackpot on. Some guys’ bodies aren’t made to sustain the collisions in the NFL. Sometimes the injuries are happenstance. How do you know unless you bring them into your camp? Its Jeff’s money, not ours.

  21. 21 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:05 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    i’m with dawkins fan on this one. it is a matter of risk vs reward.
    none of the guys you listed were a particularly high risk. Ingram was a late rd pick, those regularly do not pan out regardless of the player.
    marlin jackson & stev smit were brought in on short term deals to give competition and only made the team really far down on the depth chart. IIRC, they each saw the field only due to injuries.

    i think Kenny Phillips is the same situation.
    if he reinjures something or for some reason can’t go, we will most likely know this before the season starts. the only risk is that keeping him will prevent us from grabbing another S (my guess).
    if he is healthy, but plays worse than Nate Allen, we still win since we had a player win the position battle.
    if he is healthy and beats out Nate Allen for the starting job, once again, we make out great because we have the better player starting.

  22. 22 Iskar36 said at 11:45 AM on March 15th, 2013:

    To me, when it comes to Graham, the coaches have to simply decide whether or not he is a potential starter in the 3-4 (or 4-3 under) that Kelly wants to run or not. If the answer to that question is no, or that they feel he would not be a potential quality starter, I think you have to trade Graham. I know he had a good end to the season last year, but you have to build around what the coach wants to do. If a player doesn’t fit within that plan you are wasting resources on a player, regardless of how talented he is. We’ve talked multiple times about how players need to fit the scheme. That is as true for the incumbent players as it is for FA.

    With Cole, Graham, and Barwin all best suited for the predator spot, it just feels like they need to make a move with someone. I’d rather cut ties with Cole, but you can probably get more value out of Graham in a trade. Of course, if they feel Graham has potential to fit into the scheme, I think you have to keep him.

  23. 23 bridgecoach said at 1:26 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Completely agree. Graham is a talented asset, but one that the coaching staff has yet to work with. Right now they are collecting pieces. When they get them into camp is when they will make decisions as to how they best fit together. He may be a perfect fit, he may be a misfit – no way to tell right now.

  24. 24 Iskar36 said at 1:47 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Absolutely. This is not a move that I think they should rush. It would be great to get the extra picks for this draft, but if you can get quality picks for next year’s draft, that is fine too. This is a process to building the best team long term, not the best team this year.

  25. 25 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:00 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Kelly has said that he wants to scheme for the players he has, but maybe that was referring to the O and not the D. (he did say this, right? lol)
    if the same holds true, i would expect him to find a place for Graham on D somewhere.

  26. 26 GermanEagle said at 12:26 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    A couple of days ago, I was saying that Howie and the Eagles are far from being done in this year’s Free Agency. And now – booom – a couple of days later, the Eagles have signed more potential starters for their back 7 and at least some quality DB depth.
    I am more than pleased with this year’s approach, and as Tommy pointed out, signing hungry players to “prove it or you’re out” deals will do us good in the short- and long run.
    That being said it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles sign another one or two players (OT maybe) and then we’ll have as much of a freedom at #4 as it gets. Who would have thought that before the start of the off-season?!

  27. 27 austinfan said at 12:29 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Barwin was a great signing, by the way, he measured 6’3 1/4 before he was drafted, and 256 lbs, but had a great workout, better than Jordan:
    [4.54 1.55 21 4.18 6.87 40 ½ 10’8]
    He’s still raw, converted from TE (31 catches for 399 yards as a junior) his senior season and had 49 tackles and 11 sacks, as well as 3 blocked punts.
    Backup DE as a rookie, injured his ankle in 2010, then played WOLB in 2011 and SOLB in 2012. So he’s only started 3 years on defense, at three different positions. Lots of upside in a very reasonably priced deal.

    Good possibility he stays at SAM, he only had 3 sacks, but also 7 stuffs, 5 PD, he could easily improve on those numbers with experience. Watching some film you can see the athleticism, just needs hard coaching. But is smart, good work ethic, hey, isn’t that a theme with this group?

    Phillips has a degenerative arthritic condition in his left knee, had microfracture surgery in 2009, played 31 of 32 games in 2010-2011 and had his best season in 2011. Sprained his MCL in his other knee in 2012, so this was an unrelated injury and should be 100% by camp. Problem is he’s not a good long-run bet, I see the Eagles extending him if he pans out for a couple years, no one will give him big guaranteed money because of the left knee, but they might give him a year to year “prove it” extension.

  28. 28 dawkinsfan said at 1:31 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Most microfracture procedures only last about 5-10 years, especially for a high level athlete. He may need another procedure before his career is through, but he should be alright so long as he is in shape muscularly.

  29. 29 Jay Ernst said at 3:51 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Exactly…while the odds are stacked against him, all hope is not lost. Jeremiah Trotter had two degeneratively arthritic knees coming out of college. He played the last few years of his career with no cartilage between his knees…just bone on bone. He didn’t play till 37 like Ray Lewis, but was still effective till 29-30 yr old.

  30. 30 Lukekelly65 said at 12:30 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    “While Williams isn’t nearly as talented as DRC or Nnamdi (in his prime), Cary will give you everything he’s got, on every play. There will never be a question of effort or intensity.”

    this sounds alot like what Kelly said when he got the job that he would take a less talented guy giving 110% then a super talented player giving 75% i think williams will be a nice addition he just seems like a hard nosed kinda guy and we need that, about trading graham what type of value do you think he has? i know you’ve talked in the past about how frustrated you get when you do your mock draft because we could use an extra mid round pick. Could you see graham getting moved to get a pick along those lines?

  31. 31 deg0ey said at 12:30 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    My take on the Barwin signing is that the FO are basically ignoring Cole for the moment. He’s on the team because it will cost more in dead money to cut him than it will to keep him and he’s not gonna net you very much in a trade. Whatever use you can find for Cole this season is a bonus since you’ve got to pay him anyway and then you can cut him next February.

    It’s also probably worth considering the Texans D and the reason for Barwin’s decreased sack total last season. Wade Phillips runs a 4-3 under, right? The general consensus from what I’ve read is that the reason for his decreased statistical production in 2012 is that he was asked to drop into coverage more. Does this mean that, following the acquisition of Mercilus in last year’s draft and Brooks Reed the year before, Barwin was moved to SAM in 2012?

    If so, that means his signing in Philly makes a lot more sense. Not only would he be the only guy on the roster that has experience in a 3-4, but he would also have SAM experience. That means that if you were to draft a SAM that (as a hypothetical example) has a torn labrum and might miss a chunk of offseason, you’re not under pressure to start him right away. Barwin would be capable at starting/rotating at SAM for a few games until your hypothetical rookie SAM (let’s call him Dion Jordan) was ready to step into the role full-time.

  32. 32 deg0ey said at 12:35 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Incidentally, does anyone think Cole might be looked at as a stopgap 5-tech DE? He’s always been pretty stout against the run for a DE and if we were looking at someone to play a 1-gap technique out there, he might be able to do the job for a season until we’re ready to have someone else step up.

  33. 33 Jack Waggoner said at 12:38 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    passing down end in 4-2-5 nickel

  34. 34 Anders said at 1:01 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Wade Phillips runs the 3-4 1-gap, it reminds alot about the 4-3 under, but the SOLB is much more of pass rusher as shown with Barwin only dropping back around 13% of the time opposed to the 30% Davis’s SAM did.

    I think we might be moving whole hearted to the 3-4 1 gap (so a D like Texans, Ravens, Packers, Cowboys (before Kiffin)) and Graham would play the role that Kruger had for the Ravens and Barwin would be speed rusher

  35. 35 deg0ey said at 1:26 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Possibly, but a 1-gap 3-4 and what we’re currently describing as a 4-3 under are pretty much the same thing, so my point still holds.

  36. 36 Anders said at 1:30 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    As I said the differense lies in the SOLB/SAM. In the 4-3 under the SAM is more like 4-3 SAM where in 3-4 1-gap he is more like pass rushing OLB there will blitz alot

  37. 37 deg0ey said at 2:54 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Greg Cosell begs to differ http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/cosell-3-4-4-3-concepts-more-personnel-163318715–nfl.html;_ylt=AhN4WmRR8dA.cPGfgRL9gJ9YYsp_;_ylu=X3oDMTE4NWRia245BG1pdANCbG9ncyBJbmRleARwb3MDMQRzZWMDTWVkaWFCbG9nSW5kZXg-;_ylg=X3oDMTFpMm9iMzh1BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANibG9nBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

    Either way, my point is still the same; Barwin has more coverage experience than any of the other DE/OLB guys on the roster. He’s currently the best fit at SAM/LOLB in a 3-4/4-3 under and therefore offers some utility beyond that of a pass rusher if we don’t draft/sign anybody else for the position.

  38. 38 Neil said at 3:22 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    As far as where everyone lines up, a 1gap 3-4 and a 4-3 under are the exact same thing. Some guys might stand up the passrushers and some might get them in the trackstance, but they’re at the same spot. They aren’t different systems, what Wade Philips runs and what Billy Davis ran at Arizona. I’d chalk up differences in drop tendencies of certain positions to the coaches’ philosophies instead.

  39. 39 Jack Waggoner said at 9:21 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I agree. The other factor would be the specific personnel available. If you have guys that can cover, you’ll have them cover more often, etc.

  40. 40 Phils Goodman said at 4:00 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I think you’re basing that on the assumption that Barwin played all last year as the SAM. That wasn’t until the final quarter of the season. Brooks Reed was the SAM. Reed has 8.5 sacks in 28 career games (23 starts) all in Phillips’ system.

  41. 41 Phils Goodman said at 3:49 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    SOLB is much more of pass rusher as shown with Barwin only dropping back around 13% of the time opposed to the 30% Davis’s SAM did.

    That’s a misleading number without context. Half of Barwin’s drops came in the final quarter of the season (which is when he moved to SAM). He started out the year at LEO/Predator/Elephant whatever and Brooks Reed was the SAM. Barwin was only dropping about 7%, but then Reed got hurt, Barwin moved over to SAM and Whitney Mercilus took over Barwin’s old spot. After that, Barwin was dropping about 30%, almost exactly like Davis’ 4-3 Under.

  42. 42 GermanEagle said at 12:42 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Could Dumervil play 5 tech?!

  43. 43 D3FB said at 1:53 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    6′ 260lbs, he’s smaller than Graham.

  44. 44 Anders said at 6:54 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Saying Dummervil is 6′ is been generous

  45. 45 D3FB said at 7:44 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    As someone who is 6′ but list as 6’2 on the roster, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt haha

  46. 46 Lukekelly65 said at 12:58 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Just wanted to say im sad to see the eagles leaving Lehigh Im from the Lehigh Valley and ive been going to training camp for years but staying in philly is a great choice In Chip we trust

  47. 47 bridgecoach said at 1:20 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Great to have the team finally taking advantage of their state of the art facilities in Philadelphia. Can’t wait to attend the free sessions with my toddler via a 5 minute Septa ride. A great tradition was enjoyed in Lehigh and I’m looking forward to them carrying that back to Philadelphia. And if that many more players choose to live in Center City because of this decision, so much the better for Philly.

  48. 48 SteveH said at 12:59 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    So just looking over who’s left and what we need, and the fact that somehow we still have some money to spend, heres who I would love to see us make a play for.

    1. Sebastian Vollmer, young enough to make sense, can play both sides, talented player, not quite pro bowl but good. We could use him at RT and kick Todd back inside for now, could be looked at to replace Jason Peters if his play falls off over the next couple of years.

    2. Louis Delmas, I like the way this guy plays, and I know we just signed Kenny Phillips but I think his knee is probably going to keep him from playing (1 year deal for such a talented player is telling). Delmas and Chung would be a solid starting tandem, in my humble.

    3. Takeo Spikes, older player but plenty of familiarity with the 3-4, could be a one year stop gap for us on the inside where we don’t have a ton of depth and are dealing with the uncertainty of Kendricks and others making the transition. Not a flashy move with big expected returns, but I think Spikes could hold down the position for a year if need be.

    Sadly there aren’t a lot of 3-4 DE’s on the market this year, which is a position I think we need to add someone at, but those 3 guys I think make sense for one reason or another, especially Vollmer since he’s a youngish (age 28) and talented tackle.

  49. 49 D3FB said at 1:52 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Kendricks played ILB in Cal’s 34. He should transition fine.

  50. 50 SteveH said at 6:43 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I hope you’re right, I don’t think he’s built to be a thumper on the inside, but I hope you’re right.

  51. 51 Anders said at 6:51 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Ryans will be thumper

  52. 52 qwerty uiop said at 5:53 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Takeo Spikes has never been on a team that made the playoffs. Pass.

  53. 53 ACViking said at 6:11 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Dan Marino was never on a team that won the Super Bowl.

    I’m not sure the playoff-team test is a fair one.

  54. 54 Bdawkbdawk said at 1:26 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Chip Kelly in his best Heath Ledger voice:
    Now, our operation is small, but there’s a lot of potential for “aggressive” expansion. So, which one of you fine gentlemen would like to join our team? Oh, there’s only one spot open right now, so we’re gonna have…
    [Snaps Howie’s fountain pen over his knee]
    Kelly: Tryouts.
    [throws jagged fountain pen pieces at Cole, Curry, and Graham]
    I really hope we keep these guys. I don’t want to sell low on Cole. And, Curry and Graham just have too much unknown potential to appropriately evaluate.

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 10:04 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I think even Chip would appreciate this.

  56. 56 xlGmanlx said at 1:29 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    “Here’s the thing to like about him. While Williams isn’t nearly as talented as DRC or Nnamdi” – At what point have they shown any real sustained talent? Personally I think people just look at the 4.3 speed of DRC and equate talent. His body of work doesn’t show anything to garner the title talented, just my opinion. With NA, I think his stats were proven a mirage. Not trying to nig, I just think we can stop calling both a talent, because neither produced. They certainly had the potential, but there are plenty of athletes with potential that don’t translate into individual success.

  57. 57 D3FB said at 1:51 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    He did make a pro bowl.

  58. 58 xlGmanlx said at 8:16 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    PB = joke

  59. 59 Iskar36 said at 1:55 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I think that is a bit unfair to both players. DRC did have a year where he forced 3 fumbles, picked off 6 passes and deflected 25 passes. That year he showed that his athletic talents can translate in the NFL. On top of that, even this last season, for the first part of the season, he looked great. He completely fell off after that, but he has shown he is capable of producing, albeit not at a highly consistent level.

    As for Nnamdi, I think you have to at least give him a bit more credit than calling his time in Oakland a mirage. He was an absolute shut down corner for them and played at a high level. As an Eagle, he clearly lost a step and got exposed being used differently than constantly playing press-man.

    Both guys may have been over rated, but that have shown football talent and have produced in the NFL.

  60. 60 xlGmanlx said at 8:15 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Meh…. I would take Sheldon Brown and his lack of “talent” compared to those two any day and twice on Sunday. If you have to qualify it, does it even matter at that point? They aren’t good NFL players, what is wrong with saying that? The only thing consistent with both was inconsistency which steaks to a lack of mental toughness and aptitude.

    What my eyes tell me was NA didn’t make plays even when in position and blamed D-League’r KC. He was in position to make plays and simply didn’t. DRC would rather Sheppard players out of bounds then play football. You can’t just turn and run with players in the NFL. Both were mental midgets.

  61. 61 xlGmanlx said at 1:35 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    If I’m howie, I’m calling a 4-3 team to see if they want Trent Cole, I just don’t think you can keep everyone and he still has value. What you get from him now will be better than what you can get in 2-3 years/cut. I don’t think DL/LB is a position of need right now, why not flip an asset?

  62. 62 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:54 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    i’m not sure we will trade Cole, simply for the fact that we will lose $ by doing so.

    according to eaglescap.com, his cap figure for this year is $5,350,000. If we cut/trade him, we are on the hook for $6,400,000.

    we would actually take a cap hit of ~1M instead of saving money on the cap.

    i’m only in favor of trading him if we can get someone who would be worth $1M more than Cole would be this season. hard to estimate that, though.

  63. 63 Jay Ernst said at 3:47 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    If I understand the cap correctly, when you trade a player you also trade his contract and his cap hit. Releasing Cole would cost us 1.05 million, but a trade would free up his entire $5.35 million cap hit, which would be subsequently added to the other teams cap score. So, if we cut Cole WE are still on the hook for $6.4 mil, if we trade him THE OTHER TEAM, is on the hook for the $6.4 mil not us anymore.

    This is essentially the problem with trading him. Not only does your trade partner have to give up adequate compensation for a 30 yr old DE, coming off a subpar year, who routinely wore down (even in his prime) over the course of a normal season, but would also have to be willing to take on his relatively high $5.3 million cap hit.

  64. 64 Phils Goodman said at 3:51 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    The Eagles wouldn’t have to pay Cole, but I think his guaranteed money would still “collapse” on the Eagles this year as dead cap space.

  65. 65 Jay Ernst said at 8:38 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    ah your right, all of the remaining prorated signing bonus would still be on our books this year since it’s money we already paid out. My B

  66. 66 Smegga said at 2:11 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I love the Eagles but man, I hate the switch to the 3-4. All this uncertainty about how to fit Cole, Curry and Graham makes me feel uncomfortable.
    I grew up with the 4-3, I like defensive ends with their hands in the dirt, linebackers to plug the outside lanes and the MLB to watch the middle.
    So I don’t really like the 3-4. You have three heavy guys up front whose jobs are to draw blocking attention, two rushers on the outside and two inside linebackers just kind of there in case somebody breaks through the middle.
    Now I know that 3-4 defenses are not as simple as I have just said, but the basic principle of the scheme applies.
    I hope it works, but again, I have never liked the 3-4, and I feel sorry for Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Cole had a bad year, but is still a great end, and Graham has so much talent.

  67. 67 new coach said at 3:34 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I see your point.. but think of it this way. It will be several years before CHip has “his team”. He almost replaced the whole defense in one off-season. Let’s say it take 2 years. Cole is 32 then.

    More importantly, Chip’s offense may become more of the trend in the NFL. Who knows how to contain it”? Chip does , He probably thinks 4-3 doesnt work as well in the modern NFL, which it probably doesnt, as it helps to have quicker more mobile people

    Graham has a lot of promise but if he doesnt fit, he doesnt fit.I want Ziggy!

  68. 68 xeynon said at 4:29 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    As Kelly himself pointed out, playing a 3-4 instead of a 4-3 allows you to keep more linebackers and fewer defensive linemen on the roster, and linebackers are more useful on special teams than defensive linemen are. In addition it allows more creativity with rush strategies since the offense has to determine who the fourth rusher is going to be before they can determine who’s going to block him. I’ve grown up with the 4-3 as well but I think a well-constructed and coached 3-4 is superior in a number of ways.

  69. 69 holeplug said at 6:25 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Jimmy K over at blogging the beast pretty much shot down that more linebackers on the roster equal better special teams. He couldn’t find any difference between 4-3 or 3-4 teams with regards to special teams rankings.

  70. 70 xeynon said at 7:33 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I’m not saying that more linebackers necessarily means better special teams – just that it gives you more flexibility with the roster/extra slots to stash a ST standout in. I’m not sure, for example, that you’d want Jason Phillips as your only backup MIKE in a 4-3, but as a #4 ILB in a 3-4 he’ll be fine, since most of his snaps will be on special teams.

  71. 71 Jack Waggoner said at 8:52 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I don’t think it makes much difference. It sounds like either way they’re going to play an odd front, and some guy is going to be positioned in a crash-6 either from a 3-point or a 2-point stance.

  72. 72 Jack Waggoner said at 8:46 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Sure because renaming a 4-3 defensive end a 3-4 linebacker doesn’t make him any more suitable for special teams.

  73. 73 Smegga said at 4:34 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Oh, I’m all in with Chip Kelly. He was the coach I wanted, and I trust him. I just wish he was a 4-3 guy. We have struggled over the last few years with getting linebackers. Aside from Trotter and Ryans, we’ve really been poor. So now we have to find more linebackers, less defensive linemen, and I worry because our track record in drafting linebackers is seriously poor.

  74. 74 deg0ey said at 9:04 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    “I worry because our track record in drafting linebackers is seriously poor.”

    Replace “our” in that sentence with “Andy Reid’s” and hopefully you won’t worry quite so much.

  75. 75 Mac said at 4:29 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Graham has had meaningful reps at DT and DE in our 4-3 scheme, and he is putting out word of slimming down to play OLB. I wouldn’t count him out yet.

    Also don’t forget about sub packages. There will be plenty of times in a game where it’s 3rd and long and we need to put 4 gap shooting pass rushers on the field.

  76. 76 ezgreene said at 7:32 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I like the 3-4 only because it gives you more people NOT in a stance, able to react to play fakes or quick routes. It’s a passing league through and through so dedicating four down lineman every snap seems inefficient.

  77. 77 ezgreene said at 3:05 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    REmember this:
    “Roseman mentioned the defense is always a “re-tooling” process and acknowledging the new scheme to make sure players fit to those schemes coming into the season. He sees Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham AS BUILDING BLOCKS on this defense. ” emphasis added.


  78. 78 ACViking said at 5:28 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Great find.

    But Roseman’s statement that B-Graham’s a building block could be as much of a smoke screen as the Triumvirate’s trip to Morgantown.

    Or not . . .

  79. 79 Phils Goodman said at 3:41 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Don’t put so much stock into comments at a press conference. If Billy Davis needs a SAM who can cover some and he’s choosing between Barwin, Curry and Graham, I don’t have much doubt that Barwin will be the SAM. (This is assuming Davis’ philosophy is basically the same as it has been in the past).

  80. 80 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 4:43 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    A telling statement – there’s a new sheriff in town:
    “If you don’t plan on coming here and winning, then we’re not going to talk to you,” Kelly said (in regards to FA).

  81. 81 Sifter said at 5:59 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    You touched on the struggles Cary Williams had early in the season. I see this as a good thing – after the bye week he was much better, only a couple of weak games in the back half of the season. If Eagles get the late season Cary Williams he will do well. I like the 4 secondary signings. Just need to be convinced by what the hecks going on in the front 7.

    Barwin? I’m not convinced, but I’m much more open to him now that I see the $36 mil figure quoted is not what he’ll really get. I liked watching him athletically for the Texans eg. stopping his rush and peeling off to cover a back going out on a route. So he’s got potential I guess, but his pass rushing itself last year was pretty poor. Then there is the problem with how he fits in. To put it simply, at the moment the Eagles have 8 guys of note in the front 7: 2 big (Cox and Sopoaga), 4 medium (Cole, Graham, Curry and Barwin), 2 small (Ryans, Kendricks). With a bunch of role players/backups of course. Just be interesting to see how they all get on the field. Just from that perspective, I’d hate if they drafted Dion Jordan to get another mid sized guy. Go for the big man IMHO – Star is still my choice.

  82. 82 ACViking said at 6:07 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Re: Trent Cole – Will You Stay or Will You Go Now?

    I hope T-Law will explain (to me and my confused mind) why exactly the Eagles need to keep T-Cole on the roster for any reason except he’s one of the 3 (or 4) best DE/Rush-OLBs on the team. Unless, C-Kelly’s of the mind that Cole is, regardless of performance, someone who can help the locker-room culture.

    Yes, cutting him will cause a cap hit. North of $6 million (it sounds like).

    But even factoring in the Eagles’ rookie salary cap, won’t the team still have plenty of room to absorb a hit like that?

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that Cole’s always at giving 100 percent. But he’s crossing the dreaded “Douglas Line” next season (age 31).

    So, if the team has the cap space and can find a younger player with promise who puts out the same effort, why do you keep T-Cole?

    Just wondering.

  83. 83 Iskar36 said at 6:25 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I think you really answered your own question. First off, the cap hit would be huge. Second off, at least prior to last season, he was the best or 2nd best DE on the team. If last year was simply a result of the team as a whole struggling rather than Cole just simply declining, he still is a very valuable player, at least in the context of a 4-3. Thirdly, we don’t really know how Cole will perform in a 3-4. While he certainly has only ever experienced a 4-3, it’s not entirely impossible that he could also succeed in a 3-4 in the rush-OLB role. Finally, the perception is that he is a good locker room guy and maybe one of the few leaders on that defense (although I’m not sure if that is reality or just people assuming so because he is a veteran who has played well).

    Having said all that, at least from the fan perspective, I think a lot of the reasons people want to keep him is emotional reasoning rather than analytical. That is not to see there are no logical reasons to keep him, it’s just that because he has been a guy the fans like, it is hard to make the decision on whether to cut him or not a non-emotional one. We’ll see what happens, but in my opinion, since you owe him $6 mil regardless, unless you can trade him for something, you may as well find out what he can do and whether or not he can be successful as a rush OLB. Of course, the one potential negative of that is if you feel obligated to play him over a guy like Graham or Curry if one of those two shows equal or more promise in the 3-4. To me, if that’s the case, you have to play the younger guys to see whether or not they can be a part of the future plans at OLB.

  84. 84 ACViking said at 6:57 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Iskar36 . . . Question: Do the Eagles owed Cole $6.0 million . . . or is that just the cap hit from a prior bonus?

    Speaking of hits, how ’bout that trade for Arrelious Benn w/ Tampa?

    I think it’s a great move. His first couple of season he had a nice reputation for being a physical receiver.

    Slowly but surely C-Kelly/Roseman are turning this team’s roster over with solid if unspectacular players. Which is what’d I’d argued for after Kelly’s hiring (get lots of hungry types coming out of their 1st contract — which AB is still in).

    HOWEVER . . . until the Eagles find a premium long-term answer at QB (who may already be on the roster), the team really isn’t a logical threat to go very far.

  85. 85 CalSFro said at 7:14 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I love the Benn move. He’s got great ST’s credentials, both as a returner and tackler. Plus he’s a big receiver who blocks really well.

    Another great addition to the core of the team with a possibility for more since he’s still young.

  86. 86 D3FB said at 7:47 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Yes but by shoring up all other major holes this season it allows the team to potentially make a all the chips on the table type of move for a QB next year similar to the Redskins.

  87. 87 deg0ey said at 9:12 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I still think Geno’s in play at #4. Was reading an article by somebody (would help if I could remember who) that said his footwork was noticeably better at his pro day since he’s been working out with NFL scouts (presumably including the Eagles guys the other day).

    Not sure how I’d feel about such a move if it were to happen, but I’m willing to give CK the benefit of the doubt for now.

  88. 88 Jack Waggoner said at 9:14 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    I don’t think you put Jeff Lurie on a plane to Morgantown, West Virginia, just for him to pretend he’s interested in Geno Smith. They’re interested. Whether or not they’re going that direction or not, I do not agree with those who think it was a head fake.

  89. 89 Iskar36 said at 12:05 AM on March 16th, 2013:


    I’m not a cap or contract expert, but these are the details I know of, so the $6 mil would be dead money for this year if he was cut. Interestingly, he would also be relatively expensive to cut next year at $4.8 mil. So maybe that makes it easier to do now rather than later given that we would have the space now but we don’t know about if we will have it in the future. Of course, you can roll over cap space so maybe not.

  90. 90 xlGmanlx said at 2:50 PM on March 16th, 2013:

    Trade – there has to be a team that needs a 4-3 DE, his contract isn’t huge and could be productive for 2-3 more years. I would think a team like the saints, rams, cards, lions, jags would want some one like cole in exchange for a 2/3/4 pick.

  91. 91 Cafone said at 5:36 PM on March 16th, 2013:

    Trent Cole isn’t a fat ass like Hugh Douglas. There’ no reason to assume his career won’t last longer.

    He was one of the best DEs in the league before Reid/Castillo/Washburn screwed up everything on the defense. I think writing him off now doesn’t make much sense.

  92. 92 Mitchell said at 10:28 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Is there any situation where the rams will give us their 22 and 16 for our 4?

  93. 93 phillychuck said at 11:09 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    That’s not enough for the #4.

  94. 94 BlindChow said at 11:23 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    It might be this year.

  95. 95 Anders said at 12:15 AM on March 16th, 2013:

    Its actually what the 4th is worth if you use the unofficial value chart

  96. 96 CalSFro said at 11:29 PM on March 15th, 2013:

    Well…they didn’t sign Jake Long. But they need a tackle. And there are only a couple other starter worthy guys left out there in FA.

    If they don’t sign any of them, and Fisher or Joeckel are still on the board when we pick, and the Rams think they’re only a player or two away from being an elite team…

    Then, yeah. The trade probably won’t be 22 and 16 for our 4 straight up, but I could see that happening. They have the ammo and the potential need. We definitely want to trade back and acquire more picks.

    But hey, pretty much anything’s possible this time of year.

  97. 97 HazletonEagle said at 7:29 PM on March 16th, 2013:

    Dont know if its been mentioned, but props to EMB’s Footballman175 for that Cary Williams highlight video. He does a great job with them.