My Offseason Plan

Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 71 Comments »

NFL teams shouldn’t go into the offseason without a specific plan.  Things don’t always work out, but you need to have a plan to start with so that you can make adjustments.  In order for the plan to make sense, you need to have specific goals.  “Win the Super Bowl” or “Suck less” are probably a bit too generic.

Let’s take a look at the current roster.  I’m going to list the key players at each spot and will leave some roles open if I don’t think we have a natural fit.

WR – DeSean Jackson …. Damaris Johnson …. Marvin McNutt
WR – Jeremy Maclin …. Riley Cooper …. B.J. Cunningham
slot – Jason Avant ….. Greg Salas …. Nick Miller
TE – Brent Celek ……. Clay Harbor …. Evan Moore
H-back – Emil Igwenagu …. Stanley Havili …. Derek Carrier
RB – LeSean McCoy …. Bryce Brown … Dion Lewis … Chris Polk
QB – Michael Vick …… Nick Foles … Dennis Dixon … Edwards / Kinne
LT – Jason Peters …… Allen Barbre … Matt Reynolds
LG – Evan Mathis …… Julian Vandervelde
OC – Jason Kelce …… Dallas Reynolds … Matt Tennant
RG – Danny Watkins … Nate Menkin …
RT – Todd Herremans … Dennis Kelly … Ed Wang

Pred – Trent Cole ……… Brandon Graham … Vinny Curry … Phillip Hunt
3-Tech – Fletcher Cox … Ronnie Cameron
NT – ________________ … Antonio Dixon
5-tech – Cedric Thornton
SAM – _______________ … Chris McCoy
WILB – Mychal Kendricks … Casey Matthews
SILB – DeMeco Ryans ……. Jamar Chaney …. Ryan Rau
SS – ________________ … Kurt Coleman … Colt Anderson
FS – Nate Allen …………… David Sims
CB – ________________ … Curtis Marsh … Chris Hawkins
CB – ________________ … Brandon Hughes … Trevard Lindley
slot – Brandon Boykin …

So…the offense looks okay, if not pretty good.  The defense…not so much.  Let’s set up some goals now:

* Find a backup LT. Jason Peters is coming off a serious injury.  He’s also older.  The Eagles need someone behind him.  The overall OL could use youth and depth.

* The secondary needs at least 2 starters.  I prefer 3.  Lots of help is needed.

* The front seven needs 1 or 2 starters.  You could make Dixon the NT.  Or you could put Graham or Curry at SAM.  Those aren’t ideal moves, but could be functional.  The front seven needs better athletes and some bigger/taller guys.

* TE is a spot where Celek is fine as the starter, but Kelly is likely to want to add talent. Could be a good backup, a top flight receiver, or just a younger guy to push Celek.  That player could also be an H-back.

* There is also the tricky matter of adding “Chip’s guys”. Is Jason Avant his idea of a slot receiver?  Does he want a young QB to develop?  Does he want taller ILBs?  And so on.

The overall talent level of the team needs to be upgraded.  If you can add a couple of starting DBs and one DL in free agency, you’ll have the freedom to truly draft the best player available.   Ideally, that’s what you want to do.  The Eagles have some good players in place, but very few guys that can’t be upgraded.


My goal is to add a CB, SS, and NT.  I also would consider a 5-tech DE, backup ILB, and TE.

My fantasy scenario would go like this.  Sign:

* TE Jared Cook – 6-5, 248 – TEN

* NT Roy Miller – 6-2, 310- TB

* CB Antoine Cason – 6-1, 195 – SD

* SS LaRon Landry – 6-2, infinity – NYJ

Backups / role players

* DE Leger Douzable – 6-4, 284 – TEN

* ILB Rolando McClain – 6-4, 255 – OAK

Now let me try to explain these moves.

Cook is a player unlike anyone the Eagles currently have on the roster.  He is a TE technically, but lines up in the slot quite a bit.  He has the speed to run by LBs and stretch the field.  He has the size to overwhelm DBs who try to cover him.  Chip Kelly is said to want to focus more on TEs.  Cook is the kind of offensive weapon that you can move around and be creative with.  The Titans were going to franchise tag him, but there was a dispute over whether he should be considered a TE or WR.  The team decided to not tag him to avoid the situation possibly becoming a legal battle.  This is the one player I would be okay with the Eagles spending big bucks for.  He’ll turn 26 this spring and has tons of potential.

Miller is a pure run defender.  He played less than half the snaps for Tampa last year because they were in sub-packages so much.  Miller was a shade nose for the Bucs and that’s what he would play here.  You’d be asking him to fill the same role.  That increases the likelihood that he will play well.  He isn’t huge, but is a good NT. He can take on double teams and hold his ground.  He can shed blocks.  He’s quick enough to be disruptive at times, although he’s not much of a playmaker.  I would not pay big money for Miller.  The price would have to be right.

The Eagles need a starting CB.  They have several guys to choose from.  I went with Cason because he’s well-rounded.  Cason has good size. He runs pretty well.  He has at least 2 INTs in each season.  He’s averaged 15 PDs a year over the last 3 seasons.  Cason has never missed a game and durability is an underrated aspect of player evaluation.  He isn’t a star CB that you build a defense around.  He’s just a solid starter.  Right now, that’s what we need.

Why Landry at SS?  I think the Eagles must add a physical presence to the secondary.  I watched tape of a bunch of Safeties.  Landry was the most impressive.  First play I watched he walked down into the box and tackled the RB for minimal gain.  A few plays later he shed the block of an OL and got in on the tackle of a RB.  Landry is huge.  His muscles have muscles.  Last year I wrote about Landry as a player the Eagles should avoid.  He had missed 15 games over the 2 previous seasons and had a bit of a run-in with Mike Shanahan.  I just didn’t see him as a guy to hand money to.  Landry had a good year in 2012.  He played in all 16 games, had 2 INTs, and 4 FFs.  I would not give Landry a huge contract, but I’d be willing to take a chance on him.  The one good year Bill Davis has as DC (2009), he had a SS named Adrian Wilson.  He is about as big as Landry and has similar skills.  Landry is actually faster and better in coverage.

The Eagles have Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox.  Both can play the 5-tech DE spot.  There is also the matter of the draft.  The Eagles could find someone there.  I still had them add Douzable as a depth move.  He has played DE and DT since college.  He got some starts at LDE for the Jags in 2011.  Douzable missed 2012 with a shoulder injury.  He’s nothing special, but is a solid run defender.  He’s the kind of guy you want competing for a job.

I watched tape of Eric Winston against the Raiders.  KC ran an end around and I noticed this LB fly to the far side of the field.  I re-watched the play and it was Rolando McClain.  I had forgotten just how good he could be at times.  He covered a TE 25 yards downfield on a pass play.  He had a delay blitz where he looped in and sacked the QB, also knocking the ball loose.  McClain was a Top 10 pick by the Raiders, but has been a massive disappointment, mostly off the field.  He got in major trouble last year in Alabama.  The reason I would take him is to have him sit behind DeMeco Ryans for a year.  Have him learn.  Let McClain play STs and then fight for a starting job in 2014.  He’s got big time talent, but must get his act together.  I would only offer him a cheap deal.  Risky move, but possibly worth it.

Other players I considered:

TE Dustin Keller – NYJ
TE Delanie Walker – SF
H-B James Casey – HOU
TE Ben Watson – CLE
TE Anthony Fasano – MIA

All 3 guys are versatile, athletic players. Keller is a gifted receiver. Walker is a blocker and STer. Casey is coming off his best season. Watson played for Pat Shurmur the last 2 years. Fasano is a solid RZ weapon. Both guys are older and would be purely backups to Celek so they don’t make much sense to me.

NT Terrance Knighton – JAX
NT Sammie Lee Hill – DET
NT Antonio Johnson – IND
NT Shaun Cody – HOU
NT Pat Sims – CIN

Knighton is the most interesting guy here. He’s big at 6-3, 330, but has some athletic ability. He’s an underachiever and that scared me off, but if the coaches think they can get through to him, he would be a really interested addition to the DL. Hill was a backup in DET, but has good size and potential. Sims has been a backup in Cincy for 5 years, but is a productive backup with size.

CB Derek Cox – JAX
CB Bradley Fletcher – STL
CB Sean Smith – MIA
CB Keenan Lewis – PIT
CB Greg Toler – ARZ

This is a good group of CBs. You can make an argument for all of them. Cox is probably the best all around, but does have some durability issues. Fletcher has the best cover skills, but was the #3 CB for the Rams this year. Smith is the biggest, but lacks ideal quickness and agility. Receivers can get separation when they make quick cuts. Lewis broke up an amazing 23 passes this year, but is just a 1-year starter.

SS William Moore – ATL
S Patrick Chung – NE
S Chris Clemons – MIA
S Rashad Johnson – ARZ
SS Craig Dahl – STL
FS Glover Quin – HOU

No Dashon Goldson? He’s more of a FS and will be looking for huge bucks. Moore is a very good player, but is also looking for mega-money. If we’re willing to get in a bidding war for a Safety, he’s the player to go after. Chung can cover, hit, and tackle. Clemons is solid and has good size. Johnson was a very good STer for the Cards. Quin is probably the best FS on the market. I’m hoping the Eagles focus on SS.

DE Desmond Bryant – OAK
DE Ricky Jean-Francois – SF
DE Ropati Pitoitua – KC
DE Jason Jones – SEA

Bryant is a guy I’d love to sign. Big, athletic. Can rush the passer. Can play DT, NT, and DE. Problem is that we can only sign so many starters and DE is a spot where we’ve already got some potential. Bryant has started 18 games over the last 2 years and some team may pay him big bucks. Jean-Francois is a career backup so far that is ready to become a starter. Tom Gamble drafted him and might push the Eagles to sign him. Pitoitua is huge at 6-8, 315. He shows potential as a pass rusher. Awkward run defender. Could be good value. Jones is more of a DT than a DE, but has potential. Very quick player.

ILB Lorenzo Alexander – WAS
ILB Larry Grant – SF
ILB Dan Skuta – CIN
ILB Zac Diles – TEN

The Eagles are set with starting ILBs. Unless you are more confident in Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews, adding a backup ILB is wise. Alexander is a great STer and role player. Grant is a good backup in SF.

It is possible the Eagles will go for a SAM LB. If so this is the group to look at.

LB Paul Kruger – BAL
LB Connor Barwin – HOU
LB Kyle Moore – BUF
LB Manny Lawson – CIN
LB Erik Walden – GB

Kruger is rugged and had 9 sacks last year. Barwin is a good athlete (former TE). Moore is a DE that has the potential to be a SAM. Lawson is a veteran that you would sign for a short term deal. Bill Davis was in SF when they drafted Lawson.

It would be great to see the Eagles come out of free agency with:

NT – starter
SS – starter
CB – starter
TE – starter or depth
DE – depth
ILB – depth

That would give them almost total freedom in the draft. They would still need a SAM, CB, and backup LT. Adding DL depth and another S would be good. There is also the desire for a QB if the right guy is available. If a really talented ILB, OG, or TE was on the board, you could take him. You’d have some freedom.

My fantasy scenario (for now) is trading back to the 7 to 10 range and adding 3rd and 4th round picks. That would give you the chance to really add some good bodies to the roster.

The Eagles have some serious holes to fill, but there will be lots of players available that fit what the team is looking for. The team has the cap room to add players and enough draft picks to get younger and better. Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly have a huge opportunity in front of them. Choose wisely, gents.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did a 90-min show on defensive FAs of interest.


71 Comments on “My Offseason Plan”

  1. 1 T_S_O_P said at 1:55 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    How late is it there? I suspect it is Trent Coles o’clock.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:10 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    He’s a RFA. Gotta see what happens with him in terms of the tender before knowing if he’s a target. Steve McClendon.

    And it is a bit late. 2am. Did fix the typo.

  3. 3 ManuManu said at 1:18 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    When do restricted free agents need to be tendered? I read that we can’t negotiate with other teams’ RFAs during the initial three-day window.

  4. 4 grover said at 2:34 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Wow. First I’d like to applaud the work and effort you must have put into this.

    Praise out of the way… I’d prefer Keenan Lewis to Cason. I like that Lewis has a bit less wear and tear. But that’s a quibble. I think you’re absolutely wrong on Landry. Last year was his “make good” contract, he’s going to expect to be well compensated in 2013 and beyond. More importantly, it looks like the Eagles are going to want both their safeties to be able to cover deep. That is not Landry’s game. Hell… the Eagles used to salivate at the thought Landry playing a deep zone when he was playing for the Redskins. William Moore has the talent but just can’t be counted on to stay healthy. Clemons and Quinn offer the stability and coverage that the Eagles need in the defensive backfield.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 9:28 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Landry is a risk. I fully acknowledge that. He is better in coverage than you give him credit for. He ran 4.35 at the Combine. That’s DeSean speed, but Landry was 40 pounds heavier. He’s bulked up another 20 pounds since then, but sill has good speed.

  6. 6 Phils Goodman said at 2:54 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Re: Nose shade vs nose guard vs nose tackle

    I hear a different explanation every time someone talks about this. Are these all different dialects for the same exact thing, or is there a real etymology that explains a meaningful difference between the three terms? Obviously they are all 0/1 techs, but are there any other reliable distinctions?

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 9:26 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Nose shade is basically the 1-tech. A 3-4 NT plays 0-tech and lines up directly over the C. That’s the guy who has to eat up double teams and be able to 2-gap. Nose shade can shoot gaps on some plays. Doesn’t have to be as big.

  8. 8 Phils Goodman said at 9:43 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Perhaps, but I have also heard 1-techs constantly called nose tackles and people say that the true 3-4 0-tech is the real “nose guard.” These terms have become so muddled to me, but it’s just a curiosity.

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 10:31 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    NG is an old school term. Same thing as NT, but just doesn’t get used much anymore.

  10. 10 Arby1 said at 7:48 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I protest: nose guard still valid for lifeguards.

  11. 11 ICDogg said at 2:57 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Sounds good. I think the LT backup position is especially important since we really don’t know where Peters is with his recovery.

  12. 12 the guy said at 3:05 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Please tell me “LJ Harbor” was intentional.

  13. 13 sonofdman said at 6:46 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    I cracked up reading that!

  14. 14 Ark87 said at 9:01 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Would be the most epic Freudian smith of all time

  15. 15 Mac said at 11:19 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    slow clap

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 9:17 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Ha. I wish. Blame Jimmy. Talking to him for 90 mins hurt my brain.

  17. 17 pkeagle said at 5:58 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    No to Ricky Jean-Francois

    I don’t want another double-barreled French name after Max flamed out!!

    But seriously Tommy, good work as always and your new site is great for those nuggets of info that sometimes slip thru the cracks.

    Speaking of nuggets, where is MJG nowadays?

  18. 18 austinfan said at 7:43 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    There’s plenty of bodies out there, and with 12 teams up against the cap, the competition won’t be intense for the less than marque guys.

    I’d say no to Cook because he’s looking for big money, played less than half the snaps because he’s not a good run blocker, and is still inconsistent as a receiver. Keller gives you similar skills, is a full time proven starter who is probably better than advertised given the mess that is the Jets, and should cost less.

    Vollmer is tempting, depending on his health and price, he can play both sides and would solve the depth problem while you groom a rookie or two.

    Sammie Hill to me is exactly what they’d want, reasonable price, can play both NT and “5”, and will be a much better fit in the 4-3 under than the wide 9. Coming out of Stillman, the Lions have done our work of turning him into a NFL player.

    I’d make a serious run at Bryant,very athletic player who is smart and gives great mug shot, could play “3” or “5” and would solidify the DL. Ricky Jean-Francois would be good depth.

    Barwin is the high priced spread, great athlete, but very inconsistent, and don’t think he’s suited to be a SAM. Two lower cost alternatives are Victor Butler, who doesn’t fit the Dallas 4-3 and Dan Skuta, Grand Valley State who the Bengals have tried to turn into a 4-3 SAM, better fit in the 4-3 Under.

    Sign 3 DBs, at least one starter quality, but depth is important as well. Clemons, Rashad Johnson, Lewis and Toler would be perfect. I’d go for cover skills in FA, it’s easier to draft a thumper than a guy who can keep up with NFL receivers.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 9:25 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Butler is short for OLB. He’s also a poor run defender. Not a target.

    Sammie Lee Hill is of interest, but you have to acknowledge that there is risk with him. He’s only got 6 starts in the last 3 years combined. Making him your starting NT and using him in a different system means you are projecting him to that role. He should be able to do it (why I had him as a high target), but you don’t know for sure.

  20. 20 austinfan said at 10:15 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Well, when Suh and Fairley are ahead of you on the depth chart, and you come out of a small college (i.e. why he wouldn’t start his first couple years), then the odds are better of being a hidden gem. It’s not like he was sitting on the bench for some scrubs, and he’s also not really suited for the wide 9. Good gamble.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 10:33 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    That’s a valid point. You still are projecting him to an important role. I didn’t get to study every snap the guy played. NFL teams will. If they think he’s likely to handle the role, then he makes a lot of sense. I was impressed watching him on tape. Love his size and the guy has ability. Very intriguing.

  22. 22 Gregory Post said at 7:53 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Is there a significant advantage to drafting players vs. extending players and acquiring free agents in regards to salary cap, or vice versa? I would think that building your team primarily through drafting players would be cheaper, as many players would still be on their rookie deals and the team would let their non-essential free agents walk in order to save space. However, it seems Green Bay follows this philosophy and are constantly up against the cap (I could be wrong about this though.) Meanwhile, even after the spending spree on FAs and extending our own players last year, the Eagles always seem to be in good cap shape.

  23. 23 TommyLawlor said at 9:20 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    The Packers have better players.

    Rodgers > all our QBs
    Matthews > all our front seven
    their WRs > our WRs
    Finley > Celek

    And so on. When you draft and develop stars, you have to pay them. This ripped apart Dallas in the mid-90s.

    We have money because we’ve got a young roster and not many stars to pay elite money to.

  24. 24 aub32 said at 8:45 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    The only guy I would like to see them pursue and wouldn’t mind them spending big money on is Vollmer. He’s still relatively young, and adding him would solidify the line and add depth as well. This move makes it a possibility to grab Jordan or Floyd in the first, then follow up by taking Cyprien, Trufant, or whatever DB they like in the 2nd. Then if they really like a QB in the third, they’re free to make that move without the worry that they’re getting too far down in the draft without addressing OL depth.

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 9:18 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Vollmer is going to be 29 this season. He could still play 5 more years, but I would not call him young in any way, shape, or form.

  26. 26 GermanEagle said at 12:42 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    But he’s German.

  27. 27 Mac said at 2:41 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    If being German means being more like Wolverine, and Wolverine ages at a rate of half that of a normal human, then you can infer that Germans age at a rate of somewhere between half and the normal human rate. For arguments sake lets say that Germans are more like normal humans than they are like Wolverine. So we’ll say that for every human year a typical German ages .9 years. That would make Vollmer 26 and therefore approximately ready to peak as a football player. Note: I did not adjust for wear and tear of playing football because most football players peak around age 25-27 anyway, therefore I didn’t think it would be necessary to make any further adjustments.

  28. 28 TommyLawlor said at 3:56 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Great response, GE. You’ve won the argument in a powerful, concise manner. Kudos sir.

  29. 29 Ben Hert said at 9:41 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Tommy, I was listening to the podcast and Jimmy brought up, who I think was, Martellus Bennet’s brother Michael. You were against him for the fact that he is a W-9 technique DE. From the way you described it though, it sounded exactly like what you’d want from a pass-rushing OLB in a 3-4. Is this the case? I know they have to drop into coverage from time to time, but someone who is good at building up that momentum and crashing into the T, as you aptly explained, seems like a great fit for that position.

  30. 30 TommyLawlor said at 10:34 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    He could be a SAM target, but someone is going to pay him big bucks to rush the passer. Eagles wouldn’t be smart to throw major money at him and then have him go to a new position. Wouldn’t be wise.

  31. 31 Iskar36 said at 10:00 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Do you think between Kelly, Herremans, and Watkins, you have what you need on the right side? Personally, I don’t know that I am comfortable with those three as my options. I would want them to either add a FA vet who can start either at RG or RT or draft someone in the first 3 rounds that can at the very least be a legitimate competition to be a starter.

    I will say that, the line “That would give them almost total freedom in the draft. They would still need a SAM, CB, and backup LT.” is the part that probably concerns me the most. Going into the draft needing two starters (and in my opinion 3) is a lot of “needs” in a draft. I actually view this the exact opposite way. I think that means in the first 3 rounds most likely, you have to target 3 specific positions. That is very limited flexibility and could very possibly lead to us reaching for players to fit those needs. I’m not sure you can reliably go into FA attempting to get 4 or 5 starters, so I don’t really have an alternative plan to yours, but it seems that short of that, we will have some glaring holes to fill once the draft gets here.

  32. 32 TommyLawlor said at 10:47 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Todd and Kelly as RG and RT could be fine. Not great, but fine. The OL was solid with Jake Scott and Kelly working together. Ideally, you’d love Danny to bounce back and then Kelly sits behind Todd at RT. I’m all for upgrading that side, but we can’t do everything. Get someone who can be the backup LT and that guy might be able to fight for the starting RT spot.

    As for freedom/needs…we’re not going to fix every part of the team this year. Will…not…happen. You don’t have to find a star SAM, CB, and so on right now. We need someone we can plug in at those spots. I would hope with early picks in the first 5 rounds that we could land a couple of starters and a backup LT. There is always going to be trial and error with FA and the draft. You can get the SAM in the 5th round. Or with pick #4. You can get the CB early or late. The backup LT is the only guy that probably needs to be taken in the first 3 rounds.

    Don’t think in terms of long term solutions. We hope the SAM pans out, but our expectations will be altered by whether he’s taken early or late. If we don’t find a SAM in the draft, maybe Brandon Graham or Vinny Curry gets a shot at that spot.

    Remember that GB won the SB with multiple UDFAs in the starting lineup. Not all solutions come early in the draft. Not all are known early in the season. You must be able to draft/sign and develop players. There will be busts. That’s the challenge of building a team. You’re dealing with a lot of projections and moving parts.

  33. 33 austinfan said at 10:52 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Key element this year is that the Eagles are a very attractive landing spot for UDFAs, and they should aggressively pursue the top guys. If you’re an agent, you’d want to steer your guys to a team with needs and a new coach that’s open to fair competition in training camp.

    Eagles will also have the 4th spot on waivers, which can land you a player or two at the end of August.

    Look for a lot of roster churn in August, they’re not just putting together a 53 man roster, but given the pace of Chip’s practices, the 8 man practice squad will get a lot of reps, and if you shine, you can take a spot on the 53.

  34. 34 ACViking said at 10:19 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Re: And the List Goes On and On and On and On . . . .


    Truly yeoman’s work. Thorough. Thoughtful. Creative.

    The impression I’m left with is how rotted out the Eagles roster has become . . . and so quickly.

  35. 35 TommyLawlor said at 10:48 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Yes and no. Chip wants his type of guys and that means change. Chip is changing the defense and that means change. If Chip stuck with the 4-3, we would have only the secondary to really focus on.

  36. 36 austinfan said at 11:00 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    I think this is a strong argument for volume over “quality” in free agency and the draft – in a sense, Chip will be experimenting this year, finding what works and who fits – and it’s easier to work with talented athletes who aren’t stars and thus convinced they’re already “finished products.” So I see them focusing on players with upside, and a few veterans who are good fits (why they’re looking at Winston). But I’d be surprised to see them get into bidding wars, there’s no one player who can put them over the top in 2013.

    Now, if the team jells by the end of the season, and there’s only a couple obvious weaknesses, then they may take a more targeted approach in 2014.

  37. 37 Mac said at 11:17 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    This may end up being a good year to have high picks then… i.e. no blue chip players, but a strong deep class where we can drop back and still add players with potential, but get more of them.

  38. 38 Ark87 said at 11:56 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    That spin got me so dizzy i fell out my chair :-D. I definitely wish we had more mid round picks though. The one year we have a top draft pick and aren’t loaded with draft picks, gaaaah. If only we could switch 2010’s draft stock with this one. Came away with 13 players in 2010! With #4 we could have had Eric Berry and…bwaaaarg.

  39. 39 Mac said at 2:42 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Well, what can I say, I like to look at things from different angles. Sometimes the angles are a bit… awkward 😉

  40. 40 Matthew Donaldson said at 10:19 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    “LJ Harbor” … now that is just being mean Tommy

  41. 41 TommyLawlor said at 10:47 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Freudian slip.

  42. 42 austinfan said at 11:13 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    One thing to keep in mind, the players Chip recruited on offense at Oregon:

    The last few RBs, James, Barner, Thomas, smaller, quick guys, good news for Lewis.

    The WRs tend to be bigger, quick but not fast, good blockers and good hands. Maehl is the poster child. Good news for Avant, Cooper, McNutt, Cunningham and Salas. Maclin better hit the weight room and work on his blocking technique.

    The TEs are a small sample, he inherited Dickerson, recruited Paulson, 4.93 40 but good 10 yard split and hands, so maybe similar to WRs in that quickness, hands and blocking are more important than speed.

    OL seem to be smaller, very athletic, Unger, Long, et al, not the bigger in line guys.

    People focus on QB, but maybe the key to Chip’s offense is the mobile zone blocking OL, quick RBs that can hit a hole or get outside, and WRs and TEs that can run block (but I think he wants TEs who run block on the second level when split out, not miniature OTs), can get open quickly and catch the ball consistently on short routes.

  43. 43 Philly SportsCast - Philly Sports, Page 1A. said at 11:21 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    […] Read this post here. […]

  44. 44 Alex Karklins said at 11:45 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    It’s interesting to see you revise your views on Landry. I didn’t pay him any attention last season and just figured the evaluation would be the same. I’m astonished that he played all 16 games. Interesting choice. Do you (fore)see a big distinction between FS and SS in Billy Davis’ scheme? Or will the roles be interchangeable, like they were the last few seasons?

  45. 45 TommyLawlor said at 3:58 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    It is hard to judge Davis on the past because he had such unusual pieces in ARZ. His Safeties were Antrel Rolle, Adrian Wilson, and Matt Ware, all big guys. They all got used creatively. I have no idea what Davis would do with Nate/Kurt as his starters.

  46. 46 Bighouse1 said at 11:49 AM on March 8th, 2013:

    Very logical and well thought out. I agree with your assessment of what they have and what they need. The area where I would differ is in your choice of FA targets for the secondary. We agree that this is the area they need to spend in FA, and fortunately supply is aligned with the demand. Two starters is the minimum here. If they ignore everything else, but get a starting CB and a starting S that both pan out, that will be enough to get started before the draft. You don’t want to overload the team and use up too much of the $44M in FA’s. They should have learned that lesson.

    There are at least ten CB’s available that are better than Cason. He was torched often last year and has never developed. A classic B-list guy that you will pay more than he is worth and never get value. Smith or Lewis would give you a better player with way more upside.

    I can see the case for Landry, but how much less will he cost than the others you have considered, and at how much more risk? Someone is going to pay him well based on this past season and on his overall skill set. I don’t think the Eagles need to focus solely on SS; Nate Allen has not earned the FS spot by any stretch. They need to add at least one good player at S. I’d much prefer they pay Goldson, Moore, Quinn or someone with less risk and other potential headaches like Landry.

    IMO, this would be a classic example of the Eagles settling for second rate guys. Not the right approach in FA. One thing AR had correct – when you add in FA, overpaying for the A or A- level player is usually the better bet – so you pick and choose your targets. It’s not always going to work (Kearse, Nnamdi) but your chances are better of getting an impact guy like a Troy Vincent, Entertainer/Business Entity #22, Runyan, etc. You avoid signing B or B- players in FA.

  47. 47 austinfan said at 1:36 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Go for first tier or third tier, don’t overpay for second tier guys.
    One reason I wouldn’t touch Kruger or Goldson.

  48. 48 Bighouse1 said at 1:55 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I agree on Kruger… not sure on Goldson. He plays on a great team, but I think he is in fact a very good player. Either way, yes, that is for sure the right philosophy. 1st tier or 3rd tier. If 1st tier, should be young with clean medical and top character & commitment.

  49. 49 Daniel Richwine said at 12:08 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    The really strange thing about Rolando is that at Alabama he was one of the leaders of the locker room. Now he’s a head case. just did not see that coming at all.

  50. 50 TommyLawlor said at 1:23 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Completely agree. That’s why I have some hope for him.

  51. 51 TommyLawlor said at 1:22 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Adrian Wilson was just cut by the Cardinals. Here are some quick thoughts on him.

  52. 52 austinfan said at 1:35 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    At this point in his career his best position might be nickel LB, he has the size and for a LB he still has good coverage skills.

  53. 53 Kevin said at 3:11 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I knew this was coming for a while but Panthers just cut Chris Gamble. Another option at CB?

  54. 54 Scottsju said at 1:47 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I am sorry if I missed it, but i have not seen any comments from you Tommy on Bills OL Andy Levitre. In my mind, he can step in and play RG immediately, moving Watkins to backup, or even out of the picture all together. It would allow Herremans and Kelly to focus on RT. Also, I think it adds to the type of line where you have versitile guys, Herremans being able to play all over, the same with Mathis and the same with Levitre.

    For all I know, you have discussed it and hate the player, but I just havent been able to find it. Also, maybe he will cost too much.

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 4:01 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I think a team desperate for OL help will overpay Levitre. The Eagles have Mathis and Kelce in the middle. That’s 2/3 of a solid trio. I don’t anticipate the team sinking big money into a G. He is a good player. The Cards would we wise to take a long look at him.

  56. 56 CalSFro said at 2:13 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Great stuff as usual, Tommy.

    Just wondering, with the amount of change that’s already expected to take place on the roster and how specified some of the spots seem to be in the 4-3 Under, is it likely we see more of a “traditional” 3-4 for the first year and then maybe a transition (or more aptly, evolution) to the 4-3 Under in year 2 or 3?

    I know Chip and Bill keep saying scheme will be dependent on the personnel, and think that’s smart. Seems like you’d be able to spread out Curry, Graham, Cole and Hunt better as 3-4 OLB’s as opposed to figuring out who is the Predator (Where you currently have all 4 guys listed, and seems like a waste of talent) and who is the SAM, as well as allowing you to bring in more players that are simply “good”, as opposed to scheme specific. Not to mention you’d immediately have less holes to fill. Which could be really helpful in a year where so much of the roster is going to turn over anyway.

    So, it’s sort of like we draft and bring guys in via FA with the 4-3 Under in mind, but we implement more of a 3-4 until we have the right pieces to run the 4-3 Under?

  57. 57 TommyLawlor said at 4:02 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I wrote about that idea a couple of weeks back. Just go 3-4 and keep things simple. This is something we could see Chip and the guys do.

  58. 58 Kevin said at 2:43 PM on March 8th, 2013:


    You think DeSean and LaRon can put aside their differences? (by no means am I asking this as a serious question)

  59. 59 TommyLawlor said at 4:02 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Only with my guidance. And a few cases of beer.

  60. 60 shah8 said at 5:34 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I still want talent at the right side of the OL, either guard or tackle. Depth is good, anyways.

  61. 61 xeynon said at 7:25 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I know you’re a Vikings guy. What’s your take on Loadholt at RT? Not sure he fits the “fit, athletic OL” mold that Kelly supposedly wants but he is young and an experienced starter.

  62. 62 Jules Andre said at 5:50 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    My admittedly limited understanding of the 3 technique is that this is a DT who can rush the passer but is also strong against the run. Why couldn’t Trent Cole play this role? Hear me out here. Cole is older and coming off his worst season, I know, but I think it’s more likely that he had a down season because the team was awful and dysfunctional rather than he became useless overnight.

    You could say he’s too small, but he’s only slightly smaller than Justin Smith (1″ 15 lbs), for example. And Cole has historically played bigger than his measurables; he’s always been good against the run. Is that size difference from Cole that significant that this couldn’t possible work?

    What you gain seems to be worth the risk there. You would slide Cox over to the 5 with Thornton as backup. Graham can play the Predator with Curry behind him. This lineup seems to best use the Eagles’ current resources. Could this work?

  63. 63 D3FB said at 4:09 AM on March 9th, 2013:

    Sadly yes he is too small to play there on an everydown basis. He would be consistently going up against monsterous guards, and being in the three tech he would be very vunerable to a double team between the guard and tackle who as much as I love Trent would probably put him firmly on his ass ten yards from the LOS. Also Trent’s biggest issue is wearing down as the season progresses and the extra beating he would take inside would not help. Smith is more of an outlier than the norm.

  64. 64 Iskar36 said at 5:51 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I haven’t seen much about this yet, but does anyone know what exactly will happen at midnight tonight (or over the next 3 days)? Are we likely to see the rumor mill go crazy? Will things happen quickly/slowly? Will some players start their visits immediately?

    To me, the point of the pre-FA non-tampering period is so the NFL can claim teams are not tampering because they are all doing it during this short period, but I am curious if it will change any of the dynamics of FA. For example, it may give a player a reason to visit multiple teams rather than just visiting the first team that negotiates with him at 12:01 AM (or in reality whichever team was at the top of his list after weeks of non-publicized discussions with teams).

  65. 65 Flyin said at 6:11 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    This is from a JasonB post at BGN…

    “So, for the most part, free agency begins tonight. Here’s how it works.

    Teams may talk to agents tonight at midnight and begin negotiating
    contracts, but may not finalize them until free agency begins on

    Teams may not directly contact or speak with players (LOL, yeah.)
    until the official start of free agency. They may not even discuss
    having them come visit until the start of free agency.

    The 3-day negotiating period applies only to potential Unrestricted
    Free Agents, it does not apply to players who are potential Exclusive
    Rights Players or Restricted Free Agents, or to players who have been
    designated as Franchise Players or Transition Players.”

  66. 66 Iskar36 said at 6:13 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Hahaha, I literally just finished reading that and then added an edit to my post.

  67. 67 Flyin said at 6:15 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I would have responded faster, but I was caught up watching Tiger coverage.

  68. 68 ezgreene said at 5:54 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Gosh, I really don’t want Landry. Don’t think he has the speed, think he’s an injury concern, more than that, he’s obviously on HGH or some other PED.

  69. 69 Iskar36 said at 7:53 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    Personally, Landry is not a guy I would target either, although I definitely understand the argument for him. For me though, he will be 29 this season and has a history of injury issues. He is coming off a “show me” contract where he played very well, so he will demand a significant contract I think and on top of that, by the time the team starts to turn things around, I think he will be either at the end of his prime or already on the decline. To me, he is exactly the kind of decent players I think the team should avoid. The types of guys I would sign are either 1) young ascending players who fit what Kelly wants long term or 2) older veterans who can be had at reasonably cheap/short term contracts that can fill a hole on the team short term. Landry is talented, so in that sense, I certainly wouldn’t be upset with us signing him, but I don’t know that he is a guy you look at as a long term solution, but I think you are very likely going to have to pay him significant money, part of which will be paid to him as he declines.

  70. 70 Mitchell said at 9:16 PM on March 8th, 2013:

    I have a question about Dee Milliner. I read somewhere that he doesn’t ever back pedal and I am noticing that as I watch some of his tape. Can someone tell me why this is a bad thing? I’m very familiar with cornerback play.

  71. 71 D3FB said at 4:05 AM on March 9th, 2013:

    It simply means he hasn’t done something that is widely used from a technique standpoint in the league. Since we don’t know exactly what kind of coverage we are going to be running this could be an issue. If we are running 70% press then its probably not as much of an issue but if we are running more off man schemes where he will asked to backpedal and not “crabwalk” like he did at Alabama it could be an issue.