CB Sean Smith is someone the Eagles reportedly have interest in. Geoff Mosher repeated that last night on Twitter.
Was told #Eagles are still in the mix for Sean Smith but obviously they have competition. Probably know more later this weekend.
— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) March 9, 2013
Some fans don’t get the Eagles interest in Smith. He gave up plenty of catches and yards last year. Why go after this guy? Because he’s a big CB. Huge, actually. Smith is 6-4, 215. Heck, he’s almost bigger than William Thomas, who was the Eagles WLB in the 90’s.
As the read-option creeps into the NFL, it is forcing teams to adjust. The read-option is all about numbers. The offense wants to be able to have as many blockers as there are defenders. One way to counter this is to bring a Safety down into the box as a run defender. That leaves the CBs and FS to cover. The corners better be able to handle man-to-man coverage. And the FS better have pretty good range.
Smith is huge and runs pretty well, but is a bit stiff. Receivers can get open with quick cuts. This normally means they head to the middle of the field. Is that ideal? No. Is it something you can live with? Yes. The goal is for Smith to jam receivers and throw off their timing. If the QB looks that way and the receiver is late, the QB has to move on to the next option.
The problem is that you can’t jam WRs on every snap. You have to mix coverages. That means there will be some plays where the CB is off. There will be man and zone. Smith is best when he can be physical and aggressive.
Smith isn’t a guy you break the bank for. He’s worthy of good money. He can be a good CB, as long as you know how to use him and embrace his skill set. Juan Castillo did a poor job of using Nnamdi, Asante, and DRC in 2011. Things were better initially in 2012, but fell apart after Juan’s firing.
It isn’t as simple as throwing a pair of big CBs on the field. You must know how to use them. If you do, the results can be outstanding. PIT led the NFL in defense. They had a pair of big CBs. Seattles was 4th in yards, but 1st in fewest points allowed. They had the biggest CBs in the whole league.
Chip Kelly, Bill Davis, and John Lovett all need to be on the same page and have a specific vision. They need to add the players that fit that vision. The good news is that they don’t have to force awkward situations, such as Asante playing press and DRC in the slot. The bad news is that there isn’t even a piece in place for the coaches to build around. They literally have to start from scratch.
They do have a few pieces to try to work with. Nate Allen can be a good FS if used right. I think having him back as a centerfielder type is probably his best spot. Coming off a bad showing in 2012 you don’t count on him, but he can compete for a job. He’s not someone I’ve given up on. Brandon Boykin can be the slot corner. He showed lots of promise last year. Curtis Marsh has the size and skill set to play the kind of coverage it seems the Eagles want. You just wish he had shown more in the past 2 years so there wouldn’t be as much mystery around him. Can the guy play or not? Right now you can only look at him as competition for one of the corner spots.
Back to Sean Smith. Some expected the Chiefs to make a strong run at him, but their signing of Dunta Robinson has reportedly caused them to back off Smith. There will be multiple suitors for him. If the price gets too high, I think the Eagles will back out. They like him, reportedly, but only at the right price. It seems the Eagles understand he’s talented, but imperfect.
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As we talk about free agency and players, always remember to ask yourself if the player fits what Chip Kelly wants. The Steelers just let go of James Harrison. Could he be a target? Not likely at all. He’s older and a short LB. Kelly is looking for taller defensive players. This doesn’t mean you rule out everyone who’s not tall, but the player would need to be an ideal fit in several other ways to override the size issue. Harrison isn’t a good match.
The fit issue definitely applies to the OL. Some have asked about the Eagles having interest in Andre Smith or Phil Loadholt as RT targets. No way. Kelly wants to run an up-tempo offense. All his former players keep warning Eagles players to be in the best shape of their lives. Smith and Loadholt are massive guys, not athletic OL. Based on what we know of Kelly, those guys don’t make any sense at all.
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Bills CB/KOR Leodis McKelvin re-signed today. He was a player the Eagles liked in the past. No idea if they had any interest this time around.
Here’s an update on Sammie Lee Hill, a potential NT target.
SS William Moore re-signed with the Falcons. Top notch player that I didn’t think Atlanta was letting go. I think part of the reason for their recent cuts was to keep a guy like Moore.