All the Rookies Headed to the HOF

Posted: May 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 33 Comments »

Day 1 of rookie camp is in the books and my sources tell me all the rookies looked great and should be first ballot Hall of Famers. That’s great news, of course. I worried that David King might not make it until his third or fourth try.

So what do we really know? Not much. PE.com has up a slew of videos. 2 of them show the players in action, although that is probably a generous description. Clearly Chip Kelly only let limited footage out. You can’t really see much, beyond Bennie Logan dominating a trash can.

As I mentioned earlier, the first 3 days aren’t a period for evaluation. This is an introduction. Rookies get there first taste of NFL practice. The one thing almost all of them said was that things moved even faster than they expected. Part of that is life in the NFL, part is life with Chip Kelly. NFL practices are up tempo. Kelly’s are really up tempo.

The real test for the rookies is going to be Monday, when they get to practice with the whole team.

No word on any of the tryout guys. Chris Gocong was on the field for the first time since last summer. We didn’t get to see him in action and I’ve not heard anything. Gocong is worth discussing again. The Eagles drafted him in 2006. Gocong played DE at Cal-Poly and the Eagles were going to make him a SAM. Gocong had the frame to set the edge. He had a great motor and would chase plays all over the field. He was a good pass rusher in college, but that was based on speed/effort more than skill. The one thing he needed to do was develop cover skills.

Gocong started for 2 years and was an ascending player heading into 2009. That’s when things got weird. He started the season pretty well. He then got hurt and missed a game. Moise Fokou took his spot. The next week Gocong came back and Sean McDermott tried him at MLB. That was just an odd move and major failure. Gocong went back to SAM and then got benched late in the year when McDermott decided he wanted a 230-pound player that could move and cover better. Oops. The defense shut down SF with Fokou, but the last 3 games of the year weren’t so good. Teams averaged 28 points per game in those contests. The D had played better with Gocong.

Gocong played ILB, WLB, and  SAM in his 2 years with the Browns. He was more of a playmaker for them. He would be most natural at SAM with the Eagles. Gocong has never had the chance to play OLB in the 3-4, which would seem to be his best fit. I hope he’s able to impress the coaches and get a full roster spot. That wouldn’t mean he was on the final team, but would give him a chance to prove himself this summer and in the preseason.

* * * * *

Jordan Poyer didn’t run well at the Combine. Due to that, some think he might be more of a nickel back than an outside corner. I think the Eagles drafted him with the intention of playing him outside. If he is overwhelmed there, they can move him to the slot and let him compete with Brandon Boykin. Or Poyer could move to FS.

I’ve written a couple of times about how Bill Davis used big DBs in Arizona. He turned Matt Ware into a good role player. Davis was creative with Antrel Rolle and found a good role for him. Poyer isn’t as big as him, but Davis will find a way to use a player he likes. This very much fits into Chip Kelly’s disdain for generic labels. If Poyer can play, the Eagles will find a way to get him on the field.

* * * * *

Off topic, but a bit interesting. Darnell Dockett recently said that if Ray Horton had stayed in Arizona, Dockett would have requested a trade. He felt that Horton asked him to play too conservative a role and that took away his ability to make plays. Ray Horton is a good coach, but I have felt the hype with him is a bit much. In 2011, Arizona was 18th in Yds, 17th in Pts. In 2012, they were 12th in Yds, 17th in Pts. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but Horton is a guy that has been labeled as a defensive guru when that is very much up for debate.

* * * * *

Someone asked if there would be any problem with Vinny Curry playing LB while wearing #75. Not that I know of. The NFL is picky with numbers, but the Eagles could get around that if they simply listed Curry on the roster as a DE/LB.

* * * * *

Baloophi asked this in the previous comments section:

“If Kenny Tate performs well and earns a spot, will his supporters refer to themselves as taters?”

The answer is YES!!!

For those who don’t know, the primary section on the Eagles Message Board is called TATE (Talk about the Eagles). The people who post there a lot are called TATErs, and it has a negative connotation. I always considered myself a TATEr and I’ll stick up for my many brothers and sisters.

The real controversy is Tate. He is known as Kenny, but prefers to be called Kenneth. Why on earth would anyone choose Kenneth over Kenny? All I can say is this…what’s the frequency?

(how’s that for an obscure reference?)

_


  • laeagle

    Troublemakers like Baloophi need to be isolated from the general populace and quietly “eliminated” in the most efficient manner possible. We cannot allow dissenting voices like his to disrupt our productivity.

    • TommyLawlor

      I can’t imagine anyone would object to that.

      • D3FB

        Baloophi’s form of doublethink is obviously a danger to the comment section. He needs to work on his WIP sponsored groupthink.

    • Baloophi

      I fear I’ve become the Terrell Owens on the Iggles Blitz team (minus the production). Of course, instead of doing crunches in my driveway, I’m eating Nestle Crunches… sadly, in my driveway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brendanekstrom Brendan Ekstrom

    Am I the only one that’s bummed to see Johnson wearing #65? I am going to have Dunlap flashbacks every time I see him in play this year.

    • A_T_G

      I am expecting they will look quite different, despite the number, and that Ing will be quickly forgotten. “Down with the King! Fast Lane on the right!”

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m not thrilled about that choice, but if Johnson plays well, it will erase all the bad memories of 65. Johnson seems much more like a guy who should be in the 70s.

      • GEAgle

        Tom, Do you remember Matt Mitrione? Lane reminds me so much of him, from his face, to his aww Shucks demeanor

  • A Roy

    Perhaps he’d RATHER be called Ken…

    • TommyLawlor

      Very well done. Sneaky good.

  • A_T_G

    I’m glad to see they hit the over on HOFers. I was starting to worry that pre-ordering jerseys for each of he draft picks was a bad decision.

  • CTAZPA

    re: REM
    I don’t get half the references, and I’m forever clicking links to Will Farrell movies. This one’s the opposite. It didn’t seem obscure at all. Love it!

  • HazletonEagle

    It would be nice to see Gocong at SAM so Barwin can get back to his playmaking ways of 2 seasons ago. However, it would be nice to see Gocong finally have a shot to make some plays too. Nonetheless, its a good problem to have. Either can rush the passer, so teams cant just motion the TE to one’s side to slow down the better rush guy.
    Provided Gocong is healthy of course, it will present a nice pick your poison scenario for offenses.

    • Mac

      Gocong has a chance to be this year’s Jordan. Back up all lb spots with good but not great ability. Oh and i don’t consider this a bad thing.

    • TommyLawlor

      Gocong is more likely the backup SAM so that we’ve got someone there in case Barwin gets hurt or if Cole/Graham get hurt and Barwin needs to play the other side.

  • austinfan

    Horton built a defense as good as Davis’ 2009 defense with Davis’ players (bunch of rookies drafted in 2010) and some free agents. Yet Horton was a genius and Davis a failure?

    Shows how much a coach’s reputation depends on the talent he’s handed. I look at the talent, and how that talent develops more than the record. There are exceptions, hard to imagine Pittsburgh’s success without LeBeau, but how many DCs have passed through Baltimore the last 15 years? There the key is the personnel guys.

    • ACViking

      The Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” defense of the ’70s was led by D-C (and future Eagles D-C) Bud Carson.

      That Steelers defense was so loaded with talent, I think any coach would have looked like a genius.

      But the Steel Curtain was the exception that proves the rule.

    • Anders

      While points and yardage part sucked for the Cards, they did lead league in passer rating at a low 71.2 (yes that low in this modern day world).

  • Wilbert M.

    Maybe this is a chance at redemption for the Eagles picking Gocong. So many of Andy’s defensive picks made no sense. Guys like Gocong, Te’o Nesheim, Bryan Smith and Ricky Sapp were all tweeners that were better suited for a 3-4. Thank God the days of relying on Andy’s psychic ability in the draft are gone.

    • TommyLawlor

      I was a big Gocong fan prior to the pick. Thought he could be a great SAM for Jim Johnson. Might have, if JJ hadn’t fallen to cancer. Gocong was an ascending player. I don’t think he was going to be a star, but he was on track to be a good player.

      • Anders

        I cant remember the game, but wasnt there at least one game where he was used as the Joker and did a really nice job?

  • http://twitter.com/SeedSeries J. Brian Anderson

    Tommy you’re a bastard… now all I can think of is REM quotes. This is going to be stuck in my head for days. Any nuggets or word on how the practice went? Practice? we talkin’ ’bout practice…

  • ACViking

    Re: Lane Johnson – No. 65 ?!

    Commenter Brendan Ekstrom expressed his disappointment with the assignment of No. 65 to Lane Johnson — joined by T-Law, who (thought LJ should be donning a number in the 70s). Too many bad memories of King Dunlap. LJ wore No. 69 in college.

    About 10 days ago I commented on the the numbers assigned to the Eagles’ new draftees and, more generally, the Karma of number assignments.

    My central point was that some guys look good in a certain number. While other guys — like Dunlap and Johnson — just don’t seem right in their number. (John Madden, before becoming a parody of himself, used to say that “so-and-so looks like a No. xx.”)

    Look at the number 65. Very short and square-ish. Whereas, say No 71, is a long number that would seem good on a tall O-lineman.

    And flip 71 around . . . you have the angular No. 17. That was Harold Carmichael — at 6’7″ 220lbs. He looked like a No. 17. I can’t think of another number that would have fit him. Even more fun was that, as a rookie, Carmichael was originally a TE wearing No. 17. That was back before the NFL became obsessively rational about jersey-number assignments. (The Giants had a very good OLB named Brad Van Pelt in the early ’70s wearing No. 11. It totally worked.)

    How ’bout No. 31 Wilbert Montgomery. Seems like a perfect number for the fast, powerful, 5’10″ 190lb RB. It just worked.

    (Think of No. 43 on a RB. I don’t care who the guy is, but that number doesn’t work.)

    Okay. So Lane Johnson will wear No. 65 (gag!). Who else has worn that number for the Eagles besides The King (more gagging!!!)?

    The greatest No. 65 for the Eagles was 3x All Pro / 3x Pro Bowler NT Charlie Johnson, who anchored the Eagles defense during the height of the Vermeil era. Johnson was just about as tall as he was stout at 6’3″ 266 lbs. And solid as a rock.

    No. 65 just looks like it belongs on a stout interior linemen built like a rock. That was exactly what Charlie Johnson was.

    In contrast, LJ just seems too tall to be a No. 65.

    One other rookie’s number worth mentioning is Zach Ertz – No. 86.

    Several Eagles TEs have worn that number. The first to mind is 1973 NFC ROY TE Charles Young from USC. Absolutely DOMINANT from the moment he became an Eagle.

    Young was a 3x All Pro / 3x Pro Bowler in his first 3 years in Philadelphia. Big. Fast. Great hands. West coast type. (Coincidentally, Young inherited No. 86 from USC alum TE Fred Hill, cut after the ’72 season, whose daughter’s cancer was the inspiration for “The Eagles’ Fly for Leukemia” campaign back in 1971 which still continues today.)

    To me, Ertz looks like a No. 86. And if he’s 90% of the player Charlie Young was, Ertz will be a star.

    (Aside: WRs Fred Barnett and Reggie Brown also wore 86. They looked okay. Barnett would have looked better wearing, say, No. 18. And Reggie Brown might done better if he’d worn No. 85.)

    By the way, QB Matt Barkley will look good wearing No. 2. It fits the Falcon’s Matt Ryan well. Ryan looks like a No. 2. Barkley wouldn’t take No. 5 out of respect for D-Mac. (That’s what the team claims. It may be that No. 5 is unofficially *retired*.)

    No. 5 was also worn by QB Roman Gabriel, acquired from the Rams in one of the many disastrous trades by Eagles coach Mike McCormack, from ’73-’78. Gabe had a brilliant ’73 season, throwing to Carmichael, Young, and Don Zimmerman. The were called, because of their height, “The Fire-High Gang.”

    But Gabe — who was nearly as big as the D-linemen of that era and had worn No. 18 with the Rams — just never looked right as a No. 5. In fact, he looked downright terrible as a No. 5.

    Why did Gabe wear No. 5 as an Eagle? Because the Eagles traded a combination of 5 players and draft picks for him. (All Pro WR Harold Jackson. FB Tony “Touchdown Tony” Baker. 1st-Rd picks in ’74 and ’75. And a 3rd Rd pick in ’75.)

  • SteveH

    Does this mean we can agree that Howie Roseman is a good talent evaluator? Or is that still in doubt?

  • Baloophi

    “You can’t really see much, beyond Bennie Logan dominating a trash can.”

    Tommy, you’ve cautioned that rookie camp shouldn’t be about evaluation, which is why I don’t think we should make a big deal about Bennie Logan dominating a trash can: it’s Trash Can’s first day in the NFL!

    I, for one, am excited about Trash Can. At 33″ tall and 55 gallons in volume, he’s got prototypical size and rare lack of movement. As you can see in the video, you’re not going to move him off his spot. Also, I think we can already see how he earned the nickname “Brute” – he plays a little dirty.

    Does he come without question marks? Of course not. He had a few issues in college: getting caught holding up a pong table after curfew, and getting suspended for filling himself with ice to house a keg. But, to his credit, after his Sophomore year he really screwed his lid on tight.

    At the combine his diameter measured 26 1/2″… and you simply can’t coach that kind of size! Sure, the rest of his combine numbers aren’t spectacular (vertical and broad jumps of 0′ 0″, and a glacial 19 seconds in the 3 cone). He also chose not to lift, but now that he has access to an NFL weight room and cafeteria, you have to think he’ll be able to at least improve his strength.

    (Combine performance available here)

    http://www.rubbermaidcommercialproducts.com/c34/c42/c241/2655-BRUTE-Container-without-Lid-3-Pack-p489.html

    Yes, Trash Can is raw, but the Eagles were fortunate to get him as an UDFA. Gil Brandt says he heard the Cowboys were trying to trade to the top of round 2 to take him.

    While there’s no guarantee that he’ll earn a roster spot, at least he has the right attitude. When Les Bowen asked how he’s adjusted to Chip Kelly’s fast-paced practice he said, “I’m expecting to get vomited in quite a bit.” Sounds like an Eagle to me.

    • ACViking

      A Van Helsing-esque challenge.

    • Arby1

      I really appreciate Can’s willingness to do the dirty work. Also, playing in space, you can see a clear ability to work through the trash. My major question is whether he can get his handle on Kelly’s scheme.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Baloophi 1st Rd Trash Can Challenge

    Baloophi — in a masterful, 1940′s Hollywood quality comment — asked my take ” when the Eagles once traded a first rounder for a 31 gallon steel trash can.”

    My first reaction was that Baloophi posed a scenario that only Von Helsing could answer. That would be the Van Helsing from the original Dracula (1931), staring Bella Lugosi as the vampire and Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing.

    (He’s Van Helsing’s equal because, as Dracula observed to VH in a remark equally applicable here, “you are very wise [Baloophi”

    So I think Baloophi’s asked a good question.
    ___________________

    First, the trash — if fully hydrated — weighs about 460 lbs. So we’d be dealing with Sherman Plunkett-type interior lineman.

    Fortunately, we know that Chipper Kelly runs a high-octane offense. So the trash can’ll need to be in much better shape than Plunkett.

    Let’s say we cut 30% of the can’s weight — reduce the excess water. That get’s us down to 320 lbs. Now we have an anchor on the O-line or D-line.

    The problem, as I see it, is the trash can’s lack of mobility and lack of heart. (The Tin Man only needed a heart to be great in Oz.)

    __________________

    QUESTION: When the have the Eagles traded a 1st Rd’r for what might as well have been a over-weight trash can lacking mobility as well as heart.

    Sadly, the Eagles didn’t trade just one 1st-Rd’r. They traded two 1st-Rd’rs for a heartless, immobile 320 lb lineman.

    1991 NFL Draft . . . Eagles trade two 1sts to the Packers for ANTONE DAVIS.

    Big. Immobile. No heart.

    There it is.

    • pjxii

      I should have known ACV would have found an answer…

      Well done!

  • Kevin Klinger

    I actually had that REM song going through my head all freakin day last week for reasons I never was able to determine. It was gone. Thanks for that, Tommy.