To Win Or Not To Win

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 82 Comments »

Ed Kracz wrote an interesting piece the other day called “This year is really about 2015 and finding the one“.

His point is that the Eagles must have the right QB in place by 2015, whether that is Foles, Barkley or another young player. I’m excluding Vick since he’ll be 35 in June 2015 and I don’t see him as a guy who will make a smooth transition to aging QB that overcomes physical limitations by doing the little things at an elite level.

Kracz’s point about finding the right QB isn’t all that special. We all agree on that. However, he does raise the point about the tough situation that Chip Kelly faces. The more the Eagles win in 2013, the worse off the team will be in the 2014 draft.

The 2003 Steelers went 6-10. That gave them the 11th overall pick and they took Ben Roethlisberger. Since then, they’ve been to 3 Super Bowls and won 2 of them. The Bears went 7-9 and drafted 14th. They got Tommie Harris. They did manage to play in one Super Bowl, but have not been an elite franchise in the past decade.

If the Steelers had won just one more game…who knows what might have happened.  The Steelers had a veteran coach and team in 2003 so they weren’t trying to lose for draft position. Things just fell their way.

Chip Kelly has the luxury of playing young players (and young QBs). He can lose and tell the fans and media he’s building something. That could help the Eagles get a Top 5 pick and put them in better position to get a franchise QB. There are no guarantees, but you have a much better chance up high than down closer to pick 10.

The flip side here is that there is something to be said for winning now. Vince Lombardi inherited a talented, but highly dysfunctional team. He made a QB change at midseason and Bart Starr became a fixture on one of the best teams in NFL history. Lombardi saw there was talent in place. He just needed to get them to play to their potential.

Bill Walsh spent a 3rd round pick on a QB named Joe Montana. He started one game as a rookie and then 7 the next year. Montana took over the team in 1981 and led SF to its first Super Bowl win. Walsh didn’t think of draft position. He coached his team to win. They were really bad in 1979 (2-14), but that didn’t land them an elite player that would change the fortunes of the franchise.

You can counter this by pointing out that the Colts have had the No. 1 pick twice in 15 years and came away with 2 franchise QBs. The Skins turned a bad year into a trade up for RG3. That sure appears to be a franchise-changing move.

Then again, the Super Bowl QBs from last year were a mid-1st rounder (Flacco) and an early 2nd rounder (Kaepernick).

Simply put, there is no distinct pattern to finding “the guy” and building a dynasty.

I would tell Chip Kelly to try and win. If the Eagles do win, then maybe that is proof that he’s got more talent to work with than some people thought. If the team loses, some bad players will be exposed and Kelly will have a high pick to work with.

I do agree with Kracz’s point that Kelly does need to find out about the young QBs. I don’t think you can force that, though. If you play the young guys when they haven’t earned the job, that can cause dissension with veteran players and it sends mixed messages to the team. After all, Kelly can’t preach competition and then give jobs to lesser guys just because they are young. If the season does get out of hand (and boy I hope it doesn’t), he can go that route.

The most convenient thing for Kelly is to have Foles or Barkley win the job. I still think Kelly will make them actually win it. If there is a tie, it would go to the young guy, but if Vick lights it up this summer, you either have to trade him (which seems highly unlikely) or start him.

Man, this is going to be an interesting season. There will be a mixture of fun and frustration, but I doubt things ever get boring.

_


  • SteveH

    I think winning is a mentality, and the sooner the Eagles get that winning mentality in their heads the better. I don’t think any coach ever could actually do something that could be perceived as trying to lose and keep the respect of the team.

    • TommyLawlor

      Getting the Eagles to develop the right mentality is important. Forget about winning. Teach them to be competitive and tough and the winning will follow.

  • Sean Scheinfeld

    The problem with angling for a higher draft pick in order to get a franchise quarterback is that QB classes are so unpredictable. First, there’s always a chance some will just decide to stay in school. Mostly though, the perception and evaluation of many of them will change greatly between the time the CFB season starts and ends, and between then and the draft. For example, last year the consensus was that our future HOF-er Matt Barkley would be the #1 pick and a surefire “franchise” option. He had a less successful season and fell all the way to the fourth round, while other projected high picks like Landry Jones and Tyler Wilson experienced a similar fall from grace. By the end, the class was so lackluster that EJ Manuel, with his gold shoes and prestine sleeves, was the first QB taken. All of this is just to say that, while Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd, and company look great right now, there’s nothing to say their stocks won’t shift drastically downward by next May (which is when the draft is taking place for some strange reason). Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with a middling prospect like David Fales rising to the top and all that time spent looking forward to Bridgewater will have proven fruitless.

  • T_S_O_P

    Indy have had as many number one overall QBs as any team I can remember over my time filling the sport. Elway, George, Manning and Luck.

    • TommyLawlor

      And it’s funny that they signed Johnny Unitas when he was playing sandlot football after the Steelers cut him.

      • ACViking

        The Colts also landed — at No. 2 overall — QB Bert Jones from LSU in ’73. From ’75-’77, before a bad shoulder injury that all but ended his career, Jones turned the franchise into the Raiders East.

        One of the truly great playoff games was in ’77 between the Colts and Raiders, with the Raiders winning in double OT.

        The game is known as the “Ghost to the Post” game . . . because Raiders TE Dave Casper made a huge and great over-the-shoulder catch late (going to the post, obviously) to force OT.

        Here’s a link to the game:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0uLBFoC9Io

        • Sb2bowl

          ACViking– do you just know this info, or are you a research guru?

          • Dominik

            From time to time, I ask myself the same question. It’s ridiculous (I hope I don’t have to point that out: in a great way) how much he knows about the history of the NFL.

          • Sb2bowl

            Yup– I kind of don’t want to know; suspense is more powerful than knowledge, or something like that!

  • Iskar36

    Generally speaking, I definitely agree that we cannot go into this season with the attitude of “play for 2015″. I want Kelly trying to develop a winning mentality for the Eagles. Having said that, the worst thing that can happen this season is the Eagles going 8-8, just missing the playoffs after being in the hunt most of the season with Vick healthy and starting all season. To me, I think if Vick wins the starting job, Chip Kelly can’t afford to give Vick the kind of slack AR sometimes gave QBs in a slump (and just to be clear, in the context of those seasons, I did like that AR would try to let players play through a slump). That’s not to say that if Vick struggles one game that he should get pulled immediately, but I do think if you are going to deal with inconsistency over this season, it should be with one of the younger guys.

    • TommyLawlor

      Agreed. Vick can have a bad game, but if he has a couple in a row and the offense hits the wall, Kelly has to then be ready to make a change if things start slowly in the next game.

      The only reason to play a veteran like Vick is if he’s playing well.

    • GEagle

      What worries me most about the win now vs. win in 2015 argument is not the QBs, it’s the roster battles at some other positions…
      take Jason Avant for example who is practically respected by every single Eagles fan in the Del valley. Our roster is fll of young players. Do you keep Avant who can help us win today, sacrificing a young talent like Momah? ifeany Momah hasn’t played football since 2011. That needs to be understood. the kid isn’t going to come into camp a blow the doors off, but he is a rare talent who could develope into a valuable weapon in 2015. How many young kids with Talent and potential can we cut, so that we can keep veterans who probably have no shot at being here in 2015? Of course we can place young talent on the practice squad, but that is always a gamble.

      Anyone else getting the feeling that we are going to trade for another OLB? How is the Scofield kid who seems to be on his way out in Arizona? I’m sure you can trade for a guy like Micheal Johnson who the bengals will lose to free agency, but it won’t be cheap. So I don’t think you will see us give up valuable picks for a starter, until you find out if Graham is the OLB of the future or not…But I do expect a backup with NFL OLB experience to possibly be aquired before the start of the season. it’s cheaper to Keep Trent Cole then to cut him. I am a BIGTIME howie supporter, but we have seriously let him off the hook for the contract he gave Trent

  • I Got Jokes, Calm Down

    the future is now

  • I Got Jokes, Calm Down

    if vick has a preseason like last year, he’s gone.

    • TommyLawlor

      Not having Demetress Bell at LT will certainly help Vick quite a bit.

      • Media Mike

        That would help anybody, but Jason Peters were here in 2010 when Vick couldn’t figure out how to be a blitzing DB from the Vikings, in 2011 when Vick kept turning the ball over, and in mini-camp this year when Vick kept getting his passes blocked by coaches wearing backpacks.
        Vick is Vick is Vick…………not good enough, not worth a penny of salary that could be used to sign more important players long-term, and not worthy of a roster spot on a team trying to build for the future.
        You hit the nail 100% on the head when you said Vick at 35 cannot be predicted / trusted to be a productive and healthy option for a title team in 2015.

        • GEagle

          What really bothers me about Vick is his refusal to protect himself. A Super Bowl winning QB has to be able to have control of his body, making correct split second decisions in the heat of the battle. It is NOT acceptable to me to watch this dude fight for yards, dive head first, refusing to slide…His excuse of, he knows he should slide, but he always forgets in the heat of the moment because he is such a competitor is NOT acceptable for me…After all the injuries, all the hits, all the concussions. Missed games, if this dude can’t correct this one simple concept of giving up 1 yard short, SLIDING(sorry for the caps, but in this case it’s friggin necessary!!! Lol), living to play another down….then he shouldn’t be on this team!! Simple as that. Fix it, or get out!!,

          I don’t care if he runs for 40yards. If the play ends in any other way besides him sliding or getting out of bounds before he can get blasted, then the play should be considered a failure. Since his track record for fixing the sliding issue is a friggin Joke, then Vick needs to Prove it not only in the preseason, but also in training camp. I would make him understand this to the point of Fix it, or you are flat out getting cut before the season starts. it’s THAT serious for me.

          Every rep this man gets, takes a rep away from someone who will ATleast try and fix their mistakes. this man can not be continued to make the same exact mistake over and over and over again. I simply can’t watch it. if we are going to take reps away from Foles and Barkley, then Vick should constantly be showing improvement, because what he has been hasn’t even been close to acceptable..

          So IMO, in training camp, Vick can NOT be allowed to hide behind his red Jersey. It would be a huge mistake by chip Kelly to not force him, and Judge him on sliding or getting out of bounds when he leaves the pocket. What good are your legs if it continues to get you hurt because you are to stubborn, dumb or whatever the hell you want to call it to not take unnecessary hits? obviously chip can’t allow the defense to hit Vick in camp, but I’m really hoping for Chip to force Vick to simulate real games. So when Vick decides to use his “advantage” and take off from the pocket, then defenders should be trying to touch him with one hand, and Vick Better be sliding or getting his ass out of bounds before a defender gets to touch him…Failure to do so should be a serious Negative!!!
          ..
          It’s Insanity for me, to continue to allow him to not fix such a simple concept. It’s such a serious issue for me, that continuing to put up with this would really change the way I view Chip Kelly. if you have No shot of playing 16 games you are Worthless!!!

  • GvilleEagleFan

    I look at it this way: if the Eagles are good this year while we try to win and we end up with a 14-22 draft pick, that would most likely indicate that the supporting cast is doing its job and we were let down by our QB talent (or lack thereof) and would be justified in executing an RGIII-esque trade because we were competitive without a “star” QB. Take into account that Barwin, Cox, Graham, Ertz, DJax, Johnson, Kendricks, and even our CB corp are all under 30. Of course you always need a willing trade partner, but the presence of elite talents at positions aside from QB (Lee, Clowney) could either push QB prospects down the board via a team with an investment in a QB ending up in the top 5 (Bills, Indy, Skins, Panthers, Chargers, Cincy, Lions could each end up with high picks due to inexperience, lack of talent, or tougher scheduling but not want to spend that pick on a QB) or allow us to target a QB outside the top 5 and try to trade up to 6-10 when one of those teams doesn’t see the elite non-QB they were hoping to fall on the board.

    On the other hand, if we fail due to a lack of talent fitting our schemes, we’ll be in a position with a high pick to nab a QB without having to sacrifice future first round picks.

    I think this is part of the reason Chip chose Philly; the team is either close to being a contender and Howie is the kind of GM to be aggressive in getting the missing piece or in need of a larger rebuild that Lurie will give Chip the slack to undertake.

    • GvilleEagleFan

      We could also end up needing to trade up in the most expensive draft in recent memory due to having to compete with contending teams looking to pull off a Julio Jones-esque trade for Lee or Clowney with the same team we try to target to get our QB. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

      • Anders

        but if contending teams trade up to get Clowney or Lee (Clowney is going to cost a gazillion draft picks), that would just push QBs even futher down. Also next year have the chance of becoming very deep at the QB position if all the QBs declare for the draft (something like 8 QBs taken in the first 2 rounds)

        • GvilleEagleFan

          I tend to agree with you (see the scenario I outlined in my first comment) but I just wanted to cover the scenario of us possibly coveting a player that another team also covets and needing to jump ahead of them. Remember Tommy always says that QBs are different than the other positions; you don’t look for the right combination of scheme fit and value as much as you pick a guy you like and go after him. Hopefully Foles/Barkley turns into the next Wilson and plays good enough behind a strong OL and beastly running game with a coherent defense that this whole discussion becomes moot.

    • GEagle

      Here is my problem. the Instant success of rookies like Rg3,Luck, Wilson has ruined everyone’s judgement…Just because a QB doesn’t prove to be a franchise alerting GOD in his rookie season, it does not mean that he can’t grow into one….Finding a franchise QB is hard enough. There isn’t even enough to go around for every team…If the parameters now are about finding a franchise QB who will prove it as a rookie, then we could go a Decade before finding a QB….I see no point in spending a 3rd and a 4th on QBs in consecutive drafts, if we are going to have ZERO patience developing them. I need to know how good Foles and bArkley can become before I start advocating for mortgaging an entire draft to trade up for another rookie QB that we won’t have any patience for…..If we already think that we have to draft a first round qb next year, then why didn’t we accept draft picks in return for Foles? What are we doing with Barkley? Might as well trade him too then lol…..Without the proper Patience, it will lead t decisions we will regret

  • Media Mike

    This is quite simple. The Eagles need to find out how good Nick Foles and Matt Barkley might actually be. Anybody with a set of eyes and a brain knows the limits on Michael Vick fall well below the type of QB one needs to win a Superbowl. We need to find out if Foles or Barkley can be a better player. If those two guys can’t be, the bad record will take care of itself. If those guys can be, than we don’t need to be in tank mode for a QB.
    IF we wind up being horrible; Teddy Bridgewater is my guy.

    • GEagle

      The problem is that I don’t know you can find that out in one year dealing with a rookie and a sophomore. What I do know is Foles and Matt will put in work, to improve on their weaknesses…how much they improve is the million dollar question

  • GEagle

    Howie gave a couple of interviews yesterday..and he didn’t really go into specific positions, but he did talk about the Dline and how he thinks it’s filled with hidden gems, and he is excited about seeing some of these Dlineman make names for themselves…..I totally agree. I think this defense is gong to be better than we think…OF Course, it has to Gel first…I don’t really expect us to have a top defense this year, but I do expect us to have a lot of pieces for our future too defense already on this roster…
    ….
    D.Gunn is an idiot who doesn’t think Kendrick’s is going to start lol. He thinks he is just a Nickle LB….yeah Gunn, we give microphones helmets to just our Nickle specialists all the time….IDIOT! He also thinks that Kendrick’s can’t play in a 3-4, and that he could get traded by the end of the offseason…What a foolish thing to say about an eventual All Pro Eagle!!!….Maybe if people realized that we aren’t playing a traditional two Gap 3-4, instead we will play a 4-3U/Texans single gap 3-4, they would realize what a great fit Kendrick’s will be. Sopo isn’t some game changing stud…but he is here to eat up blockers and keep lineman off Kendrick’s so he can use that speed to make plays.

    I also expect that by the end of the year, Celek will be way down the depth chart…2014 Eagles TE’s, I’m calling it now: Ertz,Casey,and Colt Lyeria

  • T_S_O_P

    Tommy, you highlighted point 2 of Roob’s 25 random points, I’d like to highlight light number 11 (my lucky number by the way)

    11. Brandon Graham has played in 32 games in his career and has now had four defensive coordinators – Sean McDermott, Juan Castillo, Todd Bowles and Billy Davis. He also had three in four years at Michigan. That’s seven coordinators in eight years. Tough to gather momentum in your career like that. I don’t know if he can play linebacker, but I still think Graham will be a good, solid, productive player somewhere for somebody.

    Add to that, he is on his 4th positional pro coach; this guy makes Randall Cunningham’s early professional career look the model of consistency.

    • GEagle

      That’s a great point. More so then coaching stability, I think Continuity is what is really important for Graham. He can’t be having injury setbacks and missing time. Coming out of college I would have had no doubts about Graham playing OLB. The question is how much of his athletic ability have the knee surgeries robbed him of? that’s what will dictate how much more, besides rushing the passer, that Graham will be able to do for us as an OLB. If Cole and Graham can Only be pass rushers, then it’s seriously Crucial for Barwin to stay healthy this year.
      ..
      Connar Barwin is crucial because he can be asked to do practically anything from the OLB position, which will allow Cole and Graham to just be down hill OLBs if they aren’t capable of dropping back in coverage. Ideally, I’m sure Billy Davis would love to have two starting OLBs that can both drop back and also rush the passer to keep opposing QBs off balance. Just like the safety position gives you an advantage when opposing QBs don’t know which safety will be dropping back into centerfield, same concept with OLBs. However, you can make due with just one coverage OLB and one pass rusher which really makes it crucial for Barwin to stay healthy this season. As a pure pass rusher, I actually think Graham will benefit from the move to OLB. He can now see the offense better and giving a bull rusher an extra couple steps of a head start before he gets to the OT is nothing to worry about, it’s actually an advantage…

      the Agility of Brandon Graham and Kenny Phillips are two very important questions that need answering in training camp.

      BTW, watching Casey and Ertz run routes in some PE.com videos had me drooling.

    • TommyLawlor

      QB Jason Campbell holds the record, I think. He had 3 or 4 different OCs in college. He then had different OCs in his first 5 or so years of pro football. Poor guy never fully developed because a QB needs a stable relationship with an OC.

      Graham can overcome this much easier. DEs are told to go get the QB. There are differences in each scheme, but they’re much simpler than for a QB or offensive player.

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    Tommy on the topic of NFL “arm strength” and whether or not Barkley may have it… what exactly do you define as NFL caliber arm strength? Is it more important to be able to throw the deep ball or the 10-15 yard out?

    • TommyLawlor

      Intermediate passes are the key. You need the proper velocity on them. We’re talking about passes in the 11-20 range, whether over the middle or out wide. Lots of defenders around the ball. Must get there quickly or the D can make a play on it.

      You can manufacture arm strength on deep balls by using your lower body. Barkley already does this. Good coaching.

  • P_P_K

    While transition periods can be confusing and disturbing, I’m psyched that the Eagles have three guy that should all be able to play NFL football. If Vick has a killer pre-season under Kelly, great, he’s our #1 and the young guys wait their turn. If Foles wins the job, we get a chance to find out just how good he can be with a proper O-line and a coach who understands what a reasonable run:pass ratio looks like. Matty B is a rookie, so iit shouldn’t surprise anyone if he has to hold a clipboard for a bit. If he turns out to be a rookie sensation, terrific, otherwise he has some time to develop before taking the field.

    None of the guys we have are going to be Montana or Brady (or McNabb), but I think they are all potentially capable of running a successful NFL offense. This is a good thing.

  • BobSmith77

    I don’t think the future Eagles’ QB starter in 2015 is on the current roster but the only move that I really didn’t like this offseason was bringing back Vick. It was time to move-on for several reasons.

    Eagles could have brought in another veteran who it was clear was going to be a backup & made it an open competition between Foles and Barkley for the starter’s job.

    If the Eagles stink this year and both Foles & Barkley didn’t show much, the Eagles would find out that they likely need to draft a QB very high. Instead, I bet Vick does win the job in camp, proceeds to be quite mediocre again, loses his job to injury/performance issues by midseason, and the Eagles still don’t definitely know if Foles/Barkley is their guy moving ahead forward.

    It’s a good things to have an alternative option but having too many choices and not choosing a strategy is the worst thing an organization can often do.

    • spiralstairs

      I think the only issue there is that Vick’s contract was renegotiated before the draft.

    • Wilbert M.

      I think there were some good reasons to bring Vick back. He might just be an insurance policy in case Nick falls on his face. A tie (and maybe even a close loss) in the QB competition will go to the younger guy. And, if Chipper can rejuvenate Vick, the Eagles might be competitive.

  • Tom33

    I think Chip said it best – no way you can get guys to buy in and play hard if you aren’t trying to win. To tank a season for draft board position is idiotic – especially since the draft is by no means an exact science (Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, David Carr, Jamarcus Russell (many people saw that one coming though) – and that’s just the QB’s. The only potential area where it could make sense is when deciding on a roster spot between an older vet and a younger guy – if everything else is close you may consider how long the guy will be productive and how much upside there is. Otherwise, to borrow a quote, you play to win the game.

  • GEagle

    Yes we have some big questions in the secondary and at QB, but I’m expecting to compete Now! Win the battle in the trenches and you will give yourself a chance to compete. We got abused and molested at the LOS last year on both sides of the ball. If our lines stay healthy this year, we will no longer be getting bullied. Gone are the undersized high motor fastballs…Our lineman are mostly 300lbs plus now!! We look like a football team now. the only exceptions are Kelce,Vinny curry…the rest of the rotation is Big Boys….we are beginning to resemble the niners and Ravens in terms of Baldinger’s airport test lol(do you look like a football team walking through an airport or coming off the bus?)…

  • Ryan

    Best case scenario…Vick wins the competition and does great but the Eagles lose in some shoot outs because they have no defense. They then trade Vick at mid season for some draft picks or young players that help the rebuild along while either Foles or Barkley distinguishes himself in the second half as the QB of the future.

    • Wilbert M.

      When is the last time a QB was traded mid-season? Not saying it can’t happen, but I don’t recall it lately.

      I think the best case scenario is Foles or Barkley proving they are franchise QB’s this season – then we can focus the draft on other areas.

      • GEagle

        Wilbert…Foles or Barkley proving that they are franchise QBs to build around, is by far the best case scenario for this season. I personally really believe in our past two draft classes. One more draft like that, and we could be on our way to having a talented team. What I really like is that Foles and Barkley are stylistically similar. So if one proves to be a franchise Stud, we would already have a decent young backup in place as well. Not having to worry about the QB position allows us to concentrate on improving the rest of the team. it’s by far the best thing that can come out of this season…Especially considering next year is a QB heavy draft class, so it’s going to push some good players at other positions back a few spots, so teams that don’t need to draft QBs this year will also benefit

  • DJH

    There’s no question in my mind what approach Kelly will take: Win the day. He will do everything in his power to win one Sunday to the next, for better or worse. I think the long term strategery will come second. It’s just a hunch I have about Kelly.

    He’s very “in the moment” but he’s obviously also a program builder.

    Long term adjustments will be made, but not at the cost of winning next Sunday.

  • Tumtum

    Hrmm… if Matt Barkley wins the job what should we make of that? Vick is Vick but Foles is seen as a young promising player with potential. He was a 3rd round pick last season. Barkley was highly touted before this past season and was a 4th round pick which was seen as a big disappointment for him by the media. So if Barkley wins is Foles a terrible pick in the 3rd round or is Barkely the next Tom Brady?

    • TommyLawlor

      Don’t think of him vs him vs him. Think of this as simply which guy plays best. It really is that simple. One of the QBs should play better than the others.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Ghosts of Lombardi and Walsh

    T-Law:

    I think you’re right that Lombardi and Walsh — No. 1 and 1-A in NFL history — coached to win their first years.

    They did, however, inherit vastly different teams.
    ________________

    Lombardi’s Packers had a full cupboard, as you noted. In the five prior drafts, the Pack selected 1st, 3rd, 1st, 8th, 5th, and 3rd — and they hit on quite a few players, obviously (especially ’58 with HOF FB Jim Taylor, HOF MLB Ray Nitchke, and arguable HOFer OG Jerry Kramer).

    In his first trade as the Packers new coach, Lombardi acquired his QB of the future — a 5-year vet from the Cards named Lamar McHan. But the Packers, behind McHan, stumbled out of the block in ’59 at 3-4. Whether it was an injury to McHan or his record is still disputed up in Green Bay when the question is why Starr tookover.

    Anyway, before turning to Bart Starr, however, Lombardi replaced McHan with a 2nd-year player from Oregon State named Joe Francis, who faired as poorly as McHan.

    So Lombardi turned to the relatively inexperienced Starr — in his 4th season but with just 19 starts. Starr went 4-1, But that was really not that.

    In 1960, Starr opened the season as the Packers’ starting QB. But the Packers lost on opening day 17-14 to the Chicago Bears.

    So Lombardi turned to McHan — and the team won four straight games. But McHan’s play was not particularly noteworthy. So in that 4th game started by McHan, Starr replaced him in the 2nd quarter . . . and held the QB job for the next 10 years.

    __________________

    In 1979, Bill Walsh inherited a 49ers team whose cupboard — unlike the Packers — was bear of talent. But in 3 of the prior 5 drafts, the 49ers had no 1st-round pick.

    Also, Walsh’s choice of QB in ’79 was 2nd-year player Steve DeBerg, who’d gone 1-10 before Walsh’s arrival.

    DeBerg went 2-14 in Walsh’s first year. And he was the opening-day starter in 1980, going 4-5 before yielding to Montana — and the future.

    Walsh’s breakthrough in ’81 was as much the product of Montana’s development as a great draft. The team, selecting 8th overall, drafted HOF CB/S Ronnie Lott, starting NT john Harty, starting CB Eric Wright, starting SS Carlton Williamson, and back-up NT Pete Kugler.
    _________________

    Walsh’s 49er experience was so much like Vermeil’s experience with the Eagles. Both coaches took over retched teams. The difference was that Walsh actually had 1st round picks to use after his first year, whereas Vermeil had to wait 3 whole seasons to select higher than Rd 3. Also, Walsh struck gold with Montana. Vermeil did well with Jaworski — but he wasn’t Joe Montana.

    Lombardi’s experience is akin to Jim Harbaugh’s.

    Before Harbaugh took over the 49ers in 2011, San Francisco had drafted 11th, 10th, 7th, 11th, and 6th in the draft — and, because of trades, getting two 1st Rd picks in 2006 and 2010.
    ____________________

    All in all, I can see (regretfully) why Kelly brought Vick back. Harbaugh — liking Kaeppy — still wanted Smith as his QB. Lombardi brought in an experienced QB. Walsh had no choice but to go with DeBerg — since it was the pre-free agency era, the roster was obviously very thin on talent, and as Walsh tells it, he saw Montana as the future.

    The 2013 Eagles are closer to the ’59 Packers than the 2011 49ers — by a lot.

    At some point, based on a slice of history, Foles or Barkley will find their way into the line-up. If not this year, then next.

    At the same time,

    • P_P_K

      ACV – Great info. Thanks. A Hall of Fame post.

    • xlGmanlx

      Great post but you failed to outline why you think the igg’s are closer to the 59′ pack, insight that would be interesting nonetheless

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    I tweeted this at you Tommy but it’s not a good medium for discussing a topic like this.

    Looking at Matt Barkley, seems to get a lot of comparison to Tom Brady (not player type but situation) but if you look at another QB in the NFL he draws much more similar comparisons… Houston’s Matt Schuab.

    Both had stellar junior seasons with Heisman talk for Senior year.
    Both suffered injuries in senior year, causing less than stellar outcomes.
    Both fell to mid round picks.
    Both spend/well spend (potentially) their rookie season behind Michael Vick.

    Now, what are the chances that Barkley can sit for 1-3 years like Schuab did and become an effective NFL QB?

    • Neil

      I’d take Barkley’s intangibles over Schaub’s, but Schaub’s demonstrated a functional arm. Tricky. I always think to myself of odds, either 100% or 0%. We just have to wait and see.

  • ACViking

    Re: “Tanking” the season

    I get that veterans wouldn’t like Kelly to “Tank” the season.

    But I don’t understand how trying to build a team that wins more than one SB — and this team is not going to win one short of a miracle — is “Tanking” the season?

    Jimmy Johnson — whom lots of folks seem to see as the best comparator to Chip Kelly — took over a bad Dallas Cowboys team. There was some talent on those Cowboys, plus the 1st-overall pick.

    The holdovers included HB Hershel Walker, WRs Michael Irvin and Kelvin Martin (a slot receiver who killed the Eagles), OLs Mark Tuinei, Nate Newton, Kevin Gogan — all three of whom were starters 2 of the Cowboys 3 SB wins — LBs Ken Norton Jr. and DE Jim Jeffcoat — who played on 2 of the 3 SB teams — and All Pro STer Bill Bates. There were also solid NFL players like LBs Jack Del Rio and Gary Cobb.

    Johnson tore the Cowboys apart. He started rookie QB Troy Aikman, rookie FB Daryl Johnston, rookie C Mark Stepnoski, and rookie DE Tony Tolbert . . . all of whom were anchors of the 3 SB winners.

    Johnson wanted to build the team in his image, I guess.

    And he didn’t give a damn about how the veterans felt about it. They either bought in. Or were gone.

    True, the Eagles don’t have a Troy Aikman at QB.

    But I have no doubt that even if Johnson hadn’t landed Aikman, he’d have rebuilt the Cowboys . . . FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS.

    • GEagle

      Im with you in wanting to build a Super Bowl team. we are a very young team, and not just in terms of age, but also in terms of players who don’t have 3 seasons of significant playing time under their belt, which typically is when you find out who exactly a player is…So while, I’m not trying to waste away a season tanking games, I don’t want to see veterans who won’t be here in 2015 take developmental time or roster spots away from young talent. I want us to win games and compete while developing players that can help us seriously compete in 2015…and this isn’t just a Vick thing with me. I don’t want to see Trent Cole playing ahead of Brandon Graham. Everyone loves and respects Avant, but I don’t want to see him taking roster spots away from Benn, Damaris, Momah, Cooper. By midseason, I’m not going to want to see Celek playing instead of Ertz when we go to single TE sets…The only older players I’m ok with Is the Oline and our NT Sopoaga, because typically those positions have longer a longer shelf life…
      ..
      if a veteran is performing drastically better then a young player, I understand going with the Vet, but if its not that big of a drop off then I would much rather go with the young player. So while I want us to win Now, I’m not interested in winning now with a player that has no shot in being here in 2015, which is probably the first time we would really be ready to compete for a Super Bowl. Practicing is not enough. Young plays need game time to develope. So I’m hoping Chip finds the proper balance of winning now, without wasting too much time developing our young talent

      • ACViking

        Excellent argument. Lots of meat there.

        • GEagle

          Thank you kind sir

        • TommyLawlor

          ACV, I think the counter to your point is that the 2013 Eagles are much closer to being a SB team than were the 1989 Cowboys. There was only limited FA back then and the NFC East was the best division in the NFL. Thinking short term would have been insane.

          Much different Eagles team and landscape for Kelly to deal with now.

      • Ark87

        It doesn’t have to be zero sum. Take Isaac Sopoaga. He is not part of any long term plans, he will almost certainly play over some young long term NT prospects, but the young guys playing around him will almost certainly benefit in the short and long term from his presence.

        3/5 of our O-line doesn’t factor into our long-term plans, but I feel we’re blessed that our 4th overall pick gets to learn the ropes playing with the stability that those guys give.

        I’m of the opinion that prospects can be ruined. I look at a guy like Nate Allen, who is a quality character with all the smarts and physical attributes a safety needs to succeed. He’s been surrounded by poor schemes and poor football since he got here. I really hope we can salvage his career because I like the guy, but I fear he may be ruined.

        Or look at the lions. They’ve been stock piling on young elite talent (and playing it) for years and still can’t get out of the basement. Establish a winning culture today, then worry about tomorrow.

        Look at all the Vet’s we’ve brought in. All character guys from a winning culture. There’s value in that.

        • GEagle

          Like I said, Im good with Sopo and the Olineman…I hear you on the lions situation, but that was kind of different. It doesn’t seem like they put as much as an emphasis as we did on the Charecter in the young talent that they brought in. Lane is a small time kid who lives for football and is married. Ertz was a leader at a BIGTIME program, Logan wore 16 at LSU, Barkley has been groomed to lead since he was a child lol, you hear Wolff open his mouth and he is just a sweetheart…Even if they removed all the veterans I mentioned removing…I think this Offensive line should be one of the leaders of this locker room. The Defense has Sopo and Meco who they already respect. Kenny, Cary, and Chung give us 3 players in our secondary that have played in superbowls…Barwin, I’m sure will take somewhat of a leadership role, as will Casey….Just because I want to go young, it doesn’t mean we will be leaderless..
          ..
          This entire offseason was about adding Charecter and leadership of all ages

          • D3FB

            Another key reason to let Sopo play alot of nose is poor nose play could get Kendricks killed and ruin him.

          • GEagle

            Yup yup…Sopo is crucial for Kendicks sophomore season!!!

  • Doc

    I really like some of the things Nick Foles brings to the table, quick reactions, commands the huddle, shows poise, fights on every down. He shows inconsistent footwork and can’t always get the ball where he wants it…. I was impressed for how he handled the situation last season with the collapse of an empire, injuries and etc… Makes me think what could this guy do with a healthy OL, RB depth, his #1 wideout and a game plan built for him succeed?

    • GEagle

      Exactly why I want to see him win the starting job and start the season. before injuries start to occur, I want to see what this kid can do, behind what can be an excellent line, a monster run game, and a plethora of pass catching weapons with his improved arm strength and eye manipulation(2 improvements that multiple reporters acknowledged in OTAs). We always hear how the game slows down for plays in year two…well I’m dying to see what this young man can do, with this supporting cast and coaching staff…The offense is so solid with talent that if Foles is going to play, then I’m going to expect him to put up points…If this offense wasn’t so solid, then I probably wouldn’t mind seeing him sit the bench and develope….This offense has so many weapons that it can be successful with a point guard(QB) like a game managing Rajon Rondo…It doesn’t need a Russel Westbrook type(Vick) who is wired to play like superman who tries to put the team on it back.
      ..
      read the defense correctly, make the right pre snap adjustment,get the ball out, into the hands of a weapon in stride, and get out of the way lol.

  • knighn

    Typically young / rookie QBs need to play in games to actually get better than the established veterans. Even an excellent rookie with a bright future might need playing time to beat out an average veteran.
    I’m not looking at the current situation, but a hypothetical future situation… let’s say Chip Kelly has a solid but not outstanding QB (wins games but not the big ones), would Chip Kelly bench the guy that is currently the better QB (the veteran) for a chance to give the future a shot? Hypothetically, you are sacrificing wins in the short term, but at some point doesn’t Chip Kelly have to look Big Picture?

  • GEagle

    question:

    bills just cut DE Mark Anderson who they signed to a 20million deal last year. Anyone know anything about him? Would we be interested? didn’t the bills play a 3-4 last year, meaning he played OLB? I know he only played 5 games, I’m assuming it was due to injury and not just homing so bad that they didn’t play him

    • ACViking

      DE Mark Anderson isn’t quite the NFL’s equivalent of the ’57 Braves Bobby “Hurricane” Hazle — who hit over .400 in part-time duty. But Anderson’s pretty close.

      He’s made a career off two pretty good seasons. First, with the Bears in 2007 playing alongside a healthy DT Tommie Harris and opposite DE Adewele Ogunleye. Then in 2011, he found his way to New England and Belichick’s magic dust.

      Finally, he turns 30 this year and he’s on the light side for a 3-4 defense.

      • GEagle

        Gotcha…knew he was the Anderson that played for Patriots, didn’t reAlize he was a bear first, so that makes him old…But, since he is light, experienced in a 3-4, and was slated to play opposite of a pass rushing Mario Williams, does that mean he is capable dropping back in coverage? ideally I would want a young player that can continue to grow with the team, but an Injury to Barwin worries me, so worst case, I still think we should bring in a stop gap OLB that can cover. At this point, how would you overcome an injury to Barwin?

        • ACViking

          Strictly a hand-in-the-dirt DE. And not nearly the run defender of a Trent Cole.

          I never liked the Bills’ decision to sign him. A two-hit wonder too light to be an every-down defender.

          But the Bills finally disappeared GM Buddy Nix. So maybe we’ll see some improvement.

          If EJ Manuel turns out to be 80% of Big Ben, that team’ll be heading in the right direction.

          • xlGmanlx

            bingo – MA is smoke and mirrors

          • GEagle

            Oh wow…240lbs and can’t cover? never mind!!!! Lol They gave this dude a 20million dollar deal just last summer with 8mil up front…Makes the Trent cole deal look like a good deal

            yeah I also like a lot of what the bills are doing. Although losing Levitre without replacing him would have pissed me off if I was a bills fan..and the Byrd situation hasn’t been handled well. I actually loved the Kiko Alonso pick for them

  • austinfan

    Chip’s offensive scheme doesn’t require finding a “franchise” QB. Because it’s built around the running game and the quick pass, a smart accurate QB with an average arm can thrive in this system. Tom Brady from 2001-2003 wasn’t special, just a smart QB who threw accurate passes to quick WRs like Brown and Patten and managed games well. Brad Johnson, Rich Gannon were good enough QBs in a Gruden offense built around the run game and big possession WRs and TEs.

    So if Barkley shows enough arm strength to make most of the throws, and Foles has already done so (his issue has been mechanics on his deep ball, and he showed improvement in the spring), both are viable candidates. Both QBs have stellar college careers, Barkley in a pressure cooker, Foles with limited talent against top level competition. Both seem to have the smarts. There is no reason to think that a high first round pick would necessarily be a better fit in THIS offense – Flacco’s arm required an offense that would allow him to exploit his special talent.

    In that case, tanking for a QB would be counterproductive in a number of ways. First, it would mean not giving Foles or Barkley a real chance to prove themselves. Second, it would create a losing atmosphere, on a young team that can be hard to reverse (see Cleveland, St Louis, Arizona, etc.). Third, it would mean committing a high draft pick to a risky player (QBs have high failure rates, even top 10 QBs) instead of a top player at another position.

    Makes more sense to be sure Foles and Barkley aren’t the answer, then find some more smart QBs with at least NFL arm strength than gamble on a highly rated QB. One advantage of a QB friendly system is that your backup is more likely to be able to come in and keep your team afloat than if your offense is built around your QB’s special skills – in which case you’d better draft one of the Mannings.

    • ACViking

      Austinfan:

      Respectfully, I have to disagree with your opening point at least as to Gruden’s Raiders and 2002 Bucs.

      In his first season with the Raiders in ’99, Gruden’s *called* pass-to-run ration — acounting for sacks and scrambles — was about 57-43. In 2000, the Raiders pass-run ration was appx 56-44. Then, in 2001, the Raiders’ P/R ratio shot up to a Reid-esque 63-37. In TB, Gruden called 62-38 pass-to-run in 2002.

      Regardless, I think your principal point is spot on. As an aside, I don’t think going young is “tanking” — I think it’s building for long-term success.

      • austinfan

        Gruden had Garner in Oakland and Dunn (Stecker)/Alsott in TB.
        He passed more than Chip will, but most of the throws were short throws to big possession receivers (Jones and Fryar in Philly, Brown and Rice in Oakland, McCardall, Keyshaun and Jurivicius in Tampa Bay). A conservative WCO scheme built around ball control which didn’t require great QBs (Detmer/Peete, Gannon and Brad Johnson, he even went 9-7 with an ancient Jeff Garcia).

        While some of Chip’s scheme will be more similar to the routes run by the early Patriots, he also likes to incorporate big WRs a la Gruden. In both cases, easy throws for an accurate QB with an average arm who can anticipate – the deep throws come off catching the defense off guard, not the perfect throw downfield.

        • ACViking

          Yes, Gruden was maybe the last of the true Walsh acolytes — using those short passes in lieu of running plays. And having a FB who actually was on the field more than 40% of the plays.

          I agree with your thesis on Kelly. Big receivers. More runs.

          By the way . . . I’m very glad to see you posting again. Excellent material.

          • austinfan

            I was off line due to moving back to Philadelphia.
            When you switch between computers and ISPs, posting is a problem.

  • GEagle

    just Listened to Sal Pal, and I had missed what Howie said, but Sal was making a huge deal about Howies answer yesterday refusing to guarentee Vick a roster spot if he doesn’t win the job. Like I said, I didn’t hear Howies comments yet, but Sal said Howie was flat out asked if Vick would still be on the team if Foles was named the starter and that Howie completely danced around the question..Sal Blew it out of proportion so much that he said “the headlines everywhere today should read: Howie refuses to guarentee Vick a roster spot”….Is this really worth reading between the lines, or just typical irresponsible media rebel rousing? Coming from Sal pal, I expect the latter

    • Ark87

      Sal Pal doing his thing….It’s the NFL, nothing is guaranteed unless it’s in a contract.

      • GEagle

        he also was ripping Chip about how this isn’t college, it’s time to stop playing games and set a depth chart or he will lose the respect of the veterans…I say this all the time, but I remember a time that I used to look forward to a Sal Pal report…like everything, mainstream has ruined him!

        • xlGmanlx

          says the writer to the head coach about his players? no thanks, sal has done like fox, blown the hardest to get to the national stage, straight stooge.

          What kills me is that the national ‘media’ doesn’t know what to call a chip Kelly offense. How about the stat is staring you in the face, A RUNNING TEAM!! Just because it is out of the spread, doesn’t make it any less football. His teams aren’t soft because they RUN the football, which means they practice running the football.

          • GEagle

            Mosher was talking about how we would be a soft Finess team the other day, and worried about our fans not liking the finesse style…Just because we are in a spread, doesn’t necessarily make it Finess. We are going to pound the rock all day in the run game, how is that soft and finesse?

  • Ark87

    I see it both ways but I’m for giving it everything we got, and it’s not just on principle.

    Peyton Manning probably isn’t in the next draft, and even an all time great like him is only good for 1 superbowl if the rest of your team isn’t up to par. To me, this year is about seeing what we’ve got and developing that.

    This roster has some talent and some youth. Devote this year to solidifying that core, or foundation to build on in the future. We can make a very nice team, and then go find a Colin Kaepernick rather than let the team fester until we find Peyton Manning.

  • Flyin

    I just watched the PC of Chip Kelly on the Eagles site. Impressed once again!

    Win!

    • GEagle

      Loved how he treated reporters who asked dumb questions lol…he basically laughed at them

  • xlGmanlx

    not really buying the article. This is the NFL, everyone wants to win 100%. You don’t you’re gone. Of course they play to win, the draft is what we think it is, a crap shoot. For every Ben there is a Leaf/Russel/etc and lots more of them than SB winners. This is kind of calling water wet.

  • Weapon Y

    Another way to look at the QB competition is to say that if Foles and Barkley aren’t good enough to defeat Vick, they have already shown they aren’t the answer at QB thus removing the need to play them. The problem with this is that Foles and Barkley will require more time to develop, and they need some game experience to grow into their potential.

    • eagleyankfan

      I think the Eagles are in a fine position to throw either or both of the young kids in the fire and let them play. I get all the “win now” stuff and “can’t tell the team that we’re playing for next year” etc … but, realistically – this team is NOT ready to win this year. Let the kids play. Evaluate THIS year. Otherwise — IF Vick plays, odds are even better he won’t play next year. Then we have to evaluate all over again next year.

  • eagleyankfan

    I get what everybody is saying about winning now and history has shown it’s possible. BUT is it realistic? eh. I think Reid being so successful so fast, didn’t help his cause. I don’t remember(and too lazy to look up :)), who was the QB for the 89 cowboys? Who is the 2013 Eagles QB?
    Like some places already have covered, sometimes where you draft doesn’t matter. Sometimes it does matter. I wonder where the Colts would be if they finished 8-8 and didn’t get Luck.
    I’m not saying tank the season. Starting Foles or Barkley gives us a couple of things. 1 – a NOW evaluation. I don’t believe the theory of rookies MUST sit and learn. 2 – IF – I know, big IF, one of them starts gaining confidence and really learns the position, imagine how much better off 2014 can be with no qb story lines. This gives some ground work for the future.
    Vick starts it gives us — 1) calendar dates we pick from to figure out which game he gets hurt and 2) qb story lines ALL spring training long next year and we’ll all be asking the same questions.
    This is no news flash. I don’t think Vick can get the job done. Even if he has a tremendous camp, once the season starts, Vick is a different person. One that I’ve seen enough of….