Evaluating the Eagles

Posted: October 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 66 Comments »

One of the hardest things to do is evaluate your football team. That’s true whether you’re a fan, the media or even the team itself. You don’t want to overrate your own players. That can lead to disaster. You also don’t want to underrate your talent. That can lead you to waste resources instead of trusting your current players.

As we’ve talked about, it can be really hard to figure out what a player really is. You have to focus on his specific skills and then figure out how much circumstances hurt/help him. You also have to ask if he’s going to get better or worse. You also need to ask if the guy is on a roll or is this sustainable success.

I love to pick on Brian Baldinger for his Jamar Chaney comments from 2010, but he was right about the fact that Chaney looked great initially. Baldy was ready to marry him. I didn’t buy in that hard. For whatever reason, Chaney never matched that level of play again. DeSean Jackson was a star right away. Then think about a guys like Evan Mathis and Jason Babin that were castoffs from multiple teams before finding a home down the road.

If you tried to evaluate all those guys at the end of their rookie year, Chaney would be 2nd only to DeSean. In reality, he’s the 4th best of the group, and by a wide margin.

Player evaluation is very tricky.

Jeff McLane spoke to a couple of NFL scouts to get their thoughts on the Eagles young talent. Here are a couple of the reports.

Zach Ertz, TE. “Athletic tight end that runs good routes and knows how to get open. Will never be a dominant blocker at the point of attack, but is a mismatch in coverage vs. linebackers. Will excel in his role in that offense due to all of the movable pieces.”

Bennie Logan, DL. “Long-armed and quick off the snap, first step and fast hands can jolt offensive linemen. Has struggled in scheme and getting off blocks because of lack of pass rushing moves. Not very instinctive against the run, either. Loses leverage easily and will have to improve base strength to become nose tackle.”

McLane also has a funny note on Vinny Curry.

After being inactive the first two games of the season, Vinny Curry’s snaps have increased each week – 12, 13, 14, 25 and 26 plays against the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Eagles defensive end has gotten pressure in each game, and that’s partly why he has seen his time increase. But less noticeable has been his improvement as a two-gap lineman.

It’s supposed to be that way. When Eagles ends play two gaps or the four-technique (lined up directly over a tackle), they’re not supposed to try and get around the offensive lineman, but push him back.

“You’re definitely not trying to get around him,” Curry said. “That will get you on the bench.”

Despite having 67 pass rush opportunities to Trent Cole’s 220, Curry has two sacks to Cole’s zero and as many hurries (four). Still, he said he’s most proud of the strides he’s made playing as a two-gap end.

“I think I’m doing pretty good,” Curry said. “As long as I ain’t getting drove back.”

There are good bits on Jeremy Maclin, Nate Allen and more.

* * * * *

McLane also wrote a very good piece on Evan Mathis, hero to PFF and sexy women everywhere. Katy Perry ignores his tweets only because she knows that she can’t control herself around Big E.

The opening to the piece is terrific.

There’s been a joke among the Eagles offensive linemen that Evan Mathis has a personal stake in Pro Football Focus, the website that compiles advanced statistics and ranks players.

For the last three years, Mathis has been rated the best left guard and among the best linemen in the NFL by the site’s amateur evaluators. The Eagles line could struggle in pass protection and fail to open holes in the run game, as they did earlier this month against the New York Giants, and Mathis would still receive a positive rating.

Mathis is good, his teammates tease, but that good?

Whether or not much stock can be put in PFF’s rankings, Mathis has been the Eagles’ most consistent linemen the last three seasons.

Good stuff.

* * * * *

If you like OL play, check out this piece by Ben Muth. He covers the Eagles in the Dallas game. Some comments on the OL…

It wasn’t all negative for the Eagles on offense. I thought both Mathis and Peters played pretty well overall. (I should note that “pretty well” is below Mathis’ standard, though.) I also think that Johnson is getting better week to week, which is what you want from a young guy. The big thing with Johnson right now is that he seems to have only one pass set. It doesn’t matter what the quarterback drop is, who the rusher is, or what the down-and-distance is: Johnson is going to set the exact same on every dropback.

On the other side of the line, Peters will mix in a couple of different things to keep pass rushers off balance. He’ll jump set guys right at the line of scrimmage, he’ll set really wide if he knows he has inside help, he’ll set completely vertical at times. He’ll change up his punch timing as well. With Johnson it’s a not-quite vertical set, with a punch on the third kickslide every time. His set looks pretty good and his punch has improved a lot, but he really does need to add a little variety as the season goes along.

Muth is an excellent OL analyst.


66 Comments on “Evaluating the Eagles”

  1. 1 Media Mike said at 8:23 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    Any comments from any scouts about why Herremans has stunk all year?

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 8:53 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    He hasn’t stunk all year. Todd started slow and then made some technique changes after the KC game. He’s played much better since then. He did get beat by Jason Hatcher on Sunday, but that has more to do with Hatcher playing at a very high level than Todd struggling.

  3. 3 Media Mike said at 8:56 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    Hatcher’s “high level” is welcome to show up 14 weeks a year. I expect a player with zero pro bowls to be blocked when he plays my team.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 9:00 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    That is a tired argument. The guy has 6 sacks this year and is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Dan Graziano picked him as one of the 20 best NFC-East players in the preseason.

    Just because you don’t know about a guy doesn’t make him an average player or a bum.

    Hatcher is a legit stud right now.

  5. 5 Media Mike said at 9:33 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    We’ve played the Cowboys 15 times when Hatcher has been on the team; I’m quite aware of who he is. That was a completely unnecessary addition to the discussion. I’m also aware of who Todd Herremans likes to act like and get paid like who he thinks he is.

  6. 6 Insomniac said at 9:04 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    Look, the lights come on and off for players anytime in their career. Our own Evan Mathis was a journeyman before he excelled here. Dontari Poe was considered a bust and now he’s powering one of the most dominant defenses. Hatcher was also a bum before he started playing lights out.

  7. 7 Patrick said at 10:17 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    Hatcher has actually been a good player for a while, Jimmy Bama has written good things about him several times. I compare him to Mike Patterson, maybe not a star and a game changer , but quite frankly a darn good footballplayer who can start and do well for your team. You can’t have 22 stars on your team, both be definition and by reality.

    The 2006 Bears who went to the Super Bowl and is widely considered a beast of a defense had Israel Idonije, Tank Johnson and Tommie Harris at DT. While you can argue that the last two were great players before they melted down, Idonije is a good player and all, but hardly a star. A quick look at their defensive ends(Mark Anderson, Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye) leaves little to be impressed about

    They had Hunter Hillenmeyer flanking Urlacher and Briggs. He has no pro bowls.

    They had Nathan Vasher opposite Tillman, and he did have an incredible season in 2005, but he will hardly be a HoF player. Danieal Manning was the nickel and I believe Mike Brown and Chris Harris was the safeties. While Manning carved out a nice career(His All-pro was as a returner), neither player will hardly go down in history as a defensive game changer.

    Hatcher is obviously a smart, versatile player that fits what Dallas wants and does his job. I’ll take that any day when I have DeMarcus Ware next to him, on the field and on the cap list. Hatcher is cheaper than Brandon Graham.

  8. 8 Media Mike said at 7:30 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Thank you for pointing out Jimmy Bama has past years’ analysis on Hatcher playing at a high level. Nobody else has provided any football content other than “he’s good this year” to justify the guy’s level of play.

  9. 9 Joe Minx said at 11:50 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    Anybody who uses the Pro Bowl as some sort of barometer for a player’s effectiveness and/or talent level is displaying a fairly large amount of ignorance.

  10. 10 Media Mike said at 7:29 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    So one should go off of un-quantified “rep” to decide what players are great? Do I have to let Eli be a HOF player now because he completed two lucky passes in the Super Bowl? I’d prefer to go with the fact that he’s only made 3 pro bowls to support my argument (along with all of the INTs and low-ish career QB rating numbers). Hatcher, coming into this season, averaged about 2.3 sacks a season. If he’s playing great this year under a new coach and system, good for him. Why isn’t Herremans doing the same under Stoutland?

  11. 11 A_T_G said at 3:16 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Out of curiosity, how high of a level do you expect a RG with zero Pro Bowls to block?

  12. 12 Media Mike said at 7:24 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    I expect him to play that player evenly for the game.

  13. 13 A_T_G said at 8:26 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    So there are two levels – Pro Bowl and non-Pro Bowl? Non-Pro Bowlers are to be evenly matched, only to be outplayed by Pro Bowlers? It is elegant and makes me wonder why we bother with all those other stats.

    Not to be an alarmist, but the Giants have a Pro Bowl QB and so much talent at WR that they have cut Pro Bowlers in recent years while our most recent Pro Bowler in the secondary was Asante Samuel. By the PBR (Pro Bowl Ranking) system, I would expect them to put up 60.

    (Incidentally, the PBR system was almost named the System With Interest Limited Listing, but SWILL had too positive of a connotation, leading to PBR.)

  14. 14 Media Mike said at 8:31 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Interesting take, but it still strays from my original point of Herremans overall below salary level of play. Split hairs any way you’d like with being a smart aleck about it, but Hatcher (pro-bowl or no) is a career journeyman who I highly resent having a continued awakening at the expense of my team. The horrid play by the team last week requires a pound of flesh and Herremans is at the top of the list.

  15. 15 A_T_G said at 9:03 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Yeah, I’m a little bitter too – SWILL was better than PBR.

  16. 16 Media Mike said at 9:31 AM on October 27th, 2013:


  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 10:26 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    How do I vote this comment by ATG down to infinity???

  18. 18 BreakinAnklez said at 8:45 AM on October 28th, 2013:

    His salary still represents a T salary when he signed his new deal. First year back a G, which is typically lower. Not. That it means he should still be paid…but that’s why his salary is inflated for an interior lineman

  19. 19 Dominik said at 7:47 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Great argument, Sir!

  20. 20 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 10:04 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    64,000 dollar question for me: why haven’t we seen more TE action in this offense? Only answer I can come up with is if the 11 set is working, don’t fix it. thoughts?

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 10:17 PM on October 26th, 2013:

    I think Kelly liked the 3-WR set. I still think he’ll go to the TEs at some point, possibly next year.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 8:10 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Any thoughts on using more bunch formations when in 3 WR sets? Pat Kirwan was discussing this earlier in the week in regard to finding creative ways to shake guys loose in man coverage.

  23. 23 GEAGLE said at 9:22 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Sunday morning,,,time to get your stomach ready for the weekly ROLLERCOASTER ride known as an eagles game…so tough watching a team whe you never know what you are going to get. So far, we have been pretty good at beating the teams we are supposed to beat, and that alone would be a huge improvement from recent times…but we have to figure out a way to establish a home field advantage. The rest of our home games are against
    These are all very winnable games for us…For me, these are the most important games of the season. We aren’t playing for SB…re-establishing our home field advatage needs to happen before we are ever ready to make a run. Establishing it this season would make this a successful season in my eyes…we are building something, 1 step at a time…and a team that can’t I win at home will NEVER get very far…so 5-0, 4-1 at home the rest of the way, for me would be the best thing that can come out of this season,,,

  24. 24 Media Mike said at 9:32 AM on October 27th, 2013:


  25. 25 GEAGLE said at 9:27 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Loving Vinny Currys attitude. That kid “gets it”…he is only a pass rush specialist at the moment, but I believe in his passion and desire to become a great Philadelphia EAGLE, and I believe he will work relentlessly to achieve that….right now, he doesn’t show much hope…but that is one kid, I would NOT bet against…That kid has gotten jerked around since we drafted him, we have done him NO favors in terms of his development….but I’m really proud of the way the kid had handled everything, took it in stride, and just kept working…there is NO Eagle I want to see succeed more!!!

    if he can grow into a capable two gapper on 1st and 2nd down during the second half of the season, it would be huge for our future prospects

  26. 26 GEAGLE said at 9:34 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    All I know is I can’t stomach watching Mike Patterson dominate us again. Kelce, herms and Mathis better shut down their interior linemen. we can not allow them to have a big impact in this game again…Desean has to bounce back and have a big game against this trash secondary. Hopefully we establish the run and set the tone in our first drive…..gut check game!!! QB has issues, shady was shutdown last week, regardless of how many defenders they put in the box, we need to bite down on our mouth piece, get physical, and dominate the line of scrimmage. By Now, we all know that when you pound the giants with a run game in year first half, Shady ALWAYS becomes a second half terrorist. Establish the run as soon as the game starts, give them a heavy dose of it in the first half and it will pay dividends in the second half!!

  27. 27 GEAGLE said at 9:37 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Weird prediction: Johnny Manziel leads the Houston Texans next year!

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 9:52 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Good. Keep him there. And keep any other run-first guy out of Philadelphia. Any QB we bring in (ability to run aside) needs to be kept to what we did with Vick for the first few weeks; an average of 2 called QB runs per game. We need our franchise QB to be on the field, not doing an RGKnee impersonation.

  29. 29 Anders said at 9:54 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    I guess you didnt watch Manziel last night.

  30. 30 Media Mike said at 9:57 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    It’ll take a lot for me to trust a guy who runs that much over his entire career. A LOT. His overall lack of size is worrisome as well.

  31. 31 Anders said at 9:57 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    yea I forgot you think people cant learn and improve.

  32. 32 Media Mike said at 9:58 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Stay on topic rather than personal attacks on comments on which you disagree. And can he get taller between now and the draft?

  33. 33 Anders said at 10:06 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Problem is the things you say about him is the same crap I have seen a lot from people who has only watched him on highlight film from ESPN.

    Im not going to chance you mind anyway.

  34. 34 Media Mike said at 10:08 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    And it’s fine if you have a different view of Johnny Football than I do, but I don’t need to resort to snide personal comments. And I’m not going off of just ESPN garbage. I hear guys like Ross Tucker, Rich Gannon, Jim Miller, Pat Kirwan, etc. on Sirius NFL rip the guy’s game as well.

  35. 35 Anders said at 10:11 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Still not better imo that you are basing your opinion about a player based on radio talking heads and not actually scouting him your self.

  36. 36 Media Mike said at 10:15 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Unless one of us is a paid scout, I don’t see the necessity of putting what I see in front of my eyes as superior to guys with proven track records of proper analysis of NFL football. I’m not quoting idiotic Merril Hoge, Angelo Cataldi, and/or Mark May garbage chapter and verse; I’m going off of a general style of play that is incompatible with NFL championship success. I’ve seen plenty of Johnny Football at work and I don’t see a guy who has a game that matches up with what it takes to win in the NFL (pass first / run as a last resort). If respected, paid, and decorated analysts support my view of the situation, of course I’m going to refer to their analysis.

  37. 37 GEAGLE said at 12:00 PM on October 27th, 2013:

    Actually ii want to change my weird prediction:
    Manziel will be drafted by the chiefs

  38. 38 GEAGLE said at 10:22 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Anthony Barr is a better prospect than Dion Jordan….yeah I said IT!!! Lol

  39. 39 Media Mike said at 10:24 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Does he at least have two functional arms? Jordan started the year badly injured, correct?

  40. 40 GEAGLE said at 10:26 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Even with 1 arm, he has more sacks then Cole has in his last 10’games…yikes

  41. 41 Media Mike said at 10:31 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    You mean thief #3! Cole, Herremans, and Celek are going to be welcome additions to the cap casualty list for 2014. We’ll only get back a total of $6.5 million worth of room by cutting them, but it’ll clear a total of $21.6 million off of the 2015 cap.
    We’re looking VERY healthy in terms of salary as they continue to upgrade this team with better players.

  42. 42 GEAGLE said at 10:47 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Beautiful,,,,can’t wait to see what the new era Eagles look like. this is still the Andy Reid eagles..who knows what we look like In 2015…
    I’m just hoping Chip isn’t one of those coaches against using 1st round picks on defense…people keep saying that, but I m convinced we would have drafted Dion, so I dont know how people can make that statement

  43. 43 Media Mike said at 10:54 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    I think the Chip / Howie group is going to keep adding talent at all positions to improve the team.

  44. 44 GEAGLE said at 10:44 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Shefty is reporting that Larry Fitzgerald is on the trading block and Vincent J ackson could also be available….play FOles until he has a good game! and then trade him for Fitzy lol….doubt they learned their lesson lol

  45. 45 jshort said at 10:56 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    G, one bad game and you are throwing Foles under the bus ? I’ll wait till next year b4 making my final judgement. Wish I knew why he laid an egg last week, Bad game, pressure of the moment, injury. Still trying to figure it out.

  46. 46 GEAGLE said at 10:59 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Hell NO!! Read my above post…just joking!!! You better offer a first round pick to get me to consider trading a kid before we find out who he is

  47. 47 BreakinAnklez said at 8:48 AM on October 28th, 2013:

    If throwing Foles under the bus would net us Fitz….Hell yes

  48. 48 mksp said at 10:48 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Poll Question:

    Lets assume the Eagles win today and go 4-4 (and Dallas also wins). Trade deadline is Tuesday. If we’re being honest, the team is getting better, and has promise, but a ton of holes, and is not winning the Super Bowl this year. Would you support Chip/Roseman if they go full Hinkie on us (NFL-style)?

    Trade Foles for a 3rd. Graham for a 4th. Vinny for a 3rd (?). What about Brent Celek for a 3rd or 4th? Does Riley Cooper or Jason Avant have any value? What about Bryce Brown for a 3rd or 4th?

    I think I’d support this. Go into next year’s draft with a ton of bullets, and build this team up from the ground with Chip’s vision. I say it all the time, but look at this year’s Oregon team that Chip built. It’s STACKED.

  49. 49 GEAGLE said at 10:53 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Unless you want me to GUT YOU, better NOT trade Vinny Curry!!!!
    Don’t you mean trade Celek for a 7th?
    ..Would NEVER accept a 3rd for FOles..that’s what we paid for him out of blind faith…you gotta pay for his development if you want to trade for him..and what we paid is not enough in return,,,we could have gotten better then that for him during the offseason…I bad game won’t change that…can’t trade him until he plays and makes people forget about that bad game…not that I’m actually OK with trading him before we find out who he is…luckily Howie won’t make that mistake

  50. 50 mksp said at 12:03 PM on October 27th, 2013:

    Sure, lets say 2nd this year, 2nd next year. Or a late 1st? Whatever. I was just throwing picks out there, we can argue forever what the right pick/package is. Point was do we “firesale” (NFL-style) or not?

    Like it or not, I do think his game against the Cowboys decreased his value. That was as bad of a performance as you’ll see from a QB all year.

  51. 51 GEAGLE said at 12:05 PM on October 27th, 2013:

    Problem with your fire sale theory is we would get more in return after the season near the draft, then we would at the deadline…no fire sale is coming mid season…although I prob wouldn’t be against it

  52. 52 ACViking said at 10:58 AM on October 27th, 2013:


    Ho molto rispetto per lei . . . .

    Mai nessuno al di fuori della famiglia che cosa pensa.

  53. 53 GEAGLE said at 11:02 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Per che stai parlando Italiano? io non rispetto nessuno che vuole vendere la squadra intera……..non ci provera!!!! Questo e impazzito.
    Vola Aquilla(Eagles) Vola..
    Su la strada di vittoria
    Vola Aquilla Vola
    segniando touchdowns uno, due tre….

  54. 54 ACViking said at 11:05 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Una terza scelta per Foles . . . prendere la trattativa

  55. 55 GEAGLE said at 11:07 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    No grazie…ci offrivano una seconda scelta due mesi fa
    AC you must be a real Italian…I can tell by the way you spelled family. fake American Italians spell it the Mexican way without the G

  56. 56 ACViking said at 11:08 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Non vediamo l’ora.

  57. 57 GEAGLE said at 11:09 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Daje!!!! Do you know what that means? I’m testing your Slang now lol

  58. 58 ACViking said at 11:12 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Daje Eagles . . . Battere i giganti

  59. 59 GEAGLE said at 11:13 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    OK VIKING!!!!!!!!
    oggi I “nanni” rozzicano!!!!

  60. 60 ACViking said at 11:14 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Devono lasciare. parleremo presto

  61. 61 GEAGLE said at 11:14 AM on October 27th, 2013:


  62. 62 jshort said at 11:16 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    was wondering what key I pressed on here to change the language. I’m serious.

  63. 63 ACViking said at 11:17 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Prometto di un tuo amico su Joe jones prossima settimana

  64. 64 austinfan said at 10:53 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Interesting comment on Lane, shows you the complexity of adjusting to NFL play. He’s a raw talent, only two years at OL in college, so it’s not surprising he’s trying to perfect his pass set before trying anything cute. This is why you see a lot of top prospects at OT get burned their rookie year, then cut their sacks allowed by half or more their second season – what worked in college against inferior athletes needs a lot of upgrading in the pros.

    Good to see Cole and Graham progressing at WOLB, if that continues, they can change their draft strategy from a high pick to start immediately to a rawer athlete who can sit on the bench a year and develop.

    It’s pretty obvious that Logan isn’t ready to start in the NFL, to me he’s where Thornton was last year (his second season), in many ways they’re very similar, except Logan had a big edge playing at LSU instead of a small college which is why he’s a year ahead of Thornton in career development – but he still needs to get stronger and play more physical in the NFL.

  65. 65 GEAGLE said at 10:54 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    Great post about Logan/Thorton!!

  66. 66 anon said at 11:58 AM on October 27th, 2013:

    I think Logan is an end that they’re trying to get to play NT. Agree with what you’re saying he needs to gain some weight, maybe he can work out with that dude in KC over the offseason.