Some Dallas Talk

Posted: December 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 111 Comments »

The Cowboys are never boring and this week is no exception. The football world is talking about Tony Romo non-stop, as we all want to know if he’ll play or not. Jason Garrett won’t commit to any answer beyond “We’ll see.” Nor should he. His job isn’t to tell the Eagles anything that will help them. I think we’ll have to wait for an announcement from Mary Magdalene on whether Romo will play or not.

It sure sounds like Romo will miss the game. He hasn’t been to meetings or practice this week. He got an injection yesterday, but that hasn’t improved things very much. Forget the question of whether Romo can play…can he play well? In hindsight, what he did on Sunday was pretty amazing. But that was the heat of the moment. Trying to go into a game with the injury and play well from the get-go doesn’t seem very realistic.

The good news for the Eagles is that preparing for him vs Kyle Orton isn’t all that different. Both guys are pocket passers. Neither guy has an explosive arm or dynamic athletic ability. Romo is more physically gifted, but they still play a comparable game. This isn’t like Kirk Cousins vs RG3.

Big news came down today in regard to another player. Reports say that Sean Lee will miss the game. The Dallas defense is awful, but they’re really bad without him. Lee had 11 tackles and an INT in the win over the Eagles back in October. WR Dez Bryant tweaked his back on Wednesday, but expects to play Sunday.

Dallas is having a rough week, but I’m not taking that team for granted. Losing to them would be beyond horrible.

* * * * *

Football Outsiders put out their DVOA rankings the other day. The Eagles check in at 8th overall. In the weighted DVOA rankings, the Eagles jump all the way up to 3rd overall. Say what? That’s right. Third. They’re ranked only behind Seattle and Carolina.

That’s another one of those rankings you hear and it makes you wonder…just how good is this team?

If the Eagles win on Sunday night, no one is going to want to face them in the playoffs.

* * * * *

Who is the MVP of the Eagles defense? You could make an argument for Cedric Thornton, Connor Barwin, or DeMeco Ryans. I don’t think anyone in the secondary gets a vote.

The other possibility is Trent Cole.

It sounds weird to bring him up when all we’ve talked about is how the Eagles need a dynamic rusher at the ROLB spot, but Cole has ended up having a solid year. He’s got 8 sacks, 42 solo tackles, 3 FFs, 4 PDs and 5 TFLs.

Compare those numbers to 2012. 3 sacks, 24 solo tackles, 1 FF, 5 TFLs and no PDs.

He had different roles in different schemes, but the odd thing is that the 2012 scheme was a perfect fit for him. There are times in the new scheme when he’s dropping back. There are some other times when he shifts to DE and has to play 2-gap. Cole has embraced every challenge the coaching staff has put in front of him. Kudos to him.

Cole has benefited greatly from Chip Kelly’s sport science program. In the past, Cole faded in December. This year Cole is red hot in December. He’s got 5 sacks and a FF. He’s got 7 sacks in the last 5 games. There is a very real chance Cole could end up with 10 sacks for the season. If the Eagles get a lead and Dallas has to throw the ball, Cole will be flying upfield on every snap.

I think part of Cole’s late season explosion is that he’s getting more comfortable with the rush angles in the new defense. It takes time to figure out subtle things like that. He’s also had to adjust to his teammates and what they are going to do in terms of stunts and blitzes.

It is possible Cole comes back in 2014. I still think the Eagles need a young, dynamic rusher for ROLB,  but there is something to be said for keeping Cole around to see if he can have another solid season. Cole would be used to the defense. He would be used to playing OLB. And he’d have another year of sports science stuff to get his body in primo shape.

We’ll see.

* * * * *

One thing to keep in mind as we glance ahead to 2014 is not to get caught up in emotion. Cary Williams just had a terrific game. Do we now want him back? We need to see the players finish out the regular season and hopefully go through the postseason. Then we’ll review what they did, put it in context and try to project what they’ll do in the future.

This is a tough, highly imperfect process, but it is crucial to building a strong team. Can you imagine if the Eagles had gotten rid of Nate Allen or Trent Cole last offseason? That would have made life tough. The flip side is that you don’t want to keep a veteran player a year too long. Old and slow is a good way to get killed in the NFL.

_


  • ICDogg

    Yeah, I’m sure there will be a lot of tough decisions in the offseason, but I’m just glad that we still have a meaningful ongoing season.

    As far as Cole, there’s no rush to cut him. They would save 1.8M off the cap by doing so. Unlike some of the other NFCE teams, the Eagles don’t really need to create cap space aggressively.

  • Sporran

    My answer to every question about which players to bring back and which to let go: “It depends on who we can replace them with.”

    • TommyLawlor

      Logical answer.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… and if a guy is no trouble and doesn’t kill your cap, you still might consider keeping him around even if you hope that another player will win his job.

  • Anders

    At the start of the season I was ready to cut Williams and Cole.

    Cole is still relative cheap in 2014, so I would 100% bring him back that way a new guy (hopefully from the draft) can learn the scheme in a good way instead of getting rushed in.

    Williams should be brought back. I think the bigger problem in the secondary is the lack of great safety play. Allen is reliable, but not a play maker, Wolff has shown potential, but still a rookie and has been banged up and Chung is what he is (I would bring him back cheaper for depth, one can do much worse than Chung as 3rd/4th safety)

    • ACViking

      Definitely agree about Allen. But with better players around him, I think he could be a more productive safety. What do you think?

      • Anders

        I think Allen is what he is right now. A good reliable safety, but he will never be that star safety he had potential to before his injury and years of crap coaching.

        For me the highest potential guy is Wolff. Pair him with a good ball hawking safety and that has potential.

        I know some people are worried of a guy like Byrd in FA, but I still think he makes perfect sense.
        He is only 28, so sign him to a 6 year deal there is only really a 4 year deal. That way you should have 4 years of elite production (elite safeties like Byrd does in general first dip around 32) and then you can see if he is still worth it the last 2 years.

        • D3FB

          My personal preference would be to bring back Allen, then draft one of the mid round safety’s. That way you at least have your steady eddie in Allen, have Wolff who has flashed but hasn’t played much as well as another intriguing young player to push Wolff for playing time. At the very least you have someone to hedge against Wolff being a flash in the pan. You don’t spend big money, and there are a number of safeties in that range this year who have pretty high ceilings.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            interesting question – how much does Wolff’s rookie season compare to Allen’s?
            it would be nice to get some insurance in case Wolff hits a similar slump, but i think having a steady defensive scheme that doesn’t expose the young DBs should be enough.

          • Anders

            Allen had a better rookie season, but Wolff so far do not have an ACL tear and most likely will keep good coaching, where Allen got royal screwed.

          • D3FB

            I would say they are very different. Nate started 13 games. He played the entire game. Wolff rotated in a half dozen games. Nate probably received 3 or 4 times as many snaps his rookie year as Wolff has.

        • NinjaP

          I would have been more worried about signing a guy like Byrd 8 weeks ago. But now this a potential playoff team with a franchise QB. Making a run next year why our oline is still together might not be a horrible idea.

        • GEAGLE

          Because we are a contender, Byrd makes perfect sense,..Cary is the heart and soul of our team! glad people starting to understand..

          Vicks money, plus Nates round 2 money, should be close to Byrd man money…

          Once we get above average safeties you will see Cary and Brad PRESS which is what we signed them to do…next year we will evolve into more of an attack defense, instead of don’t give up the big play defense

          • OregonDucker

            Which is how the Duck defense evolved. Good points.

          • Anders

            you heard, Ifo is staying? Good for the Ducks, but sucks for a team needing a CB.

        • austinfan

          Byrd is a good, but not elite safety, he has some serious limitations (lack of speed) that will become more apparent as he ages. He’s worth signing for a reasonable deal, but he wants all pro money, which would be a mistake.

          • Anders

            How is Byrd not an elite safety? He got great range despite his lack of elite speed. I think he would still play at a high level for the next 3-4 years and that is why I give him a 6 year deal there is essential a 4 year deal.

      • Ark87

        I think Allen would complement a play making (risk taking) CB well (like Asante in his prime) who needs somebody to just do their job behind him to clean up his messes

        • Anders

          My ideal scenario, bring Allen back, greatly reduce Chung’s cap hit, get Byrd in FA and draft a 3rd or 4th round safety. Together with Wolff those 5 should battle it out and give us good depth as well.

    • Daniel Spector

      Even at the start of the season Cole was still good against the run. I think that gets taken for granted sometimes.

    • theycallmerob

      The financial aspect is huge with Cole. Next year, he’ll have a 6.6M cap hit and 4.8M dead, for a “savings” of 1.8M.
      However, as the contract currently stands, it jumps to 11.6M cap and only 3.2M dead in ’15. Even if he plays well next year, I can’t imagine the Eagles not restructuring or cutting him after next season. 11.6 is way too high, and 8.4M savings is too great.
      The mentoring factor would be huge, too.
      http://www.eaglescap.com/next.html

      Such a scenario, to me, makes the Graham trade all that more likely. If he can’t be an adequate backup for Barwin at SAM (mainly improving blocking), he’ll simply lose snaps to Cole and new rookie. May as well get value for him, while his contract is still cheap for another team to take on.

      And I agree Sconces makes sense to have for another year. But my ideal scenario would be to bring in another CB who will push him for snaps. I like Fletch more, Boykin has the slot down; although overpaid for such a role, I’d be happier if (talent-wise) CW was first off the bench or in the dime.

      • bsuperfi

        I agree with this from a talent standpoint, but I wonder about the value of cw’s intangibles. He’s a tough player with experience and an attitude. This may get overblown by the press, but the defense isn’t nearly as soft this year. I’m not we get serious benefit out of cw by demoting him.

        • theycallmerob

          May not happen right away. I don’t see any CBs in draft coming in and starting day 1. Better safety play will also make sconces look better, since he and fletch could play more press and not worry so much about giving up huge play. And like all DBs, an improved pass rush should help as well.
          Just painting my dream scenario, I haven’t been a fan of his since his Bmore days. Just think he leaves a lot to be desired on field.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i’m not sure Chung comes back next year. i agree that we could do a lot worse for a 3rd/4th safety, but we should also expect good ST play out of those positions. thats why we have Colt & Coleman here, right? i could be wrong, but i dont think Chung is much of a contributor on ST.

      i think that Chung is the first S out if we bring in another guy through FA or the draft.

      • Dominik

        I was shocked when I saw Chung standing on the sidelines during special teams on sunday. Maybe it was because of our lack of safety depth on that day, but I thought he was a good special teamer. If he can’t deliver there, he’s just a horrible player.

        He was a Special Team ace in New England, though.

  • ACViking

    Robert Mathis of the Colts has 24.5 sacks in the past two seasons, since switching from it down DE to a rush OLB, in the new Colts 3-4 defense.

    Mathis is two years older than Trent Cole.

    I understand T – law’s theory of selling too soon rather than too late. But I really like Cole’s performance in this defense. Like Mathis’s in the Colts defense. I have to believe Cole ‘a back next year.

    • Anders

      John Abraham have 11.5 sacks after switching from DE to OLB at age 35

    • GEAGLE

      Trent will be here next year, no doubts! after next year is the question

    • mtn_green

      I agree, I think chips philosophy is to have a goo to great person at every position through FA or resignings, then draft BPA and may the best man win.

  • Guest

    Speaking of Dallas talk…

    (Awakens from a 2 year blackout in a Thai whorehouse) Outta my way skanks… Papa Orton has a job to do. Merry f*cking Xmas, Dallas— Kyle Orton (@KingNeckbeard) December 24, 2013

    (spoiler: it’s fake, but funny)

  • P_P_K

    I hope Romo doesn’t play, but not because of the game itself. I think the Eagles can beat Dallas with Tony or Kyle at qb. I just hope Romo doesn’t play because, if he has a herniated disk, he is messing around with something that could damage him for the rest of his life. A couple of good shots and he could go down and not get back up. I don’t want to see him carted off the field in a stretcher (it would slow down our tempo… I jest, I jest). I don’t know what kind of pressure he might be under to play but I hope the guy puts his ability to walk for the rest of his life as a priority.

    • ICDogg

      More troubling than that: he may have been playing with a back problem for several weeks, maybe even the entire season. And it just might have gotten to the point where the treatments to keep him in the game are not helping any more.

      Reminds me a little of North Dallas Forty…

      • Corry

        That’s something that has stuck in my mind in regards to the Dallas Cowboys as a team. They knew their QB had a back issue, and their #3, who was on the practice squad, was signed away in late November. How do you go a month with only 2 QBs when you know your starter has a back issue??

        • P_P_K

          Who is their idiot GM? Oh, right.

      • DJH

        And didn’t they do essentially the same to Sean Lee?

        • Anders

          Lee got a stinger, went in 1 or 2 plays and had to leave with an even worse neck injury

        • ICDogg

          IMO yes.

    • T_S_O_P

      He also needs to give up the golf, wait until he is retired for that ish, because in my experience that plays merry hell with my back.

  • ICDogg

    From PFF: Philadelphia Eagles: Of Brent Celek’s 29 catches, 11 have gone for 24 or more yards for a rate of 37.9% which is second-best in the league. Third on the leaderboard is Riley Cooper at 27.3%.

    • TommyLawlor

      Wow.

    • GEAGLE

      For years now Trent has been one of the top TEs in terms of pass plays over 20 yards

      • Justin W

        Yeah I love when Trent catches passes from Romo! ;-)

    • TheRogerPodacter

      how many of the passes that went for less than 24 yards went for a TD? ; )

  • NinjaP

    Trent Cole has played well enough to be brought back for next year. I think the production he can offer on the field and the leadership and mentoring of a young draft pick off the field far out way any cap savings from letting him go.

  • T_S_O_P

    Talking D, has Brandon Graham been getting more looks as a 34 end lately? He played on a line with Geathers at Nose and Vinny on the other end against the Bears. He certainly hasn’t travelled as far a Cole, but according to an earlier article on Earl Wolff on PE.com, he is the first guy at the training complex every day, which says a lot for a guy getting so few snaps. It cannot be argued that he hasn’t given it his all.

    • Sean Stott

      On at least 75% of teams Graham would be a starter. It’s tough when he has Cole in front of him, who is putting up a really strong season. I think his best position has always been a LDE in a 4-3 scheme, but it seems like they don’t want to take Barwin off the field because he is such a jack of all trades out there.

  • GEAGLE

    Trent Cole will be here next year,.the cap hit practically ensures it. When you draft LB’s a lot of the time they need that first year to put on weight and get used to the league in a situational role…bringing Cole back allows us not to rush a kid onto the field…for example, Cole allows you to draft a talent like Vic Beasly who is too small right now..

    We are a CONTENDER with all the cap room in the world. As a contender we aren’t losing any important pieces, we will add to them.

    Trent will be here next year, but so will a dynamic rookie rush OLB..

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i’d like to get back to the process of drafting guys that can sit back and learn a thing or two from the vets before they are thrust into service. i think it breeds the thinking that Chip wants out of this team – you have to earn your playing time and when one guy goes down, next man up.

  • Michael Jorden

    I feel very confident about this game. I don’t usually have such a strong feeling that we’re going to win like this. Buying some lotto tickets, just in case I’m right.

    • Ark87

      I have a certain confidence threshold where it gets up to a certain point then it plunges back down because of “Too good to be true”/”here comes a let down” feelings. trying to keep it on an even keel haha.

      Philly fans Syndrome. Cure meh Chip!

  • OregonDucker

    Trent Cole was miked-up for FX recently. At one point he shared how great he felt.

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/Sound-FX-LB-Trent-Cole/12158a59-84a3-4857-b9a4-b55778500f63

    My point for this post is that Chip’s sports science is giving the Eagles a competitive advantage late in the season. This time of year most players complain about their injuries and the team’s injuries. TV talking heads also mention how most teams are banged-up just before and/or during the playoffs. We might start to see more opponents collapse in the 3rd and 4th quarter due to fatigue and/or injuries. The Eagles, however, will just keep on truckin’!!

    Regarding Chip’s growth in the NFL, I found this article to be helpful in explaining how much he has changed since the first Dallas contest. We need to remember that not only are players improving in the Chip system but so is Chip. Personally, I have seen this before with Chip. The latter part of the season you begin to see a precision in play execution that is just WOW. I saw it in the Bears game and felt I should give you all a heads-up. See http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000303790/article/philadelphia-eagles-will-adjust-to-dallas-cowboys-in-rematch

    • TheRogerPodacter

      The latter part of the season you begin to see a precision in play execution that is just WOW.

      since i don’t really follow college ball, how much of this is due to his Oregon team getting a batch of new recruits every year? I would guess that it would take some time to get the young guys up to speed.
      the flip side of that being, in the NFL, now that we have a solid core of our team getting things done the Chip way, will next seasons transition to the late season precision come sooner in the year?

      • OregonDucker

        What stands out for me is offensive blocking. Later in the season you see blockers sliding off their blocks and hitting people not just at the second level but 3rd. This results in huge, exciting running plays or YAC that are just WOW. It is part of the Chip scheme that takes players time to learn and execute properly.

    • Anders

      While Kiffen did a good job, what people forget is that Foles couldnt even hit an open WR against Cowboys.

      Guys was running wide open all game long, but Foles was just inaccurate.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i love seeing Cole & Barwin talking about Foles after the first TD:
      Cole: he *finds* people!
      Barwin: thats some pretty good pocket presence right there

      • Andy124

        Made his teamates say “Oh my gawd!” Love it.

      • theycallmerob

        They need to share a booth after retiring.

        “That’s some pretty good pocket presence, bro”

    • austinfan

      I think the sports science aspect is overrated. What really has helped is a commitment to using the whole roster, Cole gets a lot more rest with Graham averaging 15-20 snaps. The only defensive players who are out there for every snap are the CBs, Allen, Barwin and Ryans. They’ve rotated in Geathers, Curry and to a lesser extent Square on a regular basis, limiting the snaps for Thornton and Logan, and to a lesser extent Cox.

      Now sports science might help on the margin, but it also helps to have a coach that doesn’t run his starters into the ground, especially when you’re playing 10% more snaps than most teams.

      • Anders

        Actually Cole is playing around the same amount of snaps he did as a DE before the wide 9 (2011 was his lowest amount of snaps by a long mile)

    • DJH

      “What’s your plan?”

      “Fucking sports science. What’s your plan?”

      • OregonDucker

        Chip Kelly – “Score F$#king Points!!”

    • Tumtum

      I love Trent Cole and that video must reminded me of that. It sucks to see him get older and lose prowess. His resurgence of sorts certainly gives Howie leeway when drafting. He can take a developmental prospect and invest more resources elsewhere if he so chooses. I look at Cary Williams in that same vein as well. These guys give them time to get future stars instead of forcing the issue and over paying.

      Good read by Bucky. I don’t like him on NFL network, and his opinion pieces are usually not my thing. This I like though. Of course he didn’t really get into what Kiffin’s counters would be to these things Chip has been showing for weeks. Nor did he address what Chip is going to do to build off of that. I can’t fault him to much for the last bit, because no one seems to know what Chip will do next.

  • Corry

    I think anytime the Eagles play the Cowboys, you can throw pretty much everything out the window. Add in the playoff implications, and this is a game none of these guys should have trouble getting up for. I don’t expect the Cowboys to make this easy regardless of who is out or who is in.

    …although, i could see them laying down if the Eagles jump out to a 21-0 lead like they did against the Bears. The Birds just can’t let them hang around. Put them down fast and then bury them.

    • DJH

      And I think the opposite is true: if Dallas manages to get a lead, Eagles won’t panic. Their plan will simply be to score $&@! points!

  • Tumtum

    I won’t dispute that the Eagles are playing well. I really don’t know what to think about DVOA these days. It seems football people think its junk, and if I recall it has been proven to be such at times. For instance using weighted DVOA to really judge this team is sort of suspect IMO. We happened to play really good teams and or QBs earlier in the season. Since facing Peyton Manning the best QB we have faced is…. Jay Cutler or Carson Palmer. Not saying a ton there.

    In the second half of the season the only real test was the Cards. The Pack had recently lost Aaron Rodgers and were playing an UDFA (who happened to look so good he immediately got the nod for the following week). Not too much can be gleaned from the snow game with the Lions. Not only did the conditions muck that picture up, but they happened to be in the midst of a 5 game losing streak to put themselves out of play-off contention, despite what their record was when we faced them. Getting out to a big lead early against Chi-town, while it can not be dismissed, changed the whole dynamic of that game.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about this Eagles team. There is. I just don’t know if they happen to be as good as their record indicates. I think the only thing we know for sure is that they are a solid team. The sum is greater than the parts, and that squarely falls on the shoulders of Chip Kelly, which is awesome.

    I do know that if someone were to quantify it, and you went back and looked at games where the Eagles have been heavy favorites over the last 5 years, they would be losers in well over half of those games. So basically… im terrified of Dallas and Kyle Orton.

    • Anders

      The reason to give more weight to newer games is that teams changes during a season. Either because of injuries, small scheme changes or just better execution.

      DVOA in general gives a much better picture on teams strength than traditional stats (but with all stats can never 100 predict a winner).

      I personally like stats and DVOA and other stats gives me a better overall picture than traditional stats like raw yards etc.

      • Michael Winter Cho

        An interesting sidenote is Brian Burke’s stats have had Philly as a top 10 team _all year_, and now at #5. Doesn’t pass the eye test or fit any convenient narrative, but is food for thought. http://www.advancednflstats.com/2013/12/team-efficiency-rankings-week-16.html#more

      • Mitchell

        what was Washington ranked last year in DVOA when they made their run?

      • Tumtum

        I’m with ya in general. I just hate to be mislead by stats and in general so I am pretty skeptical at all times.

    • CrackSammich

      Midseason stats and rankings are generally pretty circular. Why did a team lose? Just look at their stats. Why are their stats bad? Because they lost. The only other option is to get so ridiculously specific with the numbers that they don’t mean much of anything.

      Stats only tend to be effective at predicting only if you’re looking at the right ones for the right thing, and I don’t think football translates to that kind of analysis as well as baseball or even hockey.

      TL;DR Stats are only useful if you’re arguing with people on message boards.

  • BlindChow

    You know, if Orton goes down, and Kitna comes in and takes the Cowboys deep into the playoffs, Disney will make an inspirational movie about it, starring Mark Wahlberg as John Kitna.

    This must not be allowed to happen.

    • jshort

      They already made the movie about Foles…..Heaven can wait…Was thing that since he got klunked in that Dallas game…..Figuring out the player possessing him is the hard part.

      • Chippah

        Norm Van Brocklin?

  • Dragon_Eagle

    Is it Sunday night yet?

    With or without Romo & Lee, it feels like forever since I, and I suspect many others, have felt this kind of confidence in the Eagles to get it done. Then again, I felt that way about the Minny game, but still…right now is a far cry from the past 2 years.

    The team has far exceeded my pre-season expectations. Right now, I want our young core to get into the post-season and get playoff experience. Even if we lose in round 1 – the team & coaching staff will benefit and build on it.

    Also, I want to kick the snot out of the Cowpads, but that should go without saying.

    • Ark87

      This is one of those games where you wish you had a Thursday night game. The farther removed from the Chicago game we get, and longer we are exposed to the distractions that come with Dallas week, the worse off we are.

  • ACViking

    Here’s a question I may ask again (since this post is nearing is natural end).

    Would Trent Cole have been a better Rush-OLB than DE had been drafted in ’05 by a well-coached 3-4 defense, like the Steelers or one coached by Wade Phillips?

    Cole’s talked about preparing to play OLB in the pros after his senior year at Cincinnati.

    Watching what he’s done this season at age 30, and knowing the drive to max-out his natural abilities, I think Cole would have been a demon of a R-OLB had he landed with a 3-4 team. He’s built a lot like James Harrison, though a bit taller. And he’s always been explosive off the edge.

    This year, with his weight down and not having to fight a 300+ lb OT every single play, he’s showing what a weapon he could have been in the 3-4.

    And I think that great for TC.

    • Anders

      Consider how great Cole was as a 4-3 end, it is hard to think how much he might have been as a 3-4 OLB.

      • ACViking

        Cole was a very, very good DE. Great? That’s relative to what we’ve seen in these parts over the past 50 years. And how he stacked up against DEs — contemporaries and those who came before him. I don’t think Cole, though, was ever a DE who could dominate games by himself.

        I’m driving at the thesis that Cole could have been a league-wide dominate DE off the edge. Someone who could have dominated from that position.

        • Anders

          There was a period (3 or 4 years) where Cole was 3rd in the NFL in sacks behind only Ware and Allen, on top of him been maybe the best run defending DE, I would call that great.

          • ACViking

            Great is not “3-4 years.” And even in those years, he wasn’t in the class of DeMarcus Ware or Dwight Freeney.

            DeMarcus Ware’s been “great.” A dominant player for whom other teams schemed their offenses.

            I don’t know — but I’m open to hearing — that any offense’s game plan was designed to account for Cole on every play.

            Yeah, he was really good. Not in the Ware class. IMO.

          • Ark87

            I agree with your assessment. Teams did game plan TC though. He had a dominant stretch there, then it dipped off. That’s when teams started chipping him, and sometimes double teaming him on obvious passing downs. That’s when players opposite Cole started getting production. Ware has played through the attention and been productive, and that’s the primary difference.

            I will say this though. This is a discussion on pass-rushers. I would argue that only Allen has been a better all around player during the era. Trent Cole is arguable as good against the run than he is rushing the passer. I think that’s partly why the Wide 9 didn’t work for him. He was still reading and reacting (years of coaching isn’t easily undone) and getting to the runs, rather than blindly attacking the spot where the QB would be.

          • Anders

            How was Freeney more dominant than Cole?

            Also cant a player be great, but only for a couple of years? The difference between HOF/elite and great is for how long you are great.
            Shawn Andrews was a great guard despite the few years he played.

            I say Cole was great for 4 years and the 2nd best DE in those years behind Allen

        • bsuperfi

          Given Coles recent level of play, does anyone still think the 4-3 under would’ve been a better fit this season? That meme seems to have gone extinct.

          Granted it’s not all Cole. But his resurgence off the edge has done wonders. Not to mention cox’s ability to adapt and dominate and thorntons ability in the middle.

          • Weapon Y

            It’s not so much Cole who the 4-3 Under would’ve benefited more, but Cox and Kendricks. I see the value of the 3-4 in run defense, but Under fronts are still better at creating one-on-one matchups for your best pass rushers.

          • Anders

            The Eagles use every front possible. Last week the first sack from Cole came when we used the “wide” 9, with both tackles in 3 tech, Cole at 9 tech and Barwin as 7 tech.

          • Anders

            I think the guy who would benefit the most is Curry.

            In the 4-3 under we would most likely have the following front:

            Curry-Thornton-Cox-Cole or if we want run heavy heavy

            Thornton-Logan-Cox-Cole.

            The last under front is very close to what we already use as base formation.

    • A Roy

      I think Cole’s size would have been better suited to a 3-4 OLB. He was always battling LT/TE or LT/G combinations as a 4-3 DE. Being able to move around a bit in a 3-4 would’ve made him and the DL a little better. I think that’s kinda what Sean McDermott was trying to do with him, but everyone rebelled because Sean wasn’t JJ.

      • Anders

        people rebelled because the defense was terrible on Sean

        • A Roy

          As we found this year, change takes time.

  • Anders

    Tony Romo is now official out for the season after he under went surgery

    • ACViking

      Well . . . if the game’s close in the last 3 minutes, I’m glad Romo’s out.

      Otherwise, no coach likes to face the unknown — which Orton is in the Cowboys’ system.

      He’s careful with the ball. Has some pretty good talent to work with. And historically he’s been a good decision maker.

      On the other hand, I like the challenge for the Birds. It’s December. It’s playoff time. No gimmes now.

      Time to fight.

      • Anders

        Orton has same int % as Romo, so I wouldnt call him a great decision maker

        • ACViking

          A:

          Throw out Orton’s rookie season — when he was forced to be a starter.

          His numbers improve.

          • Anders

            Every QBs numbers improve if you throw out the worst season (often rookie unless you are Eli Manning this year)

          • ACViking

            This is not like calculating a season’s QB Rating.

            What rookie walks in and plays high-level football?

            Not even Peyton Manning did that. His rookie rating was 71.2. And he had more INTs than TDs.

            Only Dan Marino walked into the NFL and dominated. Posted a 96 QBR w/ 20 TDs and 6 INTs.

            All I’m saying is that after Orton’s rookie season, his TD-INT numbers improved noticeably. That’s all.

            Just like Nick Foles . . . so far.

      • xeynon

        Agreed. Orton isn’t to be taken lightly. He isn’t Romo, but he’s a capable veteran quarterback and can be dangerous if your defense isn’t on its game, and he still has DeMarco Murray to hand the ball to and Dez Bryant and Jason Witten to throw it to. Lest we be overconfident, we need do no more than look back two weeks to see what was done to this defense by Matt Cassel, a lesser quarterback working with lesser weapons.

        • Ark87

          Yep, you just never know how a Vet will react to the bench. Sometimes the time and perspective helps. We’d best just come to the game assuming he’s going to have a career day.

      • DJH

        Tommy re-tweeted that Billy Davis and Cards faced Ortim before and had 3 INTs. So at least Davis knows what Orton can/can’t do.

      • A Roy

        We’re from Philadelphia…

  • Scott J

    I say we go back to the future and draft 2 Corners like we did in 2002 with Lito and Brown. Or a Safety and Corner.

    • A_T_G

      AND is better. I think we also got Michael Lewis in that draft. Two starting corners and a starting safety. Wow.

      • Anders

        Sheppard, Brown, Lewis, Westbrook was the first 4 picks.

        2012 is only Eagles draft there might challenge that draft

        Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Foles (if he is a true hit, it makes it best draft), Boykin, Brown and Polk and D Johnson as UDFAs

        • mtn_green

          2012 and 2013 are disgustingly good drafts. Maybe I’m jumping the gun on 2013 but Johnson has been rt all year, Logan is starting NT, Ertz has his games, Barkley is an unknown lets call him a decent future QB2, earl Wolff is a starting safety.

          • cliff henny

            with kruger waiting. hals and crew have had a full yr to genetically engineer him. remember readng that he would have been projected 2nd or 3rd rndr if he stayed another yr.

  • Adam

    One thing that I love about this roster is that we don’t have to rush any rookies into a starting role. If you look at any of the big needs/positions that could be upgraded (S, OLB, WR, G, CB) we have enough talent to let the rookie come along at a good pace while competing for a starting spot.

  • Ark87

    So I had a bit of a flash back to 2010. The year AP was out with a torn ACL. And suddenly there was a young trifecta of running backs all vying for recognition as the best RB in the league outside of AP. It was Arian Foster, Lesean McCoy, and Matt Forte. Some wanted to insert Ray Rice into that group. After re watching that Chicago game, Forte is a total liability in pass pro. Foster I think was a tad over rated in a RB friendly system. Meanwhile I think McCoy is starting to creep into the same class as AP. Not as good yet, but I think when everythings said and done, I think AP and Lesean will be the 2 stand out’s of that running back generation.

    • Anders

      I will say Charles, McCoy and AP is the 3 best RBs right now with Charles and McCoy better all purpose player, but AP is better pure RB and McCoy is the youngest of the 3.

      • Ark87

        Don’t forget the most important ability

  • shah8

    Bradley Fletcher is missed a whole lot quicker than Trent Cole.

  • Cafone

    One thing I’ve been wondering about of late: Is Vinny Curry as a DE written in stone? In terms of his weight it really seems like he could go either way. With his pass rushing ability, why couldn’t be the pass rushing OLB of the future? It seems that Cole’s performance would give him time to learn the position as a backup and the Eagles would not need to rush him into a starting role.

    • mtn_green

      Good question.