As the Eagles head into the offseason, there will be a lot of talk about high character guys. This breaks down into a couple of categories. First, there are those players who are legitimately good people. You’d want these guys as a neighbor, friend or relative. You’d trust your kids with them.
There is also football character. You want players that are tough, coachable, good teammates and ultra-competitive. They may not be model citizens, but they can still be model football players.
Jimmy Bama wrote a piece on some Eagles who didn’t exactly love the game of football. The subject came up after DRC made some strange comments with the media today. He talked about retiring if the Broncos win the Super Bowl.
After two years in Philly with little to play for, DRC had a very good year with the front-running Broncos. He signed a 1-year deal this past offseason and is set to become a free agent after the Super Bowl, when he’ll have an opportunity to make a lot of money. Super Bowl week began on Monday, and DRC, talking as if he’s an old grizzled vet, was one of the players who spoke to the media. It turns out DRC may not be looking for that big payday after all. Apparently, if the Broncos win, DRC may retire.
“I had my fun in this league,” said DRC, “and I have to weigh my options, see how I feel after the season.
“I had a goal to play for 5 years, and I reached that.”
If he retires, DRC said he’d like to go back to high school to be a guidance counselor. When presented with reasons why he might retire, DRC shot them down:
Do you want to go out on top? No.
Is it just because you want to stay healthy? No.
If you were playing Family Feud, and the question was, “Why would you retire early from football if you still have the ability to play,” going out on top and staying healthy would be on the big board, but the #1 honest answer would probably be, “Because I just don’t like football all that much.”
When asked if there was a different level of effort with the Eagles last year than there was with the Broncos in 2013, DRC answered, “You can say that.”
DRC might be a good guy, but he’s not a good football character guy. When things are good, he’s fine. When the going gets tough, don’t count on him. He doesn’t handle adversity well.
You can have some guys like this on your team, but they better be few and far between. As Rex Ryan likes to say, if you have enough ants, they can carry a cockroach.
I think the Eagles did a terrific job of getting the right kind of players in here last offseason. They brought in a mixture of high character guys and football character guys. You could see how these guys impacted the team. Connor Barwin brought a sense of togetherness to the defense. Cary Williams brought some attitude. Rookies Bennie Logan, Earl Wolff, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and even Matt Barkley all came in ready to compete for jobs. There were no prima donnas. There were no projects.
I fully expect Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly to focus on the same type of players. They can afford to take a chance on a player if they want, but it would have to be the right guy and the right situation. Kelly is still getting this team set up the way he wants it. The smart play is to stick with the right kind of guys to get the foundation of the team set just the way he wants it.
This isn’t about building up a team full of saints. Kelly is looking for the right kind of people. He said that Logan and Barkley were the two most impressive interviews at the Scouting Combine last year. Both guys got picked. They had good game tape as well so don’t mistake this to mean there won’t be a focus on talent.
The 2013 Eagles were a tough, smart, competitive team. That was a big change from recent years. Expect Kelly and Roseman to build on what they got started by once again getting the right combination of character and talent.
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The Pro Bowl was on Sunday. I watched parts of it and found it to be the best Pro Bowl I’ve seen in a while. The players actually competed.
Foles won offensive MVP. He would have preferred to win the game, but MVP is a good consolation prize.
Evan Mathis and LeSean McCoy were on the winning team.