More on the DL

Posted: February 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 111 Comments »

The D-line is a position of strength for the Eagles, but there still could be some changes. I previously wrote about the DL here and specifically about Bennie Logan and the NT position here.

I bring this up because I read earlier today about some changes the Packers could be making. Apparently they will be active in free agency for the first time in years. One of the things they are considering is letting DL/DT B.J. Raji walk and adding guys that are more versatile and athletic. Dom Capers has never needed huge DL. In fact he had some good defenses with the Panthers when 265-pound Greg Kragen was his NT.  That was the late 1990s, but most offensive linemen were more than 300 pounds at that time. Kragen was a shrimp, but he got the job done.

Capers has used DEs of all kinds of sizes. Raji played a lot of DE for the Packers, with Ryan Pickett at the nose. Raji is 340 or so while Pickett is about 315. As long as the NT can anchor and eat blocks, there isn’t a need for him to be huge.

I’m bringing this up since Eagles DC Bill Davis is a protege of Capers. Davis learned from him in Pittsburgh (1992-94) and then worked for him with the Panthers (1995-98). That’s 7 years of influence on how to run a 3-4 defense. You wonder if Capers had an impact on Davis in terms of what kind of DL to target.

When Davis was in Arizona, he had Bryan Robinson (6-4, 305) at NT and athletic guys like Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell as the DEs. There was nobody that was massive. Campbell has great length, but not bulk. They did spend a 1st round pick on DL Dan Williams (6-2, 330) in 2010. What we don’t know is if Davis pushed for him or Williams was more of a target of Ken Whisenhunt or the GM.

As the Eagles head into the offseason, the team could be similar to the Packers and focus on athletic, versatile DL rather than bulky guys. Davis still wants to 2-gap so he will need players who can engage blockers and shed them, but you don’t have to be 330 pounds to get that done. Something to consider as we look at potential free agent and draft targets.

* * * * *

There has been a lot of talk about the Eagles approach to free agency. Geoff Mosher wrote about how Howie Roseman is going to be careful. Here’s a good quote from Roseman.

“The guys that you’ve drafted, they look around and they say, ‘Well, this guy they brought from somewhere else, and they’re paying him maybe more than he’s worth.’ So you have to be very careful in free agency, and I think what worked last year was based on the free-agent market. You’ve got to really make sure you’re in line with what the free agent market is and not try to force anything.”

I think the Eagles are trying to keep fans from getting their hopes built up for lots of huge moves. Roseman is trying to preach mid-level moves and building through the draft. Keep expectations low and then let fans get excited if a big move does happen. Roseman admitted that the team could make a big move if the situation is right.

“I’d say if there was a player who was kind of in the right age group as a free agent, played an important position who we thought could be around for a long time, we would certainly be open to [a lucrative, long-term deal],” Roseman said.

The Eagles will spend big if they find the right player.

I recently began checking out the free agent lists. One name that I wondered about was DT Linval Joseph. He will turn 26 in October so his best football could still be ahead of him. He’s got a great build at 6-4, 328. He can get to the QB up the middle. He had 3 sacks this year and 4 last year.

Adding Joseph would help the DL in a couple of ways. He could push the pocket better than Logan. That would help when facing top QBs that get the ball out quickly. And Logan could become the #4 DL. He could play DE, DT and NT depending upon what the situation was.

While this sounds great and makes sense, think about Roseman’s quote. If you go break the bank for a guy like Joseph, how will that affect Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton, players that will be looking for new deals in a year. You do have to be careful about spending big because you’re being naive if you don’t think it will have an impact on current players. The other factor to consider is that Joseph is a 4-3 DT and you’d be moving him to NT. Do you break the bank on a player and then move him to a new spot? There is some risk with that.

I still think the Eagles stick with Logan at NT, but going for someone like Joseph would be interesting. It wouldn’t use any draft picks, just money. The Eagles have cap space and money to spend if they want to. And it would be cool to steal a division rival’s young, talented player. I doubt it happens, but the scenario is certainly an interesting idea.

_


  • Media Mike

    I’m curious as to what moves the Eagles actually make in free agency. I’d agree that a guy like Linval Joseph isn’t going to net you the right level of impact for the money it would cost. I’m really most curious to see what teams pay break the bank money to some of the free agents out there.

  • shah8

    Makes me think that Roseman might think we are a couple of years away. We do need one more player that can push an OL that isn’t weak or making mistakes.

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

    Considering some of the general assumptions (young, mid-level, kelly-esque measurables, and character), I came up with some possible options [age in parentheses]:
    WR- Andre Roberts(26), Emmanuel Sanders(26), McCluster(25), Meachem(29), Joe Webb(a fresh 27)
    OL- Charles Brown(26), Asamoah(25), Lauvao(26)
    DL- Michael Johnson(27)
    OLB- Orakpo(27), Mike Neal(26), Rob Jackson(28) **don’t like any of these guys
    ILB- Arthur Moats(25), Perry Riley(25), London Fletcher (jk), Joe Mays (jk x 2), Stewart Bradley (alright I’ll move on)
    DB- Verner(25), Corey Graham(28), Delmas (26), Asante Samuel (ok I’m done)

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      Jacoby Ford?

      • Anders

        please no, guy is terrible.

    • Tom W

      Verner doesn’t have Kelly measurable s but is elite and young and blows everyone out. No way he doesn’t get franchised or resigned

      • laeagle

        To quote “Arrested Development”, “you really want to say ‘away’”.

        “She blew them all away.”

        • Baloophi

          I blue myself.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          riley cooper hates black puppets?

    • Tom W

      What happened to safety? Clemons delmas Byrd ward Mitchell brown whitner maybe Jenkins I guess

      • BreakinAnklez

        He has Delmas listed. He has some major injury concerns tho.

    • Tom W

      Mcluster or dat. Not spending on a stud guard like asamoah too bad. Safety is the hole we will hit going into draft ….

    • Insomniac

      I hope we sign Verner. Hopefully the Nnamdi signing hasn’t crushed Howie’s belief in signing big FA CBs. Ideally..we’d get Aqib Talib somehow.

      • Anders

        Talib misses way to many games. Kelly values health in a player a lot (he calls it a skill)

        • Insomniac

          True but he’s the mold of what Chip prefers.

    • BreakinAnklez

      Joe Webb is a QB…have you learned nothing!!!!!!!!,

      • Insomniac

        Joe Webb is no GJ Kinne for sure.

      • shah8

        Joe Webb isn’t really a WR, though. He can run fast, and he can catch, but he has next to zero route-running ability. Which is why he was primarily used as a run blocker. Catches some short balls, and really, the primary use as a WR fired in anger is as a Plaxico style end zone receiver.

        • shah8

          Ah, and lastly, while not sure of NFL-wide management attitudes (after all, they are privy to info I’m not, like the actual reasons why we shouldn’t consider him a QB, such as not picking up system, or something like that), I’m pretty sure that Webb will have a stronger market as a backup QB than as a receiver.

    • Mac

      You really think Andy would let McCluster go? I can’t see that happening.

      • Insomniac

        McCiuster isn’t anything special though.

        • Anders

          He had 1200 scrimmage yards, 2nd on that team after Charles.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        If he’d rather go after, say, Maclin and Roberts; or maybe Cooper or Sanders? look to upgrade at TE? They’ll have a lot of defensive guys looking for $.
        but more importantly, that list was more an exercise in narrowing down the FA pool. Just possible options is all. I think McCluster would be interesting, but all cards on the table I’d rather take DAT with a 5th.

    • Anders

      to ad a few
      OL: Geoff Swchartz (28, but very low milage)
      DL: Tony McDaniel(29, but again very low milage), Lamaar Houston (26)
      OLB: Worilds (25, little small, but you listed Verner :P)

  • SteveH

    If they let Raji walk would he be someone we’d be interested in? My memory of him is that he is big, strong and talented, but inconsistent.

    • TommyLawlor

      Raji played more DE than NT. Raji would be an odd target because of that.

      • ICDogg

        But Raji was a better NT than he was a DE, and in fact I think that’s one of the reasons he did not have a good year this year. Turning down his 8m/yr offer to re-sign has to be considered a mistake on his part, as he won’t get anywhere close to that on the open market. But I think Green Bay having moved him to DE had something to do with his devaluation.

      • Anders

        Raji was the NT when they won the SB.

  • SteveH

    Just saw that Louis Delmas was released today. I like the way he plays a lot, he was clearly the best safety on the Lions roster, and I think we can get him for a mid level price tag. He’s my new #1 FA Safety target.

    • Arby1

      Didn’t he have injury problems? Why was he released?

      • scratcherk

        Lions were in cap trouble and saved 6 million by releasing him.

        He can definitely ball. However, he was getting his knees drained frequently throughout the season. That being said, he’s a competitor and i’d be willing to take a chance on him.

      • SteveH

        Evidently he played all 16 games last season. I guess it depends on what his long term prognosis is health wise.

        • RIP illa

          Played all 16 but would miss 2 or so days of practice on a regular basis cuz of bad knee(s).

      • BreakinAnklez

        Yes. He’s always hurt

    • Anders

      I take him on a deal similar to Barwin.
      He is a good solid FS.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        I’d take one more similar to Sconces, assuming Chung and Allen are gone

  • mksp

    I like Linval Joseph a lot, but assuming Cox & Thrornton get new deals, how much $ can we reasonably tie up on the DL?

    Not to mention Vinny Curry will be up at the same time as Cox, though I’m guessing at this point he’s either traded or at a minimum we don’t buy out his last year.

    • mksp

      Remember we probably want to tie up Foles / Boykin / Kendricks in addition to Cox next spring.

      • anon

        Eh, we tie up foles, boykin, Kendricks and Cox can test FA if they don’t have a break out year next year.

        To be clear a 4-3 team might pay Cox more, and i’m ok with that.

        • Anders

          you be okay to lose the best 1st round pick we have made in forever?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            ^ this forever. the kid turned 23 during the season. impacted the game immediately as a rookie, showing he can play at this level. spent ’13 in a whole new scheme/staff, learning a whole new technique.
            Cox is the most excited I’ve been about an Eagles defender since Dawkins left.

      • Anders

        yea, but those contracts would first start in 2016 and Cox can be extended with an option 5 year that would be pretty cheap.
        That along with the cap really going up next couple of years (new TV deal money), cap move over, release of guys like Ryans, Cole, Celek, Williams, Casey and Herremans and contracts like Peters ending means around 35 million there and we can also redo deals like Barwin and we have plenty cap space.
        Right now we have like 50 mill projected cap money in 15 before roll over.

        • Maggie

          You do realize that there has to be an offense on the field from time to time?

    • D3FB

      I’m guessing we probably try to get Thorton to extend this offseason since he’s an RFA and try to get him for like 4 years at 3.5 or so a year. Cox we don’t have to worry about until next year at the earliest and even then we can wait another year before he becomes a full blown free agent. Curry feels like somebody that we use as a nickel rusher and interior speed ball when playing with a lead until his contract runs up and then we draft another one.

      • shah8

        Ok…wait. Why do we, in particular, want to retain Thornton? I don’t think of him as tits on a boar, like, oh, Riley Cooper, but I do think of him much the same way I think of Foles–he can make noise, especially against the run, when he’s not facing an optimal defense, but he’s not liable to make plays against well coached OLs with sufficient athletic talent. For example, compare what a disruptive Thornton is like to what a disruptive Brandon Mebane is like. Mebane can stand up to an offense that narrows it attention (sacrificing energy and attention to other potential playstoppers) to him in a way that Thornton can’t. These are my impressions, and I definitely can be wrong about them, since it’s all osmosis rather than specific attention to the individuals within the DL. I also don’t know what’s star money and and what’s journeyman money. In any event if it’s not Thornton that needs replacing, then it’s Bennie Logan that needs replacing as a starter. People have gone away from a 3-4 at times, because while it’s more flexible, if you don’t have enough talent, you get ground down, precisely as what happened against NO, and the real talent deficit is on the three dudes up front. Cox is fine. The others aren’t.

        • D3FB

          The primary job of the DL in the 34 is to eat up blockers and control the run game. Thorton is a good run defender. He’s athletic enough to stretch plays out and strong enough to take on double teams at the point of attack.
          As far as the $ as a reference point everybody wanted us to sign Ricky Jean Francois last year and on the open market he ended up getting 4 years 22 million from the Colts.
          You can’t have a team of 22 all pros in a salary cap age. Some positions need to be manned by simply good not great players. Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith weren’t pass rushing studs. Thorton is also only 25 and still has room to improve his game.

          • shah8

            There are a lot of guys out there in the world who can look good if the world didn’t *depend* on them to look good.

            This matters mostly because what’s really wrong with the Eagles defense has mostly to do with not having enough actual dependable *stars*. We only had major amounts of time on the field for one specifically bad player, being Chung. That’s honestly quite fine for winning in the regular season. Not having gaping holes everywhere has definitely meant that team play can more or less slow and shut down mediocre and worse offenses. However, when it comes to *good* offense, with serious dudes like Jimmy Graham, Billy Davis is unable to leave *anyone* on a island against *any* special player, unless it has something to do with Cox! So while Graham didn’t do much, the Saints simply focuses on the run game and smashed the hell out of us, with the likes of Ingram! In the end, moving forward more or less means finding a safety, and replacing dependable talent somewhere, with someone who do his job PLUS be a force/make plays/shutdown areas, etc.

          • D3FB

            I would generally agree but within the system the DL are asked to be more team players rather than playmakers. Cox would be more productive as a 3 tech. He does however have great talent and is able to still make plays but I would argue that in terms of doing what Billy Davis wants on a given play Thorton is a perfect player. Improving the playmaking will happen with the other 8 players not the front 3. A better ROLB, Kendricks finally putting it all together, improved safety play, and eventually upgrading the corners will lead to better results than looking for an upgrade on Thorton.

          • shah8

            I don’t think Kendricks is like Ernie Sims out there. Demeco Ryans isn’t wholly a liability either. A lot of inferior play from them does have a lot to do with inferior play up front.

            I do not think Bradley Fletcher is easily upgradeable in any way other than consistent health. And better corners over Sconces would really cost a pretty penny, while rookies will take years to get decent, Boykin notwithstanding.

            Both OLB needs upgrading, but it’s the exact same dilemma, in the sense that Barwin and Cole does do their jobs. Just not imposingly so.

            Gambles, gambles, everywhere, and in this case, I’d say that Thornton is the easiest to replace with someone you’d hope to be better.

          • shah8

            And I get exercised about a lot of this, pretty much precisely because of people like the folks behind Chipwagon. Bennie Logan was a cog in the machine, and the nature of the Saint’s line play was entirely about isolating and moving designated victims, out of an orthodox look that forces you to honor other run plays even when you (and everyone else) know it’s a sneak. It’s entirely the same effect where Foles did or faked a read option and freezing the Saint’s LB while McCoy ran it in. That LB could have used a lineman making a defeat in order to make his job easier. Or he could just guess and hope he’s right.

            That’s why you shouldn’t pick on Logan, man. I do prefer Logan to Thornton.

          • A_T_G

            Okay, I’ll ask. Who is picking on Logan? I read back through the entire conversation and the only mention of Logan, besides yours, is (a) very positive and (b) made after yours.

          • Maggie

            There have been many other comments the last few weeks suggesting to dump Logan.

          • Neil

            So why exactly isn’t Logan getting isolated and victimised by an offense doing what offenses do a problem? What exactly is the solution besides Logan becoming a better player?

          • D3FB

            But the question is who? At what cost? And what is it that you want this player to be able to do that Thorton cant? Your being vague and philosophical in your answers rather than concrete. I could understand if you argued that you would like someone who is more dynamic, explosive, a better pass rusher at the position but just claiming he can be “exploited by superior offesnes and schemes” is a cop out. The other guys get paid too. No player wins every play. Offensive coordinators get paid for a reason. Ceddy wins more than he loses.

            I also think you underestimate the fact that Thorton and Logan are both very young and should improve with time. Replacing them with a rookie would require draft capital with no garuntee of even similar production. Replacing them with a vet would be expensive.

          • anon

            Honestly, i’d like one stud in each group. That’s what we have / expect on offense. We have pro bowl lineman, RBs and WRs — and most would say we’d need to upgrade WR, maybe guard. We have no D pro bowlers and people are arguing we should stay the course — i don’t get it.

            Given the playoff teams in this league youre never going to get there against “guys” especially given that we’re going from a last place to a first place schedule next year.

          • D3FB

            I’m not arguing that we don’t need to get better talent on the defense overall. I am however saying that spending heavy resources on two gapping 34 ends is worth less than at other positions, due to the nature of what they are asked to do. Cox would be more valuable in a 1 gap or as a 3 tech. Thorton is most valuable and does exactly what the coaches want from that position.

          • mksp

            I love this post. And agree. You need to be cost effective somewhere, Ced fits that role pretty well.

          • Anders

            We all know finding great run stopping 2 gapping 3-4 DEs is the easiest thing in the world. /s
            sha8 forgets that 2 gapping is the toughest thing for any linemen to do consistenly well and have one who is one of the best is a big bonus and was a big part of our great run defense.

        • Insomniac

          Thornton may never be something special in terms of getting sacks or being disruptive. He’s going to be a technician who’ll shut down running lanes and redirect runners. Like you said, Thornton will have those rare moments where he’ll bring down players in the backfield. A solid player is always worth resigning. He can be our version of Red Bryant if you want to think of it that way.

          • Weapon Y

            Very good comparison. I’ve seen Thornton as a Red Bryant type of DE myself. That’s why I’m in favor using more Pete Carroll-style 4-3 under looks, meaning use 1-gap and 2-gap concepts on the same play.

        • Anders

          Im really begin to think you do not know NFL at all.
          Why do we need to ink Thornton? Because he is one of the best run stopping 3-4 DE in the NFL and the primary job of the LDE in 3-4 2 gap is to eat up blockers

  • Weapon Y

    With how many snaps the Eagles defense play under Kelly’s system, it’s important to have a really deep defense. Basically, you need two groups of starters for defense, especially on the defensive line where guys have less endurance than the linebackers and secondary. I would not be upset if the Eagles drafted a defensive lineman in the first round. Admittedly, I’d be surprised, but not mad. Cox, Thornton, Logan, and Curry can all be long-term fixtures here, but it would help to get two more guys who could be solid first or second teamers (No, not you Clifton Geathers). Maybe that’s a young, inexperienced guy like Joe Kruger or maybe that’s a third round draft pick.

    One high-mid round draft pick who intrigues me is Daniel McCullers. I know McCullers looked more like a care bear than a grizzly bear, but I’m intrigued by him because he reminds of Dontari Poe in college. I didn’t think Poe was anything special. I just thought he was a workout warrior who had bad football instincts. He got coached very well by Andy’s staff and became a beast. I’m now more willing to take chances on “soft” guys because of Poe’s success. It’s not so much that McCullers would replace Logan as nose tackle. The Eagles defense plays so many snaps that it would be like both could be starters.

    • bsuperfi

      This prioritization makes sense to me. I think the line is good just compared to the rest of the d. It’s effective but not that much better than average in the nfl.

      That said, I think this line will only get better. Cox has a chance to be a superstar. Logan has the chance to be a solid starter and locker room leader. Thornton has the chance to be very good. Az seems like he can coach them up.

      A really good olb would help take some pressure off the line too.

      I’d invest a third with the right value on the line. I’d be hesitant to go higher unless the value is outrageous.

      • Anders

        Cox+Thornton was 1 of the top 3-4 DE combo’s last year. One can argue only the Jets version with Wilkenson and Richardson was better.

    • Anders

      McCuller is Geathers 2.0

      • Insomniac

        I’d rather have Justin Ellis.

        • Anders

          I rather not have McCullers at all.
          DaQuan Jones is my top NT (I have Nix off the board because of his knees) followed by Ellis and then Garrathers.

          • Insomniac

            I like Jones a lot too but for me it highly depends on where he’ll be drafted. Interesting info. Ellis has a similar build to Vince Wilfork.

            Wilfork

            6’2, 325lbs, 32″ arms, 10″ hands

            Ellis

            6’2, 342lbs, 32″ arms, 10″hands

            I rounded up a little but it’s pretty close.

          • Anders

            yea Jones is most likely going in the 3rd and is the 3rd to early to draft NT compeition (this really depends on the coaching staffs view on Logan)

          • HazletonEagle

            Zack Kerr too. Awesome athlete at his size.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Kerr all the way. Probably had in the 7th or UDFA. Bring in the Blue Hen!

      • Weapon Y

        Normally, I’d agree with you 100%. But I’d hate to miss out on a guy similar to Poe if the coaches think his ceiling is high. Will know more after pro-day workouts and combine.

  • SuPaFrO

    What about having Thorton as NT n Joseph as DE??

    • Anders

      Why do that? Thornton is a great DE, he can be a good NT in some packages, but he is build for DE. Joseph is build for the NT.

      • SuPaFrO

        Well there were times when Thortonas NT that the rush defense played better. I just think Joseph is athletic enough to be “outside” n in.
        was thinking of having some nickel packages like so

        Curry Joseph cox
        Lb cox Joseph Barwin

        Maybe I just want Joseph enough that I’m being illogical. :)

  • mksp

    I wonder what Jairus Byrd costs. Because if it’s something like 4yr/$44mm/$27 guaranteed, I wonder if you go for it.

    Draft (1) Dee Ford, (2) Kyle Fuller, (3) Dion Bailey and all of a sudden you feel pretty good about where you D is at.

    • Anders

      Last year I heard 8 million per year, but I have also heard highest paid safety, so he would cost somewhere between 8 and 10 mill per year.
      I give him a 6 year deal there is essential a 3-4 year deal like Barwins or Cole’s deal.

      • anon

        why take that when you can re-cash after 3 years? you think you can give the best safety the same type of deal you gave a middling lb?

        • Anders

          Because Byrd aint going to re cash after 3 years? He will be 31 by than, he wont get a top deal then.
          Also we have given that type of deals to every big name FA. We gave it to Samuel and NA. It is how Banner did and how Roseman do deals.

          • anon

            Yeah my point is why would he come here for that type of deal when he can get more cash elsewhere? If he’s still good (which i don’t see why a deep safety couldn’t be at 31) i’m sure he could re-up for guaranteed money. He’s gotta know that the big numbers he’d get in our deal aren’t real.

          • Anders

            most deals are contructed that way.

    • Tom W

      Market makes it at least a 5 yr deal for 42-45 million w somewhere between 20 – 28 mil guaranteed. Your offer would be way above market. Can’t draft for pure need not way to win or eagles style. More likely Barr/Benjamin/ealy/sheed/Pryor, attaboy/Marcus smith/vannoy/Christian jones/devonta/Robinson, Buchanan/mbryant/dlawrence/McGill, barrow/urban/baptiste/, dat/colt

  • eagleyankfan

    A good article but a bit of a contradiction. If you(not you specifically) say the Eagles only target high character players than those players won’t care how much you spend on another player. Derek Jeter never whined about how much Arod/CC/Tanaka/Mtex etc etc make. High character players should know each player is responsible for their own contracts. If there are only high character(and smart) players on the Eagles — they shouldn’t care if they break the bank for a player. If Cox/Thorton are offended, maybe they aren’t the high character players we were told they were….

    • A_T_G

      A good point, but baseball is not the ideal comparison, particularly the Yankees, because Jeter also knew that the pie they were all eating from was essentially infinite. The salary cap, and how often I’d imagine it gets brought up in negotiations, creates a different situation.

      • eagleyankfan

        also — not a good example with the guaranteed contracts either :). I don’t think you don’t sign a player because you might hurt other players feelings….

    • D3FB

      Jeter is also made the second most of all time for any baseball player. He’s made north of 250 million, so lets not pretend he was playing for a box of cracker jacks and atta boys, and lived like some kind of monk. Baseball players have much bigger cushier contracts, than football players and have a longer shelf life. Plus while Jeter never bitched publicly and his media savvy was impressive, how do you know it wasn’t cursing Steinbreinner up and down the Bronx during negotiating time?

      • eagleyankfan

        Really? The second most all time? Wow. Was Arod first? But — the last few years — Jeter has been paid his worth while others like Mtex/Arod/CC etc have been paid over the top while under performing…baseball is a bad example..it’s the character of Jeter — not the contracts — was my point. After all, according to Pujols — Jeter is the closest Jesus as you can get…

      • anon

        And all of their money is guaranteed. Footballs players really get shafted — that’s probably why Goddell gets so much money.

  • A Roy

    I think one thing that gets lost in the conversation about fixing/improving the defense is what it takes to win a Super Bowl. As Tommy, and others (both among us and other bloggers), has written, it takes one elite aspect and one decent aspect to win a SB. Kelly is not the guy to win with an elite D, so it is imperative the Offense improve. Where?

    It’s tough to get better RB or QB play than we got last year…except at backup RB. Thus the areas of improvement are WR, OL and TE…probably in that order. At WR, even if they sign Maclin and/or Cooper, there is still a need for a big, fast WR that can gain separation. Thus, I can easily see the Eagles selecting a WR in one of the first two rounds. Along the way, they will probably select another TE to replace Casey. And, as many have noted, the OL is aging in 3 positions. I do not have a grasp on the ceiling of Bamiro or Kelly at T/G, but the cupboard is bare beyond that. (I’m looking at the roster, so there may be someone on IR I’m forgetting…) So they need to select a T/G somewhere along the way, too. And as far as QB is concerned, they probably need to select a developmental 3rd QB…assuming they’re okay with Barkley as backup.

    That’s half the draft for offensive players in order to become/remain elite.
    So the, what are my expectations for defensive players, given that they should/probably will draft some offense? We need at least 1 elite selection. That person is, preferably, an OLB , but I would also be okay with a S or CB. Those are the top three positions that must be addressed. This leaves practically zero chance to improve the DL beyond 1) coaching up the existing guys and signing a UFA or 2) finding a FA that is better than the current DL who fits the salary structure. I’m thinking option 1 is it for the DL.

    My only caveat is if somehow, somewhere a DL is BPA by a significant margin.

    • eagleyankfan

      He doesn’t need an elite D — he just needs a better D than last year. Keep the ship pointing in the right direction — that includes the defense this year — we need to see improvement…

      • A Roy

        That’s my point.

        He cannot try and improve all aspects of the D as many commenters want/write. He will use limited resources on D because he has to continually work on O. Thus, he will have to settle for marginal or incremental improvement in the DL.

  • Rage114

    I’d stay away from Joseph. Sometimes, when a player is JAG with one team, he may turn into something somewhere else. But most of the time, what you see is what you get. He hasn’t shown anything to make me think you can’t find it in a mid-round draft prospect.

    • Anders

      Joseph is not a JAG, he was a very good player in 11 and 12.

  • Ramsay

    Just coming here to rant… There is a page on Facebook called “nfc trash talk” and there is a debate on it with people saying Vick should be starting. Needless to say, I went on a rant. Some people are so ignorant its mind boggling!! Feel free to look up the page and support my arguments!!

    • jshort

      Vick should be starting!!! Starting to think how nice it would be holding a clipboard and collecting an NFL paycheck as long as he can.

  • Anders

    Wow NFL is going crazy today, first the Richie/Martin case and now this:

    Retweetet af Adam Caplan

    Rand Getlin ‏@Rand_Getlin 25 min.

    Don’t believe this had previously been reported. According to the press release, Sharper’s suspected of rape in four states. CA, NV, LA, AZ.

    • SunShine

      Wow….I know nothing is said to be true yet but even so, that is crazy on a several levels

    • SteveH

      Not terribly surprising. NFL players are just as capable of rape as anyone else in the population.

      I was glad to see the independent report on Incognito was as thorough as it was. Interesting that he and the others named were able to get away with being abusive towards an assistant trainer. Players I can understand because the mentality of a football locker room is that you’re just supposed to man up or whatever (boys will be boys am I right?) but a non-player falls outside that boundary. Speaks to the level of organizational dysfunction there.

      It also appears Incognito’s recent Twitter flurry (promising that the truth will set him free, har har) was a last ditch attempt to discredit Martin (revealing his struggle with suicidal thoughts in order to make him appear “crazy”, also a total creep move). Who knows, maybe this will make more teams re-evaluate how they manage their workplace because I’m sure this kind of thing happens with some frequency.

  • austinfan

    Davis was with Capers (DC) on the Steelers in the early 1990s

    1994: Gerald Williams (6’3 290) – Joel Steed (6’2 300) – Ray Seals (6’3
    296), Brentson Buckner (6’2 305); Greene – Kirkland – Brown – Lloyd

    He was then LB coach with Capers (HC) on Carolina:

    1996: Mike Fox (6’8 285) – Greg Kragen (6’3 263) – Gerald Williams (6’3
    290), Les MIller (6’7 292); Greene – Mills – Bailey – Lathon

    So it would seem the template is athletic DL with great pass rushers at LB.
    In Arizona, Davis never had the LBs to make it work.

  • HazletonEagle

    The guy Id like to see signed for our DL is Michael Bennett. If you can get him for about 7 million a year. Even as a rotational guy, hes still going to get just about as many snaps as starters on other teams would.
    Its pretty expensive, but at the same time, hes not elite, and youre not paying him as elite. Yet, pass rushers are worth the money. And he would improve the pass rush. And I believe we need to upgrade the pass rush at multiple positions. Simply adding a new ROLB will not be enough for our anemic rush. We need more from the line too.
    The benefit of signing someone as expensive as him is that it would really threaten Cox and Thornton. We like them They are young. They keep showing flashes of being very good, but just arent consistent enough, and theres really no one behind them to push them to take that next step. Bennett would be that guy.
    He can play any position along the DL spelling all 3 starters which would get him plenty of snaps without taking too many away from any of them.
    The really nice thing is to think about a nickel DL with Curry and Bennett as your DEs with whichever OLB you sign/draft. I think pass rush would improve dramatically.

  • barneygoogle

    I wonder if we’re missing the boat. The o-line has some age and didn’t play well against the Saints. Would the Eagles fool us and go O-line, maybe after a Richie Incognito? Todd Herremans seems to be on the downside. Hey, is the great Danny Watkins a free agent now?

    • SteveH

      Incognito is going to be 31 headed into this season, if we were going to go for an OL I think we’d want either a rookie or a guy hitting the FA market for the first time.

      That an Incognito seems like he’s kinda crazy.

      I agree though OL is kind of an overlooked priority. Thankfully Lane looks like he’s going to work out, so that’s one tackle spot nailed down.

    • mksp

      LOL.

    • SunShine

      Heck no. That guy can never keep his act together at all.. Heard a wise person once said; “know your role..and shut your mouth”

      Depth can be found through the draft or bargin deals on the FA market

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  • BobSmith77

    To me it is pretty hard to go wrong anywhere on defense really. It is a unit that did overachieve last year, has little/no depth anywhere except on the DL, and needs several upgrades including 3-4 starters before it would be a Top 10 unit.

    Why I am not set on the Eagles getting one particular player on defense. It won’t put them over the top. They have too many needs right now.

  • SunShine

    Linval Joseph makes alot of sense. But has he ever played NT before? Anyhow, him and Kelce going at it in camp should be a sight to see

  • anon

    given the roseman contract structuting im surprised we dont get more 30+ players on team friendly front loaded deals.