NFC Least

Posted: May 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 143 Comments »

Cowboys LB Sean Lee tore his ACL on Tuesday. This is terrible news. First, I’m a lifelong Penn State fan and Lee is one of my favorite PSU players of all time. Dan Connor was the bigger name back then, but Lee was far and away the better player. Watching him on tape was so much fun. Lee had great instincts. He was a good athlete, but his feel for the game made him look even faster. He was all over the field. Lee was just as comfortable covering a slot receiver as he was stuffing a RB up the middle.

Lee’s injury is also bad in the sense that it weakens the NFC East.

Say what?

Let’s talk about this for a minute. Think back to 1985. The NFC East was run by Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells. Jim Hanifan was in his final season of running the Cardinals. Marion Campbell was wrapping up his time as coach of the Eagles.

In 1986, the Cards hired Gene Stallings, a Landry assistant and former player of Bear Bryant’s. The Eagles hired Buddy Ryan. Stallings never had a winning season. Ryan rebuilt the Eagles and turned them into winners. A big part of the challenge for new coaches like Stallings and Ryan was that they knew that getting to the top of the division would be incredibly hard. Being part of a great division set the bar really high.

And that was a good thing.

Teams pushed each other. Dallas won the NFC East in 1985. The Giants won the Super Bowl in 1986. The Skins won it in 1987. There was no dominance. Each year the teams battled and one would emerge as the best. There was no fluke. There were no easy titles. Life was hard in the NFC East back then.

Andy Reid’s Eagles weren’t consistently pushed in the NFC East. The Giants had to be dealt with early on and then late in his tenure, but they fell off for several years in the middle. This was nothing like the 1980s. And I think that hurt the Eagles in the postseason.

Look at the NFC West right now. That division is loaded with great coaches and players. SF lost the Super Bowl in 2012 and Seattle won it this past year. Those teams push each other and it helps them in the playoffs.

The current NFC East is mediocre, and that might be an optimistic evaluation. The Eagles are a legitimately good team. The Skins are ascending and the Giants descending, but both still mysteries. Dallas…they suffered a major blow when Lee tore his ACL.

Yikes. Go look at the Dallas depth chart. The 2 best DL, Henry Melton and Anthony Spencer, are coming off major injuries. Bruce Carter is now the only stud LB (and consistency is a major issue for him). Safety remains a huge hole. And Morris Claiborne hasn’t played like the top CB he was drafted to be. But other than that…

Dallas wasn’t going to be a juggernaut with Lee, but he was a major impact player for that defense. They really need him. Seeing them get weaker is fun in a simplistic sense, but it doesn’t help the Eagles goal of becoming a championship caliber team. You need your rivals to push you, not to lay down.

I have no idea what to expect from the Giants this year. They’re coming off a 7-9 season and have a new Offensive Coordinator in Ben McAdoo (formerly with the Packers). Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks are gone. I don’t like what I see on paper, but the Giants could be a good team. They need Eli to bounce back in a major way. I still don’t trust that O-line, but there are some new faces.

NY needs their recent picks to play well. JPP was a force in the past. Last year he slumped in a big way. Can he bounce back? DE Damontre Moore needs to show he was worth the 2nd round pick they spent on him. Johnathan Hankins has the tough task of replacing Linval Joseph at DT. How will that pan out?

It feels like the Giants are a hodge-podge team.  They aren’t young. They didn’t load up on star additions. They added talent, but just some odd pieces.

The most intriguing team in the whole division is the Skins. RG3 no longer has to deal with Mike Shanahan. We’ll find out if that is a good or bad thing. It was clear that RG3 didn’t like him, but Shanny did know how to coach. Jay Gruden is completely unproven as an NFL head coach.

I like Gruden, but I don’t think he’s in a good situation. Coaches need the right environment. Dan Snyder is not a good owner and RG3 sure looks a bit like a prima donna QB. And one who is friends with the owner. That can be a recipe for disaster. I’m sure all 3 guys will get along fine initially, but can they stand up to tough circumstances?

I am curious to see how the schematic change will affect the skill players. RG3 thrived in Shanny’s attack. Will playing in the West Coast offense hurt him at all? Alfred Morris was great in Shanny’s zone running scheme. Will he be as effective in another offense?

Adding DeSean Jackson makes the team that much more explosive. RG3 has a big arm so those 2 will be a handful for secondaries to deal with. But they’ll need time to connect. Can the OL give them time? RT Tyler Polumbus needs to be replaced ASAP. Can rookie Morgan Moses do that?

The Skins defense has been a problem for years. Naturally, it was largely ignored in the offseason. Oh, they did add an aging Safety that can’t run (Ryan Clark) and a couple of veteran ILBs (Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan), but I don’t see those guys making much of an impact. They made a strange choice when they took Trent Murphy in the 2nd round.

If things go well, the Skins are going to have to win a lot of shootouts.

I see the Eagles as the best team in the division, but due to the competition…that’s not saying all that much. The Eagles might take a step back or they might take a step forward, but it really would help their long term goals to have another NFCE team emerge and push them. Being atop a mediocre division isn’t Chip Kelly’s primary goal.

_


  • Ark87

    It sucks to see the NFC East fall so low. It used to be you could design your team to win the division, because A) that’s the only sure way to get into the playoffs, and B) the division was so good, winning the division made you an immediate contender. (oh and it was worth a first round bye when the division was dominant)

    These days we really can’t afford to build our team with the NFC East in mind. I think we build our team with San Francisco and Seattle in mind, as they will be the gate-keepers to the Super Bowl for the foreseeable future. I don’t think the weak division necessarily hurts us, as long as we don’t build down to them.

    I think there is something to your correlation but imo, while it goes both ways, I think the more important aspect goes the other way: us being good will give the rest of the NFCEast something to chase, and eventually they will have to get good by necessity or people will be losing jobs. I suppose it is something like the chicken or the egg.

    • Alastair Lucas

      I agree, and the relatively tough schedule the Eagles have this year may offset them not having a tough division. I wonder who will get sacked in Dallas when they post a losing record.

      It’s never good to see a player get injured, I hope Sean Lee makes a full and quick recovery. You really have to wonder just how bad the Dallas D will be this year without him.

      • GEAGLE

        I think it will challenge the historically bad saints defense of two years ago, and our NNamdi/DRC mess of by defense in terms of incompetency.

        Dez Bryant is now making noise about wanting to get paid… Can’t wait to see the contract Jerruh hands him lol… You know once he gets paid, he will go the Kraken route and get arrested that summer. I believe Demarco Murray’s contract is about to expire..who knows what Jerruh will give him.. I’d assume they aren’t smart enough to let that injury problem become another teams headache

  • ACViking

    Tommy,

    A passing correction in a great piece.

    The Giants selected Tx A&M DE Damontre Moore in 3rd Rd pick in 2013, not in the 2nd Rd .
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MoorDa01.htm

    Should that make Moore’s expected contribution any less?
    ________________

    Ah, the late ’80s . . . when Parcells’ Giants couldn’t beat Buddy Ryan’s Eagles.

    Unfortunately, Ryan had a boatload of trouble stopping Joe Gibbs’ Washington team. And coaching in the playoffs.

    • Ark87

      I think the aughts the NFC east was pretty good. 2007 was a bad year to be an Eagles’ fan. Not only did the Giants win the superbowl, but we were the only team in the NFC East NOT to go to the playoffs that year, as Washington won the other Wildcard slot and The cowboys actually won the division that year.

  • barneygoogle

    Lee apparently has the “unholy triad” with torn cartledge, etc. He is done for the season. You never know how much a rookie class can contribute–the skins or giants could be much better…or worse. The good thing is we could go 9-7 (with our tougher schedule) and still win the division. I want to see us have another shot in the playoffs.

    • GEAGLE

      One thing going for him. Is it isnt the same knee he jacked up in college

      • A_T_G

        Pft (I know, I know) said this is his third tear, second in that knee.

  • daveH

    maybe they r interested in Brandon graham for a 2nd & 3rd . . .

    • eagleyankfan

      Maybe – but you’re not getting a 2nd and 3rd for him …

  • Mark F

    Dallas’ injury situation isn’t surprising to me. I find that teams with meddlesome owners rarely institute the proper levels of discipline in their players so as to get their bodies into maximum health and performance modes. A perfect example is the littany of injuries we Eagles fans would have to grit our teeth and endure every summer under ” Andy Taco Tuesday” Reid.

    • Ark87

      We had to grit our teeth last summer with people going down left and right with torn ACL’s. We had like 3 over the course of what, a week or 2? Doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to it other than how you draft. Reid was notorious for ignoring durability questions (injury history) in the draft, and to some degree free agency. Sean Lee had the durability knock on him in the draft, and it’s been an issue ever since.

      • Mark F

        No rhyme or reason? Only if you’re blind. You can’t tell me you are certain there’s zero correlation between diet and injury? You don’t think bad food and toxins attack soft tissue??? Wow…Read the PE.com article about Vinny Curry…what did he do? Got off red meat and dairy and packed another 20 lbs on his frame…HAHAHAHA…it’s sooo about what you eat that it’s not even funny…There’s plenty or rhyme and reason…Reid was morbidly obese with a horrible diet, and treated his players as such, they had a lot of soft tissue/tendon/ligament injuires…Kelly comes in, gets ‘em off that crap, institutes a strict diet emphasizing fruits and veggies, and boom, we have the healthiest season that I can remember…Look, eating meat is a controversial subject, people feel very strongly about it. But those in the know, er know…the truth…that animal flesh is not good for People. I’ve lived the truth of what meat does. I was a big steak guy for 3 decades…only quit 3 years ago, but I”m healthier than ever, my athleticism has returned, and I get all the vitamins and protein I need.That’s my $.02, take it or leave it. Now, back to football…

  • eagleyankfan

    great read — but I seriously doubt there is any correlation between SB winners and tough divisions. It makes for great rivalries though. The Eagles vs. Giants don’t have the same feel anymore. 2 years ago, Eagles stunk. Last year Giants stunk. bleh. Eagles vs. Skins has the “mojo” in it this year. Can’t wait.

    • ACViking

      In the first 14 years after the NFL-AFL merger — when the NFL had only 26 teams and no free-agency — winning the NFC East meant you probably had a good chance to go the Super Bowl.

      9 NFC East teams played in the SB from 1970-83.

      And 12 NFC East teams played in the NFC Championship game during that period (winning 9, obviously).

      That’s when the NFC East burnished its reputation as the best division in pro football. And that continued through the ’80s and into the early-’90s . . . before free agency.

      [The great Steelers dynasty of the '70s played in a very, very good and very, very physical AFC Central, with 3 teams usually having a winning record.]

      But since free agency started in ’93, I think you’re right that divisional match ups don’t mean as much in getting a team ready for the playoffs.

      • eagleyankfan

        It’s kind of like baseball now. I really don’t care the Yankees play the Cards and Cubs. It’s nice and all but really doesn’t do anything for me and the AL East.
        But even pre-93…NFC East was the beast — however, that doesn’t meant every team in the division was good each year to push(or decide) who the SB Champs were. Maybe it just meant the SB winners were very good teams, regardless of the division foes.
        86 — Giants 14 – 2, REDSkins 12 -4 — rest of the division stunk.
        85 — Bears were 15-1 — rest of the division had 1 team 8-8 and rest of the division was worse …
        on and on….
        Both SB winning teams were monsters that year. The other teams in their division had nothing to do with them winning….

        I think T-Law is saying the tough games is what builds character and winning those game build confidence into winning ways — that however can come from any good team, not just division foes…

  • Mike D

    I hate to admit this, but I really think that the Giants will be decent again this year. They came on slightly in the 2nd half of the season, even with the INT machine running the show. They also got ODBJr, DRC, Weston Richburg, Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and a less injured O-line.

    • ACViking

      You make a good point.

      Over the last 10 games of the 2013 season, the Eagles were 7-3.
      [7-1 over last 8, losing those 2 mid-season games when Foles was concussed against the Cowboys. And then Barkley replaced Vick against the Giants the next week.]

      Over the last 10 games of the 2013 season, the NYGiants were . . . 7-3.

      • eagleyankfan

        Never ever count out the Giants…

        • Andy124

          Just can’t trust them to be as bad as they’re supposed to be. Untrustworthy lot they are.

          Luck of the Irish with ‘em.

          • ACViking

            A124:

            Poetic . . .

    • GEAGLE

      Nah…I’d be more worried about them in 2015, than 2014… Too much change in one offseason for it to pay dividends this year..

      They added like 27 new players, with their little welfare version of the “dream team”..such a drastic change in personel is bad enough, on top of that they are changing schemes and implementing a west coast attack…. I say it all the time, that it don’t believe you get to see the best it will get from a team, during it’s first season getting accustomed to so much schematic and personel change… Doubt it all clicks so quickly for them, that they are a tough team to beat this year..
      ..
      With that said, they are probably a step or two ahead of Skins and the cowgirls

    • Media Mike

      The Giants, and their punching bag fans, suck. They’re terrible along both lines and have a turnover factory QB. Their signings are window dressing moves and their draft is full of busts.

      F them.

  • suthrneagle

    I think the demise in competition in our division is a good thing as it should give us a better chance of making the playoffs. The schedule itself should push the level of play, since with a better winning record the nfl schedules your opponents accordingly,as this year`s supposed to be more difficult…with the division, just think how much fun it`ll be watching the Iggls spank cowgirls,swat the gnats and scalp the natives.

    • Always Hopeful

      It would be interesting for Tommy to do a follow up post on AR’s dominance over the NFC East and how it may have hindered them in the playoffs. Reid had some tough teams, but also had some tough luck with key injuries at playoff time. From 2001-2004 I can think of a least one key injury per year around, or in, playoff time.

      • GEAGLE

        Andy’s horrible record against the top teams is something I really don’t want to replicate under Chip,,,fortunately I don’t expect it to be an issue

        • daveH

          no interest in any andy reid articles

          • GEAGLE

            HODOR!! lol

  • nopain23

    Is it a fair assessment to surmise we have the best D line in the division.i won’t mention the studs we have as starters..but I’m excited by the depth we have with guys like krugerrand, hart and allen

    • Ark87

      Don’t forget Curry. He’s beast moding it this summer.

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah he made some comments recently that have me really jacked up about this season for him…
        ..
        Anyone find out yet what his target weight will be this year?

        • Ark87

          He hasn’t really netted any weight as I understand it. He is at about 280 right now, which is about what he was at last year. I hypothesized a lot of it wasn’t “functional” weight last season because he went way down to be an OLB, and had to get heavy fast. A lot of that ends up being water (fat mostly). This year he manage to add a ton of muscle, his fat% is way down they say. He’s going to be JACKED. Hope he can get up to 285 in functional weight. He will be a handful.

          • GEAGLE

            Thank you sir… I definitely expect him to arrive this year..
            .,,
            By the end of the year, I expect the talk of him not fitting into our scheme eke to be dead!

          • Anders

            actually Curry never slimmed to play OLB, he bulked up to play DE, he had a picture of him at around 280 around February, but still it was still bad weight consider how fast he got it.

          • Ark87

            he did, I followed his twitter, not that that is infallible. Talking about after the 2012 season, he was in the same boat as graham until he could meet with the new staff.

          • Media Mike

            Or a vigorous camp could have him down to 270 or below.

          • Ark87

            True enough, keeping weight in camp can be hard, let alone gaining it. But there is like 2 months before camp to train. The good news is we gots the Huls to keeps us swoles.

    • Mike D

      Well, Dallas is not really a contender there. Their D-line is pretty weak at this point.

      The LOLskins line is okay, but I’d certainly give us the edge.

      Giants D-line is solid, but not spectacular like they once were. If JPP and Damontre Moore perform well, there’s a chance they could compete with our D-line.

      I assume that to get as close to “apples to apples” as possible, you’re including the primary pass-rushing OLB for the Eagles and Skins? If so, we have two big wild cards that will make or break this answer for us:

      One, does Bennie Logan take a step forward this year? I have a good feeling about that.

      Two, Does Trent Cole continue on the tear he had in the 2nd half of last season? Does Marcus Smith catch on quickly and justify his first round selection?

      So, I would say “very likely yes” about having the best D-line in the division.

    • P_P_K

      We will have the best O line.

      • Media Mike

        In the NFL! Even with my bashing of Herremans.

  • Ben

    I am on the same path of thought that I want to see each NFC East team play us at their best, cause it will only make us a better team. Competition is what usually brings out the best and I feel it’s necessary to have very competitive games in your division. Not only is it more entertaining but I bet if you ask the players, they would prefer earning each win from an opponent who is at full strength. Otherwise, you never know if your team has the ability to get a win or if you just beat a much weaker opponent due to injury. I hate excuses and would love to beat the Cowboys with all of their starters healthy so we can truly brag about giving them a historic beatdown while at full strength.

  • Always Hopeful

    Great memories of late ’80s early ’90s NFC East. I was naive enough to think that the Eagles would get “their chance” because everybody else in the division (excluding the Cards) got their Super wins.

    I’d love 6-0 in the division every year, but I’d love it more if it was against tough/challenging teams that I love to hate

    • eagleyankfan

      I’m not sure what made me happier — blowing out the Giants or beating them on a final punt — both are very satisfying ….lol

      • ACViking

        EY:

        Nothing tops winning on a fumbled snap with 18 seconds to play and the apparent winner only needing to run-out the clock.

        • GEAGLE

          Much more demoralizing than a blow out IMO

    • Media Mike

      Make sure you thank Norman Braman, Harry Gamble, and Rich Kotite for making sure that never happened.

  • 76mustang

    Another example – Chip Kelly moves training camp to Eagles HQ for efficiency and access to needed equipment. Schedules joint practices with New England.

    Dallas keeps training camp in Oxnard, CA and is looking into joint practices with…wait for it…Oakland.

    Chip will force the NFC East to raise their standards in every area of their organizations.

  • bridgecoach

    I think a key attribute that sets great coaches apart is their ability to measure their teams against the bars they set, not those set by other teams. Chip Kelly builds the best team he can, designs plays to set up his players for success, and game plans to exploit any and all mismatches he can find/create against whatever team they face that week.

    My complaint about so many former Eagles coaches was that we seemed to play up or play down to our competition. Chip Kelly doesn’t just throw around the word “execution,” – he trains his players to execute. Other txecuteeams know what we are going to do, Chip Kelly defies them to try to stop it. Our team is better prepared.

    This approach insulates our players from the ups and downs of the competition we face. Coaches find weak links in their armour and call plays to exploit those vulnerabilities confident that players will execute. Period. If our team does that, we win, if it doesn’t, we’ll lose. The level of the competition isn’t the key componant.

    • ACViking

      Vikings game?

  • Mike Roman

    Yes, you do want your team to be challenged so they’re ready for the playoffs, but I’ll never complain about stomping a mud hole in the stinkin’ Cowboys. And although I want to feel bad for Sean Lee, my father would have a heart attack if he heard that I had an ounce of sympathy for that dirty, stinkin’ loser.

    • Media Mike

      I agree on enjoying a good stomping of a division opponent. I much prefer destroying the Giants and humbling self-important New Yorkers. No amount of ill can be too much to befall their sports teams. F New York.

      • Mike Roman

        My brother lived in the Poconos for close to 10 years and had to deal with weekend New Yorkers all the time so he hates the Giants too. My dad taught me to hate the Cowboys so they’ll always be my #1 enemy but no doubt NY is a half step behind.

        F them all!

        E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!

  • Vick or Nick

    Its okay Tommy.

    Eagles will be challenged by NFC West teams this year.

    In addition, have one of the hardest schedules this year.

    Eagles need all the easy NFC East wins they can get.

  • Cafone
    • GEAGLE

      Always meant to ask you….is your screen name, the Italian name for like “ignorant, rude, thug type”? I wasn’t sure but now that you revealed you are an ASR fan it got me thinking…

      • Cafone

        si’

        • GEAGLE

          Nice!!!! My mom used to always call me that when she got mad lol

  • GEAGLE

    I think this season is a huge opportunity for us… We get to grow as a team by facing the NFLs best with our tough schedule, and we don’t have to be too concerned with record,since we will smack around the teams in our division. I don’t care if we end the season with only 9’wins…I care about two things:

    1) not losing more than one of two division games
    ..
    2) getting over the hump and learning how to win in the playoffs…

    We get to challenge ourselves against a really tough schedule, and we are fortunate enough to know that our rivals probably aren’t equipped to face the Outter division schedule… two games this year are CRUCIAL for me, and they all come the first month and a half of the schedule..

    1) AT the Colts. This will be the game where Nick FOles officially arrives and gets respect from the rest of the nation…Nicky will be jacked up to face Luck, no Robert Mathis…a MLB in Daqwell Jackson who can’t cover shady or Sproles out of the backfield… I need us to win this game,,,

    2)’The Niners!!! We NEED to beat them. the Niners credit coming to philly and pulling off a second half comeback win, as the moment it all clicked for San Fran, and the start of the powerhouse they are today.. Well paybacks a bitch! Good chance we face them without Navaro Bowman or Aldon idiot… Be really BIGTIME for this young team to beat some of the NFLs best this year…and the schedule provides us with plenty of opportunity… Even if we lose some games to the NFLs best this year, testing ourselves against the best is an opportunity to grow…a loss to a top team in October could pay dividends in January…

    It’s like we get to go out and pick a fight this year against the NFLs toughest, yet we have the safety net of knowing we can dominate our rivals, and that they aren’t equipped to steal games against the outer division schedule.. Think it’s a tremendous opportunity for this young team to grow, and I can’t wait to see it all unfold

    • ACViking

      Question . . .

      Why do you see beating SF as an important marker if the 49ers defense is without 2 of its (arguably) 3 best players?

      • GEAGLE

        Even without them, the physical brand of ball they play will still be a challenge..they will try to bully us with their OL and smash mouth run game, and I think getting a win, against one of the NFLs most physical teams is important…. It still eats at me, how the credit winning in philly as the true start of the powerhouse they are today…..and I want to see our puppies, face such a physical team, and be able to know that they can come out victorious… Niners play a brand of bully ball, and I’m dying to see us punch the bully in the mouth…
        ..
        Plus i will always want to see FOles beat his young counterparts: Kapernick, RG3, Tannahill, Wilson, luck… Every one of those young kids were ANNOINTED prematurely, while Folesy flew under the radar and I would like to see Nick lead us to a win against those other young QBs

        • ACViking

          Understand.

          • GEAGLE

            We face a few of the more physical teams this year, while last year many of our toughest games were against Finess teams like Denver and the saints…
            ..
            If we are going to make some noise in the playoffs, we will probably have to go thru one of the more physical teams I like Niners, Seahawks and panthers… Think it’s important for our young bucks to know they can win such a physical battle…
            .,
            I also,really really don’t want to see Harbaugh or Carroll get wins against chip

          • ACViking

            Point well made (and taken).

            I think Kelly welcomes these upcoming games. And even more so after another off-season of getting bigger, stronger, and faster guys to beat the daylights out of the opposition.

          • GEAGLE

            Absolutely…,yesterday PE.com posted pictures of our guys in the weight room… Cox’s pic had me giggling like a school girl..last week Barwin revealed the team measured players arms and 22yr old Fletcher’s were the biggest on the team…. Wait til people see the picks of him in the weight room…kid was flashing some serious Hulkamanic pythons lol

            Think it would be huge confidence booster for our young front 7 to win the battle against such a physical OL and run game like the niners

          • ACViking

            Cox is entering year 3 at, what, age 22?

            He won’t be finished growing ’til he’s in his second contract.

            Has to be much more consistent this year, though.

          • Anders

            Cox will be 24 by the end of this year. Scary thing is Cox is still younger than some of the drafted guys this year (like Hageman who is actually 4 months older)

          • ACViking

            Thanks for the correction.

            A 3-year pro at 24 is pretty crazy.

            It’s NBA-esque

          • GEAGLE

            Figure the kid has over 30 games under his belt already.. Kid played the same amount of games as Kelce…we take Kelce for granted because he is so damn good, but even he is still at the infancy stages of his career… Last offseason he was busy rehabbing. Curious to see how much weight and strength he adds, being able to work the offseason program instead of focusing on his rehab… As awesome as Kelce is, his best ball is also still ahead of him..

          • GEAGLE

            Is Kruger still our youngest player?

          • D3FB

            Kruger is third youngest. Jaylen is the youngest.

            Watkins: Nov 27 1992
            Matthews: July 16 1992
            Kruger: June 4 1992

          • GEAGLE

            Thanks mate.
            ..,
            Really anxious to start finding out just how good some of our youngbucks can become…

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, his age is crazy,,, I remember i really didn’t start getting my grown man strength til I was 23-25yrs old…
            ..
            I’m expecting a BIGTIME year out of Cox

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah you are right,.. Born 12/13/1990

          • Anders

            Have you seen the arms of Boykin as well? Boykin is jagged

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah,, if you are talking about yesterday’s picks, I know exactly the pick you are talking about… I had to look twice,because I was shocked at how jacked he looked in that pick

          • Tumtum

            Saints D is pretty tough under Ryan.

          • GEAGLE

            Yes it is,,, but the saints and cardinals were probably the only serious defenses we faced all year,,. Obviously KC can play defense, but it’s hard for me to count the games with Vick under center, with the rest of our season.. So much changed after the Denver game

          • Sb2bowl

            KC defense was playing extremely well at the beginning of the year– it wasn’t until game 9 or so that they actually reverted back to their mean; its all about catching teams at the right time– we caught a few big breaks with teams missing key players, and we faced a few teams that were red hot or playing extremely well previously and just hadn’t gotten any breaks. It all evens out in the end, and I can’t wait to see how the ‘Birds look this year!

    • D3FB

      Tank Carradine is a 34 end not OLB.

      • Anders

        yea, he is going to replace Justin Smith down the road, but play the same role Curry plays for us to begin with (I think Tank is up to around 290 as well, so actually heavier than Smith)

        • GEAGLE

          Still think Justin got robbed of defensive player of the year a few seasons ago…
          ..
          Hopefully hart, Krugs or Curry can develop into that caliber DE down the road

          • Anders

            Curry is a better pure pass rusher than Smith, but nobody outside of JJ Watt plays with the kind of power Smith plays with

          • GEAGLE

            Especially that type of power playing under 300lbs.
            ..
            Impressive player for sure

          • Ark87

            Got that “country strength”

      • GEAGLE

        Right.. Sorry..

        Who do they have to backup Aldon?

        • Anders

          2nd year man Corey Lemonier, Chase Thomas (went UDFA last year if I remember right) and Aaron Lynch (the super hyped ND transfer).

          None of those are on Smith’s level, but Aldon Smith when playing was the best all round OLB in the NFL.

          • GEAGLE

            Thats right, I forgot they had lemon head lol

            Didn’t they release Chase already? Why do I feel like he is a Raider? Did I make that up? Lol

        • D3FB

          Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta

    • eagleyankfan

      I’m sensing you had a lot of caffeine today :).

      • GEAGLE

        No more than usual lol.. But considering I only drink Italian coffee, I’d say I probably drink way too much caffeine..

        Lol I kind of blend Italian and American culture when it comes to coffee… You know how other countries like Italy or Turkey drink that really thick black coffee that they basically only drink a shot glass amount of? Haha well I drink that coffee every day, but instead of drinking a shot glass amount, I fill up my mug with that, USA style lol.. American coffee is like watered down to tea status for me.. I can’t drink it lol
        ….
        I still use the metal, old school espresso makers you put on the stove :)

  • Sean Stott

    This article relies on one huge, gaping, false premise. The idea that teams that were good last year will be good this year, and teams that were bad last year will be bad this year. It always surprises you.

    • Ark87

      In a general sense it affects your offseason. Like if you’re the Rams, you look at your division, throwing in the towel is not an option. They have to be bold and on task and really go to work every day to have a prayer at even sniffing the playoffs. It puts an urgency into everything you do. It used to be that way in the East.

    • ACViking

      In the post-free agency era, continuity — and predictability — are much harder to bottle.

  • GEAGLE

    Something I really want to keep an eye on is this years camp injuries.
    ..
    We lost some players during camp last year, but then went on to enjoy some insane health during the season…. WHY? Was it dumb luck? Or was it because when our guys got hurt in camp, they only had a few months of Chip training under their belt… This offseason, guys know what to expect, and I’m sure they each had detailed training regimens to follow all offseason..our guys aren’t going into camp this year with only a few months of chips training under their belt… So I’m really interested in seeing the camp injuries..will there be a correlation between players who have been with Chip since last year, staying healthy, while players who are new to our training go down with injuries?…

    Really Interested in seeing the injury situation in chips second year. If last years health, proves to be more than dumb luck, that would be huge going forward in the Chip era

  • knighn

    Great article and great perspective.
    Personally, I badly want the Eagles to win a Super Bowl but want the rest of the NFC East teams to never have another winning season. I can’t stand to see those teams in the playoffs. It just pisses me off.

    • ICDogg

      Certainly there have been Super Bowl winners from otherwise sucky divisions…

      • GEAGLE

        Want the colts division crappy during the Peyton era? jags haven’t been good since Brunell. texans weren’t much back then..

        pats division was pretty crappy at times during the Brady era

  • Cafone

    You know what’s really annoying about Disqus? There seems to be no way to link to a video without embedding it in the post. Sometimes you want to reference a video without weighing down the thread by forcing everyone to load the damn thing.

    Disqus, fix this please.

    • ICDogg

      maybe try a redirect like bit.ly or something?

  • GEAGLE

    All the pictures of Johnny Manziel from Vegas are the talk of the nation this week.
    ..
    Interesting that UFC president Dana white revealed that he had dinner with Manziel in New York, Iike 8-10 months ago… Wonder if there is some NCAA violation coming from hanging out with billionaire Dana white while he was in college.. How can Johnny afford to have dinner at a place Dana would want to eat at?

    Proud of our young RB shady McCoy, who unlike jackasses like Manziel and Wilork, flew under the radar in Vegas this weekend.. Haven’t heard a peep or seen a pick of his national lampoons Vegas vacation

    • D3FB

      Johnny comes from an oil family. His dad is probably worth more currently than he ever will be.

      • GEAGLE

        What’s up with FOles family? Word is they are loaded.. Oil family type money to where we have a slim shot at getting some type of Kelce type discount? Or are they just comfortable?…

        • D3FB
          • GEAGLE

            Wow.. Thank you so much. What a cool lil article.. I hadn’t seen that before. Great little read for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Very much appreciated.

            Nothing would be cooler, than seeing Kapernick bleed the Niners for ridiculous money, FOles goes on to have a drastically better season than kAp, and see Nick go on to give this city a little discount. I wouldn’t expect him to take a crazy pay cut, but it be cool if he didn’t demand a max contract, to help our Cap and make sure we can keep everyone in place… If the kid gives us a discount, while growing into a top QB, he will become a god in this city

          • anon

            gotta think we’re paying 18-20mm. Matt Schaub money is actually where i think he falls in.

          • GEAGLE

            If I had to bet money on it, I would probably say 18.. But it would be amazing if he played great and signed for 17, 16 as a dream scenario

          • suthrneagle

            What ever the contract amount will be, seriously doubt he would ever cause a problem getting a deal done, unlike many over inflated egos we`ve seen here and around the league. He seems too well vrounded.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah, and even if we get in cap trouble down the line, you know we can get him to restructure..he is the type of guy you can convert his money to an upfront bonus, and he won’t take your money and stop working hard

        • CrackSammich

          Rich people don’t stay rich by leaving money on the table. Don’t expect Foles to be stupid and work for cheap, especially if he has another season deserving of a high salary this year.

          • GEAGLE

            Why would you think that I expect FOles to work for cheap? I believe he will prove to be an elite QB, and this will be his first contract..of course he is getting PAID…but I wouldn’t 100% expect him to hold our feet to the fire for some Flacco/Cutler dollars… I wouldn’t be shocked if he plays better than Kapernick but signs a contract two million dollars cheaper than him. Think if we can get an elite QB to take 16-17 per instead of 20, it be a nice little advantage…Kelce was asked plenty of times why he signed for so long, passing up an opportunity to reach his 3rd contract and he responded that he lives a meager life and that’s more money than he could ever need. FOles family is more well off, seems like a good humble kid and leader.. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t sign some Cutler contract to help keep his young team mates in philly…
            ..
            Very curious to see the contracts Wilson,kAp and FOles sign..”

          • anon

            Luckily won’t have the RGIII / Luck numbers to compete w/. Funy that 2012 might be the best QB draft in a LONG time.

      • Media Mike

        Absolutely true considering Manziel is on a Jamarcus Russell career path.

  • GEAGLE

    The boy king was in studio with Spadaro today. Tough to watch and not get jacked up.
    ..
    Anders: yesterday’s pic was not deceiving, Arms are clearly bigger.

    Says that it’s exciting to see how so soon in the offseason things already look to be clicking for the offense and defense..
    ..
    Get the impression that being in year two of coach chips unsullied warrior training is going to make all the difference in the world and we should see some improvements from players..
    ..,
    To all the doom n gloom fans relentlessly crying over losing him because we won’t play him outside.,,, think again. Sounds pretty content in his role to me and he says that fans will eventually understand how important his role is..
    ,,
    Spads brought up the trash talk with the new midget Nickle..and Brandon wouldnt mention his name, but says he was running his mouth, so he took a look at his stats and realized he was “nobody” LOL

    6 INTs, 4 came in the 4th quarter, 2 came to seal a win… Can’t wait to see what he does for an encore

    • ACViking

      GE:

      You wrote regarding a possible FA departure (I assume), that the kid “says that fans will eventually understand how important his role is . . . .”

      I’m struck by the quoted portion of that comment.

      Does Boykin think the fans, beyond the corporate suite types there just to entertain clients, don’t appreciate the import of the $.05 CB?

      I think Boykin knows the fans understand very well. He’s a bright guy.

      So I’m wondering if he’s talking to the Eagles front office.

      If I’m his agent, that’s the message I’d want him sending out. And he’s doing it in a perfectly benign way . . . using the fans as a stalking horse.

      And if he has another season like last year, or better, he’ll be considered — rightly — a “lock down” $.05 CB.

      But the question remains, will the Eagles pay him “outside” CB money to play less than 100% of the plays.

      I get that there’s probably room in the CB budget to pay Boykin top dollar (or close to it) after this year. Carey Williams could be gone. Maybe the same with Fletcher — because if he has a big year, he’ll be looking to cash in. So if Williams is gone, there’s lots of room to pay Boykin like a full-time CB, because presumably a younger, cheaper player will take Williams’s spot.

      And as for sounding “content,” I think Boykin’s being a good team-guy. Nothing he says is gonna change how Kelly wants him to be used. So why rock the boat and sound scontente or unhappy.

      Boykin’s playing it like Van Helsing. As one very wise.

      • GEAGLE

        I took it as all this talk about having to move me to the outside is pointless because I’m thriving in an important role…made references to not having to defend fade patterns “against the trees on the outside”..seemed extremely upbeat, energetic, excited about everything he was saying to me.. But who knows…
        ,..
        By time we have to pay him, we Will probably be paying two outside CBs on rookie deals, so I don’t see why we would have any issue paying him to stay in the slot. Corey Graham just got 4yrs 16m to be a slot..
        ,,
        To add, often when Howie talks about being responsible cap wise because we have to re sign our young players, Boykin is usually one of the first names he mentions.. Personally it doesn’t really worry me.. I don’t believe we are in the business of losing quality, high character young players…expecting us to work this out and see Boykin as one of the first young players extended..but who knows…

        Did you see the crazy PFF ranking? They said Curry had the second best 3-4DE pass rushing year of the past 7 seasons, only behind JJ Watts..they say that his pressure percentage was too amazing for it to be a fluke and they expect him to possibly be one of our secret break out stars… Hate that I can’t disagree with them lol

        • ACViking

          I saw the Curry stat.

          Raises the existential question of, “But Is PFF Reliable?”

          • mtn_green

            But can he 2 gap.

          • GEAGLE

            Why does it matter? Pass rush is crucial, and every team can use pass rush specialist… Even a Nickle pass rusher these days seems to be more valuable than two down NTs…NTs are being devalued around the NFL, while teams like the Seahawks just stock up on pass rush…if he is THAT good of a pass rusher, you can bet we will value him….he also sounds excited about the comfort level in his role compared to last year…but I can’t wait to find out for sure

          • GEAGLE

            I would assume it’s more reliable for players in the trenches than it is for the Secondary. They don’t use the coaches film… Off TV footage you can get a better idea of what’s going on in the trenches than back end…also it’s easier to understand a pass rushers responsibility on a given play

          • D3FB

            They think BG is the greatest pass rusher of all time, so I’m going to take their projections for part time players with a grain of salt.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol this is also true

        • Daniel Spector

          Meh right now he is playing nickel because none of our other CBs can. He is right now our best CB and would have to problem on the outside.

    • A_T_G

      You got me curious, so I checked out the lifting pics and the Boykin video.
      1. Either this guy has a future in media relations or he is 100% dialed in and invested (I’ll take the latter). He talks about getting better…by improving fundamentals, studying film and being prepared: a coaches dream.
      2. I agree that he sounds like he is happy with his spot in the nickel. Hopefully the upcoming payday keeps him that way.
      3. How big is too big for a CB’s arms? He is looking a little like Dawkins when he was fully jacked up (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We don’t have to be concerned about a PED suspension, do we?

      • Ark87

        You know the nfl tests this guy every tuesday all like, “for real, fill up this cup, and not with the stuff from the freezer you loaded up in 2010″

      • Anders

        Im no expert, but those arms do not look juiced

        Compare it to this http://grg51.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c61ab53ef01156fda5b30970b-pi

      • GEAGLE

        Sure we can get Dorenbos to pee for him…
        ..
        I don’t know that he wants to get much bigger than he is..then again the way he was flying atound throwing crazy dunks down a month ago, it doesn’t seem to have robbed him of what made him special….

        If Jaylen is another Boykin, we should be a happy fanbase…

      • Daniel Spector

        He always had big arms. They look bigger here because he is lifting. It’s called a pump.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlCUkIxHvFg

  • GEAGLE

    Anyone know of any players who aren’t full participants in OTAs? I look around the league and so many players have already gotten hurt, or haven’t done rehabbing injuries yet.. Guys like Levitre who got paid a ton as free agents a year ago..or QBs like Eli and Cam who recently had ankle surgery…

    Adam,Caplan says Benn participated in everything and is done rehabbing. Think Maclin isn’t all the way back yet but will be by camp…Polk had shoulder surgery this offseason… Other than that, i can’t think of any eagles who aren’t ready to roll right now…. Who am I missing?

    • mtn_green

      Tomorrow is chips PC I’d assume the press will try hard to get information about who isn’t a full participant.

  • ICDogg

    The scary thing is that this could actually help Dallas get better faster by finding cheaper younger players who can get the job done and develop that much sooner.

    • D3FB

      I think you are forgetting who they have at GM. They need younger talented players but that doesn’t mean they can evaluate and select those players. Dallas fans are trying to calm themselves because they drafted Anthony Hitchens in the fourth round. He’s not a bad player but he was the third best linebacker on his own college team.
      Lee just signed an extension last fall and Dallas had to restructure to get cap relief in March. They can’t cut him anytime soon without getting killed in dead money.
      http://overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=Sean%20Lee&Position=ILB&Team=Cowboys

      • ICDogg

        But it kind of forces them to flail around until they find someone who can do the job, which means by this time next year they probably will have found someone.

        • D3FB

          Does it? From the minute Disco Stew got hurt we didn’t have quality LB play until ‘Meco got to town. Since Dawkins left safety play has fluctuated from nauseating to meh and back again. The Cowboys are eternally cash strapped by the cap, and if they are forced to use a high pick then who do you play next year? The expensive, talented but oft injured player, or the guy who you took fairly high and gave up the opportunity to draft a position that your team more desperately needs. The answer to their problems likely isn’t on their roster. Their probably aren’t any great options on the trade market, and the waiver wire rarely presents long term solutions.

  • GermanEagle

    Can we trade BG to the Cowgirls for 2 1st rounders finally?!

  • McNabbulousness

    shitty news about lee, can ‘t seem to stay healthy.

    but hell remember back in 06 when we had posluszny, connor, and lee on the same LB corps! if only we had anyone else besides morrelli at qb, we could’ve made some noise nationally.

    • McNabbulousness

      whoops, forgot to end that post with “LINEBACKER U!”

    • Ark87

      Lets face it, we knew the football gods would never forgive a PSU linebacker being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, this was unavoidable.

      • McNabbulousness

        don’t forget lavar going to the skins

  • laeagle

    Jumping in late, so I’m not sure if anyone said this, but the 49ers build their dynasty on the back of a consistently terrible division, that led to a lot of home field advantage in the playoffs. You could make a strong case for the Patriots “dynasty” as well, considering how poor much of the AFC East has been for so long.

    I think the point is, if you’re a good team, you’ll find a way, but I personally think a good team that can stack 6 wins onto their record has a better chance of home field in the playoffs, and that has pretty consistently been a deciding factor over the years.

  • mheil
  • GEAGLE

    Someone in the media better get their facts straight. Moesher and Gunn are making conflicting reports about the safety position.

    Moesher is saying Nate is behind Wolff
    ..
    Gunn is saying Nate is ahead of Wolff and has been “running with Jenkins” and they are working together off the field to try and learn each other’s tendencies..
    tho Gunn prediction is that Nate starts the season, but at some point Wolff will pass him, take the job and end the season as the starter. He thinks Wolff missing those last two months really hurt him…

    Find it kind of hard to believe considering we didn’t even try to take advantage of Nates non existent market and try to lowball him into an extension the way we attempted to do with Maclin…

    The way I interpret the Nate situation is he would have to blow our minds with his ability this year to be wanted back, but if he does that, than their will probably be a market for him with better opportunity elsewhere..so I don’t see how he can have a future here….. Then again, I don’t really care what I’m hearing, I still wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he were a surprise roster cut. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had his best year as a pro… Tho I’d expect that a injury is the only thing that could hold Wolff back.. He is ready to fly

  • GEAGLE

    Assumptions? Misconceptions?

    Eagles took some heat for the free agent signing of Jenkins!! fans had their pitchforks out crying “bloody CHEAP Murder” when eagles didn’t bring the Byrd to the nest……everyone just assumed we were doing our usual bargain shopping, “settling” for Jenkins….

    But I can stop hearing how Jenkins is exactly who they wanted. Gunn cites talking to Billy the other day, and Billy said something like, I know everyone thinks Byrd and Ward were the prizes, but when we found out Jenkins was going to be a free agent, he was at the top of our list…. Both Billy and Malcolm have referred to “stylistic fit”.. Citing that Malcolm no longer fit what new DC Rob Ryan was doing, and that coming here was an opportunity to play in a system similar to the one he flourished in, under the previous Saints DC..

    Btw, I haven’t checked Jenkins measurements in a while.. I know how tall he is supposed to be, I don’t know if it’s his posture, but the dude looks like a really big long safety, long arms….even when he is sitting in interviews he seems like he is bigger than we would think.. Used to look like a big CB… He looks all safety to me now..
    ……
    Many of us think we are adding a bunch of subpackages… But when a gunner asks Barwin about year two, he asks if he is expecting us to add a bunch of stuff to our defense…and Barwin looked at him like “are you nuts?” Laughing saying I don’t know about that. We already have ALOT in our playbook… Don’t think we will be adding anything, thinking we fine tune things,, “we had a lot of different disguises, some worked, some didn’t… “When they didn’t work, we didn’t know how to get out of them and it hurt us”…. I was expecting a million different subpackages added this summer, now I’m not so sure…
    ….
    Forget who said this, but basically, our defense is extremely complex and multiple, and we have “Rules that dictate how Meco and Jenkins will line us up”… Basically, they built an uptempo/no huddle defense, with built rules “reading the keys” which tells us what Front Meco has to line us up in, and how Malcolm gets the secondary lined up….. If everything is based off rules, probabky going to be difficult to add more stuff to it.. Or ATleast I would assume