Circumstances Matter

Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

A lot of kids dream of being an NFL star. Nobody dreams of being an NFL laughingstock, but that is what happens to some careers. You can be a talented player. You can be a former high draft pick. You can even have good seasons on your resume. But the NFL is all about now. What have you done for me lately?

Mark Sanchez was taken in the Top 10 by the Jets just a few years back. He led the Jets to consecutive AFC title games. Those are distant memories. Most people remember him for something completely different…his “butt fumble play” in 2012.

Ugh.

That seemed like rock bottom. Then Sanchez was sent into the fourth quarter of a 2013 preseason game and he suffered a season-ending injury. The fact the coaches put him into garbage time in a preseason game was the ultimate sign that Rex Ryan is clueless when it comes to handling QBs. Sanchez was projected to be the Jets starter at the time. Instead, the injury paved the way for Geno Smith to play and Sanchez to exit New York.

When the Eagles signed Sanchez, all the talk was about the butt fumble. No one wanted to hear about the AFC title games or the things Sanchez had done well for the Jets. Chip Kelly knew Sanchez from when he had recruited him. Kelly also had faced Sanchez in some Oregon/USC  battles. Kelly felt the talent was still there.

With Ryan as head coach, the Jets were a defensive team. Offense was the red-headed stepchild, so to speak. Sanchez had 3 offensive coordinators in his 5 years with the Jets. Even worse, Brian Schottenheimer, Tony Sparano and Marty Mornhinweg could not be more different. Skill players were a mixed bag. When he did have talent, it was high maintenance players like Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. Or in 2012…the Jets leading WR was Jeremy Kerley. Let’s just say James Thrash would have been a welcome addition to that offense.

Sanchez is now in a completely different situation. He is playing for an offensive guru in Chip Kelly. He has a veteran OC in Pat Shurmur who knows the NFL passing game. The QB coach is another veteran in Bill Musgrave. Both Shurmur and Musgrave are experts in the WCO, which is part of the Eagles passing attack. There is symmetry and cohesion on the offensive staff.

Sanchez has access to explosive playmakers. Even as the Eagles backup, he is working with guys like Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews. Just imagine how Sanchez must feel when he gets Shady, Mac, Coop, Celek, Sproles and the backups. That’s a buffet of playmakers.

Now that Sanchez has the right coaches, the right scheme and some talent to work with, you can see how good he can be. I was not a huge fan of his coming out of USC because I didn’t think he was the kind of player you built a team around. I do think Sanchez can be good in the right situation, which he has found in Philly.

* * * * *

Nate Allen offered a lot of hope back in 2010. He had 3 INTs, 2 sacks, broke up 8 passes and had a FF. A playmaking Safety…imagine that. And as a rookie, no less. Unfortunately he got hurt late in the year and that was the beginning of trouble.

Allen returned to the field in 2011, but had issues with his knee. It didn’t help that he had a new scheme, DC and position coach. And very different responsibilities. The Wide 9 put a ton of pressure on DBs to be run supporters. Allen had one terrific game (vs BUF), but went downhill quickly. Knee soreness was an issue and his confidence disappeared over night. Put on the Pats game from that year and you’ll see Allen at his worst.

2012 meant a new position coach and some schematic adjustments. Then Juan Castillo got fired at midseason and the scheme changed again. Allen played poorly and was benched late in the year.

2013 brought in a new scheme, new DC and new position coach, but finally there was some real cohesion. The staff put the scheme together and everyone was on the same page with how to run it and how to teach it. The coaches focused on fundamentals. Allen was finally healthy and started to look better on the field. Allen started all 16 games. He was 3rd on the team in tackles. He was still too cautious at times. The tape showed him playing on his heels, something you don’t want to see.

This summer Allen got to experience something new…stability. He has all his coaches back. The scheme is the same. He’s healthy. Life is pretty darn good. The Eagles made things even better by signing FS Malcolm Jenkins. Finally, Allen has someone on the field that can help him. Jenkins is a good player with plenty of experience. He’s a natural leader and is pushing Allen to play better.

The Eagles have played 2 preseason games and Allen looks different. He is more confident. He is more aggressive. Allen will never be Dawk or Wes Hopkins, but he can be a quality starter. Allen was supposed to battle Earl Wolff for the SS job, but right now Allen has a virtual lock on the spot.

Allen isn’t a guy you build a secondary around, but he can be a good complementary player. He needs the right pieces around him and the right scheme. Allen finally seems to be in a good situation.

Both Allen and Sanchez are proof that circumstances do matter.

__


  • barneygoogle

    I wonder if the Eagles have a contract option with Sanchez to keep him after this year? If not, he’s going to leave, and get some nice money somewhere else.
    Funny how things work out– if we had traded DeSean Jackson even-up for Sanchez, I wouldn’t have complained.

    • A_T_G

      http://desean_sanchez_highheels_secret_three_way_trade_uncovere

      There you go, feel good about it. No need to click the link, no need at all.

    • GEAGLE

      No team option unfortunately..

      Today reporters asked Chip if we would be down to trade him, Chip said we will trade anyone for the right price but that he really likes having two QBs capable of winning with like we have now…plus I don’t remember too many teams trading for QBs this close to the season

    • Buge Halls

      You’ve got to have somebody willing to trade with you (and take on his ridiculous cap hit) for it to work. Nobody wanted him so he was shown the door. Please, PLEASE let it go – he’s gone! I am so sick of reading whiners continuously bleating about the Jackson trade.

      • barneygoogle

        And so–who’s whining? It is odd though, that we got nothing for DeSean and the Jets got nothing for Sanchez.

    • Maggie

      When was Sanchez offered in a trade for Jaccson?

    • Cafone

      That’s not a given. Nobody was willing to offer him a legitimate chance at a starting job this year so why would teams be falling over themselves to do it next year? Because he was able to beat out Matt Barkley for a #2 job? Because of pre-season performance? That’s a stretch.

      If he gets a chance to start a few games and performs well then teams may be interested. But if that’s the case, then the Eagles may be interested too. There’s a lot of football to be played before we need to worry about it either way.

      Hell, if Sanchez is able to redeem his career with one year as a Chip Kelly backup, what other reclamation projects might be out there next year yearning for the same opportunity?

      • A_T_G

        It will probably be too soon for Manzeil…

  • nopain23

    It looks like another long year for this defense.Our first round pick shows no ability to rush the passer even against 3rd string talent.The only skill our covers guys exhibit is ‘ lets just hold” the receiver….i see lots of yellow laundry in our future and our brightest spot is a 7th round pick.

    • barneygoogle

      What you’re seeing is that man up, we can’t play with top teams–but Billy Davis’ schemes can make us better than flag city. He hasn’t shown us anything he intends to do yet. Maybe velcro tackling gloves?

    • Buge Halls

      Eagles still win the NFC east. NY’s offense has fallen apart. Dallas’s defense will be much worse than ours, and DC is, well DC!

    • Maggie

      Have you watched any other games? There are flags everywhere! And still inconsistency by the officiating types. One group calls every finger brushing a jersey while another group doesn’t call blatant holding in the open. The league still needs to work on getting every official on the same page. Can’t have a thousand yellow hankies in one game and only four in the next game.

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    I still think Allen is a replacement level starter at best. If Wolff can’t push him out it speaks volumes about his long term potential. Allen and Jenkins won’t be the worst S tandem, but I could see them as being amongst the league leaders in missed tackles.

    • eagleyankfan

      Ditto. Still waiting for someone to explain what Allen was doing on that 3rd td pass the other night. I don’t think it’s Allen’s physical attributes that bothers me. I don’t think he’s a football smart player.

      • GEAGLE

        Think he plays scared… He doesn’t play like a rabid dog who’s coming to hunt you…he plays like his sole purpose is to jot blow it for the Team…

        Wish Cary Williams would inject him with a needle of rabies in the locker room before the game

        • P_P_K

          I wonder if he’s still worried about the knee.

        • joe

          All Cary would have to do is bite him Tyson style. Just not the ear.

  • jtre
  • SteveH

    Watching that video reminds me of why I hate Collinsworth so much as an announcer. It’s like he lives in an alternate reality from whats actually happening on the football field.

    For me dislike of Sanchez wasn’t just about the buttfumble, it was an accumulation of on the field play, personality and off the field ridiculousness. I’m pleased that the on the field part seems to have worked itself out, and as long as he doesn’t get seduced by anymore 16 year olds, we should be in good shape off the field as well.

    • Buge Halls

      She was 17 and legal in NY. Let it go!

      • SteveH

        Let it go? This is the first time I’ve mentioned this anywhere, ever. Mark hasn’t done anything newsworthy aside from play shockingly well in the preseason so far, so all is well.

    • Maggie

      Seduced? Any supposedly grown man should not be anywhere near a 16-year-old anyway. Right, Lawrence Taylor? Right Dan Marino? Oh, wait, LT was “seduced by” a 14-year-old. My bad.

      • SteveH

        I used the term seduced as a backhanded insult, was attempting to be facetious. Not implying that ‘Mark just couldn’t help himself’ or whatever other nonsense people use to justify their behavior.

  • eagleyankfan

    Eagle game — flags were thrown on D players for sneezing. Just watched Talib bump and grab Lloyd on a play and no flag. I hope the flags stop once the season starts.

    • GEAGLE

      I need to watch a Seahawks game. Curious to see if all these flags fly for Sherman

      Feel like the hawks are being greedy playing Earl Thomas at safety. Hope it comes back to bite them in the ass.

      • anon

        nope (on flags)

  • GEAGLE

    Going from playing safety in a wide 9 to a 3-4 which is very safety friendly is like going from taking advanced triganomics exams to taking a test on simple addition…. I’m not a Nate fan, but it’s not even fair to judge him in a wide 9.

    Nate can be solid for us… But as we improve as a team to keep his job he will have to learn to play an aggressive attack style, instead of playing not to make mistakes and let up big plays.. This is a big year for him. It hasn’t all clicked for Wolff yet but when it does he could be a real steal, with athleticism that measures thru the roof….think Wolff will make a play for Nates job at some point this season, but Nate will start the year off as the starter. Whether he can “cut it loose”-Jenkins and play aggressive without giving up big plays will determine if he has really rehabilitated his career or just keeping the seat warm for Wolff or whoever the next safety will be

    • ICDogg

      Yeah, the Wide 9 tends to make everyone but the guys up front look bad.

  • iceberg584

    The skids are being greased on the eventual transfer of Huff to IR. Even though the x-rays were negative, Chip made it a point to mention that his arm was in a sling during his presser this morning, and Riley Cooper had this to say: “I don’t know the severity of it, but I know he’s hurt. He’s gonna be out for a little bit. That’s a given.”

    • P_P_K

      Crap.

    • GEAGLE

      I heard it was something like 1 to 3 weeks…

      • iceberg584

        Well, they could look at it from the perspective that he’s not going to really contribute this season, and by shelving him, they can free up one of the WR roster slots for Benn or Momahtron or Maehl.

        Wonder who will return kicks though…

        • GEAGLE

          Don’t mind if they IR him,,. Tho, I’m not sure he needs to be IR’ed.. I’d bet he could contribute by Midseason.. IR him is fine with me, but it would kind of surprise me, when Ed Reynolds would be an IR candidate that makes much more sense for me.. But whatever, neither player will make or break our season. But it would kind of surprise me if Chip thought Huff needed a year to contribute.. I won’t rule it out tho

          Any word on Polks timetable?

          • anon

            like to see them keep josey if huff is out.

    • jshort

      Not sure, but don’t think x-rays show labrum damage.

    • joe

      I have broken my humerus twice in my right arm (doctors were baffled how I broke a bone that’s nearly impossible to break, twice) and gotta say, my shoulder will never feel the same. Got scapular dyskenisis and a treasure trove of other issues because of it. Most painful situation I ever had and it affects me daily. I hope he’s OK man he plowed right into that defender like a freight train. He needs to learn when to do that and when not to. Not to is when the guy is obviously much bigger than you lol..

  • nopain23

    did anyone see the Pitt game wit Ryan Shazier.? He and Justin Gilbert were favorite players in the draft minus Mack whom we had no shot at getting. All I keep hearing is that he was too small to play for Chip especially at MLB. Kid was flying all over the place making tackles looked great in coverage and even knocked the second coming of Jerry Rice( I kid of course) Watkinsout of the game. We have a bunch of guys with size on our defense who look like they really don’t know how to play football. There is no fire, no energy in the defense. Lebeau runs a much more complex scheme so don’t give me that it takes time for rookies to learn the system. Some guys are just playmakers ala Eart Thomas. I’ll keep saying it you can’t win championships without playmakers on BOTH sides of the ball. Right now on defense we just have a bunch of guys. The pass rush looks even more anemic than last years…..ugh…

    • GEAGLE

      We are going to get excellent ILB play this year.. That’s the one position I see no point in admiring other teams players., best LB in the NFC east, then again I also said that last summer..

      But I think Shazier and Mosley will be fantastic, and I don’t trust bama boys

      • anon

        best in the nfc east? that’s like saying i’m the sexiest person in my apt (i’m alone).

    • Sean Stott

      Shazier? The guy who went 7 picks ahead of us? What about him? He wasn’t available.

      Also, Lebeau runs virtually the same scheme as the Eagles do, that’s where Bill Davis learned it from.

      • Maggie

        Maybe nopain23 was temporarily blinded by the 6 Super Bowls shining across the Commonwealth. ;~)

        • RobNE

          Thanks we had all lost count

          • Media Mike

            Well, people out there basically aren’t the brightest bulbs. How stupid does a fan base need to be that they need all 3 pro teams to have the same colors so nobody forgets them?

          • A Roy

            Yeah. The Pens used to look snazzy in their ice blue uniforms.

        • A Roy

          The first 3 were because they started using steroids before the rest of the league caught up.

        • Nicodemus_09

          Was that REALLY necessary Maggie? Smfh. I’m sure that doesn’t sting so much for u with your limbs being numb living up in the North Pole as you do, but for those of us living south of the border, ESPECIALLY those of us hailing from PA. A SMIDGE of sensitivity would be welcomed. Remember, if it wasn’t for our grandfathers, your beloved Canada would just be as nice skiing outpost for the third Reich. And yes, I know yor countrymen participated too. But equipment mangers get Superbowl rings too lol. I bring all this up now only because I read your hateful post on America back on the 4th of July and being a comvat veteran, i’ve wanted to give you crap for a LONG TIME! That said, have a nice day…

        • joe

          Maggie haggie her boob$ are saggy and her pussy reeks like dead bodies in the Mohave.

  • Ark87

    Nice article Tommy, It’s nice to see long-maligned veteran football players finally getting into a reasonable situation and reclaim their dignity.

  • BobSmith77

    How can you mention Sanchez and not his work ethic (or lack of it) and the knock on his leadership skills? There wasn’t only just one disgruntled Jets’ player who voiced anonymously that Sanchez’s leadership on & off the field left a lot to be deserved.

    Let’s also not forget he had a rep (and a well-earned rep supposedly) of being a world class poon chaser and partier in NYC.

    Some of it was circumstance but I would bet money that a lot of the issue Sanchez had were self-induced over the last few seasons. Coaching talent and especially the offensive personnel they had just compounded the problem.

    • Buge Halls

      Funny how we’re supposed to believe “anonymous” reports from the Jet’s locker room about Sanchez not being worthy, but we aren’t supposed to believe reports from the Eagles locker room that Jackson was a distraction.

      I guess you’re talking about that leadership that took them to two AFC Championship games. Yeah, who wants leadership like that in the locker room?

      • BobSmith77

        1. Did any specific player go on the record and say Jackson was a problem in the locker room specifically or was that the team & coaching staff?

        2. Sanchez has had one big game in the playoffs when the Jets went up to NE as big dogs and played well. He has coasted off the game for a long, long time.

        Just look at his overall stats during the regular season. They are mediocre at best, there isn’t a single thing he does particularly well, and he has yet to have a single back through season.

        Got ripped a ton in NYC and rightfully so. As much crap as Eli takes in NYC (and he still does including last year), he did turn around after a rough start to his career and become at least a quality starting QB. Sanchez has yet to show yet.

    • 76mustang

      Here are the skill position players drafted by the Jets 2007 – 2013:

      Chansi Stuckey WR (7), Dustin Keller TE (1), Erik Ainge QB (5), Marcus Henry WR (6), Mark Sanchez QB (1), Shonn Greene RB (3), Joe McKnight RB (4), John Conner RB (5), Bilal Powell RB (4), Jeremy Kerley WR (5), Greg McElroy QB (7), Scotty McKnight WR (7), Stephen Hill WR (2), Terrance Ganaway RB (6), Jordan White WR (7), Geno Smith QB (2), Tommy Bohanon FB (7)

      Sanchez has looked like a veteran leader comfortable and confident in Chip’s system. So happy he’s backing up Foles this season.

      • BobSmith77

        It always amazes me at the amount of ridiculous hyperbole that preseason football results generate in Philly.

        • Media Mike

          You sure that’s only here?

        • anon

          i think the results are meaningful, just as they would be meaningful if they were poor.

  • BobSmith77

    I was up in NE this weekend and was at the preseason game (legal excuse to get middle-aged men out of the house besides playing golf).

    Flags and refs made it a largely unwatchable game. I understand that the refs want to make sure players and coaches understand some of the new rules but the amount of flags and consistency was ridiculous.

    Are we going to go through a 2nd consecutive season where the first month of the season the refs flow a ton of flags (especially on pass defenders) only to get them largely maul receivers again by the playoffs?

    • Ark87

      It almost seems sarcastic doesn’t it?

      League Meeting to refs: ” you are letting too many flags slide, particularly in the secondary, did you see the superbowl? Call it by the book, do your job”

      refs: “You asked for it.”

      • BobSmith77

        Always going to be a little of it but just go back and look at the SB or even the Saints-Eagles playoff game. Grabbing/clutching everywhere.

        If they actually call the new rules all season long, I can’t help but think it will give a notable boost to smaller WRs that are agile & who run clean routes.

        • Ark87

          did any rules even actually change? I thought they were just told to enforce the existing rules to the letter. No more “letting them play”

          • BobSmith77

            More existing rules and calling them more specifically:

            1. Tighter policing of illegal contact between defenses and wide receivers and it has been giving defensive-back coaches fits all preseason.

            The specifics: When the quarterback in in the pocket with the ball, defenders can’t initiate contact with a receiver more than five yards from the line of scrimmage.

            2. Total prohibition of hands-to-the-face. In the past, such contact had to be “prolonged” or snap an opponent’s head back to draw a whistle.

            This season, any hand to the face incurs a 10-yard penalty. Similarly, “jersey pulls” will be policed more strictly as holding.

            3. The definition of clipping has been expanded. Blockers can no longer roll up on the side of defenders’ legs. Before, only the backs of
            the legs were safeguarded.

          • Maggie

            In the games I have watched so far, many of the “hands to the face” have been on linemen, not that much on DBs.

          • Ark87

            Ah thanks for the clarification

  • Media Mike

    How amazing that Allen played the best in 2010 when the coordinator was the worst.

    The 2010 Eagles were the worst red zone D in the past 40 years of the NFL. I need to remember that next time I complain about Davis.

    • A_T_G

      Allen’s best year was 2010 because it was before our mess of defensive brain trust had a chance to mess with his head.

  • nopain23

    watching the best LB in football now. Luke Skywalker. Dude just looks so natural in coverage. What could have been.

    • jshort

      Haven’t watched other teams play yet in preseason. Your post made me take a look. Can’t believe how much slower the game moves in comparison.

    • RobNE

      He was gone when we picked.

      • jshort

        Andy would never use a 1st round pick on LB.

        • anon

          doesn’t make sense in a 43

    • Media Mike

      Ron Rivera knows him some LBs!

  • jshort

    By the end of your second sentence, I thought this was going to be about Marsh.

    • A Roy

      Every time the announcer said “covered by brad Marsh”, the only image I had was Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible saying; “toast…toast…TOAST”

      • barneygoogle

        Curtis Marsh-mallow. Always good, toasted.

  • Nicodemus_09

    Hey people, just wondering if anyone else happens to be watching the KC VS Carolina game? I always love watching Luke K. I (along with millions) wanted Philly to draft him ALMOST as much as”Charlie Kelly“ wanted Kevin Benjamin with a wing on his helmet. I was curious if anyone got a peek at “Beard Modes“ little brother Travis Kelce ? I’ve heard he’s the real deal. Some real life FAST white bread !! Also i’ve been thinking lately about how I think the majority of us are atleast ok with the job Bill Davis is doing. BUT isn’t it a shame that the whole Big Red, Juanita and the Wide 9 jerk had to have their spat? Just from the perspective of 2 really damn good D coordinators got caught in the crossfire? I tbink all ofus want Billy Davis to work out and he’s performed very axmirably all things considered. But who here wouldn’t just love to slide McDermott or Bowles in as our D leaders right know? I would. But like my late pop was so ond o announcing, I’m a meat hed anyway…. :/ oh ya, any thoughts on Denver de pantsin San Fran today like what? 34 zip or somethin. I tnink the 9er, D takes a bg step back this year. There was something else but I type lik old ppl screw & I forgot already….

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