Sunday Night Thoughts

Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 70 Comments »

First, some follow-up on the Mark Sanchez-Nate Allen piece from earlier today. While I do think both players have turned things around, I’m still very realistic about who these guys are. I’m not rushing them off to the Pro Bowl anytime soon.

Sanchez is playing well as the Eagles backup. That’s it. SalPal asked the silly question to Chip Kelly about what would happen if other teams called about a trade for Sanchez. As I pointed out in the previous column, Sanchez needs the right pieces around him in order to succeed. Some team with poor QB play isn’t likely to have the right pieces. Sanchez wouldn’t solve their problem.

I do think Nate Allen can be a solid starter. He hasn’t played to that level since his rookie year and I think it is totally fair for many of you to doubt him. His track record is not good. I could be wrong and Nate could lose his starting job by midseason. I’ve just been very impressed by how he’s played this preseason. He’s more confident and aggressive than in a long time. I think he and the starting defense will get into a groove once they play together for a while.

Another point about Sanchez and Allen. I focused on the poor circumstances that had a negative affect on their careers. That doesn’t mean they didn’t play a part in their own struggles. I’ve written about Sanchez and why I think he didn’t succeed in NY. Football wasn’t enough of a priority for him. He was living the good life and being the class clown. Sanchez got a huge piece of humble pie in the last 2 years and seems like a different guy. Allen didn’t have any off-field issues. He just didn’t play well. Part of that was on scheme and health, but part was him just not getting the job done.

Both guys have turned it around this summer.

* * * * *

Let’s enjoy this while we can, but also be careful about making too much of the preseason.

Last summer Philip Rivers had to learn a new offense. In the preseason, he was 20-33-166 with no TDs and 2 INTs. His QB rating was only 48.3. Things looked bad. Then the calendar turned to September and Rivers had a great season, arguably the best of his career. He finished with a rating of 105.5.

I hope Eli has a miserable year, but I’m nervous about getting too excited about his demise.

I watched part of the Dallas-Baltimore game on Saturday. Dallas was down 27-10 at the half. They did dominate the 4th Qtr and were able to make the final score a respectable 37-30. Looks like it could be a long year in Big D.

* * * * *

I’m in the middle of studying the Pats game and doing the DGR. I am really impressed with Brandon Bair. That guy looks legit (as a backup/role player).

One other odd note…after 2 games…I think Todd Herremans has been the best OL. Who would have predicted that?

_


  • anon

    On Blair, some of us were clamoring for a fat boy. i’m glad we got a guy that likes to show out (his belly), and i’m glad that he’s playing well.

    On MS i thought it was a terrible move to bring him here but i’ll eat those words. i think ms looks better than foles at this point, granted it’s against the twos but his arm and his decisiveness are commendable. didn’t think he had it in him.

    for shah: webb looked pretty good as qb in the kc game (against the 3s), i’d switch him for b smith / kinne.

    on the defense i’m obviously worried. it’s not a new system, you’d expect guys to be taking leaps forward-or at least playing soundly within the system. i understand we worked a lot of combinations in the 2nd pre-season game, but think that puts a lot of pressure on the 3rd preseason game to come out and look like these guys have played together before. how am i supposed to take the eagles D in fantasy with a performance like this?

    • the midatlantic

      Bair’s not a particularly fat guy (he’s tall though) — do you mean Beau Allen?

      • anon

        you’re right — thinking and drinking don’t work too well together.

  • Lukekelly65

    Could you see bair making the final 53? I think he’s played better then Kruger or anyone of the other back up D ends

    • Sean Stott

      Cox,Thornton,Logan,Allen,Curry are locks. How many DL can they possibly keep? They’ll have to keep Hart, which makes 6. Bair over Kruger? Will they keep 7 DL? What about Square?

      • deg0ey

        Square was pretty terrible from what I saw on Friday. Now that they’ve got Allen to backup Logan, I don’t think they need to keep him.

        • Media Mike

          Square is the easiest guy to clear out of here.

    • TommyLawlor

      Bair is a virtual lock for the roster. Kruger is fighting for a PS spot. Little chance to make the roster.

      • Dominik

        So we’re giving a roster spot to a 29 year old (he’s 30 in November) in his 4th year without any reg season snaps in his NFL career who couldn’t make the Raiders roster the last few years? O the praised depth, where are thou?

        Seriously, we have Hart, who Chip wanted in the 3rd round, Allen, who Chip praised after the Bears game, Curry and our starters. That means Bair would be the 7th DL, not active on gameday. To give this roster spot to a soon-to-be 30 year old player who isn’t even a vet (as funny as that is) is a brutal waste of a roster spot and something only losing Franchises do. As much as I love him, shame on Chip if he goes that road.

        And yes, he was good against the Bears. But that’s a philosophical question. You just don’t do that. I think we had him on the PS last year, had we? PS spots are obviously not nearly as valuable as roster spots, but that was a waste, too.

        • mheil

          I agree. Kruger is 22, also 6’6″, 290 lbs and not playing as well as Bair now, but with upside. Bair is in his prime. It makes more sense to give Kruger the 7th DL spot behind the 3 starters, 2 draft choices and Curry..

          • anon

            Kruger is PS eligible which is where he can stay. Under your logic you think Roc Carmicheal should stay just bc he’s young.

        • kevinlied

          Calling it the seventh DL spot is semantics. If the season started today, Bair would be DE3. Curry is a specialist. Hart sits and learns.

          • Dominik

            Kelly wanted Hart in the third round. He has scheme familarity and is a old rookie (2 months younger than Cox). I see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to play 20 percent of the snaps. He hasn’t had a bad preseason so far either.
            Curry is a specialist, but he should see snaps. And Allen is making a good impression so far. Remember, Logan can play DE.

            If Bair would be 26 – fine. If he’s better than Kruger, for example, give him the job. Kruger is four years younger, but upside is not everything you look for. If you’re 30 in November and haven’t played a snap in the NFL, I just don’t want you on the roster and it makes no sense for the team.

            Some people hate Brad Smith as a virtual lock for the 53. I don’t agree with them. He is a vet that brings some things to the table. I’m not saying you need to be 24 to make this roster as a back-up. But you shouldn’t be 30 without any experience. Plus, the D-Line is young and talented. No need to give someone like Bair snaps. Smith, on the other hand, is some kind of insurance where we need insurance because of two often injured starters, two rookies and pretty much nothing else.

          • deg0ey

            The thing is, Kruger hasn’t really shown any ability at all in camp or preseason. I can get on board with the idea that using a roster spot on Bair is a waste because his upside is minimal, but as Tommy pointed out, Kruger is fighting for a PS squad – to phrase it another way, it’s questionable whether he’s shown enough to be worth keeping on the PS; why would you give that guy a roster spot?

            If you want the 7th DL to be a part of the rotation or to be inactive on game day but hanging around in case someone gets injured, then it needs to be Bair because he’s quite clearly the better player. If you just want to use that roster spot to hold onto a guy with upside for the future, then find a guy who actually has upside for the future (either off another team’s roster/PS or a guy like Momah who has talent but isn’t quite there yet).

          • Dominik

            If you just want to use that roster spot to hold onto a guy with upside for the future, then find a guy who actually has upside for the future

            That has to be the plan, imho. 7th DL is like 4th RB, 4th TE, 6th WR, 9th O-Line or 5th OLB a battle not only between your position rivals, but between all those roster bubble players.

          • kevinlied

            If Hart beats out Bair, then I agree with your analysis, but that doesn’t look conceivable at this point. Which is not surprising — he is a rookie who was picked in the latter half of draft, a “project” by the numbers. If DE3 is playing 20% of the snaps (to use your number), I want the best guy on the field for those plays. It becomes even more imperative that the best guy is out there if Cox or Thornton goes down and the 20% turns into 65-70%, or whatever. And as for Bair’s age, he’s 29, not 39. I agree that his upside is limited, and I doubt he’s on the roster in 2016, but he should be in his football-playing prime, especially given his limited action thus far. It’s not as though we should expect a decline in his play during this season. It may have been Oregon nepotism that got Bair a look, but he’s earned the DE3 spot as far as I can tell.

          • Dominik

            If DE3 is playing 20% of the snaps (to use your number), I want the best guy on the field for those plays.

            That’s incredibly short sighted and the attitude of a losing franchise. That’s the kind of attitude, even though it’s something different, that leads to drafting 26 year old Watkins in the 1st round. “He’s the best at the moment” is bullsh*t when it comes to drafting and the end of your 53 roster. Who’s the best player out of a combination from now and the future is the right question.

            At the end of the roster, you have to look for upside. The only vets you need on the roster are starters and important back-ups (who could be insurance for rookies, like Smith is at WR). Another point is: vets bring experience to the team. Bair doesn’t have any. Zero. He’s a soon-to-be 30 year old rookie. It’s just ludacris.

          • kevinlied

            Except…

            1. DE3 is not the end of the roster. It is a position that sees meaningful snaps. I would think “losing” franchises are more apt to put worse players on the field, but hey, what do I know?

            2. Bair was signed off the street, not drafted in the first round.

            3. Watkins was plugged into the starting lineup, not asked to be backup.

            Far be it from me to try to justify the Watkins pick or, indeed, anything about the last two years of the Reid tenure. Playing a 29-year-old over a 22-year-old when the older guy has clearly won the battle strikes me as completely sensible. I am all for stacking the back of the roster with upside guys. That’s what Hart is at this point.

          • Dominik

            1. DE3 is not the end of the roster. It is a position that sees meaningful snaps.

            http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/player-defensive-snap-count-stats/2013/

            Cox saw 73.5 % of the snaps, Thornton 59.6 %, Logan 39.9 % (altough you can’t really take that number, since he didn’t start before the Pats trade for Soap).

            If you say Logan will play 60 % of the snaps now that he’s the starter from week 1, that makes 193 % for the starters out of 300 % of snaps for the position. You could easily increase this number, since 60 % for Thornton and Logan isn’t the maximum. Let’s give them the other 7 % to make it easier. That would leave 100 %, or 33 % of the snaps for each of the 3 back-ups. We have two promising rookies, do you really think they wouldn’t be able to play those snaps? We’re not talking 4th quarter in Week 17, 3rd and goal for the opponent here. In crunch time, Cox, Thornton, Logan (and in passing situations Curry) will be on the field.

            Plus everyone keeps talking about how they want Curry on the field more. We have problems with our pass rush, let one of our good young pass rushers in the game. I’m not saying let him start, but what’s the harm with Curry playing around 40-45 % of the snaps? Remember, teams generally have a 55-45 pass-run ratio. There is no reason why Curry shouldn’t play on obvious passing downs.

            If you give Curry 45 % of the snaps, that leaves 27 % for Hart and Allen. Bair would replace Hart. Do you really think a slightly better play by Bair would justify a roster spot for him? With 27 % of the snaps?

            If we’d have our last year D-Line on the roster, I maybe, maybe could life with Bair. Geathers and Square sucked. Bair would probably be significantly (!) better than them right now. There isn’t huge upside with those two. But we’re not talking Geathers or Square, we’re talking Hart and Allen.

            I would think “losing” franchises are more apt to put worse players on the field, but hey, what do I know?

            Losing franchises don’t think long term and think they are in win now. Wasting roster spots for 30 year old rookies is what gets you in this situation.

          • Mark F

            Isn’t anyone getting tired of the one trick pony known as Thornton? I mean I get it, he’s a beast against the run, but how much longer can we afford to sacrifice penetration ability?

          • Dominik

            We don’t need three Thorntons. But having one as your starter is perfectly fine with me. If we’d have a good pass rusher at OLB (that’s were the pressure should be coming from in the 34 2 gap) he’d even be more effective.

          • kevinlied

            Football is a violent game. Injuries happen all the time. The immediate backup at every position is an important roster spot. From what we have seen, Bair is clearly, far-and-away the third best 3-4 DE on this team as of now. If Taylor Hart takes that mantle from him during the season, or even next week, I have no issue with cutting him and giving his spot to a prospect.

            An organization can think long-term and try to win now at the same time. I’m all for using the deep bench and the P-squad for developing guys. I think Kelly has done that so far. But the young guys have to win spots to play.

          • Dominik

            Giving Hart the 6th and final spot on the D-Line is not like you are handing him the keys. If he wants more playing time, he must earn it, no doubt. But it makes much more sense to have him on your active roster than to give grandpa a roster spot and let Hart watch from the outside. Especially since that means you could actually give the roster spot to a player who maybe could contribute in two years.

            Of course you try to win on sunday. But having Bair instead of Hart on the 46 active won’t give you a significant advantage. If it would (like I said, last year he maybe would have) it would be another story. It would still be tough pill to swallow, since 30 year old rookies suck in general, but it could be worth the roster spot. But Hart is >>> Geathers and Square, therefore it makes no sense.

            And again. Curry for 40-45 % of the snaps is no problems if the teams have a 55:45 pass-run ratio. If there is a passing play, it’s great to have Curry on the field. Allen and Hart seem legit, too. You simply don’t need Bair and if you don’t need a grandpa rookie, you cut him as soon as possible.

          • kevinlied

            Maybe we just differ in opinion on how large the gap between Bair and Hart is right now. From what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, I get the sense that Bair is clearly and significantly better. If the difference is marginal, perhaps I’d feel differently.

          • Dominik

            “From what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, I get the sense that Bair is clearly and significantly better.”

            I hope he is, otherwise it’s crazy we even talk about it.

            If Hart would have struggled, like Watkins struggled in the first game, for example, I think I would understand the thinking better (even though Rookies have first Preseason games like that, doesn’t mean you should put him in the dog house). We have to keep our feet firmly on the ground here. It’s not like Bair is playing totally lights out so far. He played well, no one is arguing that, but Hart was very solid, too. It makes more sense to give Hart the 6th spot on the D-Line and it makes no sense at all to have Bair on the 53 but not active. Therefore it makes sense to cut him.

      • Media Mike

        That is a shame because we need to continue the Kruger = Brett Keisel career arc!

  • Sean Stott

    Anyone else absolutely hate the new black jerseys? I’ll admit I’ve never liked them too much, but they are worse now. The collar looks AWFUL. The black is no longer shiny, but a dull charcoal. I can’t wait to see how they ruin the midnight green once Nike finally figures it out.

    http://i.imgur.com/qi7YIPe.jpg

    • McNabbulousness

      dude totally with you. i bitch about this way too much, but im glad somebody else doesn’t like these. im afraid those collars will prob show up on the midnight greens. its called “nike fly” or something like that, its an oversized v-shaped collar with those stupid plastic zig-zags. they’re on all the new nike uniforms (except teams who specifically asked to keep their pre-nike uniform cut/design, like the eagles did last year).

    • ICDogg

      hate those collars.

    • deg0ey

      I can’t say it bothers me too much. I mean, I’d prefer if they didn’t have black jerseys at all and just stuck with the green and white ones but they’ve gotta bleed every last dollar out of the people dumb enough to buy them and the team probably only wears them like twice a year, so it’s probably okay.

    • Nicodemus_09

      I’ve always loved our black Jerseys. But that COLLAR SMH.All that’s missing is a bit in their chompers and a saddle on their back! Totally looks like it belongs on a horse IMO.

  • A_T_G

    Pssh, 105.5. What, was he concussed for half the season?

  • Cafone

    Blair will be 30 in November… not a lot of long term upside there.

    • ICDogg
    • Dominik

      Yes. And we’re talking about the 7th DL spot, not active on game day. That would be nothing more than a job creation scheme to his former Oregon player. Chip is very loyal and that’s a good thing, but you can’t do that in the NFL. A roster spot is valuable. Bair has a good preseason, no doubt, but he’s just too old. Feel sorry for him, but that’s the way it is.

      I think it’s a bad sign that we even talk about him having a chance for a roster spot (and T-Law wrote in the comment section that he thinks he’s a virtual lock).

      • Anders

        Was Allen Babre and Evan Mathis too old last year?

        Bair has shown he is better than Kruger and Hart, so he is currently the 4th DE, does it matter that he is 30? What if he was a FA signing?

        • Dominik

          I knew Barbre and Mathis would be part of the discussion. First, they had experience in this league. That has some value.

          Also, they turned out to be good enough to start or be the first back-up of the bench. That’s a totally different roster situation we’re talking about. You don’t rotate OL like you rotate DL. It’s ok if you look at the best player at the moment when it comes to starter or important (!) back-ups.

          At the D-Line, we have our starters, so Mathis is no comparison. You don’t need one good back-up at the DL, you need a good group. We have a good, young group. There is simply no good reason to let Hart be inactive for a season to get Bair into the 53. And there is absolutely no reason for Bair to be on the 53 but not on the active 46. That would be a total waste of a roster spot, you could simply take 52 and have the same result for your football team.

          • Anders

            Because we rotate the DL, does that not mean we need the BEST right now, not the best potential in 2-3 years?

          • Dominik

            You need a good group of back-ups. Not one good back-up (like Barbre). We have a good group of back-ups without grandpa on the 53.

        • daveH

          agreed. I think kruger and hart are likely “project guys /upside guys” that never pan out ..theres plenty of those guys in next yr draft also

    • deg0ey

      But after Cox and Thornton, he’s the best DE we’ve got. Probably worth keeping him for the season regardless of his upside.

      • Anders

        and not every player not starter upside. Sometimes you need an Allen Babre type veteran who can spot start but that is it.

      • Dominik

        He’s better than Logan? Come on. People tend to forget that Logan can play DE. And Allen got praises from Chip and the media and played an even better game against the Bears than everybodys darling Bair.

        • deg0ey

          You seem to have completely missed the point. Bennie is the starting NT. He’s not going to play DE except in very specific (infrequent) situations. If he’s not out there at NT, chances are it’s because he’s on the bench getting some rest before another stint at NT, not because it seemed like a good idea to play him at DE for a while.

          • anon

            BL rotates all over that line (not infrequently). Think he’ll rotate even more now that we have more options there — before we didn’t have another NT.

          • Dominik

            Having Logan at DE while Allen plays the nose is the far better idea than to waste a roster spot for a 30 year old rookie. It’s not like Logan is a giant NT like Wilfork, Ngata (or Allen, if you want to look in house). He played DT at LSU, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to play 34 DE in like 10-15 % of his snaps. Thornton is listed at 309 pounds, Logan is 315. You really think it makes that much of a difference (again: for 10-15 % of the snaps)?

            It’s better than to give Bair the roster spot, at least.

          • Media Mike

            I think you might see a few 3rd downs with Logan-Allen-Cole, Barwin – Kendricks – Smith, Williams – Fletcher – Boykin – Jenkins – Allen.

        • Maggie

          So far you have posted at least 20 negative comments about Bair. We probably get that you don’t want him. How about a different topic? Maybe about actual roster players or coaches or the renovations at the Linc?

          • Dominik

            There are replies on my comments. There are different arguments from other users why they think my points are wrong. I tend to argue with different point of views, at least as long as it’s constructive.

            You can start a different topic, of course, but I don’t run away from a reasonable discussion.

    • anon

      No? Why because he’ll lose a second off his 4’4″ speed, won’t be able to beat corners down the field? I think he could play out a 4-5 year contract at his position, which really just requires strength an technique.

  • deg0ey

    The thing with Eli is that he needs to be really really bad for the rest of his career to counteract the ridiculous amount of hype he had before. Hopefully he finishes badly enough that people stop talking about him for the HoF because, let’s be honest, that would make the accolade even more worthless than it is already.

    • Media Mike

      Don’t worry about that. His career numbers and pro bowls don’t add up. The two lucky Super Bowl wins won’t get him through that voting room. They’ve very tough and smart enough not to buy into that NYC trash hype.

      • lewel

        I dunno. If his last name wasn’t “Manning” I’d be more inclined to agree.

    • Maggie

      But isn’t the NYC media the center of the universe? Once they have anointed a favorite, he stays anointed.

  • Nicodemus_09

    It’s very encouraging that Sanchez is playing well (so far) but my first thought when I read the trade theory was that it flies in the face of Chips philosophy of it takes 2 QBs to win in this league. So if Chip/Howie actually pulled the trigger on a Sanchez trade, we have to assume they think the California kid is a “chin strap away” & furthermore is READY for that. I think Not…

    • Dominik

      The trade talk was just strange. Of course, Kelly would have to take a First rounder for him – you simply cannot reject an offer like that, the long term benefit would outweigh the short term loss and we’re not in win now.

      But which team would be this freaking stupid? They could have signed him for no draftpick and didn’t. Now he plays two good preseason games under an offensive guru and should be worth a good draft pick? Not in a million years.

      On the other hand, why should the Eagles accept a 3rd or 4th round pick? Those are good draft picks, don’t get me wrong, but in this situation, the short term outweighs the long term thinking. Barkley hasn’t developed the way we hoped he would and we can’t risk losing a game we could win because of 3 Barkley INTs.

      If Sanchez has a good 4th Preseason game (he won’t play that much in the third, I guess) and doesn’t have to play in the reg season, he’s gone next year. I’m pretty sure about that. There will be a team where he has a chance to start after this performance. But if that happens Chip will sign another veteran who takes his role. There will always be veteran QBs who struggled and who can play better under an offensive guru like Chip. And if Sanchez gets indeed a chance to start in 2015, they will love to come to Philly, trust me.

      • Nicodemus_09

        Agreed completely that no one would be stupid enough to give up what it would take to pry Sanchez from Chip.That said, J-Sizzle down at Valley Ranch is getting more senile by the minute lol and staring down the depth chart at Brandon Weeden would give anyone the cold sweats. Especially when Romo’s back surgery total is double his playoff win total, but adside from THAT, Sanchez’s season is nothing more than one big audition for next year, no question.

        • anon

          Dallas or Texas could use someone

          • Dominik

            O’Brien chose Fitzpatrick for a reason. He has the playbook and everything under his belt now. I’m not a big fan of this decision, but that’s how O’Brien decided. He can’t turn it around because of two weeks in preseason.

      • kevinlied

        I bet Chip would like to have that answer back. He answered honestly — of course they’d listen to offers and take a total overpay — and he went onto say that they were thrilled to have Sanchez and planning on having him here, but I think that’s one of those questions that you deflect. Chip’s candor is refreshing, but there’s no sense in saying anything other than, “We’re not thinking about trading him. We’re excited he’s part of our program.”

        • Media Mike

          I’d much rather have heard Chip give some honest information on why Shady missed practice than dignify Sal Pal’s stupid question with anything other than a rebuke.

          • kevinlied

            Amen. It really bothers that Sal has made it as far as he has in life.

        • anon

          I don’t see an issue with the question or the answer – especially if my name is sanchize (or sanchize’s agent) – you CK has just given you a huge endorsement and will let you go if someone blows us away with an offer (which won’t happen at this point in the season).

          • kevinlied

            The issue with the answer, minor though it may be, is that “Kelly says Sanchez available” becomes a headline on various websites. The issue with the question — at least my issue — is that it serves no purpose other than to start trouble. Typical Sal.

  • Nicodemus_09
  • hrtak

    Cant see any team trading for Sanchez with good offer for Eagles. Hes on one-year contract, so we cannot expect good pick (3+) or player (good ILB, DB or young talented OL). On the other side, when is some offer like this on table, I think, the Eagles should accept it. Barkley isnt so bad. Actually he looks much better this year. I can also imagine GJ as 3rd QB. Or (please dont kill me :-) Tim Tebow – he is high character player with high football IQ… and he isnt that bad.

    • Anders

      I much rather keep Sanchez for the much greater chance of a win if Foles goes down over a 6th round pick or what ever Sanchez is worth too you

      • hrtak

        Not for 6th rd. pick… 3-4th or good player…

    • kevinlied

      Tim Tebow is absolutely that bad. You have to conform your system to him if he’s going to play, and that system is, go ahead and run around and try to make a play. And I would absolutely not be comfortable with Barkley as the QB2 based on what I’ve seen. I’m thrilled to have Sanchez; I’m not sure there’s a better backup QB in the league.

      • Media Mike

        And Tim Tebow’s football IQ isn’t very high at all either. He cannot make progression reads and throws. Greg Cosell kills that dude’s lack of football IQ.