All About the Passing Game

Posted: May 9th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 202 Comments »

Once the draft is over, I like to go back and look at the picks from a variety of angles. If you study them, you sometimes will see patterns emerge. I think I found one for this year.

My newest column is on how the Eagles used the 2016 draft to focus on the passing game, both on offense and defense.

Think about the 2015 Eagles. They had 23 TD passes. Opponents had 36. The Eagles had a QB rating of 85.6. Opponents were up at 92.8. Whether we are talking about volume or efficiency, the Eagles did not throw the ball well enough, nor did they defend the pass well enough.

Wentz is obvious.

Think about Seumalo. The Eagles took him over Le’Raven Clark, a player some thought might be a 1st round pick. Clark is an outstanding athlete and good run blocker, but he is highly erratic as a pass blocker. Instead, the Eagles took a G/C who is a good pass blocker. The Eagles also passed on C/G Graham Glasgow. He is a better run blocker than Seumalo, but isn’t as good a pass protector.

The Eagles took RB Wendell Smallwood in the 5th round. They passed on bigger or more physical RBs like Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins, Kelvin Taylor and Darius Jackson. Smallwood caught 68 passes at WVa. He lined up in the slot or as an outside receiver at times. He also showed the ability to be a solid pass blocker. The other backs were good runners, but less proven in the passing game.

Big V was the next pick. He was an OT with good feet. The Eagles took him over Fahn Cooper, a RT from Ole Miss. They passed on Sebastian Tretola, an OG who is a mauling run blocker. Vadal Alexander could play RT or OG and was a terrific run blocker. The Eagles got Vaitai, with his outstanding feet and potential to become a starting LT.

The Eagles added a pair of versatile DBs in Blake Countess and Jalen Mills. Right now both are listed at Safety. The Eagles passed over Jeremy Cash, who was a terrific run defender and big SS. They ignored Tyvis Powell, who had cover skills and good size. The Eagles wanted Safeties with man cover skills.

I know a lot of fans were upset with the team for passing on Cash. I watched almost all of his games for the past 2 years. Cash is a gifted player, but is made for the NFL of 10 years ago, when a SS could live in the box and play a defined role. Think Mike Zordich. Cash doesn’t have the quickness, agility or man cover skills teams want these days. That said, I’m still shocked he wasn’t drafted.

The other picks were DE Alex McCalister and ILB Joe Walker. McCalister is a pass rusher that might be able to contribute right away. I’m sure the Eagles were happy he was still on the board at that point. The Eagles chose Walker over players like Dominique Alexander, Jared Norris, Eric Striker, Steve Longa and Terrance Smith. None of those players came close to his combination of size, speed and agility. Walker is more likely to help in the passing game than those players.

A lot of teams talked about wanting to get bigger and more physical during the draft. They focused on size, strength and power. The Eagles wanted athletes who could help the passing game or help stop the passing game. Based purely on picks, it looks like the Eagles did a good job. Now we have to see how the players perform.


202 Comments on “All About the Passing Game”

  1. 1 scratcherk said at 8:26 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Sammy Boy coming back today. Superbowl here we come.

  2. 2 Fufina said at 8:28 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    So it seems Sammy is fronting up today. Think the reality is there is no longer a better trade situation available and his need to now go out an perform as an Eagle has sunk in. I doubt it will have any lasting impact with the team because 2 weeks of conditioning work and throwing on the field with no coaches is not going to damage his preparation or team chemistry really.

    Where i think Sam will have some issues is with the fanbase. He is going to be public enemy for a while unless he comes in and plays out of his mind in regular season. But probably from an Eagles organisational perspective that should help Wentz when he finally starts since we will be cheering him just because he is not Sammy.

  3. 3 eagleyankfan said at 9:06 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Count me as part of that fan base. Bradford supporter even on the Rams. Bigger fan when he came here. Always thought he could thrive here in Philly. Now he’s a short-timer cry baby. Right or wrong, my choice. Looking forward to the Wentz take over…..

  4. 4 Donald Kalinowski said at 10:12 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Wentz vs Bradford isn’t even a competition. Wentz could suck ass but the Eagles would still be committed to him for at least 5 years. I don’t blame him for being upset.

  5. 5 Fufina said at 10:22 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Wentz will have significantly less time than that. He probably has till the 2019 off season to have shown he is making progress towards becoming a franchise QB, but if he starts in 2017 and is awful and Eagles have a top 3 pick in the 2018 draft then everyone is fired and the new front office might jump for a new QB at that point.

  6. 6 eagleyankfan said at 1:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    exactly. Nobody ever said it was a competition except Bradford and his agent. Everybody else was on board…

  7. 7 Gian GEAGLE said at 11:08 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Wemtz isn’t even going to get enough reps to make it competition.
    Doug Pederson addressed the lack of Reps for Wentz as a 3rd string QB, stating that a lot of Wentz work will come from before or after Practice this year

  8. 8 Dominik said at 9:01 AM on May 10th, 2016:

    Would be Pedersons first major mistake. You don’t sit your franchise QB for a year giving him basically no reps. That’s flat out stupid. How the hell is he supposed to get better, you know, the reason for him sitting, if he doesn’t get any reps?
    It’s even more stupid if you pay a career backup like Daniels that much money if he needs to get #2 reps, even if he’s your backup. The reason Daniels has value is that he knows the offense and knows what to do WITHOUT needing much reps.

    If Bradford gets #1 reps, Wentz #2 and Daniels #3, while Daniels is the #2 and Wentz will be inactive on gameday, now we’re talking. That’s a solid plan. But any other distribution of the practice reps would be a major knock on Pedersons abilities as a Head Coach in my books. That’s simple logic for crying out loud.

  9. 9 eagleyankfan said at 1:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Again — Bradford willing signed a 2 year contract knowing he wasn’t the future — so — why again is he upset? nobody told him he was sitting those 2 years…

  10. 10 Gary Barnes said at 9:15 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Fans would be calling for Wentz even if Bradford had attended every day and said nothing. Besides the backup QB, the young high draft pick QB gets most favored player status with the fans since he represents a hope.for a brighter future. This team is pretty mediocre and probably will win 7 or 8 games. Wentz will take over after 10 games or when it’s clear we are not making the playoffs I suspect and gain experience leading into 2017.

  11. 11 Gian GEAGLE said at 11:03 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    You are Severly over estimating our division if you think we will be out of the playoff hunt after 10 games. Would you be that surprised if SAM won this average at best division?

  12. 12 anon said at 12:09 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Offense depends on o line. Defense depends on our ability to generate a pass rush. Tommy made commentary about how picks were made to improve passing game. Isn’t it better to be a running team?

  13. 13 Gian GEAGLE said at 12:58 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Can’t really get away with devaluing either.
    The run game is equally as important as the pass game. Being weak in either area will get you exposed.
    I don’t agree with Tom when it comes to our offensive moves being focused on the pass game…. Truth is, Seumalo and Big V need to Develope into solid pass blockers and run blockers, because being inadequate in either area would probably mean we have to look elsewhere to find starters.. Heck, we found out just how horrible it can look when you have Guards who can’t open holes for the RBs watching Tobin/Barbie last season. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Seumalo and Big V may project to be better pass blockers, I wont dispute that. But if they don’t grow to be capable run blockers as well, we will need to find someone else to start.
    When It comes to RB, yes we took Wendall while passing on some bigger backs, but im not sure that I agree that The selection of Wendall points to us focusing on the passing game this offseason. I don’t think it’s that deep. I view it in more simpler terms: Transitioning to a west coast offense it’s no secret that RB’s need to be able to catch and pass block. It’s what the scheme change calls for. Our Offense Wasnt good enough running or passing last year, and we can poïnt to additions that help improve our Run game, and we can poïnt to additions that help improve our passing game.
    Now when it comes to our defensive additions, it’s easier for me to buy that we focused on improving the passing game. can we really blame them?
    Thinking back to the past 3 seasons, there were stretches of promising defensive play, However our defense had the same Reoccuring achilles heal throughout the past 3 seasons, which was crystal clear: Our struggles to get off The field on 3rd down, extra infuriating how often we gave up conversions on 3rd and Long, there were times our defense was doing some damn good work on 1st and 2nd down, only to piss it away giving up 3rd down conversions in the passing game. It does look like our decision makers were aware of that weakness and focused on Improving that this offseason with moves like:
    1) trying to upgrade our defensive subpackages adding guys like Countess, Mills, Brooks to compete with Denzel Rice, JaCorey Shepard, and the loser of the Nolan/Leodia CB competition, assuming RowE starts at one of the outside spots.
    2) investing in ROCKIN Rod McLeod. think we are going to love this kid when it comes to 3rd and long, and Schwartz throws some heat at QBs, forcing them to get rid of the ball too fast, allowing McLeod to make the tackle short of the first down.
    3) Most of our LBs aren’t 2 down LBs,…hicks, Bradham, kendricks, najee, Walker are all athletic enough to play on 3rd down if need be
    Of course pass defense won’t matter if we can stop teams from pounding the ball down our throat in the run game, but I thought schwartz inherited solid personnel when it comes to defending the run. It’s the one thing our Defense was consistently good at, up until halfway into chips 3rd year when everything started to fall apart, our stout run defense completely disappeared. It’s not clear if the defense quit on chip, or 3 years of an insane amount of defensive snaps finally taking their toll on the run defense last year,,,, but schwartz inherited a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Run game
    our DLineman are pretty damn good against the Run. BARWIN, BG, Curry all do a solid job setting the edge against the run, and I look forward to schwartz splitting them out wide just a little bit, trying to Funnell the Ball Carrier in the waiting arms of what should be one of the most dominant DT tandems in Cox/Logan
    I can see an argument for the defense focusing on upgrading the passing game. but on offense it was just as important that we improved our Run game, as it is to improve our passing game. Signing of Brooks should be a BIGTIME upgrade in the run game..
    Think it’s wise to respect the run and pass, and strive for Balance when building your offense. Strive to become a versatile offense thats capable of winning in various ways… Perfect example is the Patriots. There are weeks when LaGarrett Blount and the run game carries the offense to wins and Brady puts up like 200 yards and a Td, and then the next week they become a completely different offense, throwing 45 times for 400 yards, and take the andy Reid route where quick short passes take the place of their run game

  14. 14 Gary Barnes said at 2:36 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Last season was a confluence of events/issues that will not likely all occur again. I expect all of our division opponents to be better this year and expect Dallas to win the division with 10 or more wins.

  15. 15 Gian GEAGLE said at 5:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yeah we play in a division of world beaters and we are trash. I get it…

  16. 16 scratcherk said at 10:31 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think most fans will forget about it come gametime. Heck, even training camp.

  17. 17 Gian GEAGLE said at 11:00 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Im over it. Glad to have him back, both because he gives us the best chance to win, and for the chance that he plays well enough to increase his trade value

  18. 18 Tumtum said at 12:23 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Forget about what?

  19. 19 All About the Passing Game - said at 8:31 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor Once the draft is over, I like to go back and look at the picks from a variety of angles. If you […]

  20. 20 P_P_K said at 9:59 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Interesting perspective, Tommy. Good writing.

  21. 21 anon said at 10:42 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    “Peyton Manning showed up to the Dolphins’ facility earlier this spring to work with Ryan Tannehill and help teach him coach Adam Gase’s offense.”

    Peyton the coach?

  22. 22 Gary Barnes said at 10:53 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    I do not see it. Like many superstar players, Peyton would struggle dealing with and coaching talent that does not work as hard as he did, is not a perfectionist like he was, does not love the game as much as he did, does not have the mental toughness he did etc. Superstars usually make bad coaches due to these disconnects – they are a special breed and cannot pass those attributes on or find guys who can meet their standard which leads to frustration.

    I think Peyton will join a front office where he can learn the craft from a master GM/President and then take over when that person moves on/retires. Someone who has earned tenure with a very good and stable organization. New England leaps to mind as he & Belichek already have a good relationship, Kraft would be glad to bring in someone like Peyton and the organization obviously knows what they are doing.

  23. 23 RobNE said at 10:57 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    haha haha haha. NE would not stand for it. That is a crazy idea. Peyton is HATED here.

  24. 24 Gary Barnes said at 11:02 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    NE is just a possible example. If Kraft and Belichek want to do it, it would happen regardless of the the fans. The Pats have done many things over the years the fans disliked or disagreed with and have the rings to show for it. Kraft and Belicheck both highly respect Peyton, know he is not only smart and a leader, but breathes football, works harder than most anyone and is competitive beyond belief.

  25. 25 anon said at 11:04 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    you think BB stays longer than brady?

  26. 26 RobNE said at 1:55 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I do otherwise BB picking the QB in the draft makes no sense. It only makes sense when thinking that Brady is likely to play past Garapolo’s rookie contract, so get someone else now. But if BB was thinking I am done when Brady is done, there’s no need to think long term like that.

  27. 27 anon said at 1:59 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Maybe thinking Jimmy sucks, need another developmental. But last 5 years playing no brady could tarnish the BB legacy. Sort of like i think Pop and Tim Duncan will ride into the sunset together.

  28. 28 RobNE said at 3:33 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I don’t think they think Jimmy sucks, I think he’s shown promise.

    maybe BB tries it without Brady for a year or two, then says forget this.

  29. 29 anon said at 3:45 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    wonder if sometimes you forget what it’s like not having a QB. Maybe they’ll get a decent fre-agent replacement like SA did with Lamarcus Aldridge.

  30. 30 Gary Barnes said at 2:38 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Not sure whats going to happen; my statement was only using NE as an example. The concept of what type of situation would fit Peyton best is more important than the example. That is what I was trying to explain.

  31. 31 RobNE said at 11:27 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    yep I didn’t mean to be too harsh. It’s just that I am amazed at the disproportionate amount of hate by the fans for Peyton.

    In fact I’m surprised when any team’s fans with so much respect hate other teams/players. You won, you won more SB’s, just live your life and be content. No, that’s not enough, Peyton has to lose every game possible. Maybe it’s just the Pats, with Belicheat and the scandals, there is just a huge chip on their shoulder. Victim status I guess is fun for some.

  32. 32 Dude said at 11:42 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    My guess is that it goes back to the Irsay rule. He bitched because of how the Pats defended his recievers in, if memory serves, the AFC championship game, then got on the rules committee and got the “no touching after 5yds” rule put in. Tailor made for Peyton’s offense, bad for the Pat’s defense.

  33. 33 RobNE said at 1:54 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    well that was the year the Panthers and Pats tackled the WR’s on the other side (Eagles and Colts) almost every play, so I don’t feel bad.

  34. 34 Stephen E. said at 9:53 AM on May 10th, 2016:

    Seriously. I don’t see how they needed a new rule; the old one wasn’t being enforced. No-talent Ricky Manning couldn’t even cover our horrible receivers without flat out tackling them before the ball arrived.

  35. 35 Tumtum said at 12:22 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Cut that meat!

  36. 36 DanJ3645 said at 11:01 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think that Manning has a chance to be good. His mental abilities were what put him into the elite status. His physical abilities were very good, but not elite.
    His ability to understand a defence, from detailed film study is teachable.
    I agree that not all players will be able to learn it, but I bet that means they’d fail to be great regardless of the coach.

  37. 37 Gary Barnes said at 11:10 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    There are many examples of superstar players who failed at coaching or got out because they could not stand it. They make sexy hires, but rarely pan out. It is usually the less talented/successful ex-players or people who never played who are successful coaches.

    Manning may be an exception, you’re right there is not much I would doubt Manning could do. I just think he would be more effective and happier in management than on the sidelines.

  38. 38 Gian GEAGLE said at 11:45 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yeah not all great players are meant to transition to coaching. But I wouldn’t rule out Peyton becoming one of stars capable of handling it.
    Seems to Genuinly love for the game of football, he seems to love the daily grind that comes with it. Seems to really care about all the details and nuances of the game. It shouldn’t be too much a surprise if we find out that he is one of the ex superstars who manages to become a solid coach.
    But who knows, this man has the NFL world at his feet. He has so many options that it’s Impossible to know which direction he decides to go.
    But I could see Peyton take a job as an assistant QB coach to start his coaching career.
    It’s also possible that he decideds to become a “QB Guru” like Jordan Palmer/Ryan Lindley who tutors college QBs during the pre draft process, or a guy who tutors NFL Qbs during the offseason…. This would be a way to continue to be a part of the game, gain some coaching experience while only having to work a few months out of the year instead of immediately committing to the daily Grind of joining an NFL coaching staff..
    Obviously he can have whatever TV or Radio job that interest him
    With all the options he has, he may not even know yet which direction he wantsTo go in..
    Peyton personality And temperament may actually allow him to handle becoming a coach, where as a Nuerotic, high strung competitor Like Brady probably wouldn’t have patience to coach

  39. 39 Gian GEAGLE said at 10:59 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Not much different than jon Gruden tutoring Cousins last offseason during times when coaches(jay Gruden) werent allowed to work with the players

  40. 40 anon said at 10:45 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    “I’m excited to be back on the field today with my teammates and coaches,” Bradford said. “The business-side of football is sometimes a necessary consideration. My attention and efforts are focused on the participation in and preparation for a championship season: I am committed to my teammates and the Eagles organization for nothing less.” — Look at all those big words, that’s a man thoughtfully prepped by his agent.

  41. 41 Gian GEAGLE said at 11:06 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    Reports out of Novacare that Wentz sucker punched Bradford as soon as he saw him…he was quoted screaming something like “this is my team bitch”

  42. 42 Tumtum said at 11:59 AM on May 9th, 2016:

    The ole’ business excuse.

  43. 43 the DONALD said at 12:11 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    no other option really..
    Possible Howie Plan:
    Have SB to qb 2016.. give up 1st and 3rd to browns.
    -hope to give browns not great pick 9-7 record, get RB of future w 2nd round pick.
    Have Wentz ready for 2017.. give browns second rounder
    -get good pick bc wentz will struggle 6-10?.. get wentz help w early 2018 first rounder…
    Start to dominate..

  44. 44 Mac said at 3:27 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    It’s not an excuse. I tried telling folks back when the news first came out that this move was about money. Now, the cards have fallen where they did during the draft and the money is playing well with the Eagles. It’s really that simple, and the other players know it.

  45. 45 anon said at 3:43 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    agree – that’s why none of the players were too butt hurt about it — where’s Fletcher Cox?

  46. 46 Dude said at 3:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Money? He JUST SIGNED A CONTRACT! If he wanted more money he shouldn’t have signed it. Sam is a bum. I hope he plays well, but he is a bum.

  47. 47 Tumtum said at 8:02 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    It was tounge in cheek dooood.

  48. 48 GermanEagle said at 12:22 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I just want to win this frigging NFC East.

  49. 49 Tumtum said at 12:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Why am I scared of the Cowboys? Though, it usually turns out when Im scared of them they are really bad. Of course when I sleep on them they win the division.

  50. 50 anon said at 12:33 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    think it’s the giants turn to win the division this year – and the SB.

  51. 51 Tumtum said at 1:06 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Oh crap it probably is. When do we get a turn?

  52. 52 anon said at 1:14 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    after the giants – which is probably why howie got a qb this year – so we’d be ready next year when it’s our turn at the NFCE rodeo.

  53. 53 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:23 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think it’s our year because I see the Eagles and Skins as the best team, and I don’t see the skins as a good enough team to win the division back to back years.
    I do not believe that Romo will play enough games for the Cowboys to win the division, and I dont see how the Giants can overcome their OL defficiencies enough to win a division.
    If the 4 starting QBs in the division play 16 games, the Cowboys should be in the mix down the stretch, but I have a hard time believing he will play more than 10 games in a season ever again,
    Is there a QB in the NFL with more mileage on his body than Romo? Im not sure that there is a QB playing this year who’s body has accumulated more injuries and damage than Romo… take a QB who’s body has been battered more than any other QB, and combine the fact that he is in his late 30’s, and I struggle to envision how he will ever play more than a 10 game season again.
    There only chance of getting Romo thru an entire season is running Zeke Elliot into the ground

  54. 54 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:09 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Noooooo. Think Giants end up dead last in the division, unless Romo misses like 10 games
    Can’t win a division with that OL

  55. 55 D3FB said at 1:36 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    If Dez and Romo both stay healthy I would say Cowboys are favorites. They should be improved in the run game on D. Besides the health of Romo and Dez the only other big question mark would be the DBs. They lack top quality pass rushers and outside of Byron Jones that DB room is bad. They could be in some shootouts.

    WAS and the Eagles are probably right there in the mix. Both teams will go as far as QBs take them. WAS obviously has passing weapons out the butt, and that defense looks solid.

    Giants are a solid team but I think they’re a year away from really competing. That OL is a dumpster fire outside of Richburg. D is starting to turn a corner. They probably still need one more LB an to figure out how to get Thompson and Collins on the field at the same time. I just don’t see Eli being able to carry that team. He’s gonna get hit. ALOT.

    Basically it’s all going to come down to whichever team gets the best QB play.

  56. 56 Mitchell said at 2:07 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Romo is like a glass cannon, powerful when available but easy to decomission.

  57. 57 anon said at 2:13 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    IF hicks destroys romo and then has a season ender himself every year i’d be ok with that.

  58. 58 Dude said at 3:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Lol glass cannon. Perfect.

  59. 59 BobSmith77 said at 1:04 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Stunned if this team wins 10 or 11 games this year and takes the NFC East outright. Don’t see them finishing better than 3-3 in the NFC East or than 8 wins. Still think 6-10 sounds about right.

  60. 60 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:12 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yes sir. It’s too attainable of a goal in this division to not strive for it.
    Anything less than the division crown should be considered a failure this year. It’s not like we are the Browns in a division with 3 teams significantly better than we are.

  61. 61 ICDogg said at 1:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Who knows how good any of the teams in the division will be. Not convinced Romo will stay healthy, don’t know how the new acquisitions will fit in NY (could be great or disastrous), don’t know that Cousins won’t be a one year wonder a la Foles. And we have a lot of new moving parts as well.

    I don’t remember things being this up in the air.

  62. 62 peteike said at 1:25 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think all the teams stink again unless Romo stays upright.

  63. 63 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:40 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yeah I don’t expect to see any 11 or 12 win teams coming out of the NFC East this year..

  64. 64 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:32 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I expect The skins to be our toughest competition.
    I don’t believe Romo will ever play a 16 game season again.
    And I simply don’t believe that a team with a weak OL like the Giants will be capable of winning a division.
    If course im just speculating, anything can happen in a game with such a high risk of injury…
    I think what I can count on the most is the Giants not winning the division. OL is too important, and that line is a joke as far as I’m concerned. Can’t take a team serious that still thinks it can start Jon Jerry at Guard. I hate Tobin more than any player on the Eagles, and I wouldn’t even give them Tobin for Jerry…. My expectation is that their OL will be a fatal flaw that can’t be overcome. Their OL is the main reason we have been kicking their as the past 3 years.
    Skins i respect as our toughest competition, but are they really good enough to be the first team to win our division in back to back season in years? Not so sure about that
    Romo needs to play 16 games if Dallas is going to have a real chance to win the division. What are the odds of that happenings?
    But obviously it’s a crazy game, and the landscape of the division can drastically change overnight because of injuries

  65. 65 peteike said at 1:37 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    ya I actually think Skins are making smart moves and have some consistency going forward. They didnt lose a lot of pieces and regardless of what anyone thinks of Cousins, they have him and Gruden possibly improving.

  66. 66 Gian GEAGLE said at 3:04 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Skins certainly doing a better job than their previous regimes..

    The most important premier positions QB, OT, DE, CB
    Skins DONT have as glaring needs at those positions like the Cowboys and Giants do… The biggest issue they have at those positions is CB, and they got lucky scooping up Josh Norman late in free agency
    The only premier position that the Cowboys DONT have red flags at is Offensve Tackle. It’s not like they traded for MIKE Glennon or did anything to upgrade their Romo insurance which is baffling when they just proved that they can’t win without him… The ONLY changes they made at edge rusher is replacing Greg Hardy with Tapper, a 4th round rookie, Even when Lawrence and Gregory come back from their donkey suspensions, they still might be one of the weaker edge rusher tandems.. If you are going to be weak at pass rushing, you better have one of the top secondaries which clearly isn’t the case in Dallas. Getting Scandrick back will help them, but when your best CB is a slot corner, you have some problems. A shaky secondary playing behind a lack of pass rush ISNT a Favorable situation to be in
    It looks like Dallas will try to recreate the 2014 blueprint of running their RBs into the ground trying to keep Romo healthy, and try to dominate the time of possession. curious to see how that offensive strategy works when teams could light up the Cowboys defense and force them into high scoring games…. For Dallas to succeed in this scenario, the cowboy defense will need to be really strong on 3rd down. if they can get the off the field early, then it becomes easier for them to be successful pounding the ball and dominating time of possesion which allows them to use the run game to protect Rom and to protect the defense and its glaring flaws.
    The problem with that is, how realistic is it to expect the Cowboys to be a strong 3rd down defense when they lack pass rush in front of an average at best secondary? Unless they can blitz their way into getting off the field on 3rd downs, opponents could force them into high scoring shootouts, and if that happens, they May have to lean on Romo more than they would like, which exposes him to more hits and I don’t see how his body can hold up at this stage of his career

  67. 67 peteike said at 3:31 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    no doubt, they didnt do enough to upgrade their D and no backup plan for Romo is just bad planning. He may stay healthy which is there only chance anyway. Theres always a possibility hes out for a stretch though and they did nothing to account for that. Skins improved at WR also, they just seem to be headed in right direction if Cousins can work out. I think their schedule may play into that equation also

  68. 68 Gian GEAGLE said at 5:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yeah if Cousins and Wentz turn out to be legit, the Skins and Eagles should get a couple years head start over the Giants and Cowboys who still have to find their next era QB…. Cousins and Wentz could be developed and ready to roll before the Cowboys and Giants even find their next QB, and then they have to spend a couple years grooming them…
    cowboys and Giants better start looking for a succession plan. If they don’t win a Superbowl with Eli and Romo, they will fall behind and not have won a ring to show for it

  69. 69 BobSmith77 said at 1:01 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    So sick and tired of the endless bantering by Bradford & agent, the media, and even the Eagles about it.

    Going to sleep on this team until training camp opens instead of the junior high school drama that keeps stirring up around Bradford.

  70. 70 BobSmith77 said at 1:06 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Interesting post Tommy. Still see this pass defense as being pretty lousy overall especially when they have put in sub package and put 5/6 DBs on the field. It should statistically be better this year largely though because of how dreadfully bad it has been the past few years including last year.

  71. 71 anon said at 1:15 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    i think pass rush will make it look a lot better. Our DBs were ballin when we got sacks. But like any other team we’ll get carved up if we can’t get to the QB.

  72. 72 peteike said at 1:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think a new coord is #1 on that list of looking better

  73. 73 mksp said at 1:45 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Says a lot coming from a guy that interviewed for the position.

  74. 74 anon said at 1:50 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Does anyone like what Chicago’s been doing in the draft?

  75. 75 Rambo said at 2:56 PM on May 9th, 2016:


  76. 76 Kelce's Beard, O.G. said at 9:19 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    actually, yes — 2 years in a row they took BPA with crazy-high ceilings (K. White & Floyd) in the 1st. Last year, they got starting production from their 2nd rd pick, 3rd rd pick, and 5th rd pick (as well as backup/spot reps from their 4th rd pick, RB Langford).

    This year, they likely grabbed 2 more immediate starters in the 2nd (Whitehair) and 3rd (DL Bullard), as well as one of my favorites (LB Kwiatkowski) in the 4th. They brought in 3 DBs with #measurables on day 3, the NextGreatWhiteSlotWR in the 7th, and possibly their starting RB in the 5th (J. Howard).

    CHI has rebuilt an absolutely garbage defense from a few years ago (remember what we did to them in 2013?)

    on 12/1/14, Jay Cutler was surrounded by Forte, Alshon, and B. Marshall, but stuck behind a junk OL and paired with a trash defense. Since then, they’ve upgraded LG (Whitehair) and C (Grasu) via the draft, and RT this year via FA (Massie). Marshall is now Kevin White, and Forte is now Langford/Howard.

    Their DL will feature Goldman and Bullard, and the all-new LB corps is mostly FAs (J. Freeman, P. McPhee, Trevathan) with young depth grooming behind them (Kwiatkowski and L. Floyd). and their starting safeties will likely be Bush and Amos, both picks under this guy

  77. 77 RobNE said at 1:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    who is Andy Weidl, what is his new title?

  78. 78 ACViking said at 1:59 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    The Ravens’ East-Regional area scout.

  79. 79 RobNE said at 4:39 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    he is coming here to work under Joe, is that a promotion?

  80. 80 ACViking said at 4:42 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I’m guessing Weidl will get the title (in name or substance) of either Director of College Scouting or, even, Director of Scouting — which would cover both college and pro personnel.

    So, yes, promotion.

  81. 81 BreakinAnklez said at 2:41 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Shocker, Ex-Ravens employee loves former Ravens personnel 🙂

    For real tho, I’m stoked about stealing anyone from Baltimore that worked under Ozzie.

  82. 82 Kelce's Beard, O.G. said at 9:07 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    may be the best* new acquisition to the novacare complex from the entire offseason.

    *after carson of course

  83. 83 RobNE said at 1:52 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I read that because of the slotted contracts, Zeke will make top 10 RB money. Just another reason it’s such a bad value pick. Not only is RB easier to find, but any benefit of having your high pick on a rookie deal is wiped out because picking a RB so high puts him at elite level compensation.

    It may help them this year and I guess if they win a SB it’s worth it, but long-term that was a bad pick.

  84. 84 xmbk said at 1:53 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Short term, too. I just don’t see the upgrade from Morris as being nearly as much as the upgrade with Ramsey. Not to mention career length.

  85. 85 anon said at 1:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    morris has declined every single year – i woudn’t be happy if he was my lead back, and we weren’t in a zone scheme.

  86. 86 xmbk said at 6:28 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Elliott is an improvement, no doubt. But their d backs suck a lot more than Morris, and they don’t have a great line in front of them to make it easy, either. Crappy draft for the Boys, end of the line might be coming up for Jerry “Al Davis” Jones.

  87. 87 Sean Stott said at 1:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I have to disagree with you. I know Romo went down last year, but look how effective they were in 2014 with a good RB. I don’t think an elite tier DB transforms your team in the same way.

  88. 88 xmbk said at 6:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    They were very effective in 2014, though that season also broke well for them. Without getting into position merits, it’s more about the fact that Morris was already an upgrade over McFadden, who gained over 1000 yards in less than full time action. But their defensive backfield sucks. Easier for a RB to step right in and make a big impact, but I’d still take Ramsey all day, every day. I was glad to see them get him. There are about 25 teams in the league that will make a playoff run if everything breaks their way during a season. Dallas needs those breaks more than most, though.

  89. 89 anon said at 1:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Losing demarco played a part in why that team wasn’t as good, couldn’t get consistent production all year (also no tony romo obviously bad).

    If we didnt suck so bad (a) would have allowed us to win division, and (b) caused cowboys to spend #4 on a RB. I def will draft zeke first round this year though.

  90. 90 Donald Kalinowski said at 4:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    They drafted a LB who might not have much of a career and they didn’t want to use a 3rd rounder to trade up for someone they thought could be Romo’s successor because they considered it an overpay.

    Over the last two drafts they’ve acquired Byron Jones, Randy Gregory, La’el Collins, Ezekiel Elliot, and Jaylon Smith.

    That’s boom or bust potential.

  91. 91 Fufina said at 4:58 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Not just that but his 5th year option may cost more than the tag for a RB so they will in all likelihood will not exercise the 5th year option.

  92. 92 izzylangfan said at 2:31 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Meanwhile, allow me to quote Emily Litella — “Nevermind”.

  93. 93 Gary Barnes said at 2:54 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Ray Ray and CC have been sent packing by ESPN. Do not normally like to wallow in other people’s misery, but, like Sapp last year, these two earned getting canned and hopefully they will stay gone.

  94. 94 James said at 3:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I’d much rather watch Randy Moss, good choice. RL and CC were unbearable to watch, although almost all pre-game analysts shows are.

  95. 95 anon said at 3:27 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I liked Ray on MNF, but a lot of people didn’t

  96. 96 SuPaFrO said at 3:40 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    it would bug me when he would have his hat on during theround table n then have it lowered covering his eyes.

  97. 97 iceberg584 said at 4:55 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I almost felt bad for Lewis during the MNF segments with him, Steve Young, and Trent Dilfer standing around the field. I teach undergrads in a seminar format, and it’s glaringly obvious to me when one person in the room isn’t as intelligent as the others. You could see in his body language that Ray Lewis was uncomfortable and out of his depth – especially compared to knowledgeable and well-spoken individuals like Young.

  98. 98 Mitchell said at 5:10 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Maybe he will get better with time, he’s still rather new.

  99. 99 anon said at 5:51 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I personally thought that Ray Ray had better insight than most guys, a different way of expressing it, but i thought his “game knowledge” was great. Ray just has a different makeup mentally, that’s why he’s the player he was, maybe it didn’t work well on ESPN, i thought it did.

    I didn’t feel like Ray had less of a clue than any of those other guys did.

  100. 100 peteike said at 3:33 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I cant stand Chris Carter but I assume everyone like him. Just seems like his “I played therefor I know more” angle was so tired and it came out for everything. Mike n Mike, lets go to Chris Carter to get his take on it, he played and went through some stuff, tell us Chris. Blah blah

  101. 101 anon said at 3:42 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    yeah Chris went off the reservation a couple of times so I can understand moving on from that.

  102. 102 SuPaFrO said at 3:39 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I got excited bc i thought u meant Colinsworth.. but then i realized the truth..

  103. 103 Donald Kalinowski said at 4:13 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I thought Collinsworth works for NBC and NFL Network.

    Collinsworth is one of my favorite sportscasters. He may say a lot of things that I disagree with but he does know how to carry on a conversation and seems like he’s having a lot of fun doing it.

  104. 104 Donald Kalinowski said at 4:15 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Ray Ray and CC?

    These acronyms and nicknames are pissing me off.

  105. 105 Gary Barnes said at 4:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Lighten up, Francis 😉

  106. 106 @jimkempner said at 3:00 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Nice column.

  107. 107 unhinged said at 3:55 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Impressive, Mr. Moderator. Your ability to glean patterns makes you a draftnik of the first order.

  108. 108 Donald Kalinowski said at 4:37 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Too bad our WRs suck.

  109. 109 Fufina said at 4:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think our WR’s sucked in 2015. Matthews is a good WR, 1-2 concentration drops when trying to force YAK does not not mean 1k yards and 8TD are meaningless. I think Agholor can take a huge step forward in year 2 (historically rookie WR’s are bad). I have pretty low expectations for Huff but he has the raw ability to be an effective WR if he can ever work out how to play at the NFL level. Think Randle is an interesting case – if he can get on the same page as Bradford he can put up some decent numbers as well.

    WR is uncertain going into the year – we need better production from last year but Randle > Cooper and i think Agholor/Huff can improve and that would give us a decent WR unit (if lacking a true no.1).

  110. 110 Sean Stott said at 4:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yea I’ve been harping on this one for a while. Only issue is that at this point there are plenty of bodies, and enough latent potential that you don’t really want to discard Matthews, Huff, Agholor. I’m pretty high on Randle, and think he will be a starter.

  111. 111 Fufina said at 5:00 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    And it is not as if there were any good other options available. Draft was a poor one for WR (and we had only 2 top 150 picks post trade), and there was no good WR’s in free agency last year available at decent prices. I am sure the Eagles would have loved to add an elite WR… but they had no way to do so.

  112. 112 anon said at 5:14 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Also no $$.

  113. 113 Insomniac said at 5:15 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    WRs are stacked in the league and we don’t have any of the good ones.

  114. 114 RobNE said at 4:41 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    this is outstanding. I miss him already

  115. 115 ChoTime said at 4:45 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Tommy’s analysis of the draft is depressing, especially when compared to the promise that Chip presented. _Everyone_ in the NFL is focused on the passing game. And they should be–without top QBs spreading the ball around to playmakers, you can’t win consistently in the pu$$ified league of today that unfairly devalues RBs (my favorite position BTW) and defense (usually my favorite players on the team). But what I liked about Chip is he had a different route toward victory, using different techniques and different kinds of players. This is good because you don’t win in pro sports, or life, by competing with other people–you win by finding ways of _not_ competing with them. When they zig, you zag. Go against traffic in rush hour, don’t go with rush hour. I loved the idea of going stone age and keeping things on the ground with undervalued athletic QBs.

    But Chip blew it, and now we have a reactionary regime that’s trying to recreate things as they were a decade ago. It was already getting old by that time…

  116. 116 Fufina said at 4:56 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Trying to find a franchise QB is not some kind of counter intuitive route to winning in the NFL. It was Chips biggest failing – if he had found a solution at QB he would still be coaching this team.

    Not sure that RB’s are ‘unfairly’ devalued – what teams have worked out is you can get comparable or even better production by using a platoon of specialists than 1 all purpose back. By combining a 3rd down back, a ‘power’ short yardage back, and a ‘1st down’ back means you can take 3-4 limited players with specific strengths and make the the whole greater than the individual parts.

    Chip really was doing nothing new schematically at all – and was a quite conventional coach in a lot of ways – his sport science and tempo obscured what was a pretty vanilla conventional approach to football.

  117. 117 ChoTime said at 5:10 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I wasn’t criticizing Chip for trying to find a QB, I was actually criticizing the current regime for jumping in the pack and not having the creativity or vision to do anything different. If you watched Chip in college, you saw a different kind of offense. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t create the concepts out of whole cloth, his approach and results were different.

    The reason RBs are devalued is that QBs and the air game has been unfairly advantaged.

  118. 118 Mitchell said at 5:12 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    How do you know they wont do anything different? They havent even played a game yet. Also, if “not being different” includes trying to get a franchise qb, sign me up!

  119. 119 ChoTime said at 5:16 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Coach P might turn out to be an innovator, but there is no sign of it. Most coaches are afraid to try new things. They coach not to be fired, they don’t coach to excel.

  120. 120 RobNE said at 5:17 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    It’s not like Chip successfully brought his college success to the NFL.

  121. 121 Insomniac said at 5:19 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Anomaly year from Foles
    Historic ST play that won us multiple games

    Yea the decline started after his first year.

  122. 122 Mitchell said at 5:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Still in severall All-22’s there was always WRs open dowfield. I think not getting HIS was one of the biggest downfalls.

  123. 123 Insomniac said at 5:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    But he got his QB. That QB just wasn’t all that good in the first place.

  124. 124 xmbk said at 6:41 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    He took a chance on a guy who he thought was the best available. That’s not to say that he got his guy. But the dynamics last year went way beyond QB. Strangest season I remember.

  125. 125 anon said at 6:45 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    People throw sam under the bus but the team was fucked up top to bottom. Would love to see sam as the qb 2013-2015.

  126. 126 Mitchell said at 6:59 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Did he? Did he really? Im not so sure.

  127. 127 Insomniac said at 7:22 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Chip didn’t trade for Bradford to make him a trade chip for Mariota. If he did then he has been rightfully fired.

  128. 128 anon said at 7:29 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think Bradford was part of the ammo.

  129. 129 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 9:00 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Well, he could have just kept Foles for another year, flailing about. Who else was available a year ago that would have been a possible upgrade

  130. 130 anon said at 5:25 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    needed more than 3 years, but problem was as much is personality generally.

  131. 131 anon said at 5:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    You don’t think special teams was chip-inspired?

  132. 132 Insomniac said at 5:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    It was but it certainly wasn’t sustainable at that level.

  133. 133 Gian GEAGLE said at 5:39 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    When your OL declines every year after 2013, and DCs adjust more and more to what you are doing, and Quickily catch up to your pamphlet sized playbook, you are probably headed for a steady,decline.. Playing Musical chairs with the QB position also doesn’t help…
    When you lose the element of surprise in your attack and defenses start to know what you are about to throw at them, Technique and Execution beomes more and more important… We went from an Elite OL in 2013 with veteran WRs while enjoying the element of surprise, to a gradual decline where the OL got worse and worse after 2013, and two years later we found ourselves with an OL in shambles thanks inadequate guard play, while trying to transition To young inexperienced WRs, while our playbook got stale and teams knew what to expect….
    Instead of improving each year, make sure you get better and better as defenses catch up to what you are doing more and more, we went the opposite direction, Our OL peaked in 2013 under chip, and it’s been a steady decline ever since until it all fell apart this year when he inadequately replaced Herremans and Mathis…. It didn’t help that we declined in RB talent and transitioned away from quality beteran(aka better veterans lol) WRs, replacing them with an inexperienced youth movement…. Basically almòst every position on offense with the exception of TE, has been on a steady decline after 2013, when it should have been improving to counterbalance opposing Defenses becoming more and more prepared to play us…
    And when your Offensive style of play, has such an effect on your defense, it all spiraled out of control culminating in our pathetic 2015 season.
    Once a defense knows what you are doing, you need to step your game up and win with technique and execution…. Yet opposing defenses became more and more prepared,while our offense was in a steady Nose Dive since the playoff loss to the saints…perfect storm leading to an implosion

  134. 134 ChoTime said at 5:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    That’s true. Maybe the NFL is a mature league and great innovation is not possible. Or maybe it is, but Chip just wasn’t ready or as good as he/we thought he was. That being said, I think the top programs tend to push the envelope as marginal rule changes push the odds one way or the other. And–I know you hate this–but in the NBA at least, you see good teams like the Spurs, the Suns of a decade ago, Houston and recently GS change their philosophies to keep ahead of the rest.

  135. 135 Fufina said at 5:41 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Most teams that win in sports do so by executing and having better talent than those in the rest of the league. Rarely do you see genuinely new approaches winning the big prize. When was the last ‘successful’ revolution in the NFL? Probably the west coast system with Bill Walsh.

    Probably the closest thing to a new approach recently was the Saints who ‘zagged’ a lot in roster construction (investing in guards over tackles, heavy RB investment, mismatch passing game TE, defense only interested in turn overs and sacking the QB – happy to give up yards and even points).

  136. 136 Dude said at 6:12 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Another thing that Fufina didn’t point out about the last 10 Superb Owl winners is that they all have elite (maybe franchise is a better word) QB’s with the exception of Peyton in ’16. And for not having an elite QB, Peyton is a pretty damn good alternative. I’d say that pretty much kills the “win without a QB” argument.

  137. 137 Mitchell said at 6:49 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    “Superb Owl winners.” Just how superb are these owls?

  138. 138 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:48 PM on May 9th, 2016:


  139. 139 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:51 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Pretty superb. Snowy Owl. Wingspan nearly 5 feet.

  140. 140 anon said at 6:56 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    yes need an “elite” year from your QB, unless your defense is just that dominant. I also think Broncos benefited from it being Cam’s first time in the big game, he was clearly having a mcnabb moment.

  141. 141 Fufina said at 7:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Think it was a match up that did for the Panthers. They have limited players at tackle and their run game and Cam made it work all year until they got utterly dominated by the Bronco’s, and while you can still function if you are loosing the line of scrummage battle if you are getting destroyed on the OL it is game over regardless of what your position players are like.

  142. 142 Gary Barnes said at 8:27 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Wilson is not an elite QB nor was Eli. They won because the offense and ST were good and the defense elite. Peyton and Brees also had their defenses step way up in the playoffs during their winning run. NE always had a very good defense during their winning years. Defense is very.important to winning. That’s why building an elite defense would help Wentz as much as anything else.

  143. 143 The original AG said at 7:02 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    This is why I liked the Chip hire. I like people that buck trends and try new things. Doing the same old thing is boring and rarely pans out unless you are on the right side of the talent gap.

  144. 144 anon said at 7:07 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Agree — though i don’t think wade philips is doing anything new, Gary Kubiak either.

  145. 145 The original AG said at 7:13 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Kubiak/Phillips had a stellar defense that was head and shoulders better than the next defense. You can do the same old thing if you’re on the right side of the talent gap. They had that in spades with their defense.

  146. 146 Insomniac said at 5:17 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Sorry but that just isn’t true. Some gimmicks can stand the test of time but most of them don’t.

  147. 147 ChoTime said at 5:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    What isn’t true? What gimmick are you talking about? You’re saying that QBs would still dominate the game if the rules hadn’t been consistently changed to favor them?

  148. 148 Insomniac said at 5:40 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    No. I’m saying all of the concepts that Chip made work in his first year were already being solved in his second year. The players were partially responsible for not making it work but Chip is to blame for not being versatile/flexible enough to be a good coach.

  149. 149 Fufina said at 5:45 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think it was all to do with Offensive line. In 2013 we had the best OL in the league. They were actually better than the 2014 Cowboys because they were elite in pass blocking as well as the run game.

    Schematically as soon as we started to loose 1v1 match ups on the OL the scheme broke down and Chip was unable to deal with that. Spreading out the field with 4 players running routes produces huge mismatches if your OL can support that all game… but very few units can against elite defensive talent – as we found out in 14 and 15.

  150. 150 Insomniac said at 6:49 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Every coach knows that it starts all in the trenches. Chip chose to ignore that and tried to get guys for his scheme. Ironic isn’t it.

  151. 151 ChoTime said at 5:50 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I’m a bit puzzled, actually. Yes, D-coordinators were all over him, but he seemed to have no answer to the counters. It would have been interesting if he hadn’t been hamstrung by bad QBing and WRs.

  152. 152 anon said at 5:52 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    OL couldn’t win one on one. I think he thought by condensing the playbook we could out-execute, but it was probably the opposite – he zigged when he should have zagged.

  153. 153 Insomniac said at 6:58 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    It wasn’t going to work out in the first place. Our defense wasn’t good enough to consistently hold the other teams off. He tried to fix that but it just didn’t work out due to many factors.

  154. 154 anon said at 7:08 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    if he hadn’t done anything, just kept the 2013 team i think we’d have been better off. Maclin + Jackson. I guess Herremans wasn’t getting any younger.

  155. 155 Cafone said at 7:12 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    If Chip had just been able to recognize Howie’s genius he could have kept his mouth shut and been gifted with a roster talented enough for his simplistic system to work. But unfortunately he was as poor a judge of executive talent as he was of NFL player talent.

  156. 156 Insomniac said at 7:17 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Yea the failure to replace the talent he cut was his undoing. It hurts even more when he was so stubborn about requirements for guys.

  157. 157 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:34 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I read other blogs occasionally and one of them recently indicated that at least one defense was not reading Kelce tapping the guard’s leg. That is common to many teams. They were reading how FOLES waved his hand over his head. Apparently the direction of his ‘wave’ seemed to indicate pass or run. For real. Of course maybe Foles was just playing the Hokey Pokey!

  158. 158 anon said at 9:10 PM on May 9th, 2016:


  159. 159 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 9:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    from Niners Nation: “But we know that at least one defender clearly deciphered Chip’s signals back in 2014, because it was the Niners Antoine Bethea. As SFGate’s Eric Branch wrote at the time:
    “…early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Nick Foles surveyed the defense and called an audible by motioning with his hands over his helmet. In response, Bethea began pointing to his right and yelling: “Hey! Hey! Run! Run! Run! Run!” The result: Defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs drilled running back LeSean McCoy for a four-yard loss on a sweep left.
    Earlier in the game, Bethea had told his teammates on the sideline a run was coming when Foles made a back-and-forth motion over his helmet.”

    It would appear that it wasn’t sideline signals or the centre that was warning the opposing defenses.

  160. 160 anon said at 5:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think this is right. Though in playoff times, teams that win pound the football and play defense, every single year.

  161. 161 Fufina said at 5:35 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Except that is not true. Green Bay, Saints and Ravens won recently passing the ball with average defenses. In fact having an elite offense is a greater predictor of getting to the play offs and progressing than elite defensive performance.

  162. 162 anon said at 5:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Getting to playoffs, not winning SB.

    Agree with Ravens an improbable playoff run. On GB, you wonder why they haven’t had the type of success you’d expect having the best QB in the game in his prime and a division that’s generally be crappy during the same period of time.

  163. 163 Fufina said at 6:02 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Lets go through the last 10 years of Super Bowl winners:

    Great Defenses: Broncos (’16), Seattle (’14), Steelers (’09)
    Great Offenses: Packers (’11), Saints (’10), Colts (’07)
    Great all round teams: Patriots (’15)
    Streaky Teams: Ravens (’13), Giants (’08, ’12)

    You can win with a great offense, great defense or if there is no elite team that year then the hot team can win.

    Be a great team and you can win championships. There is no ‘solution’ or one way to do it. Running and Defense won in the 70’s and 80’s but since then a lot of ways to win football games.

  164. 164 anon said at 6:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    But look at the broncos in 14 and 13, probably the best offensive teams in the history of football, doesn’t matter if you can get to the QB.

  165. 165 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:29 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Technically, the Patriots had lost against Seattle, which is why they were sitting all disconsolate on the bench, when The UDFA Butler made a play that probably couldn’t be made again during the next 50 Super Bowls. Nobody looked more shocked than the Patriots offense that they won.

  166. 166 xmbk said at 6:36 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Green Bay and the Saints both won with future HoF qb’s. The Ravens won with a hot qb, solid running, and a hot D that did not play average down the stretch. GB and the Saints both had solid defenses.

  167. 167 anon said at 6:49 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    yeah good point Ravens’ D played w/ a bunch of injuries during the season (both ray ray and t. sizzle if i remember correctly) both of whom were back during playoffs. They managed to shut down Peyton, which seemed impossible.

    Also ravens had probably the best kicking performance ever that year.

  168. 168 Fufina said at 7:17 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Not sure you are disagreeing with my point. You can win with great offenses (tend to have HOF QB’s), great defenses (1-2 HOF defenders), or be a good team in year with only good teams competing.

  169. 169 anon said at 7:19 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    yeah – think probably every year is a bit different – you just need to be able to beat the team across from you – no matter how that happens.

  170. 170 A_T_G said at 4:58 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I never really thought of Chip in that light, never really viewed it as a positive. But you are 100% correct, Chip made us not competitive.

  171. 171 ACViking said at 5:05 PM on May 9th, 2016:


  172. 172 RobNE said at 4:59 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    signing Murray to that contract was a zag on steroids. It was going against traffic during rush hour, but in the same lane.

  173. 173 ChoTime said at 5:28 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Couldn’t have said it better…

  174. 174 Aaron said at 8:38 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I was gt500, you tard

  175. 175 xmbk said at 6:33 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Meh, last year was an organizational failure, as fans we want to believe in easy changes like getting rid of the coach. Last year was really weird, can’t help but wonder how much was a result of behind the scenes manipulation by guys trying to get back into power. In a vacuum, a season like last year would have made this a prove it year for Kelly. But politics led to an immediate reboot, be extremely interesting to compare with SF over the next few years. Glad I have DirecTV.

  176. 176 anon said at 6:49 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    The FO stuff def played out in the lockerroom.

  177. 177 unhinged said at 7:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    “you don’t win in pro sports, or life, by competing with other people–you win by finding ways of _not_ competing with them”

    Sam B has been putting your words into practice for the past fortnight.

    Is your reaction perhaps colored by a sour taste left by a taciturn, pass-happy, big fella who was probably kept on 4 years longer than was justifiable?

    I’m not sure why you feel the league has devalued RB’s. I mean isn’t that sort of dictated by teams and coaches imitating what works? Baltimore and Carolina strike me as two teams committed to the run, and they’ve had mixed results. Isn’t the running game an essential weapon if the passing game is to succeed? And isn’t the inverse true also?

    Chip seemed to practice not competing against the pass, and it was the achilles heel that wouldn’t heal. And the 3-4 has played a big hand in discouraging teams from pounding on the ground.

  178. 178 anon said at 7:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    run defense was fun to watch, until it wasn’t

  179. 179 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:24 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Totally agree that in order to be great, sometimes it’s necessary to try something different. Many of the biggest winners as coaches did just that. Sometimes it takes more than 2 1/2 years however. One question. How many of Chip’s picks last year spent all or part of the season on IR? Okay, two questions. Remember how many folks questioned Chip’s sanity when he brought in Jenkins and Sproles? Now those players are considered fantastic. Oh, well, three questions. Why do folks suppose that Howie’s Eagles kept 6 of Chip’s coaches? In fact refusing to release them from their contracts. They wanted to keep Azz, as well. Not to mention Huls, down in the dungeon. Hmm.

  180. 180 anon said at 9:01 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I don’t think it was the program, or the players but the personality. Chip got bounced b/c apparently he was a dick and no one liked him.

  181. 181 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 9:13 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Bill Parcells: “I’ll call somebody ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ if they make a dumb or stupid play. I don’t know any other word for it, and if they don’t like the word, that’s too bad.”
    About Lombardi: “He hated everyone equally.”
    About Chuck Noll: “He didn’t want to be buddy-buddy with a player he would have to cut at a later date.
    Bruce Arians: “”A knee in his ass every day. A foot wasn’t going to do it, so I nicknamed him ‘knee deep.’
    We can say things are different now, but people are people. Sammy is supposed to suck it up, but it’s okay for others to sulk because Coach was ever so mean?

  182. 182 anon said at 9:30 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I think that’s different, i think players are more ok with that treatment on the field than chip being an authoritarian with off-the-field stuff.

  183. 183 Rambo said at 9:57 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    People were disappointed that we acquired Jenkins and Sproles? I remember the hype around Jarius Byrd but I don’t think any intelligent fans were mad about Jenk and Sproles. Especially considering we only gave up a 5th for Sproles.

  184. 184 Cafone said at 7:09 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Good article Tommy. I like when you link to your articles on because I might miss them otherwise.

  185. 185 anon said at 7:20 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Does anyone know what kind of practice there was today? Are they just in meeting rooms? Hopefully sammy spent all weekend at the library just getting the scheme down icy.

    I should want Wentz to win out — we need a franchise Qb, but something about the way sam throws the ball, and makes decisions….

  186. 186 Cafone said at 7:41 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    If Wentz wins the job it would be awesome, but it would be much more impressive if he wins the job with Bradford in camp. I don’t think beating out career backup Chase Daniel would be as exciting.

  187. 187 anon said at 7:42 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    My biggest concern is whether he’s a good intermediate passer. I think they love the brain and the athleticism, don’t usually go well together, they just need a year or two to teach him how to throw the ball.

  188. 188 Cafone said at 7:47 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I agree. I’m all for bringing Wentz along slowly. (as long as he’s starting by next season, so not too slowly)

  189. 189 miked718 said at 8:12 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Agreed. While Wentz might be the best QB on the team this season, Wentz getting a full year’s experience with zero pressure is going to pay dividends next year (as opposed to him getting thrown to the fire in week 10).

  190. 190 Cafone said at 7:46 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I find that any animosity I had towards Bradford has faded quickly now that he is back. I think he tried to make a play that would have sent him to Denver and who can blame him for that? What mediocre quarterback wouldn’t jump at the chance to play for a team that only needs mediocre quarterback play to compete for a title? Bradford has been in Philly for one year, under a different head coach, so it’s not like he’s got strong ties to the team. I would have tried to skip to Denver too if I was in his position.

  191. 191 miked718 said at 8:08 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    I second that. It’s a win/win for us (the fans). If he has a good season, we have a good season and if he sucks we get to boo his whiny ass out of town! We don’t have to live and die with Bradfords season like every other team does with their starting QB (or like we had to do with Donnie Mac for a decade).

  192. 192 SteveH said at 8:26 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    The animosity has faded because he’s being less of an active pain in the ass. I don’t think anyone’s opinion of him has improved because he figured out that he was destroying his own market and came back, tail tucked between legs.

  193. 193 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:40 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Bradford has maintained relationships with several of his teammates. Their opinions matter. Btw, why is nobody ripping Fletcher Cox?? He’s been holding out and demanding excessive $$$ for quite some time now. Yes, he’s been very effective at times (although that D line couldn’t stop the run wa-a-y too many times), but he’s not the very top-rated defensive lineman in the league by other folks. Very good, but not the best.

  194. 194 anon said at 8:59 PM on May 9th, 2016:


  195. 195 FairOaks said at 10:21 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    If he had signed an above-market deal in February and was now refusing to play, it would be a different tune. Everyone can understand him trying to get a new deal right now. He’s underpaid for what he’s worth, though still being paid well. Eagles will play the waiting game because they can keep him this year and next at under-market deals.

  196. 196 RobNE said at 10:36 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Why so negative?

  197. 197 Tumtum said at 11:04 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Ive always been pretty neutral on him. Lets see if he is really is a baby and crumbles to a rookie and career back up or if he really has what it takes. All those good QB teachers here should work for him too, right?

  198. 198 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 8:17 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    A little something different from North Dakota, for the discerning sports fan.

  199. 199 wee2424 said at 8:51 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    While I understand the need to be able to cover in today’s NFL,I really worry about our ability to defend the run. An effective/crushing run game can be just as devastating against a D as a good passing game, just in a different way and in some ways even more so.

    Once a RB gets to our 2nd level there isn’t a lot of muscle/mass to stop him. In order for our D to be truly a good D our LBs need to play VERY disciplined football. It is somewhat worrisome to me because Kendricks is anything but disciplined and isn’t the best at shedding blocks. Hicks seems like the mental side will be ok with him, but the problem is shedding blocks. Besides durability it was his biggest issue coming out of college. He is not going to get nearly the protection he got from his DL last year.

  200. 200 anon said at 11:37 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Melvin Gordon – RB – Chargers

    The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Melvin Gordon underwent microfracture surgery in January. damn, any given day for these players – better get all that $$

  201. 201 anon said at 11:39 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    Jets waived RB Dri Archer – remember when people loved that kid, could be had for free

  202. 202 Charlie Kelly said at 11:58 PM on May 9th, 2016:

    i had some interest in him, but hes shown nothing thus far