Quality Competition

Posted: June 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

A year ago, inside the NovaCare Complex.

“Who wants to be the left guard?”

“I do”, said Allen Barbre.

“Done. You earned it with that half a game you played last year on opening day.”

“Now, who wants to be the right guard?”

“Andrew, I can see you raising your hand, but maybe we should give Matty Tobin a shot. What do you say Matty?”

“That would be kinda cool, I guess.”

“Hmm. Andrew, make me an argument why you should get the job.”

“Well, I’m bigger, stronger, and more experienced. Oh and I seem to actually want the job.”

“Okay, it’s settled. Matty and Mr. Gardner will compete for the job. Matty, you’re at the top of the depth chart for now.”

You might wonder how I got transcripts from actual team meetings. I’ve been watching The Americans on FX for several years now and I’ve gotten quite good at planting bugs inside NovaCare. You wouldn’t believe what Fran Duffy recently said about Greg Cosell’s shoes. Those comments really crossed the line.

It is also possible I made all that up. Either way, it feels like that is how the OG situation was handled a year ago. Barbre was flat out given the LG spot. RG was a competition between Tobin, Gardner, John Moffitt, UDFA Malcolm Bunche and whoever else got a shot here or there. The team really wanted Tobin to step up and win the job. He laid a major egg, while Gardner played well and earned the starting role.

This year the Eagles weren’t about to handle things the same way. The team went out and gave a huge deal to Brandon Brooks to man the RG spot. Barbre got the LG job coming off a season-ending injury and with 8 career starts. The coaches did know him from practice, but that’s just not a guy you give a starting job to. He could earn it, but you don’t give it to him.

Brooks has started 44 of the past 48 games. He is in his prime and has a rare combination of size and athleticism. That’s a guy you can hand a job to. He’s earned it on the field.

That left LG wide open. I wrote about the competition there, as well as at CB and WR, for PE.com this week.

This should be a much better competition. The Eagles have several guys fighting for the job and they have all earned the right to compete. You have the incumbent Barbre. He started all 16 games last year so he’s worth giving another shot. You have the rookie Isaac Seumalo. He played well enough in college to be a 3rd round pick and get into the competition that way. You have Malcolm Bunche, the biggest, strongest and most physical of the guys. Finally, you have Stefen Wisniewski, the most experienced one in the group. That is worlds better than a year ago.

We won’t have an idea how things are going until the guys get to Training Camp. You have to see them battling DL where they can really hit and go at each other. You aren’t going to win an OL job in non-contact practices.

The OL did not play well enough last year. Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson improved the talent level. Now it is up to coach Jeff Stoutland and his players to perform better.


Matt Tobin and UDFA Darrell Greene will be battling at RG. They’ll be fighting each other to win the backup role. Their job is also to push Brandon Brooks. He’s got the big contract, but you want the players behind him trying to steal his job.

Tobin has experience and versatility on his side. Greene is bigger and more physical. He also has a clean slate. I’m not sure how the coaches feel about Tobin at this point.

May the best man win.


28 Comments on “Quality Competition”

  1. 1 Quality Competition - said at 9:00 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor A year ago, inside the NovaCare Complex. “Who wants to be the left guard?” “I do”, said […]

  2. 2 unhinged said at 9:16 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Guessing you don’t have Jeff Stoutland on your speed dial.

  3. 3 D3FB said at 9:49 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Matt Tobin is about 300 times better on the left side than on the right.


    (and yes I’m talking solid backup on the left vs needs alot of help on the right)

  4. 4 sonofdman said at 11:16 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Matt Tobin : D3FB :: Joe Webb : shah8


  5. 5 pricebe said at 9:59 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    What about Andrew Gardner?

  6. 6 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:53 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Thought he was the best Guard on our roster last year, although that doesn’t say much

  7. 7 daveH said at 7:51 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    McConaughey is my favorite actor. Who’s yours ?

  8. 8 Gary Barnes said at 10:07 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Roseman has a mixed record on FA, but hopefully Brooks will be the answer at RG. The reality we had to sign him highlights again the failure to draft and develop good OL recently. That needs to stay on Roseman’s radar as a priority since the OL is so important to a football team’s success.

    I agree the competition is better at LG than last season, but in reality it is Barbre vs Wisniewski IMO. My money goes on Wisniewski who hopefully can “Mathis” his way to a high level performance between a healthy Peters and Kelce.

  9. 9 Gian GEAGLE said at 1:53 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Can you please offer your breakdown of how far ahead wis/Barbie are compared to Bunche/Seumalo, Darrel Greene?…
    How about your breakdown of Barbie vs Gardner?

  10. 10 Gary Barnes said at 2:10 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    I think it is more about the Eagles approach than it is about the particular players.

    Eagles want to protect Bradford, run the ball effectively and win games thus experience at this level and proven performance are likely the most valuable attributes Pederson, Stoutland et al. will be focused on.

    Unless they are dreadful, Barbre and Wisniewski have the leg up in those categories over a 3rd rd pick rookie and a 2nd year UDFA with zero starts.

  11. 11 Gian GEAGLE said at 2:25 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    If you don’t have a very good idea of where a kid like Bunche is in his development at the moment, how can you automatically assume two journeyman veterans are automatically head and shoulders above the rest of the competition?..
    Truth is we really don’t have a very good idea about how the RG Heirarchy will play out, easy to assume that the veterans are better than the young players, but that isn’t aLways Neccessarily the case,.. And not for nothing, but a journeyman veteran like Barbie should be Head and Shoulders above a kid like Seumalo to earn the starting job IMO. If it’s a very close competition, wouldnt it be safe to assume that the spot is going to the young player who has at least some Chance of growing into a Longterm starter who can bring stability to the position, instead of going with the slightly better stop gap Veteran?
    Its very possible that Barbie doll proves to be head and shoulders above our Rookies, in whichcase the starting job will be his, but I don’t view him as a good enough player for me to believe that none of our puppies have a chance of taking his job.
    It’s fair to call Barbie and Wiz the Favorites right now, but we really have no idea if they are going to be significant favorites or just slight favorites in danger of getting their jobs snatched by a puppy.
    I’ll be pretty Dissapointed if a journeyman completely outclasses our 3rd round Guard who isnt some raw project especially at one of the more “plug n play” positions(Guard)
    I think trying to project who makes the roster at Guard and what the final depth chart looks like may be the toughest position to try and project at this early stage of the offseason. I’d like Barbie a lot more as the first or second OL off the bench. I didn’t see a player worthy of being gifted s starting position in Barbie’s play last year, im not even sure Barbie is better than Gardner and Wisnewski..IMO his starting spot is written in pencil with a Fresh eraser on the back, but we’ll see

  12. 12 Gary Barnes said at 2:35 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Re-read my post. I never said they were better or would win the job. I said I believe the focus for the coaching staff for the RG position will be on experience and performance at this level. Both Barbre and Wisniewski have more of both of those things than either Bunche or Seumalo.

  13. 13 Forthebirds said at 11:50 AM on June 2nd, 2016:

    The lack of competition last year was a result of Kelly’s apparent belief that you could p!if any player into his system and it would workers. Players were viewed as interchangeable parts.

  14. 14 RobNE said at 1:51 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    and cutting the starter

  15. 15 MagHelpsHubby.... said at 3:55 AM on June 3rd, 2016:

    Oh. Like the Patriots next man up.

  16. 16 anon said at 12:15 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Americans is a great show

  17. 17 GermanEagle said at 1:52 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Yes!!! And she’s hot!!!

  18. 18 unhinged said at 6:00 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Felicity has grown up.

  19. 19 Gian GEAGLE said at 2:12 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    It seems like the positions we have questions about in terms of who will start, are positions we added the most depth…. We have two stud starting Safeties, two stud DTs, yet no where near as much depth as we have at percieved question marks like CB and Guard… And that’s a great way to go about it,
    If you DONT have a clear cut quality starter, the next best thing is building a lot of depth, create big competition and hope that a Gem emerges. CB and Guard May be starting weaknesses, but im really pleased with the depth/competition created at those spots and hopefully a capable starter emerges from that competition. Would have liked more depth at OT, LB and DT, but filling all our needs in one offseason Wasnt realistic
    Sooner or later we need to figure it out and build stability at CB/Guard. We can’t keep changing our starting Corners every year and it will expedite this rebuild if we get lucky and find out that we already have next years starting Guards and Corners on the roster.
    cary/Bradley Fletcher
    We have to put an end to the revolving door at those starting positions. Hopefully that talent is already on this roster, if it isn’t, we have to put an end to it Next Offseason… We will never contend as long as we keep changing our starters every year, but we can’t give Continuity to slop either

  20. 20 Stacks209 said at 3:18 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Its interesting looking back on those CB tandems with the benefit of hindsight to judge them.

    The combo of DRC and Namdi performed so far below our expectations it had me constantly pissed watching them. They were so adverse to physicality and tackling it was really frustrating.

    Maxwell and Nolan were though to watch as well. Nolan was just “ok” to me, but Maxwell looked slow and like he wasn’t trying his best. That really turned out to be a terrible FA signing. I’m glad Howie was able to get us out from under that contract.

    How poorly those two tandems performed almost make Bradley/Williams look good. I remember how frustrating it was watching these two. It seemed like they could never BOTH have a good game, the same game. Every game they seemed to give up a big play or commit a penalty at the worst time. BUT… In comparison to some of these other tandems, I’d take these two over DRC/Namdi or Nolan/Max. At least Brad and Cary were tough. They mixed it up. They weren’t afraid to tackle. And they played hard every game. Their shortcomings were physical, not lack of effort. I’d rather have try hard, than not trying.

  21. 21 daveH said at 7:49 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    I don’t care how good your assessments are, i saw a typo

  22. 22 bsuperfi said at 6:27 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Continuity is always desirable if he players are good. But not even the best teams in the league have continuity across the board-every team has holes every year. Good teams have fewer holes, but there are still holes to fill.

    So now the question is: which positions are the “best” for having lack of continuity?

  23. 23 Tumtum said at 5:20 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Just happy Tommy mwntioned Gardner. At least i know i didnt make him up in my head.

  24. 24 Lord of the Rings said at 7:42 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    we re in the doldrums it seems. the horse latitudes.

  25. 25 Aaron said at 8:54 PM on June 2nd, 2016:


  26. 26 daveH said at 9:46 PM on June 2nd, 2016:


  27. 27 RobNE said at 9:53 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    Sixers lol

  28. 28 The original AG said at 9:59 PM on June 2nd, 2016:

    I can’t even. BC has been setup nicely, and he’s going to find a way to ruin it.