Tulloch a Target?

Posted: June 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 33 Comments »

Jordan Hicks had a great rookie year. Until he got hurt. Hicks suffered a pectoral injury and missed the final 8 games of the season. The Eagles went 3-5 in that stretch and allowed 38 or more points in half of those games. The team hadn’t given up more than 27 points in a game with Hicks in the lineup. That’s not all on losing Hicks, but he was a factor in the early success of the defense.

Hicks is healthy now and ready to be the Eagles starting MLB. Expectations are high, as long as he stays healthy.

“I’ve been encouraged by Jordan,” linebackers coach Ken Flajole said. “He’s a sharp young man. I think he likes the leadership role that he has to assume as the middle linebacker in this defense. His big deal is just staying healthy. I think he’s worked hard to do that. Hopefully he’ll have a great season and stay healthy. If he can stay healthy, I think he’s going to be ready to have a great year for us.”

What happens if Hicks can’t stay healthy?

The backup MLB for now is Joe Walker, who the team took in the 7th round this year. He’s been up and down this spring, basically looking like most rookies. You can see his talent, but also his issues. The Eagles will be taking a risk if they go into the season with Walker as the backup MLB. He’s new to the NFL. He’s new to the 4-3. And this isn’t exactly the easiest scheme on MLBs. The DL attacks rather than eating up blockers to protect the LBs.

Najee Goode is a veteran backup. He played ILB in the 3-4, but is more of a natural WLB in the 4-3. The Eagles could try him in the middle. Goode isn’t at his best when taking on blockers and playing in traffic. He is more effective when allowed to operate in space.

One option for the Eagles could be going after Stephen Tulloch.

Tulloch will be hitting the market soon.

Should he be a target?

That’s a bit of a complicated question. The simple answer is yes, the Eagles should talk to Tulloch. The problem is that they need him as a backup and Tulloch sees himself as a starting LB. After looking at some depth charts, there are teams out there who could offer Tulloch a chance to start.

The Eagles could tell Tulloch he would be competing for a starting job here (and mean it), but it doesn’t take a genius to know the team wants Hicks on the field. Finding MLBs who can make plays isn’t easy and Hicks showed that ability as a rookie, coming up with a FF, 3 FR and 2 INTs. Hicks is also young and cheap so the team wants him to be the MLB.

Tulloch is 31 and about to play his 11th NFL season. He suffered a knee injury in 2014 and that affected his play into last year. The Lions took him out on passing downs and had Tulloch focus on run defense. That (and time to fully recover) helped bring out the best in him in the second half of the season. Tulloch is still a good 2-down LB. He diagnoses plays well. He can shed blocks. He is disciplined. Tulloch still tackles well and has some pop when he hits runners. Between the tackles, Tulloch is just fine.

Tulloch isn’t as effective when the ball goes outside or he has to play in space. He’s just not as athletic as he once was. Think of him as DeMeco Ryans by another name.

It is possible that the teams with “holes” at LB are trying to go the young/cheap route and wouldn’t have interest in Tulloch. If that is the case, the Eagles could be an interesting option for him. Tulloch was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2006. Their DC was some guy named Jim Schwartz. When Schwartz went to Detroit as head coach, he signed Tulloch as a free agent. Obviously those two have a good relationship.

Tulloch could also see Hicks durability as a reason to come to Philly. Hicks only played half of last season. He only played in 7 games combined in 2012 and 2013.

I could see Tulloch sitting tight for a while and waiting for some preseason injuries. That might give him better options that what he currently has. Tulloch is a smart, veteran MLB. He can learn a scheme pretty quickly. There is no need for him to run sign a deal with someone the minute he officially hits the market. He would be smart to take his time.

As far as the Eagles and the backup MLB spot, this is not a situation to worry about right now. The team needs to see how Joe Walker looks at Training Camp. If he struggles mightily, they need to make a move. If he’s better, they can roll the dice and stick with him as the backup. One thing you have to remember is that there are going to be weak spots on every team. Having a rookie as your backup MLB is very different than not having a LT or QB or CB.

I’ll be interested to see where Tulloch ends up and also who is the backup MLB for the Eagles. If I had to guess right now, I’d say Tulloch won’t be an Eagle and the backup MLB won’t be Walker. He feels more like a practice squad player right now, but we’ll see. The Eagles are going to give him a chance to show what he can do.


33 Comments on “Tulloch a Target?”

  1. 1 Tulloch a Target? - said at 7:34 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor Jordan Hicks had a great rookie year. Until he got hurt. Hicks suffered a pectoral injury and […]

  2. 2 wee2424 said at 7:57 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Tulloch would be a great addition as long as the price is right. Would really help out our weak depth at LB. Just don’t see it happening due to a combination of price and him wanting to start.

    Oh yeah…first.

  3. 3 bushisamoron said at 8:10 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    one year, 2 million. Not sure he takes it, depends on what the market is.

  4. 4 Aaron said at 8:27 PM on June 18th, 2016:


  5. 5 BlindChow said at 10:10 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    *cracks knuckles and sits up in chair* well well well, time to test out this new “blocking” feature…

  6. 6 laeagle said at 10:15 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Holy shit, thank you! I didn’t know they added that! This site will be so much more enjoyable now.

  7. 7 Aaron said at 8:30 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    laeagle, were you a test tube babY?

  8. 8 Aaron said at 8:28 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    you are a keyboard god in your childrens minds

  9. 9 Greg Tulino said at 9:04 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Is Demeco Ryans retiring? Nobody has signed him right? Just curious.

  10. 10 ProbablyDrunk said at 9:38 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Is it possible we can just resign Ryans on a cheaper deal?

  11. 11 Ben said at 10:39 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Sorry but Meco just doesn’t have any more speed left in his old legs.
    Don’t get me wrong, the guy was a great leader and role model for the younger players and he was well respected by everyone but his days of playing are pretty much over IMO.

  12. 12 Hextalle said at 12:24 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    In that case, what do you think of Tommo’s comparison of Tulloch “Ryans by another name?”
    Is he saying we’d be signing 2015 Ryans, 2016 Ryans, or a very different player whose style happens to be similar?

  13. 13 Call Me Carlos the Dwarf said at 1:28 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    I think it doesn’t properly account for the impact of Ryans’ two Achilles injuries.

    Tulloch is 2014 Meco, not the 2015 version.

  14. 14 wee2424 said at 1:55 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    Its the same thing with Tulloch. If you don’t want Ryans for those reasons then why do you want Tulloch? As of right now they are very identical players as far as what they can and can’t do on the field.

  15. 15 Geoff said at 4:27 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    While Tulloch has similar limitations, his expertise is with this scheme; that’s not the case with Ryans.

    I agree with Tommy, I don’t really see Tulloch coming to philly. Tulloch will likely ask for too much money for a backup MLB and the Eagles would be smart to wait for their own preseason injuries before spending money on backups.

  16. 16 wee2424 said at 2:18 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    While Tulloch has played under Schwartz and Ryans hasn’t, Ryans does have 2 years experience with the Wide 9. I am not saying that our D scheme from 2011-2012 is exactly the same as Schwartz’s, but he does have experience playing behind that front.

    Ryans is not a player that I worry about learning a new scheme, especially this one. By all accounts it is pretty simplistic by NFL D standards. Regardless, he would be a backup which hopefully would give him an extended period of time to learn the D if even pressed into action at all.

  17. 17 Media Mike said at 7:39 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    I don’t think so. He’s pretty much shot physically. It was sad watching him try to run last year.

  18. 18 Ben said at 10:44 PM on June 18th, 2016:

    Tulloch sounds like great depth but how much money do we have left to give him?
    If the Eagles could somehow pull off getting Tulloch after all the moves we have made so far that in itself will be amazing.

  19. 19 D3FB said at 8:31 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    We have a shade under $7 mil in cap space right now.

    Tulloch shouldn’t cost more than 2-3 mil. Downside is it fully vest if he’s on the week 1 roster.

    But unused cap space rolls over. While it’s not massive I think I would rather have the cap space next year than a break glass in case of emergency vet 2 down LB. Especially given the fact this is likely a rebuilding year. I’d rather scour the waiver wire for a guy with a half dozen starts, make a low cost trade, or poach a practice squad. Try to find a cheap controlable player who brings value more than just this year.

  20. 20 Media Mike said at 8:36 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    Especially with a need to get the Bennie Logan deal done. I know a religious right mentality took over the fan base (obsession with what everybody was doing with their Cox), but Bennie is also going to have a monster year playing under Schwartz. That extra few million available to sugar his deal up front might be the difference in keeping him or losing him. We don’t need him hitting the market and he’s not a guy you franchise.

  21. 21 D3FB said at 8:55 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    Bennies valuation is going to be really interesting to watch. He’s incredibly versatile so he’s in play for just about everything. The tricky part becomes allocation of resources within the roster. You’d basically have 35-40 mil sunk into Logan Cox and Curry from 2018-2020. It’s doable, but you basically would need to have a surefire cheap young DE by 2018. With only 4 top 100 picks the next two years and pretty high priority needs at RB, RT, and possibly CB and WR. That’s a pretty big high wire act.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 10:06 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    Indeed. I just don’t want to see him in division under any circumstances. So I figured if you went and dumped a good deal of money in his lap now; you’d take care it.

    And I totally hear you on the DE end, but I think you can replace the production opposite Curry long term with a lot of different guys given Schwartz’s system.

  23. 23 Anders said at 10:15 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    I hope we trade for a younger guy similar to how we traded for Goode.

    If we sign a veteran, it should be after week 1 and to vet minimum

  24. 24 Media Mike said at 8:09 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    post week 1 vet minimum is so clutch for the salary cap.

  25. 25 wee2424 said at 5:36 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    You are right in that it is not much. However it is enough to help us get depth at other positions next year such as DL, or help us sign a player such as Randle to a multi year deal that really impresses this season.

    This team is not close to a finished product. With the D scheme change there are positions in which next off season will see definite depth upgrade. DT in particular.

    I agree with you 100% that signing Tulloch may very well not be the smartest decision regardless of how tempting it sounds at first thought. There are better ways to allocate that money for the future.

    Like you said, there will more then likely be TC cuts at LB or low cost trade scenarios.

  26. 26 wee2424 said at 5:23 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    We could absolutely afford to get him right now. That isn’t the problem. The problem is would it be smart to do so? We could just roll the money we would pay him into next year in which would be a good move considering our cap number before cuts in 2017.

    Keep in mind that we are not a contender. If Hicks goes down Tulloch will not help us make a deep playoff run. You really have to look at this situation in context as far as where this team stands.

    If his cost doesn’t scream sign him then it probably is the wisest decision to save the money and think about the future.

    There will be TC cuts that take place. We could very well find a cheaper option during that period. Or maybe, just maybe Walker impresses enough in TC that we don’t feel as though we have to go out and sign someone for depth at that position.

  27. 27 Media Mike said at 8:01 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    It looks like LB is the only spot where we might got some last minute additions to the roster who will round out the group.

  28. 28 OakBrigade said at 11:54 AM on June 19th, 2016:

    I’m more concerned about LB depth than RB depth.
    Would be ideal to sign some guys to the positin before TC starts, but I think the staff is waiting to see who makes de 53 on the CB battles to make move.

  29. 29 wee2424 said at 5:16 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    Agree, especially with this scheme. With that said Tulloch should only be signed for the right price. He is no different then Demeco at this point and time of his career. If he is asking too much I would rather just save the money and roll it over to next year considering our current cap situation.

    We have to remember that we are not realistically going to be a team that contends this upcoming season. Are we thin at LB? Yes. If Hicks goes down does having Tulloch mean that he will assist us in making a deep playoff push? No. It may be better to just realize our situation and think about the future.

    More then likely there will be other cheaper options when TC cuts take place.

    I am open to signing him, but only if the cost makes it a clearly obvious decision that we should get him.

    Who knows, maybe Walker really impresses to the point we are very comfortable having him as our backup at MLB. I think the coaches and FO want to see what we have in Walker, and if Goode can play MLB in a pinch during TC before we throw money around.

  30. 30 OakBrigade said at 5:31 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    I think the tackling thing is the reason of why they didn’t sign some LB yet.
    And the fact that Goode can play all three LB spots helps a lot.

  31. 31 wee2424 said at 9:01 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    What do you mean tackling thing? Do you mean they aren’t going to judge their LBs until they are able to really see them tackle in TC? If that is what you mean then yeah I agree with that.

    Goode is best meant to be a WLB in a 4-3. He is not by any means ideal for MLB. They will add a MLB unless Walker comes up huge in TC, in which I doubt. They are either going to wait until TC cuts, or do a low cost trade.

    I just think Tulloch is going to want to start, and will cost too much for the Birds to be willing to sign him. Maybe he is willing to come here on a discount due to the Schwartz factor, but I doubt that.

    He is going to want between 2 and 3 mil. I’m just guessing the Birds dont want to spend more then 1.5. Maybe they sign him for 1.5 guaranteed and add incentives into his contract if he ends up starting. I could see that, but I just don’t see them throwing between 2-3 off the bat.

    Personally I like Tulloch as a backup and I wanted the Birds to get him years ago, but I would much rather us save the money and go bargain shopping after TC cuts.

    The saved money could go to extending Logan or even a player like Randle if he proves to be a good WR for us. Could also be used to add DL depth next off season.

  32. 32 Media Mike said at 8:08 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    RB is easy. We have (for some game) Mathews, Sproles, and Smallwood. There will be other guys available if we need them.

  33. 33 Eagles News: Ben Roethlisberger thinks Carson Wentz can succeed in the NFL | NFL Feeds To The Fans said at 4:57 PM on June 19th, 2016:

    […] Tulloch a Target? – Iggles BlitzTulloch will be hitting the market soon. Should he be a target? That’s a bit of a complicated question. The simple answer is yes, the Eagles should talk to Tulloch. The problem is that they need him as a backup and Tulloch sees himself as a starting LB. After looking at some depth charts, there are teams out there who could offer Tulloch a chance to start. […]