More on Character

Posted: July 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 35 Comments »

There were some interesting questions and comments after yesterday’s post on character.

I wrote that you wouldn’t want a team full of choirboys. Someone asked why not. Football, even modern football, is a violent game. You are asking men to attack each other for 3 hours. You can find some intelligent, well-adjusted people to do this, but not 53. At some point you are going to have to take chances on questionable character types if you are trying to assemble a talented team to win games.

There is no way the 53 best players available to you are high character guys. You can pass on them, but that talent will go elsewhere and then your team of choirboys has to deal with teams that have more talent. You have to take some chances to have a realistic shot to compete with the best teams.

The Eagles took a chance when they drafted DeSean Jackson. He fell to the 2nd round because of character concerns. Most of those concerns didn’t come true in the NFL. He was a good risk.

King Dunlap got benched in his Senior season at Auburn. The coaches were frustrated with him and sat him to play a freshman. That killed Dunlap’s draft value. The Eagles took a chance in the 7th round and he has had a solid NFL career.

There were character questions with Winston Justice as a prospect. Character was never an issue with him in the NFL. Getting married and becoming a father helped him to mature. His issues were all football related.

Both Lito Sheppard and Freddie Mitchell had maturity questions coming out of college. Both players had maturity issues in the NFL.

You have to take some chances. The key is to limit those chances and be smart about them.

I think a big problem is that we tend to hear “character” and immediately think of a rapist, wife-beater or drug user. Character isn’t always that extreme. Sometimes maturity is the question. Maybe a player has a huge ego and that’s a concern. Maybe a player’s temper makes him a potential problem. With Danny Watkins, the problem was dedication to the game. He just didn’t love football. To many coaches, that’s the biggest sin of all. They can live with other issues if a player lives and dies to get on the field.

Someone brought up my Michael Irvin example and mentioned Irvin would be getting suspended in today’s game. I agree. I wasn’t mentioning Irvin as someone I liked, but he’s a great example of the true problem of talent vs character. He produced. He was a team leader. He helped his team win big. It is easy to talk about not wanting or getting rid of unproven or marginal headaches. Greg Hardy wasn’t that good on the field last year. Not bringing him back wasn’t an overly tough decision. Coaching someone like Irvin or Lawrence Taylor would be so much tougher. Great players with serious issues. It is much harder to do the right thing when that guy is a star player with a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

I don’t think you can make a permanent rule. I think you must judge things on a case-by-case basis. What kind of a team do you have that year? What are the concerns with a prospect? Is the risk worth the reward? And so on.

***** ranked Doug Pederson as the league’s worst coach. I can live with that, but not their logic. Go read Jimmy Bama’s post. He breaks down the situation perfectly

It is fair to rank Pederson last, but that logic is terrible.


RIP Buddy.

Dave Spadaro wrote a nice piece on Buddy’s funeral.

I love the fact that so many former players are so loyal. Speaks to the bond Buddy had with his guys.


35 Comments on “More on Character”

  1. 1 More on Character - said at 1:10 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor There were some interesting questions and comments after yesterday’s post on character. I […]

  2. 2 ColoradoEaglesFan said at 5:05 AM on July 2nd, 2016:


    Nice follow up article on character concerns. If I had to choose, I would take 53 Ray Lewis character issues over 53 Connor Barwin choirboy non issues. I love Barwin on and off the football field, but Lewis had that, “it factor” on and off the field. I believe they call it, “a killer instinct.”

  3. 3 Bert's Bells said at 9:51 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I dunno. A roster with 53 players of Barwin’s caliber would be in Super Bowl contention every year and much more fun to cheer. It’s not like your filling the team with a bunch of scrubs.

    Lewis was a better, no doubt.

  4. 4 truehaynes said at 10:27 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I see what you did there

  5. 5 P_P_K said at 4:55 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I think Ray Lewis was simply a better player, regardless of instinct or character. I also think the premise of Tommy’s piece was exploring a balance of talent and character on a roster. Maybe 27 Connors and 26 Rays would be the ideal. Something like that.

  6. 6 ColoradoEaglesFan said at 6:49 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I agree with you, and I get Tommy’s point of his article. I was half joking about Ray Lewis if you read my comment carefully. Although, he is a great football player, I was more poking fun at him.

  7. 7 P_P_K said at 9:16 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I re-read your post and, yup, I get it now. I’m such a dundergead I missed the “killer instinct” line. Good one.

  8. 8 Forthebirds said at 10:22 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    I missed it too Damn those quotation marks!

  9. 9 P_P_K said at 10:45 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    That ColoradoEaglesFan is a subtle character.

  10. 10 P_P_K said at 10:46 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    My in-laws live in Oak Creek, near to Steamboat Springs. They are die-hard Broncos fans. Maybe you can talk some Eagles green into them.

  11. 11 Forthebirds said at 10:18 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    And half of the would be candidates to share a cell with Aaron Hernandez. Hard to win a championship from behind bars.

  12. 12 ColoradoEaglesFan said at 5:09 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I’m not a fan of Ray Lewis, but he was one hellava football player.

  13. 13 Aaron said at 8:47 AM on July 2nd, 2016:


  14. 14 Rob Jarratt said at 11:14 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I am sick and tired of all this rankings crap. It has become an obsession. The best/worst example is ranking a coach before he’s had his first game under his belt in September. How about an “incomplete” until the games start to count.

  15. 15 Aaron said at 11:26 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    Im sick and tired of this post

  16. 16 Rob Jarratt said at 11:52 AM on July 2nd, 2016:

    Good one, Aaron. Great creativity and a Happy 4th to you. Btw, I look forward to your next (first) post with substance.

  17. 17 meteorologist said at 12:40 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    Block him?

  18. 18 A_T_G said at 1:03 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I did. I thought I would wonder what I was missing, but I don’t.

  19. 19 BlindChow said at 4:16 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    It’s been great.

    I don’t think he’s ever posted anything about the Eagles anyway, so it’s more like blocking one of those link spammers whose aunt earns $3000/hour by following one simple rule.

  20. 20 Tumtum said at 6:18 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    Pretty rude not to tell me this rule.

  21. 21 Aaron said at 10:21 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    youre a crotch

  22. 22 Dude said at 12:25 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    What???!?!?!? How, how, please tell me how!!! I have a blank check, with my SS in the memo, just waiting for you!!

  23. 23 Aaron said at 4:10 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    thanks man, maybe you should join TATE

  24. 24 Rellihcs said at 4:33 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    The block feature is a gem.

  25. 25 The original AG said at 1:12 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I knew it was dumb when they had Hue Jackson near the bottom. Guy did well with a crappy Raiders team.

  26. 26 Melaniemschmitt4 said at 12:35 AM on July 5th, 2016:


  27. 27 P_P_K said at 4:52 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    The writers have to come up with something during the off-season. They dig deep into the “no one will remember this crap come the regular season” well, and take pen to page, so to speak.

  28. 28 Forthebirds said at 10:35 AM on July 3rd, 2016:

    Incomplete is a great idea but you need a medical excuse to get one. Media is filled with best 10 of everything. Hate the concept. Hate the countdown. I think the Eagles had I player in the NFL top 100 show which I did not watch. Only saw names scroll by. Really? Didn’t see Jenkins on the list. Just waiting for a show called Top 10 Top 10 Lists.

  29. 29 maxineldavis said at 12:07 AM on July 4th, 2016:


  30. 30 Sean Stott said at 5:12 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    I think it’s hilarious and totally surprising that of all the high profile players CK cut – DJax, Mathis, and Shady – Desean is by far the classiest of the three. Mathis can’t stop running his mouth, and Shady is a fucking idiot.

  31. 31 ColoradoEaglesFan said at 6:59 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    The rankings are only fun when your/our players, coaches, and teams are ranked highly. The articles/shows about top ten this and that are time fillers at this time of year. They sure do beat reading about another terrorist attack or Sally Jessie R. gets liposuction.

  32. 32 Media Mike said at 7:53 PM on July 2nd, 2016:

    They are also fun when players / teams I hate are ranked poorly.

  33. 33 Rockedupeaglesfan said at 6:37 AM on July 5th, 2016:

    What were the manifestations of Lito’s immaturity in the NFL? I remember him holding out maybe, but not much else

  34. 34 Stephen E. said at 10:03 AM on July 6th, 2016:

    This. If he hadn’t been injured so much, I’m not sure Andy would have signed Asante.

    Lito was an excellent player, and a perfect match to the criminally underrated Sheldon Brown.

  35. 35 soundbonz said at 11:44 AM on July 9th, 2016:

    Sound piece, Mr Lawlor.