The Mean Season

Posted: September 5th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 73 Comments »

Steven Means got one thing he wanted when he made the Eagles roster. He got something unexpected when the team gave him a 1-year contract extension. You know he wanted that kind of job security.

What he really wants is to play.

Means was great in the last two preseasons. I can post the numbers, but they won’t blow you away. You have to watch the tape to see just how disruptive this guy was over and over and over. I feel bad for the young OL and QBs the Eagles faced the past two summers. Those guys went up against the worst case scenario for the preseason…a talented player with experience who was desperate to impress the coaches. That meant you had a guy who knew how to make plays, was good enough to make plays and was hungry to make plays on every snap.

Will any of this translate to the regular season?

Paul Domowitch wrote a good piece on Means.

“I don’t think I ever played it before I came here,’’ said Means, who was a 3-4 edge rusher at the University of Buffalo and a traditional 4-3 end in his two years with the Bucs. “It’s real good being out there wide and just trying to wreck the edge.’’

With the jury still out on their corners, the Eagles need to be able to “wreck the edge’’ a lot this season. Their pass rush came out of the gate fast last season but petered out.

The Eagles had 20 sacks in their first six games but just 14 in their last 10. It’s why they drafted Barnett in the first round and signed the 32-year-old Long.

And it’s why Schwartz won’t hesitate to move Means ahead of Curry this season if Curry, who will make $7 million and has a $9 million salary-cap number, doesn’t stay on his feet more and step up his play.

Domo focuses on the play of Vinny Curry as to whether Means will get many snaps. I think the real key is STs. The Eagles had five DEs active on gamedays last year, if you count Bryan Braman at that spot. I’m not saying Means has to be as good at STs as Braman, but if he can find a niche on STs that will get him active, I’m sure the coaches will mix him in here and there.

Domo is right in a sense. The coaches are going to look for the best combination of rushers. They have the returning guys in Brandon Graham and Curry. They have the new veteran in Chris Long and the rookie in Derek Barnett. And there is Means. The best players will play.

I do think we have to be careful when talking about Means. He’s not going to be Trent Cole or Hugh Douglas. The Eagles just want him to be an effective part of the rotation. The quality of his snaps will be more important than the quantity.


One interesting side note. Domo mentions that Means got a small signing bonus when he signed the extension. I was curious about the financial implications. The Eagles didn’t overpay him, but giving Means some money up front got him to pass on the chance at free agency.

His extension, like Chance Warmack’s, is somewhat about the future. Curry has a big contract. Unless he has a monster year, the Eagles could very well be shopping him or flat out cutting him. Means is a good insurance policy for 2018. Barnett would take the starting gig and Means would become the backup at RDE.


Tre Sullivan and Alex McCalister both went to IR. They are done for 2017.

McCalister will continue to work in the weight room to help him get ready for next spring. He took a big step forward this summer, but needs to get bigger and better. He could be the #5 DE next year. He could take the #4 spot from Means if he makes a substantial leap.

As for Sullivan…it is really hard to judge Safeties without All-22 tape, which we didn’t have this summer. We still don’t know a lot about him. One thing we do know is that he will hit you.

Wow. He destroyed the blocker and made the tackle. He has the physicality for the league. It seems like the big thing for him is working on his cover skills.


73 Comments on “The Mean Season”

  1. 1 scratcherk said at 8:48 AM on September 5th, 2017:

    Love the thought of having an enforcer as a safety one day. Nostalgic about the days of Dawk. Dont get me wrong, I’m happy we have a competent starting duo but loved the meanness in the middle.

  2. 2 SteveH said at 9:23 AM on September 5th, 2017:

    I think because of the new rules its going to be more and more rare to have the enforcer type in center field. It’s just too easy to go helmet to helmet when you’re looking for the big hit.

    That Sullivan kid is a killer, but I’m not sure this is a killer’s league anymore.

  3. 3 unhinged said at 10:51 AM on September 5th, 2017:

    In the realm of buzz-killers the NFL is el primo. Commercials out the ass, 4-hour games, pay tv, cha-ching, NO after-game free access on your team’s official site, thugs welcome, symbolic protesters tolerated fttb, cha-ching, 1 unnecessary ps game, cha-ching.
    The players often make for interesting reading, viewing. The owners often make for resentful fans.

  4. 4 RC5000 said at 3:12 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    With CTE there isn’t a lot of choice though they don’t protect players equally & we don’t want flag football sigh.. It’s also in Sullivan’s best interests. See Andre Waters.

  5. 5 Bert's Bells said at 5:37 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Yeah, I’m ok with not killing people just so we see JACKED UP HITZ!

  6. 6 CrackSammich said at 5:44 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    At a certain point, I have to admit even my progressive mind is like, “Hey, if the NFL actual let’s them know the extent of the damage they’re in for and they still want to play…”

  7. 7 or____ said at 9:56 AM on September 5th, 2017:

    invent a time machine.

  8. 8 SteveH said at 9:27 AM on September 5th, 2017:

    McCalister surprised me this PS, he looked pretty good. If he can truly continue to get stronger he could turn into a real player. Love to see the long term development projects actually pan out.

    I like Means but I’m just not sure he’s going to be able to be as disruptive going against starting caliber OL. I’d love to be wrong but I see him as someone good enough to feast on backups, but not someone who’s going to beat a true starting caliber OT off the edge.

    The heat on Curry to produce now though must be intense, with Barnett and Means both chomping at the bit to pass him by. I was SURE he was going to be a baller off the edge in the 4-3 with his wicked fast jump off the snap, thought he’d be a nightmare for OT’s to handle the speed rush. So far I was wrong.

  9. 9 Tumtum said at 2:52 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Put him on that Lane Johnson diet.

  10. 10 A_T_G said at 5:45 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    We should have put him on it last year. Then he would only be 4 games away from playing instead of 16.

    Correction: *instead of 19.

  11. 11 CrackSammich said at 3:04 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I don’t agree that Curry is a massive disappointment. He creates disruption, but doesn’t often get the sack. Sure, Barnett and Means might pass him in play, and clearly the team is planning for a future without him already, but the guy isn’t worthless.

  12. 12 Guy Media said at 8:00 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    You realize that Schwartz flamed him twice this off-season, so the team is clearly placing him in the cross hairs. And I agree he’s not worthless, but his contract is brutally bad if he’s only getting disruption and not ending plays. There is a role for guy’s like Curry, but not at that salary #.

  13. 13 CrackSammich said at 8:18 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    As a position group, because Means and Long are cheap and Barnett is on that sweet, sweet rookie contract, you can live with the money hit for now. I agree that it’s a situation that you need to address, but I disagree that it’s one you need to handle now. Obviously management agrees, and they have lined up two and a half potential replacements for him next year in Barnett and Means and the remains of McCalister.

    And if he turns it around, we can still afford to keep him around next year because of Howie’s planning. I think replacing his level of talent without a draft pick will be more expensive than his current salary, and a draft pick is a giant question mark.

  14. 14 Guy Media said at 8:30 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Well, he’s on the roster for 2017… “now” isn’t when they’re going to handle it. But we’ll see how many games they give him before he gets eclipsed on the depth chart.

  15. 15 A_T_G said at 5:44 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I will be excited too if McCalister pans out. I am doubtful, though. On the IR, he is limited in what football stuff he can do. I understand stashing him to bulk up, but two years without real football can’t be good.

    Can anyone think of a player that succeeded after starting a career on IR for two years? Buck was close, but he got to play before and in between injuries. Jerome McDougle was close, but that isn’t success.

  16. 16 Ark87 said at 6:28 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Hoping Curry takes a leap this year. Dude went from wide 9 to 3-4 DE and they couldn’t put him on the field because he wasn’t stout enough to 2-gap against the run. Took until year 3 of being a 3-4 DE before he finally began to see daylight. And now he’s back to the wide-9.

    None of our pass rushers had good stats, all of them had better tape than stat sheets. They were all pretty disruptive. Curry needs to be better with making something out of the pressure he gets. You want him to finish and get the sack, but the vast vast majority of snaps that won’t happen for anyway, got to stay on your feet. If you are on the ground, you just opened an escape route for a QB under duress instead of catching
    an easy sack and you can’t get your hands up to tip a pass.

  17. 17 Dominik said at 1:02 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Tommy, you mentioned you were curious about the numbers for Means, but didn’t mention them. Do you have them and can you share them?

  18. 18 or____ said at 1:40 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Try google.

  19. 19 Dominik said at 2:16 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    First of all, I was writing that comment on my Smartphone. Now, on my PC, I googled it and didn’t find anything. And Over the Cap doesn’t have the numbers yet. So thanks for nothing. You could have ignored the comment if you can’t (or don’t want to) actually answer the question.

  20. 20 or____ said at 2:19 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Sorry for the snark. I think Tommy was talking about stats, not contract details.Since stats are easily searchable, that’s what I was referring to.

  21. 21 Dominik said at 5:14 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Ok, then sorry for the snark back. I wouldn’t ask for stats. Just thought Tommy may know more about his salary than Over the Cap or heard something.

  22. 22 A_T_G said at 5:38 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Geez, get a room you two.

    ( I just wanted to get in on the snark.)

  23. 23 or____ said at 5:55 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Plenty of it to go around.

  24. 24 bobeph said at 6:30 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    are you nailing or

  25. 25 Stephen E. said at 4:33 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    If Means is another Juqua Parker for us, that will probably be enough.

    No neutral zone infractions though, please.

  26. 26 GermanEagle said at 6:33 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Lol. Yeah I miss those stupid penalties. Not!

  27. 27 P_P_K said at 4:51 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Means Machine.

  28. 28 A_T_G said at 5:36 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Mean’s Green Machine

  29. 29 Dave said at 6:49 PM on September 5th, 2017:

  30. 30 P_P_K said at 7:44 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Old school. Better than Adam Sandler?

  31. 31 Guy Media said at 8:14 PM on September 5th, 2017:


  32. 32 GermanEagle said at 6:32 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Means nothing.

  33. 33 daveH said at 6:52 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Means Joe Green.

  34. 34 Guy Media said at 7:58 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    A man of Means by no Means.

  35. 35 P_P_K said at 8:36 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    King of the Road (to the Super Bowl).

  36. 36 A_T_G said at 4:58 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Joe Banner seems to be a Wentz believer.

  37. 37 Fufina said at 5:13 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I am, I think he has all the intangable off the field stuff you could desire, fantastic physical skills and sound enough mechanics that it wont limit him long term.

    He will be the Eagles QB for a long time. The question is how high is his ceiling and how long will it take to get there. He could be Stafford like and take 5-6 seasons to really get it together and even then not be a top 5 guy, or he could be the best QB in his generation if everything clicks.

    The full bust scenario is pretty much injury only at this point in my opinion.

  38. 38 A_T_G said at 5:34 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Reading, “…he could be the best QB in his generation if everything clicks.” and knowing it is not just hyperbole makes me giddy.

  39. 39 Ark87 said at 5:56 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I just hope it’s not because it’s a bad generation of QB’s. Seems like we’ll be losing the most prolific generation of QB’S in nfl history soon. Doesn’t seem like there are any Brady’s, Mannings, Brees, or even Roethlisbergers under 30. Soon it will just be Rodgers. Is it just Wilson and Luck at the Apex of good young QBs? Hopefully that trend doesn’t last.

  40. 40 A_T_G said at 6:05 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Good point. I think we are ending a golden era. Like Magic, Bird, Jordan there will be another, but it might not be immediate.

  41. 41 Ark87 said at 6:12 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    True, golden era’s aren’t really sustainable, will be interesting how much the game changes in the possible temporary absence of legendary QB’s. Might not be bad. Belichick won’t have Brady soonish, the dude may find a way to win anyway, and lay the ground work for a more competitive league, not just a league of winners who have a QB and losers that don’t.

  42. 42 daveH said at 6:51 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    We better get 1 lousy one before the entire nfl implodes

  43. 43 A_T_G said at 6:40 AM on September 6th, 2017:

    We had plenty of lousy ones. I want a great one!

  44. 44 Fufina said at 6:08 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Those guys where not truly great until they got into their late 20’s and early 30’s. Roethlisberger while showing raw ability was not a great QB early, compare 2002 Brady to 2007 Brady and they are entirely different tiers of quality.

    Getting close to mastering being an NFL QB takes nearly a decade to achieve generally. There was a really weak crop of QB’s entering the league from 2006-2010, with only Ryan, Stafford and Flacco being even quality starters from that 5 year period, which has put a real dent in the QB pipeline. But i think 2012, 2014 and 2015 have infused the league with quality long term group of QB’s who will compete against each other over the next 10 years.

  45. 45 CrackSammich said at 7:07 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Luck, Wilson, Carr, Winston, Mariota seems like a pretty good start. You could easily be adding Prescott and Wentz to that in a few years.

  46. 46 Ark87 said at 8:05 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I’m not says there are no good QB’s coming up, just that none have emerged as the next big thing (yet). Wilson and Luck are getting there, but aren’t in the same strata as the last generation of QB’s (imo). The rest it’s too early to tell. Young successful QBs are weird. Take Wilson, Kaep, and RGIII. Wilson had a nice rookie year, Kaep exploded in his second year, and RGIII had an absurd rookie season where in some alternate universe he is still the scourge in our nightmares marching to the hall of fame. 2 of those guys absolutely imploded. Wilson evolved to become a good-great young QB. And it’s not just them, Vince Young, Josh Freeman, Nick Foles and many others all looked like promising young QBs at one point. Hopefully at least 1 of the guys you mention has a Hall of Fame worthy career.

  47. 47 Anders said at 3:23 AM on September 6th, 2017:

    Most QBs needs at least 3-4 years before they become what we think they are.

  48. 48 GermanEagle said at 6:32 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    He’s always been. I like Joe.

  49. 49 RC5000 said at 8:29 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    That’s cool . But since his lame, childish, mean, drunk, Howard Eskin sounding anti Sam Hinkie tweets I and others completely hammered him for, I lost all respect for him.

  50. 50 GermanEagle said at 8:11 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Alright guys. I need your honest advise.

    This coming Sunday my daughters will have their first soccer training beginning at 3pm. Someone told me that the Eagles happen to play during that time.

    What shall I do in this dilemma:

    1. Record the game and re-watch the whole game after the soccer training is over.

    2. Watch the 1st half at home and re-watch the 2nd half later.

    3. Watch the 1st half at my local bar and get to my girls soccer training in time.

    4. Watch the 1st halt at Shorty’s in the city and miss the start of my girls soccer training.

    5. Watch the whole Eagles game at Shorty’s in the city and come home drunk missing all of my girls soccer training.

    Please bear in mind that options 4 and 5 will most likely get me in the doghouse, with the latter resulting also in abundance of TLC for the next two weeks.

    Many thanks in advance

  51. 51 Guy Media said at 8:12 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    6. Check the Eagles schedule vs. activities before allowing people to sign up for said activities.

  52. 52 or____ said at 8:15 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    1 and only 1

  53. 53 daveH said at 8:18 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    .. I have to record every single MotoGP race .. watch your girls live no 2nds chances on that .. if it was your country playing in Wotld Cip Finals with the greatest team in history to ever be assembled in any sport ever, about to play home team Brazil. .then watch that game..but eagles game is a far cry

  54. 54 GermanEagle said at 9:09 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Well I guess you know the answer to this scenario…

  55. 55 P_P_K said at 8:35 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Only #1.
    Now if it were the playoffs…

  56. 56 GermanEagle said at 9:08 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Don’t you start … 😉

  57. 57 D3FB said at 8:36 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    it’s 1.

    The Eagles will always be available to disappoint you.

  58. 58 GermanEagle said at 9:08 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    True. However what shall I do between 1pm and 3pm???

  59. 59 D3FB said at 11:26 AM on September 6th, 2017:

    Stay off your phone and nutmeg the girls. Gotta remind em who is boss.

  60. 60 Bert's Bells said at 8:37 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    I don’t have kids but I do have a girlfriend. You have to care for real people live and on the spot.

    Pretty much 1 is the way to go.

  61. 61 GermanEagle said at 9:07 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Thanks guys. I’m suprised by all of you voting for option 1 because I’m actually torn between #1 and #2.

    How come nobody would dare to watch the first half live at home!!??

  62. 62 A Roy said at 9:33 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    We’re only talking ’bout practice.

  63. 63 Tumtum said at 9:57 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    Watch in its entirety after. Don’t look at a TV or turn on a radio.

  64. 64 A_T_G said at 12:21 AM on September 6th, 2017:

    I live in an area of Eagles fandom. There is zero chance I can avoid hearing other dads sharing the score with each other, and across the field to my kid’s coach. For me, the solution is watch as much as I can, listen in the car, then listen on the Eagles app with one ear bud.

  65. 65 myartz04 said at 7:21 AM on September 6th, 2017:


  66. 66 GermanEagle said at 2:46 PM on September 6th, 2017:

    It also happens to be their 4th birthday this Sunday…

  67. 67 RC5000 said at 8:25 PM on September 5th, 2017:


  68. 68 Guy Media said at 8:29 PM on September 5th, 2017:


  69. 69 Fufina said at 8:50 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    While that is true and expected, what will likely happen is that the judge will issue a temporary restraining order, Zeke will play while his legal team slowboat the real legal process, he has court case in Feb/March, which will uphold the fact the CBA means the commish can do whatever the hell he wants and he is suspended next year for 6 games.

  70. 70 Anders said at 3:21 AM on September 6th, 2017:

    Why would the judge do that? The NFL already has the Brady case that it can do what the hell it wants and from my understanding is that most federal judges aint going to change anything outlined in a CBA and upheld by an arbitrator

  71. 71 meteorologist said at 10:59 AM on September 8th, 2017:

    Why delay it till next year. What’s the point

  72. 72 Tumtum said at 9:56 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    BUT he gets to play this week and I play vs him in 2 fantasy leagues. Awesome!

  73. 73 Insomniac said at 9:57 PM on September 5th, 2017:

    1-5 start plz