Around the League – Preseason 2018

Posted: August 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Not much going on in the Eagles world as they get ready for the preseason opener so let’s look around the league.

HARD KNOCKS

Tuesday night was the debut of HBO’s Hard Knocks series for this summer. The subject this year is the Cleveland Browns.

I’m not pro or anti-Browns, but I do feel bad for their fans. Those are some loyal people and they’ve suffered tremendously since the team came back in 1999. Their suffering seems to benefit the Eagles. The Browns drafted Tim Couch first overall in 1999, leaving the Eagles with Donovan McNabb. The Browns traded the second overall pick in 2016 to the Eagles so they could take Carson Wentz. Ouch and ouch.

On the field, the Eagles beat them in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Maybe this is all payback for 1994, when Cleveland blew up the Eagles season and ended Byron Evans’ career.

Back to Hard Knocks. I’m glad I watched. It made me appreciate the Eagles management and coaching staff even more than I already did. Cleveland has built up some talent, but the organization looks like a mess. Hue Jackson had to deal with the death of his mother and brother just days apart and I can’t imagine having that happen as you prepare for a season. Still, he seemed more like an interim coach than a true head coach.

The staff did not encourage any confidence. They didn’t seem like great teachers, leaders, motivators or schemers. But other than that…

If I’m a Browns fan, I’m worried. The coaches were talking about championships. This team is 1-31 over the last two years. How about trying to win a few games before talking titles? The best teams build. They focus on methods as much as results, knowing that if you do things the right way consistently, you will get the right results.

As my friend Captain Willard from Apocalypse Now would say “I don’t see any method at all.”

Get ready for another long year on Lake Erie. And be thankful that Jeffrey Lurie made such good decisions in 2016. You can hire people with good track records or impressive resumes, only to find out they aren’t the right guys for the job. Lurie hit a pair of major home runs and life is good in the Land of The Linc.

HARD FEELINGS

Uh, okay.

The team that couldn’t hang on to a sure-win would have come in to Philly and definitely won if they hadn’t blown the sure-win.

Irony can be pretty ironic.

I get Kamara’s frustration. The Saints were playing well, but not to the level he thinks. In their final eight games, the Saints were 4-4.

L 26-20 @ LAR
W 31-21 vs CAR
L 20-17 @ ATL
W 31-19 vs NYJ
W 23-13 vs ATL
L 31-24 @ TB

Playoffs

W 31-26 vs CAR
L 29-24 @ MIN

Notice a trend in there? They didn’t win on the road. They were competitive, but found ways to lose tough games.

Instead of worrying about the Eagles, Kamara should be worried about getting home-field advantage this year.

FORMER WR UPDATE

This is Jackson’s 11th season so maybe age is starting to catch up to him a bit.

His old running mate Jeremy Maclin is still a free agent.

It seems crazy that just a year ago a lot of people were upset that the Eagles moved Matthews in the Ronald Darby trade. Matthews was a very good guy and a solid player, but his numbers were so deceiving. He is the kind of possession receiver that you just can’t overvalue. The Eagles didn’t and made a great move.

I hope Matthews gets healthy and catches on with a good team somewhere. I do not see an Eagles reunion. They want playmakers. He isn’t one and isn’t going to become one.

STARS VS TEAMS

Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald are incredibly disruptive pass rushers. They are two of the true difference-makers in the league. Both are sitting out right now, trying to get new deals.

The Eagles will run into a contract impasse at some point, but for now it feels great that all the stars are well-paid and relatively happy. Brandon Graham wants more money, but I think he knows that time will come next March, whether from the Eagles or someone else.

The worst part of these situations is that things seem antagonistic between the sides. That’s not good for chemistry and can affect the other players.

GRUDEN

Jon Gruden did some amazing things as the Eagles offensive coordinator from 1995-1997. He had some talent, but all kinds of flaws to deal with. Somehow Gruden got the Eagles into the Top 10 in yards in both ’96 and ’97.

He left and went to Oakland, where he build the Raiders into a really good team. He left there for Tampa in 2002 and helped them win their only Super Bowl. He never won another playoff game for the Bucs and had a losing record after 2002.

Whenever the subject of Gruden as a coaching candidate for the Eagles came up, I had really mixed feelings. On one hand, the guy has done some great things. But he seemed to change after winning the Super Bowl. His ego became huge and constantly wanted to change his teams.

Seeing what Gruden has done so far in Oakland, all I can say is thank god he’s not with the Eagles. Gruden has alienated his best player (Mack). He is now pushing his LT Donald Penn to take a pay-cut. Gruden signed a FB, which some teams still believe in, but is somewhat of a dying position. Gruden traded a 3rd round pick for WR Martavis Bryant, who the Steelers were eager to get rid of.

Maybe Gruden will get the Raiders back to winning. But it is also possible that he’s not going to be close to the coach he was when he won in all in 2002.

LAST WORD ON DAWK

I wrote a piece on Brian Dawkins for PE.com.

I explained why he was so special by looking at the guys he came after. Watching him vs other Eagles was night and day. Not just talent, but the overall skill set. He was unique. He was special.

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