Dallas Done

Posted: January 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 753 Comments »

Re-lax. That was Aaron Rodger’s advice to Packers fans in September and it is now what Eagles fans can do since Dallas has been eliminated. The thought of Tony Romo making it to the Super Bowl, win or lose, is almost too much for the human mind to deal with.

I’ll probably root for the Packers to win from here on out, but we can all relax now and enjoy the games. The one team we all hate has been eliminated.

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Interesting. That would pair Marinelli up with his long time buddy Lovie Smith.

Marinelli got more out of this defense than anyone expected.

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Go Pack Go

Posted: January 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 778 Comments »

There are 46 brave souls who stand between us and armageddon. I’m speaking of course of the Green Bay Packers. They host the Dallas Cowboys at 1pm and must fight off the worst menace the Earth has faced in decades. A win by Green Bay restores balance in the universe and gives hope to mankind. A loss…and we’re one step closer to all joining doomsday cults and preparing for endtimes.

Today, we’re no longer Eagles fans. We are Packer Nation. And we must prevail.

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Rex Ryan is the new coach in Buffalo. That’s wild and will certainly make the Bills more interesting. I would highly question this pairing, but he hired Greg Roman to run his offense. Roman did great things with the SF running game in recent years and is an ideal fit for what Ryan wants. This might be the offense that gives EJ Manuel his best chance to succeed.

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Dick LeBeau re-signed as DC of the Steelers. But he didn’t retire. Sounds like he didn’t want to be part of rebuilding that defense. CB Ike Taylor and SS Troy Polamalu are likely to be cut. Apparently LeBeau wanted to leave with them.

Would he be a good fit as an assistant here in Philly? Maybe. Bill Davis runs a variation of the Steelers defense. That said, it doesn’t seem like Davis does nearly as much zone blitzing as LeBeau, who brought it to the NFL. LeBeau is a former NFL defensive back and would be of interest as someone to oversee the secondary, if he would want such a role.

If Todd Bowles gets a HC job, I could see LeBeau going to Arizona to run their D. He has a home out there and is friends with Bruce Arians, who used to run the PIT offense.

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No updates on the Eagles search for a new personnel guy.

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Where were you 11 years ago?

I was yelling so angrily (prior to that) that my roommate’s dog was hiding behind a chair. Then…the yelling changed. It was just as loud, but with a much happier tone. One of the great moments in Eagles history.

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The Right Fitterer?

Posted: January 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 622 Comments »

The Eagles are looking at someone new in the hunt for Chip Kelly’s personnel guru.

This is a move I can really get behind.

I mentioned Fitterer in a recent post I did on candidates. He makes a ton of sense for the Eagles. Fitterer has been in the business for more than 15 years so he’s got the kind of experience that Kelly needs around him. Fitterer works for a team where the coach runs the show so he’s seen up-close how that model works and what it takes to succeed. Fitterer also works for a team that is unorthodox and does things in their own way. That would help him to work with Kelly, who isn’t exactly Mr. Conventional.

Beyond that, Fitterer has scouted the western region for a long time. Kelly loved Pac-12 players, which should be just fine with Fitterer. The two of them probably know each other from Fitterer’s days of traveling to Oregon on scouting trips. That isn’t to say they’re best friends or old buddies, but they should be familiar with each other.

One of the benefits to Fitterer would be that he’s been part of the personnel staff that built the best secondary in the NFL. If he came to the Eagles, he’d be inheriting one of the worst secondaries in the league. Even better, Seattle didn’t just throw a bunch of 1st round picks out there. Richard Sherman was a 5th round pick. Kam Chancellor was a 5th round pick. Byron Maxwell was a 6th round pick. The only early pick is Earl Thomas.

Seattle has an unusual draft strategy. They obsess on athleticism. This isn’t something the Eagles have done, but Kelly might be willing to listen to Fitterer’s ideas since they have worked very well in Seattle. To be clear, this isn’t Fitterer’s personal strategy, but rather one the entire Seahawks organization believes in.

While Fitterer’s training is in college scouting, he has seen the value of trades and free agency. Seattle traded for Marshawn Lynch, Chris Clemons, and Percy Harvin. They added key free agents in Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Kevin Williams. They signed CB Brandon Browner from the CFL. Seattle focused on the draft, but didn’t ignore other avenues of finding talent.

And Seattle isn’t just a bunch of early picks that paid off. The team’s 3 most important players – Lynch, Sherman, and QB Russell Wilson – all came without spending 1st round picks. This is a really good roster that was built with all kinds of players from all kinds of places.

Fitterer might be happy in Seattle, but GM John Schneider is young and isn’t likely going anywhere any time soon. If Fitterer wants to climb the ladder, he’ll need to go elsewhere. He could see Chip Kelly as his version of Pete Carroll, a great coach to work with and build an elite team with.

I think Fitterer would be an excellent choice for the Eagles. He has the right background and comes from the right kind of team. Let’s hope the interview goes well and Fitterer is someone the Eagles have on their short list.

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Bad news about the podcast. There were some technical issues. Jimmy and I are going to try and record a new show on Sunday night. It will have 37% more awesomeness (less Jimmy).

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Q & A

Posted: January 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 314 Comments »

There isn’t anything groundbreaking going on, so let me answer a few questions.

Can Howie and Chip coexist? 

Yes and here’s why. Howie is great with contracts and numbers. He’ll be doing something he excels at. I can see where some might think Howie would have problems working with Kelly because of the way things fell. While I’m sure Howie is bitter, he also has to be realistic. There aren’t many jobs where a guy can make the money he does and work for a pro football team. Howie is far from perfect, but he’s pretty darn smart. It is in his best interest to make this work so he can keep a good job. If he were to get fired, there is no guarantee that Howie would be given a job by another team.

Howie can also take the long view. He could work his way back into a personnel position over time. Jeff Lurie likes him. Howie did a solid job as GM. Maybe he gets a second chance somewhere down the road.

Obviously things could fall apart. We are talking about human beings. They have emotions and feelings, which sometimes get the better of them. I think Howie is too smart to fall apart and burn a bridge, but never say never. As for Chip, he knows very little about contracts. He needs Howie’s help in this area. I also don’t get the feeling he’s the type to be petty.

Will anyone want to work with the Chip/Howie situation?

There are limited front office jobs out there. Someone will gladly deal with the situation. That said, it could scare away some candidates. They may not want to be a go-between for Howie and Chip. Still it isn’t as if Chip and Howie will be talking for several hours every day, so this may not be a huge dynamic for most candidates.

Any chance Tom Gamble comes back?

I doubt that. First, I don’t know if Gamble would want to come back. If he did, that might make things awkward. Obviously his presence was some kind of an issue for Howie. I don’t know if losing Gamble means much or not. I couldn’t tell you one good thing he did in his time here, but I also can’t tell you about anything bad. Not a lot got said about him, except by Chip. And we don’t know how much that praise was to help Gamble get a GM job vs Chip really feeling Gamble was a terrific scout.

Should we worry about Chip and draft value? 

That is a legitimate concern. We’ve heard the stories that Chip wanted Jordan Matthews in the 1st and Taylor Hart in the 3rd. The Eagles were able to get other players later.

But let’s understand that Chip knew he had Howie to rely on last year. Chip didn’t need to know draft values. He could focus on figuring out which players he really liked. This year will be different. There will be a new personnel guy to help Chip with the draft process and he can certainly ask Howie if he’s got a question, but the pressure will be on Chip to run the show.

Chip is a smart coach. I would think he’ll take some time this offseason to learn more about draft value and how things play out during the draft so that he can be better informed when he’s got to make decisions during the draft. This isn’t rocket science. He can learn a lot about this in a short time.

It is possible that Chip will take who he wants when he wants them, but I tend to think we’ll see a different version of  Chip Kelly this year due to the changes. The man is ultra-competitive. You think he’s not going to be prepared? Chip will want to show the world that he can run the draft and build a great roster. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but it won’t be for lack of effort and preparation.

Could the Eagles have any interest in free agent Ndamukong Suh? 

Not likely. Suh is a great player, but he really needs to be a 1-gap DT to be at his best. I doubt Suh would have any interest in coming to Philly to eat up blocks so LBs could go make plays. I’m sure the Eagles would love to plug Suh in at LDE, but I just can’t see that happening.

Could the Eagles draft a QB in the 1st round? Could that be Hundley from UCLA?

Yes and yes. Nick Foles is not a sure thing. If Kelly thinks another QB would be an upgrade, he’ll pull the trigger on that player.

Hundley is pretty much the opposite of Foles. Hundley is a great athlete, but erratic passer. Some might compare him to Colin Kaepernick. While they are similar, Hundley is a more polished passer coming out of college. I don’t know if Kelly will decide that he covets a QB with size and athleticism. Hundley is highly inconsistent, but his highs are high. He has the physical tools to be a star QB. Spending time with Kelly could bring out the best in him, but he is still a project and I don’t think it is likely he would start in 2015.

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Jimmy Bama and I recorded a new show on Thursday night. I’ll link to it on Twitter when it gets posted (noon-ish).

If you have questions about the show or where to find it, here is the man to ask.

Jimmy is now posting articles at Philly Voice. He’s still a hack and hideous to look at, but occasionally he’ll write something kinda decent that we want to read. Check it out. Jimmy will make PV a regular stop for all of us. Great hire by them.

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Coaches Update

Posted: January 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 285 Comments »

I don’t know how to break this news to you…but assistant DBs coach Todd Lyght has left the Eagles. He will now coach CBs for Vanderbilt. Clearly this isn’t a promotion. The Eagles may have told him to look for work elsewhere without wanting to have to fire him. Or maybe Lyght just wanted to try the barbecue in Nashville.

Lyght wasn’t holding back Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, but he wasn’t getting the best out of them. Chip Kelly will now have to find a coach who can help the Eagles get better play from whoever the starting CBs are. I’m focusing on CBs since that is the position that Lyght played when he was in the NFL. That’s his area of expertise.

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Speaking of the bad pass defense…

Yikes.

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This nugget kinda surprised me.

I don’t mean to be dismissive of Pat Shurmur. He has been a good assistant coach for a long time, but I just don’t think of him as HC material at this point. Then again, many coaches fail the first time around and then do better if given another chance. Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, Dick Vermeil, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Tom Coughlin are just some of the guys to win a Super Bowl with their second team.

Maybe working with Chip Kelly has had a significant effect on Shurmur and he’s now ready for another chance.

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This is certainly possible, but I don’t get the feeling Kelly is going to make a lot of changes. He should be pretty happy with the guys coaching the front seven. DBs coach John Lovett is the guy who might be most at risk. The secondary was a mess this season and didn’t exactly set the world on fire in 2013.

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Tom Coughlin fired DC Perry Fewell. This is bad news for the Eagles, but good for the Giants. Fewell has a Super Bowl ring, but didn’t do a good job with their defense. They were 7th, 27th, 31st, 8th and 29th in yards allowed during his time. Only one group got inside the Top 17 for scoring defense – 12th in 2012.

I hope they don’t bring back Steve Spagnuolo. He’s an assistant with the Ravens and I don’t want him coming back to the NFC East.

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I’ll answer some questions in a post on Thursday.

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