Les Bowen has a good article today on the Spags situation. He says that the NovaCare offices are closed for Martin Luther King Day so it will be a quiet Monday. Les also says that after talking to a source close to Spags, don’t expect a quick decision.
That would seem to be bad news for the Eagles. If Andy Reid and Spags were all excited about putting the band back together, you would think that would happen ASAP. Does this mean Reid has other ideas? Does this mean that Spags wants to shop around?
All we can do is guess.
It sounds like Gregggg Williams will leave the Saints and follow Jeff Fisher to
St. Louis Miami St. Louis. They have been close friends for quite a while and want to work together again, reportedly. If this happens, the Saints need a big time DC to replace Williams. NFC South rival Atlanta “lost” their DC when he took a college job. They will want a good DC.
So right now it seems like Spags has 3 primary choices: NO, ATL, and PHI. New Orleans offers the most stability. Coach Sean Payton isn’t going anywhere in the next few years. Knowing that and benefiting from the presence of Drew Brees would seem to make the Saints an ideal target. The downside is that Spags is used to working with top notch D-linemen. The Saints are lacking more than a bit in that area.
The team had just 33 sacks. The leader was SS Roman Harper with 7.5. The entire DL had just 16.5 sacks. Not good. Spags saw good talent in his time with the Eagles. He had great talent up in NY. He had good pass rushers in STL. The Saints would be a major challenge. Do you build the DL around Will Smith and his 6.5 sacks? He will be 31 next summer. This isn’t a case where one key addition could turn things around. The Saints lack pass rushers.
New Orleans can’t be overly aggressive in FA. They have to re-sign Brees (or Tag him). They have LG Carl Nicks and WR Marques Colston about to hit the market. Can they afford to do much on defense? Wouldn’t seem so.
Atlanta is an odd team. Mike Smith has done nothing but win since he arrived, but going 0-3 in the playoff means that he could be on a short leash. What happens if Matt Ryan goes down and a backup QB leads them to a 6-10 season? Is Smith then out the door? I think very highly of GM Thomas Dimitroff, but this is the NFL and he can’t keep Smith forever if they don’t win in the postseason. Could Spags go there and then succeed Smith? Possible.
Atlanta has a better DL, but not by much. And top pass rusher John Abraham is a FA. If he leaves, you have Ray Edwards and Kory Biermann with their 6 combined sacks. Keeping Abraham is critical, but MLB Curtis Lofton is a FA as well as CB Brent Grimes. I don’t know that all 3 can stay. If so, Dimitroff will have done a fantastic job. The Falcons DL had 25 sacks last year. They have some good pieces, but need Abraham to stay and another guy added to the mix. FA Ray Edwards was a major disappointment this year.
(Jesse in the Comments section made a great point that I completely overlooked. Neither the Falcons nor Saints will have a 1st round pick. The Eagles will have a 1st round pick and a pair of 2nd round picks in the top half of that round. The Eagles will make 3 picks before either the Falcons or Saints have a chance to take anyone, barring a trade of course.)
Selling Spags on the Eagles in some ways is easier than the other 2 teams. He gets a team that led the NFL with 50 sacks. Jason Babin, Trent Cole, and Cullen Jenkins are all special pass rushers. Phillip Hunt is an emerging player. Brandon Graham is on the mend and could get back to being a good edge rusher. The DL had 46 sacks this year.
The Eagles have the big CBs that Spags likes. Nnamdi, DRC, and Curtis Marsh are all above 6 feet tall and 190 pounds. Those guys can all press and be physical with receivers.
The Eagles don’t have the same stability as the Saints, but the familiarity with Reid and the organization could be factors that make Spags want to come here. I won’t go into the whole Washburn/Wide-9 thing again. We’ve discussed that. I think smart coaches could find some middle ground and make that work.
As far as money goes, Sam made a great point on Twitter. Saints coach Sean Payton actually gave back some of his salary when the team was originally negotiating with Williams in the 2009 offseason. That’s the only way they could afford him. The Eagles can out-bid the Saints for any candidate. I would think the same is true with the Falcons, but don’t know that for sure. Atlanta hasn’t hired any big time coaches so that would indicate they are on more of a budget.
It is smart for Spags to sit back and weigh his options. There isn’t one job that is a slam dunk so why rush into a decision. That said, the Senior Bowl is next week. Teams prefer to have a coaching staff in place so that the guys can go to Mobile and study players together. It would be good for the Eagles and Spags to have something decided by then. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but it would be preferable.
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Should the Eagles not get Spags (for whatever reason), there are some other guys of interest. Mike Nolan was the DC of the Dolphins and is a good coach. He’s been a 3-4 guy in recent years, but coached 4-3 in the past and watched his father Dick Nolan coach 4-3 defenses for years.
Jack Del Rio is still on the market. He’s interesting, but not an ideal choice.
Ken Flajole ran the Rams defense the last 3 years and is an old Andy Reid buddy. He could be an interesting target.
Todd Bowles, the Miami secondary coach, is still out there. If you go with a younger guy, he would make a lot of sense.
This isn’t Spags or bust. He’s my favorite choice, but there are other options. There is always the oddball chance that the Eagles go throw a boatload of cash at Gregg Williams and try to steal him. He could have gone back to Jeff Fisher in the past, but didn’t. Williams can be swayed by money.
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It has been far too long since we basked in the greatness of Derek Landri.
Courtesy of PE.com, enjoy.
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New post up at ScoutsNotebook on some underclassmen.
DT Dontari Poe is intriguing as heck. The Eagles have a good DL, but adding a young stud to the mix is never a bad idea. Poe is approximately 6’5, 350. He’s not just a big guy though. Could fit in a 1-gap attacking scheme. I’m sure Jim Washburn will be highly interested in him. Poe could be a 1st round pick.
WR Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers could also be an Eagles target. Whether we keep DeSean or not, we need someone else in the mix. Sanu is a big, physical WR with enough athletic ability to fit in this offense. I love the thought of adding a guy like him. Could be late 1st or early 2nd. Real intrigued by him.