Mudd’s Passion

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , | 21 Comments »

For those who haven’t been by recently, Dave Spadaro has posted a really good interview with new OL coach Howard Mudd.  I encourage everyone to read it.

I came away thinking that Winston Justice will either push for a Pro Bowl spot or be an ex-Eagle at the end of 2011.  Howard is tough.  He’s hard on his players.  Those that can handle it, thrive.  Those that can’t…hit the bricks, pal.  Check out this quote.

“A weak-minded player has no chance with me. This is a tough game and it is a tough world. The quarterback doesn’t care if you feel sorry for yourself. He doesn’t care. He’s on his back. That’s all he cares about,” says Mudd. “It’s not OK that he is on his back. What’s OK is to recognize that what you did was a failure, so let’s go fix it. I have a list of excuses, so I say to a player when he starts explaining what happened, ‘Just give me a number. I have the list, about 10 or 12 of them.’ Players say, ‘The back knocked me off my block,’ or, ‘I slipped,’ or, ‘I did what you told me but it didn’t work.’ All excuses. None of them are reasons.

“Eventually, if you are going to survive in this world, you can’t dance around the truth. You have to confront it and you have to be honest with yourself and if you want to excel, you have to commit yourself to that concept.

Winston has the talent to be an outstanding RT.  He showed real flashes of that in 2009.  Howard is here to get Justice back to that form, and better.  If Justice buys in, the sky is the limit.

One of the reasons I like Howard so much is that he’s not trying to re-invent the wheel.  He is a believer in fundamentals and repetition.  Football can be a pretty simple game when you really break it down.  Learn certain basic techniques and then spend time perfecting them.  You’ll never do it, but the pursuit of perfection (as Lombardi talked about) is what leads to really good things.  More from Howard:

“Uniformity is a big deal to me. We’re going to do the same things the same way every time. We’re going to do a few things and do those things extraordinarily well,” says Mudd. “I’ll live with that principle forever and ever and ever. I will tell the players this: We’re doing to do the same drills on the first day of training camp that we do on the final day of practice before the Super Bowl. We’re going to hit the same sled. We’re going to do the same footwork and I’m going to make you do it right. My job is to make them do it right. That’s the way the world is. You can either embrace it or not embrace it. But that’s the way we’re going to do things around here, because I know what works.”

We all want to see better OL play in 2011.  I think the addition of Howard Mudd will have a big impact on the guys.  He’s not inheriting chopped liver.  Jason Peters is a Pro Bowl player.  Todd Herremans has shown flashes of that kind of ability.  Justice has big time potential.  Jamaal Jackson at C and Mike McGlynn at RG are more uncertain.  JamJax can be a good C if he just returns to form after a long layoff.  RG is the mystery position.  I”m assuming McGlynn is the guy there, but don’t know that for a fact.  Howard is likely to get a G pretty early in the draft to work with.  He’ll also have Max Jean-Gilles.  Hopefully he can find a solid starter out of that group.

I came away really fired up after reading what Mudd had to say.  He’s not a jerk, but is hard on his players because he wants them to be at their best.  Tough love, I guess you’d say.  Players need to be pushed.  Graig Nettles (star 3B for the Yankees in the ’78 World Series) said the key to being a coach/manager is figuring out which guys to kick in the ass and which ones to kiss on the ass.  I get the feeling that Howard very much understands that principle.  Ted Daisher rubbed a lot of guys the wrong way because he pushed, but never praised.  Sean McDermott, to a lesser extent, had a similar issue.  Players have to understand you’re being hard on them for a reason.  If not, they think you’re a jerk and tune you out.

Now all we need is the resumption of football so Howard can actually get a chance to interact with his new players and “coach ’em up”.

p.s.   anybody get the title reference?

21 Comments on “Mudd’s Passion”

  1. 1 Sam said at 12:39 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    I’m excited about Mudd too. But it isn’t like Juan Castillo couldn’t coach or left a unit that wasn’t grounded in fundamentals. I worry that we are overestimating the marginal impact that this guy will have.

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:52 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    True enough.

    I do think Howard is a better coach. I also think having a fresh voice will have an impact. It forces guys to get out of their comfort zone. New boss comes in and you have to sit straight, pay attention, and walk the line.

    Our line doesn’t lack overall talent. Mudd doesn’t have to get them to overachieve. He just needs to coax out a higher level of play than we got in 2010.

  3. 3 Kevin said at 12:59 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    I’m not sure if Juan is really a good coach. Justice struggled for years. Bobbie Williams busted (for us). He inherited Pro Bowlers in Runyan & Peters. Jamaal Jackson is his #1 success story. The only “elite” line this team has had was 2006 when it could both pass block and run block. The 2003 line couldn’t pass block, the 2004 line couldn’t run block. 2008-2010 had similar issues.

    IMO, the best thing about Mudd will be picking up blitzes and the line playing well together. I don’t see Justice fitting what he wants to do. Mudd doesn’t like passive linemen.

  4. 4 mcud said at 1:41 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    Careful Sam. That almost sounded like a compliment to Juan Castillo. We wouldn’t want that…=) I know you didn’t hate Castillo. I’ll call you a well-wisher, in that you didn’t wish him any SPECIFIC harm. I get what you’re saying though…Bobby April didn’t exactly give us reason to believe in his “best ST coach in the league” reputation.

    However, I happen to LOVE the Mudd hire (and he didn’t give some secret potion for me to say that). I’m particularly interested to see if Justice can maximize his potential with Howard. Same goes with Bunk and Washburn. If nothing else, it will make me breathe easier if/when these players depart, because if Wash and Mudd can’t get the best out of them…its likely nobody can.

  5. 5 Sam said at 1:41 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    It’s funny, until last fall, I had to post over and over again that it wasn’t clear Castillo was better than the average NFL offensive line coach. Now I seem to have to argue that it isn’t clear that he isn’t worse than that either. People have ridiculous expectations.

    Castillo’s history was that, on average, he got about what was expected out of the picks he was given. Some hit, some didn’t, but about in the percentages you’d expect given the draft slot. He did well in the first round, as Tra Thomas and Shawn Andrews met or exceeded expectations in terms of their on-field play. He also gets credit for Jermane Mayberry, as his college coach and his pro line coach starting in his 3rd year.

    As far as second round picks go, it isn’t like you are in an area of the draft with sure fire pro bowlers. Williams was a solid backup while here for a line that was good, healthy, and pretty deep. He played really well in 2003 when he finally got a shot … well enough that the Bengals signed him as a starter. It would be hard to say that Juan had nothing to do with getting him into that position. It isn’t his fault that Mayberry had developed into a pro bowler by 2002. We’d have liked more, but so it goes. And with respect to Justice, while his road was long, doesn’t Castillo deserve some credit for the improvement from the Osi game to 2009? If a player can succeed from day 1, the coach hasn’t done much. It is the improvement where he really should get credit.

    And unless I am mistaken, wasn’t Mike McGlynn the first drafted starting center under Reid since they let Steve Everitt go after 1999? Castillo deserves some credit for the ability to get 10 years of legit starting play out of Bubba Miller, Hank Fraley, and Jamaal Jackson.

    His biggest challenge has been dealing with QBs who didn’t stay in the pocket and therefore took a lot of sacks (or who don’t seem to handle pressure well in Kolb), along with a game plan that didn’t emphasize creativity in attacking the defense in the run game.

    That said, he had his huge screw ups. The headliner was committing to another year of Stacy Andrews at RG in 2010 without a legitimate contingency plan was horrible, and as I understand it, Castillo led the St. Andrews cheerleading squad. That was a poor idea.

    But in general, Castillo was a good NFL line coach. Not great, to be sure. But I don’t think you can argue that he was below league average, even at worse.

  6. 6 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:52 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    RE: Bobbie Williams

    I think calling him a bust is harsh. He was meant to be a G. The guys ahead of him were John Welbourn and Jermaine Mayberry, Pro Bowl caliber players.

    Bobbie did pretty well when he finally got on the field in 2003. Very good run blocker. Iffy pass blocker. Bobbie left in FA after that year and has been a good RG for the Bengals ever since. He’s now a veteran leader on that team. He works with the young linemen to teach them how to play. The foundation that Juan laid with him has played a big part in his career.

  7. 7 mcud said at 2:03 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ Sam

    My post was in jest. You’re the one that convinced me a long time ago that Castillo was receiving a bit more acclaim than he deserved, and in EMB circles, the topic was revisited more than a few times over the years. I was just acknowledging the irony that you felt like coming to his defense now, even if it is temper expectations of our new OL coach.

  8. 8 Thunderlips said at 2:11 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    Good to know that we have a slightly above average O-Line coach leading our defense.

  9. 9 Sam said at 2:21 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ mcud, actually, my post was in response to Kevin, you’ll notice we posted at about the same time … and I don’t type THAT fast.

  10. 10 Sam said at 2:22 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ Thunderlips — not sure it matters how good of an O-Line coach he was; it shouldn’t make it any more reassuring that we picked an O-Line coach of any quality to be D-Coordinator.

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:40 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    I think he was being sarcastic.

  12. 12 Kevin said at 3:06 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    Bobbie Williams may have been a good player for the Bengals, but we got 3/4 of one season for a 2nd round draft pick. That’s slightly more than what we got out of Matt McCoy. It’s not even that Welbourne/Mayberry were blocking him. Welbourne missed 5 games in 2002. Williams couldn’t even start to replace him. We missed on Williams, it happens.

    Of course, part of the problem is Big Red likes drafting OL that can run block then asks them to pass-block 70% of the time.

    BTW, this is RealCrippler from the boards. Missed talking football with you all 🙂

  13. 13 mcud said at 3:37 PM on April 8th, 2011:


    Do I get credit for getting the reference?

  14. 14 NicolajNN said at 3:39 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    As most other I’m excited about Mudd, just a shame that we will probably not get the most out of having him this year.

    Off-topic Tommy. I have enjoyed reading stuff from Greg Cosell on twitter, though much of it has been QB (also lots of eagles stuff) Anyway, could you make a quick comment on this!/gregcosell/status/56319408074801152
    It seems we hope Sims would be that LB and could Clayton fill that role? I still think mmbob is a good nickel CB

  15. 15 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:42 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    I completely forgot that Doug Brzezinski started 5 games that year.

    Classifying Bobbie is tough. He spent most of his Eagle career behind 2 very good players. You can’t fault him for not beating them out.

    At the same time, Andy or Juan liked him enough to move up for him so there were serious expectations. This was a player they valued.

    Things didn’t work out in terms of investment and reward, but you sure can’t call him a bust because he’s proven to be a good player.

    Bad return on investment? Something like that. Bottom line – disappointing results.

  16. 16 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:45 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ mcud …

    Of course. Should have mentioned that earlier. I figured you had a chance.

    @ NicolajNN …

    I need to write out a post or some good comments on that subject. Thanks for the reminder. Greg is good on Twitter.

  17. 17 Anirudh said at 3:55 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    Hey Tommy,
    Sorry, this should have gone in an earlier post, but I never got around to it. Remember how high you were on Eric Berry last year? Does any player strike you as being that good this year?

    And you say in your PE column that Jimmy Smith is big and talented and can cover as well as any player in the draft – is it really just character issues that have him falling to the 20s while Amukamara and Peterson both go in the top 10 (sometimes top 5)?

  18. 18 mcud said at 4:41 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ Anirudh

    I’m not Tommy, but I don’t see anybody close to the total package that both Eric Berry and Ndamukong Suh brought to the dance last year. Patrick Peterson is probably closest (or equal) in terms of talent, but undoubtedly is more of a character question mark than either of the kids from last year. Add to that the fact that his Wonderlic score was abyssmal. Still, he’s got as much physical talent as any CB in recent memory, IMO. to me, AJ Green is a terrific prospect as well, but he’s not Calvin Johnson.

    I’m still mad about the Eagles not trading up for Berry.

  19. 19 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:55 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    @ Anirudh…

    Suh and Berry aren’t the kind of guys that come along every year. No one like them in this class.

    My favorite player is Ryan Kerrigan, but he’s not an elite talent. Effort and hustle are major parts of his game.

    Jimmy Smith isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. 3 INTs in a career is really low. That will bother some. At times he played to the level of competition. That will bother some. I have to think that people who judge him purely on skill will think he’s a top shelf CB. With good character he’d definitely be a Top 15 type player. He might go ahead of Amukamara in that case.

  20. 20 Stephen said at 11:54 PM on April 8th, 2011:

    The more things get put in perspective the more I like the coaching changes we’ve made. These little nuggets you keep dropping, like Daishers attitude with the players, are priceless Tommy.

    What I would give to be a fly on the wall of the Linc for a week during the season. I’d love to see what is really going on behind the scenes.

  21. 21 ATG said at 7:51 AM on April 9th, 2011:

    So now we have hardnosed line coaches on both sides of the ball. Based on the tiny sliver of the players’ lives that we see, I would have thought of Peters as more likely to buckle under tough coaching than Justice – Justice faced the aftermath the Osi game head on, Peters seems to “hurt” something if a game isn’t going his way. Cole, on the other hand, I envision taking to it like a fish to water.

    I am sure you have a better feel for the players and how they responded to coaching, even before they became Eagles. Do you have top 3 most likely to crumble from each side? Peters, Justice, Dunlap? Bunk, …?

    Last, with the new coaches there is talk of how it will push players’ stock up or down, yet I have not read Reggie Wells’ name once. Is he that much of a lost cause?