Howard Mudd & the O-Line

Posted: August 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 28 Comments »

For SB Nation Philly, I wrote about the OL changes and what the thinking is behind them.

A couple of people in the previous post asked about any interest in Andre Gurode.  None.  Mudd wants Kelce on the field.  This isn’t a case of Kelce being the lesser of two evils or anything like that.  Mudd genuinely wants to see what this kid can do.

Winston Justice still thinks he’s going to be ready pretty soon.  I’m curious if he stays on the PUP list or not.  We might need Justice this year, but he’s only good to us if healthy.  Best to err on the side of caution with him.

* * * * *

Reportedly, Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith were practicing again today.  That’s another good sign for the offense.  The passing game definitely needs a boost.

* * * * *

Eagles made 4 more cuts.  Gone today are DB Jamar Wall, TE Martell Webb, OT Spencer Johnson, and WR Gerald Jones.

I was a bit surprised to see Jones cut.  He’s been impressive at times this summer.  I was hoping he’d be a Practice Squad candidate.

28 Comments on “Howard Mudd & the O-Line”

  1. 1 McG said at 3:32 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Anybody else see the Brandon Gibson highlight? Good to see that he is getting playing time with the Rams.

  2. 2 Barry said at 3:36 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    “I was a bit surprised to see Jones cut. He’s been impressive at times this summer. I was hoping he’d be a Practice Squad candidate”

    Don’t you have to be cut before you can be signed to the Practice Squad?

  3. 3 theguyotc said at 3:55 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    You made a really interesting point in the article about giving Kelce practice time. It definitely makes sense to give him as much practice and play time as possible before the season. JamJax is a pretty well known quantity, including his injury history.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jackson actually wound up being the week 1 starter. I can’t remember anyone from the Eagles actually definitively saying who it would be. Give the rookie all the time in the world to win the job, and if he doesn’t you’ve at least got a backup with some game experience and reps with the other starters.

  4. 4 iskar36 said at 4:01 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Early in TC it was reported that Mudd wants Vick to share in the responsibilities of making the line calls. At the time, I figured the logic was to help Vick recognize the blitz, and while I think that is still true, do you think Mudd was also thinking this would benefit Kelce out a bit too? For me, based on what I have seen so far, I think Kelce has the physical talent to be a quality center, but it is clear that a lot of his mistakes are due to the mental aspect of the game. I think JamJax certainly is better with that aspect of the game. If Kelce can pick up that aspect, I think this move will be a great one, the question will be how quickly can Kelce do that, and can he keep Vick upright while he has his early growing pains.

  5. 5 theguyotc said at 4:19 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Wow, my timing is amazing.

    “Jason Kelce Officially Named Starting Center”

  6. 6 Max said at 4:44 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Mudd is just pushing Kelce down everyone’s throat…..the OL had been a huge concern going into the offseason…and now we end up starting 2 rookies with a really short offseason – I forsee by the time the first 3 games (Spags and Fewell will really gonna test the OL) are done – the OL will have changed and JJ inserted back in at least..

  7. 7 GermanEagle said at 4:45 PM on August 29th, 2011:


    Can it be that the logic behind naming a Rookie the starting center was simply to guarantee Vince Young some playing time before week 4 just in order to franchise and trade him for a 1st round pick and Patrick Willis next off season?!

  8. 8 livingonapear said at 4:46 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Two observations/questions about the center situation

    A) Who do we have other than Jackson to play center if Kelce goes down? Could we conceivably trade Jackson? He sounds pretty upset at his demotion, and I would like to see him start for another team instead of sitting on our bench.

    B) I find myself trusting Mudd without too much apprehension. Is that because of his track record in Indy, or because he’s a grizzled ol’ bastard who can barely walk, but still rides a motorcycle?

  9. 9 T_S_O_P said at 4:48 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Tommy, when Mudd arrived he was interviewed by Spads and stated he wanted the best 5 lineman on the field. Is this move as much about putting a veteran (albeit at LG) next to Fireman Dan as it is about the distinctley less likely scenario that Mathis has earned his crack but couldn’t play RT to an NFL standard? I always liked Mathis if you can remember that far back on the EMB, and of all the backups, he seemed to be getting the most action other than Vandervelde possibly..

  10. 10 MJ said at 4:59 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Is there a reason for the massive push to give the starting center job to Kelce. I understand that he fits more with what Mudd is looking for, but has Jackson done something to get himself into the doghouse? It just seems like with such chaos on the line as far as who is playing and where they will line up, that every bit of stability would help. Why not let Jackson start the season and give Kelce some more time to progress, instead of just going trial by fire?

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:11 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    @ TSOP…

    LG Mathis / RT Herremans is better than LG Herremans / RT Mathis.

    Evan played well. He was our best OG after Todd. We had 3 OGs capable of starting. We had 1 OT that clearly was starting material. Makes sense to move OG to OT in that case.

    Mathis earned his spot.

  12. 12 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:13 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    @ MJ…

    This isn’t about JamJax doing anything poorly. He’s looked pretty good in his limited snaps.

    This is about fit. Jamaal can’t do the same things Kelce can. That’s a big deal in Mudd’s system. If you’ve watched closely we’ve done some creative things with the C this summer. That works with Kelce, but not so much with Jackson.

  13. 13 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:15 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    @ GermanEagle…

    That’s a pretty wild conspiracy theory even for an Eagles fan.

    100% true.

  14. 14 Sokhar said at 5:18 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    I’m a little concerned with maintaining the respect of our veteran players for the coaches. They seem to decide that they’re going to start a rookie no matter what, and then go with it.

    “We want Casey to start. He’s got pedigree. So we won’t bring in any competition whatsoever, not so much as a scrub that could even hope to challenge him. Then we get to say he earned the starting job.”

    “We want Kelce to start.”
    “But Jamaal Jackson has outplayed him, and he’s got far more experience both in playing and at blitz recognition.”
    “I said we want KELCE to start.”
    “JJ, you’re demoted to second string.”

    Seriously, we nearly got Vick killed last year because our blitz recognition was non-existent and our pass blocking was shitty. So now we’re starting two rookies next to each other with our second best lineman playing a position that he hasn’t gotten regular snaps at in years. If Vick isn’t injured and missing time by week 6, I’ll be amazed.

  15. 15 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:18 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    RE: backup C

    I’m pretty curious about this. I’d love to keep JamJax to be the backup C/G. Flip side is that he might have a bit of trade value (just late round pick). He also costs about $1.65 in 2011. Do we pay a backup that much?

    I have to think McGlynn is gone. He’s struggled.

    AQ Shipley hasn’t gotten much PT recently, but is a natural fit for Mudd’s system. You wonder where he stands.

    I think Thursday’s game will be important for some of these guys. Shipley needs reps. Could also be we’ve got our eyes on a backup C for some other team.

  16. 16 ppk said at 6:39 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Although I dread the thought of starting two rookies on an unestablished O line that stunk at blitz protection last year, I think it’s a roll of the dice worth taking. Watkins was drafted to start, end of story. Kelce will hopefully end up being the athletic C who can block downfield and support the screens and short outs to the rbs.

  17. 17 MJ said at 6:46 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    It is just frustrating watching and I feel JJax’s pain when he’s saying this isn’t competition, basically implying that Kelce is being given the job. I’m not saying he won’t ultimately be the better choice, or disagreeing that he fits what Mudd wants more, but Tommy do you honestly think he’s done enough to warrant a starting position on the line right now???
    It seems that stability and blitz recognition would be vitally important after how teams prepared for us last year, and going with Kelce is going to cause more growing pains than sticking with Jackson. I feel for Jackson because it doesn’t seem like he really even had a shot in this fight, and I really hope our stuborness doesn’t haunt us.

  18. 18 CVD said at 7:03 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    I felt all along Mudd was in love with Kelce. My first ever post here was on a story about AQ Shipley and I posted about Kelce. I think Mudd wanted him badly so Reid got him. Once he got him and saw the potential, it was a wrap. I think Mudd really values the center and wants his guy.

    With Todd going out to tackle I think that means Justice is pretty far away. I think they could have lived with Dunlap for 2 or 3 games. I think this means PUP for Justice, or at least that he wont be ready for a while. I could be way off but I don’t see Justice as the type to rush back into the lineup. He has talked about injuries affecting life after football, so I don’t see him coming back until he is 150% ready. Plus he was playing injured last season and got benched. So I doubt he would rush back

  19. 19 Cliff said at 7:19 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    In regards to “respecting the veterans;” we have to remember the OL, DL, and DC are new coaches. You bring new guys in to shake stuff up. Mudd has no relationship with Jackson. Castillo doesn’t have a working relationship with anyone on the D. Matthews is “his guy.” Kelce is Mudd’s “guy.”

    We say that all the time – “his guy.” We need to all understand the coaches have jobs too. They have reputations and pride. They’re not just being stubborn or foolish, they’re staking their reputation and, in some cases CAREER (Castillo), on these players that we’re questioning.

    I’m not thrilled with Kelce starting over Jackson, but Jackson is teetering on being a crybaby. The Eagles didn’t cut him when he was injured two years ago. They didn’t cut him last year. He’ll make $1.5 million as a back-up this season. CHILL OUT.

  20. 20 Snoopy said at 7:51 PM on August 29th, 2011:!/adbrandt

  21. 21 Snoopy said at 7:52 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Vick 6 years $100 million

  22. 22 Tommy Lawlor said at 7:53 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Glad to see Vick signed long term by the Eagles. Was just a matter of time, but always nice to have the big deals done. DeSean is up next.

  23. 23 Austinfan said at 8:41 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    Let’s be clear about one thing, Mudd didn’t become a top OL coach because of his work in Indy, he put together solid lines in Cleveland and Kansas City with almost no talent (no top draft picks), and in Seattle was behind the drafting of Kendall and Mawae (and Walter Jones in his last season there). He has a great eye for OL talent, he’s plugged in numerous late round picks, UDFAs and “washed up” veterans over the years and made it work. This is a guy with a THREE DECADE track record, not a three year wonder.

    So Mudd isn’t starting Kelce to prove anything to anyone, and Reid knew exactly what he was getting in Mudd, and MM understands what it means to playcalling and game planning. Frank has a nice article with quotes by DeSean about how Vick is learning how to make line calls – that’s key for him because he’s learning to recognize blitzes and get everyone on the same page with him.

    Yes, things will be different. There’s is going to be a lot less maximum protection and plays that take 5 seconds to develop. They’ll stretch the field horizontally with stretch plays, dump offs and screens, they’ll pull a lot more, there will be shorter routes (now you know why they signed Steve Smith), Vick will have more 3 step drops and have to get rid of the ball quickly.

    The idea is to build an offense designed to beat GOOD defenses, the last few years they’ve torched teams that couldn’t bring pressure, but struggled against top defenses, now they can do a lot more things to counteract pressure defenses. They have three RBs that can burn you in the passing game, two TEs, so you can’t just take away the outside receivers and shut them down.

    Yes, there will be growing pains, but if Jackson started, admit it, you’d be waiting for his next injury. Mathis is going to surprise people, he played very well in Cincy, but he replaced Livings who was injured, the next season Livings returned to LG because he’s 330 lbs and Cincy runs a scheme like the Eagles used to run (MJG is now their 3rd OG). Mathis didn’t fit there, he’s a perfect fit for Mudd. With this group of OL, the Eagles have probably the most athletic group in the league, they would have liked to have left Herremans at LG, but with Harris injured and Justice a huge question mark, they had to make this move. And it may turn out for the best, Mathis is more athletic than Herremans at LG, and Herremans is nastier than Justice as a RT.

  24. 24 ToastJenkins said at 9:10 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    The problem there lies in Vick’s inability to make the quick read/throw…

  25. 25 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:16 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    RE: Has Kelce earned the job / is this fair?

    Those are tough questions for those of us on the outside.

    Kelce hasn’t “outplayed” JamJax in preseason games, but I don’t think that is the criteria. I think the coaches were judging the players against a standard more than each other.

    Kelce has shown that he’s a great fit for the offense. He can do special things because of his movement skills. He’s learned the blocking scheme and the playbook pretty well.

    Jamaal has played well, but hasn’t been so good that you think “Wow, we’ve got to have this guy on the field”. He knows the new scheme, but has shown his physical limitations. He looks like a solid veteran.

    Jamaal is the safer pick. No one disputes that. That doesn’t mean he’s the better player. The Eagles feel like Kelce has a chance to do special things. They are willing to live with his rookie mistakes in order to benefit from his skill set.

    The only way I say this isn’t fair is if JamJax is going head to head with a similar player to him. At that point the question of who was playing better would be about the only relevant question. Since Kelce and Jamaal are so different, you have to factor that in as a major part of the equation.

  26. 26 D3Keith said at 9:18 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    A lot of good points here, re: coaches staking their own reps, veterans starting over with new coaches, Vick learning to make the line calls.

    We sometimes forget, but are forever being reminded, that the Eagles as we knew them are no more. Nothing is as it was, and so beyond the obvious — we have a ton of talent, only some of it proven — it’s really hard to know what to expect from this team.

    I’m more and more telling myself to not rush to judgment, to enjoy the journey. This is a playoff team, so we really need our OL, LBs and S to not be weaknesses by the second half of the season. We can get by on talent alone for a while, but that’s not going to be the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, etc. … We’re going to have to become a very good *team* at some point.

    The two O-line rookies and the S/LBs on defense, I think we’re projecting a little bit, that if they get the reps and the burn in our new systems, that eventually they’ll be at least adequate, and hopefully, assets.

  27. 27 will said at 11:30 PM on August 29th, 2011:

    the senile old man will be the eagles downfall this year. give the qb 100 million and put two guys in front of him who don’t have a clue. plus make him make the line calls something he wants no part of. he ain’t peyton manning. the chemistry on this offense is now beyond repair due to ole man mudd.

  28. 28 GermanEagle said at 5:46 AM on August 30th, 2011:


    given the lack of experience from Kelce and Watkins I wouldn’t be greatly surprised to see the Eagles start the season with 0-2, especially since the first two away games will be in domes with their respective fans (Rams and Falcons) being as loud as it gets…