Late Sunday Update

Posted: August 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 34 Comments »

So Reggie Wells is an Eagle again.  Didn’t see that coming.  And now he’s in the mix at RT.  Sure as heck didn’t see that coming.

Odd move.  Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the move, but at the same time…if he’s just here to compete for a backup spot, I can live with that.  While this move is annoying it is hardly the key development at RT.  King Dunlap’s solid play on Thursday is much more important in my mind.  King had some good games last season.  He looked pretty good on Thursday.  Maybe he’s finally adjusting to the new system and is going to play better as his comfort level grows.

* * * * *

Some Q&A from the Detailed Game Review:

What will happen at WR?  Still too early to tell.  DJax, Mac, Avant, Smith, and Cooper are in.  We could stick with just 5.  We could keep a 6th.  If so, Higgins, Hall, and Moss could be battling for the spot.  Young guys Rod Harper and Gerald Jones have impressed this summer, but have to be considered longshots in terms of actually making the roster.

Will the return of the starting DTs help the LBs?  It should help.  When Jenkins was at his best on Thursday, Matthews was at his best.  This isn’t a case of big DTs eating up blocks.  DTs in the system are supposed to fire upfield and be disruptive.  4 healthy DTs with good ability should help Matthews to play his best.  I do think it will help to have bigger guys like Patt and Dixon to mix in when teams are running well.  Bigger guys can be tough to run on.

Any chance there is an OL shakeup?  Making Kelce the C and then shifting JamJax to LG would free up Todd to slide over to RT.  Sure makes for an interesting idea.  My problem is that we’d then have 4 guys playing somewhere new and learning a new scheme.  That’s a way to get the best bodies out there, but I can’t stress enough the value of stability.  Peters-Todd-Kelce/JJ-Watkins-Dunlap would give us some stability.  It’s clearly far from ideal, but is probably the smart way to go.  I am a bit nervous about Justice.  Andy made some comment about his knee still being sore.  I’m starting to think he might just stay on the PUP list til midseason.

Why is avoiding blocks a no-no?  LBs must control certain gaps (or areas).  If a LB jumps around a blocker, the LB might take himself out of the play.  LBs need to engage the blocker so they can be in position to get a runner/receiver whether that players cuts inside or outside of a block.  If you knew the LB could guess correctly every time, then dodging blocks would be fine.  That’s not the case and LBs jumping around blocks is a really bad habit that many of them get into.

What’s up with Nate Allen?  The whole switch of FS/SS is just a name change.  Castillo’s exact reasons for doing this…I’m not aware yet.  Nate’s struggles on Thursday were not skill/position/talent related.  The problems were physical.  Let’s see where his knee is this week  before making too much of this.  And I do remain very high on Nate.  I had him highly rated before the Eagles called his name out.  The guy was a complete Safety prospect coming out of USF.  Macho Harris and Quintin Demps were tweeners that played CB and S.  Allen was a FS.  He’s got S skills and experience.  He needs to get healthy.

* * * * *

Larry Fitzgerald’s new mega-deal is an unwelcome development.  I hope DeSean Jackson doesn’t expect to be paid that kind of money.  If he does, things could get tricky.  I have faith that Joe Banner, Drew Rosenhaus, and DJax will be able to get something worked out, but that contract sure doesn’t help matters.

The guys are both impact players, but are different.  DJax is a playmaker.  Fitz is a workhorse and a playmaker.  The reported numbers seem too high, but Fitz is Arizona’s biggest star and their one great offensive player.  They almost had to overpay him to make sure he stayed and was happy.  DeSean is very important in Philly, but also fits in with Vick, Maclin, Shady, and even LT Jason Peters.

* * * * *

Lots of MLB/Casey Matthews questions.  I’ll write up a column on the situation and post it here or link to it.

34 Comments on “Late Sunday Update”

  1. 1 -Triumph- said at 2:22 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    For now at least it appears to be Peters-Herremans-Kelce-Watkins-Dunlap. And I think there’s a good chance it stays that way.

  2. 2 -Triumph- said at 2:27 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    The latest thing for players/agents is to compete to be the highest paid offensive players who are non-quarterbacks.

    Definitely an unwelcome development.

  3. 3 JakFTW said at 4:37 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Thanks for the write-up Tommy – great perspective as always.

    That’s a great point you make about Fitz combining being a playmaker while also being a workhorse. He’s also clearly the face of the franchise, where the Eagles have more of an ensemble cast.

    Have we gotten any detailed breakdown of Fitz’s deal yet? I remember when McNabb’s extension with the Redskins was announced it sounded like a monster deal, but when the dust settled didn’t it turn out to be much more organisation-friendly than the initial announcement sounded?

  4. 4 JakFTW said at 6:48 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    According to ProFootballTalk, Fitzgerald’s deal is for real:

  5. 5 penn7980 said at 7:32 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Re the RT position, Justice is still out. He probably not going to be much a factor at the early part of the season, either on the roster or PUP. King looks like the front runner now. Who is his back-up, Harris or Wells?

    Talking about the players stepping up, the vets play hard in pre-season games? Or they pace themselves to make the team and not much over that?

    OK with the 5 front runners at WR put up by GE99. If they keep the 6th one, will they take one of different playing style or someone similar as back-up? If former, Hall may have the edge. If latter, Moss or Huggins is the outside speedster to step in if DeSean or Maclin is hurt. These would also fill the role of RS.

  6. 6 Austinfan said at 10:01 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Tommy, did you see Castillo’s comment about LB technique.

    “The young kids will get better just because they’re working the proper fundamentals.”

    Those fundamentals include using their hands.

    “It has to become muscle memory,” Castillo said. “It has to be something that you work, over, and over, and over. What we saw in Casey is that as the game went on and he felt more comfortable, he started doing a better job with that. It was something that continued. We’ll work on that every day, over, and over, and over. Then it will become muscle memory, and the linebackers will be one of the best groups in the NFL, fundamentally.”

    Chaney said trying to adjust to the new technique had a lot to do with the linebackers’ problems against the Steelers.

    “The way they teach you here to get off blocks, pretty much nobody else really takes on blocks like that,” Chaney said. “Most people go in there with their shoulders . . . They teach us to go hands and helmet. You can make more plays that way if you do it the right way. It’s a learning experience. By the time the Rams game gets here . . . we’ll be ready to go in St. Louis.”

    Chaney said the idea is to get away from the blocker, not trade blows with him. But if you haven’t quite mastered the technique, well, you can look pretty passive and ineffective.

    “It’ll all come with time and reps. We had a chance to do it in training camp, but we weren’t able to go full speed . . . Really, when we got in the preseason games, that was the first time we’d been able to go live,” he said.

    Makes perfect sense when you have fast, undersized LBs, don’t wrestle with bigger blockers, use your hands to scrap off the block while keeping your eyes on the play so you can move to the ball. And if most veterans don’t do this, it may make more sense to teach proper technique to a bunch of young LBs than put a veteran through a re-education camp.

  7. 7 izzylangfan said at 10:16 AM on August 22nd, 2011:


    To elaborate on Austinfan’s comments above, are we to believe that Castillo is teaching the Eagles LB’s the correct technique while all the other teams are lost in space. And also implied is that our guys will improve while the opposition remains static.

  8. 8 Dhani said at 10:41 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    “In Andy Reid’s 12 seasons, the Eagles have used 25 different starting linebackers and 42 different starting linebacker combinations. Fourteen different guys have started at least one game at weak-side backer.”

  9. 9 Davesbeard said at 10:42 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Chaneys says in that interview that while other teams don’t teach it, the best linebackers all do it. He definitely suggested it’s a big part of what seperates the average from the good in the league. We’ll see how the game on Thursday goes.. :s

  10. 10 Kevin (RC) said at 10:54 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Peyton Hillis is a very physical runner. We’ll find out quickly how much our LBs learned. Hopefully the entire first team OL plays for Cleveland and we bench Cole/Jenkins.

  11. 11 Howard said at 11:03 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I think this means that Ryan Harris is probably going to get cut. 31 teams in the NFL decided not to take a chance on the guy. He started in preseason and was mediocre at best. Now he has back issues and won’t play in 2 preseason games. The Eagles brought in Reggie Wells and King Dunlap played well in preseason. The writings on the wall- Ryan Harris will be cut

  12. 12 iskar36 said at 11:22 AM on August 22nd, 2011:


    You may be right, but I have to also imagine that right now they have no idea what to do at RT. At this point, it is fairly clear that they are concerned with both the starter at RT and the depth, and with Harris being one of their better RTs when healthy, they may feel the need to keep him. Sure you would rather a healthier option, but does Wells really make anyone comfortable?

  13. 13 Justrelax said at 11:28 AM on August 22nd, 2011:

    The hands-and-helmet technique is not obscure. All it means is that you go in square and try to be able to come off the block in either direction. If you take on the blocker with your shoulder, you’re already turning your body one way or the other and are probably taking on the blocker from one side or the other. A decent back will go the way you don’t. The hands help absorb the blocker, the helmet shocks him, and even if you get bounced back a yard you can re-set and come forward again. The keys are not to stay engaged and to come off quickly. People bemoan the inability of guys to get off blocks; well this is basic how-to-get-off-a-block stuff.

  14. 14 Howard said at 11:30 AM on August 22nd, 2011:


    I just don’t think that Andy will keep a roster spot for a RT with back issues. He’s supposed to be your backup RT and you’re not sure if he can play from game to game. At least with Dunlap you will get stability which is important since you are protecting your QB’s blindside and you’re playing with a rookie RG.

  15. 15 Iskar36 said at 12:02 PM on August 22nd, 2011:


    Ultimately, I think it will come down to whether or not Wells can show something at RT. I have concerns about Justice helping out at the beginning of the season and Dunlap is by no means a starter you are 100% confident for a full season, so Wells needs to show that he can legitimately start if Dunlap fails. Otherwise, I think you have to take the risk and go with Harris.

  16. 16 ppk said at 12:22 PM on August 22nd, 2011:


    What’s interesting to me is that here is a guy who was an O line coach talking about lb technique. Does anyone kow if Juan has any experience, on any level, as a D coordinator? I also don’t like the idea that he is counting on his players developing into pros. Not this year, when we are supposed to be “all in.” Reading the link, he talked about the lbackers basically being up to snuff in the middle of the season and how play at the end of the season is so crucial. I understanbd what he is saying but this just ain’t good enough for a SB bound team. The games in the beginning of the year count just as much in the wins and losses columns.

    My biggest concern going into this season is Juan. By the end of the year I’ll probably be saying that his enthusiasm was terrific and he was the right choice for the job, or his rah-rah was a cover for his lack of skill sets. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until you try something.

    Maybe I’m just in a Negadelphian mood today.

  17. 17 mcud said at 12:31 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I understand not wanting to put Todd at RT on a whim during the regular season. This is what practice and preseason is for. Give the guy some reps there. Hell, move him there full time and commit to it. This is our franchise’s blindside for goodness sakes. LG is arguably the least important position on the entire offense.

  18. 18 Kevin (RC) said at 12:34 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Why is everyone so nervous about RT? Dunlap is serviceable (at worst, we have Celek who can chip the DE/OLB). Justice/Harris, one of them will get healthy and be an elite “backup” if anything happens to Justice.

    I’m far more worried about Nate Allen’s knee and our LBs.

  19. 19 mattman said at 12:41 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I wonder how Jamar Chaney, who’s spent one year in the NFL with one team, knows what kind of hand technique all the other teams teach? He probably means it’s different than what he was taught in college.

  20. 20 mcud said at 12:42 PM on August 22nd, 2011:


    Hope you’re right. However, they just re-signed Reggie Wells to add to the RT competition. What does that tell you? We’re in a position to fill a position of greater need with a player that currently fills one of lesser importance. Personally, I think Todd was born to play OT. I’d bet Todd agrees with me.

  21. 21 LT said at 12:55 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I’m pretty sanguine about RT. They have a group of pretty useful players, one of them will emerge. I have a lot of confidence in Dunlap, actually.

    Now I’m a lot more worried about the middle of the defense. Didinger has a good column here about how the Wide 9 really doesn’t fit Matthews’ skill set.

  22. 22 Kevin (RC) said at 12:59 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I agree with Didinger on this point: There’s no way to blame Casey Matthews for his struggles. He’s going to give his all. I don’t think anyone questions that, but asking a small MLB to take on blocks repeatedly is a killer.

    Man I wish we signed Takeo Spikes

  23. 23 izzylangfan said at 1:07 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    What ever you think about starting right tackle it looks as if Dunlap has at least won the backup spot. That was no given when training camp started.

  24. 24 Cliff said at 1:31 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    I find irony in a bunch of Internet commentors questioning Castillo’s understanding of LB technique. It looks more and more like we’re not challenging the technique itself, rather the person teaching it. This is a lot like how the criticism of Casey Matthews has become more about the perception of his name and role, rather than the actual play on the field…

    On another note: I think all the discussion about Fitzgerald’s contract, DeSean’s negotiations, and Chris Johnson’s holdout are missing one big point – it’s the market that sets most deals. ESPN analysts are talking about how Fitzgerald’s new deal impacts Chris Johnson like we’re asking how it impacts DeSean’s negotiations. The thing is, these contracts should be set by how much demand each player is generating. Teams can’t just hand out deals based on other deals.

  25. 25 Big Don said at 1:34 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    T. Pryor to Raiders in the 3rd….

  26. 26 CVD said at 1:44 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Its obvious that Castillo wants to have his players be the most “fundamentally sound” (as he likes to say) players in the league.

    It makes sense. If they do everything really well (tackle,cover,etc) and you allow them to play fast, and you have Namdi/Asante/Drc/good dline, and you have an offense lighting up the score board, it sounds like it should work. The key is our offense. We need to score so the other team doesnt run the ball down our throat

  27. 27 CVD said at 1:46 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    T. Pryor to Raiders in the 3rd….

    sounds like a reach to me. if he goes in the 3rd now, wouldnt he have went in the 2nd in the real draft, or even 1st with no red flags? that sounds like yet another huge reach by the raiders

  28. 28 ppk said at 2:46 PM on August 22nd, 2011:


    You are correct, as I am one of the questioners of the person rather than a particular technique. In my mind, Juan’s jump from Oline coach to D Coordinator is huge. I can’t think of much that compares in my 40 years of NFL football. In other aspects of life — politics, business, etc. — this type of promotion would be seen as an enormous risk (unless it was the boss’s kid) and the men involved would be under intense scrutiny to prove the promotion was a wise move. So, you are right, I am cautious about a lot that is going on in the Eagles defense right now. If the D plays well and the wins pile up, I will be happy to admit my suspicious were unwarranted. Very happy.

  29. 29 JImmyK said at 4:32 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Wells – weird dude. At the games last year, he could often be seen standing literally 30 yards away from the rest of the team.

  30. 30 James Umberger said at 4:33 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    @ppk, I believe that Castillo played LB in college and the USFL. If this was ten years ago, I think people would be questioning why a former defensive player was the OL coach for us. I think Castillo has the chops to teach technique. However that is only one phase of the game. Its all other’s combined that may show he is in over his head that have me most concerned.

  31. 31 ppk said at 4:49 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    @James Umberger

    “However that [teach technique] is only one phase of the game. Its all other’s combined that may show he is in over his head that have me most concerned.”

    Well stated. Here’s hoping our concern is for nothing and the guy turns out to be a genius.

  32. 32 McG said at 5:05 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    Re: LBers don’t forget that in the past we have lined guys up during preseason in positions that they didn’t play during the regular season. It is possible that Casey is learning MLB but plays SLB during the season (swapping spots with Chaney). With a limited roster, you can’t argue that it makes sense to cross train players.

    Here is an idea that totally won’t happen, but in my less football informed mind makes sense… Why don’t we expand the depth at one of our deep “strong” points by training a cross over player to be a FB? I’m not that big on Owen Schmidt (maybe because i was spoiled with Weaver) but I could see the sense in teaching someone who is a good blocker like Clay Harbor to take the FB spot and make a roster spot for Lee. Or take someone who is not necessarily likely to make the team like M Favorite and cross train him as FB (I bet he could move a pile). Or someone like Vandervile… I know no one will like this idea and the front office is a lock to not do something like that this year… but it makes sense to me since I can only remember a couple plays where Schmidt really did something cool last year (and way more where he got totally destroyed in blocking).

  33. 33 Austinfan said at 6:04 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    FB is harder than it seems.
    Few “short” TEs have successfully made the transition, Sellers is the most prominant.
    A number of LBs have succeeded, but they rarely have the skill set to do more than block.

    OL/DL simply aren’t nifty enough except in short yardage when you’re just trying to muscle one yard, although Kelce might be athletic enough to pull it off.

  34. 34 McG said at 6:52 PM on August 22nd, 2011:

    thanks for the input Austin, I’ll keep that in mind