Q & A

Posted: August 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 43 Comments »

I’ll post a game preview later today.

* * * * *

Does Steve Smith affect DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin?  No.  For his career, Smith averages 10.8 yards per catch.  DeSean is at 18.3 ypc.  They are completely different kinds of receivers.  I touched on Maclin last night.  If Jeremy misses any time at all, it would be at the beginning of the year.  That’s also the time when Smith won’t be available.  Smith is here as insurance. Remember the playoff loss?  DeSean got hurt and the offense really struggled without him.  Smith doesn’t have his speed, but is a proven NFL receiver.  He knows how to get open and how to move the chains.  Smith truly is an insurance policy.  Plus, there’s nothing wrong with 4 good WRs.  The Packers did okay last year with Driver, Jennings, Jones, and Nelson playing together.

With all the new players…is chemistry going to be an issue?  Possible, but I don’t think so.  The Eagles aren’t trading for guys.  These players are coming here because they want to be here.  As I’ve written in columns, we have two major drawing cards in Andy Reid and Michael Vick.  The new players see the potential for something special to happen here and they want to join in.  Not many players will ever truly be happy unless they get to be “The Guy”, but people seem to be setting that aside this year.  The lockout created a strange situation.  We’re benefiting from it.  I also think it helps that we’ve got a real strong core in place.  You can add pieces when you’ve got good infrastructure already set.

What will happen at RT?  Tricky question.  Ryan Harris is the starter for now. He’s played well since getting to Lehigh.  Now we get a chance to watch him in a game.  As good as he’s looked, we have to remember that his weakness is durability (only made 18 of last 32 potential starts).  Even if we really like Harris, we need a good backup.  The notion of trading or cutting Winston Justice might not be so wise.  If anything happens to Harris, we need someone who can slide in at RT.  I know many people want to move Todd out there (it is possible), but that disrupts the line at LG.  We want to avoid change if at all possible.  Stability is invaluable on the OL.  One question I’d love to ask Louis Riddick, the Eagles Director of Pro Personnel…who was better – Harris in 2008 or Justice in 2009?  Both guys have one good year as a starting RT and then sloppy play after that, which was greatly affected by injury.

What’s our 1st round target in 2012?  Right now it would be RT or DT.  That could change depending on how the new guys do.

Are you happy with the backup LBs?  Not totally.  I need to see them play.  I like Akeem Jordan.  I still have high hopes for Keenan Clayton.  I do not like the thought of Greg Lloyd as the backup MLB.  That said, if he lights it up in a game, I’m open to changing my mind.  I’d rather add a veteran MLB, not as a starter, but as the backup to Casey Matthews.

Speaking of Matthews, will he blitz much this year?  I think he will.  We’ve got quick, upfield DTs that will be firing off the ball.  If we rush the MLB up the middle as well, that’s means single blocking for everyone or the RB has to stay in and block.  Plus, Casey is a good blitzer.  He had 9 sacks in college, a good total for a MLB.

Any word on FB Stanley Havili so far?  Not really.  He hasn’t jumped out at anyone.  I think he’s got a shot to make the Practice Squad, but he’s not going to challenge for a roster spot this year.

What’s going on at TE?  Brent Celek is the incumbent starter, but we’ve not heard all that much about him up at Lehigh.  I dont’ think he’s struggling or anything like that, but the reports just haven’t talked about him much.  Clay Harbor has looked very good.  It would not shock me to see Harbor really push Celek.  Harbor is a better natural athlete.  He’s a better blocker.  The question with Clay is whether he can prove to be a consistently good pass catcher.  We trust Celek.  Harbor hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but he could.  As for Donald Lee…I don’t know what to think.  Dave Spadaro constantly mentions the fact we brought him in on the first day of free agent moves.  That shows serious interest in him.  I would just be surprised if he was here as anything other than camp competition.

Odd point that may interest only me and the draftniks…our 3 top TEs right now (Celek, Harbor, Lee) all stood out in the Shrine Game when they were coming out of college.

Do other teams pay attention to PE.com and depth charts…stuff like that?  Absolutely.  All 32 teams go to each others sites to see what is being written.  Some teams put out mis-information because of this.  The Eagles definitely do.  I’m not telling you to doubt everything that Spadaro, Chris McPherson, or Bo Wulf says.  95% of what is written is on the mark.  Maybe more.  However, little nuggets are worked in for a reason.  The Eagles could be hyping a player they hope to trade.  The Eagles also know agents and players read the site.  Something might be written in the hopes that it will help a negotiation.  The Eagles aren’t naive enough to think that a paragraph by Spadaro will fool someone completely.  The hope is that it will plant a seed in someone’s head that will help them to believe or doubt whatever is being talked about.  It’s hard to say how effective this is, but it doesn’t cost anything so why not do it?

43 Comments on “Q & A”

  1. 1 Immynimmy said at 9:58 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Hey Tommy, why DT? Don’t you think a linebacker would be more imperative. I mean I understand how we view linebackers and the fact that we have so many on our roster may mean that we don’t grab one early. But if the Eagles saw Vontaze Burfict, Dont’a Hightower, or Travis Lewis available during their pick, don’t you think they would pull the trigger?

  2. 2 JakFTW said at 9:58 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Man I am so excited for the game… I don’t know how I’m going to sleep (In Australia, so I have to wake up early for the game).

    My only real concern chemistry-wise relates to our unproven DC. The players may be saying the right things now about Castillo, but what happens when the D has a bad game? Hopefully the players really buy-in to what the defensive coaches are preaching.

  3. 3 Name said at 10:22 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: 53 man roster… any chance we put Havili on PS and cut Owen Schmidt and go without a FB to make room for depth at another position like WR or D-line?

  4. 4 McG said at 10:22 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    oops… name was McG…. lol

  5. 5 Zatoichi said at 10:31 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Tommy I think your initial assessment on Steve Smith might need to re-evaluated. Smith says he thinks he will be ready to play early in the season, week 2 possibly. Adam Schefter is reporting the same. I think Smith was signed b/c Maclin does not look ready to play.

  6. 6 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:38 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: Smith

    Schefter is saying what Smith’s agent is telling him. We’ll see how that goes. If Smith stays on the PUP list and misses our first 6 games, it will give his knee extra rest. He’d then have 10 games to show what he can do. He’d also have extra time to learn the playbook. That’s the ideal scenario.

    It is possible he’s on the field sooner, but don’t count on it.

  7. 7 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:40 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: FB?

    No way we go without one. Gotta have a FB on the roster. It would be interesting to see if Martell Webb learned both FB and TE and could play both. Intriguing player.

    For now, I’m keeping Schmitt on all my roster guesses.

  8. 8 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:42 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: drafting LB

    I’ll write about that in an upcoming post. Possible.

    RT is self explanatory.

    DT could be a need if Cullen Jenkins once again struggles with injuries, Antonio Dixon struggles, and/or Ced Thornton turns out to be a bad fit.

  9. 9 LT said at 10:42 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Tommy — you keep saying you are uncomfortable with Lloyd as the backup MLB, but isn’t that guy really Chaney?

    I don’t see Lloyd making this team.

  10. 10 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:53 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    @ LT…

    Chaney would be the guy to take over at MLB if Casey got hurt. My point is about the roster spot. Is Lloyd someone I want there? I need to see him in game action to get a feel for his speed. I’d have no problem with Lloyd on the P-Squad, but I’m not sure if I want him on the roster right now. Hopefully he plays really well and makes this a moot point.

  11. 11 Kevin (RC) said at 10:55 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    2012 Draft Needs
    DE is my #1
    – Graham is off PUP
    – Babin is over 30
    – Parker is over 30
    – Cole eventually will get hurt/wear down
    – The only young guy is the winner of Hunt/Te’O and as of yet, neither is proven.

    I like that group for THIS year, but I wouldn’t be shocked to make DE a priority in 2012.

  12. 12 GermanEagle said at 11:00 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    2 things:

    1. Why no mention of Brian Rolle? Have we already written him off to the traditional IR where certain rookies are meant to go?

    2. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve never been that excited for a pre-season game in a long long time!

    Bring on Eagles football!!!

  13. 13 Name said at 11:02 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    Depends on who is available but we have 2 2’s next year. So I would look for RT,DT,LB by the end of the second round. Except for the fact that Reid will surprise us all.

  14. 14 eagleizeit said at 11:14 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Tommy I have 2 questions:

    -Would we be able to trade VY b4 march like Patriots did with their QB a couple yrs ago; if there was a high demand for him then.
    -Wouldn’t the Eagles save money in the long run if they traded Asante after this season? I would think we could sign DRC for 5-6 million a yr on a 6-7 yr contract next spring/summer.

  15. 15 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:16 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: Rolle

    I’m stoked to see my guy play. I’ll cover him in the game preview. I am already working on his acceptance speech for Canton in 10-12 years.

  16. 16 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:19 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    @ eagleizeit…

    1. We can use the F-Tag on Vince and then deal him. That is risky, but can be done. That really depends on him this year. If he struggles, we’ll just let him walk. If he plays a few games and looks great, expect us to Tag him and then try to get something back. Eagles wanted a 2 yr deal with him, but Vince said no. We’d love to turn him into a draft pick.

    2. Asante could very well be traded next March. We’d have DRC and NA to start. Marsh might be ready to be #3 at that point. Lindley and Hughes might also be in the mix, depending on how they play in the PS games. I think keeping Asante is a 1-year thing. We’ll see how it works.

  17. 17 Dan said at 11:20 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Any chance that the Eagles make Kelce the FB so that they can keep 10 OL?

    If it came down to cutting either Mike McGlynn or Austin Howard, who would you go with?

    Is there a way to make an account on this site? I don’t feel like entering my name and email each time I make a comment.

  18. 18 Colin said at 11:31 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    Thanks for the high-quality daily awesomeness.

    I’d really be interested in hearing your take on Domo’s piece advocating for Nnamdi in the slot.

  19. 19 GermanEagle said at 11:31 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    I am with you. However you don’t have to type in your email addy in order to post on this site (which I found out only a couple of days ago lol).

  20. 20 Thunderlips said at 11:33 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    2 things, Tommy:

    1. With all these valuable veterans coming in on one year deals, can we expect a glut of compensatory picks in the 2013 draft? If so, are drafts are stacked for the next two years.

    2. What is your take on this being an ‘all-in’ year for Andy? Is this really just a perfect storm of unique factors (Vick/Reid recruiting, short FA period, Eagle’s cap situation) coming together to allow the Eagles to strike it rich, or is Andy looking to go out on top?

  21. 21 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:34 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    @ Dan…

    I’m working on improving the comments section. Unfortunately, it won’t be done before Monday or Tuesday.

    I know many of you prefer the Iggles Blog style comments and I’m looking into that.

  22. 22 Thunderlips said at 11:35 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    ^ That should read “If so, OUR drafts are stacked…”

    I will now go to the penalty box and feel shame….

  23. 23 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:36 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    RE: OL stuff

    Kelce at FB? Interesting thought, but don’t see that. We’re an I-formation team. You need a legit FB. If we were a 1-back team like the Colts, going without a FB would make sense. Maybe Andy will change that up, but as of now…Schmitt will be an Eagle.

    Austin Howard vs Mike McGlynn?

    I’m keeping Howard. Mike is an interior lineman. He was solid last year, but not special. Those guys are replaceable. Howard has the potential to be a starting OT in the NFL. Must get in shape and continue to get better.

    If Mike significantly outplays Howard in the PS games, that could change things. We’re still doing a lot of speculating right now.

  24. 24 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:39 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    @ Thunder…

    1. We could be looking at a nice haul of Comp picks in 2013 if all these FAs leave us. Hadn’t really thought of that. We’d need them to sign good deals to get anything above late round picks.

    2. That topic will be covered in an upcoming column or post. Very relevant question.

  25. 25 Austinfan said at 11:50 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    “That’s also the time when Smith won’t be available. Smith is here as insurance. Remember the playoff loss? DeSean got hurt and the offense really struggled without him.”

    Uh, actually no. The Eagle offense got going when they got away from the big play offense and reverted to ball control WCO.

    Down 21-10 Eagles got the ball at 8:50
    13 play, 75 yard drive, took 4:48
    7 passes, all underneath

    Down 21-17, Eagles got the ball at 1:45
    4 plays, 39 yards, 1:12
    one deep throw to Celek
    If Vick doesn’t underthrow Cooper he has plenty of time to get them into the end zone.
    both drives had one underneath throw to DeSean

    Before that there were no long drives, just three big pass plays, 44 yards to Maclin, 24 yards to Avant TD, 21 yards to Avant. Notice Avant was the guy who came open.

    GB put Shields on DeSean and shut him down, Shields is 6’0 and as fast as DeSean, who only made plays when he stopped taking everything deep and broke off his routes.

    This is why they need to get back to basics, the big play offense works against weak defenses, but you have to move the chains against good defenses and patiently wait for them to make a mistake. Steve Smith is a perfect fit to that kind of offense.

  26. 26 Andrew said at 11:50 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    The Eagles are likely waiting for roster cuts to add a veteran at MLB, don’t you think? Any idea who they might have their eye on? Guys on other teams bubbles that might end up in midnight green?

  27. 27 Midnight Greenville said at 11:53 AM on August 11th, 2011:

    Tommy and Sam,
    Question about Smith and cap implications. I understand he has a base salary of about 2M with another almost 2M in incentives. If he is unable to reach those incentives, does the new CBA still roll over unattained incentives into the next cap year? If so, then it really seems like a win-win. Either he’s productive enough to reach the incentives and we benefit, or he doesn’t play well, we cut him, and we have an extra 2M to work with next year in our cap.

  28. 28 Dan said at 11:54 AM on August 11th, 2011:


    Lol. Don’t know about the email thing. If thats the case, then I really don’t care about creating an accout. Writing the @ symbol is a b**ch

  29. 29 Walter said at 12:03 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    Maclin is headed back to St. Louis for more tests. I’m starting to think that the Smith signing is more related to Maclin’s illness. It’s seems odd to me that his illness couldn’t be diagnosed in Philly. Maybe Smith is an insurance policy for Maclin in case we lose him for an entire year? I don’t know and I hope not.

  30. 30 Name said at 12:26 PM on August 11th, 2011:


    London Fletcher?

  31. 31 @Name said at 1:25 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    I can’t imagine Fletcher is going to get cut in Washington. Unless you’ve heard something I haven’t.

  32. 32 justrelax said at 1:27 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    I think Name may be on to something. Mudd runs a zone blocking scheme, which can work without a true FB. If Andy has bought into that he can use one of the TEs as an H back to seal the back door on stretch plays and Ronnie Brown will do most of the pass blocking.

  33. 33 CVD said at 1:44 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    This is why they need to get back to basics, the big play offense works against weak defenses, but you have to move the chains against good defenses and patiently wait for them to make a mistake


    chicks dig the long ball but sometimes u need to be able to just move the chains. and not try to force it down the field. especially when the D is getting pressre, we cant keep waiting for everything to develope down field.

  34. 34 Iowa Eagle said at 2:25 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    I hate to pretend I’ve got a PHD here, but something that really worried me today is when I googled Maclin’s symptoms. The two diseases that kept coming up were Lymphocytic Leukemia and AIDS… Yikes

  35. 35 MikeD said at 2:41 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    Is it just me or is the Maclin situation starting to resemble Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?? Not being serious but the way everyone is speculating, rumors will continue to get more salacious.

  36. 36 Morton said at 2:44 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    Here’s a question for you Tommy:

    Why are the Eagles’ first round picks of the past decade or so seemingly cursed and destined to be ineffective?

    2002: Lito Sheppard – complained his way out of town
    2003: Jerome McDougle – ‘Nuff said.
    2004: Shawn Andrews – complete headcase
    2005: Mike Patterson – fine, but brain condition?
    2006: Brodrick Bunkley – he sucked and was traded for a bag of chips
    2007: none, but Kolb was traded away and might be a star for another team
    2008: none, but DeSean Jackson might be a bigger headache than we expect
    2009: Jeremy Maclin – has some kind of serious medical condition that might sideline him for his career
    2010: Brandon Graham – serious microfracture surgery in this rookie year, might end his career or he might never be able to play at a high level again

    Seriously, this is awful. I know every team has its hits and misses, but I challenge you to find a single NFL team that has a worse track record with first round picks in the past decade. Maybe the Bills? The Raiders?

  37. 37 Stephen said at 2:48 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    Maclins illness imo is very troubling, regardless of how many people are saying its not serious. Just the fact that they can’t seem to diagnose it is pretty absurd. The only thing I can possibly think of is maybe its something that would be personally embarassing so they’re not disclosing what it is.

  38. 38 Stephen said at 2:51 PM on August 11th, 2011:


    Shawn Andrews was a stud for several years before he went nuitsoid, so not a complete failure.

    I dont see how you can blame Mike Pattersons brain condition as a failure on the eagles scouting department.

    In return for Kolb we got DRC and a 2nd rounder, how is this considered failure?

    Desean will be fine.

    Maclin, sidelined for his career? thats a little presumptuous don’t you think?

    please take off the shit colored glasses my friend, it hurts you more than you realize.

  39. 39 Steve D. said at 2:52 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    “RE: Rolle

    I’m stoked to see my guy play. I’ll cover him in the game preview. I am already working on his acceptance speech for Canton in 10-12 years.”

    Tommy, Rolle would be one of the best of all time if he made the hall of fame after only a 5-7 year career!

  40. 40 Steve D. said at 2:56 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    In Morton’s defense, he never blamed the scouting department (in this post). He just commented that our first round picks for the past decade haven’t worked out very well.

    Also, Morton, you could have extended it a year yto add:

    2001 – Freddie Mitchell

  41. 41 Morton said at 3:24 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    Steve: Yeah, how could I be so remiss? Mitchell is the poster boy for first round draft failure.

    Stephen: What if Kolb plays at a high level in Arizona for the next 5+ years? No matter how good DRC is for the Eagles, trading away a franchise QB for him would be a terrible failure. The likely outcome is that DRC will be a decent CB or even a Lito Sheppard-like malcontent, and that 2nd round pick will turn into a player of the likes of Reggie Brown. And if Kolb becomes the Cardinals’ franchise QB, the trade was an absymal failure for the Eagles. Really, the only way the Eagles come out on this trade is if Kolb turns out to suck.

    I spent a good hour or so browsing through draft histories on pro-football-reference.com and the one common thread you see among all of the most successful teams of the past ten years (Steelers, Packers, Colts, Patriots) is that their Super Bowl teams are almost entirely comprised of home-grown, drafted players and very few free agents, AND their draft classes leading up to their Super Bowl year, in multiple consecutive sequences, are often stacked with contributors in the first round through the late rounds. All of those four teams seem to miss far less often on draft picks than the other teams in the league, and it directly leads to success.

    The Eagles have had *some* draft success but have far too many misses to be considered in that class. I’m skeptical that a team that “builds” through free agency because it misses on so many draft picks can be successful in the NFL because past history has shown that the opposite is true: teams that build through the draft and consistently manage to select long-term contributors throughout the rounds and elite players in the higher rounds have the most success in the NFL.

  42. 42 scouseeagle said at 3:27 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    I’ve no phd either so this is just speculation but I have ulcerative colitis which can have symptoms similar to what I’ve heard with Jeremy Maclin.

    I lost over 40lbs in less than a fortnight. The medication caused me to put it back on again quickly. It took weeks to diagnose because it is very close to chrones disease. The specialists had to wait for tests before confirming it. The meds are different so they wouldn’t tell me what I had until they were certain.

    Good news is, if it is that, David Garrard of the Jags has had Chrones for years and has done alright

  43. 43 Kevin (RC) said at 3:28 PM on August 11th, 2011:

    No offense Morton, but you’re completely off the mark.
    The Eagles have drafted well. Heck, most of our team last year was drafted by us. Notable exceptions were Vick, Peters and Asante. Otherwise, the only starter we didn’t draft was Ernie Sims…who was terrible beyond belief.

    We draft well