Reviewing the PS Finale

Posted: September 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 31 Comments »

I haven’t finished reviewing the whole game.  I got through almost 3 quarters and saw what I felt I needed to see.  After all, we’re really focusing on a handful of guys.

Before I get into the player evaluations, please note that we always have to remember preseason games can give us false positives.  Hugh Douglas was productive in the summer of 2005, but then got cut.  I was surprised.  What about the sacks and QB pressures?  The scouts and coaches were able to see that what he did against 2nd and 3rd stringers wouldn’t work against starters.  Hugh retired.

A couple of years later Jerome McDougle had a fantastic preseason.  He was productive and disruptive.  The Eagles cut him.  He signed with the Giants and was a non-factor.  Again, he feasted on backups.

Veteran players know the tricks of the trade.  They can get the best of young backups and look impressive, when in fact they aren’t as good as they appear.


G Julian Vandervelde — Good game.  He got beat a couple of times, but played well most of the night.  I was hoping Watkins would have a game like this.  I have said that Vandervelde was more of a Practice Squad guy, but this game made me think he’s definitely going to make the team.

RB Dion Lewis — Wow, was I wrong to doubt him.  Dion has been flat out terrific this summer.  He shows vision, footwork, balance, strength, and acceleration.  Those are key RB qualities.  He ran well.  Good on screens.  Had some good pass blocks.  Finally got a KOR.  Took it back 39 yards.  Forget about the roster, he’s played his way into the offensive gameplan.  I hope he earned the KOR role last night.

RS/WR Sinorice Moss — Solid night as a receiver (3-49).  Looked good as a PR.  Showed the ability to make something out of nothing when guys were already on him.  Broke off a 30-yard return when he did have some room.  Looked quick, fast.  Caught the ball well.

C A.Q. Shipley — He hadn’t gotten a ton of work this summer with the team working in Jason Kelce so much and also wanting  to give reps to Mike McGlynn.  Shipley played 3 Qtrs in this game and looked good.  He’s got a legit chance to be the backup C this year.

LB Brian Rolle — At this point, I’ll just go ahead and claim him as my long lost son.  Terrific game.  Rolle was fast and physical.  He had 1.5 sacks.  He chased the QB out wide on another play.  Solid vs the run.  Blew up a run play with penetration.  Drew a holding call on an outside run play.  The little ball of hate was no fun for the Jets offense.

DE Phillip Hunt — Another good game.  He was credited with 3 tackles and a sack.  He was disruptive on several other plays.

LB Keenan Clayton — Played well.  Credited with 5 total tackles.  Had 1/2 a sack.  Broke up a few passes.  Covered well on other plays.  He was fast and athletic.  His run defense is still an issue, but he did show some progress.

PK Alex Henery — Missed a FG, but then bounced back and hit one from 49 yards.  Showing that he can recover from a miss is as important as hitting a long kick.  Some PKs have a fragile mentality and go into panic mode.  Alex was fine.  He also had good depth on some of his KOs.


RS/WR Chad Hall — He muffed a punt, but was able to fall on the ball.  He then caught the next one and started upfield, only to have a defender knock the ball loose.  Hall wasn’t able to make anything happen when he did have the ball.  Andy may keep him, but he shouldn’t. Chad hasn’t earned a spot this summer.  Biggest issue is that I don’t see any progress from last year.

FB Stanley Havili — He needed a strong showing to lock up a Practice Squad spot, but Havili didn’t impress me.  I really get the feeling he wants to be a RB.  He had a 20-yard catch and 10-yard run last night.  He also had a fumble.  His blocking isn’t there.  Stanley my friend, FBs in the NFL must be able to block.  Then comes catching and running.  Blocking isn’t optional.


RG Danny Watkins — He was just more of the same.  He had some real good plays, he had some bad plays.  Good run blocker.  Had a couple of very good pass blocks.  When he’s able to get in front of the rusher and get his hands on the guy, Danny wins.  When he’s late with his hands, the DL gets by him.  Danny must be quicker and more decisive with his hands.  He was good on screens and plays out in space.

I do want to give credit to Jets DL Marcus Dixon (#94).  That dude played his butt off.  He got the best of Watkins, McGlynn, and Vandy at times.  He was a good pass rusher when lined up in the 3-technique.  Very quick off the ball.  He was strong vs the run.  Had 3 tackles, 1/2 sack, and a batted pass.  Dixon was the best DL on the field for either team.

DT Trevor Laws — Real, real tough situation with Trevor.  He’s been injured and unable to play.  He gets out there in the final preseason game and has a solid showing, but I don’t know if that’s enough.  The new scheme is all about the DL getting penetration and being disruptive.  Laws did not play on the other side of the line very much.  His highlight was a bull rush where he batted down a pass.  I didn’t see him hit the QB at all.  I didn’t see him get to a RB in the backfield.  Derek Landri on the other hand was exploding off the ball and playing in the backfield a lot.  Trevor looked more like he was playing in last year’s system.  My guess is that he gets traded to Carolina.


* King Dunlap had a good showing at LT. He wasn’t lights out, but looked like a solid veteran facing marginal talent.  Solidified himself as #3 OT.  Real good block on Vince’s TD throw.

* Reggie Wells got the job done at RT, but boy…there is nothing smooth about his game.  He always looks like he’s holding on for dear life.  Stays active.  Uses his hands well.  Did have a couple of good run blocks.

* Austin Howard looked solid.  I haven’t finished with his stuff, but he was more confident and smoother this week.

* Vince Young had a pretty good game.  He was 15-23-193 with a TD.  My issue is that there are still a handful of plays where he holds the ball too long and the play feels like it is headed in a disastrous direction.  Young got hurt late in the half on a bootleg play.

* Mike Kafka helped himself.  He showed his teammates just how tough he was by taking a monster shot to the ribs, but then getting up and staying in the game.  Jason Avant was warming up to take his place.  Kafka had okay numbers, but showing that kind of toughness will make his teammates really appreciate him.

* Donald Lee had a good game.  He was 3-52 as a receiver.  I was impressed with his RAC yards.  His best play was a pass near the sideline where Lee leapt over a defender and stretched for the 1st down.  Some team that’s looking for a TE will sign him after we let him go.  Solid summer.


* Daniel Te’o Nesheim had a solid showing, but he needed to stand out to really help his cause.  Teo has looked good at times and has potential, but our suddenly deep set of DEs put him in a tough situation.  Being okay isn’t good enough.  Teo has a real battle to make the team.

* Anthony Hargrove started at LDE and had a solid game.  He was disruptive vs run and pass.

* Chris Wilson had another good game, but think about the McDougle situation referenced earlier.  Wilson is a veteran player of the NFL and CFL.  He’s got 6 sacks in 64 NFL games.  He does look quick and athletic.  If we had a 60 man roster I’d be tempted to keep him and give him a shot, but I do think playing against backups makes him look better than he really is.

* Akeem Jordan helped himself.  I was impressed with his showing.  He made one good tackle on a short throw over the middle.  Closed quickly and put the guy down.  Best play was a run where he was engaged by an OL.  Jordan drove the OL over to where the RB was and helped make the tackle.  That’s tough, physical run defense.  I don’t know that he’s a lock for the roster, but he did help his cause.

* Brandon Hughes was in on a couple of STs tackles.  He’s going to be the #4 CB this year and it’s important that he show up on STs.  Gave up a TD, but the QB made a great throw and there was nothing Hughes could have done.

* Rashad Jeanty played his best game of the summer.  He tackled well.  Had a FF.  Stripped the ball from a RB in traffic.  I think he’s got no shot for our roster, but the good tape could help him elsewhere.

* * * * *

Andy Reid made an odd decision to go for it on 4th/1 late in the half.  We had the ball at the 9-yard line.  I wanted us to kick the FG.  Reid felt it was a gimme kick and nothing would be gained.  It pretty much is a gimme, but the rookie PK needs as many reps as possible.  Why not give him a chance to get in an easy kick?  Vince Young got hurt on the play, making me and plenty of others mad at the decision not to kick.

If you’re down at the 2 or 3, go for it.  That’s beyond a chip shot.  Plus, you get to see the guys in the goal line offense.  4th down from the 9?  Just kick the ball.

I was at least satisfied with Andy’s logic.  He had such confidence in Henery that a 27-yard FG wasn’t important to him.  I disagree with the thinking, but that is better than Andy telling me he wanted to see the backup offense score a TD and that kicking wasn’t an option.

* * * * *


* * * * *

I’ll be making my roster predictions later.


31 Comments on “Reviewing the PS Finale”

  1. 1 Max said at 1:41 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Tommy – I am very worried by Watkins – he going to go up against some very good DLinemen – who is his backup? Just in case he gets benched

  2. 2 Cliff said at 1:50 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Can’t really blame Havili for sucking in his role. He is what he is… which isn’t a fullback. Not really anyway.

    I was never a fan of the pick. Just odd. Why not draft a “true” fullback if we’re going to keep a spot for one? Vick seems to like throwing to Schmitt anyway.

  3. 3 Liman said at 1:51 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Tommy,what’s up with Antonio Dixon? Has he been practicing and is gonna be ok for the start of the season. I’m worried about him,Tommy

  4. 4 JakFTW said at 1:52 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    I’m very interested to see your initial 53 Tommy.

    We are going to have to cut some pretty decent football players and I have a suspicion that we see 2-3 of those guys later in the year with division rivals.

  5. 5 tball said at 1:58 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Mr vick and his rookie rg better get together and have a real heart to heart. B/c it looks to me watkins has lost all ability to use his instincts. I fear the worst, should this kid start in nine days.

  6. 6 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:00 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    RE: Dixon

    Antonio is pretty healthy as far as I know. He’s just behind in adjusting to the new style of play. He had some good moments. I didn’t focus on him too much since he’s a lock to make the team.

    He’ll be a backup initially, but when the light fully goes on for him, he could win back a starting spot.

  7. 7 umby23294 said at 2:09 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Intro. paragraph says it all as for the fringe players who do or don’t make the roster. Really excited by some of our picks in the last two years. Laws and Hall are gone. I would like us to move on from Dunlap but with Harris and Justince hurt and Howard still needing time to get his weight down he might be our best option as the backup RT, really unfortunate and how does Howard come in out of shape as a 2nd year fringe player. Not smart regardless of his access (or lack of) to personal traniners.

  8. 8 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:09 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    RE: Lance Briggs

    I accidentally deleted a comment where someone asked if we should have any interest. Briggs is demanding a trade.

    Briggs would be a terrific WLB for us. He’s a proven veteran and complete player. Very tempting to push for him.

    Unfortunately I don’t see anything happening. First, you’d have to part with a high pick to get him. Next, Briggs wants a new deal. Yes he’s a good player, but he’s also going to turn 31 in November. Do you give big dollars to a WLB that’s going on 31? Not likely.

    Interesting subject for discussion, but nothing will come of it.

  9. 9 Eric said at 2:23 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Obviously I’m disappointed in Henery missing a field goal, but a lot of guys miss field goals up there.

    I think it’s important he gets a decent season in and learns all the nuances of the different stadiums.

    I’m ok with him being a 70% kicker away from home in his first season. If he’s missing that at home, I’m going to be worried.

  10. 10 izzylangfan said at 2:45 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Henery missed one of two from 40+ yards. So lets not get crazy.

  11. 11 CVD said at 2:46 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    “Brandon Hughes was in on a couple of STs tackles. He’s going to be the #4 CB this year”


    Are you saying if he makes the team he will likely be the 4th corner or are you saying you think its pretty much a done deal that he will be our 4th corner?

    also i hope dunlap makes the team, he is a good backup tackle and is cheap.

  12. 12 ian no. 2 said at 2:59 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    I’m looking at the cap numbers and they seem to tell a story as to how things are going to shake in the next 27 hours. Maybe I’m reading this wrong and appreciate any cap expert intervention. I still think Parker is a better rotational DE than the other non-starters, but he’s a goner because they can save $$$ without much of a cap hit. Same deal with JJackson. I think that has a lot to do with the decision to start Kelce, and look for McGlynn or Shipley to make the team as the backup after JJ is cut or traded, cuz they have no dead money after getting rid of him. Shipley’s a half million cheaper than McGlynn. Tapp they’re sort of stuck with and the current regime traded for him, ditto Justice who was reupped by the current FO.

    Hanson is a sort of tweener here.. they’d have dead money if they traded him but think they may get picks and develop their young trio (or duo based on the cuts). As I’ve said I think DRC is overrated and they should flip him, as Hanson was according to Football Outsiders the best slot guy in the league last year.

    Parker 3.5M savings, 800K dead
    JJax 1.575M savings, $0 dead
    Tapp 1.25M savings, 2M dead
    Justice 900K, 2.8M dead+ smaller amount next 2 years
    Hanson 870K, 1.36M dead
    Laws 550K savings, 362K dead
    McGlynn 550K savings, 120K dead

    Nate Allen’s dead $$s is 700K higher than his cap figure, so there will be platitudes about how he’s just about to turn the corner, etc.

  13. 13 ian no. 2 said at 3:11 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    I’ve read three columnists now that say Reggie Wells will make the team. Really? Is Austin Howard that fat that Reggie Wells will make the team? I would be surprised and a little irked.

  14. 14 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:17 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    @ CVD…

    Hughes has made the team. He’ll be the #4 CB. Hanson is outta here. Question of trade or cut. Eagles are working on that.

  15. 15 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:23 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    @ ian…

    Nate Allen is going nowhere. He’ll be the starter eventually (a month or two or even next year). Team really likes him. He had a good rookie year. You don’t like him and that’s fine, but he’s not as bad a player as you think. Steve Wyche of had Nate pegged as a breakout player prior to the knee setback.

    JamJax will be cut/traded based more on fit/happiness than cost. I think Andy would love to keep him, but if he thinks Jamaal might not be focused/happy this year, then deal him and go with Shipley.

    Team still likes Tapp. Think he can be very good backup and role player. Could be effective starter if Trent (god forbid) got hurt.

    Justice will likely stay on the PUP list.

    Laws, I think, is trade bait.

    McGlynn is either dealt or cut. Just doesn’t fit the new scheme. He can play in a different scheme. Not great laterally, which is key in new scheme.

  16. 16 Eric said at 3:40 PM on September 2nd, 2011:


    I think they made a good point on DNL the other day. I think it was Les that said he believes Reid wasn’t able to pull Mudd out of retirement with the idea that Reid had a good amount of input on who stays and goes on the offensive line. He probably gave Mudd the promise of complete autonomy. So, yeah, I agree that even if Reid would like Jackson here, he’s a goner because Mudd says so.

  17. 17 iskar36 said at 3:59 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Are the Eagles going into the season with too many high-risk situations? I have no problem with having a couple positions being question marks going into a season; I think every team has that and the hope is that either the questionable player surprises or that the talent around him covers his weaknesses. That being said, we seem to be pushing some of those high risk moves.

    1. The MLB situation has been discussed a ton, both in terms of the starter and the lack of a solid backup

    2. At center, we have a rookie starting and we seem to be on the verge of cutting the TWO players on the team who have had previous experience there, leaving a guy who hasn’t managed to make a 53 man roster so far.

    3. At RG, no one can say they are 100% confident in Watkins yet. He could end up being great (personally, I think he has the physical talent to be great, just needs to work on the mental part of the game), but he has yet to show he can put it all together.

    4. Herremans, while a quality player, is changing positions and hasn’t even had an opportunity to play there with the rest of the starters (note: I am just pointing out a fact, not suggesting that he should have played in the 4th preseason game).

    5. Going with a rookie punter and rookie kicker who obviously have no backup behind them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be down on the team. We have a ton of talent obviously, but there just seems to be a lot of high risk moves.

  18. 18 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:13 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    @ iskar…

    Team is absolutely rolling the dice at some spots.

    Eagles might try to upgrade at backup MLB and C. There could be vets that fit us well and we’re just waiting to see if the guys are cut.

    We’re normally very active around cut time. Some guys pan out (A. Dixon) while others don’t (Pago Togafau).

  19. 19 Morton said at 4:52 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    I don’t know how you could miss Derek Landri in your “winners” section. He was easily the best DT, and maybe defensive player, on the field last night.

    There was one great play where two offensive linemen doubled him and pushed him to the side, but he fought and fought and got off the block long enough to reach out and grab the running back with one hand and stall him while a LB (Jeanty) came up and stripped him of the ball. The play looked as if it was all Jeanty, but Landri was the one who made it possible by fighting through the double team and reaching out for the runner.

    Brian Rolle, Anthony Hargrove and Philip Hunt were the next two most impressive defensive players. Rolle is a beast who plays with intelligence and enthusiasm. Hunt is just too fast for most OTs and breezes past them off the edge. Hargrove is fast and disruptive and consistently so.

    I hate to say this, because he was such an integral part of the run defense last year, but Antonio Dixon might just be one of those “losers” you listed. He is basically the perfect fit for the old defense which put a premium on stopping the run from the DT position, but he is a misfit in the new system of upfield penetration. He doesn’t have the speed or agility to shoot the gaps consistently, but he is very tough to move off the line. However, in this defensive scheme, that probably isn’t enough. He might be a surprise cut.

    Does anybody else but me envision a future DE duo of Philip Hunt (LDE) and Brandon Graham (RDE)? I’m talking maybe 2 years down the road. Could be the next Mathis/Freeney.

  20. 20 iskar36 said at 5:11 PM on September 2nd, 2011:


    I hate to snap you out of it, but did you just endorse Graham? I literally had to do a double take.

    I didn’t go back and rewatch the play, but I thought I saw Laws slowing the RB down on that play as well. I could very easily be wrong though. The decision at DT will be very interesting when it comes to roster cuts. We will definitely have to cut a quality player. I agree that Dixon has taken a step back with the switch in style, but I do think having a guy with Dixon’s size gives us some flexibility.

    As for Hunt, I don’t know I am as high on him as you are, but he has had a great preseason and not only should make the team, but he may have earned some playing time as well.

  21. 21 eagles nut said at 5:16 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    I don’t see them cutting Lee. Remember they kept 3 TEs most of last year. I know Harbor is more experienced now. I just think Lee brings more value than a limited FB like Schmitt.

    As far as Shipley goes, I really doubt he makes the team. He’s been what 4th string most of camp? The one interesting thing is that early in camp he was listed as working with the 1st team on one of the STs units. I thought then he may have a chance, but not now.

  22. 22 Max said at 5:20 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    “Some guys pan out (A. Dixon) while others don’t (Pago Togafau).”

    @Tommy – Other than Dixon, I cannot recall anyone they picked up real late that made an impact -maybe I am wrong – I remember Witherspoon – everyone said he will be a great fit – did not fit at all (or was not given enough time)…please correct me if I am wrong

  23. 23 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:37 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    @ iskar…

    Shut up man!!! And write down the date.

    Somebody get ATG so he can document this.

  24. 24 Jernst said at 5:45 PM on September 2nd, 2011:


    Stallworth had a pretty decent impact as a last minute addition, although if my memory serves me correctly, he was a trade.

  25. 25 nicolajNN said at 5:46 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    RE: Landri
    My guess would be that Tommy had him making the roster, thus he did not gain much from yesterday’s performance.

    Tommy, I have read people say different things but has Allen’s role changed from last year or just the name? Some say that he’s been playing more in the box.

    And not to beat a dead horse, but do you think with this RB corp do you think we might run a little more than usual?

  26. 26 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:47 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    @ Max…

    I’ll have to think about that. Years and players mix into each other as time goes by. I think we signed TE Alex Smith in Sept. 2009. He was good role player. We signed AJ Feeley late in 2007 and he was good for 2 more yrs.

    I think we normally go for band-aid players around cutdown date. Vets that fill specific holes. We do add some young guys to the P-Squad from other teams.

  27. 27 Iskar36 said at 5:54 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    First wave of cuts:

    Eagles Philadelphia Eagles
    by EaglesInsider
    #Eagles have released: LB Jeanty, S Wall, WR Harper, DE Wilson, C Shipley, TE Ingram, FB Havili, G Reynolds, RB Graig Cooper

    I have to say I am a bit relieved by the Shipley cut. I figure they will keep at least one backup, whether it is JamJax or McGlynn, at center, but at least we now have a guy that has some experience there if Kelce struggles.

  28. 28 ATG said at 5:56 PM on September 2nd, 2011:


    Would the veteran false positive also apply to players like Jordan, Dunlap, and Lee? They haven’t logged as much game time, but the have faced pro competition and enjoyed pro coaching for longer than the young guys they are facing. Does Hunt’s CFL time apply?

    I am rooting for Hunt over Parker, and to a lesser extent, the young CB trio over Hanson. Partly because I like to think we are upgrading and partly because I would hate seeing Hunt tearing it up on another team when Parker is retiring.

    I think if we keep in perspective what it actually takes to win it all, we can be optimistic. Considering past winners, what does a team really need? They do not need 53 great players. Realistically, I think a team needs around 5 special players (check), 20 solid starter/short-term fill-in type guys (check), 20 roll players that can contribute something (check), luck, good fortune, advantageous bounces, blessings of the right guys healthy at the right time, and luck.

    Everyone is going to face injury. The teams that do well happen to experience those injuries in areas where they have guys that can step up.

    Everyone has guys that they project to be solid starters based on less data than they would like. The teams the do well guess right on most of the guys.

    We would need every single gamble to come up a winner in order to win every game comfortably this year. I am okay if that does not happen. If we end the year with a 4 or 5 game win streak, I will consider the year a success.

  29. 29 ian no. 2 said at 6:37 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    Nixon goes to China, Morton compares Brandon Graham to Dwight Freeney

  30. 30 GB said at 7:02 PM on September 2nd, 2011:

    On the 4th and 1 play, are you sure you’re not playing a bit of friday morning QB, Tommy?

    VY would have likely run in for the TD on that play if he does not pull up with the hammy and no one would have mentioned anything except how good a call it was by Reid and what a good play it was by VY.

    Reid gets hammered at times for kicking FG instead of going for it too so its a no-win situation for him, but I bet he wanted to practice that scenario and give VY a chance to make another play….

    Its just bad luck he pulled a hammy untouched while rolling out on the designed play….does not make it a bad call in my eyes…

  31. 31 Austinfan said at 12:06 AM on September 3rd, 2011:

    I think both Hargrove and Landri are on thin ice.

    Laws is more physical than Landri, and his 4 sacks last year suggests he can rush the passer in this system, he was rusty tonight and they’ll take that into account.

    Problem with Hargrove is he’s just not an explosive pass rusher playing outside, if he’s not in the top 8 that dress, do you keep a 28 year old DL on a one year contract over a younger player?

    I thought Jordan looked more comfortable at MLB, and Rolle can fill in with experience, he’s short, but he’s not that small (230 lbs), how big do you think Beason is?

    JJ or McGlynn, ouch, not sure, JJ is the better player, McGlynn showed he could at least fill in at RT, but JJ was a LT in college a decade ago.

    Vandervelde needs lots of work, but the talent is there.

    Dion Lewis looks more and more like Westbrook, he’s 5’7 195 instead of 5’8 200, but he’s also a year or two younger coming into the league and should add a little strength as he matures, breaking tackles and ankles, he was a steal.