Danny Watkins To Start?

Posted: October 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

Danny Watkins got some reps with the first team last week.  The Eagles are giving him a lot of reps as the starting RG this week in hopes that he will start on Sunday against the Bills.

Good news.

Kyle DeVan struggled vs SF.  Part of that was him, part was the talent of Ray McDonald, a guy who is underrated year after year.  Watkins has been improving in practice for the past 6 weeks.  He’s getting more comfortable with his adjustment from LT to RG, and from college to the NFL.

Watkins is a player that Howard Mudd really wanted.  Mudd, and many others, think Watkins can be a Pro Bowl G.  He’s got the physical ability.  He just needed some time to adapt.  I hope he is able to get on the field this week.  Danny could improve the O-line if he’s able to limit his mistakes.  There will be plays when he does impressive things.  You just have to make sure that his screw-ups don’t lead to disastrous plays.

* * * * *

Jaiquawn Jarrett is getting mixed into the defense more and more at practice, but Andy Reid didn’t indicate he’ll be on the field any time soon.  Reid said Jarrett did okay on the STs snaps that he got last week.

* * * * *

I’m gonna try to answer some questions.  I’ve missed quite a few in recent days.  I’m not avoiding anyone or any subjects.  I just don’t have time to write all my stuff and answer every question in a timely fashion.  These are some of the hot topics.

Eagles CBs playing back as Safeties?  What we’re talking about is when teams come out in a 1-WR set or if they stack both WRs to one side.  The Eagles are having the open CB move back to deep Safety.  One Safety plays down on the guy in the slot.  The other Safety then plays down in the box.  The Eagles aren’t the only team to do this.  I’m not a big fan of it, but it isn’t original.  Against 1-WR sets I would pull Asante and put someone else on the field.  Throw Joselio Hanson out there.  He’s a good tackler that can cover as well.

Jim Johnson used to pull Bobby Taylor off the field.  He would put a S at his spot.  Rashard Cook was the guy back in 1999 and 2000.  Very good run defender.  Later on JJ came up with the idea of sliding Sheldon Brown back to deep Safety against certain looks.  That was smart.  Sheldon was a good run defender and could make plays if a runner got by the LBs.  Nnamdi and Asante are not good run defenders.

When teams stack their WRs to one side…that complicates things.  Some people believe in having the CB follow the receiver and lining up there.  Others leave the CB backside and have the Safety play like a slot back.  This happens most of the time around the league.

Why are 2nd year players struggling so much?  Anyone who read my notes on Jamar Chaney knows I’m very down on him right now.  Kurt Coleman got benched.  Te’o didn’t show the kind of progress we hoped for this summer.  Nor Trevard Lindley.  What’s going on?  Howie Roseman made the point back in late July or early August that he thought a lot of 2nd year players would struggle.  He said that they would be the real losers in the lockout situation.

His point was that the players finish their rookie season in mid-January.  They take off the next 4 to 6 weeks and then offseason workouts start in March.  The camps are in May and June.  Training Camp is July.  The preseason is August and it’s right back to the regular season.  There is very limited down time so the players don’t lose what they learned as rookies.  They are able to build off that and take a big step forward.  Howie knew there would be issues.  He didn’t expect Chaney and Coleman to struggle as much as they are.

Some fans will say, but “what about this guy or that guy” from other teams that are playing well.  There are no absolutes in the world or in football.  There are exceptions to every situation.  Go back and look at the whole draft.  Very mixed bag.

One thing that helped many of the guys who are doing well is stability.  There was no scheme change or coaching change.  The player had the same role as last year and didn’t have to learn new ideas in a compressed time.  That leads us to the next question…

Were the Eagles wrong to fire Sean McDermott?  No.  Sean had issues with the performance of his defense, but just as critical was the fact he was creating some friction in the organization.  Sean had the unenviable task of replacing a legend in Jim Johnson.  Sean didn’t handle that well.  Rather than just trying to be himself, the guy who everyone loved over the years as he climbed the ladder, Sean changed.  He became Defensive Coordinator Guy.  He ruffled some feathers and just didn’t handle the situation well at all.  Sean is very smart and has a chance to succeed in Carolina where he can just be himself.  He had to go, from a personality standpoint as well as his other issues (communication, X’s and O’s, etc.).

36 Comments on “Danny Watkins To Start?”

  1. 1 PhillyFollower said at 7:05 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    “Per @profootballfocus snap counts. 6 1st-rd. picks have played 0 snaps. 4 have been injured, 1 is a backup QB. The other is Watkins. ”

    I found this tweet by Sheil Kapadia very interesting. At least Watkins is finally getting on the field. Not sure how much different he’s going to be playing than he was in preseason though.

  2. 2 Dewey said at 7:14 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Really? I found that quote completely useless. We’re FOUR games into the season. A season that didn’t have an off-season. Who the fuck cares about whether a player has played the first four games? Seriously, what is the deal other than finding an opportunity to portray Eagles/Watkins in a needlessly negative light.

  3. 3 PhillyFollower said at 7:19 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I was unaware that only 6 1st-round picks had 0 snaps. I thought the count would have been higher due to the lack of an off-season, as you say. I think I’m reasonably upset when I see that our 1st round pick is the only one who isn’t playing without a good reason. Especially when that pick was expected to start from the get-go.

  4. 4 Dewey said at 9:58 PM on October 5th, 2011:


    What do you mean “reasonably upset”? It’s FOUR games into a season! FOUR GAMES.

    And what does “without a good reason” imply? How about “Howard Mudd doesn’t think he’s ready.” Isn’t that good enough? What would be good enough? Maybe if Reid and Mudd told everyone the areas they’d like to see Watkins improve? Yeah, that would be a good precedent for a Head Coach to set.

    We’re talking about FOUR games, in a new system, at a new position, without an off-season. FOUR.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 10:05 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I agree with PhillyFollower.

    One of Watkins’ selling points was that he would be able to start right away. So it is a little concerning that, other than a QB, he is the only uninjured 1st round pick that hasn’t taken a snap yet.

    When you use a 1st round pick on an OG he better turn out to be great or you wasted a pick. You can find mediocre offensive guards in the later rounds or the waiver wire.

  6. 6 PhillyFollower said at 10:46 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    The Eagles drafted Danny Watkins with the expectation that he’d be starting from day one. He got benched for a guy like Kyle DeVan. The Eagles knew that there was going to be a short off-season. Therefore, it is not looking like a good pick right now. Therefore, I find that disappointing.

    Danny (and the Eagles) can prove me wrong by going out there and playing great (or showing signs that he CAN play great soon). There’s still time, but I’m allowed to be disappointed based on how this has played out so far. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. But it’s how I feel.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 7:24 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I think Watkins should be an improved player with 6 extra weeks.

    He started practicing with the Eagles about August 5th. You then saw him play on the 11th, 18th, 25th, and 9/1. That was less than a month of practice, but 4 games.

    He’s now had 5 weeks of practice (including this one). That builds off what he learned in the first month. The more you practice, the better you should get. Things should be much more natural to him right now. I don’t expect him to be perfect, but I’ll be very disappointed if he looks completely lost.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 7:52 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I was curious when you wrote it in your article, and now even more so based on this reply. When you wrote, “Watkins has been improving in practice for the past 6 weeks. He’s getting more comfortable with his adjustment from LT to RG, and from college to the NFL.” was that based on something you heard or is it based on what we should expect? I mean, you would certainly think that the additional time should have helped Watkins, but I guess the question is how much it has helped. It would be interesting to find out how much this move is based on Watkins’ improvements and how much is based on DeVan’s limitations. Obviously, it is a little bit of both, but you would hope that Watkins is actually improving and starting to impress the coaches that they feel they can put him onto the field.

  9. 9 Scott Buchanan said at 11:24 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Danny will do just fine..mark it down

  10. 10 Mac said at 7:45 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Do they have a stat for how many snaps those first round picks have actually had a positive impact on vs. how many had a negative impact vs. how many had basically no impact either way?

    Stats can tell whatever story you want them to tell.

  11. 11 PhillyFollower said at 8:12 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    And that’s a fair point.

    It’s still disappointing that Watkins hasn’t even been able to get on the field yet. Hopefully he has a great game Sunday.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 11:06 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    You’re being needlessly defensive. It’s nothing more than a statistical observation. Those players who’ve played more than 0 snaps aren’t guaranteed to have good careers, and Watkins isn’t guaranteed to have a bad one. The fact that an observation points to a negative conclusion doesn’t necessarily mean the person making the observation agrees with that negative conclusion.

    It’s worth knowing that of all the first round picks, Watkins is the only one who has yet to play and isn’t injured or a QB. What you do with that information is your decision.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 8:34 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    It is certainly not what we hoped, but much like the backup QB, OL is not a spot where you can get a guy on the field here and there. With the continuity issues, it is more of an all-in move when you put him on the field.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 8:36 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Not true at all. We could put Watkins on the field for every play when a backup DL was across from the RG and it was a called run play. That would have worked seamlessly.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 12:07 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    When I read back over the comments I read your first four words, stopped and went back and reread my comment, wondering if I said something stupid. Then I finished your reply and laughed at my own apparent insecurity.

    Of course, we could have avoided all of this had we stopped Watkins’ development on the OL stuff and taught him to be on the punting team. Then we could have used an active roster spot on him and avoided this whole embarrassment. All for the modest cost of a few weeks setback in his development.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 1:08 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    I wondered if my sarcasm would come through. I figured the word seamlessly would make it obvious, but I’ve confused people before. Being a smartass has its drawbacks.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 7:08 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    And we finally get the answer we’ve been waiting for…

    Darryl Tapp: “Juan [Castillo] is still learning to call plays on the run.”

    That folks… is the ugly truth..

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 7:19 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    We knew Juan would have issues. Any rookie DC would. One of the guys the Eagles considered was Dennis Allen. He was the DB coach for New Orleans last year. He now runs the D in Denver. The Broncos are 23rd in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed.

    Also of note…the Saints secondary is struggling this year. They seem to miss Allen, while he’s not made much impact in Denver. I’m sure Allen will get better, but like Juan he’s learning on the job.

    Ray Horton is the DC in Denver and a guy some wanted the Eagles to get. They’re 24th in yards allowed. They are better in points at 13th.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 7:38 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Those points are totally understandable Tommy, but what is incomprehensible is that the year we’re “All in” we go this route… Denver is in more of a transitional phase(Others may argue). Also, I must point out that the Head Coach in Denver was a Defensive Coordinator… that makes a little more sense to go with a “rookie” DC if the head coach has the tenure on that side of the ball to watch over the “rookie”. Agreeable or offbase..?

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 7:55 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    The choice of Juan as DC is off the charts. Andy can make some logical points behind the hire, but it was a move completely out of left field.

    One of the problems is that I don’t think Andy was in love with any of the available candidates. There wasn’t a really good veteran coach on the market. I really believe that is a top shelf DC was available, Andy would have gone after him.

    Part of the problem is the 3-4. That has cut down on the number of good 4-3 coaches to choose from. Rob Ryan would have been interesting, but he’s now a 3-4 guy. We weren’t changing to the 3-4.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 8:03 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    The pickens were very thin for DC. I know it’s a complete fantasy, but if Juan doesn’t get his act together before the bye or if we stick with him through the year, I would love to see Fisher come in here. Not just because he is an experienced, quality DC… but also because I think his attitude and coaching style would do wonders on this D. IMO

  22. 22 Eric Weaver said at 2:55 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    So do you think Juan is a one year rental until a better candidate arises?

  23. 23 Dewey said at 10:02 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I never, ever, understood this “all in” mentality.

    Before camp the team had rookies to 2nd year players at:

    Both kicker spots
    Both safety spots
    All LB spots.
    Center and RG.

    They had new coaches at both lines, and at one coordinator position (which, admittedly, is your point and a little unfair to use in response.)

    None of that seems to me, to be a team going all in.

    Most players signed have been for more than one year (except Young and Smith, who won’t start)

    Then again, Banner did say something to that effect.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 10:53 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Agree. The Eagles have always said they are trying to win in the current year, without mortgaging the future, and they said as much this offseason as well.

    It does seem like a team built to crest late this year or next season, but to me “all-in” implies this year or bust. With this roster, there is no bust. (cue draft jokes)

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 8:51 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I’m glad to see Watkins in the mix. I think the injuries to our 1st & 2nd rd picks have made it really hard to judge the draft. If we hit big on the 1st two picks I wouldn’t care too much if we missed on the majority of others, but I also think it’s a bit of an excuse by Howie. When you draft 13 players and none of them are making an impact in the 2nd year that’s just a bit concerning to me. Again that’s not totally fair with what happened to our first 2 picks.

    I remember for years when we kept missing on WRs in the draft they kept talking about how complex are scheme was and how it took 2 to 3 years for a guy to produce, then we got two guys who are just flat out good players (Desean and Maclin) and we never heard anymore about how complex that offense was.

    I’d really like to see a healthy Brandon Graham and Nate Allen before I declare anything about the 2010 draft.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 9:46 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I wish you had told me earlier about McDermott, so that when a banged up over the hill tailback on the worst offense in the league behind an offensive line that had to explain the previous week why it didn’t su*k runs for 127 yards and victory I could have said, “ah yes, but the new defensive coordinator is more submissive.” That’s what’s important after all. I mean, we’d all like to win a championship, but isn’t it more fun to win a championship after you’ve told your uppety veteran safeties to go to hell because we can win with draft picks and castoffs, and sent your legendary veteran kicker with the cancerous daughter and the financial problems who rejected the initial tender packing because we can replace him too. We all want the Lombardi trophy but if you can’t do it on your terms it’s not worth it.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 1:15 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    Whoa, dude. Reid sent McDermott packing as much for Sean as anyone else. Sean was becoming his own worst enemy. Reid went out of his way to try and get Sean a job. Reid still thinks very highly of Sean personally. Sean just didn’t handle replacing JJ well. The old saying proved to be true…you don’t want to be the one replacing The Man. You want to follow the person who replaced The Man. No legacy issues then.

    As for Akers…he’d be our PK now if Henery hadn’t been available in the draft. The Eagles think Henery can be an Akers type PK for a long time. DA is on the downside of his career. The Eagles weren’t looking to run David out of town. They put the transition tag on him for a reason.

    I don’t get the bitterness in your comments. Reid has great relationships with his former players and coaches. There’s a reason guys are willing to come back here after leaving. They love Reid and the Eagles. They understand its just business.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 10:57 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Happy to see Watkins start. I figured it would happen no later than the bye. I think in both his case and Jarrett’s, I didn’t mind waiting for them to develop … but if the guy in front of them is so far from lighting it up that it can’t hurt to stick a rook with upside in, then you do it.

    Eager to see him play and succeed. Hopefully this means we run behind him some.

    Danny is on the Herremans side, right, not the Dunlap side?

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 11:57 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Yes, and ugh, the Dunlap side? Can’t we call them the old Herreman side and the new Herreman side, or something?

    On the other hand, if we put the TE next to Dunlap we might be able to confuse teams. The side with the TE is the strong side, but the side with Dunlap is obviously the weak side. While the defense argues and points, we can run a couple of FB dives and HB passes to the FB.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 1:16 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    So who’s on first?

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 1:30 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    I pretty much died laughing at this, awesome.

  32. 32 Mac said at 2:09 PM on October 6th, 2011:


  33. 33 Eric Weaver said at 2:49 AM on October 6th, 2011:


    I know we’ve heard that quote from Howie a lot (re: 2nd year players), but why would they then draft based on positions of immediate need – RG and safety. I would have rather they went with a LT or RT (still had high expectations of Justice at the time) or corner.

    So if they thought 2nd year players would struggle mightily, why would they then think two rookies could just come in and start right away.

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 3:55 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    Remember that at the time there was a thought the lockout was going to be lifted. We thought FA might start within a week of the draft and that we’d have post-draft mini-camps.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 3:16 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    Was just watchin a little deal ESPN had on the Eagles and heard Rachel Nichols say that over the past few days Vick has sat down one on one with most of the guys on the team pretty much challegning each guys manhood… Either we fall flat on our face or the gate flys open and this next game is were we come out swinging. I’m probably way off base, but I just have this feeling that we are going to put a beat down on the Bills and fight our way back to the top…

  36. 36 Dan said at 3:32 PM on October 6th, 2011:

    Is anyone else worried that there doesn’t seem to be any deal approaching between the birds and desean jackson? I guess it’s a good thing we signed Steve Smith in the offseason, because it’s looking more and more like jackson won’t be wearing eagles green next year…