The Day After

Posted: December 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 51 Comments »

I’ve never been to an AA meeting.  Or NA or the other various things you can be addicted to.  On TV they always show the first step is standing up and giving your name.  You need to admit your problem so you can deal with it.  Well…

Hi.  My name is Tommy and I cheer for a 4-8 football team.  More plainly, I’m a diehard, lunatic fan of a crappy football team.  I can’t say I feel all that much better, but it is good to get that out of the way.

2011 has grabbed me by the hair and started ramming its knee into my face.  This year has been awkward.  The Eagles have sucked.  Penn State wasn’t fun to watch even when the team was winning and JoePa was just old.  The NFL lockout took too long to settle.  The NBA lockout didn’t last long enough.  Craig James, Skip Bayless, and Stuart Scott continue to occupy my TV and get paid for it.  My nephew discovered country music and for some twisted reason actually likes it. The horror.  The horror.  Has any one human ever suffered this much?  I can say without hyperbole – no person in human history knows the struggles that I’ve experienced this year.

The good news is that the year is almost over.  2012 promises to be a great year.  My good buddy Dutch Daulton is predicting lots of excitement, especially next fall/winter.  And that man is never wrong.

I am excited about the future for the Eagles.  For those who would remind me that I was excited about this team just a couple of months back, I would ask you to keep your facts to yourself.  I’m trying to steer the ship to the Sea of Optimism.  It isn’t easy now and I need a clear mind.

* * * * *

For SB Nation Philly, I wrote a column re-rating the offseason moves.  All that glitters is not gold, I’m sad to report.

One thing I didn’t cover in the column (it was almost 2000 words already) is the Skins comparison that gets brought up.

I’m still not a big fan of that comparison.  The Skins threw money at player, hoping to buy a good team.  They lured players in with huge contracts.

That wasn’t exactly the same case here.  Many of the players wanted to come to Philly and took deals that were less than optimum.  The players still got big deals, but we didn’t have to overpay to get them.  Babin wanted to be an Eagle.  Same for VY.  Same for Nnamdi.

Unfortunately the results are the same as what the Skins generally came out with.  I don’t make the distinction to support the Eagles in some way so much as to try and understand what did go wrong.  Albert Haynesworth was never happy as a Skin.  He got the mega-bucks, but never really bought in to being part of that team.  The Eagles didn’t have that problem, but did get the same result.  Does that mean anything?  Is there anything to be learned?   Maybe the lesson is that money is the issue.  Guys change when they get paid, even if they are happy and like the surroundings.

I do hope we can learn from this disaster.  Thomas Edison had something like 400 light bulbs that didn’t work correctly.  He remarked to someone that those weren’t mistakes.  He said “I’ve figured out 400 ways not to make a light bulb”.  That’s brilliant, in a way.  The Eagles need to take a long look at everything they did and figure out specifically what didn’t work and why.  The 2012 offseason will start in just a few months.

51 Comments on “The Day After”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 2:05 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Tommy, how many staffing changes or changes in general can Reid make before he has to fall on his own sword?

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 2:19 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    This is it. Assuming he stays, he’ll hire a new DC. That guy may want to tweak the staff, depending on how his system works with current coaches.

    Reid will sink or swim with these guys. There could be a small change here and there as guys come/go, but no more mass changes. The next big change will include Big Red.

    One of the arguments for keeping Reid is stability. If you change a bunch of coaches, you’re not getting stability.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 2:27 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Is there not a scenario where AR sees the need for a successor and hires a new OC to be this? That guy that ran Auburn’s O with the big fella maybe?

  4. 4 Sjampen said at 3:35 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Right now I’m hoping that Marty gets an offer to become a head coach. The Eagles get to come out with a win because no way we keep our OC from going HC two years in a row((Browns last year) and we actually get to tweak our offense. Hopefully with a guys that can figure out that McCoy is a pretty good RB and should get the damn ball.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 4:01 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    College HC you mean. No one in the NFL wants him otherwise he would have got a sniff on an interview last year on the back of rebuilding of the 100 million dollar man.

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 2:27 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Would a new DC be required to stick with Washburn’s system? I don’t have a specific problem with the Wide 9 (other than we don’t have the proper personnel at LB for it), but I don’t want a coach to be forced to use it if he prefers not to. Whoever the new DC is, regardless of if AR is here or not, I think he should have freedom to design the defense the way he thinks it will be most effective. If that happens to include the wide 9, great, stick with Washburn’s system. If not, I don’t care if Washburn is a decent coach, I don’t want the DC’s hands being tied because of a positional coach.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 2:37 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I don’t know how that will go down. I’m sure Washburn can coach a more standard alignment. The new DC might like the W-9 or he might hate it. Tough to say.

  8. 8 Mac said at 3:01 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Or he might even be level headed enough to realize that the wide 9 comes with strengths and weaknesses and isn’t meant to be used 100% of the time, but it’s results shouldn’t be ignored to where it is under utilized.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 2:59 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    When evaluating the wide-9 I think an important question to ask is “Did it make Trent Cole a better player?” With 6 sacks over 10 games, the answer is no.

    I think it is clearly a mistake to tailor our defensive scheme to strengths of one player: Jason Babin.

    My preference would be to return to a system similar to Johnson’s early years, in particular a 4-3 with one-gap, penetrating tackles.

  10. 10 Sjampen said at 3:38 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I don’t think you can evaluate it by Trent Cole. Did it make Trent better? Maybe not, but how about Jenkins(Yes), Babin(Yes), Landri(yes), Patterson(the same).

    In the end its about one thing. Did we get more pressure? Im counting on Tommy to talk about that when we evaluate the season.

  11. 11 Thorin McGee said at 3:41 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Actually, the results were great until he injured his calf. He and Babin both got off to monster starts. Since the calf injury, both ends have been held in check. (source: one of the blogs I read on the way in this morning, and I can’t remember which one.)

  12. 12 Mac said at 3:59 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Rats… you beat me to the punch…lol

  13. 13 Matthew Verhoog said at 3:44 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    but the two-gap tackle style killed run first teams like the Giants again and again.

  14. 14 Thorin McGee said at 3:54 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I hated playing the 4-3 as a 2-gap system. The whole point is that you can get penetration from the line, and you just can’t do that on the inside when you have to hug it out with the OL first, then move forward. The only reason you do it (and we did it) was to cover up shoddy LBs. Keep a one-gap line and invest in some better LBs instead.

    Nothing stops the run like a big fat DT 3 yards in the backfield. From there he can cover 4 gaps!

  15. 15 Mac said at 4:00 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    And nothing generates pressure on the passer than a mean and nasty Cullen Jenkins up the gut in the QBs face right after the snap!

  16. 16 Thorin McGee said at 4:52 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Yeah, there’s a reason nearly all of the DTs you can name are 1-gap guys. I can’t think of a famous 2-gap tackle off the top of my head.

  17. 17 Matthew Butch said at 3:49 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    They also might specifically hire a guy who likes/wants the Wide 9.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 4:04 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I understand targeting 4-3 guys vs. 3-4 guys assuming that’s the way you go, but targeting 4-3 – wide 9 guys seems like you are limiting your options too severely. I would much rather that they go after the best DC they think they can find and then give that guy the chance to setup the defense the way he think makes sense. Why hire a DC if you don’t trust him to design a successful scheme?

  19. 19 Thorin McGee said at 4:49 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I hear what you’re saying, but you don’t hire your DC to build something from scratch, he’s a coach first, and that means he has to be able to get the most out of his guys. You get someone who can do that, and the rest will fall into place.

    Plus, sometimes limitations lead to the best design because it gives you something to work around. Creative professionals call them handholds.

  20. 20 Eric Weaver said at 3:02 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    If they don’t want to eat the money of Vick’s contract then Reid has to stay. No one will get production out of him for another year besides Reid. So he has to stay based on that alone.

  21. 21 Mac said at 4:02 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    The “power trio” of Vick, Washburn, Mudd alone merits strong consideration.

    Add to that the intangibles related to Reid’s dealings with other teams, and I think it is hard to say he doesn’t stay at least one more year.

  22. 22 Dewey said at 2:16 PM on December 2nd, 2011:


    I have come 180 degrees on Reid.

    I think he’s a great coach, the players like him and his ability to deal with the ludicrous Philly media is phenomenal.

    That said, this Juan Castillo thing cannot be survived. It made very little sense when it was announced, but it’s proved to be worse than anyone could have expected. The strength of this defense is being abused, there are no corrections. Fundamentals like tackling and sealing edges are totally abandoned.

    Can there be any single justification for a defense like this to allow Tavaris Jackson a 130 PLUS passer rating?

    Sadly, and unbelievably, I think Juan Castillo will be Reid’s harbinger of doom.

    I cannot believe it has come to this.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 3:31 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    We’ll see if Reid survives.

    I think a question like “Can there be any single justification for a defense like this to allow Tavaris Jackson a 130 PLUS passer rating? ” sort of misses the mark. Justification is a loaded word. I don’t blame you for being mad, but you have to set that stuff aside when evaluating the situation.

    The defense played poorly. Why? What mistakes are on the players? Which ones are on the coaches?

    You need to think in terms of specific problems and specific solutions. I know that’s boring. It’s more fun to mix in some ranting, but that’s really hollow in the end. Trust me, I yelled plenty last night and it didn’t make me feel one bit better.

    I am fascinated (in a morbid sense) with trying to understand why things happened.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 2:17 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    On the SB Nation Article, DeSean was part of this off-season.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 2:26 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I left him off because the article was so long already. DeSean is a complex subject and is really worthy of his own post. Plus, I was going more for the “Dream Team” angle with the additions we made and he was already here.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 2:31 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I have a feeling this season is going to turn out like the movie “Se7en.” What Andy Reid has done here, is going to be puzzled over and studied… forever…. and in the 4th quarter of Week 17, with the Redskins driving for the go-ahead score, we’ll all be left screaming “What’s in the box!?!??”

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 2:38 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    That’s the dumbest, most brilliant thing I’ve read today. Kudos.

    And what is in the box???

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 2:45 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I’m assuming it will be Andy Reid’s head.

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 3:28 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    You want to know what’s in the box…? Eight men, and Helu runs through untouched. There’s no clever twist to this ending.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 8:47 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I understand why you posted this twice. That is funny stuff. Well done.

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 2:55 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    8 guys who cant tackle

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 3:28 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    You want to know what’s in the box…? Eight men, and Helu runs through untouched. There’s no clever twist to this ending.

  33. 33 Thorin McGee said at 2:35 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I feel like most of the early FA they brought in were the best options given the challenges the Eagles were facing. Then this second wave of opportunity signings started with Young and Smith, and I don’t think any of those have worked out. They were all guys who wanted to ride a hot roster to the super bowl, and instead they sunk it.

    I still feel like the CBs and DL have all the talent you need. The Offense seems pretty much complete for next year if they resign DeSean. The OL is all set. RB is set. TEs are good enough. WRs are great +/- 1 DeSean Jackson… All you really need is a backup QB.

    We’re going into the draft talent-wise really only needing LBs and Safeties, a kick returner and QB of the future (sorry Kafka). Add a good DC who can take that side of the ball in hand and make them play together the “Eagles Way,” and I think this team will be in good shape.

  34. 34 Thorin McGee said at 2:36 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    This year clearly didn’t work, but you don’t judge long-term moves based on short-term results.

  35. 35 Eric Weaver said at 3:01 PM on December 2nd, 2011:


    Everyone seems to be for Spags coming here if he’s fired. Why do we want that based on his recent lack of success in St. Louis? The Rams defense has pretty much the same talent pool as the Eagles, minus having only average players at the corner positions. Think about it – he has two 1st round DEs, a decent FA DT, a very talented 2nd round MLB and a still productive Mikell. How is that really different than what the Eagles have? The defense is pitiful. I guess you could blame a lot of it on their offenses inability to score and sustain drives, but come on.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 3:10 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    The Rams have 10 CBs on IR. I think that’s the number. It is shockingly high.

    Spags ran a terrific D with the Giants. He’s done some good things in STL. They have some players, but not as many as us.

    Spags also never has a lead to work with down there. That makes a difference.

    He would be an excellent addition here. He’s not some genius that makes everything better, but he’s good.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 4:13 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    So where you able to decide whether he’d chose here or NY?

  38. 38 Sjampen said at 4:28 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I think that depends on Perry Fewell. No way Spags is going back to being a position coach.

  39. 39 Scott Buchanan said at 3:17 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Do you think any other team from the Pop Warner level to NFL will ever try to convert their Oline coach to D coordinator after the Don Juan debacle?

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 3:21 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Going forward, I think we can be happy about this year’s draft. We’ve got three rookies who are already starting (Watkins, Kelce, Henery) and one UDFA who’s starting (Henry), one guy who is contributing (Rolle), another guy who is starting as a return specialist and showed a lot of promise in the preseason (Dion Lewis). If Jaiquawn Jarrett works out and can become a solid starter we may just be calling this one of the best drafts in Eagles history.

    Now I expect you all to take back the mean things you said about Howie Roseman in the last thread.

  41. 41 Matthew Verhoog said at 3:45 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Does anyone else enjoy VY block on Shady’s huge cutback run? People say this about Tebow, but VY could play a little TE

  42. 42 Christopher Miller said at 3:55 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I never want the team to lose, but I think the silver lining is that a win over another mediocre team would have prolonged the agony. From here on out, every second of every game needs to be focused on identifying the real problems so moves can be made as early in the off season as possible. Some problems like the play of LB’s are obvious, but I think some are not. I don’t know what to think of Howie because I don’t know that Juan and Sean have made the most of what he gave them (or that they even did a good job communicating what they wanted). I know there are people who will kill me for saying that because they see Howie as a total failure, but I think he deserves credit for bringing in pieces like Mathis and Kelce that under a real coach have performed extremely well. Maybe those guys worked out because Mudd handpicked them, or maybe he just communicated his needs on the line better than Juan and Sean did. Same goes with Landri under Wash. Right now I am leaning towards good coach + Howie = decent results, so improving defensive coaching staff and keeping Howie is the right move. Would love to hear your thoughts Tommy on what we could do between now and week 17 to try to separate the “symptoms” from the true problems, or if you disagree that all of the problems are not obvious.

    As far as Andy is concerned, I am not on the fire Andy bandwagon yet, but I am also no longer on the keep Andy one either. In my mind, how he manages the team in the last 4 weeks would determine whether I will be happy to see him back or not. If he continues to trot out these quitters every week, I say give him the boot. This is without a doubt the most gutless team I can remember in the Reid era, and now that playoffs hopes are squashed once and for all, there is no reason not to give the other players a chance.

    Finally, I am done with Desean. I realize we may not be able to replace him with someone equally dynamic, but I don’t think he is worth what he wants, and if he accepts less, there is no reason to believe he will behave any differently than he does now (a moping self absorbed diva who feels he is under appreciated who plays not to get hurt). He has always been a frustrating player to me because you can never count on him, especially inside the red zone. Even thought it is not an imminent need, I would love to see us take a top receiver in the draft and send him packing to Siberia.

  43. 43 Steve H said at 4:41 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    Article from Kapadia:

    He counts 21 missed tackles in this game. What the eff? This is almost reaching comical proportions considering how much Juan Castillo was preaching fundamentals this offseason. It’s like everything this season is happening the exact opposite of how it should be happening just to mess with our heads. Either the D is truly the most underachieving unit in history or Juan was just trolling us when he said we were getting back to fundamentals.

  44. 44 Thorin McGee said at 4:58 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    What offseason did Juan have to teach anything about fundamentals? That’s the stuff you go over in the minicamps. I know some people say that’s an excuse, other teams had the same season, whatever… I guarantee you losing that time hurt this D.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 5:33 AM on December 3rd, 2011:

    I agree with you – but then everyone can argue that AR should have known better than to make such big changes with such a small amount of time available for practise and building team chemistry.

  46. 46 Tyler Phillips said at 12:15 PM on December 4th, 2011:

    Once you get to the NFL “fundamentals” are all about laziness. Minicamp was never going to matter with Juan at the helm. It would have just caused the players to realize he didn’t know jack sooner.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 7:07 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    ” I’m trying to steer the ship to the Sea of Optimism”

    Two words, Tommy: Bill Cowher.
    That’s firing me up for 2012 already!

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 8:17 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    I’m 5.5 on the MSOS.. the Morton – Spadaro Optimism Scale, but that’s subject to fluctuation. 10 means you think the Eagles will back into the playoffs behind the dominant play of Nate Allen; 0 means you think they’ll lose all their games and draft a player predestined to ACL injury due to diminutive size.

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 9:05 PM on December 2nd, 2011:

    “Maybe the lesson is that money is the issue. Guys change when they get paid, even if they are happy and like the surroundings.”

    There is a some guy who looks like a football player, only smaller, looking for you. Some guy who in consecutive weeks first acted out the Ricky Watters alligator arms followed by telling a reporter, “Next question.”

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 8:30 PM on December 3rd, 2011:

    Tommy, I hate to rain on your 2012 parade, but according to the Mayans the world will end in week 16 of the 2012 season.

    One positive is that Mayans also predicted that the Eagles would be 15-0 and unstoppable at that point.

    I still have to go back and research their predictions for the draft. Stay tuned.

  51. 51 Tyler Phillips said at 12:17 PM on December 4th, 2011:

    Mayan calendar was also found to be between 50 and 100 years off. sooo