Wash and the DL

Posted: December 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 16 Comments »

I wrote my SB Nation Philly column on Jim Washburn and the DL.

I don’t know how often you guys stop by SB Nation Philly.  Jason has assembled some good writers.  There is good Sixers and Flyers coverage over there as well.  One of the new additions is a guy called FakeWIPCaller.  He came over from Twitter and now writes a regular column.  This week he assigned 800% blame for the 2011 season.  Good stuff.  Best part is that some readers take him seriously and then rip the guy in the comments section.  That’s comedy gold.

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Back to the DL for a second.  Sheil Kapadia put up a good post on Wash and the line.  Sheil is great with numbers and had some interesting stats.

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We had some interesting discussions yesterday on the defense.  One of the key points is trying to determine what to make of the recent hot streak.  Many of you say “I’m not sold on the last 3 games”.  Hey, I don’t blame you.  I totally understand the hesitation in believing that Juan Castillo and the defense have really turned the corner.  I’m not sure myself.

I tend to be positive by nature and that affects my writing, but don’t think that I’m sitting here in love with Juan and the defense.  Far from it.  The other day I saw Jeremiah Trotter post on Twitter that Jamar Chaney would be Pro Bowl bound in 2012.  I couldn’t think of a diplomatic way to respond to that so I just bit my tongue.  Chaney isn’t guaranteed a starting job next year.  I’d settle for him being an average MLB.  Pro Bowl?  That’s borderline insane.  Or maybe just totally insane.

The reason I get defensive about the defense is that too many people are over the top with criticism.  What I’m looking for is reasonable criticism.  Noah brought up some interesting points in the previous comments section.  I didn’t agree with everything he said, but it was all interesting and well informed.

It is crucial that the Eagles make the right decisions in the offseason.  I think most of the parts are in place on defense.  LB must be addressed.  As for DC…I still haven’t figured that out.  My fantasy solution is adding Spags and leaving the other coaches in place.

Some people have asked about whether Steve would want to return in an odd role with Juan still as DC.  I don’t think this would bother Spags.  He’s been a DC and HC.  He’s seen life from both perspectives.  Coming in here to help Reid and oversee the defense wouldn’t be bad at all.

Spags would help put the gameplan together.  He would help coach the individual players.  Coaches love getting to work with players.  They hate paperwork and administrative stuff.  Spags wouldn’t have to do media appearances, which I’m sure would be great with him.  At halftime of games he would talk with Juan and the assistants about changes.  He would advise in games, but Juan would still make the calls.

I’m sure Steve’s goal is to get another HC job.  He already knows how to run a defense.  Taking a hybrid role would allow him to spend time with Reid and the personnel guys and learn more about that side of things.  He spent a year as a scout way back, but spending regular time with the personnel department could help him in the future.  Andy learned a lot from his talks with Ron Wolf back in GB.

The other thing to consider is that Spags would be joining a group of people he knows.  Spags was a coach when Mike Caldwell was an Eagles LB.  Spags obviously knows Juan.  I don’t know if he has any ties with Mike Zordich, but their paths may have crossed at some point.  Spags has coached DBs and LBs.  He could help Caldwell and Zordich develop as assistant coaches by teaching them what Andy and JJ taught him years ago.

This could work and help both sides, but I have no idea if it is close to happening or a distant pipe dream.

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I’ll post something on the Skins and the game later today.

16 Comments on “Wash and the DL”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 10:06 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    Love Kapadia, to me, he’s the only reporter worth reading, doesn’t rely on cliches, but does his homework, reviews the games, looks at PFF and FO, probably even reads Tommy and my comments!

    Interesting thing about his pass pressure chart, while Babin and Cole are getting more sacks, the pressures per pass play are almost even among all the DEs, and among all the DTs. This tells me a couple things, the difference between the starters and the backups is the starters are better at finishing plays. However, it also suggests an injury or two won’t be the end of the world, because the backups are also good at pressuring QBs, and with more reps they’d probably get better at finishing as well. The other effect of rotating 8-9 DL over a season is they haven’t had a lot of problems with injuries, both because players are rested, but also because when a player is dinged, the coaches don’t feel the pressure to play Cole or Tapp and risk further injury. This will also extend careers, look at Darren Howard off the bench his last two seasons, 16 sacks. Cole was playing 900 snaps a year, now he’s down to 700 and probably 500-600 in two years.

    Interesting that Howie seems to be brilliant at finding talent for Mudd and Washburn, maybe because they can tell him exactly what they’re looking for, so he brings in Mathis, Kelce, Watkins and Harris (playing well until he was injured), and Babin, Jenkins, Hunt, Landri, Hargrove. Same with offensive skill players, Lewis, Cooper, Harbor.

    I think drafting will improve at other positions next year because they now have a much better idea of what they want in a LB (instincts, pass cover skills, open field tackling) and the secondary (safeties in the 200-210 lb range who are interchangeable between FS and SS). They still have to decide what they’re doing in terms of coverage, man press (DRC, Aso, Marsh) or zone (Hughes).

  2. 2 Eric Weaver said at 10:30 AM on December 30th, 2011:


    Not sure if you pay much attention to DNL but Les mentioned your comment from here that Spags could be brought in as an assistant coach and mentor to Juan. I guess I didn’t really think about it when you wrote about it, but doesn’t Washburn already sort of fill that role? I know the guy has never desired to be a d-coordinator, but he’s been involved with defenses for decades. He has to be giving Juan a lot of input constantly, even concerning the back 7.

    I’m not sure what your take is on that. Obviously Spags would have experiences and education differently than Wash would coming from JJ’s defenses, but would it really make that much of a difference?

    I’m all for bringing Spags in though if he’s here to be the d-coordinator and/or head coach after Reid’s contract expires, however.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 11:13 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    Washburn is a DL coach and that’s all he wants to be. Has no interest in being DC. Hasn’t been a DC. He’s an old school coach that believes in knowing his area and making that his kingdom.

    Jim might offer his opinion on some things, but he has said he’s got no interest in being a DC.

  4. 4 Eric Weaver said at 11:36 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    I guess I wrote that vaguely. I didn’t mean to imply Washburn should eventually be the DC, rather; if Spags comes here to fill a consultant role or whatever, doesn’t Washburn already fill that role to some extent? Obviously ignoring the fact that Spags would most likely be coming here as the future DC or HC.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 12:17 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    Wash has never run a defense. He doesn’t know how to coach LBs or DBs. He and Spags are very different. Wash can offer opinions on certain situations, but he doesn’t have Spags overall defensive expertise.

  6. 6 Eric Weaver said at 10:36 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    A friend made a good point today, he’d really like RGIII but that’s really a pipe dream at this point. Considering where the Eagles are now, it’s possible they could drop all the way to #20 with a win, although I haven’t looked closely at the SoS numbers.

    In the 15 to 20 range, Kuechly is probably off the table. Would the Eagles most likely then look at DT or DE?

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 11:15 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    Kuechly isn’t a lock to be gone by 15. Forget what Kiper says. MLBs don’t go super early. He could be an exception, but it is far from a lock.

    Don’t see DE happening. DT unlikely.

    We need to see offseason moves. Maybe WR. Maybe OLB.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 11:26 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    The two closest comparables to Luke are Posluszny and DeMarco Ryans, neither went in the top 20, both are top flight NFL MLBs.
    LBs who go in the top 20 tend to be physical freaks, athletic 250 lbs or 235-240 lbs who run under 4.55.

  9. 9 Eric Weaver said at 11:41 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    Poz also had Willis, Timmons and Beason ahead of him. Ryans, not so much as great talent ahead of him, but Hawk, Sims and Lawson. There’s no one ahead of Kuechly or even debatable at this point. Especially with Te’o out of the picture.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 10:41 AM on December 30th, 2011:

    I’m still thinking about the D. Perhaps the question isn’t how good or bad they are, but whether they lived up to their potential. Not expectations, potential. They were 8th in yards allowed and 12th in points allowed. I believe they could have been even better with, dare I say it, a more experienced DC. Going into the future, I hope Reid doesn’t decide it’s a good idea to change Wash from a D line coach to the Offensive Coordinator.

  11. 11 Anthony Hart said at 12:55 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    Bringing Spags in and not letting him call the plays would be like signing Albert Pujols and having somebody pinch hit for him. If we can bring him we should give him full control over defense and give him a lot of say in signing/drafting defensive players like Reid did with JJ. Reid, Roseman, and Castillo don’t seem to have a good eye for defensive talent and we’re going to need to bring in some good young guys to balance out all the aging stars we have.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 4:22 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    Castillo’s eye for defensive talent is a major concern and something I’ll get into if he’s kept on board.

    As for calling plays…I think Juan has made tremendous progress with knowing what to call. Having Spags call plays next year isn’t as critical for me as having him there to teach the concepts to the players and put together gameplans.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 6:22 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    Think you’re being harsh on Juan.

    He was put in a really tough situation this year, and hung in there and made it work. He made a bunch of bad decisions early on, but the FO didn’t help him by not trading Asante or giving him a veteran MLB and a veteran S not named Page (Whitner was available for cheap).

    Juan is putting all his LBs in a position to succeed, he really doesn’t have a viable alternative to Chaney on run downs. With Asante out, suddenly all his CBs are playing where they belong, and he can play press coverage straight up when he wants to mix it in.

    Next year, the players and the schemes should align much better.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 2:18 PM on December 30th, 2011:


    Two topics:

    First, is Kuechly, at this point coming out of BC, in the class of Ray Lewis (26th pick in the 1st rd) heading to the draft?

    Does he have the athleticism of an Ehrlacher?

    Or is he more an instinctive version of Jamar Chaney — who uses his hands well to fend of blockers?

    Second, what do you think it’ll cost the Eagles — who’ll be draft in the neighborhood of, say, the late teens — to get all the way up to choose RGIII?

    Would it be worth it?

    Or how ’bout Barkley (assuming he comes out). He doesn’t seem like a Reid QB (lack of mobility).

    Or Landry Jones (whom I’ve read is not coming out, but I’m assuming he is)?

    Any thoughts on Ryan Tannehill as a fallback QB early in Rd 2? Big, athletic, former WR.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 4:26 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    I can’t give you an honest answer on Ray Lewis. Didn’t do writing at that point so I don’t have notes to consult. His great career has skewed my memory.

    Kuechly reminds me more of Keith Brooking who was picked in the Top 15 (10?) back in the late 90s. Both guys are tackle machines with some playmaking ability. Brooking went high back then, but it was a different league. 3-WR sets weren’t common. MLBs had great value.

    Urlacher was a freak when he came out and still is. He played Safety at New Mex. Lined up 10-15 yds deep and then attacked everything in front of him like a sledgehammer.

    Barkley is staying at USC. Landry Jones is wildly overrated.
    RG3 could end up going 2nd or 3rd overall. Very pricey to move up that high.

    Tannehill is interesting. Not sure if he fits us, but a QB worth watching.

  16. 16 James Coe said at 5:12 PM on December 30th, 2011:

    Barkley’s staying in school. I think with the lack of top QBs this year (now that most of them are staying in school) Tannehill might go in the mid-late 1st