All Quiet On The Western Front

Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

Mike Nolan is now the Defensive Coordinator in Atlanta.  Gregg Williams is headed to St. Louis.  Steve Spagnuolo is set to interview in New Orleans on Wednesday.  He met with the Colts on Monday, although we’re unclear as to exactly what he was interviewing for.

Could it be…is it possible…might Juan Castillo return as DC in 2012?  It seems that just might be possible.

Some of you have supported this notion.  Others are now looking for a cement wall to pound their heads against.  I’ve already written that I was in support of a change, whether that was hiring a new DC or just bringing in a veteran coach to oversee things.

Now, I’m just speculating.  The Eagles could still be preparing to make a significant hiring.  The team just seems to be awfully quiet right now.  We can read that one of two ways (maybe more).  It could be that the Eagles did want Spags, but he didn’t want us.  If so, he’s a stoopid jerk and I hate him 4eva!!!  I didn’t even want him back, anyway.

The other possibility is that Andy Reid doesn’t want a new DC.  I’m not sure what to say about this.  Sam pointed out to me the other day that when Reid makes an odd move that doesn’t work he normally over-corrects by going with a safe, smart choice.  Who could be safer than Spags?  Heck if I know.

I guess it is possible that Andy told Spags to go look around the league and see what’s out there.  Steve doesn’t need to interview here.  He is a known commodity.  The only question would be money and the specific title.  Just DC or DC/Assistant HC?  My hesitation with buying this is that it just seems like Spags isn’t all that excited about returning to Philly.  He does know McNabb is gone, right?  (just a joke…no need to get offended #5 fans)

For now, SpagsWatch 2012 continues.  Doppler radar shows him on the way to New Orleans, but stay tuned.  There are some strong winds that could shift him in a number of directions.  Just hide ‘n’ watch.

The one thing we do know for a fact is that the Eagles need a new CBs coach.  Todd Bowles is still on the market and would be my preference at this point.  He’s in a holding pattern for now.  He has interviewed with a couple of teams about the HC spot.  Doesn’t seem like he’s going to get it, but I don’t blame him for waiting.  This has already been a crazy offseason.

* * * * *

I don’t want to get too much into talking about what the return of Castillo means until we know for a fact that will happen.  We’ll have plenty of time to break that situation down when Reid signals that is what’s going to happen.

* * * * *

Big personal news.  I am making my first ever journey to the Senior Bowl next week.  I’ve followed it online and on TV for more than 15 years.  Going down there in person should be a great experience.

I promise to do as much spying research as I can to find out who Eagles scouts are talking to.  I don’t know if Big Red will be down there.  If he is, I break into his room and whisper “draft Luke Kuechly” for several hours each night.  I just hope he doesn’t get confused and try to snuggle with me.  I’m willing to do a lot for Kuechly to be an Eagle, but even I have some limits.

Special thanks to long time readers Matt and Brenda for making donations that will help cover the airfare down to Mobile.  Much appreciated.

I’m not sure what kind of a posting schedule I’ll have next week.  I’ll get information up as quickly and as best I can.

* * * * *

Former Eagles scout Matt Russell is now the Player Personnel Director in Denver.  If Andy Reid has a coaching tree, maybe Tom Heckert should have a personnel guy tree.  Russell, Ryan Grigson, and Jason Licht are doing well around the league in large part due to spending time under Heckert in Philly.

* * * * *

Marty Mornhinweg is going to interview for the Raiders HC job.  Good luck to Marty.  Seems like a longshot out there, but Reggie McKenzie is trying to turn the Raiders from Al Davis’ personal project to a true organization.  Marty has spent time in SF, GB, and here.  He’s been part of some great organizations.  And he’s generally been associated with good QBs.  I’m excusing his time in Detroit because that organization was problematic before and after Marty.

76 Comments on “All Quiet On The Western Front”

  1. 1 Kammich said at 12:20 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    That is terrific about the Senior Bowl. I hope you have a great time, and all of us readers would like to extend a thank you to Matt and Brenda as well. They just helped land the best Senior Bowl coverage we’ll get anywhere on the net.

    Like I said in the prior thread, I went to the Shrine Game last year and had a great time. Much more low-key, open-atmosphered than I assume the Senior Bowl to be. I was able to yuck it up with Mayock and Soto and a bunch of players, and the stands were pretty much half-empty the entire day, so it was a communal affair.

    I imagine the Senior Bowl is a lot more professional. Find out whatever hotel in Mobile that all of the scouts and front office personnel will be at, dress up as a Dominos pizza guy, and stalk the shit out of all of them. Thats my advice.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 12:27 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I am a former Dominos employee. Only problem…uniform no longer fits. Too much pudding.

    I will take in as much information as possible. I don’t care who I have to drug in order to get it.

  3. 3 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 8:56 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I can not wait until Senior Bowl and reading your updates!!! Did someone actually pay for your trip? That is amazing if true, and we are all very appreciative!

    Do you think you can get information that you normally wouldn’t have access to?

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 11:37 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    So the plan to go unnoticed by Andy Reid is to dress up as someone who brings food? Brilliant. Maybe you could also scout the ‘Boys a little bit. You know, dressed as a dealer or pimp or loan shark.

  5. 5 Furt said at 12:35 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Good to hear good news for our esteemed Tommy Lawlor, Cheers!!!

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 11:12 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Here, here

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 12:50 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I think there will be some moves even if Juan returns as DC.

    Which is not the disaster many want to make it out to be. Look at the horrendous jobs that Capers and Williams did last year, you can blame their talent, but were they supposed to put some input into that talent?

    Juan finished 10th in points, 8 in yards, 7th in weighted DVOA. He wasn’t the second coming of Bud Carson, but he wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. And he might even learn something with a full off season to digest his magical mystery tour.

    Same with Caldwell and Zordich, they were smart players, they did seem to do a better job as the year progressed.

    They can upgrade, but the season isn’t lost if they go with the same coaches but some better players.

  8. 8 Anders Jensen said at 4:31 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    not sure you can call the Packers defense untalented, Matthews, Raji, Woodson, etc is some really good talent. So if Juan really is this crappy DC, we got the best players in the world to make up for him been crap.

  9. 9 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 8:58 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I am also getting the feeling that he could be brought back. Would a new DC, in a year where we have to win the division AND a play-off game, for Andy to be brought back, really help this team in the right direction? If Spags is not brought in, I actually don’t want anyone else.

    Could a proven great DB coach be the link that makes this defense great? Do you know of some specific targets other than Bowles?

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 11:28 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    “Juan finished 10th in points, 8 in yards, 7th in weighted DVOA. He wasn’t the second coming of Bud Carson, but he wasn’t an unmitigated disaster.” This reminds me of the Mark Twain quote regarding the different types of lies, “lies, damned lies, and statistics”

    Yes, the Eagles defense finished the season 8th in yards allowed and 10th in pts allowed. But I watch B. Baldinger on NFLN and read Didinger
    for the contra view that the defenses problems from earlier in the season (poor tackling, etc.) were evident at season’s end.

    I think setting the bar at unmitigated disaster is too low. Some of the issues with the defense are clearly on the personnel side of the ledger, but others rest in Castillo’s lap. I don’t think canning the CB coach and keeping Castillo as DC will fix the defense.

  11. 11 James Coe said at 12:39 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    The Twain quote you refer to regarding statistics was never intended to suggest that the use of statistics is in any way a bad thing, merely to advise that it is important to use statistics correctly.

    Regardless of the problems that may exist on individual plays (and it is, of course, possible to find tape of player mistakes), the most important thing for a defense in the NFL to do is to stop the other team from scoring points. Juan’s D was the 10th best at that. They obviously made up for the individual errors in some other way.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 1:03 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    My point in referencing Twain was not to suggest that statistics are in any way a bad thing. But to cite those stats as a positive of the Eagles defense I think is misleading. The Eagles had a nice stretch at the end of the season, beating (and padding stats) against bad teams. OK, but you can’t ignore early season problems, such as poor tackling, that are not being addressed by the end of season and say “[t]hey made up for the individual errors in some other way.” Yes by playing woeful teams.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 4:00 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    FO weights their ratings by strength of schedule, so the strong finish wasn’t an artifact of easy opponents. Go look at the offenses faced by the top ten teams, only Miami faced a killer schedule.

    And the fact that they improved substantially (Tommy already addressed the Didinger/Balinger slam job) since the first five games is a testament to good coaching, that’s what good coaches do, learn from their mistakes and coach their plays up – the results are the results.

    Is this a great defense right now? Of course not, they need to get rid of Asante, find a better slot CB, a true MLB and a two down SLB, plus some depth. Is it a much better defense than the Packers or Saints? Without question.

    Is Juan the best choice for DC if you could have your pick of NFL DCs? No. Is he the best choice of actual alternatives that will be available? Maybe.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 10:08 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    Every team in the league “pads” stats against bad teams. So take away the 4 games agianst bad teams for most nfl teams and what stats will they have?

    Also we were not playing the colts, we played bad teams but not bottom of the barrel teams. And didinger is not a guy I care that much about what he says. The last game of the season meant nothing, so I don’t take much from that game

  15. 15 Drew McAuliffe said at 7:39 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    The statistics quote is actually originally from British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, not Mark Twain.

  16. 16 James Coe said at 8:23 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    Twain attributed it to Disraeli, although there is no record that Disraeli ever said it. It has also been attributed to many other people, the most intriguing of which is former head of the Royal Statistical Society, Leonard H Courtney

  17. 17 Joe Taylor said at 1:30 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I’m afraid Kuechly will go to the Cowboys…If their number 1 target gets drafted before they pick, they might go after him…

    Luke Kuechly and Sean Lee will be a complete nightmare…With Jay Ratliff eating up the middle and DeMarcus Ware flying off the edge? That will be a beast front 7.

    Hey Tommy, find out if Jerry Jones will be attending the Senior Bowl…If he is, I’ll go down there and break into his hotel room or should I say Villa? Anyways I’ll break into his room and whisper “Draft another player with Dez Bryant’s work ethic”

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 1:55 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Cowboys need secondary help more than anything. Probably would go there over ILB since they already have Lee. Could also go for OLB if they let Spencer walk.

    I will find out Jerry’s villa number/address so you can complete your mission.

  19. 19 Joe Taylor said at 4:00 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Yeah, they desperately need help at Safety and Corner. I think they also need a OG because Kyle Kosier is just way too old. I hope Jerry doesn’t throw a huge contract at Carl Nicks…I don’t know if they have the $ to spend much in FA but if they can, I think they will target him.

    But Jerry Jones isn’t a normal GM. When they drafted Dez, didn’t they have way more important needs? I think they would draft Kuechly knowing that we are most likely targeting him, so why not pick him and have one of the best ILB tandems in football? That way, Luke wouldn’t be able to torture them twice a year, for the next decade. Here’s to hoping Jerry Jones actually drafts NEEDS, and not luxury picks.

    I hope they think Bruce Carter is the long term answer and decide to stick with Bradie James.

    If Spagnuolo doesn’t come to Philly, who is a potential candidate for our DC position if we are actually looking to get rid of JCastillo? I think if we bring in Bowles, it should only be for CB’s coach. No need to lose games early in the season due to defensive struggles because him going through a transitional period.

    When will AR have a press conference to talk about the team and the staff? I hate that we have no idea of whats going on with the coaching staff. We’re without a CB coach and maybe even a DC and we have heard zero reports on coaches that we’re interested in.

    A reason I think we could be keeping Juan is because I would think that when they fired Lynn, they would have fired Juan at the same time. Who knows.

    If the Eagles decide to move on from DeSean, what kind of player do you think they’ll add? A smaller WR with great speed or a more prototypical WR that’s 6-3 215? I think if they part w/ DeSean, they need to get a big WR that has potential to TAKE OVER a game.

    I think if the Eagles do not plan on adding a big WR to the team, they should definitely target a big, tall, extremely talented TE. Celek in my opinion is one of the most underrated TE’s in the NFL. But does he really fear DC’s? I think we need to find a TE that teams will fear, and have a tough time to match up with.
    A lot of the time we face teams that have great TE’s and we say “Man, how are we going to defend/stop him? Do we put Nnamdi on him?”. I want to get a TE that other teams will have a problem trying to find a defender that can match up well vs him. Clay Harbor isn’t necessarily big. He’s about 6-2 so he kind of reminds me of Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is about 6-1 250 and can run well. Harbor’s a little bit bigger and can run fast but not as fast as Hernandez. AR should look at how the Pats use him and then we can try to incorporate Harbor in a similar style.

    My last thought on the Eagles is the Cornerback position…
    You could really say this about any team, but what happens if DRC and Nnamdi go down for a long period of time? Asante is likely done in Philly and Hanson isn’t a lock. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and didn’t play much in 2011 so would that affect his play next season?

    That leaves us with Marsh, Hughes, and Lindley.

    The only player out of that bunch that I can get the job done on the outside is Marsh. I’m not so sure that Hughes and Lindley have starting potential..

    That’s why I think it’s imperative that in between rounds 2-4, we draft a CB that has potential and that can compete. You can never have enough good corners as AR says about CB’s, DLM, & OLM.

    I know I have a lot of “demand” or “wants” out of this offseason but it thinking about ways to improve the Eagles, never hurts.

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 4:18 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Fortuanately for us this year is friggin loaded with CBs. There are guys that are going to go 4-5 that would be a 2-3 in alot of years. I’m excited.

  21. 21 Anders Jensen said at 4:34 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I really doubt the Cowboys would pick Luke just so that the Eagles cant get him. With Dez he was simply best play available when they picked, but the Cowboys need pass rush, CB, safety, o-line help before ILB.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 6:07 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Considering Lindley spent from September to January out of football, I’d strongly temper expectations for him.

  23. 23 Anders Jensen said at 5:20 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    Landri wasnt signed again before we picked him up and the Eagles seemed like the only team there wanted to sign Mathis.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 10:32 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Yes, Courtney Upshaw would be a better fit for them than Kuechly.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 12:50 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Most of Tommy’s favorite prospects end up as Giants.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 4:39 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Awesome to hear your going to make it to the Senior Bowl Tommy! Here’s my early thoughts on potential targets at our picks:

    1-15, LB Luke Kuechly (10) if unavailable OT Jonathan Martin (19)
    2-45, WR Kendall Wright (41) if unavailable OLB Ronnell Lewis (44)
    2-47, CB Jayron Hosley (61) if unavailable CB Stephon Gilmore (52)
    3-79, TE Orson Charles (77) if unavailable CB Brandon Boykin (74)
    4-101, LB Emmanuel Acho (97) if unavailable QB Nick Foles (105)
    4-111, DE Trevor Guyton (106) if unavailable DT Mike Daniels (112)
    5-143, FS Eddie Whitley (141)
    6-175, CB Jamell Fleming (172)
    6-177, FB Ryan Houston (177)
    6-192, LB Chris Galippo (188)

    I think Wright might be a perfect fit for us and make letting go of Desean easier. I love Boykin but think he will go before our third round pick and we may miss him if we don’t reach in the second, where there will probably be some slightly better graded CBs. Orson Charles could add a little explosion to our 2 TE sets. Any thoughts on Acho as a target?

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 12:49 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I like some of the players on your early list, esp. E. Whitley. Some other names that I’m starting to take a close at, and hope the Eagles target (in no particular order):

    Terrell Manning, OLB, NC State
    Curnelius Arnick, MLB, Tulsa (this guy is always around the ball)
    Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky (KU is terrible at football, but Trevathan is like a cannonball going after the ball carier)
    Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina (I rate him higher than Ronnell Lewis)
    Miles Burris, OLB, San Diego State
    Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina (will play in the Sr. Bowl, I hope Tommy writes about him)
    Aaron Henry, FS, Wisconsin
    Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

    One guy who I was very excited about for the draft was Jamie Collins, LB/DE Southern Miss. A converted safety who reminded me a lot of Urlacher, but he’s returning for his senior year.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 10:04 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Some of the values on those players are off. I’d be ecstatic if we could land the first 5 guys. No way Fleming lasts to the 6th round. Would love to get him if he did.

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 5:58 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Assuming Spags becomes the new DC for the Saints, do you think that will show that AR hasn’t the balls to fire/demote his long-term friend Castillo?

    Andy must know that he’s on the hot seat in Philly, so why bother sacking a friend when knowing that he’ll be able to choose from 10 different Head Coaching vacancies next off-season?!

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 6:52 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Dammit Tommy, if it means solving a long term problem at middle linebacker, spoon like you’ve never spooned before!

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 8:41 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    And we’re not talking pudding.

  32. 32 Zachary Kaplan said at 8:01 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    The worst part about not making the playoffs is – teams don’t have to wait those extra weeks to steal from the Eagles. Holding serve while losing a couple front office members, and a couple coaches (possibly) – seems like a bad start to another “all-in” offseason.

  33. 33 Christian said at 8:23 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Is it Matt and Brenda or Jeff and Christina who paid the trip? Anyhow: Have a great time!

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 12:33 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I wish it was Jeff and Christina. I’m not on their payroll yet.

  35. 35 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 8:54 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I read this article about Juan Castillo. It raises some fair points, that I think we’ve talked about, but maybe overlooked the real meaning of. The problem with Castillo isn’t that he doesn’t have potential to be a good DC. The problem is that we don’t KNOW it for sure. And for a team that wants to be a Super Bowl contender, that may not be enough. Here is the link to the article:

    I for one doesn’t hope that MM leaves the organization! He is the leader of a record setting offense, that was 3rd in the league in yards this season. He actually used our RB this season, and combined with Vick, we had the best rushing attack! Turnovers is NOT his fault, and is something that should be easy corrected in the off-season.

    I think we as fans have a tendensy of wanting change if everything is not perfect. Last year we would have loved Trgovac from Packers – now, not so much. Many fans want Fisher, Gruden etc. as a new HC. Why? How would they be better than Andy?

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 10:47 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    I agree about Juan, maybe he will be good but We aren’t the rams, we can’t wait or take a chance.

    Totally agree on MM and the turnovers. Look at the pack and saints. When u turn the ball over like that u can’t win. And the HC can only do so much from the sidelines, he can’t protect the ball, sometimes turnovers r just fluky

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 10:35 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    The only thing worse than losing out on Spags is losing out on Spags a 2nd time! Please, dear God, NO.

  38. 38 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 11:07 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    NO = New Orleans? 😉

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 10:44 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    The one thing I didn’t think of is if spags is thinking about which place can get him to a HC coaching job faster, the fact that Vick could go down with an injury in week 3 may hurt us.

    Also is it possible that reid is waiting to c if MM will get a HC job? Maybe he was waiting for that last year as well, and he planned on making Juan the O coordinator and when MM didnt get a HC job he made juan the d coordinator. Since reid kind of runs the O anyways it might make more sense to have Juan at O? Remember Juan was up for the Cleveland O job last year.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 11:12 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Interesting article defending Castillo. I’m at the point that unless it’s Spags, and a Spags who will retain Jim Washburn and the Wide-9, I can’t see a better option than retaining Castillo. This is predicated on the Eagles adding some serious talent at LB in what has become a particularly important position in this current scheme.

  41. 41 george said at 11:24 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Hey Tommy,

    If Marty does end up going to Oakland do you think AR would target Childress for OC? It would be like a reunion if we get Chilly and Spags back.


  42. 42 Anonymous said at 11:51 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    It would be wild to have Marty leave and Chilly/Spags return. That would be very 2002-ish.

  43. 43 Morton said at 11:53 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Here’s an idea regarding the 2012 draft:

    Instead of picking Luke Kuechly (who is a productive college player but lacks Urlacher-like or Willis-like athleticism, likely preventing him from being an elite MLB in the NFL), the Eagles would be best served to simply go BPA on DL with their first round pick. They could select LSU DT Michael Brockers (a tall, explosive DT in the Albert Haynesworth mold) or PSU DT Devon Still (a tall, strong DT in the Trevor Pryce mold), which would allow Washburn to increase the depth of his DT rotation (much of which is either older or possibly leaving in free agency), and give the Eagles a young, promising talent at the 3-technique to mold into the star of their defensive line of the future.

    If we’ve seen anything this year, it’s that you can never have too much talent, or even depth on the defensive line: look at the teams left in the playoffs.

    Also consider that it is infinitely easier, and cheaper, to sign a competent MLB in free agency than it is to sign an explosive DT in free agency. In fact, the Eagles have several options to shore up their MLB vacancy this year: Larry Grant of the 49ers filled in for Patrick Willis admirably, and Stephen Tulloch was highly rated as a MLB behind the Lions’ Wide-9. What the Eagles need is not necessarily a *star* at the position, but simply a competent tackler and cover man.

    Their MLBs last year were abysmal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to overreact and reach for a MLB in the first round this year. Consider this: if your 1986 Honda Civic breaks down on the way to work, do you go out and splurge on a 2011 Accord? Or would it be adequate merely to spend a few dollars on a 2005/2006 model Civic to replace your old clunker, and save the rest of your money for something more valuable, without sacrificing much functionality, because the 2005/2006 Civic will be just as adequate a method of transportation as the 2011 Accord, and you will be satisfied as long as you have something better than your 1986 junker?

    Jamar Chaney was the 1986 Civic junker. Don’t overreact to his failure and blow a first round pick on a brand new Accord (Kuechly). Pick up a relatively new, but cheap, Civic (Grant/Tulloch) on the second-hand market instead, and give yourself the opportunity to splurge instead on a new F-150 pickup truck (Brockers/Still) in the first round of the draft, without sacrificing your ability to drive to work in a reliable, comfortable passenger car.

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 12:33 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Brockers isn’t explosive. LSU pulled him off the field on passing plays for a reason.

    Still isn’t worth pick 15. Not sure if he’s worth a 1st rounder. Figure out a way to combine the 2 kids and you’ve got an elite prospect.

    And I’m okay with adding a stud up front…as long as he’s a stud. We’ve got good players already in place. Upgrading is okay, but I’m not sure there is a DT this year that would be an upgrade.

  45. 45 Zachary Kaplan said at 1:13 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I still want a WR in the first…

  46. 46 Morton said at 1:15 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    A good defensive lineman is always more valuable than a good linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. As long as you have a competent MLB, which can be obtained in free agency or in later rounds, a 4-3 team must invest more heavily in its four defensive linemen.

    The problem with the Eagles, as opposed to say the Giants, is that they seemingly refuse to sign even competent linebackers, or draft them higher than the 6th round. All they need to do is spend a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a guy that isn’t a stiff, or sign a guy like Stephen Tulloch or Larry Grant and they will be fine. There is no reason to blow first round picks on LBs that could be spent on elite DB or DL talent that would improve the defense more than any LB could.

    I also disagree re: Still being worth a first rounder – he is, in my mind, one of the few elite talents in this draft class and on par with Nick Fairley or Phil Taylor from last year as prospect. Brockers has tremendous untapped potential in both the run game and the pass game, but his strength is as a run-stopping DT.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 4:19 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    The Giants have signed two LBs in FA, Pierce a decade ago (or so it seems) and Boley. Pierce was a solid LB who gave them four good years tbefore he hit his expiration date, Boley had his best year of his three this season after two years playing matador WLB.

    Giants have a long string of flops drafting LBs, Kiwanka is at SLB because they want him on the field but also have no alternative. And the Eagles played better run defense than the Giants in 2011, despite their horrid start.

    You’re right that the Eagles don’t need Luke, if he’s the right guy, fine, but any solid two down MLB with decent coverage skills will do, if you pair him with a solid SLB. Then go with a combination of Matthews, Clayton and Rolle in the nickel and dime packages. It’s nice to find a great 3 down LB, if Luke runs 4.65 and weighs in north of 235 lbs, use the #15, if he runs 4.75 and weights 230 lbs, look elsewhere.

    When you look at potential DTs, forget the conventional 310 lb run stoppers, they don’t fit this system. Look for guys with a great first step and a high motor who make a lot of tackles behind the LOS. They can be 280 lbs (Jason Jones, Tony Brown) or 320 lbs. But they have to be mobile, agile and explosive. Which is why Poe is not coming here, he was born to play NT in a 3-4.

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 7:59 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    I’d rather invest in a DT like Jason Jones in FA. 6’5 290…played in the Wide-9 under Washburn, he is only I think 26 years old. Jenkins/Landri/Patterson/Dixon/Jones/Thorton is a good rotation. We need a MLB for the future. I would be happy with a FA, Lofton, D’Qwell Jackson, Tulluch, Grant or Kuluechly. If they cut Desean, look for our #1 to be a WR.

  49. 49 Eric Weaver said at 1:51 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Still disappeared this year against better competition. I’m a Penn State fan, but I just wonder if he can handle elite guards and centers.

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 11:53 AM on January 18th, 2012:

    Just posted notes on UF/FSU prospects over at

  51. 51 hhaidari said at 12:40 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    “If he is, I break into his room and whisper “draft Luke Kuechly” for several hours each night. I just hope he doesn’t get confused and try to snuggle with me. I’m willing to do a lot for Kuechly to be an Eagle, but even I have some limits.”

    I literally laughed and sprayed orange juice all over my screen Tommy, good stuff.

    And congrats on going to the Senior Bowl — we now can get the best coverage possible right here on IgglesBlitz.

    Enjoy it Tommy, you deserve it!

    PS. will you open a sunglasses cart near the event?

  52. 52 Anonymous said at 4:42 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I will sell sunglasses anywhere I can. I’m also willing to perform Lasik surgery in hotel rooms in Mobile. GMs get 20% off. Scouts get 30% off. Head coaches who throw too much pay double.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 8:52 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    What about the guys in stripes? Anything that gets some of the holds on Cole called is worth it.

  54. 54 Anonymous said at 9:17 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Smart. Consider it done.

  55. 55 Anonymous said at 1:51 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Somebody scoop a story please! The nothingness is killing me.

  56. 56 Anonymous said at 2:25 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Any thoughts on using one of our early round picks on a QB? Even if Vick improves next year, we can expect him to miss at least a few games and play hurt for several more. As long as he insists on holding the ball too long and trying to make a play on every down, he’s going to get hurt. It looks unlikely that he will ever learn how to just throw the ball away when there is nothing there.

    Does anyone see a potential franchise qb available that we might get in the first three rounds without an expensive trade-up? If we don’t draft a qb and Vick has another mediocre to poor year, then what? It would be nice if we could address that possibility in this year’s draft.

  57. 57 Anonymous said at 4:33 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    If we miss RG3 (and that’s likely unless he goes on a killing spree), I’m not a big fan of the next few QBs.

    I do like Russell Wilson for us. He is short, but is mobile, has a good arm, and is a good vertical passer. Mid-round guy.

  58. 58 Anonymous said at 2:27 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    The Indy situation was wierd, I read that Spags did interview for the DC spot and Caldwell was involved, and that the Colts were fine with keeping Caldwell as long as Spags came in as the DC but Spags turned down the job so they decided to move on from Caldwell too.

  59. 59 Anonymous said at 4:32 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Very, very odd stuff. I’m glad Grigson made a change. I’m not in favor of firing guys, but that situation would have been tough on everyone. Best to make a clean break and get your people in there.

  60. 60 Anonymous said at 6:18 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Especially if they’re making a break from Manning too. Would be an awful quick demise for a Super Bowl contender, but perhaps the right thing to do.

    I don’t think you deal Peyton if you think your team can still win a Super Bowl in a couple years. But if you can’t, deal him while there’s value.

  61. 61 James Coe said at 8:29 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    Reckon the ‘skins might make a play for Manning?

  62. 62 Anonymous said at 3:00 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    History in fact shows that a new DC’s first season can result in significant improvements, certainly in points-allowed — which, for Jim Johnson, is all that mattered.

    Some of it may have the DC being in the right place at the right time. Who know. Anyway, here’s a representative sampling:

    In 2011, Wade Phillips — in his first season w/ the Texans — turned that team into a defensive force (while losing Mario Wms.), going from 29th to 4th in points. Same kind of thing back in 1989 when he took Denver to 1st in points allowed from 20th the year before . . . but only after being schooled in 1988 by Buddy Ryan as the Eagles’ DC (in title only really).

    There was “Swamp Fox” — Marion Campbell — who took Dick Vermeil’s Eagles from 19th to 7th in 1977. That team had no top-tier talent except Bill Bergey. That was it. Vermeil called Campbell “a first round pick” when he came aboard. He was better than that.

    Bud Carson — who led the Eagles’ 1991 defense to the “triple crown” (first in points, rushing yards and passing yards) — joined the Steelers in ’72 and took them from 17th in scoring defense in ’71 up to 2nd in scoring in ’72. (Yes, lots of talent to work with that was just beginning to bloom — unlike Marion Campbell.)

    George Allen, though head coach was also the Redskins’ DC when he took over in ’71. He improved the ‘Skins from 24th in points in 1970 to 4th in points — though that may be as much about all the personnel improvements to make the future now. He did pretty much the same when he went to the Rams in ’66 — who when from 9th in points in ’65, before he arrived, to: 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 4th. But, again, like Carson, he knew how to use good personnel.

    George Seifert took over as the 49ers DC in 1983 and took them from back-to-back years of 21st and 22nd in points to 4th and then 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd. Another coach with some great personnel.

    Buddy Ryan joined the Bears as DC in ’78 and took them from 19th in points to 4th and then 3rd the next year. The Bears at that time weren’t the most talented team. But they were mean.

    Bill Arnsparger was the DC for the Chargers in ’92, taking them from 21st to 4th in points.

    Mike Nolan took the Giants to 1st in ’93 from 26th in ’92. (But generally his defenses ran hot and cold as DC w/ the Giants, Skins, Ravens, Jets, Denver, and Dolphins — finishing in the Top 10 a couple years in a row then falling into the teens or 20s then back to the Top 10.)

    Dom Capers took the Steelers from 22nd in ’91 to 2nd in ’92. (As for the Packers this year, who were 19th in points this season, Capers had them at 2nd and 7th the previous two years. And Capers took GB from 22nd in ’07 to 7th in ’08, his first year w/ the Pack. Similarly, with the Dolphins, he took them from 15th to 5th in his first year there in ’06. He also took the Jaguars from 17th to 1st his first year there in ’99. The guy can coach defense.)

    Lovie Smith took the Rams from 31st to 7th in points in 2001.

    Jack Del Rio, as the Panthers’ DC, took them from 28th to 5th in 2002 — his only year as a DC.

    Dick LeBeau, in his second go-round as the Steelers’ DC, took them from 15th to 1st in 2004.

    Ron Meeks had some success w/ the Colts, where they went from 31st to 7th in 2002 (but his record’s pretty spotty otherwise).

    John Marshall took the Seahawks in from 22nd to 7th in 2005.

    So how ’bout our own Jim Johnson — whose principal concern was holding the opponent to 17 points or less?

    He took over the Eagles’ defense in ’99 and they fell to 22nd from 19th in points allowed. Previously, when he became the Colts DC in 1994, that defense went only from 27th up to 14th.

    But in the SECOND YEAR . . . JJ’s Eagles jumped to 4th. And his Colts jumped to 5th.

    Consider Monte Kiffin — the 2-deep zine guru. His defenses finished 18th and 16th in scoring his first two years as a DC (at MINN and NO). But his defenses in Tampa were never lower then 10th for 12 of the next 13 — and in the Top 5 for six of those years.

    On the other hand, Gregg Williams’ defenses have finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense only 5 times in 15 years — 12 as DC and 3 as HC. That’s it . . . just 5 out of 15.

    So a new DC can make a huge difference in points allowed — which, as JJ always said, is really all that mattered.

    But . . . JJ’s own time here shows that the FIRST YEAR at the helm of a defense may not mean spit.

  63. 63 Anonymous said at 5:31 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Great information. Always love to see names from the old days. Interesting thing is how Cover 2 is tied to so many guys.

    Carson brought it to the NFL. Kiffin perfected it. Lovie ran it. Dick LeBeau plays a lot of Cover 2 (broke off and mixed in more man coverage this year).

  64. 64 Anonymous said at 3:54 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Speaking of D-coordinators . . . Arizona’s Ray Horton had the Cardinals at #2 in the NFL in opponent’s red-zone scoring percentage (TDs only).


  65. 65 Eric Weaver said at 4:29 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    PastaPadre wrote on FB that there are rumors Manning is retiring.

  66. 66 Anonymous said at 5:32 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Actor Rob Lowe is the source. He’s very tight with Colts owner Jim Irsay. The rumors have since been shot down.

  67. 67 Anonymous said at 5:02 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Although Mel Kiper’s first mock draft is apparently up (per BGN) . . .


    This guy must have a good relationship w/ someone inside the Birds.

    King’s predicted over the past 5 years:

    2011: Danny Watkins

    2010: Trade up to select a DE. He gave the Eagles Derrick Morgan. Right move. Right position. Wrong player. He has Graham going 3 picks later to Denver.

    2009: LeSean McCoy. King had Maclin going at 7 to the Raiders.

    2008: DeSean Jackson.

    2007: Brandon Meriweather. The Pats jumped the Eagles (if memory serves) to take Meriweather. Then the Eagles traded out of the 1st round.

    2006: Winston Justice. I vaguely remember Reid saying he’d have taken Justice in Rd 1 if Bunkley were gone. King has Bunkley going at #13 to the Ravens (who traded up 1-slot that year to take DT Hali Ngota).

    I get that three of these guys were 2nd rounders. But clearly he has a pretty good feel for whom the Eagles like.

    I’ll be very interested to see his prediction this April.

  68. 68 Anonymous said at 6:20 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    Good point.

    And also mocks done before April, or at least before free agency and the combine have one use and one use only: To pass the time/keep you entertained until real information can be ascertained.

  69. 69 Eric Weaver said at 6:54 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I like Rick Gosselin from the Dallas Morning News the most. Over the last 5 years or so, he has the highest accuracy out of all the major mockers.

  70. 70 Michael J Wallis II said at 7:33 PM on January 18th, 2012:

    I’m familiar with him as well. Trouble is, for the past few years I’ve tried to locate his mocks and can NEVER find it until someone posts about how accurate it is after the draft. On the paper’s website, google, everywhere. Seems kind of funny to me

  71. 71 William Kunz said at 9:46 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    He only releases his draft either the day before or the day of the draft…that’s why it’s hard to find.

  72. 72 Mac said at 1:49 PM on January 19th, 2012:

    I see what you did there…

  73. 73 the guy said at 2:12 AM on January 19th, 2012:

    I know absolutely nothing about how a professional football team works in terms of people, but is it at all possible the lack of a lockout hurt team chemistry worse than it did Juan Castillo?

    Guys like Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha (and of course Derek Landri) are respected, experienced, talented players (leaders?) who missed a big chunk of the offseason. Watching the games I never had the sense the talent or coaching wasn’t there. Could a real offseason with OTAs and training camp turn the Eagles into a motivated team instead of a bunch of guys who blow games with mistakes?

  74. 74 Anonymous said at 12:25 PM on January 19th, 2012:

    People dismiss the last four games, but two stats stick out:
    Vick ran only 11 times in those four games
    Vick had 4 turnovers in his last four games, (3 int, 1 fumble) and could have had one less except for a hair brained throw into traffic.

    Point is when Vick calmed down, the turnovers stopped, seems getting healthy and having a few weeks to think about his play did make a difference.

    On defense, the change started after game five, Coleman replaced Page at SS in game 6, Landri jointed the DT rotation in game 5, Matthews was benched in game 4 for Rolle, Jordan replaced Fokou in game 10. Each an incremental improvement, but the better play down the stretch was no fluke. Allen got healthy, Patterson got good looking again as the season progressed.

    Too many changes, too short an offseason, too much for coaches and players to digest. But they outgained and outscored the opposition by a wide margin, so it’s a matter of little fixes and cutting back on mistakes, no need for a big overhaul.

  75. 75 Mac said at 1:51 PM on January 19th, 2012:

    It all adds up.

  76. 76 Matt G said at 12:31 PM on January 19th, 2012:

    Hey tommy, East West Shrine game this weekend what do you think of Jarius Wright as a guy that could potentially replace Desean?