Red Zone

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

The Eagles struggled with Red Zone defense in historic fashion over the last 2 years.  The offense was not nearly that bad, but certainly must be better.  Have the personnel changes made thus far done enough to help each side of the ball?

The RZ defense got instantly better the second that DeMeco Ryans became an Eagle.  He now runs the defense.  He can point out things on the field that a less experienced LB might not see.  Ryans can shed blocks better than the other LBs.  He is also the kind of thick LB and physical tackler that you need for short area football.  Speed is no good in a confined space.  You need power/strength.

The RZ defense got better the second that Asante Samuel was shipped out of town.  His failure to play press coverage in the RZ drove me insane.  I’m sure someone will come up with PFF stats on how he gave up the 3rd fewest TDs or something like that, but watch the frigging tape. His guy was running free.  That affected the other players around him.  Teams didn’t have to throw at Asante for his style to be an issue.

The whole point in press coverage is to not give a free release so that you control what the offense does and can disrupt the timing of the play.  Receivers running free affect other DBs/LBs.  Who do you cover if multiple guys are in your area?  One of the biggest issues with the awful RZ play has been confusion by the cover guys.  Some of this is on Sean McDermott and some on Juan Castillo, but I guarantee you the Eagles will finish higher in RZ defense just with Asante gone.

The Safeties and other DBs do need to play better.  I hope the coaching of Todd Bowles and a full offseason together will make a difference in this area.

LB play must be better, vs run and pass.  If Kendricks is able to start at SAM, his athleticism and ILB experience could help him to be a good RZ defender.  We don’t know who will be the WLB yet, but the player will be a year older, stronger, and wiser.  That must make him better.  Right?

Talking about RZ production on offense is tricky.  The team actually got a lot better as the season went along.  They ran Shady more and more effectively.  Think about some of the things we did with moving Jason Peters to the right side in an unbalanced line and having Todd Herremans at TE.

The biggest thing was using the TE more in the RZ passing game.  He had zero TDs in the first 5 games.  He ended the season with a TD catch in 3 straight games.

2 huge keys to RZ success…run the ball and throw to the TE.  The 2012 Eagles can be a better RZ team without changing anyone if they continue to run the ball in tight and throw to the TEs.

I think the addition of rookie receiver Marvin McNutt and a full offseason for Riley Cooper will help.  Both guys are over 6-3 and 215.  Cooper can play the ball in the air.  McNutt is very good on slants and posts in the RZ.  He uses his body to shield the ball from the defender.  It drives me nuts that we don’t throw more slants and posts in the RZ.  I hope that changes with Cooper and McNutt.  Take advantage of their size.

I’d love to see DeSean Jackson make a RZ impact, but I’m doubtful.  He’s just not at his best moving in traffic and confined spaces.  He can be a good decoy.

Jeremy Maclin showed good potential as a RZ target in 2010.  We need him to get back to that form.  He’s got a good combination of size, route running, and elusiveness.  All you need is to get open for half a second and you can score.

I think there are 2 x-factors.  Clay Harbor is the good one.  He can be a good RZ weapon.  Line him up as a WR and throw him a slant.  No CB can beat him to the inside.  Clay will out-muscle the guy.  Clay has the athleticism and skills to do that.  I was hoping he would take a big step forward last year, but that didn’t happen.  Could be that he’s not ready or that the coaches are too conservative with him.

FB Stanley Havili is the other x-factor.  One of the reasons Shady had success last year was that he ran well behind Owen Schmitt.  Now Schmitt wasn’t a good lead blocker in general, but he seemed to do a good job in the RZ.  I never did figure out why that was.  Now we have Havili at FB.  He must show that he can be a functional lead blocker.  If not, we’ll have to run from spread sets or move Harbor or Celek to FB in certain packages.  It would really help if Havili could prove to be functional.  He doesn’t have to be Moose Johnston.  Just be as good as Owen Schmitt.

The biggest RZ issue of them all was turnovers.  Michael Vick made some terrible decisions.  Then we had blocking breakdowns on some plays.  And of course, there was the Ronnie Brown disaster.

If Danny Watkins takes a step forward, Jason Kelce is truly bigger, and Demetress Bell can be an adequate LT, the RZ blocking should be good.  I do expect Watkins to be better and Kelce to be bigger (and stronger).  Bell is a mystery man.

Vick must be more focused and more precise in the RZ.  Maybe my worst moment of 2011 was in the first Giants game when Mike fired a missile at Steve Smith (thanks Lawlor, now it is back to therapy) and the ball went off his shoulder pad and was picked off.  Why on Earth would Vick throw a 3-yard pass that hard?  It defies logic.

There were a couple of throws where Vick threw low and the ball was batted into the air and picked off.  Vick must do a better job of moving in the pocket to find good passing lanes.  Kicking FGs in the RZ is bad, but turning the ball over is the difference in winning and losing.  Vick cannot play sloppy football like that if we expect to win.  He was far too casual in some of those situations.  He did play better down the stretch and the offense was able to score TDs.

Having a stud RZ receiver like Plax would be nice, but it isn’t necessary.  I think the Eagles have the pieces in place to be a good RZ team.  The playcalling must be smart and the execution must be crisp.  And it would help if some guy would make a couple of “wow” plays.  Harbor?  Cooper?  McNutt?  Bueller?

* * * * *

The lasted MAQB column from NFL Gimpy is posted.  He wrote about concussions, BountyGate, and how the game can/should be played in the future.

* * * * *

Off-topic…many of you know I’m a film buff.  Stanley Kubrick is my favorite director of all time and I worship his films.  That made me really enjoy this Mad magazine parody called The Shiner.  The humor is dated (McLean Stevenson jokes), but for some of us, this is comedy gold.

59 Comments on “Red Zone”

  1. 1 Sam Lynch said at 1:04 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Why would Harbor ever get matched up against a CB? Can’t imagine any situation where he wouldn’t be covered by a S or a LB.

    I don’t understand the fascination with him. I have never seen him do anything for the Eagles where I thought he looked distinct from the backup TE on a generic opponent.

  2. 2 JRO91 said at 1:13 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Harbor is underutilized by the Eagles….He ran a 4.62 40, weights about 260 and has great hands. He is more of a Chris Cooley/Dallas Clark TE, but the Eagles for some reason don’t use him. I don’t get it….
    He could create major mismatches for LB’s and safeties with his speed and size. A great RZ formation would be Machlin/Cooper on the outside, Mcnutt in the slot and either Harbor or Celek at TE.

  3. 3 Sam Lynch said at 1:25 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    He looks pretty ordinary on the field. Haven’t seen great hands. Haven’t seen out-of-the-ordinary speed. Maybe the Eagles have failed to take maximum advantage of his skills, but those skills should at least flash at some point, shouldn’t they?

  4. 4 Skeptic_Eagle said at 1:36 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Definitely. I have heard that he performed very well in some of the TC activities, but until otherwise proven, it’s pretty much WYSIWYG: a competent backup TE. I have no reason to believe he’s being “underutilized” until I see some proof utilizing him more would benefit the offense.

  5. 5 Mac said at 2:33 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I felt he was pretty effective in the H-back role, but of course that’s a completely different story.

    I also am inclined to believe that Vick will utilize Harbor and Celek more this year (in a manner similar to the end of last season).

  6. 6 Donald Kalinowski said at 5:39 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Great hands and good size mismatch-

    I know that’s just one play be he has shown the capability.

  7. 7 Ben Hert said at 5:52 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    That looks like exactly what we need in the Red-Zone.

  8. 8 austinfan said at 12:52 PM on May 9th, 2012:

    He had a total of 19 throws, caught 13 of them, including a couple nice catches. Dropped a couple, but that’s pretty normal for a guy who goes games without seeing the ball.

    AR/MM used to make a point of spreading the ball around, but last year they got away from that, basically five players, DeSean, Maclin, Avant, Shady, Celek. Harbor was primarily a blocker (and much improved, ask Mr. Ware). Cooper was totally forgotten until Maclin got hurt, 3 catches, no completions, then started 3 games and had 240 yards and a TD, outproducing DeSean in that stretch with VY at QB. Schmitt was ignored for good reason, ditto Ronnie Brown.

    The Cardinals should offer us a 3rd rd pick for Harbor, he’s far superior to anyone they have, and that holds for a bunch of teams. The kid worked hard to improve his blocking (small college WR turned TE). He deserves more of a chance to show his talents than he’s had so far.

    The wildcard is Brackett, the Penn State WR they moved to TE b/c he’s 6’6 248, and while a good athlete, like most big WRs, too slow off the line to succed in the NFL. He put up a 6.70 cone drill, which is pretty amazing at his size, if he can add strength and learn to block he has a shot at this roster.

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 2:37 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I should have said DB.

    Harbor has lined up outside for us. I think he looks okay out there. I wish we’d do it more often.

  10. 10 Sam Lynch said at 2:50 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    But since there are likely Ss who he wouldn’t be able to out-muscle, it wouldn’t have made sense.

    Anyway, “okay” is not what we should be pinning our hopes on. The team should stop trying to be clever and get a mismatch (for example, move a TE to a WR position where he is less effective, or else he’d be a WR, to get a mismatch, that’s making the offense weaker in order to make the defense weaker) and start putting players in their correct positions. Show me a red zone offense designed around the four guys who are the tops on the team in the red zone (Maclin / Avant / Celek / Shady) and have the 5th skill player be a guy doing his actual job well, be it a 2nd TE, a FB, a big WR, 6th OL. Have them play to their strengths, don’t minimize the effectiveness of the four guys who are actually good at their assignments by trying to out-clever the defense.


  11. 11 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:14 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    i dont know if i want to call Avant tops on our team in the RZ. the numbers that jimmy bama posted today for #3 WRs show him with only 1 TD last year. ONE!!! that may or may not have even been a RZ TD. i really dont know.

    i get what you are saying – he’s a bigger guy with good hands and he should be good in the RZ, but last year, he just didnt put up ANY numbers to show it.

    is that lack of production caused by his abilities or a lack of opportunities? i think you and tommy are better suited to answer that than i!

  12. 12 TommyLawlor said at 3:43 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Harbor played WR some in college. I assume he played that in HS as well. His bio doesn’t make it clear. Putting him out at WR isn’t some wild shot in the dark.

    I’m also talking about a situation where you have 1st/GL from say the 8 yd line. Send out Ace personnel (2 TE, 2 WR, RB). Stack the WRs to one side. Put Harbor out wide to the opposite side. If you get him 1-on-1 with a S, throw a slant. He should outmuscle most DBs. If the defense somehow has other guys to that side, then you could have an advantage to the WR side.

    I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here. Plenty of teams line up TEs out at WR for a play or two each game and do so effectively. I think Harbor has the skill set to be good at that. I think it would be effective in the Red Zone.

  13. 13 Razz_A_Matazz said at 8:30 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I’ve seen him handle DeMarcus Ware on more than a couple of occasions. Which S’s will he not out-muscle? I don’t even buy Landry, unless you’re talking “pose down”…

  14. 14 D3Keith said at 12:54 AM on May 9th, 2012:

    While we’re on Harbor, I’m a fan — but you guys covered the pros and cons.

    RE: “The biggest thing was using the TE more in the RZ passing game. He had zero TDs in the first 5 games. He ended the season with a TD catch in 3 straight games.”

    Harbor had a TD catch against San Francisco, on Vick’s spectacular duck-under pass. Was this outside the red zone and therefore not relevant to the post?

  15. 15 iskar36 said at 5:04 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Harbor seems to be a decent backup, but I don’t think he has shown much more than that so far. At the beginning of the offseason, TE was a place I listed where the Eagles could go out and get additional help. At the very least, I think Harbor is a guy that was worth challenging (not that I am saying I would have rather gotten a TE over someone else we brought in). That being said, I think Harbor showed a little bit late in the year and hopefully he can build off of that. He is still young and clearly developing, but I don’t see him as a guy that the team should really like just yet.

  16. 16 wee2424 said at 3:15 AM on May 9th, 2012:

    Good combo of speed, size, strength and athleticism. Good after the catch. The few times he has had the ball in his hands he has looked good, I’m specifically thinking of times where he has caught screen passes and picked up nice yards.

  17. 17 Thunder_lips said at 1:08 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I think I sneak up on my girlfriend and repeatedly scream “REDRUM” at least once a week. She doesn’t appreciate it, but I laugh maniacally every time. She and the UPS guy just don’t get my humor (I scream “WHAT’S IN THE BOX??!!” Brad Pitt style at him).

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 2:35 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Just saw that scene from Se7en the other night. So classic.

  19. 19 JRO91 said at 1:17 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    It is a shame what happened to Peters…I still shake my head at that. I also feel that Watkins and Kelce take a big step forward this year. Our O-Line could have been rediculously good. Bell is no sloutch, but he certainly is a huge step back from Peters.

  20. 20 Mac said at 2:35 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I thought Kelce was good last year. If he gets much better we may have 2 pro-bowl caliber linemen.

  21. 21 Ric Holloway said at 1:25 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    On offense, it was all about turning the ball over. If Vick can cut back on a few of the fumbles and interceptions, particularly in the red zone, we win more games. Just look at Alex Smith. He is was nothing special, but last year he protected the ball (17 TD/5 INT/2 Fumbles). Vick 18 TD/14 INT/4 Fumbles). 7 vs 18 turnovers by the QB.

  22. 22 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:16 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    this is what i would stress to the team this offseason. take care of the ball.

    imagine if we got just 3 points for each of the 11 turnovers different there? i’m sure that would easily win us at least one more game, even before you adjust points from the other team for no longer getting a short field from our TO (or even a direct TD…)

  23. 23 Toby_yboT said at 1:26 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    “We don’t know who will be the WLB yet, but the player will be a year older, stronger, and wiser. That must make him better. Right?”

    This is common logic and fans of all teams seem to use it but I don’t think it’s true. In fact, I can think of more examples where players regressed than progressed, but that may be selection bias on my part. In any case, if this logic were true then our linebackers should have been absolutely beastly in 2009. Specifically when it comes to Eagles and our linebackers, they always seem to regress.

  24. 24 TommyLawlor said at 2:38 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Yes and no on 2009. Stew got hurt. That killed us at MLB. McD wanted to use Gocong somewhat differently and I think that affected him. You are correct about Akeem Jordan regressing.

    One key in regard to my statement is that you need the players healthy and in the same system.

  25. 25 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:18 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    the recent samples might not be best to review…
    there have been so many changes on D that its hard to say if it was the scheme at fault or the player.
    we’ve had how many different D coordinators in the last 5 years? thats gotta have an effect on younger players. its hard to work hard to excel in a particular system if the system keeps changing around you.

  26. 26 Skeptic_Eagle said at 1:27 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I generally like PFF, but you are dead on the money about Samuel. I can’t shake the image of him letting Earl Bennett get a free release @ the 2 yard line and Cutler tossing him the ball in the Bears game. PFF’s great, and they are probably the best reference point for a player’s overall performance, but some plays should be weighted a bit heavier on their grading scale, and plays like that change the whole tone of a game. In that case, I think it might have even been the go-ahead score; a gift-wrapped game of pitch and catch between Cutler and Bennet because of Samuel’s play. Didn’t McDermott indicate that Asante was supposed to have pressed on one of the big plays Dallas had in the season where they beat the Eagles 3x?

    At the risk of beating a broken drum, I think a big piece of the RZ trouble for the offense is the playcalling. It’s really the most consistent factor in the last few years of redzone difficulties. Consistent Rollouts that cut the field in half, too much passing (I know, it’s been discussed) and plays that are too complex (see the “Ronnie Brown disaster” you referenced, which really is a little unfair to Brown; sure it was a terrible decision to try and pitch the ball, but wasn’t a flea-flicker the actual design of the play?). When a play design breaks down, Vick tries to make a play where none can be made, and bad things happen.

    When you see teams that consistently succeed in the redzone, it’s not about how creative or schematically exciting their offense is, it’s about execution. Rodgers throwing a back-shoulder bullet and his receiver going to get it seems to have a basis in fantastic execution, not design. Shady’s a great runner, keep giving him the ball. If you’re going to throw, use McNutt or Cooper on routes that utilize their height (might have to work on ball placement and touch, Mike) or try and execute a simple route with Maclin, letting him utilize the traits you mentioned. Jackson, so far, has proven to be pretty useless in the redzone. As crazy as it sounds, I wouldn’t mind seeing him pulled off in those situations for a role player that might actually make a contested catch (Cooper, McNutt, Avant).

  27. 27 Mac said at 2:38 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I agree 100% that Desean is a RZ liability. Inside the 20 I want him on the field for 50% of the snaps, inside the 10 I’d like to see him in less than 10% of the time.

  28. 28 ICDogg said at 3:33 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    And almost all punt returns

  29. 29 D3Keith said at 11:38 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    “I’m sure someone will come up with PFF stats on how he gave up the 3rd fewest TDs or something like that, but watch the frigging tape.”


    You know it’s serious when you see the G at the end of “friggin”

    Playing his own style really did affect the rest of the team. The odd part is most of the time the style is appropriate, but Asante being rigid, even in key situations, was like a basketball player who’s good at shooting threes refusing to stop shooting them in a game situation where a higher percentage shot is clearly the smart move.

  30. 30 Skeptic_Eagle said at 1:33 PM on May 8th, 2012:


  31. 31 LiamGarrett said at 10:40 PM on May 8th, 2012:


  32. 32 Noah_Becker said at 1:38 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    The Red Zone offense’s struggles have a troubling whiff of scheme/coaching inflexibility to it.

    From 2003-05 (Childress was OC), the Eagles finished 12th or better, every year, in RZ Scoring %.

    From 2006-2011 the Eagles highest finish was 12th (2006) and averaged 18th. Generally, the trend over the last 4 years has been positive. But it is somewhat disconcerting how rapidly the Red Zone efficiency plunged after Mornhinweg took over the offense

  33. 33 TommyLawlor said at 2:41 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    You must be able to run the football to be successful in the RZ. It also helps to throw to TEs. We didn’t do enough of either for several years. Glad to see us shifting directions on that.

    Marty is too quick to go to his love of the spread passing attack.

  34. 34 Mac said at 2:41 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I was hopeful that Marty would get a HC job offer somewhere this offseason. Alas, my dream did not come true.

  35. 35 Toby_yboT said at 1:44 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    On offense, I think continuity on the o-line will make a world of difference and reduce turnovers. If you compare the o-line last year at the start of the season (new system, new coach, mostly new starters) to where they will be at the start of this season, it’s almost a no-brainier they will be better.

  36. 36 Donald Kalinowski said at 5:44 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    But we’re going to play with a new LT 🙁
    Maybe a full off season will help him get comfortable

  37. 37 izzylangfan said at 2:15 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Slants! Yes, I have always wondered why the Eagles do not use the slant more and not just in the RZ. Its a great play on first and second down – you get three to five yards most of the time and if a tackle is broken its second or third and short at worst. It forces the coverage to move up and sets up longer passes. I think of this every time the Eagles go long (and incomplete) on first and second down. True the Eagles did not seem to have this problem last year with McCoy so effective on the early downs (as well as the late ones). So bringing the defense up a bit might hurt McCoy’s stats. But I can’t help but think there a more ideal way to mix in the slant and other short passes. Aren’t they supposed to be a bigger part of the WCO? Maybe the fact that they don’t use these slants much makes the Eagles uncomfortable with them in the RZ.

  38. 38 Skeptic_Eagle said at 3:09 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I think quick slant throws require accuracy and anticipation. McNabb was not a very good anticipatory thrower. Neither is Vick. Both guys rely on their cannons to get the ball there when they see a receiver open up–“see it & throw it”. From what little we saw of Kolb, he was OK at it, but didn’t have the pocket presence necessary to stand and deliver.I’m not going to say you can’t win with see it & throw it guys, but I do understand why the slant is not used more often.

  39. 39 izzylangfan said at 3:35 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    You make a fair point. Maybe this is something the Eagles will never be world class at. However, it is clear that Vick needs to learn to diagnose the play and get rid of the ball more quickly. A mix of a few quick release plays would help set him up for those deeper drops. The problem Vick has is that he spends so much time back there, defenses have the time to get to him – and his ribs. Last year the long passing game was almost non existent against good teams and Vick was running for his life.

  40. 40 D3Keith said at 11:44 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I wish we would use the slant more, specifically on games when DeSean is having trouble getting involved. I know you don’t want to run him into the middle of the field, but if he lines up outside the numbers and you motion the slot away, if it’s a zone or off man, the throw is there every time for a few yards, he shouldn’t take a beating, and if he breaks a tackle, it’s a big gainer. Plus he touches the ball, feels involved, gets in the flow. On those plays it’s not even always about the immediate return in terms of yardage.

    Now in the NFL, corners are so quick, throwing a long slant like that can be dangerous. But if you catch a guy trying to jump routes when isolated on DeSean, it doesn’t take an offensive genius to figure out how to pump-fake him and make him pay.

  41. 41 ACViking said at 3:05 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    RE: The Loss of Jason Peters

    Clearly, his injury hurts. And maybe more than anyone, it hurts McCoy. His numbers running to Peters’ side — especially on short yardage in the RZ — had to be disproportionately more productive compared to any other section of the line.

    Nonetheless, even with the loss of Peters, I think Bell will be all right.

    I say that strictly from the “glass is half full” point of view.

    Bell certainly is not Peters. He’s not Tra Thomas. He’s not Stan Walters. And he’s definitely not Bob Brown.

    But he’s gotta be better than the likes of Cecil Gray, whom Buddy Ryan converted from D-line to OLT as a rookie in 1990. And then handed him the starting job on opening day.

    Or Tom Jelesky, who almost single handedly got Ron Jaworski killed in 1986 against the Giants and Lawrence Taylor.

    Or Dean Miraldi, whom some readers T-LAW’s blog may remember being repeatedly pushed into Jaworski by Al “Bubba” Baker on the frozen Vet surface — as though Miraldi was on skates — during the last game of 1985. [PS – one of Buddy Ryan’s first moves was to trade DM before the ’86 training camp in favor of Jelesky. Clearly, Buddy didn’t have an eye for OLTs.]

    And least we forget Lane Howell, the angular OLT from Grambling who struggled year after year against the likes of Jim Marshall, Lionel Aldridge, Lamar Lundy, Jim Houston, Georgie Andrie, Ordell Brasse, Larry Hand . . . and a litany of others.

    Yes, Bell has to be better than this group.

  42. 42 Razz_A_Matazz said at 6:08 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    You, Sir, have a wealth of Eagles History knowledge.

  43. 43 D3Keith said at 11:46 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    You just went ol’ skool on dat azz. Respeck.

  44. 44 austinfan said at 12:57 PM on May 9th, 2012:

    Or the one eyed jack, or Brooks, or . . .
    He’s probably as good as Tra circa 2008, when he was clearly at the end.

  45. 45 rage114 said at 3:08 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    I don’t have a link to the article but I am 98% sure Roseman stated last year that the group that would be most negatively affected by the lockout would be the 2nd year players, not the first year players.

    I have to assume that he didn’t make that up out of thin air and that he was generally restating an accepted notion (at least by this team).

    If that is true, then players like Harbor and Cooper on offense and Allen, Chaney, Coleman, and Clayton on defense could take more of a leap this year, than they did last year.

  46. 46 Donald Kalinowski said at 8:14 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Just curious- Did you move to NE for your job? I’m graduating with the same major in a month and not having a job is eating me alive.

  47. 47 rage114 said at 7:35 AM on May 9th, 2012:

    One of my first interviews out of college was with a company in Philadelphia. We spent about 10 minutes talking about the job and about 50 mintues talking about the Eagles; Darrin Smith in particular because he just signed with the Eagles.

    Go to the EMB and PM me.

  48. 48 Cafone said at 3:37 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Nice piece Tommy. As a big Assante supporter, I found your comments on his RZ performance to be enlightening.

    Your comment on Maclin made me think: He had a pretty good season last year, despite all the illness and weight loss issues right before the season. Might he have a higher ceiling than most of us are thinking? I think it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish this year assuming he is able to enter the season completely healthy.

  49. 49 the guy said at 7:15 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    For a guy who is a supporter, you sure seem to have given him the best derogatory nickname I can conceive of.

    “Assante”. Love it. Hope I won’t need to use it week 8 vs ATL.

  50. 50 Cafone said at 3:45 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Hey Tommy, one thing I’d like to see you comment on in the future: Is Danny Watkins in competition for a starting job, or will it be handed to him even if he is outperformed by another guard on the roster? Also, if you look at our depth on the offensive line now, and could travel back in time and influence Roseman’s draft decisions, would you tell him to focus on another position and let Mudd turn a journeyman or late round pick into a competent guard?

  51. 51 TommyLawlor said at 4:02 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Danny will be the RG, unless he struggles or someone outplays him. Danny didn’t play so well in 2011 that he’s guaranteed anything, but he did show enough that you would anticipate him being a solid starting OG this year. If he does have some of the same struggles, he will have serious competition for his job. I’m not sure which player that would be right now. We need to see what order they put the backup OL in this summer. Could be Gibson or Vandervelde or maybe even King Dunlap.

  52. 52 wee2424 said at 9:17 AM on May 9th, 2012:

    I for one have faith in Watkins and I think he will make a big jump from last year, lol but what do I know.

  53. 53 TommyLawlor said at 4:06 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    If I could go back in time…I’d tell him to trade 1st, 2nd, and 4th for pick 11 and go get JJ Watt.

  54. 54 Thunder_lips said at 5:55 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    If I could go back in time, I’d tell them to trade their 2nd and 4th rounder for the Colts 1st in 2012. Goodbye Casey and Jaiquawn; hello Andrew! I’d also buy a bunch of Apple stock, become Adam Sandler’s best friend at NYU, and release Boston’s debut album before they wrote it.

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 7:02 PM on May 8th, 2012:


  56. 56 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 5:40 PM on May 8th, 2012:


    I was wondering, in regard to an earlier comment, what you do for a living? I actually thought you were earning your money by being a jnournalist/part time Eagles writer, but it sounded like you did something else…

    I really hope you get to live out your dream at some point, but selfishly I hope you keep on doing this blog! I missed it seriously the time that Eagles Blitz was shut down.

    It could be fun to make a post where people who contribute to this blog presented themselves, so that we could get to know a little bit more about eachother…. just an idea…

  57. 57 Eagles1991 said at 8:55 PM on May 8th, 2012:

    Off topic… Kendricks signs hia 4 year deal…now he can get to playing the SAM

  58. 58 wee2424 said at 3:10 AM on May 9th, 2012:

    Why didn’t we re-sign Schmidt? I for one liked him, McCoy obviously had a good year, what do the coaches see in Havili?

  59. 59 austinfan said at 1:00 PM on May 9th, 2012:

    Well, he’s not much of a run blocker, a nonfactor as a runner, is as bad after the catch as Parry, and he’s a middlin’ pass blocker.

    Other than that, he’s fine.
    One of those guys who tested far better than he ever played.

    I think at some point they figured Harbor at H-back could be just as nonproductive as a skill player and is a lot better blocker, and Harbor can actually gain YAC.