“We’re Going To Win Games With Demtress Bell”

Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 32 Comments »

Those words come from OL guru Howard Mudd.   The media was allowed to speak to him and as expected, Mudd gave them good copy, including the title of this post. Read Les Bowen’s piece on Mudd and OL for lots of good info.

Mudd is a happy guy.  He’s healthy and has lots of energy.  His O-line has 4 returning starters and the fifth guy is a veteran player that was added only after an injury to Jason Peters.  Mudd knows that Peters is special, but seems to like Demetress Bell quite a bit.  Mudd said he’s got “an unusual amount of athleticism, which we like here in our upfront stuff”.

We all agree that Bell isn’t in Peters’ class, but the mystery to this situation is that we haven’t seen Bell play for a great coach, on a stable line, and in a system that takes advantage of his skill set.  Bell should play better than he has in the past, but what does that mean?  Will he be slightly above average?  Flat out good?  Could he thrive as the Eagles LT in ’12?  (yes, I did conveniently leave off the negative options…I now get a free hug from Andy Reid)

I do love the definitive nature of Mudd’s comments.  He wasn’t hesitant.  He didn’t try to play it safe.  If Mudd is that confident in Bell, I feel a lot better about the situation.

Mudd doesn’t get to talk to the media a lot so it’s hard to say if he’s just selling us a bill of goods.  I don’t get that feeling, but I can’t rule it out completely.  We heard Jim Washburn rave about some players and then follow up by saying “and that isn’t just the company line”.  That tells us that assistant coaches are aware of the fact the team wants them to be as positive as possible.  I’m just not sure old school coaches like Wash and Mudd are going to conduct PR campaigns.  I tend to believe them when they speak to the media.

It was interesting to read Mudd’s thoughts on some other players.  He says the problem with RG Danny Watkins is simply self-doubt.  Too often Danny would doubt himself and that would hurt his play.

This reminded me of a story from my high school days.  The OL coach was yelling at a kid named Richard for blocking the wrong guy in the previous week’s game.  A few guys snickered.  Coach Cain then looked at the group and said “What the hell are you guys laughing at?  Richard may miss an assignment, but he’s the one guy I can count on to play his ass off on every snap!!!”  Silence.

Coach Cain was right.  Ideally you want the guys to block the right guy and do it well, but the worst thing is when a player isn’t sure and then is moving around at half-speed and not getting a good block on anyone.  Danny should have a much better knowledge of the playbook and a better understanding of what he needs to do on each play.  With less doubt in his mind, Danny can get out there and really mash on guys.  He doesn’t lack size, strength, or talent.  There were some plays where you saw big time potential from him.   Mudd referred to Danny as “a monster”.  He’s big and strong, naturally.  I don’t know if he’ll break out and be a stud RG this year, but if he can be a solid, reliable player that should be good enough.  I am curious to see how good he can be.

Jason Kelce is the other young guy who needs to step up.  He did have a good rookie year.  Kelce needs to get bigger and stronger.  He knows the offense.  Great athlete.  If his strength jumps from below average / functional to good…watch out.  He could be a very good Center this year.

Kelce will also benefit from just learning the little things.  Because he is lighter than most interior linemen, Kelce needs to be crafty to win some battles with massive NTs/DTs. Mudd was able to turn Jeff Saturday from an undersized UDFA to a Pro Bowl player.  Kelce is off to a good start, but Mudd still has plenty of work to do with him.  Kelce isn’t being judged as a rookie anymore.  Mudd actually had Kelce go spend a day with Saturday, to pick his brain and learn whatever he could.

The veteran players should be fine.  Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans each have Pro Bowl potential.

Depth is a question, beyond King Dunlap, but there are some potentially good pieces for Mudd to work with.  One note of interest, OG Julian Vandervelde spent some time practicing snapping.  Mike Gibson is in the mix for backup Center.  Ditto that for Steve Vallos.  So is Dallas Reynolds, although he’s probably a major longshot.

* * * * *

You must go watch this PE.com video if you have a chance.  This is Mudd talking to the media for 14:39.  He is great.  I really love him and this video just made me wish he was here for the past decade instead of just a year.

The highlight is when Les Bowen asks him a personal question and then mentions the Twitter parody account Howard Mudd Facts.  Everyone, including Howard, cracks up.  Howard said he’s aware of it and that the guy who does it has a good sense of humor.  Just a classic moment.

* * * * *

Does everyone know about the Eagles partnering up with Angry Birds?  Odd, but interesting.  This will go over huge with kids.  My nephew knows the Eagles are “Uncle Tommy’s team”, but now that will change and the Eagles will become the Angry Birds team.  Brilliant way to bring in some kids and make them Eagles fans.

I’ll be working with my nephew on how to say “Cowboys suck!!!”.

32 Comments on ““We’re Going To Win Games With Demtress Bell””

  1. 1 T_S_O_P said at 2:01 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    Who is running as the 2nd team Center? I thought it was Reynolds.

    I love the angry birds thing and showed my so as soon as he was home from school/friends. He is still more drawn to the Eagles through the apparel though and has a DSJ jersey which is appropriate because he short, skinny and prone to tantrums.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:04 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    Very funny.

    Reynolds has been the #2 C so far. They’re experimenting with different guys snapping, but DR is #2 in team drills.

  3. 3 Mikko Koikkalainen said at 4:03 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    http://www.mtv3.fi/urheilu/muutlajit/uutiset.shtml/2012/06/1565879/angry-birds-valtaa-uudet-kentat—yhteistyohon-jattiseuran-kanssa?amerikkalainen_jalkapallo The Finnish takeover has begun. That is the biggest Finnish news site but apparently they have no common sense. They say that the Eagles have Hawk in their logo.

  4. 4 rage114 said at 6:52 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    I clearly have the Eagles colored glasses on with this one but I think Watkins, by the end of the year, will be a very good player.

    He hasn’t been playing football very long and as lost as he might have looked last year, he progressed every week.

    With a real offseason to learn (not just perform), to concentrate on football (not a contract, finding a home, learning to deal with the media or fans, etc.), and to generally just get comfortable with the team and the NFL, I think there will be improvements throughout the season.

  5. 5 Matthew Butch said at 7:15 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    I agree. People (like Brian from MoK) were way to hard on him last year.

  6. 6 Mac said at 9:43 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    Watkins may be our #1 Angry Bird since he is “a monster.”

  7. 7 iskar36 said at 10:10 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    I understand your comment is meant in terms of Watkins being good enough to help this team win or not, but if Watkins ends up just as a solid, reliable (read = average starter) player this year, is that really good enough in terms of value? Considering we spent a first round pick on an older guard, I think by year 2, he should be starting to establish himself as an above average starter. He doesn’t need to make the pro bowl or anything like that, but to me, average play would be disappointing to see out of Watkins. If average starter is what he ultimately becomes, I guess labeling him a bust would be too harsh considering he is starting, but it certainly would be a poor pick in the draft.

    As for Mudd, I was surprised that I didn’t hear more people mention this (it might be in the video you linked to, I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet):

    Jeff McLane

    Howard Mudd said he still has 16 games left in the old bones. “I wasn’t thinking of the 16, I was thinking more of those 19.” He admitted, however, that the reprieve during the spring has been beneficial. “You don’t have the same energy when you’re older, you just don’t. To be honest, I feel very rejuvenated. I feel vital. When I get around here – I was sitting with Eugene with morning watching some video of some of the past practices. I said, ‘Do you realize how much I like this?’”

    I don’t think it is all that surprising to hear, but it certainly sounds like this is Mudd’s last year. I know Eugene Chung has been groomed to be Mudd’s eventual replacement, but it will be very interesting to see if he has learned enough in two years from Mudd to really be able to fill in for Mudd.

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 12:48 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    We’ll judge Watkins value when we’ve seen him for 3 years. His ceiling is still high. I just don’t know if he’s going to be a stud OG this year. Being solid in 2012 is good enough for me.

    If that does turn out to be his peak, then the Eagles will have gotten poor value from the pick. No disputing that. Still, getting an adequate starter isn’t the worst thing in the world. A team gets hurt when they whiff completely. That’s when you spend multiple picks to find one player.

    Mudd is year to year. This very well could be his final season, but it won’t surprise me if he wants to come back for one more year. I cannot see him staying beyond 2013.

  9. 9 T_S_O_P said at 1:39 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    A stable and young(ish) line could help that transition. We have everyone locked up until 2016(?) including both LTs (?). As a unit they all seem to be disciples of the Church of Mudd and probably every bit as committed to keeping it running when he retires. It would/could be different if they have a new player to bring in during Chung’s inaugural year.

  10. 10 austinfan said at 12:37 AM on June 15th, 2012:

    If Mudd retires, it’ll be the part-time consultant retirement, where he sits in his easy chair and watches game film, then calls Chung with advice, paying for his new motorcycles and his wife’s redecorating. I suspect he’d want to keep his hand into things as a mentor and consultant until they put him six feet under, just at some point he won’t be able to handle the travel and long hours.

  11. 11 austinfan said at 12:35 AM on June 15th, 2012:

    If he’s a solid, reliable RG he’s worth a mid 2nd round pick, though remember he was a later 1st rd pick, if he develops into a top 5-10 RG he’s worth his draft position as long as he lasts 6-7 years.

    Listening to Mudd talk about him, I’m not worried, people forget that last year was his 3rd year starting in real football in his LIFE, at RG in the NFL after 2 years at LT at Baylor. Gee, no offseason, missed the first week of camp, and he was a little over his head? Surprise!

    What I’m looking for from Watkins is a physical RG to pair with Herremans on the strong side, with enough athleticism to pull and get to the second level. I’m not expecting him to be as athletic as Mathis and Kelce, since there aren’t a dozen starting OL in the NFL that athletic. He’s not an uber athlete, but he had quick enough feet to play LT in the Big 12 (protecting RGIII), and yeah, as a Longhorn fan I can attest to the presence of some decent speed rushers in that conference.

  12. 12 JRO91 said at 10:15 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    If Demetress really does well this year, the Eagles have a big decision next year with which tackle they keep. I know it all depends on Peters health, and if healthy he is clearly the better tackle, but do you take a 30 y/o tackle with a torn achilles (twice) under his belt, or a 20 something tackle, who also has had health issues, but has more tread left on the tires.

  13. 13 iskar36 said at 11:18 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Peters is an All Pro LT. Demetress is a guy who has had an up and down career so far. Even if he plays well, I doubt he even comes close to playing like Peters’. At such an important position, you can’t take the bargain player over an All Pro player. The Eagles will have to make sure Peters is healthy, and they definitely need to keep a quality backup, but no way you let Peters walk if you think he can be healthy for Demetress.

  14. 14 Anders Jensen said at 1:15 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Peters is also old and have fewer years left on his contract. Its more complicated then just his health.

  15. 15 iskar36 said at 1:44 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    If his play had been declining before his injury, I would agree, but last year was his best season of his career. On top of that, we are not talking about a skill position where age hits you incredibly rapidly. At some point, Peters play will decline, and maybe it will by next year, but if Peters can be healthy by next season, he is an All Pro LT you have under contract. No way they just let him walk.

    All of that doesn’t even mention the fact that the guy we are comparing him to is Bell. Just because Mudd has confidence in the guy being able to step in, it doesn’t mean Bell will have some kind of fantastic season. Mudd had confidence in a ton of players last season that ended up not working out, including a couple who got cut before the season started and another who got cut by week 4. I’m not saying Bell will be bad, but jeez, at least wait until a few games into the season before we try to push out our All Pro tackle. I mean the guy, who was a third tier FA, hasn’t even put on pads as an Eagle.

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 2:38 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    We do need to see Bell play. No doubt about that.

    The Peters angle is complicated because what made him so special in 2011 was athleticism. Will he ever get that back?

    Bell vs 2011 Peters is a no brainer. JP is the obvious choice.

    Bell vs 2013 Peters is a mystery. We don’t know how good (or bad) either guy will look.

  17. 17 austinfan said at 12:39 AM on June 15th, 2012:

    If Peters loses a step, he’d still be a top 5 OG or RT.
    Given the way Howie has contracts structured, I suspect they could afford to keep six excellent OL and 3 kids behind them.

    Heck, they could always make Peters a blocking TE, think he has some experience there!

  18. 18 Mac said at 10:40 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    I’m going to cry if Mudd is wrong and we don’t win games with Demetress Bell.

    (unless that means we are winning games with King Dunlap, but still)

  19. 19 Steve H said at 12:39 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    I had an awful thought after reading this post. I’m not going to share cuz I know how these things work.

  20. 20 TommyLawlor said at 12:49 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Speak your mind, as long as the thought is interesting.

  21. 21 Yuri said at 10:48 AM on June 14th, 2012:

    I wonder if this guy is related to coach Cain.

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 12:51 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Ha, could be. Coach Cain was more of a baseball guy than football. He was classic. He used to go stand on top of the pressbox so he could look down on the field and see things. He got kicked off a few times when his foul language offended fans in the stands. Fiery, but very funny man.

  23. 23 nicolajNN said at 12:47 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    We saw last year how Peters was playing on a higher level than ever before, Mathis turned into a good starter, Herremans had a very good season and an undersized late round rookie did well. So my question is, how much of that is Mudd and how much is the scheme?

    Also is it easier for players to thrive in Mudd’s o-line scheme than it is for players in other schemes?

  24. 24 TommyLawlor said at 12:53 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Mudd’s system is great for athletes. Evan had a great Combine when he came out for the draft. Peters is a freak athlete. Kelce is a great athlete. And so on.

    The system also appeals to players because they can attack off the ball, even on pass plays. Most OL are taught to retreat. They hate that. Mudd lets his guys fire off the ball. They also play more laterally than vertically. This feels more natural to most blockers. You need the right players to make this system work. Guys must be athletes. MJG and Nick Cole would be lost. Mike McGlynn struggled.

  25. 25 Anders Jensen said at 1:29 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    I think the Eagles will be okay on offense aslongs as Vick improves his pre-snap reads and become half a second faster to pick his target. McCoy will just need to break a few more ankles

  26. 26 Chris said at 3:03 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    One quote I saw in regards to Ryans really caught my eye. Rolle talked about how having a guy of his pedigree is making inputs that the coaches are listening to and then adjusting in their system. What adjustments and things do you think Ryans is noticing in basically a “passing camp” that would be adjusted for the season?

  27. 27 TommyLawlor said at 3:28 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Could be alignment stuff. Could be the way LBs adjust prior to the snap.

    It isn’t anything huge or schematic. There are subtleties to football. Last year we moved our LBs closer to the LOS at one point and that helped them out. Ryans could be talking about a number of things, but they’d be smaller than you imagine. That said, sometimes the devil is in the details and small adjustments can make a big difference.

  28. 28 Anders Jensen said at 4:22 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    I actually think we lacked that last year aswell. I think one of the reasons why Jim Johnson was so good at half time adjustments was because he had a player like Dawkins on the field there saw it from a different perspective.

  29. 29 Thorin McGee said at 5:24 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    Hah! Trust me, sometimes olds-chool coaches like Wash and Mudd conduct the BEST pr campaigns. Inspiring confidence is part of the job.

  30. 30 Kirk Belmont said at 6:58 PM on June 14th, 2012:

    I have always wondered what exactly you mean when you say a player is “athletic” or “a good athlete”. When I think of an athletic player I think of a player who is good at moving in space as well as being very quick, agile, and fast.
    Jason Peters for instance, is a very large human being. Maybe the biggest guy on the team. While being a huge person I was amazed last season (especially in the Atlanta game) by his ability to get out in front of the play and block down the field. If Peters weighed 300 pounds and still moved the exact same way he did last year he would still be considered athletic. But if he did slim down 50 pounds my thinking would be that he would be even faster and more quick than he was last year. From my point of view Jason Peters would still be just as athletic weighing 350 as 300.

    I have heard people talk about a person becoming “less athletic” if they gain weight (I am not sure about if you have). What do they mean by this?

    I thought certain people were born to be more athletic than others. Is that not the case? Is it possible to develop yourself into a better athlete?

    Jason Kelce is a very good athlete from what I have heard. Will he be the same athletically this year at closer to 300 than he was last year around 290?

    I hope all of that makes sense.

  31. 31 austinfan said at 12:57 AM on June 15th, 2012:

    It’s a matter of frame and physical maturity. Within the frame given by genetics, players can vary 10-20 lbs with weight and aerobic training – under Castillo when OL “caught” pass rushers you’d go bigger and slower, with Mudd you want smaller and quicker.

    Players tend to fill out and get a little slower as they mature, but if you have a big frame and natural strength you’ll slow less and be stronger than someone with “weight room” strength.

    Peters is just big, if he lost 50 lbs he wouldn’t be effective, but he’s not 350 lbs, I’d say more like 330-335. Shaun was similar he actually played effectively at close to 400 lbs his second season (coming off the broken ankle) but when he slimmed down to 340 lbs he was an all pro OL who could have played four spots. They’re just big guys even when in shape, but at their ideal weight they combine athleticism with strength.

    Mathis is different, he’s your athletic lean 300 lb OL, he’s always weighed the same, but he had the combine that would be decent for a MLB (slow 40, but otherwise above average for many LBs). Bulk him up and you’d lose that athleticism pretty quickly.

    Kelce is another great athlete, his frame can carry more than his 280 lbs at the combine, but you’d probably want him to max out at 290-295 lbs, just enough to handle bigger guys with leverage without losing his quickness and lateral agility.

    Herremans is a big guy who’s really athletic, he can’t bulk up too much because he has short arms, so he has to be quick on his feet to handle OT. He was 330, won’t surprise me if he gets back down to 320-325 to maintain his foot quickness as he ages.

    Bell is similar to Mathis except he has the frame to carry a bit more, but I’d be surprised he ever plays above 310 lbs (came into the league at 303).

    Watkins is very similar to Snee, a good but not great athlete with natural strength who’ll probably bulk up to 320 lbs eventually, but still have good movement skills and a nice balance of strength and movement for RG (probably a little slow for LG in Mudd’s system).

    Vandervelde is another athletic type who probably will never bulk up much past his 301 lbs at the combine. He’ll backup LG and Center.

    Washington and Kelly are big guys who can probably get bigger, on some teams they’d bulk them up to 330-340 lbs, but Mudd will probably have them stay in the 320s so they’ll be quicker, but they’re right side guys for this team.

  32. 32 TrentColeHamels said at 12:05 AM on June 15th, 2012:

    Howard Mudd Facts on Twitter… sounds like Evan Mathis mischief to me.