More LB Talk

Posted: May 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

Howie Roseman met with reporters after speaking at a Philly area conference on the impact of sports. He had a few interesting things to say. We didn’t get any great secrets, but every new nugget is fun to dissect. has video of the whole informal meeting with reporters.

The most interesting thing Roseman talked about was how a coaching/scheme change will lead to valuable players becoming expendable.

Here are the key quotes:

“One of the things that’s hard for us, and you’ve seen some of it this offseason, is we’ve had players that were good players in different schemes and that we’ve invested in, and it’s not going to turnover.”


“For me, that’s different because we’ve been with one head coach. But when you talk to people around the league, they tell you, when you change coaches, when you change schemes there are going to be good players that fall by the wayside.”

As Jeff McLane said in his piece, you can’t help but think of Brandon Graham and Trent Cole as you read this. Neither guy is an ideal fit for 3-4 OLB. Will they “fall by the wayside”?

As I’ve written time after time, Graham and Cole control their destiny. If they play well, they’ll stay. If they don’t, changes will be made. Simple as that. Neither guy has the build that Chip Kelly prefers, but if they get the right results, he’ll put aside his preference for taller/longer LBs and stick with what he’s got.

It is interesting to hear Howie publicly admit that not all players will fit, even though he didn’t name names. So often coaches and GMs give us the PR runaround. While Howie didn’t spill the beans, he did let us know there will be some tough moves in the next year or so.

I also think Jason Avant is a player that fits the description.

* * * * *

Les Bowen wrote a very good piece on the OLBs last week that I’ve been waiting to link to. He spoke to Graham, Cole, and Connor Barwin to ask about the 4-3 vs the 3-4 and got some good answers.

“Cole also said not to infer too much from OTAs, that the Eagles will play a hybrid scheme, and the coaches haven’t really had a lot of time to figure out how to best employ each player.”

I think this is important. Right now Graham is the backup SAM. Is that because the Eagles think he fits better there or are they trying to get a look at him there for evaluation purposes?  I figured initially that Barwin would be the SAM and Graham the Predator. That could be something that happens in July or August, but for now Graham is the backup SAM. It is good for him to try that spot and see if he can handle it.

The Eagles coaches do acknowledge this is practice and the changes are tough on the players.

Graham said coaches are making allowances for the transition.

“They’re patient with us,” he said. “It’s not like they’re trying to get rid of us right away if we can’t do it right away.”

As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. There will be some early struggles and confusion. The coaches must be patient with the players in these OTAs. This is the time to learn. And as we all know, some players look one way in practice, but very different in games. Nick Foles last year wasn’t all that impressive until the preseason. Once he got into a game, he really came alive.

The preseason will be huge for Cole and Graham. If they look completely lost, the Eagles could have to make a move. Hopefully they look okay and then get a chance to show what they can really do in the regular season.

I like both players a lot and hope they’re able to pull the move off.

* * * * *

Attitude can make a huge difference for Cole and Graham as they move to the 3-4. Both guys are saying all the right things. You don’t know what they’re thinking, but they are at least publicly embracing the change.

Chris McPherson wrote a good piece on Cole and the move to LB.  My favorite quote:

“It’s a new challenge. I’m a very competitive person. I’m really a stubborn-type person. I don’t want to fail at anything. I’m going to go all-out so I can be successful at it. I think that’s helped me through my whole career. I’m just going to keep moving from here.”

This is where I think Chip Kelly and his ability to motivate players is going to be huge. Chip could be arrogant and tell players to deal with the change or pack their bags. Instead he is selling his systems to the players. That helps a lot. Kelly and Bill Davis will have all kinds of little ways to convince Cole that he should have been in the 3-4 his whole career. I think Kelly is a good enough salesman that players buy in. I have no idea if Davis can pull that off or not.


36 Comments on “More LB Talk”

  1. 1 the guy said at 1:16 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I’m worried Vinny Curry also fits the description. Remembering how excited he was to be drafted by his team, that’d be pretty depressing.

  2. 2 EaglesHero87 said at 1:23 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    You’re right — Curry could very well be in the same boat with the “expendable” players. I really hope he does thrive as a 5-tech DE, or whichever position Chip and the coaches believe he’s deemed a good fit.

  3. 3 bubqr said at 2:30 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Same here – Loved the Curry pick, and I’m not optimistic at all about his future anymore…

  4. 4 Jack Waggoner said at 2:45 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Curry is working with Coach Azz who knows him very well… I think he might surprise you. He’s up to about 280,

  5. 5 GEagle said at 6:58 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    In Theory, you are right and up til abolut 3 days ago I would have agreed with this statement. But Curry’s interview on PE was very comforting…Mentioned special packages they already have in place for him…I think Curry is much safer then the OLB’s

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 10:27 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Curry isn’t a proven player, though. Roseman made it sound like he was talking about established players.

    But I do agree that he’s not an ideal 3-4 fit. I am curious to see if he adapts well to the new role.

  7. 7 EaglesHero87 said at 1:21 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Nice perspective you’ve shared, Tommy.

    Got a question about players who could “fall by the wayside”. Let’s say that both Cole and Graham, or either one of those players, play consistently well for the first few games – enough to convince Chip that they’ve earned their spots for now. Now, what happens if both, or either one of them, play just one awful game as an opposing team exploits their weaknesses, such as throwing in Cole’s direction where his height or open-space tackling could put him at a disadvantage? Opposing teams would then have a blueprint and gameplan around these players’ weaknesses.

    I love Trent Cole. He’s one of my favorite Eagles players on the team. I personally find it admirable and commendable to see Cole to embrace the new change with such a positive mindset. Even if he plays with all his heart and fights through blood and injuries (much like he did last season with a snapped bone in his hand), which I have no doubt he’ll be able to do, but doesn’t deliver the right results, is this enough to convince Chip that he’s “falling by the wayside” and could lose his spot?

  8. 8 Anders said at 3:08 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Well the amount of dropping back in coverage wont be that much for Cole if he cant handle it, simple as that then he will be replaced or they will change the scheme and Davis and Kelly should have a very good idea if Cole and Graham can cover by the end of the preseason.

  9. 9 GEagle said at 7:07 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I think right now is all about evaluation. dont see how playing graham at Predator is a problem? with that said…OTA’s are for LEARNING/Evaluating, and camp is for COMPETING..I would want our coach to try and learn as much about his players as possible, and this is the time to find out…You also dont bring back proud veterans, just to bench them in May. Why embaress our Veteran defensive leader by already makng him a 2nd stringer?
    I know that Graham isnt 6’6 with stretch armstrong wingspan like Kelly prefers…But I dont see why we would worry about him being able to play Predator at a High level? Nothing changes from playing DE, except his stance, and now he gets an extra 2 step head start, and if he is going to primarily lineup on the weakside, he will be tough to double team..

    its May, everyting you dont have your current players doing on Film, now is the time to try…Makes sense to me to see exactly what Graham can and cant do right now…If Graham and Barwin both prove to be capable of dropping, then we would be able to play more traditional 3-4…If Graham is completely incompetant at dropping into coverage, then we have no choice but to make him the predator in a 4-3U and just letting him rush the passer, while Barwin drops into coverage 30% of the time….I always thought Ideally we would have moved Barwin back to the open side(where he had 11 sacks), and lined up Dion Jorfdan at SAM…which would have been really bad news for Graham and Cole. Dolphins threw them both an extra lifeline…lets see what they can do with it

  10. 10 Iamallthatisman said at 1:31 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Someone else also fits this description. One QB is not really like the others. Perhaps Kelly was given X amount of rope, and between keeping DRC or Vick, he went with Mike.

    I am excited to see this team evolve over the next 5 seasons. I really feel like it could be historic.

    This koolaide is delicious.

  11. 11 GEagle said at 7:08 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    yeah, I been Guzzling the Kool aid for months now lol

  12. 12 T_S_O_P said at 9:22 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    All this LB talk, and like all the great Brian’s, with no mention of Ulracher retiring as an Eagle!!!

    …oops! Wrong universe.


    (TATE has just lost a kin)

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 10:29 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Ur R right!!! Forgotz to mention dis when writin da post!!!

    ULRACHEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! = Eagle4life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I just know he’d have led us to 4 or 5 Super Bowls…

  14. 14 Jack Waggoner said at 1:41 PM on May 23rd, 2013:


  15. 15 ACViking said at 10:31 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Re: Roseman’s dropped some very large breadcrumbs

    As T-law said, Roseman’s laying the groundwork for potentially cutting ties with several players who either were or projected to key contributors in the Reid schemes. And those cuts may not happen this year, but next year too — this team needs bodies.

    Also, just a couple months ago, Roseman was talking about how scheme-versatile his 2012 draft picks are.

    So combining the two comments, I’ll be very curious to see how many, if any, of the Eagles’ 2012 draftees get cut loose this season and next — with the explanation being they didn’t fit the system.

  16. 16 T_S_O_P said at 11:05 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Though the post concentrates on LBs, (would we have extended T Cole last year had we of known?), could we also say the same for OL?

  17. 17 Jack Waggoner said at 1:40 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    IMO probably not. Is the new zone blocking scheme that much different than Mudd’s zone blocking scheme? I think it’s probably a lot closer to that than it would be to, say, Castillo’s more traditional OL scheme.

  18. 18 Neil said at 2:12 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Schematically and technically, the new scheme is quite different from Mudd’s. As far as the characteristics valued in the players for it, it’s almost identical.

  19. 19 Anders said at 2:59 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Actually his pass set and all is more like Castillo, but we are going to do more zone blocking now because of Kelly. At Bama it was mostly man to man like with Castillo (and the same type of hulking mammoth)

  20. 20 Jack Waggoner said at 3:15 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    That was at Bama, but do we really know that he’s doing the same here? He knows what types of players he’s got.

  21. 21 Anders said at 3:26 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    He still teaches the same techniques, as OL coach, you either believe in one thing or the other

  22. 22 Jack Waggoner said at 1:29 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    OK, time to play “What if.” What if DJax and Maclin are unavailable to play… who are your starting WR’s?

  23. 23 RC5000 said at 1:53 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Damaris Johnson is in the lead for me behind Djax. I’m one of the few who thinks Avant is in the mix still for reasons that he looks pretty trimmed down and the fact he ain’t going to lay down. But there is competition.

  24. 24 Mac said at 3:56 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I’d go with Benn and combo split of Johnson/Momah on the other side.

  25. 25 Stephen Stempo said at 4:15 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I want desperately for momah to pan out but I’ll say benn and cooper. I’m high on cooper this year but we’ll see. Also if that happens I fully expect ertz and Casey to see a lot of time split out.

  26. 26 Mac said at 9:50 AM on May 24th, 2013:

    I am keeping my hopes up on Momah. I was trying to think of who has enough straight line speed and height to be a legitimate deep threat outside of Jackson and Maclin. To be honest, I feel like Momah is the only one who truly fits the bill as a legit “threat/weapon” with his speed/size combo.

  27. 27 RC5000 said at 4:21 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I was thinking Ertz would get more touches out wide in that scenario especially if Avant is gone.

  28. 28 Jack Waggoner said at 4:55 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    yep, me too

  29. 29 Mac said at 9:47 AM on May 24th, 2013:

    I could definitely see that happening.

  30. 30 RC5000 said at 3:46 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Apparently the reporters had about an hour with Bill Davis and some other coaches according to McLane tweets . Little bit of a standard type of response but:Jeff McLane ‏@Jeff_McLane 2h

    Davis on Cole and Graham playing as stand-up OLBs: I’ve seen 7 weeks of them and they can do it.

  31. 31 Jack Waggoner said at 8:03 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    But can they do it well?

  32. 32 GEagle said at 3:52 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I dont see how Avant and Cooper both make this roster. Avant was never a great player, but he goes down in my mind as a great philadelphia Eagle..With that said, a good GM should be capable of trading away his own children if its in the best interest of the franchise. Coming off a 4-12 season, year 1 with a new coach, laying the foundation for the future of this next era of Eagle football, I think it would be a mistake to keep a 30yr old at a position that we have alot of young talent that we probably wouldnt want to part with..
    Maclin and Desean are going to make this roster, which leaves room for and additional 3-4 WRs….

    Benn and Damaris, I absolutely want on this roster…

    So the way I look at it is needing to choose 2 out of: Avant,Cooper,Momah,Salas,BJ (I dont think the other WR are realistic options).

    If Chip expects Damaris and Benn to really contribute as WRs in 2013, then there is no point whatsoever in keeping a 30yr old who doesnt offer much in terms of ST. For me personally, BJ,Momah,and Salas are all young players that I would not want to give up on just yet, but you cant keep all 3. Cooper is valuable on ST, and has game experience under his belt(seeming to have good chemistry with Foles)..if Momah can contribute on ST in 2013, then I would Not give up on him yet(but we already had that discussion)..
    If it were up to me, we would keep: DJax,Maclin,Benn,Damaris,Cooper, Momah..
    If Avant is a long shot to make this roster(and I dont know that he is) I wish we would just trade him to a contender NOW…instead of waiting til roster cut time and trying to shop him when teams will know that he is going to get cut anyway…I know he wont fetch much in return, but ht round pick, or a depth player who can contribute on ST at a position we lack depth would do….

    Avant is literally one of my fav Eagles of the past 15 years, and I know that he can still play. I hate to lse him for nothing. i know he doesnt have much value, but he has tons of value to me lol

  33. 33 Stephen Stempo said at 4:24 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    I agree I love avant. My brother was at the eagles academy for men Saturday and they all got a giant signed picture of avant making that ridiculous 1 handed catch last year. I’m jealous. That catch was probably the eagles highlight from last year. But if its between cooper and avant and its close or even I think the team has to go with cooper just based on age. Avant probably is at an age where he’s not getting better.

    Personally though if we need wr room I like the idea of trading maclin as tommy and jimmy mentioned in their great podcasts( go listen now! ill expect that check tommy). I’d take a 3rd for Mac. Not that im against Mac but if wr is congested that’s where i think the best value is in terms of a trade.

  34. 34 GEagle said at 6:47 AM on May 24th, 2013:

    lol Maclin would have been traded yesterday if it were up to me lol

  35. 35 CalSFro said at 4:21 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    That quote from Cole about being competitive to the point of stubbornness makes me wonder just how much the whole idea of “culture change” factors into whether or not we keep guys like he and Avant. I mean, obviously if they just can’t play anymore or are truly out of place in Chip’s scheme then it’s a moot point and they’ll be gone.

    But maybe they’d beat out a comparably skilled younger player just because they offer a lot in terms of leadership and showing other core young players how to be hardworking professionals and get things done the “right way”. Almost like player-coaches, if you will.

  36. 36 Jack Waggoner said at 8:15 PM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Well, not just due to leadership, but just because guys like that will take every opportunity to do what they need to do to win that competition.