Roster Building

Posted: January 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 84 Comments »

We’re getting ready to go into a fun part of the year…offseason moves. They won’t start til March so all we’re doing now is speculating and sharing our near perfect plans. I’ve already gotten lots of questions about who the Eagles should target in free agency and the draft. I’ve got a lot of tape study and research to do before I can give you good answers. We’re just beginning the process.

CSN had a good video segment where Roob and Dave Spadaro discussed/debated the offseason. Each guy was asked to name his 3 keys for the offseason. Roob went with specifics (pass rush was #1). Dave came at it from a more philosophical angle. Both guys were actually right. Roob pointed out the areas the Eagles should focus on, but I think there is also a lot of value in Dave’s answers. His big point is to evaluate honestly and bring in the best players possible. Don’t obsess on needs at the cost of passing on talent.

The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010. They went 15-1 in 2011. They won the NFC North each of the last 2 years despite not having great regular seasons. That organization has a lot to be proud of from recent years. Or do they? Columnist Bob McGinn really ripped on the Packers.


Listening to Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers and others last week, it would appear as if the Green Bay Packers think they can just roll the balls out next season and be a prime contender for the Super Bowl.

All this stuff about finishing strong and overcoming adversity has to stop.

The Packers didn’t finish strong. They were on their home field in their kind of weather and in ideal position to beat a powerful foe in the playoff opener. Then they blew it in the last six minutes.

They also didn’t overcome adversity. The Packers lose their starting quarterback for the first time in 21 years and are proud of going 2-5-1 against a soft schedule (five at home) without him?

Let’s be clear about something else. The NFC North championship was more about the Detroit Lions pulling a colossal fold than the Green Bay Packers doing anything wonderful.

From the sound of things, the Packers — aside from a tweak here and a tweak there — plan to keep on operating the way they always have under Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers.

In case they missed it, pro football has moved on since the Packers’ lone Super Bowl in their eight seasons as partners.

While the Packers were beating the Joe Webb-quarterbacked Vikings for their only postseason triumph since the 45th Super Bowl, NFC upstarts Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco — a combined 15-33 in 2010 when Green Bay was winning it all — drafted dynamic quarterbacks and made vast improvements to marginal defenses.

It might have been a terrible year in the division, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.

As I read that story, I compared the situation to the Eagles. What lessons could be learned? Tramon Williams played at an elite level down the stretch in 2010. He looked like a stud CB. He hasn’t played like an elite CB since then. James Starks looked like a terrific RB down the stretch that year. He’s not been the same guy since. Matt Flynn was a late pick who developed into a good backup QB. I think that made the Packers arrogant in their attitude toward finding backups. That cost them dearly this year.

You have to be careful when a guy plays really well for part of a year. There is no guarantee he’ll repeat that performance. You have to be careful about assuming you can find a late rounder or UDFA to fill a role just because you did that once.

Cary Williams played well down the stretch. Let’s not assume that will automatically carry over. Trent Cole was productive in the 2nd half of the season. Is that an anomaly? Is Riley Cooper the real deal? And so on.

I’m going to re-watch some players and really focus on them to get as good a feel as possible for what is real and what was lightning in a bottle. The first key to a successful offseason is evaluating your own roster and knowing as closely as possible what you have and what you don’t. Overrating  your own players can lead to huge problems.


84 Comments on “Roster Building”

  1. 1 Joe Minx said at 1:26 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    This made me think of an article I just read on the Chipwagon blog where they really come down hard on Vinny Curry. Do you agree with this Tommy?

  2. 2 GENETiC-FREAK said at 2:02 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Read that.. Ouch!

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 2:04 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I haven’t read it yet, but have the tab open on my browser. I’ll comment on it when I’m done reading it and can work that into a post.

  4. 4 Cafone said at 2:36 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    As a 2-gap DE, Curry looks a lot like a 3-4 OLB… just sayin’

  5. 5 SteveH said at 2:52 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Yeah, he couldn’t be much worse than Graham or Cole at that spot. Only thing I can figure is they didn’t feel Graham or Cole could bulk up and play effectively but Vinny could, so that’s why they’re doing that.

  6. 6 Anders said at 8:35 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I hope they try him at OLB this off season. I always assumed he would play that position for us.

    If he prefer been a down lineman, we should trade him.

  7. 7 BreakinAnklez said at 11:24 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Is that best idea? I agree he is prob best suited as OLB, but changing again will just continue to stunt his growth…

  8. 8 Media Mike said at 5:38 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Oh my! That is some good film breakdown right there. I don’t mind a guy getting taken out by Evans on a run, but the Saints RT should not be winning a run blocking battle vs. Curry and staring at one’s own feet on a pass rush and getting into the wrong rush lane is inexcusable.

  9. 9 bill said at 9:07 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Hard to tell what his responsibilities were on the run plays. Could be there were stunts called, but it certainly doesn’t look good from the outside (though getting handled by Jahri Evans isn’t exactly all that surprising). The pass play just demonstrates how the team has absolutely 0 pass rush most of the time. Trent Cole is stoned by a rookie tackle who got no help on the play. Curry is the only Eagle within 5 yards of Brees in the picture, and none of them appear to be collapsing the pocket in any meaningful way. To lay that completely at Curry’s feet seems a bit much.
    I’ve been saying it since the beginning of the season – they don’t have the right talent mix for a 2-gap system. Their best pass rushers are on the d-line, where they’re largely wasted; Cole is still good against the run, but is not a dynamic edge rusher from the LB position, nor is he good enough in coverage that you can really disguise the blitz and let Barwin rush often enough to make a difference. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Curry and Cox go elsewhere when free agency hits. Both stand to shine better (and get more $$$) in a 1-gap system. Doesn’t mean they will, but I won’t be surprised at all. 2-gap dline are generally role players; I have a feeling the new value chart is going to devalue the d line similar to the way linebackers were devalued under the old regime.

  10. 10 shah8 said at 1:58 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    My internet last night cut out when I tried to give a longer answer, but I will say that the chipwagon post was very unfair.

  11. 11 shah8 said at 1:59 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    In the sense of excessive expectations.

  12. 12 Vick or Nick said at 2:00 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Number 1 priority is obviously getting the best possible players available.

    Eagles are not that talented, or MORE IMPORTANTLY THAT DEEP, to start neglecting positions.

    Having said that, Pass Rush is the most important need. It would be ideal that at 22 (or earlier via trade) the BPA is a pass rusher (DE/OLB). Just look at what the winning teams were able to do this weekend. DEN, NE, SF, and SEA all pressure the QB effectively and consistently.

  13. 13 Media Mike said at 5:26 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Yes, and the NFC teams (plus Carolina) are built as defense first football teams.

  14. 14 D3FB said at 5:58 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    The problem with trading up is you use multiple picks on a single player. Say we jump up in the 10-15 range (as anything higher becomes exorbitantly pricey). That will cost us our 2 and maybe a 4. So now say we pick Khalil Mack. Mack now has to provide value above what would could’ve gotten with those picks. So for arguments sake Mack would have to be more valuable than say Van Noy, Kyle Fuller, and Justin Britt combined.

  15. 15 shah8 said at 2:33 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Well, depth building is kind of hampered by the fact that we’ll almost certainly have to have at least one more safety drafted, so we never have to see horrid S play again, hopefully.

    The eagle’s lack of elite talent is really evident everywhere outside of OL and RBs (and DJax). We could stand to draft yet another QB with an eye for potential playing time in the event of a Foles flop/injury. Even assuming a stable QB, the needs are pretty much everywhere, it seems like. So, honestly? It’s really just BPA all the way down, with an eye for a touch more depth on OL. The biggest issue is that Davis is not Rob Ryan, and there is only so much Davis can do with no standout defensive talent aside from Cox, who spends it eating blocks. We need more SOMEBODIES in other places in the defense, and we need some impact coaching for those flawed second and third round picks.

  16. 16 ICDogg said at 2:45 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    imo BPA is much more important early on in the draft when there are rare talents on the board and you can’t pass over great talent just because you want a specific slot filled. Once you get past the best guys, they’re close enough that it makes sense to pick ones that fit the positions the team most needs.

  17. 17 deg0ey said at 3:38 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Agreed. I suspect that, outside of the first and second round where they’re probably more specific, they just grade players by round. At that point, if you’ve got for example 45 players with a 5th round grade and more than one of them is on the board when you pick in the 5th then you should absolutely pick the guy that’s more of a need.

    I also here lots of fans say things like “I don’t want us to draft X position in the first because there’s a lot of depth and we can pick up one of those later”, but I question to what extent teams actually do that. Doesn’t seem like sensible draft strategy to me – if they see a guy they like, I’d much rather they just pick them rather than second guessing how the rest of the draft will pan out.

  18. 18 bill said at 8:32 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I think the “depth” argument goes something like this: They have 1 guy rated as a 95 on their scale, one guy rated 94, and one guy rate 91. They feel pretty comfortable in saying that their system has an error of at least five percent. Meaning that the difference between 91 and 95 might be chalked up to observational error, random variation, etc., and NOT reflective of actual differences in ability, talent, etc. So if you can trade down x spots (with a good idea that only 2 teams in x are interested in that position), you can get a guy that is essentially equivalent, while picking up an asset. Or, in the alternative, if you have 6 or 7 guys in your error range, you pick elsewhere and feel relatively confident that one of those guys is going to still be around for your next pick.
    All of which is a long-winded way of saying that evaluation is not as precise once you get outside the top-tier talent (and even there, it’s arguably less precise than many people make it out to be). Pretending that your 95 score reflects a true difference in value over your 94 score is reliance on false precision and ultimately is a poor utilization of resources.

  19. 19 Anders said at 8:32 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    yea, first 2 rounds and possible some of the 3rd, you go BPA adjusted by needs (no fucking reason to draft a center or RB in those rounds)

  20. 20 xeynon said at 11:36 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I don’t disagree that they should and will draft a safety, but I don’t think it’s essential that they draft one high. It’s actually one of the better position groups in FA this year with solid starters like Malcolm Jenkins, Antoine Bethea, and Donte Whitner due to hit the market in addition to Byrd and Ward. With the top end guys attracting the lion’s share of attention in the opening days of free agency it’s quite possible the Eagles could swoop in and snag a second tier guy without having to outbid other teams for him if they act quickly. Or they could break the bank for Ward or Byrd if they view those guys as difference makers. They have options other than the draft.

  21. 21 PeterAkkies said at 2:38 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    That Roob vs. Dave debate was actually uncomfortable to watch toward the end, with them talking over each other!

    Also, Dave made the point that it’s harder go to from 10-6 to 11-5 or 12-4 than it is to go from 4-12 to 10-6. I’m sure he had more reasons in mind, but one is that in the NFL teams end up drafting later and later the better they do and that makes it harder to restock on talent. Harder, though certainly not impossible.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 5:23 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Dave needs to stop sandbagging already. This team has set the bar at 10-6 and has raised expectations. Dave trying to temper those expectations is defeatist.

  23. 23 Anders said at 8:31 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    We will get a 1st place schedule next year, that means we will face the Panthers, Seahawk and Packers instead of Bucs, Cardinals and Vikings. Potential going from 2-1(should have been 3-0) in wins to 0-3, that is going from 10-6 to 7-8 before other games if rest of schedule is same (we do win maybe 2 more games by not facing the AFCW at the start of the year). Still expecting much more than 11-5 next year is expecting to get disappointed.

    Dave is not talking about been happy next year for 8-8, but do not expect a hugh difference in win improvents next year unless a lot of players take huge steps and then we maybe go 12-4.

  24. 24 teltschikfakeout88 said at 3:46 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    uhh I don’t think that our first place schedule has anything to do with us playing the seahawks since the NFC east is playing the NFC West next year. If we had finished 2nd (or downward) in the division we would still play the seahawks. Instead of the Vikings which we lost we get the Rams. As for the NFC South, the first place team for the last 11 years has finished in last place the following year. Does history mean that the Panthers are doomed to not finish highly or be a good team next year…..nope but I think they are a better matchup for us than the Saints. Lastly we played the Packers last year (without Rodgers I will add) and won. Talking about next years expectations should be a more complete analysis relating to the various teams in the AFC South and NFC West (i.e. picking up the niners and the cards again). 10 and 6 to 11 and 5 would be right where we should be thinking….need to think more about projecting the AFC South. Outside of the Colts being good; the only other team that I think can rebound from a bad year quickly is the Texans. Overall, right now I think next year is tougher due to playing the NFC West moreso than our first place schedule.

  25. 25 Scott J said at 7:39 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I think Dave was talking about the draft and strength of schedule. We had a pretty easy schedule this year. Next year will be much harder. I agree watching those 2 was very uncomfortable. I’ve been disappointed with Postgame and Sports Talk lately. I tuned into Postgame after the big win over the Cowboys where we made the playoffs and won the division, and saw 3 sour pusses. Except for Barkann, the other 3 looked and acted like we just lost.

  26. 26 Cafone said at 2:45 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    It seems obvious to say “Best Player Available” and I’d agree with that to a certain extent, but it’s also possible that the Eagles could make trades to move up in the draft. So, rather than all agreeing on the obvious “BPA” path if the Eagles hold on to their 1st round pick, perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves “What position would the Eagles target if they move up 10ish spots?” and “Which players would entice them to make that move?”

  27. 27 deg0ey said at 3:42 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    If I had to guess right now, Anthony Barr. There’s not much going on at OLB in this draft and he’s probably the best one – he seems to be mostly projected top 10, but if he was on the board in the 12-15 range I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a trade up.

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 5:24 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Are you sure Anthony Barr is legitimately 6’3″ as his UCLA bio lists? If he measured up as less than that, is he an ideal fit for OLB in a 3-4? We need a faster guy who is Barwin’s size.

  29. 29 deg0ey said at 8:18 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    They list him 6’4 248lbs (Barwin measured 6’3 5/8, 256lbs at the combine) so I’d guess they’re roughly the same size. Barr’s definitely faster, but more of a project since he only converted to OLB fairly recently. This site has a good breakdown of where he’s at

  30. 30 Anders said at 8:25 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Very good break down

  31. 31 deg0ey said at 8:33 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Dunno if you’ve used that site much before, Anders, but they’re pretty good all over. They don’t have too many guys listed yet, but it’s quite helpful for explaining why you like a guy when you don’t have time to type it all out.

  32. 32 D3FB said at 5:47 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    I find myself disagreeing with alot of draft analysis of players but probably 80% of the time I find myself right in line with those guys. They do an excellent job.

  33. 33 Anders said at 8:25 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Some of the best OLBs and their height:

    Robert Mathis: 6’2″
    Demarcus Ware: 6’4″
    Aldon Smith: 6’4″
    Clay Matthews: 6’3″
    Junior Galette: 6’2″
    Tamba Hali: 6’3″

    Barwin is 6’4″ him self and Barr is listed as 6’4″ so most likely will be 6’3″ at combine

  34. 34 Michael Winter Cho said at 10:10 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Anders, you always “bring it”. I do apreciate your contributions here!

  35. 35 D3FB said at 5:45 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Probably because one of the big knocks on him while he was still playing RB was he was so tall that he couldn’t really run behind his pads.

  36. 36 A_T_G said at 8:16 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    It would be nice to move up in the first round, but moving up 10 spots would probably take our second rounder. Without that, how are we going to get this year’s Jaquain Jarrett?

    Oh sure, you can point out that this year’s Jayquan Jarrett should still be available in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th round based on most projections, but remember that the Chiefs will be drafting between the 2nd round pick you are so cavalierly putting on the blocks and the rest of those picks.

    And sure, you can say we don’t need this year’s J-kwon Jarrett anyway, but with Nate Allen playing well and Coleman and Chung possibly on the way out we are going to have a gaping void in the portion of the roster now referred to as the safety-that-makes-me-want-to-throw-stuff-and-say-words-I-shouldn’t spots (formerly referred to as safety).

    There are few people left alive and sane that remember the days when neither of the starting safeties made you want to do cruel things to butterflies. There are stories, mostly gleaned from cave drawings, stone tablets and possibly dubious Youtube highlights, of mythical parings such as “Wes and Andre” or “Dawk and Q,” but are we really willing to abandon our rich legacy of Demps, Jarrett, Considine, Reed, Coleman, and others in the hopes of a myth?

  37. 37 CrackSammich said at 9:05 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Jarrad Page. Never forget.


  38. 38 A_T_G said at 9:08 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Although the dream of an Earl and Earl safety tandem has passed across my mind, it is good to remember that we were much closer to a Jarrad and Jarrett duo.

  39. 39 SteveH said at 10:31 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    For some reason I’m having trouble recalling who Jarrad Page is or what he did on the football field, but every time I hear his name my eyes twitch convulsively.

  40. 40 CrackSammich said at 11:37 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Page was the guy so bad that they had to reach for Jarrett. Context.

  41. 41 Mac said at 2:55 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    He is not remembered for what he did.

  42. 42 SteveH said at 2:53 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Packers do so much less with so much more. They consistently field one of the least effective pass blocking OL’s in the NFL, its staggering how much pass rush pressure Aaron Rodgers has had to deal with in his career. The fact that he has done as well as he has is remarkable, in my humble.

  43. 43 Media Mike said at 5:25 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Yes, and Rodgers is 100 times better (and more worth watching) than any of those “dynamic” guys on San Fran or Carolina.

  44. 44 BlindChow said at 3:51 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Joe Webb citing!

  45. 45 A_T_G said at 9:20 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I don’t know that I have seen that expression in print before. Is that the version of the word one is using when they say it?

    Is it, “Hey, look, someone cited Joe Webb! People can’t stop talking about him.” or is it, “Hey, look, someone sighted Joe Webb mentioned in an article. He is sooooo dreamy!”

  46. 46 A Roy said at 10:04 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Actually, the article cited Webb and did not sight him.

  47. 47 A_T_G said at 3:56 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    But did the article cite him? No where in the article did I see the author referring to information credited to Mr. Webb and giving him credit for it. I thought the phrase meant that one saw Joe Webb mentioned, hence he was sighted.

    Maybe the phrase means that Joe Webb is suitable as a centerpiece on which to build a team, then it would be a Joe Webb siting.

  48. 48 laeagle said at 8:41 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    The article cited someone sighting Webb. Webb was never himself cited. I think such a citation would be along the lines of, “Uh, who is this guy shah and why does he love me?”

  49. 49 Vink said at 12:47 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m usually a day or two late to the discussion so usually hesitate to post, but had to say you guys are cracking me up…thx!

  50. 50 Media Mike said at 5:22 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I get that Green Bay should be more reflecting than how they spoke on the issue, but Bob McGinn is on crack if he thinks “dynamic” quarterback play is why the Giants and Ravens are the last two Superbowl champs. “Dynamic” quarterbacking is garbage dead-end gimmick football that is the flavor of the month. Read one and run scramble bums make games unwatchable, and if widely adopted will ruin the product in the NFL.

  51. 51 Iamallthatisman said at 1:18 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Read two and hit the shoes is only slightly better.

    But I disdain the read option in college. It’s…. Growing on me now

  52. 52 Maggie said at 4:20 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Again, one wonders about motivation for this hatred.

  53. 53 Sean said at 7:42 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Ted Thompson also hurts the Packers with his undying hatred of free agency. Free agency, if used correctly, can be really helpful in the team building process. Thompson never dips into it, and so he always has glaring needs that need to be adressed in the early rounds, forcing the team to either draft for need (see their recent picks at the bottom of the first round) or ignore those needs and go into the season with them. The Eagles, this offseason signed several starting-caliber players in FA so they wouldn’t be limited on draft day and that approach allowed them to select Zach Ertz, a talented guy at a position not of “need.”

  54. 54 TommyLawlor said at 7:55 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Yeah, Bob covered that in the article. Ted is great with the draft, but I don’t get the hatred of FA.

  55. 55 Mike Roman said at 8:51 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Speaking of free agency, are guys like Phil Dawson or Captain Munnerlynn on your radar? FAs from post season teams always interest me because they’re coming from a winning culture.

  56. 56 Anders said at 8:20 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I understand they wont go after pricey FAs. but they could bring a lot more low level FAs.

    It is funny because Charless Woodson who was a very big part of their SB win was a pretty big FA signing in 2006 for them

  57. 57 austinfan said at 9:19 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Some thoughts:

    The two keys to the offense are Foles and the inside zone blocking. If you have a QB and an OL that can block inside runs, you have a functional offense with almost any group of skill players (see New England). Which means with a good defense, you’re a playoff team. The OL has peaked at best, only Kelce and Lane have a future, so building young depth there is a priority, they may squeeze through 2014 (though will they stay healthy again?), but by 2015 they’d better be prepared to replace a couple starters.

    The key to building talent is using every avenue of player acquisition, the draft obviously (the whole draft, including UDFAs), but people underestimate the impact of SFAs and bottom feeding – imagine the Eagle OL without Mathis and Barbre. Take Geathers, Goode, Acho, Carmichael, Anderson off the defense and STs and you’re pretty thin. So I keep an eye on the “futures” off the PS and the waiver wire, Molk for example, was a nice pickup. Most of these guys are destined for backup duty, but you need 45, not 22 players, each game. Often a season is defined by how a couple backups played in the 2-3 games they had to start (like when your defense is shredded because your backup CB can’t cover).

    Top tier FAs are dangerous, because they’re usually overpriced and often hit the market off their peak seasons. Remember when everyone salivated for Peppers, 37 sacks in 4 years, and his run defense has declined, $44M his first 4 years, $18M cap hit in 2014 with almost $9M dead money. Note it’s not that he didn’t perform, it’s that he didn’t perform like a $11M a year FA and he’s put the Bears in a tough spot in his 5th season.

    That’s why you extend your own players first, you have more information about them (practice habits, etc), and by extending them during their RFA year you get a discount and pay them through the peak ages of 25-30. Smart teams let over 30 FAs walk rather than overpay for their declining years.

    Barwin was a great FA acquisition, a good player at a good price at the right age with lots of upside (great athlete with a relative lack of experience at his position so you can project continued improvement). Value is the key to every move you make – if you reach for need, you waste resources that can add value to your team.

  58. 58 livingonapear said at 9:26 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    These are some great points, especially when it comes to the FA market. The only point I will quibble with is your OL point; line continuity is more important than individual talent, so the line could very well be better next year. Key word being “could.” Health will be a big factor next year.

  59. 59 austinfan said at 12:18 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Continuity is the reason you want to “marinate” your young depth for a couple years before they have to start, so they’ve practiced the same scheme and often substituted in with the “1’s.

  60. 60 livingonapear said at 2:50 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Obviously I’m not suggesting you keep a deficient part on the line simply for continuity. If Tobin is ready to take over for Todd, then I’m all for it.

    I just meant that the line could be better this coming year, especially with the stunts that gave them problems this year.

  61. 61 holeplug said at 12:42 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    continuity is mostly survivorship bias. Guys that suck will be replaced while the guys that have proven they can play will stay starters on the line.

  62. 62 Neil said at 1:52 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Bill Davis made a great point in an interview with Dave Spadaro posted today. When it’s a new system, everyone has to learn together and nobody can really help anybody else. In year 2 and on, the players who’ve been around can help the coaches teach the new guys.

  63. 63 livingonapear said at 2:55 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Eh, if you look at the better lines There’s always 2 guys who are replaceable, but who benefit from great players. Off the top of my head, you see a lot of guys like Ryan Lilja who look great when playing next to Jeff Saturday but then prove to be just adequate players after they leave.

  64. 64 austinfan said at 9:31 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    One other thought –

    Most of your improvement year to year comes from players already on your roster, when LeBeau turned the Steeler defense around, it was by promoting 4 backups, when Fangio turned around the SF defense, they signed a couple FAs but also promoted a number of backups. Once a team becomes average or better, rarely do you see more than a couple rookies have an impact.

    So the draft is really about 2015, FA and the current roster is about 2014. Safety is the only area where a rookie/FA might have an immediate impact, but even then, Wolff might be a better bet than most rookies. A rookie WOLB will probably sit behind Cole, etc.

    Which means against a tougher schedule, these become key issues:
    The 4 young DL – how much can they improve?
    Goode, Acho, Long, Knott, Kaddu – it’s not an accident all the backups run better than 4.7 except Knott and maybe Long, they need more athleticism on the field and especially on STs (watch for Phillips and his recovery)
    Keelan Johnson is another depth/ST candidate
    Bamiro, Kelly, Tobin, Molk – they need young OL who can step in and start in case of injury
    Ertz – he was solid as a rookie, is he a star in his second season?
    Benn, Maehl, Cunningham, Murphy, Momah – can someone step up and be a solid backup WR and a ST gunner?
    Brown – he has start potential, how about star production?
    Polk, Tucker – again, need better ST gunners

    Seattle shows what top STs can do with a top defense, who needs offense?
    Eagles need to upgrade coverage units and depth, and a lot of that has to come off the current roster.
    They also need some young talent to take a step up, especially, Cox, Logan, Kendricks, Wolff, Brown, Ertz, Lane.

  65. 65 D3FB said at 5:36 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    I personally would be shocked if we don’t address OL depth between rounds 2-5. Then again there may be a run that keeps us from getting somebody.

  66. 66 Michael Winter Cho said at 10:07 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    GB’s FO looked like geniuses when half their team got injured but they still won the SB. Our FO has looked pretty good this year, when no one got injured. Next year, people will get injured–so, yes, building some depth is essential. That being said, we will need to overall add talent just to get the same kind of W-L results.

  67. 67 Anders said at 10:47 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    GB’s FO look like geniuses for having Aaron Rodgers

  68. 68 mksp said at 10:59 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I think we’ll see a lot of moves this offseason. Its clear who fits the scheme and who doesn’t at this point, and I expect Chip/Howie to get the right guys in here.

    I just hope we can get value for some of the guys that are good football players but don’t fit the scheme.

    Also remember that we may get an infusion of young talent from IR/PS -> Tobin, Travis Long and Joe Kruger should all be on the 53 man roster next year.

  69. 69 ICDogg said at 11:25 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    Seattle vs SF preview

  70. 70 RobNE said at 12:43 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    who is the robot in your analogy?

  71. 71 xeynon said at 11:28 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    I have a feeling Spadaro avoided talking about specific positions because he didn’t want to rip guys he probably knows personally and likes, but he’s nevertheless 100% correct. Unless you have a surefire HoFer like Tom Brady or Ray Lewis at a given position, you should always be thinking about adding competition there, and in the draft (particularly in the first couple rounds) the best thing to do with few exceptions is snag the most talented prospects possible regardless of position. Remember the 2002 draft? People ripped the FO for drafting Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Michael Lewis, and Brian Westbrook with their first four picks, since the team already had Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Blaine Bishop, Duce Staley, and Correll Buckhalter. Nevertheless all four of those picks turned into Pro Bowl-caliber players who were foundational pieces in a long run of successful Eagles football. With the exception of running back and possibly tight end, there is no position on this roster at which the Eagles should pass up a top tier talent should one be available when they pick.

  72. 72 ICDogg said at 11:56 AM on January 13th, 2014:

    What do we mean by “Best Player Available”?

    Hypothetically you could come up with a list of players, regardless of what their position or skill set is, and regardless of what the team drafting them needs, or what schemes they run, and put them in order from 1-256 and just draft the highest remaining numbered player off this master list. No one does that and no one should.

    We use the term “Best Player Available” a lot but if we are really pressed to define it, it’s never really what it implies. Every team is going to take needs into account one way or another. They’re not going to spend a high draft pick on a guy that they don’t anticipate that they’re ever going to need.

    There is also the matter of rarity of skills. Some positions get overdrafted early because they are so critical and elite ones are so hard to find. Quarterback always. Pass rushers. Wide receivers. Left tackles.

    When it is all said and done, needs are always considered at least to some extent when creating a draft board.

    So when we talk about drafting BPA, I think what we’re really talking about is considering a wider range of available talent and not just having tunnel vision and taking what we think we most need at this particular moment.

  73. 73 Neil said at 12:01 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Yeah and how this is borne out practically is players are grouped into tiers where each player is considered roughly equal, especially considering the uncertainty involved in projecting performance. When multiple players in the highest tier remain, need is what decides who gets picked.

  74. 74 BreakinAnklez said at 12:35 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Again not always. Raven had stud LT when selected Ogden. Dire need at RB (which would have been Lawerence Phillips, whom everyone wanted except Ozzie).

  75. 75 Neil said at 12:50 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    …How do you know what their board looked like?

  76. 76 BreakinAnklez said at 1:01 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Football Life…Ozzie was talking about their draft. Already had stud Lt in Tony Brown and needed a RB…but he held firm take Ogden bc he was higher rated by Ozzie despite beig in similar tier

  77. 77 Neil said at 1:26 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Interesting. I was really talking about the guys who are more of a toss up. If Ozzie just felt that Ogden was clearly the better player, that’s different, even if he said they were in a similar tier.

  78. 78 BreakinAnklez said at 1:51 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    I find the whole “draft board” VERY interesting, would love to be a fly on te wall during its creation / execution during the draft

  79. 79 ICDogg said at 1:03 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    It goes deeper than that. Some talented players do not even appear on some draft boards because they are not considered a good fit with the team. That takes place early in the process.

  80. 80 Neil said at 1:32 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Indeed. Fit is an extremely important factor in ranking a player’s talent. Maybe a better word than talent would be impact on the team.

  81. 81 xeynon said at 5:44 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    I don’t think most teams bother putting players who are clearly not fits for their offensive and defensive systems on the draft board. If you play a 4-3 defense and there’s a 230 pound outside linebacker who doesn’t have the frame to bulk up and whose primary skill is rushing the passer, you’re probably not going to bother scouting that guy heavily to begin with, much less slotting him into your draft board. Similarly a team that plays a Tampa 2 D is not going to consider the 340 pound two gap nose tackle types, a team with an athleticism-based zone blocking scheme is not going to go for a slow road grader type OL prospect, a team that uses a lot of screens is not going to take a running back who doesn’t have receiving skills, etc. Howie has talked about how the team generally has a group of target prospects for each of the given rounds from whom they select the highest rated player when their pick comes up (I can’t remember the exact number but I believe it was 10 or so). Presumably guys who don’t fit the system, as well as those ruled out due to character concerns, injury risk, etc. aren’t included in these groupings.

  82. 82 ICDogg said at 12:11 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    Woke up to 652 missed calls from #PeytonManning. #OmahaOmaha— Omaha Steaks (@OmahaSteaks) January 13, 2014

  83. 83 deg0ey said at 2:24 PM on January 13th, 2014:

    I don’t know how to do your fancy embedding thing, but I saw this one on Twitter earlier:

    “Just yelled “Omaha” in the grocery store as I grabbed vegetable oil, almost drew the lady next to me offside….”

  84. 84 greenblood0118 said at 8:28 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Tommy, looking forward to your “detailed season review”…also, did I miss the DGR for the Saints game?