TJ Ward

Posted: March 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 102 Comments »

I finally got done watching several games of TJ Ward, the potential free agent target from the Browns.

5-10, 200
Age 27…will turn 28 in December
4 years in the NFL
Missed 8 games in 2011 and 2 games in 2012.
5 career INTs
5 career FFs
24 career pass deflections
24 career TFLs
3.5 career sacks
248 career solo tackles

I had high hopes when I put on the tape, but must admit to being slightly disappointed. Ward is a tough, physical Safety and I loved that side of his game, but he simply missed too many tackles for me to come away overly excited. Ward is an aggressive tackler. He likes to go low on his targets and that leads to some misses. Sometimes players fight through the contact. Other times players are able to side-step or go over him.

Ward is a physical player. Put him in the box and he’s right at home. He will take on O-linemen if needed. He will fight through traffic to get to the ball. Ward does have some pop when he hits and tackles. Calvin Johnson caught an intermediate pass over the middle and Ward was able to knock the ball loose. This wasn’t one of those jarring hits where the DB ran 10 yards at full speed (Brandon Meriweather or Dunta Robinson). Ward was near CJ and just exploded into him. This kind of short area explosive hitting isn’t common. Ward can “uncoil” and offensive players will feel it.

I didn’t see Ward as undisciplined or stupid with his hitting. He wanted to punish runners and receivers, but did so under control. That’s important in today’s NFL. Gone are the days when Wes and Andre could patrol the middle and level receivers any way they wanted. I don’t know the penalty stats on Ward for the year, but he was pretty clean in the games I watched.

Ward is versatile. Cleveland played him down in the box a lot, but not exclusively. They liked to show 8-man fronts on some plays and then would have Ward retreat at the snap and get 20-25 yards deep. He has good feet and is a solid athlete. Ward was able to quickly get good depth on those plays and be an effective downfield cover guy. Other times he covered the TE 1-on-1. Ward did a good job of this on underneath routes. I didn’t see him going downfield in man coverage, but he certainly has the speed to run with most TEs.

I didn’t get a good feel for Ward’s ball skills. He didn’t have any picks or drops in the games that I watched. On a side note, his 2 INTs in 2014 came vs MIN and BUF, a pair of teams with bad QBs. Ward only has 5 INTs for his career so clearly he’s not a ballhawk. I don’t know if that is a part of his game that can get substantially better.

Ward looked like a pretty smart player. He seemed to read plays well. He took good angles to the ball. I didn’t see any obvious mental mistakes in coverage. Before the snap, he does talk to his teammates and help to get everyone lined up correctly.

It was fun to watch Ward and see the physical element to his game. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s tough and he’s “springy”. Seeing that frame and ability to explode into players reminded me of Brian Dawkins a couple of times. The difference is that Dawk had great hands and was instinctive, which made him more of a ballhawk. Ward is best used in the box. Dawk could be the SS, FS or even nickelback and excel in all 3 roles. If we could find a way to combine TJ Ward and Jairus Byrd, we’d have Dawk Jr.

Ward makes sense as an Eagles target because he is versatile and Bill Davis likes that. He has talked about wanting to play his Safeties as the Right Safety and the Left Safety, meaning they are interchangeable. Byrd is more of a pure centerfielder. Ward can go back and play centerfield or Cover 2. He can play in the box. Ward does miss more tackles than you want, but to be fair…part of that is because he’s such an active tackler. Byrd was more efficient, but also was more selective about tackle attempts.

The biggest argument against Ward is that he’s got 5 INTs and 5 FFs in 4 years. Safeties that break the bank need to make impact plays…aka create turnovers. I don’t know that Ward is worth big money if you have a young guy like Earl Wolff already on the roster (a player that will hit and tackle).

I certainly won’t be upset if the Eagles go after Ward, but I think it would surprise me.


102 Comments on “TJ Ward”

  1. 1 TheRogerPodacter said at 9:56 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    i guess that who, if any safety, we go after this offseason, it should tell us about the direction that Chip & Billy want to take this defense.
    do they prefer turnovers above all else? Byrd is your man.
    do they prefer versatile players that can do anything? Ward seems to be the choice.

  2. 2 Mac said at 10:05 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Or do they let other teams out bid them and bring back Nate Allen?

  3. 3 eagleyankfan said at 10:22 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    why on earth would they do that? All the negatives about the safeties T-Law mentions — you can triple for Allen. Bottom line — Allen is not good. He’s not terrible. If you’re ok to never stopping a team on 3rd down and late in the game — Allen is your guy.

  4. 4 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:42 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    personally, i’d be OK bringing Allen back… IF we can’t get someone better in FA – Byrd, Ward, Jenkins, Clemons, etc.
    That gives us some wiggle room in the draft so that we don’t have to take the best S left on the board with pick 22. (similar to what happened with Jarrett…..ugh).
    With Allen, we will at least have *someone* back there. i’d rather it be Allen than Chung…. lol

  5. 5 Tumtum said at 10:59 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    I would not be upset if the Donovan pick ended up staying around. He showed vast improvement last season. Can he continue to grow? If they can’t lock someone else better up then why not find out?

  6. 6 Iskar36 said at 11:29 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Here is a question though. IF all the Eagles do at safety in FA is resign Allen, can the Eagles really afford to pass on a safety within the first two rounds? You would have a 2nd year 5th round player in Wolff and for all intents and purposes a bust for a second round pick in Allen (yes, he got injured at some point and has dealt with a plethora of different coaches, but if your second round pick is a guy fans and the team don’t have a significant concern about leaving after his rookie contract… bust). Also, in terms of Wolff, anyone trying to convince you that he is a starter already has completely forgotten the Quintin Demps and Macho Harris days. Both of those guys showed more in their rookie years and then went on to flatline/regress before being cut a year later. Wolff has promise, but it would be a major mistake to not put him against a major challenge for the starting role.

  7. 7 holeplug said at 12:39 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’d rather not draft jaiquawn jarrett again so yes they can afford to pass on a safety if none match up value wise in the draft.

  8. 8 Iskar36 said at 12:55 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I fully agree with that sentiment, but my point is with such a big hole at the position, the team would also feel extremely uncomfortable about the position and may have to force their hand there. In other words, I don’t think you can get to the draft with only Allen and Wolff on board. You absolutely need to bring in someone else who at the very least can compete with them for the starting role, if not out right beat them.

  9. 9 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:07 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    you bring up a good point. we are all (myself included) assuming that Wolff will be starting, or I guess competing with Chung for the position.
    Even if we get one suitable replacement for Allen’s vacancy, we are left with this… Wolff or Chung. neither option is ideal.

    If we bring in one big-ticket FA for Allen’s replacement, now we at least have one “good” player there that might be able to make up for some shortcomings of Wolff/Chung.
    If we don’t bring in any FA safety, now we HAVE to draft one, and we HAVE to do it early. Then, the best that we have to hope for is that the rookie can hold his own while Wolff/Chung hold the other spot? that sucks.
    At the minimum, i’d like to have Allen back. Then, any safety we draft can be a later pick (doesn’t have to be rd 1, say). Then, we have Allen + rookie competing for one spot and Wolff/Chung competing at the other.
    If we can’t get the FA safety we want, that would be my favorite alternative, really…

  10. 10 TheRogerPodacter said at 1:10 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    maybe an easier way of saying it is…
    it looks like we need to 1) bring in SOME FA safety. I wouldn’t put Allen high up in the list, but he might not be at the bottom either (certainly higher on the list than Chung…).
    2) the higher in the list we get a guy, the later in the draft we NEED to get a rookie. get the #1 guy on the list, then pick a S in the 4th or 5th rd or something. get the last guy on the list? then pick a S in rd 1 or 2! lol

  11. 11 holeplug said at 4:12 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Even if they sign Byrd or Ward they should still draft a safety in the 1st round if he is the highest ranked player on their board.

  12. 12 deg0ey said at 4:04 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Honestly, I think I could live with Allen and Chung for another season, but only if Davis was willing to accept that they’re not good and scheme accordingly.

  13. 13 greenblood0118 said at 5:28 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Everything about the 2012 and 2013 drafts suggest that no matter what the safety situation is come draft day, the Eagles will not be making a Jarrett-like reach.

  14. 14 Joseph Dubyk said at 11:47 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Or neither of the above… I think we’ll definitely add a safety in FA, but to me, paying 8 milliona yr on a defense with a lot of upgrading neede doesn’t make any sense at this point.

  15. 15 Dave said at 10:00 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    It seems logical to do with safety what they did with cornerback last year. Get a serviceable mid-tier free agent or two and let them compete with some young guys already on the roster and maybe a couple of draft picks.

    Byrd’s plantar fasciitis worries me. If he was faking it or milking it because he was unhappy with his contract situation last year, it worries me even more. Team players don’t do that.

    Ward seems to be a good player, but not one you break the bank for. I’m not sure they are going to pay a safety more than the cornerbacks already on the roster.

  16. 16 Dominik said at 11:59 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    “It seems logical to do with safety what they did with cornerback last year. Get a serviceable mid-tier free agent or two and let them compete with some young guys already on the roster and maybe a couple of draft picks.”

    We have zero, and I mean zero, depth behind Williams, Fletcher and Boy KING, why on earth would you like this strategy?

    It’s a broader point and not just about your statement, but I don’t get the love that some Eagles fans have for those “mid-tier” signings. It made sense last offseason, because we had holes to fill all over the place.

    This season? Not so much. One OLB, one, maybe two Safetys and this D is very solid. We need depth, of course, but that’s a luxury problem compared to having problems with your starters.

    We have the cap for good players, let’s just sign good players. With the cap increasing and guys like Cole and the Toddfather coming of the books in the next few years, we don’t have to worry about signing Foles, Kendricks, Cox etc. to good contracts.

    Get those mid-tier guys in the draft, in rounds 3-7. Get good players in the first two rounds and you have a playoff team for years to come. The 2014 Eagles need a stud Safety and a stud OLB. Roseman should (and will) work hard on getting those two. If we get them we’ll have a lot of fun next season.

  17. 17 Dave said at 12:49 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I guess you mean you think they should break the bank for one or both of the top safeties on the market. I see your point but disagree. I think it would be overpaying. If it were Earl Thomas or Eric Berry, I would be on board.

  18. 18 deg0ey said at 4:13 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Couldn’t agree more…I’d be cool with paying Byrd like the best safety in the league if he was actually the best safety in the league, but he isn’t. Lots of people seem to want him because they’re desperate and he’s the best available rather than because they actually think he’s a really good player.

  19. 19 Dominik said at 5:04 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Problem is: Earl Thomas or Eric Berry will never hit the market. Byrd maybe isn’t as good as those two (I don’t know that for a fact, I just read different opinions on him from people I trust – haven’t watched film on him), but I think you can make the argument that he’s one of the best Safetys you can get via FA. Not just this year, but for a couple of years.

    If that’s the case you can (maybe should) break the bank, especially if you’re this bad at drafting Safetys.

  20. 20 Dave said at 7:54 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Banner and Andy had issues drafting a replacement for Dawk and Quintin. You can’t compare the new front office to the old.

    Regardless, I’m on board with whatever they decide to do.

  21. 21 SteveH said at 10:16 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Surprisingly low career turnover rates for someone who’s supposed to be a top tier safety. Definitely doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you break the bank for. In fact he sounds closer to a mid level contract guy than a top tier contract guy. Maybe 5 mil/year. Will probably get more than that but I wouldn’t go much beyond that price range.

    I’m not overly enthused about Byrd or Ward. I think the best move is to go for Malcom Jenkins. Is solid all around, won’t command a megabucks deal. Pair him with Wolfe and the safety position goes from putrid to average, I think.

  22. 22 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:43 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    I think Jenkins is my choice as well. And add another mid-late round draft pick too.

  23. 23 ICDogg said at 10:49 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’ve heard the name Darien Stewart from the Rams mentioned as a low-budget pickup.

  24. 24 Tumtum said at 10:49 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    5 mil sounds about right. Pays him as “good” not “great”. ~3mil less than the franchise number and far higher than the average I am sure.

    That is if he fits what Davis wants…

  25. 25 OregonDucker said at 1:12 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Truth. Salary at 5 mil and performance potential seems about right.

  26. 26 philliesfan136 said at 1:16 AM on March 7th, 2014:

    I think the Eagles could sign either Byrd or Ward and team them up with a tackling dummy, with a Chung, or Allen jersey on, and they would get better safety play, than last year.

  27. 27 Arby1 said at 10:20 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Loving these film breakdowns, Tommy, and the distinctions in explosive tackling. I do think Ward’s versatility would appeal to the Eagles if he doesn’t sign with the Browns. Seems they’re targeting Bryd instead. I know money is the biggest issue but I wonder if one of these ex-Ducks would take a little less to get on the Chipper Express..

  28. 28 Sb2bowl said at 11:57 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’m not one of those ” WE HAVE TO SIGN BYRD!!!!!” people, but you have to wonder if that hasn’t crossed his mind in regards to leaving Buffalo, testing free agency, and seeing what each team has to offer for his skills/services.

    Think about it– Buffalo wanted to make him one of the top 2 highest paid safeties in the game; he turned them down. Would he be so inclined to join the Eagles (and the Chip Kelly Way), but do it for $5 million a year, instead of $8-10? Would you?

    In the “real” world, its not always about money, or the highest paying position. Sure, everyone wants to make a good living, but there’s a human element to it also….. people want to enjoy going to work, and going to a place where they believe that they can be successful. Sometimes it is worth making less money if you can get a better work environment and benefits to offset the financial loss.

  29. 29 Dominik said at 12:02 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Or you get Roseman to pay you 8-10m per year and enjoy the success and the lifestyle of the Chip Kelly Eagles nonetheless. 😉

  30. 30 Maggie said at 7:52 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    $5 million? What? Love Chip or not, he would not sign for that number. Half the league is desperate for safeties. He will not take less than $9 million.

  31. 31 Sb2bowl said at 10:53 AM on March 7th, 2014:

    Then we don’t need to sign him….. we can get two mid-level safeties for less than that; sort of like the old “Banner” negotiation tactics…..

    It would be great to have a safety like Byrd or Ward, but not at that cost. Especially if they get hurt, then what do we do?

  32. 32 OregonDucker said at 1:10 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    If Byrd or Ward want a ring, then they will join the Eagles. Both love Chip and want to play for him. We will see if they mean it.

  33. 33 Jacob said at 10:29 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’ve always preferred Ward to Byrd. Not just because the price tag either. I think he can play a multiple of roles, which Byrd can’t, and he has better character IMO (not that I blame Byrd for wanting more $/getting out of Buffalo)

  34. 34 Tumtum said at 10:41 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Awesome another great write up. If you guys havnt DONATED in a while… think about it! I’ve been slacking last one just before Sr. Bowl. Will do so now!

    One complaint is that you didn’t pick between Ward and Byrd for the Eagles. I get the notion you may personally like Byrd more, but what about for our beloved iggz?

  35. 35 barneygoogle said at 10:42 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Sometimes the move you don’t make is the best move. I wonder if the Eagles will lie in the weeds for a week or two, let the market settle, then pick up a couple of needs, at a moderate price.
    Kelly doesn’t think like other coaches. Maybe they could pick up a corner instead, then try Cary Williams as a hybrid corner/safety–or do something else outside the box. Maybe do a draft day trade–B Graham for a safety no one has talked about. Is another team hiding a young S on injured reserve or practice squad?

  36. 36 Tumtum said at 10:45 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Cary Williams at safety. That is a pretty interesting idea.

  37. 37 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:48 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    yea, i wonder how well that would work. a physical CB might make for a moderately physical S, right? he would then probably be pretty good at everything, not great, but solid.
    but at 6-1, 190… is he big enough? could he hold up to a whole season at safety?

  38. 38 Tumtum said at 10:51 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    He is thin, but he has the height. He has the ball skills. They actually gave some looks with him in the box last season.

    I don’t know. Gut feeling? Probably wouldn’t work out.

  39. 39 ICDogg said at 10:53 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Big learning curve, big adjustment. Is it worth trying? Probably not.

  40. 40 Jerry Pomroy said at 12:04 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Honestly, if that were an open question to include other players, I think I like Boykin’s speed/agility & ballhawking as a slightly better option. He gives up 2″ to CW, but has more spring. If they aren’t going to use him outside because he’s a shade under 6′, then see how our best CB looks in the middle as the single high S. That said, if we went more to a Cover 2, then CW at 10lbs heavier looks better.

  41. 41 Tumtum said at 1:10 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    That is an interesting look too. One I probably like more. Boykin is one of your best defensive players. Why not use him creatively.

  42. 42 Jerry Pomroy said at 8:28 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Not just creatively. If we’re dead set on not putting him outside at some point & he’s our best defensive player that’s only seeing about 50% of the defensive snaps, moving to safety gets our best player in the secondary on the field a lot more.

  43. 43 Tumtum said at 1:30 PM on March 7th, 2014:

    I hear ya. Though I think it is more like 60%.

  44. 44 barneygoogle said at 12:36 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’m thinking of him as a corner primarily, but he could switch to safety in some situations and Boykin could slide outside.

  45. 45 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:45 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    that first approach scares me a little. I don’t want to be the only kid on the block who didn’t get to sign a FA safety….
    we’d be left to pick up somebody off the streets like Marlin Jackson… ugh.
    or we’d be left to play Patrick Chung all season long…. ugh.

  46. 46 Mike Roman said at 12:32 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I mentioned this a few weeks back but it didn’t get any play. You see CBs convert to Safety all the time. I think Williams is physical enough to come up and tackle and his speed is better suited for S than CB. Not to mention, you’re more likely to land a blue-chip CB at #22 than you are a safety.

  47. 47 Cafone said at 1:15 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    If we want to talk about converting CBs, why not Curtis Marsh? He’s got the size, and we sure wouldn’t lose anything at cornerback by moving him.

  48. 48 Mike Roman said at 1:26 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Haha. That is true. Actually, the only reason I brought it up two weeks back is because over a month ago I read the suggestion by some reputable columnist. I’ve been trying to find that article again but haven’t been able to.

  49. 49 ICDogg said at 11:04 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    He stinks!

  50. 50 Anders said at 11:11 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Good post about scouting QBs

  51. 51 Andy124 said at 3:46 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Good read. Thanks for sharing.

  52. 52 Joseph Dubyk said at 11:45 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    All of the game tape you have watched on Ward and Byrd just screams what some fans like myself have been saying all along — Paying a big safety is not going to make this defense that much better. We need to invest in a pass rusher if we invest in anything. I’m OK with a mid level FA (Jenkins,Clemons, etc), but breaking the bank for one of these safeties just doesn’t seem logical for a non-premium position in the NFL. Dont think most fans understand that.

  53. 53 Dominik said at 12:10 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    There is more than one way to build a Defense. The 2013 NFL season showed it perfectly. The Seahawks were as good as they were because of their Secondary. The pass rush was good, not great, but they got the results because good coverage leads to sacks, also.

    The Panthers had a nasty front seven and a solid Secondary. That’d be your way, if I interpret your post correctly.

    The 49ers had freaking good LBs (all four of them, that’s just crazy). They were more about stopping the run, but had a good pass rush, of course. They didn’t have great CBs (they had Nnamdi, for god’s sake), but very good Safety play.

    All three teams have different schemes (4-3 under, 4-3, 3-4). What I want to say is just this: there is more than one way to build a great D. With the pieces the Eagles have in place, I would think you need a good pass rusher and a good Safety and this Defense would be fine. OLB via FA isn’t an option, so let’s get that stud Safety. There are two on the market. That helps. 😉

  54. 54 Joseph Dubyk said at 12:15 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    But we’ll be paying top dollar for safeties that aren’t going to make that much of a difference. Why not spend that kind of money to someone who’ll make more of a difference…. BTW, I agree with most of your post except Seattle..In the off season last yer they signed Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett (pass rushers). They too understood that you need to rush the QB despite a good secondary.

  55. 55 Dominik said at 12:38 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I think, and most Eagles fans pro Byrd/Ward think, that adding an stud Safety would vastly improve this team. We kind of get used to Safety play that sucks, but that doesn’t mean that it has no impact. 😉

    Or would you say that Dawkins didn’t make much of a difference? We had a stud Safety in this house for many years and I think that’s the reason many Eagles fans want to see that again. Plus, adding Byrd would make Fletcher and Williams vastly better. They are good press corners, but they can’t press if Chung is the man behind them.

    And yeah, of course they added Avril and Bennett. Carroll knows that you need pass rushers. I don’t say: sign Byrd and play with Barwin/Cole/Graham/Matthews as your OLBs like last season. We need a pass rusher, too. But a good secondary makes the pass rush better, just like a good pass rush makes a secondary better. Those two are interdependable.

    There is no stud OLB on the market, there are two stud Safetys on the market. Solve at least one problem via FA. That’s all I’m saying. 😉

  56. 56 Joseph Dubyk said at 12:57 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Dawkins is a once in every 10 year talent and neither of those guys are Dawkins. If there was a Dawkins or an Ed Reed on the market I would say go for it 100%… I agree there isn’t going to be an OLB on the market that we could invest in, but there will be other positions that could be upgrades elsewhere. FWIW, Dawkins was on bad defenses, so to say we’re just lacking a safety would be false. We had one of the worst pass rushes for a 3-4 defense last year

  57. 57 Maggie said at 7:48 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    One of the greatest talents or not, Dawkins still doesn’t have a ring. Still need a team.

  58. 58 Cafone said at 1:04 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I think that what people are saying is that best available does not necessarily mean they are studs. Tommy’s analysis paints these guys as good, but not game changers.

  59. 59 Rage114 said at 11:47 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Thank you but no thank you.

  60. 60 Alex Karklins said at 11:47 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Have Kelly’s sport scientists started working on transplanting Colt Anderson’s brain into Nate Allen’s head yet?

  61. 61 Sb2bowl said at 11:59 AM on March 6th, 2014:

    Want to do anything with switching their hearts? Oh, we can get that from Coleman…… Nate Allen would be some sort of cyborg at that point, hopefully we re-sign him!

  62. 62 Cafone said at 12:35 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Colt Anderson is a good special teams player, but he can’t even get on the field as a back up safety. When it comes to playing defense, he’s a poor man’s Kurt Coleman. I don’t think I’d want to switch any of his body parts with our starters.

  63. 63 Sb2bowl said at 1:50 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Kurt isn’t bad on special teams either, but offers up more as a defender; never thought I’d actually mean this, but if I had to bring back either Colt or Kurt (as safety depth), I’d bring back Kurt

  64. 64 Cafone said at 12:25 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Nate Allen was an honors student.

    Maybe you are confusing the University of Montana with Stanford?

  65. 65 Alex Karklins said at 3:21 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Hey, I went to the University of Montana! It’s the Stanford of the Northern Rockies (according to me, and probably nobody else).

  66. 66 A Roy said at 3:39 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    And with Stanford being the “Harvard of the West”, then UM becomes the Harvard of the Northern Rockies! Congratulations.

  67. 67 Alex Karklins said at 3:43 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Nice! I’ll update my resume.

  68. 68 Cafone said at 12:19 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Now that tape of Byrd and Ward is fresh in your mind, it would be interesting to read an analysis/comparison of Nate Allen tape from last season.

  69. 69 GermanEagle said at 1:22 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    That shouldn’t take long as there’s nothing that shows up on tape.

  70. 70 eagleyankfan said at 1:26 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Amen. No sense in posting an all negative report :).

  71. 71 Cafone said at 2:35 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Outside opinions are recycled versions of local opinions. National guys rarely do their own research and film study. They read the local papers and then form opinions, often misinformed opinions because they don’t have the same base knowledge of the team possessed by the more attentive of fans.

  72. 72 Anders said at 4:17 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Also outside opinions are often so off target as they have no clue on our needs.

  73. 73 bridgecoach said at 5:12 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Nate Allen would benefit hugely from adding TJ Ward into the mix.

  74. 74 GermanEagle said at 5:28 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    The eagles would benefit hugely from adding TJ Ward into the mix.

  75. 75 Cafone said at 1:26 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    You realize he led the Eagles in tackles last year, right?

    I know you are being coy, but I think a lot of the negative opinions about Allen were formed before last season and have lingered, somewhat unjustifiably. I know he’s not a star, but I think he’s in the “solid starter” category.

  76. 76 Sb2bowl said at 1:51 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Agreed– I’d bring him back to the tune of $2-3 million a year as a potential starting safety; let him compete during the off season and training camp

  77. 77 Sokhar20 said at 3:27 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Were they including missed tackles in that stat?
    I kid, I kid. I think Allen gets more grief than he deserves, and wouldn’t mind seeing the Eagles bring him back for the right price. He just needs to have definite competition. I’d view last year’s version of Allen as servicable, but definitely someone you would like to upgrade over. Whereas Chung has to be replaced at all costs.

  78. 78 Dominik said at 5:51 AM on March 7th, 2014:

    “Solid starter” maybe, problem is: he can’t (or at least doesn’t) play ST. And that’s why I don’t want him back. I wouldn’t have a problem with Allen competing with Wolff for the second Safety position, you can rotate them. But as #2/#3 in the mix, you should play ST.

    And I think no one can hope that Allen will be our best (#1) safety next season, like he was in 2013. For that role, he just isn’t good enough.

  79. 79 Mike Roman said at 12:28 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    We talk a lot about not over paying for players who are good but not great, but I think that safety play is so bad across the league that all of these guys are going to get “overpaid”. Then you have to ask yourself, are they really getting overpaid or has their value just gone up because of the way the league is evolving? Even Nate Allen is probably going to get a $3M + per year contract. What’s a better value, NA for $3.5M or TJ Ward for $6M? With the salary cap being higher than expected (and continuing to grow), a cash rich team like the Eagles really could make a competitive offer for Byrd or Ward without hurting themselves in future years. I think we’ve all resided ourselves to the fact that the Eagles aren’t going to be major players for Byrd or Ward but just maybe we’ll all be a little bit surprised.

  80. 80 Cafone said at 2:39 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    That’s a good point, but it still leaves the Birds with a lack of depth.

    What if the option was TJ Ward for 6 million or both Allen and Clemons for 3 million each?

  81. 81 Mike Roman said at 3:22 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I would do Allen and Clemons for sure. I’m one of those people who doesn’t think Allen sucks. I think he’d actually be marginally good if he had somebody competent next to him.

  82. 82 GermanEagle said at 1:28 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I rather overpay for a ‘very good’ but not ‘great’ Safety in times of an increasing salary cap than hoping that one of the next rookies will finally pan out in 5 years time.

    The suffering of bad safety play must not linger any longer if you can address its need in this year’s free agency.

  83. 83 Cafone said at 1:30 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    For those of you still interested in more Dion Jordan speculation, don’t miss the analysis of his 2013 season over at the Chip Wagon:

    I was left the impression that both his poor performance and his incompatibility with the Dolphin’s defense has been overstated, and there’s probably no way they are moving him without very significant compensation.

  84. 84 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:14 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    i got the same impression. he sounds like he has the kind of versatility that Chip seems to want on defense, though!
    but after reading that, i just don’t see why the dolphins would trade him.

  85. 85 Anders said at 4:08 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Agree. I was impressed with his pass rushing, seems he has already improved since college.

  86. 86 Neil said at 2:10 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I think the defense would be fine if we brought back Allen and signed someone who could compete with him and Wolff. Ideally a safety worth taking would fall to us rounds 2-3, but the signings would make it so that we could feel comfortable not taking one or taking a Wolff in the 5th who could use some seasoning.

    This is how I see it playing out unless a better FA is willing to take less money to come here.

  87. 87 Mitchell said at 4:15 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I agree and would be happy with either Mike Mitchell or Malcolm Jenkins. Then we would be free to draft a safety who is a bit of a project but with some serious upside and not feel like we have to force him into the starting line up.

  88. 88 Mike Flick said at 2:27 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    So how do you see Earl Wolff? Is he more TJ or more Byrd?

  89. 89 Neil said at 3:36 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    By all indications so far, definitely more TJ.

  90. 90 D3FB said at 3:32 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    A great read for anyone who is interested in some of the processes that go into the draft.

  91. 91 Tumtum said at 5:19 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    That’s a good one.

  92. 92 Insomniac said at 8:06 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Longest sbnation article I’ve ever read but well worth it.

  93. 93 Anders said at 4:12 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Based on this list, Griffin clearly has my interest. I think he could be a very productive OLB and also able to play some DE in some looks.

  94. 94 A_T_G said at 6:13 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I would be excited.

  95. 95 47_Ronin said at 7:48 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I’m disappointed no one is mentioning ex-Eagle FA Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. But seriously with Worilds and Orakpo off the market there’s a big drop off in the FA OLBs. With a former DC as Minny’s new HC, I can’t see the Vikes letting Griffen walk plus the likely leaving of Jared Allen. One name I’m curious about is the Jets’ Calvin Pace. Pace is 33 and will probably not get a deal longer than 2-3 years, and reports state that the Jets haven’t started talks. Pace could be a short fix paired with a pash rusher drafted this year.

  96. 96 Insomniac said at 8:05 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    But is he really better than Cole at this point of his career?

  97. 97 Cliff said at 7:30 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Tommy wrote something that made me think we shouldn’t go after Byrd or Ward: “If we could find a way to combine TJ Ward and Jairus Byrd, we’d have Dawk Jr.”

    I’m starting to feel like I’d rather commit a high draft pick to a safety who has the potential to be a Dawk Jr than to spend a ton of money on players we already know aren’t going to be Dawk Jr.

  98. 98 Insomniac said at 7:31 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Well good luck with that. There’s not a safety like that this year.

  99. 99 Vick or Nick said at 8:06 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Eagles Safety Outlook 2014:

    Sign Malcom Jenkins (or another mid-level player) to a mid-level contract.

    Let Nate Allen walk, cut Pat Chung (or keep him and cut him later)

    Hope Calvin Pryor or Clinton-Dix fall to 22, or near 22.

    If not draft a safety in the mid rounds.

  100. 100 A_T_G said at 8:30 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    I think it might be beneficial to cut Chung, then resign him to a smaller salary… then cut him again.

  101. 101 Insomniac said at 8:52 PM on March 6th, 2014:

    Wasn’t this the plan for Kurt Coleman a few years ago?

  102. 102 philliesfan136 said at 1:52 AM on March 7th, 2014:

    Why is there all this cap space talk on here ? They have room to maneuver and sign at least two top tier free agents the likes of Jairus Byrd or T J Ward. The Eagles are currently sitting at $ 24 million in cap space. This is after locking up their own two biggest free agents and signing two other starters to extensions. If you subtract approx. $ 5 million for 2014 draft picks, that leaves you with $ 19 million in cap space. After they cut Patrick Chung, and about 5 other ( not worth mentioning ) players, they will add another $ 5 million. this puts them back up to $ 24 million. If you start to look at next years cap, they will be getting a $ 7 million dollar increase in the overall NFL salary cap to $ 140 million, plus they will receive $ 15 million relief in cap space after releasing Trent Cole and DeMeco Ryans. That’s $ 22 million in cap space before any carry over any money. If they were to spend approx. $ 18 million in cap space this year for ( 1 top tier free agent and 2 mid range free agents ) or ( two top tier free agents ) they would still have approx. $ 8 – 10 million to carry over for next years cap, putting them at around $ 30 million in cap space for 2014. No cap or money issues with Eagles ….. only thing stopping them would be if they don’t want to spend it.