Reality Bites

Posted: May 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

In the football world, this is the time of the year to dream. Any team can win the Super Bowl. Any player can be a star. Any camp body can be the guy who shocks the world and makes the roster. Dream away.

Chis McPherson wrote a great story on DB Davon Morgan for the mothership ( You can’t read this and come away anything but a huge fan of Morgan’s.

Morgan isn’t satisfied with simply getting another crack to stick in the NFL. He is one of the first players at the NovaCare Complex each day. He’s spent lots of time with Carmichael as well as safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen  to delve into film study. The lockout may have hindered his chances of making the Jets in 2011. Morgan knows there are no excuses this time around.

“What’s going to happen from here on out depends on what I put into it. You reap what you sow,” Morgan said. “I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity to make this team. I’ve been through this before where I thought I was going to make the team. I don’t want to think, I want to know.”

Morgan worked long and hard for a call that never comes for many players. He refused to accept defeat and was rewarded for his patience.

“The Lord put the taste in my mouth once and took it away,” Morgan said. “I wondered if I got comfortable. Was I content? Did I work hard enough? A lot of guys don’t get a second chance.”

Morgan never gave up after the Jets cut him in 2011. He tried out for CFL teams. He played indoor football in 2013. He did anything and everything to pursue his dream.

Morgan posted his indoor football highlights on YouTube.

You can’t tell too much do to the differences in the game and the mediocre level of competition, but it was interesting to see Morgan playing CB. He wasn’t very compelling as a SS when I studied him as a pro prospect. He does look interesting as a press corner. We”ll see how the Eagles use him when the full team practices.

* * * * *

Alejandro Villanueva is another guy you really want to cheer for. Ashley Fox wrote a very good story on him, focusing on his experiences as a soldier.

Go read the whole piece. Trying to tell his story with a quick snippet or two just doesn’t work well.

Villanueva is exactly the type of person that Chip Kelly loves. He is tough, physically and mentally. He is disciplined. Villanueva has a great work ethic and focus. He is the kind of person you can build a successful organization around, football or otherwise.

Can he make it in the NFL?

The Eagles are going to put the 6-9, 277 Villanueva at DE. He has the frame that the Eagles love in their DEs. Villanueva is long enough to engage blockers and keep them off his body. His height affects QBs and their passing lanes. Villanueva doesn’t have the get-off to be much of a pass rusher from what I can tell, but he has good agility for such a big man and does have good hands. If he proves able to shed blocks, that will give him a fighting chance.

* * * * *

As much as we would love to see longshots like Morgan and Villanueva play great and make the team, that’s just not likely to happen. Reality has a bad habit of ruining dreams. There is a reason that Megan Fox and I don’t live together on a Funyuns farm.

I’ll be pulling for Morgan and Villanueva. History is against them, but you never know when a longshot is going to pan out. Just look at the path Cary Williams took to the NFL. Think about Jason Peters going from blocking TE in college to elite LT in the NFL. Heck, just think about Chip Kelly. The year that Villanueva went to West Point, Kelly was the Offensive Coordinator at New Hampshire.

Reality wins most of the time. It would be cool for this to be one of those times when dreams got the best of reality.


76 Comments on “Reality Bites”

  1. 1 WEUer said at 4:44 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    What a journey indeed, for Davon Morgan. This part hit me hardest:

    “On Sunday morning, Morgan saw a missed call on his phone. It was from the Eagles saying that they did want to sign him pending a physical. Morgan was happy, but had to keep his emotions in check. Morgan’s roommate at the team hotel was not going to be signed. Morgan pretended that he too was going home and offered his teammate words of encouragement.

    “On Monday, Morgan passed the physical and signed his second NFL contract – 983 days after he was first released by the New York Jets.”

  2. 2 SteveH said at 5:09 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    “Ashley Fox wrote a very good story on him…”

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 5:14 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    I know, I know.

  4. 4 A_T_G said at 6:41 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    If he can get Ashley Fox to write a good story winning a roster spot should be easy.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 11:08 PM on May 25th, 2014:


  6. 6 T_S_O_P said at 5:12 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    I have to say I have quite the man crush for Henry Josey. Job secure by the way. Richard III secure too. If only I could get rid of right wing fascists and racists all would be sweet.

  7. 7 Always Hopeful said at 5:44 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    This is why I love the post draft season. I used to think I’d have hard time still rooting for the Eagles once my favorite players moved on. I’ve learned that I really root for the team and it’s cool to get behind the new guys, especially the long shots. Gotta admire the determination. Thanks for the write up Tommy.

  8. 8 shah8 said at 6:32 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    You know, when one says “Reality Bites”, one usually means people who had unwarranted optimism and got disappointed. People who are fighting for a roster spot, for their little slice of the dream, always knew it was a dream, and that it would be nice to live it for a bit. How can they be bit?

    I try to keep a good eye on ‘ol Reality here and never give it the chance to bite me, hence my comments about Foles, Kelly, etc, etc.

  9. 9 Neil said at 6:43 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Nope, you’ve never been bitten by Foles in the past. That’s for sure.

  10. 10 shah8 said at 6:57 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    that doesn’t make sense.

  11. 11 Neil said at 7:22 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    You’ve never spent a summer before a season telling us all the reasons why Foles is going to fail, and then he came out and had an alltime season. That would never happen to you because you’re keeping your eye on reality. What’s confusing?

  12. 12 shah8 said at 7:56 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    /me shrugs.

    This isn’t anything new. I was pretty much deadset against Ponder from the start (although I had a nice head start, having seen some of that work in the college game) and I turned out to be right. Before that “four good games” stretch and after.

    Look, of course, I’m not going to get through to anyone drinking that kool-aid, but… you know… Foles is a pretty long ways away from actually being a good quarterback. The numbers are there, but the technique isn’t. One of the the thing Lawler’s post brought about in my mind was just how much people will overlook the issues to believe what they want to believe, about Foles, Manziel, Tebow, etc. And about how people will try to nitpick to death anyone they don’t wish to succeed.

    Take, for instance, Colin Kaepernick…People talk very hard about how he can’t read the field, or is slow on his progressions, or whatever absurd thing they believe will gain currency among the crowd. However, everything that I’ve ever read about how people inside the NFL think of Kaepernick sez that he’s really rather good (especially for a young QB) at what a QB’s supposed to do, and this meets with what I observe, too. That Seattle/SF game after the snow bowl crystalized my consideration that Foles isn’t very good and will likely lose his starting job at some point.

    In the last week or so, I’ve been entertaining the notion that the head honchos at NovaCare anticipates a bad season, and the more depth-thy considerations in FA and draft reflects an interest much more into 2015 or 2016 season.

    In general, I’m actually pretty decent at predicting the future. I don’t gamble on football games because that’s too random, why not craps? However, I am good at judging who’s likely going to win, if you kick off ten games between the two teams. Foles can get better, of course, but the deck of cards is seriously stacked against him in a way that people really do take care not to fully appreciate. If what is likely happens, then reality will bite. Then some of you will move on to the next hope.

  13. 13 A_T_G said at 8:55 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    “…people will try to nitpick to death anyone they don’t wish to succeed.”

    I read this and suddenly an image popped into my head of a pot yelling at a kettle about his color. I got to try to stay out of the sun tomorrow.

  14. 14 shah8 said at 11:44 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Ah, but I’m quite not alone in my criticism.

    Besides, I read pretty widely about what people think of what players.

    And lastly…One QB has a Super Bowl appearance and a Conference Championship appearance, and was instrumental in giving his team a last chance to win, both times.

    The other QB got into one Wild Card game, at home, in relatively home field friendly fashion, especially considering that the other team is a dome team, spotted two turnovers to none, and lost the game. True, he did come back for a late lead, but it was never likely that he’d win down by 13 that late.

    One QB gets his issues harped on, whether it was real or not. The other QB gets a pass, for the most part, with only maybe an idle granting that maybe he holds onto the ball too long. Wierdly enough, we get the complacency with the second QB, and the persnickety with the first QB.

    Foles’ issues go way beyond holding the ball too long, and all of it shows every time he faces even just a well prepared and spirited defense, like Minn, never mind anybody good. There aren’t going to be Arizona games, next year, guys.

  15. 15 Sean said at 1:24 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Your assertion that his issues show up “every time” he faces a prepared defense, let alone a talented one, seems to be a direct contradiction to the results of the Arizona game. That was one of the very best defenses in the entire league; surely, by your logic, his numerous weaknesses should have manifested themselves in that game. Even if you just think that was a fluke and won’t continue, it still flies in the face of your first claim that he sucks against component defenses.

  16. 16 kevinlied said at 8:01 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Kaepernick is criticized because of a perceived lack of improvement. Foles came out of nowhere last year. If he stagnates — or is perceived to have stagnated — his issues will be harped on, too. And, while I like Foles better than you do, I’d also take Kaepernick over him without dwelling on the decision.

  17. 17 Neil said at 9:07 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Not even dwelling? Man, based on the history of mobile QBs developing into effective passers, I wouldn’t touch Kap. Maybe Kap will turn out different, but Foles is insanely ahead of every young QB in that regard, and you need a guy who can pass when you can’t dominate on defense or run the ball well.

  18. 18 Neil said at 9:55 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    “In general, I’m actually pretty decent at predicting the future.”

    This is what I’m saying. It’s not like you had ever spent an offseason saying Foles was gonna flop and then that season he posted the third highest QB rating of all time. That would have made even the most insane ego maniac stop talking about how right he is all the time, at least for five months.

  19. 19 GEAGLE said at 7:56 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I still talk about how right I am all the time 🙂

  20. 20 Neil said at 8:58 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Yes, but it would take an elephant tranquiliser just to get you to stop posting more than a third of the posts on every thread.

  21. 21 GEAGLE said at 9:51 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Shut up. You love me

  22. 22 Sean said at 1:28 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    For someone who loves reality so much, you sure place little value on actual facts. Nebulous anecdotal observations and unsupported blanket generalizations have very little to do with reality and much more to do with your own subjective feelings. Ignoring statistics of any and all kind does not sound like the approach of someone who makes an effort to stay grounded in reality.

  23. 23 Joe Minx said at 6:32 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    “There is a reason that Megan Fox and I don’t live together on a Funyuns farm.”

    That one killed me LOL.

    Great piece Tommy.

  24. 24 CampDracula said at 7:06 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    “There is a reason that Megan Fox and I don’t live together on a Funyuns farm.” I’m totally confused here. Please post a detailed post specifying that reason. Thanks.

  25. 25 ICDogg said at 7:15 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Found on a Google Image Search for “Funyuns Farm”

  26. 26 A_T_G said at 7:15 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Tommy tried to take Devon Morgan’s strategy of you reap what you sow. He buried three bags worth of Funyons and 4 red-tailed Foxes in his back yard. Disappointingly, all he got was a visit from the cops, tipped off neighbors concerned by the smell, flies, and Tommy talking about going out back to dig up a snack.

  27. 27 Ben said at 7:14 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    I really like the idea of signing Villanueva. Not only does he give us possible depth at the DE, but as a US Army Ranger, one might assume that he knows a thing or two about hand fighting. That skill could come in handy on the LOS. He might even pass along a move or two and help our team in some way. Besides the fact that he’s a beast of a man, he brings alot more to the table than your average free agent.

  28. 28 Ark87 said at 9:20 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I think he has “the quickest way to a man’s brain with your bare hands is through the eye sockets” partitioned to a very different part of his head than football, or I hope so at least, or Chipper will need to bring a few extra yellow flags and perhaps a bodybag to camp.

  29. 29 Ben said at 12:59 AM on May 27th, 2014:

    I don’t know this as fact but for some reason I think Army Rangers know quick moves to gain an advantage to quickly get around a linemen and then pursue the QB.
    In the Army it’s called hand to hand combat and not all of it is lethal. Some moves are used to gain the upper hand.
    That’s all a guy needs at 6-6, 277 that runs a 4.6 needs.
    Also, I bet nasty things happen on an NFL LOS that we folks at home never see.
    I remember back in the day,(GanGreen) our defense was so nasty that we were feared and sometimes we hurt opponents(bodybag game).

  30. 30 GEAGLE said at 9:54 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    While I love our military, I’m not exactly sure you are allowed to shoot a double leg on an OL, pass his guard, take his back, sink in the hooks to acheive back mount and sink in a rear naked choke…tho I wouldn’t mind seeing Trent Williams sleeping on the turf with the skins being forced to use an “smelling salt time out”
    Speaking of our military…whoever in the army thought it was a good idea to announce that they are sending my baby bro back to Afghanistan on Memorial Day weekend needs some damn sensitivity training…Appologies in advanced if I curse someone out today

  31. 31 Tumtum said at 10:03 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Trent Williams punched Richard Sherman in the face. He is awesome. That is all.

  32. 32 GEAGLE said at 10:05 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Yeah I hate him due to jealousy…if he wasn’t a skin he would be one of my favorite OL

  33. 33 Ben said at 1:04 AM on May 27th, 2014:

    Sounds more like MMA fighting than what I am implying. I just think he could use a few moves he learned as a Ranger that gives him the upperhand like shedding a block RANGERSTYLE !!!
    On a more serious note, I am sorry about your brother having to be deployed to the pits of hell AKA Afghanistan, especially on Memorial day of all days.
    My 20 year old son was deployed to Iraq a few years back and it was not a good time for me either.
    God Bless.

  34. 34 Arby1 said at 7:49 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Well, it isn’t a Funyuns farm but it is Megan Fox and she is having her boobs handled. From “This is 40”, just saw it the other night…

  35. 35 shah8 said at 7:56 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    reader request, is there a Selma Hayek version?

  36. 36 Mitchell said at 8:22 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Have you tried the Flamin’ Hot Funyons? Just tried them this weekend and they are very good.

  37. 37 TommyLawlor said at 11:09 PM on May 25th, 2014:

    Haven’t stumbled across them yet.

  38. 38 barneygoogle said at 12:31 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    These two guys are great pickups, as is Josey. They will make everyone else work harder every day. Even if they don’t make the team, they will have contributed something.

  39. 39 The Linc – Eagles Should Trade for Shea McClellin | Sports Feedr said at 6:54 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    […] Reality Bites – Tommy Lawlor, Iggles BlitzIn the football world, this is the time of the year to dream. Any team can win the Super Bowl. Any player can be a star. Any camp body can be the guy who shocks the world and makes the roster. Dream away. […]

  40. 40 Baloophi said at 6:55 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    This is also the time of year when we read things like: “…he is one of the first players at the NovaCare complex each day…”

    And we read it about 25 different players. I’m all for go-getters but if you take all of these articles at face value there must be a mad rush to be the first guy in every morning… Which must fight all those guys trying to be the last player to leave each night. At a certain point do they lap each other? Do you just never leave so you can claim to be both the last person to leave AND the first person to arrive? And what does that mean for Chip’s prescribed sleep schedule? Are janitors getting overtime or losing their marriages because they can never leave, too?

  41. 41 Ark87 said at 9:02 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    didn’t you know, this is how they come to work, had to instill some bigger doors to novacare though.

  42. 42 A_T_G said at 10:45 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    That is only after the roster is cut down to 53. Here is what it looks like while it is at 90.

  43. 43 SteveH said at 1:04 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    Now that Jordan Mathews is here that might actually happen. He’s not going to let time outwork him, time only puts in 24 hour days, Jordan Mathews puts in 25 hour days.

  44. 44 GEAGLE said at 2:30 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    Somewhere there is a Jordan Mathews is tougher than chuck Norris joke

  45. 45 GEAGLE said at 7:57 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Hall of fame or bust…spent the night sharpening my pitch fork

  46. 46 GEAGLE said at 9:58 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Anyone making turtle burgers today? If you don’t know what that is, it’s every MANS duty to google it and find out….you think you like Funyons? Wait til you meet the turtle burger….props to anyone who dares throw one on their grill today

  47. 47 Tumtum said at 10:00 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Maybe after work :/

  48. 48 GEAGLE said at 10:00 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    You sir, are a real MAN!!

  49. 49 Tumtum said at 9:58 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    A buddy of mine sent me a text about Villenueva. I could tell he really wanted me to share in the man crush on the new underdog. My response was simply “Bloom circa 2014”. He didn’t like that, or maybe he just didn’t get it. We have these stories every year. Chad Hall is one that worked out, becoming a fringe roster guy with very few game reps that didn’t come from another guy’s injury. Bloom even made the roster but we all remember how that went. If you consider Sav Rocca one of these stories I suppose he would be the marquee guy. I don’t though just because of the documented cases of Aussie Rules Football guys coming over and dominating the punting game.

    The main difference between most of these stories and this guy is that they all usually come over to do something that they have at least become very good at in the past, layoff or not. Villenueva bounced around positions at Army, and now he is being put at a new position here. Sure that shows versatility. It is just not very encouraging that a guy like that could not grab on to one position and keep it at Army.

    I feel like his odds are the longest of the feel good story long shots that I can remember. Even that dude from New Zealand tried out for a position he had been playing at an organized level for a few years.

    Sorry to be a buzz kill. I am rooting for the guy and would love for him to earn a place and role on this team. No Jeremy Bloom repeats please.

  50. 50 GEAGLE said at 9:59 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I don’t really think he is competing for a roster spot…I would assume he is competing for the practice’s not like he would get poached.. Think Momah…a talent who is competing for a spot in our develomental pipeline

  51. 51 Tumtum said at 10:02 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I had not thought about that. Someone like that could be a good practice squad guy. Playing the saints? Let him be Graham. Playing the Texans? Let him be Watt, etc.

    That could work out okay. If I were him I would go back to the military first though!

  52. 52 GEAGLE said at 10:03 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Don’t see how he could be ready to make an NFL roster, but he is someone that may be worth trying to develop on the PS for a year or two and see if he eventually pays dividends and can make a roster…certainly a nice practice body to mimick opponents

  53. 53 Tumtum said at 10:05 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    One good thing about him is that he is pretty shockingly young for someone who has finished a tour of duty after college. How many guys come into the NFL at 24 after red-shirting and using up every bit of eligibility? He is only 25.

    Stop making me contradict my OP plz!

  54. 54 GEAGLE said at 10:07 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Lol sorry… But the age is a great point… If he were 27-28, probably wouldn’t be worth trying to develop..but at 25, who knows…he could be ready by 27yrs old and we have him for 3-4years on the roster

  55. 55 Tumtum said at 10:08 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I feel like Chad Hall came to the team at 27.

  56. 56 GEAGLE said at 10:12 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Still younger than the fireman from Canadia lol..

    Can’t believe Andy went back to the Canadia well and drafted another OL…

  57. 57 Tumtum said at 11:46 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Their so tough and jolly don’t cha know?

  58. 58 GEAGLE said at 2:29 PM on May 26th, 2014:


  59. 59 A_T_G said at 11:18 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    You are right, his chances are slim and PS is probably the most we can hope for. That said, I don’t know that the problem at Army was that he couldn’t win a position. I think he was the starter at most of the positions he played. I read it more as a weak team putting him where he could have the biggest impact. Kinda like the athletic friend who guards the best player on the other team in pick up basketball, regardless of his position. I always knew my team was in trouble when my teammates thought I was that friend.

  60. 60 Tumtum said at 11:55 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I can see that angle, but if he was really good at any one of those positions would they really have moved him around?

    You do remind me of a time I went away for this ROTC boot camp. I knew I was screwed when my squad nominated me at the end of the week to run the giant obstacle course against this dude that looked 30 and climbed every rope in about 2 seconds using only his arms.

  61. 61 Philip Soloninka said at 10:01 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    It literally took the conflict in Afghanistan happening for Ashley Fox to write a decent article.

  62. 62 GEAGLE said at 10:04 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Haha broken clock dynamic

  63. 63 Philip Soloninka said at 10:07 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Between turtle burgers, pitch fork sharpening, and your posts/thesis statements, HOW DID YOU FIND TIME TO SEE THIS COMMENT!?

  64. 64 Tumtum said at 10:08 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    The “All Seeing Eye” is upon us. Hurry Frodo!

  65. 65 Philip Soloninka said at 10:12 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I laughed, and then wondered if maybe you are on to something… It would explain so much. But then, would that make Birds 24/7 Frodo? Kinda?

  66. 66 GEAGLE said at 10:14 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Yeah these sci Fi references fly way over my head…Frodo? I barely know who Hans solo is

  67. 67 Philip Soloninka said at 10:15 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Uh oh.

  68. 68 GEAGLE said at 10:16 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    I’m more of the ODOYLE RULES type 😉

  69. 69 Philip Soloninka said at 10:16 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Quite interesting to see the level of backlash against Sandler right now.

  70. 70 GEAGLE said at 10:18 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    That new movie coming out looks ok….”that’s my boy” was funny as hell… Prob his funniest movie in a while

  71. 71 Tumtum said at 11:49 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    Sandler has had a good run. His evolution doesn’t suite everyone, especially those who have come to love his classics.

    Also check your geekdom card at the door GE. That was a fantasy reference. Sci-Fi sucks!

  72. 72 GEAGLE said at 2:29 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    Lol… The only fantasy I really dabble in is game of thrones…tho I’m a MAJOR GOT GEEK!!

  73. 73 GEAGLE said at 10:30 AM on May 26th, 2014:

    OTAs tomorrow…believe Chip Kelly is scheduled to speak.. Finally some more sound bites coming our way… I vote Cary Williams should be MIC’ed up for all OTAs

  74. 74 Media Mike said at 12:16 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    I hope he gets in some good shots on “unnamed source” Maclin!

  75. 75 GEAGLE said at 2:28 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    Your boy Maclim and Maehl were sucking up to FOles yesterday over a game of golf

  76. 76 Maggie said at 4:29 PM on May 26th, 2014:

    Morgan sounds a bit like Kurt Warner. Stocking shelves at night, USFL, etc. wins the Super Bowl. Yes, please.