The TO Effect?

Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 40 Comments »

The Eagles drafted WRs in the 2nd and 3rd round this year. Most people are confident that the players will pan out. Heck, Jordan Matthews is already slated for stardom by some. How times have changed.

Take a look at this list of WRs drafted by the Eagles from 1999-2012.

Na Brown
Troy Smith
Todd Pinkston
Gari Scott
Freddie Mitchell
Freddie Milons
Billy McMullen


Reggie Brown
* Hank Baskett
Jason Avant
DeSean Jackson
Jeremy Maclin
Brandon Gibson
Riley Cooper
Marvin McNutt

Notice anything?

What the heck happened in 2004? Either the team learned how to draft receivers or Andy Reid and his staff learned how to develop them. Donovan was erratic early in his career, but was a polished QB by 2004. I’m sure that’s part of the situation. It just amazes me how different the 2 groups are in terms of success and production.

The first group has 24 career TDs.

The second group has 118 career TDs. Heck, Reggie Brown has 17 TDs by himself.

I’m not here to bring conclusions to you. I’m curious as to what your theories are for what happened? Did the team get better at scouting? Did Reid and the staff improve? Did McNabb simply get better? Did everybody learn something from TO that helped with WR development?

Any other theories?

I don’t think this is just a coincidence. Seems too definitive to be random.



40 Comments on “The TO Effect?”

  1. 1 Andrew J. Race said at 11:19 AM on July 17th, 2014:

    little bit of everything….a dominant TO really shows you what a receiver needs to do to be successful ON THE FIELD…off the field…well…

  2. 2 P_P_K said at 11:29 AM on July 17th, 2014:

    Although he’s now a punch line, Freddie Mitchell was considered a great prospect when he was drafted.

  3. 3 RogerPodacter said at 1:08 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    not disagreeing with you. just wanted to post this picture. lol

  4. 4 P_P_K said at 3:33 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Maybe he was misquoted about his hands being great. He might have said his hair was great!

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 8:50 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Good prospect. Not great. And that’s part of the point. The Eagles invested resources in WR, but they didn’t pan out as expected. Why?

  6. 6 P_P_K said at 9:29 AM on July 18th, 2014:

    Yea, you got me and my biased memory. I really liked it when they picked Freddie, so I remember him as a great prospect.

  7. 7 anon said at 12:12 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Apparently TO wasn’t the problem, he was the solution. Nothing makes a good receiver like a good QB and HC.

  8. 8 Bert's Bells said at 12:25 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Pinkston is rightly derided for his lack of toughness, but he was a more than capable receiver.

    His Super Bowl really sums it up for me. He was great in the first half and disappeared with “cramps” for the second. With him in the game, I don’t think the Patriots catch up to the Eagles.

  9. 9 Always Hopeful said at 12:57 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Ha! Don’t remind me about how Pinkston disappointed us by getting our hopes up with a few plays in the first of that game, only to succumb to cramps and make space for us to put our hope in Greg Lewis…

  10. 10 Jake and Elmo said at 5:04 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I’ve said the same thing. Losing both Chad Lewis and Pinkston was too much for the team to overcome.

  11. 11 knighn said at 7:51 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    If you really want to get pissed. Think about losing Shawn Andrews on the first play of the 2004 season. Andrews has become a bit of a punch line now but the guy was an awesome guard when he was healthy and his head was right. His blocking could have helped so much in the Super Bowl.

    People have said it before: winning a Super Bowl takes talent, coaching, health and a bit of luck.

    Lord Jesus please send all of that the Eagles way… soon, please!

  12. 12 Baloophi said at 1:19 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Probably not the biggest factor but that’s around the time the league started making it harder to cover receivers and rush QB’s…

  13. 13 fran35 said at 2:25 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Bingo. Wasnt 2003 the year of the Panther’s Ricky Manning Jr killing our guys in the playoffs? I thought the league used that game as an example to tighten up the contact

  14. 14 RobNE said at 4:20 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I think it was the AFC game, not ours, that led to the change b/c the Colts owner was on the rules committee. No one cared about us.

  15. 15 laeagle said at 4:41 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I think it was the combination. The Colts/Pats game was the one that got all the press, but they were absolutely ridiculous with the PI in our game.

  16. 16 Cash 4 Chung-kers said at 1:22 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Really IMO it was a statement of the evolution of the NFL into a pass heavy league and the league making rule changes that allowed smaller speedy players like the ones drafted towards the end of the Reid administration be successful.

  17. 17 Andy Kunkle said at 1:24 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I think what Baloophi said is a big part of it. 10-12 years ago there were only a handful of elite receivers in the whole league. Now there are quite a few more, plus many others that are maybe a notch or two below the elite level.

  18. 18 D3FB said at 1:37 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    Wide open offenses at the high school level. As high school offenses have gone from Wing T’s and 2 TE veer options to Air Raid and 4 wide 1 back sets receivers are being used much more often. The increase of 7 on 7 tournaments. More creative gameplans than run until its 3rd and a mile.

  19. 19 Tumtum said at 5:21 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    That’s kind of the direction I was going. Bigger talent pool and obvious increase in value by big red and his staff.

  20. 20 bsuperfi said at 1:52 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    The funny thing is that the WRs started getting good right around the time when McNabb started showing his limits. He was always hesitant to run as much as I thought he should’ve, but this got worse after 2004, probably in concert with the rules changes and his passing success that year with TO. At the same time, the offense started to become more vertical. McNabb continued to post good numbers in a few seasons, but the offense lacked any semblance of rhythm. I always loved when McNabb ran because if put the D on it’s heels and opened thing up, and maybe even more importantly it seemed to provide some sort of spark that jumps started everyone.

    I think all of this adds up to ironically better WR numbers, but a less effective overall type of play. McNabb just couldn’t hang with the modern NFL passers in a traditional sense, but he sure tried.

    If only he had come along about 5 or 10 years earlier…

  21. 21 RobNE said at 2:22 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I always thought he was kinda saving himself from possibly getting hit, which made sense over the long-term but all during the SB I thought, this is the game where you run a bit more and open everything up. Here it comes….here it comes….but no. sigh.

  22. 22 Scott J said at 12:24 PM on July 18th, 2014:

    I think McNabb resented being called a running QB and tried to limit how much he ran. Back then it was a little insulting for a black QB to be called that because it insinuated that he wasn’t smart or could throw the ball as well as other QB’s. We all know how sensitive McNabb can be. Of course that perception has changed – mostly because of him.

  23. 23 mtn_green said at 2:04 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    TO sprinkled magic fairy dust?
    Reid started throwing the ball more?
    Dawkins made the wr always hear footsteps?
    George W Bush?
    X Files canceled?
    Belichek stopped spying?

  24. 24 RobNE said at 2:26 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    As others have said, the rule “change” (or re-emphasis) was big. This is right when the Eagles lost to Carolina, who manhandled our WR each play and the Pats did the same to the Colts. Maybe nowadays they go too far the other direction, but I do remember watching those two games and thinking is this really legal?

    Yes, I am still bitter. Of course, we had a terrible set of WR’s to try to overcome that (until TO) so maybe partly our own fault I don’t know.

  25. 25 ACViking said at 2:50 PM on July 17th, 2014:


    Under the heading of “Great Minds, etc.” . . . here’s an April 2010 post on IgglesBlog that tackled the same question.

  26. 26 RogerPodacter said at 3:23 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    nice find!

  27. 27 TommyLawlor said at 8:52 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    That Derek is a pretty smart fellow, huh?

  28. 28 Toby_yboT said at 4:55 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I used to have this idea that Childress had an eye for running backs and Mornhinweg had an eye for receivers. As O. Coordinators they probably wouldn’t have a direct effect on drafting, but there could have been indirect effects like their influence on Reid and the types of qualities we looked for in players when their voice was in the discussion.

    All this is mostly based off their tendencies, and my perception of our drafts with the two around. We were much better at drafting running backs with Childress around, imo. McCoy aside. Likewise, much better at drafting WRs once Mornhingweg joined.

    I don’t know if there’s any validity to this idea, not even sure I believe it, just something I’ve thought about.

  29. 29 McNabbulousness said at 6:11 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    “any other theories?”


  30. 30 Miami_Adam said at 7:22 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I love your handle. We need a definition for this word.

  31. 31 McNabbulousness said at 6:47 AM on July 18th, 2014:

    thank you miamiunderscoreadam. i don’t know about a definition but i can give you some synonyms:


  32. 32 Miami_Adam said at 6:16 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    FWIW, average passing TDs per season across the entire NFL from 1996 to 2003 was about 648 TDs/year. From 2004 to 2013, the league averaged about 716 passing TDs/year. So it wasn’t just the Eagles. I’d guess that the jump (for the Eagles and the league at large) has more to do with rule changes and the way the game is played than how the Eagles draft.

  33. 33 anon said at 6:41 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    That’s only 2 more passing TDs per team per season. I think TDs is a bad metric total yardage in the air vs on the ground is probably better.

  34. 34 Miami_Adam said at 7:07 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    I don’t think that’s as marginal as you’re making it seem. It’s just over 2 more passing TDs for each and every team per season.

    Another representation (based on TD totals): the league has only exceeded 695 passing TDs in 7 seasons ever. Every single one came 2004 or later.

  35. 35 Anders said at 7:10 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    PPG in the NFL hasnt really changed so its pretty much just rushing TDs who has been converted to passing

  36. 36 Insomniac said at 8:35 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    If only we could have added Josh Gordon to that list…sigh it seems like a 2nd for him seems like a pipe dream now.

  37. 37 OregonDucker said at 10:56 PM on July 17th, 2014:

    T-Law: My theory is that the QB was no longer forcing or restricting throws to “open” receivers. McNabb learned to place the ball where the receiver could (?) or would make the catch. I believe we saw this with Cooper 2013. Foles gets it in my humble opinion.

  38. 38 austinfan said at 11:48 AM on July 18th, 2014:

    A couple factors:
    1) the supply of NFL ready WRs increased steadily during the decade.
    2) where they drafted (often after the top WRs were taken in the 1st rd)
    3) who they drafted
    1999: McNabb at #2 took the 1st rd WRs off the board

    Price #53, Booker #78, Stokley #105, Driver #213
    2000: Simon instead of Burress
    Pinkston #36, Coles #78, D Jackson #80, Gari Scott #99,
    2001: Fred ex #25, R Wayne #30, Chad Johnson #36
    Chambers #52, S Smith #74, Housh #204
    2002: Lito instead of Gaffney #33, Brown instead of Randel El #62, Antonio Bryant #63 or Deion Branch #65,

    2003: traded up for McDougle
    Boldin #54, Burleson #71, Lloyd #124

    2004: traded up for Andrews
    M Jenkins #29, D Henderson #50, Cotchery #108,
    2005: V Jackson #61 (Eagles #63),

    2006: Bunkley (S Holmes #25)
    Jennings #52, Avant #109, Marshall #119, Colston #252
    2007: Kolb (S Rice #44), James Jones #78
    2008: traded back, Nelson #36, Djac #49, Garcon #205, S Johnson #244
    2009: Maclin, Harvin #22, Nicks #29, Britt #30, Wallace #84, Hartline #108, Gibson #194, Edelman #231
    2010: traded up for Graham, G Tate #60, Decker #87, Graham #95, M Williams #101, A Brown #194
    2011: Torry Smith #58, D Moore #148

  39. 39 Scott J said at 12:14 PM on July 18th, 2014:

    I think it’s dumb luck.

  40. 40 JaketheSnake said at 6:26 PM on July 18th, 2014:

    fat d-bag andy know-it-all finally figured out something. Fatso will Fail this year in KC