Missing Pieces

Posted: October 25th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 174 Comments »

The Eagles got some bad news on Tuesday.


So what now?

The immediate plan is to have Halapoulivaati Vaitai start at LT. They could slide Lane Johnson to the left side, but then you would be making the team weaker at two spots. Vaitai would have to take over at RT and Johnson would be new to LT. The smart move is to play Vaitai at LT and leave Johnson at RT. Johnson is one of the best RTs in the league. Leaving him there gives you a major strength.

Vaitai played LT as a Senior at TCU. He practiced there this summer and has played some there this season. He’s not going to be Jason Peters, but Vaitai can be an effective starter. You’ll need to help him out with chip blocks and double-teams at times. There will be a drop-off in the run game as well. Peters can be a devastating run blocker. Vaitai hasn’t shown the ability to do anything like that.

The thing you have to remember though is that Peters is a luxury, not a necessity. Denver won the Super Bowl in 2015 with veteran Ryan Harris at LT. The Panthers played them in that game with Michael Oher at LT. The Pats have won a couple of Super Bowls with Nate Solder at LT. He is a good player, but not an elite blocker. Teh Giants won in 2011 with David Diehl at LT. It certainly helps to have a veteran, but you don’t need a Pro Bowl/star LT to win big in the NFL.

You do need good overall OL play. The Eagles can still get that if the rest of the line stays healthy. Losing Lane Johnson last year hurt, but the Eagles also had multiple OL injuries. There was no continuity.

Some people want the Eagles to trade for Texans LT Duane Brown or Niners LT Joe Staley. This makes a lot of sense except for one thing. What are the Eagles going to give up? The team has no 2nd or 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft. If SF would deal Staley for a 4th, that might be a deal I’d make. You’d have to study his game tape thoroughly to make sure he’s still an above average player. Staley is 33 now.

Part of the thinking here is about the future. Peters, who will turn 36 in January, would likely need 10 to 12 months to rehab. Best case scenario for him would probably be getting back around Labor Day next year. Will Peters want to grind through that rehab to get back on the field?

Playing Vaitai would allow you to see if he can be the looked at as a candidate to play LT next year, if needed. If you dealt for Staley, he could play LT next year. There is also the draft. The Eagles need to think short and long term in trying to handle this situation. There is no easy answer.

You don’t want to ignore LT in a year when the team is 6-1 and playing well. You don’t want to give up on Peters too quickly. You don’t want to spend valuable resources for an outside player who isn’t going to be a significant upgrade on Big V.

My guess is that the team will go with Big V for now. If he struggles in a big way on Sunday, they still have time to make a deal after that. Take a look at him after a full week of practice and preparation and see what you think.

Losing Hicks also hurts, but the Eagles play so much Nickel that they can handle that better. Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks will be the Nickel LBs. Joe Walker took over for Hicks in base sets, but Najee Goode could also get that role. The coaches have to decide if they trust Walker or Goode enough to handle that spot for the rest of the season.

There could be some interesting players on the market. There is more LB depth in the NFL than OL depth. I guess a trade at LB is also possible. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure some of you will think about NaVorro Bowman, who SF cut last week. He signed with the Raiders. His kids didn’t want to move and he was able to stay in the Bay area. I don’t think he would have wanted to come to Philly.

As frustrating as these injuries are, good teams find a way to overcome them.

The Eagles have been tested all year long, by injuries and circumstances. They have passed just about every test so far. The players and coaches will have to step up even more without Peters and Hicks. And that Wentz fella is going to need to keep doing special things.


174 Comments on “Missing Pieces”

  1. 1 ColorSgt said at 12:25 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Yep these are two tough ones to lose. The roster is starting to get good enough where there are potential big losses all over the field.

  2. 2 wee2424 said at 1:02 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I do not want to depart with anymore draft picks. That is how you build sustained success and a very large reason as to why we are 6-1 right now with talent all over.

    Couple not having a 2nd and 3rd round pick with the fact that we will be picking later in the draft and we need every pick we currently posses.

    It will be here he if big V

  3. 3 Dave said at 7:43 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I disagree. You build sustained success by having a franchise QB. Everything else is secondary.

  4. 4 wee2424 said at 9:20 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Whom we drafted.

  5. 5 xeynon said at 11:11 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    You need to do a competent job surrounding your franchise QB with talent, or it can still go wrong. Witness the Colts with Andrew Luck.

  6. 6 Dave said at 11:52 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think you meant to say “Witness the Colts withOUT Andrew Luck.”

    Luck injured his shoulder in 2015 and waited until 2017 to have surgery. Until this year without Luck, the Colts records have been 11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 8-8, and 8-8. I would say that is sustained success.

  7. 7 xeynon said at 6:35 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    They have underachieved for a team with a franchise QB, and the reason Luck got hurt is because they failed to put talent around him and counted on him to be Superman instead of building a line that could protect him. They’ve only been a slightly above average team because of him – with a mediocre or bad QB they’re a 2-14 type team with the poor coaching and roster management they have, as we’re seeing this season. I think my point holds.

  8. 8 Dave said at 7:04 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    He got hurt because he is injury prone. Eli hasn’t missed a game and has been hammered by opposing defenses and some bad lineman protecting him. Every QB takes a beating at some point.

    Luck was the most-hyped QB coming out of college since Peyton. Maybe he just isn’t as good as everyone wanted him to be based on who his dad is and the college team he played for.

  9. 9 CrackSammich said at 9:43 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Everyone is injury prone. It’s football. What a stupid statement. The ones that don’t get hurt in this sport are the outliers.

  10. 10 Dave said at 10:05 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Fuck you!

  11. 11 xeynon said at 2:48 PM on October 26th, 2017:

    Luck was not injury prone before the Colts tried to make him play behind a dogshit offensive line, forced him to scramble constantly by giving him crappy skill players to play with, and constantly made him drop back to pass because the team had a terrible defense and was always playing from behind. He started all 16 games his first three years in the league and never had a major injury in college.

    I agree with you that the coaching staff there sucks, but that’s part of giving him a poor supporting cast. The bottom line is even if you draft a bona fide franchise QB it’s still possible to screw the rest of it up. More difficult, but possible.

  12. 12 Dave said at 4:35 PM on October 26th, 2017:

    Point taken.

  13. 13 Dave said at 9:31 AM on October 26th, 2017:

    I understand your point, but I think his situation has much more to do with coaching. Pagano is not a good head coach and Luck’s OCs (after Bruce Arians left) are terrible…Pep Hamilton and Rob Chudzinski.

  14. 14 Dave said at 4:49 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Luck falls into the Sam Bradford category of not being able to stay healthy. Doesn’t matter who a QB is surrounded by when they are injury prone.

  15. 15 A_T_G said at 11:35 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I would probably put the lines before the secondary, but you are right, secondary is important.

  16. 16 John Galt said at 11:40 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Not sure if you are being sarcastic, but in case you are not, he meant secondary as in “not primary”. Wasnt referring to the defensive backfield.

  17. 17 A_T_G said at 5:43 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I try to limit myself to one serious post per article. That was not it.

    Neither is this.

  18. 18 kajomo said at 12:09 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Literally laughed out loud. Well done sir

  19. 19 Insomniac said at 2:35 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    The Ravens, Bengals, Redskins, Bills and Jaguars would probably disagree with you.

  20. 20 Dave said at 4:43 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Huh? The Skins, Bills and Jags do not have franchise QBs or sustained success.

    The Ravens and Bengals have each had one down year during the Joe Flacco/Andy Dalton era. I would consider both of those guys franchise QBs considering they have been starting for the past 10/7 years respectively. I would also say they have sustained success during their tenure.

  21. 21 Ark87 said at 1:06 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    one interesting note about the Houdini play: Brooks and Johnson absolutely stone-walled their guys for the entire duration of that magic trick. The rest of the line (and Smallwood) were in an absolute street fight, with Wiz, Vaitai, and Smallwood ending up on the turf. Kelce actually cleared the front and literally grabbed Wentz and helped pull him out.

    It was definitely the most body guard like O-line moment ever. “Get out of here Mr. President!”

    Was one of the cooler things to dissect all the little details in slow motion.

    Kudos to all the guys battling to the whistle, everyone stuck to their man and didn’t let anyone get a good hold of Wentz.

  22. 22 Masked Man said at 2:35 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Great insights.

  23. 23 daveH said at 7:59 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Ha! Yes i watched in slo mo also .. noticed also that they were fighting to the end! Peters got tripped up by the pile

  24. 24 sonofdman said at 10:13 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Wasn’t Peters already out of the game when that play happened?

  25. 25 Ark87 said at 10:28 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    yes, it was Vaitai. Wiz put his man on the ground and fell out of the pile, but his man became a speed bump for Vaitai to fall backwards over. Vaitai was actually beat, but ironically him falling to create this mass of humanity actually prevented his man from getting to Wentz. Kelce pushed a linebacker over said mass of humanity with 1 arm and pulled Wentz out with the other. Smallwood really battled. Stayed squared up on his man till the end.

    The poetry of chaos.

  26. 26 Sb2bowl said at 10:37 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Props to Wentz for not giving up and making something out of nothing. Most QB’s just go down with the pile.

  27. 27 Ark87 said at 10:42 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    exactly right. There may come a time when we want him to protect himself, but in that situation, a critical 3rd and 8, Wentz fighting through was exactly what we needed.

  28. 28 Sb2bowl said at 10:56 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    That was a huge moment in the game, and it looked like we would have to punt. Glad we didn’t go down that path.

  29. 29 Mac said at 10:59 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    The disbelief/shock/excitement from the announcer was pretty hilarious as well.

  30. 30 Ark87 said at 11:27 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    the complete state of denial Gruden was in. Was he down? How was he not down? I guess he wasn’t down.

    The guy shouldnt have to commentate a game he has such a clear rooting interest for, his attempts to not be completely biased were painful. I don’t blame Gruden, you got to root for you brother, but don’t put the Redskins on MNF please.

  31. 31 Sb2bowl said at 1:20 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Or move Gruden off of the call

  32. 32 P_P_K said at 5:21 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Brady goes down and gets up glaring at his O-line.

  33. 33 Sb2bowl said at 10:45 AM on October 26th, 2017:

    Wentz will develop that over time; Brady didn’t always do that to his linemen.

  34. 34 daveH said at 4:02 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Oh yeah he must’ve ..wtf am I looking at i wonder ?? ..dann i think i deleted it, undermines my credibility yikes ..

  35. 35 sonofdman said at 5:01 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Ha ha, it happens to the best of us.

  36. 36 kajomo said at 12:05 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I really believe that Wentz is willing this team to greatness. I appear to be less concerned about all the injuries than most, but i think that’s because of the amount of faith i have in 11. He is a true field general that won’t let his groups down and they have his back

  37. 37 Ark87 said at 12:52 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I don’t think many people disagree with you on that, but if injuries have you shook as a fan, every hit he takes is another gray hair. He and his health are the season. He isn’t some iron man who never gets hurt. I think that is part of the context of the angst, especially with a guy like JP who was the embodiment of that protective spirit on that O line.

    Everyone is high on the team, it’s just a matter of having a magical season to lose to worry about. And injuries are the only thing that can derail that.

    For the time being we’re still in the next man up, chug along mode. 12 games to go! Football gods have mercy on our stars!

  38. 38 P_P_K said at 5:20 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I like the “12 games to go!”

  39. 39 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 1:47 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    The view here in SF is that the Niners won’t trade Staley as he is a locker room leader. They got rid of Bowman because he wasn’t a leader and he was becoming a distraction by complaining about reduced playing time.

  40. 40 CrackSammich said at 2:01 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    There’s a time to wheel a deal draft picks for players, but it’s not midseason. RB or ST specialists are probably the only ones that won’t take a couple of weeks to get up to speed, and we probably shouldn’t take on the cap hit.

    Time to dance with the ones that brought you.

  41. 41 Sb2bowl said at 10:36 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Agreed CS- that’s what the PS is for, and depth on the 53. Injuries happen to every team, next man has to play.

  42. 42 meteorologist said at 11:42 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Brissett didn’t take that long to get up to speed…

  43. 43 Guy Media said at 7:10 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Except “speed” for Brissett is really slow. That dude sucks.

  44. 44 Corry said at 7:16 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    The Eagles don’t have much of a choice but to find help from the outside for linebacker depth. They don’t have one on the practice squad right now. I’d assume we will look considering we have 4.5 healthy bodies there right now with Bradham, Kendricks (relatively healthy compared to Hicks), Goode, Grugier Hill, and Gerry (sort of a linebacker, sort of not).

    At tackle, I’d assume they’ll bring Gordon up from the practice squad

  45. 45 FairOaks said at 7:34 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    They just brought up Gerry from the practice squad, who had been their LB there. Not sure if they think he is ready enough, but between him, Walker, Goode, and KGH, we’ll see if they think they have enough.

    But it’s a damn good thing we kept Kendricks, now.

  46. 46 Corry said at 7:59 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I actually forgot about Walker, so they might be OK with the depth they have right now. It’s actually no worse than the start of the year in terms of numbers. In terms of talent….

    And yes, it’s a good thing Kendricks is still around. It also wouldn’t surprise me if we played almost exclusively nickel/heavy nickel as our base set from here on out.

  47. 47 Ankerstjernen said at 10:09 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    That might not be up to them though. The offense can dictate the defensive personnel. If they go two te sets, youll need three linebackers on the field or risk getting outmanned in the run game. Certain teams have the guys to do that to us.

  48. 48 Corry said at 1:43 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    The defense was in a nickel set 70% of the time last year (which explains Kendricks very low snap count), so it wouldn’t surprise me if that number was a bit higher regardless of the personnel the opposing offense chooses. I’m also not sure Schwartz is big in playing matchup football in most situations. Goal to go, short yardage he will but otherwise, I’m not real sure.

  49. 49 Ankerstjernen said at 12:08 PM on October 26th, 2017:

    Yea.. I guess my point is, against certain teams with TEs who can really affect the run game and run routes too, he will have no choice. Especially if they have a power runner and/or a mobile QB. The disadvantage will be too big. And, actually, I am wondering of Dalllas fits this bill. With Dak, Zeke, that center and Witten coupled with a pretty good emerging young TE (cant recall his name, too lazy to look it up) this would be my gameplan for the eagles without Hicks. Bet everything on the two TE sets being able to solidify the run game between the hashes and create viable R/P option plays for Dak so he doesnt have to stand there and spend an afternoon trying to find his second read while Cox destroys him. If the Schwartz lines up against that with two backers and DEs to fill out the rest, I think the cowboys would say ‘yes please’ and play exactly the kind of game they need to in order to have a chance against us.

  50. 50 ColorSgt said at 7:33 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think a 23 year-old Peters gets the same injury. I wanted to see how long he could defy father time, but now we might never know.

  51. 51 P_P_K said at 5:19 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Jason has become one of my all-time favorite Eagles. I was hoping he would end his career on his own terms, ideally waving farewell from a parade car down Broad St. while holding the Lombardi.

  52. 52 GermanEagle said at 8:20 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I can only keep repeating myself:

    Thank f**** for that we didn’t trade Kendricks in the off season.

  53. 53 P_P_K said at 8:31 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Yea, you’re right. I was one of those fools wanting to get rid of him.

  54. 54 bill said at 8:59 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    There’s luck and good evaluation involved – no one valued Kendricks as much as Roseman did. If someone had made the right draft pick offer, I don’t think Roseman would have hesitated in making the trade. Certainly seems like they’re better off right now than they would have been with, say, an extra third round pick.

  55. 55 SundayAfternoons said at 8:36 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I’m kind of on the “Brandon Brooks is playing at a higher level than Wiz, putting Halapoulivaati next to him might help” and the “Well LJ was the LT of the future after all, why not just stick him there and see if he has the skillset”.

  56. 56 Sb2bowl said at 10:35 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Hard to say what they will do, but if they move Lane to the left, then we are changing chemistry on both sides of the line. Instead of having a dominant right side, we weaken it by spreading out the resources.

    Might be easier to scheme/chip/send extra help to the left and role protections that way to help out Big V. The 49ers will test us early, but if we have a game where we need to see how things go, I’d rather play them than the Broncos the following week.

  57. 57 SundayAfternoons said at 12:14 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Good points about the chemistry and just choosing to send help to HV’s side.
    In a way our success to this season is kind of damning; had we been closer to .500 I think they’d choose the long-term experiment even if it meant messing with something good.
    I’ll take 6-1 and having to deal with that problem most days.

  58. 58 Sb2bowl said at 1:07 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Every team deals with injuries. I’m happy to be 6-1 and dealing with injuries rather than 3-3

  59. 59 eagleyankfan said at 8:38 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    With the good(or great) there’s always the other side of the coin…from the Huddle…LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles – There’s a perception by some that Blount isn’t being used a lot in Philadelphia. That’s not that the case. Blount is getting red zone opportunities, he’s just not producing results. Through eight games, Blount has 17 red zone carries but only one touchdown. Blount actually has one more red zone rushing attempt than Leonard Fournette and two more than Devonta Freeman. The difference is Fournette has four touchdowns and Freeman five.

  60. 60 bill said at 8:56 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Certainly something to think on, but at the same time – it’s similar to the questions about Jeffery. I think teams have been selling out to stop Blount near the goal line, and it’s been opening things up on the outside. Blount proved last year that he’s a threat in the RZ – Wentz and the rest of the Eagles were not. It’ll be interesting to see if Wentz’s success through 7 games in the RZ causes teams to back off on focusing on Blount there and Blount gets more TDs in the second half of the season.

    Offenses are more than just the sum of their parts, so it can be very difficult to tell how much affect one player is having.

  61. 61 Tom33 said at 9:08 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I certainly haven’t seen all 17 carries, but in general I agree with you here. It seems like Blount is getting hit, or having to avoid guys at his feet, several yards behind the line of scrimmage on his RZ carries. Honestly, it’s happening on a lot of his carries. He has no momentum when he get to the line of scrimmage. When he has been able to take the handoff and hit the line at speed is when he has had most of his success.

    As you say, the focus on Blount is likely a factor in the team improving in RZ efficiency, going from scoring TD’s 49% of the time in 2016 (24th in the league) to 65% of the time this year (3rd in the league). I like that this team seems to have success going through a number of different players this year. It makes it harder to take things away.

  62. 62 bill said at 9:18 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think it’s one of the things that perhaps Roseman isn’t getting enough credit for – he’s given Pederson and Wentz an offense with swiss army knife characteristics. They have power in the middle of the field with Blount. They have power on the outside in Jeffery. They have speed/shiftiness in the middle passing game with Agholor and Ertz. They have speed on the outside with Smith. They have a road grader OG in Brooks, and a solid/above average pulling center in Kelce, to go along with stud bookends (oh well, they had them).

    The Eagles’ offense has the ability to attack any style of weakness a defense may have. I think that’s a big part of their success so far. Pederson rightly gets credit (so far) for being adaptable and utilizing the options (as opposed to late stage Air MorningReid). But I think Roseman’s work is perhaps underappreciated at this point.

  63. 63 Mac said at 10:58 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    It helps having a QB who can read the defense and see where the ball needs to go as well. If we’re going to make a playoff run, these fellas can pull it off by putting selfish aims aside and embracing the success no matter who scores. And that is one of the best looking aspects of this team. They “look” like a team (rather than a collection of individuals).

  64. 64 Tom33 said at 9:37 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Not sure what the Huddle is, but when I read “through eight games …” and yet I know the Eagles are 6-1, I start to wonder how good they are at statistical analysis.

  65. 65 eagleyankfan said at 10:23 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    meh – off 1 game. Huddle is a premier fantasy football site…

  66. 66 sonofdman said at 10:09 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    That is interesting. While I haven’t gone back and looked at all of Blount’s red zone carries, I think it is important to remember that red zone carries are not the same as goal line carries. It seems odd that they are comparing the number of red zone carries without mentioning how many of them are goal line carries.

  67. 67 wee2424 said at 11:33 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    2 pt. conversion as well.

  68. 68 bsuperfi said at 12:49 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I could be very wrong about this, but this highlights for me a critical difference between Blount and Smallwood. Blount is really good with a line that creates decent sized holes for him–he seems like a pretty patient runner who waits for a play to develop, and he’s scary once he really starts moving.

    In contrast, Smallwood hits the hole much faster and gets positive yards more often, though he doesn’t seem to do as much damage once he gets to the second level.

    If this is true, then there are some implications for the rest of the season. First, Blount should get more carries against teams with worse DLines, and it’s the opposite for Smallwood. Second, we might need to rely on Smallwood more in the absence of Peters, who’s obviously better at run blocking than Vaitai.

  69. 69 philllyfanatic said at 8:56 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    This weekend should be an audition for Joe Staley. We should get a really good look at him to determine whether or not he could be a good upgrade over Vaitai and an option for next season. If Staley still “has it” then you won’t find that kind of talent in the fourth round of the draft. You can’t take that chance. And Staley would solve a huge need for both this season and next season.

    I’m a little concerned that we still haven’t solved for the left guard position. The reason we are even having this conversation is that Wisniewski got steamrolled by his man before he eventually dumped his man onto Jason Peters knee. Watch the replay of Peters injury. I have to believe that when Peters watches that back he’s gonna be a little pissed at Wis.

  70. 70 bdbd20 said at 9:21 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Just saw the Packers release Don Barclay. Might be a good guy to sign as a backup. Can play a lot of positions.

    Veteran guy playing with a mobile QB, so he knows how to hold without getting caught.

    Don’t know his health. Might have to stash him on the inactive list for a few weeks.

  71. 71 Sb2bowl said at 10:38 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    That’s the guy that got hurt in the playoffs, right?

  72. 72 bdbd20 said at 10:40 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Probably. They seem to always have OL injuries. I wouldn’t want him starting, but might have value as a backup.

  73. 73 xeynon said at 11:18 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Is Barclay really an upgrade? I’m not sure. If we’re going to have a shaky backup tackle on the roster, better a young, cheap guy like Gordon than an old, expensive one.

  74. 74 scratcherk said at 9:47 AM on October 25th, 2017:


    Just in case no one has seen this.

  75. 75 A_T_G said at 10:22 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Maybe my green glasses are extra tinted, but looking at our powerful DLine, I think the linebackers we have to work with are well suited. They are (perhaps undersized) mobile guys with playmaker potential. I would rather see them on the field over an aging, slowing veteran retread that eats up resources.

  76. 76 A Roy said at 10:33 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    As long as no additional injuries are sustained, I agree.

  77. 77 Ark87 said at 10:51 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    There are definitely pros and cons. Back in our first go with the wide-9, we had our linemen in gaps, their linemen getting into our linebackers, our linebackers being unable to get off the block and plug the gap, which pretty consistently left Nate Allen to stop the run. Luckily that isn’t really a problem this year because the D-line is playing the run so well. Which leaves the passing game, and it’s good to be fast whether you’re blitzing or covering. So I think you’re right that we should be ok.

  78. 78 Mac said at 10:40 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    The “Brent Celek as blocking TE insurance policy” is about to payoff.

  79. 79 xeynon said at 11:05 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    Provided we don’t have any more injuries at LB, I think we’ll be okay with Bradham and Kendricks. Both have been solid in their assignments this year and have big play ability (though maybe not quite to the level of Hicks), and we only play two LBs on a majority of snaps anyway. Joe Walker or whoever can get the job done on obvious run downs since the only thing he’ll have to do is fill a gap.

    As for OL, I’m against trading for Joe Staley. We need picks to keep replenishing our roster with young depth – giving up a mid-rounder could mean giving up the next Mack Hollins or Rasul Douglas. And I think we’ll be okay with Big V – I’ll repost what I said about him in the last thread after rewatching the second half to focus solely on his play:

    “Rewatched the second half today to see if my initial impression that Big V played pretty well last night held up.

    My verdict was “mostly yes”. He doesn’t have the combination of power and athleticism that Peters does (who does?) and is still susceptible to the bull rush at times, but he’s got decently quick feet and his pass blocking technique appears to have improved. And while it’s hard to get a feel for assignments from a TV broadcast, he didn’t appear to have any mental lapses and knew who to block on every play. He’s far from Anthony Munoz but I don’t think he’s a Winston Justice-type turnstile/offense-wrecking liability either.”

  80. 80 meteorologist said at 11:40 AM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think Bradham is playing at least on Hicks’ level

  81. 81 GermanEagle said at 12:41 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Better. This year. And it’s not even close.

  82. 82 or____ said at 1:58 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think you’re going to far. Its not all about turnovers and stats

  83. 83 xeynon said at 12:47 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    In general yes, but he doesn’t have the same ability to create big plays Hicks does. Excellent tackler, good in coverage, doesn’t create turnovers the same way.

  84. 84 GermanEagle said at 12:54 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Have you seen Bradham’s play this year?! He’s been a total monster on the field. Hicks did have a quiet season on the other hand however.

  85. 85 Mac said at 2:30 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I share your enthusiasm on Bradham. I’m not sure what this defense is drinking, but even Jalen Watkins is looking aggressive and making big hits. I think the punishing hits from Jenkins and Bradham that stop drives cold 1 yard short of converting on 3rd down is contagious.

    I feel like I’m in ’91-’92… somebody pinch me.

  86. 86 xeynon said at 6:32 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    He’s been really good, I’m not knocking him. But has he caused even one turnover this year? Even injured, Hicks has.

  87. 87 Sb2bowl said at 1:19 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Hicks was solid but not spectacular this year- that ankle injury seemed to be bugging him more than he was letting on. And, it could have helped to lead to the Achilles popping in the other leg.

    Tough break all around; I’d expect us to go with more Nickel looks

  88. 88 Insomniac said at 2:42 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Staley eats up way too much cap space so it didn’t make sense anyway. If we’re trading for an OT, it’ll be someone who’s on a rookie contract or an one year deal.

  89. 89 scratcherk said at 1:15 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Taylor Hart getting a workout to return

  90. 90 GermanEagle said at 2:01 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I approve of.

  91. 91 GermanEagle said at 2:02 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    In the famous words of JP:

    “No more injuries”.

  92. 92 Insomniac said at 2:40 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Just a reminder that we worked out Donald Butler, Sean Spence, and Jelani Jenkins. Maybe we’ll sign one of those guys for depth?

  93. 93 or____ said at 3:02 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Not Jelani – signed with Texans today

  94. 94 Sys Admin said at 3:19 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think they need to look for a long term solution at MLB. Hicks is really good but he can’t be the answer because he’s always injured.

  95. 95 daveH said at 4:03 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Kuechly same

  96. 96 or____ said at 4:10 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Sean Lee

  97. 97 daveH said at 5:27 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Dontae Hightower is injured i think

  98. 98 laeagle said at 7:45 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Every good MLB these days is injury prone. It’s crazy.

  99. 99 daveH said at 8:09 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I bet the position operates at 45% injured

  100. 100 or____ said at 4:05 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Sounds like you want a MLB who plays well and doesn’t get injured. I also want a bank account with very sufficient funds that doesn’t decrease when I withdraw money.

    We always need to bolster MLB depth – every position. But this Hicks injury prone stuff is grinding my gears. Linebackers get injured.

  101. 101 Sys Admin said at 4:22 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Dude got injured swimming in a pool. Injury prone.

  102. 102 or____ said at 4:24 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Missed zero time for that finger thing.

  103. 103 Sys Admin said at 4:37 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Torn hip muscle, torn achilles ends junior season in college as well as injuries in fresh/sophmore years. Went into the draft as an injury risk. Missed 1/2 rookie year with torn peck. Missed some time here and there last year. Now will miss the rest of this year with achilles. Dude is great when he plays but…..Injury Prone.

  104. 104 Sean E said at 5:00 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    If a coin flip comes up head 4 times in a row does that mean that the coin is more likely to be heads?

  105. 105 Guy Media said at 6:33 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    He is. And that was the knock on him when he was drafted. But I’d still sign the guy and figure it out when he can’t play. Howie can write a deal that sufficiently protects the team.

  106. 106 FairOaks said at 6:43 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Hicks played 16 games last year. Did not miss time here and there last year. But yes this is frustrating.

  107. 107 Nailed It! said at 4:40 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    lol freak injury that can happen to anyone.

  108. 108 Guy Media said at 6:32 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I’m the biggest a-hole here when it comes to injuries, but that injury didn’t cause Hicks to miss anything important.

  109. 109 Sean E said at 4:20 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Everybody is likely to get injured. You don’t look at who’s been injured and who hasn’t, put a circle around them, and then say ‘see, they’re injury prone’. That’s not the way it really works. Except for Bradford’s knees.

  110. 110 Dan said at 5:15 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think the question is, did they rush him back on the field where he over compensated for his original injury and that caused the injury to his achilles. Who knows but its something to think on.

  111. 111 dandynator said at 5:45 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    yea was thinkin same thing since seasons started, we need to draft LB, OT and RB in first 3 rounds or something like that

  112. 112 ChoTime said at 6:13 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Do you want a guy who’s sometimes there and plays great or a guy who’s always there and is JAG? (Yes, we’d like someone who’s great and always there, and yes, I’ll take that option when it comes open)

  113. 113 xeynon said at 6:37 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    As they say, the most important ability is availability.

    Hicks is great when he plays, but if he gives you ~8 games a year and is hurt the rest of the time, I’m not sure that + a bad quality backup who plays the rest of the time is preferable to a solid but unspectacular starter who never gets hurt.

  114. 114 Guy Media said at 6:30 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I’d just keep a supply of mid round draft picks that can play either SAM or MIKE coming in the door so we had guys who can be functional for times when Hicks is out.

  115. 115 SteveH said at 3:20 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I might be oversimplifying things a bit here, but at this point doesn’t Navarro Bowman start to look like a real possibility? He didn’t make sense before because we had 3 starters in place and he wasn’t going to see the field, but with Kendricks hammys ready to fuck everything up at a moments notice, it might make sense to bring him in. I don’t relish the idea of Najee Goode having to play extensive snaps out there.

  116. 116 Bert's Bells said at 3:27 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Did the Raiders cut him?

  117. 117 D3FB said at 3:27 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    How is he a real possibility? He’s on the Raiders.

  118. 118 sonofdman said at 5:03 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    In that case, we need Urlacher!

  119. 119 SteveH said at 8:31 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Well hush my mouth, I thought he was still available. In this case I think my suggestion is a poor one!

  120. 120 SteveH said at 3:22 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    The Sixers front office is such a joke. The way they’ve handled this Fultz situation is a total embarrassment. I love that this Coangelo regime was supposed to be the great stabilizing force after Hinkie did his thing, but instead they just look like a bunch of incompetents.

    And hire a fucking medical staff that isn’t a joke. Seriously, with Simmons and Embiid already in place, how can you fuck this up?

  121. 121 Sean E said at 3:44 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    What’s the big deal? Their new PG has a shoulder issue, but they still want him to get used to playing. Their medical staff knows how much strain it can take, and that’s what they are allowing. Are you mad that Fultz doesn’t already look like Curry?

  122. 122 or____ said at 4:03 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Pardon, but you sound like a crybaby to me. The sixers have a lot of talent, a lot of great things going for them, including Fultz. Injuries happen, and I think fans shouldn’t pay much attention to what teams say at all.

    Forget “big picture” – just think for this season – if Fultz comes back healthy in a few weeks or months, he develops as a player, and the team does well – what exactly about that would be a joke? or embarrassment?

  123. 123 Dan said at 5:13 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Pardon, but I think you sound like an ill informed person who likes to comment about people without being tuned in. It is embarrassing how they handled the Fultz situation and its compounded how they handled Embiid’s meniscus tear and Simmons’ return date last year. The point isn’t that injuries happen, the point is they let Embiid play with the tear, the are letting Fultz play with the shoulder though they clearly see its affecting his mechanics, they strung along Simmons last year. Do you realize this is what is happening? This isn’t about Fultz the player its about the organization handling thinks poorly. So, before you label people something, actually be informed on it first.

  124. 124 or____ said at 5:24 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    They tried to see if Fultz could play through it – turns out he can’t. You try things, somethings find that it doesn’t work out – and then you adjust. How is that embarrassing? That they didn’t get it perfect from the get go?

    The report is that there’s no medical indication for keeping him out – meaning it’s not going to damage him by playing him. But clearly it’s not the best thing for him as a basketball player, or them as a team right now, so they’re adjusting.

    I think that this narrative about the team mishandling things is the media playing “monday morning quarterback”. Injury management isn’t cut and dry, many in the Philly media and fan-base seem to expect perfection, predictability, and exact science linear logic.

  125. 125 RobNE said at 5:46 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    They were hired as great communicator s. The communication around Fultz has been shit. No one wants perfection we want honesty.

  126. 126 or____ said at 5:58 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Who the hell said they were hired as great communicators?

    You want straightforward honesty from a US sports team?

    Why don’t you say you want integrity from a federal politician. Or maturity form a college sports star. Or predictable appointment time validity at MD offices…. I can go on and on.

  127. 127 RobNE said at 6:27 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Did you just start following them last week?

  128. 128 or____ said at 6:46 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Nah, since the 80s

  129. 129 Masked Man said at 9:38 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    The Sixers haven’t been very good in a looonng time.

  130. 130 Rellihcs said at 7:56 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    They weren’t even hired .The league forced the team to fire Hinkie and hire these league approved long-time establishment guys. Some media people told you that they were “great communicators”. That makes it sounds like if the media told you water isn’t wet, you’d buy it.

    Do you ever hear a sports team PR bullshit and interpret it as nothing more than PR bullshit/spin? I sure do….

  131. 131 SteveH said at 8:29 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Well that escalated quickly.

  132. 132 GermanEagle said at 3:57 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Taylor don’t break my Hart is back.

  133. 133 P_P_K said at 5:15 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    At least your Peter(s) didn’t break.

  134. 134 Tumtum said at 5:28 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    They must really like what he was showing in development.

  135. 135 D3FB said at 5:31 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Managed to not make an ass out of himself and was surprisingly solid in PS.

  136. 136 Sean E said at 5:39 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    “Managed to not make an ass out of himself ”


  137. 137 Insomniac said at 6:12 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Coach speak for he didn’t suck.

  138. 138 Ark87 said at 7:21 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    He was a former Defensive lineman. They almost all make asses of themselves when they are converted to O-line. So Hart is off to a good start.

  139. 139 Sean E said at 7:31 PM on October 25th, 2017:


  140. 140 GermanEagle said at 5:51 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    IS that a good or bad thing, Coach?

  141. 141 D3FB said at 10:06 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I mean he’s not great but he was solid in PS. I mean he’s OT5 and was on the street, so it’s not like he’s going to light the world on fire.

    This is probably a bigger indictment of Gordon who does have a higher ceiling, but Hart has grown man strength and some transferable skills from 2gapping. Both have only been playing the position for a year. Gordon apparently had one hell of an Austin Howard offseason.

    If he plays you’re just going to hope for competency, but I am surprised the Seahawks or Colts didn’t at least kick the tires on him. I mean FFS Brian Mikhalik has been pressed into being a LT and playing.

  142. 142 TO BLACKS said at 5:06 PM on October 25th, 2017:


  143. 143 Jake and Elmo said at 5:30 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I want to thank Tommy for writing this piece. It allayed some concerns I had and did give me a reasonable degree of hope that while these injuries are big, they can be dealt with and overcome. We shall see.

  144. 144 dandynator said at 5:49 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    feel bad, just during the game i had a thought of fucked up knee injury and then jp hapenned, sorry might have something to do with it. sorry guys

  145. 145 GermanEagle said at 5:50 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Please don’t ever think again.

  146. 146 A_T_G said at 7:44 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Or a throw least limit your game day musing to cheerleader wardrobe malfunctions.

  147. 147 Christopher Miller said at 11:27 PM on October 25th, 2017:


  148. 148 ChoTime said at 6:13 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Thanks, dude, good job.

  149. 149 Guy Media said at 7:15 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Can you think about an Eli injury? He’s due for one and didn’t deserve to pass Jaws on the games played list.

  150. 150 unhinged said at 6:19 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I guess Peters himself doesn’t know how he’ll feel when he heals up, but if I was as good as he is – still a top LT at 36 – I would definitely do the grunt work to attempt a comeback. The immediate challenge will be to keep his core strong and work the upper body while he’s healing.

  151. 151 Guy Media said at 6:26 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    If I had that rep as a player, I’d 100% find it worth my time to try to play again given the $ involved.

  152. 152 RobNE said at 6:35 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    But then you’d already have more money than you need.

  153. 153 Guy Media said at 6:39 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    That’s a very rare point of view when you’re dealing with the healthy arrogance that comes with being the best guy in the league at your position (fuck you Joe Thomas, Tyron Smith, and Trent Williams fans!) and a ton of great things (charity included) you can do with that extra money.

  154. 154 RobNE said at 6:39 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I just mean you’d weigh things differently.

  155. 155 Guy Media said at 6:41 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I hear you there, but I think a lot of these dudes keep trying to play for “one more year” for a reason.

  156. 156 unhinged said at 6:54 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    You are right, but in this particular circumstance, I think the curious ego trumps the greedy-needy bottom line. If at 36, JP isn’t financially, and emotionally prepared to move on, those would be two of the worst reasons to return. But the dude is an immensely gifted freak, and he’s had unbelievable longevity for the position he plays. My comment was assuming that the man realizes how special his body has been, and is willing to test it once again.

  157. 157 Guy Media said at 6:56 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I can see that as well.

  158. 158 xeynon said at 6:39 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    He’s already got more money than he’ll ever need, and his body is beat to hell notwithstanding the injury. He may decide it’s not worth taking more punishment. Hell, I just turned 38 and I’M feeling it, and I never played competitive sports beyond high school.

  159. 159 Guy Media said at 6:40 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I totally get that, but neither you (as far as I know) or I are that level of talented / compensated for what we do for work. And dudes trying to keep playing is a lot more common than dudes walking away prior to getting told nobody wants them.

  160. 160 xeynon said at 8:59 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Good breakdown of Big V’s performance in pass protection:


    Tl/dr: he was mostly left to single block, and he held up fine. If he
    can play like this, there is no reason to blow a draft pick to bring in a
    veteran like Staley.

    Also, little trivia point: over the last two games, in which Wentz has staked his claim as an MVP candidate, Vaitai leads the Eagles in snaps taken at OT.

  161. 161 Masked Man said at 9:35 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Big V looked very capable in that article too. It was posted by a fan named “Shark Fighter.”

    As you stated, he mostly blocked alone. Also, he took on Ryan Kerigan, Junior Gallette and other veteran rushers with no problem.

  162. 162 SteveH said at 9:23 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Savage loss for the Sixers. Harden totally fouled Embiid at the end there to prevent the contest but the refs will always swallow their whistle there.

  163. 163 Fufina said at 9:29 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    My love for Simmons is as deep as the ocean, guy is just as big a unicorn as Embiid, and if he can develop a shot he will be top 5 NBA player for nearly a decade.

    But damn the last few possessions where UGLY. He will learn i am sure, but it doesn’t feel any better in the moment. I also have no idea why they didn’t have TJ on the court in the last 2 minutes rather than Bayless who couldn’t defend a paraplegic.

  164. 164 SteveH said at 9:33 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I agree, Simmons is a monster. He *must* develop some kind of shot that players have to respect in order to fulfill his potential, but if he does he will be an all-pro for a long time.

    The biggest thing that blew my mind is that I think over the last 3 minutes they called no ISO plays to Embiid, which is just like, why? He was killing it all game, 8/13 from the floor, almost unguardable. He needed at least 2 cracks at it, if they over-commit on defense he can pop the ball out and find an open shooter… It felt like the plan was just, here Simmons have the ball go do something. Really poor execution down the stretch.

  165. 165 xeynon said at 12:12 AM on October 26th, 2017:

    Simmons 2017 is to basketball what Wentz 2016 was to football. There’s clearly otherworldly raw talent there, and the key to fully developing it is developing the key skills that remain rough around the edges (outside shot in Simmons’ case, deep ball and touch in Wentz’s).

  166. 166 CrackSammich said at 9:47 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    This idea some of you have that there’s someone out there playing football that’s *not* going to get injured is laughable. Every NFL player is injury prone.

  167. 167 SteveH said at 9:49 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    I think we always hold our breath that someone important isn’t going to get injured. I can only speak for myself but I’m always conscious of the fact that someone could go down for the year on any play. I tend not to say anything because the jinx you know?

  168. 168 A Roy said at 10:29 PM on October 25th, 2017:


  169. 169 CrackSammich said at 10:38 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Joe Thomas.

  170. 170 SteveH said at 9:51 PM on October 25th, 2017:


    Love this reminder from Kempski about our history as heavy favorites. Depressingly I remember every single one of those losses with a great deal of clarity.

    C.J. Beathard is awful. Please don’t let this be “The C.J. Beathard game”.

  171. 171 P_P_K said at 10:16 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Horrible stuff. I clicked on the link and, yea, I remember those games, too. I’m trying to erase my hard drive.

  172. 172 xeynon said at 12:08 AM on October 26th, 2017:

    How many current players were even on the last Eagles team to lose as a double digit dog? Graham, Peters (who’s injured), Celek, Kelce, that might be it? I’m not worried.

  173. 173 Dragon_Eagle said at 9:57 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Next 2 games are what they are. We should be no worse than 1-1. Denver is a good team even though the last couple of weeks they haven’t played like it.

    Next major game is Dallas. We are 6-1, Dallas is 3-3. We lose both our Dallas games that puts them 1/2 a game back but with the tiebreaker.

    The point? No one should be declaring us a division winner “lock” until we’ve beaten the fucking Cowboys.


  174. 174 Tumtum said at 10:23 PM on October 25th, 2017:

    Hope the team doesn’t sleep on SF. They have been playing good ball and losing some close games. Sure they are flawed, but I personally won’t sleep on them.