Big Al, Plax, and Kafka

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , | 17 Comments »

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank god almighty, I’m free at last!”

I think we all remember exactly where we were when we heard Carlito Brigante shout those words on the courthouse steps at the beginning of Carlito’s Way.  The man saying them today is Albert Haynesworth, hero to the masses and great guy all  around.  He had been caught up in some bogus charges of road rage.  I had some people look into it and they confirmed that Big Al is “1 million percent innocent”.  That’s like a record or something.

I’m glad he wasn’t punished by the law.  Big Al has suffered enough.  The man has been a victim for years and years.  Will we ever forget the horror of seeing Andre Gurode attack Big Al’s foot with his face?  Gurode couldn’t be stopped.  I’m just glad Big Al got out of there okay.

Now we need the Skins to cut Big Al loose so that he can come to Philly.  I’m sure he’d be the victim of some trouble here.  Poor guy is just always a target.  I’m not sure why.  He’s the NFL version of St. Francis of Assisi.  Maybe he’s too nice.

* * * * *

Lots more talk over the weekend about Plaxico Burress coming to Philly.  I remain confused on this idea.  I have nothing against Plax being an Eagle.  I’m just not sure how he fits in.  Would he be willing to come here as a 30 catch guy and Red Zone specialist?  If so, I guess I’m open.  Even then, things aren’t crystal clear.   Let’s look at receiver stats for 2010:

DeSean Jackson — 47-1056 – 22.5 – 6 TDs
Jeremy Maclin —— 70 – 964 – 13.8 – 10 TDs
Jason Avant ——- 51 – 573 – 11.2 – 1 TD
Riley Cooper ——- 7 – 116 – 16.6 – 1 TD
Brent Celek ——– 42 – 511 – 12.2 – 4 TDs
Clay Harbor ——– 9 – 72 – 8.0 – 1 TD
LeSean McCoy —– 78 – 592 – 7.6 – 2 TDs
Owen Schmitt —— 19 – 136 – 7.2 – 1 TD

So where do we find 30-40 catches in that group? Or do we think we’ll throw an extra 50 or 60 passes?  I’d like DeSean to get more catches (although part of that is on him simply catching the ball better).  Celek had a down year with only 42 grabs.  Clay Harbor and Riley Cooper are young guys I’d like to get more involved in the offense.

Shady did catch 78 passes.  Only about 1/3 of those were by design.  He caught a lot of checkdowns.  You can’t count on taking those throws away from him.

Avant would be the big loser, most likely.  He’s not such a weapon that we must get him 50 catches, but he is a really valuable 3rd down receiver.  Plax could help on some plays, but I’m not sure we’ll find as many passes to come his way as he’d ideally like.

You would think a team that only has one good WR would make a strong push for Plax.  He could possibly be an impact player for the Chiefs or a team like that.  Will Plax buy into being a role player or will he expect to be a starter type?  Mike Vick bought into the fact he had bottomed out and had to change his ways.  Plax might not have the same attitude.

I’m going to remain skeptical of the reports, but there is some real logic to the thinking.  Plax is a big time Red Zone weapon and that is an area where we’ve struggled for years.  He wouldn’t solve the situation, but would be a weapon down there.  He also might turn out to be an important role player that you got at a bargain price, as well as at a point in his career when he’s highly motivated.

Can’t wait to see what happens with this situation.

* * * * *

Mike Kafka says he’s ready to be the backup QB this year.  I disagree.  Andy Reid says Kafka is ready.  I still disagree.  I think Kafka needs another year of preparation.

A.J. Feeley started 5 games in his 2nd year and led us to a 4-1 record.  However…that 2002 team had a great defense, very good STs, and top 5 running game.  Feeley was charged with not losing games.  We have a whole different situation right now.  The offense carries the team.  We must score points to be effective.  The defense is a complete mystery.  The running game is effective, but is partially successful because of the passing attack.  And STs…that’s a bit of an unknown right now.

I think Reid knows Kafka’s not ready.  Big Red is just saying that to be supportive of his guy, but to also keep people from asking him a million questions about what we’ll do for a backup QB.

I still have high hopes for Kafka in 2012 and beyond, but I don’t see him as someone I’d be comfortable running the team at this point.  I am interested to see what kind of progress he’s made since last summer.  Let’s hope we have preseason games so we can get a look at Kafka.

Howard Mudd, Plaxico Burress, and More on Chad Hall

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments »

For SB Nation I took an updated look at the O-line.  I am excited about having Mudd as the OL coach because he’s been so good over the years, but also because I wasn’t enamored with some of the guys we added over the years.  We’re now going for grinders.  They won’t physically dominate you, but that wasn’t going to happen in our pass-happy system anyway.  If we’re going to be a passing team, go get athletic pass blockers and guys that play with a chip on their shoulder.

* * * * *

NY Daily News writer Gary Myers opened a can of worms over the weekend with some comments about the Eagles and WR Plaxico Burress.  “I’ve heard that the Eagles will eventually be first in line, but there’s also speculation the Steelers, Chargers, Falcons and Ravens could also be interested.

Gary is a solid NFL writer, but I’m not so sure about his connections to the Eagles.  I’m betting this “info” came from Burress or someone in NY.  I don’t know if that person believes the info or is just trying to drum up interest in Plaxico.  Regardless, I’m not buying it.

Burress would come here to be the #3 or #4 WR.  If we use him as #3, then is he working the slot or are we moving Jeremy Maclin in there?  Mac didn’t come across as the most physical guy last year.  I’m not thinking he’d aggressively embrace regularly working the slot.  Would Burress?

Our backup WRs play on STs.  Jason Avant had 4 solo tackles last year.  Riley Cooper had 3.  Would we bring in a guy like Burress to be a role player, knowing he wouldn’t contribute on STs?  Doesn’t make sense.

It would be nice to have Plaxico as a Red Zone target, but Reid has never fully embraced the fade pass.  He said Donovan wasn’t real good at it, but I don’t recall our other 37 QBs throwing it much either.  Reid would rather run the sprint right so the QB can have no one open and throw the ball into the 8th row.  Seriously, isn’t that the worst RZ play in the NFL, at least as run by us?

I seriously doubt Plax is a target for the Eagles.  Now, if this turns out to be true, it will be a sign that Reid is going all-in on the Eagles being a Super Bowl team in 2011.  You don’t add Plax unless you expect to compete for a title or if you need a WR.  We no longer need WRs.

Final note…back in 2005 when Plax left the Steelers and was a free agent, there were consistent rumors that the Eagles were interested.  I have never confirmed from any of my sources if that was true or not.  It makes you wonder if this is all Plax’s agent just stirring up the market, just like he might have been doing back then.

* * * * *

How does Chad Hall compare to Danny Amendola or Danny Woodhead?  I’ve gotten a few questions about comparing the situations.  This ties in to what I was trying to get at the other day.  Amendola was on the Dallas Practice Squad for all of 2008.  He came to the Eagles in 2009 and was snatched away by the evil Rams.  He had a year to adjust to the league before he got on the field.  And he wasn’t great in ’09.  Danny averaged 7.6 yards per reception, with a long play of 25 yards.  He ran 3 times for -2 yards.  He only got into the endzone once all year.  He did post okay PR numbers and good KOR numbers.  Last year Amendola played better on offense and scored 4 TDs.

Danny Woodhead is a RB that can play the slot and catch the ball.  He spent 2008 on IR.  He then played for the Jets in 2009 and put up modest numbers.  He had a breakout season in 2010, but most of that was on the ground.

Hall spent time with teams in the summers of 2008 and 2009, but that’s hardly the same thing as being part of a team for an entire season.  Even being on IR gives you a chance to understand the game as you sit in on film sessions and listen to coaches.  Hall had to learn on the fly in 2010.

When you compare “first season” numbers among the three, Hall is fine.  That doesn’t mean he’ll turn out to be as good as them.  It does give you some hope that he could become a good role player.  Of course, it might help if he changed his first name to Danny.  Or Betty (anyone get that reference?).

Amendola 09:  3-(-2) rushing, 43-326-1 receiving, long of 25 yards, 12 yds PR, 25 yd KOR

Woodhead 09:  15-64 rushing, 8-87 receiving, long play of 24 yards, only 1 KOR

Hall   2010:     9-29 rushing, 11-115-1 receiving, long of 48, 10 yds per PR, 16 per KOR