Monday, December 31, 2007

Game 16 Thoughts

this was a win and it's always good to win, especially with a 'c' performance like today. the offense was carried by the two playmakers and the defense played a little worse than the 9 points they allowed.

- mcnabb at the end of the season looks like a completely different player than mcnabb at the start of the season. in hindsight this probably should have been expected and the unrealistic expecations on mcnabb's performance heading into a season just off ACL surgery was a big cause of fan discontent. not sure how those expectations could/should have been tempered coming into the season, but clearly there was some expectation setting that should have been done but was not. i think phil sheridan correctly identifies reid's strategy coming into the season in his column today:

Reid and his staff clearly thought the team could hang in there while McNabb worked through the early part of the season, then peak in time for the playoffs as the quarterback got back to form.

That plan looked better on paper than in practice. Ultimately, that strategy was doomed by the muffed punts in Green Bay and the defensive collapse in the final minutes against Chicago.
i don't think this is a bad strategy on the surface, but i do wonder whether most of the mcnabb uproar could have been avoided altogether simply by playing aj to start the season and letting don get healthier before jumping onto the field. i think the mcnabb we saw the last couple of games was much closer to the 'old' mcnabb and still gives the birds the best chance to win. i heard that some minnesota newspaper was speculating the the vikings would be willing to give up two first round picks for mcnabb. if that's the offer, i think it's too hard to turn down, but barring an offer of 1st round pick plus another first day pick, i think you stick with this guy for at least one more shot at a title.

- in order for that to happen, the o-line needs to improve. starting with the jailbreak they allowed on the first play, the o-line had pass protection issues for much of the day. even though mcnabb has historically had issues with holding the ball too long, this was not one of those games. the ball came out on time with great accuracy all game. if it hadn't this could have been a 5+ sack day. justice had some rough patches, but overall he looked athletic and got his hands on people. they do need to get him on "the good vitamins" however. he looks pretty weak and cannot handle a bullrush. jamaal jackson didn't play very well this season. while he is a physical upgrade over honeybuns, it seems like he's making the wrong block or the wrong call several times a game.

- celek already looks like an upgrade over LJ. i'd be completely comfortable going into next season with him at TE. he's a more fluid athlete than LJ, catches the ball more naturally, and doesn't carry the ball like he's afraid to have it touch his torso. little john is a fumble waiting to happen, goodbye and good riddance.

- the young linebackers had an up-and-down game and were most responsible for the uneven defensive performance. bradley took a stupid roughing penalty and he also got eaten by a blocker on the long marshawn lynch run (so did gaither). gocong made a huge hit on someone early, but then took a horrible angle on a swing pass and let lynch get by him for a long gain. still, i continue to be optimistic about their future. these guys are physical, active, and don't appear to be dummies. hopefully, we'll see them continue to develop and make fewer mistakes.

- abiamiri looked pretty good. he had a few decent pass rushes and seems to be pretty good at hand fighting.

- jr reed keeps laying the wood. i've always liked this guy.

the birds have some holes, but my understanding is that they had very little free cap space last offseason but they have a lot of free cap space this offseason. also, they do a good job at drafting and have their usual bevy of draft picks. i'll post my thoughts on what they need for next season in a few days.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give Don a C at best for that game. Yes he had pressure from the front sieve, but he also took 3 unecessary sacks due to running around for too long and just holding the ball. He also threw an absolutely horrendous jump ball pick on the 10 going in. A vet takes his 3 points and moves on there. He also threw some great balls and I am optimistic he's almost back. After watching the shit fight that is Carolina/Baltimore/Chicago/Detroit/Minnesota/Skins QB situation, I realize that a pretty good McNabb (no longer elite, but league top 10) is way better than the alternatives. Keep him nd make a move of his liking (deep threat? Stallworth back? Ocho Cinco?) to satisfy him and show the commitment to that cannon he has.

Still mixed on the Reid drafting and not sold he excels there. He does have a nice nucleus from 2005 who are making an impact (Winston Justice aside), but 2007 had too many misses. Kolb won't play for years, so tough to gauge. Abiamiri barely got on the field for a weak DE rotation, Celek should have played a lot more and looks like a player, and Bradley looks like a player (incidentally, I loved the unecessary roughness penalty. It wasn't blatant and he showed burst and nastiness and Buffalo didn't score afterward). Gaddis and Barksdale were obviously bad picks as both got cut and the Birds are rail thin in the secondary, so that never should have happened had they taken more sure things. I think Andy's personal life wreaked some havoc on his focus during draft and free agent time in 2007. He needs to have a much better off season this year to get this team in the right direction.

Anyone on board with the "Akers is done" theme? The kicking game is where 75% of the focus needs to be this off season because their special teams sucked donkey.

Bumble

10:14 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I give Don a C at best for that game

just to clarify, is that a 'c' compared to don at his peak or a 'c' relative to QBs in general? i ask because giving him a 'c' in a game when he had a qb rating of 94.05 and would have a been a 102.18 had reggie brown not fumbled seems like it could be pretty tough grading to me.

He also threw an absolutely horrendous jump ball pick on the 10 going in

i didn't think that was a bad play. everyone's been begging him to be more aggressive and not settle for 3 points. he tried to stick in a throw running away from receiver and almost got it there. i take that as a positive sign as he wouldn't have tried that a few weeks ago.

Still mixed on the Reid drafting and not sold he excels there

well, i can only keep asking you to compare to the other teams. they all miss picks. andy misses fewer than others.

Gaddis and Barksdale were obviously bad picks as both got cut and the Birds are rail thin in the secondary

gaddis and barksdale were 5th and 7th round picks. the hit rate in the 5th round is 7.7% and the hit rate in the 7th round is 3.2%.

teams that haven't had a hit in the 5th round since 1999:

- broncos
- cowboys
- chargers

teams that haven't had a hit in the 7th round since 1999:

- broncos
- steelers
- ravens
- cowboys
- patriots
- colts

the eagles don't appear on either of those lists.

Anyone on board with the "Akers is done" theme

i agree completely. i also think they should do away with kicking altogether.

10:34 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say a C overall for what he is capable of. He threw the ball away well when pressured vs. the Aints and didn't vs. the Bills. Too much indecision and sort of wandering around leading to silly sacks when he should've ditched the ball out of bounds or in the vicinity of a WR. And come on with the pick! That was a shitty play, you need to call it as it happened. If it were a bullet in tight coverage and the DB made a great play, I can see your angle, but it was a jump ball off balance to no WR in particular that got picked and could've hurt them had Buffalo not been so inept on offense. Donny vs. New Orleans was awesome! That guy can win a Super Bowl. Donny vs. Buffalo was OK. Stats say he played well, but my eyes say he made too many careless and stupid plays for a 10 year guy.

OK, Reid has picked some winners, but he sucks, sucks, sucks with skill players (WR and RB aside from B Wes) and D linemen (DE in particular Howard, Kearse, McTurd) I think I get bent at him for his ineptitude in those specific areas and otherwise he does well. I just don't understand why he misses so badly at DE (Trent Cole can play, but sacks aside, he is no stud) and why he seems to disdain WR when he wants to throw 40 times a game. If he just cleaned up in those 2 specific positions, I'd be a much happier camper.

Agreed that 5th and 7th round DB get cut, but when you went into the season so thin at S, how do you wait until the 5th or 7th round to start looking for one is my point? Bad job by the Fat guy not recognizing that need when every fan knew B Dawk was on his last legs and Considine blows. Safety has to be priorities one through 5 this off season! Get it done.

TMG, did you know that Dorenbos Mom was murdered by his Dad when he was a kid so he lost both parents at age 11. Makes me like the guy and pity kids that have to deal with real life horror stories like that.

Bumble

11:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade.

That was a bad INT. Never throw left when you're scrambling right! Never.

My wife's favorite player (Akers) is almost done. Interesting to see where FO's stats have him ranked this year. FG's didn't look that bad, but his kickoffs rarely get past the 10 anymore and never into the end zone. Maybe new special teams coordinator has him getting more hang time vs. distance?

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

If it were a bullet in tight coverage and the DB made a great play, I can see your angle, but it was a jump ball off balance to no WR in particular that got picked and could've hurt them had Buffalo not been so inept on offense

that's definitely not a throw i want him making all the time, but it was right at greg lewis and the db jumped the route because don got nothing on the throw. still, i can't help but like the fact that he was aggressive all game and made some stick throws into tight coverage.

OK, Reid has picked some winners, but he sucks, sucks, sucks with skill players (WR and RB aside from B Wes) and D linemen (DE in particular Howard, Kearse, McTurd) I think I get bent at him for his ineptitude in those specific areas and otherwise he does well. I just don't understand why he misses so badly at DE (Trent Cole can play, but sacks aside, he is no stud)

mcdougle was a high profile miss, but i think you also have to factor in his freakish injuries and getting shot. we've never really gotten a chance to see him play. i agree he is a bigtime bust (especially because they traded up to get him), but who knows, maybe he could have been like bunkley had he been healthier.

still, here are the eagles d-ends drafted by reid:

- victor abiamiri
- trent cole
- jerome mcdougle
- jamaal green
- raheem brock
- derrick burgess

excluding abiamiri, that's a hit rate of 60% for all rounds. i once heard ray didinger say the success rate (by his definition) of first round defensive ends is only 50% and that he finds it the hardest position to evaluate. the eagles are better than 50% for the entire draft, not just the first round. (though their hit rate for first round is zero percent since they've only drafted mcturdle in the first round).

Safety has to be priorities one through 5 this off season! Get it done.

by all accounts, safety was their top priority in the last draft, but the patriots stole brandon merriweather the pick before the birds (leading to the trade and subsequent drafting of kolb).

andy's good but he can't control what the patriots do or manufacture players to draft. i haven't noticed one (but also have been paying attention to this), but was there a safety drafted outside of the first round that made any noise this season?

i suspect that safety will be priority number 1 again this offseason.

7:45 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade. They need a WR upgrade.

boy would chad johnson look good. i heard somewhere that he can opt out of his contract this year. wonder if that's true.

FG's didn't look that bad, but his kickoffs rarely get past the 10 anymore and never into the end zone. Maybe new special teams coordinator has him getting more hang time vs. distance?

i've noticed that akers kickoffs have been slowly shortening every season. i think he's probably done.

i bet one factor in his declining field goal accuracy is that he probably has to kick "harder" for the same distace than he did in the past. if they keep him, i hope they stop trotting him out for 45+ yarders.

7:51 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

for completeness, here are WR drafted by reid:

Jason Avant
Jeremy Bloom
Reggie Brown
Billy McMullen
Freddie Milons
Freddie Mitchell
Todd Pinkston
Gari Scott
Na Brown
Troy Smith

can you say awful?

here are RB drafted by reid:

Tony Hunt
Ryan Moats
Thomas Tapeh
Bruce Perry
Brian Westbrook
Correll Buckhalter
Thomas Hamner

hunt is an incomplete and buckhalter is/was pretty good, but that's a spotty list.

7:55 AM EST  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Now that I can sit back and assess, I don't think that it is as bad as I initially thought. The thing that consistently pisses me off is the in-game bone-headedness by Red. He needs to tighten that up. I give him a pass this year.
Some things:
1. I want Don back. Period. Unless of course they are freaking overwhelmed with players and picks from an AFC team like the Ravens. (Ed Reed, other defensive players, multiple picks)...ain't gonna happen, though.
2. They need to assess the kicking game both punting and kicking.
3. They need a return threat. Especially a punt return specialist. This kills them.
4. They need to deep six obvious dead wood...Howard, Kearse, maybe even Spikes.
5. I like the younger guys on defense more than I did. I like Bradley, Gocong and Gaither...and Patterson and Bunkley and Cole.
6. Keep Westbrook happy.
7. Play Buck and Hunt more consistently next year.
8. Assess the Jamaal Jackson situation. He kinda blew this year. Jeff Faine??
9. I like the offensive line depth, but the tackles are getting up there. I am not that worried as they are pretty good here at evaluation.
10. Get a stud receiver that Don has confidence in. Especially one that can spread the field. Chad Johnson is the obvious choice, but everyone wants him. Bernard Berrian and Donte Stallworth are other good choices. You need to make this a high priority, Red.
11. I would consider moving Sheldon Brown to FS and signing a FA CB and drafting a CB who can return punts high. Also, you need a SS if Mikell isn't your man. I have been hearing the Sheldon Brown experiment for awhile now. Dawk is toast I am afraid.

This is all do-able stuff without being drastic, I think. Also, I would not dismiss LJ Smith so quickly.

10:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Dog, good list, but I'd add getting another RB as a higher priority. Hunt might be the guy (36 rarely got onto the field his rookie year as well), but the jury's still out. Westbrook isn't getting any younger and he probably only has a couple more good years left. Once his speed goes he's toast in this league.

Johnson's probably the best guy out there, but character issues will likely keep Reid away from him. Berrian drops way too many passes for my liking. Stallworth is still a large injury risk. And Iggles can't develop rookie talent, so . . . Sigh.

11:12 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Also, I would not dismiss LJ Smith so quickly.

gosh, i hope they do. i'll be happy as a pig in sh*t watching LJ fumble, drop balls, and ole block for another team.

5:37 PM EST  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Here's the deal with LJ. He is a talented guy who has great upside and unfortunately great "oh, crapness"....I think that he was a huge asset to Don. His absence hurt them this year, and he...gasp...is going to be the top FA TE outside of Dallas Clark, who will be the big prize. I like Celek. I think Schoebel is blah. They need another TE, and I hope they draft one that is smart enough not to take 2 years figuring out the offense. I hear you, though...I won't miss the loaf of bread carries and fumbles.

I think I may be deep sixing listening to sports talk in this town. I've given up on WIP and I think that I can't take WPEN anymore, either. I heard an interview with Randy Brown yesterday and I wanted to put my head through the dashboard. I like Jody Mac, I just can't stand the other hosts and the moronic callers from this town (in general)

10:20 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, can we please stop giving Red credit for raheem Brock? Fine the guy tuirned into a player, but the Birds had zippo to do with that. he cut the guy, in a stubborn, stupid move, pre-camp because the guy wanted to make sure he made appropriate 7th round money with those slotted around him and the Birds had cap trouble. I look at brock as a Reid failure, not success.

Bumble

12:12 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

BTW, can we please stop giving Red credit for raheem Brock?

i can see how you might think that way, but here are a few thoughts:

a) reid picks the players, banner signs the players. to me, it makes sense for red to get credit because he picked brock and brock turned into a good player.

b) the eagles didn't actually screw up with brock. the nfl rookie salary cap didn't increase much (if at all) in 2002 for having extra draft picks. the eagles had an extra second round pick, so had to fit another high salary player into the same cap as the other teams. just to remind you, that was the year the birds drafted:

1- Lito Sheppard
2- Michael Lewis
2- Sheldon Brown
3- Brian Westbrook
4- Scott Peters
5- Freddie Milons
6- Tyreo Harrison
7- Raheem Brock

the birds actively warned all the players that they wouldn't have enough to sign all of them so they'd have to get creative with contracts and for the lower round picks to sign early so they could guarantee max first year money for them before the money ran out.

brock's agent decided that he'd be better off waiting and getting released than signing a slightly smaller contract with the birds. that he'd get more money as a free agent.

the eagles could have screwed him by not releasing him and treating him as a holdout and keeping his rights. they did him a favor by releasing him allowing him to go to the colts.

12:33 PM EST  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Bull is stone cold right on that one. Reid probably looked at that pick as a local courtesy pick and he turned out to be a NFL starter. If anything that is a miss.

I am not down on Reid's drafting as much as I used to be, but his forte is definitely not Playmakers, especially offensively (outside Westbrook of course). He needs to get a few to quiet his critics, including, but not limited to a return specialist.

12:37 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Bull is stone cold right on that one. Reid probably looked at that pick as a local courtesy pick and he turned out to be a NFL starter. If anything that is a miss.

i must be missing something. shouldn't the analysis be as simple as:

- reid picks player
- player turns out to be good
- reid gets credit for picking a good player

whether he ends up playing for the team due to contractual issues doesn't take away from the fact that that was a big-time hit in the *7th round*. i can understand if you say it was luck, but to call it a miss? i don't see the reasoning.

12:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I do side with Pete Dog-probably a local pick that seemed expendable. But we cannot know that, so OK, they didn't think enough of him to keep him. They did not develop him and I am pretty sure as a 7th rounder he was not NFL ready and got so by working in Indy with coaches and weight staff. If they kep and cut him after he played, I'd credit Reid, but he cut the kid before he ever donned pads. Tough to give him any more than 50% credit for seeing talent but blowing it.

Is the cap still the same deal? If they have 8-9 picks this year as expected, will they be forced to do the same thing?

Bumble

9:30 PM EST  

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