Friday, August 29, 2008

Eagles Outlook

i think the eagles are damn solid at every position but (assuming the QB can stay healthly for the first time in a while) especially strong at QB, OL, and DL -- imo, the three most important aspects of a football team.

there was a lot of drama over lito and westbrook demanding contract extensions. curtis going down isn't a good thing. the birds didn't make any splashy roster moves in the offseason.

as usual, there are a lot of things for people to obsess and chatter about, but on a whole, i think most of those things are not critical to winning and losing football games.

i'll admit that i don't quite have as good of a feel for this year's football team as previous teams, but if mcnabb stays healthy, i don't see how the the eagles won't be good this year. good enough to win the superbowl (no idea). good enough to go 10-6? definitely.

biggest question for me right now is what the heck they're going to do with the DE position. mcdougle finally showing something is definitely throwing a monkey wrench in the works.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My one major concern is DE. They have no DE who properly play the run, so they get pinned and run on all game long. Gocong does not exactly recover or stay off blocks well, so they are vulnerable to the outside run and teams like the Giants and Skins kill them with that play. That is really my only major concern on D.

Keeping Hunt as your primary FB is problematic in the fact that he cannot block. I fear teams will quickly see that and blitz guys over him all day, thus puttingb the passing game in trouble because that free guy is causing havoc. It isn't Tony's fault and he is a nice RB, but this transition takes time and it isn't like the league will wait for him.

Really embarassing free agent off season for the Birds. Samuel aside (and I'll argue he wasn't a big need position), they got bupkis from their signings. Chris Wilson-BUST! Chris Clemons-BUST! Criminal to have given that guy so much guranateed money for doing nothing in his career. if I am not mistaken he was cut by a few teams, yet one 8 sack season in oakland warrants giving a fragile 230 lb. DE $5 million guaranteed? I'd rather they kept McDougle and cut their losses on this turd.

Good to have you back TMG.

Bumble

9:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I don't have a good read on this team either. Might be because 5 keeps going down and ruining my positive outlook on prior teams so I'm getting a little gun-shy here.

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

My one major concern is DE. They have no DE who properly play the run, so they get pinned and run on all game long. Gocong does not exactly recover or stay off blocks well, so they are vulnerable to the outside run and teams like the Giants and Skins kill them with that play. That is really my only major concern on D.

bumble, i agree on the d-ends as jj has always prioritized getting to the qb over playing the run in his d-ends, but i'm not sure i agree with you on gocong. based on what i've seen from him so far, i'd suggest that stuffing the lead blocker and his general physicality is one of gocong's strengths rather than a weakness. where i've seen gocong struggle is out in space when he needs to cover a back or when he's dropping into coverage.

Keeping Hunt as your primary FB is problematic in the fact that he cannot block.

FB continues to be an ongoing concern, definitely true, but it's a low priority position unlikely to impact even a single game in terms of wins/losses. if the birds get mack strong, would they win more games? maybe, but given the lack of playing time a FB gets in this offense, it's possible it would have no impact at all.

Really embarassing free agent off season for the Birds. Samuel aside (and I'll argue he wasn't a big need position), they got bupkis from their signings. Chris Wilson-BUST! Chris Clemons-BUST! Criminal to have given that guy so much guranateed money for doing nothing in his career. if I am not mistaken he was cut by a few teams, yet one 8 sack season in oakland warrants giving a fragile 230 lb. DE $5 million guaranteed? I'd rather they kept McDougle and cut their losses on this turd.

it's all about expectations. if you expect the eagles to make wholesale changes via free agency then you're going to be disappointed. it's not the eagles MO *and* free agency does not have a good history in terms of making teams actually better.

was there someone in particular that you thought the eagles should have signed?

10:57 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I don't have a good read on this team either. Might be because 5 keeps going down and ruining my positive outlook on prior teams so I'm getting a little gun-shy here.

the whole season will depend on the health of two guys -- mcnabb and westbrook -- and both of them have significant injury history.

if both can make it through the season in good shape, i think they can make some noise in the postseason, but who knows what the likelihood of that is?

11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

bumble, i'll add that desean jackson seems like he's going to be a possible difference maker on both special teams and as a receiver. that was a pretty good offseason move.

11:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

I know he hasn't even played in a real game (let alone started one), but is this Mays kid the second coming of the Ax Man?

11:07 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back TMG.

Captain

2:32 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I know he hasn't even played in a real game (let alone started one), but is this Mays kid the second coming of the Ax Man?

he looks pretty good to me too. the next ax man? if he's anywhere close to the player trotter was in his prime, this has a chance to be an absolutely great draft.

1:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I didn't comment on the draft and meant to. Nice job by the team. Actually great job! Laws looks more than ready to take 25 snaps a game and do something with them, Jackson is a gifted athlete who already runs solid routes, Smith is an athlete, Dunlap fell in their lap after a lousy senior season, Mays is qoing to become my favorite Bird as he kills people despite being tiny. He looks a lot like London Fletcher to me. Solid draft. Throw in Booker who I'll credit as a draft pick and I'll say B+ with potential for an A if big red lets the kids play.

Gocong sheds Fb well, he does not shed TE well at all. All part of the learning curve, but he gets pinned on those running plays badly right now. I hope that changes.

TMG I strongly disagree with you on the FB point. i don't care if they never hand off to the FB, they usually have someone who can stop a blitzing LB and protect Don up the middle, get in the way of DE, or open a bit of runnign game for the RB. Having Hunt there means none of the 3 will happen becaus ehe is not a blocker. Look at the Pats game and see 3-4 guys just tossing him around like a rag doll. That was his first game and he will improve, but this is a pretty damned big hole for an other wise sound offense. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear Don getting killed by D coordinators sending guys right up his mush and Hunt whiffing or getting tossed aside.

Free agents need to be people who add to your team. To say they don't improve via that route is wrong-Runyan, TO, Ritchie, B Mitchell, Kearse (bust yes, but good at first), Garcia. They usually get 1-2 impact guys a year via free agency. They look to have gotten 1 this year, but every other pick up looks bad. Maybe that is OK.

Why can't this team get a damned FB? Just get a small guard who can protect the QB froma few angles and open small creases for your RB? That deosn't seem hard to me, yet they went through 3 this camp and kept 1 who is out of position. I want to know the franchise doesn't get put on his back and hurt again.

Amazing how much of a bust Justice turned out to be. i thought he would be good coming out of college. I guess they are so slim at OT they had to keep him, but he sucks. he was bad during pre season and he was bad when he played with the varsity last year. He is bad. Interesting this team won't admit mistakes (Justice, Clemons) and move on, instead cutting guys like McDougle who will come back to bite them.

Bumble

9:04 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Solid draft. Throw in Booker who I'll credit as a draft pick and I'll say B+ with potential for an A if big red lets the kids play.

take a look at some of the other teams' drafts and i suspect you'll see that B+ is way too low. it's an A draft now with the possibility of being A+.

Gocong sheds Fb well, he does not shed TE well at all.

gocong definitely needs to work on that (among other things he's still not doing well), but my overall assessment is that he's the most physical linebacker the eagles have had since a young jeremiah trotter.

TMG I strongly disagree with you on the FB point. i don't care if they never hand off to the FB, they usually have someone who can stop a blitzing LB and protect Don up the middle, get in the way of DE, or open a bit of runnign game for the RB.

for the record, i agree that blocking is the single most important thing a fullback does (as my rants against josh parry can attest) and that right now tony hunt is pretty bad at it. however, for this year's team i believe the eagles are thinking that carrying a fourth halfback is more important than actually having a dedicated fullback and i tend to agree with that line of thinking.

the other factor, i think, is the development of brent celek. if he shows that he can play at a high level (and i think he can), then the birds will play more two TE formations -- further decreasing the already scant number of plays they actually use a FB.

They usually get 1-2 impact guys a year via free agency. They look to have gotten 1 this year, but every other pick up looks bad. Maybe that is OK.

yeah, that seems ok to me. was there a player that you have signed that the birds didn't target?

Amazing how much of a bust Justice turned out to be. i thought he would be good coming out of college. I guess they are so slim at OT they had to keep him, but he sucks. he was bad during pre season and he was bad when he played with the varsity last year. He is bad. Interesting this team won't admit mistakes (Justice, Clemons) and move on, instead cutting guys like McDougle who will come back to bite them.

i think it's a little ironic that you note that mcdougle as a guy who could come back to bite them when he was last season's winston justice. there were plenty of people bemoaning the fact that the eagles hadn't already cut bait and "admitted their mistake" with mcdougle. now all of a sudden, people are panicked because mcdougle is going to be a pass rush demon when he plays us.

there is no "admitting mistakes" or "not admitting mistakes". the birds are trying to find the best players. they thought mcdougle could play (even when everyone was railing about his "bust" status)... and they seem to have been right all along. they seem to think justice can play. maybe they'll be right. maybe they'll be wrong. but it won't have anything at all with admitting a mistake or not admitting a mistake. when they decide he can't play. they'll dump him.

12:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

First, it's waaaaaay to early to begin a discussion how good this draft is. You can't even begin to judge until year 2.

I can't believe how much time is spent here on the FB position. It's never been a point of emphasis. It's not an emphasis now. It never will be. Not a position that wins you games.

Can we start talking about the STL game yet?

8:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil my point is that FB is non existent for them because they always have someone who can get in the way and protect Don up the middle, we never really need to worry about that basic FB function. However, that is not the case this year. I don't care if no FB ever gets a carry as long as Don is protected by this position on blitzes. i fear he will not be. That is a HUGE deal. Watch what creative blitzers do to them this year over that hole. The Giants, Cowboys, and Steelers to name 3 will exploit that. Hunt has to improve his basic blocking skills very quickly or this could disrupt a solid passing game.

TMG-as far as FA I wanted, I'll throw it back to you-you cannot tell me you are hunky dory with the WR. Jackson looks good, but he will hit that rookie wall and be only OK for big stretches-happens to every rookie except Randy Moss. They didn't upgrade there and now we have Avant and Baskett as key contributors in our passing game. The passing game sucked in the red zone last year. What specific free agent would I have liked-how about Bryant Johnson, how about Bernard Berrian-give me someone with wheels who demands some double coverage and opens the field. When they had TO, they were unstoppable. That was a lot of fun to watch.

I was way down on McDougle, but he outplayed Clemons this summer. They did not keep the best 53 when they chose to cut him and keep Clemons. I was disgusted with that free agent pick up and am disappointed they kept what was an obvious mistake while cutting a former first rounder who finally seemed to come around. But whatever, McDougle will not be an impact player and he will not haunt them. I just thought he clearly outplayed Clemons.

Interestingly Ray Diddy, whose opinion I value, is very concerned about the O line. He sees age and a lack of depth with players like Winston potentially having to play. When R Diddy speaks, I listen and now I'll perk up and pay more attention to that area. I like the starting 5, but I dislike their O line backups-especially Justice and Cole. Gilles is OK, not great.

Rams will not be a pushover on D and Birds will pull it out late. I see a 24-13 type of game. The Birds need to get after that O line and not let Jackson get untracked.

Bumble

10:52 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

TMG-as far as FA I wanted, I'll throw it back to you-you cannot tell me you are hunky dory with the WR. Jackson looks good, but he will hit that rookie wall and be only OK for big stretches-happens to every rookie except Randy Moss. They didn't upgrade there and now we have Avant and Baskett as key contributors in our passing game. The passing game sucked in the red zone last year. What specific free agent would I have liked-how about Bryant Johnson, how about Bernard Berrian-give me someone with wheels who demands some double coverage and opens the field. When they had TO, they were unstoppable. That was a lot of fun to watch.

bumble, what you say is true, but neither johnson nor berrian are me-o caliber players. i'd argue that they're probably not even an upgrade over kevin curtis. i'm actually happy with what the eagles chose to do in the offseason -- ignore the wideouts who'd only be a marginal upgrade (if at all) and focus on prying roy williams, larry fitzgerald, or anquan boldin away from their current teams.

i'm disappointed that they weren't able to do it, but i'm happy they made the effort to get a difference maker rather than just another guy who's basically the same as what they already have.

8:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Frank said...

Interesting post. It turned out to be a decent season.



http://www.philly.eshopsports.com/

3:43 PM EST  

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