The Definitive Guide to the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Season


Written by Gabe Bevilacqua, Jason Brewer, Sheil Kapadia, Jimmy Kempski, Tommy Lawlor, Sam Lynch, Tom McAllister, Derek Sarley, Brian Solomon, Mike Tanier Edited by Brian Solomon

Table of Contents
Letter from the Editor Meet the Writers A Special ank You 4 5 7 8 15 16 25 26 33 34 38
2012 Eagles Almanac | 2

What Happened to Michael Vick?
• By Sheil Kapadia


e Eagles Passing Attack

Fails of the Tape
• By Mike Tanier

Focus: 2011 Defensive Snap Charts

e Luxury of Feeling Okay
• By Tom McAllister

Focus: 2011 O ensive Snap Charts

Post-Apocalyptic Living
• By Gabe Bevilacqua


e Curious Case of Evan Mathis

Who Are

• By Tommy Lawlor

ese Rookies?

40 46 47 60 61 65 66 71 72 76 78
2012 Eagles Almanac | 3

Focus: More Eagles Dra Nuggets

e bEast Breakdown
• By Jimmy Kempski

Focus: NFC East by the Numbers

Make or Break Season
• By Jason Brewer

Focus: Andy Reid by the Numbers

Looking to the Future
• By Sam Lynch

Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter

Running With Shady
• By Brian Solomon


e Dog

at Didn’t Bark

1-2-3, J.B.

• By Tommy Lawlor

Letter from the Editor
Hello! ank you for purchasing the Eagles Almanac 2012. You truly are the among the cream of the crop of Eagles fans, and we wouldn’t just say that to any random Joe we might sit next to at Lincoln Financial Field. No, you actually trusted us with your hard-earned dollars and we hope to reward your trust with as much great Eagles content as we can throw your way.

Letter from the Editor

ank you for purchasing you hold in 2012. hands (or computer or of the crop of will Within this bookthe Eagles Almanacyour You truly are the among the creamtablet) weEagles try to give you a complete fans, and we wouldn’t just say that to any random Joe we might sit next to at Lincoln Financial Field. No, experience: everything from advanced statistics to detailed breakdowns of actual plays, from sentimental you actually trusted us with your hard-earned dollars and we hope to reward your trust with as much great Eagles content as we can throw your way. re ections on the past to optimistic projections of the future, from questions about the team’s 2012 Within these book you hold in your hands (or computer or tablet) we will try to give you a complete enthusiast nestled carefully into his Eagles-branded Snuggie (OK, from experience on the team: everything from advanced statistics to detailed breakdowns of actual plays,I may own one too), nor will we sentimental re ections on the past to optimistic projections of the future, from questions about the team’s into the vile despair propagated by the blowhards one might overhear shrieking from the nearest 2013 outlook to answers about the very fragility of fandom itself. Nothing will be sugar-coated for the innocent enthusiast nestled carefully into his Eagles-branded Snuggie (OK, I may own one too). But nor will dashboard radio. we delve into the vile despair propagated by the blowhards one might overhear shrieking from the nearest dashboard radio. What you will get is nothing less than the best product nine writers who happen to be fans (or is it the other (or is it the other way around?) can hope to give as our gi to you. We hope way around?) can hope to give as our gi to you, our fellow Eagles fans. We hope you like it as much as we do. If so, please let us know by shouting at us on the internet. at’s always a jolly good time. Until next time,

outlook to answers about the fragility of fandom itself. Nothing will be sugar-coated for the innocent delve

What you will get is nothing less than the best product nine Eagles writers who happen to be Eagles fans you like it as much as we do.

Until next time,

Brian Solomon

Brian Solomon June 2012

Copyright 2012 Eagles Almanac. All Rights Reserved. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 1
2012 Eagles Almanac | 4

He’s avidly followed the NFL Dra going back to the late 80′s and in the late 90′s was trained by a former NFL scout in the art of player evaluation and scouting. You can follow him on Twitter @BountyBowl. He's not a beat writer or an insider. Jimmy Kempski launched Blogging the bEast. Gabe is the founder of a so ware company (@Rallyverse) and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Jason currently resides in New York City where he is pursuing a degree in Finance & Economics from Fordham University. Jason Brewer founded Bleeding Green Nation in 2005 just in time for the worst Eagles season in the past decade. Tommy began following the Eagles during the glory days of Reggie White and Buddy Ryan. he persisted and built the site into one of the most active Eagles communities on the internet and has seen his work featured on Yahoo! Sports. Gabe maintained BountyBowl. and just ahead of a season in which the Giants won the Super before getting upgraded to IgglesBlog. and ProFootballTalk. (Giants).com.  Gabe’s admittedly a little too fascinated by the Buddy Ryan-era Birds. Jimmy lives in North Jersey with his wife. He began the website ScoutsNotebook.Meet the Writers Northeast Philly native Gabe Bevilacqua wasn’t much of a sleeper as a youngster. NFL. proving that he was dropped on his head too much as a kid. He also contributes at Bleeding Green Nation (writing about the Eagles). dog (Charlie) and cat (Butters). e New York Times. You can follow Jimmy on Twitter since 2008. in May 2011. It’s pretty much been all downhill from there. Kapadia has also contributed to SI. covering the NFC East. Dr. SNY. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his since 2007. and innocently began listening to the dulcet and (occasionally) calming tones of evening 610-WIP broadcasts as a bedtime soothing strategy. Sheil Kapadia has written the Eagles blog Moving the Chains on Philly. in the Washington Post. and e Washington Post. Despite right in the middle of the lockout. You can follow Sheil on Twitter @SheilKapadia. He also wrote about the Eagles at 2012 Eagles Almanac | 5 .com in 2005 and has written a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. J is the culprit for bringing him to Philly sports. daughter. You can follow Jason on Twitter @BleedingGreen. but enjoys talking football 365 days a year. but there’s no accounting for taste. Tommy Lawlor isn’t from Philly. especially when one is passionate about bright colors and mean-spirited defense. he once helped Koy Detmer hide from Andy Reid to avoid working at an Eagles charity playground Long ago. and Sports Illustrated. but is an Eagles fan anyway. Tommy began writing about the team in 2003.

among others. a clear upgrade. and e Black Warrior Review. He retired a er Juan Castillo obliterated all previous records in that area. Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father. but most of the time he’s tracking billionaires around the world for Forbes Magazine. Sam was trained by economists in the art of speaking-con dently-while-passing-judgment-on-other-people’sbusinesses. check his website: tom. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Solomon. e Daily Beast. author of e Philly Fan's Code. with his wife and two sons. Sam Lynch moved to Philadelphia prior to 8th grade and within 12 months had ditched the hookers-and-blow era Patriots to cheer for the Buddy Ryanera Eagles. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 6 . Brian can’t help but also write about the Eagles. nothing is as satisfying to the soul as consistently above-average You can follow Mike on Twitter @FO_MTanier. A New England native. You can follow Tommy on Twitter @lawlorn . he started posting on the Eagles Message Boards in 2004. and the writer of the weekly NFL game previews for e New York Times. searching spreadsheets for data.EaglesBlitz and IgglesBlog. Derek Sarley started the IgglesBlog back when it was still unusual for people without any relevant quali cations to take on football-related jobs. He founded his blog McNabb or Kolb back in the glorious o season of 2010 when debate swirled between those two eponymous quarterbacks. At night though. You can follow Sam on Twitter @shlynch.  Now you can nd him talking about the birds on Twitter @IgglesBlog or the one modern social media site absolutely no one uses. During graduate school. because really. Brian Solomon is a full-time reporter. before moving to the mash-up blog IgglesBlitz. and instead of paying attention to his wife and two daughters. among other things. He isn’t bothered at all that he has missed out on six Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl wins as a and follow Tom on Twitter @T_McAllister. He is the non. New Jersey.ction editor of the literary journal Barrelhouse. When not diagramming plays. and Philly. He currently contributes to Tommy Lawlor's Iggles Blitz website. Mike Tanier is a senior writer at Football Outsiders. His shorter work has appeared in e Philadelphia Inquirer.mcallister. he can be found in Mount Ephraim. For more. Football. or making fun of Rex Ryan. before he was rescued from that ctional island by the now (sadly) defunct IgglesBlog. Brian also contributes to NBC Philadelphia. and he teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia. Sam has lived in the Boston area for the past decade or so.

com “Exhaustive.A Special Thank You e Eagles Almanac 2012 sports original cover artwork courtesy of graphic designer Wes Kull. enlightening. we recommend you support them directly. and an absolute must read if you like the NFL. "A book that any self-respecting NFL fan needs to purchase" -. You can learn more about Wes at wes-kull.Bill Simmons. over 500 KUBIAK fantasy football projections. and breakdowns major college football teams. and trademark humor.Peter King. You’ll see their stats throughout the and see his entire series of NFL logos at gridiron-league. ESPN. FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS ALMANAC 2012 is the most authoritative and innovative guide to the upcoming football season. analysis of offseason personnel changes. Includes comprehensive coverage of all 32 NFL teams. The Football Outsiders crew is back with more cutting-edge statistical analysis. obsessive film 2012 Eagles Almanac | 7 . SI. Our work also wouldn’t be possible without the advanced statistical e orts of our friends at Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. and if you like what you" -. surprising in many cases.

passing touchdowns (21). they did not go to Andy Reid. But you know what they say about the bestlaid plans.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. o ering up response a er response. together. and More By Sheil Kapadia n a late July a ernoon last summer. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. and played a role in his terrible performance against the Cardinals. with sweat dripping down his face. Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin added to bolster the defense. With Kolb in Arizona.6). who was taking a knee on the sideline. the Patriots. e signals were clear: is was his o ense. the Falcons and Giants). and Nnamdi Asomugha. on the same page. Brent Celek and the rest of his teammates—making sure everyone was engaged. Mike McGlynn. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 8 . and yards per attempt (8. ey went to Vick. what happened to Vick? And what are the issues he needs to x to rebound in 2012? is chapter attempts to answer those questions.1) as the Eagles won the NFC East before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round of the playo s. e previous season. And this was his team. Photo courtesy Wigstruck. who stood patiently. So. Jason Peters. Seahawks and Giants). Michael Vick walked o a practice eld at Lehigh and subtly delivered a st-pound to his le tackle. forced him to miss three others (vs. Vick took the starting job away from Kevin Kolb and set personal career highs in completion percentage (62. Vick appeared poised to take another step in his development and lead the Eagles deep into the playo s. When practice was over and reporters sought answers about DeSean Jackson’s contract or Jeremy Maclin’s illness. O Vick committed 21 turnovers in 13 games a er having just 10 in 12 games the previous season. en he moved on to Jason Avant. Injuries knocked him out of two games (vs. Injuries.

1 For our purposes. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 9 .3 percent of his passes and averaged 7.1% 52.5% 57.2% Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Comp. he was sacked quite a bit on these plays. Vick’s numbers were pedestrian. we’ll de ne the blitz as any play in which the defense sent more than four pass rushers at Vick.9% 54. Minnesota o en sent extra pressure (31 of 58 dropbacks). On 10 of those 31 plays.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.9% Yards per Att 11.6 percent of the time.2 percent) for 199 yards (4.9 3.3% 2. Vick completed 60. % 77. Vick’s numbers against ve rushers look great—64. He completed 60. He completed 57.4 8. did teams follow that blueprint and o en send extra pressure in 2011? Here’s a look at how defenses attacked Vick last season. Injuries.4 yards per attempt. broken down by number of pass rushers: Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Percentage of Plays 9. and the team’s pass-catching weapons can still get open. When teams rushed four and dropped seven into coverage.9% 8. and Vick failed to hit on big plays against the blitz. he failed to even attempt a pass.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. In that game.4 percent of his dropbacks. e Eagles’ o ensive line is able to protect him in those situations. getting sacked ve times and taking o to run on ve other occasions. even with eight defenders in coverage.8% 42.1 yards per attempt. Vick was 31-for-40 for 470 yards when teams rushed only three. So. he committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). Defenses sent four rushers or fewer 64.1 yards per pass attempt. WHAT ABOUT SACKS? Howard Mudd was brought to Philadelphia to help Vick stay clean a er Reid promoted Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. Overall. was sacked six times and averaged just 6. against the blitz. and More HOW TEAMS ATTACKED VICK Vick’s struggles can be traced back to that infamous Tuesday night loss against the Vikings back in 2010. at happened on 35.8 7. e numbers against six or more rushers were not good.8% 64.7 percent of his non-blitz throws and averaged 8.1 completion percentage and 8.9 4.6 YPA) on those plays. HOW VICK PERFORMED Here are Vick’s passing numbers against di erent numbers of rushers: Rushing three is not the way to defend Vick. Vick completed just 22 of 43 passes (51.6 yards per attempt.9 yards per attempt—but as I’ll show in the next section.7% 24.

• Sacks that occurred between 2. that number skyrocketed to 8. Football Outsiders 2012 Eagles Almanac | 10 . despite starting two rookies (Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins) for most of the season and moving Todd Herremans from le guard to right tackle.1% 9.8 percent of his dropbacks. Here’s a look at Vick’s sacks and sack rate (number of sacks divided by dropbacks) against di erent kinds of pressure: Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Sacks 1 7 10 4 1 Sack Rate 2% 2. Deciding when to take o and run and when to throw the ball away are things Vick will have to continually work on. Vick was sacked just 2.5 seconds. But by adding just one extra rusher. meaning the o ense did a good job of avoiding those quick sacks.7 percent.1% Defenses were not very e ective at sacking Vick without sending extra pressure.5 seconds.6 percent.J.5 percent of the time. And then there’s the issue of holding on to the football too long. It’s important to remember that with defenses getting more complex.5 and 2. and More And as the numbers show.9 seconds • Sacks that occurred a er 3 seconds or more. have resulted in hits—either as he released the football or a er he picked up yards with his legs. or once every 15. In 2010. however. slightly above the league average of 2.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. or once every 21. Vick was sacked in under 2. Injuries. Mudd did an excellent job. especially as he gets older and loses some of his speed and athleticism.4 percent of his overall dropbacks.8 percent. Vick was sacked 23 times in 2011.5 dropbacks.5 seconds on 1. which was lower than the league average of 1. So. Cooper of Football Outsiders keeps track of sacks that result from quarterbacks holding on to the ball too long.8% 9. the number of rushers is not always as signi cant as where the pressure is coming from. e theory is that the o ensive line is at fault for sacks that happen in less than 2. he was sacked 34 times. When defenses sent ve or more rushers. And quarterbacks are usually to blame for the sacks that take three seconds or longer. he gets away from pressure better than any quarterback in the league. GETTING AWAY FROM PRESSURE e question of whether it’s easier or more di cult to block for Vick is a complex one. He breaks them down into three categories: • Sacks that occurred in under 2. J.6% 8. but those plays didn't result in sacks at a high rate. Four pass rushers produced a sack rate of just 2. He was sacked a er holding on to the ball for three seconds or more on 2. Vick very well might hold on to the ball longer than other quarterbacks.1 percent. On one hand. ey might.6 dropbacks. Overall. that number jumped to 8. On plays where he wasn’t blitzed.6 percent.

ese were instances where: • e defense sent more rushers than the Eagles had blockers. He believes he can keep every play alive and will ght until he has no other choice than to go down. Vick never just “takes” a sack like some other quarterbacks. Vick’s rushing numbers obviously dip. Here’s how the total numbers look on the 76 pass plays where Vick was either sacked or took o and ran. Vick’s been intercepted once every 35.4 yards. held on to the ball too long. When he got past initial pressure and crossed the line of scrimmage. the numbers are scary. I took a look at all 23 of Vick’s sacks and counted at least eight where he clearly bears some kind of responsibility. ere’s obviously a give and take here. which closed quickly.2 yards per carry. • Vick simply slipped on his dropback (only happened once). Tom Brady has been intercepted once every 46. the onus is on the quarterback to recognize what he’s seeing and get rid of the ball quickly. Designed passing plays in which he did not get rid of the ball gained on average 5.3 attempts for his career. Perhaps the best example of this was late in the season when he had his helmet ripped o against the Dolphins and still fought to stay standing. In other words. Vick was intercepted once every 30. at’s lower than his 7. To be fair. On plays like this. For his career. A er getting picked o just once every 62 attempts in 2010.8 yards per pass attempt. • Vick had time to throw.2 attempts in 2011. and Josh Freeman was third with seven. Plays Scrambles Sacks TOTAL 53 23 76 Yards 538 -126 412 When you factor in the yards lost on sacks. He took o 53 times and piled up 538 yards. we knew Vick’s interception rate was going to increase last season.6 attempts. once every 55. If you isolate Vick’s improvised runs (designed pass plays). and More noted that Vick escaped 17 possible sacks last season. But we have to add in the plays where he was sacked too. couldn’t nd a receiver and was eventually sacked. Tim Tebow was second with 12. But the drastic change (14 interceptions in 13 games) was cause for concern. far and away the most in the NFL. And Aaron Rodgers. at’s part of what coaches and teammates love about Vick – he’s fearless. Injuries. and that includes the years in Atlanta when he clearly was not as good a passer 2012 Eagles Almanac | 11 . his interception rate in 2010 was unsustainable. • Vick took o before he needed to—either because of perceived pressure or because he thought he saw a running lane. Vick was picking up big chunks of yardage. On the other hand. As a point of reference. blocking for Vick can be more di cult than blocking for a traditional pocket passer. THE TURNOVERS Pretty much every preseason article you read about Vick will focus on two items: turnovers and injuries. at comes out to 10.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.3 attempts.

he played most of the game with broken ribs. e tipped passes were a problem for Vick (one of the shortest quarterbacks in the league at 6’0”) in 2010 also. In 2011. who spun around and collided with Todd Herremans. he was pretty much out of bounds when the ball came out. is injury had nothing to do with Vick being reckless. Vick underthrew him on that one). Four of Vick’s 10 fumbles came when he was scrambling or running. e other three were the result of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 12 . It goes both ways though. and one of those was on the exchange with Kelce. and More as he is now. So it’s reasonable to expect him to have better luck next season. scramble and make big plays with his legs. he actually had more fumbles (11). is was not a designed roll-out. but refuses to. However. He had three (one lost) in the nal 10 games. Of the remaining interceptions. On one play against the Falcons. Vick su ered four di erent injuries last season: a concussion against the Falcons. and his teammate (McCoy) didn’t do his job. seven appeared to be bad throws/bad decisions by Vick. THE INJURIES Vick was listed on the injury report nine times last season. a bruised right hand against the Giants. Vick had six potential interceptions dropped by defenders. According to Pro Football Focus. And that’s why injuries marred his 2011 season. an injured nger against the 49ers and two broken ribs against the Cardinals. He executed the play well. that rate got worse at one out of every 30. Bruised right hand: e Eagles ran a playaction fake. Steve Smith let a ball go right through his hands against the Giants. On another. Injuries. but the Eagles only lost three. ose are the ones he needs to eliminate in 2012. to be fair. He missed three games completely and failed to nish two more.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. allow the facts to get in the way. and it showed. Moore hit Vick. In reality. e narrative some cling to is that Vick likes to leave the pocket. Vick stayed in the pocket and delivered a beautiful pass to Maclin for a 23-yard completion. And then there were the fumbles. But let’s. he was stripped by Atlanta’s Peria Jerry before he could hand the ball to LeSean McCoy a er a fake toss in the red zone. Jason Avant had the ball ripped out of his hands against the Bills.2 attempts. Vick had a ball batted at the line of scrimmage once every 37. ere was also a Hail Mary attempt against the Jets as time ran out in the rst half. Again. e good news is that seven of Vick’s 10 fumbles came in the rst three games. He needs to slide. By my count.2 attempts in 2010. ere were three instances where the pick was not really his fault. And DeSean Jackson failed to ght for a deep ball in one-on-one coverage against the 49ers (although. for a moment. according to Football Outsiders. it’d be oversimplifying things to say he was just careless with the football. Vick had 10 fumbles and lost four. I went b ack and lo oke d at e ver y interception he threw in 2011. e problem? LeSean McCoy did a poor job of picking up blitzing Falcons safety William Moore on Vick’s front side. Vick’s ball security was no di erent than the previous season. In 2010. Here’s a look at what happened on each play: Concussion: Vick stayed in the pocket and completed a 9-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin. as he turned in perhaps his worst game as an Eagle. Against Arizona.

he was in the pocket and completed a pass on the play.8% 58.7% 9. I’m hoping you’ve begun to notice a pattern.3 percent) was on the intermediate throws from 11-20 yards. Broken ribs: Reid said Vick’s broken ribs were sustained on the second play of the Cardinals game when linebacker Dar yl Washington came untouched on Vick’s front side and nailed him as he got rid of the ball to Brent Celek for a 13-yard gain. But again.4% 3. the Eagles are still a big-play o ense.1% 21.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.1 percent).7% e main increase (5.2% 67.1 percent) and Drew Brees (52. So really. and per PFF. What do all these injuries have in common? One. Here’s a similar chart that shows completion percentages in the di erent ranges.8% 42. 13. at ranked seventh among all quarterbacks.3% 45.5% 3.5% 54. he actually completed the pass each time. He completed 24 of 58 of those passes. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 20. Sure.6% 2. As for accuracy.0% 2011 22. and Vick publicly complained about the o cials in his post-game press conference. Vick was pretty good with the deep ball (passes that traveled 20+ yards).7% 27.1% 43.2% 30. and More Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty nailed him right under the chin with his helmet.1% 65.0% 33. Injuries.7 percent). he was in the pocket when he sustained each of them. at ranked fourth in the NFL. but wasn’t. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 82.7 percent of his deep balls were on target. Tony Romo (54.0% 30. six were dropped. Injured nger: By now. behind only Rodgers (60. 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith got some pressure against Jason Peters around the edge on Vick’s front side and hit his nger as Vick released the football. Vick puts himself at risk when he leaves the pocket and takes on defenders who are trying to rip his head o . Below is a table of where Vick threw the ball (percentage of attempts). A penalty could have been called on the play.9% 2012 Eagles Almanac | 13 . And two.7 percent of Vick’s pass attempts traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. But the notion that he was prone to injury last season because he ran too much and was reckless is o -base.1% 38.0% 7. Vick stood in the pocket and delivered a 7-yard completion to McCoy.5% 2011 71.4% 40. According to Pro Football Focus. VICK’S TARGETS With Jackson and Maclin on the outside. he threw 30 “catchable” balls. comparing 2010 and 2011.2% 1. Or you could say 51.

it’d be great if Vick protected himself and avoided big hits. If Vick can master those things. It’s reasonable to expect second-year players Kelce and Watkins to improve also. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 14 . averaging 66. it was 10. chances are it’s just not going to happen. Vick should have a happy DeSean Jackson. he can lead the Eagles deep into the playo s. the injuries last year took place when he was in the pocket. 10. Vick needs to do a better job nding passing lanes while in the pocket. Photo courtesy SRA Moses Ross. He needs to make better decisions and take care of the football when he scrambles. while leading all tight ends with 500 yards a er the catch. but give Reid and Howie Roseman credit for acting quickly and signing Bell. ere’s no question that the Peters loss is To cut down on turnovers. Receiver drops in 2010 and 2011 were almost identical. If he can’t. Sheil Kapadia has written Philly. Vick usually puts the ball where it needs to be. and provides a versatile weapon who can be e ective in the red zone. he had the respect of his peers— teammates and opponents alike. since’s Eagles/NFL blog. e pieces are in place. who has 30 career starts under his belt and should at least be serviceable. As soon as Vick was named the starter in 2010. Accuracy is not a major issue. According to PFF. Moving the Chains. e intangibles are not an issue either. now that he received a new contract. meanwhile. When he targets an open receiver. if he doesn’t put everything together now. and More e only area where Vick’s completion percentage increased in 2011 was on the throws from 11-20 yards. at means working with Howard Mudd and Kelce to identify what’s coming before the ball is snapped and getting rid of the football on time. rather than ght for an extra yard here and there. Maclin. Injuries. the Eagles return four of ve starters. Up front. In 2010. As I mentioned above. and probably before then. which means Vick needs to get the most out of his o season with Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. And Celek averaged nearly 70 yards per game receiving in his last 10. At wide receiver.309 yards on the ground and led the league with 14 runs of 20+ yards. I mentioned his toughness earlier. At 32 years old. McCoy is coming o a career year in which he piled up 1.6 percent. As for injuries. But I’m not sure that change is going to take place at this point in his career.1 yards per game last season. the team will have a decision to make at quarterback before 2013.3 percent of Vick’s catchable balls were dropped in 2011. And we know there’s no throw he can’t make.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. set a career high. according to STATS. WHAT TO EXPECT? is is Vick’s rst full o season as a starting quarterback since 2006.

32nd in NFL 52 4.5 Eagles pass attempts per game in 2011.Focus: The Eagles Passing Attack Eagles Pass Targets Distribution by Position 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2004 2005 2006 Wide Receiver 2007 2008 Tight End 2009 2010 Running Back 2011 Eagles TD percentage in red zone in 2011. 14th in the NFL Eagles QBs yards per attempt in 2011. 8th in NFL 2012 Eagles Almanac | 15 35 7.4 . 14th in NFL Eagles QBs interception percentage in 2011.

but the Eagles are more concerned T about the pass. DRC nally recovers and knocks Turner out of bounds for a 61-yard gain. gets juked. e Falcons score a touchdown ve plays later. And Mike Ka a is the Eagles quarterback. Michael Turner is the single setback. FOURTH QUARTER: Michael Turner’s 61-yard run It’s a simple play. Eagles 31. Matthews misreads the blocks and stumbles into the line. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the slot cornerback. Coleman changes direction. Page takes a bad angle when trying to corral Turner. Jarrad Page is the deep safety. Unfortunately. Final score: Falcons 35. DRC escapes the block of a receiver and pursues Turner. WEEK 2. defending the gap between defensive tackle and end. and the Eagles defense put a lot of extra e ort into making sure their best sprinter got bumped o by his teammate. It’s a bad run-stopping alignment. Watching tape of some of the most disastrous plays. EAGLES VS. Casey Matthews defends a similar wide gap between Trent Cole and Mike Patterson on the o ensive le . and falls backward. DRC has been accused of many faults. Kurt Coleman knifes in from his safety spot on the o ensive le . It’s a footrace. Jamar Chaney stands three yards back. the Falcons will face 2nd-and-13. between the right guard and tackle. but his pure speed is never in question. it is hard to comprehend how so many things can simultaneously go wrong. Turner takes the hando and follows Blalock. Chaney is swallowed. ere are three wide receivers. Le guard Justin Blalock pulls into the gap between right guard and right tackle. It is 1stand-17 a er a holding penalty. At the snap. and the Falcons just want to gain ve or six yards. from a simple formation. Turner darts inside of him. Jenkins is double teamed. and bumps into DRC. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 16 . bumps into the right guard while beginning his pursuit. FALCONS. far away from Babin.Fails Of The Tape Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense By Mike Tanier he 2011 Eagles defense reminded me of the Texas coroner who found a body with six gunshot wounds in the back and ruled it a suicide. A 10-point Eagles fourth quarter lead has become a four-point Falcons lead. where the center makes sure he doesn’t accidentally do something heroic. e cliché is literally true: you could drive a truck between them. and Gonzalez obliges him. e Eagles are in their all-too-typical defensive front. Cullen Jenkins is in three-technique. If everyone executes. Jason Babin lines up at least two yards to the right of Gonzalez’s right shoulder. Babin charges straight up eld. It’s Chaney versus Blalock and Turner on a turnpike onramp. Tony Gonzalez the tight end on the right side. He takes a perfect angle to tackle the spot on the eld Turner vacated well over one second earlier.

Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 17 .

DeMeco Ryans is a former Pro Bowler who became expendable in Houston because he did not t their 3-4 defense. in contrast to Matthews’ 5. He only selects a handful of plays. ey have a 23-3 lead in the third quarter. instead of on a mortgage payment. Page and Asomugha blitz the le side. not system failure. his strategic acumen undeveloped. If the Eagles did not have a completely inept linebacker and two very bad safeties on the eld. Not just any blitz. e Eagles stu ed 23 percent of opposing ball-carriers. inching down from his deep safety position. Before the snap. You beat him. 49ERS. Both still have the potential to grow. Unlike some of the plays we will look at in a few moments. Ryans allowed an average of 3. He has the re exes and the innate gamer skills that come from being a youngster who can focus his energies on the controller. along with Jamar Chaney. when the Eagles were still adjusting to the Wide-9 philosophy. ey are making no e ort to hide it. the third highest percentage in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. which is a nice way of saying that neither has shown us much of anything yet.4 yards per carry. because his talents are unre ned and misapplied. the kid seems awesome.9. (Chaney posted a more acceptable 3. At the snap. FOURTH QUARTER: Josh Morgan’s 30-yard touchdown e Eagles are blitzing. All four defensive 2012 Eagles Almanac | 18 .801 rushing yards. He controls the middle linebacker.4 yards per tackle last year. the kind the Eagles have lacked since Jeremiah Trotter got old. But the more you play against him. every opponent’s running play was either feast or famine. Juan Castillo calls a blitz. and when players like Page and Matthews were playing major roles. Rookie Mychal Kendricks adds competition at outside linebacker: if the Eagles are forced to play mix-and-match. particularly on defense. or a neighbor’s kid? At rst. EAGLES VS. and he just runs around the eld.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense OVERRUN AND RUN OVER For the Eagles last year. 4. He is an e ective in-the-box run stu er. *** Have you ever played Madden against a teenaged nephew.6). Facing the Eagles defense last year must have been a lot like facing a teenager in Madden. but a seven-man jailbreak. Safety is a bigger issue. Matthews will be relegated to special teams if he remains on the roster this year. WEEK 4. e 49ers have driven to the Eagles 30-yard line. and 55 runs of ten or more yards. usually hitting the dive button or icking the “big tackle” stick far too soon. e problems on run defense were most acute early in the season. over and over. it will not be from among endless retreads like Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou. blitzing or chasing the running back. this would have been a seven-yard gain. and on 2nd-and-8. Coleman is still listed as a starter. with Nate Allen and last year’s second round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett in the mix as starters at free safety. Both Allen and Jarrett will appear later in this essay. Yet they allowed 1. the more aws you nd in his game. Turner’s run was the result of personnel and execution failures. the kind that should be safe for a team that acquired the deepest cornerback corps in the league and two top pass rushers in the o season. Nnamdi Asomugha creeps into the box on the o ensive right. So does Jarrad Page.

Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 19 .

but it would have been impossible for him to not have allowed at least a rst-down catch unless he 2012 Eagles Almanac | 20 . or (heaven forbid) Buddy Ryan ever drew up is purely coincidental. Asomugha looks tentative as he approaches the line. Morgan is wide open because Samuel is playing deep. Rolle. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Allen and Rolle are in no position to stop him. no Eagles defender had any idea how to take an angle in the open eld in the rst half of last season. who started the season on the bench. as noted on the Falcons play. Unfortunately. because the 49ers slide their protection to the o ensive right. Even with Cole out of the game at that point. Fi h. e Eagles gave Smith the Easy Reader version of a dangerous blitz. A quick toss to Vernon Davis or Delanie Walker would have had the same result as the slant to Morgan. or keep them deep so the blitz is disguised. Bud Carson. with his body angled so his back is toward the sideline. Fourth. ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS Let’s count all the problems with that Morgan touchdown. e Eagles are le with four defenders in coverage: Asante Samuel. He handled it poorly (it is appalling that he never gets a nger on Morgan). at’s a lot of failure. and he is preparing to pursue. He is obviously in zone coverage. It helps that the play is a quick slant. and you see Samuel begin to backpedal in the opposite direction from Morgan! He knows that he has allowed a completion. e 49ers somehow do the impossible: they stop seven pass rushers with six blockers. he takes the O cial Bad Angle of the 2011 Eagles. Either place Asomugha and Page at the line so they can get a good jump. never one to initiate contact. ird. should not be given such an assignment less than ten weeks a er receiving his rst NFL playbook. It’s as if both Rolle and Allen expect Morgan to stand still and wait to be tackled. Rolle tries to close on Morgan. that team should actually commit to it. Alex Smith planting a er three steps and ring to Josh Morgan. but the guy who made the most apparent mistake was Samuel: he was covering Morgan. Morgan does not wait. deep safety Nate Allen. Any resemblance between this Eagles blitz and anything Jimmy Johnson. e problem is that Samuel was given an assignment almost as impossible as Rolle’s. He turns up eld and nearly jogs into the end zone. Freeze the tape when the pass is thrown. Second. a rookie linebacker is responsible for defending the entire short middle of the eld. two of the best man-coverage cornerbacks in the NFL are used as a zone defender and a pass rusher on this play. a er all. wide angle. with a running back waiting to neutralize Page and a tight end chipping a defender before running his route. a team that signed Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin as free agents should never have to resort to a seven-man blitz to apply pass pressure. and rookie linebacker Brian Rolle. Page takes a wide. the Eagles had the manpower to rush Smith. Samuel. Rolle aims for the spot Morgan vacates as soon as he catches the ball. First. Allen sees all of this from his deep safety position and decides the best thing to do is start running forward. is call was made against a 49ers team that uses many two tight end sets.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense linemen also rush. in the event that a team does decide to blitz seven. follows in not-so-hot pursuit. While Samuel prepares for damage control. as designed. e Eagles have clearly telegraphed their intentions.

the Eagles ran Castillo’s playbook. or with Brandon Boykin. e pass defenders play man coverage. very generic. It is very vanilla. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. hope rests with the defensive coordinator’s ability to keep things simple and use his available resources properly. More importantly. He nished third in Success Rate. Had the Eagles used a default playbook last year. the fourth round pick with great athletic potential. the high-e ort survivor who o en outplayed DRC last year. Instead of made-up numbers. the four defensive linemen rush the passer. he gave up 10 touchdowns. As for the tackling. or preaching to the base of Eagles fans who hate so tacklers. with a little Cover-2 or Cover-3 mixed in.4 yards. A linebacker blitzes once in a while. For every pick he turned into six. with its strange fetishes for zone coverage and 2012 Eagles Almanac | 21 .” Ladies and gentlemen: DRC. his credibility died the moment he wrote that “the two Eagles cornerbacks who remain. let’s look at some Football Outsiders numbers. they could have used man coverage on nearly every passing play. Come to think of it. *** ere exists a default. no one will ever mistake Samuel for Brian Dawkins. Samuel nished third in the NFL in yards allowed per pass in his direction: 4. interception. With Babin and Cole at defensive end. Whatever he was doing. it is full of variations on “base. holding his receivers to an incomplete pass. On defense.” Hayes said. wrapped in a mirage. With Samuel and Asomugha at cornerback. but with Joselio Hanson. they may have nished 11-5. Nonetheless. Instead. It consists of the basic plays that are used at every level above Pop Warner. It is used for high school all star games and the like. in the Daily News a er the Eagles traded the former Pro Bowler to the Falcons for a seventh round pick.0 yards per catch a er receptions.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense abandoned his zone and freelanced. e columnist’s statistical breakdown of Samuel was also more entertaining than true: “For each of his 23 interceptions as an Eagle. the rookie linebackers could just be athletes. not because he was a bad player. can now play real NFL defense—the kind where they wrestle with a receiver at the line of scrimmage. the latter number possibly true once you account for the fact that pick-6’s are incredibly rare (Samuel had two in four years) and that ve touchdowns allowed in four years is not a particularly high total for a starting cornerback. and inaccurately.” In the default playbook. Samuel missed ve tackles. H a y e s w a s e n g a g i n g i n “c o m i c ” exaggeration. e Senior Bowl uses a version of it. a fourman rush would have been adequate on 90% of passing downs. Hope for the Eagles secondary rests not just with a more motivated DRC. or minimal gain on 67% of pass attempts. but he allowed an average of just 2. Marcus Hayes ripped Samuel viciously. second best in the NFL. it did not happen. inside an illusion. With simple schemes. or settling some writer’s grudge. “Asante Samuel was a fraud. the 23-iso runs and bootleg passes. standard-issue football playbook.” at’s 115 missed tackles and 20 touchdowns allowed. e free safety stays in the deep middle. run with him step-for-step and dare the quarterback to throw at them. ignoring coaches instructions may have been the best thing an Eagles defender could do last year. e Eagles traded Samuel for cheap because he was angry about his role and his contract. paragon of tackling virtue.

Wells is in the back eld. a er the catch. Je King. Samuel is over Fitzgerald in tight coverage. Jamar? Larry Fitzgerald is coming. it did not match the situation: the lockout le the Eagles with little time to integrate complicated new philosophies into a defense lled with new faces. Fitzgerald’s 46yard diving catch that set up a game-tying touchdown. it is di cult to nd examples of good coaching decisions. it is no mystery who they want to get the ball to. Worse yet. Any high school quarterback could read it. Midway through the second quarter. But on the most critical play of the game. And it is wonderful news for Skelton. You are just dying to know how the Eagles counter this simple formation. Jim Dray. follows tight end King to the o ensive le . Even my wife knew when I asked her. is is zone defense. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 22 . a play Marcus Hayes must have missed. Fitzgerald is in front of Rolle. and DRC could not stay with him.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense Wide-9 defensive fronts. Where are the safeties? Coleman is tangled up with King in the end zone. EAGLES VS. CARDINALS. Don’t blame the rookie: Ray Lewis in his prime could not cover Fitzgerald. because Fitzgerald is about to run a drag over the middle of the eld. It is easy to cherry-pick examples of poor coaching decisions. Samuel bails until he is ve yards o the ball. Fitzgerald is split wide to the right. In the Cardinals game. and Chaney is following the quarterback’s eyes. responsible for the middle zone. covering Dray. given hours of game tape. at the 10-yard line. Particularly in the red zone. at King and Roberts occupied two defenders each on simple “stretch the eld” routes is not the most befuddling element of this defense: it’s the fact that Asomugha is stranded in the at. and Fitzgerald hauled in one deep pass against Samuel-Jarrett double coverage. all eyes— and the best available coverage—should be on Fitzgerald. away from the Pro Bowl cornerbacks and into the realm of rookie linebackers and safeties like Rolle and Jarrett. But Jamar? Hello. aren’t you? ey are in their base 4-3 personnel. Andre Roberts. When John Skelton is on the eld with Beanie Wells. a Cover-2 call le Jarrett all alone with the All Pro Fitzgerald while Samuel and Asomugha covered the ats. e scheme did not match the personnel. SECOND QUARTER: Larry Fitzgerald’s 10yard touchdown. Samuel covered Fitzgerald on many snaps. Please do not sell out in your e ort to blanket a journeyman tight end. Asomugha over Roberts before the motion. DRC stopped and watched Fitzgerald run down eld. the Cardinals hid their star in the slot. e results: lapse a er head-scratching lapse. Chaney. particularly in coverage. Jarrett is helping Samuel double-cover Roberts. but the Eagles decided to play zone in the rest of their secondary. who caught two passes in all of 2011. Roberts motions from split le to the right slot. On another big Fitzgerald reception. Asomugha drew coverage on Fitzgerald. WEEK 10. Fitzgerald makes one move and reaches the end zone. as they did when Roberts caught a 20-yard pass between Rolle and Coleman. and Larry Fitzgerald. ere is only one player on the Arizona Cardinals o ense you need to game-plan for. King and Dray are tight on the le side. When Roberts moves. With one quick move. Yes. Asomugha stays put as the force defender on the le . Occasionally. Skelton is looking that way.

Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 23 .

everything happened as Reid planned. When the lockout erased weeks of preparation. you can almost absolve Reid and Castillo for destroying a promising season. If you can internalize that funnel cake logic. Why can’t we? Hope for 2012 rides with that logic. If the o ense hopes to carry the defense.” And then there was Castillo. Author of The Philly Fan's Code. “ It sounds like Reid expected to win 35-31 and 31-24 games instead of losing them. I thought that the young guys on defense could get where they ended up getting by the end of the season sooner. expecting the players to learn it on the y. eir coverage of Fitzgerald brought to mind Ned Flanders’ discipline-challenged parents from a classic Simpsons episode: “We’ve tried nothing. I thought he did a good job. ey just need the chance to do their jobs properly. All of that was new. and the Eagles don’t deserve a mulligan for 2011. e way free agency was set up was di erent. “ e lockout was di erent.” he said in the March press conference. I goofed on that one. But everybody had the same things. at’s my responsibility. Let’s hope they make the most of it.” He also acknowledged that the lockout played a role. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 24 . there were a lot of moving parts he was dealing with. e ability to practice. Castillo. It didn’t work out that way. and nothing worked. but they got one. e o ense was forced to try to carry the defense in the early going: they just could not do so.” GOOFY Andy Reid admitted during the 2012 owners meetings that he “goofed” when he allowed inexperienced defenders to start in the middle of the defense. e Eagles defense simply bloomed too late.ddle role to the o ense. I knew that going in. e Cole-Babin-Asomugha-Ryans defensive core is incredibly talented. “We had young guys. DRC. e Eagles started to gure out their defense in mid-December. Jenkins. not only with the coaching sta but also the personnel. By those standards. I didn’t execute it very well. Reid just shrugged his shoulders and told Castillo to go ahead with the recon gured defense. I know everybody’s got their own opinion on how he did things. would carry the defense and the defense would gradually get better and better and better. I really thought coming into the season that the o ense. But again.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense e Cardinals game represented the nadir of common sense for the Eagles defense. You can’t use that as an excuse. “ e problem that I had. and Babin for the express purpose of not being ready to start the season as anything more than a second. Mike Tanier covers football for the New York Times and is a senior writer at Football Outsiders. Reid. e guys were standing on the sidelines —you had all your free agents standing on the sideline for a period of time. who never calls out a subordinate. because we had the continuity. You expect the “good job” a rmation from Reid. and free agency rules erased another full week of practice opportunities for several new starters. but the “moving parts” and the “carry the defense” remarks suggest a kind of bonkers logic: the Eagles signed or acquired Asomugha. the defense must stop ailing. Je Lurie managed to do it. “Listen. e problem is that the Eagles had the personnel to win 31-17 and 24-10 games. man.

-Cromartie 150 Samuel Asomugha 100 Cornerback Snaps: 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 200 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 2012 Eagles Almanac | 25 .Focus: 2011 Defensive Snap Charts 200 Chaney Clayton Rolle Matthews Jordan Fokou Linebacker Snaps: 150 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Hunt Parker Tapp Laws Landri Cole Patterson Jenkins Babin 320 240 160 80 0 1 Defensive Line Snaps: 2 3 4 5 6 7 250 Hughes Hanson R.

isn't that old. making your peace with God just in case. You spend hundreds of hours every year researching fantasy football statistics and adjusting your rankings so that you can be sure that.. okay.and then you turn 30. Which. . Jabar Ga ney is actually the forty-eighth best fantasy receiver rather than the forty-seventh. are as much an insider as the beat writers because you care more about the team than they do. isn't it? If you were a horse. You watch every game. you would have beaten the odds by surviving to thirty years old. but to you it’s a calling. If this were the Renaissance. it is kind of old. you’d be a village elder.. you have the luxury of feeling okay about thirty. People know you as e Eagles Guy because you’re always wearing a hooded Eagles sweatshirt and hanging Eagles paraphernalia on your o ce door where others post comic strips and family photos. from bobbleheads to shoelaces to ags that ap patriotically in the breeze in front of your house. in one sense. You have other interests and hobbies and friends. To them it’s a job. Photo courtesy Kevin Burkett. You have led the Eagles to ten consecutive video game Super Bowls. of believing it’s not even the halfway point. really. say. You own every Eagles-related accessory you can acquire. you are de ned by your status as an Eagles fan. have internalized every rumor. of thinking I’m only just getting started. But. but. F If you’d been born on the wrong continent even today. you’d be dead by now.The Luxury of Feeling Okay Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 By Tom McAllister or most of your life. but you get in the habit of telling people the only thing you need for your life to feel complete is an Eagles Super Bowl. know every player. Which. you have 2012 Eagles Almanac | 26 . people remind you.

The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 to believe. Imagine the fans all blithely dismissing you as if you’re ancient. adult job with real responsibilities. usually. lazy sportswriters comparing you to Methuselah just because you remember Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle. • At which point. especially if you’re an Eagles fan. then why would you have stayed in college. the wounded. thirty is the end. Imagine being a hero in the morning and an a erthought by the evening. I feel exactly like I did yesterday except today everyone is paying attention to me and there’s cake. Imagine being twenty-seven and knowing you’ve peaked. Imagine being perpetually connected with the label elder statesman just because you remember receiving hundreds of free CDs from AOL in the mail. Imagine devoting eighty percent of your life to doing one thing. Too o en. But when you’re thirty. you do feel a little older. and they require you to take stock of where you are. Dates and times are arbitrary and such milestones are arbitrary and yet they still carry weight. Imagine being thirty and having to answer daily questions about your legacy. because if you didn’t. • At which point you have a mortgage (or two). and then grad school. who you have become. and today you are thirty years old: • At which point you have a real. Players are more disposable. of course not. the punch lines and the sad cases who held on a few years too long. Or maybe more accurately: you feel conscious of being older. Imagine yourself as a fan who has lived vicariously through these athletes for your entire life. *** On birthdays. Coaches hang around well until retirement age. it becomes a chore to meet a friend for a happy hour beer. *** Sports are theater in which age is the primary antagonist. they demand a certain level of introspection. if only because you need to have some answers ready for the inevitable questions from well-wishers and co-workers. as if you would even be capable of eulogizing yourself. rather than a spur-of-the-moment decision. you can no longer eat food court pizza without feeling sick for the rest of the day. Yesterday you were twenty-nine. a week ago you were twenty. Because. the end result of twelve emails and extensive schedule juggling. and now nding yourself in a situation where you have to live vicariously through the players who are washed up. you know thirty is the beginning of the end. the burnouts. the answer is No. they disappear within a couple years. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 27 . and then terrible entry-level jobs until you were twenty-six? How could you have rationalized any of that without being guided by the faith that you  have plenty of time? ink about the arrogance  it  takes to just assume you’re going to  get  to  live  as  long as you feel like living until you’ve  accomplished everything you feel like accomplishing. but the lifespan of an athlete is uncomfortably similar to that of a Medieval serf. people like to ask: Do you feel older? And. • At which point. and they’re lucky to even stay in the league long enough to celebrate their thirtieth birthday. as if you’re a king abdicating his throne. here’s the thing: if you're a football fan. and then not being allowed to do it anymore.

The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30

possibility of reaching the pinnacle. is is the point when the league can get someone hooked on their product for life. And, like countless others, I bought in because I loved watching games with my family, and besides it was nice to dream for a while. Even a er it became obvious that I would never be a great athlete— which I never verbalized, but having to must have intuited by the time I got to high school, live vicariously *** when I didn’t even make the through the rst cut on the freshman I can’t pinpoint exactly soccer team, actually fell players who are the moment of epiphany— asleep in the grass behind washed up, the maybe it was while I was the goal during practice watching a game or maybe while the others played on burnouts, the reading a fawning interview without me—I still felt wounded, the with an arrogant rookie in a bonded to the Eagles. Still glossy magazine—but I dreamed about possibly punch lines and remember distinctly the meeting them, still felt okay the sad cases who about rooting for strangers realization that I have nothing in common with because I felt like I’d gotten held on a few these players who I have to know them via Sundays in years too long. idolized for so long. ey front of the TV and press live in a world I cannot conferences and pro les in access. ey’ve had experiences I cannot the Inquirer, and maybe in my youthful understand. ey are, by necessity, largely enthusiasm I vaguely connected with them, saw unplugged from real life and ignorant to world an exciting rookie like Charlie Garner whistling a airs. And they are bizarrely, almost grotesquely past 49ers defenders and viewed him as athletic to the extent that we may as well be analogous to my own life as an ascending student. classi ed as a di erent species. When I was Or maybe I was just a kid and I liked things kids younger, I thought I could relate to the players, like, and I wanted to spend time with my dad and felt like maybe someday I could be them. e my brother, and I never progressed beyond the league relies on this collective delusion, needs simplistic notion that it would be cool, one day, to kids everywhere—even chubby kids, lazy kids hang out with Andy Harmon or Seth Joyner. with a negative vertical leap who would rather Never wanted much beyond the excitement that stay inside playing Tecmo Bowl than be outside seemed inherent to football Sundays. Never tried risking sunburn or bee stings—to believe in the to process what is so thrilling about waiting in • At which point you either have a child (or two) or you spend half your waking hours explaining to people with children why you don’t have a child (or two) yet. • At which point you don’t invest your emotional well-being in football anymore, don’t allow your self-esteem to hinge on the outcome of a sporting event, cannot bring yourself to care like you used to. Imagine
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The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30

line at West Chester for a half hour just to get autographs from Roy Green, David Archer, and Je Kemp. ( ink about that—a twelve year old kid in Philly bragging to his friends that he got an autograph from Je Kemp, of all people, without knowing any of the context around him, the Senator father, the family’s NFL legacy, the fact that Kemp grew up in a di erent universe than I did, and also was overall a pretty terrible NFL quarterback.) And so we return to the realization: I don’t know anything about these guys and, truthfully, there is very little chance that I want to know more about them. e paradox here is that I actually could know the players better than ever before, can access their lives, however super cially, via Facebook and Twitter, and yet I nd the idea deeply o -putting. My football obsessions used to be a specialized knowledge, but now all the information in the world is streaming toward us whether we like it or not, and it all seems like too much. Now if I’m reading the twitter feeds, I’m just one of thousands of people who know the same thing, I’m just another guy with some opinions. Whereas my 17 year-old self—or, let’s be honest, my 27 year-old self—would have spent full days skimming players’ twitter feeds, searching for clues as to their whereabouts, maybe even trying to “accidentally” bump into them somewhere in the city, now I can barely bring myself to look. Really, it’s for the best that these options weren’t available when I was younger because there’s a good chance I would have burrowed myself so deeply in my Eagles lair that I would have su ocated. e thing is, I know there are perfectly reasonable people who can view these feeds in moderation and not lose themselves, but that has never been an option for

me, and anyway, it seems clearer than ever that I’m better o knowing less about the players I cheer for. What kind of conversation could I possibly have, for example, with DeSean Jackson? How long would I allow Jason Avant to quote Bible passages to me before I moved on and tested my resolve against one of Babin or Cole’s hunting stories? How many times in a row could I listen to Jamar Chaney’s story about that one time he made a tackle behind the line of scrimmage? How long until I wandered down toward the kickers, who at least are built a little more like I am, and then found out that, no, they’re actually elite athletes who have lived inside the elite athlete bubble their entire lives too, and, no, they don’t particularly care about the dumb things I care about either. How long could they tolerate me talking about a great novel by Michael Ondaatje or complaining about property taxes or explaining pedagogical issues in freshman composition classes? Our common ground is the Eagles, and yet we have completely di erent histories with the team, completely di erent motivations. Maybe this seems obvious. But it took me a while to get there, and there is probably still a small part of me that thinks I could be friends with Sheldon Brown if we ever somehow met. Regardless, this realization is time-centric in that a) it took me such a long time to gure it out, and b) part of the gulf between me and the players is age-based, now that the Eagles have begun dra ing players who were born in 1990 and soon enough they will be dra ing players who were born when I was in high school, and they’ll be cutting guys who are younger than me because they are too old to perform adequately. Eventually, they will come to exist as an
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The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30

abstraction, something so far removed from my experience that I can’t even remember it.

phone for sending and receiving text messages from friends because it’s too hard to coordinate schedules with one another to actually watch *** games together, and there were U-haul boxes stacked in the corners because we had bought a is is what game day used to look like: new place and were moving in a few weeks. When there were a dozen people in my living room, Marshawn Lynch ran through the entire Eagles there were empty bottles scattered across the defense for a touchdown that was symbolic of last co ee table, there were season’s e ort—it doesn’t paper towels wadded up on seem possible now, but I the carpet to soak up spilled Why should I have remember him breaking beer, there were numerous twelve tackle attempts by to defend my artery-clogging dips, there Kurt Coleman on a single fandom anyway? was a whole array of lucky play—I should have been charms and accessories, and outraged and there should there was actually a printed list of house rules on have been destruction (stabbing a box with display so that the occasional interloper would scissors, maybe? Putting my foot through the understand that this was not just a game but an drywall?), but instead I laughed and I turned o important and essential ritual that was to be the TV before the game was over. And I didn’t run respected. ere was yelling, and there was to message boards or sports radio like I used to. I profanity, sometimes a competition to see who didn’t watch postgame shows. I went to bed, and could nd the most creative way to spew in the morning when I woke up, I wasn’t angry or obscenities at the opponents and Joe Buck. ere inconsolable. I was too tired and distracted by were items hurled across the room and there were other responsibilities to worry about why the minor injuries, usually self-in icted but Eagles decided to use 2011 as a test case for sometimes incurred in ghts with roommates. running a ag football defense. ere was silence during plays, strategic phone calls placed between quarters, and a week full of *** brooding if the Eagles lost. e remainder of the day was wasted on message boards and postgame A few years ago, I published a book partly shows and talk radio. about being an Eagles fan. e second chapter is is what game day looked like during was titled “Confessions of an Obsessed Football the Eagles’ loss to the Seahawks in 2011, the Fan,” in which I listed seven confessions. Well, pitiful performance that both typi ed and here’s the eighth: I don’t care what happens to the e ectively ended the season: there was me and Eagles this year. there was my wife for one quarter before she went Does this make me a bad fan? Probably it to bed, and there was a glass of water because I’m does. Probably it makes me a sellout and not a trying to adopt a healthier diet, and there were diehard and all of the things that would get me student essays to grade, and there was my cell kicked out of any respectable tailgate party. Ten
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The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30

years ago, I would have felt like I had to do in the immediate a ermath of a loss, and they can something stupid to atone for my sins against the turn their focus toward their responsibilities Eagles, to re-establish my credibility. Get a tattoo, without having to decompress for two or three or vandalize the car of a Cowboys fan, or post a days. YouTube video in which I cursed Jerry Jones’ Mostly, it happened because they got older. existence. We got older. ere’s no reason this has to happen But I can’t bring myself to do it. Why should exactly at thirty, although it basically did for me. I have to defend my fandom anyway? I still root It’s not even necessarily about maturity, but about for the Eagles to win, of course, although mainly I having too much other stu to do. What happens do so because it’s more fun to see a win and I like is, you get too busy to burn so much energy on some of the players (even though I generally the game. Or you run into real world problems found the 2011 team to be the least likable bunch and your fantasy escape either ceases to exist or of Eagles since Rich Kotite becomes condensed into a was in town). And I know a smaller window. It becomes lot of my friends and family stupid (maybe even reckless) Is it maturity to are as deeply devoted as ever, acknowledge that, to invest so much of yourself so I’d like them to enjoy it, into the game because you or is it immaturity have other things going on want them to get that parade and experience the catharsis re e to take so long to a n d t h e r e ayou p e o p l a I’d been waiting on so long. depending on to be figure it out? Sometimes I try to will functional adult regardless myself to feel about it the of football outcomes. ere way I did before, because I feel obligated to do so are bosses to appease, wives or girlfriends to —people count on me for Eagles news, I have impress, hardwood oors to re nish, building whole years-long relationships with people built inspections to pass, bills to pay, books to read, entirely on the foundation of football fandom to children to raise. the extent that I know literally nothing about their personal lives. But nothing works: spending *** the morning researching reasons to hate the opponent, listening to the sports talk stations, In my memoir, I portray myself engaging in getting drunk so that I might get rowdy, none of it a wide range of reprehensible fan behavior, sticks. ranging from violence to vandalism to Some friends have undergone this same mistreating and neglecting my wife in favor of the transformation; they watch the games, they would Eagles. I spent a year writing it and another two like the Eagles to win, but then they move on years promoting it, an all-consuming process at when the game is over, can sometimes even the end of which I felt like I had to make a choice: appreciate the skill of the opponent, admitting if I wanted to claim to be an intelligent, thinking that the other team deserved to win. ey are person, then it was not possible to justify capable of engaging in rational human behavior continuing to act the same way I had in the book.
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If your feelings hadn’t evolved over the past decade. ere are dozens of reasons (half of them related to hygiene and diet) that you could never live like you did ten years ago. pro athletes seem like your future. but you cannot do it anymore. then you would have to justify why you’re the same person at thirty that you were at twenty. their team sucks. If I’m all in. nestled safely in the cocoon of college life. But here’s the thing: you were reasonably happy ten years ago. at’s not something I’m capable of doing. I don’t want to convert anyone or elevate myself above people who still care the way I used to. just like these guys do. two hosts in their mid-40s are debating whether it’s a violation of some sacred man code for a player to have tweeted gossip about another player. allowing football to dictate the daily ow of my life. or is it immaturity to take so long to gure it out? *** On sports radio. it seemed like a perfectly good use of one’s days to fritter hours trying to debunk a dumb argument made by Skip Bayless or to proving to Internet Cowboys fans that. still feel guilty for dropping out of your fantasy football leagues or for not having the Eagles’ schedule memorized or for sometimes feeling particularly squeamish about the fact that you’re watching grown men ruin their long-term health for your short-term entertainment. en. Is it maturity to acknowledge that. and with all the evidence now recorded for posterity. just like they want you to. to your friends. even if it feels like you need to keep explaining yourself. seems harder to excuse wasting than when you were twenty.The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 ere was something fundamentally wrong with me as a person before. which is this: you used to care about the minutiae too. “ ese athletes don’t understand Twitter etiquette!” e rst host says: “It’s just ridiculous. then you would have to feel badly. It would change from being a pathology to a consciously anti-social choice. One shouts. I don’t want to sound like I’m proselytizing. that you were at ten. and it turns me into a worse person. in fact.ction editor of Barrelhouse Magazine. Some people manage to juggle the intense devotion with their real life duties and they rarely bleed into each other. Time seems more valuable to you than it did ten years ago. to your past. Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey. when our cultural expectations gave you license to be frivolous and irresponsible. thinks he’s too good for the team! inks he’s bigger than the game!” e second says something about teamwork and heart and love of the game and respect and tradition and trust. *** For the longest time. and is the non. I had no excuse if I kept being that person. “he doesn’t have a right to say anything behind anybody’s back!” e other screams. his attitude. and then suddenly they become your past. ere are ve layers of irrelevancies to peel back in this argument before you reach the core issue. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 32 . to the Eagles themselves. ere is nothing else to explain. then it means I am allowing myself to be imprisoned by my reactions to the Eagles. and you’re reasonably happy now. and yet you still feel the need to defend yourself.

Focus: 2011 Offensive Snap Charts 220 Hall Avant Smith Cooper Maclin Jackson Wide Receiver Snaps: 165 110 55 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Schmitt Harbor Celek 140 105 70 35 0 1 Tight End/Fullback Snaps: 2 3 4 5 6 7 80 Lewis Brown McCoy Running Back Snaps: 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 60 40 20 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Game 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 2012 Eagles Almanac | 33 .

and it's not worth the energy to root against a speci c team. I mean. I won't bore you with my rationale as to why. why can't I hate this other ridiculous thing called the Giants? Photo courtesy Shealah Craighead. If I can love this ridiculous thing called the Eagles. But when Hakeem Nicks caught the Hail Mary at the end of the rst half of the GiantsPackers Divisional Playo Game. my declarations regarding increasingly drastic actions that would be taken in the event of another Giants Super Bowl Win were nothing more than a challenge to the Fates. As much as the Eagles are my favorite thing in the NFL. but I will note that this is a longstanding prejudice not casually arrived at. it was the sort of statement I knew would draw disapproving stares and surely-he's-exaggerating giggles from the normals. the full implications of this ultimatum were somewhat troubling (Would I really so cavalierly announce that I was ending it all over the outcome of an episode of a TV show? Would we need to make it look like an accident for life-insurance reasons? A er how many years of therapy would my daughter start to understand it?). that it's just game. If we're going to allow that my passionate support for the Eagles and the imaginary fantasy world that surrounds that support is a legitimate set of feelings for an adult—and I'm not sure that we should—then I don't see why we would want to start drawing arbitrary borders in said imaginary fantasy world. but this was the Giants we were talking about. Please.Post-Apocalyptic Living Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win By Gabe Bevilacqua hen I spent much of last January announcing to my civilian friends that I didn't want to live in a world where the Giants have won two of the past ve Super Bowls. And I don't want to hear anything about how that's silly. Surely the unfortunate events surrounding Super Bowl XLII had ful lled the Good Fortune For e Giants quota for the 21st century. sure. the challenge 2012 Eagles Almanac | 34 . and we wouldn't be subject to the injustice of further humiliations. the Giants are decisively my least favorite thing. W Initially.

Some sort of unsanctioned competitive animal killing would also do the trick. But still. ere's Something (Very Very Small) To Be Said For Andy Reid Making e Playo s And Not Winning e Super Bowl. he won a Super Bowl. I'm not saying I have answers. I really would. the Yankees suck. Remember con dently arguing that Donovan McNabb was a much better quarterback than Eli Manning? Yeah. we could comfortably explain away Eli Manning's Super Bowl ring as the combination of being clever enough to stand near a great defense (or at least a great defensive line) and an Extremely Unlikely And Fortuitous Helmet Catch By Guy Who Is No Longer In e NFL. e last two times the Eagles missed the playo s. Otherwise. I see it. We can all agree on that. ( ey didn’t. Citizens of the Northeast corner of the United States. Yes yes. One More Eli ing. Until this most recent Super Bowl. And here we are. Inasmuch as Tim Tebow signing with the Jets is bad news for Mark Sanchez's con dence and ability to succeed in a media market as intense as New York. and and we'd prefer not to share. but he also threw 25 interceptions in 2010. But this is our little special corner of hell. Maybe even a desperate whimper. I struggle to deal with a world in which not only does my favorite imaginary thing never win the thing I want them to win. e Giants won again. here I am. America's Most Self-Involved Fan Base May Try To Crash Our Pity Party. Step Away From e Windows As You Read is. but also my least favorite imaginary thing appears to win the thing I don't want them to win with ease and regularity.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win turned into a plea. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 35 . so I can see how you'd think that the Giants are some sort of arch-nemesis to your beloved Patriots. It’ll take an a air with Lindsay Lohan to leapfrog the Jets’ chaos. there was really nothing le to do but bet the Giants heavy for the remainder of the playo s and hope that those ill-gotten gains would dull the pain. and I've forgone drastic measures out of deference to the love of friends and family members as well as the knowledge that too many witnesses heard my outrageous threats to really make the life-insurance thing pan out. I was saying. at is. I do. Not like this! Not the Giants! At that point. will be tough) or get caught gambling on Giants games (more on that later). I'd take one-and-done at home over that. Related ings at Suddenly Seem Very Quaint. Should have bet heavier.) And yet. I understand that you're disappointed to have lost two Super Bowls to the New York Giants. Don't do this to me again. But now? We're a couple seasons away from folks claiming that he was actually a better quarterback than his older brother. the opposite is true for Eli Manning. the Giants won the Super Bowl. I'm just saying we need to make our peace with the following regarding the Eagles and the Giants: Eli Manning is in the Hall of Fame. Eli's in Canton. at's what e Wrong Side Of History feels like. Tim Tebow coming to the Jets means that Eli Manning —who should rightfully be subject to A-Rod levels of scrutiny and doubt from the New York tabloids—will the third-most-discussed NFL quarterback in New York City. Sure. Really. and that you aren't terribly fond of the baseball team from New York. the best we can hope for is for him to break the single-season interception record (42. Sigh.

as well as season win totals and Eli Manning-speci c props (2012 passing yardage and touchdowns). moresuperbowlsthanpeyton. or my-name-is-elimanning-and-i-like-to-gamble. NY. Exhale. has blossomed into one of the most promising defensive players in the NFL who has a 2012 Eagles Almanac | 36 . eli_manning10. there are little things that we can all think about and do to make sure that this avor of unpleasantness isn't visited upon us again. or the extra home game they got when Hurricane Katrina ooded New Orleans. demands Congressional Oversight. it's just that it's been a few years since the cheating was that overt. or how. my advice to you: Open A Sportsbook. I suggest you head posthaste to sportsbook. the rst step to recovery is admitting that we have a problem. elitheqb10. Not that all of that wasn't sketchy and indicative of a larger conspiracy that merits. People don't want to hear about the Giants' complicity in the Manning family's manipulation of the NFL dra . enter "Eli Manning" and "1500 Washington Street Hoboken. I would recommend the following as potential usernames: elimanning. Make Friends With Supermodels and Drug Dealers. Since gambling is now legal (it is. NJ 07030.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win Our Favorite Former Houston Oilers Assistant Coach's Success Has Been Matched By e Former Houston Oilers Assistant Coach at Our Favorite Former Houston Oilers Assistant Coach Assaulted On e and create a new user account. just two years a er that." Continue to do this until the restraining order is led." I would then recommend betting as many Giants games as you can nd a line on. Print out copies of your betting slips and post them to "NFL Commissioner's O ce" at "280 Park Avenue New York NY 10017". at said. and the Giants are most de nitely a problem for Eagles fans. I nd the recent fairness and squareness of the Giants’ success to be particularly galling. When they ask Photo courtesy White House/Pete Sousa. send additional copies to "New York Post Sports Desk" at "1211 6th Avenue New York. Jason Pierre-Paul. e Giants' Cheating Was Much Less Rampant an In Previous Years. As you may have noticed. in his spare time away from haunting Brandon Graham's career. Kevin Gilbride now as many Super Bowl rings as Buddy Ryan. Still. it's all a bit grim when it comes to the Giants. they were allowed to be the away team for their trip to London (no home game lost!). you for your name and address. right?).ag Account Right Now. no. eli_manning.

Balancing. Still. Oh. champion in New York City once. it's admit to being somewhat spooked by the Eagles. recommend the Fates were just evening expired? they send him pictures— the football ledger. and that they cosmic balancing Bowl is the price that the should contact him directly Football Gods made us pay of the DeSean for more details and/ or for getting to enjoy the most invite themselves to his Jackson punt amazing seven minutes of apartment to hang out. who deeply hates the Philadelphia Eagles against the Giants. A er all. and the pictures that make him more glory of the Miracle At e likely to want to share his cocaine. 2012. addled supermodels you can maybe this second So maybe this second Super on the Twitter and introduce Bowl should be understood Super Bowl should as some sort of Cosmic them to JPP. as a young man. And a single. it is And really. or Fate(s). we know that’s just dumb” and “acts like he doesn't do drugs. ere’s no such thing as Cosmic just his way of irting. Send them messages indicating that be understood as Balancing of the DeSean Jason has lots and lots of Jackson punt return as time some sort of cocaine and wants to share it expired? Maybe this Super with friends. just in case Jason “plays Of course. and in these darkest of focus too much of his time on football. no less). it essential that he begin hanging out with cokecouldn’t have felt awesome to be on the business addled supermodels as soon as possible. that you take this on as a which was a pretty dramatic project. the best Giants team of the last ve years in the See you September 30th. you that their team has won two of the last ve 2012 Eagles Almanac | 37 . or Football Gods. ere’s Focus On Positives.” at's ridiculous. times. In between reminding City with his wife and daughter.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win decent chance of terrorizing the Eagles for most Super Bowls. it’s important to focus on positives where you're only going to be 23 and a Super Bowl you can nd them. and New Meadowlands demanded a signi cant mention that the models should also bring some adjustment in favor of the Giants? of their own cocaine. but our team just won Monday. vengeful have won seven of their last eight meetings God. erefore. playo s in 2008 (in the Giants’ own stadium. occasionally ursdays and Saturdays) the Super Bowl” it is worth noting that the Eagles by men like you and me. If he football comma ever? Maybe return as time is unresponsive. e Giants also managed to lose to Vince Gabe Bevilacqua (@BountyBowl) is a reformed Eagles blogger living in New York Young at home last year. I suggest end of the Miracle At e New Meadowlands. Find the most cokeway to lose the division title. important that Jason enjoy himself a bit and not is is a positive thing. and beat what was arguably and doesn’t want you to ever be happy. in our hearts. the more honest Giants fans will of the next decade. in the grand scheme of things. While obviously just a game played on Sundays (and sometimes nothing can trump “Yeah.

then let Shady do his thing down eld. e rst two columns are simple averages. If 26 you think that sounds low. one of the most elusive running backs I’ve ever seen. It’s just that Todd switched positions. In fact.2 4.8 3. And yet people still believe the Eagles had a good o ensive line.Focus: The Curious Case of Evan Mathis LeSean McCoy.1 5.1 2. Just by typing the words “Howard Mudd” I can make you smile—and Jason Peters really was as great as everyone said he was.9 3.2 4. which came on all those plays where the line managed to block the rst wave.9 3.2 2011 5. Now.6 5.2 2.1 4. we all love the story of the Eagles o ensive line.8 2011 4.0 6.8 5.3 3.0 5. Peters and Herremans were both really good.5 3. screw it. where all rushes of at least 10 yards are counted as 10-yard gains. By this measure.7 5. let’s compare McCoy’s directional rushing stats from 2010 to 2011. there’s a lot of change here. Looking just at the modi ed numbers for a bit.7 3. e story with the raw averages is broadly similar. ere’s a lot that goes into it. e table below lists four sets of numbers.3 3.9 Modi ed 2010 4.6 2.2 3. immediately juking whichever defensive lineman we decided not to block on that play. Football Outsiders o ers a statistic called “Adjusted Line Yards” that attempts to tease out the contribution of the o ensive line to the success of a team’s rushing attack. e second set of numbers use the same process I described above. was tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on more than 25 percent of his carries last year.4 4.6 2. the Eagles had the League’s th-best run-blocking o ensive line in 2011. and only then thinking about things like “Which hole was I supposed to run through again? Ah.0 3. but if you think of it as not counting any yards the running back gains a er the rst 10 you won’t be far o . they’ll tell you his run blocking was so good that his proprietary run-block grade was almost three times better than the next best guy at his position.eld” yards. sizable drops from le tackle to right guard. e folks at that website would tell you Evan Mathis was the league’s best guard. so he took his performance with him. we see no change on runs to le end (aka around Peters). But this wasn’t a good unit overall. both years.5 As be ts at unit that saw turnover at four positions. meaning a few long runs can skew the stats. and improvement on runs to right tackle and end. My story here is pretty simple. ey even have their own LeSean McCoy distribution stats that don’t match the o cial play by play: 2012 Eagles Almanac | 38 . Average Yards 2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 8. But then I’m not Pro Football Focus.” To get some sense of where the problems lie. consider the team’s #2 and #4 rankings in “second-level” yards and “open.7 3. My lasting image of the 2011 run game involves Shady taking a hando . I’ll just get behind Peters again.

Mathis’s bad play percentage was less than half as high (although Herremans was still better than what Danny Watkins managed). you might say. but the real problem area looks to be LT/ LG.0 YPC . were the Eagles so concerned about retaining him? Clearly.7% 28. he wouldn’t still be around.8% 5. playing in front of the same quarterback and in the same position.6 4.7 4. if these numbers actually meant anything.8 7. basically.0% 29. at’s a “bad play” gure of 2.6 Negative & Zero Yard Rushes 2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Right Guard Right Tackle Right End Total 4 3 1 11 2 5 7 33 2011 13 16 5 13 4 4 16 71 2010 16.7 6. and only 12 pressures all year. And besides.7% 28.” I actually did have a theory about this. Although I’m willing to credit the explanation that the new blocking system cause issues across the line. What if the two guys to Mathis’ right were so bad —plausible—that even though he and Peters were great at making their blocks at the point of attack. the biggest dropo is again Herremans to Mathis: So why. and it’s one I shared with Mathis in a follow-up email. but remember—Andy Reid doesn’t care about the run game. the pattern repeats.7% 16. Pro Football Focus has Mathis allowing no sacks.2011 2.1 7. I emailed Mathis a few months ago to ask him about this discrepancy between what people were saying and what the numbers demonstrated. at’s how you keep a job as a lineman on this team.5 5.4% 40.7% Even so. three quarterback hits.5% 2011 19.6 2. He sent me a very nice note back saying. in the face of all this evidence that Mathis’ is wildly overrated as a run blocker.7% 15. six hits and 24 pressures on 662 pass blocks. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog.4% 22. on 628 pass blocks.6% 25.8% 26. What makes Evan Mathis a perfect t for this team is what he does when Mike Vick drops back to pass. their inability to get to the second level meant the linebackers were always ready to shut down le side runs a er two-yard gains? Not so much.4% 12.4 8. Ah. In 2010. LeSean McCoy could gain four yards a carry behind a blocking sled.0 3. e stu ed percentages were bad across the board.7 4.6% 12. Which would be the typical athlete response if the typical athlete was prone to responding to emails that contained the words “[Your predecessor] is a better run blocker than you are. that the numbers don’t match the game tape.YPC . e le guard numbers go down.6 4.4 4.6 4.2 4.2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Le Middle Right Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 7.5% 22. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 39 . the outside right numbers go up—while Evan Mathis’ 2011 run block grade was more than four times higher than Todd Herremans’ had been in 2010.4 percent. Herremans allowed three sacks. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.0% 15.

NFL teams had taken notice of him while studying senior prospects at practice and on tape. Cox then went to the NFL Scouting Combine and blew people away. Still. it is hard to look at the team's group of picks and not get excited if you are an Eagles fan. Washburn will get Cox involved in the game-plan right away. Cox is likely to start out as the backup to Cullen Jenkins at under tackle. free agency. Louis Rams.  Cox declared for the NFL dra and was somewhat under the public radar at that point.  1ST ROUND: DT FLETCHER COX – 6-4. You can't accurately judge a dra class until a er they have hit the eld and shown that they can play and can stay healthy.  e results look really good on paper. e 2012 Eagles Almanac | 40 . ey can get into the back eld. He had 14. ey really got creative with him. Cox also bends and turns well. He could play Cox and Jenkins on the eld at the same time to give the Eagles a dynamic set of interior rushers. He was blown away by what he saw.79 T seconds.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Eagles Draft Review By Tommy Lawlor he Eagles went into the 2012 dra with few needs. He is that fast o the edge. you'll see Cox lining up both le and right. He ended up falling down to the 12th spot.72 seconds while 80 pounds lighter. at gave the Eagles the exibility to go a er who they wanted instead of focusing on who they needed. but it really isn't. ability. Many pass rushers are straight line types. Cox also showed o strength.  How he ts in: Cox's athleticism shows up on game tape. ere was talk in scouting circles of Cox going as early as pick six to the St. If you put on MSU game tape. To put that in perspective.  Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn went to MSU to work Cox out. 298. and quickness in his workouts. is may sound like something simple and obvious. He played both end and tackle. but struggle to get to the quarterback because he's able to step away from them. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4. He can line up anywhere and has the speed/movement skills to get to the passer. Many scouts feel he could play defensive end in the 4-3 if asked to do it. Mississippi State Background: Cox is a junior who had a breakout season in 2011.  Dra value: Cox went from being of casual interest to fans and the media prior to the Combine to being mentioned as the top defensive tackle. e team had used recent dra s. and even trades to build a talented roster. e coaches put such value on him that they decided the way to keep o enses from shutting him down was to move him around. He could use Cox at end in some sets. receiver Anquan Boldin ran it in 4. Cox is a natural pass rusher.5 tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and ve sacks for the Bulldogs and was the key to their defense. but you can bet Washburn will try and nd ways to get Cox on the eld in creative ways.

California Background: Played outside linebacker until 2011 when he was shi ed to the inside. Both guys are athletic pass rushers that can line up inside or outside and get to the quarterback.  2nd ROUND: LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS – 5-11.  Kendricks is a complete linebacker because of the way Cal used him.  Curry opened some eyes when he went to the Senior Bowl and had a terri c week. He has experience playing up on the line of scrimmage as well as back o the ball.  How he ts in: Kendricks comes to the Eagles to compete for the SAM linebacker spot right away. He can even line up on the inside on passing situations and rush up the middle. At only 5-11 he lacks ideal height.5 sacks.  Dra value: Kendricks went where he was expected to go in the middle of the second round. but the Eagles love his versatility and athleticism. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo prefers speed and athletic ability to size when it comes to his linebackers. Curry uses his hands well to ght o blockers and stay clean. but rather a skilled pass rusher and that should help his transition to the NFL. ATL) is someone that comes to mind. He used speed. at's what he played as a senior at Cal and it should help him to t in as a rookie. e Eagles use of the Wide-9 front allows Kendricks to stay o the ball and he is somewhat like another inside linebacker. One reason they like him is his versatility. at showed that his big numbers weren’t just a matter of playing mediocre competition. but will be part of 2012 Eagles Almanac | 41 . He moved all over the place.  2nd ROUND: DE VINNY CURRY – 6-3. He's not just an athlete. He spent time blitzing.5 sacks. pass rush moves. rushing the passer. Kendricks nished his career with 155 solo tackles. Great value. Cal even had him line up as a defensive end and rush the passer on a regular basis.  How he ts in: Washburn went to Marshall to work out Curry in person and came away very impressed. 36. and 10 forced fumbles. Curry's consistent production is all the more impressive when you consider that he wasn't surrounded by other NFL type talents. and an excellent motor to win his battles. He's a bit taller. 13. and playing the run. 266. He was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. 240. 49 TFLs. Kendricks was allowed to attack up the eld quite a bit. Curry was a force during the practice sessions and then in the game itself. He was a player that Washburn and the Eagles wanted. Curry nished with 26. He was the one guy o enses had to stop and they couldn't do it.  NFL comparison: Cullen Jenkins. Responded by having a great season and being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Eagles traded fourth and sixth round picks to move up three spots and get him. and 4 interceptions. but like Kendricks was a second round pick who could play all three linebackers spots and had a versatile skill set.5 TFLs. Curry can play on the le or right side. JAX. Marshall Background: Highly productive pass rusher that had a great career at Marshall. Kendricks had the best overall workout of any linebacker prospect at the Combine.  NFL comparison: Mike Peterson (IND. When used on the outside. Curry won't start early. covering.

e bad news is that they were shutout in the rst by Ndamukong Suh and Nebraska. e Wildcats had mixed success during Foles' tenure. Ka a will battle veteran journeyman Trent Edwards for that spot. Foles gives his receivers a chance to get open. He is an accurate passer. Georgia Background: Boykin was a force on defense and special teams for the Bulldogs for three years. If for some reason Curry struggles. there is enough depth he can sit and learn. A er him. He played in the slot and outside as a cornerback. e way Foles can hold the ball forever and then nd a way to get rid of it at the last second is eerily reminiscent of Eli Manning. 243. Both guys were more football player than athlete. but only a limited athlete. He was a good enough basketball player in high school to get some scholarship o ers from big time schools. ere are times when he is really impressive. Foles should have the number three spot all to himself. He just never looked all that comfortable during the practices. He will keep plays alive as long as possible. He is fearless in the pocket. but Foles isn't a guy who will do much running out in space. He's got a good arm. Set numerous school records. 183. ey did go to a pair of bowl games.  Foles is a big talented passer. 59 to recoup a fourth round pick and were still able to get Curry. e Eagles traded back from no.  NFL comp aris on: He reminds me somewhat of former Eagle Derrick Burgess.  3rd ROUND: QB NICK FOLES – 6-5. e Wildcats fell apart in 2011 due to an awful defense and went just 4-8.  Foles has the size. skills.  Dra value: Most people thought Foles would go in the fourth or h round so the Eagles taking him in the mid-third was somewhat of a surprise. Foles can take a beating and keep right on playing. Found a home at Arizona and became a three-year starter.  4th ROUND: CB/RS BRANDON BOYKIN – 5-9. Arizona Background: Started o at Michigan State before realizing that he wasn't happy and returning to the Southwest. e second game they lost 36-10 to Oklahoma State. He's not one to dump the ball quickly. Excellent value. 2012 will be a learning year for him. rew for 67 touchdowns and more than 10.  Foles went to the Senior Bowl and had a very up and down week.  Dra value: Curry was thought of as a late rst round/early second round pick. things get jumbled. He has a good chance to backup Trent Cole.  NFL comparison: Reminds me of a lot of big pocket passers.  How he ts in: Michael Vick is the starter. He does move well in the pocket. He did come alive in the game. ose numbers led all quarterbacks. if he plays well at Lehigh. but as he bulked up for football over the years it appears his athleticism faded away. e team hopes that Mike Ka a is the backup. going 11-15-136 with a touchdown. a player they had targeted. Burgess was a good pass rusher and Curry has the potential to be a similar NFL player.000 yards. It is hard to classify this as a reach since most quarterbacks are taken earlier than expected. 51 to no. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 42 . and natural gi s to be an NFL pocket passer. leading to the ring of coach Mike Stoops.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review the rotation.

but age seemed to catch up to him last season. He wasn't invited to the Combine or an all star game. which shows you that he was an active run defender and would attack plays in the back eld.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Boykin picked o nine passes and broke up 18 more. although Boykin is faster and more athletic. Kelly was widely overlooked in the pre-dra process. He was the primary kicko returner (24 yards per return and four touchdowns) and also got mixed in as the punt returner on occasion. Kelly trained for his pro day and had a good workout. He was even voted the o ensive MVP if that gives you an idea of what the coaches and players at Purdue thought of him. Boykin broke his leg and was never able to workout for scouts/ teams. he is very muscular. Despite not being big. Jones and Kelly will battle for a roster spot. As a senior the Bulldogs decided to give him touches on o ense. he has excellent speed and is an all-around good athlete. Boykin will get a chance to be the nickel corner right away. While Boykin lacks ideal size. e Eagles already have a solid pair of starters. while also measuring in at 321 pounds.  5th ROUND: OT DENNIS KELLY – 6-8. Kelly started three years at le tackle and was a co-captain as a senior. He has the experience to handle the job and has the kind of game-breaking speed the Eagles have lacked there in recent years.  Boykin was so gi ed that Georgia got creative with him. He had a very impressive total of 20 TFLs. ere was some thought that lacking ideal size and having some concussions in his background hurt his value. He had 12 o ensive touches and averaged 14.  Boykin should be the primary kicko returner from day one. He showed NFL skills and size to the teams who were looking at him. Boykin responded with an 80-yard run in the season opener.  Dra value: Not many people expected Kelly to be dra ed in the h round. but DeSean Jackson will likely keep that role for the most part. He played in the slot for most of his senior year and that should ease the transition. 321.  How he ts in: Kelly will ght for a backup job in 2012. Kelly has starting potential for the future because he is such a good t for Howard Mudd's blocking system and that gives him a leg up. at hurt him.J. e Eagles felt he was very good value at this point and didn't want to risk losing him so they made the pick. Joselio Hanson has been the nickel corner for most of the last four years. He could get some reps as the punt returner.  How he ts in: e Eagles have a good set of starting corners in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  Dra value: Many thought Boykin was worth a second or third round pick.5 yards per play with three scores. and better each year. a 42-yard touchdown catch at mid-season and even a 13-yard touchdown catch in the bowl game. but they do need help in the slot. He and Boykin have similar builds and backgrounds. He got bigger.  2012 Eagles Almanac | 43 . He started bulking up right away and the coaches liked his talent enough to get him on the eld as a freshman. but he fell to the bottom of the fourth round.  NFL comparison: Javier Arenas is a slot corner and return specialist for the Chiefs. stronger. Purdue Background: Kelly was recruited to Purdue as a 240-pound project. D. King Dunlap is the number three tackle.  For some reason.

McNutt had a good showing at the Senior Bowl and then surprised some people with how well he ran at the Combine. He's not an ideal t for the Mudd system. Miami Background: Washington started some at guard as a freshman and showed good potential. 2011 rolled around and the coaches asked him to move to le tackle. As a senior he was 82-1315-12.  Dra value: Many people were shocked to see McNutt slide down to the sixth round.  ere are a couple of knocks on McNutt. e Eagles considered taking McNutt in the h. He could get a chance to play in the slot. Washington lacked ideal size and athleticism. He then proved to be an ideal t for the Hawkeyes pro style o ense. skill. speed. He wasn't coming o a strong year.  McNutt is a solid athlete. 216. David Gettis of the Panthers is a good comparison that not many people will know. Iowa Background: McNutt went to Iowa to play quarterback before switching to receiver as a sophomore. Jeremy Maclin has some size and some speed. but felt Dennis Kelly was too good to pass up. He lacks the agility and footwork to play tackle in the NFL. McNutt comes in to add size to the group. but is still unproven a er two seasons. but has enough 2012 Eagles Almanac | 44 . He was over-matched in a a few games. First is that he's still somewhat new to receiver and has a lot le to learn.  6th ROUND: WR MARVIN MCNUTT – 6-3. Also. is was an exceptionally deep receiver class. DeSean Jackson is a pure speed guy. He got better each year and nished his career with 170 catches and 28 touchdown receptions. McNutt must do well on special teams as well as o ense if he wants to secure a roster spot. but might have needed to jump into the NFL for nancial reasons. ose are big time numbers for someone not playing in a spread attack. Jason Avant is very good there for now. Can he be a starter in the future or is he strictly a role player?  How he ts in: e Eagles needed a big receiver to add to the mix.  Washington can be a good run blocker with his size and strength.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review NFL comparison: Watching Kelly makes you think of a young Todd Herremans. at helped him to be e ective in the red zone. but did his part to help the team. McNutt has to show that he's got NFL speed before the team can even think about him ever starting on the outside. 320. but isn't special or dynamic. he struggled when facing top ight corners this year. and background.  NFL comparison: James Jones of the Packers is one name. He was the full-time le guard in 2010 and played very well. but isn't as good an athlete. He uses size to get the best of smaller defensive backs. He will be a role player initially. Washington made a curious decision to turn pro early. He can be a good pass blocker on the inside. Riley Cooper is a big guy. but isn't the fastest receiver in the world and that makes him vulnerable. He was originally projected to go in the third or fourth round. but accepted the challenge and did his best.  6th ROUND: OG BRANDON WASHINGTON – 6-3. He was a rst team All-ACC selection. Kelly is a bit more polished at this point than Herremans was. but that is still a major fall for a player with McNutt's size.

who is a friend. e good news is that the backup guards aren't set at all so he could win a roster spot with a strong showing at Lehigh and in the preseason games. He decided to focus on getting ready for the NFL. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 45 . Washington is coming in to ght for a backup spot. Kansas State Background: Brown has a very complicated story. but clearly can't make any serious plans around a guy who le two di erent colleges and only has three carries since the end of the 2009 season. at coach said enough positive things that Reid wasn't scared o . Foster also played at Tennessee and was undra ed. Williams was very He injured an ankle and then just quit the team.  ere is limited game tape of Brown. ey came away impressed. Reid then talked to a friend who is on the Kansas State sta . but he does show good vision and but the Eagles felt he was worth a seventh round gamble.  Dra value: Some teams were shocked the Eagles spent a pick on Brown.  NFL comparison: Arian Foster.  Dra value: It was a surprise to see Washington fall as far as he did.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review upside that you take a chance on him and see what happens. Reid talked to Ki n.  How he ts in: Brown is essentially a lottery ticket. Most young backs rely on size or speed to succeed.  How he ts in: e Eagles studied Washington at tackle. Brown's brother Arthur was playing linebacker there and the father wanted the two of them together. Ki n said good things about Brown. e Eagles sent running backs coach Ted Williams to work Brown out. Brown was asked to go to Kansas State by his father. he does show good skills. but his heart was never at Kansas State. He has good talent. You don't know how he'll adjust to life in the NFL. which I'm sure the Eagles like. even if he's a long shot. and writes a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles.  7th ROUND: RB BRYCE BROWN – 5-11. He could also get cut. He was the number one recruit in the nation just a few years back. but his combination of size and speed have turned him into a big time NFL back. While he lacks experience.  Normally this sounds like a prospect you want to avoid. 224. movement skills. e Eagles love his talent. Brown is also a good receiver. Andy Reid said that they liked his feet and hips and thought he could be a good guard in the NFL.  NFL comparison: Willie Colon. He could be number three. If he can get back to his 2010 level of play. and speed. Texans. Brown could be the Eagles backup at running back. Brown is a lot more polished than you would expect from a guy with his background. two critical elements for a successful running back. but knew his real value was at guard so they went back and watched the 2010 tape. covers the draft for ScoutsNotebook. Tommy Lawlor runs IgglesBlitz. He must show that he can be a solid pass blocker in order to make the roster. guard for the Steelers. Brown made the move. He began his career at Tennessee. He saw a running back with size. the Eagles got a steal. Both guys have a similar build and both have guard/tackle experience. is is very encouraging. e team only invested a sixth round pick in Washington so he's guaranteed nothing. but then le that school when coach Lane Ki n le for USC. Brown has that kind of potential.

Focus: More Eagles Draft Nuggets Eagles Draft Picks by Position . Excellent returner. but highly productive player. WR Damaris Johnson – Tulsa – Diminutive.Since 1999 QB RB FB WR TE OT G C DE DT LB CB S ST 14 6 2 6 12 2 14 18 6 9 11 4 15 6 Tommy Lawlor’s 5 Undra ed Free Agents to Watch FS Phillip omas – Syracuse – Good player who went undra ed due to character concerns. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 46 . TE Chase Ford – Miami – Big player with limited experience and production. RB Chris Polk – Washington – Very good player who slipped due to some medical concerns. but has NFL talent. CB Cli Harris – Oregon – Big time playmaker with character concerns.

4 Passing 245 182 249 157 247 216. 289. the Eagles bumbled their way to an 8-8 record.The bEast Breakdown The ‘Boys. and it was a killer. defensively. while the Eagles most certainly did not. one of the many abnormalities of the Eagles’ 2011 season was that they actually nished 5-1 in the division. Redskins Average Week 6 8 11 16 17 Rushing 42 85 29 81 130 73. To put those numbers in perspective.4 points per game. the Eagles largely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and won by playing excellent defense. I Otherwise. they gave up an average of 73.0 Total 287 267 278 238 377 289.4 rushing yards per game. In the ve Eagles’ NFC East wins. It was part of the Eagles’ awful 1-4 start to the season that ultimately proved to be too big of a hole to crawl out of. and rightfully so. However. See a quick snapshot of those games. the ‘Skins. Cowboys @ Giants @ Cowboys vs. in the table below. here’s how they would stack up against the rest of the NFL during the 2011 regular season: • 73. e Eagles’ week three loss at home to the Giants was their lone NFC East loss. 216 passing yards. and 9. heading into the playo s.4 total yards. the NFC East was viewed by many as a weak division. in each of the their ve NFC East wins. but the Eagles entered that game as eight point favorites.4 rush yards: would be 1st • 216 passing yards: would be 10th • 289. e Giants played mistake free football.4 total yards: would be 4th • 9.4 points: would be 1st Last season.4 Outcome W (20-13) W (34-7) W (17-10) W (20-7) W (34-10) 2012 Eagles Almanac | 47 . e Giants were able to up their Eagles Defensive Stats in NFC East Wins Opponent @ Redskins vs. It seems hard to believe in hindsight.4 Turnovers 4 1 2 0 1 1. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs By Jimmy Kempski n what was one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory in 2011. and had to watch from their living rooms as one of their division rivals improbably fought their way to their second Super Bowl victory in ve years.6 Points 13 7 10 7 10 9.

pick (6th overall) Redskins' 2012 2nd rd. Je George. the Redskins have themselves a true “face of the franchise”-type QB that they can build around in rookie Robert Gri n III (to be hence forth referred to as RG3). Rex Grossman. Jason Campbell. In my opinion. Rex Grossman • RB: Roy Helu Jr. at said. each team could make the argument that they improved this o season. For the rst time in the Dan Snyder era in Washington. unless of course you have some sort of historic. Projected o ensive Starters. For the rst time since Dan Snyder bought the team. coordinator: Kyle Shanahan. Tim Hasselbeck. pick (39th overall) Redskins' 2013 1st rd. you either have a QB. but it was an understandable move for the Redskins to make. beginning from the bottom with the Washington Redskins: Redskins Received Rams’ 2012 1st rd. pick WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Head Coach: Mike Shanahan. Mark Brunell. 3rd year O . Here are the details of that trade: at’s an extremely steep price to pay for any player. or you are not a viable threat to seriously challenge for a Super Bowl. including the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Over the course of the Dan Snyder era. coordinator: Jim Haslett. Santana Moss. key reserves: • QB: Robert Gri n III.C. the ‘Skins. 3rd year Andy Reid’s record against: 17-9 What’s new? More would have been “new” if the NFL hadn’t stripped the Redskins of $36 million in cap space as a penalty for dumping the salaries of DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth into the uncapped 2010 season. record-shattering defense (see the Trent Dilfer-led 2000 Ravens as Exhibit A). In the NFL. Let’s look around the rest of the division at each team. and John Beck. Yikes. Josh Morgan • TE: Fred Davis. Donovan McNabb. Patrick Ramsey. the Redskins may have their legitimate di erence maker at QB. Leonard Hankerson. Louis Rams’ second overall pick so that they could get their guy. Chris Cooley • LT: Trent Williams • LG: Kory Lichtensteiger 2012 Eagles Almanac | 48 . Danny Wuer el. due to the arrival of the new golden child of the beltway. pick (2nd overall) Rams Received Redskins' 2012 1st rd. pick Redskins' 2014 1st rd. Evan Royster • FB: Darrel Young • WR: Pierre Garcon.. so the stink of the bad regular season in the NFC East has subsided to a large degree. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs game during the playo s. here is a list of the starting QB’s they’ve gone to battle with: Brad Johnson. there is plenty of reason for optimism in D. 3rd year Def.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. e Redskins made a bold move to trade up from the sixth overall pick to the St. Shane Matthews. Tony Banks.

the Redskins’ receiving corps have been unanimously thought of as the weakest group in the division. Additionally. although they drastically overpaid for him. it should be noted that he missed the last 4 games of the season because he was suspended for a positive marijuana test. and he could be the next in line of the dominant receiving TE’s in the NFL. Filling out the WR corps is the veteran Santana Moss. and the health of RG3 should be a concern for throughout the entire season. Kory Lichtensteiger (torn ACL and MCL). ree of their o ensive linemen—Trent Williams (suspension). O ensive weaknesses: e Redskins’ OL was a disaster in 2011. while talented. Fred Davis is one of the most underrated o ensive weapons in the game. In addition to Davis. Lichtensteiger is returning from a devastating knee injury.) Jason Witten Aaron Hernandez Tony Gonzalez Dustin Keller Brent Celek Vernon Davis Antonio Gates Rec. the Skins brought in Pierre Garcon in free agency. but the OL remains a signi cant weakness. While those numbers don’t sound particularly impressive. and sixth-round picks. Jabar Ga ney.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 49 . and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • C: Will Montgomery • RG: Chris Chester • RT: Jammal Brown O ensive strengths: Over the last few years. this is no longer a group of skill players to be taken lightly. and it’s a much more impressive stat line of 79 catches for 1061 yards and 4 TDs. At least the Redskins are aware that their OL is weak. as they dra ed o ensive linemen with their third. the ‘Skins. Ga ney has since been released. I believe they have since closed that gap. and Jammal Brown (various injuries)—missed signi cant time last season. in the same vein as players like Jason Witten and Vernon Davis. is immature and one failed drug test away from being suspended for a full season. and they should only get better. If you compare that with the rest of the league’s TE’s. and a couple young players with lot of potential in hyear player Josh Morgan and second-year pro Leonard Hankerson. 90 99 79 79 79 80 65 62 67 64 Yds 1327 1310 1061 942 910 875 815 811 792 778 TD 17 11 4 5 7 7 5 5 6 7 Expect RG3 to look to Fred Davis as his primary weapon his rookie season. Fred Davis had 59 receptions for 796 yards and 3 TDs. Will Mongomery and Chris Chester are both “JAGs” (just a guy). along with do-everything Tim Hightower. Last season. With a decent 1-2 combo in sophomores Roy Helu and Evan Royster at RB. especially if RG3 turns out to be the real deal. Garcon will be a signi cant upgrade over the Skins’ leading receiver in 2011. they should have better depth this season. e replacements for each o ensive lineman were bad. Project those numbers over a 16 game season. h. and Brown himself was atrocious when he did play. and Williams. here’s what that looks like: Player Rob Gronkowski Jimmy Graham Fred Davis (Proj. At the very least.

Kedric Golston. However. Rob Jackson • CB: DeAngelo Hall • S: Brandon Meriweather. Jarvis Jenkins • NT: Barry Co eld. and London Fletcher is a tackling machine and one of the true leaders in the NFL.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Let’s start with cornerback. e Skins’ defensive line is also in good shape. e Redskins don’t immediately jump into your head. Keenan Robinson • ILB: Perry Riley. e only semiunknown is Riley. Football Outsiders has a stat they use for corners that they refer to as “success rate. but is full of solid players and plenty of depth in Adam Carriker. Riley played well in 2011. Stephen Bowen. or 100 percent of needed yards on third down. and at the very least. key reserves: • DE: Adam Carriker. Jonathan Go • OLB: Brian Orakpo. and Perry Riley. Kedric Golston • OLB: Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan had a very impressive rookie season in 2011. Chris Neild • DE: Stephen Bowen. the trio of Jason Pierre-Paul. Kevin Barnes • Slot CB: Cedric Gri n Defensive strengths: When most people think of strong front seven attacks in the NFC Photo courtesy HomerFanboy. Barry Co eld. who took over midway through the season for the ine ective Rocky McIntosh at ILB. it’s probably the most complete unit in the division. Jay Ratli and Sean Lee in Dallas.  It’s an imperfect stat (as every stat is) that 2012 Eagles Almanac | 50 . and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Projected defensive starters. and 2011 second rounder Jarvis Jenkins. Madieu Williams • CB: Josh Wilson. should be an upgrade over McIntosh. Defensive weaknesses: While the front seven looks strong. and the dominant pass rushing DL of the Eagles. the secondary has all the makings of an absolute horror show this season. Lorenzo Alexander • ILB: London Fletcher. 60 percent of needed yards on second down.” which charts the percentage of passes that don’t manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on rst down. East. London Fletcher. Ryan Kerrigan. Reed Doughty • S: DeJon Gomes. the ‘Skins. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck in NY. It lacks the star power of the linebackers. when you look at Washington’s front seven as a whole. Orakpo is already a stud pass rusher. who missed last season with a torn ACL. without any major holes. they tend to come up with guys like DeMarcus Ware. e Redskins 3-4 defense is led by their impressive linebacking group of Brian Orakpo.

4) Tanard Jackson – e Redskins added Tanard Jackson a er the Buccaneers cut him. Missing in action. were Hall’s trademark big plays. and he too battled injuries. skilled player. Unfortunately for the Skins. he has red ags galore. e six contestants: 1) Brandon Meriweather – In the last seven months. Not one of them is even a lock to make the team. DeAngelo Hall had the second worst “success rate” in the NFL at 39%. Last year.  Atogwe wasn’t the playmaking ballhawk he once was in St. and the third-worst yards a er the catch (5. • Reportedly refused to run play calls. In a much more surprising move. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs also requires some level of football knowledge to determine which defensive back is being “targeted” on any one play. Doughty is not a viable starting NFL safety. but at the very least he was a solid. • Abysmal season in 2011 with the Vikings. I’ll explain… LaRon Landry was a very good player when he actually played. A quick roundup of his issues below. where he played the rst four games while Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner were out with injuries. according to Pro Football Focus. Once Goldson and Whitner were healthy.  He also gave up the third-most yards per target (10. Louis on some very bad Rams teams. to kicking opposing players in an on eld brawl at Miami. In his eight-year career. Williams has 12 INT’s (1. 2) Madieu Williams – Williams was a good player in the early part of his career with the Bengals. running the gamut from a shooting. and most recently. For the slot corner role. and he was attacked/exposed regularly when he had to ll in for LaRon Landry. He landed in San Francisco.5). the corners might actually be the strength of their secondary. Not bad. however. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 51 . 3) Reed Doughty – Doughty was with the team last season. On the other side is Josh Wilson.  He missed 24 of them. the Skins cut Oshiomogho Atogwe in a salary dump. not great. as the safety situation is an absolute mess. but his inability to stay healthy forced the team to let him seek employment elsewhere. the ‘Skins. Solid player. In 2010. as he managed just three interceptions (his lowest total since his rookie season in 2004) and one forced fumble. who is entering his second year as a Redskin. A meeting with Roger Goodell could be on the horizon. Williams never saw the eld again.  is past season. the Redskins signed Cedric Gri n to a one year deal. and he parlayed his play into a six-year deal with the Vikings for $33 million in 2008. Big plays should not be expected.  A er three disappointing seasons in Minnesota. It’s not an ideal recipe for your main slot corner: • Two torn ACLs since January of 2010. a refusing a breathalyzer at a 3 a. • Benched on multiple occasions. e Skins have six safeties that will be competing for starting spots this preseason. tra c stop.5/ season). Jackson had 57 opportunities to make a tackle. and which ones aren’t. to repeated nes for helmet-to-helmet hits.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Although physically talented. 2011 wasn’t much better.m. Still.  e Redskins have not yet adequately replaced either player. Meriweather has been cut from one team (the Pats) and had another team (the Bears) show zero interest in bringing him back for a second season.5/season) and 4 FF (0.8). Williams was released. Hall was eighth-worst in the NFL in success rate (41%). it provides a pretty good framework of which corners are playing well.

but he has since had surgery on his hip. 1st year Def. or Shanahan could be gone. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 52 . Above. Nate Livings: e former Bengal is projected to start at LG. Will replace another player that Ryan coached in Cleveland. teammate Sean Lee at ILB. the Redskins are playing the “Let’s sign as many crappy safeties as we can and hope that one of them pans out” game. First. e Redskins will have to at the very least show that they have the look of a contender in 2013.1 million.” So far. snagging the following players: Dan Connor: Will be paired with former Penn St. Abram Elam. Mackenzy Bernadeau: When the Cowboys signed Bernadeau. while the others are pretty much locks not to be legitimate starters. Kyle Orton: Tony Romo injury insurance. and will be out until the start of training camp. as this is not a team that is going to compete for the NFC East title in 2012. In other words. 2nd full year O . coordinator: Bill Callahan. Mike Shanahan is in Year ree of his “ ve year plan. I would expect the gap between wins and losses to widen further this year. formerly of the Chiefs. the ‘Skins. A month later. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs 5) DeJon Gomes – Gomes is a second-year player that impressed me during the preseason last year. 2nd year Andy Reid’s record against: 17-10 What’s new? e biggest additions to the Cowboys this year came in the form of a couple new cornerbacks. as noted above. will be the o ensive line and the defensive secondary. his record is 11-21. However. Longtime Cowboy corner Terence Newman is gone. e major worries. DALLAS COWBOYS: Head Coach: Jason Garrett. Lawrence Vickers: Starting FB. Fans will marvel at the occasional big play by RG3. they signed Brandon Carr. in the projected starters section. and they’ll roll with the inevitable growing pains. e Cowboys were also very busy in free agency. Brodney Pool: Played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Cleveland. but struggled when he got his chances in the real games. Consider me unconvinced that it will work. is is a team that didn’t just sweep the Super Bowl Champions last season— they manhandled them. 6) Jordan Bernstein – Seventh-round dra pick out of Iowa. to a ve-year deal worth $50. ey have a really solid front seven on defense and some young up-andcomers at the o ensive skill positions. coordinator: Rob Ryan.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. the idea was for him to start at RG. If the Skins can somehow win seven games and RG3 shows progression throughout the season. and the Cowboys paid a he y price for both of them. Overview: is season in Washington is a honeymoon. 2012 should be viewed as a success. and 2007 rst round pick Mike Jenkins could soon be out the door as well. I certainly don’t expect the Skins to be a pushover. I have Gomes listed as a starting safety for no other reason than that he’s still at least somewhat of a mystery. they traded their rst and second-round picks to get up to the sixth overall spot in the dra to select LSU standout Morris Claiborne.

The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. listed here: Pos RB LT LG RG RT ILB CB CB S 2011 Felix Jones Doug Free Bill Nagy Kyle Kosier Tyron Smith Keith Brooking Terence Newman Mike Jenkins Abram Elam 2012 DeMarco Murray Tyron Smith Nate Livings M. but has not yet grasped the mental side of the game. He’s also a rare Cowboy that plays every week.  2012 Eagles Almanac | 53 . over the course of his career. To put that in perspective. with an aging OL in place. He has ability comparable to the best WRs in the game. over the course of his 13 year career. and to a certain extent that’s fair. John Phillips • LT: Tyron Smith • LG: Nate Livings • C: Phil Costa • RG: Mackenzy Bernadeau • RT: Doug Free O ensive strengths: Tony Romo. Bryant has scary athletic ability. Dez Bryant. On the other side. catching 81 passes for 1320 yards and 11 TDs. but he still has enormous talent and it should not come as a surprise if he rebounds in a big way in 2012. the Cowboys #1 dra pick in 2010. On the outside. Bernadeau Doug Free Dan Connor Brandon Carr Morris Claiborne Brodney Pool Projected o ensive starters.4. Smith is clearly the best LT in the division. O ensive weaknesses: While Smith is likely to be a Cowboys great for the next decade. Tyron Smith. Donovan McNabb broke 91. as he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season in 2003. Austin has become somewhat of an under-the-radar player this o season. but so far has the production of a #2. the Cowboys had a total of 18 dra picks. Romo’s numbers. Also worth noting is the Cowboys young LT. However. One of the rst things people typically think of when they hear the name Tony Romo is the late-game ga es. are stellar. very dangerous passing attack. the ‘Skins. the rest of the o ensive line is a mess. His worst QB rating in any one season was 91. Miles Austin is a player that broke out in a huge way in 2009. the hype hasn’t matched the production of Dez Bryant. key reserves: • QB: Tony Romo. Miles Austin. With Jason Peters lost for the season. it should also be noted that Romo is a highly accurate passer who has the ability to extend plays and make big gains out of nothing. In 2011.4 just three times. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs e Cowboys will likely have a minimum of nine positions where the 2011 starter will not be the 2012 starter. and he still managed to catch 79 balls for 942 yards and 5 TDs. He cooled o some in 2010 a er Tony Romo was lost for the season. and then struggled through an injuryriddled 2011. Smith has the makings of being an absolute star in the NFL. Dez Bryant • TE: Jason Witten. Kyle Orton • RB: DeMarco Murray • FB: Lawrence Vickers • WR: Miles Austin. and Jason Witten form a very talented. A quick history lesson on the Cowboys’ o ensive line: In 2008 and 2009. Romo’s most reliable target is the great Jason Witten. Witten had his worst season statistically in ve years.

meanwhile.  Young. they dra ed no o ensive linemen. but the two other new pieces. round pick on an o ensive lineman. In 2010. while Nagy’s bad season was cut short in week six. this time even more predictably than in 2010. To begin the season. Costa and Nagy. ey hit with one player. and once again. they went from the oldest o ensive line in the league to one of the youngest. Jones spent a rst Photo courtesy Bigcats lair. in 2011. the o ensive line went into a sharp decline and the o ense sputtered. With so many new and unproven players inserted into the lineup. e one player that was still relatively young was the 26-year-old Doug Free. ey would take a couple more o ensive linemen in the fourth and seventh rounds. Leonard Davis celebrated his 32nd birthday just before the start of the season. it was nally becoming a priority. who was 35. Jerry Jones made the obvious decision to cut bait with Colombo. was a major disappointment. Kosier was moved from LG over to the right side to be sort of an “o ensive tackle whisperer” for Smith. when he was lost for the season with a broken ankle. the Cowboys’ o ensive line once again sputtered all season.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. e Cowboys were.  Brewster is no longer with the team. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs With those 18 picks. e Cowboys were learning that turning over a full o ensive line in a short amount of time isn’t exactly easy. the Cowboys started two rookies: Nagy at LG. the Cowboys had seven dra picks. It didn’t help that the defense was surprisingly bad. missed with two. paying him $32 million over four years. in a way. the ‘Skins. ey also plugged in second-year player Phil Costa at center. Sam Young. like Brewster. both had brutal seasons. scoring the extremely talented Tyron Smith out of USC. grabbing David Arkin and Bill Nagy. three players that were playing poorly and making far too much money.  Costa’s poor play lasted 16 games.  Kosier’s decline and health issues continued. amazingly. Davis and Gurode. e Cowboys were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East that season. albeit way too late. is year. Robert Brewster. Enter Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau as the new guards. and were heading into the 2012 once again scrambling to nd answers. e following o season. For the rst time in 20+ years as the Cowboys’ GM. ip op Tyron Smith and Doug Free at the tackle 2012 Eagles Almanac | 54 . is no longer with the team. forced into “going young” along their OL. and Tyron Smith at RT. but in what should have been a fairly predictable outcome.  In one o season. with Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier celebrating their 32nd birthdays shortly therea er.  Andre Gurode was 31. It appeared that a er years of ignoring the OL. they selected one o ensive lineman. ey nished that season 6-10. ey headed into the 2010 season with the oldest o ensive line in the NFL. the Cowboys dra ed one lineman. who was taking over at LT for the departed Flozell Adams. Smith had a great rookie year. ey also locked up Free to a long term deal. respectively. in the sixth round. having a surprisingly bad season. Free.

Ratli turns 31 in August. Victor Butler • ILB: Dan Connor. the Cowboys made a big splash this o season by signing Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs for ve years. and Sean Lissemore provides good 2012 Eagles Almanac | 55 . he has averaged 776 snaps per season. Matt Johnson • CB: Morris Claiborne. Sean Lee has outstanding instincts and always seems to be around the ball. Ware had 19. Jay Ratli . $50 million. Defensive weaknesses: In the third round of the 2012 dra .5 sacks last season. Tyrone Crawford • OLB: Anthony Spencer. Mike Jenkins • S: Gerald Sensabaugh. key reserves: • DE: Jason Hatcher. according to Pro Football Focus. Orlando Scandrick • Slot CB: Orlando Scandrick Defensive strengths: e Cowboys don’t have any speci c units on their defense that I would consider a true strength. but he has logged quite a bit of mileage. and over the last three years. the ‘Skins. Barry Church • S: Brodney Pool. DeMarcus Ware remains the premier pass rusher in the game.5 5. In the same way they’ve ignored their o ensive line over the years. but they do have a collection of some great players scattered throughout. the Cowboys dra ed Tyrone Crawford. Josh Brent • DE: Kenyon Coleman. Here’s what a lack of o ensive line continuity looks like: Pos LT LG C RG RT 2010 Free Kosier Gurode Davis Colombo 2011 Free Nagy Costa Kosier Smith 2012 Smith Livings Costa Bernadeau Free middle.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. show no apparent plans to replace the horrid Phil Costa at center. and moved up to sixth overall to dra rookie CB Morris Claiborne. but their corner play should be drastically improved. Crawford is the rst defensive end they’ve dra ed in the rst three rounds in the last six dra s. Sean Lissemore • NT: Jay Ratli . but he isn’t getting much help from the DEs. In the Ratli can still play. Jay Ratli has been an excellent player for the last six seasons. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs positions. Bruce Carter • ILB: Sean Lee • OLB: DeMarcus Ware. Ratli is by far the smallest 3-4 NT in the NFL.5 TFL 12 6 FF 2 1 Projected defensive Starters. Eagles center Jason Kelce said that Ratli is the best player he has ever faced. at’s asking a lot of an undersized NT that faces constant double teams in the run game. Carr faces the adjustment of learning a new defense and moving from RCB to LCB while Claiborne has to make the jump from college competition to the pros. meanwhile continues to be a force at NT. Jason Hatcher is the closest thing to a legitimate starter at DE for the Cowboys. Alex Albright • CB: Brandon Carr. they’ve given a similar lack of attention to their DL. and for the third year in a row. On the outside. the Cowboys are heading into yet another season of easily foreseeable problems protecting Tony Romo. and his production has slipped quite a bit in the past two years: Years 08-09 10-11 G 32 32 Tckl 91 69 Sack 13.

coordinator: Perry Fewell. the Giants were quiet in acquiring talent. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs depth. seemingly every year. WR Mario Manningham. Projected o ensive starters. the Cowboys don’t lack star power. not much. e only really noteworthy changes are that RB Brandon Jacobs. their other starters and role players have underperformed. Kenyon Coleman and Cli on Geathers as their other DEs. and their roster will largely be unchanged. and is pretty clearly behind the Eagles and Giants. but otherwise. With players like DeMarcus Ware. the ‘Skins. or getting knocked out early. David Carr 2012 Eagles Almanac | 56 In the same way that Casey Matthews is not Clay Matthews. Here’s where his defenses rank: Overall Run Pass Pts 2004 OAK 2005 OAK 2006 OAK 2007 OAK 2008 OAK 2009 CLE 2010 CLE 2011 DAL 30 27 3 22 27 31 22 14 22 25 25 31 31 28 27 7 30 18 1 8 10 29 18 23 31 25 18 26 24 21 24 16 Rec 5-11 4-12 2-14 4-12 5-11 5-11 5-11 8-8 “disappointments” for either failing to qualify for the playo s. But it really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise why the Cowboys are 14-18 over the last two seasons. Rob Ryan is not Rex Ryan or Buddy Ryan. you’ll hear NFL analysts refer to the Cowboys as one of the most talented teams in the league. won the Super Bowl last season. He is not. Otherwise. Jay Ratli . the Cowboys could do much better than Marcus Spears. key reserves: • QB: Eli Manning. In my opinion. NEW YORK GIANTS: Head Coach: Tom Coughlin. and there’s no depth up and down the roster. and Sean Lee. Tony Romo. and I don’t see much of a reason why that will be any di erent in 2012. but also because they didn’t have much salary cap space. All sizzle. ey’ve been weak in the trenches. but DE has been a weak position for the Cowboys for the last half decade. the very same analysts call the Cowboys “underachievers” or . Overview: Seemingly every year. this is an average team. Miles Austin. Otherwise. as we all know. partially because t h e y d on’t n e e d many upgrades. coordinator: Kevin Gilbride. e Giants. and CB Aaron Ross have all moved on. As a side note. 3rd year Andy Reid’s record against: 14-12 What’s new? e Giants will have an extra tan line on one of their ngers. And again. no steak. at least in comparison to the Eagles’ other two NFC East rivals. Dez Bryant. and it’s easy to see why. there’s an odd perception that Rob Ryan is an accomplished coordinator. aside from some smaller signings and a full slate of dra picks.  e hope is that Crawford can come in and contribute immediately. 9th year O . 6th year Def.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys.

7 129. a strong argument could have been made that RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem Obviously. that I don’t expect the missed practice time to a ect him much. doesn’t do it alone. Beginning with what was essentially a playo game in Week 17 against the Cowboys. Eli Manning went from a guy who threw the most interceptions in the league in 2010 (a whopping 25 of them). however. He had to shoulder the load because he had no run game whatsoever. However. here were Eli’s numbers: Oppo DAL ATL GB SF NE Avg. and the prognosis was that he would be able to return in 12 weeks. does come into 2012 with some uncertainty. the ‘Skins. and rarely had a clean pocket when he dropped back to pass.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. those were all wins. In OTAs.3 Nicks. and he was out 15 weeks. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 57 . O ensive weaknesses: What makes Eli Manning’s stellar play last season even more impressive was that his o ensive line was terrible. to a bona. To put that yardage total into perspective. His run through the playo s was incredible. David Wilson FB: Henry Hynoski WR: Hakeem Nicks. of course. he broke the h metatarsal in his foot. Cruz came out of nowhere last season to catch 82 balls for 1536 yards and 9 salsa dances. e injury occurred on May 24.3 103. Will Beatty had the same injury a couple years ago. Victor Cruz TE: Martellus Bennett LT: Will Beatty LG: Kevin Boothe C: David Baas RG: Chris Snee RT: David Diehl at honor would go to Hakeem Nicks. Cruz isn’t even the best receiver on his top ve QB in the NFL in 2011.5 82. mainly due to poor OL play. so a 12 week recovery would put him back on the eld sometime around the middle of August. Giants CB Prince Amukamara had the same injury last season. And yet. Rec 6 7 5 10 7 Yds 115 165 55 109 111 TD 2 2 0 0 1 O ensive strengths: e Giants’ passing game is outstanding.2 QBR 136. Terrell Owens never reached 1500 receiving yards in any one season in his entire NFL career. Nicks is such a fundamentally sound and uid receiver. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • RB: Ahmad Bradshaw. and he was able to return in 8. so recovery times vary. Comp Att Yds TD INT 24 23 21 32 30 26 33 32 33 58 40 39 346 277 330 316 296 313 3 3 3 2 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0. In 2010. Eli. despite his ripe young age of 24.8 113. Nicks had quite a playo run of his own: Oppo ATL GB SF NE Avg. Just like his QB. as he has an excellent duo of receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.3 114. e bigger question is whether or not Nicks will be 100 percent healthy when the season starts.

Jayron Hosley Slot CB: Prince Amukamara McKenzie were the best RG-RT tandem in the NFL. In a division that includes DeMarcus Ware. Projected defensive starters. With 1:02 le in the game. the ‘Skins. who had essentially a clear path to the end zone. key reserves: • DE: Justin Tuck • DT: Chris Canty. He sprinted the whole way. Beatty was. Diehl started the season at LG. But hustle aside. in my opinion. J. Prince Amukamara S: Kenny Phillips. Beatty will return to his spot at LT. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 58 . and almost catching him. Osi Umenyiora OLB: Michel Boley.5 sacks). a game in which the Saints absolutely destroyed the Giants. Chris Horton CB: Terrell omas. I really can’t say enough of how good Jason Pierre-Paul is. is season. Williams CB: Corey Webster. and they had a lot to do with them winning it again in 2012. Instead of just running a simple fullback dive. Snee went from a no-brainer Pro Bowl player to a very average one. Pierre-Paul is one of the best pass rushers in the game (16. in 2011 the performance of both players fell o a cli . played terribly. and Diehl will slide over to RT. Marvin Austin • DT: Linval Joseph. the Saints had the ball with a 42-24 lead. Jason Babin should be licking his chops. the Giants’ best o ensive lineman. Tyler Sash S: Antrel Rolle. e game was over.” Diehl continued to play poorly at LT. chasing Ingram all the way to the goal line.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. as Eli simply completed passes anyway with rushers constantly in his face. But ultimately it didn’t matter. However. I remember thinking. is a big weapon on special teams (he ended the rst Cowboys-Giants game when he blocked a wouldbe game-tying FG attempt with no time le on the clock). at really impressed me. I remember watching the SaintsGiants game last season. that Pro Football Focus rated him as the worst o ensive lineman in the league in 2011. Shaun Rogers Photo courtesy Alexa. But the real culprit was LG/LT David Diehl. “Well that’s the end of the Giants. Diehl was forced to kick out from LG to LT. At the time. Mark Herzlich OLB: Mathias Kiwanuka. and also bats passes at the line (had a league high 10 in 2011). He was so bad all season. Most of the Giants just watched Ingram run down the eld for a meaningless touchdown. He also defends the run extraordinarily well. in fact. and when Beatty was lost for the season in Week 11 with an eye injury. they ran a pitch to the outside to Mark Ingram. I felt that Pierre-Paul was the best defensive player in the NFC East in 2011. and McKenzie played poorly enough that the team had zero interest in bringing him back. Defensive strengths: Duh. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • DE: Jason Pierre-Paul. Not JPP. e defensive line won the Giants a title back in 2007. where he would be protecting Eli Manning’s blind side. Keith Rivers MLB: Chase Blackburn.

just 1 TFL. editor at Bleeding Green Nation. Umenyiora has been whining about his contract for the last thee or four years. Rolle had the following dubious distinctions: • He was targeted more than any other safety in the league (76 times).5 5. • He had just one pass defensed. e guy simply makes huge plays.  at’s a completion percentage of 75% (4th worst in the league). Tuck was in the midst of his worst season as a pro. the ‘Skins.5 sacks. it will all boil down to whether or not Eli Manning can continue to make plays behind what is likely going to be a very bad o ensive line. • His ve penalties were good for h most in the NFL. Jimmy Kempski is the founder of Blogging the bEast. who allowed 42. as he had just 24 tackles. In 2010. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Supplementing the play of JPP along the defensive line last season was Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.5 8 TFL 1 1 2 FF 0 1 1 • Rolle gave up more yards (642) than any other safety in the league. Rolle is the weak link of the Giants’ defense. According to Pro Football Focus. all you need to do is “make the tourney. Overview: Without question. seemingly out of nowhere. especially for all the talking he did. 2. e next closest player on completions allowed was Bu alo’s Bryan Scott. he broke the single season record for forced fumbles. because once they get in. Defensive weaknesses: I don’t think people realize how bad Antrel Rolle was last year. but his unhappiness hasn’t a ected his ability to get to the QB. • Opposing QBs completed more passes on Rolle than any other safety in the league (57 completions). as they’ve already proven twice in the last ve years. ose numbers don’t include the playo s. and is the best (or at least the most trustworthy) quarterback in the division right now. and no forced fumbles.5 sacks in 13 games last season. and contributes at SNY and The Washington Post. And then.” and there is a chance that you can make a run. dealing with the Giants’ ferocious pass rush was made much more di cult with the loss of Jason Peters for the season. in the last three games of the regular season Tuck began to climb out of his funk. Eli Manning has become a con dent passer and leader. e third player in the mix is Osi Umenyiora. with a cushion between him and the second-highest player (the Jets’ horrid Eric Smith) of over 100 yards. he had 12. On the other side of the ball. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 59 .The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. with 10. • He gave up the second-most yards a er the catch. It was almost like he had two di erent seasons: Weeks 1-14 15-SB Total Tckl 24 25 49 Sack 2. the reigning champs are the Eagles’ biggest obstacle to winning the NFC East next season. behind only Eric Smith. e trick with the Giants is keeping them out of the playo s. For the Giants. Including the playo s. rough week 14. with a pair of outstanding weapons to throw to. so we’re talking about an even playing eld in comparison to the rest of the league. and he’s a big reason why the Giants ranked 29th against the pass last year.

6% 14.3% 10.9% Total Rank 12 10 14 21 All Games Since 2000: 15 Wins 11 Losses 16 Wins 9 Losses 16 Wins 9 Losses Eagles NFC East Regular Season Wins 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Eagles Almanac | 60 .8% -2.8% Def Rank 20 12 16 14 Total DVOA 9.1% O Rank 7 8 11 19 Def DVOA 6.0% 14.8% 2.9% 0.Focus: NFC East By The Numbers 2011 NFC East Final Standings Win Giants Eagles Cowboys Redskins 9 8 8 5 Loss 7 8 8 11 PtDi -6 68 22 -79 O DVOA 15.4% -5.1% 4.3% 4.

Well. when Je Lurie opened the purse springs for nearly a quarter of a billon dollars worth of new contracts and almost every NFL pundit had the Eagles as Super Bowl favorites… everything went terribly Photo courtesy SRA Moses Ross. So I’ve su ciently hammered home the idea the Andy Reid has been here forever. As fans. Reid ranks among the longest tenured coaches in any professional American sport. Only Gregg Popovich in the NBA along with Lindy Ru and Barry Trotz in the NHL have been in their jobs longer than Reid. but in the end there’s probably no one thing you can blame it on. Eagles owner Je Lurie did not mince words in 2012 Eagles Almanac | 61 . Andy Reid assumed the mantle of the longest tenured coach in the NFL. So it stands to reason that if you had to pick one guy to answer for the failure of last season. Rich Kotite & Ray Rhodes (the three coaches who preceded him) combined. Really the same thing applies if you look for someone to blame for the inability to win a playo game in the past four seasons. 14 years as the head coach of any NFL franchise. He has won more games (126) than any previous Eagles coach has even been in charge for. probably more than any other. Andy Reid has coached more games here (208) than Buddy Ryan.. coaching issues etc. In his season-ending press conference. we’ve become so used to Reid and he’s such a familiar presence that I fear the magnitude of that number is somewhat dulled. Why that exactly happened has been scrutinized and theorized at length elsewhere in this almanac. it’s unprecedented. any franchise in any sport really. it’s Andy.. When Je Fisher departed Tennessee. Reid’s position as coach is under real threat. For the Eagles. Last season. personnel issues. is rare. this year. has nal say on all player acquisitions and hires all the coaches: Andy Reid. It has now been four years since his last playo win. So what? You are probably asking. In this organization one guy is responsible for getting the players to execute. ere were execution issues. it will mark the beginning of Andy Reid’s 14th year as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.Make Or Break Season Last Chance for Andy Reid? By Jason Brewer hen the rst ball is kicked in the 2012 season. W wrong. In fact.

that there’s no roadmap. Like Reid. ere really aren’t many historical examples of coaches that have been as successful as Reid without winning a Super Bowl.” Bill Cowher and Je Fisher make for pretty good comparables to Andy Reid because. the owner came to the conclusion that Reid was still the best man for the job in 2012. and it’s just completely unacceptable to be 8-8 and watching these other teams play starting next week. they’ll be getting 2010 rst round pick Brandon Graham back from injury and they’ve added a two-time Pro Bowl LB in DeMeco Ryans.” Ultimately though. So if there was no legitimate excuse last season. I don’t think he necessarily has to win the Super Bowl next season to save his job. Cowher had steered his club to nine postseason appearances over his rst 13 seasons. Bowl next year but generally does have a good season… what should be done with him? e problem with guring this out is. and Andy is a coach who has been in the playo s nine out of the last twelve years. Je Fisher. “Incredibly. they’re the only modern era coaches with the kind of longevity Reid has had. ey’ve added a much heralded dra class. what do you think would happen if you repeated that performance? is is the position Andy Reid nds himself in. I think it’s pretty safe to say Lurie’s view on that won’t change in 2012. of course. THE BILL COWHER/JEFF FISHER APPROACH: aka “Stand By Your Man.” said Lurie. So let’s look at a few examples of teams faced with a similar decision on their head coach and what approach they took. “We’re a team. this kind of sustained success (9 playo appearances in 13 years) results in a title. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 62 . Fast-forward to this season and the Eagles have only gotten more talented. the team has no plans to talk about an extension.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? his evaluation of Reid and the team’s performance in 2011. but only in 2012. whose record has never quite matched up to his reputation in my opinion. Usually. If we play Lurie’s statement out to its logical conclusion. along with Bill Belichick. If your boss says to that there’s “no legitimate excuse” for your “completely unacceptable” performance. Andy Reid is on thin ice.” Lurie would later call it “the most disappointing season in Andy’s tenure. Reid has two years le on his current contract and Lurie said that right now. incredibly disappointing. He also said that he expressed his anger and frustration over last season to Reid “very directly” and told him “there’s no legitimate excuse” for a team as talented as the Eagles were to perform the way they did last year. Cowher spent 15 seasons in charge of the Steelers while Fisher spent the better part of 17 seasons running the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise. but I do believe that merely making the postseason won’t guarantee him a 15th year in Philadelphia. is begs the question. if Reid doesn’t win a Super Photo courtesy AJ Guel.

But Collins got old and the relationship between Fisher and Young soured and the team su ered. He got to the playo s in year 14. He and Reid have the same amount of playo appearances.5 million he’s owed in 2013. Fisher. An owner can decide to move on from his long-tenured and relatively successful coach. but lost in the wildcard round. He would 14 then retire a er the following season. rather he just zzled out. ere was no glorious end for him. they’ve won a similar amount of games and division titles. While Vick is nowhere near as old as Collins was and isn’t likely to fall out with Reid. when 2012 Eagles Almanac | 63 . Reid made back-to-back playo s with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick prior to last year. did not. it’s still a pretty lengthy tenure for an NFL coach. but both their owners made the same decision. He was red a er the Bucs’ 2001 campaign. the Eagles could very well decide he’s not worth the $16. there is a pretty decent parallel to be made with Reid here as well. Cowher did. Both coaches had the longevity and a strong track record of success. Cowher represents the best-case scenario. If Vick were to get hurt against this year or regress like in 2011. Plus. We call this… THE TONY DUNGY APPROACH: aka “To Gruden or not to Gruden?” Tony Dungy spent 6 seasons in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and while that is nowhere near the 13 Reid has spent here. e Titans were one and done the following year as well. but those accounted for 43% of the seasons that the franchise played in Tennessee. he was good there. e downfall of Fisher came when the QB position became unsettled. Dungy had a record of 54-42 and made the playo s in four out of his six seasons. Both coaches had been so close to winning it all that they had to eventually get over the hump right? Yes and no. the record fell to 8-8 and in year 17 it deteriorated to 6-10 and Fisher was done in Tennessee. ey stood by their man. Fisher is the worst-case scenario. the bulk of the guaranteed money in his contract is up a er this season. both lost four conference title games and a Super Bowl… ere are a lot of parallels. Standing by your man is obviously not the only decision. Both had been to Super Bowls and lost. Photo courtesy USAF.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? made six playo appearances. With no clear heir apparent in place at QB. In year 16. you can easily see how things could go the way of Fisher a er Vick leaves. He’s the guy optimistic Eagles fans point to as why the team should stick with Reid. He does make for a good comparable. winning Super Bowl XL in his th season as Steelers’ head coach. on the other hand. As they approached their 14th year (where Reid is now) they had still yet to deliver a title. He made back-to-back playo s with Vince Young one year and Kerry Collins the next. And actually.

Let’s all just hope Andy Reid wins us a Super Bowl and renders this whole thing moot. he won the Super Bowl. Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer red Dungy. which would pick? For me. but no playo wins — I’m going to say that he’s back. but history certainly looks back on Glazer’s choice positively. his o ensive philosophy was overly conservative and would prevent the team from getting over the hump. I say he’s gone. since the passing of Jim Johnson. He’s built a very good o ensive team that has broken the franchise record for points scored several times in the past few seasons. he’d have to re Reid if we see a repeat of 2011. He’s already said that missing the playo s was unacceptable. Could the Eagles decide to move on from Reid and grab a defensive coach to put them over the top? Of course. So… make that happen Football Gods! Jason Brewer runs the Eagles community Bleeding Green Nation as well as SBNation Philly. It’s clearly what’s best for all involved. • Division title. What the Eagles decide to do with Andy’s contract here would be very interesting. so if Reid missed them again and came back… wouldn’t that mean it was acceptable? If Lurie is indeed a man of his word. All things even. He had decided that while Dungy had built a great defense. Plus.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? he had made the playo s for the third straight year. He would only make the playo s two more times and would be red a er seven seasons. Glazer hired an o ensive specialist. So with the great defense Dungy had built. In seven seasons with Indy. However. if you had to pick one of those two guys to run your franchise. Where things get murky is if we get something between a parade and a repeat of 2011. this is the decision that Je Lurie will face a er this season and these are his options. but no playo wins — I don’t say this with strong conviction. What level of success would Reid have to reach next season to convince the owner and us fans that he’s closer to becoming the next Bill Cowher and not the next Je Fisher? In conclusion. Glazer’s reasoning could certainly apply to Reid. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 64 . Lurie has to make a rm decision one way or the other. and won the Super Bowl the following year. its Dungy and it’s really not even close. When you consider that Reid will only have one year on his deal a er the 2012 campaign. I’ll give you my best guess as to what Lurie will do: • Super Bowl or NFC championship game appearance — I say he’s back with strong conviction. • Wildcard berth. you can be certain that the most speculated-about name to replace him would be Gruden. but I could really see the Eagles thinking that this simply isn’t good enough. e interesting parallel to the Eagles is that if Reid were to be red a er this season. Tony Dungy did not fade into obscurity a er he got red in Tampa Bay. Gruden only made the postseason twice in the six seasons following his Super Bowl win and was eventually red. there’s been inconsistency with the defense. but not with strong conviction. he did not miss the playo s once. As I said earlier. Rather than stand by his man. • One playo win in the wildcard round — I say he’s back with medium conviction. He was immediately hired by the Indianapolis Colts where. Jon Gruden. Barring a Super Bowl victory. the decision likely becomes pretty easy. If the Eagles once again miss the postseason. in his 11th season as an NFL head coach.

11.Focus: Andy Reid By The Numbers Years since Reid became assistant at BYU. 1999 30 110 1 Former Reid assistants who have become NFL head coaches Eagles starting quarterbacks with whom Reid has won a game 6 9 Career Wins By Eagles Coaches Reid Rhodes Kotite Ryan Bruney Campbell Vermeil McCormack Khayat Williams Kuharich Skorich Shaw Devore Trimble Millner McMillin Kiesling Neale Bell Wray 126 29 36 43 17 54 16 8 7 28 15 19 7 25 2 2 5 63 10 9 2012 Eagles Almanac | 65 . at the ripe age of 24 NFL coaching changes since Reid was hired on Jan.

though? If Reid isn’t good enough to coach the team anymore. In the wake of Banner’s departure. one that justi es the excitement of the past two o seasons. Reid gets to clearly de ne the players he wants. starting with the conceptual level and progressing all the way to the speci c players that are acquired. As we watch the 2012 season play out. there was a great deal of speculation that a spot in the front T o ce had been cleared for Reid to gracefully step upstairs a er years of loyal service. If the coach is Not Andy Reid. realistically. though? Reid’s contract expires in 2013. THE LEADERS Andy Reid and Howie Roseman are now the men in charge of the team. what does he do as a member of the front o ce that you wouldn’t let your next coach do instead? As Executive Vice President of Football Operations. If Reid and Roseman produce a Super Bowl together in the near future. And the person guring out who those players are probably should not be Andy Reid. at’s the easy bit of forecasting. Reid has had a good run here. someone who you would expect to run a scheme that was really similar to his mentor’s. us. He can’t merely produce a happy locker room. then this arrangement will be in place as long as Reid wants to coach and Roseman wants to work in Philadelphia. especially with the linebackers. even if Reid hops upstairs and hands the reigns to Marty Mornhinweg. in order to see the end of that contract. he has to have a very good 2012. and how they will impact the future of the team. Roseman has drawn a tremendous amount of praise for the moves that he made this o season. consider the transition from Jim Johnson to Sean McDermott. What happens if there is no short term Super Bowl. at was not the case. the new head coach will want to do some things his own way. One was the long time lieutenant to the other. just as importantly. And again. that coach will want di erent players. He needed a di erent skill set at LB than Johnson did—and a di erent skill set than he was given. if Reid wins a Super Bowl here and wants to then move upstairs.Looking To The Future Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond By Sam Lynch he e nd of Jo e B an ne r’s t i me i n Philadelphia is. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 66 . What follows is an examination of some of the most important things to watch. if nothing else. for the rst time in recent memory we will be watching the long-term path of the franchise develop with similar drama. I have no doubt that space will be cleared for him. To illustrate this point. not this year. How long do they have to accomplish that. what is it that he does that Roseman doesn’t? Or. from the top down. McDermott did very innovative things in coverage. even in the absence of a Super Bowl. the dawn of a new era of Eagles football.

who were aging. someone with the his approach to see where it Howie Roseman. still has a lot to prove a er 13 years in sentence is that this can’t last much longer. at stability is evaluations of talent. If he Team disaster. if you play like Todd and Trent the team will need to move on. at cynical comment aside. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 67 . e ese things are. one of the Michael Vick. Is extended. the get the type of players he single right way to build a needs to execute his own long-term future roster or manage a team. the THE FRANCHISE PLAYER head coach. coach will be chosen by Howie Roseman. He seems to get credit continuously looking to see what can be for every popular move that is made while he gets improved in how he approaches his job. the team likely doesn’t have another strategy this year. you will be rewarded). good signs for the GM will work with the new general manager. as whether it was doing a better job of focusing on promising as Nick Foles may have looked in value over need or whether it was being less OTAs. but the charge. on the happened under his watch. He can process that allows the coaches and the front hire better scouts if he is not getting good o ce to work well together. is red. for me. truth is that it can. much as appears to have done in the wake of the Dream they did early in Donovan McNabb’s career. but schemes. e next head do. When he discussed his dra fails. absolutely none of the blame for the various In my view. Andy Reid. e team is has been the level of self-criticism that Roseman really operating without a net with him. Reid will move on I do think that a GM should of the Eagles is to another team that needs be continuously looking at stability. Roseman What makes that especially di cult is that extended two veteran players in Trent Cole and Vick’s contract was structured in a way that allows Todd Herremans who did not really need to be the team to escape if 2012 proves to be a bad year. has become the most encouraging aspects of the 2012 o season most important player on the Eagles. He can hire a cap specialist already in place in Philadelphia. But he can’t make the team better at all if he isn’t he has been a Te on GM. It could last until the person who does get the heat when things go badly.e. So far. he spoke of things that they franchise quarterback on the roster. e obvious next other hand. if he can’t manage the nancial side of the house. Puritanical with respect to character.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond and that will require a di erent type of player. the long-term future of the debacles in free agency and the dra that have Eagles is Howie Roseman. Kevin Kolb-type waiting in the wings. I don’t coach to gure out how to think there is necessarily a In my view. improbably. ere is no needed to do di erently in terms of strategy. Roseman himself has a lot to prove. but who were good Reid the guy who is best tasked with making sure representatives of what the Eagles look for in that those needs are ful lled? players and who would be ‘culture carriers’ in the e reality is that once Reid stops coaching. locker room (i. vision to set up a strong can be improved.

e Eagles aren’t likely to pick that high in the near future. the “way” to get a franchise QB is to dra one in the rst round. for years to come. is year. Vick is really in relatively little danger of losing his job as long as he is merely adequate. the Eagles each year will have to decide if they want to invest another $16. TE Brent Celek is signed through 2016. or with a QB in free agency. It has young players under control. On the o ensive line. Because unless the Eagles have good fortune with a QB taken later in the dra . the team is going to have to get very bad before they have a shot to get another QB who could be very good. in many ways. Right now. As a result. it isn’t just Andy Reid’s eggs that are all in Vick’s basket. Vick is due $16. e o ense is. and proven success. THE OFFENSE e Eagles have secured their top o ensive playmakers. like they thought they had with Kolb. the best QB on the free agent market was probably Matt Flynn. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. in the ideal situation for the long term future of the team. preferably in the top couple of picks. who has a replacement in Demetress Bell signed through 2016 getting an audition to take his job. slot WR Jason Avant through 2014. . at decision will have to be made not just on the basis of how good Vick is but based on what the team’s alternatives are. e 2009 rst round pick has a deal that runs through 2012 Eagles Almanac | 68 Vick’s contract jumps starting in 2013. the starters with the shortest contracts are Jason Kelce. and Jason Peters. Of that amount. for instance. he also controls the future of the franchise. continuity in terms of system. e player who I will watch most carefully this year on o ense is Jeremy Maclin. How bad does Michael Vick have to be in order to decide to go with Matt Flynn? Photo courtesy Ed Yourdon. From 2013 to 2015. So starting in 2013. who is only signed through 2014.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond e view on how to get a franchise quarterback changes frequently. erefore. like they had with Vick.5 million each year in salary and bonuses. And that is likely to be the case even if the team changes coaches.5 million—well more than 10% of the salary cap— in Vick. only $3 million in 2013 is guaranteed. while much ado will be made of Vick’s deal being escapable in 2013.

long term. He missed OTAs this year. you are moving on to. Is any LB really worth that to the Eagles? at’s a di cult question on its own. honest-to-God threedown LBs on the eld. and the composition of the o ensive line re ects that system. Can DeMeco Ryans still play. exactly. reportedly to save his strength for the regular season. He played for 3 NFL teams during his career. both short and long term. nor whether the current o ensive line personnel could best execute that system.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond 2013. So as much as I love the idea of potentially having two real. is he then worth extending? If you’re Roseman. It becomes easier. is currently on the team. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 69 . And that brings us back to Kendricks. is is the year he has to prove himself. but only a notch below —what do the Eagles do? We’ve seen the problems that not having a good MLB can bring. His replacement. But Chung is a man of varied experience. I am skeptical about how long it will last. e linebackers are the most obvious area for focus. e point is that we have no idea what system Chung would run. THE DEFENSE In contrast to the o ense. His system was very impressive last year. But if Maclin proves only to be a good #2. then the team can move on from Ryans if he is not as good as his reputation. is related to coaching. Is he a legitimate #1 WR? If so. He’s retired from the NFL once already. assuming Reid remains head coach. I noted that it is hard to move on unless you gure out what. if Ryans fails to live up to his Pro Bowl reputation. Howard Mudd is an old man. a deal that will pay him at least $6. shouldn’t you be thinking about nding an upgrade in the 2013 dra ? e biggest risk that this o ense faces. and was schooled in Juan Castillo’s line system prior to Mudd’s arrival in Philadelphia. though. two years a er his Achilles injury? Is Mychal Kendricks a legitimate NFL starting LB? Can any of last year’s group of suspects grow into a quality NFL LB? But the better long term question for these guys is what a LB is worth to this team.6 million a year through 2015. Eugene Chung has coached the o ensive line in Mudd’s absence this spring. the defense is full of question marks. he and Jackson are clearly going to be one of the top tandems in the NFL and the Eagles would be fools to let him walk. When discussing Vick. But if he is good— maybe not Pro Bowl good. Ryans has Photo courtesy Christopher Brown. If Kendricks is for real.

I the starters is contingent on evaluating their two have no expectation of that happening. Cullen Jenkins. however. It’s hard to imagine that he’s going to win many Nnamdi Asomugha. the team added Todd Bowles to the Boykin may be even better operating in the slot. Last third round pick. that’s a lot to get through before I his NFL career. and Brandon Sam Lynch is a contributor to Iggles Blitz on Graham. with a gameplan a couple of times a year that is Again. both have the physical talent Washburn’s Defensive Line Coordinator. while only $4 Reid and Mornhinweg to will be. what. it is later. is that the team brings in its the defense. million of the 2013 amount spend all hours coming up is guaranteed. in truth. One has to wonder substantial impact on the Eagles next season. a guy who was considered for they show something this season. presents a strategic battles this year against opposing similarly large long-term problem. a er the season.3 million at makes defense a what. evaluating the long-term future of exceptional. Vinny Curry. e Cardinals were willing to deal discuss the elephant in the room: Juan Castillo. e most realistic hope seems to be designed to be for him is to not interfere reopened a er the 2012 with what could be a very season.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond e secondary is similarly complicated. fourth coordinator (and scheme) in six years for Jason Babin. Castillo’s role will be. All of the 2012 amount team’s o ense. guys who could grow into their replacements in Fletcher Cox. We expect them to come up dumping a er 2012. Curtis Marsh. He has been erratic throughout Of course. At safety. His base salary One has to wonder strong overall set of players. jumps from $11. If you are planning the long term future salary cap and other matters. Just like Vick’s deal is prime for with the perfect play. so is Asomugha’s. Maybe they are. it would have a defensive coordinator jobs. and can reinvent NFL starters. this is a pretty ideal situation to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent have. there are also young new head coach. and Mike Patterson.3 million in striking contrast from the Castillo’s role 2013. the 2013 season—and with him. e e defensive line situation is the best on alternative. on the other hand. Castillo to merely be the supervisor of the e issue here is short term. of course. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 70 . there are several players on their If the Eagles can augment Washburn’s rookie contracts who need to show that they are expertise with that of Bowles. is to start on the outside in the NFL—though year. a who are signed long term. the 2011 But the Castillo situation is complex. maybe they aren’t. most-likely successors. and Brandon Boykin. this year to $15. him for a reason. If coaching sta . We expect is guaranteed. he was really the Back 7 Coordinator to Jim fourth round pick. in truth. Long term comes defensive coaches rather than their leader. While there are aging DL in Cole. of a position. the 2012 year. With Castillo. most likely. His contract o ensive coordinators. possible that a long-term scheme is in place.

which either brilliantly exploited weaknesses in other teams’ pass protections or traded sacks for fundamentally unsound coverage schemes.5% 33. they were a lot more e ective with it:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Sack Rate 2010 2011 4.9% 0. because that would involve extra work. was the blitzbased schemes of Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott.3% 59.5% 41.1% 50. Why else would they have made failed special teams coordinator Rory Segrest the defensive line coach in 2009 unless they thought he’d be able to do less damage there? But then came Jim Washburn.0% 7.2% Mostly because Asante played the whole season looking like a guy who didn’t want the ball.3% 6.0% 43.Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter If you’d asked me ve years ago if the identity of the team’s defensive line coach mattered. Despite years of rumors regarding the preferred playing styles of Jim Johnson and Pete Jenkins.5% 40.0% 6.0% 9. depending upon which guy was running the show. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. of course. and the Eagles stopped blitzing as much (obviously):   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Snaps 2010 2011 25 3 315 435 125 52 92 55 And then when they did blitz.0% 3.5% 56.2% 0. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 71 . Part of the reason.7% Which made quarterbacks uncomfortable:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Comp % 2010 2011 62. e Giants’ line gets all the glory— something about multiple Super Bowl rings does that—but the Eagles always have a great pass rush. It’s not like the Eagles seemed to value the position all that highly either.7% 12.4% 3.0% 0. we all “knew” it was Johnson’s blitz scheme that really made the di erence. en Washburn came along.5% 8. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.0% 3.7% But didn’t result in interceptions at the historical rate:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ INT Rate 2010 2011 4. e team hasn’t been out of the top eight in Football Outsiders’ “Adjusted Sack Rate” since 2005 that season we don’t talk about.6% 4. and they’re usually somewhere in the top ve. I’d have told you no.2% 11.

we knew a successor would be needed before too long. McCoy also relied on speed and quickness rather than sheer power to beat defenders. While not as short as Westbrook. only LaDainian Tomlinson had more yards from scrimmage than Westbrook from 2004 to 2008. We didn’t know it at the time. the shi iness to make guys miss at the second level. In fact. and it was in good hands. and Kevin Curtis remained the best receiving options. in many ways.J. but the baton had been passed. With Westbrook entering his age 30 season. rough seasons where Todd Pinkston. While the big story of the o season had been the acrimonious departure of Brian Dawkins. e Eagles obliged. Westbrook constituted nearly the entire Eagles o ense during most of the previous ve years. Westbrook managed only 61 in 2009. the diminutive back was the primary. So the 2009 narrative seemed set: Westbrook remains the star. secondary. he was plagued by injuries and seemed to fade down the stretch.Running With Shady Breaking Down LeSean McCoy’s Game By Brian Solomon othing is more cliché in today’s NFL than the notion that running backs have short careers. But there’s no better example of that swi decline and rapid rise than the Eagles’ running back transition in the 2009 o season. there was hope that Westbrook could shake o those pesky injuries and return to his former self for at least another couple of years. Westbrook N needed 50 carries over the course of three playo games just to reach a total of 119 rushing yards. until the veteran’s wheels nally fell o . With the stench wearing o from the team’s performance in the NFC Championship Game. another Brian was on the mind of many Eagles fans. and tertiary o ensive weapon. Reggie Brown. su ering from 2012 Eagles Almanac | 72 . Westbrook’s per carry and per catch metrics were both down. He started just seven games. For a small guy. Still. there were signs that the inimitable #36 was fading. L. But there was also the undercurrent of hope that the Eagles would spend an early dra pick on a running back—something they hadn’t done since since taking Charlie Garner in the second round in 1994. Smith. while McCoy learns. More worrisome. People wondered how much more Brian Westbrook had le in the tank. selecting LeSean McCoy in the in the second round of the 2009 dra . At least. A er averaging over 250 carries during the last three seasons. e University of Pittsburgh product was considered. to be the perfect apprentice behind Westbrook. Despite amassing over 1300 yards in just 14 regular season games. He was considered a natural receiver with great skills in space. *** Let’s take a trip back to the a ermath of the 2008 season.

Of course. despite playing for Andy Reid. and was out the door less than two full years a er signing a veyear. Still. MAKING DEFENDERS MISS: e hallmark of McCoy’s rushing ability is his tendency to perform Barry Sanders-like changes of direction. All elements of his play clearly needed more polish. he looked like he might be able to hold down the fort in the post-Westbrook era. that jump pales in comparison to his level-up in 2011. e missed tackles alone could ll a highlight reel. both due to breaking through the arms of a defender and avoiding a defender in position to make the tackle. averaging 5. McCoy was thrust onto the eld for meaningful minutes. breaking the 1000 yard rushing mark. and bene tted from that extra time spent in the weight room—as well as the lm room. While he Photo courtesy LeSean McCoy/Instagram. despite sitting out the nal game. Here are some highlights from McCoy’s 2011 season: • Broke the Eagles single-season rushing record (1309 yards). and AP All-Pro First Team running back. and he failed to register a single game with more than 100 rushing yards (with an assist to run-averse Andy Reid on that one). McCoy established himself as perhaps the o ense’s most consistent option in 2010. and he signed a ve-year contract extension worth $45 million. $32 million contract extension.How To Live In A GIants World: Dealing With Yet Another Super Bowl Win two concussions in the process. despite being part of a historically bad red zone team. • Broke the Eagles single-season touchdowns record (20 TDs). especially his pass blocking. Before anyone expected. Fed Ex Ground Player of the Year Award. but he excels at the latter. and potentially even better than his mentor Westbrook (gasp). Even though you won’t o en see McCoy do the former. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 73 . A er breaking the Eagles rookie rushing record. while also catching 78 passes. with $21 million guaranteed. Football Outsiders charts broken tackles. juking would-be-tacklers and ying by them down the opposite sideline. But Shady showed promise in limited time. • Oh.2 yards per carry. But let’s go behind the numbers a little bit to examine where exactly McCoy’s success is coming from—and where he can still improve. He had bulked up from his rst season. and the stats back up his slippery running style. no one really expected the production jump McCoy experienced in his second season. when he entered the conversation for best running back in the NFL. was overshadowed by the Michael Vick revelation. • Pro Bowl.

9 yards per catch over his entire career. McCoy has only managed 7. according to Pro Football Focus. As far as weaknesses go. In fact. however. at’s a large di erence. and it’s what makes him so dangerous. he was probably the best wideout the Eagles had for a number of years there. and by that metric. McCoy is great at avoiding contact. Unfortunately.3% 15.2 7. He’s always capable of breaking a game wide open. McCoy has caught 166 balls over the last three seasons—third-most among all running backs. Here is McCoy’s receiving production by year. Pro Football Focus measures yards gained a er contact. that comparison is also apt when it comes to breaking tackles the oldfashioned way—with power.3 6.5 yards a er contact. but not as special at busting through a defender when necessary. at places him tied for 15th among the top 30 starting running backs by snap count.6% SHADY RECEIVING NUMBERS: Out of the back eld. One way to get a second-level look at McCoy’s receiving stats is to look at his receptions by distance. He breaks a tackle and soon he’s o to the races. McCoy is still 12th (out of 51 backs with at least 100 rushes) in Football Outsiders’ success rate statistic that measures consistency. And despite his lack of power and his tendency to run away from his blockers.How To Live In A GIants World: Dealing With Yet Another Super Bowl Win He placed third in the NFL in total broken tackles in 2010 (10th per touch) and rst overall last year (4th per touch): Broken Tckl 2010 2011 38 50 BT/ Touch 13.6 7. especially in comparison to Westbrook. he had 19 rushes of 15 yards or more. In this way McCoy’s become the o ense’s equivalent of DeSean Jackson. he averaged 2. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 74 . delineated by passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage and past it: Year 2009 2009 2010 2010 2011 2011 Distance Behind LOS Past LOS Behind LOS Past LOS Behind LOS Past LOS Tgt 31 19 59 32 47 14 Rec 28 13 54 28 35 13 Yds 231 86 408 205 217 98 YPC 8. In 2011. Pro Football Focus tracks passes thrown by direction.5 Rank 3rd 1st Rank 10th 4th McCoy’s ability to avoid defenders is spectacular. tied for second-most in the NFL.6 7. Perhaps it is unfair to expect McCoy to be an above-average back in all areas. who was a more natural receiver. Despite all those catches. there seems to be room for improvement in the receiving department.3 6. It’s a rare middle-of-the-pack statistic for Shady. Westbrook averaged 8. At a basic level. including whether those passes were thrown behind or in front of the line of scrimmage.3 yards. McCoy is only a middling performer. making big plays commonplace when he’s in the game. In 2011. but it’s hard to tell exactly why McCoy is de cient in that area. this is a minor one.

One way McCoy can take his game to an even higher level would be to apply himself this o season to becoming a better route-runner and receiver when put in motion out of the back eld. I averaged the 2011 reception gures for ve comparable backs: Darren Sproles. Year 2011 2011 Distance Behind LOS Past LOS Tgt 37 54 Rec 32 39 Yds 214 425 YPC 6. McCoy has always been targeted more in the back eld. such as ghting for yards a er contact and improving his route-running. which may or may not be signi cant. he’ll position himself to become one of the best running backs in recent memory. Arian Foster. it’s di cult to compare McCoy with the man he replaced. But in order to get any context for those numbers. as measured by Football Outsiders’ DYAR stat: 600 Total DYAR 450 300 150 0 1 2 3 4 5 Season 6 7 8 Westbrook McCoy In many ways. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 75 . Most of those are swing passes. depends partially on how he approaches his few (admittedly nit-picky) aws. so far at least. However. Ray Rice. where McCoy’s screens have become less e ective each season while his receptions on pass routes past the line of scrimmage resulted in bigger gains.8 yards per catch beyond the line of scrimmage. and McCoy would be wise to follow in his footsteps. Still. averaging 10. McCoy has only three seasons under his belt. McCoy is outpacing Westbrook in total production. But that’s true about these other running backs as well. while we can look back fondly on Westbrook’s entire nine-year career. and shovels. and Matt Forte. Note the trend. ey were also more e ective running those “real” pass routes than McCoy. not screens and swing passes. Most of their receptions came from routes past the line of scrimmage. we have to compare them to other running backs. not only will Shady blow past Westbrook. If he can confront those de ciencies. screen passes.7 10. *** At the end of the day. Granted. these backs had the opposite production of McCoy. at might mean that he’s already focusing more on his route-running. Whet her McC oy c an cont inue his excellence. the reason McCoy runs few wide receiver-type routes is because he’s so valuable in the back eld—even as a decoy. or potentially even improve on that head-start. Chris Johnson.How To Live In A GIants World: Dealing With Yet Another Super Bowl Win For starters.8 at extra element made Brian Westbrook a multidimensional threat. Brian Solomon blogs about the Eagles at ‘McNabb or Kolb’ and contributes to NBC Philadelphia. at least until this year. he was also turning those passes into bigger gains.

league-wide.. if we can all “watch the lm.” On the other hand. ( e vertical distributions are similarly consistent. It turns out horizontal pass distributions are pretty consistent from year to year.Focus: The Dog That Didn’t Bark e NFL’s decision to make the “All-22” lm available for post-game dissection represents an incredible step forward for fan-level football analysis. A er all. teams collectively throw the ball to the le / middle / right about 35% / 24% / 41% of the time. how the decline of Nnamdi Asomugha may actually have begun in 2010. Like. and watch only the guy with the ball from a tremendous new camera angle.e. respectively. if you put Asante Samuel across the eld from 2012 Eagles Almanac | 76 . at least now when a blogger says he “watched the ‘ lm.” what’s the point in crunching all those numbers? I’ll just watch every player on every play—from every angle! is will be unfortunate. If I sound a little grumpy about all this. So if you look at a team that varies signi cantly from those percentages.’” it won’t just be an a ected way of saying he has a DVR. there’s a pretty decent chance you’re seeing a player e ect. for example. i. because there are still things stats can tell us that our eyeballs can’t. On the other other hand. not sure who blew coverage. overgeneralize from a limited number of plays. it’s because I foresee a (near) future when my beloved statistical analysis faces an even greater struggle for acceptance among “regular” fans than it does right now. In a league full of right-handed quarterbacks.) Photo courtesy Matthew Straubmuller. We’ll just be able to rush to judgment. just because we have better camera angles doesn’t mean fans will stop making all the same cognitive errors we already do. No more will a blogger or game charter be able to write the words: “Couldn’t see what the safeties were doing.

at said. although it’s been noted by a number of other Eagles commentators this o season.0% 9. nobody will be dumb enough to throw at Asante Samuel.2% 16.2% -2. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.1% -6. just that. but then something weird starts to happen in 2010. For e rst three rows of that chart are eyepopping. by the way. It’s (sort of) fun to read the recent history of the Eagles’ cornerbacks in this chart:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs.2% more likely to throw to Lito Sheppard’s side of the eld than they were the average LCB.1% 21. teams stopped avoiding Nnamdi’s side quite as much as they had. It’s worth noting that these are just attempts.5% RIGHT 11. teams still threw at his side of the eld less o en than they did on average against everyone else. etc. teams simply didn’t throw to his side of the eld within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.9% -2.4% -7.2% 3. is matters a great deal when you start looking at Nnamdi’s historical data. But let’s look at Nnamdi’s past body of work for a moment:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs.   Five-Year League Average Philadelphia Eagles       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011     LEFT -15. opposing QBs were 8. ere’s nothing in this chart that tells us how good the coverage was on all these passes.5% as much as we weren’t all that impressed with Nnamdi’s performance last year.8% -6.5%   MIDDLE 8. it sure doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. At his press coverage peak. Some of the variation we’d see if we just focused on cornerbacks washes out when you’re including all running back screens. at last chart shows something interesting. even with Asante Samuel playing on the other side and no obvious hole in the middle.2%   RIGHT 8. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 77 . Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog.9%     MIDDLE 0.2% -24. As Stanford Routt re-established himself as a starter on the other side.0% -1.1% -13.4% -0.8% 4.   Five-Year League Average Oakland Raiders       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011 LEFT -12.2% 22.3% 47.3% 0.a gaping hole at the RCB spot.2% -4.5% 2. I’m still not sure I’d want to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this year.2% -11.9%        Let no one ever forget that Howie Roseman the boy genius was the GM who decided we were just peachy with Dimitri Patterson in 2010.9% -26. for example. you can see why Lito Sheppard punched his ticket out of town in 2007.8% -2. ese are also numbers for all throws to one side of the eld.9% -0. He still saw 5% fewer throws to his side of the eld than the average in 2010—right-side targets didn’t really plummet until a er he le — but if you put the rst four rows of that table together with the h row of the other one.1% 9. Going back a few more years.

the 1992 season preview no less. nished rst across the board (run. and football). Injuries to Cunningham and Jim McMahon derailed the o ense and the team was 3-5 at the midway point. e Eagles got a huge addition when they signed Herschel Walker. as many called him. I happened to stumble on a newsstand. e team was coming o the really tough 1991 season. It really was ironic that a person could be so disruptive on the eld and so cohesive in the locker room. We brought the pain. e defense had some amazing performances. e team won six in a row and got to 9-5. e Eagles might actually be able to run the football like a real NFL team. friends. Seeing that in print from a national publication made my day. A playo berth was on the line. e great defense was back and ready for business. He had died in a car accident. at led to a late season showdown with Dallas. Jerome was a special person. One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season By Tommy Lawlor remember sitting in a bar in June of 1992 when I got the shocking news—Jerome Brown was dead. 1991 had started o terribly. I I remember killing time at a mall one day (something else recent college graduates did back then). literally and guratively. A buddy and I were out having some beers and trying to gure out how to conquer the world or whatever recent college graduates think about (probably girls. Brown was the man in the middle.B. not to mention the fact that it validated my lo y expectations for the upcoming season. and family lost so much more." e Oilers used the run 'n shoot o ense and shredded 2012 Eagles Almanac | 78 . Something came up on the TV about Jerome Brown. It was a huge sign of respect. McMahon returned and the o ense improved greatly. Dallas won 25-10 and that killed the season for the Eagles. JB. Eagles fans lost a great player. It was like a punch to the stomach. was gone. A Monday night game with the Oilers became known as the House of Pain game. Randall Cunningham was returning from his knee injury. Brown's teammates. beer. Who did they pick to go to and win the Super Bowl? e Philadelphia Eagles. pass. Dealing with his death was hard for everyone involved. His pressure up the middle allowed Reggie White and Clyde Simmons to wreak havoc o the edges. I went to my usual ve or six stores. It had a copy of e Football News. at was a staggering blow to me as an Eagles fan.1-2-3. a ectionately called Gang Green. Brown had a great line a er the game: " ey brought the house. total yards) and was absolutely dominant. You have to understand where the Eagles were back then. One thing that provided some sense of relief was the upcoming football season. J. ere was an 11-sack game against Dallas that resulted in a 24-0 shutout. e defense. JB's presence in the locker room allowed a highly diverse group of personalities to get along.

but had nished so hot that the teams in the postseason were lucky to not have to deal with them.B. but certainly not forgotten. ey were 3-0 when the Cowboys came to town for a big Monday night showdown. A er big plays during the season. It was going to be special. a er all. Losing Brown was a huge blow. ose positive feelings spilled over to the spring and summer of 1992. It was time to deliver. Brown was gone. Jackson's departure. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 79 . He was the Eagles. e players won the case and free agency hit the Eagles immediately. Eagles players would point to or salute at fan signs that had Jerome's name or face on them.1-2-3. Such is the optimism of players and fans in the summertime leading up to a season. e defense broke huddles by yelling out "1-2-3. but the team still had Mike Golic and Mike Pitts. White and a handful of players led lawsuit against the NFL asking for their Photo courtesy Delaywaves. Now the team was going to go and win the Super Bowl to honor Jerome Brown's memory. ey had missed the playo s. and Cunningham's 1991 injury all brought a heightened sense of urgency to the 1992 season. the fact that it was even possible was scary. No one truly thought White would leave. Still. and Eric Allen. Randall's injury. J. Combine that with White and Simmons and the addition of Leon Seals and expectations were sky high for Gang Green. even without Brown. I think Brown's death. Andre Waters." Whether it was the emotion of playing for Brown's memory or simply the fact that the Eagles were healthy and talented. ere was no more tomorrow. ere was no unrestricted free agency as we know it today.). freedom. It had to be special. Brown's death served as a unifying point. He was going to be a good luck charm. the linebackers were arguably the best in the league and the secondary had three stars in Wes Hopkins. J. You have to understand that things were very di erent back then. e Eagles held them to a pair of eld goals and absolutely dominated Warren Moon and his explosive receivers. Gang Green plus Cunningham plus Walker meant the Eagles were stacked on o ense and defense. 1992 wasn't just another year. Gang Green did a number on Dallas.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season defenses on a weekly basis.B. White's uncertain future. Buddy Ryan started building the Eagles up in the mid-1980s." e team held a special ceremony for him prior to the kicko of the season opener and his number 99 was retired. e Eagles had been very unlucky in recent years (the Fog Bowl. etc. A er all. e feeling at the end of the 1991 season was that the one team nobody wanted to play was the Eagles. but was in the nal year of his deal. At least that is what players and fans allowed themselves to believe. helping the team along from his perch in Heaven. e theme for 1992 was "Bring it home for Jerome. Reggie White was still under contract. the team did get o to a fast start. Tight end Keith Jackson was allowed to leave and signed with the Dolphins for the 1992 season.

He league. the man that Sports power had shi ed. e low point of the amazing streak. Kotite stuck with McMahon the 67 yards. game and that was the straw that broke the A er the loss to the Packers. wasn't anywhere close to 100 ere were a pair of signi cant events that percent at the rematch and that hurt the defense. happened in the game. Dallas game. with an injury. the last running back to do upset the Eagles on the following Sunday. J. Waters. What a horrible day for couple of years earlier.1-2-3. Brett Favre and Steve Young." Cunningham was struggling.B. J. o ense hadn't scored in the rst half of the Dallas e rest of the season wasn't without drama. Kotite could no longer ignore the obvious— e Eagles did get hot a er out "1-2-3. The beside Rich Kotite as Jim White getting physically McMahon ran the o ense. In fact. Joyner made his feelings 2012 Eagles Almanac | 80 . e team e o ense only put up 36 points total in the won six of eight. Waters was the one player that Smith the Eagles third loss in four games and dropped admitted being scared of. He had lost his con dence quarterback play. forgotten. at woke up the pair of touchdowns as the Eagles o ense did their whole team and especially the o ense. e Eagles were the best team in the event was the emergence of Emmitt Smith. at was faced. Both shi ed the balance of Right tackle Erik Williams dominated Reggie power in the NFC East and put Dallas on the fast White and Smith ran for 163 yards. a theme that has haunted the and the o ense was once again a liability. e NFL world Back to the Dallas game. From that track to ruling the division.B. e that against Gang Green was Gerald Riggs in week a er that Andre Waters got injured and the 1989 when he went for 221 yards. Seeing Gang the franchise to standing Gre e n pu she d arou nd. e other huge took notice. part in the convincing 31-7 win. e balance of benching of Cunningham. In a semithree interceptions. the Dallas debacle. e Eagles played sti ing run season came a couple of weeks later when Dallas defense. Herschel Walker ran for 86 yards and a next week against the Raiders. e NFC East basically Illustrated had dubbed " e belonged to Dallas from that Ultimate Weapon" just a day until the late 1990s. ey shut down every running back they got revenge and beat the Eagles. had never run for 100 yards on the Eagles (75 was at didn't even last for a week. with the only losses being to three games leading into the Dallas rematch. and Smith defense broke At hal ime of the running wild was the low huddles by yelling point of the whole season. First up was the game on.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season Troy Aikman was sacked four times and threw to 10 points and provided a spark. McMahon came in and led the team happy with Kotite. Brown was gone. Joyner was not very camel's back. He went from being the face of but certainly not Eagles fans. 20-10. still dealing their record to just 5-3. manhandled. e Eagles over the years. e Chiefs his high total). Emmitt Smith was limited to shocking move. Smith owned the Eagles. Both games were Cunningham wasn't delivering big plays or tight contests where the other team had better moving the chains. at is an team lost to the Redskins.

He also scored six touchdowns. e Eagles nished h in scoring and second in rushing. e mid-season slump seemed like years ago. e following game was against the Giants. but they got the job done. e Eagles got into the postseason and hit the road to go play the Saints in the Superdome. but he really broke through in 1992. Where was the defense? Where was the o ense? e lead grew to 20-7 before the Eagles did wake up. Fred Barnett.000 yards since 1985. e defense played a major role in the hot nish. Mike Schad. Eric Floyd. J. as he became the rst Eagle to rush for more than 1. e line opened some big holes for Walker. Cunningham. His team could dominate anyone on a given Sunday. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 81 . e Saints were still winning. he had three games with 80 or more yards on the ground. David Alexander.1-2-3. He picked o a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. e Saints got o to a hot start. Running back Heath Sherman had shown ashes in his young career. and the usual good defense meant the Eagles were ready for the playo s. Was this going to be the team's rst playo win since the Ron Jaworski-Dick Vermeil era? Buddy Ryan had built the Eagles into an NFL anomaly. at was truly a great moment for that team. In Sherman's rst three years of action. e team was hot at the right time of the year. Walker. at Eagles team might have won with clear playing conditions. and Antone Davis never get the recognition they deserve for the success of the 1992 o ense. He averaged more than ve yards per carry and 12 yards per reception. the emergence of Sherman. e Eagles trailed 20-6 and the season was on the brink when Joyner delivered a huge play. e biggest win in that period came in the next-to-last game. and Calvin Williams all played well. Early in the fourth quarter Cunningham hit Barnett for a 35-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 20-17. Players on both teams warned that if things didn't go as hoped. is was not going to be an easy task. Eric Allen batted down a pass in the end zone to seal the game and then ran up the eld in joyous celebration.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season public and he was borderline mutinous. e winning streak. e following two years the Eagles hosted playo games and had healthy. e players bought into this notion. e fans did. when the Eagles beat Washington 17-13 to secure a playo spot. is is when the o ense has one back with two tight ends and two wide receivers. but Eagles nation was riding high. Another player emerged down the stretch. In 1992 he matched that total in a seven-game stretch. So did the o ense. Add in the fact that Jerome was watching from above and the Eagles truly felt like a team of destiny. Keith Byars (now at tight end to replace Jackson). e team had genuine bad luck in the Fog Bowl loss to the Bears. e Eagles used the ace formation a lot with him and it delivered great success. but always found a way to come up short in the postseason. I certainly hadn't given up on the Eagles. but the Eagles had seized control of the game. they would take matters into their own hands.B. a team that was unhappy with their coach (Ray Handley). e team ended the regular season on a four-game win streak. e o ensive line was a bunch of no-names. ey led 17-7 at hal ime. I sure did. e o ense contributed a couple of scores and then Vai Sikahema ran back a punt 87 yards for a score. Ron Heller. but I was highly discouraged. e Eagles ended up winning 47-34 in one of the wildest games of all time. Sherman and Walker made a very good one-two punch.

but simply came up short. J. 36-20. e y phy s i c a l ly game 26-20. Smith added a eld goal to stretch ran for 114 yards. Reggie did Green. November. All the drama reasons. His with Dallas. in position to win. e Eagles the end for Gang dominated the Eagles. ey won for a safety. Reggie was my favorite player (still Waters. Dallas had shutdown the o ense in the draft for ScoutsNotebook. morning. the Cowboys the rematch. I thought about that game morning.B. was wiped away for that one moment. Dallas was was no let up. e was the benching of Cunningham. at made the The beginning of 34-10. Allen le a er 1994. I was also excited to see Gang Green Cunningham and Gang Green hadn't come get a chance to shutdown Emmitt Smith and wipe through in the postseason before. his joy… that made the wild ride of 1992 game. only scoring yards in the Saints game. ere was the Eagles were winning a playo game. Jackson. defense. but that was not picked o a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Tommy Lawlor runs IgglesBlitz. What would all worth it for me. what I wanted and what happened touchdown to give the Eagles a 24-20 lead. ere losing streaks and quarterback controversies. magical feeling. at was the highlight of the 1992 Age and injury really caught up with Hopkins and season for me. He was red hot and one touchdown in the two games combined. feel like it. e Eagles had dominated the rst smile. happen? at was one of the longest weeks of my life. and writes a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. covers and night. quarterback Bobby Hebert and special teams. Sherman ran for 105 o ense had been the biggest culprit. much of a consolation prize. Seeing him with that smile on his face as he full time starters in the deep patrol. realized his team was going to win a playo game 1992 was an amazing season for a variety of was really a special moment for me. game for the Eagles. ere were great highs and miserable lows. noon. but now were away the memory of his breakout game. Joyner. White and Byars le in free agency. ere could not have been more di erent. ready to go. Allen have a sack in his nal game sealed the deal when he as an Eagle. but now the Eagles had the great one2012 Eagles Almanac | 82 . Next up was another meeting end zone a er sacking Hebert for the safety. ere was that one magical destiny only heightened a er the comeback win moment with White running around in the Saints over the A er the late sack. at was the beginning of the end for Gang at wasn't the Super Bowl. but boy did it Green. and Cunningham years. Joyner and Simmons would He was happier than a kid on Christmas leave a er the 1993 at was a 4-0 start. Forget ere was the Joyner-Kotite mutiny angle. Eagles win.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season talented teams. e two punch in the back eld. Sherman ran for a short Alas. White jumped up Cunningham would never start another playo and used his arms to give the signal for a safety. but he was front and center in the hearts of e talk of the Eagles being a team of players and fans alike. White sacked better on o Jerome Brown wasn't there on the eld. It is one of my all-time favorite Eagles from Kotite. 1992 was the nal year for them as the is). the lead to 29-20.

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