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EAGLES ALMANAC 2012
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
• By Gabe Bevilacqua
e Curious Case of Evan Mathis
• By Tommy Lawlor
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
at Didn’t Bark
• 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 June 2012
Copyright 2012 Eagles Almanac. All Rights Reserved. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 1 www.eaglesalmanac.com email@example.com
2012 Eagles Almanac | 4
covering the NFC East. Gabe’s admittedly a little too fascinated by the Buddy Ryan-era Birds. Sheil Kapadia has written the Eagles blog Moving the Chains on Philly. 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. Tommy began following the Eagles during the glory days of Reggie White and Buddy Ryan. Gabe maintained BountyBowl. Long ago.com and ProFootballTalk. and Sports Illustrated.tv (Giants).com. You can follow Jimmy on Twitter @Jimmy_Beast.com since 2008. Tommy began writing about the team in 2003.com. Gabe is the founder of a so ware company (@Rallyverse) and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. 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.com in 2005 and has written a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. It’s pretty much been all downhill from there. J is the culprit for bringing him to Philly sports. Jason Brewer founded Bleeding Green Nation in 2005 just in time for the worst Eagles season in the past decade. he once helped Koy Detmer hide from Andy Reid to avoid working at an Eagles charity playground build. Jimmy lives in North Jersey with his wife.com before getting upgraded to IgglesBlog. You can follow Jason on Twitter @BleedingGreen. You can follow him on Twitter @BountyBowl. e New York Times. You can follow Sheil on Twitter @SheilKapadia. daughter. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. but enjoys talking football 365 days a year. in the Washington Post.com. Jason currently resides in New York City where he is pursuing a degree in Finance & Economics from Fordham University. Dr.com since 2007. in May 2011. SNY. and just ahead of a season in which the Giants won the Super Bowl. and e Washington Post.Meet the Writers Northeast Philly native Gabe Bevilacqua wasn’t much of a sleeper as a youngster. right in the middle of the lockout. He began the website ScoutsNotebook. Plus. Jimmy Kempski launched Blogging the bEast. but there’s no accounting for taste. and innocently began listening to the dulcet and (occasionally) calming tones of evening 610-WIP broadcasts as a bedtime soothing strategy. He also wrote about the Eagles at 2012 Eagles Almanac | 5 . Tommy Lawlor isn’t from Philly. especially when one is passionate about bright colors and mean-spirited defense. Despite that. dog (Charlie) and cat (Butters). but is an Eagles fan anyway. proving that he was dropped on his head too much as a kid. He's not a beat writer or an insider. He also contributes at Bleeding Green Nation (writing about the Eagles). NFL. Actually. Kapadia has also contributed to SI.
check his website: tom. During graduate school. and the writer of the weekly NFL game previews for e New York Times.ws and follow Tom on Twitter @T_McAllister. Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 6 . and he teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia. and instead of paying attention to his wife and two daughters. Brian can’t help but also write about the Eagles. but most of the time he’s tracking billionaires around the world for Forbes Magazine. 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. Sam was trained by economists in the art of speaking-con dently-while-passing-judgment-on-other-people’sbusinesses. Mike Tanier is a senior writer at Football Outsiders. He retired a er Juan Castillo obliterated all previous records in that area. He is the non. Now you can nd him talking about the birds on Twitter @IgglesBlog or the one modern social media site absolutely no one uses. He isn’t bothered at all that he has missed out on six Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl wins as a result. He founded his blog McNabb or Kolb back in the glorious o season of 2010 when debate swirled between those two eponymous quarterbacks. author of e Philly Fan's Code. a clear upgrade. because really. You can follow Sam on Twitter @shlynch.com. he started posting on the Eagles Message Boards in 2004.mcallister. e Daily Beast. New Jersey. Football.ction editor of the literary journal Barrelhouse.EaglesBlitz and IgglesBlog. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Solomon. Sam has lived in the Boston area for the past decade or so. Brian Solomon is a full-time reporter. with his wife and two sons. and Philly. For more. You can follow Tommy on Twitter @lawlorn . At night though. he can be found in Mount Ephraim. searching spreadsheets for data. among others. before he was rescued from that ctional island by the now (sadly) defunct IgglesBlog. His shorter work has appeared in e Philadelphia Inquirer. Derek Sarley started the IgglesBlog back when it was still unusual for people without any relevant quali cations to take on football-related jobs. nothing is as satisfying to the soul as consistently above-average play. He currently contributes to Tommy Lawlor's Iggles Blitz website. and e Black Warrior Review. When not diagramming plays. or making fun of Rex Ryan. before moving to the mash-up blog IgglesBlitz. You can follow Mike on Twitter @FO_MTanier. A New England native. Brian also contributes to NBC Philadelphia. among other things.
The Football Outsiders crew is back with more cutting-edge statistical analysis. and breakdowns major college football teams. over 500 KUBIAK fantasy football projections.com “Exhaustive.Peter King. Includes comprehensive coverage of all 32 NFL teams.A Special Thank You e Eagles Almanac 2012 sports original cover artwork courtesy of graphic designer Wes Kull. analysis of offseason personnel changes. SI.com. and trademark humor.com 2012 Eagles Almanac | 7 . You can learn more about Wes at wes-kull. You’ll see their stats throughout the book. and if you like what you see. "A book that any self-respecting NFL fan needs to purchase" -. FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS ALMANAC 2012 is the most authoritative and innovative guide to the upcoming football season. obsessive ﬁlm study." -. we recommend you support them directly. and an absolute must read if you like the NFL. surprising in many cases. enlightening. Our work also wouldn’t be possible without the advanced statistical e orts of our friends at Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus.Bill Simmons. ESPN.com and see his entire series of NFL logos at gridiron-league.
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. Vick appeared poised to take another step in his development and lead the Eagles deep into the playo s. and yards per attempt (8. Vick took the starting job away from Kevin Kolb and set personal career highs in completion percentage (62. and played a role in his terrible performance against the Cardinals. e previous season. ey went to Vick.6). Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin added to bolster the defense.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. O Vick committed 21 turnovers in 13 games a er having just 10 in 12 games the previous season. So. Injuries knocked him out of two games (vs. and Nnamdi Asomugha. With Kolb in Arizona. forced him to miss three others (vs. Injuries. Mike McGlynn. with sweat dripping down his face. e signals were clear: is was his o ense. on the same page. they did not go to Andy Reid. Brent Celek and the rest of his teammates—making sure everyone was engaged. en he moved on to Jason Avant. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 8 . the Falcons and Giants). And this was his team. who was taking a knee on the sideline. When practice was over and reporters sought answers about DeSean Jackson’s contract or Jeremy Maclin’s illness. Michael Vick walked o a practice eld at Lehigh and subtly delivered a st-pound to his le tackle. But you know what they say about the bestlaid plans. o ering up response a er response. together. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. the Patriots. Jason Peters. what happened to Vick? And what are the issues he needs to x to rebound in 2012? is chapter attempts to answer those questions. passing touchdowns (21). Photo courtesy Wigstruck. Seahawks and Giants). and More By Sheil Kapadia n a late July a ernoon last summer. who stood patiently.
Overall.3 percent of his passes and averaged 7.8 7. He completed 57. Vick completed 60. WHAT ABOUT SACKS? Howard Mudd was brought to Philadelphia to help Vick stay clean a er Reid promoted Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. On 10 of those 31 plays.7% 24.9 4. In that game.4 8. he was sacked quite a bit on these plays. against the blitz.9% 54.9 yards per attempt—but as I’ll show in the next section. Vick’s numbers were pedestrian.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.3% 2. Defenses sent four rushers or fewer 64. Injuries. at happened on 35.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.1 For our purposes. e numbers against six or more rushers were not good. getting sacked ve times and taking o to run on ve other occasions. HOW VICK PERFORMED Here are Vick’s passing numbers against di erent numbers of rushers: Rushing three is not the way to defend Vick. When teams rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. e Eagles’ o ensive line is able to protect him in those situations. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 9 . So.2 percent) for 199 yards (4. broken down by number of pass rushers: Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Percentage of Plays 9.6 YPA) on those plays.4 yards per attempt.9 3. Vick’s numbers against ve rushers look great—64. we’ll de ne the blitz as any play in which the defense sent more than four pass rushers at Vick.8% 64. even with eight defenders in coverage. and More HOW TEAMS ATTACKED VICK Vick’s struggles can be traced back to that infamous Tuesday night loss against the Vikings back in 2010.9% 8.1 yards per attempt.6 percent of the time. Vick was 31-for-40 for 470 yards when teams rushed only three.1 yards per pass attempt. % 77.2% Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Comp. did teams follow that blueprint and o en send extra pressure in 2011? Here’s a look at how defenses attacked Vick last season. was sacked six times and averaged just 6.9% Yards per Att 11.1 completion percentage and 8. he failed to even attempt a pass.7 percent of his non-blitz throws and averaged 8. and the team’s pass-catching weapons can still get open.5% 57. and Vick failed to hit on big plays against the blitz. he committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). Vick completed just 22 of 43 passes (51.6 yards per attempt. He completed 60. Minnesota o en sent extra pressure (31 of 58 dropbacks).4 percent of his dropbacks.1% 52.8% 42.
6% 8. And then there’s the issue of holding on to the football too long. Football Outsiders 2012 Eagles Almanac | 10 . 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% 2.6 percent. especially as he gets older and loses some of his speed and athleticism. J. Deciding when to take o and run and when to throw the ball away are things Vick will have to continually work on. On one hand. e theory is that the o ensive line is at fault for sacks that happen in less than 2. ey might. and More And as the numbers show.5 percent of the time. Four pass rushers produced a sack rate of just 2.5 seconds on 1.9 seconds • Sacks that occurred a er 3 seconds or more.4 percent of his overall dropbacks. Vick was sacked 23 times in 2011. • Sacks that occurred between 2. In 2010. however. On plays where he wasn’t blitzed. he gets away from pressure better than any quarterback in the league. meaning the o ense did a good job of avoiding those quick sacks.8% 9. slightly above the league average of 2. So.J.7 percent. but those plays didn't result in sacks at a high rate. Overall. the number of rushers is not always as signi cant as where the pressure is coming from.1 percent. which was lower than the league average of 1. he was sacked 34 times. or once every 21. Cooper of Football Outsiders keeps track of sacks that result from quarterbacks holding on to the ball too long. or once every 15. Injuries.5 seconds.6 percent. Vick was sacked just 2.8 percent of his dropbacks.5 seconds. Mudd did an excellent job. GETTING AWAY FROM PRESSURE e question of whether it’s easier or more di cult to block for Vick is a complex one.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. that number skyrocketed to 8. Vick was sacked in under 2. have resulted in hits—either as he released the football or a er he picked up yards with his legs. And quarterbacks are usually to blame for the sacks that take three seconds or longer. It’s important to remember that with defenses getting more complex. He was sacked a er holding on to the ball for three seconds or more on 2. When defenses sent ve or more rushers. But by adding just one extra rusher. despite starting two rookies (Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins) for most of the season and moving Todd Herremans from le guard to right tackle.8 percent.1% Defenses were not very e ective at sacking Vick without sending extra pressure. that number jumped to 8.5 dropbacks.6 dropbacks.5 and 2.1% 9. Vick very well might hold on to the ball longer than other quarterbacks. He breaks them down into three categories: • Sacks that occurred in under 2.
at’s part of what coaches and teammates love about Vick – he’s fearless.3 attempts. On plays like this. Vick was picking up big chunks of yardage. When he got past initial pressure and crossed the line of scrimmage. Vick was intercepted once every 30.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. and Josh Freeman was third with seven. • Vick had time to throw. Injuries. To be fair. Designed passing plays in which he did not get rid of the ball gained on average 5.3 attempts for his career.4 yards. couldn’t nd a receiver and was eventually sacked. Vick’s rushing numbers obviously dip. Tom Brady has been intercepted once every 46.6 attempts. the onus is on the quarterback to recognize what he’s seeing and get rid of the ball quickly. • Vick took o before he needed to—either because of perceived pressure or because he thought he saw a running lane. the numbers are scary. • Vick simply slipped on his dropback (only happened once). And Aaron Rodgers. He took o 53 times and piled up 538 yards. ere’s obviously a give and take here. If you isolate Vick’s improvised runs (designed pass plays). As a point of reference. Vick’s been intercepted once every 35. we knew Vick’s interception rate was going to increase last season. I took a look at all 23 of Vick’s sacks and counted at least eight where he clearly bears some kind of responsibility. Plays Scrambles Sacks TOTAL 53 23 76 Yards 538 -126 412 When you factor in the yards lost on sacks. But we have to add in the plays where he was sacked too.8 yards per pass attempt. Tim Tebow was second with 12. blocking for Vick can be more di cult than blocking for a traditional pocket passer. Vick never just “takes” a sack like some other quarterbacks. which closed quickly.2 attempts in 2011. On the other hand. once every 55. held on to the ball too long. ese were instances where: • e defense sent more rushers than the Eagles had blockers. and that includes the years in Atlanta when he clearly was not as good a passer 2012 Eagles Almanac | 11 . In other words.2 yards per carry. He believes he can keep every play alive and will ght until he has no other choice than to go down. 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. For his career. A er getting picked o just once every 62 attempts in 2010. at’s lower than his 7. at comes out to 10. THE TURNOVERS Pretty much every preseason article you read about Vick will focus on two items: turnovers and injuries. and More noted that Vick escaped 17 possible sacks last season. his interception rate in 2010 was unsustainable. Here’s how the total numbers look on the 76 pass plays where Vick was either sacked or took o and ran. But the drastic change (14 interceptions in 13 games) was cause for concern. far and away the most in the NFL.
Again. who spun around and collided with Todd Herremans. an injured nger against the 49ers and two broken ribs against the Cardinals. Moore hit Vick. However. Vick had a ball batted at the line of scrimmage once every 37. that rate got worse at one out of every 30. e other three were the result of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. On another. e problem? LeSean McCoy did a poor job of picking up blitzing Falcons safety William Moore on Vick’s front side. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 12 . Vick underthrew him on that one). and it showed. 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. By my count. seven appeared to be bad throws/bad decisions by Vick. to be fair. Of the remaining interceptions. ose are the ones he needs to eliminate in 2012. he was pretty much out of bounds when the ball came out.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. e good news is that seven of Vick’s 10 fumbles came in the rst three games. Steve Smith let a ball go right through his hands against the Giants. According to Pro Football Focus. for a moment. but the Eagles only lost three. 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. He executed the play well. Vick su ered four di erent injuries last season: a concussion against the Falcons. And DeSean Jackson failed to ght for a deep ball in one-on-one coverage against the 49ers (although.2 attempts in 2010. And then there were the fumbles. is was not a designed roll-out. In 2010. Injuries. he played most of the game with broken ribs. On one play against the Falcons. and More as he is now. I went b ack and lo oke d at e ver y interception he threw in 2011. a bruised right hand against the Giants. Vick’s ball security was no di erent than the previous season. and one of those was on the exchange with Kelce. He missed three games completely and failed to nish two more. In reality. scramble and make big plays with his legs. as he turned in perhaps his worst game as an Eagle. And that’s why injuries marred his 2011 season. THE INJURIES Vick was listed on the injury report nine times last season. e tipped passes were a problem for Vick (one of the shortest quarterbacks in the league at 6’0”) in 2010 also. e narrative some cling to is that Vick likes to leave the pocket. Vick had 10 fumbles and lost four. But let’s. Bruised right hand: e Eagles ran a playaction fake. ere were three instances where the pick was not really his fault. and his teammate (McCoy) didn’t do his job. So it’s reasonable to expect him to have better luck next season. according to Football Outsiders. but refuses to. He had three (one lost) in the nal 10 games. Four of Vick’s 10 fumbles came when he was scrambling or running. ere was also a Hail Mary attempt against the Jets as time ran out in the rst half. Against Arizona. He needs to slide. Vick had six potential interceptions dropped by defenders. it’d be oversimplifying things to say he was just careless with the football. Vick stayed in the pocket and delivered a beautiful pass to Maclin for a 23-yard completion.2 attempts. In 2011. he actually had more fumbles (11). It goes both ways though. allow the facts to get in the way. is injury had nothing to do with Vick being reckless.
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.1 percent) and Drew Brees (52. VICK’S TARGETS With Jackson and Maclin on the outside. Sure.4% 40. But the notion that he was prone to injury last season because he ran too much and was reckless is o -base. and More Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty nailed him right under the chin with his helmet. As for accuracy.5% 3.3 percent) was on the intermediate throws from 11-20 yards.9% 2012 Eagles Almanac | 13 .2% 67. and Vick publicly complained about the o cials in his post-game press conference. Or you could say 51. and per PFF.2% 1. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 82. he threw 30 “catchable” balls.7% 9.4% 3. he actually completed the pass each time. Below is a table of where Vick threw the ball (percentage of attempts). He completed 24 of 58 of those passes. at ranked fourth in the NFL.1% 43.7% e main increase (5. I’m hoping you’ve begun to notice a pattern.7% 27.3% 45. Injuries. the Eagles are still a big-play o ense.0% 33. Vick was pretty good with the deep ball (passes that traveled 20+ yards). Injured nger: By now.1 percent).8% 58.7 percent of Vick’s pass attempts traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. And two. but wasn’t. Vick stood in the pocket and delivered a 7-yard completion to McCoy. at ranked seventh among all quarterbacks.2% 30.0% 2011 22. According to Pro Football Focus. comparing 2010 and 2011.7 percent).1% 65.0% 7. So really. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 20. he was in the pocket and completed a pass on the play.8% 42.7 percent of his deep balls were on target.6% 2. Here’s a similar chart that shows completion percentages in the di erent ranges.1% 38.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.5% 54. 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.5% 2011 71. But again.1% 21. Vick puts himself at risk when he leaves the pocket and takes on defenders who are trying to rip his head o . 13. he was in the pocket when he sustained each of them. A penalty could have been called on the play. six were dropped. Tony Romo (54. behind only Rodgers (60. What do all these injuries have in common? One.0% 30.
What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. it’d be great if Vick protected himself and avoided big hits. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 14 . If Vick can master those things. averaging 66. but give Reid and Howie Roseman credit for acting quickly and signing Bell. But I’m not sure that change is going to take place at this point in his career. Photo courtesy SRA Moses Ross. e pieces are in place. Accuracy is not a major issue.com’s Eagles/NFL blog. As for injuries. rather than ght for an extra yard here and there. WHAT TO EXPECT? is is Vick’s rst full o season as a starting quarterback since 2006. As I mentioned above. At wide receiver. To cut down on turnovers. if he doesn’t put everything together now. Vick needs to do a better job nding passing lanes while in the pocket. according to STATS. since 2008. Moving the Chains. now that he received a new contract.1 yards per game last season. When he targets an open receiver. who has 30 career starts under his belt and should at least be serviceable. the Eagles return four of ve starters. it was 10. Up front.3 percent of Vick’s catchable balls were dropped in 2011. Sheil Kapadia has written Philly. set a career high. and probably before then. Vick usually puts the ball where it needs to be. 10. chances are it’s just not going to happen.309 yards on the ground and led the league with 14 runs of 20+ yards. he can lead the Eagles deep into the playo s. Maclin. 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. ere’s no question that the Peters loss is huge. He needs to make better decisions and take care of the football when he scrambles. Receiver drops in 2010 and 2011 were almost identical. the team will have a decision to make at quarterback before 2013. In 2010.6 percent. and provides a versatile weapon who can be e ective in the red zone. And we know there’s no throw he can’t make. e intangibles are not an issue either. If he can’t. meanwhile. As soon as Vick was named the starter in 2010. Injuries. I mentioned his toughness earlier. Vick should have a happy DeSean Jackson. According to PFF. the injuries last year took place when he was in the pocket. At 32 years old. And Celek averaged nearly 70 yards per game receiving in his last 10.com. which means Vick needs to get the most out of his o season with Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. McCoy is coming o a career year in which he piled up 1. while leading all tight ends with 500 yards a er the catch. and More e only area where Vick’s completion percentage increased in 2011 was on the throws from 11-20 yards. It’s reasonable to expect second-year players Kelce and Watkins to improve also. he had the respect of his peers— teammates and opponents alike.
14th in the NFL Eagles QBs yards per attempt 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. 32nd in NFL 52 4. 14th in NFL Eagles QBs interception percentage in 2011. 8th in NFL 2012 Eagles Almanac | 15 35 7.4 .5 Eagles pass attempts per game in 2011.
It’s Chaney versus Blalock and Turner on a turnpike onramp. bumps into the right guard while beginning his pursuit. but his pure speed is never in question. DRC escapes the block of a receiver and pursues Turner. ere are three wide receivers. It’s a bad run-stopping alignment. At the snap. Eagles 31. He takes a perfect angle to tackle the spot on the eld Turner vacated well over one second earlier. from a simple formation. Final score: Falcons 35. It is 1stand-17 a er a holding penalty. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the slot cornerback.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. between the right guard and tackle. Le guard Justin Blalock pulls into the gap between right guard and right tackle. Unfortunately. Jarrad Page is the deep safety. FOURTH QUARTER: Michael Turner’s 61-yard run It’s a simple play. and falls backward. the Falcons will face 2nd-and-13. If everyone executes. 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 footrace. Jason Babin lines up at least two yards to the right of Gonzalez’s right shoulder. And Mike Ka a is the Eagles quarterback. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 16 . gets juked. FALCONS. EAGLES VS. Jamar Chaney stands three yards back. defending the gap between defensive tackle and end. Tony Gonzalez the tight end on the right side. Page takes a bad angle when trying to corral Turner. and bumps into DRC. WEEK 2. it is hard to comprehend how so many things can simultaneously go wrong. Casey Matthews defends a similar wide gap between Trent Cole and Mike Patterson on the o ensive le . Turner takes the hando and follows Blalock. e cliché is literally true: you could drive a truck between them. e Falcons score a touchdown ve plays later. Kurt Coleman knifes in from his safety spot on the o ensive le . e Eagles are in their all-too-typical defensive front. far away from Babin. Matthews misreads the blocks and stumbles into the line. A 10-point Eagles fourth quarter lead has become a four-point Falcons lead. and Gonzalez obliges him. where the center makes sure he doesn’t accidentally do something heroic. Babin charges straight up eld. Chaney is swallowed. Coleman changes direction. Jenkins is double teamed. Michael Turner is the single setback. Cullen Jenkins is in three-technique. Watching tape of some of the most disastrous plays. but the Eagles are more concerned T about the pass. and the Falcons just want to gain ve or six yards. Turner darts inside of him. DRC has been accused of many faults. DRC nally recovers and knocks Turner out of bounds for a 61-yard gain.
Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 17 .
the third highest percentage in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. 4. and on 2nd-and-8. Both still have the potential to grow.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense OVERRUN AND RUN OVER For the Eagles last year. Page and Asomugha blitz the le side. If the Eagles did not have a completely inept linebacker and two very bad safeties on the eld. (Chaney posted a more acceptable 3. and 55 runs of ten or more yards. along with Jamar Chaney. because his talents are unre ned and misapplied. which is a nice way of saying that neither has shown us much of anything yet.801 rushing yards. At the snap. every opponent’s running play was either feast or famine. or a neighbor’s kid? At rst. the more aws you nd in his game. this would have been a seven-yard gain. Yet they allowed 1. 49ERS. with Nate Allen and last year’s second round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett in the mix as starters at free safety. Unlike some of the plays we will look at in a few moments. He only selects a handful of plays. not system failure. You beat him.9. He is an e ective in-the-box run stu er. Ryans allowed an average of 3. the kid seems awesome. Juan Castillo calls a blitz. it will not be from among endless retreads like Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou. DeMeco Ryans is a former Pro Bowler who became expendable in Houston because he did not t their 3-4 defense. But the more you play against him. but a seven-man jailbreak. e Eagles stu ed 23 percent of opposing ball-carriers. when the Eagles were still adjusting to the Wide-9 philosophy. Not just any blitz. in contrast to Matthews’ 5. So does Jarrad Page. EAGLES VS.4 yards per tackle last year. Before the snap.4 yards per carry. He controls the middle linebacker. usually hitting the dive button or icking the “big tackle” stick far too soon. ey are making no e ort to hide it. Turner’s run was the result of personnel and execution failures. particularly on defense. ey have a 23-3 lead in the third quarter. blitzing or chasing the running back. Both Allen and Jarrett will appear later in this essay. *** Have you ever played Madden against a teenaged nephew. and when players like Page and Matthews were playing major roles. over and over. e 49ers have driven to the Eagles 30-yard line. instead of on a mortgage payment. the kind the Eagles have lacked since Jeremiah Trotter got old. his strategic acumen undeveloped. FOURTH QUARTER: Josh Morgan’s 30-yard touchdown e Eagles are blitzing. Facing the Eagles defense last year must have been a lot like facing a teenager in Madden. and he just runs around the eld. Coleman is still listed as a starter. inching down from his deep safety position. All four defensive 2012 Eagles Almanac | 18 . He has the re exes and the innate gamer skills that come from being a youngster who can focus his energies on the controller. Rookie Mychal Kendricks adds competition at outside linebacker: if the Eagles are forced to play mix-and-match. 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. Safety is a bigger issue. e problems on run defense were most acute early in the season.6). WEEK 4. Nnamdi Asomugha creeps into the box on the o ensive right. Matthews will be relegated to special teams if he remains on the roster this year.
Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 19 .
the Eagles had the manpower to rush Smith. but it would have been impossible for him to not have allowed at least a rst-down catch unless he 2012 Eagles Almanac | 20 . that team should actually commit to it. Allen and Rolle are in no position to stop him. a er all. Unfortunately. or keep them deep so the blitz is disguised. ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS Let’s count all the problems with that Morgan touchdown. he takes the O cial Bad Angle of the 2011 Eagles. e Eagles are le with four defenders in coverage: Asante Samuel. A quick toss to Vernon Davis or Delanie Walker would have had the same result as the slant to Morgan. deep safety Nate Allen. e 49ers somehow do the impossible: they stop seven pass rushers with six blockers. He handled it poorly (it is appalling that he never gets a nger on Morgan). no Eagles defender had any idea how to take an angle in the open eld in the rst half of last season. because the 49ers slide their protection to the o ensive right. Asomugha looks tentative as he approaches the line. e Eagles gave Smith the Easy Reader version of a dangerous blitz. 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. two of the best man-coverage cornerbacks in the NFL are used as a zone defender and a pass rusher on this play. Fi h. or (heaven forbid) Buddy Ryan ever drew up is purely coincidental. as noted on the Falcons play. who started the season on the bench. It’s as if both Rolle and Allen expect Morgan to stand still and wait to be tackled. should not be given such an assignment less than ten weeks a er receiving his rst NFL playbook. e problem is that Samuel was given an assignment almost as impossible as Rolle’s. Morgan does not wait. Page takes a wide. He turns up eld and nearly jogs into the end zone. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Morgan is wide open because Samuel is playing deep. He is obviously in zone coverage. Either place Asomugha and Page at the line so they can get a good jump. in the event that a team does decide to blitz seven. and rookie linebacker Brian Rolle. and you see Samuel begin to backpedal in the opposite direction from Morgan! He knows that he has allowed a completion. with his body angled so his back is toward the sideline. a rookie linebacker is responsible for defending the entire short middle of the eld. as designed. wide angle. Allen sees all of this from his deep safety position and decides the best thing to do is start running forward. It helps that the play is a quick slant. is call was made against a 49ers team that uses many two tight end sets. Samuel. Rolle tries to close on Morgan. follows in not-so-hot pursuit. but the guy who made the most apparent mistake was Samuel: he was covering Morgan. First. ird. While Samuel prepares for damage control. Bud Carson.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense linemen also rush. Rolle. Alex Smith planting a er three steps and ring to Josh Morgan. Fourth. and he is preparing to pursue. Rolle aims for the spot Morgan vacates as soon as he catches the ball. e Eagles have clearly telegraphed their intentions. with a running back waiting to neutralize Page and a tight end chipping a defender before running his route. Freeze the tape when the pass is thrown. never one to initiate contact. Even with Cole out of the game at that point. Any resemblance between this Eagles blitz and anything Jimmy Johnson. at’s a lot of failure. Second.
or preaching to the base of Eagles fans who hate so tacklers. Marcus Hayes ripped Samuel viciously. let’s look at some Football Outsiders numbers. very generic. Had the Eagles used a default playbook last year. As for the tackling. the rookie linebackers could just be athletes. no one will ever mistake Samuel for Brian Dawkins. It consists of the basic plays that are used at every level above Pop Warner. “Asante Samuel was a fraud. the Eagles ran Castillo’s playbook. or minimal gain on 67% of pass attempts. can now play real NFL defense—the kind where they wrestle with a receiver at the line of scrimmage. or settling some writer’s grudge.” In the default playbook. e free safety stays in the deep middle. More importantly. it did not happen. the 23-iso runs and bootleg passes.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense abandoned his zone and freelanced. With simple schemes. paragon of tackling virtue. e pass defenders play man coverage.” at’s 115 missed tackles and 20 touchdowns allowed. he gave up 10 touchdowns. e columnist’s statistical breakdown of Samuel was also more entertaining than true: “For each of his 23 interceptions as an Eagle. Come to think of it. On defense. they may have nished 11-5. but he allowed an average of just 2. his credibility died the moment he wrote that “the two Eagles cornerbacks who remain. it is full of variations on “base. the four defensive linemen rush the passer. interception. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. Samuel nished third in the NFL in yards allowed per pass in his direction: 4.” Hayes said. or with Brandon Boykin. Nonetheless. in the Daily News a er the Eagles traded the former Pro Bowler to the Falcons for a seventh round pick. the fourth round pick with great athletic potential. but with Joselio Hanson. Samuel missed ve tackles. It is used for high school all star games and the like. wrapped in a mirage. Hope for the Eagles secondary rests not just with a more motivated DRC. 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. With Babin and Cole at defensive end. a fourman rush would have been adequate on 90% of passing downs. hope rests with the defensive coordinator’s ability to keep things simple and use his available resources properly. H a y e s w a s e n g a g i n g i n “c o m i c ” exaggeration. It is very vanilla. not because he was a bad player. standard-issue football playbook. ignoring coaches instructions may have been the best thing an Eagles defender could do last year. the high-e ort survivor who o en outplayed DRC last year. and inaccurately. they could have used man coverage on nearly every passing play.4 yards.0 yards per catch a er receptions. He nished third in Success Rate. Whatever he was doing. inside an illusion. *** ere exists a default. second best in the NFL. For every pick he turned into six. e Senior Bowl uses a version of it. run with him step-for-step and dare the quarterback to throw at them. holding his receivers to an incomplete pass. with its strange fetishes for zone coverage and 2012 Eagles Almanac | 21 .” Ladies and gentlemen: DRC. e Eagles traded Samuel for cheap because he was angry about his role and his contract. A linebacker blitzes once in a while. with a little Cover-2 or Cover-3 mixed in. Instead. With Samuel and Asomugha at cornerback. Instead of made-up numbers.
it is no mystery who they want to get the ball to. But on the most critical play of the game. Even my wife knew when I asked her. Occasionally. When John Skelton is on the eld with Beanie Wells. Fitzgerald makes one move and reaches the end zone. responsible for the middle zone. it is di cult to nd examples of good coaching decisions. King and Dray are tight on the le side. Samuel covered Fitzgerald on many snaps. Chaney. and Fitzgerald hauled in one deep pass against Samuel-Jarrett double coverage.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense Wide-9 defensive fronts. And it is wonderful news for Skelton. Asomugha drew coverage on Fitzgerald. Andre Roberts. a Cover-2 call le Jarrett all alone with the All Pro Fitzgerald while Samuel and Asomugha covered the ats. and Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is in front of Rolle. away from the Pro Bowl cornerbacks and into the realm of rookie linebackers and safeties like Rolle and Jarrett. a play Marcus Hayes must have missed. In the Cardinals game. covering Dray. e results: lapse a er head-scratching lapse. You are just dying to know how the Eagles counter this simple formation. particularly in coverage. Any high school quarterback could read it. On another big Fitzgerald reception. 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. is is zone defense. Fitzgerald is split wide to the right. Jamar? Larry Fitzgerald is coming. at the 10-yard line. but the Eagles decided to play zone in the rest of their secondary. SECOND QUARTER: Larry Fitzgerald’s 10yard touchdown. follows tight end King to the o ensive le . the Cardinals hid their star in the slot. and DRC could not stay with him. But Jamar? Hello. aren’t you? ey are in their base 4-3 personnel. Wells is in the back eld. because Fitzgerald is about to run a drag over the middle of the eld. Jim Dray. When Roberts moves. Samuel is over Fitzgerald in tight coverage. DRC stopped and watched Fitzgerald run down eld. With one quick move. given hours of game tape. all eyes— and the best available coverage—should be on Fitzgerald. Je King. who caught two passes in all of 2011. WEEK 10. 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. Skelton is looking that way. Asomugha stays put as the force defender on the le . Midway through the second quarter. It is easy to cherry-pick examples of poor coaching decisions. ere is only one player on the Arizona Cardinals o ense you need to game-plan for. Samuel bails until he is ve yards o the ball. Don’t blame the rookie: Ray Lewis in his prime could not cover Fitzgerald. Asomugha over Roberts before the motion. Yes. as they did when Roberts caught a 20-yard pass between Rolle and Coleman. Roberts motions from split le to the right slot. a er the catch. e scheme did not match the personnel. Particularly in the red zone. and Chaney is following the quarterback’s eyes. Jarrett is helping Samuel double-cover Roberts. Where are the safeties? Coleman is tangled up with King in the end zone. EAGLES VS. Worse yet. Please do not sell out in your e ort to blanket a journeyman tight end. CARDINALS. Fitzgerald’s 46yard diving catch that set up a game-tying touchdown. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 22 .
Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense 2012 Eagles Almanac | 23 .
e o ense was forced to try to carry the defense in the early going: they just could not do so. If you can internalize that funnel cake logic. I didn’t execute it very well. but the “moving parts” and the “carry the defense” remarks suggest a kind of bonkers logic: the Eagles signed or acquired Asomugha. I knew that going in. Mike Tanier covers football for the New York Times and is a senior writer at Football Outsiders. I thought that the young guys on defense could get where they ended up getting by the end of the season sooner.” He also acknowledged that the lockout played a role. You can’t use that as an excuse. e problem is that the Eagles had the personnel to win 31-17 and 24-10 games. because we had the continuity. not only with the coaching sta but also the personnel. there were a lot of moving parts he was dealing with. Author of The Philly Fan's Code. Jenkins.” he said in the March press conference. at’s my responsibility. and the Eagles don’t deserve a mulligan for 2011. who never calls out a subordinate. By those standards. everything happened as Reid planned. and nothing worked. I really thought coming into the season that the o ense. Castillo. Why can’t we? Hope for 2012 rides with that logic. and Babin for the express purpose of not being ready to start the season as anything more than a second. I thought he did a good job. I goofed on that one. and free agency rules erased another full week of practice opportunities for several new starters. When the lockout erased weeks of preparation. man. Let’s hope they make the most of it. e way free agency was set up was di erent. “ e lockout was di erent. Reid. It didn’t work out that way. Je Lurie managed to do it. If the o ense hopes to carry the defense.” And then there was Castillo. “Listen. expecting the players to learn it on the y. All of that was new. But again. Reid just shrugged his shoulders and told Castillo to go ahead with the recon gured defense. “We had young guys.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense e Cardinals game represented the nadir of common sense for the Eagles defense.ddle role to the o ense. you can almost absolve Reid and Castillo for destroying a promising season. the defense must stop ailing. e Eagles defense simply bloomed too late. e Eagles started to gure out their defense in mid-December. “ It sounds like Reid expected to win 35-31 and 31-24 games instead of losing them. e ability to practice. I know everybody’s got their own opinion on how he did things. but they got one. But everybody had the same things. e guys were standing on the sidelines —you had all your free agents standing on the sideline for a period of time. eir coverage of Fitzgerald brought to mind Ned Flanders’ discipline-challenged parents from a classic Simpsons episode: “We’ve tried nothing.” 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. would carry the defense and the defense would gradually get better and better and better. You expect the “good job” a rmation from Reid. “ e problem that I had. ey just need the chance to do their jobs properly. e Cole-Babin-Asomugha-Ryans defensive core is incredibly talented. DRC. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 24 .
-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.
you’d be a village elder.and then you turn 30. people remind you. isn't that old. it is kind of old. To them it’s a job. of thinking I’m only just getting started. Photo courtesy Kevin Burkett. making your peace with God just in case. of believing it’s not even the halfway point. you’d be dead by now. 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. If this were the Renaissance. you would have beaten the odds by surviving to thirty years old. okay. You spend hundreds of hours every year researching fantasy football statistics and adjusting your rankings so that you can be sure that. Which. But. but. You own every Eagles-related accessory you can acquire. but to you it’s a calling. in one sense. Jabar Ga ney is actually the forty-eighth best fantasy receiver rather than the forty-seventh. you have 2012 Eagles Almanac | 26 . know every player. you are de ned by your status as an Eagles fan. 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. F If you’d been born on the wrong continent even today. from bobbleheads to shoelaces to ags that ap patriotically in the breeze in front of your house. You have led the Eagles to ten consecutive video game Super Bowls. really. 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. have internalized every rumor. You watch every game. say.The Luxury of Feeling Okay Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 By Tom McAllister or most of your life. you have the luxury of feeling okay about thirty. You have other interests and hobbies and friends.. Which. ..
who you have become. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 27 . they disappear within a couple years. people like to ask: Do you feel older? And. But when you’re thirty. the burnouts. Players are more disposable. and now nding yourself in a situation where you have to live vicariously through the players who are washed up. • At which point you have a mortgage (or two). and then grad school. thirty is the end. Imagine being thirty and having to answer daily questions about your legacy. and they’re lucky to even stay in the league long enough to celebrate their thirtieth birthday. because if you didn’t. Imagine yourself as a fan who has lived vicariously through these athletes for your entire life. the answer is No.The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 to believe. • At which point. as if you’re a king abdicating his throne. usually. a week ago you were twenty. the punch lines and the sad cases who held on a few years too long. rather than a spur-of-the-moment decision. it becomes a chore to meet a friend for a happy hour beer. Imagine being a hero in the morning and an a erthought by the evening. you do feel a little older. you know thirty is the beginning of the end. but the lifespan of an athlete is uncomfortably similar to that of a Medieval serf. adult job with real responsibilities. Because. Or maybe more accurately: you feel conscious of being older. of course not. then why would you have stayed in college. the wounded. lazy sportswriters comparing you to Methuselah just because you remember Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle. here’s the thing: if you're a football fan. *** On birthdays. they demand a certain level of introspection. and today you are thirty years old: • At which point you have a real. 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. Yesterday you were twenty-nine. especially if you’re an Eagles fan. you can no longer eat food court pizza without feeling sick for the rest of the day. as if you would even be capable of eulogizing yourself. and they require you to take stock of where you are. if only because you need to have some answers ready for the inevitable questions from well-wishers and co-workers. Imagine being twenty-seven and knowing you’ve peaked. Dates and times are arbitrary and such milestones are arbitrary and yet they still carry weight. Imagine the fans all blithely dismissing you as if you’re ancient. Coaches hang around well until retirement age. and then not being allowed to do it anymore. Too o en. Imagine being perpetually connected with the label elder statesman just because you remember receiving hundreds of free CDs from AOL in the mail. the end result of twelve emails and extensive schedule juggling. Imagine devoting eighty percent of your life to doing one thing. *** Sports are theater in which age is the primary antagonist. • At which point. I feel exactly like I did yesterday except today everyone is paying attention to me and there’s cake.
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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pro athletes seem like your future. I had no excuse if I kept being that person. then it means I am allowing myself to be imprisoned by my reactions to the Eagles. It would change from being a pathology to a consciously anti-social choice. his attitude. If your feelings hadn’t evolved over the past decade. 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. and is the non. nestled safely in the cocoon of college life. “he doesn’t have a right to say anything behind anybody’s back!” e other screams. then you would have to justify why you’re the same person at thirty that you were at twenty. But here’s the thing: you were reasonably happy ten years ago. en. Time seems more valuable to you than it did ten years ago. that you were at ten. 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. I don’t want to sound like I’m proselytizing. allowing football to dictate the daily ow of my life. which is this: you used to care about the minutiae too. ere are ve layers of irrelevancies to peel back in this argument before you reach the core issue. 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. but you cannot do it anymore. and with all the evidence now recorded for posterity. seems harder to excuse wasting than when you were twenty. ere are dozens of reasons (half of them related to hygiene and diet) that you could never live like you did ten years ago. 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. when our cultural expectations gave you license to be frivolous and irresponsible. then you would have to feel badly. If I’m all in. and you’re reasonably happy now. ere is nothing else to explain. “ ese athletes don’t understand Twitter etiquette!” e rst host says: “It’s just ridiculous. just like they want you to. and yet you still feel the need to defend yourself. and it turns me into a worse person. in fact. to the Eagles themselves. and then suddenly they become your past. to your friends. or is it immaturity to take so long to gure it out? *** On sports radio.ction editor of Barrelhouse Magazine.The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 ere was something fundamentally wrong with me as a person before. at’s not something I’m capable of doing. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 32 . just like these guys do. to your past. *** For the longest time. Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey. I don’t want to convert anyone or elevate myself above people who still care the way I used to. their team sucks. One shouts. even if it feels like you need to keep explaining yourself. Some people manage to juggle the intense devotion with their real life duties and they rarely bleed into each other. Is it maturity to acknowledge that.
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 .
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. 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?). and we wouldn't be subject to the injustice of further humiliations. but this was the Giants we were talking about. I won't bore you with my rationale as to why. sure. As much as the Eagles are my favorite thing in the NFL. the challenge 2012 Eagles Almanac | 34 . but I will note that this is a longstanding prejudice not casually arrived at. the Giants are decisively my least favorite thing. If I can love this ridiculous thing called the Eagles. Surely the unfortunate events surrounding Super Bowl XLII had ful lled the Good Fortune For e Giants quota for the 21st century. Please. why can't I hate this other ridiculous thing called the Giants? Photo courtesy Shealah Craighead. And I don't want to hear anything about how that's silly. I mean. 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. that it's just game. it was the sort of statement I knew would draw disapproving stares and surely-he's-exaggerating giggles from the normals. But when Hakeem Nicks caught the Hail Mary at the end of the rst half of the GiantsPackers Divisional Playo Game. and it's not worth the energy to root against a speci c team. 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. W Initially.
But this is our little special corner of hell. I'd take one-and-done at home over that. We can all agree on that. 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. Remember con dently arguing that Donovan McNabb was a much better quarterback than Eli Manning? Yeah. I see it. Until this most recent Super Bowl. Otherwise. 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. Eli's in Canton. But now? We're a couple seasons away from folks claiming that he was actually a better quarterback than his older brother. ere's Something (Very Very Small) To Be Said For Andy Reid Making e Playo s And Not Winning e Super Bowl. Citizens of the Northeast corner of the United States. I was saying. I'm not saying I have answers. Don't do this to me again.) And yet. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 35 . Related ings at Suddenly Seem Very Quaint. and and we'd prefer not to share. e last two times the Eagles missed the playo s. at is. One More Eli ing. Really. Not like this! Not the Giants! At that point.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win turned into a plea. Sure. Maybe even a desperate whimper. But still. at's what e Wrong Side Of History feels like. and that you aren't terribly fond of the baseball team from New York. I really would. Yes yes. the Giants won the Super Bowl. 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. but also my least favorite imaginary thing appears to win the thing I don't want them to win with ease and regularity. ( ey didn’t. America's Most Self-Involved Fan Base May Try To Crash Our Pity Party. And here we are. It’ll take an a air with Lindsay Lohan to leapfrog the Jets’ chaos. e Giants won again. but he also threw 25 interceptions in 2010. the best we can hope for is for him to break the single-season interception record (42. 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. I understand that you're disappointed to have lost two Super Bowls to the New York Giants. 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. will be tough) or get caught gambling on Giants games (more on that later). so I can see how you'd think that the Giants are some sort of arch-nemesis to your beloved Patriots. Sigh. I do. the Yankees suck. Some sort of unsanctioned competitive animal killing would also do the trick. Should have bet heavier. the opposite is true for Eli Manning. Step Away From e Windows As You Read is. 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. he won a Super Bowl. here I am. 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.
ag and create a new user account. I suggest you head posthaste to sportsbook. When they ask Photo courtesy White House/Pete Sousa. and the Giants are most de nitely a problem for Eagles fans. Kevin Gilbride now as many Super Bowl rings as Buddy Ryan. People don't want to hear about the Giants' complicity in the Manning family's manipulation of the NFL dra . or how. right?). I would recommend the following as potential usernames: elimanning. it's all a bit grim when it comes to the Giants. Since gambling is now legal (it is. just two years a er that. in his spare time away from haunting Brandon Graham's career. Exhale. demands Congressional Oversight. Jason Pierre-Paul. it's just that it's been a few years since the cheating was that overt. has blossomed into one of the most promising defensive players in the NFL who has a 2012 Eagles Almanac | 36 . As you may have noticed. I nd the recent fairness and squareness of the Giants’ success to be particularly galling. enter "Eli Manning" and "1500 Washington Street Hoboken. NJ 07030. eli_manning." Continue to do this until the restraining order is led. the rst step to recovery is admitting that we have a problem. as well as season win totals and Eli Manning-speci c props (2012 passing yardage and touchdowns). my advice to you: Open A Sportsbook. 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. eli_manning10. e Giants' Cheating Was Much Less Rampant an In Previous Years. Make Friends With Supermodels and Drug Dealers. Not that all of that wasn't sketchy and indicative of a larger conspiracy that merits. or my-name-is-elimanning-and-i-like-to-gamble. no. they were allowed to be the away team for their trip to London (no home game lost!). at said. send additional copies to "New York Post Sports Desk" at "1211 6th Avenue New York.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 Sideline. Print out copies of your betting slips and post them to "NFL Commissioner's O ce" at "280 Park Avenue New York NY 10017".ag Account Right Now. Still. you for your name and address. or the extra home game they got when Hurricane Katrina ooded New Orleans. moresuperbowlsthanpeyton." I would then recommend betting as many Giants games as you can nd a line on. elitheqb10. NY.
vengeful have won seven of their last eight meetings God. it's admit to being somewhat spooked by the Eagles. and in these darkest of focus too much of his time on football. recommend the Fates were just evening expired? they send him pictures— the football ledger. occasionally ursdays and Saturdays) the Super Bowl” it is worth noting that the Eagles by men like you and me. 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. While obviously just a game played on Sundays (and sometimes nothing can trump “Yeah. you that their team has won two of the last ve 2012 Eagles Almanac | 37 . 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. just in case Jason “plays Of course. and the pictures that make him more glory of the Miracle At e likely to want to share his cocaine. and beat what was arguably and doesn’t want you to ever be happy. And a single. in the grand scheme of things. the more honest Giants fans will of the next decade. champion in New York City once. 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. ere’s no such thing as Cosmic just his way of irting. playo s in 2008 (in the Giants’ own stadium. 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. important that Jason enjoy himself a bit and not is is a positive thing. times. or Football Gods. Find the most cokeway to lose the division title. Oh. the best Giants team of the last ve years in the See you September 30th. that you take this on as a which was a pretty dramatic project.” at's ridiculous. it is And really. it essential that he begin hanging out with cokecouldn’t have felt awesome to be on the business addled supermodels as soon as possible. Still. we know that’s just dumb” and “acts like he doesn't do drugs. 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. ere’s Focus On Positives. If he football comma ever? Maybe return as time is unresponsive. no less). I suggest end of the Miracle At e New Meadowlands. it’s important to focus on positives where you're only going to be 23 and a Super Bowl you can nd them.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win decent chance of terrorizing the Eagles for most Super Bowls. who deeply hates the Philadelphia Eagles against the Giants. A er all. or Fate(s). but our team just won Monday. In between reminding City with his wife and daughter. 2012. in our hearts. Balancing. erefore.
1 5.7 3. e story with the raw averages is broadly similar. there’s a lot of change here. Just by typing the words “Howard Mudd” I can make you smile—and Jason Peters really was as great as everyone said he was.0 3.2 3. Peters and Herremans were both really good.0 5.5 As be ts at unit that saw turnover at four positions.3 3. sizable drops from le tackle to right guard.9 3. And yet people still believe the Eagles had a good o ensive line. I’ll just get behind Peters again.Focus: The Curious Case of Evan Mathis LeSean McCoy.6 5. e rst two columns are simple averages. ey even have their own LeSean McCoy distribution stats that don’t match the o cial play by play: 2012 Eagles Almanac | 38 .0 6. which came on all those plays where the line managed to block the rst wave.2 4. It’s just that Todd switched positions.” To get some sense of where the problems lie.7 5. If 26 you think that sounds low. e folks at that website would tell you Evan Mathis was the league’s best guard. where all rushes of at least 10 yards are counted as 10-yard gains. Average Yards 2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 8. immediately juking whichever defensive lineman we decided not to block on that play. ere’s a lot that goes into it. My lasting image of the 2011 run game involves Shady taking a hando .8 2011 4. let’s compare McCoy’s directional rushing stats from 2010 to 2011. In fact. e table below lists four sets of numbers.6 2. so he took his performance with him.6 2.3 3.9 Modi ed 2010 4. Now.9 3. the Eagles had the League’s th-best run-blocking o ensive line in 2011. 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. 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. meaning a few long runs can skew the stats. one of the most elusive running backs I’ve ever seen. then let Shady do his thing down eld.4 4. and only then thinking about things like “Which hole was I supposed to run through again? Ah.eld” yards. and improvement on runs to right tackle and end.1 4. was tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on more than 25 percent of his carries last year.2 2.5 3. Looking just at the modi ed numbers for a bit. consider the team’s #2 and #4 rankings in “second-level” yards and “open. e second set of numbers use the same process I described above. My story here is pretty simple.7 3.1 2. But then I’m not Pro Football Focus.2 4.2 2011 5. By this measure. we all love the story of the Eagles o ensive line. screw it.8 5. 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 . we see no change on runs to le end (aka around Peters). both years. But this wasn’t a good unit overall.8 3.
5 5.” I actually did have a theory about this. basically. six hits and 24 pressures on 662 pass blocks. What makes Evan Mathis a perfect t for this team is what he does when Mike Vick drops back to pass. LeSean McCoy could gain four yards a carry behind a blocking sled. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 39 . playing in front of the same quarterback and in the same position.7% 28. In 2010. but remember—Andy Reid doesn’t care about the run game. if these numbers actually meant anything.4% 40. 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. I emailed Mathis a few months ago to ask him about this discrepancy between what people were saying and what the numbers demonstrated.5% 22.7 4.0% 15.4 percent.7 6.1 7. And besides. at’s a “bad play” gure of 2. 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. at’s how you keep a job as a lineman on this team.2 4.2011 2.8% 5.6 4.7% 28.6% 12. Ah. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. he wouldn’t still be around. e le guard numbers go down. 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.0 3. Mathis’s bad play percentage was less than half as high (although Herremans was still better than what Danny Watkins managed).6 4.8% 26.7 4. were the Eagles so concerned about retaining him? Clearly.6 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. but the real problem area looks to be LT/ LG.5% 2011 19.4% 22.0 YPC . Although I’m willing to credit the explanation that the new blocking system cause issues across the line.6% 25. three quarterback hits.8 7.6 4. the biggest dropo is again Herremans to Mathis: So why.7% 16. e stu ed percentages were bad across the board.4% 12. Herremans allowed three sacks.4 4.2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Le Middle Right Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 7.0% 29. on 628 pass blocks. He sent me a very nice note back saying. the pattern repeats.4 8. Pro Football Focus has Mathis allowing no sacks. 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.YPC . and only 12 pressures all year. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. in the face of all this evidence that Mathis’ is wildly overrated as a run blocker. that the numbers don’t match the game tape.7% Even so. and it’s one I shared with Mathis in a follow-up email.7% 15. you might say.
He can line up anywhere and has the speed/movement skills to get to the passer. He was blown away by what he saw. Cox is likely to start out as the backup to Cullen Jenkins at under tackle. Washburn will get Cox involved in the game-plan right away. Cox declared for the NFL dra and was somewhat under the public radar at that point. and quickness in his workouts. Cox also showed o strength. receiver Anquan Boldin ran it in 4. but it really isn't. and even trades to build a talented roster. Cox is a natural pass rusher.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Eagles Draft Review By Tommy Lawlor he Eagles went into the 2012 dra with few needs. but struggle to get to the quarterback because he's able to step away from them. Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn went to MSU to work Cox out. Many scouts feel he could play defensive end in the 4-3 if asked to do it. Many pass rushers are straight line types. ere was talk in scouting circles of Cox going as early as pick six to the St. He could use Cox at end in some sets. e team had used recent dra s. you'll see Cox lining up both le and right. 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. is may sound like something simple and obvious. ability. e 2012 Eagles Almanac | 40 . He ended up falling down to the 12th spot. Cox then went to the NFL Scouting Combine and blew people away. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4. 1ST ROUND: DT FLETCHER COX – 6-4. free agency. 298. e results look really good on paper. He is that fast o the edge. Still. If you put on MSU game tape. He played both end and tackle. it is hard to look at the team's group of picks and not get excited if you are an Eagles fan. To put that in perspective. He could play Cox and Jenkins on the eld at the same time to give the Eagles a dynamic set of interior rushers. How he ts in: Cox's athleticism shows up on game tape. He had 14. but you can bet Washburn will try and nd ways to get Cox on the eld in creative ways.72 seconds while 80 pounds lighter.79 T seconds. Louis Rams.5 tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and ve sacks for the Bulldogs and was the key to their defense. Cox also bends and turns well. 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. NFL teams had taken notice of him while studying senior prospects at practice and on tape. ey can get into the back eld. 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. at gave the Eagles the exibility to go a er who they wanted instead of focusing on who they needed. Mississippi State Background: Cox is a junior who had a breakout season in 2011. ey really got creative with him.
Great value. Kendricks is a complete linebacker because of the way Cal used him. Curry's consistent production is all the more impressive when you consider that he wasn't surrounded by other NFL type talents. Kendricks was allowed to attack up the eld quite a bit. Dra value: Kendricks went where he was expected to go in the middle of the second round.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Eagles traded fourth and sixth round picks to move up three spots and get him. at showed that his big numbers weren’t just a matter of playing mediocre competition. 2nd ROUND: DE VINNY CURRY – 6-3. 240. at's what he played as a senior at Cal and it should help him to t in as a rookie. He used speed. Curry opened some eyes when he went to the Senior Bowl and had a terri c week. but the Eagles love his versatility and athleticism. but will be part of 2012 Eagles Almanac | 41 .5 sacks. He was the one guy o enses had to stop and they couldn't do it. Cal even had him line up as a defensive end and rush the passer on a regular basis. covering. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo prefers speed and athletic ability to size when it comes to his linebackers. He moved all over the place. and an excellent motor to win his battles. 13. He has experience playing up on the line of scrimmage as well as back o the ball. but rather a skilled pass rusher and that should help his transition to the NFL. Curry can play on the le or right side. He's not just an athlete. Both guys are athletic pass rushers that can line up inside or outside and get to the quarterback. 266. Kendricks had the best overall workout of any linebacker prospect at the Combine. How he ts in: Washburn went to Marshall to work out Curry in person and came away very impressed. Curry was a force during the practice sessions and then in the game itself. Responded by having a great season and being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. e Eagles use of the Wide-9 front allows Kendricks to stay o the ball and he is somewhat like another inside linebacker. JAX. He spent time blitzing. but like Kendricks was a second round pick who could play all three linebackers spots and had a versatile skill set. At only 5-11 he lacks ideal height. NFL comparison: Cullen Jenkins. One reason they like him is his versatility. and 4 interceptions. He was a player that Washburn and the Eagles wanted. Curry nished with 26. California Background: Played outside linebacker until 2011 when he was shi ed to the inside. Kendricks nished his career with 155 solo tackles. pass rush moves. Marshall Background: Highly productive pass rusher that had a great career at Marshall. 2nd ROUND: LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS – 5-11. 36. 49 TFLs. He can even line up on the inside on passing situations and rush up the middle. and playing the run. He's a bit taller. He was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.5 sacks. and 10 forced fumbles. How he ts in: Kendricks comes to the Eagles to compete for the SAM linebacker spot right away. NFL comparison: Mike Peterson (IND. When used on the outside. ATL) is someone that comes to mind. Curry won't start early. rushing the passer.5 TFLs. Curry uses his hands well to ght o blockers and stay clean.
He played in the slot and outside as a cornerback. and natural gi s to be an NFL pocket passer. Foles is a big talented passer. He will keep plays alive as long as possible. e team hopes that Mike Ka a is the backup. Foles has the size. e bad news is that they were shutout in the rst by Ndamukong Suh and Nebraska. ey did go to a pair of bowl games.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review the rotation. leading to the ring of coach Mike Stoops. He just never looked all that comfortable during the practices. e second game they lost 36-10 to Oklahoma State. e Eagles traded back from no. Ka a will battle veteran journeyman Trent Edwards for that spot. 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. He's not one to dump the ball quickly. Both guys were more football player than athlete. 4th ROUND: CB/RS BRANDON BOYKIN – 5-9. ere are times when he is really impressive. a player they had targeted. It is hard to classify this as a reach since most quarterbacks are taken earlier than expected. there is enough depth he can sit and learn. He is an accurate passer. Foles can take a beating and keep right on playing. Found a home at Arizona and became a three-year starter. 3rd ROUND: QB NICK FOLES – 6-5. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 42 . e Wildcats fell apart in 2011 due to an awful defense and went just 4-8. but only a limited athlete. ose numbers led all quarterbacks. Foles went to the Senior Bowl and had a very up and down week. 2012 will be a learning year for him. He's got a good arm. He was a good enough basketball player in high school to get some scholarship o ers from big time schools. He is fearless in the pocket. If for some reason Curry struggles. Excellent value. He did come alive in the game. 59 to recoup a fourth round pick and were still able to get Curry. Dra value: Curry was thought of as a late rst round/early second round pick. Burgess was a good pass rusher and Curry has the potential to be a similar NFL player. Arizona Background: Started o at Michigan State before realizing that he wasn't happy and returning to the Southwest. NFL comparison: Reminds me of a lot of big pocket passers.000 yards. going 11-15-136 with a touchdown. Foles should have the number three spot all to himself. but Foles isn't a guy who will do much running out in space. 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. 51 to no. NFL comp aris on: He reminds me somewhat of former Eagle Derrick Burgess. He does move well in the pocket. skills. How he ts in: Michael Vick is the starter. if he plays well at Lehigh. Set numerous school records. A er him. Foles gives his receivers a chance to get open. e Wildcats had mixed success during Foles' tenure. rew for 67 touchdowns and more than 10. things get jumbled. 183. but as he bulked up for football over the years it appears his athleticism faded away. He has a good chance to backup Trent Cole. Georgia Background: Boykin was a force on defense and special teams for the Bulldogs for three years. 243.
He could get some reps as the punt returner. Joselio Hanson has been the nickel corner for most of the last four years. 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 broke his leg and was never able to workout for scouts/ teams. which shows you that he was an active run defender and would attack plays in the back eld. 5th ROUND: OT DENNIS KELLY – 6-8. For some reason. He wasn't invited to the Combine or an all star game. 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. He had 12 o ensive touches and averaged 14. e Eagles already have a solid pair of starters. As a senior the Bulldogs decided to give him touches on o ense. but age seemed to catch up to him last season. While Boykin lacks ideal size. He and Boykin have similar builds and backgrounds. ere was some thought that lacking ideal size and having some concussions in his background hurt his value. a 42-yard touchdown catch at mid-season and even a 13-yard touchdown catch in the bowl game.5 yards per play with three scores. but he fell to the bottom of the fourth round. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 43 . while also measuring in at 321 pounds.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Boykin picked o nine passes and broke up 18 more. He played in the slot for most of his senior year and that should ease the transition. and better each year. Dra value: Many thought Boykin was worth a second or third round pick. Boykin responded with an 80-yard run in the season opener. How he ts in: e Eagles have a good set of starting corners in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. King Dunlap is the number three tackle. Kelly started three years at le tackle and was a co-captain as a senior. Purdue Background: Kelly was recruited to Purdue as a 240-pound project. He showed NFL skills and size to the teams who were looking at him. he is very muscular. Jones and Kelly will battle for a roster spot. Kelly trained for his pro day and had a good workout. 321. Boykin should be the primary kicko returner from day one. Kelly was widely overlooked in the pre-dra process. Despite not being big. but DeSean Jackson will likely keep that role for the most part. Dra value: Not many people expected Kelly to be dra ed in the h round. How he ts in: Kelly will ght for a backup job in 2012. Boykin was so gi ed that Georgia got creative with him. 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. stronger. although Boykin is faster and more athletic. at hurt him. He was the primary kicko returner (24 yards per return and four touchdowns) and also got mixed in as the punt returner on occasion. NFL comparison: Javier Arenas is a slot corner and return specialist for the Chiefs. he has excellent speed and is an all-around good athlete. He got bigger. Boykin will get a chance to be the nickel corner right away. but they do need help in the slot. He started bulking up right away and the coaches liked his talent enough to get him on the eld as a freshman. He had a very impressive total of 20 TFLs.J. D. e Eagles felt he was very good value at this point and didn't want to risk losing him so they made the pick.
Also. He's not an ideal t for the Mudd system. 2011 rolled around and the coaches asked him to move to le tackle. Dra value: Many people were shocked to see McNutt slide down to the sixth round. but that is still a major fall for a player with McNutt's size. Jeremy Maclin has some size and some speed. He was originally projected to go in the third or fourth round. skill. but might have needed to jump into the NFL for nancial reasons. He then proved to be an ideal t for the Hawkeyes pro style o ense. David Gettis of the Panthers is a good comparison that not many people will know. but isn't special or dynamic. 6th ROUND: OG BRANDON WASHINGTON – 6-3. but accepted the challenge and did his best. He was a rst team All-ACC selection. speed. He lacks the agility and footwork to play tackle in the NFL. He could get a chance to play in the slot. ere are a couple of knocks on McNutt. McNutt must do well on special teams as well as o ense if he wants to secure a roster spot. but felt Dennis Kelly was too good to pass up. but did his part to help the team. 320. McNutt had a good showing at the Senior Bowl and then surprised some people with how well he ran at the Combine. Kelly is a bit more polished at this point than Herremans was. Washington lacked ideal size and athleticism. He wasn't coming o a strong year. He got better each year and nished his career with 170 catches and 28 touchdown receptions. He can be a good pass blocker on the inside. but has enough 2012 Eagles Almanac | 44 . He was over-matched in a a few games. Riley Cooper is a big guy. at helped him to be e ective in the red zone. 6th ROUND: WR MARVIN MCNUTT – 6-3. McNutt has to show that he's got NFL speed before the team can even think about him ever starting on the outside. but isn't as good an athlete. 216. As a senior he was 82-1315-12. First is that he's still somewhat new to receiver and has a lot le to learn. e Eagles considered taking McNutt in the h.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review NFL comparison: Watching Kelly makes you think of a young Todd Herremans. 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. is was an exceptionally deep receiver class. He uses size to get the best of smaller defensive backs. and background. ose are big time numbers for someone not playing in a spread attack. NFL comparison: James Jones of the Packers is one name. He will be a role player initially. Miami Background: Washington started some at guard as a freshman and showed good potential. Washington made a curious decision to turn pro early. DeSean Jackson is a pure speed guy. McNutt comes in to add size to the group. He was the full-time le guard in 2010 and played very well. Jason Avant is very good there for now. but isn't the fastest receiver in the world and that makes him vulnerable. Washington can be a good run blocker with his size and strength. he struggled when facing top ight corners this year. Iowa Background: McNutt went to Iowa to play quarterback before switching to receiver as a sophomore. McNutt is a solid athlete. but is still unproven a er two seasons.
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.com. You don't know how he'll adjust to life in the NFL. If he can get back to his 2010 level of play. Brown's brother Arthur was playing linebacker there and the father wanted the two of them together. e Eagles love his talent. Normally this sounds like a prospect you want to avoid. Brown has that kind of potential. but his combination of size and speed have turned him into a big time NFL back. He saw a running back with size. but the Eagles felt he was worth a seventh round gamble. Dra value: Some teams were shocked the Eagles spent a pick on Brown. He could also get cut. Most young backs rely on size or speed to succeed. is is very encouraging. Williams was very impressed. How he ts in: Brown is essentially a lottery ticket. Texans. He must show that he can be a solid pass blocker in order to make the roster. Brown made the move. Tommy Lawlor runs IgglesBlitz. Ki n said good things about Brown. which I'm sure the Eagles like. Kansas State Background: Brown has a very complicated story. He was the number one recruit in the nation just a few years back. ere is limited game tape of Brown. but then le that school when coach Lane Ki n le for USC. Brown is a lot more polished than you would expect from a guy with his background. Andy Reid said that they liked his feet and hips and thought he could be a good guard in the NFL. He began his career at Tennessee. Brown could be the Eagles backup at running back. 7th ROUND: RB BRYCE BROWN – 5-11. Reid talked to Ki n. 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. and writes a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 45 . but his heart was never at Kansas State. NFL comparison: Willie Colon. How he ts in: e Eagles studied Washington at tackle. He injured an ankle and then just quit the team. 224. ey came away impressed. Foster also played at Tennessee and was undra ed. He has good talent. Dra value: It was a surprise to see Washington fall as far as he did. e Eagles sent running backs coach Ted Williams to work Brown out. e team only invested a sixth round pick in Washington so he's guaranteed nothing. the Eagles got a steal.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review upside that you take a chance on him and see what happens. Reid then talked to a friend who is on the Kansas State sta . 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. While he lacks experience. and speed. Washington is coming in to ght for a backup spot. he does show good skills. even if he's a long shot. Brown was asked to go to Kansas State by his father. guard for the Steelers. Brown is also a good receiver.com. NFL comparison: Arian Foster.com. who is a friend. movement skills. He could be number three. but he does show good vision and footwork. He decided to focus on getting ready for the NFL. at coach said enough positive things that Reid wasn't scared o . Both guys have a similar build and both have guard/tackle experience. covers the draft for ScoutsNotebook.
CB Cli Harris – Oregon – Big time playmaker with character concerns. but highly productive player. but has NFL talent. WR Damaris Johnson – Tulsa – Diminutive. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 46 . Excellent returner.Focus: More Eagles Draft Nuggets Eagles Draft Picks by Position . RB Chris Polk – Washington – Very good player who slipped due to some medical concerns. TE Chase Ford – Miami – Big player with limited experience and production.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.
Redskins Average Week 6 8 11 16 17 Rushing 42 85 29 81 130 73. the Eagles bumbled their way to an 8-8 record. However.4 points: would be 1st Last season. e Giants were able to up their Eagles Defensive Stats in NFC East Wins Opponent @ Redskins vs. and 9.4 points per game. It seems hard to believe in hindsight. Cowboys @ Giants @ Cowboys vs.6 Points 13 7 10 7 10 9.4 rush yards: would be 1st • 216 passing yards: would be 10th • 289.The bEast Breakdown The ‘Boys. I Otherwise.4 total yards: would be 4th • 9. heading into the playo s. the Eagles largely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and won by playing excellent defense. defensively.4 Outcome W (20-13) W (34-7) W (17-10) W (20-7) W (34-10) 2012 Eagles Almanac | 47 . the NFC East was viewed by many as a weak division. and it was a killer. but the Eagles entered that game as eight point favorites. To put those numbers in perspective. 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. they gave up an average of 73. while the Eagles most certainly did not. 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 the *gulp* 2011 Champs By Jimmy Kempski n what was one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory in 2011. See a quick snapshot of those games. 216 passing yards. here’s how they would stack up against the rest of the NFL during the 2011 regular season: • 73. in the table below.4 Turnovers 4 1 2 0 1 1. in each of the their ve NFC East wins.4 total yards. 289.4 rushing yards per game. e Eagles’ week three loss at home to the Giants was their lone NFC East loss.0 Total 287 267 278 238 377 289. the ‘Skins.4 Passing 245 182 249 157 247 216. one of the many abnormalities of the Eagles’ 2011 season was that they actually nished 5-1 in the division. In the ve Eagles’ NFC East wins. and rightfully so. e Giants played mistake free football.
e Redskins made a bold move to trade up from the sixth overall pick to the St. Donovan McNabb. Chris Cooley • LT: Trent Williams • LG: Kory Lichtensteiger 2012 Eagles Almanac | 48 . Danny Wuer el. Here are the details of that trade: at’s an extremely steep price to pay for any player. Yikes. Je George. Tim Hasselbeck. each team could make the argument that they improved this o season. the Redskins may have their legitimate di erence maker at QB. beginning from the bottom with the Washington Redskins: Redskins Received Rams’ 2012 1st rd. pick Redskins' 2014 1st rd. record-shattering defense (see the Trent Dilfer-led 2000 Ravens as Exhibit A). there is plenty of reason for optimism in D. Patrick Ramsey. unless of course you have some sort of historic. here is a list of the starting QB’s they’ve gone to battle with: Brad Johnson. In the NFL. Mark Brunell. you either have a QB. Shane Matthews. 3rd year Def. and John Beck. coordinator: Jim Haslett. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs game during the playo s.. 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. 3rd year O . Rex Grossman. Jason Campbell. Leonard Hankerson. Tony Banks. For the rst time in the Dan Snyder era in Washington. key reserves: • QB: Robert Gri n III.C. In my opinion. the ‘Skins. pick (6th overall) Redskins' 2012 2nd rd. For the rst time since Dan Snyder bought the team. so the stink of the bad regular season in the NFC East has subsided to a large degree. Let’s look around the rest of the division at each team. Rex Grossman • RB: Roy Helu Jr. at said. Projected o ensive Starters. including the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Louis Rams’ second overall pick so that they could get their guy.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. due to the arrival of the new golden child of the beltway. Evan Royster • FB: Darrel Young • WR: Pierre Garcon. coordinator: Kyle Shanahan. Santana Moss. Over the course of the Dan Snyder era. Josh Morgan • TE: Fred Davis. pick WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Head Coach: Mike Shanahan. but it was an understandable move for the Redskins to make. or you are not a viable threat to seriously challenge for a Super Bowl. pick (39th overall) Redskins' 2013 1st rd. pick (2nd overall) Rams Received Redskins' 2012 1st rd. 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).
) Jason Witten Aaron Hernandez Tony Gonzalez Dustin Keller Brent Celek Vernon Davis Antonio Gates Rec.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Lichtensteiger is returning from a devastating knee injury. and he could be the next in line of the dominant receiving TE’s in the NFL. At the very least. and sixth-round picks. Filling out the WR corps is the veteran Santana Moss. Garcon will be a signi cant upgrade over the Skins’ leading receiver in 2011. Will Mongomery and Chris Chester are both “JAGs” (just a guy). 2012 Eagles Almanac | 49 . as they dra ed o ensive linemen with their third. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • C: Will Montgomery • RG: Chris Chester • RT: Jammal Brown O ensive strengths: Over the last few years. here’s what that looks like: Player Rob Gronkowski Jimmy Graham Fred Davis (Proj. along with do-everything Tim Hightower. especially if RG3 turns out to be the real deal. Kory Lichtensteiger (torn ACL and MCL). While those numbers don’t sound particularly impressive. Ga ney has since been released. Last season. although they drastically overpaid for him. and the health of RG3 should be a concern for throughout the entire season. but the OL remains a signi cant weakness. h. it should be noted that he missed the last 4 games of the season because he was suspended for a positive marijuana test. and it’s a much more impressive stat line of 79 catches for 1061 yards and 4 TDs. 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. and Jammal Brown (various injuries)—missed signi cant time last season. they should have better depth this season. Fred Davis is one of the most underrated o ensive weapons in the game. this is no longer a group of skill players to be taken lightly. Fred Davis had 59 receptions for 796 yards and 3 TDs. With a decent 1-2 combo in sophomores Roy Helu and Evan Royster at RB. and Williams. the ‘Skins. and they should only get better. in the same vein as players like Jason Witten and Vernon Davis. Project those numbers over a 16 game season. and Brown himself was atrocious when he did play. the Redskins’ receiving corps have been unanimously thought of as the weakest group in the division. If you compare that with the rest of the league’s TE’s. In addition to Davis. Additionally. is immature and one failed drug test away from being suspended for a full season. and a couple young players with lot of potential in hyear player Josh Morgan and second-year pro Leonard Hankerson. O ensive weaknesses: e Redskins’ OL was a disaster in 2011. ree of their o ensive linemen—Trent Williams (suspension). e replacements for each o ensive lineman were bad. while talented. the Skins brought in Pierre Garcon in free agency. I believe they have since closed that gap. At least the Redskins are aware that their OL is weak. Jabar Ga ney.
but is full of solid players and plenty of depth in Adam Carriker. or 100 percent of needed yards on third down. Kevin Barnes • Slot CB: Cedric Gri n Defensive strengths: When most people think of strong front seven attacks in the NFC Photo courtesy HomerFanboy. 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. and London Fletcher is a tackling machine and one of the true leaders in the NFL. Rob Jackson • CB: DeAngelo Hall • S: Brandon Meriweather.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. when you look at Washington’s front seven as a whole. and Perry Riley. Ryan Kerrigan. It’s an imperfect stat (as every stat is) that 2012 Eagles Almanac | 50 . who took over midway through the season for the ine ective Rocky McIntosh at ILB. Barry Co eld. e Skins’ defensive line is also in good shape. Let’s start with cornerback. key reserves: • DE: Adam Carriker. Riley played well in 2011. East. they tend to come up with guys like DeMarcus Ware. it’s probably the most complete unit in the division. without any major holes. Kedric Golston. Kedric Golston • OLB: Ryan Kerrigan. Jarvis Jenkins • NT: Barry Co eld. and at the very least. Jonathan Go • OLB: Brian Orakpo. e only semiunknown is Riley. Orakpo is already a stud pass rusher. e Redskins don’t immediately jump into your head. e Redskins 3-4 defense is led by their impressive linebacking group of Brian Orakpo. However. and 2011 second rounder Jarvis Jenkins. should be an upgrade over McIntosh. Stephen Bowen. and the dominant pass rushing DL of the Eagles. Madieu Williams • CB: Josh Wilson. Kerrigan had a very impressive rookie season in 2011. It lacks the star power of the linebackers. London Fletcher. Football Outsiders has a stat they use for corners that they refer to as “success rate. Keenan Robinson • ILB: Perry Riley. Lorenzo Alexander • ILB: London Fletcher. who missed last season with a torn ACL. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Projected defensive starters. Chris Neild • DE: Stephen Bowen. Defensive weaknesses: While the front seven looks strong. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck in NY. Jay Ratli and Sean Lee in Dallas. the trio of Jason Pierre-Paul. the secondary has all the makings of an absolute horror show this season. Reed Doughty • S: DeJon Gomes. the ‘Skins.
He landed in San Francisco. Jackson had 57 opportunities to make a tackle. A quick roundup of his issues below. skilled player. He also gave up the third-most yards per target (10. 4) Tanard Jackson – e Redskins added Tanard Jackson a er the Buccaneers cut him. Williams has 12 INT’s (1. a refusing a breathalyzer at a 3 a. to repeated nes for helmet-to-helmet hits. running the gamut from a shooting. Atogwe wasn’t the playmaking ballhawk he once was in St. as the safety situation is an absolute mess. It’s not an ideal recipe for your main slot corner: • Two torn ACLs since January of 2010. On the other side is Josh Wilson. A er three disappointing seasons in Minnesota. Still.m. In his eight-year career. A meeting with Roger Goodell could be on the horizon. Louis on some very bad Rams teams. Missing in action. Not bad.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. 2) Madieu Williams – Williams was a good player in the early part of his career with the Bengals. For the slot corner role. and he too battled injuries. 2011 wasn’t much better. Williams never saw the eld again. • Benched on multiple occasions. Doughty is not a viable starting NFL safety. according to Pro Football Focus. and which ones aren’t. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs also requires some level of football knowledge to determine which defensive back is being “targeted” on any one play. the ‘Skins. Not one of them is even a lock to make the team. however. In a much more surprising move. e six contestants: 1) Brandon Meriweather – In the last seven months. Last year. and he parlayed his play into a six-year deal with the Vikings for $33 million in 2008. the Skins cut Oshiomogho Atogwe in a salary dump. 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. he has red ags galore. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 51 . were Hall’s trademark big plays.8). I’ll explain… LaRon Landry was a very good player when he actually played. and he was attacked/exposed regularly when he had to ll in for LaRon Landry.5/season) and 4 FF (0. He missed 24 of them. Williams was released. but at the very least he was a solid. and most recently. tra c stop. but his inability to stay healthy forced the team to let him seek employment elsewhere. • Reportedly refused to run play calls. is past season. Solid player. not great. 3) Reed Doughty – Doughty was with the team last season. Once Goldson and Whitner were healthy. Although physically talented.5). e Skins have six safeties that will be competing for starting spots this preseason. In 2010. Big plays should not be expected. as he managed just three interceptions (his lowest total since his rookie season in 2004) and one forced fumble.5/ season). the Redskins signed Cedric Gri n to a one year deal. • Abysmal season in 2011 with the Vikings. it provides a pretty good framework of which corners are playing well. where he played the rst four games while Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner were out with injuries. to kicking opposing players in an on eld brawl at Miami. and the third-worst yards a er the catch (5. Hall was eighth-worst in the NFL in success rate (41%). DeAngelo Hall had the second worst “success rate” in the NFL at 39%. the corners might actually be the strength of their secondary. who is entering his second year as a Redskin. e Redskins have not yet adequately replaced either player. Unfortunately for the Skins.
the idea was for him to start at RG. to a ve-year deal worth $50. However. coordinator: Rob Ryan. Consider me unconvinced that it will work. and they’ll roll with the inevitable growing pains. and the Cowboys paid a he y price for both of them. and will be out until the start of training camp. 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. or Shanahan could be gone. Will replace another player that Ryan coached in Cleveland. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 52 . Above. ey have a really solid front seven on defense and some young up-andcomers at the o ensive skill positions. Abram Elam. Mackenzy Bernadeau: When the Cowboys signed Bernadeau. the Redskins are playing the “Let’s sign as many crappy safeties as we can and hope that one of them pans out” game. 2nd full year O . Overview: is season in Washington is a honeymoon. while the others are pretty much locks not to be legitimate starters. e Redskins will have to at the very least show that they have the look of a contender in 2013. Brodney Pool: Played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Cleveland. e major worries.” So far. formerly of the Chiefs. the ‘Skins. but he has since had surgery on his hip. they signed Brandon Carr. Longtime Cowboy corner Terence Newman is gone. as this is not a team that is going to compete for the NFC East title in 2012. in the projected starters section. If the Skins can somehow win seven games and RG3 shows progression throughout the season. as noted above. In other words. but struggled when he got his chances in the real games. DALLAS COWBOYS: Head Coach: Jason Garrett. snagging the following players: Dan Connor: Will be paired with former Penn St.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. 6) Jordan Bernstein – Seventh-round dra pick out of Iowa. I certainly don’t expect the Skins to be a pushover. Lawrence Vickers: Starting FB. Fans will marvel at the occasional big play by RG3.1 million. teammate Sean Lee at ILB. I have Gomes listed as a starting safety for no other reason than that he’s still at least somewhat of a mystery. e Cowboys were also very busy in free agency. is is a team that didn’t just sweep the Super Bowl Champions last season— they manhandled them. A month later. Mike Shanahan is in Year ree of his “ ve year plan. and 2007 rst round pick Mike Jenkins could soon be out the door as well. I would expect the gap between wins and losses to widen further this year. 2012 should be viewed as a success. Nate Livings: e former Bengal is projected to start at LG. will be the o ensive line and the defensive secondary. 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. Kyle Orton: Tony Romo injury insurance. First. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs 5) DeJon Gomes – Gomes is a second-year player that impressed me during the preseason last year. coordinator: Bill Callahan. his record is 11-21. 1st year Def.
2012 Eagles Almanac | 53 . with an aging OL in place. He cooled o some in 2010 a er Tony Romo was lost for the season. but so far has the production of a #2. over the course of his 13 year career. 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. He has ability comparable to the best WRs in the game. the Cowboys #1 dra pick in 2010. and Jason Witten form a very talented. With Jason Peters lost for the season. key reserves: • QB: Tony Romo. as he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season in 2003. To put that in perspective.4. 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. Romo’s most reliable target is the great Jason Witten.4 just three times. Also worth noting is the Cowboys young LT. O ensive weaknesses: While Smith is likely to be a Cowboys great for the next decade. One of the rst things people typically think of when they hear the name Tony Romo is the late-game ga es. Tyron Smith. Kyle Orton • RB: DeMarco Murray • FB: Lawrence Vickers • WR: Miles Austin. John Phillips • LT: Tyron Smith • LG: Nate Livings • C: Phil Costa • RG: Mackenzy Bernadeau • RT: Doug Free O ensive strengths: Tony Romo. Smith is clearly the best LT in the division. and to a certain extent that’s fair. In 2011. 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. On the other side. Miles Austin is a player that broke out in a huge way in 2009. Dez Bryant. Austin has become somewhat of an under-the-radar player this o season. the Cowboys had a total of 18 dra picks. Miles Austin.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Dez Bryant • TE: Jason Witten. very dangerous passing attack. Romo’s numbers. Donovan McNabb broke 91. the ‘Skins. Witten had his worst season statistically in ve years. over the course of his career. the rest of the o ensive line is a mess. Bryant has scary athletic ability. and then struggled through an injuryriddled 2011. On the outside. are stellar. Bernadeau Doug Free Dan Connor Brandon Carr Morris Claiborne Brodney Pool Projected o ensive starters. and he still managed to catch 79 balls for 942 yards and 5 TDs. but he still has enormous talent and it should not come as a surprise if he rebounds in a big way in 2012. He’s also a rare Cowboy that plays every week. Smith has the makings of being an absolute star in the NFL. but has not yet grasped the mental side of the game. catching 81 passes for 1320 yards and 11 TDs. A quick history lesson on the Cowboys’ o ensive line: In 2008 and 2009. His worst QB rating in any one season was 91. the hype hasn’t matched the production of Dez Bryant. However.
who was 35. forced into “going young” along their OL. like Brewster. meanwhile. is year. scoring the extremely talented Tyron Smith out of USC. having a surprisingly bad season. this time even more predictably than in 2010. ey headed into the 2010 season with the oldest o ensive line in the NFL. Kosier was moved from LG over to the right side to be sort of an “o ensive tackle whisperer” for Smith. ey also locked up Free to a long term deal. Brewster is no longer with the team. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs With those 18 picks. with Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier celebrating their 32nd birthdays shortly therea er. paying him $32 million over four years. In one o season. ey also plugged in second-year player Phil Costa at center. and Tyron Smith at RT. e following o season. Sam Young. In 2010. was a major disappointment. Leonard Davis celebrated his 32nd birthday just before the start of the season. Andre Gurode was 31. amazingly. For the rst time in 20+ years as the Cowboys’ GM. they went from the oldest o ensive line in the league to one of the youngest. albeit way too late. Enter Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau as the new guards. ey hit with one player. they dra ed no o ensive linemen. both had brutal seasons. grabbing David Arkin and Bill Nagy. Jerry Jones made the obvious decision to cut bait with Colombo. ip op Tyron Smith and Doug Free at the tackle 2012 Eagles Almanac | 54 . Kosier’s decline and health issues continued. e one player that was still relatively young was the 26-year-old Doug Free. With so many new and unproven players inserted into the lineup. round pick on an o ensive lineman. but in what should have been a fairly predictable outcome. e Cowboys were. Davis and Gurode. Jones spent a rst Photo courtesy Bigcats lair. in 2011. it was nally becoming a priority. missed with two. To begin the season. It appeared that a er years of ignoring the OL. Robert Brewster. Costa and Nagy. ey nished that season 6-10.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. they selected one o ensive lineman. the ‘Skins. the Cowboys’ o ensive line once again sputtered all season. but the two other new pieces. in a way. who was taking over at LT for the departed Flozell Adams. the Cowboys started two rookies: Nagy at LG. ey would take a couple more o ensive linemen in the fourth and seventh rounds. and were heading into the 2012 once again scrambling to nd answers. three players that were playing poorly and making far too much money. is no longer with the team. the Cowboys had seven dra picks. while Nagy’s bad season was cut short in week six. the o ensive line went into a sharp decline and the o ense sputtered. Free. in the sixth round. Smith had a great rookie year. respectively. e Cowboys were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East that season. It didn’t help that the defense was surprisingly bad. Young. when he was lost for the season with a broken ankle. Costa’s poor play lasted 16 games. e Cowboys were learning that turning over a full o ensive line in a short amount of time isn’t exactly easy. and once again. the Cowboys dra ed one lineman.
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. $50 million. but they do have a collection of some great players scattered throughout. In the Ratli can still play. Mike Jenkins • S: Gerald Sensabaugh. and for the third year in a row. they’ve given a similar lack of attention to their DL. Sean Lissemore • NT: Jay Ratli . On the outside. and Sean Lissemore provides good 2012 Eagles Almanac | 55 . Ratli turns 31 in August. at’s asking a lot of an undersized NT that faces constant double teams in the run game.5 5. Ware had 19. Bruce Carter • ILB: Sean Lee • OLB: DeMarcus Ware. Crawford is the rst defensive end they’ve dra ed in the rst three rounds in the last six dra s.5 sacks last season. the Cowboys dra ed Tyrone Crawford. and moved up to sixth overall to dra rookie CB Morris Claiborne. Jay Ratli has been an excellent player for the last six seasons. Eagles center Jason Kelce said that Ratli is the best player he has ever faced. Alex Albright • CB: Brandon Carr. Defensive weaknesses: In the third round of the 2012 dra . the Cowboys made a big splash this o season by signing Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs for ve years. show no apparent plans to replace the horrid Phil Costa at center. Tyrone Crawford • OLB: Anthony Spencer. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs positions. Ratli is by far the smallest 3-4 NT in the NFL. Josh Brent • DE: Kenyon Coleman. Jay Ratli . the ‘Skins. he has averaged 776 snaps per season.5 TFL 12 6 FF 2 1 Projected defensive Starters. 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. Victor Butler • ILB: Dan Connor. but their corner play should be drastically improved. Sean Lee has outstanding instincts and always seems to be around the ball. 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 Cowboys are heading into yet another season of easily foreseeable problems protecting Tony Romo. key reserves: • DE: Jason Hatcher. and over the last three years. Jason Hatcher is the closest thing to a legitimate starter at DE for the Cowboys. 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. In the same way they’ve ignored their o ensive line over the years. meanwhile continues to be a force at NT. Barry Church • S: Brodney Pool. according to Pro Football Focus. DeMarcus Ware remains the premier pass rusher in the game. but he has logged quite a bit of mileage. but he isn’t getting much help from the DEs.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Matt Johnson • CB: Morris Claiborne.
The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. as we all know. In my opinion. e only really noteworthy changes are that RB Brandon Jacobs. at least in comparison to the Eagles’ other two NFC East rivals. the very same analysts call the Cowboys “underachievers” or . the Giants were quiet in acquiring talent. you’ll hear NFL analysts refer to the Cowboys as one of the most talented teams in the league. aside from some smaller signings and a full slate of dra picks. the ‘Skins. All sizzle. and Sean Lee. and is pretty clearly behind the Eagles and Giants. e Giants. the Cowboys could do much better than Marcus Spears. seemingly every year. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs depth. He is not. 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. Overview: Seemingly every year. or getting knocked out early. As a side note. Rob Ryan is not Rex Ryan or Buddy Ryan. Otherwise. Kenyon Coleman and Cli on Geathers as their other DEs. NEW YORK GIANTS: Head Coach: Tom Coughlin. coordinator: Kevin Gilbride. Miles Austin. Projected o ensive starters. But it really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise why the Cowboys are 14-18 over the last two seasons. and their roster will largely be unchanged. coordinator: Perry Fewell. no steak. ey’ve been weak in the trenches. and I don’t see much of a reason why that will be any di erent in 2012. and there’s no depth up and down the roster. and it’s easy to see why. And again. this is an average team. WR Mario Manningham. won the Super Bowl last season. 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. partially because t h e y d on’t n e e d many upgrades. not much. David Carr 2012 Eagles Almanac | 56 In the same way that Casey Matthews is not Clay Matthews. but also because they didn’t have much salary cap space. With players like DeMarcus Ware. there’s an odd perception that Rob Ryan is an accomplished coordinator. the Cowboys don’t lack star power. key reserves: • QB: Eli Manning. Otherwise. but DE has been a weak position for the Cowboys for the last half decade. 9th year O . Dez Bryant. e hope is that Crawford can come in and contribute immediately. Tony Romo. their other starters and role players have underperformed. Jay Ratli . and CB Aaron Ross have all moved on. but otherwise. 6th year Def.
so recovery times vary. doesn’t do it alone. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • RB: Ahmad Bradshaw. does come into 2012 with some uncertainty. and the prognosis was that he would be able to return in 12 weeks. O ensive weaknesses: What makes Eli Manning’s stellar play last season even more impressive was that his o ensive line was terrible. He had to shoulder the load because he had no run game whatsoever. Will Beatty had the same injury a couple years ago. However.8 113. Just like his QB. to a bona. a strong argument could have been made that RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem Obviously. And yet.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys.3 103.de top ve QB in the NFL in 2011. e injury occurred on May 24. Eli Manning went from a guy who threw the most interceptions in the league in 2010 (a whopping 25 of them). he broke the h metatarsal in his foot. mainly due to poor OL play.5 82. Eli. Nicks is such a fundamentally sound and uid receiver.2 QBR 136. 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. Giants CB Prince Amukamara had the same injury last season. 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.3 114. His run through the playo s was incredible. those were all wins. Cruz came out of nowhere last season to catch 82 balls for 1536 yards and 9 salsa dances. Terrell Owens never reached 1500 receiving yards in any one season in his entire NFL career. David Wilson FB: Henry Hynoski WR: Hakeem Nicks. Nicks had quite a playo run of his own: Oppo ATL GB SF NE Avg. the ‘Skins. 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.3 Nicks. as he has an excellent duo of receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Cruz isn’t even the best receiver on his team. and he was able to return in 8. To put that yardage total into perspective. Beginning with what was essentially a playo game in Week 17 against the Cowboys. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 57 . of course. In 2010. despite his ripe young age of 24. here were Eli’s numbers: Oppo DAL ATL GB SF NE Avg. and he was out 15 weeks. so a 12 week recovery would put him back on the eld sometime around the middle of August. however. e bigger question is whether or not Nicks will be 100 percent healthy when the season starts. and rarely had a clean pocket when he dropped back to pass. In OTAs. that I don’t expect the missed practice time to a ect him much.7 129.
in fact. 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). e defensive line won the Giants a title back in 2007. Defensive strengths: Duh. in 2011 the performance of both players fell o a cli . and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • DE: Jason Pierre-Paul. He was so bad all season. at really impressed me. Beatty will return to his spot at LT. I remember thinking. He also defends the run extraordinarily well. “Well that’s the end of the Giants. played terribly. and when Beatty was lost for the season in Week 11 with an eye injury. is season. J. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 58 .” Diehl continued to play poorly at LT. Chris Horton CB: Terrell omas. the Saints had the ball with a 42-24 lead. and they had a lot to do with them winning it again in 2012. e game was over. Osi Umenyiora OLB: Michel Boley. chasing Ingram all the way to the goal line. Diehl was forced to kick out from LG to LT. I really can’t say enough of how good Jason Pierre-Paul is.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. where he would be protecting Eli Manning’s blind side. a game in which the Saints absolutely destroyed the Giants. At the time. who had essentially a clear path to the end zone. Not JPP. Jason Babin should be licking his chops. in my opinion. and Diehl will slide over to RT. and McKenzie played poorly enough that the team had zero interest in bringing him back. In a division that includes DeMarcus Ware. With 1:02 le in the game. Most of the Giants just watched Ingram run down the eld for a meaningless touchdown. key reserves: • DE: Justin Tuck • DT: Chris Canty. Instead of just running a simple fullback dive. Prince Amukamara S: Kenny Phillips. However. they ran a pitch to the outside to Mark Ingram. Shaun Rogers Photo courtesy Alexa. Pierre-Paul is one of the best pass rushers in the game (16. Snee went from a no-brainer Pro Bowl player to a very average one. that Pro Football Focus rated him as the worst o ensive lineman in the league in 2011. Tyler Sash S: Antrel Rolle. Jayron Hosley Slot CB: Prince Amukamara McKenzie were the best RG-RT tandem in the NFL. But the real culprit was LG/LT David Diehl. Beatty was. I remember watching the SaintsGiants game last season.5 sacks). the ‘Skins. But ultimately it didn’t matter. as Eli simply completed passes anyway with rushers constantly in his face. He sprinted the whole way. I felt that Pierre-Paul was the best defensive player in the NFC East in 2011. Keith Rivers MLB: Chase Blackburn. Williams CB: Corey Webster. the Giants’ best o ensive lineman. and almost catching him. Diehl started the season at LG. and also bats passes at the line (had a league high 10 in 2011). Mark Herzlich OLB: Mathias Kiwanuka. But hustle aside. Marvin Austin • DT: Linval Joseph. Projected defensive starters.
5 8 TFL 1 1 2 FF 0 1 1 • Rolle gave up more yards (642) than any other safety in the league. Defensive weaknesses: I don’t think people realize how bad Antrel Rolle was last year. Rolle had the following dubious distinctions: • He was targeted more than any other safety in the league (76 times). e guy simply makes huge plays. 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. Including the playo s. just 1 TFL. • His ve penalties were good for h most in the NFL. Jimmy Kempski is the founder of Blogging the bEast. at’s a completion percentage of 75% (4th worst in the league). 2. And then. dealing with the Giants’ ferocious pass rush was made much more di cult with the loss of Jason Peters for the season.5 sacks. Eli Manning has become a con dent passer and leader. Rolle is the weak link of the Giants’ defense. e trick with the Giants is keeping them out of the playo s. Umenyiora has been whining about his contract for the last thee or four years. It was almost like he had two di erent seasons: Weeks 1-14 15-SB Total Tckl 24 25 49 Sack 2. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 59 . • He had just one pass defensed.5 5. as he had just 24 tackles. he broke the single season record for forced fumbles. and no forced fumbles. he had 12. as they’ve already proven twice in the last ve years. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Supplementing the play of JPP along the defensive line last season was Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. In 2010. behind only Eric Smith. Overview: Without question. Tuck was in the midst of his worst season as a pro. with 10. • Opposing QBs completed more passes on Rolle than any other safety in the league (57 completions). with a pair of outstanding weapons to throw to. who allowed 42. all you need to do is “make the tourney. and contributes at SNY and The Washington Post. the ‘Skins. rough week 14. On the other side of the ball. and is the best (or at least the most trustworthy) quarterback in the division right now. ose numbers don’t include the playo s. seemingly out of nowhere. e next closest player on completions allowed was Bu alo’s Bryan Scott. 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. For the Giants. in the last three games of the regular season Tuck began to climb out of his funk. 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. but his unhappiness hasn’t a ected his ability to get to the QB. According to Pro Football Focus. because once they get in.5 sacks in 13 games last season.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. the reigning champs are the Eagles’ biggest obstacle to winning the NFC East next season.” and there is a chance that you can make a run. • He gave up the second-most yards a er the catch. editor at Bleeding Green Nation. especially for all the talking he did.
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 9.3% 4.1% 4.8% -2.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 15.6% 14.9% 0.4% -5.0% 14.3% 10.1% O Rank 7 8 11 19 Def DVOA 6.
has nal say on all player acquisitions and hires all the coaches: Andy Reid. In his season-ending press conference. 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. Well. but in the end there’s probably no one thing you can blame it on. probably more than any other. When Je Fisher departed Tennessee. it will mark the beginning of Andy Reid’s 14th year as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. 14 years as the head coach of any NFL franchise. Why that exactly happened has been scrutinized and theorized at length elsewhere in this almanac. Andy Reid assumed the mantle of the longest tenured coach in the NFL. He has won more games (126) than any previous Eagles coach has even been in charge for. So what? You are probably asking. In fact. ere were execution issues. coaching issues etc. Andy Reid has coached more games here (208) than Buddy Ryan. it’s Andy. Last season. Only Gregg Popovich in the NBA along with Lindy Ru and Barry Trotz in the NHL have been in their jobs longer than Reid. personnel issues. So it stands to reason that if you had to pick one guy to answer for the failure of last season. 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.. For the Eagles. Reid ranks among the longest tenured coaches in any professional American sport. Reid’s position as coach is under real threat. As fans. Eagles owner Je Lurie did not mince words in 2012 Eagles Almanac | 61 . is rare.Make Or Break Season Last Chance for Andy Reid? By Jason Brewer hen the rst ball is kicked in the 2012 season.. 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. this year. W wrong. Rich Kotite & Ray Rhodes (the three coaches who preceded him) combined. It has now been four years since his last playo win. it’s unprecedented. In this organization one guy is responsible for getting the players to execute. any franchise in any sport really.
I think it’s pretty safe to say Lurie’s view on that won’t change in 2012. but I do believe that merely making the postseason won’t guarantee him a 15th year in Philadelphia. ey’ve added a much heralded dra class. Like Reid. THE BILL COWHER/JEFF FISHER APPROACH: aka “Stand By Your Man. So let’s look at a few examples of teams faced with a similar decision on their head coach and what approach they took.” Bill Cowher and Je Fisher make for pretty good comparables to Andy Reid because. along with Bill Belichick. ere really aren’t many historical examples of coaches that have been as successful as Reid without winning a Super Bowl. if Reid doesn’t win a Super Photo courtesy AJ Guel. Je Fisher.” said Lurie. and Andy is a coach who has been in the playo s nine out of the last twelve years. “Incredibly. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 62 . whose record has never quite matched up to his reputation in my opinion. is begs the question. Usually. Bowl next year but generally does have a good season… what should be done with him? e problem with guring this out is. 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. the team has no plans to talk about an extension.” Ultimately though. 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. but only in 2012. “We’re a team. of course. So if there was no legitimate excuse last season.” Lurie would later call it “the most disappointing season in Andy’s tenure. Andy Reid is on thin ice. Reid has two years le on his current contract and Lurie said that right now. I don’t think he necessarily has to win the Super Bowl next season to save his job. what do you think would happen if you repeated that performance? is is the position Andy Reid nds himself in. this kind of sustained success (9 playo appearances in 13 years) results in a title. If we play Lurie’s statement out to its logical conclusion. Fast-forward to this season and the Eagles have only gotten more talented. the owner came to the conclusion that Reid was still the best man for the job in 2012.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? his evaluation of Reid and the team’s performance in 2011. they’re the only modern era coaches with the kind of longevity Reid has had. Cowher had steered his club to nine postseason appearances over his rst 13 seasons. that there’s no roadmap. 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. incredibly disappointing. If your boss says to that there’s “no legitimate excuse” for your “completely unacceptable” performance.
An owner can decide to move on from his long-tenured and relatively successful coach. Fisher. when 2012 Eagles Almanac | 63 . but those accounted for 43% of the seasons that the franchise played in Tennessee. but both their owners made the same decision. winning Super Bowl XL in his th season as Steelers’ head coach. In year 16. Fisher is the worst-case scenario. Both coaches had the longevity and a strong track record of success. e Titans were one and done the following year as well. 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. ere was no glorious end for him.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? made six playo appearances. Standing by your man is obviously not the only decision. there is a pretty decent parallel to be made with Reid here as well. If Vick were to get hurt against this year or regress like in 2011. but lost in the wildcard round. it’s still a pretty lengthy tenure for an NFL coach. Cowher represents the best-case scenario. He got to the playo s in year 14.5 million he’s owed in 2013. ey stood by their man. He does make for a good comparable. the bulk of the guaranteed money in his contract is up a er this season. Both had been to Super Bowls and lost. on the other hand. e downfall of Fisher came when the QB position became unsettled. As they approached their 14th year (where Reid is now) they had still yet to deliver a title. the Eagles could very well decide he’s not worth the $16. Reid made back-to-back playo s with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick prior to last year. rather he just zzled out. He would 14 then retire a er the following season. He made back-to-back playo s with Vince Young one year and Kerry Collins the next. they’ve won a similar amount of games and division titles. He and Reid have the same amount of playo appearances. While Vick is nowhere near as old as Collins was and isn’t likely to fall out with Reid. both lost four conference title games and a Super Bowl… ere are a lot of parallels. Both coaches had been so close to winning it all that they had to eventually get over the hump right? Yes and no. Plus. did not. Dungy had a record of 54-42 and made the playo s in four out of his six seasons. he was good there. With no clear heir apparent in place at QB. He was red a er the Bucs’ 2001 campaign. Cowher did. He’s the guy optimistic Eagles fans point to as why the team should stick with Reid. And actually. you can easily see how things could go the way of Fisher a er Vick leaves. the record fell to 8-8 and in year 17 it deteriorated to 6-10 and Fisher was done in Tennessee. Photo courtesy USAF. But Collins got old and the relationship between Fisher and Young soured and the team su ered.
Glazer hired an o ensive specialist. • Division title. he did not miss the playo s once. So… make that happen Football Gods! Jason Brewer runs the Eagles community Bleeding Green Nation as well as SBNation Philly. When you consider that Reid will only have one year on his deal a er the 2012 campaign. e interesting parallel to the Eagles is that if Reid were to be red a er this season.Make Or Break Season: Last Chance for Andy Reid? he had made the playo s for the third straight year. 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. He was immediately hired by the Indianapolis Colts where. if you had to pick one of those two guys to run your franchise. If the Eagles once again miss the postseason. All things even. and won the Super Bowl the following year. the decision likely becomes pretty easy. In seven seasons with Indy. but no playo wins — I don’t say this with strong conviction. Plus. He’s already said that missing the playo s was unacceptable. What the Eagles decide to do with Andy’s contract here would be very interesting. I say he’s gone. Lurie has to make a rm decision one way or the other. his o ensive philosophy was overly conservative and would prevent the team from getting over the hump. there’s been inconsistency with the defense. Glazer’s reasoning could certainly apply to Reid. but history certainly looks back on Glazer’s choice positively. but no playo wins — I’m going to say that he’s back. Could the Eagles decide to move on from Reid and grab a defensive coach to put them over the top? Of course. Where things get murky is if we get something between a parade and a repeat of 2011. He would only make the playo s two more times and would be red a er seven seasons. he won the Super Bowl. Jon Gruden. he’d have to re Reid if we see a repeat of 2011. which would pick? For me. this is the decision that Je Lurie will face a er this season and these are his options. its Dungy and it’s really not even close. Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer red Dungy. since the passing of Jim Johnson. However. 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. Barring a Super Bowl victory. Rather than stand by his man. Tony Dungy did not fade into obscurity a er he got red in Tampa Bay. He had decided that while Dungy had built a great defense. Gruden only made the postseason twice in the six seasons following his Super Bowl win and was eventually red. So with the great defense Dungy had built. 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. • One playo win in the wildcard round — I say he’s back with medium conviction. in his 11th season as an NFL head coach. • Wildcard berth. but not with strong conviction. As I said earlier. 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. It’s clearly what’s best for all involved. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 64 . Let’s all just hope Andy Reid wins us a Super Bowl and renders this whole thing moot. but I could really see the Eagles thinking that this simply isn’t good enough. you can be certain that the most speculated-about name to replace him would be Gruden.
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 . 11. at the ripe age of 24 NFL coaching changes since Reid was hired on Jan.
And the person guring out who those players are probably should not be Andy Reid. just as importantly. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 66 . though? If Reid isn’t good enough to coach the team anymore. then this arrangement will be in place as long as Reid wants to coach and Roseman wants to work in Philadelphia. someone who you would expect to run a scheme that was really similar to his mentor’s. especially with the linebackers. if Reid wins a Super Bowl here and wants to then move upstairs. at was not the case. Reid has had a good run here. If the coach is Not Andy Reid.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. Reid gets to clearly de ne the players he wants. 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 nothing else. what is it that he does that Roseman doesn’t? Or. even if Reid hops upstairs and hands the reigns to Marty Mornhinweg. though? Reid’s contract expires in 2013. How long do they have to accomplish that. consider the transition from Jim Johnson to Sean McDermott. As we watch the 2012 season play out. THE LEADERS Andy Reid and Howie Roseman are now the men in charge of the team. that coach will want di erent players. What follows is an examination of some of the most important things to watch. in order to see the end of that contract. One was the long time lieutenant to the other. he has to have a very good 2012. starting with the conceptual level and progressing all the way to the speci c players that are acquired. He can’t merely produce a happy locker room. us. from the top down. not this year. What happens if there is no short term Super Bowl. the dawn of a new era of Eagles football. He needed a di erent skill set at LB than Johnson did—and a di erent skill set than he was given. 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. I have no doubt that space will be cleared for him. one that justi es the excitement of the past two o seasons. If Reid and Roseman produce a Super Bowl together in the near future. To illustrate this point. for the rst time in recent memory we will be watching the long-term path of the franchise develop with similar drama. Roseman has drawn a tremendous amount of praise for the moves that he made this o season. McDermott did very innovative things in coverage. And again. and how they will impact the future of the team. even in the absence of a Super Bowl. at’s the easy bit of forecasting. In the wake of Banner’s departure. the new head coach will want to do some things his own way. realistically.
Kevin Kolb-type waiting in the wings. at stability is evaluations of talent. has become the most encouraging aspects of the 2012 o season most important player on the Eagles. for me.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond and that will require a di erent type of player. you will be rewarded). locker room (i. someone with the his approach to see where it Howie Roseman. truth is that it can. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 67 . much as appears to have done in the wake of the Dream they did early in Donovan McNabb’s career. 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. But he can’t make the team better at all if he isn’t he has been a Te on GM. He can hire a cap specialist already in place in Philadelphia. good signs for the GM will work with the new general manager.e. e team is has been the level of self-criticism that Roseman really operating without a net with him. but schemes. ere is no needed to do di erently in terms of strategy. Puritanical with respect to character. the THE FRANCHISE PLAYER head coach. coach will be chosen by Howie Roseman. if you play like Todd and Trent the team will need to move on. When he discussed his dra fails. It could last until the person who does get the heat when things go badly. e next head do. Is extended. 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. the long-term future of the debacles in free agency and the dra that have Eagles is Howie Roseman. Roseman himself has a lot to prove. 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. if he can’t manage the nancial side of the house. improbably. one of the Michael Vick. So far. I don’t coach to gure out how to think there is necessarily a In my view. is red. still has a lot to prove a er 13 years in sentence is that this can’t last much longer. the team likely doesn’t have another strategy this year. If he Team disaster. vision to set up a strong can be improved. e obvious next other hand. e ese things are. absolutely none of the blame for the various In my view. on the happened under his watch. at cynical comment aside. 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. Andy Reid. 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. he spoke of things that they franchise quarterback on the roster. 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. who were aging. 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. but the charge.
the starters with the shortest contracts are Jason Kelce. 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. or with a QB in free agency. e Eagles aren’t likely to pick that high in the near future. for instance. Vick is really in relatively little danger of losing his job as long as he is merely adequate. 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. It has young players under control. like they thought they had with Kolb. like they had with Vick. the “way” to get a franchise QB is to dra one in the rst round.5 million—well more than 10% of the salary cap— in Vick. the Eagles each year will have to decide if they want to invest another $16. THE OFFENSE e Eagles have secured their top o ensive playmakers. erefore. preferably in the top couple of picks. As a result. How bad does Michael Vick have to be in order to decide to go with Matt Flynn? Photo courtesy Ed Yourdon. for years to come. e 2009 rst round pick has a deal that runs through 2012 Eagles Almanac | 68 Vick’s contract jumps starting in 2013. the best QB on the free agent market was probably Matt Flynn. From 2013 to 2015. . Of that amount. while much ado will be made of Vick’s deal being escapable in 2013.5 million each year in salary and bonuses. e player who I will watch most carefully this year on o ense is Jeremy Maclin. in the ideal situation for the long term future of the team. and proven success. continuity in terms of system. TE Brent Celek is signed through 2016. only $3 million in 2013 is guaranteed. slot WR Jason Avant through 2014. On the o ensive line. So starting in 2013. is year. and Jason Peters. who has a replacement in Demetress Bell signed through 2016 getting an audition to take his job. he also controls the future of the franchise. the team is going to have to get very bad before they have a shot to get another QB who could be very good. Right now. And that is likely to be the case even if the team changes coaches. Vick is due $16. in many ways. Because unless the Eagles have good fortune with a QB taken later in the dra . it isn’t just Andy Reid’s eggs that are all in Vick’s basket. e o ense is. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy.
nor whether the current o ensive line personnel could best execute that system. is is the year he has to prove himself. assuming Reid remains head coach. 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. But if he is good— maybe not Pro Bowl good. both short and long term. So as much as I love the idea of potentially having two real.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond 2013. shouldn’t you be thinking about nding an upgrade in the 2013 dra ? e biggest risk that this o ense faces. Eugene Chung has coached the o ensive line in Mudd’s absence this spring. is currently on the team. I noted that it is hard to move on unless you gure out what. exactly. is he then worth extending? If you’re Roseman. His system was very impressive last year. e point is that we have no idea what system Chung would run. It becomes easier. He missed OTAs this year. e linebackers are the most obvious area for focus.6 million a year through 2015. reportedly to save his strength for the regular season. Can DeMeco Ryans still play. then the team can move on from Ryans if he is not as good as his reputation. honest-to-God threedown LBs on the eld. His replacement. Ryans has Photo courtesy Christopher Brown. is related to coaching. Howard Mudd is an old man. But if Maclin proves only to be a good #2. a deal that will pay him at least $6. And that brings us back to Kendricks. But Chung is a man of varied experience. If Kendricks is for real. and the composition of the o ensive line re ects that system. if Ryans fails to live up to his Pro Bowl reputation. long term. you are moving on to. He’s retired from the NFL once already. but only a notch below —what do the Eagles do? We’ve seen the problems that not having a good MLB can bring. I am skeptical about how long it will last. When discussing Vick. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 69 . though. He played for 3 NFL teams during his career. Is he a legitimate #1 WR? If so. Is any LB really worth that to the Eagles? at’s a di cult question on its own. 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. THE DEFENSE In contrast to the o ense. and was schooled in Juan Castillo’s line system prior to Mudd’s arrival in Philadelphia.
the 2011 But the Castillo situation is complex. he was really the Back 7 Coordinator to Jim fourth round pick. possible that a long-term scheme is in place. We expect them to come up dumping a er 2012. All of the 2012 amount team’s o ense. evaluating the long-term future of exceptional. At safety. Maybe they are. it is later. is to start on the outside in the NFL—though year. Cullen Jenkins. most-likely successors. while only $4 Reid and Mornhinweg to will be.3 million at makes defense a what. Last third round pick. there are also young new head coach. the 2013 season—and with him. It’s hard to imagine that he’s going to win many Nnamdi Asomugha. a guy who was considered for they show something this season. and can reinvent NFL starters. the 2012 year. and Brandon Sam Lynch is a contributor to Iggles Blitz on Graham. He has been erratic throughout Of course. maybe they aren’t. With Castillo. this year to $15. what. and Brandon Boykin. While there are aging DL in Cole. million of the 2013 amount spend all hours coming up is guaranteed. a who are signed long term. 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. a er the season. fourth coordinator (and scheme) in six years for Jason Babin. Long term comes defensive coaches rather than their leader. We expect is guaranteed. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 70 . e Cardinals were willing to deal discuss the elephant in the room: Juan Castillo. that’s a lot to get through before I his NFL career. the team added Todd Bowles to the Boykin may be even better operating in the slot. His contract o ensive coordinators. Just like Vick’s deal is prime for with the perfect play. If you are planning the long term future salary cap and other matters. jumps from $11.3 million in striking contrast from the Castillo’s role 2013. on the other hand. Vinny Curry. however. in truth. Castillo’s role will be. of a position. 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. Curtis Marsh. guys who could grow into their replacements in Fletcher Cox. One has to wonder substantial impact on the Eagles next season. If coaching sta . both have the physical talent Washburn’s Defensive Line Coordinator. of course. and Mike Patterson. presents a strategic battles this year against opposing similarly large long-term problem. it would have a defensive coordinator jobs. I the starters is contingent on evaluating their two have no expectation of that happening. with a gameplan a couple of times a year that is Again. is that the team brings in its the defense. most likely. him for a reason. so is Asomugha’s. Castillo to merely be the supervisor of the e issue here is short term. e e defensive line situation is the best on alternative. in truth. His base salary One has to wonder strong overall set of players.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond e secondary is similarly complicated. this is a pretty ideal situation to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent have.
Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter If you’d asked me ve years ago if the identity of the team’s defensive line coach mattered. 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. they were a lot more e ective with it: Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Sack Rate 2010 2011 4.4% 3.2% 11. and they’re usually somewhere in the top ve.5% 33.0% 7.5% 40.1% 50. It’s not like the Eagles seemed to value the position all that highly either. of course. Part of the reason.9% 0. because that would involve extra work. we all “knew” it was Johnson’s blitz scheme that really made the di erence.0% 3.5% 8. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. depending upon which guy was running the show.0% 3.7% 12.2% 0.2% Mostly because Asante played the whole season looking like a guy who didn’t want the ball.5% 41. was the blitzbased schemes of Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott.3% 6.3% 59.7% Which made quarterbacks uncomfortable: Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Comp % 2010 2011 62. 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. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 71 . I’d have told you no.0% 9.7% But didn’t result in interceptions at the historical rate: Rushers 3 4 5 6+ INT Rate 2010 2011 4.0% 0. which either brilliantly exploited weaknesses in other teams’ pass protections or traded sacks for fundamentally unsound coverage schemes.6% 4.5% 56. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. en Washburn came along.0% 43. 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. Despite years of rumors regarding the preferred playing styles of Jim Johnson and Pete Jenkins. e Giants’ line gets all the glory— something about multiple Super Bowl rings does that—but the Eagles always have a great pass rush.0% 6.
J.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. He was considered a natural receiver with great skills in space. In fact. A er averaging over 250 carries during the last three seasons. With the stench wearing o from the team’s performance in the NFC Championship Game. the diminutive back was the primary. *** Let’s take a trip back to the a ermath of the 2008 season. Reggie Brown. and tertiary o ensive weapon. With Westbrook entering his age 30 season. and it was in good hands. McCoy also relied on speed and quickness rather than sheer power to beat defenders. selecting LeSean McCoy in the in the second round of the 2009 dra . So the 2009 narrative seemed set: Westbrook remains the star. e University of Pittsburgh product was considered. secondary. He started just seven games. Westbrook’s per carry and per catch metrics were both down. While not as short as Westbrook. 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. We didn’t know it at the time. Westbrook managed only 61 in 2009. the shi iness to make guys miss at the second level. only LaDainian Tomlinson had more yards from scrimmage than Westbrook from 2004 to 2008. another Brian was on the mind of many Eagles fans. he was plagued by injuries and seemed to fade down the stretch. Westbrook N needed 50 carries over the course of three playo games just to reach a total of 119 rushing yards. Still. 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. Despite amassing over 1300 yards in just 14 regular season games. At least. while McCoy learns. until the veteran’s wheels nally fell o . More worrisome. People wondered how much more Brian Westbrook had le in the tank. there were signs that the inimitable #36 was fading. and Kevin Curtis remained the best receiving options. rough seasons where Todd Pinkston. e Eagles obliged. we knew a successor would be needed before too long. For a small guy. L. Westbrook constituted nearly the entire Eagles o ense during most of the previous ve years. While the big story of the o season had been the acrimonious departure of Brian Dawkins. to be the perfect apprentice behind Westbrook. but the baton had been passed. su ering from 2012 Eagles Almanac | 72 . in many ways. Smith.
2 yards per carry.How To Live In A GIants World: Dealing With Yet Another Super Bowl Win two concussions in the process. Football Outsiders charts broken tackles. Even though you won’t o en see McCoy do the former. A er breaking the Eagles rookie rushing record. while also catching 78 passes. Fed Ex Ground Player of the Year Award. But Shady showed promise in limited time. breaking the 1000 yard rushing mark. $32 million contract extension. with $21 million guaranteed. and was out the door less than two full years a er signing a veyear. juking would-be-tacklers and ying by them down the opposite sideline. was overshadowed by the Michael Vick revelation. • Pro Bowl. despite sitting out the nal game. despite playing for Andy Reid. McCoy was thrust onto the eld for meaningful minutes. despite being part of a historically bad red zone team. Before anyone expected. 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. and bene tted from that extra time spent in the weight room—as well as the lm room. McCoy established himself as perhaps the o ense’s most consistent option in 2010. All elements of his play clearly needed more polish. and he signed a ve-year contract extension worth $45 million. 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. especially his pass blocking. Here are some highlights from McCoy’s 2011 season: • Broke the Eagles single-season rushing record (1309 yards). He had bulked up from his rst season. While he Photo courtesy LeSean McCoy/Instagram. he looked like he might be able to hold down the fort in the post-Westbrook era. e missed tackles alone could ll a highlight reel. but he excels at the latter. and the stats back up his slippery running style. and AP All-Pro First Team running back. Of course. • Broke the Eagles single-season touchdowns record (20 TDs). • Oh. that jump pales in comparison to his level-up in 2011. Still. and potentially even better than his mentor Westbrook (gasp). averaging 5. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 73 . MAKING DEFENDERS MISS: e hallmark of McCoy’s rushing ability is his tendency to perform Barry Sanders-like changes of direction. 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). both due to breaking through the arms of a defender and avoiding a defender in position to make the tackle.
9 yards per catch over his entire career. In fact. but it’s hard to tell exactly why McCoy is de cient in that area. making big plays commonplace when he’s in the game. according to Pro Football Focus.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. McCoy has caught 166 balls over the last three seasons—third-most among all running backs. 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. he averaged 2. Pro Football Focus measures yards gained a er contact. McCoy has only managed 7. and it’s what makes him so dangerous. that comparison is also apt when it comes to breaking tackles the oldfashioned way—with power.6 7. He breaks a tackle and soon he’s o to the races. As far as weaknesses go. at’s a large di erence. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 74 .3 6.5 Rank 3rd 1st Rank 10th 4th McCoy’s ability to avoid defenders is spectacular.6 7. At a basic level. he was probably the best wideout the Eagles had for a number of years there. Pro Football Focus tracks passes thrown by direction.3% 15. especially in comparison to Westbrook. In 2011. Despite all those catches. there seems to be room for improvement in the receiving department.6% SHADY RECEIVING NUMBERS: Out of the back eld. McCoy is only a middling performer. McCoy is great at avoiding contact.5 yards a er contact. And despite his lack of power and his tendency to run away from his blockers. he had 19 rushes of 15 yards or more. One way to get a second-level look at McCoy’s receiving stats is to look at his receptions by distance.2 7. tied for second-most in the NFL. but not as special at busting through a defender when necessary. including whether those passes were thrown behind or in front of the line of scrimmage. In this way McCoy’s become the o ense’s equivalent of DeSean Jackson. however. He’s always capable of breaking a game wide open.3 yards. this is a minor one. at places him tied for 15th among the top 30 starting running backs by snap count. McCoy is still 12th (out of 51 backs with at least 100 rushes) in Football Outsiders’ success rate statistic that measures consistency.3 6. Perhaps it is unfair to expect McCoy to be an above-average back in all areas. In 2011. Unfortunately. Westbrook averaged 8. and by that metric. It’s a rare middle-of-the-pack statistic for Shady. who was a more natural receiver. Here is McCoy’s receiving production by year.
7 10.8 yards per catch beyond the line of scrimmage. not screens and swing passes. at least until this year. 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. I averaged the 2011 reception gures for ve comparable backs: Darren Sproles. Arian Foster. Most of their receptions came from routes past the line of scrimmage. *** At the end of the day. McCoy has only three seasons under his belt. such as ghting for yards a er contact and improving his route-running. ey were also more e ective running those “real” pass routes than McCoy. depends partially on how he approaches his few (admittedly nit-picky) aws. these backs had the opposite production of McCoy. 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. Whet her McC oy c an cont inue his excellence. Note the trend. If he can confront those de ciencies. not only will Shady blow past Westbrook. McCoy is outpacing Westbrook in total production. Granted. screen passes. at might mean that he’s already focusing more on his route-running. Year 2011 2011 Distance Behind LOS Past LOS Tgt 37 54 Rec 32 39 Yds 214 425 YPC 6. so far at least. However. But in order to get any context for those numbers.How To Live In A GIants World: Dealing With Yet Another Super Bowl Win For starters. McCoy has always been targeted more in the back eld. Ray Rice. he’ll position himself to become one of the best running backs in recent memory. Most of those are swing passes. Chris Johnson. or potentially even improve on that head-start.8 at extra element made Brian Westbrook a multidimensional threat. it’s di cult to compare McCoy with the man he replaced. But that’s true about these other running backs as well. Still. 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. and Matt Forte. we have to compare them to other running backs. and shovels. while we can look back fondly on Westbrook’s entire nine-year career. he was also turning those passes into bigger gains. averaging 10. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 75 . the reason McCoy runs few wide receiver-type routes is because he’s so valuable in the back eld—even as a decoy. and McCoy would be wise to follow in his footsteps. Brian Solomon blogs about the Eagles at ‘McNabb or Kolb’ and contributes to NBC Philadelphia. which may or may not be signi cant.
teams collectively throw the ball to the le / middle / right about 35% / 24% / 41% of the time. for example. If I sound a little grumpy about all this. In a league full of right-handed quarterbacks. A er all. if you put Asante Samuel across the eld from 2012 Eagles Almanac | 76 .’” it won’t just be an a ected way of saying he has a DVR. league-wide.” On the other hand. On the other other hand. It turns out horizontal pass distributions are pretty consistent from year to year. not sure who blew coverage.) Photo courtesy Matthew Straubmuller. i. ( e vertical distributions are similarly consistent. if we can all “watch the lm. and watch only the guy with the ball from a tremendous new camera angle.. We’ll just be able to rush to judgment. Like.” 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. overgeneralize from a limited number of plays. because there are still things stats can tell us that our eyeballs can’t. at least now when a blogger says he “watched the ‘ lm. respectively. 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.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. how the decline of Nnamdi Asomugha may actually have begun in 2010. So if you look at a team that varies signi cantly from those percentages. just because we have better camera angles doesn’t mean fans will stop making all the same cognitive errors we already do.e. No more will a blogger or game charter be able to write the words: “Couldn’t see what the safeties were doing. there’s a pretty decent chance you’re seeing a player e ect.
1% 9.2% 22. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.2% -2. nobody will be dumb enough to throw at Asante Samuel. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 77 .5% MIDDLE 8. It’s worth noting that these are just attempts.1% -6. It’s (sort of) fun to read the recent history of the Eagles’ cornerbacks in this chart: Defensive Pass Distributions vs. As Stanford Routt re-established himself as a starter on the other side.5% as much as we weren’t all that impressed with Nnamdi’s performance last year. although it’s been noted by a number of other Eagles commentators this o season. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. Five-Year League Average Philadelphia Eagles 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 LEFT -15.5% 2. Going back a few more years. teams simply didn’t throw to his side of the eld within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. ere’s nothing in this chart that tells us how good the coverage was on all these passes.9% -2. Five-Year League Average Oakland Raiders 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 LEFT -12.1% 21.9% -26. At his press coverage peak.4% -0. at last chart shows something interesting.3% 47. Some of the variation we’d see if we just focused on cornerbacks washes out when you’re including all running back screens.3% 0. just that. 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.a gaping hole at the RCB spot.9% MIDDLE 0. even with Asante Samuel playing on the other side and no obvious hole in the middle.4% -7.9% Let no one ever forget that Howie Roseman the boy genius was the GM who decided we were just peachy with Dimitri Patterson in 2010.8% 4. etc.5% RIGHT 11. you can see why Lito Sheppard punched his ticket out of town in 2007. it sure doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. But let’s look at Nnamdi’s past body of work for a moment: Defensive Pass Distributions vs. ese are also numbers for all throws to one side of the eld.0% 9.2% 16. teams still threw at his side of the eld less o en than they did on average against everyone else. by the way.2% -4. at said.8% -6.2% -24.2% 3. For e rst three rows of that chart are eyepopping. teams stopped avoiding Nnamdi’s side quite as much as they had. I’m still not sure I’d want to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this year.2% RIGHT 8. opposing QBs were 8. for example.8% -2.2% -11.0% -1.9% -0. is matters a great deal when you start looking at Nnamdi’s historical data. but then something weird starts to happen in 2010.2% more likely to throw to Lito Sheppard’s side of the eld than they were the average LCB.1% -13.
Who did they pick to go to and win the Super Bowl? e Philadelphia Eagles. Seeing that in print from a national publication made my day. He had died in a car accident. and family lost so much more. the 1992 season preview no less. One thing that provided some sense of relief was the upcoming football season. as many called him. You have to understand where the Eagles were back then. a ectionately called Gang Green. at led to a late season showdown with Dallas.1-2-3. e great defense was back and ready for business. literally and guratively. at was a staggering blow to me as an Eagles fan. It was a huge sign of respect. I went to my usual ve or six stores. A Monday night game with the Oilers became known as the House of Pain game. not to mention the fact that it validated my lo y expectations for the upcoming season." e Oilers used the run 'n shoot o ense and shredded 2012 Eagles Almanac | 78 . beer. We brought the pain. 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. e Eagles got a huge addition when they signed Herschel Walker. Eagles fans lost a great player. 1991 had started o terribly. was gone. e defense. Something came up on the TV about Jerome Brown. Brown's teammates. A playo berth was on the line. It was like a punch to the stomach. e defense had some amazing performances. Brown was the man in the middle. JB's presence in the locker room allowed a highly diverse group of personalities to get along. Randall Cunningham was returning from his knee injury. e Eagles might actually be able to run the football like a real NFL team. J. pass. friends. It had a copy of e Football News. ere was an 11-sack game against Dallas that resulted in a 24-0 shutout. 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. nished rst across the board (run.B. Dealing with his death was hard for everyone involved. McMahon returned and the o ense improved greatly. Jerome was a special person. JB. His pressure up the middle allowed Reggie White and Clyde Simmons to wreak havoc o the edges. I I remember killing time at a mall one day (something else recent college graduates did back then). I happened to stumble on a newsstand. Brown had a great line a er the game: " ey brought the house. total yards) and was absolutely dominant. It really was ironic that a person could be so disruptive on the eld and so cohesive in the locker room. e team won six in a row and got to 9-5. Dallas won 25-10 and that killed the season for the Eagles. e team was coming o the really tough 1991 season. and football). Injuries to Cunningham and Jim McMahon derailed the o ense and the team was 3-5 at the midway point.
It was time to deliver. Gang Green did a number on Dallas. Combine that with White and Simmons and the addition of Leon Seals and expectations were sky high for Gang Green. Brown's death served as a unifying point. Jackson's departure. J." Whether it was the emotion of playing for Brown's memory or simply the fact that the Eagles were healthy and talented. Losing Brown was a huge blow. He was going to be a good luck charm. No one truly thought White would leave. a er all. ey had missed the playo s. I think Brown's death.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season defenses on a weekly basis. even without Brown.).1-2-3. e players won the case and free agency hit the Eagles immediately. Randall's injury. Gang Green plus Cunningham plus Walker meant the Eagles were stacked on o ense and defense. the team did get o to a fast start. and Cunningham's 1991 injury all brought a heightened sense of urgency to the 1992 season. e Eagles held them to a pair of eld goals and absolutely dominated Warren Moon and his explosive receivers. It was going to be special. ey were 3-0 when the Cowboys came to town for a big Monday night showdown. but was in the nal year of his deal. Buddy Ryan started building the Eagles up in the mid-1980s. Andre Waters. You have to understand that things were very di erent back then. A er big plays during the season. and Eric Allen. 1992 wasn't just another year. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 79 . e Eagles had been very unlucky in recent years (the Fog Bowl. Brown was gone. Such is the optimism of players and fans in the summertime leading up to a season.B. helping the team along from his perch in Heaven. He was the Eagles. White and a handful of players led lawsuit against the NFL asking for their Photo courtesy Delaywaves. A er all. Reggie White was still under contract. e theme for 1992 was "Bring it home for Jerome. etc. but had nished so hot that the teams in the postseason were lucky to not have to deal with them. Now the team was going to go and win the Super Bowl to honor Jerome Brown's memory. Eagles players would point to or salute at fan signs that had Jerome's name or face on them. J. e feeling at the end of the 1991 season was that the one team nobody wanted to play was the Eagles. ere was no more tomorrow. Tight end Keith Jackson was allowed to leave and signed with the Dolphins for the 1992 season." e team held a special ceremony for him prior to the kicko of the season opener and his number 99 was retired. At least that is what players and fans allowed themselves to believe. but certainly not forgotten. It had to be special. freedom. Still. ose positive feelings spilled over to the spring and summer of 1992. the fact that it was even possible was scary. the linebackers were arguably the best in the league and the secondary had three stars in Wes Hopkins. e defense broke huddles by yelling out "1-2-3.B. White's uncertain future. but the team still had Mike Golic and Mike Pitts. ere was no unrestricted free agency as we know it today.
e Eagles over the years.B. part in the convincing 31-7 win. the man that Sports power had shi ed. Brett Favre and Steve Young. McMahon came in and led the team happy with Kotite. the Dallas debacle. at woke up the pair of touchdowns as the Eagles o ense did their whole team and especially the o ense. forgotten. with the only losses being to three games leading into the Dallas rematch. e team e o ense only put up 36 points total in the won six of eight. The beside Rich Kotite as Jim White getting physically McMahon ran the o ense. What a horrible day for couple of years earlier. the last running back to do upset the Eagles on the following Sunday. He had lost his con dence quarterback play. Seeing Gang the franchise to standing Gre e n pu she d arou nd. J. e NFL world Back to the Dallas game. had never run for 100 yards on the Eagles (75 was at didn't even last for a week. Herschel Walker ran for 86 yards and a next week against the Raiders. He went from being the face of but certainly not Eagles fans. J. First up was the game on." Cunningham was struggling. From that track to ruling the division. In fact. at is an team lost to the Redskins. 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. 20-10. In a semithree interceptions. Dallas game. and Smith defense broke At hal ime of the running wild was the low huddles by yelling point of the whole season. Brown was gone. Both games were Cunningham wasn't delivering big plays or tight contests where the other team had better moving the chains. Smith owned the Eagles. e Eagles were the best team in the event was the emergence of Emmitt Smith. with an injury. e other huge took notice. e Chiefs his high total). 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. Joyner made his feelings 2012 Eagles Almanac | 80 . happened in the game. game and that was the straw that broke the A er the loss to the Packers. still dealing their record to just 5-3. Waters. He league. a theme that has haunted the and the o ense was once again a liability. wasn't anywhere close to 100 ere were a pair of signi cant events that percent at the rematch and that hurt the defense. Kotite stuck with McMahon the 67 yards. e NFC East basically Illustrated had dubbed " e belonged to Dallas from that Ultimate Weapon" just a day until the late 1990s. o ense hadn't scored in the rst half of the Dallas e rest of the season wasn't without drama. Waters was the one player that Smith the Eagles third loss in four games and dropped admitted being scared of.: 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. e balance of benching of Cunningham. e low point of the amazing streak. Emmitt Smith was limited to shocking move.B. e Eagles played sti ing run season came a couple of weeks later when Dallas defense. at was faced. manhandled. Kotite could no longer ignore the obvious— e Eagles did get hot a er out "1-2-3. Joyner was not very camel's back.1-2-3. ey shut down every running back they got revenge and beat the Eagles.
e o ense contributed a couple of scores and then Vai Sikahema ran back a punt 87 yards for a score. and Calvin Williams all played well. e Eagles trailed 20-6 and the season was on the brink when Joyner delivered a huge play. Where was the defense? Where was the o ense? e lead grew to 20-7 before the Eagles did wake up. e winning streak. and the usual good defense meant the Eagles were ready for the playo s.1-2-3. Add in the fact that Jerome was watching from above and the Eagles truly felt like a team of destiny. So did the o ense. Keith Byars (now at tight end to replace Jackson). Players on both teams warned that if things didn't go as hoped. e team was hot at the right time of the year. I certainly hadn't given up on the Eagles. ey led 17-7 at hal ime. David Alexander. I sure did. e players bought into this notion. e team ended the regular season on a four-game win streak. e following game was against the Giants. e team had genuine bad luck in the Fog Bowl loss to the Bears. but Eagles nation was riding high. as he became the rst Eagle to rush for more than 1. e mid-season slump seemed like years ago. they would take matters into their own hands. when the Eagles beat Washington 17-13 to secure a playo spot.000 yards since 1985. he had three games with 80 or more yards on the ground. e Saints got o to a hot start. e fans did. but the Eagles had seized control of the game. Mike Schad. e Eagles got into the postseason and hit the road to go play the Saints in the Superdome. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 81 . but I was highly discouraged. e o ensive line was a bunch of no-names. Ron Heller. He averaged more than ve yards per carry and 12 yards per reception. e biggest win in that period came in the next-to-last game. Fred Barnett. but always found a way to come up short in the postseason. Eric Floyd. Cunningham. Early in the fourth quarter Cunningham hit Barnett for a 35-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 20-17. J. at was truly a great moment for that team. Running back Heath Sherman had shown ashes in his young career. is was not going to be an easy task. a team that was unhappy with their coach (Ray Handley). 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. He also scored six touchdowns. e Eagles nished h in scoring and second in rushing.B. e following two years the Eagles hosted playo games and had healthy. Another player emerged down the stretch. is is when the o ense has one back with two tight ends and two wide receivers. In 1992 he matched that total in a seven-game stretch. Walker. e defense played a major role in the hot nish. e line opened some big holes for Walker. but he really broke through in 1992. at Eagles team might have won with clear playing conditions.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season public and he was borderline mutinous. Sherman and Walker made a very good one-two punch. Eric Allen batted down a pass in the end zone to seal the game and then ran up the eld in joyous celebration. and Antone Davis never get the recognition they deserve for the success of the 1992 o ense. In Sherman's rst three years of action. the emergence of Sherman. but they got the job done. e Eagles ended up winning 47-34 in one of the wildest games of all time. He picked o a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. His team could dominate anyone on a given Sunday. e Saints were still winning. e Eagles used the ace formation a lot with him and it delivered great success.
noon. Jerome Brown wasn't there on the eld. but simply came up short. but now were away the memory of his breakout game. at was the highlight of the 1992 Age and injury really caught up with Hopkins and season for me. All the drama reasons. but boy did it Green. November. ready to go. White and Byars le in free agency. Allen have a sack in his nal game sealed the deal when he as an Eagle. His with Dallas. He was red hot and one touchdown in the two games combined. I thought about that game morning. Smith added a eld goal to stretch ran for 114 yards. ere was the Eagles were winning a playo game. the Cowboys the rematch. Tommy Lawlor runs IgglesBlitz.com. What would all worth it for me. Dallas was was no let up. e was the benching of Cunningham. magical feeling. feel like it. It is one of my all-time favorite Eagles from Kotite. ey won for a safety. Dallas had shutdown the o ense in the draft for ScoutsNotebook. J. 36-20. ere losing streaks and quarterback controversies. Sherman ran for a short Alas. quarterback Bobby Hebert and special teams. Joyner and Simmons would He was happier than a kid on Christmas leave a er the 1993 season. but that was not picked o a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. game for the Eagles. and writes a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. in position to win. only scoring yards in the Saints game. Next up was another meeting end zone a er sacking Hebert for the safety.com. but he was front and center in the hearts of e talk of the Eagles being a team of players and fans alike. Joyner. ere could not have been more di erent. White sacked better on o ense. e Eagles the end for Gang dominated the Eagles. Forget ere was the Joyner-Kotite mutiny angle.com. e two punch in the back eld. White jumped up Cunningham would never start another playo and used his arms to give the signal for a safety. at was a 4-0 start. 1992 was the nal year for them as the is). A er the late sack. ere were great highs and miserable lows. what I wanted and what happened touchdown to give the Eagles a 24-20 lead. 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.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season talented teams. happen? at was one of the longest weeks of my life. his joy… that made the wild ride of 1992 game. the lead to 29-20. and Cunningham years.1-2-3. Allen le a er 1994. at made the The beginning of 34-10. but now the Eagles had the great one2012 Eagles Almanac | 82 . Sherman ran for 105 o ense had been the biggest culprit. at was the beginning of the end for Gang at wasn't the Super Bowl. Reggie did Green. Eagles win. was wiped away for that one moment. much of a consolation prize. defense. covers and night. ere was that one magical destiny only heightened a er the comeback win moment with White running around in the Saints over the Saints. morning. 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. Jackson. Seeing him with that smile on his face as he full time starters in the deep patrol. Reggie was my favorite player (still Waters.B. e Eagles had dominated the rst smile. e y phy s i c a l ly game 26-20.
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