The Definitive Guide to the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Season

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

Focus:

e Eagles Passing Attack

Fails of the Tape
• By Mike Tanier

Focus: 2011 Defensive Snap Charts

e Luxury of Feeling Okay
• By Tom McAllister

Focus: 2011 O ensive Snap Charts

Post-Apocalyptic Living
• By Gabe Bevilacqua

Focus:

e Curious Case of Evan Mathis

Who Are

• By Tommy Lawlor

ese Rookies?

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

Focus: More Eagles Dra Nuggets

e bEast Breakdown
• By Jimmy Kempski

Focus: NFC East by the Numbers

Make or Break Season
• By Jason Brewer

Focus: Andy Reid by the Numbers

Looking to the Future
• By Sam Lynch

Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter

Running With Shady
• By Brian Solomon

Focus:

e Dog

at Didn’t Bark

1-2-3, J.B.

• By Tommy Lawlor

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

Letter from the Editor

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

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

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

Until next time,

Brian Solomon

Brian Solomon June 2012

Copyright 2012 Eagles Almanac. All Rights Reserved. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 1 www.eaglesalmanac.com info@eaglesalmanac.com
2012 Eagles Almanac | 4

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

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

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

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

2012 Eagles Almanac | 9 .7 percent of his non-blitz throws and averaged 8.8% 42.4 8. 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. e Eagles’ o ensive line is able to protect him in those situations.5% 57. did teams follow that blueprint and o en send extra pressure in 2011? Here’s a look at how defenses attacked Vick last season. Vick completed 60. HOW VICK PERFORMED Here are Vick’s passing numbers against di erent numbers of rushers: Rushing three is not the way to defend Vick. Vick’s numbers against ve rushers look great—64. He 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. Vick completed just 22 of 43 passes (51.9% Yards per Att 11. When teams rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. e numbers against six or more rushers were not good. even with eight defenders in coverage. at happened on 35. he was sacked quite a bit on these plays. Vick was 31-for-40 for 470 yards when teams rushed only three. In that game. he failed to even attempt a pass. getting sacked ve times and taking o to run on ve other occasions.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.8 7. Injuries.9 4. he committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). Defenses sent four rushers or fewer 64.6 percent of the time.1 completion percentage and 8.4 yards per attempt.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.7% 24. we’ll de ne the blitz as any play in which the defense sent more than four pass rushers at Vick.1% 52. and Vick failed to hit on big plays against the blitz. % 77. On 10 of those 31 plays.1 yards per attempt.9 3. broken down by number of pass rushers: Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Percentage of Plays 9.8% 64.9 yards per attempt—but as I’ll show in the next section.1 yards per pass attempt. Minnesota o en sent extra pressure (31 of 58 dropbacks).2 percent) for 199 yards (4. So.2% Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Comp. and the team’s pass-catching weapons can still get open. was sacked six times and averaged just 6.3% 2.9% 54.6 YPA) on those plays. against the blitz.4 percent of his dropbacks. Vick’s numbers were pedestrian.1 For our purposes. He completed 57. Overall.3 percent of his passes and averaged 7.9% 8.6 yards per attempt.

5 seconds on 1. which was lower than the league average of 1. that number skyrocketed to 8. Vick was sacked in under 2.5 seconds. When defenses sent ve or more rushers.1% 9. or once every 21. however. have resulted in hits—either as he released the football or a er he picked up yards with his legs. He breaks them down into three categories: • Sacks that occurred in under 2. but those plays didn't result in sacks at a high rate.5 seconds.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. J. the number of rushers is not always as signi cant as where the pressure is coming from. 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. ey might. Four pass rushers produced a sack rate of just 2.8 percent of his dropbacks. • Sacks that occurred between 2.6 percent. meaning the o ense did a good job of avoiding those quick sacks. GETTING AWAY FROM PRESSURE e question of whether it’s easier or more di cult to block for Vick is a complex one. Overall. Injuries. Football Outsiders 2012 Eagles Almanac | 10 .7 percent.J. and More And as the numbers show. It’s important to remember that with defenses getting more complex.5 dropbacks. And quarterbacks are usually to blame for the sacks that take three seconds or longer.1% Defenses were not very e ective at sacking Vick without sending extra pressure. or once every 15. So.8% 9. On one hand.4 percent of his overall dropbacks. And then there’s the issue of holding on to the football too long. slightly above the league average of 2.5 percent of the time.8 percent. he gets away from pressure better than any quarterback in the league. Vick very well might hold on to the ball longer than other quarterbacks.5 and 2.1 percent. But by adding just one extra rusher. Vick was sacked 23 times in 2011. he was sacked 34 times.6 percent. despite starting two rookies (Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins) for most of the season and moving Todd Herremans from le guard to right tackle.6 dropbacks. Vick was sacked just 2. e theory is that the o ensive line is at fault for sacks that happen in less than 2. In 2010. Cooper of Football Outsiders keeps track of sacks that result from quarterbacks holding on to the ball too long. especially as he gets older and loses some of his speed and athleticism. Mudd did an excellent job. He was sacked a er holding on to the ball for three seconds or more on 2. that number jumped to 8. Deciding when to take o and run and when to throw the ball away are things Vick will have to continually work on.9 seconds • Sacks that occurred a er 3 seconds or more. On plays where he wasn’t blitzed.6% 8.

When he got past initial pressure and crossed the line of scrimmage. at’s lower than his 7. and that includes the years in Atlanta when he clearly was not as good a passer 2012 Eagles Almanac | 11 . we knew Vick’s interception rate was going to increase last season.3 attempts for his career. Here’s how the total numbers look on the 76 pass plays where Vick was either sacked or took o and ran. Vick never just “takes” a sack like some other quarterbacks. THE TURNOVERS Pretty much every preseason article you read about Vick will focus on two items: turnovers and injuries.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. If you isolate Vick’s improvised runs (designed pass plays). Plays Scrambles Sacks TOTAL 53 23 76 Yards 538 -126 412 When you factor in the yards lost on sacks. But the drastic change (14 interceptions in 13 games) was cause for concern. held on to the ball too long.8 yards per pass attempt. He took o 53 times and piled up 538 yards. I took a look at all 23 of Vick’s sacks and counted at least eight where he clearly bears some kind of responsibility.2 attempts in 2011. once every 55. Vick was intercepted once every 30. and More noted that Vick escaped 17 possible sacks last season. Tom Brady has been intercepted once every 46. blocking for Vick can be more di cult than blocking for a traditional pocket passer. his interception rate in 2010 was unsustainable. Injuries. ese were instances where: • e defense sent more rushers than the Eagles had blockers. And Aaron Rodgers. at’s part of what coaches and teammates love about Vick – he’s fearless. On plays like this. • Vick took o before he needed to—either because of perceived pressure or because he thought he saw a running lane. Vick’s been intercepted once every 35. In other words. the numbers are scary. which closed quickly. But we have to add in the plays where he was sacked too. Tim Tebow was second with 12. at comes out to 10. On the other hand. A er getting picked o just once every 62 attempts in 2010.6 attempts. Designed passing plays in which he did not get rid of the ball gained on average 5. • Vick had time to throw. • Vick simply slipped on his dropback (only happened once). couldn’t nd a receiver and was eventually sacked.3 attempts. He believes he can keep every play alive and will ght until he has no other choice than to go down. ere’s obviously a give and take here. the onus is on the quarterback to recognize what he’s seeing and get rid of the ball quickly. As a point of reference. For his career. Perhaps the best example of this was late in the season when he had his helmet ripped o against the Dolphins and still fought to stay standing. Vick’s rushing numbers obviously dip. and Josh Freeman was third with seven. Vick was picking up big chunks of yardage. far and away the most in the NFL.4 yards.2 yards per carry. To be fair.

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

But again.1 percent) and Drew Brees (52.0% 2011 22. As for accuracy. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 20. but wasn’t.8% 58. Injured nger: By now.5% 54.0% 33.1 percent). at ranked seventh among all quarterbacks.3% 45.5% 2011 71.7 percent of Vick’s pass attempts traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. comparing 2010 and 2011. And two.7 percent).0% 7. six were dropped.5% 3. According to Pro Football Focus.7% 9. So really.1% 38. Tony Romo (54. and More Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty nailed him right under the chin with his helmet.2% 67.1% 65. Vick puts himself at risk when he leaves the pocket and takes on defenders who are trying to rip his head o . Vick stood in the pocket and delivered a 7-yard completion to McCoy.7% e main increase (5. 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. Here’s a similar chart that shows completion percentages in the di erent ranges. VICK’S TARGETS With Jackson and Maclin on the outside. He completed 24 of 58 of those passes. the Eagles are still a big-play o ense.9% 2012 Eagles Almanac | 13 .4% 3.2% 1. Below is a table of where Vick threw the ball (percentage of attempts). behind only Rodgers (60. Vick was pretty good with the deep ball (passes that traveled 20+ yards). he was in the pocket and completed a pass on the play. A penalty could have been called on the play.8% 42.1% 21.4% 40. 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. Sure. and per PFF.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.2% 30. 13.1% 43. he was in the pocket when he sustained each of them. What do all these injuries have in common? One. he actually completed the pass each time. I’m hoping you’ve begun to notice a pattern. he threw 30 “catchable” balls.7 percent of his deep balls were on target.6% 2. Or you could say 51. But the notion that he was prone to injury last season because he ran too much and was reckless is o -base. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 82.3 percent) was on the intermediate throws from 11-20 yards.0% 30. and Vick publicly complained about the o cials in his post-game press conference. Injuries.7% 27. at ranked fourth in the NFL.

and probably before then. who has 30 career starts under his belt and should at least be serviceable. he can lead the Eagles deep into the playo s. he had the respect of his peers— teammates and opponents alike. which means Vick needs to get the most out of his o season with Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. It’s reasonable to expect second-year players Kelce and Watkins to improve also. chances are it’s just not going to happen.com’s Eagles/NFL blog.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. Moving the Chains. Maclin. Up front. As for injuries. Vick needs to do a better job nding passing lanes while in the pocket. set a career high. Vick usually puts the ball where it needs to be. averaging 66. rather than ght for an extra yard here and there. the Eagles return four of ve starters. To cut down on turnovers. In 2010. But I’m not sure that change is going to take place at this point in his career. McCoy is coming o a career year in which he piled up 1. Photo courtesy SRA Moses Ross.3 percent of Vick’s catchable balls were dropped in 2011. meanwhile. while leading all tight ends with 500 yards a er the catch. 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. now that he received a new contract. but give Reid and Howie Roseman credit for acting quickly and signing Bell.309 yards on the ground and led the league with 14 runs of 20+ yards. ere’s no question that the Peters loss is huge. according to STATS. e pieces are in place. the injuries last year took place when he was in the pocket. I mentioned his toughness earlier.6 percent. He needs to make better decisions and take care of the football when he scrambles. and provides a versatile weapon who can be e ective in the red zone. e intangibles are not an issue either. Injuries. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 14 . Accuracy is not a major issue. If he can’t. At wide receiver. And Celek averaged nearly 70 yards per game receiving in his last 10. WHAT TO EXPECT? is is Vick’s rst full o season as a starting quarterback since 2006. When he targets an open receiver. and More e only area where Vick’s completion percentage increased in 2011 was on the throws from 11-20 yards. it was 10. Sheil Kapadia has written Philly. At 32 years old. As soon as Vick was named the starter in 2010. since 2008.com. 10. And we know there’s no throw he can’t make. Vick should have a happy DeSean Jackson. If Vick can master those things.1 yards per game last season. the team will have a decision to make at quarterback before 2013. it’d be great if Vick protected himself and avoided big hits. As I mentioned above. if he doesn’t put everything together now. According to PFF. Receiver drops in 2010 and 2011 were almost identical.

32nd in NFL 52 4. 14th in the NFL Eagles QBs yards per attempt in 2011.5 Eagles pass attempts per game in 2011.Focus: The Eagles Passing Attack Eagles Pass Targets Distribution by Position 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2004 2005 2006 Wide Receiver 2007 2008 Tight End 2009 2010 Running Back 2011 Eagles TD percentage in red zone in 2011.4 . 14th in NFL Eagles QBs interception percentage in 2011. 8th in NFL 2012 Eagles Almanac | 15 35 7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.-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 .

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

Imagine the fans all blithely dismissing you as if you’re ancient. • At which point you have a mortgage (or two). adult job with real responsibilities. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 27 . you know thirty is the beginning of the end. the punch lines and the sad cases who held on a few years too long. of course not. as if you’re a king abdicating his throne. Dates and times are arbitrary and such milestones are arbitrary and yet they still carry weight. you do feel a little older. • At which point. then why would you have stayed in college. they disappear within a couple years. *** On birthdays. but the lifespan of an athlete is uncomfortably similar to that of a Medieval serf. the end result of twelve emails and extensive schedule juggling. Because. and they require you to take stock of where you are. people like to ask: Do you feel older? And. Imagine being perpetually connected with the label elder statesman just because you remember receiving hundreds of free CDs from AOL in the mail. and today you are thirty years old: • At which point you have a real. a week ago you were twenty.The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 to believe. thirty is the end. they demand a certain level of introspection. But when you’re thirty. 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. because if you didn’t. Players are more disposable. Too o en. and then not being allowed to do it anymore. *** Sports are theater in which age is the primary antagonist. the answer is No. Coaches hang around well until retirement age. I feel exactly like I did yesterday except today everyone is paying attention to me and there’s cake. the burnouts. it becomes a chore to meet a friend for a happy hour beer. Imagine being thirty and having to answer daily questions about your legacy. lazy sportswriters comparing you to Methuselah just because you remember Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle. Imagine yourself as a fan who has lived vicariously through these athletes for your entire life. especially if you’re an Eagles fan. Or maybe more accurately: you feel conscious of being older. who you have become. Imagine devoting eighty percent of your life to doing one thing. Imagine being a hero in the morning and an a erthought by the evening. and now nding yourself in a situation where you have to live vicariously through the players who are washed up. if only because you need to have some answers ready for the inevitable questions from well-wishers and co-workers. and then grad school. Yesterday you were twenty-nine. usually. Imagine being twenty-seven and knowing you’ve peaked. and they’re lucky to even stay in the league long enough to celebrate their thirtieth birthday. here’s the thing: if you're a football fan. 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. • At which point. rather than a spur-of-the-moment decision. the wounded.

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.
2012 Eagles Almanac | 31

Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey. and with all the evidence now recorded for posterity. “ ese athletes don’t understand Twitter etiquette!” e rst host says: “It’s just ridiculous. their team sucks. but you cannot do it anymore. and yet you still feel the need to defend yourself. and it turns me into a worse person. seems harder to excuse wasting than when you were twenty. then you would have to justify why you’re the same person at thirty that you were at twenty. even if it feels like you need to keep explaining yourself. just like they want you to. to your past. at’s not something I’m capable of doing. to your friends. and is the non. to the Eagles themselves. and you’re reasonably happy now. I don’t want to convert anyone or elevate myself above people who still care the way I used to. 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. 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. which is this: you used to care about the minutiae too. If I’m all in. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 32 . ere are dozens of reasons (half of them related to hygiene and diet) that you could never live like you did ten years ago. But here’s the thing: you were reasonably happy ten years ago. One shouts. pro athletes seem like your future. en. Time seems more valuable to you than it did ten years ago. ere is nothing else to explain.ction editor of Barrelhouse Magazine. then you would have to feel badly. I don’t want to sound like I’m proselytizing. I had no excuse if I kept being that person. his attitude. 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. *** For the longest time. that you were at ten. then it means I am allowing myself to be imprisoned by my reactions to the Eagles. ere are ve layers of irrelevancies to peel back in this argument before you reach the core issue. 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. It would change from being a pathology to a consciously anti-social choice. nestled safely in the cocoon of college life. in fact. Is it maturity to acknowledge that. allowing football to dictate the daily ow of my life. when our cultural expectations gave you license to be frivolous and irresponsible.The Luxury of Feeling Okay: Being an Eagles Fan After Age 30 ere was something fundamentally wrong with me as a person before. or is it immaturity to take so long to gure it out? *** On sports radio. Some people manage to juggle the intense devotion with their real life duties and they rarely bleed into each other. just like these guys do. “he doesn’t have a right to say anything behind anybody’s back!” e other screams. If your feelings hadn’t evolved over the past decade. and then suddenly they become your past.

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 .

W Initially. and we wouldn't be subject to the injustice of further humiliations. 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. Please. As much as the Eagles are my favorite thing in the NFL. But when Hakeem Nicks caught the Hail Mary at the end of the rst half of the GiantsPackers Divisional Playo Game. that it's just game. I won't bore you with my rationale as to why. 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.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?). why can't I hate this other ridiculous thing called the Giants? Photo courtesy Shealah Craighead. If I can love this ridiculous thing called the Eagles. but I will note that this is a longstanding prejudice not casually arrived at. And I don't want to hear anything about how that's silly. it was the sort of statement I knew would draw disapproving stares and surely-he's-exaggerating giggles from the normals. and it's not worth the energy to root against a speci c team. the challenge 2012 Eagles Almanac | 34 . Surely the unfortunate events surrounding Super Bowl XLII had ful lled the Good Fortune For e Giants quota for the 21st century. I mean. but this was the Giants we were talking about. sure. the Giants are decisively my least favorite thing.

I'd take one-and-done at home over that. But now? We're a couple seasons away from folks claiming that he was actually a better quarterback than his older brother. e Giants won again. there was really nothing le to do but bet the Giants heavy for the remainder of the playo s and hope that those ill-gotten gains would dull the pain. and and we'd prefer not to share. I understand that you're disappointed to have lost two Super Bowls to the New York Giants. Until this most recent Super Bowl. Related ings at Suddenly Seem Very Quaint. ere's Something (Very Very Small) To Be Said For Andy Reid Making e Playo s And Not Winning e Super Bowl. America's Most Self-Involved Fan Base May Try To Crash Our Pity Party. But still. Sigh. the opposite is true for Eli Manning. Some sort of unsanctioned competitive animal killing would also do the trick. I see it. Not like this! Not the Giants! At that point. the best we can hope for is for him to break the single-season interception record (42. I was saying. but also my least favorite imaginary thing appears to win the thing I don't want them to win with ease and regularity. but he also threw 25 interceptions in 2010. Should have bet heavier. at's what e Wrong Side Of History feels like. We can all agree on that. I do. Maybe even a desperate whimper. Eli's in Canton. And here we are. Really. Citizens of the Northeast corner of the United States. Don't do this to me again. It’ll take an a air with Lindsay Lohan to leapfrog the Jets’ chaos.Post-Apocalyptic Living: Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win turned into a plea. will be tough) or get caught gambling on Giants games (more on that later). 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. But this is our little special corner of hell. 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. Yes yes. Sure. Otherwise. Remember con dently arguing that Donovan McNabb was a much better quarterback than Eli Manning? Yeah.) And yet. 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. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 35 . so I can see how you'd think that the Giants are some sort of arch-nemesis to your beloved Patriots. Inasmuch as Tim Tebow signing with the Jets is bad news for Mark Sanchez's con dence and ability to succeed in a media market as intense as New York. and that you aren't terribly fond of the baseball team from New York. at is. here I am. I really would. 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. Step Away From e Windows As You Read is. I'm not saying I have answers. the Giants won the Super Bowl. ( ey didn’t. e last two times the Eagles missed the playo s. the Yankees suck. One More Eli ing. he won a 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.

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

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

6 5. and only then thinking about things like “Which hole was I supposed to run through again? Ah.7 3.2 2011 5. screw it. consider the team’s #2 and #4 rankings in “second-level” yards and “open.7 5.9 3.eld” yards. Average Yards 2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 8.3 3.8 5. But then I’m not Pro Football Focus.7 3. Looking just at the modi ed numbers for a bit. immediately juking whichever defensive lineman we decided not to block on that play. e second set of numbers use the same process I described above. let’s compare McCoy’s directional rushing stats from 2010 to 2011. both years. the Eagles had the League’s th-best run-blocking o ensive line in 2011. My story here is pretty simple. e folks at that website would tell you Evan Mathis was the league’s best guard. 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.5 3. Peters and Herremans were both really good.2 3. I’ll just get behind Peters again. Just by typing the words “Howard Mudd” I can make you smile—and Jason Peters really was as great as everyone said he was. ey even have their own LeSean McCoy distribution stats that don’t match the o cial play by play: 2012 Eagles Almanac | 38 .6 2.9 Modi ed 2010 4. 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.” To get some sense of where the problems lie.9 3. e rst two columns are simple averages.1 4. It’s just that Todd switched positions. e story with the raw averages is broadly similar.1 2.4 4.0 5. we see no change on runs to le end (aka around Peters).2 4.3 3. so he took his performance with him. ere’s a lot that goes into it. meaning a few long runs can skew the stats.6 2. In fact.2 2.0 6. was tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on more than 25 percent of his carries last year. then let Shady do his thing down eld. one of the most elusive running backs I’ve ever seen.8 3. and improvement on runs to right tackle and end.0 3. we all love the story of the Eagles o ensive line.1 5.5 As be ts at unit that saw turnover at four positions. sizable drops from le tackle to right guard.2 4. which came on all those plays where the line managed to block the rst wave.Focus: The Curious Case of Evan Mathis LeSean McCoy. 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 . Now. And yet people still believe the Eagles had a good o ensive line. My lasting image of the 2011 run game involves Shady taking a hando . there’s a lot of change here. where all rushes of at least 10 yards are counted as 10-yard gains.8 2011 4. e table below lists four sets of numbers. But this wasn’t a good unit overall. If 26 you think that sounds low. By this measure.

6 4.0% 15. on 628 pass blocks.8 7.7% 16. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 39 .7 6. playing in front of the same quarterback and in the same position.4% 12. and only 12 pressures all year.7 4. LeSean McCoy could gain four yards a carry behind a blocking sled. What makes Evan Mathis a perfect t for this team is what he does when Mike Vick drops back to pass.5 5. In 2010. but remember—Andy Reid doesn’t care about the run game.8% 26.0 YPC . Herremans allowed three sacks. three quarterback hits.6 4. the outside right numbers go up—while Evan Mathis’ 2011 run block grade was more than four times higher than Todd Herremans’ had been in 2010.4 4. basically. the pattern repeats. six hits and 24 pressures on 662 pass blocks. Ah.0% 29. I emailed Mathis a few months ago to ask him about this discrepancy between what people were saying and what the numbers demonstrated. you might say.6% 25. that the numbers don’t match the game tape. 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.2011 2. he wouldn’t still be around.5% 2011 19. Mathis’s bad play percentage was less than half as high (although Herremans was still better than what Danny Watkins managed). And besides. Although I’m willing to credit the explanation that the new blocking system cause issues across the line.” I actually did have a theory about this. but the real problem area looks to be LT/ LG.YPC .4 8. 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. at’s how you keep a job as a lineman on this team.4 percent.7% 15.6 2. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. at’s a “bad play” gure of 2. and it’s one I shared with Mathis in a follow-up email.7% 28.7% 28.6% 12. if these numbers actually meant anything.2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Le Middle Right Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 7.2 4.7% Even so.4% 22. He sent me a very nice note back saying.8% 5. 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.0 3. e stu ed percentages were bad across the board. Pro Football Focus has Mathis allowing no sacks. the biggest dropo is again Herremans to Mathis: So why.7 4. e le guard numbers go down.5% 22. 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.4% 40.6 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 16.1 7. were the Eagles so concerned about retaining him? Clearly.6 4.

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

Curry's consistent production is all the more impressive when you consider that he wasn't surrounded by other NFL type talents. Curry was a force during the practice sessions and then in the game itself. He was the one guy o enses had to stop and they couldn't do it.  Kendricks is a complete linebacker because of the way Cal used him. One reason they like him is his versatility. Marshall Background: Highly productive pass rusher that had a great career at Marshall. but like Kendricks was a second round pick who could play all three linebackers spots and had a versatile skill set. He's not just an athlete. Curry won't start early. Kendricks was allowed to attack up the eld quite a bit. Responded by having a great season and being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. covering. When used on the outside. Kendricks had the best overall workout of any linebacker prospect at the Combine. rushing the passer. and playing the run. e Eagles use of the Wide-9 front allows Kendricks to stay o the ball and he is somewhat like another inside linebacker. 240.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Eagles traded fourth and sixth round picks to move up three spots and get him. but will be part of 2012 Eagles Almanac | 41 . ATL) is someone that comes to mind. At only 5-11 he lacks ideal height. JAX. He's a bit taller. Great value. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo prefers speed and athletic ability to size when it comes to his linebackers. and 4 interceptions. and 10 forced fumbles. He used speed.  2nd ROUND: DE VINNY CURRY – 6-3.5 sacks. but rather a skilled pass rusher and that should help his transition to the NFL. 13. He has experience playing up on the line of scrimmage as well as back o the ball. but the Eagles love his versatility and athleticism. 266. Curry can play on the le or right side.  2nd ROUND: LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS – 5-11. Curry nished with 26.  Dra value: Kendricks went where he was expected to go in the middle of the second round.5 TFLs. Curry uses his hands well to ght o blockers and stay clean.  NFL comparison: Mike Peterson (IND. pass rush moves. He was a player that Washburn and the Eagles wanted. Cal even had him line up as a defensive end and rush the passer on a regular basis. He can even line up on the inside on passing situations and rush up the middle. at showed that his big numbers weren’t just a matter of playing mediocre competition.  Curry opened some eyes when he went to the Senior Bowl and had a terri c week. and an excellent motor to win his battles. He was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. Kendricks nished his career with 155 solo tackles.5 sacks.  NFL comparison: Cullen Jenkins. He moved all over the place. Both guys are athletic pass rushers that can line up inside or outside and get to the quarterback. California Background: Played outside linebacker until 2011 when he was shi ed to the inside.  How he ts in: Kendricks comes to the Eagles to compete for the SAM linebacker spot right away. at's what he played as a senior at Cal and it should help him to t in as a rookie. 49 TFLs. He spent time blitzing.  How he ts in: Washburn went to Marshall to work out Curry in person and came away very impressed. 36.

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

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

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

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

WR Damaris Johnson – Tulsa – Diminutive.Since 1999 QB RB FB WR TE OT G C DE DT LB CB S ST 14 6 2 6 12 2 14 18 6 9 11 4 15 6 Tommy Lawlor’s 5 Undra ed Free Agents to Watch FS Phillip omas – Syracuse – Good player who went undra ed due to character concerns. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 46 . but highly productive player.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. CB Cli Harris – Oregon – Big time playmaker with character concerns. Excellent returner. but has NFL talent.

e Giants were able to up their Eagles Defensive Stats in NFC East Wins Opponent @ Redskins vs. and it was a killer. See a quick snapshot of those games. while the Eagles most certainly did not.4 Turnovers 4 1 2 0 1 1.4 rushing yards per game. In the ve Eagles’ NFC East wins. here’s how they would stack up against the rest of the NFL during the 2011 regular season: • 73. and 9. Cowboys @ Giants @ Cowboys vs.4 rush yards: would be 1st • 216 passing yards: would be 10th • 289. the NFC East was viewed by many as a weak division. in each of the their ve NFC East wins.6 Points 13 7 10 7 10 9.4 Passing 245 182 249 157 247 216. heading into the playo s. e Eagles’ week three loss at home to the Giants was their lone NFC East loss. 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.0 Total 287 267 278 238 377 289. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs By Jimmy Kempski n what was one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory in 2011. Redskins Average Week 6 8 11 16 17 Rushing 42 85 29 81 130 73. 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. the Eagles largely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and won by playing excellent defense.4 points: would be 1st Last season.4 total yards: would be 4th • 9. I Otherwise. one of the many abnormalities of the Eagles’ 2011 season was that they actually nished 5-1 in the division.4 total yards. and rightfully so. To put those numbers in perspective. 289. 216 passing yards.4 Outcome W (20-13) W (34-7) W (17-10) W (20-7) W (34-10) 2012 Eagles Almanac | 47 . It seems hard to believe in hindsight.4 points per game. the ‘Skins. However. they gave up an average of 73. but the Eagles entered that game as eight point favorites. e Giants played mistake free football. the Eagles bumbled their way to an 8-8 record. defensively. in the table below.The bEast Breakdown The ‘Boys.

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

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

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

4) Tanard Jackson – e Redskins added Tanard Jackson a er the Buccaneers cut him. the Redskins signed Cedric Gri n to a one year deal. Solid player. according to Pro Football Focus.  He missed 24 of them. the Skins cut Oshiomogho Atogwe in a salary dump. and he parlayed his play into a six-year deal with the Vikings for $33 million in 2008. Once Goldson and Whitner were healthy. who is entering his second year as a Redskin. Unfortunately for the Skins. and most recently. I’ll explain… LaRon Landry was a very good player when he actually played. and which ones aren’t. Not one of them is even a lock to make the team. 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. Still.  He also gave up the third-most yards per target (10.  e Redskins have not yet adequately replaced either player. Williams was released. running the gamut from a shooting. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 51 . 3) Reed Doughty – Doughty was with the team last season. but his inability to stay healthy forced the team to let him seek employment elsewhere.8). a refusing a breathalyzer at a 3 a. For the slot corner role. 2) Madieu Williams – Williams was a good player in the early part of his career with the Bengals. Williams never saw the eld again. He landed in San Francisco.  A er three disappointing seasons in Minnesota.5/season) and 4 FF (0. Doughty is not a viable starting NFL safety. but at the very least he was a solid.5/ season). Hall was eighth-worst in the NFL in success rate (41%). Missing in action. It’s not an ideal recipe for your main slot corner: • Two torn ACLs since January of 2010. where he played the rst four games while Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner were out with injuries. In a much more surprising move.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. to kicking opposing players in an on eld brawl at Miami. skilled player. Last year. In his eight-year career. and he too battled injuries. A meeting with Roger Goodell could be on the horizon. it provides a pretty good framework of which corners are playing well. and the third-worst yards a er the catch (5. and he was attacked/exposed regularly when he had to ll in for LaRon Landry. DeAngelo Hall had the second worst “success rate” in the NFL at 39%. the corners might actually be the strength of their secondary. Louis on some very bad Rams teams. not great.  is past season. Jackson had 57 opportunities to make a tackle. tra c stop. 2011 wasn’t much better. On the other side is Josh Wilson. to repeated nes for helmet-to-helmet hits. A quick roundup of his issues below. Not bad.m. were Hall’s trademark big plays. Williams has 12 INT’s (1.  Atogwe wasn’t the playmaking ballhawk he once was in St. In 2010.5). the ‘Skins. • Reportedly refused to run play calls. as the safety situation is an absolute mess. • Benched on multiple occasions. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs also requires some level of football knowledge to determine which defensive back is being “targeted” on any one play. as he managed just three interceptions (his lowest total since his rookie season in 2004) and one forced fumble. • Abysmal season in 2011 with the Vikings. however. e Skins have six safeties that will be competing for starting spots this preseason. e six contestants: 1) Brandon Meriweather – In the last seven months. he has red ags galore. Big plays should not be expected. Although physically talented.

In other words. and they’ll roll with the inevitable growing pains. or Shanahan could be gone. snagging the following players: Dan Connor: Will be paired with former Penn St. Fans will marvel at the occasional big play by RG3. Abram Elam. Kyle Orton: Tony Romo injury insurance. as this is not a team that is going to compete for the NFC East title in 2012. the ‘Skins. the Redskins are playing the “Let’s sign as many crappy safeties as we can and hope that one of them pans out” game. and will be out until the start of training camp.” So far. and 2007 rst round pick Mike Jenkins could soon be out the door as well. coordinator: Bill Callahan. as noted above. However. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 52 . I have Gomes listed as a starting safety for no other reason than that he’s still at least somewhat of a mystery. DALLAS COWBOYS: Head Coach: Jason Garrett. Nate Livings: e former Bengal is projected to start at LG. but struggled when he got his chances in the real games. I certainly don’t expect the Skins to be a pushover. Will replace another player that Ryan coached in Cleveland. the idea was for him to start at RG. his record is 11-21.1 million. in the projected starters section. 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. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs 5) DeJon Gomes – Gomes is a second-year player that impressed me during the preseason last year. Lawrence Vickers: Starting FB. 2nd full year O . Brodney Pool: Played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Cleveland. teammate Sean Lee at ILB. 6) Jordan Bernstein – Seventh-round dra pick out of Iowa.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Mackenzy Bernadeau: When the Cowboys signed Bernadeau. is is a team that didn’t just sweep the Super Bowl Champions last season— they manhandled them. 1st year Def. coordinator: Rob Ryan. to a ve-year deal worth $50. Consider me unconvinced that it will work. If the Skins can somehow win seven games and RG3 shows progression throughout the season. formerly of the Chiefs. and the Cowboys paid a he y price for both of them. while the others are pretty much locks not to be legitimate starters. First. 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. e major worries. A month later. but he has since had surgery on his hip. e Redskins will have to at the very least show that they have the look of a contender in 2013. I would expect the gap between wins and losses to widen further this year. ey have a really solid front seven on defense and some young up-andcomers at the o ensive skill positions. Mike Shanahan is in Year ree of his “ ve year plan. Above. e Cowboys were also very busy in free agency. Longtime Cowboy corner Terence Newman is gone. Overview: is season in Washington is a honeymoon. they signed Brandon Carr. 2012 should be viewed as a success.

are stellar. He’s also a rare Cowboy that plays every week. Austin has become somewhat of an under-the-radar player this o season. Bernadeau Doug Free Dan Connor Brandon Carr Morris Claiborne Brodney Pool Projected o ensive starters.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Miles Austin. He cooled o some in 2010 a er Tony Romo was lost for the season. Romo’s most reliable target is the great Jason Witten. Dez Bryant. He has ability comparable to the best WRs in the game. the ‘Skins.  2012 Eagles Almanac | 53 . On the other side. but has not yet grasped the mental side of the game. 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. catching 81 passes for 1320 yards and 11 TDs. but so far has the production of a #2. Witten had his worst season statistically in ve years. Donovan McNabb broke 91. On the outside. and Jason Witten form a very talented. Tyron Smith. as he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season in 2003. over the course of his 13 year career. Romo’s numbers.4. However. key reserves: • QB: Tony Romo. and then struggled through an injuryriddled 2011. With Jason Peters lost for the season. with an aging OL in place. Also worth noting is the Cowboys young LT. His worst QB rating in any one season was 91. the rest of the o ensive line is a mess. To put that in perspective. One of the rst things people typically think of when they hear the name Tony Romo is the late-game ga es. Dez Bryant • TE: Jason Witten. In 2011. the Cowboys had a total of 18 dra picks. and he still managed to catch 79 balls for 942 yards and 5 TDs. very dangerous passing attack. Kyle Orton • RB: DeMarco Murray • FB: Lawrence Vickers • WR: Miles Austin. and to a certain extent that’s fair. 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. Smith is clearly the best LT in the division. over the course of his career. A quick history lesson on the Cowboys’ o ensive line: In 2008 and 2009. the Cowboys #1 dra pick in 2010. Miles Austin is a player that broke out in a huge way in 2009. O ensive weaknesses: While Smith is likely to be a Cowboys great for the next decade. but he still has enormous talent and it should not come as a surprise if he rebounds in a big way in 2012. the hype hasn’t matched the production of Dez Bryant. Smith has the makings of being an absolute star in the NFL.4 just three times. 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. Bryant has scary athletic ability. John Phillips • LT: Tyron Smith • LG: Nate Livings • C: Phil Costa • RG: Mackenzy Bernadeau • RT: Doug Free O ensive strengths: Tony Romo.

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

Ratli turns 31 in August. and for the third year in a row. and moved up to sixth overall to dra rookie CB Morris Claiborne.5 5.5 TFL 12 6 FF 2 1 Projected defensive Starters. 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. 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. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs positions. Orlando Scandrick • Slot CB: Orlando Scandrick Defensive strengths: e Cowboys don’t have any speci c units on their defense that I would consider a true strength. but he has logged quite a bit of mileage. Alex Albright • CB: Brandon Carr. Jay Ratli has been an excellent player for the last six seasons. according to Pro Football Focus. DeMarcus Ware remains the premier pass rusher in the game. and Sean Lissemore provides good 2012 Eagles Almanac | 55 . Crawford is the rst defensive end they’ve dra ed in the rst three rounds in the last six dra s. Eagles center Jason Kelce said that Ratli is the best player he has ever faced. he has averaged 776 snaps per season. but their corner play should be drastically improved. meanwhile continues to be a force at NT. the Cowboys made a big splash this o season by signing Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs for ve years. but they do have a collection of some great players scattered throughout. the ‘Skins.5 sacks last season. but he isn’t getting much help from the DEs. Ware had 19. Jason Hatcher is the closest thing to a legitimate starter at DE for the Cowboys. Josh Brent • DE: Kenyon Coleman. the Cowboys are heading into yet another season of easily foreseeable problems protecting Tony Romo. the Cowboys dra ed Tyrone Crawford. Bruce Carter • ILB: Sean Lee • OLB: DeMarcus Ware. Tyrone Crawford • OLB: Anthony Spencer. $50 million. Ratli is by far the smallest 3-4 NT in the NFL. at’s asking a lot of an undersized NT that faces constant double teams in the run game. Defensive weaknesses: In the third round of the 2012 dra . Sean Lee has outstanding instincts and always seems to be around the ball. In the Ratli can still play. In the same way they’ve ignored their o ensive line over the years. 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. Barry Church • S: Brodney Pool. Mike Jenkins • S: Gerald Sensabaugh. Victor Butler • ILB: Dan Connor. On the outside. key reserves: • DE: Jason Hatcher. Sean Lissemore • NT: Jay Ratli .The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. and over the last three years. they’ve given a similar lack of attention to their DL. show no apparent plans to replace the horrid Phil Costa at center. Jay Ratli . Matt Johnson • CB: Morris Claiborne.

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

and he was out 15 weeks. Nicks is such a fundamentally sound and uid receiver. here were Eli’s numbers: Oppo DAL ATL GB SF NE Avg. as he has an excellent duo of receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. a strong argument could have been made that RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem Obviously. He had to shoulder the load because he had no run game whatsoever. to a bona.3 114. however. of course. Terrell Owens never reached 1500 receiving yards in any one season in his entire NFL career. In 2010. e injury occurred on May 24. Eli. 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. and he was able to return in 8. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • RB: Ahmad Bradshaw. does come into 2012 with some uncertainty. In OTAs. Nicks had quite a playo run of his own: Oppo ATL GB SF NE Avg. those were all wins. 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. 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. Giants CB Prince Amukamara had the same injury last season. Cruz isn’t even the best receiver on his team.de top ve QB in the NFL in 2011. he broke the h metatarsal in his foot. However. so a 12 week recovery would put him back on the eld sometime around the middle of August. e bigger question is whether or not Nicks will be 100 percent healthy when the season starts. the ‘Skins.7 129. so recovery times vary. and the prognosis was that he would be able to return in 12 weeks.2 QBR 136.3 103. that I don’t expect the missed practice time to a ect him much.8 113. David Wilson FB: Henry Hynoski WR: Hakeem Nicks. To put that yardage total into perspective. And yet. Cruz came out of nowhere last season to catch 82 balls for 1536 yards and 9 salsa dances. despite his ripe young age of 24. Beginning with what was essentially a playo game in Week 17 against the Cowboys. His run through the playo s was incredible. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 57 . and rarely had a clean pocket when he dropped back to pass.3 Nicks. mainly due to poor OL play.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Will Beatty had the same injury a couple years ago. Just like his QB. Eli Manning went from a guy who threw the most interceptions in the league in 2010 (a whopping 25 of them). O ensive weaknesses: What makes Eli Manning’s stellar play last season even more impressive was that his o ensive line was terrible. doesn’t do it alone.5 82.

Marvin Austin • DT: Linval Joseph. “Well that’s the end of the Giants. is a big weapon on special teams (he ended the rst Cowboys-Giants game when he blocked a wouldbe game-tying FG attempt with no time le on the clock). At the time. and also bats passes at the line (had a league high 10 in 2011). and they had a lot to do with them winning it again in 2012. Pierre-Paul is one of the best pass rushers in the game (16.5 sacks). I remember thinking. Projected defensive starters. in fact. where he would be protecting Eli Manning’s blind side. Mark Herzlich OLB: Mathias Kiwanuka. Beatty was. But ultimately it didn’t matter. they ran a pitch to the outside to Mark Ingram. the Saints had the ball with a 42-24 lead. Chris Horton CB: Terrell omas. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 58 . He also defends the run extraordinarily well.” Diehl continued to play poorly at LT. played terribly. With 1:02 le in the game. Diehl started the season at LG. But the real culprit was LG/LT David Diehl. In a division that includes DeMarcus Ware. J. Not JPP. Shaun Rogers Photo courtesy Alexa. Snee went from a no-brainer Pro Bowl player to a very average one. in my opinion. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • • • • • • • • • DE: Jason Pierre-Paul. the ‘Skins. in 2011 the performance of both players fell o a cli .The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Prince Amukamara S: Kenny Phillips. as Eli simply completed passes anyway with rushers constantly in his face. I remember watching the SaintsGiants game last season. and Diehl will slide over to RT. that Pro Football Focus rated him as the worst o ensive lineman in the league in 2011. is season. Jason Babin should be licking his chops. and when Beatty was lost for the season in Week 11 with an eye injury. He sprinted the whole way. Tyler Sash S: Antrel Rolle. However. Defensive strengths: Duh. a game in which the Saints absolutely destroyed the Giants. Williams CB: Corey Webster. Keith Rivers MLB: Chase Blackburn. Jayron Hosley Slot CB: Prince Amukamara McKenzie were the best RG-RT tandem in the NFL. e game was over. chasing Ingram all the way to the goal line. Osi Umenyiora OLB: Michel Boley. who had essentially a clear path to the end zone. But hustle aside. and almost catching him. e defensive line won the Giants a title back in 2007. Most of the Giants just watched Ingram run down the eld for a meaningless touchdown. I felt that Pierre-Paul was the best defensive player in the NFC East in 2011. He was so bad all season. I really can’t say enough of how good Jason Pierre-Paul is. Diehl was forced to kick out from LG to LT. Instead of just running a simple fullback dive. and McKenzie played poorly enough that the team had zero interest in bringing him back. the Giants’ best o ensive lineman. Beatty will return to his spot at LT. key reserves: • DE: Justin Tuck • DT: Chris Canty. at really impressed me.

in the last three games of the regular season Tuck began to climb out of his funk. 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. just 1 TFL. Jimmy Kempski is the founder of Blogging the bEast. In 2010. And then.5 5. so we’re talking about an even playing eld in comparison to the rest of the league. as he had just 24 tackles. Tuck was in the midst of his worst season as a pro. Rolle had the following dubious distinctions: • He was targeted more than any other safety in the league (76 times). ose numbers don’t include the playo s. dealing with the Giants’ ferocious pass rush was made much more di cult with the loss of Jason Peters for the season.  at’s a completion percentage of 75% (4th worst in the league). with a cushion between him and the second-highest player (the Jets’ horrid Eric Smith) of over 100 yards. as they’ve already proven twice in the last ve years. the reigning champs are the Eagles’ biggest obstacle to winning the NFC East next season. Including the playo s. • His ve penalties were good for h most in the NFL. e guy simply makes huge plays.5 sacks. It was almost like he had two di erent seasons: Weeks 1-14 15-SB Total Tckl 24 25 49 Sack 2. behind only Eric Smith. all you need to do is “make the tourney.5 sacks in 13 games last season. seemingly out of nowhere.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. the ‘Skins. e next closest player on completions allowed was Bu alo’s Bryan Scott. and is the best (or at least the most trustworthy) quarterback in the division right now. especially for all the talking he did.” and there is a chance that you can make a run. e trick with the Giants is keeping them out of the playo s. he broke the single season record for forced fumbles. • Opposing QBs completed more passes on Rolle than any other safety in the league (57 completions). On the other side of the ball. but his unhappiness hasn’t a ected his ability to get to the QB. and he’s a big reason why the Giants ranked 29th against the pass last year. • He had just one pass defensed. with 10. Overview: Without question. • He gave up the second-most yards a er the catch. and no forced fumbles. editor at Bleeding Green Nation. he had 12. According to Pro Football Focus. 2. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Supplementing the play of JPP along the defensive line last season was Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. because once they get in. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 59 . rough week 14.5 8 TFL 1 1 2 FF 0 1 1 • Rolle gave up more yards (642) than any other safety in the league. who allowed 42. Defensive weaknesses: I don’t think people realize how bad Antrel Rolle was last year. with a pair of outstanding weapons to throw to. Rolle is the weak link of the Giants’ defense. For the Giants. e third player in the mix is Osi Umenyiora. and contributes at SNY and The Washington Post. Umenyiora has been whining about his contract for the last thee or four years. Eli Manning has become a con dent passer and leader.

3% 10.9% 0.4% -5.1% O Rank 7 8 11 19 Def DVOA 6.8% Def Rank 20 12 16 14 Total DVOA 9.9% 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.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 15.0% 14.3% 4.1% 4.8% -2.6% 14.

So it stands to reason that if you had to pick one guy to answer for the failure of last season. Eagles owner Je Lurie did not mince words in 2012 Eagles Almanac | 61 . personnel issues.Make Or Break Season Last Chance for Andy Reid? By Jason Brewer hen the rst ball is kicked in the 2012 season. When Je Fisher departed Tennessee. coaching issues etc. it’s Andy. It has now been four years since his last playo win. ere were execution issues. 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. any franchise in any sport really. 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. Why that exactly happened has been scrutinized and theorized at length elsewhere in this almanac. He has won more games (126) than any previous Eagles coach has even been in charge for. it will mark the beginning of Andy Reid’s 14th year as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid’s position as coach is under real threat. In his season-ending press conference. In fact. In this organization one guy is responsible for getting the players to execute. is rare. 14 years as the head coach of any NFL franchise. Well.. this year. Andy Reid has coached more games here (208) than Buddy Ryan. Andy Reid assumed the mantle of the longest tenured coach in the NFL. 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. it’s unprecedented. Reid ranks among the longest tenured coaches in any professional American sport. probably more than any other. Only Gregg Popovich in the NBA along with Lindy Ru and Barry Trotz in the NHL have been in their jobs longer than Reid. As fans. has nal say on all player acquisitions and hires all the coaches: Andy Reid. W wrong. So what? You are probably asking. but in the end there’s probably no one thing you can blame it on. Rich Kotite & Ray Rhodes (the three coaches who preceded him) combined. Last season..

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

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

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

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

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

the team likely doesn’t have another strategy this year. locker room (i. truth is that it can. I don’t coach to gure out how to think there is necessarily a In my view. e team is has been the level of self-criticism that Roseman really operating without a net with him. 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 the charge. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 67 . vision to set up a strong can be improved. on the happened under his watch. coach will be chosen by Howie Roseman. at cynical comment aside. absolutely none of the blame for the various In my view. good signs for the GM will work with the new general manager. one of the Michael Vick. still has a lot to prove a er 13 years in sentence is that this can’t last much longer. Puritanical with respect to character. 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. much as appears to have done in the wake of the Dream they did early in Donovan McNabb’s career. for me. e next head do. It could last until the person who does get the heat when things go badly. If he Team disaster. So far. improbably. Is extended. 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. But he can’t make the team better at all if he isn’t he has been a Te on GM. Kevin Kolb-type waiting in the wings. 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.e. He can hire a cap specialist already in place in Philadelphia. 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. you will be rewarded). who were aging. if you play like Todd and Trent the team will need to move on.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond and that will require a di erent type of player. When he discussed his dra fails. e ese things are. e obvious next other hand. 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. 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. if he can’t manage the nancial side of the house. Andy Reid. is red. 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. at stability is evaluations of talent. has become the most encouraging aspects of the 2012 o season most important player on the Eagles. someone with the his approach to see where it Howie Roseman. ere is no needed to do di erently in terms of strategy. the THE FRANCHISE PLAYER head coach. he spoke of things that they franchise quarterback on the roster. but schemes.

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

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

a who are signed long term. Castillo to merely be the supervisor of the e issue here is short term. possible that a long-term scheme is in place. it is later. there are also young new head coach. Vinny Curry. in truth. All of the 2012 amount team’s o ense. One has to wonder substantial impact on the Eagles next season. Last third round pick. 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. however. If coaching sta . the team added Todd Bowles to the Boykin may be even better operating in the slot. of course. While there are aging DL in Cole. Long term comes defensive coaches rather than their leader. He has been erratic throughout Of course. on the other hand. of a position. with a gameplan a couple of times a year that is Again. 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. Cullen Jenkins. presents a strategic battles this year against opposing similarly large long-term problem. jumps from $11. Castillo’s role will be.Looking To The Future: Reading the Tea Leaves for 2013 and Beyond e secondary is similarly complicated. so is Asomugha’s. that’s a lot to get through before I his NFL career. fourth coordinator (and scheme) in six years for Jason Babin. and Brandon Boykin. the 2012 year. and can reinvent NFL starters. maybe they aren’t. Curtis Marsh. e e defensive line situation is the best on alternative. His contract o ensive coordinators. this is a pretty ideal situation to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent have. the 2011 But the Castillo situation is complex. Maybe they are. what. he was really the Back 7 Coordinator to Jim fourth round pick. It’s hard to imagine that he’s going to win many Nnamdi Asomugha. With Castillo. him for a reason. We expect them to come up dumping a er 2012. e Cardinals were willing to deal discuss the elephant in the room: Juan Castillo. Just like Vick’s deal is prime for with the perfect play. most-likely successors. this year to $15.3 million at makes defense a what. while only $4 Reid and Mornhinweg to will be. evaluating the long-term future of exceptional. is that the team brings in its the defense. At safety. is to start on the outside in the NFL—though year. the 2013 season—and with him. We expect is guaranteed. His base salary One has to wonder strong overall set of players. a er the season. in truth. and Mike Patterson. it would have a defensive coordinator jobs. and Brandon Sam Lynch is a contributor to Iggles Blitz on Graham. a guy who was considered for they show something this season. both have the physical talent Washburn’s Defensive Line Coordinator. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 70 . million of the 2013 amount spend all hours coming up is guaranteed. most likely.3 million in striking contrast from the Castillo’s role 2013. If you are planning the long term future salary cap and other matters. I the starters is contingent on evaluating their two have no expectation of that happening. guys who could grow into their replacements in Fletcher Cox.

1% 50.7% Which made quarterbacks uncomfortable:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Comp % 2010 2011 62.2% 0. I’d have told you no. Part of the reason.2% 11. 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.7% 12.0% 6.3% 6. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 71 .0% 7.5% 41. and the Eagles stopped blitzing as much (obviously):   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Snaps 2010 2011 25 3 315 435 125 52 92 55 And then when they did blitz.0% 43.0% 3.Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter If you’d asked me ve years ago if the identity of the team’s defensive line coach mattered.6% 4. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. e Giants’ line gets all the glory— something about multiple Super Bowl rings does that—but the Eagles always have a great pass rush. which either brilliantly exploited weaknesses in other teams’ pass protections or traded sacks for fundamentally unsound coverage schemes.5% 56. 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. depending upon which guy was running the show.7% But didn’t result in interceptions at the historical rate:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ INT Rate 2010 2011 4. en Washburn came along.9% 0.5% 40.4% 3. was the blitzbased schemes of Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott. we all “knew” it was Johnson’s blitz scheme that really made the di erence. and they’re usually somewhere in the top ve. Despite years of rumors regarding the preferred playing styles of Jim Johnson and Pete Jenkins.2% Mostly because Asante played the whole season looking like a guy who didn’t want the ball.5% 33. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. It’s not like the Eagles seemed to value the position all that highly either. of course.3% 59.5% 8.0% 3.0% 0.0% 9. because that would involve extra work.

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

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

Pro Football Focus tracks passes thrown by direction. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 74 .5 yards a er contact.5 Rank 3rd 1st Rank 10th 4th McCoy’s ability to avoid defenders is spectacular. especially in comparison to Westbrook.3 6. McCoy has caught 166 balls over the last three seasons—third-most among all running backs. that comparison is also apt when it comes to breaking tackles the oldfashioned way—with power. this is a minor one. he was probably the best wideout the Eagles had for a number of years there. Here is McCoy’s receiving production by year. He breaks a tackle and soon he’s o to the races. Unfortunately. making big plays commonplace when he’s in the game. but not as special at busting through a defender when necessary. and it’s what makes him so dangerous. In 2011. McCoy is still 12th (out of 51 backs with at least 100 rushes) in Football Outsiders’ success rate statistic that measures consistency. He’s always capable of breaking a game wide open.6% SHADY RECEIVING NUMBERS: Out of the back eld.6 7. In this way McCoy’s become the o ense’s equivalent of DeSean Jackson. As far as weaknesses go. At a basic level. 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. however. he averaged 2.3% 15. Perhaps it is unfair to expect McCoy to be an above-average back in all areas. but it’s hard to tell exactly why McCoy is de cient in that area. at’s a large di erence. according to Pro Football Focus. In 2011. And despite his lack of power and his tendency to run away from his blockers. In fact. One way to get a second-level look at McCoy’s receiving stats is to look at his receptions by distance. McCoy has only managed 7. Despite all those catches. including whether those passes were thrown behind or in front of the line of scrimmage.9 yards per catch over his entire career. Westbrook averaged 8. tied for second-most in the NFL. It’s a rare middle-of-the-pack statistic for Shady. there seems to be room for improvement in the receiving department. Pro Football Focus measures yards gained a er contact.3 yards. and by that metric. he had 19 rushes of 15 yards or more.3 6. McCoy is only a middling performer. at places him tied for 15th among the top 30 starting running backs by snap count. McCoy is great at avoiding contact.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 13.2 7. who was a more natural receiver.6 7.

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

e.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. In a league full of right-handed quarterbacks. there’s a pretty decent chance you’re seeing a player e ect. 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. 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. how the decline of Nnamdi Asomugha may actually have begun in 2010.. teams collectively throw the ball to the le / middle / right about 35% / 24% / 41% of the time. On the other other hand. ( e vertical distributions are similarly consistent. A er all. if you put Asante Samuel across the eld from 2012 Eagles Almanac | 76 . overgeneralize from a limited number of plays. league-wide. We’ll just be able to rush to judgment. at least now when a blogger says he “watched the ‘ lm. If I sound a little grumpy about all this. if we can all “watch the lm. No more will a blogger or game charter be able to write the words: “Couldn’t see what the safeties were doing. So if you look at a team that varies signi cantly from those percentages. because there are still things stats can tell us that our eyeballs can’t.’” it won’t just be an a ected way of saying he has a DVR. respectively.) Photo courtesy Matthew Straubmuller. for example. and watch only the guy with the ball from a tremendous new camera angle. just because we have better camera angles doesn’t mean fans will stop making all the same cognitive errors we already do. i. not sure who blew coverage. It turns out horizontal pass distributions are pretty consistent from year to year.” On the other hand.

8% -2.4% -0.2% more likely to throw to Lito Sheppard’s side of the eld than they were the average LCB. As Stanford Routt re-established himself as a starter on the other side. I’m still not sure I’d want to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this year.0% 9.2% 3.2% -11. for example.8% -6.9% -2.1% 9. 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. ere’s nothing in this chart that tells us how good the coverage was on all these passes. Going back a few more years. but then something weird starts to happen in 2010.3% 0. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog.   Five-Year League Average Oakland Raiders       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011 LEFT -12. nobody will be dumb enough to throw at Asante Samuel. Some of the variation we’d see if we just focused on cornerbacks washes out when you’re including all running back screens. teams simply didn’t throw to his side of the eld within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. teams still threw at his side of the eld less o en than they did on average against everyone else.3% 47. ese are also numbers for all throws to one side of the eld.2% 16.1% 21.8% 4. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 77 .   Five-Year League Average Philadelphia Eagles       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011     LEFT -15.9%        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. you can see why Lito Sheppard punched his ticket out of town in 2007.0% -1. although it’s been noted by a number of other Eagles commentators this o season.5% 2.5% as much as we weren’t all that impressed with Nnamdi’s performance last year. it sure doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. at said.2% -24.1% -6.1% -13. by the way.2% 22.9% -0.2% -4. It’s (sort of) fun to read the recent history of the Eagles’ cornerbacks in this chart:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs. at last chart shows something interesting. For e rst three rows of that chart are eyepopping. But let’s look at Nnamdi’s past body of work for a moment:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs. It’s worth noting that these are just attempts. is matters a great deal when you start looking at Nnamdi’s historical data. etc.5% RIGHT 11. At his press coverage peak. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.9% -26.a gaping hole at the RCB spot. even with Asante Samuel playing on the other side and no obvious hole in the middle. just that.4% -7.2%   RIGHT 8.9%     MIDDLE 0. opposing QBs were 8.2% -2.5%   MIDDLE 8. teams stopped avoiding Nnamdi’s side quite as much as they had.

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

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

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

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

at was a 4-0 start. 1992 was the nal year for them as the is). What would all worth it for me. in position to win. quarterback Bobby Hebert and special teams.com. All the drama reasons.1-2-3. only scoring yards in the Saints game. Dallas was was no let up. but now were away the memory of his breakout game.: One Fan’s Look Back at the Wild 1992 Season talented teams. at made the The beginning of 34-10. and writes a weekly column for PhiladelphiaEagles. 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.B. Reggie was my favorite player (still Waters. J.com. was wiped away for that one moment. e was the benching of Cunningham. Reggie did Green. Seeing him with that smile on his face as he full time starters in the deep patrol. ey won for a safety. White and Byars le in free agency. e Eagles had dominated the rst smile. Jerome Brown wasn't there on the eld. but that was not picked o a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. He was red hot and one touchdown in the two games combined. It is one of my all-time favorite Eagles from Kotite. Dallas had shutdown the o ense in the draft for ScoutsNotebook. Allen le a er 1994. His with Dallas. ready to go. but boy did it Green. Forget ere was the Joyner-Kotite mutiny angle. Eagles win. the Cowboys the rematch. his joy… that made the wild ride of 1992 game. e Eagles the end for Gang dominated the Eagles. Joyner. I thought about that game morning. Tommy Lawlor runs IgglesBlitz. feel like it. Allen have a sack in his nal game sealed the deal when he as an Eagle. at was the beginning of the end for Gang at wasn't the Super Bowl. Sherman ran for 105 o ense had been the biggest culprit. Joyner and Simmons would He was happier than a kid on Christmas leave a er the 1993 season. White sacked better on o ense. Sherman ran for a short Alas. November. 36-20. noon. Smith added a eld goal to stretch ran for 114 yards. Jackson. defense. ere could not have been more di erent. ere were great highs and miserable lows. 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. A er the late sack.com. and Cunningham years. morning. Next up was another meeting end zone a er sacking Hebert for the safety. magical feeling. ere was that one magical destiny only heightened a er the comeback win moment with White running around in the Saints over the Saints. ere losing streaks and quarterback controversies. much of a consolation prize. happen? at was one of the longest weeks of my life. game for the Eagles. but he was front and center in the hearts of e talk of the Eagles being a team of players and fans alike. what I wanted and what happened touchdown to give the Eagles a 24-20 lead. e two punch in the back eld. but now the Eagles had the great one2012 Eagles Almanac | 82 . but simply came up short. at was the highlight of the 1992 Age and injury really caught up with Hopkins and season for me. covers and night. White jumped up Cunningham would never start another playo and used his arms to give the signal for a safety. ere was the Eagles were winning a playo game. e y phy s i c a l ly game 26-20. the lead to 29-20.

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