The Definitive Guide to the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Season


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

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

What Happened to Michael Vick?
• By Sheil Kapadia


e Eagles Passing Attack

Fails of the Tape
• By Mike Tanier

Focus: 2011 Defensive Snap Charts

e Luxury of Feeling Okay
• By Tom McAllister

Focus: 2011 O ensive Snap Charts

Post-Apocalyptic Living
• By Gabe Bevilacqua


e Curious Case of Evan Mathis

Who Are

• By Tommy Lawlor

ese Rookies?

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

Focus: More Eagles Dra Nuggets

e bEast Breakdown
• By Jimmy Kempski

Focus: NFC East by the Numbers

Make or Break Season
• By Jason Brewer

Focus: Andy Reid by the Numbers

Looking to the Future
• By Sam Lynch

Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter

Running With Shady
• By Brian Solomon


e Dog

at Didn’t Bark

1-2-3, J.B.

• By Tommy Lawlor

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

Letter from the Editor

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

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

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

Until next time,

Brian Solomon

Brian Solomon June 2012

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

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

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

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

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

getting sacked ve times and taking o to run on ve other occasions. Vick completed just 22 of 43 passes (51.8% 64.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. even with eight defenders in coverage.9% 8. he committed three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception). Vick was 31-for-40 for 470 yards when teams rushed only three.3% 2.3 percent of his passes and averaged 7. HOW VICK PERFORMED Here are Vick’s passing numbers against di erent numbers of rushers: Rushing three is not the way to defend Vick.1 yards per attempt. Vick completed 60. and the team’s pass-catching weapons can still get open.7% 24.1 completion percentage and 8.4 percent of his dropbacks. he was sacked quite a bit on these plays. at happened on 35. Defenses sent four rushers or fewer 64. Overall. He completed 57. was sacked six times and averaged just 6.7 percent of his non-blitz throws and averaged 8. e numbers against six or more rushers were not good. Injuries.1 yards per pass attempt.8% 42. % 77.4 yards per attempt. did teams follow that blueprint and o en send extra pressure in 2011? Here’s a look at how defenses attacked Vick last season.1 For our purposes. against the blitz.9 yards per attempt—but as I’ll show in the next section.5% 57.2% Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Comp.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.4 8. broken down by number of pass rushers: Pass Rushers 3 or fewer 4 5 6 7 or more Percentage of Plays 9.6 percent of the time.6 YPA) on those plays. WHAT ABOUT SACKS? Howard Mudd was brought to Philadelphia to help Vick stay clean a er Reid promoted Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator.9 4. we’ll de ne the blitz as any play in which the defense sent more than four pass rushers at Vick.8 7. In that game.9% 54. So. and Vick failed to hit on big plays against the blitz.9% Yards per Att 11.1% 52.2 percent) for 199 yards (4. On 10 of those 31 plays. 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. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 9 . He completed 60. he failed to even attempt a pass. When teams rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. e Eagles’ o ensive line is able to protect him in those situations. Vick’s numbers were pedestrian. Vick’s numbers against ve rushers look great—64. Minnesota o en sent extra pressure (31 of 58 dropbacks).9 3.6 yards per attempt.

When defenses sent ve or more rushers. So. And then there’s the issue of holding on to the football too long.5 seconds on 1. Injuries.6 dropbacks. Vick very well might hold on to the ball longer than other quarterbacks. But by adding just one extra rusher.9 seconds • Sacks that occurred a er 3 seconds or more. Cooper of Football Outsiders keeps track of sacks that result from quarterbacks holding on to the ball too long. Mudd did an excellent job. It’s important to remember that with defenses getting more complex. e theory is that the o ensive line is at fault for sacks that happen in less than 2. however. Deciding when to take o and run and when to throw the ball away are things Vick will have to continually work on.6 percent. but those plays didn't result in sacks at a high rate. J. he gets away from pressure better than any quarterback in the league.J. He was sacked a er holding on to the ball for three seconds or more on 2. Vick was sacked just 2. despite starting two rookies (Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins) for most of the season and moving Todd Herremans from le guard to right tackle.4 percent of his overall dropbacks. meaning the o ense did a good job of avoiding those quick sacks.8% 9. Four pass rushers produced a sack rate of just 2. which was lower than the league average of 1. 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% 2.7 percent.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. that number jumped to 8.6 percent. that number skyrocketed to 8. GETTING AWAY FROM PRESSURE e question of whether it’s easier or more di cult to block for Vick is a complex one. or once every 21.6% 8.8 percent. the number of rushers is not always as signi cant as where the pressure is coming from. he was sacked 34 times. Football Outsiders 2012 Eagles Almanac | 10 .1% 9.1% Defenses were not very e ective at sacking Vick without sending extra pressure. and More And as the numbers show. ey might.5 seconds. On one hand. He breaks them down into three categories: • Sacks that occurred in under 2. On plays where he wasn’t blitzed.8 percent of his dropbacks.1 percent. Overall. especially as he gets older and loses some of his speed and athleticism.5 and 2. slightly above the league average of 2. • Sacks that occurred between 2.5 dropbacks. Vick was sacked 23 times in 2011.5 seconds. In 2010. or once every 15. have resulted in hits—either as he released the football or a er he picked up yards with his legs.5 percent of the time. Vick was sacked in under 2. And quarterbacks are usually to blame for the sacks that take three seconds or longer.

As a point of reference. and More noted that Vick escaped 17 possible sacks last season. I took a look at all 23 of Vick’s sacks and counted at least eight where he clearly bears some kind of responsibility. Injuries. Vick never just “takes” a sack like some other quarterbacks. In other words. the numbers are scary. we knew Vick’s interception rate was going to increase last season.3 attempts for his career. Plays Scrambles Sacks TOTAL 53 23 76 Yards 538 -126 412 When you factor in the yards lost on sacks.2 attempts in 2011. the onus is on the quarterback to recognize what he’s seeing and get rid of the ball quickly. On the other hand. But the drastic change (14 interceptions in 13 games) was cause for concern.4 yards. He took o 53 times and piled up 538 yards. blocking for Vick can be more di cult than blocking for a traditional pocket passer. his interception rate in 2010 was unsustainable. and Josh Freeman was third with seven. Here’s how the total numbers look on the 76 pass plays where Vick was either sacked or took o and ran. ese were instances where: • e defense sent more rushers than the Eagles had blockers. But we have to add in the plays where he was sacked too. • Vick took o before he needed to—either because of perceived pressure or because he thought he saw a running lane. And Aaron Rodgers. Vick was picking up big chunks of yardage.2 yards per carry. A er getting picked o just once every 62 attempts in 2010. held on to the ball too long.3 attempts. at’s lower than his 7. • Vick had time to throw. Tim Tebow was second with 12. Tom Brady has been intercepted once every 46. Vick’s rushing numbers obviously dip. Vick’s been intercepted once every 35. He believes he can keep every play alive and will ght until he has no other choice than to go down.6 attempts. far and away the most in the NFL. Designed passing plays in which he did not get rid of the ball gained on average 5. which closed quickly.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. To be fair. On plays like this. When he got past initial pressure and crossed the line of scrimmage. once every 55. at comes out to 10. and that includes the years in Atlanta when he clearly was not as good a passer 2012 Eagles Almanac | 11 . at’s part of what coaches and teammates love about Vick – he’s fearless. couldn’t nd a receiver and was eventually sacked. If you isolate Vick’s improvised runs (designed pass plays). THE TURNOVERS Pretty much every preseason article you read about Vick will focus on two items: turnovers and injuries. • Vick simply slipped on his dropback (only happened once). 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 was intercepted once every 30. ere’s obviously a give and take here.8 yards per pass attempt. For his career.

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

he actually completed the pass each time.1 percent). 13.0% 33.5% 3. So really. but wasn’t. What do all these injuries have in common? One.7 percent).3% 45. I’m hoping you’ve begun to notice a pattern.1% 65. 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith got some pressure against Jason Peters around the edge on Vick’s front side and hit his nger as Vick released the football. Vick was pretty good with the deep ball (passes that traveled 20+ yards). he was in the pocket when he sustained each of them. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 82.4% 3.7% 27.1% 21. Injured nger: By now. behind only Rodgers (60. But the notion that he was prone to injury last season because he ran too much and was reckless is o -base.7% e main increase (5.2% 30.9% 2012 Eagles Almanac | 13 . the Eagles are still a big-play o ense. Tony Romo (54. Here’s a similar chart that shows completion percentages in the di erent ranges. at ranked fourth in the NFL.1% 38. at ranked seventh among all quarterbacks. And two. six were dropped. and per PFF.8% 42.6% 2.1% 43. As for accuracy. VICK’S TARGETS With Jackson and Maclin on the outside. Injuries. 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.7 percent of his deep balls were on target.7% 9. A penalty could have been called on the play. and More Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty nailed him right under the chin with his helmet.2% 1. Below is a table of where Vick threw the ball (percentage of attempts). he threw 30 “catchable” balls.2% 67.5% 54.0% 2011 22.0% 30. Vick stood in the pocket and delivered a 7-yard completion to McCoy.5% 2011 71.3 percent) was on the intermediate throws from 11-20 yards. Or you could say 51. comparing 2010 and 2011. he was in the pocket and completed a pass on the play.4% 40. But again.8% 58. He completed 24 of 58 of those passes. Vick puts himself at risk when he leaves the pocket and takes on defenders who are trying to rip his head o . Sure.7 percent of Vick’s pass attempts traveled 20 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. 2010 Behind LOS 1-10 yards 11-20 yards 21-30 yards 31-40 yards 41+ yards 20. According to Pro Football Focus.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions.0% 7.1 percent) and Drew Brees (52. and Vick publicly complained about the o cials in his post-game press conference.

Accuracy is not a major issue. e pieces are in place. since 2008.1 yards per game last season. WHAT TO EXPECT? is is Vick’s rst full o season as a starting quarterback since 2006.309 yards on the ground and led the league with 14 runs of 20+ yards. It’s reasonable to expect second-year players Kelce and Watkins to improve also. Vick usually puts the ball where it needs to be. Vick should have a happy DeSean Jackson. McCoy is coming o a career year in which he piled up 1. He needs to make better decisions and take care of the football when he if he doesn’t put everything together now. According to PFF. Up front. In 2010. and More e only area where Vick’s completion percentage increased in 2011 was on the throws from 11-20 yards. As soon as Vick was named the starter in 2010. rather than ght for an extra yard here and there. Sheil Kapadia has written Philly. but give Reid and Howie Roseman credit for acting quickly and signing Bell. If Vick can master those things. the Eagles return four of ve starters. meanwhile. When he targets an open receiver. chances are it’s just not going to happen. set a career high. Receiver drops in 2010 and 2011 were almost’s Eagles/NFL blog. now that he received a new contract. As for injuries. At 32 years old. while leading all tight ends with 500 yards a er the catch. As I mentioned above.6 percent. and probably before then. To cut down on turnovers. And we know there’s no throw he can’t make. Moving the Chains. averaging 66. the injuries last year took place when he was in the pocket. Photo courtesy SRA Moses Ross.3 percent of Vick’s catchable balls were dropped in 2011. and provides a versatile weapon who can be e ective in the red zone. If he can’t. I mentioned his toughness earlier. e intangibles are not an issue either. the team will have a decision to make at quarterback before 2013. And Celek averaged nearly 70 yards per game receiving in his last 10. 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. But I’m not sure that change is going to take place at this point in his career. Vick needs to do a better job nding passing lanes while in the pocket. who has 30 career starts under his belt and should at least be serviceable. At wide receiver. Maclin. 10. which means Vick needs to get the most out of his o season with Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 14 . ere’s no question that the Peters loss is huge.What Happened To Michael Vick? Interceptions. it’d be great if Vick protected himself and avoided big hits. it was 10. according to STATS. Injuries. he had the respect of his peers— teammates and opponents alike. he can lead the Eagles deep into the playo s.

4 . 8th in NFL 2012 Eagles Almanac | 15 35 7.5 Eagles pass attempts per game in 2011. 14th in NFL Eagles QBs interception percentage in 2011.Focus: The Eagles Passing Attack Eagles Pass Targets Distribution by Position 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2004 2005 2006 Wide Receiver 2007 2008 Tight End 2009 2010 Running Back 2011 Eagles TD percentage in red zone in 2011. 32nd in NFL 52 4. 14th in the NFL Eagles QBs yards per attempt in 2011.

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

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

Not just any blitz. You beat him. He has the re exes and the innate gamer skills that come from being a youngster who can focus his energies on the controller. his strategic acumen undeveloped. or a neighbor’s kid? At rst. EAGLES VS. He only selects a handful of plays. blitzing or chasing the running back. FOURTH QUARTER: Josh Morgan’s 30-yard touchdown e Eagles are blitzing. the more aws you nd in his game. Turner’s run was the result of personnel and execution failures. because his talents are unre ned and misapplied. 4. and when players like Page and Matthews were playing major roles. (Chaney posted a more acceptable 3. 49ERS. and he just runs around the eld. At the snap. instead of on a mortgage payment. particularly on defense. Facing the Eagles defense last year must have been a lot like facing a teenager in Madden. the kid seems awesome. in contrast to Matthews’ 5. Rookie Mychal Kendricks adds competition at outside linebacker: if the Eagles are forced to play mix-and-match. He controls the middle linebacker.4 yards per tackle last year. Both Allen and Jarrett will appear later in this essay. But the more you play against him. WEEK 4. ey are making no e ort to hide it. *** Have you ever played Madden against a teenaged nephew. Matthews will be relegated to special teams if he remains on the roster this year.4 yards per carry. along with Jamar Chaney. If the Eagles did not have a completely inept linebacker and two very bad safeties on the eld. e 49ers have driven to the Eagles 30-yard line. Both still have the potential to grow. inching down from his deep safety position. He is an e ective in-the-box run stu er. Ryans allowed an average of 3. ey have a 23-3 lead in the third quarter.9.801 rushing yards. and 55 runs of ten or more yards. with Nate Allen and last year’s second round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett in the mix as starters at free safety. Yet they allowed 1. Nnamdi Asomugha creeps into the box on the o ensive right. Page and Asomugha blitz the le side. All four defensive 2012 Eagles Almanac | 18 . over and over. usually hitting the dive button or icking the “big tackle” stick far too soon. it will not be from among endless retreads like Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou. e Eagles stu ed 23 percent of opposing ball-carriers. the kind the Eagles have lacked since Jeremiah Trotter got old. but a seven-man jailbreak. every opponent’s running play was either feast or famine. Coleman is still listed as a starter. 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. DeMeco Ryans is a former Pro Bowler who became expendable in Houston because he did not t their 3-4 defense. Unlike some of the plays we will look at in a few moments. this would have been a seven-yard gain.Fails Of The Tape: Juan Castillo’s Disastrous Defense OVERRUN AND RUN OVER For the Eagles last year. the third highest percentage in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. Safety is a bigger issue. Juan Castillo calls a blitz. which is a nice way of saying that neither has shown us much of anything yet. and on 2nd-and-8.6). when the Eagles were still adjusting to the Wide-9 philosophy. not system failure. So does Jarrad Page. e problems on run defense were most acute early in the season. Before the snap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-Apocalyptic Living Dealing With Another Giants Super Bowl Win By Gabe Bevilacqua hen I spent much of last January announcing to my civilian friends that I didn't want to live in a world where the Giants have won two of the past ve Super Bowls. But when Hakeem Nicks caught the Hail Mary at the end of the rst half of the GiantsPackers Divisional Playo Game. Please. it was the sort of statement I knew would draw disapproving stares and surely-he's-exaggerating giggles from the normals. I won't bore you with my rationale as to why. 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. and we wouldn't be subject to the injustice of further humiliations. 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. but I will note that this is a longstanding prejudice not casually arrived at. that it's just game. As much as the Eagles are my favorite thing in the NFL. And I don't want to hear anything about how that's silly. W Initially. but this was the Giants we were talking about. I mean. and it's not worth the energy to root against a speci c team. the Giants are decisively my least favorite thing. 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. sure. 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. If I can love this ridiculous thing called the Eagles.

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

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

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

But then I’m not Pro Football Focus. e rst two columns are simple averages. 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 As be ts at unit that saw turnover at four positions. so he took his performance with him.7 3.2 2011 5.2 3. one of the most elusive running backs I’ve ever seen. but if you think of it as not counting any yards the running back gains a er the rst 10 you won’t be far o . we see no change on runs to le end (aka around Peters). the Eagles had the League’s th-best run-blocking o ensive line in 2011.eld” yards.7 5. By this measure.9 3. and improvement on runs to right tackle and end.0 6.8 2011 4.6 2.4 4.3 3. there’s a lot of change here. If 26 you think that sounds low. I’ll just get behind Peters again.1 4. we all love the story of the Eagles o ensive line.0 5. e folks at that website would tell you Evan Mathis was the league’s best guard.1 5.2 2. Now. ere’s a lot that goes into it. both years. and only then thinking about things like “Which hole was I supposed to run through again? Ah.0 3.2 4. meaning a few long runs can skew the stats.8 5. And yet people still believe the Eagles had a good o ensive line. let’s compare McCoy’s directional rushing stats from 2010 to 2011.” To get some sense of where the problems lie. e table below lists four sets of numbers.6 5. Average Yards 2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 8. immediately juking whichever defensive lineman we decided not to block on that play.Focus: The Curious Case of Evan Mathis LeSean McCoy.9 Modi ed 2010 4. which came on all those plays where the line managed to block the rst wave. In fact. sizable drops from le tackle to right guard.7 3.2 4.9 3. ey even have their own LeSean McCoy distribution stats that don’t match the o cial play by play: 2012 Eagles Almanac | 38 . It’s just that Todd switched positions. e story with the raw averages is broadly similar. e second set of numbers use the same process I described above. My story here is pretty simple. 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.5 3. Peters and Herremans were both really good. Looking just at the modi ed numbers for a bit. where all rushes of at least 10 yards are counted as 10-yard gains. consider the team’s #2 and #4 rankings in “second-level” yards and “open. But this wasn’t a good unit overall. then let Shady do his thing down eld.3 3.6 2.1 2. screw it. My lasting image of the 2011 run game involves Shady taking a hando . Just by typing the words “Howard Mudd” I can make you smile—and Jason Peters really was as great as everyone said he was. was tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on more than 25 percent of his carries last year.8 3.

7% 28. but the real problem area looks to be LT/ LG. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. In 2010. e stu ed percentages were bad across the board.7 4.4% 12. at’s how you keep a job as a lineman on this team.8 7.6% 25.4 8. the pattern repeats. Mathis’s bad play percentage was less than half as high (although Herremans was still better than what Danny Watkins managed). at’s a “bad play” gure of 2. and only 12 pressures all year.5% 2011 19.7% 28.6 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. 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.0% 15. Although I’m willing to credit the explanation that the new blocking system cause issues across the line.1 7.8% 5. in the face of all this evidence that Mathis’ is wildly overrated as a run blocker. you might say.7 4. 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. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 39 . Ah. and it’s one I shared with Mathis in a follow-up email. I emailed Mathis a few months ago to ask him about this discrepancy between what people were saying and what the numbers demonstrated. And besides.6% 12.5 5.6 2.7% Even so.2011 2.4 percent. he wouldn’t still be around.7% 16.6 4. playing in front of the same quarterback and in the same position. LeSean McCoy could gain four yards a carry behind a blocking sled. six hits and 24 pressures on 662 pass blocks. that the numbers don’t match the game tape. 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.6 4. but remember—Andy Reid doesn’t care about the run game.YPC .4% 40.4 4.2010 Le End Le Tackle Le Guard Middle Le Middle Right Right Guard Right Tackle Right End 7.0% 29. if these numbers actually meant anything.0 YPC . on 628 pass blocks.8% 26. e le guard numbers go down. Herremans allowed three sacks. He sent me a very nice note back saying.5% 22.4% 22.7 6.6 4. Pro Football Focus has Mathis allowing no sacks. the outside right numbers go up—while Evan Mathis’ 2011 run block grade was more than four times higher than Todd Herremans’ had been in 2010. were the Eagles so concerned about retaining him? Clearly. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. the biggest dropo is again Herremans to Mathis: So why.0 3.” I actually did have a theory about this. What makes Evan Mathis a perfect t for this team is what he does when Mike Vick drops back to pass.7% 15.2 4. basically. three quarterback hits.

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

Great value. JAX. but will be part of 2012 Eagles Almanac | 41 . He was a player that Washburn and the Eagles wanted. He's a bit taller.  2nd ROUND: DE VINNY CURRY – 6-3. pass rush moves.  Curry opened some eyes when he went to the Senior Bowl and had a terri c week. 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. but rather a skilled pass rusher and that should help his transition to the NFL. 266.  How he ts in: Washburn went to Marshall to work out Curry in person and came away very impressed. When used on the outside.Who Are These Rookies? The Comprehensive 2012 Draft Review Eagles traded fourth and sixth round picks to move up three spots and get him. Curry can play on the le or right side. and playing the run. He was the one guy o enses had to stop and they couldn't do it. Cal even had him line up as a defensive end and rush the passer on a regular basis. Kendricks had the best overall workout of any linebacker prospect at the Combine. at's what he played as a senior at Cal and it should help him to t in as a rookie. and 10 forced fumbles. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo prefers speed and athletic ability to size when it comes to his linebackers. and 4 interceptions. He's not just an athlete. 240. at showed that his big numbers weren’t just a matter of playing mediocre competition. Curry won't start early.  2nd ROUND: LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS – 5-11.  Kendricks is a complete linebacker because of the way Cal used him. Curry's consistent production is all the more impressive when you consider that he wasn't surrounded by other NFL type talents. e Eagles use of the Wide-9 front allows Kendricks to stay o the ball and he is somewhat like another inside linebacker. He spent time blitzing. He can even line up on the inside on passing situations and rush up the middle. Curry uses his hands well to ght o blockers and stay clean. and an excellent motor to win his battles. He used speed.  NFL comparison: Mike Peterson (IND.  How he ts in: Kendricks comes to the Eagles to compete for the SAM linebacker spot right away. He moved all over the place.  Dra value: Kendricks went where he was expected to go in the middle of the second round. He was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. Kendricks was allowed to attack up the eld quite a bit. Marshall Background: Highly productive pass rusher that had a great career at Marshall. rushing the passer. Curry was a force during the practice sessions and then in the game itself. Curry nished with 26.5 TFLs.5 sacks. 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. covering.  NFL comparison: Cullen Jenkins. Kendricks nished his career with 155 solo tackles.5 sacks. Responded by having a great season and being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. but like Kendricks was a second round pick who could play all three linebackers spots and had a versatile skill set. ATL) is someone that comes to mind. 36. 13. One reason they like him is his versatility. At only 5-11 he lacks ideal height. 49 TFLs.

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

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

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

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

but has NFL talent. WR Damaris Johnson – Tulsa – Diminutive. but highly productive player. RB Chris Polk – Washington – Very good player who slipped due to some medical concerns. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 46 . TE Chase Ford – Miami – Big player with limited experience and production. CB Cli Harris – Oregon – Big time playmaker with character concerns. Excellent returner.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.Focus: More Eagles Draft Nuggets Eagles Draft Picks by Position .

Cowboys @ Giants @ Cowboys vs. 216 passing yards.4 points: would be 1st Last season.4 Turnovers 4 1 2 0 1 1.4 Outcome W (20-13) W (34-7) W (17-10) W (20-7) W (34-10) 2012 Eagles Almanac | 47 . To put those numbers in perspective.6 Points 13 7 10 7 10 9.4 Passing 245 182 249 157 247 216. It was part of the Eagles’ awful 1-4 start to the season that ultimately proved to be too big of a hole to crawl out of. and 9. one of the many abnormalities of the Eagles’ 2011 season was that they actually nished 5-1 in the division. the Eagles bumbled their way to an 8-8 record. 289. It seems hard to believe in hindsight. However. 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.4 total yards. the Eagles largely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and won by playing excellent defense. the NFC East was viewed by many as a weak division.4 rush yards: would be 1st • 216 passing yards: would be 10th • 289. and rightfully so. and it was a killer. e Eagles’ week three loss at home to the Giants was their lone NFC East loss. while the Eagles most certainly did not. but the Eagles entered that game as eight point favorites. I Otherwise. In the ve Eagles’ NFC East wins. defensively. in the table below.4 rushing yards per game. e Giants were able to up their Eagles Defensive Stats in NFC East Wins Opponent @ Redskins vs. the ‘Skins. e Giants played mistake free football.0 Total 287 267 278 238 377 289.4 points per game. Redskins Average Week 6 8 11 16 17 Rushing 42 85 29 81 130 73.The bEast Breakdown The ‘Boys. in each of the their ve NFC East wins.4 total yards: would be 4th • 9. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs By Jimmy Kempski n what was one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory in 2011. heading into the playo s. See a quick snapshot of those games. they gave up an average of 73. here’s how they would stack up against the rest of the NFL during the 2011 regular season: • 73.

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

it should be noted that he missed the last 4 games of the season because he was suspended for a positive marijuana test. and Jammal Brown (various injuries)—missed signi cant time last season. In addition to Davis. Additionally. Jabar Ga ney. and sixth-round picks. With a decent 1-2 combo in sophomores Roy Helu and Evan Royster at RB. especially if RG3 turns out to be the real deal. Filling out the WR corps is the veteran Santana Moss. I believe they have since closed that gap. along with do-everything Tim Hightower. and it’s a much more impressive stat line of 79 catches for 1061 yards and 4 TDs. and the health of RG3 should be a concern for throughout the entire season. while talented. here’s what that looks like: Player Rob Gronkowski Jimmy Graham Fred Davis (Proj. they should have better depth this season. While those numbers don’t sound particularly impressive.) Jason Witten Aaron Hernandez Tony Gonzalez Dustin Keller Brent Celek Vernon Davis Antonio Gates Rec. h. and he could be the next in line of the dominant receiving TE’s in the NFL. Kory Lichtensteiger (torn ACL and MCL). is immature and one failed drug test away from being suspended for a full season. Garcon will be a signi cant upgrade over the Skins’ leading receiver in 2011. the ‘Skins. although they drastically overpaid for him. At the very least. and Williams. Lichtensteiger is returning from a devastating knee injury. Project those numbers over a 16 game season. Fred Davis is one of the most underrated o ensive weapons in the game. ree of their o ensive linemen—Trent Williams (suspension).The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. If you compare that with the rest of the league’s TE’s. as they dra ed o ensive linemen with their third. O ensive weaknesses: e Redskins’ OL was a disaster in 2011. the Skins brought in Pierre Garcon in free agency. but the OL remains a signi cant weakness. At least the Redskins are aware that their OL is weak. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs • C: Will Montgomery • RG: Chris Chester • RT: Jammal Brown O ensive strengths: Over the last few years. and they should only get better. Will Mongomery and Chris Chester are both “JAGs” (just a guy). 2012 Eagles Almanac | 49 . Fred Davis had 59 receptions for 796 yards and 3 TDs. Ga ney has since been released. and a couple young players with lot of potential in hyear player Josh Morgan and second-year pro Leonard Hankerson. e replacements for each o ensive lineman were bad. 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. 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. in the same vein as players like Jason Witten and Vernon Davis. Last season. and Brown himself was atrocious when he did play.

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

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

as noted above. 2nd full year O . Mackenzy Bernadeau: When the Cowboys signed Bernadeau. Nate Livings: e former Bengal is projected to start at LG. However. 2nd year Andy Reid’s record against: 17-10 What’s new? e biggest additions to the Cowboys this year came in the form of a couple new cornerbacks. as this is not a team that is going to compete for the NFC East title in 2012. 6) Jordan Bernstein – Seventh-round dra pick out of Iowa. teammate Sean Lee at ILB. formerly of the Chiefs. is is a team that didn’t just sweep the Super Bowl Champions last season— they manhandled them. and the Cowboys paid a he y price for both of them. the Redskins are playing the “Let’s sign as many crappy safeties as we can and hope that one of them pans out” game. but struggled when he got his chances in the real games. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs 5) DeJon Gomes – Gomes is a second-year player that impressed me during the preseason last year. e Cowboys were also very busy in free agency. Overview: is season in Washington is a honeymoon. and will be out until the start of training camp. 1st year Def.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Abram Elam. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 52 . to a ve-year deal worth $50. Above. the idea was for him to start at RG. I certainly don’t expect the Skins to be a pushover. Longtime Cowboy corner Terence Newman is gone.1 million. 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. 2012 should be viewed as a success. Mike Shanahan is in Year ree of his “ ve year plan. Will replace another player that Ryan coached in Cleveland. e Redskins will have to at the very least show that they have the look of a contender in 2013. DALLAS COWBOYS: Head Coach: Jason Garrett. will be the o ensive line and the defensive secondary. Kyle Orton: Tony Romo injury insurance. snagging the following players: Dan Connor: Will be paired with former Penn St. First. Fans will marvel at the occasional big play by RG3. Lawrence Vickers: Starting FB. but he has since had surgery on his hip.” So far. coordinator: Bill Callahan. in the projected starters section. coordinator: Rob Ryan. ey have a really solid front seven on defense and some young up-andcomers at the o ensive skill positions. and 2007 rst round pick Mike Jenkins could soon be out the door as well. his record is 11-21. If the Skins can somehow win seven games and RG3 shows progression throughout the season. I have Gomes listed as a starting safety for no other reason than that he’s still at least somewhat of a mystery. I would expect the gap between wins and losses to widen further this year. they signed Brandon Carr. or Shanahan could be gone. Consider me unconvinced that it will work. and they’ll roll with the inevitable growing pains. A month later. e major worries. In other words. while the others are pretty much locks not to be legitimate starters. the ‘Skins. Brodney Pool: Played under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Cleveland.

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

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

Victor Butler • ILB: Dan Connor. but he isn’t getting much help from the DEs. the Cowboys are heading into yet another season of easily foreseeable problems protecting Tony Romo. Tyrone Crawford • OLB: Anthony Spencer. they’ve given a similar lack of attention to their DL. show no apparent plans to replace the horrid Phil Costa at center. and moved up to sixth overall to dra rookie CB Morris Claiborne. Mike Jenkins • S: Gerald Sensabaugh. On the outside. at’s asking a lot of an undersized NT that faces constant double teams in the run game. Ratli is by far the smallest 3-4 NT in the NFL. the Cowboys made a big splash this o season by signing Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs for ve years. Defensive weaknesses: In the third round of the 2012 dra . Sean Lissemore • NT: Jay Ratli . Eagles center Jason Kelce said that Ratli is the best player he has ever faced. but they do have a collection of some great players scattered throughout.5 sacks last season. Crawford is the rst defensive end they’ve dra ed in the rst three rounds in the last six dra s. Matt Johnson • CB: Morris Claiborne. but he has logged quite a bit of mileage. Ware had 19.5 TFL 12 6 FF 2 1 Projected defensive Starters. Jason Hatcher is the closest thing to a legitimate starter at DE for the Cowboys. the ‘Skins. key reserves: • DE: Jason Hatcher.5 5. and Sean Lissemore provides good 2012 Eagles Almanac | 55 . meanwhile continues to be a force at NT. $50 million. 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. In the same way they’ve ignored their o ensive line over the years. DeMarcus Ware remains the premier pass rusher in the game. 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.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. Jay Ratli . 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. In the Ratli can still play. Jay Ratli has been an excellent player for the last six seasons. Sean Lee has outstanding instincts and always seems to be around the ball. and over the last three years. Ratli turns 31 in August. Alex Albright • CB: Brandon Carr. Josh Brent • DE: Kenyon Coleman. and for the third year in a row. the Cowboys dra ed Tyrone Crawford. Barry Church • S: Brodney Pool. he has averaged 776 snaps per season. 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. Bruce Carter • ILB: Sean Lee • OLB: DeMarcus Ware. but their corner play should be drastically improved. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs positions. according to Pro Football Focus.

As a side note. All sizzle. Miles Austin. Otherwise. e only really noteworthy changes are that RB Brandon Jacobs. Otherwise. coordinator: Perry Fewell. He is not. their other starters and role players have underperformed. and CB Aaron Ross have all moved on. ey’ve been weak in the trenches. Tony Romo. But it really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise why the Cowboys are 14-18 over the last two seasons. and there’s no depth up and down the roster. 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. With players like DeMarcus Ware. but also because they didn’t have much salary cap space. And again. at least in comparison to the Eagles’ other two NFC East rivals. Kenyon Coleman and Cli on Geathers as their other DEs. aside from some smaller signings and a full slate of dra picks. David Carr 2012 Eagles Almanac | 56 In the same way that Casey Matthews is not Clay Matthews. or getting knocked out early. and it’s easy to see why. Projected o ensive starters. but otherwise. seemingly every year. WR Mario Manningham. the Giants were quiet in acquiring talent. 9th year O . won the Super Bowl last season.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. as we all know. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs depth. Rob Ryan is not Rex Ryan or Buddy Ryan. you’ll hear NFL analysts refer to the Cowboys as one of the most talented teams in the league. 6th year Def. the Cowboys could do much better than Marcus Spears. the very same analysts call the Cowboys “underachievers” or . Overview: Seemingly every year. e Giants. NEW YORK GIANTS: Head Coach: Tom Coughlin. partially because t h e y d on’t n e e d many upgrades. 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. key reserves: • QB: Eli Manning. and their roster will largely be unchanged. no steak. and is pretty clearly behind the Eagles and Giants. and Sean Lee. Jay Ratli . Dez Bryant. the ‘Skins. not much. In my opinion. but DE has been a weak position for the Cowboys for the last half decade. there’s an odd perception that Rob Ryan is an accomplished coordinator. coordinator: Kevin Gilbride. this is an average team. 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.  e hope is that Crawford can come in and contribute immediately.

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

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

ose numbers don’t include the playo s. and is the best (or at least the most trustworthy) quarterback in the division right now.  at’s a completion percentage of 75% (4th worst in the league). Including the playo s. • His ve penalties were good for h most in the NFL. e next closest player on completions allowed was Bu alo’s Bryan Scott. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 59 . e guy simply makes huge plays. who allowed 42. dealing with the Giants’ ferocious pass rush was made much more di cult with the loss of Jason Peters for the season. the ‘Skins.5 sacks.The bEast Breakdown: The ‘Boys. the reigning champs are the Eagles’ biggest obstacle to winning the NFC East next season. • He had just one pass defensed. And then. in the last three games of the regular season Tuck began to climb out of his funk. According to Pro Football Focus. but his unhappiness hasn’t a ected his ability to get to the QB.5 8 TFL 1 1 2 FF 0 1 1 • Rolle gave up more yards (642) than any other safety in the league.” and there is a chance that you can make a run. Tuck was in the midst of his worst season as a pro. he broke the single season record for forced fumbles. so we’re talking about an even playing eld in comparison to the rest of the league. 2. with 10. editor at Bleeding Green Nation. Eli Manning has become a con dent passer and leader. On the other side of the ball. 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. Jimmy Kempski is the founder of Blogging the bEast. as they’ve already proven twice in the last ve years. Overview: Without question. Umenyiora has been whining about his contract for the last thee or four years. just 1 TFL. e third player in the mix is Osi Umenyiora. Rolle had the following dubious distinctions: • He was targeted more than any other safety in the league (76 times). because once they get in. all you need to do is “make the tourney. and contributes at SNY and The Washington Post. and no forced fumbles. • Opposing QBs completed more passes on Rolle than any other safety in the league (57 completions). behind only Eric Smith.5 5. e trick with the Giants is keeping them out of the playo s. • He gave up the second-most yards a er the catch. rough week 14. with a pair of outstanding weapons to throw to. he had 12. and the *gulp* 2011 Champs Supplementing the play of JPP along the defensive line last season was Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Rolle is the weak link of the Giants’ defense. seemingly out of nowhere. and he’s a big reason why the Giants ranked 29th against the pass last year. Defensive weaknesses: I don’t think people realize how bad Antrel Rolle was last year. as he had just 24 tackles. It was almost like he had two di erent seasons: Weeks 1-14 15-SB Total Tckl 24 25 49 Sack 2.5 sacks in 13 games last season. For the Giants. with a cushion between him and the second-highest player (the Jets’ horrid Eric Smith) of over 100 yards. especially for all the talking he did. In 2010.

1% O Rank 7 8 11 19 Def DVOA 6.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 15.8% -2.9% 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% Def Rank 20 12 16 14 Total DVOA 9.3% 4.8% 2.1% 4.6% 14.9% 0.0% 14.4% -5.3% 10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

which either brilliantly exploited weaknesses in other teams’ pass protections or traded sacks for fundamentally unsound coverage schemes. of course. they were a lot more e ective with it:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Sack Rate 2010 2011 4.5% 8.3% 59. en Washburn came along. It’s not like the Eagles seemed to value the position all that highly either.2% 11.1% 50. Part of the reason. 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.7% Which made quarterbacks uncomfortable:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ Comp % 2010 2011 62.3% 6.7% 12. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog.5% 40. I’d have told you no.2% 0.0% 0.5% 56. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog.0% 6. e Giants’ line gets all the glory— something about multiple Super Bowl rings does that—but the Eagles always have a great pass rush.2% Mostly because Asante played the whole season looking like a guy who didn’t want the ball.7% But didn’t result in interceptions at the historical rate:   Rushers 3 4 5 6+ INT Rate 2010 2011 4. and they’re usually somewhere in the top ve. 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. we all “knew” it was Johnson’s blitz scheme that really made the di erence. because that would involve extra work. depending upon which guy was running the show. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 71 .0% 9.0% 3. 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.Focus: Why Position Coaches Matter If you’d asked me ve years ago if the identity of the team’s defensive line coach mattered. Despite years of rumors regarding the preferred playing styles of Jim Johnson and Pete Jenkins.4% 3. was the blitzbased schemes of Jim Johnson and Sean McDermott.9% 0.5% 33.6% 4.0% 43.0% 3.5% 41.0% 7.

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

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

he was probably the best wideout the Eagles had for a number of years there. Perhaps it is unfair to expect McCoy to be an above-average back in all areas. especially in comparison to Westbrook. One way to get a second-level look at McCoy’s receiving stats is to look at his receptions by distance. he averaged 2. Pro Football Focus measures yards gained a er contact. McCoy has only managed 7. In fact.6% SHADY RECEIVING NUMBERS: Out of the back eld. In 2011.5 yards a er contact.3% 15. Despite all those catches.3 yards. according to Pro Football Focus. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 74 . delineated by passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage and past it: Year 2009 2009 2010 2010 2011 2011 Distance Behind LOS Past LOS Behind LOS Past LOS Behind LOS Past LOS Tgt 31 19 59 32 47 14 Rec 28 13 54 28 35 13 Yds 231 86 408 205 217 98 YPC 8. McCoy is only a middling performer. and it’s what makes him so dangerous. In this way McCoy’s become the o ense’s equivalent of DeSean Jackson. He breaks a tackle and soon he’s o to the races. there seems to be room for improvement in the receiving department.6 7. at’s a large di erence. but it’s hard to tell exactly why McCoy is de cient in that area. Unfortunately. And despite his lack of power and his tendency to run away from his blockers. McCoy has caught 166 balls over the last three seasons—third-most among all running backs. At a basic level. and by that metric. He’s always capable of breaking a game wide open. however.2 7.6 7.9 yards per catch over his entire career. making big plays commonplace when he’s in the game. Westbrook averaged 8. who was a more natural receiver. at places him tied for 15th among the top 30 starting running backs by snap count.3 6. Pro Football Focus tracks passes thrown by direction. In 2011. McCoy is still 12th (out of 51 backs with at least 100 rushes) in Football Outsiders’ success rate statistic that measures consistency. including whether those passes were thrown behind or in front of the line of scrimmage.5 Rank 3rd 1st Rank 10th 4th McCoy’s ability to avoid defenders is spectacular. that comparison is also apt when it comes to breaking tackles the oldfashioned way—with power. Here is McCoy’s receiving production by year. It’s a rare middle-of-the-pack statistic for Shady. but not as special at busting through a defender when necessary. 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. tied for second-most in the NFL. he had 19 rushes of 15 yards or more. this is a minor one.3 6. As far as weaknesses go.

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

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

0% -1. teams stopped avoiding Nnamdi’s side quite as much as they had. teams still threw at his side of the eld less o en than they did on average against everyone else.2% -24.2% -4.2% 22.9%        Let no one ever forget that Howie Roseman the boy genius was the GM who decided we were just peachy with Dimitri Patterson in 2010.9%     MIDDLE 0. it sure doesn’t look like the same guy anymore. It’s worth noting that these are just attempts. for example.5% RIGHT 11. you can see why Lito Sheppard punched his ticket out of town in 2007. ere’s nothing in this chart that tells us how good the coverage was on all these passes. teams simply didn’t throw to his side of the eld within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.2% more likely to throw to Lito Sheppard’s side of the eld than they were the average LCB.1% -13. at said.9% -26.4% -7. by the way. at last chart shows something interesting. Derek Sarley used to write about the Eagles at IgglesBlog. Going back a few more years.3% 47. At his press coverage peak.3% 0.1% 9.2% -2. but then something weird starts to happen in 2010. Some of the variation we’d see if we just focused on cornerbacks washes out when you’re including all running back screens.   Five-Year League Average Oakland Raiders       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011 LEFT -12.5%   MIDDLE 8.2%   RIGHT 8.2% 16.8% 4. It’s (sort of) fun to read the recent history of the Eagles’ cornerbacks in this chart:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs.1% 21. ese are also numbers for all throws to one side of the eld. 2012 Eagles Almanac | 77 .9% -2. but now he mostly just tweets @IgglesBlog. just that.4% -0.a gaping hole at the RCB spot. although it’s been noted by a number of other Eagles commentators this o season. But let’s look at Nnamdi’s past body of work for a moment:   Defensive Pass Distributions vs. For e rst three rows of that chart are eyepopping. nobody will be dumb enough to throw at Asante Samuel. even with Asante Samuel playing on the other side and no obvious hole in the middle.8% -2. etc. I’m still not sure I’d want to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this year.5% as much as we weren’t all that impressed with Nnamdi’s performance last year. As Stanford Routt re-established himself as a starter on the other side.   Five-Year League Average Philadelphia Eagles       2007   2008   2009   2010   2011     LEFT -15.5% 2. opposing QBs were 8.0% 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.2% -11.2% 3.9% -0.8% -6. is matters a great deal when you start looking at Nnamdi’s historical data.1% -6.

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

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

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

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

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

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