Eagles Rumors: Jason Brown (Ravens)

By now you’ve read about it somewhere (I saw it on BGN), a rumor initially floated by Howard Eskin — the Eagles are (not should be, they are) interested in Ravens guard/center Jason Brown.

Here’s what we know about Brown and this rumor.

He’s been in the NFL four years.  He can play both guard and center.  He grabbed the starting job five weeks into his sophomore season and has played in every game since then.  He’s durable.

The rumor, as I said, was floated by Howard Eskin at first.  The conventional wisdom on Eskin is that he can be a mouthpiece for Andy Reid and the Eagles organization.  If that’s the case here, it’s an indication that the Tra Thomas negotiations aren’t going well.  Acquiring Brown means Herremans or Andrews are definitely moving to tackle, probably both of them.  If this comes to fruition, the line may look like (from left to right):  Herremans, Brown, Jackson, MJG, Andrews.

And if this is true it means the Eagles might not need a big, NFL-ready OT in the first round in the April draft.

Eagles Rumors: So, Laveranues Coles

Laveranues ColesThe Jets have released him.  He’s had some pretty awesome seasons, but he’s old (31, same age as TJ Houshmandzadeh).

Would the Eagles consider him?  Well, it’s sort of the same situation as Marvin Harrison, although perhaps a little less acute.  Coles’ best days may be behind him, he’s not really a deep threat like he used to be, and if he’s involved in the offense it could hinder the development of someone rather important the Eagles already have — Desean Jackson.

Here is the data for you to ponder:

2008:  70 receptions, 850 yds, 12.1 ypc, 7 TD , 132 DYAR, 2.0% DVOA
2007:  55 receptions, 646 yds, 11.7 ypc, 6 TD, 130 DYAR, 5.7% DVOA
2006:  91 receptions, 1098 yds, 12.1 ypc, 6 TD, 144 DYAR, -.9 DVOA

He’s been pretty durable, but that tends to diminish with age too.  He might not garner the interest that Houshmandzadeh will, but with the dearth of talent available in the free agency pool, Coles could still end up getting more than a little overpaid.  Will the Eagles like him enough to overpay?

Trying not to be knee-jerk

This offense crashed today because the wide receivers and the running backs could not “make a play”, as they like to say.  The wide receivers and tight ends missed more opportunities than I care to count, and even Westbrook failed to make plays when they were there.

At this point, and I mean this sincerely, it should be considered a fire-able offense to put Greg Lewis on the field with the first team offense.  He hurts this team.

Who routinely plays their fifth wide receiver?  Seriously?

LJ Smith and Brent Celek both get F’s today as offensive weapons as well.  LJ has to use his strength to make an adjustment in the endzone on what has become a routine NFL play.  The defender had his back to the play, LJ needs to stop his momentum and make the catch.

There were so many mistakes out there by these guys today it makes me wonder if Donovan felt like that guy in the CareerBuilder commercial who works with monkeys.

What To Do About Witten

This morning the enjoyable and informative GCobb offers some advice to the Eagles’ coaching staff:

I would like to see the Birds give rookie Quintin Demps the chance to cover Witten one on one.  On passing downs I would substitute Demps for Mikell.  Demps is much faster and quicker, and a better cover guy.

I respectfully disagree.

The Eagles have a trio of cornerbacks that are perfectly set up for this situation.  When the Cowboys are going to pass, Lito is going to be on the field.  And although he’s way too small to put on Witten, Sheldon Brown is not.  Brown is an excellent tackler who has no problem taking down big tight ends.  He’s not super fast, which is a problem against speedy wide outs, but not with Witten.

Brown is the perfect answer here.  I don’t want to see Demps getting taught rookie lessons by a Pro Bowl veteran.  Keep Demps on special teams for this one and let Sheldon work the big fella.

Well, that was something

Will Demps Omar GaitherYou can’t really ask for a better start to the season.  Destroying a conference opponent in every conceivable way, having a rookie break out big time, and no injuries.

Are we sure that was the Eagles?

Anyway, everything great about that game has already been said in the papers and on the outstanding Eagles blogs out there.

So let’s take a look at what the folks in St. Louis and Dallas are saying:

“That’s about as bad as you can get beat in the NFL,” Bulger said. “We realize it. And we don’t have any excuses.”


“To put it in simple terms, we got our butt whipped today,” tight end Randy McMichael said Sunday. “There’s no way you can sugarcoat it.”

And in Dallas:

This was just one test, and next week’s will be bigger. The Philadelphia Eagles piled up more than 500 yards of offense in their 38-3 win over St. Louis.


Now, let’s pray MB3 is healthy and bring on the Eagles, who by the way crushed the Rams today.

I am fired up.

My Take on the Fullback Decision

Tony Hunt, a halfback his entire career until about two weeks ago, is now the Philadelphia Eagles starting fullback.

So far the reaction of the fanbase has largely been positive.  In my mind that is due to an emotional attachment to the player– a kid who played at Penn State.  A more analytical look at the decision requires a better look at the options the team had.

What were those options and what was the team thinking when it made its decision?Tony Hunt

The safe pick was either Jason Davis or Jed Collins.  Both of these guys are your typical fullbacks — trained to smash their helmets against a linebacker, clearing the road for a halfback.  Neither would offer much else in terms of helping the offense.

Hunt is clearly a different animal.  But let’s be clear about one thing:  Tony Hunt is terrible, terrible, terrible as a run blocker right now.   Why wouldn’t he be?  He’s literally never practiced it.

The Eagles know this.  Despite their many statements asserting his improvements and their willingness to be patient with his development as a blocker, they didn’t keep him on the active roster because they expected him to be great at it.

There two reasons they made this decision.

The first:  Reid, Heckert, and the rest looked at the production they got out of the fullbacks of the past (mediocre to bad), and realized it wasn’t really hurting Westbrook anyway.  They looked at Collins and Davis and said “these guys aren’t much better.”

The second:  Since they weren’t getting much of advantage from a traditional fullback, they decided having Hunt on the field as a “fullback” was a better option than what they would have gotten out of Jason Davis or Jed Collins.

Hunt is going to give Andy and Marty a real pass-catching threat from the fullback sets.  He’s going to give them a real ball-carrying threat.  The defense is going to have to account for him.

I like that Reid wasn’t afraid to get creative.  He did hedge his bet by keeping Collins on the practice squad, but barring an injury Tony Hunt is going to get a lot of time to prove himself an asset to this team.

This Is Great

BigBlueInteractive.com is probably the most popular unofficial Giants website out there.  Daily updates on the front page, but the biggest attraction is the endless chatter in their forums.

From a thread titled “Article on Eagles’ DEs on the Bubble” –

McDougle would be a steal … especially since he would be more familiar with our defense coming from JJ defense
I would think we’d be a VERY attractive spot for him if we’re interested.

What a difference a few months makes, huh?

This and That

I’ll be heading to Pittsford today to watch some of the Bills’ afternoon practice. James Hardy is supposed to be back practicing in full today, so it will be interesting to get a look at him. I should have plenty of photos.


I think Florio at PFT is way off here, again.

The reasoning is simple. If the Eagles put Sheppard at No. 2 behind Brown, then it’s hard for them to continue to expect the kind of trade package that a starting cornerback should merit.

I don’t believe the Eagles are actively trying to move Sheppard any longer.  The slash on the depth chart is more about appeasing a player who is feeling a little unappreciated right now, and who is also squabbling over a contract. Is it sort of childish? Yeah, it sure is.

When You’re Just Being a Jerk

I’m generally not the guy shouting “these guys make way too much money!” when talking about professional athletes’ salaries. Our world is one in which you’re encouraged to take as big a piece of the pie as you can get (before someone else gets it first). And what, would you rather see the NFL owners pocket more money?

But the Lito Sheppard contract case is driving me crazy. The guy reportedly wants a new contract before the start of the season. He even hired the King of all Assholes to represent him in this endeavor.

And he’s doing all of this despite the fact he hasn’t been a good cornerback in two years. On top of that, he signed a deal which gave him an $8.75 million signing bonus only a few years ago. That isn’t anything to sneeze at, even in today’s market.

I understand when a player is dramatically underpaid and he wants a raise. When a guy truly outperforms his contract I have no problem with him asking for more money.

But Lito hasn’t done that. He’s done the opposite. He’s been injured or not playing very well for two straight years.  He hasn’t been an asset to the team.  He lacks any real leverage, and I hope the Eagles tell Rosenhaus to shove off.

Update: After giving a little more thought to this… has there ever been any athlete demanding a raise who deserved it less? Seriously, what do you think Rosenhaus is saying in these conversations? The more I think about it, the more I realize this has to be about Lito and Rosenhaus wanting out of town.

Dodge, Duck, Dive, Dip, and… Dodge

A few days ago Iggles Blog noted two potential disasters the Eagles averted in the potential signings of LeCharles Bentley and Ryan Fowler. Well, the organization’s good fortune continues by way of not acquiring certain players.

While nowhere near as close to becoming an Eagle as either Bentley or Fowler, there were many reports that the Eagles were interested in the player who just got his face rearranged in Vegas, and who was ultimately signed by the Raiders.

Javon Walker’s talent is undeniable, but his exits from both Green Bay and Denver have been less than amicable. And this is his second terrible early morning incident. I’m not saying either were his fault, but for some guys, trouble has a way of finding you. Good non-move, Philly.