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» Futures: My Expansion Franchise

You've just been awarded an NFL expansion team and must build your personnel department. How would you do it? Matt Waldman takes on the exercise.

21 May 2007

Four Downs: NFC East

by Ryan Wilson

Dallas Cowboys

Draft Review

As Brady Quinn made his way down the draft board, some Cowboys fans gave thought to the idea of landing the former Notre Dame quarterback and potential franchise player. Owner Jerry Jones also considered the possibility, but the Cleveland Browns intervened. Instead, Dallas traded its 22nd overall pick to Cleveland for their second-round pick and their 2008 first-round pick. The Cowboys promptly shipped the newly acquired second-rounder -- and a third- and fifth-rounder -- to the division rival Eagles for the right to take Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer with the 26th overall selection. Spencer will make the move to outside linebacker, joining the team's last two first-round picks, DeMarcus Ware and Bobby Carpenter. Greg Ellis, who missed the final seven weeks of the 2006 season with a torn Achilles, has a tenuous hold on the starting job heading into the summer.

This could be tackle Flozell Adams' last year in Dallas, and Boston College's James Martin (third round) and Northern Illinois' Doug Free (fourth round) are contingencies in the event he doesn't return in 2008. University of Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback was the team's other fourth-round pick, and it's his versatility -- he's 6-foot-2 and runs a 4.60 40 -- that makes him so intriguing. He was a wide receiver before he was a quarterback, and the Cowboys envision a bigger, stronger version of Antwaan Randle El.

A year ago, Mike Vanderjagt had just signed a multi-year deal. Then-head coach Bill Parcells released him in November and brought in Martin Gramatica. Dallas drafted Arizona kicker Nick Folk in the sixth round, and although he struggled with accuracy in college, his powerful leg could mean he will assume kickoff duties.

Remaining Needs

In the days leading up to the draft, speculation had the team using their first-round pick on either a safety or a wide receiver. They drafted neither. Off-season acquisition Ken Hamlin mitigated an immediate need for safety help, but the Cowboys may have to revisit the position next year, unless Pat Watkins proves he's worthy of the starting job.

Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn still top the depth chart at wide receiver, and Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd, and Miles Austin are young backups capable of becoming bigger contributors next season. But the 2007 receiver class was one of the deepest in years, and with Owens and Glenn both 33 years old, the Cowboys will soon have to consider replacing them.

Undrafted Free Agents

The Cowboys signed wideouts Mike Jefferson (Montana State) and Jerard Rabb (Boise State), two big targets whose best chance to make the club might be via the practice squad. Dallas didn't find a backup for nose tackle Jason Ferguson during draft weekend, but Nebraska's Ola Dagunduro is an intriguing prospect. His 3.5 sacks his senior year ranked third on the team to defensive ends Adam Carriker (first round, St. Louis) and Jay Moore (fourth round, San Francisco). Hampton running back Alonzo Coleman might have the best shot at making the 53-man roster. Currently, Dallas has only three running backs, and Tyson Thompson's job isn't guaranteed. Coleman was the seventh player in NCAA history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons.

New York Giants

Draft Review

Heading into the draft, the Giants' most pressing need was probably left tackle, but the team drafted Texas cornerback Aaron Ross with the 20th overall selection. By the time New York went on the clock, Joe Thomas and Levi Brown were long gone (both were top-five picks) and Joe Staley, generally considered the third-best available tackle, remained. The difference, however, is that Staley isn't NFL-ready -- he may need a few years to grow into the starting job, and the Giants, at least from general manager Jerry Reese's perspective, had more immediate needs. The team hopes Ross can replace much-maligned Sam Madison at cornerback, and he could team with Sinorice Moss at kick returner and replace Chad Morton as the team's punt returner.

With Moss coming off an injury-plagued rookie campaign, the Giants drafted USC wideout Steve Smith in the second round. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock described Smith and Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez as the two best slot receivers available in the draft, and Smith has a chance to be the team's third wide receiver heading into season. Fourth-round pick Zak DeOssie brings the number of Brown University alumni now in the NFL to two (Arizona's Sean Morey is the other). In addition to the Ivy League education, DeOssie is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound linebacker who can run. He'll make his living on special teams but has a chance to move into the starting lineup in the future.

New York finally addressed the loss of left tackle Luke Petitgout in the sixth round, when they drafted Oregon State's Adam Koets. He's at least two years away from competing for a starting job, but by that time the Giants might also be looking for a new quarterback.

Marshall's Ahmad Bradshaw lasted until the seventh round because of character concerns, but he had an impressive minicamp, and some fans are already making "the next Tiki Barber" comparisons because of their physical similarities.

Remaining Needs

After left tackle, linebacker was arguably the teams' biggest need. The DeOssie selection aside, the Giants still have very little depth at the position. To that end, last year's first-round pick, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, will move to outside linebacker. The team's only high profile free-agent signing, Kawika Mitchell, will play weakside linebacker with second-year player Gerris Wilkinson battling him for playing time.

Undrafted Free Agents

With Visanthe Shiancoe now in Minnesota, the only tight end on the roster with an NFL reception is Jeremy Shockey. Practice-squadder Darcy Johnson, fifth-round pick Kevin Boss, and undrafted free agent Michael Matthews will be battling for one, maybe two spots.

After a failed tryout with the Packers, Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco signed with the Giants, attended minicamp, and was promptly released.

Philadelphia Eagles

Draft Review

It's not often division rivals do business, especially when it involves a first-round pick. But on the first day of the draft, the Eagles sent their 26th overall pick to the Cowboys, allowing Dallas to get defensive end Anthony Spencer. The Dallas Morning News's Todd Archer speculates that the Cowboys had Spencer, safety Brandon Meriweather, wideouts Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meachem, and cornerback Aaron Ross on their first-round wish list (and they all ended up going in round one), but before making a deal with Philadelphia wouldn't have gone on the clock until early in the second round.

In addition to potentially helping the Cowboys, the Eagles then infuriated fans by drafting Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb with the 36th overall pick. Despite the protestations, Kolb fills an obvious need -- McNabb missed 13 games with injury the previous two seasons -- though no one expects him to be the Eagles starting quarterback next season.

Notre Dame's Victor Abiamiri, the team's second second-round selection, was a more conventional pick. He registered 10.5 sacks his senior season and is the prototypically speedy, undersized defensive end defensive coordinator Jim Johnson likes.

Third-rounder Stewart Bradley probably won't start, but he is already better than outside linebacker Dhani Jones, released earlier this off-season. Philadelphia re-signed Correll Buckhalter, but Penn State's Tony Hunt -- the team's other third-round pick -- will eventually replace him, especially if Buckhalter continues to battle injuries.

Fifth-rounder C.J. Gaddis was drafted to eventually replace Brian Dawkins, though knowing Dawkins that might not happen until 2012. Gaddis won't be rushed into the starting lineup, and the college cornerback -- who's projected to play safety in the NFL -- can learn the nuances of the position while contributing on special teams.

Remaining Needs

Even though the Kolb pick was unpopular, the Eagles did a good job of addressing their pre-draft needs. Other than Kolb, the three other first-day picks have a chance to contribute right away, and Gaddis could see playing time because of his versatility. There wasn't an immediate need at defensive tackle, but Mike Patterson is one more mediocre season away from possibly losing his job and Broderick Bunkley will enter the first-round bust conversation if his second season resembles his first.

Undrafted Free Agents

Two undrafted free agents with perhaps the best shot at making the roster -- or at the very least, the practice squad -- are defensive tackle Jeremy Clark, who started four years at Alabama, and Iowa safety Marcus Paschal, who can play both the free and strong safety positions. The Eagles have had recent success at finding players after the draft -- last year Nick Cole, Pat McCoy, and Torrance Daniels all saw time with the big club after signing as undrafted free agents.

Washington Redskins

Draft Review

The Redskins had five draft picks -- only one first-day selection, the sixth overall -- and myriad needs, chief among them a pass-rushing defensive end. Naturally, the team took safety LaRon Landry, making Washington the only team ever to have two top-10 safeties on the roster. The Washington Post's Howard Bryant noted recently that by refusing to re-sign Ryan Clark coupled with the failed Adam Archuleta experiment, the team could end up spending upwards of $25 million on a position they could have had for an extra $1.5 million (the raise in salary Clark was seeking last off-season). And for a team that prefers to build its roster through free agency, $25 million would go a long way in finding a defensive end. Oddly, head coach Joe Gibbs thinks the defensive line isn't an issue and feels that an improved secondary will lead to more coverage sacks.

On the second day of the draft, the Redskins took USC outside linebacker Dallas Sartz in the fifth round and inside linebacker H.B. Blades a round later. Sartz is six inches taller than Blades, but both weigh 235. Both will also need impressive training camps to be anything more than special teamers.

If the Landry pick seemed peculiar, Washington's taking a quarterback with their second sixth-round selection was stupefying. Jordan Palmer, who'll forever be known as Carson's younger brother, will battle Todd Collins for the third-string job, but will likely end up on the practice squad.

Washington was looking for a tight end and settled for Michigan's Tyler Eckel in the seventh round. The pick before, the Cardinals nabbed Ben Patrick, thought to be a first-day selection. If the Redskins really liked Patrick, you have to wonder why they didn't draft him a round earlier, instead of Palmer.

Remaining Needs

The team's primary issues are along the defensive line, but interestingly, the only other glaring need is depth along the offensive line. Guard Derrick Dockery signed with the Bills in the off-season, and currently Todd Wade is penciled in as his replacement. Wade struggled in Houston, but the Redskins wisely won't let him play tackle in Washington.

Undrafted Free Agents

The club finally got their defensive end when they signed UCLA's Justin Hickman. Hickman's college defensive coordinator was DeWayne Walker, who served as the Redskins' cornerbacks coach in 2004 and 2005. According to the Post's Jason La Canfora, Hickman has an intimate knowledge of Washington's scheme.

Offensive coordinator Al Saunders was impressed with local product Sam Hollenbach (University of Maryland) during a pre-draft workout and kept in touch in the weeks leading up to the draft. Hollenbach heads into training camp as the team's fifth quarterback, and his best chance to earn a backup job in the future might come via the practice squad.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 21 May 2007

195 comments, Last at 30 May 2007, 11:46pm by Pat

Comments

1
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 2:57pm

For those of us who really can't get enough football trivia in the off-season, it's worth noting also that the 'Skins signed Byron Westbrook as an undrafted rookie free agent at cornerback. Byron is Brian Westbrook's younger brother.

2
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:10pm

It’s not often division rivals do business, especially when it involves a first-round pick.

They traded with them two years ago, f'crying out loud. Jerry Jones and Jeff Lurie apparently have a good relation (they've got similar economic situations, after all).

No one says "man, the Cowboys were stupid there, they helped the Eagles get Trent Cole, and he's been terrorizing them ever since!"

Yeah, it wasn't a first round pick. For that you have to go back a whole ten years, when they traded with them in 1996.

3
by jr (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:22pm

The Redskins never cease to amaze me with one form of abject lunacy or another. I'm not saying that their entire draft or off-season was terrible or anything, but how can Joe Gibbs think that Landry, as fabulous a safety as he is, will help the line garner more 'coverage sacks'? I also question the wisdom of having him play aside Sean Taylor. He was a great player at LSU and I think he's football-savvy enough to be a great free safety but that's a lot of responsibility to dump on a rookie. I'm not a Redskins fan but if I was I would certainly not be enthused about their defense in the upcoming season.

4
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:31pm

I also think Gibbs is a little confused there, too. The Redskins don't need to upgrade their defensive line. They need a defensive line, period. I'm convinced one of these games the entire Washington defensive line is going to fall apart.

I will say, the "well, the Redskins only needs are depth at OL and on the defensive line." Yeah, only - that's half of the football team, right there.

5
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:34pm

#3 - I'm more enthusiastic about the offense. For what its worth, Greg Williams was able to wring superb productivity from the 2004 defense, which had many as yet unheralded players on it. Another thing which I think most commentators are missing is that the blitzes in Greg Williams schemes come from the secondary, usually a corner or the strong safety. Hence, the addition of Archuleta last season. Arch was awful because his pass defense skills were atrocious. Landry, hopefully, will be an Arch who can defend the pass.

I will say that the Skins management, while their need assessment is suspect, are pretty good at individually selecting players.

6
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:39pm

Gattis was drafted to replace ageless wonder Brian Dawkins who, one presumes, will have to retire eventually. I think Bradley will eventually replace Trotter at MLB and Gaither will play the WIL. Why? Because Bradley is 254 and Gaither is 235. Otherwise I don't see why they'd use a third-round pick on a position they are notoriously disinterested in two years in a row.

I am glad to see that the Redskins personnel moves continue to mystify. I'd love to see Joe Gibbs at the grocery store; I'm sure his cart would contain 43 boxes of cinnamon Pop Tarts, three limes, a jar of creamy Jif and a dozen eggs. Then he'd go into the parking lot and overpay to buy meat, milk and bread from other shoppers.

7
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:42pm

#1:

Nice to see someone giving the Giants competition as the NFL's leading employer of younger brothers (E. Manning, S. Moss, T. Hasselbeck, and, until recently, T. Barber).

As to the Giants' draft more generally, I was rather happy with it. Their first-day picks were all very productive players from major programs who fill important needs. All of their second-day picks were good values, and what Giants' fan wouldn't be excited about having another DeOssie on the team? (Hidden effect of the Randy Moss trade: had NE kept their 4th-rounder, I'm betting that DeOssie would've been pretty high on Little Bill's list.)

I think that the major commentators made a bit too much of the OLT issue. The only guys who would have stepped in and taken Petitgout's place went in the top-5. All the other Ts in this draft were developmental projects, and the Giants already have a developmental OLT in Guy Whimper (a 4th round pick last year). Replacing Petitgout with this draft was always an unrealistic expectation, and the team knew that when they cut him. Yes, it may have been a mistake to cut him in the first place, but that doesn't mean that it's a mistake now to spend the team's high picks elsewhere when the OLTs available aren't any better than the guys they already have.

Oh, and they've already waived Brandon Myles.

8
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:48pm

Link in my name to a Washington Post article, explaining Landry's potential role in the D.

9
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:49pm

1:

Brian and Byron? What was Mama Westbrook thinking? Is there a Baron Westbrook out there too?

10
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:51pm

You guys are brutal towards the Redskins. How about some praise for holding onto all of their 2008 picks! Made me pretty happy.

Another Redskin offseason, and I get to look forward to Pat harping on the OL and DL AGAIN! As if last offseason and last year weren't bad enough. Todd Wade played tackle for 1 game last year (Saints near the end of the season) and held his own... there are internal rumors (take this as PFT level) that some defensive players believe Wade to be tougher to go up against than Jansen was.

Didn't anyone watch their defense in 2004 and 2005? How much pressure was generated from the DL then? Their problem wasn't the DL last year, it was the whole darn defense! From the line all the way back, they were a mess.

I think it's about time the Redskins will have some depth on the OL. Sure it's not veteran depth, but you have to think some young players will step in and be an able reserve. I'm not certain, I'm just saying no on really knows what will happen until the season starts.

11
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:53pm

Is anyone expecting much from the Giants this year?

Will Gibbs stick with Campbell if he struggles in the first 3-4 games or will he go with Brunell? Ramsey got less than one game before Gibbs made the change a few years ago (of course, Gibbs didn't draft Ramsey).

What happens with the Cowboys in the first post-Parcells year? (Did most of their assistants stay or leave?)

Is their anything that can keep Philly out of the playoffs other than a trade with the Cowboys to reacquire TO? Maybe Andy Reid's kids?

12
by P. Ryan Wilson :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 3:57pm

Harris,

Fixed Gaddis/Dawkins;

JasonK,

Thanks for the Myles update. Godspeed to him ... or something.

13
by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:02pm

Re 11:
Only Giants fans, at this point. Everyone else has essentially written the team off, and not even due to Tiki Barber's retirement. The loudest criticism is not drafting Joe Staley to replace Luke Petitigout, which is silly. As JasonK said, Staley is the same thing as Guy Whimper: a project. David Diehl would fill in at LT regardless of drafting Staley.

A great deal of Giants fans are growing quietly, cautiously, but incredibly optimistic about the upcoming season. A much easier schedule than last year, a new defensive coordinator to properly utilize our players (press corners should not play zone coverage the majority of the time...), the return of our top three defensive ends from season-ending injuries, etc. The defense took a nose-dive after three defensive ends, two starting linebackers, and two starting cornerbacks succumbed to injury within a three week span. Sure, Arrington and Emmons were trash as starters, but they were still better than any team's third stringer linebackers.

The wildcards are Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs, and naturally, Jacobs is seen as much closer to a "sure thing" amongst Giants fans than Eli is.

14
by jr (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:12pm

5: Landry will be great as a blitzer and probably fine in coverage. I just think that no safety, no matter how good they are, can compensate for a horrendous defensive line. Also, on top that he's going to have to be the brains of the secondary. A rookie, even a savvy one, having to be responsible both for making correct reads and for lining up Sean Taylor in the right place just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. On the other hand the Bears, of whom I am a fan, thought it would be a good idea to pick up Archuleta so I don't want to malign anyone else's crazy safety moves too much...

6: Hilarious. It's probably not fair but I can totally picture a senile Gibbs wandering around the parking lot mumbling gibberish to himself with his shopping cart full of overpriced goods.

15
by jr (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:20pm

sorry to doublepost, but...

joe t: I wrote the above comment before reading the article you linked too. I still think that if you have problems at the point of attack, e.g. the line, you should probably fix those 1st as it's better to eliminate mistakes rather than get better mistake-erasers, if that makes any sense. Either way, Landry's a fantastic talent (him and Reggie Nelson were my 2 favorite college football players last season) and I hope it works out for him. Sean Taylor with major coverage responsibilities still sounds awfully scary though.

16
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:21pm

despite all of our histrionics immediately after the Kolb pick, I think I can speak for most Eagles fans when I say we're now quite optimistic about mr. kolb's future potential.
as far as our initial reactions: you can't blame us. we're emotionally volatile and don't watch much college football. ;)

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:28pm

Also, Gaddis wasn't drafted to replace Lewis. Considine already did that. Gaddis was drafted to replace Brian Dawkins, whose contract runs out at the end of 2008. Note that Considine, also, was drafted in 2005, and had two seasons before Lewis left. Same thing.

Gaddis is already listed as the FS backup. Considine and Mikell are the strong safeties on the team. Considine's put on 10-20 pounds since last year, so he's not 210 anymore. Gaddis would be too light to be an SS (like Considine was too light last year).

18
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:28pm

Abiamiri undersized? He's 270, and has a frame that can take more weight. Reid and Jim Johnson specifically mentioned that one of the things that attracted them to him was his size.

The additions of Abiamiri and Bradley were specifically done to add size to the defense.

Oh and re: #6, Bradley will play the SAM spot, not the MIKE. He and Gocong will compete in camp, presumably with Gocong winning and Bradley spending his rookie year as a backup.

Gaither is expected to move to MIKE and spell Trotter. I don't like that idea, but that appears to be Reid/Johnson's thinking. I'd rather see them move Spikes inside and leave Gaither at WILL.

19
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:29pm

That's what I get for not posting that comment right after I wrote it, and waiting an hour.

20
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:42pm

#13:

I'm less optimistic than many, I guess. I'll add to your "wildcards" surrounding the Giants:

Spaguolo: He may well have schemes that suit the Giants' personnel better, but there will be a learning curve for the players and he's never been a DC before, so it's tough to know what to expect.

Diehl at LT: Yeah, he looked pretty good at LT in the wildcard game, but he was getting lots of RB help. I still think he's vulnerable to speed rushers.

Kiwanuka at LB: Looking good dropping back on some zone-blitzes is a long way from playing heads-up over the TE on every down.

Kevin Gilbride as the offensive play-caller: 'Nuff said.

21
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:49pm

I think it was an unfair shot to say that the Giants might be looking for a QB in two years, if your going to say that, then anybody might. Joe Staley was not going to step into the starting LT spot so taking a much needed DB ( press cover corner) and WR helps a lot. Especially since Steve Smith is good in the slot, while Plax and Toomer are better on the outside.

Washington not picking up a DE is a problem, but not even being able to identify the problem is a lot bigger concern. Denver identified their need and brought in 3 high profile defensive ends.

Then again, this is the same Deadskins team that didn't have shotgun in the playbook when old man Gibbs came back, and the same Deadskins that leaves its dirty laundry out on the radio. Portis ripped into the team on the John Thompson radio show after last year. Some of those coaches who work together won't even talk.

Speakng about Clinton Portis, he was talking about Mr. Mexico when he said that it was his property and he should be able to do whatever he wants on it, whether it's fighting dogs or whatever. Chris Samuels was heard laughing in the backround. I wonder if the front office thinks those innapropriate comments are funny made by a guy with tendinitous who might not even play next year.

22
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:51pm

#15 - I agree, and I still think they should've addressed the D-line, but I do think that William's defensive philosophy is that D-lineman are warm bodies who merely engage the O-line while a defensive back or linebacker slips behind the line of scrimmage covertly to apply pass pressure or net a sack. The focus of defensive FA acquisitions has been DBs and LBs, with Andre Carter being the exception. Williams runs a system where you deemphasize the impact of the D-line and rely on corners, safeties, and linebackers.

23
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:52pm

Re: 18

I was thinking beyond 2007 with the LBs as Gaither-Bradley-Gocong in a few years. I expect Bradley will only contribute on special teams this year unless they hide him IR as they did with Gocong and Bloom. But I just don't think that, over time, Gaither will hold up at MLB. I know he's the heir apparent and he'll replace Trotter in the nickle, but Bradley's extra 20 pounds will help him take the job. One would hope the Eagles learned the risks associated with an undersized MLB from that ill-fated Simoneau (240lbs) experiment.

24
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:53pm

I also heard a report on the JT show today ( I believe Al Coken) that there was a possibility the Eagles trade Mcnabb before the 07 season. They said that Chicago would jump on that real fast. They said the possibility of Mcnabb gone after next season is more likely, but it is possible he's traded soon. I find it highly unlikely that Mcnabb is traded before next year. I also believe it is unlikely he is gone next year, but maybe management is fed up with his injuries and performance in big games.

25
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:53pm

I also heard a report on the JT show today ( I believe Al Coken) that there was a possibility the Eagles trade Mcnabb before the 07 season. They said that Chicago would jump on that real fast. They said the possibility of Mcnabb gone after next season is more likely, but it is possible he's traded soon. I find it highly unlikely that Mcnabb is traded before next year. I also believe it is unlikely he is gone next year, but maybe management is fed up with his injuries and performance in big games.

26
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 4:56pm

John Thompson is probably having a cow over the McNabb trade rumors.

27
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:00pm

RE#23: We agree. It's Reid that disagrees. I look at Gaither and see the guy that should be starting at WILL. Reid looks at him and sees our next starter at MIKE. I don't like it any more then you do. As for Bradley, they're calling him things like "the prototype SAM LB." It seems pretty clear that he's not being looked at inside. Spikes, on the other hand, they've said they don't know where he'll play, only that he will. If neither of the SAMs are ready, he might slide out there and let Gaither start at WILL. But he's the heir apparent to Trotter.

RE#24: The McNabb to Chicago thing started out as a work of fiction in the Inquirer. The writer was totally up front that he was making it up, and solely posing it as a hypothetical, and that he had no evidence whatsoever that there was any truth to the idea, but hey, what the heck, lets trade McNabb for Briggs. So, of course, Sports Illustrated ran a blurb on their website which they based on the Inquirer story - only they left out the part that it existed only in the mind of the sportswriter. And that, my friends, is how rumors get started.

28
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:02pm

Chris, some newspaper nitwit floated that bit of rank speculation a few days ago and I think it's more likely that you'll play QB for the Bears than McNabb. For the record, that terrible, horrible, very bad, no good idea was floating arond before the draft too (then it was McNabb going to Detroit for the #2 pick with the Eagles taking Quinn). You have to understand, nobody wants to write about the Phillies because they're terrible and, inexplicably, one of the favorite local past times is saying horrible things about the third-best QB in football. Put those two things together and you get this kind of nonsense. Pay it no mind.

29
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:06pm

Sorry to double post, but here are some links. First, the Don McKee article from the Inquirer entitled "A McNabb Trade (in theory)"

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20070520_Incites___A_McNabb_trade_...

Then, on Sports Illustrated's Fan Nation page (with a link from SI's main NFL page), "Eagles To Trade McNabb To Bears?" with no indication that this is completely made up...

http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/3975

Oh well, if it had been Gil Brandt, the Inquirer wouldn't have gotten credit - it'd be presented as original!

30
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:08pm

#10: Another Redskin offseason, and I get to look forward to Pat harping on the OL and DL AGAIN! As if last offseason and last year weren’t bad enough.

Wasn't I... y'know... right last year? I mean, Carter disappointed for a while, and Griffin and Salave'a both missed games. Griffin, Wynn, Daniels, and Salave'a are now older than last year, and you have to believe they're not going to get any less likely to get injured.

I don't think I harped on OL depth last year. Others did that. Their DL just scared me. Their OL still scares me a bit, but that's because they've filled out depth with league castoffs rather than draft picks.

31
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:09pm

Re: 13

Seems to me the expectations with regard to the Giants are largely colored by a lack of confidence in the coaching staff. When things got bad for Coughlin in Jacksonville, it didn't look like he could recover. The general feeling seems to be he's at that stage in NY now. I'm not sure that's true (they did have their share of injuries last year), but that sure seems to be the perception.

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:12pm

One would hope the Eagles learned the risks associated with an undersized MLB from that ill-fated Simoneau (240lbs) experiment.

Of the three starting linebackers from 2004, the one they kept the longest was Simoneau, and they really could've used Simoneau last year (and hey, Simoneau is the starting MLB on an NFL team still). It's entirely possible they would've made the Super Bowl last year had Simoneau still been on the team.

Trotter made that team better when he came in, but I'm not sure that the Eagles struggles in 2004 defensively weren't Nate Wayne and Dhani Jones's fault as well.

33
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:13pm

re 24&25: Those rumors about McNabb to Chicago are speculation by someone trying to become relevant. It won't happen for many reasons such as McNabb is a proven franchise qb and they won't have one after the trade (we all know how hard those are to find just look at the other 3 teams in the division), salary cap, Briggs is not sufficient value in return, etc.

34
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:16pm

#28 - couldn't have said it better myself. Nothing's worse in the Philly sports media than that long, dry period between the end of the football season and the start of training camp...the Sixers, Phillies and Flyers are generally so uninspiring that our local folks would rather make up rumors regarding a McNabb trade than report on what's actually going on.

35
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:16pm

Pat,
The funny thing is I wish they had drafted a DE because it would make you harp on it a little less.

For a team that had a bad defense all around last year, I still can't say that Landry was a poor choice, especially if some believed he was the best defensive player available.

I'm just saying it wasn't their D-line that played like a sack of doodoo.

I have no idea what to expect from the NFL year-year due to the variability of players and coaches year-in year-out, player injuries, and QB variability.

I just hope Washington has a better preseason than last year.

36
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:18pm

I still want to know why people are optimistic about the Giants new DC. People do realize that linebacker has been the Eagles defense weak spot since 2002, right (Spags started as LB coach in 2004)? And that part of the problem has been the insane idea of "Let's put Dhani Jones at SAM, rather than WILL where he spent most of his career" as well as a string of failed WILL linebackers who were never able to hold up through a full season.

The guy was the poster child for "let's put linebackers in spots where they don't really fit" in Philly.

37
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:18pm

#32 - Simineau is a blown up safety. I like the guy - he tries really hard. Great motor. But he's a weakside linebacker, and a replacement-level one at that. He's a good guy to have on special teams, and from all accounts a good locker room guy, but in Philly's system, he simply can't play the middle. New Orleans's middle works like Chicagos - to enormous two-gap DTs who plug the middle and allow Urlacher to roam. A MLB in New Orleans, like Chicago, doesn't have to fend off blocks. In Philly, however, our DTs play a one-gap system. When we're getting production from them, they're shooting the gap, penetrating into the backfield, and causing disruptions behind the line of scrimmage. The MLB in this system needs to be able to shed blocks. Simineau simply doesn't have the size to do that. His performance in one system doesn't project to comparable performance in another.

38
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:19pm

Thats why I said something about Mcnabb to Chicago. I thought it was common knowledge that it was BS. Then a pretty good radio show goes out and reports it today. As Dean alludes to, maybe in two weeks Gil Brant will have some breaking news.

I harped on the Redskins D-Line and O-line last year. 4/5 starting offensive lineman were coming back from surgery. That is not something that lets the GM sleep well at night. The O-Line was good and healthy for the Skins last year, but maybe this year they are "due". I'd say the Skins got rather "lucky" with their line being healthy last year. If that season was played out 10 times, they couldn't have hopeded for better health on their O-Line, the 5 starters played almost the entire season together despite their past severe injuries.

The D-Line was a joke, I wrote about it, other people wrote about it, and they stunk as advertised. I understand Williams likes to blitz yadda yadda yadda, but when ESPN was picking the Redskins to go to the super bowl last year, I had them finishing 4th in the NFC east.

Remember, the Skins had no pass rush, didn't force turnovers and were just plain bad.

39
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:22pm

I think the speculation that the Giants may be looking for a new QB in 2 years is less a result of Eli being a bad QB than a QB who wasn't able to live up to outsized media expectations (i.e., he's not Peyton) and the lopsided traded his team made to get him. Like Carr and the Texans, a change of scenery may have good results, or at least allow a more accurate perception of the player's actual strengths and flaws (which may or may not include apparently psychological damage).

40
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:23pm

#10: When "we didn't stab our future selves in the back" is the highlight of your draft, you have problems. I know - I'm a Lions fan.

#21: You're. Your.

#26: If by "John Thompson" you mean "Rush Limbaugh", then yes.

41
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:26pm

For a team that had a bad defense all around last year, I still can’t say that Landry was a poor choice, especially if some believed he was the best defensive player available.

I don't think Landry was a bad choice. I think anyone at that spot was a bad choice. They had to have been able to trade down, somehow. Any way they could.

I also don't want to imagine the pain when Rogers, Taylor, and Landry all start coming up to the end of their contracts in a few years. The Redskins will have the most expensive offensive line in the league next year, and probably the most expensive secondary in the league in four years.

Besides, if I really had to criticise one pick, it'd be the Jordan Palmer pick. What the hell.

42
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:28pm

#39: Yes, but how do you do that? The Giants have the same problem that's plaguing the Knicks (no, not Isaiah): if you draft a guy with a high pick, or sign a high-priced free agent, as you said, the poor guy immediately faces such outsized expectations that there's no way he can live up to them.

It seems like the only way they have a chance of getting a confident starting QB is to grab a guy who has no expectations coming in, like a Jake Delhomme, or to stick with a guy (Eli?) who has already weathered the storm and is now popularly considered a disappointment, so can finally exceed his media expectations. It was before my time, but I believe Phil Simms took this route.

43
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:34pm

When we’re getting production from them, they’re shooting the gap, penetrating into the backfield, and causing disruptions behind the line of scrimmage.

On running downs. On passing downs, they're in coverage, and Simoneau was miles better in coverage than Trotter was, just like Dhani. And, like I said, my God, he would've been useful last year. Barber was good in coverage, but never healthy.

As much as people want to think that Philly getting run on a ton last year was the problem, it wasn't. It was nickel. Which is why Gaither at MLB for a year wouldn't thrill me, but it wouldn't kill them, either. We'd give up a few more rushing yards, but a whole lot less 3rd and longs.

The situation we have now is pretty ideal, though.

44
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:41pm

#36:

Many Giants fans like Spagnuolo because they view him as an empty vessel into which they project their hopes and their hatred of Tim Lewis. They're not looking at his past much more than to note that he's a "Jim Johnson protege."

And I read the comment on the Giants needing a QB in 2 years as a comment on their LT situation rather than on Eli. (e.g., "with the blocking they have now, they'll get him killed")

45
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:41pm

#43 I think (at least, I HOPE) the plan is to take Trotter out on passing downs in exchange for a 5th DB. Put a SAM LB over the TE, Will James over the 3rd receiver in place of Trotter, and let Gaither play the nickle LB spot that Barber was supposed to play last year. I wouldn't gripe too loudly if Spikes played that role. Come to think of it, he'd be better against the draw play, so if he's got the range, that's be a good fit. Even Matt McCoy (if they don't cut his sorry @$$!) would be better in that spot then Trotter.

46
by KevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:51pm

#36... Pat, that is one of the dumbest things I have ever read. So you're going to blame the linebackers coach, NOT the highly paid/regarded head coach, not the widely respected defensive coordinator, but the LB coach for where guys are playing? Maybe the third level assistant in Philly has more power than anywhere else or you're completely overstating his power/role.

I agree with others that LT WAS NOT the biggest need on the Giants. CB was and they addressed that. The cheap shot at the QB was unnecessary. The combination of people thinking the team isn't good, plus the thought that the QB stinks makes me wonder how they are one of 5 teams to makes the playoffs 2 years in a row. I think Diehl will be fine at LT, although he will continue to commit 5,000 penalties. They ran for 400 yards in his 2 starts.

The Giants' season will be based on 2 questions... first, can the QB finally play with a level of consistency not just week to week, but game to game and drive to drive. I think that's been his biggest problem. With Tiki gone, the Giants will need him to play consistently well in most games and sometimes win a game almost by himself. The second question is whether the problem with the back 7 on defense was scheme or players? While I think it was mostly the scheme (what defense is being played where no one is covering anyone at all), some players need to pick it up, especially the safeties. While Brandon Jacobs is no sure thing, I'm more confident in him than the previous 2 questions.

Finally, most of the team hates the coach, but I don't think that matters. They still played their asses off in the playoff game and they hated the coach. I think Coughlin is gone even if they make the playoffs again.

47
by gibbsjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:53pm

#6:

Cinnamon Pop Tarts most delicious of all prepackaged pastries. Creamy Jif speaks the Truth and doesn't need to kiss butt of FO. Redskins on their way to Phoenix in 08. Bet on it!

48
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:53pm

RE: 27

Yeah, well, this team isn't known for its deft handling of the linebacker position, so I'm not going to take anything they say about those jobs at face value.

Pat, I'd argue the Eagles are iffy in the nickle, in part, because of Johnson's penchant for blitzing on 3rd-and-long, leaving those elfin CBs with no help (remember how 2nd-and-30 turned into a first down then a TD for the Giants?). Trot is a (very good) two-down LB and asking him to cover downfield is just poor strategy. And, considering how the Eagles got steamrolled by the Saints, suggesting they might have gone to the Super Bowl had Simoneau been on the the team is possibly the craziest thing you've ever said. And I'm including that time when you got ahold of that bad acid and told everybody you were Jesus Christ , then jumped off the roof because you thought you could fly.

49
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:54pm

#46 - maybe I can rephrase Pat's point. What did Steve Spagnulo do in Philadelphia to warrant a promotion from position coach to coordinator, and why is his addition reason for optimism in New York?

50
by P. Ryan Wilson :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 5:58pm

Just to be clear, I don't really think the Giants will be looking for a new QB in two years. It was a joke -- Manning might not be able to stand up if Diehl/Whimper/whoever struggles protecting his blind side.

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:00pm

#45: Yes, I think 5 DBs is called a "nickel" defense. Might have something to do with 5 being the value of a nickel or something. Okay, that was smartass.

When you switch to nickel, you usually take out the LB who's worst in coverage. That's usually the SAM, as he's usually the largest in size, but more frequently nowadays it's the MIKE (athletic pass catching TEs and all that).

When you've got a "nickel LB" like the Eagles had last year, that means you're pulling out two linebackers - usually to put in a second WILL-type (range/speed more than size). In this case it'd be Trotter and Gocong pulled out for Gaither (or McCoy).

52
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:11pm

So you’re going to blame the linebackers coach, NOT the highly paid/regarded head coach, not the widely respected defensive coordinator, but the LB coach for where guys are playing? Maybe the third level assistant in Philly has more power than anywhere else or you’re completely overstating his power/role.

#49 phrased it well: if you're going to take away all the responsibility from Spags, what did he do to deserve a promotion?

I don't think I'm overstating his role. He couldn't get McCoy coached well enough to play at all his rookie year, and he hadn't trained well enough to hold up his second year. Dhani never transitioned from WILL to SAM well, either. At the very least, I think those are valid things to criticize him for.

And, considering how the Eagles got steamrolled by the Saints, suggesting they might have gone to the Super Bowl had Simoneau been on the the team is possibly the craziest thing you’ve ever said.

They lost by 3 freaking points! It is utterly and completely impossible to suggest they got steamrolled when they lost by less than a touchdown!

As for winning with Simoneau on the team? I'll stand by that. Barber got hurt at the end of the half, and the Eagles only forced one punt in the second half, and struggled worse than I've ever seen a team struggle before on X-and-long downs.

I don't buy the blitzing arguments. The problems on those downs were coverage issues in the short field.

53
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:12pm

46- Agreed. If you watch Giants football you knew that something HAD to be done about the back 7. I also didn't appreciate the cheap shot on Eli. Eli has thrown 48 TD passes in his first two full seasons as the starter and his team made the playoffs both years. Not only that, but they won the division in his first year ( they weren't supposed to) and they made the playoffs despite that brutal schedule and those injuries last year. How often to divisions send 3 playoff teams?

What if next year Eli completes 60%, throws for 3500 yards, 28 TD, 14 INT? Then what happens? Those are pretty good ( although not amazing) numbers for a quarterback. I'd put my money on the media still bashing the guy, and trying to run coughlin out of town unless they go deep into the playoffs. Joe Buck must have a personel vendetta against Eli.

54
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:22pm

#52

Yes, and the reason they lost is because they gave up 240+ rushing yards and, on the final Saints drive when everyone in the Western hemisphere knew the Saints were going to ram the ball down the Eagles' throats, they couldn't stop the run. This, I hasten to remind you, is the same game where Duece McAllister scored after driving the entire front seven into the endzone from about the 5-yardline. Blown out? No. Steamrolled? Hell yes.

55
by KevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:36pm

#52... I think that the past season made Giants' fans just sick of Tim Lewis. There were so many times in which the back 7 players looked completely clueless on defense. I think you can accept a player being beaten one on one, but not covering anyone and looking lost is unacceptable. Plus, many of us are hoping the aggressive style we saw in Philly can translate to these players. I also don't think you can always blame coaches for the failures of players to get things done. Matt McCoy won't be starting this season either... is that Spags fault? Dhani Jones has always been an average player. Outside of the QB and OL coaches, I'm not sure how much blame can be placed on position coaches.

56
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:36pm

"Eli has thrown 48 TD passes in his first two full seasons as the starter"

And 35 picks. As opposed to Roethlisburger (34 TDs, 20picks in 26 games, extrapolates to 42TD,24picks in 32), and Rivers, who is on pace for 44 tds, 18int in his first 2 seasons as a starter. Both of them were drafted AFTER Eli.

I like Eli, but hes by no means a stud.

57
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:37pm

37, Dean: Chicago don't play a two gap system and their DTs are 290-300 lbs. They used to play with Ted Washington and Keith Traylor protecting Urlacher but they haven't for three years now. I agree with you about the system that Philly plays though.

58
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:44pm

As regards Simoneau: If you're saying that the Eagles wouldn't have won the NO game even with him, remember that he plays for the Saints now! So you're saying that the Eagles would have a better coverage linebacker and New Orleans would lose their starting MLB. That seems like it could tip a three-point game.

59
by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:45pm

Re 31:
You're correct in that assessment in a general sense, although I do not fall into that category. Up until around mid-January, the blame lay squarely on Tom Coughlin's shoulders. With that came the doomsday predictions of a 4-12 season, a top 5 draft pick, etc. Things have mellowed out at the popular Giants websites. Most of the blame, pessimism, and the like is aimed towards the assistant coaches - and rightfully so.

John Hufnagel was terrible. Tim Lewis was even worse. A lot of Giants fans want to see the emergence of an Air Coryell type offense, or something similar to Cincinnati today, as they are at their best when Rudi pounds the ball, opening up the field for Palmer to feast on the back seven. Kevin Killdrive, in my opinion, is the single biggest reason for pessimism for the upcoming season.

I don't trust him one bit with this offense, which has plenty of talent at all the positions, but is in serious need of consistency and sound strategy. I foresee Giants fans booing when Eli and Co. go 3-and-out midway in the 4th quarter one game with a 3 point lead, giving the ball back to the opponent, because Killdrive called three passes. Meanwhile, Jacobs sits on the bench with his hilarious stat lines of 13 carries for 97 yards, twiddling his thumbs and praying that he will touch the ball sometime in this second half.

60
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 6:51pm

#48: "And, considering how the Eagles got steamrolled by the Saints, suggesting they might have gone to the Super Bowl had Simoneau been on the the team is possibly the craziest thing you’ve ever said."

Steamrolled?! The Saints won 27-24, that's no steamrolling. That's a narrow victory, one that easily could have gone the other way with a slightly better performance by the Eagles. New Orleans had to overcome an 8 point deficit in the third quarter, so they hardly dominated the Eagles. With a better defense, there's no reason to think the Eagles couldn't have beaten the Saints. And they had a higher DVOA than Chicago, so it wouldn't be all that unlikely for them to win that game. I don't think it was a ridiculous statement at all.

61
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 7:06pm

I didn't say "blown out." I said "steamrolled" and I explained why above. And it is absolutely ridiculous to think Simoneau would have made any difference for the Eagles in that game.

62
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 7:15pm

Yes, and the reason they lost is because they gave up 240+ rushing yards and, on the final Saints drive when everyone in the Western hemisphere knew the Saints were going to ram the ball down the Eagles’ throats, they couldn’t stop the run.

So, the Saints scored the winning points on that drive, then?

Wait, what? They turned the ball over, gave the ball back to the offense in great field position, only to see them go 3-and-out, and put the defense in a position "guys, no pressure, but, uh, we need you to stop these guys on this series. So, yes, your entire performance this game is going to be judged by three downs, because if the Saints get one first down, game's over."

In fact, on the drive before that, they sacked Brees on first down, held Bush in a short pass to no gain, and forced an incomplete, giving Philly's offense the ball back with a chance to go ahead with most of the quarter left.

Their failures in nickel were a bigger deal that game, in my mind. They led to points. The failures in the running game just look more dramatic.

63
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 7:16pm

And it is absolutely ridiculous to think Simoneau would have made any difference for the Eagles in that game.

So you're saying you don't think it would've made any difference if Barber hadn't gotten hurt, then.

64
by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 7:59pm

Alex:
The Eagles had little in the way of a sustained offense in that playoff game. A 75 yard TD pass to Donte Stallworth and a 62 yard touchdown run by Brian Westbrook accounted for over 50% of their points and, more importantly, 40% of their total offense yards.

That game was a lot worse than the final score indicated, as those two plays definitely made the score closer than the level of play was. It took lightning striking twice for the game to be so tight.

65
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 8:03pm

#61: "I didn’t say “blown out.� I said “steamrolled� and I explained why above."

When the difference between "steamrolling" a team and "narrowly losing" to that team is a mere three points, which the Eagles could've scored on their final drive of the game, when their defense got them the ball at their 44 yard line with over 3 minutes left in the game, "steamrolling" doesn't mean much. It certainly doesn't imply that the Eagles couldn't have won that game if a few things had gone differently.

66
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 8:21pm

#64: "That game was a lot worse than the final score indicated, as those two plays definitely made the score closer than the level of play was. It took lightning striking twice for the game to be so tight."

And yet, both of those plays did happen, and the score was very close at the end, so there's no reason to suspect that if the Eagles had performed better defensively, they might have won the game, even if it required those two lucky plays. Lucky plays do occasionally happen, just ask the Patriots. Implying that an Eagles win would've required a few lucky plays doesn't mean that it definitely would not have happened.

And btw, I don't know if I would say that Donte Stallworth burning Fred Thomas for a TD is lucky, considering nearly every other receiver he's covered has burned him this season. And even if you take out the 62 yard run, Westbrook still averaged 4.5 ypc, so I wouldn't say the Saints shut him down completely, either.

67
by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 9:33pm

I think Harris's point is that the Eagles' defense got steamrolled, which I think is fair, and that one more linebacker was unlikely to change that. Especially one where he would weaken the run defense, which the was already terrible that game.

68
by Eric (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 10:04pm

I personally want to thank the 'Skins for pissing off the Falcons. Everybody knows they wanted Landry. I also want to thank the Lions for getting Johnson, and not letting Gruden part ways with Michael Clayton.

69
by Chris UK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 10:40pm

Re: 53 see 50

70
by Greg (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 10:40pm

Lost in the discussion of the Saints/Eagles playoff game is that McAllister wouldn't have been in a position to kill the Eagles if the pass defense had been better. The go-ahead TD, the one on which he dragged several defenders into the endzone, was set up by a drive in which Brees completed something like four consecutive 10+ yard passes to Billy Miller (!), who was being covered by Trotter, who can't cover TE's anymore. If Barber was still in the game, or the Eagles had had Simoneau, those completions might not have happened and the go-ahead TD might not have been scored. Poor run defense played a role in the outcome of that game, but I think its role is being overstated by 90%+ of the commentariat because two of the most dramatic, memorable sequences of the game - the McAllister TD and the 1st down conversion at the end - involved running plays. But that doesn't make run defense solely or even primarily responsible for the Eagles' defeat. Keep in mind, the Saints didn't stop Westbrook either.

71
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 11:00pm

Lost in the discussion of the Saints/Eagles playoff game is that McAllister wouldn’t have been in a position to kill the Eagles if the pass defense had been better.

That's exactly my point.

It wasn't McAllister who killed the Eagles. It's crazy to say "the Eagles defense should've been able to prevent the Saints from getting a single first down." That's what we're talking about - one - not two, three - one. One of the best offenses in football. An average defense can't do that. A good defense might not be able to do that.

What they should've been able to do is prevent them from getting 15 yards on 1st and 20, 29 yards on 2nd and 10, 15 yards on 2nd and 15, 21 yards on 2nd and 11, a Dhani freaking Jones penalty on 2nd and 20 giving them a first down, and 13 yards on 3rd and 9.

That, they should've been able to do. And would've been able to do. If they had a nickel LB. Which they didn't, because their two best cover LBs were both injured.

If Barber was still in the game, or the Eagles had had Simoneau, those completions might not have happened and the go-ahead TD might not have been scored.

Absolutely, without a doubt. Philly that game had two linebackers who could cover and were healthy. That's enough for a nickel defense. One got injured at the end of the half. They then got stuck in a situation where they had to leave Trotter in.

72
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 11:01pm

#67: "I think Harris’s point is that the Eagles’ defense got steamrolled, which I think is fair, and that one more linebacker was unlikely to change that."

What exactly does "steamrolled" mean? If that's just a fancy way of saying their run defense sucked, then sure, they got steamrolled. But why would that prevent them from winning?

To put it another way:

Would you still say they got steamrolled if, instead of punting on the last Eagles drive, Reid had called a pass, and Garcia had thrown for a first down (which he had just done, before it was wiped out by a penalty), and then the Eagles offense moved down the field and scored a game-winning touchdown? You wouldn't have to change the Eagles defense a bit, and yet they would've won. So I don't see how being "steamrolled" was what kept them from winning. The defense played well enough for 57 minutes that the offense was in a position to win the game at the end. It's not their fault the offense went three-and-out after taking over at their 44 yard line.

73
by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 11:22pm

The redskins might be looking for a new running back in a year or two. Clinton Portis just about screamed 'investigate me' in his interview today. He didn't do VIck any favors. The NFL has to do something about this dog-fighting attitude. 'I'm from Alabama' doesn't cut it as an excuse. I'm from the Appalachian Mountains of NC and cruelty to dogs is too redneck to the self-professed rednecks I know. It's not a good ol boy thing. Its a sickness.

74
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Mon, 05/21/2007 - 11:52pm

morganga,

You need less ganja. Clinton Portis is a goofy guy who says odd things. In this case, he said something clueless and offensive. That does not mean he should be investigated for dogfighting.

Also, Portis could retire tomorrow and the Skins would be fine with Betts and Cartright, according to DPAR and DVOA.

75
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:01am

#74: "Also, Portis could retire tomorrow and the Skins would be fine with Betts and Cartright, according to DPAR and DVOA."

Maybe, but then again, the same could be said of Shaun Alexander retiring and leaving the Seahawks with Maurice Morris and Mack Strong running the ball. Still, I don't think anyone would expect the Seahawks to be as good running the ball if Shaun Alexander retired.

76
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 1:44am

Re 72:

They got steamrolled, as in the Saints could do pretty much what they wanted. They converted 3rd and long whenever they needed, and ran the ball when they needed too. They only forced the Saints the punt the ball 3 times. Going into the 4th quarter, the every Saints drive had gone at least 20 yards.

77
by Seth (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:16am

That Saints game sure does seem to stick out a lot in people's minds, which surprises me, given that it was a 3 point loss, on the road, on a short week, against a really good team that had had a bye the previous week.

78
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:16am

#76: "They got steamrolled, as in the Saints could do pretty much what they wanted...They only forced the Saints the punt the ball 3 times. Going into the 4th quarter, the every Saints drive had gone at least 20 yards."

Problem is, the Saints didn't really do everything they wanted to, it just looks that way because they won. It's not that they didn't have a good game, but they did struggle at times.

Like the first drive of the game, when they only gained 12 yards (not 20+), and then had to punt. I wouldn't exactly say that they wanted to do that. Or the last drive of the first half (when the Eagles still had a narrow lead), which went as follows:

-7 yard pass to Billy Miller
-Sack for loss of 7 yards
-Sack for loss of 3 yards
-15 yard run by their punter on a trick play when the Eagles defense was off the field
-8 yard pass to Reggie Bush
-incompletion
-incompletion, end of half

I don't think they really wanted that to happen, either. And I am unimpressed by a drive in which their punter gained more yards in one play than their entire offense did in six plays.

Or the first drive of the fourth quarter, with 11 minutes left and the Saints holding onto a 3 point lead:

-Sack for loss of 6 yards
-pass to Reggie Bush for no gain
-incompletion
-punt

I don't think they wanted to go three and out and give the Eagles the ball back when the game's outcome was still very much in doubt. Remember, the Eagles had scored 24 points in their 8 drives up to this point, so it's not like the Saints could really be sure that their defense wouldn't give up 3 more in the 9 or so minutes left in the game.

"They converted 3rd and long whenever they needed, and ran the ball when they needed too."

The problem with saying they did something whenever they needed to is that it only applies because the outcome of the game was positive for them. If they had lost, then those same drives where they didn't need to convert on 3rd and long, or run effectively, all of sudden become drives where they did need to do those things.

If the Eagles offense had scored a TD on their final drive instead of punting, you'd be hard pressed to find a player on that Saints offense who'd claim that they did everything they needed to do. And yet you wouldn't have to change a single thing about the offense's performance. That makes me feel the claim that the Saints offense "steamrolled" the Philadelphia defense is highly exaggerated.

They played very well. In this case, it was enough to win. But there was no guarantee at any point until the last minute of the game that they wouldn't end up regretting some of the imcompletions, failed drives, etc. that are now viewed as unimportant.

79
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:49am

Chris,

Every time that Eli Manning is mentioned you bring up the whole spiel about him throwing 48 touchdowns combined in his second and third years as a starter. Throwing 48 touchdowns in and of itself doesn't mean a thing. As with any cumulative statistic, you have to provide context for it. Sure, he's thrown 48 touchdowns, but also 35 picks (not a very good TD-to-INT ratio). Moreover, those 48 touchdown passes were out of almost 1100 passes.

If you really want something impressive in that light, look at Carson Palmer's 60 touchdowns in years two and three despite throwing 50 fewer passes. Many other guys are the same way, too, at least many of the guys who would be considered "star" quarterbacks.

I'm not trying to overly criticize Eli, mind you, I actually think he's pretty good. But, that said, you can't just say, "Well, he threw a lot of touchdown passes the past couple of years, so he's great or in position to be great in the coming years." There's just far more too it than citing a single raw number.

80
by zerlesen (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:12am

78: "The problem with saying they did something whenever they needed to is that it only applies because the outcome of the game was positive for them. If they had lost, then those same drives where they didn’t need to convert on 3rd and long, or run effectively, all of sudden become drives where they did need to do those things."

Every sports pundit should be forced to read that paragraph, and some should face the threat of having it tattooed upon them.

81
by Plastic Fantastic (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:22am

Hey, that's right, the Cowboys have taken OLBs in the first round three years in a row. Add that to the fact that they have Ellis who, at least to me, looked pretty decent moving to OLB until he got injured. So if they draft another OLB in the first next year, does Jerry Jones become a Millen-esque figure of fun? Oh, wait.

82
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:57am

That's all well and good, what I want to know is who would have won the What-If-Bowl of 2007 between the Eagles and the Seahawks in Philly? (I think the Seahawks, with all the injuries, would have fallen off their average and defeated the Eagles 35-0) (j/k)

83
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:11am

#77: "That Saints game sure does seem to stick out a lot in people’s minds, which surprises me, given that it was a 3 point loss, on the road, on a short week, against a really good team that had had a bye the previous week."

That's because it was the perfect microcosm of the life of Philadelphia sports fans:

The promising start, the exciting highlights, the uniquely talented players, the building anticipation, pride in our team, the belief that today, yes, this season, we could finally get a championship, we could win!

Then, finally, the inevitable crash-and-burn, with all the bitter pain, the shock jarring our senses...it seemed so close a moment ago. But Billy Penn wouldn't let it go, statues must really know how to hold a grudge.

Slowly, we fall back down from the cloudy skies our expectations had pulled us up to, and say to each other: "Well, there's always next year. Damn, the Phillies suck!"

-------------

p.s.: That woman with the "F--- da Eagles" T-shirt also annoyed me. Really, it was more the fact that they didn't think to switch to another camera or go to a commercial or something, no we'll just show this obscene Eagles-hating T-shirt for, oh, 5 minutes or so, while a bunch of kids are probably watching the game with their families.

p.p.s.: Just for the record, Harris (#48) totally started it. Steamrolled my eye. ;)

84
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:15am

The Portis interview is at least 3 days old... I have no idea why the story is just breaking now (saw it on front page of espn.com). In fact, the AP article really stretched to include Samuels as well.

Portis released a statement last night. The following is a statement from Redskins running back Clinton Portis regarding recent comments he made to a Norfolk, VA television station:
"In the recent interview I gave concerning dog fighting, I want to make it clear I do not take part in dog fighting or condone dog fighting in any manner."

85
by Seth (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:34am

83: I'm as masochistic a Philly fan as any, but I saw this one differently. I completely gave up on the season the moment McNabb went down, as did most people... I'd say a division title and a playoff game win, under the circumstances, qualifies as downright charmed. Did Jeff Garcia really have you thinking Super Bowl?

...oh wait, I think I'm supposed to be talking about the draft...

86
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 7:17am

#85: "I’d say a division title and a playoff game win, under the circumstances, qualifies as downright charmed. Did Jeff Garcia really have you thinking Super Bowl?"

Oh, I agree, it was great, and no, I didn't think we'd get a Super Bowl with Garcia. It was more of a metaphor, because once the game started, it seemed possible that we could win it, and things got exciting, for me anyway. I didn't expect a Super Bowl, but I started to expect an NFCC game appearance. That's what I was trying to get at.

87
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 8:38am

Where's the MMQB extra point thread?

88
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 8:45am

Alex, you seem to think that "won" means the same thing as "played well." Did the Bears offense play well against the Cardinals? Did the Colts defense play well against the Patiots in the AFCC? Considering that they allowed 34 points, I'll say no. It is entirely possible to win simply by sucking less than your opponent, but that is not the same thing as "playing well" or even playing well enough to win.

89
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 9:14am

The Colts defense did not allow 34 points in the playoffs. They allowed 27. Unless members of the Colts defense suddenly started playing offense, there's no way they could've prevented 7 of those points.

90
by mattman (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 10:05am

One note about where the Eagles' young linebackers should play. Stewart Bradley may weigh in at 254, but he doesn't have the frame of a MLB. He's tall (6'4) and long-limbed, he reminds me physically of another Eagles SAM, Carlos Emmons. He doesn't have the squat, compact frame of a middle linebacker. I don't know how Gaither will work at MLB, but weight alone doesn't mean you don't have stopping power. Look at Lofa Tatupu or Zach Thomas.

91
by andro (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 10:20am

quick correction, i believe - Marcus Paschal, SS, was undrafted and signed by the Eagles, but is actually from Iowa and not Purdue.

92
by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 10:28am

First, let me remind you that I am a huge fan of giving Rookie QB's 1 or 2 years on the bench. I think these players (and OL to an extent) need time to learn and grow, intellectually. Look at some players who had that time: Rivers, Brees, Palmer, Brady, and Hasselback (also Bulger, Green, Kitna, Pennington and Culpepper when healthy). Now compare this to high-draft pick QB's who started at least 6-8 games their rookie year: Ryan Leaf, Michael Vick, David Carr, and numerous other QBs who never lived up to their potential. (often getting hit lots of times and developing bad habits) Ignore Peyton Manning for this comparison. While I think he could have been better with more time to grow, he was probably the most NFL-ready QB to ever come out of college (he probably would have also been the #1 draft pick the year before, but wanted the college experience). I don't know for sure where McNabb fits in there.

Why do I mention this? Rex Grossman has always had Happy Feet and has not handled pressure well since his days in college. Even Spurrier commented that he would not be be a great NFL QB before the draft.
I mention it because I think Eli Manning was rushed a little into his development. He was never as good as his brother in college, but he has good potential. One area that Peyton were Peyton benefits is practice with his receivers. This can be critical to developing timing and helping immensely with decision making. Peyton worked off season and numerous extra hours with his receivers. Eli's primary receivers, Plaxico Burress and Shockley, have not shown that same dedication in the past, but they are supposedly making more of an effort this year. I suspect this will help the team and their stats.

Will it be enough to overcome the Giants' weakness at LB and RB and elsewhere? Probably not enough to make it deep in the playoffs.

93
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 10:58am

The Portis comment was silly, and its really being blown out of proportion. Of course, I share Judge Portis' enthusiastic defense of private property rights, although I'm not sure dog-fighting falls under that particular purview.

Now some ass-monkeys on FoxSports are screaming "reprimand" and "he should apologize!" Jesus H. Christ, its the man's opinion, and no one was harmed by his espousing it. Sports journalists and the easily offended need to get a life. This is media fascism.

#92 - I think you make some solid points. I would say though that Eli does not have the same caliber receivers as Peyton. Having Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne (and Dallas Clark) to throw to makes Peyton's job easier.

94
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 11:54am

"In the recent interview I gave concerning dog fighting, I want to make it clear I do not take part in dog fighting or condone dog fighting in any manner."

Actually Clinton, condoning dog fighting was exactly what you did.

Why does everyone think that the Giants have a weakness at RB? IMO, thats one of the stronger positions on the team at this point.

95
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 11:58am

#58, 70: If you're going to take it that far and put Simoneau back on the Iggles, remember that then Donte' Stallworth goes back to the Saints because they were traded for each other. Ergo, take Stallworth's long TD off the board for the Eagles. Is Simoneau really going to personally create a 10-point swing as an undersized MLB in a game where the Eagles DTs got totally blown away?

96
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:18pm

94: That's why the giants might be a pretty bad team this year. Issues at LT, in the defensive backfield, at defensive tackle and having lost the second best RB in the game. Throw in a head coach who has lost the locker room and is gone after this year and there are just too many things that could go wrong. I just hope that they haven't quit by the time they have to travel to London.

97
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:25pm

83

I know! If the children saw that, well, they might think it's OK to hate the Eagles!

98
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:27pm

I like Tiki, but theres no way in hell he was the 2nd best back in the game.

99
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:45pm

If you’re going to take it that far and put Simoneau back on the Iggles, remember that then Donte’ Stallworth goes back to the Saints because they were traded for each other. Ergo, take Stallworth’s long TD off the board for the Eagles. Is Simoneau really going to personally create a 10-point swing as an undersized MLB in a game where the Eagles DTs got totally blown away?

Yes, yes, this is silly. I wasn't the one suggesting that not trading Simoneau takes the Saints MLB away, incidentally.

The thing is, they didn't need Stallworth last year. They really didn't. Baskett was fine in the weeks where Stallworth was out, and hell, Westbrook/LJ Smith would've just picked up any remaining slack anyway. I can't blame them for picking up Stallworth, as at the beginning of the year I would've guessed they needed a WR more than they needed a LB, anyway.

But that guess would've been wrong. The Eagles entered week 1 with only 5 real linebackers on the roster. Over the year, 2 of those 5 were injured and missed time. 1 of those 5 was Dhani Jones. I don't think there's any way you can claim that the Eagles didn't go light at linebacker last year. They clearly did.

100
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 1:04pm

Re 83 - you have it right on the money. As soon as McNabb went down, I thought, this season is so over. Then, dammit, the Eagles sucked me in again, only to inevitably crush me by losing by 3 points in NO as Andy Reid inexplicably decided to punt instead of going for it on 4th down.

So when's training camp start????

101
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 2:39pm

#88: "Alex, you seem to think that “won� means the same thing as “played well.�"

No, I never implied that at all. But just because the Saints won the game, doesn't mean they were without fault, or that Philadelphia never had a chance. If the Saints had been in control the entire game, instead of having to overcome an 8 point deficit in the second half, then I would be more likely to agree with your claim that Philadelphia was "steamrolled". If the only reason the game was so close was that the Eagles scored a couple cheap TDs at the end, then I would agree that the outcome wasn't really in doubt.

But that's not what happened. The Saints won, but if their defense had failed to force a punt on the Eagles' final drive, they would have lost. So saying that the offensive performance of the Saints somehow guaranteed their victory is crazy.

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 2:51pm

Heck, if anything, I can't really blame the defense for being unable to stop the Saints the two previous drives.

Put yourself in their shoes. They forced a three-and-out (forcing them back 6 yards, actually) two drives before, giving the offense good field position. That's a serious win for the defense. The offense went nowhwere.

OK, that'd be demoralizing. They then go back out on the field. They have a few ups and downs - the next drive consisted of 6 successful play and 3 unsuccessful plays, but they were making it an uphill battle for the Saints. Then somehow, miraculously, they manage to force a turnover and give the ball back in even better field position. And the offense went nowhere.

That's what doesn't make sense to me. The defense only really struggled in the second half and the end of the game. That's what everyone remembers. Except while the defense did struggle, the offense completely fell apart. The defense would've had to have been superhuman to win that game at that point.

103
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:35pm

Plus, all this talk about the Eagles? What about the Redskins? We still haven't even touched much on how bizarre the Jordan Palmer pick was.

104
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:46pm

#103 - Not that bizarre. Probably Mark Brunell's last season, and Todd Collins probably won't be with the team after this season (he signed only a 2-year contract). Put Palmer on the practice squad for a season, develop him, then slide him into 3rd string or 2nd string in '08. If Palmer blossoms, then WAS is in a great situation at QB. Probably better chance that he'll develop into a dependable QB, but not likely he'll wash out completely with good coaching.

105
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:49pm

Every team is looking for the next Tom Brady, but they would certainly settle for the next Jim Sorgi in later rounds.

106
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:57pm

#96... I have to disagree with part of your statement. I still think the "issues" at LT are overrated. As I've mentioned before, the Giants ran the ball all over the place the 2 weeks Diehl started at LT. If Bob "Headbutt" Whitfield was still starting, I would say there are "issues". Their DTs are actually pretty good, but depth could be a problem. Robbins was excellent last year and Cofield was 1st team NFL All-Rookie.

Regarding the coach, I think that has little effect on how this team performs. They hated him last year and they were in first place until a bunch of players got injured. They played their asses of in a playoff game. The truth of the matter is under Coughlin, the team has played very well when they are healthy.

107
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:06pm

Yes, but there's a much, much smarter way to grab a "possible future #2/#3 QB" - it's called undrafted free agency. The only reason I can think is that they drafted him there hoping to punt Brunell this season, but I don't even know how feasible that is.

It wouldn't be so bad if they had more draft picks or less needs (hence the reason I can finally deal with the Kolb pick), but they would've been much better off grabbing a late-round guard (would've been a great pick!) or a late-round DT and a UDFA QB. There were still quite a few prospects who weren't drafted.

108
by JasonK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:21pm

#104:

Practice squad players are not protected. The Skins won't put Palmer on their P-Squad-- if they did, any other team in the league who needs a developmental #3 could swoop in and sign him. That'd be a draft pick wasted just as sure as if it'd been used in a trade with the Broncos. One of Collins, Brunell, and Palmer simply will not be on the team come opening day. Odds are it's Collins, as I think that cutting Brunell would still net a significant cap hit.

#103:

The shocking thing isn't that we're discussing the Eagles too much (given how all you dirty, skinkin' Eagles fans have taken this place over), it's that we're discussing one Eagles game that happened months ago under an article that is dedicated mostly to analyzing the much more recent Draft. All you Tastycake-chomping, Santa-hating Philly fans need to get over what happened in the Playoffs and tell us what you think of Tony Hunt. ;)

109
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:51pm

108:

I think he looks like the next Ron Dayne. In the bad way.

110
by methdeez (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:52pm

Re: 94 Who the hell do the G'ints have beside Brandon Jacobs?
1 back does not a position of strength make, no matter how good he is.

Perhaps you think he is two people b/c he has two first names, or that his last name is plural?

111
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:56pm

I'm not sold on Jordan Palmer because I've seen him play. He was turnover machine at UTEP.

In short, he's not his older brother.

112
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:01pm

#107 - check the Jim Sorgi pick by the Colts in '03. Same rationale. They didn't need a QB, but took Sorgi in the 5th round. They never have had any intention that he would be the heir to Manning, or that he would ever actually challenge Manning for the spot.

I'm not sure signing an undrafted free agent QB is a viable alternative. True, WAS just signed Sam Hollenbach out of Maryland, but he's probably just another arm to throw to the WRs in training camp. The undrafted free agent class was nothing spectacular this season - Zabransky, Leak, etc.

If I'm going to sign an undrafted skill player, I'd rather it be an offensive guard than a QB. Guards are going to be more abundant anyway, since two start per team at every level of collegiate ball. I'd be more confidant that I could turn an undrafted OG into a suitable 2nd-stringer than I could an undrafted QB trained in the option or wing offense into a suitable 2nd-string pro QB.

OK - so Palmer isn't protected on the PS, but NFL Europe is a protected option for him.

113
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:02pm

#110 - They traded for Reuben Droughns this off-season.

114
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:03pm

#97: Exactly, it is just not OK to hate the Eagles! Remember kids, just say no to hating the Eagles.

Also, having "F---" in the middle of the screen for 5 minutes had to be a little awkward for parents who had little kids that knew how to read.

#108: "tell us what you think of Tony Hunt."

Same as 109, but in a good way.

115
by methdeez (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:04pm

Re: #110
I guess I am just echoing what was said before. If RB is your position on strenght o the Giants, I'd hate to see you position of weakness.

116
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:05pm

Right-o! Enough about the Saints game; 'twas an ugly memory and we shan't speak more upon it.

As for Tony Hunt, if that pick means they really are re-committing to a more even run/pass ratio then I'm all for it. I can't imagine Buckhalter was too happy with the pick and it probably means Moats is done in Philly. That's a little unusual considering that the Eagles rarely part with guys still playing on arookie contract but with Westbrook under a long-term deal Moats is superfluous and getting rid of him may open a spot for another nice young Morman.

I'm more surprised they picked Ilota in the 7th as they already have a FB (Tapeh) a young guy they like (Davis) and they only keep one FB on the roster. Of course, Eagle FBs almost never run the ball and Tapeh can't catch so maybe Ilota has a chance to make the team as a human battering ram kind of guy.

Palmer would be a luxury pick for a good team without a lot of holes, say San Diego. But for a team with only five picks that needs help on both lines, it's damned mystifying. Almost as bad as punting on 4th-and-long near midfield late in a playoff game on the road. (Ha-ha! Gotcha.)

117
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:13pm

"I guess I am just echoing what was said before. If RB is your position on strenght o the Giants, I’d hate to see you position of weakness."

The point is, they have a good starter at RB. Not all teams can say that.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 5:48pm

#107 - check the Jim Sorgi pick by the Colts in ‘03. Same rationale. They didn’t need a QB, but took Sorgi in the 5th round.

2003 NFL Indianapolis Colts 12-4-0
2006 NFL Washington Redskins 5-11-0

You have a few more luxuries when you're a good team with depth already.

I’m more surprised they picked Ilota in the 7th as they already have a FB (Tapeh) a young guy they like (Davis) and they only keep one FB on the roster.

Ilaoa. I'm not sure he's going to be a FB - more of a FB/HB hybrid. He could also lose a lot of weight and be a pure HB prospect. He's said he wants to.

119
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:05pm

Jordan Palmer had a whole bunch of College starts and just below a 60% completion percentage. He was not selected in the 1st two rounds, but those two facts are still encouraging, right?

As a Redskins fan, I was not thrilled with the Palmer choice. But it didn't horrify me either.

120
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:05pm

118 - I'm explaining the rationale. You are suggesting they lack depth on the O-line. They had top 15 run and pass blocking o-lines last year (FO rankings). They lost one starting guard, and a reserve guard in the offseason. They added a veteran reserve guard & slid a reserve guard up on the depth chart. They drafted a guard last season. If you look at their depth chart, they have a good blend of young, middle-career, and highly seasoned veterans.

You should know by now that win-loss records alone don't tell the whole story about a team.

121
by JasonK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:15pm

Giants News:

NY has traded a conditional draft pick to KC in exchange for PK Lawrence Tynes. See link on my name.

Prior to this move, the top of their depth chart at K was the unproven but strong-legged Josh Huston. They like him, but I think they wanted some insurance in case he flakes out. I'm no great fan of Tynes', but I do feel a little better knowing that there's a plan in case Huston can't cut it. Hopefully, the "condition" on the pick stipulates zero compensation if Tynes is cut in camp.

122
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:33pm

They had top 15 run and pass blocking o-lines last year (FO rankings).

That happens when you don't have injuries along your offensive line and you're shallow. After all, jeez, the Redskins have pretty much the most expensive offensive line in the league. I hope the starters are freaking good.

Also: saying "top 15" is silly. Top 15 is "better than average." That's it.

They drafted a guard last season. If you look at their depth chart, they have a good blend of young, middle-career, and highly seasoned veterans.

They also released Lefotu last year before the season.

They have 4 vets. Everyone else is a castoff from another team. In Wade's case, he's an aged castoff, too. Moving Wade to guard seems bizarre - he's not built for it, since he's quite tall. He's old, so moving him to guard doesn't really increase his long-term value. Just seems like a no-win situation.

It's not like either Palmer or a drafted guard are going to contribute much. But I think they would've been better off grabbing either a G or a DT of their own choice, rather than sifting through castoffs. You don't normally find a gem picking through other team's trash.

123
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 6:53pm

Skin Patrol,

Actually, for late picks, having a high number of starts may be a bad thing, not a good thing. Think about it: You've demonstrated clearly that you aren't very good, and you also don't have so much room to grow. D-Lew mentioned in the PFP article that the correlation between starts and success might reverse itself for late picks.

Then again, the Skins did alright with Tim Hasselbeck, so maybe the system needs a "brother is a pro-bowler" factor.

124
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 7:01pm

"That happens when you don’t have injuries along your offensive line and you’re shallow. After all, jeez, the Redskins have pretty much the most expensive offensive line in the league. I hope the starters are freaking good."

When they did suffer their only serious injury replacements came in and performed admirably. Also, as you remind us every chance you get, the Redskins are an old line. Older players generally cost more than younger ones.

"Also: saying “top 15″ is silly. Top 15 is “better than average.� That’s it."

Top 15 run, top 6 pass. Only Ind, NO, CHI, SD, PHI, NYG, were more complete lines. Cin and NE were comparable. That's pretty good.

"They also released Lefotu last year before the season."

He passed out in his room which I'm sure scared some of the coaches. He's since been brought back to the roster to compete for a spot -- he could still work out.

125
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 7:03pm

Re: #123

Fair enough. Still, all Palmer has to do to earn his pick is remain on the roster for a few years. That still makes him a cheaper alternative than Todd Collins and would go a long ways towards justifying the pick in my opinion. Again, I wasn't thrilled with that selection.

126
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/22/2007 - 7:57pm

#122 - you'd think that, normally. Ask Antonio Pierce, Ryan Clark, Mike Sellers, Pierson Prioleau...the Skins have a better track record with other teams' cast-offs than they do with marquee FAs.

They could draft OL in the 5th-7th round, or they could sign the ones that weren't drafted (see Joe Jacoby, who went undrafted after 12 rounds). Didn't some draft pundits determine that the difference between a 7th rounder and a non-draftee was razor-thin?

127
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:21am

When they did suffer their only serious injury replacements came in and performed admirably.

Replacements? Plural? I thought Jansen was the only one who missed any time, and the backup who filled in is now starting at guard. Were there other minor in-game injuries?

Also, as you remind us every chance you get, the Redskins are an old line. Older players generally cost more than younger ones.

They're not that old. They're all about 30 - that's not insane for an offensive lineman. The guys I criticize for age are the defensive line, mainly because age kills defensive linemen faster. The only thing that baffles me about the offensive line is the mind-blowingly large cost of them in the next few years.

Top 15 run, top 6 pass. Only Ind, NO, CHI, SD, PHI, NYG, were more complete lines. Cin and NE were comparable. That’s pretty good.

I wasn't suggesting they were bad at all - just that saying "Top 15" in the NFL is silly. With 32 teams, "Top 15" is "better than average." Like I said - they were good. Thin, but good. Even if a position is great, if it's thin, you have to worry. See also the Eagles safety situation.

128
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:23am

Didn’t some draft pundits determine that the difference between a 7th rounder and a non-draftee was razor-thin?

Palmer was a sixth-round pick, not a seventh. The big difference between late-round draft picks and UDFAs isn't their success rate. It's that you choose the draft picks. The UDFAs choose you.

129
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:45am

I knew this would happen after post #103. 6th round picks are often of ill consequence (save that saint up in New England)... so why does it matter who chose who with the 6th round pick?

Anyways... I'm trolling for gems from last year.

Stephen Yang Predictions:
New York: New York has a great defense with the aquisition of sam madision and lavar arrington, but along with that, they got a great offense too, tiki barber coming off an 1860 yard season and eli manning maturing and throwing too shockey, buress, and toomer, not to mention sinorice moss. they also got a record setting usi umenyora and michael strahan, and with strahan getting old, they drafted his replacement, too bad they got a tough schedule though.

Washington: The redskins also have a great team, but they made more offensive improvements, rather than defensive. nevertheless they are going to do great this year, they got the passing game, the rushing game, and the defense, they got everything.
Just ouch! May Brunell never come off the bench, all hail Campbell... aaaaa-men.

Philadelphia: The Eagles are not doing so hot this year. i think they will do bad. they got no offense except for one man and a pretty good defense. i expect them to do worse this year. sorry mcnabb, but your time is UP!
Whoops. I think this was made before they got Stallworth and Garcia?

Dallas: I think dallas might have gotten the best offseason with competition from the giants. They got TERRELL OWENS! their offense is going to be amazing and their defense shall be quite adequate. you are looking at a team to make a superbowl run, they didnt win the division, so they will have an easier schdule than they should have.
Well no one could really predict the WWE-like push that Tony Romo got...

Pat, damn good prediction.
Honestly, the thing that cracks me up is people convinced that any of the teams will have a bad year next year. Here’s a hint: if you’re convinced that one of these teams will fall apart next year, you’re strongly biased for or against one of the teams. The NFC East is going to be won on injuries and luck.

Anyways... here's too another great season by the NFC East. I don't think us Redskin fans took losing so bad because we got to see Jason Campbell take the field... although Adam Archuleta did his best Matt Stevens impression...

130
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:13am

I don't actually think the NFC East will do nearly as well next year, actually, but that's just because they set a pretty high bar last year, and had ridiculously good health in certain areas - through week 14, only one offensive lineman in the division had been injured. No other division came close to that, and the division won't repeat it again.

131
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:55am

#128 - "The big difference between late-round draft picks and UDFAs isn’t their success rate. It’s that you choose the draft picks. The UDFAs choose you."/

Thats exactly the point I'm trying to make. The scarcity of potentially pro-caliber college QBs is going to be greater than the scarcity of potentially pro-caliber college OLs. An undrafted potentially pro-caliber college QB is less likely to want to sign with a team who has a secure "QB of the future," but more likely to sign with a team with a shakier starting situation (factoring out Kosar-esque hometown affections). To build long-term depth behind your young and reasonably secure starting QB you will have to draft, or find some veteran FA who is willing to sit the bench for 3-4 years and do some spot work (good luck). The late round draftee will be cheaper as well.

An aging starting OL gives UDFA's incentive to sign with a team, since its more likely they will have an opportunity to make the final roster and even see playing time. The team should use their demand for OL to their advantage in the FA market.

I would use my 6th and 7th round picks to grab players who would be disinclined to sign with my team were they undrafted, since the athletic difference between them and UDFAs is marginal. Use them to build depth behind my younger starters (essentially, drafting them against their interests and in my own interests).

132
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:56am

Oops, didn't mean for the massive bold-face. Guess it will make my comments stand out.

133
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 11:55am

An aging starting OL gives UDFA’s incentive to sign with a team, since its more likely they will have an opportunity to make the final roster and even see playing time.

I actually think the complete opposite there.

They're not that old - that's the problem. They're also uncuttable - Jansen, Thomas, and Samuels can't be cut without detonating the salary cap. And that's until about 2010.

I think the Redskins starting QB situation at this point is more unsettled than their starting OL situation. Campbell hasn't proven himself lock-worthy of the starting QB job. Jansen, Thomas, and Samuels have.

Right now, Campbell is pencilled in as the starter, but it's in pencil. Except for Wade, the starting OL - for the next three years (the length of a UDFA contract) - might as well be chiseled in stone.

134
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:10pm

If you are drafting 6-7th round you are drafting typically with the intention of the draftees being second-string and reserve players. I'm talking about building depth, not supplanting veteran starters. If an UDFA is being realistic about his prospects, then he should realize that its far more likely that he will make the roster as a reserve, not as Jon Jansen's immediate replacement.

You initially claimed the Palmer pick was "bizarre" but now you are claiming that the QB situation is unsettled. If the Palmer pick is "bizarre", using your analysis, then we should consider the starting QB situation pretty much settled. Conversely, if the QB situation is unsettled then the Palmer pick is hardly bizarre.

I have already explained why I think the QB situation is settled and the Palmer pick not bizarre.

135
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:19pm

You initially claimed the Palmer pick was “bizarre� but now you are claiming that the QB situation is unsettled.

You're assuming that "monetarily settled" and "talent-settled" are equivalent. They're not. There's a huge amount of money locked into the current OL. Not a lot left for a UDFA who performs well. The player would have to see game time in order for that to happen, and since other teams don't see practices, they won't really improve their chances in free agency, either.

There's very little money locked into the current QBs. Plenty left for a UDFA who performs well.

136
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 12:37pm

RE: Cowboys linebacker situation. Good post over at The Boys Blog: theboysblog.com/2007/05/22/phillips-34-calls-for-faster-ilbs/

137
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:32pm

I know you guys like to rag on Stephen Yang, but those predictions echoed ESPN or any other publisher. It's funny to laugh at now, but you could also laugh at the "professionals".

Eli Manning had 48 TD passes, but he did throw his share of picks. You have to understand that the guy is young and learning. How many quarterbacks come out of the womb as poised superstars? Of Course Carson Palmers stats are more impressive, he's a top 5 quarterback and at this point Eli Manning is not.

Manning does show promise though. His team made the playoffs and won the divison his first year as the starter, and made the playoffs despite his division already having 2 playoff teams.

Not all interceptions are created equal. The Picks Eli threw 2 years ago were a problem. A lot of them seemed to be in the redzone or on 3rd downs, where he would force the ball to Plax.

Everybody talks about how much of a redzone threat Plax was, but Eli throw jump balls up to him when he shouldn't have. Eli knew Plax was a redzone threat, but so did the other teams. Even when he didn't go to Plax on 3rd downs etc. Plax would be complaining to him that he should have gotten the ball.

Not all of the picks last year, but some of them weren't his fault. He had balls bounce off his receivers hands ( plax in the seattle game), he had receivers quit on routes ( Plax in the titans game) and other bad things happen. The team had to go through a lot of injuries last year, and he was in some brutal situations ( the Jacksonville game). Eli wasn't going to have a good tame in that situation, but I doubt that Peyton would have ( although it would have been better).

All in all Eli has had some bumps and brusies, but hopefully he has learned from his mistakes and got better. He hasn't even played his 3rd year as a starter, and a lot of people are already writing him off.

I have more confidence in Eli reaching the upper echelon of quarterbacks than a lot of the other young guys.

138
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:43pm

It’s funny to laugh at now, but you could also laugh at the “professionals�.

Uh. We do.

139
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:43pm

#127:

"The only thing that baffles me about the offensive line is the mind-blowingly large cost of them in the next few years."

Well Chris Samuels is a Pro Bowl tackle, so that explains his salary. Randy Thomas was a Pro Bowl alternate and an excellent tackle, which explains his price (you saw Guards' paychecks in this last free agency, yes?). Jon Jansen's salary escalates to next year, though I imagine the team noticed that which is why they let Derrick Dockery walk. Casey Rabach's cap hit remains stable for the forseeable future, and Todd Wade won't make the big bucks. So really you're expressing confusion over the pay of 3/5ths of the line, and 2 of those guys are Pro Bowl caliber players. Let me say: I completely agree. The Redskins are investing too much money in Samuels, Jansen, and Thomas, with the latter being the most important player -- my opinion. Samuels will quickly cost more than his usefullness.

"Thin, but good. Even if a position is great, if it’s thin, you have to worry. See also the Eagles safety situation."

I think they've got a decent enough coach where depth on the O-Line doesn't concern me nearly as much as it does you. The backups have starting experience which is about all I can ask for. Really how deep can the line be, ideally? I'm not asking flippantly, just curious for examples.

140
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:44pm

Randy Thomas is a Guard. I called him a tackle once above.

141
by coldbikemessenger, fan favorite! (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:47pm

Yang loved the all caps button a little too much
He was very shrill
His histrionics about Culpepper and chambers were indefensible
He sipmply parroted espn with an inferior writing style that was annoying

142
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 1:52pm

Pat-

"I actually think the complete opposite there."

I'll politely disagree.

"I think the Redskins starting QB situation at this point is more unsettled than their starting OL situation. Campbell hasn’t proven himself lock-worthy of the starting QB job. Jansen, Thomas, and Samuels have."

Right, but there are 9 available O-Line spots and only 3 available QB spots, and 2 of the latter are settled. Granting Samuels, Rabach, Jansen, Thomas, and Wade as definite roster guys --I'd add Mike Pucillo-- there's still 3 spots to compete for. Do you think QBs are flocking to Washington because JC is "just" an on-paper starter?

And per you it's unlikely that the linemen will all remain uninjured in 2007 anyways, which means there will be opportunities for UDFA's to get starting experience, they just have to wait for someone to get hurt. Even if JC goes down to injury a UDFA still has to leap frog Mark Brunell.

143
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 2:27pm

"I have more confidence in Eli reaching the upper echelon of quarterbacks than a lot of the other young guys."

I dont. The thing that worries me the most about Eli is he showed NO improvement last year. His conventional stats are almost exactly the same as the year before. His completion percentage went up 3%, but his YPA went down a half yard.

Eli 2005
Comp% YPA TD INT DVOA
53% 6.75 24 17 1.8%
Eli 2006
57% 6.25 25 18 -1.1%

That doesnt look like a positive trend to me. That looks like a mediocre QB in the making.

Palmer 2004
Comp% YPA TD INT DVOA
60.9 6.7 18 18 7.2
Palmer 2005
67.8 7.5 32 12 34.5

Notice the huge improvement by Palmer? Most QBs in the second year of starts show a big improvement. Look at Peyton, Donovan Mcnabb, etc. They all have a huge improvement in the 2nd year, most specifically in the TD:INT ratio, and YPA. Eli regressed in both those areas.

I think hes going to be decent, but I think theres very little chance he'll be elite.

144
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 3:28pm

The general trend with good QBs is that they start bad, then they have a big jump when they first "get it." Often that's the second season overall, but sometimes it's the second season of starts, or if you're Ben Roethlisberger, it's your first season. The problem is that after you make that jump, you never really get all that much better. The typical QB just has a few smaller increases in ability before he peaks around his 7th season or so.

Really, Peyton Manning has followed a typical QB career path, except five times as good. He was slightly below average as a rookie, then he got to "near best in the game" level by his second year, then he got a little bit better over the next few years, and then he had a career season in 2004 (his 7th year) and continued performing at roughly that level for the next two.

Eli should follow a similar, but less stellar career path. He was absolutely awful as a rookie, and then he jumped up to average when he "got it." I think he should be able to become above-average in a little bit, and he'll probably make a Pro Bowl or two when he peaks with some career seasons around 2010 or so. But expecting anything else of him is unreasonable.

145
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 3:30pm

None of the offensive line salaries are crazy. They're just all top-tier. Rabach, too - $3.5M/year for a center is a high-priced center. I'm not even saying the players aren't worth it, mind you!

What's amazing to me that the Redskins think they can afford paying top money for 4/5 positions on the offensive line (and Wade's not exactly free). Most teams dedicate about $12-$18M to their starting offensive line. Philly's spending $16M, the Patriots are spending $12M, the Bills something like $16M, the Jaguars something like $13M. You get the idea.

The Redskins, this year, are pretty much right in line with that, although they're pretty much still one of the highest ones (~$19M). Next year, though, it blows all to hell for them ($30M!). No one spends close to that on an offensive line.

I think they’ve got a decent enough coach where depth on the O-Line doesn’t concern me nearly as much as it does you. The backups have starting experience which is about all I can ask for. Really how deep can the line be, ideally? I’m not asking flippantly, just curious for examples.

The backups are all pretty much all minimum-salary vets who were cut by previous teams. Craig Krenzel has starting experience. Just not of the "good" kind.

I don't consider players "depth" until they've had one year with the team they're with, because that at least shows that the team wants them. First-day rookies get the benefit of the doubt.

I mean, I can see where you'd disagree that late-round rookies would mean anything compared to the vets already there, considering I wouldn't consider either of them decent depth. The difference is that 1) you hang on to the late-round rookies easier, and 2) you've got a better chance of finding a gem in the draft than in other team's trash (*). All the vets are signed to 1-2 year contracts.

(*: regarding the previous comment that the Redskins have had 'better luck', I don't really buy that. Clark, Prioleau, etc. are all average at best. To make a poor analogy worse, you might find a dollar or two going through someone else's trash, but you're not going to find a diamond.)

And per you it’s unlikely that the linemen will all remain uninjured in 2007 anyways, which means there will be opportunities for UDFA’s to get starting experience, they just have to wait for someone to get hurt. Even if JC goes down to injury a UDFA still has to leap frog Mark Brunell.

I didn't say it was likely or unlikely that the linemen will remain uninjured for the Redskins. My comment was for the whole division. Five guys staying healthy can happen. Twenty is a lot less likely. Last year it nearly did, which is why the division was the strongest in the NFL.

Regarding the QB situation, however, the point wasn't likelihood of getting playing time in one year. It's likelihood of getting playing time over the whole contract. Brunell won't be there 3 years. Except for possibly Wade, that entire offensive line will.

146
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 3:32pm

re 143.

Eli was improving until he basically lost his two safety valves in Toomer and Barber(who had to stay in to block due to the loss of Petitgout). Compare Toomer's 9.8 DVOA with his replacement's -31.6(Tim Carter), and the difference between Petitgout and Whitfield was even more pronounced.

147
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 4:09pm

129: I had forgotten about Stephan Yang...

137: Funny how you call Eli Manning "young and learning", yet you refuse to do so for a guy drafted in the same class as him who has outperformed him, J.P. Losman. Oh, and this despite multiple coaching and OC changes.

148
by Skin Patrol (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 4:16pm

Pat-

"Regarding the QB situation, however, the point wasn’t likelihood of getting playing time in one year. It’s likelihood of getting playing time over the whole contract. Brunell won’t be there 3 years. Except for possibly Wade, that entire offensive line will."

I think Samuels actually costs enough in 3 years where it would save us money to cut him in 2009, though I'd have to double check.

In any event, we're talking about increasing the incentive of UDFA qbs to join the Redskins, and if the Redskins need UDFAs to join the team than that's an argument in favor of drafting Palmer (Hollenbach showed up anyways, and has received praise from Saunders). We also have Bramlet playing pretty well in Europe, which makes the Palmer pick slightly more questionable. But I'm not horrified by the pick. It's perfectly conceivable that the coaching staff had him ranked much higher than the rest of the league, and that he fell so low in the draft that, to them, it was a no-brainer. It's not what I would have done, but I think it's defensible.

Re: OL depth, I like Mike Pucillo who can play Center or Guard and shows up as a TE in some jumbo packages. He's been with the team a year now which means they obviously see a lot in him.

Jason Fabini is discarded trash but still a veteran with starting experience. I think he's at least serviceable.

I don't know if you want to count Kili Lefotu as a guy who has been with the team at least one year, though they did draft him in 2006 -- he passed out in his hotel room during training camp, was cut, but recently re-signed.

Returning also is Ross Tucker, who was with the team in 2002 (and with HC Gregg Williams in Buffalo in 2003). He's started games in the NFL. A super star he is not, a backup I can live with... why not?

Taylor Whitley has been with the team since last October.

Do I think the Redskins are that deep at OL? No, but I'm not horrified either. Do I agree with the Palmer pick? Not especially, but I don't disagree strongly either. It wouldn't have hurt my feelings if the team drafted an O-Linemen with that pick.

149
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 5:50pm

I think Samuels actually costs enough in 3 years where it would save us money to cut him in 2009, though I’d have to double check.

He does, but it's not a lot. It's enough that if he's bad, you could cut him, but if he's still performing, it's not really worth it. At that point, he's really only "costing" $2.4M, and if he's still a Pro Bowl level tackle, there's no one you could get for $2.4M who'd have the same value as a Pro Bowl level tackle.

I try not to think about the Redskins situation past 2007, though. It makes my brain hurt.

150
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:19pm

143- I think Eli didn't show that improvement because his team crumbled around him, and the highly criticised INT ratio wasn't always his fault when the ball would hit plax right in the hands.

151
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 7:19pm

I don't know what all the fuss about Eli Manning is about. It's clear, given his performance, that in time he'll be right up there with other quarterbacks of his ability, like Mark Brunell and Jake Delhomme.

152
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 8:51pm

137, 150-This coming from the guy who constantly blames Leftwich and Vick when their receivers drop balls.

129, 147-Who's Stephen Yang? I've been here for a while and don't know who that is.

Also, it's interesting there has been almost no Cowboy discussion. Keep up the good work!

153
by thad (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:16pm

I THINK I KNOW, JUST WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE AFC EAST.

JETS: THE JETS ARE A BAD TEAM FROM LAST SEASON, BUT THE OFFENSIVE LINE IMPROVEMENTS HAVE TO HELP EVERYBODY. THEIR QB WILL BE GOOD, CURTIS MARTIN WILL DO BETTER, AND THEIR WIDEOUTS SHOULD DO BETTER…MUCH BETTER. THEIR DEFENSE, HOWEVER, SUFFERED GREATLY WITH THE LOSS OF JOHN ABRAHAM AND TY LAW. I CANT SEE THEM DOING ANY BETTER THAN LAST YEAR.

DOLPHINS: THE DOLPHINS DID A GREAT TRADE WITH THE VIKINGS TO OBTAIN CULPEPPER. I THINK HE WILL IMPACT THE DOLPHINS GREATLY. I THINK THEY WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS SEASON, RONNIE BROWN IS GETTING BETTER, AND CHRIS CHAMBERS SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER BREAKOUT SEASON.

PATRIOTS: THE PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY GOOD OFFENSE, ITS THEIR DEFENSE, HOEVER, THAT IM WORRIED ABOUT. BUT I THINK THEY’LL BE OK.

BILLS: NOTHING MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THE BILLS. SHOULD BE ANOTHER LOOOOONG SEASON. THEY IMPROVED THEIR DEFENSE BUT THEIR OFFENSE CANT GET ANY WORSE, WHICH MEANS THEY CAN ONLY IMPROVE.

OVERALL, THIS IS HOW I THINK THE AFC EAST WILL PLAY OUT:

MIAMI :11-5
NEW ENGLAND :10-6
NEW YORK :4-12
BUFALLO :4-12

That was a Stephen Yang quote, my god he thought Culpepper was amazing.

He showed up last summer during some 4 downs articles and would MAKE THESE REALLY LOUD PREDICTIONS!!!!

His idea of analysis was to name about three players per team, usually a qb, running back and wr, and tell us how great they were. Since they were great, that team would win.

Pat
B
and Starshatter just cut him to pieces, they were funnier than raiderjoe(and raider joe kills me, I think he is a riot.)

154
by MJ Posner (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:41pm

The real reason the iggles lost to the Saints was the injury to Shawn Andrews. His rookie replacement was flagged for a false start on the 3rd and 10 that Garcia converted. That made it 4 and 15, they punted and defense couldn't hold...SA wouldn't have flinched, the Eagles would be driving, and Akers probably would have tied the game...

155
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 05/23/2007 - 10:49pm

"143- I think Eli didn’t show that improvement because his team crumbled around him, and the highly criticised INT ratio wasn’t always his fault when the ball would hit plax right in the hands."

Eli had a lot better recievers than a lot of QBs who played much better than him. Like Tom Brady.

156
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:22am

If his name were "Eli Cummings" instead of "Eli Manning" and he'd been drafted late in the first round, would the general opinion of him be much more positive? Sort of "not bad, doing as well as can be expected." I'm just asking how much of everyone's opinions (including my own) of Eli Manning comes from his name, his brother, his manipulation of the draft, etc.

157
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:27am

Yeah, but the Pettigout injury really crippled the G-men's offense. Brady had better protection (on the field, that is). Also Tyree is a pretty good gunner, but a miserable 3rd WR.

158
by Kyle (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:40am

If his last name were anything, even Leaf, Eli Manning would have still been considered the first or second best QB prospect in the draft, so the hypothetical is a little stupid. His last name may effect media members and fans, but I highly doubt the scouting departments of 32 NFL teams were all swayed or blinded by his last name. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award (best QB) and Maxwell Award (most outstanding player) in his senior season of college. Second team All-American, 3rd in the Heisman voting to Jason White (winner, QB for team that played in BCS title game) and Larry Fitzgerald (second, redonkulous receiver obviously).

So in this hypothetical, and in the incredibly absurd hypothetical article MDS wrote a few months back about Eli Jones going in the middle of the 3rd Round, Eli NewLastName still goes in the top 5 or top 10 of the draft. His expectations may be slightly lower due to not having the Manning last name, mind you, but they'd still be sky high as he would still be the future franchise QB of some team.

159
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:58am

His last name may effect media members and fans, but I highly doubt the scouting departments of 32 NFL teams were all swayed or blinded by his last name.

Er? 32 didn't have to be. Just one did. The Giants. I don't think they were blinded by it, but I do think that it raised their opinion of him. You can't judge work ethic in the combine, etc. - in this case, they knew that he'd have a good work ethic since they knew his family.

160
by coyotl666 (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 1:29am

quick eli question - how did he project in lewin's starts/completion % system?

thanks, mark

161
by Kyle (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 1:53am

Re 159:
You conveniently missed the point. Interviews after the 2004 NFL draft seemed to indicate that most teams had Eli as the #1 rated QB in the draft. The rest of the teams had him #2 behind Roethlisberger or, in San Diego's case, Philip Rivers. Teams disagreed on whether Eli Manning was the #1 rated prospect in the draft, though. I remember reading some teams having Eli as the #1 QB but the #5 overall player, behind Sean Taylor, Larry Fitzgerald, Robert Gallery and Kellen Winslow Jr.

You are correct in stating that only one team needed to elevate his status due to his last name for the effects to be seen. That point, however, is irrelevant to what I said. Teams generally agreed that Eli Manning was the top QB, possibly the second QB in the draft. Absolute worst, he was the third best prospect. My point in stating this is to clear up this absurd notion that the only reason Eli Manning went at the top of round 1 is due to his last name. Yes, sure, let us assume that Accorsi boosted his rating of Manning due to his last name. Fine. Can we honestly assume, however, that all 32 NFL teams had scouting departments who would follow suit and use a surname to rate a player, thus resulting in a wildly inaccurate analysis of his true draft position?

162
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 3:33am

160: Eli had a fairly good projection of 4.57 age adjusted DPAR/game. I think he's underachieving it at the moment.

For comparison's sake:
Peyton was projected for 6.34, but he has exceeded that projection.

The other 2004 QBs:
Roethlisberger - 6.32
Rivers - 7.59

People whose passer projections are roughly equal to Eli's:
Alex Smith
Jay Cutler
Drew Brees

163
by coyotl666 (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 3:57am

162, thank you.

20, kevin gilbride is every gints fans favourite worst nightmare

83, what wasn't to like abount the skank in the revealing shirt? nice to see one of those evocative old anglo saxon words restored to prominence, by a cajun of all things. more entertaining than most cheerleaders and exuding a certain drunken availability ... uhm, if you like that kinda thing.

164
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 8:16am

Teams generally agreed that Eli Manning was the top QB, possibly the second QB in the draft.

How can you say this? The only team we know this for sure about is the Giants. Everything else is just speculation.

165
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 9:38am

Re: 158

It's interesting that you acknowledge that the media might have been influenced by Eli's last name and then use a bunch of media awards to support that he really was that good.

I tend to agree with you that he would have still been a top ten pick even abscent the Giants interest, but the college awards certainly don't mean much.

Re: 164

Let's not forget Eli was actually drafted by the Chargers. You can make the case that they were confident they would get a deal done with NY, but you also have to assume they were prepared to live with him if they hadn't been able to make a deal.

166
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 9:42am

Teams generally agreed that Brady Quinn was the top QB, possibly the second QB in the draft.

Funny thing about general agreement of that kind -- it doesn't always result in a top pick, or even a tep-ten or top-twenty.

167
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 10:31am

Eli had to be high on the Chargers' board as well. If Rivers was easily the top QB on the Chargers' board, then they'd have just taken him 1st overall.

168
by Not saying (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 11:24am

Re: 166

Yeah, but I think Quinn's a good comparison. Even if Eli's last name wasn't Manning, there's little to no chance that he'd have fallen out of the first round. Falling down to pick 20 or so is not out of the question, but there's no way he would have lasted to the third round.

I also don't think you can say the expectations for Quinn are low. They're not.

169
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:11pm

Not saying (#168 )--

All true. I'm just saying (heh) that pre-draft speculation is usually worth about what casual fans pay for it.

Eli Manning's doing all right. Maybe not going to live up to all his pre-draft hype, but who could, really?

I mean, aside from his older brother.* And that took, what, eight seasons?

*Technically, Tom Brady has completely blown away his pre-draft hype, but that's because he had no pre-draft hype whatsoever. ;-)

170
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:14pm

Manning does show promise though. His team made the playoffs and won the divison his first year as the starter,

Free Kyle Orton!

171
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:24pm

Tim "Non-bald Little Brother" Hasselbeck > Jared "Fatback" Lorenzen > Eli "Little Brother" Manning.

All the Hasselbecks are awesome (especially Elisabeth).

172
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:39pm

Joe T (#171 )--

No.

Tom Coughlin may not be the most likeable fellow ever, but he knows a little something about coaching football. If starting Hasselbeck the Even Younger or Lorenzen over Eli Manning would lead to the Giants winning more games (especially playoff games), he would do it.

173
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 12:44pm

Let’s not forget Eli was actually drafted by the Chargers. You can make the case that they were confident they would get a deal done with NY, but you also have to assume they were prepared to live with him if they hadn’t been able to make a deal.

Not so sure - I think the Chargers knew pretty solidly that they could trade him beforehand. I think they just wanted to increase their options.

Honestly, I'm surprised more teams don't do that. It removes the clock restriction.

Eli Manning’s doing all right. Maybe not going to live up to all his pre-draft hype, but who could, really?

Carson Palmer. The real problem with Manning is his cost more than anything else. He performed well enough to trigger most of the escalators in his contract, which really puts his cost way too high for his performance.

174
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 1:04pm

Pat (#173 )--

I thought about Palmer, but honestly don't remember what pre-draft hype existed for him.

I don't think he's lived up to Eli Manning's hype yet, if that's what you mean.

175
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 1:17pm

Re: 173 - "Not so sure - I think the Chargers knew pretty solidly that they could trade him beforehand. I think they just wanted to increase their options."

I think they were confident they could work out the deal with NY, but the fact that they hadn't been able to get it done pre-draft, had to create at least some uncertainty. That uncertainty leads me to believe they were prepared to live with him as #1 if the negotiations with NY went south.

"Honestly, I’m surprised more teams don’t do that. It removes the clock restriction."

Do what? Take a guy they really don't want and hold him hostage until a team that does want him makes a bad deal? It seems to me teams don't do that because they can't be sure that another team's interest in some player is genuine. The first guy to try something like that and get burned would be an unemployed punch line mighty quick.

For example, if the Falcons had drafted Brady Quinn anticipating they could deal him to the Fins for a mega-deal, they would have been mighty disappointed.

By the way are the Outsiders trying to tell me something if my anti-spam word is doofus?

176
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 2:08pm

I think they were confident they could work out the deal with NY, but the fact that they hadn’t been able to get it done pre-draft, had to create at least some uncertainty.

They had possible deals with multiple teams, not just the Giants. I'm betting they waited until the draft just to milk more out of the buyer.

Do what? Take a guy they really don’t want and hold him hostage until a team that does want him makes a bad deal? It seems to me teams don’t do that because they can’t be sure that another team’s interest in some player is genuine.

You do it if you have multiple offers from teams so there's little risk you'll get burned. Basically, it's just to buy you more negotiation time. It also lets the other teams think about it more as they see the draft develop.

For example, if the Falcons had drafted Brady Quinn anticipating they could deal him to the Fins for a mega-deal, they would have been mighty disappointed.

Funny example. Atlanta may end up regretting not drafting Quinn.

177
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 2:13pm

Starshatterer - did you know Alexander Swift actually advocated that we eat babies to control population growth?

178
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 2:20pm

Joe T (#177 )--

Does that mean you don't like the rest of the Hasselbecks, either?

'Cause Don was awesome!

179
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 2:25pm

Naw, I really do like the Hasselbecks. I always thought Tim was a scrappy bugger with WAS, but I know he's not starter-quality. I only like to make fun of Eli because it seems like the en vogue thing to do.

180
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 3:05pm

re 177: it was Jonathan Swift--you might be getting him confused with Alexander Pope.

re 158, 161: Gee, Kyle, for a guy who rails against other people "conveniently missing the point," you sure didn't get mine. I wasn't saying anything about NFL scouting departments or championing an "absurd notion that the only reason Eli Manning went at the top of the first round is due to (sic) his last name." I was simply asking what you evidently regard as a "stupid" hypothetical, namely, how much of the criticism of Eli Manning is due to his actual shortcomings as a professional QB and how much is due to elevated expectations of him based on a number of unusual factors that were involved in his high draft status. The comments you have made are well-informed and relevant to a discussion of Eli Manning, but they don't address the issue I was trying to raise. Of course, you are not required to address that issue and to raise other ones instead. You're even free to call me "stupid" for raising it, although I certainly didn't enjoy the description. But don't pretend to be answering a question by dismissing it and going on at length about a semi-related one.

No one comments on the Laura Nyro (RIP) reference? How quickly we forget.

181
by Kyle (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 7:17pm

I never insulted you once. I was pointing out the hypothetical is, as my exact words were, "a little stupid". Nothing referring to you.

The reason why I addressed the hypothetical as being "a little stupid" was that I think these scenarios are highly irrelevant to discussing Eli Manning's shortcomings. He went at the top of the draft, he's subject to the expectations of a first round pick at the top of the draft. Yes, of course, if he went later, people would view him differently. This is counterfactual, and the answer to your question is quite obvious. Lower draft picks have lower expectations, so they're viewed in a different light.

My point was that this did not happen, with the reality being that he went at the top of the draft. In retrospect, this next part comes off as tangential in my initial post, and I should have clarified its relevancy. Eli Manning went at the top of the 2004 draft not because of his last name, but because people genuinely evaluated him as the best or second-best quarterback prospect that year. Thus, he has much higher expectations. As a Giants fan, and even an admitted Eli apologist, I dislike the notion of having to view him "more realistically" by downgrading expectations. Certainly the pre-draft antics hurt his perception with some fans, but regardless, he has the expectations of a #1 (or #4, whichever) draft pick.

Discussing whether he would be seen in another light had he gone later just seems pointless to me. Of course people would view him as more of a success had he gone later, but that is because, in hindsight, people are fitting his three years of NFL production with a draft slot they feel appropriate for such production.

182
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 7:32pm

Eli Manning went at the top of the 2004 draft not because of his last name,

The old draft saying - It only takes one team.

I personally think the Giants did give him the edge based on his last name, and had all three QB prospects that year pretty close in potential but that Eli was the most sure fire.

183
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2007 - 9:29pm

Can't believe I missed this before:

The Washington Post’s Howard Bryant noted recently that by refusing to re-sign Ryan Clark coupled with the failed Adam Archuleta experiment, the team could end up spending upwards of $25 million on a position they could have had for an extra $1.5 million (the raise in salary Clark was seeking last off-season).

Bryant's probably right by the amount by taking into account salaries, but he came by the $25M number by adding the guaranteed money of Archuleta and Landry, except Archuleta's "$10M guaranteed" was "fakey-guaranteed." The Redskins only ended up paying $5.5M of it (the Bears paid the rest).

$20.5M instead of $1.5M still sounds pretty bad, though.

184
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 11:02am

". Eli Manning went at the top of the 2004 draft not because of his last name, but because people genuinely evaluated him as the best or second-best quarterback prospect that year."

Are you honestly denying that some of that evaluation was based on the 'potential' his name gives him?

185
by fiddycentbeer (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 11:17am

Harris, or other Eagle fans:

Any thought to moving Gocong to MLB, rather than either Gaither or Bradley? He's heavier than both and lower than Bradley. Highly intelligent too.

186
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 11:54am

Gocong at SAM is so they can utilize him as a rush LB, and I doubt they want to swamp the kid with two new positions (besides, you'd basically get a MLB with limitations in open-space coverage - which we have). Trotter/Gaither at MIKE is fine to start the camp, I think.

187
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 12:08pm

Re 181: "Discussing whether he would be seen in another light had he gone later just seems pointless to me." Hey, it's a discussion thread on the internet; if you can't have a pointless discussion there, where can you have one?!

Seriously, Kyle, now we're getting somewhere. Reading your comments has helped me clarify my ideas. You are saying that Eli Manning is subject to high expectations based on his position as an early first round draft choice and potential franchise quarterback. I'm suggesting that he is being loaded down with additional baggage. An appropriate comparison for Eli would be Philip Rivers, for obvious reasons. If Rivers has more success over his career, this downgrades Eli. However, I think Eli is also (not necessarily by front offices or super-knowledgable fans, but by many general fans) compared to Peyton, by virtue of being his brother. He is also, not necessarily compared, but thought of in the same vein as Elway, due to the draft manipulation situation. My point (if I ever get around to making it!) is that Eli could end up with a career roughly equivalent to that of Philip Rivers, and still be regarded as having failed to fulfill his potential--being held to a Peyton Manning/John Elway standard is, after all, rather demanding! I don't root for the Giants nor Eli Manning, but I have to feel a little sorry for the guy.

188
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 12:10pm

"SAM" "MIKE" "WILL" Boy, football fans love their jargon, don't they?

189
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 12:15pm

“SAM� “MIKE� “WILL� Boy, football fans love their jargon, don’t they?

And this is different than any other profession in the world... how?

190
by Kyle (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 1:30pm

Re 184:
No but I seriously downplay it amongst NFL scouts, because their entire career and livelihood is based on an ability to accurately project players from the college to the pros. Allowing silly things such as surnames to cloud judgment, especially if you wind up being wrong, is what gets people fired. I also doubt that the majority of NFL scouting departments would all fall prey to the allure of the Manning name. I'm sure there was a bump, but insignificant at best.

Re 187:
THAT I agree with one hundred percent. Comparing Eli Manning to his brother Peyton and John Elway (although this one rarely happens) is foolish, and that is a standard he should not have used to judge his performance.

I also agree that the baggage does indeed effect our perception of Eli Manning and, perhaps, his on-field performance, if one subscribes to the idea that there is too much pressure put on #1 overall draft picks. Where I disagree, however, is that I do not feel its an adequate... excuse or reason. Yeah, it may seem unfair that he is held up to far higher standards, but that comes with the territory of going #1 overall in the draft -- and that is just amongst real knowledgeable football fans or real passionate Giants fans. That is why I dislike the hypothetical scenarios: if Eli were performing better, or rather, more consistently, then these discussions would not take place. Based on his current performance, though, we look back and either say A) "wow, he had no business going #1 overall" or B) "wow, he really has unfair pressure on him since he went #1 overall".

That was my main point, but I am a wordy bastard of a college student and it got lost in my post. My bad.

191
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 2:23pm

Yeah, it may seem unfair that he is held up to far higher standards

Why? He's getting paid to perform like a #1 overall pick. Is he performing like one?

192
by Jimi (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 3:21pm

BlueStarDude:

That Cowboys blog you linked is the best Cowboys site I've ever been to. Thank you!

193
by Kyle (not verified) :: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 7:15pm

Re 191
What?!

Did you read my posts? I completely disagree with people who think it is unfair, I merely pointed out that "yeah, it may seem unfair to some". I firmly argued that Eli deserves to be held to such standards, regardless of some people thinking otherwise, because he went #1 overall.

Talk about taking quotes out of context.

194
by Zug Zug (not verified) :: Sun, 05/27/2007 - 3:26am

I think this was mentioned before, but I see this coming up a lot in this thread. About Eli's draft day manipulation, I really believe it is unfair to hold that against him. If he was Mr. Manning, financial analyst, and he was given the choice to work at Smith Barney or KPMG, and a Barney recruiter got to him first, would he be the object of such vitriol if he turned them down because he didn't want to work for them?

Yes he spurned one organization, but he had an accurate assesment of his worth at another organization, and decided to cast his lot with the latter. For anyone who has been on a job interview and decided during or after the meeting that the company wasn't for them, would you feel bad if someone told you you were selfish for not taking their offer to do the same job somewhere more to your liking?

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by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/30/2007 - 11:46pm

Did you read my posts? I completely disagree with people who think it is unfair, I merely pointed out that “yeah, it may seem unfair to some�. I firmly argued that Eli deserves to be held to such standards, regardless of some people thinking otherwise, because he went #1 overall.

I know you disagree with those who think it's unfair, but you were disagreeing because "well, he did go #1 overall." Where someone went in the draft really is immaterial. The fact that Manning's sucking up almost $10+M cap space is the real problem.