Four Downs
Offseason analysis of the NFL, division by division

Four Downs: NFC East

Best player available analysis by Sean McCormick
Remainder of Four Downs by Bill Barnwell

(Ed. note: For this round of Four Downs, we're pleased to present Sean McCormick's "Best Player Available" analysis for each division, along with the usual gang commenting on other moves by each team before and since the draft. The reasoning behind BPA analysis is explained in this article. Each player drafted is listed along with his position on four different independent draft boards and the Best Player Available according to each of those boards. Please note that two of these boards only ranked 100 players.)

Dallas Cowboys

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
18 LB Bobby Carpenter 18, 23, 27, 33 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
53 TE Anthony Fasano 53, 63, 74, UR DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
92 DE Jason Hatcher 151, 176, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
125 WR Skyler Green 153, 211, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
138 DB Pat Watkins 55, 93, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
182 DT Montavious Stanley 92, 127, 149, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
211 OT Pat McQuistan UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
224 OT E.J. Whitley 211, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

Bill Parcells has a long history of bringing in familiar players whenever he takes a new job. Now that he has been coaching for over two decades, it was perhaps inevitable that Parcells would take the next step and draft the children of his ex-players. So long as you are getting decent value on the pick, the strategy makes a good deal of sense. When a first-round pick flops, it often isn't because of a lack of physical talent but rather because of character issues of one sort or another. Parcells knows exactly what he is getting in Bobby Carpenter: a smart, technically sound linebacker who plays within the context of the game plan. Carpenter will be the anchor that allows DeMarcus Ware to concentrate on attacking the quarterback. Complementary starters are usually taken in the second or third round, but with Dallas having put together an excellent defensive draft last year, they had the luxury of bypassing players with higher ceilings for one with a high floor.

Anthony Fasano is another player Parcells has a thick dossier on. Fasano is a sound blocker and an excellent short-to-intermediate receiver who has drawn comparison to fellow Golden Domer Mark Bavaro. He has an impressive work ethic and comes with experience in Dallas' offensive system. Again, there were players with higher grades available at the position, but none came with the Charlie Weis seal of approval. Parcells believes that a two-tight end set is now better able to generate mismatches than a three-receiver set, and the expectation is that Fasano will be able to share the field effectively with Jason Witten.

While Dallas may have sacrificed some upside with their first day picks, they did find some good value on the second day with Pat Watkins and Montavious Stanley. Watkins is a bit taller than the norm for a safety, and his size gives him the ability to match up well in coverage against tight ends and big wide receivers. He'll contribute immediately in red zone packages and on special teams. Stanley is a traditional two-down tackle who can stuff the run and provide the occasional bull rush. He's a good enough athlete to rotate in at any of the three defensive line spots, but his future is probably at nose tackle.

Recent Free Agent Signings

Not wanting the abrasiveness of Terrell Owens to be the only thing irritating Bill Parcells' immaculate sunburn, the Cowboys added Mike Vanderjagt to be their kicker for the 2006 season. Adding a proven veteran kicker is a little bit of a sea change for the Cowboys, who haven't had a veteran kicker start the season for them since 1994 (Eddie Murray, who was ancient then and would come back to the Cowboys five years later).

Readers of Football Outsiders know how we feel about the fungibility of kickers not named "Adam Vinatieri" or "David Akers." The advantage the Cowboys got by spending the league minimum on a kicker allowed them to funnel that money toward depth elsewhere. Sure, those minimum-salary kickers were bad, but that's a function of Dallas scouting, not a lack of kickers on the market. Just ask Rob Bironas or Matt Bryant.

With the signing of Vanderjagt, the Cowboys are getting a kicker who was very accurate last (regular) season, but has also been an absolute cypher on kickoffs over the last three seasons, ranking 30th in our ratings for kickoff value in 2003 and 32nd in 2004. He did not even attempt a kickoff in 2005. It begs the question whether, for the veteran minimum, a 50-year-old Eddie Murray might not be a better value. Granted, it doesn't beg very hard.

Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

The Cowboys signed three linebackers: John Saldi from Texas Tech, Oliver Hoyte of North Carolina State, and Virginia's Kai Parham. Parham declared as a junior for the draft and promptly found that no one was actually terribly interested in drafting him. With the Cowboys linebacking corps lacking depth even after the drafting of Bobby Carpenter, expect Parham to stick as a nickel linebacker. Saldi, the son of former Cowboys tight end Jay Saldi, seems mostly like a bone being thrown to a local guy. Then again, his father went from being an undrafted free agent himself to earning a NFL pension.

The Cowboys also signed Yale quarterback Jeff Mroz; in his pre-draft diary, Mroz notes the success of Ryan Fitzpatrick (as in "3rd-worst in QB DVOA in 2005" Ryan Fitzpatrick) as a motivator for him, and even manages to get a Rob Johnson dig in. The report on his pre-draft pro day notes, "He threw the ball well, but was pushed for time as the scouts were hurrying to get across town to anther pro day being held at the University of Pittsburgh." If the scouts are bailing on your workout because they want to beat the traffic, well, let's just say you should become familiar with the fine eating establishments of Albany, Macon, and Bossier-Shreveport.

New York Giants

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
32 DE Mathias Kiwanuka 20, 31, 40, 48 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
44 WR Sinorice Moss 35, 36, 36, 36 RB LenDale White (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
96 LB Gerris Wilkerson 64, 86, 94, 96 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
124 DE Barry Cofield 90, 98, 107,115 OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
129 OT Guy Whimper 98, 141, 155, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
158 DB Charlie Peprah 164, 207, UR, UR DT Babtunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
232 DB Gerrick McPhearson 143, 171, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

The Giants have gotten more aggressive in recent years about positioning themselves to grab players they like at value, and they continued that trend this year, sliding down seven spots to land Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and then trading up in the second round to take Sinorice Moss. Opinions were split on Kiwanuka, whose stock tumbled somewhat after D'Brickashaw Ferguson toyed with him during Senior Bowl week. Kiwanuka has terrific physical tools, but he plays too upright and without leverage. Boston College has a bit of a reputation for not adequately developing its prospects, and it's likely that a few years with Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora will improve Kiwanuka's technique tremendously. With Umenyiora and the talented Justin Tuck already on hand to pick up the slack should Strahan start to fade, the Giants didn't have a pressing need for a pass rusher, but they stuck by their board and took the player who they clearly felt was the best available.

While several of the boards weren't big on the Kiwanuka pick, they were unanimous in applauding the trade up for Sinorice Moss. Moss is a similar player to his older brother Santana, but his lack of production at the college level makes him a riskier selection. Moss will duke it out with Tim Carter for the right to have Eli Manning point at him in the huddle and say, "You go deep." He didn't handle the return duties at Miami, but Moss has the talent to be a quality punt and kickoff returner.

New York continued to find good value with just about every selection; four of their final five picks were steals on at least one of the draft boards. Gerris Wilkerson bounced around between defensive end, middle linebacker and outside linebacker, but with enough reps he could develop into a force on the weakside. Barry Cofield didn't make many plays at Northwestern, but he can stack at the point of attack. The Giants need bodies along the interior line with the departure of Kendrick Clancy, and Cofield figures to work his way onto the field during run downs. He may even challenge the disappointing William Joseph for a starting spot.

New York may have found some cornerback depth at the bottom of the draft with Maryland's Gerrick McPhearson. McPhearson's instincts are suspect but he has great athleticism. He probably won't amount to more than a nickel or dime back, but with the loss of Will Allen and Will Peterson, the team needs all the depth it can get at the position.

Recent Free Agent Signings

After shopping his services around the league and finding that he wasn't going to get the $10 million bonus he and his agents were asking for (a situation which, if you are so inclined, you can feel free to refer to as being "Postonized"), LaVar Arrington suddenly decided that he was willing to take a physical with the Giants. When that physical revealed that they'd only have to stuff a $5 million bonus into Arrington's pockets, the Giants had themselves a new starting outside linebacker.

What's interesting is that Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis is switching Arrington from the weak side to the strong side, feeling he's a better fit there. Tim Lewis knows more than I do about football. A lot more. That being said, Arrington's biggest weakness is his propensity to fall for play fakes, something that will only be exacerbated if it results in Jason Witten being open for a 15-yard gain.

The Giants also acquired some veteran depth, adding former Packers center Grey Ruegamer, former starting Giant linebacker Brandon Short -- who may take over on the weak side -- tight end Boo Williams, and former Bills quarterback Rob Johnson. Right. Read that again. Rob Johnson. The guy who hasn't been in the league since 2003, when he was one of the 47 quarterbacks who threw passes for the Raiders that year. Rob Johnson has become so irrelevant that an "I'm Feeling Lucky" Google search for Rob Johnson brings up the webpage of Rob Johnson, Ohio's premier rock guitar instrumentalist. Pro Football Prospectus 2006 features one last reminder of the awful mistake the Bills made by playing Johnson over Doug Flutie, and Johnson has been mostly injured and out of football since then. It is pretty much unfathomable that he got a gig without a Len Pasquarelli/Jason Whitlock Jeff George-level hype job. Maybe he will teach Jared Lorenzen pilates or something.

Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

The Giants only added a couple of undrafted free agents immediately after the draft, one of which was George Mason power forward Jai Lewis. Listed by the Giants at 6'5", 292, Lewis is being slotted in as a offensive tackle for the time being. A recent glut of signings revealed very few hopefuls for 2006 roster spots but, if you have a moment, pray for the continued success of former Oregon State defensive tackle Sir Henry Anderson. Yes -- Sir Henry Anderson. He will compete with Junior Ioane for a role as a backup run-stuffer.

Philadelphia Eagles

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
14 DT Broderick Bunkley 8, 9, 9, 10 DT Broderick Bunkley (4)
39 OT Winston Justice 10, 12, 12, 15 OT Winston Justice (4)
71 DE Chris Gocong 86, 212, UR, UR TE Leonard Pope, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
99 G Max-Jean Gilles 40, 48, 50, 61 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
109 WR Jason Avant 85, 114, 115, UR WR Demetrius Williams, DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
147 WR Jeremy Bloom 181, 187, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DE Mark Anderson, DB DeMario Minter
168 LB Omar Gaither 102, 190, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
204 DT LaJuan Ramsey UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

Boom. Boom. Cough. Boom. Perhaps no team's draft graded out better on the four boards than Philadelphia's. The Eagles got good value with almost every pick, but they were particularly impressive early on, taking the consensus best player available with both their first- and second-round picks. Broderick Bunkley turned a lot of heads at the combine with his chiseled physique, his 40 reps on the bench, and his impressive athleticism. Justice also tested well, and the feeling before the draft was that he would go in the top fifteen despite his uneven form at USC. Several mock drafts had the Eagles choosing between the two players, but in the end they landed both.

Bunkley will have the more immediate impact. He plays with great anticipation and a high motor, and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson figures to pair him with last year's first round pick Mike Patterson to form an undersized but disruptive interior line. Bunkley will rotate with Darwin Walker, but as he gains experience he figures to win more of the playing time.

Justice will spend the year apprenticing behind Tra Thomas. While some character concerns undoubtedly contributed to Justice's slide, the more pressing issue was probably Justice's tendency to do just enough to get by. A tackle with his measureables should eliminate his man on almost every play, but Justice was one of the least consistent players on the Trojans offensive line. Thomas had to shed an underachiever label coming out of Florida State, and Philadelphia would be very happy to get a similar level of production from Justice.

The Chris Gocong selection didn't go over well with the boards, but it was cleverly done nonetheless, as the Jets were poised to take Gocong with the 71st pick before receiving the trade offer. The Jets were on the phone with Gocong and told him to hold on, they'd be drafting him in a few spots; instead, the Eagles promptly snatched Gocong. The Cal Poly product was highly sought as a DE/OLB hybrid by teams employing a 3-4 defense, but Philadelphia will try him out at strongside linebacker.

After the Gocong blip, Philadelphia went back to grabbing recognizable names, generally at good value. Max Jean-Gilles was considered the top guard prospect for much of the pre-draft period, but concerns about his weight pushed him down. Jean-Gilles is immoveable when he gets set, and he has quick feet for such a big man. If he doesn't eat himself out of the league, Jean-Gilles could be a nice addition to the offensive line.

Jason Avant was productive at Michigan, but he doesn't have the quickness to consistently separate from defenders. He should help carry on the Philadelphia tradition of fielding nothing but #2 receivers. Jeremy Bloom will work in as a slot receiver and return man. The Olympic skier impressed scouts with his willingness to compete at the combine shortly after returning from the Winter Games.

Recent Free Agent Signings

The Eagles have made some moves to tidy up their depth after the injury-riddled fiasco that was their 2005, adding quarterback Jeff Garcia, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, and defensive tackle Ed Jasper to one-year deals. Choosing a city that despises Terrell Owens was a good decision by Garcia's agent. Of course, finagling a five-year deal for Donovan McNabb to appear on the cover of Madden would've been an even better one.

The Eagles seem to be pretty set for the season at this point, hoping that the lack of Corey Simon and Owens-related drama in training camp will allow them a solid camp and preparation for the season. Expect them to grab a powerful running back as one of the training camp leftovers to provide a change of pace to Brian Westbrook, Reno Mahe, and Ryan Moats.

Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

Having mined Villanova's skill position players once for Westbrook, Philadelphia went back to the well by signing wide receiver J.J. Outlaw. An Eagles fan as a child, Outlaw will have to make the team on his special-teams skills. With 13 receivers on the squad and maybe three players (Reggie Brown, Greg Lewis, and Todd Pinkston) guaranteed spots, the fight between ten guys for the last two spots is worthy of an "Ultimate Fighter"-type show with Fred Barnett and Freddie Solomon as team coaches. Michael Gasperson will steal everyone's beanie, and it will be a good time for everyone involved.

Washington Redskins

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
35 LB Roger McIntosh 51, 77, 83, 96 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
153 DT Anthony Montgomery 275, UR, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
173 DB Reed Doughty 174, UR, UR, UR DT Babtunde Oshinowo (3), RB Andre Hall
196 DT Kedric Golston 174, 195, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
230 G Kili Lefotu UR, UR, UR, UR DB Dee Webb (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
250 LB Kevin Simon 239, 244, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)

On its face the decision to trade up for Miami linebacker Roger McIntosh looks like one of the worst decisions in the draft. Washington gave away a sixth-round pick and a future second-rounder so they could move up and take a player that every single board felt was more of a late second/early third round prospect. It's likely that the Redskins wanted to find an impact linebacker to replace LaVar Arrington and felt that there was a sizeable drop-off at the position after McIntosh, but even so, the price seems exorbitant. No team has exercised as few picks as Washington over the past five years, and needlessly trading away future picks will ensure that the trend continues.

That's not to say that McIntosh is a poor prospect. He's been limited by injuries, but when healthy he's a smooth and explosive linebacker with the coverage skills to stay on the field in passing situations. McIntosh may well fit Gregg Williams' scheme, but he's going to have to do more than just fit in order to justify the expensive trade up -- he's going to have to dominate.

Washington didn't have another pick until the fifth round, when they chose Minnesota defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery. There were a few scouts who liked Montgomery's consistent effort, but none of the boards felt he was especially good value. The other picks had a bit more support, as Reed Doughty, Kedric Golston and Kevin Simon were all minor steals on at least one draft board. Doughty is a true strong safety, effective in run support but with questionable coverage skills. He should make an impact on special teams.

Golston had injury problems at Georgia that limited his production, but if he can stay healthy he has the ability to hold up at the point of attack and to pressure the quarterback. He's not the physical specimen that Rod Wright is, but he'll be able to contribute this year. Kevin Simon is another player who dropped because of injury concerns, but he was extremely productive when he was on the field. Simon doesn't have the speed to handle tight ends or running backs in coverage, but he could find a role as a two-down middle linebacker.

Recent Free Agent Signings

The Redskins strategy has been the same for several years now: identify targets of interest, (sometimes) wait for free agent signing period to open up, sign with financial prejudice. Since Al Bogdan covered the Redskins' 2006 signing spree in the last NFC East Four Downs, the only addition the Redskins have made is nabbing cornerback Kenny Wright from the Jaguars. Wright will compete with Ade Jimoh to be the Skins' nickel back next season.

Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

With the Redskins carrying so much dead money on their cap, they become more and more reliant on the production of undrafted and minimum-cost free agents each year. While their starters are usually the pick of the year's free agent pool, the shiny veneer is paid for by a lack of depth, particularly on defense. Of the 11 guys listed as primary backups on the depth chart, six were undrafted free agents from the last three years. In that vein, the Redskins added four defensive players who may see time on the Redskins defense this year. Cornerbacks Chijoke Onyenegecha (Oklahoma) and Chris Hawkins (Marshall) could win spots in a wide-open Redskins secondary.

Comments

276 comments, Last at 08 Aug 2006, 11:08am

151 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I'm really not trying to pick a fight with Pat, or any other Eagles fan. All that needs to be said, IMHO, is that the Eagles have more to prove than the rest of the division because they finished last, and because of HOW they finished last.

Last season was a complete disaster, both physically and psychologically. Can the Eagles reverse everything they need to reverse to have a shot at the Super Bowl in just one offseason? Crazier things have happened, but we'll see. The other teams? Though their wheels could also fall off just as spectacularly, they simply don't have as much making up to do. For now.

152 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Might I also point out — yet again — that the Eagles had BY FAR the best coaches during that span, besides Parcells? How is this even debatable?

Because the other teams did pretty decently on their own? I don't subscribe to the "good coaches kick bad coaches butts" theory.

I don’t care what they did in 2004, because I saw the debacle that was last year.

Last year was last year. When you make any predictions about this year, you're making a reasonable extrapolation from previous years given the offseason. As far as I can tell, you're totally focused on the latter half of last year, and completely neglecting the offseason (i.e. the fact that injured players recovered).

Heck, the Philly offensive line was good at the beginning of last year. Is that recent enough? And this year's version will be strictly better than the beginning of last year's version.

T.O. had a good to great 2005 during the time he was actually on the field.

DVOA says he was akin to Anquan Boldin. That's 'good'. It's not 'good to great'. Same deal with Howard. And with regards to a defensive line, adding Howard (who, in 2004, had close to half of New Orleans' sacks by himself) seems not so far from adding Owens, except in the fact that the public fawns over Owens.

D-line is not WR, where one player completely transforms your unit. Not usually, anyway.

Wait, then why did it matter that they lost Derrick Burgess? If losing Derrick Burgess 'hurt them more than anyone (also known as you) could anticipate', why wouldn't gaining Howard 'help them more than you could anticipate'?

I don't get your point. Defensive line can, and has been, changed by the presence of one player quite often. It's easy - lose strength on the left side, and they double team the right side. Not many defensive ends can beat two, three guys on him.

which might be one reason why the Saints’ all-around defense was so mediocre last season, despite his presence.

Or it could be the fact that Howard only played a few games last year, and was injured? Or possibly the fact that the rest of the defense was pretty freaking awful?

I’m surprised they didn’t make the playoffs!

You do realize that the team ranked 32nd did, in fact, make the playoffs. All the way to the AFC Championship, in fact.

Most would call this a pretty reasonable conclusion, based on the events of last season. Then there's you

Actually, most people here (other than a few fans of other NFC East fans) seem to be agreeing with me.

Philly in the first half of last year was still a very good team. Look at the Week 8 DVOA rankings, for instance, where Philly's 14th: and that's with a huge -11% ST DVOA (from Akers getting injured) yanking them down.

You seem to be judging them by the second half of the year, where they were extraordinarily bad (see the Playoff DVOA rankings: note the weighted offensive DVOA of ~-30%). But the team that played in the second half of 2005 isn't going to be playing in the first week of 2006.

153 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Actually, amusingly, by the last DVOA rankings of 2005, Dallas was worse than Philly. Wow.

154 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat, I think we're really disagreeing over not much of anything. If you don't subscribe to the coaching thing, fine.

Explain the Patriots, then. Actually, forget I said that - we'll pretent that the Patriots routinely field the most talented team in the league, and the coaching isn't nearly as important as I say it is. Heck, it's not like the Patriots had any injury problems last year. Oh wait...

As for the Broncos, that was a fluke in just about every way possible. I haven't looked it up, but the Broncos were very good against the run and very sound in pass defense. Usually, teams that have no pass rush at all don't make the title games. Watching both the Broncos and the Eagles last year, I'd say the Broncos had no sacks but created decent pressure at times - while the Ealges lacked sacks AND pressure. But hey, let's throw my amateur analysis out the window: if you want to use the Broncos as the one example that defeats the stereotype, again, be my guest. But I daresay that's not the norm.

Wait, then why did it matter that they lost Derrick Burgess? If losing Derrick Burgess ‘hurt them more than anyone (also known as you) could anticipate’, why wouldn’t gaining Howard ‘help them more than you could anticipate’?

I don’t get your point. Defensive line can, and has been, changed by the presence of one player quite often. It’s easy - lose strength on the left side, and they double team the right side. Not many defensive ends can beat two, three guys on him.

Okay, fine. Don't get it. Forget about my Stubblefield/Wilkinson example. Perhaps you missed my "not usually" addendum to my original statement. It is the exception, not the rule. It's really a matter of opinion, because I can come up with just as many examples of a line not changing due to the addition of one (or even two) players as I can come up with examples of it actually working.

The Burgess comment was unnecessary, too. Along with everything else that happened to their d-line, adding Burgess' loss kinda tips the scales, wouldn't you say? Not to mention Simon's loss, which I also mentioned. And the injuries you keep going on about.

So no -- it's not that easy. But I'll give you this: adding a player like Howard to Kearse (IF Kearse stays healthy) is something I hadn't considered.

You're totally right - the Eagles team that finished the season won't be the Eagles team that started the season. The Lions team that finished the season won't be the Lions team that starts the season, either. Nor will the Giants, Redskins or Cowboys.

You're also right that I am ignoring the first half of last season, for the most part. The seeds of the implosion were planted well before then, but it hadn't manifested on the field yet. The reason I put so much focus on the second half is because it WAS the second half. If they had improved as the season progressed, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I'm not denying the valdity of alot of your points. But as I keep saying, it remains to be seen whether this Eagles team has improved both physically and psychologically to turn things around this season after the disastrous way they finished the last one.

155 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Eagles don't have to prove anything to this Seahawks fan. Before things went catastrophic for them on MNF, they played my Seahawks nearly to a standstill.

Plenty of teams have worse options than Moats and Westbrook. They've got quite the up and comer in Brown, and the beginings of a spectacular O-line.

Redskins have father time chasing them all over the field. Brandon Lloyd will be in a lot of highlight clips. Sadly, if a play isn't destined to be on Sports Machine, his hands turn into pumpkins. We still don't know if the Giants have a QB who can complete better than 52% of his passes. The Cowboys are probably the only team in the division other than the Eagles which is definately better on paper. And like the Eagles, there are a few lingering questions for them too.

156 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I think all the teams are better on paper. It's the "on paper" part that's always the rub, isn't it? The Redskins have been great on paper (on and off) for years, but it didn't amount to much before they finally put it together last year.

157 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The Burgess comment was unnecessary, too. Along with everything else that happened to their d-line, adding Burgess’ loss kinda tips the scales, wouldn’t you say? Not to mention Simon’s loss, which I also mentioned. And the injuries you keep going on about.

Uh, there weren't many injuries to the defensive line last year, other than Darwin Walker missing 3 games. Kearse missed the last game. Those injuries took the situation from "bad" to "worse", but they weren't the root cause.

Simon's loss didn't do anything. Patterson played about exactly as good.

It really was the fact that instead of having two actual pass rushers, Philly had one pass rusher and an inanimate carbon rod for 8 games. Then they put in Trent Cole, and suddenly everything worked again - for a few weeks, before people realized that Cole was a rookie.

Really, go look at the game logs for the games where Trent Cole started playing (11/06 to 11/27) - Kearse had nearly one sack a game those four weeks (Cole had 7 himself!), and a bunch more tackles. More importantly, the defense held again - opponents scored 17, 21, 27, 14 points against them (as opposed to, uh, a lot at other times). They still lost three of them, but those losses were extremely close.

After that, teams got enough scouting on Cole that they could neutralize him, and so *poof* go Kearse's sacks again.

The reason I put so much focus on the second half is because it WAS the second half. If they had improved as the season progressed, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Their defense didn't collapse. What collapsed was their play from the quarterback position. He's not there anymore. Substituting a healthy McNabb for McMahon makes Philly a wildcard playoff contender last year. The other work in the offseason (getting Howard, other players coming back) makes them a Super Bowl contender this year.

There's a really good article about what happened to the Eagles here - it was at the time of their first loss to Dallas, which is when the wheels started coming off.

One thing you're neglecting is that the Eagles would've been a really strong team in the beginning of the year if their special teams hadn't collapsed. Their special teams didn't entirely collapse due to Akers: it was hurt by the loss of Ike Reese to the Falcons, and then by the loss of Akers. By the end of the season, though, another player had stepped up to fill Reese's place (Mikell) and Akers was healthy, and in the Playoff DVOA rankings, Philly again had the 2nd ranked special teams in the league.

Anyway, if it's the collapse that bothers you so much, why do you think that Dallas has a chance? Dallas actually collapsed worse than Philly did. At midseason, Dallas's DVOA was 23.7%. By the last ranking, Dallas's weighted DVOA was -12.8%. That's actually significantly worse than Philly's.

Curiously, their situation is similar: they had two glaring faults (Philly's was their DL and their WRs), one of which they didn't address, one of which they did. One was their offensive line (which they didn't significantly address - note that I'm not saying whether or not it will be better, just that they didn't significantly address it) the other was their special teams.

Part of the reason why I think Dallas will end up the odd man out in the NFC East is because I think Mike Vanderjagt sucks, and Dallas will again have shoddy field goal kicking and likely awful kickoffs as well.

The seeds of the implosion were planted well before then

That I really don't agree with. I'm not a big fan of "motivation" or "they didn't play like a team" if it can be explained by much simpler reasons. Occam's Razor: if I can explain it by something I can see, why bother invoking something I can't?

158 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I don't understand all this Cowboy love. The addition of T.O. isn't going to make Drew Bledsoe any younger or more mobile. Are they better than last year with some minor OL upgrades? Probably. Superbowl material? Not likely.

159 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

More importantly, the defense held again - opponents scored 17, 21, 27, 14 points against them (as opposed to, uh, a lot at other times).

Actually, let me be clearer here: the defense allowed 17, 14, 20, and 14 points. The other points came on offensive turnovers.

The striking difference is Dallas: 456 yards in the first game, 241 in the second game. That's what Philly's defense is capable of with two competent pass rushers, and what happens to them when they only have one.

160 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat,

Fair enough. You certainly know more about the nuts and bolts of the Eagles than I would, since they aren't my favorite team. Your data concerning Cole and Kearse is very compelling. And I didn't really put much stock into the special teams explanations until you pointed them out.

I think we'll just have to agree that I'm a firmer believer in intangibles than you are. Some teams play above their apparent talent levels, some teams/units play above the sum of their parts, and some teams suffer loads of injuries yet continue to perform in those areas and overall. But I guess intangibles aren't what FooballOutsiders is all about, right?

161 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Fair enough. You certainly know more about the nuts and bolts of the Eagles than I would, since they aren’t my favorite team.

Absolutely. Note that that tends to be why I'm very careful about stating things about other teams. I'll get into very loud arguments with Matthew Furtek about the Redskins, though. The lack of depth on the Redskins line has got to bite them at some point soon.

I will say, though, that I'm not being that defensive about Philly just because they're my favorite team. I have a bunch of other favorite teams that I'd love to see do well, but I have no belief that the 49ers or Chiefs will be decent this year.

I think we’ll just have to agree that I’m a firmer believer in intangibles than you are.

Sure, that's fine. I don't mind other people believing in intangibles if it's for pointless speculating. It's when the season starts that I get very defensive about objective vs subjective rankings.

162 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Just a thought for Redskin fans about Archuleta. While I like him a whole lot, this seems to be the wrong division for him. His biggest weakness is coverage, and he is now going up against 3 teams that all feature TE sets prominately, not to mention Westbrook and Barber coming out of the backfield. While he is very good in the box and on a blitz, this could be a long year in that seconday, especially when teams send out a 2 TE package that has both going out.

163 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

look people. criticize me all you want, but i speak the truth. i appericiate mr. cabana for agreeing with me, but i dont need any help.

MARK MY WORDS. the eagles are not getting into the playoffs, or even close. THE NFC EAST IS TOO TOUGH OF A DIVISION. i mean do you see the eagles beating any of the elite teams?

i see them going 5-11 with wins against the texans, titans, packers, 49ers, and the titans again. they will probably lose to the giants x2, redskins x2, cowboys x2, buccanneers, jaguars, colts, falcons, panthers.

they might go 6-10 if they upset the falcons which seems possible. their schedule is actually pretty tough now that i see it. but they dont play the pats, broncos, hawks, steelers, bengals, but still, they are not doing better than 6-10 or maybe even 7-9 if their extremely lucky. and who knows, they might lose to the titans or the packers.

164 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re: 142 Your case seems strong, but as someone else mentioned, DVOA isnt a perfect statistic. Additionally, if you rely soley on statistics you are missing the bigger picture of the game. This isn't baseball or basketball, where 1 on 1 matchups happen often and statistics can be compiled and a team judged based on a collection of individual performances.

The fact that they were playing against weaker opponents would naturally give them better performances, which will increase their statistical performance. Before you kill me, I know that DVOA takes this into account. However, individual plays will be have greater disparities than I believe DVOA allows for when you are going up against opponents that are so weak they are totally ineffective. Football is more than what can be measured by their statistical performances, if you simply look at the numbers you miss out on the gestalt. Yes its messy, and hard to quantify, but if you only look at a collection of individual plays you miss out on the how they got those numbers.

Thats not to say the Eagles were bad. Quite the opposite, they were nearly the ONLY team in the NFC those seasons to deserved to get that far from 2001-2004. Other posters have said this as well, they had an easier time getting there, and that gave them better statistical performances, not the other way around.

165 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Thats not to say the Eagles were bad. Quite the opposite, they were nearly the ONLY team in the NFC those seasons to deserved to get that far from 2001-2004.

Do people only remember 2004? 2001 had the Rams - you know, 'greatest show on turf' Rams, 2002 had the Bucs, who, y'know, won the Super Bowl. 2003 had the Cowboys, the Panthers... look, we've had the rest of this discussion already. Read post 148: even Philly's division was only bad in 2004.

Where in the world did this "Philly just beat up on bad teams" idea come from? Are people's memories really so short?

i mean do you see the eagles beating any of the elite teams?

Considering they very nearly beat the Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants in 2005 (and two of them with Mike McMahon) I think the answer to that is "yes".

If you would offer any comments other than "I'm right, you're wrong" you might convince a few people.

166 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

what i meant by that is. do you see the eagles beating the colts? is there any chance in hell that donovan mcnabb is going to out QB peyton manning? joseph addai is going to do pretty good running behind that line with the defense focused against the pass.

next, the cowboys, redskins, giants, all improved greatly over the past offseason. all the eagles did is get a DL with their firrst pick and thats it.

cowboys: got T.O and jason allen to help in the secondary.

Redskins: got Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Randle El, and little if any help from the draft.

Giants: gott lavar arrington, sinorice moss, sam madison, and a talented de to replace strahan soon.

i dont see how the eagles are going to win this division.

167 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

do you see the eagles beating the colts? is there any chance in hell that donovan mcnabb is going to out QB peyton manning? joseph addai is going to do pretty good running behind that line with the defense focused against the pass.

Even if they can't beat the Colts.. that's what, 15-1, then?

In any case, I do think Philly could beat the Colts. If you poke around here enough, you'll find very detailed articles (more than just 'Do you think McNabb can out-QB Peyton Manning?' as if the game was just a passing competition) including one that points out that, in fact, Philly is a team that's built to beat the Colts. To quote: remember back to my preview from last year’s Super Bowl, when I predicted that the Patriots would beat the Eagles because nearly all of Philadelphia’s offensive weapons are designed to take advantage of teams with bad linebackers. Which position is Indy’s obvious weakness? Yep.

Think about it. Two receiving tight ends? A RB who's basically a short-yardage receiver? Yeah. They're still targeting linebackers.

all the eagles did is get a DL with their firrst pick and thats it.

If you ignore the addition of Howard to fix their biggest problem from the previous year and every draft position after the first round, sure, that's all they did. The other additions they have are low key, but they'll probably have just as much impact as the Redskins adding Brandon Lloyd (seriously, Brandon Lloyd? The guy that the 49ers were happy to lose?), for instance: Matt Schobel was a good tight end from the Bengals, which gives Philly two receiving threats at tight end. Hell, Jabar Gaffney (who Philly also picked up) had a better year according to DVOA than Lloyd did - Lloyd's yardage looks better, but that ignores the huge amounts of passes that came his way which weren't caught.

Howard's a big addition. In the weeks where Trent Cole was a pass-rushing threat, Philly's defense improved tremendously. Sticking someone who will be a constant threat means that it's not a question whether or not Kearse or Howard will reach the QB. It's a question of when.

168 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Where in the world did this “Philly just beat up on bad teams� idea come from? Are people’s memories really so short?

Pat, let me repeat this one more time, and maybe it will sink in:

NOBODY IS SAYING THAT PHILLY ONLY BEAT UP ON BAD TEAMS.

Nobody is saying that because everyone realizes that it's not true.

What people ARE saying is that the Eagles did benefit from the fact that the NFC East was not exactly providing the stiffest competition during the Eagles period of dominance. If you think for one second that the NFC East was anywhere near as tough from 2001-2004 as it is now, you are entitled to your opinion. And the rest of us are entitled to think you're nuts.

So you might want to take a step back and a couple of deep breaths instead of seeing red anytime anyone said anything "bad" about the Eagles. Especially when what is being said isn't really bad at all.

169 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

One thing that bothers me is the way fans often don't bother to look more deeply into the personnel moves (and the rationale) of teams other than their own, but then they rip on those other teams' moves and cite stats to back them up.

As someone who thinks coaching, psychology and intangibles matter just as much as names, numbers and statistics, I'm going to point out some glaring examples of teams that make moves that the numbers often don't explain until after the player gets there: Belichick's Patriots, Parcells' Cowboys and Gibbs' Redskins.

The coaching staffs of the NFC East are all better than they used to be, with the possible exception of Philadelphia's. But perhaps the biggest difference is that every team in the division now has a coach and a system the players believe in.

The Redskins never had that until Gibbs' return. The Giants had it in 2000, and lost it for a few years. Campo's Cowboys were a joke before Parcells came in, but cleaning up the mess took time despite his first-year success (which I am inclined to think was a fluke, since he hadn't had the chance to rebuild the team in his image yet).

Wht does this have to do with player analysis? Simple. Different coaches use different methods to succeed -- and different players. Joe Gibbs has never put very much stock in the draft, he's always preferred 'proven' veterans over younger players, and he has always gotten the most out of talent that on paper seems inadequate. Parcells does more with the draft, but he still favors older players over younger ones and he still gets more out of his talent than you'd expect (paging Vinny Testaverde).

Gibbs is unique, because unlike Parcells, he has a horrible draft history -- even when he had GMs. For every Darrell Green I remember from the 80s, there were a bunch of Desmond Howards, Tom Carters, Bobby Wilsons... you get the idea. Nonetheless, Gibbs succeeded because he went after and overvalued players that he could get the most out of in his system.

A lot of people will never let Daniel Snyder live down his early-ownership spending sprees. I happen to think Snyder is a first-class jerk. But I've also been tracking his team's progress.

And to be fair, the Redskins aren't doing now what they did back Snyder first took over. Literally, the only difference now between the Redskins and other teams in free agency is that the Redskins give out a couple million more in guarnateed money per contract. Given that Washington generates more cash and revenue than any other team in the league, that's hardly a surprise.

Everyone talks about Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Mark Carrier, Laveranues Coles and Chad Morton when they want to rip on Snyder. Strangely, these same people never mention their increasing success with FAs and trade acquisitions, especially the last two years: Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Casey Rabach, Cornelius Griffin, Marcus Washington, Shawn Springs, Antonio Pierce, Warrick Holdman, Ryan Clark, Phillip Daniels, Joe Salave'a, and a whole bunch of other so-called "bums" and no-names -- particularly on defense, but also cropping up here and there on offense.

The difference? Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams. Like Parcells, they don't care what the stats say. All they want is a performer within their system. People act as if their reliance on undrafted free-agents is a weakness that will put these teams in a bind -- as if there was this huge gap in talent level between lower-round picks and undrafted FAs. You hear it all the time on TV; "The only backup they have available for so-and-so is undrafted free agent so-and-so,; this could be a big problem!" Unless someone falls in the draft, there usually isn't such a big difference between a 5th-round pick and an undrafted FA. The draft is an inexact art; I wouldn't even call it a science.

On paper, both the Redskins and Cowboys lack depth on both lines. In reality, that means absolutely nothing until they show a dropoff in performance. The Redskins' backup d-linemen are complete no-names, yet they perform well when called upon with little dropoff thanks to superior coaching and insightful personnel selection. Sometimes it really is the system.

The Eagles had some no-names play well for them over the years on both lines, particularly on defense. Some of their linemen were highly touted coming out of college, but certainly not all of them.

As for the Redskins, when they traded Coles for Moss, everyone (including me) thought they were smoking crack. Who's laughing now? Who was one of the top 5 WRs in the league last year? Whose season would you rather have had: Laveranues Coles, Randy Moss, or Santana Moss? Who was a threat to hit a home run every time he touched the ball? Most of us never saw it coming.

Except for Joe Gibbs. He saw it coming.

Cornelius Griffin was an underachieving DT with more talent than effort. The Giants couldn't get any consistent play from him. The Redskins threw money at him; cue the laughter and fantasy football jokes. Now he is the anchor of the defensive line that is partly responsible for one of the league's top defenses. Who's laughing now?

Vinny Testaverde was a 40-year-old washed up has-been when Parcells called him to Dallas. When Parcells named him the starter after Quincy Carter flamed out, everybody laughed. Yet Parcells coaxed a seemingly impossible level of play from Vinny. In fact, Vinny was called by the Jets AGAIN when Pennington and Fiedler went down. Looks like we were mistaken there, too.

I think I've made my point. With good coaches and systems, you can make seemingly bad situations into good ones. You can flout conventional wisdom and statistics. And you can prove the naysayers wrong.

If you do, you'll end up with the 2005 Washington Redskins But when you don't have those things in place, you end up with the 2000-2004 Washington Redskins.

170 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

NOBODY IS SAYING THAT PHILLY ONLY BEAT UP ON BAD TEAMS.

That's not what I was saying, either.

What I was responding to was this:

Quite the opposite, they were nearly the ONLY team in the NFC those seasons to deserved to get that far from 2001-2004.

Which, quite frankly, is an idiotic statement if you look at the DVOA rankings of the teams (or even just remember that in 2002 the Bucs won the Super Bowl).

If you think for one second that the NFC East was anywhere near as tough from 2001-2004 as it is now,

The statement wasn't regarding the NFC East. It said the NFC. Could've been a typo, sure. But even if it did say the NFC East, I wouldn't've been that surprised if the Giants or Dallas made it to the Super Bowl in 2002-2003. The Patriots did win the thing in 2001 with a worse team.

But the idea that the competition in the NFC has never been this good is just ridiculous. In 2001 the best four teams in the NFL were in the NFC.

171 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

eagles are not going to do good this year. their schedule is too tough.

they play colts, giants, panthers, redskins, and jaguars. and those are just the playoff teams.

they also play the falcons and cowboys. thats about 10 losses right there.

172 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Stephen, why do you assume that the Eagles will lose every tough game? Sure, those are tough matchups for the Eagles, but the Eagles are a tough matchup for the other team as well.

173 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

What I'm wondering is when he realizes that the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys also play all of those teams (besides themselves, of course).

The strength-of-schedule games the Eagles have are the Packers and the 49ers. That's not exactly a tough schedule.

174 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

their scheduless are similar, but the redskins can take on the buccanners, while the eagles dont stand a chance. the cowboys can crush the lions, while the eagles cannot nescecerrily crush the falcons.

the giants, cowboys, and redskins can go 2-0 againsst the eagles. i dont know if anyone wants to argue that, but its true.

the giannts and the cowboys might split, and so on and so on.

the eagles have 6 guranteed losses.

175 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Hindsite is 20/20. Division games are ALWAYS tough. You are saying that the Giants, Redskins and Dallas all laid down against the Eagles during their run! NO WAY!
As for speculation - yes, all the teams are improved in the East - but guess who is battle tested??
Eagles to the Super bowl (yes I am an Eagles fan!)

176 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Oh and by the way Stephen - it's obvious that you have been a suffering Dallas fan, but please be objective instead of STUPID!

177 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

im not a dallas fan. im a broncos fan. and division games are not always tough.

i dont think the colts have any problem beating the texans or titans. i dont think the sea hawks have any problem beating the cardinals, 49ers, and rams. i doubt anyone in the nfc south has any problem beating the saints. the bears can beat everyone in their division easily. the browns and ravens are no challenge for the bengals and steelers.

with T.O and donovan mcnabb the eagles last year went 4-2 in their first 6 games, losing to the falcons and the cowboys. beating the chargers, chiefs (before larry johnson), raiders, and 49ers. all non playoff teams. they went 0-6 against their division.

SPECTACULAR.

178 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Hi Stephen, you have been getting a lot of stick from fellow readers but don't take it too much to heart. I am assuming you are fairly young and maybe new to this website. Can I just say that if you want to put forward strong opinions that's great but you'll get more respect from others if you can also put up firm evidence for your views. For example, why are six of the Eagles games certain losses? Funny things happen and if you were to gamble with that philosophy you'd soon be a poor man. Why must they lose all inter-division games? Since when was going to Philly to win easy?
I'm for my sins a Redskins fan so have a bias against the Eagles, but be honest, they had a lot of injuries to key players last year and managed without a top recognised WR prior to Owens. I think there are also serious questions over all the teams in the NFC East. The Skins have clear depth issues and a problem at QB. I watched them a lot last year and although his stats were decent I felt Brunnel played poorly in a lot of games. I also thought the O-line under-performed a lot. NY Giants have a question mark at QB too and if Barber regresses as is possible the offence goes backwards. Dallas has well documented issues protecting their QB (maybe addressed, maybe not) and I am personally not convinced by their secondary. It's possible these teams can basically play eachother to a stand still and ensure no one in the division makes the Championship game by preventing any chance for a record good enough for homefield in the play-offs.

179 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Seahawks lost twice to the Rams two seasons back- most of the players at both sides still there so relevent.
I think the Saints will take games from Carolina, Atlanta and Tampa at the Superdome.
Didn't the Ravens beat the Steelers last year?

180 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the cowboys can crush the lions, while the eagles cannot nescecerrily crush the falcons.

The Cowboys play the Falcons as well. The Giants face the Bears and the Seahawks. I think the Giants will have a tougher time beating them than Philly will with Green Bay and San Francisco.

they went 0-6 against their division.

They played 3 out of 6 division games with Mike McMahon at the helm, and still 4 of those games came down to the fourth quarter, and one went into overtime.

They went 0-6 due to bad luck - much like the Falcons went 6-2 due to good luck. Luck evens out.

181 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Actually, in a football season, luck usually doesn't even out. There aren't enough games for luck to even out over a whole season.

The most rediculous football analysis I've ever heard is "You are what your record says you are."

182 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the seahawks were different two years ago.

the steelers changed a lot over the postseason and offseason.

the giants are not going to win this division, ive said that before. the cowboys are. the redskins might get the wildcard spot with the other one going to carolina/tampa bay

the giants have a very tough schedule because they play the winners of the division. the eagles play the losers so their schedule might be easier but that doesnt mean they're going to beat the colts, jaguars, cowboys, or falcons.

the cowboys will probably beat the falcons. i think julius jones will come back to ggreatness this season. terrell owens will probably torch them for 10 cathces and 150 yards and 2 tds.

drew bledsoe isnt going to have an amazing season, but T.O. is, because hes promised to behave, and he misses football. when he gets on that field he is going to be determined and he is going to torch every single defense and have one of his best seasons yet. i expect him to have:

100 catches
1650 yards
15 tds.

183 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The Cowboys won't need to throw that much to TO - because their defense is going to be rock solid - however - TO could put them in contention for a long playoff run - to follow all the action - check out www.mysportshomepage.com

184 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Actually, in a football season, luck usually doesn’t even out. There aren’t enough games for luck to even out over a whole season.

I wasn't trying to claim it evens out over one season. I said it evens out.

the eagles play the losers so their schedule might be easier but that doesnt mean they’re going to beat the colts, jaguars, cowboys, or falcons.

For crying out loud, everyone else plays those teams too. Your argument seems to be "the eagles aren't going to win the division because their schedule is too hard." Why is their schedule too hard? "because they can't beat the colts, jaguars or falcons." Why can the other teams beat them, but not the Eagles? "because they're better than the eagles."

So, to summarize, the Eagles won't win the division because the other teams are better. No reason why, just because.

185 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The other teams ARE better.

are you saying eli manning with mr. burress and jeremy shockey, and tiki barber and michael strahan and osi U. and sam madision and LAVAR ARRINGTON arent going to beat donovan mcnabb and .... and.... those other guys?

are you saying that drew bledsoe and julius jones and Terrell Owens and that solid defense arent going to beat donovan mcnabb, jeremiah trotter, brian westbrook (who cant stay healthy or carry the load)

are you saying the mark brunell, santana moss, brandon lloyd, adam archulata, antwaan randle el, clinton portis, and that pretty good offensive line arent going to beat the eagles?

OF COURSE, THEY'RE ALL GOING TO SWEEP THE EAGLES JUST LIKE LAST SEASON.

AND THE GIANTS CAN BEAT THE FALCONS, CONTEND AGAINST THE COLTS, AND BEAT A LOT OF OTHER TEAMS. THEY WENT 11-5 LAST SEASON FOR A REASON, and now they're better this year than last year with LAVAR ARRINGTON AND SAM MADISON. AND SINORICE MOSS!!!!!!!

why should last year be any different than this year for the eagles?

186 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The other teams ARE better.

See? That's all I've been trying to point out. For all your attempts at showing why the Eagles won't win due to their schedule, or whatever, the real reason you're down on them is because you think they're a bad team.

No reason why. You just throw out a bunch of names ("these guys are good") and ignore players on Philly ("these guys are bad") ... for no particular reason whatsoever.

It's just annoying.

why should last year be any different than this year for the eagles?

Because the Eagles who played the latter half of last year aren't going to be playing anymore. Philly went 0-6 with Mike McMahon for half the games. You rated McNabb as one of the 5 best QBs in the game - you don't think replacing McMahon with McNabb will result in them getting one more win? Even considering the fact that they very nearly won, even with McMahon?

187 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

if i said that donovan mcnabb is one of the five best qbs in the game, i take that back. hes not. hes in the top 10, but not the top 5.

but with your logic, you say that if you get a good qb, much better than mcmahon, but worse than mcnabb, they would win those games? because thats your logic.

and also, what else would be my reasons for philly not getting into the playoffs?

if i said they were a good team, why would i think they are not getting into the playoffs?

oh and btw, donovan mcnabb lost agains the cowboys and the redskins last year. cowboys, twice, once with t.o

ALSO, the only time donovan mcnabb produced a great season, was with t.o, which was the only time ever in his career where he got above 60% percentage rate, ABOVE 3500 yards. more than 25 tds, and more than 90.0 qb rating. now that he lost t.o, HMMMM

hes going to be average.

the eagles might win one or two games against the division, not likely, but possible. that means 4 losses not counting their games against the colts, and jaguars. that means, if they win every other game, they will have a record of 10-6 which isnt a gurantee for the playoffs. the cowboys and redskins might get 11-5, or 10-6 each. so the best the eagles can do is the 5th or 6th seed of the playoffs.
WOW

188 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The Eagles only lost 4 games the season before they picked up TO, and one less with him...not a big difference!

The Eagles will win every home game, there's no place every team talks about besides Philadelphia...no one says "I hate playing at Dallas!"

So 8 home wins plus wins at Houston, San Francisco, and New Orleans = 11 Wins even if they lose the other 5 games!

Don't forget to mark your calendars "To's last game!" on October 8th...LOL!

189 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

why do they win every game at home? and if so, how come they won 6 games last year? did their schedule get mixed up or something? did they get only 6 wins?

also, they lost to the cowboys twice last year, both with dnovan mcnabb, and one of them was with T.O. HMM.

are you saying the eagles are so good they'll beat the panthers, jaguars, and falcons at home? i dont think so.

will they beat the giants at home? i dont think so. donovan mcnabb isnt that great a qb to take the whole team single handedly.

190 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Anyone else read the Stephen Yang posts and feel like he's going to ask for TP for his bunghole next?

191 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Stephen,
Unlike Pat, who seems like he is going to go on a homicidal rampage soon, I am trying my best to ignore your "analysis". Reason being, I would be just a frustrated as Pat. The reason that people come to FO is because we can talk frankly and honestly about all teams, not just our favorites, and those opinions for the most part are backed up with some statistical evidence. By repeatedly posting again and again that the Eagles will lose because they are bad or the other teams are better, you are just being a troll. Say it once, fine. If that is your opinion, fine. But at FO, people come not for the opinions, but WHY people have those opinions. I don't care that you think the Eagles suck. I want to know WHY you think the Eagles suck. I want to know WHY you think that the Falcons will come into Philly and beat the Eagles. I think that the Eagles play well at home and that the Falcons got a serious advantage against the Eagles by playing at home as well (not to mention having their MLB ejected before the game started). regardless or that, the fact that you are repeating the same tired opinions (sometimes contradicting yourself) is what is driving people like Pat, nuts.

I admit that I am an Eagles fan and probably have a bias towards their outlook against the rest of the teams in the division. for people to have a varying viewpoint or not like the Eagles doesn't bother me. What bothers me is posters like yourself who dilute the intelligent discussion on this site with random, unsupported opinions. If I want that, I'll go read a team messageboard full of homers.

so please, either provide some insight as to WHY you think the things you think, or simply enjoy the batner of people who put thought into their opinions.

192 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

ALSO, the only time donovan mcnabb produced a great season

McNabb, DPAR, 2003: 36.8 passing, 10.6 rushing, total 47.4. Puts him at 9th in total DPAR if my math is right. Just above Tom Brady - note that Brady's first great statistical season was also 2004. Completion percentage and yardage are biased - 9th ranked in total DPAR is still a borderline great season.

Even if that McNabb replaced McMahon, it still would've been an utterly fantastic upgrade. McMahon was awful last year: scaling to roughly equal number of games (McNabb played in 9, McMahon 7), McNabb would've provided an estimated 40 DPAR above and beyond McMahon.

both with dnovan mcnabb, and one of them was with T.O. HMM.

Read this for the first game. Some of us actually watch and break down the games to see what actually happened, rather than just blandly assuming that one team was better than the other. Philly's first loss was a defensive line and special teams failure - both of which, incidentally, have been fixed - special teams by the end of the year (Philly had the 2nd highest ST weighted DVOA by the last ranking) and the defensive line in the offseason.

For the second game, Dallas took the lead on a last minute turnover returned for a touchdown by McNabb - not exactly the kind of play you can expect to happen with regularity. And then, McMahon was actually able to drive Philly for a 60-yard field goal attempt, which missed. You don't think McNabb could've gotten them ten more yards?

The Any Given Sunday is actually a really interesting look at what caused Philly to struggle in the early part of the year (and then again in the later part of the year).

The Eagles defensive scheme is pretty simple: leave the corners on an island, and ensure the WRs don't have enough time to separate from the corners with blitz variations from the linebackers and the safeties. Without that pressure, Philly's secondary can easily be picked apart.

and also, what else would be my reasons for philly not getting into the playoffs?

Well, let's give my reasons why I don't think Dallas will get into the playoffs - first, I think their quarterback depth is really, really shallow, and given Bledsoe's age and the performance of the offensive line at the end of the year, I think it's likely that Dallas around midseason will have to start one of its backup quarterbacks for a game or two.

Second, one of Dallas's big weaknesses last year was their special teams, and I don't think they've improved them at all, especially if they allow Vanderjagt to kick off at all. If they do that, they're giving their opponents a free ten yards on every kickoff.

Third, Dallas, even by the end of the season, still had a weak run defense, and with a schedule that includes Atlanta, Washington twice, the Giants twice, that's not going to be an easy weakness for them to have - that's the 4th, 9th (twice), and 7th (twice) ranked rushing teams in the league. (Granted, it could've been much worse for them). That's not even including a few teams which could dramatically improve their rushing, like Arizona, for instance.

Now, would I be surprised if Dallas got into the playoffs? No, because if their offensive line improves, which it could, then the quarterback depth won't be an issue, and I could see their run defense improving, too. Plus, it's entirely possible they'll realize that Vanderjagt can't kickoff before it costs them any close games.

Do I think Dallas is a bad team? No, of course not. None of the teams in the NFC East are. I just think Dallas has a pretty strong potential to be a bad one.

193 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I want to know WHY you think that the Falcons will come into Philly and beat the Eagles. I think that the Eagles play well at home and that the Falcons got a serious advantage against the Eagles by playing at home as well (not to mention having their MLB ejected before the game started).

Trotter being ejected was huge: Atlanta's got the 4th best rushing offense in the league, and the 20th ranked passing offense: and what's the key to Philly's rush defense? Middle linebacker - without Trotter, Philly's rush defense was terrible in 2004. With Trotter, it massively improved.

Philly vs Atlanta should've been a gimme for Philly - Philly held Alexander to 49 yards, and Tomlinson to 7 yards - but Warrick Dunn runs for 117 yards, and Vick for 68?

Yeah, something went wrong there.

194 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Well said Pat.
It's well documented that teams perform better at home, Philly are a prime example of this and can be expected to pick up at least four wins there, in my opinion. I refuse to rule them out of play-off contention, nor anyone in the East- this is why it's such an interesting division.

195 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Oh, and incidentally, for Yang:

ok these are the QBs better than culpepper:

Peyton Manning
Tom Brady
Donovan Mcnabb
Carson Palmer*

You actually said McNabb was top four.

nor anyone in the East- this is why it’s such an interesting division.

Yeah, I agree. The other divisions have at least one punching bag, and the NFC West and North have two.

One funny thing I just noticed: why does Stephen Yang keep touting Atlanta as an elite team? The NFC South had Carolina, which again showed continued improvement through the year, and Tampa Bay, which was at least better than average the entire year. Atlanta's easily the second weakest team in the NFC South. Do I think Philly can beat them? Um. Yes? Green Bay beat them last year, for crying out loud.

196 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat, you noticed that little blurb about mcNabb too? nice to see that yang is consistent at being inconsistent.

197 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Second weakest? Look out for New Orleans this season (at this point I appear to have completely lost the plot)!

198 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Second weakest? Look out for New Orleans this season (at this point I appear to have completely lost the plot)!

To be clearer, I meant "easily at least the second weakest". I don't see how Tampa Bay or Carolina have hurt themselves enough to be considered weaker than Atlanta, and it's not like Atlanta had a ton of bad luck last year (far from it!).

199 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

fair enough, no criticism meant- I am acutely awaremy suspicion that NO could make the play-offs is considered mad by most.

200 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

FIRST OF ALL, AS ALL OF YOU CLEARLY REMEMBER WHAT I WROTE IN THE FIRST LINE OF POST 187,

"if i ever said that donovan mcnabb was a top five qb, i take that back"

that quote proves to me that some of you are arguing my point, simply because some of the more intelligent people actually want to argue what im saying and you just want to fit in with the crowd.

now that thats said. i am going to back up my reasons for why i think the eagles suck.

the eagles are without T.O., and they play 6 games (3 at home, 3 away) against some playoff bound teams, not to mention the colts, and jaguars. (forget about the falcons for now.)

last season, the eagles had donovan mcnabb and T.O and they lost to dallas and they lost to washington, both games were with donovan mcnabb. in fact they got sweeped by the whole division, but some of those games were with mike mcmahon.

WHICH MEANS THAT THE EAGLES ARE PRETTY MUCH BASED ON DONOVAN MCNABB. SO IF HE GETS INJURED AGAIN, THEY'RE SCREWED. now this isnt true for a lot of other teams. including the colts. last season jim sorgi and the colts beat their last team in week 17. i dont remember what team it was, and im too lazy too check. so the eagles are nothing without mcnabb, and last season is proof.

now this is why i think the eagles suck. first off, they're a one man show. next, they have no great wide receivers. their running back cant carry 300 times a season. and their defense isnt going to win games for them.

now this is why i think the falcons are going to beat the eagles this season.

1. they are also a one man show, and this certain one man, has promised to be amazing, which he can be.

2. their defense, has substantially gotten better. and not only has michael vick promised to be better, but so has Deangelo Hall, and they drafted Jimmy Williams who is an excellent cornerback.

3. their receiving corps are getting better and better, with an established receiver already for Vick to rely on the first couple of games (crumpler)

4.MICHAEL VICK

5. MICHAEL VICK CAN TURN A BROKEN PLAY, INTO A TOUCHDOWN. HE HAS INCREDIBLE ARM STRENGTH, INCREDIBLE SPPED AND AGILITY, THE WILL TO WIN, AND GROWING QB SKILLS AND ACCURACY.

201 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

It was that great powerhouse Arizona. If that doesn't show Jim Sorgi's skills, I don't know what does. And man, other team's backups? They're stellar. I can't wait to see Tony Romo throwing to TO.

As for the rest... I'm at a loss for words.

202 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

you know what pat. i declare myself the winner of this argument then if you refuse to answer to my opinions and facts.

203 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

You are killing me yang. The eagles are not a team built to rely on 1 Rb to carry 300+ times a season. They have different offensive packages designed for different running backs. I wouldn't want Westbrook to try and carry the team on his back anyway. That's why they drafted Ryan Moats last year, so they can have an explosive 1 2 combo. He carved up the giants last year (I know that's not the best example) behind a patch work offensive line. They have Bruce Perry who had a pretty good game against the Redskins at the end of the season. Nor are they a team built to rely on 1 standout receiver (see eagles from 2001-2004). They spread the ball around to multiple receivers. I will not say that LJ Smith is as good as Crumpler yet, I will say that you can hardly compare Vick's Qb skills with Mcnabb. Vick is by far a better running Qb, however his actual qb skills leave a lot to be desired. The falcon’s receivers are not much to brag about either, Roddy White & Michael Jenkins? I must have missed when they became threats. Do you happen to remember what the eagles did to Vick and the Falcons in the NFC championship game 2 years ago, hardly favorable conditions for a "pocket" qb. I'm and eagles fan and I don't really know how they will fare this year. What I do know is this will be a tough season for EVERY team in the division. There is no way to know who will finish where in any division, but especially the NFC East.
Giants will go as far as Tiki takes them (his age is a huge factor).
Redskins have to hope Brunnel and Portis don't wear down at the end of the season.
Cowboys have lead foot Drew Bledsoe behind the worst offensive line in the division with Julius Jones running the ball when he can stay healthy.
Eagles need Mcnabb and Westbrook to stay healthy.
Each team has reasons why they can win and why they will finish last. To automatically think the eagles will finish last because of last year and the "loss" of T.O. is one of the most idiotic things I have ever read. Their D wont win games? Are you kidding me? They still have one of the best defenses in the league. Dawkins is getting old and Darwin walker wears down as the game progresses, neither will be a problem this year or next year with their depth at d-line and the fact that Dawkins is still in great physical condition. I'd take him over any safety in the NFC East aside from Sean Taylor (IF he can get his head on straight). They have a solid D-line rotation that will keep them all fresh as the game wears down. Which will cause a lot of turnovers. Howard, Coles, Mcdougle, and Kearse coming off the edges with Walker, Patterson and Bunkley jamming the middle. I'd take that d-line rotation and secondary over any in the East. There are some questions about their linebackers, however I wont comment on them until training camp due to the 2 outside spots being up for grabs. As far as the qd situation. They signed Jeff Garcia to back up Mcnabb this season, granted his starting days are over, but he is without a doubt better than Mcmahon or any other backup in the East.

204 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re Pat, I like Chris Simms, I thought he played with some smarts, and went down swinging (well) in the Playoffs. But I wouldn't be ready to say the Bucs have their QB situation locked down just yet. They made some nice off season moves. But they're in a pretty rough division, which has seen a lot of improvement, and showed an occasional intense need to underachieve last year. (vs the Niners for example) If their offense implodes vs a team with a potent offense, hell. You need points to win.

Re Vick. Yeah, For me he's kinda like Aaron Brooks. He's the unfulfilled potential of an intimidating idea. Will things change for either of them this year? Possibly, but I think we're entitled to be doubtful. He can throw hard and far, run fast, get bruised sternums and spread viral infections with the best of them. Yet, when he finally left the Seahawks game last year, I was worried because a QB who could, or would, exploit a major weakness of the defense was coming in the game. Fortunately, Vick's scampering, often for a loss, wasted enough time for the lead to be preserved.

If I had to pick between Vick and Seneca Wallace, I'd choose Wallace.

205 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re Pat, I like Chris Simms, I thought he played with some smarts, and went down swinging (well) in the Playoffs. But I wouldn’t be ready to say the Bucs have their QB situation locked down just yet.

Yeah, I agree. That's why I said the Bucs were a "good" team. The Panthers are clearly the class of that division, and adding Keyshawn as a receiver will make the "box and one" defense Seattle played impractical.

The Falcons, though, have major issues, and not all of them due to Vick: they had the worst (not close to the worst, the worst) run defense in the league last year. They also were one of the worst teams (27th) in defending passes against tight ends. That just screams "hi, we have linebacker problems" which is the one position they didn't address at all in the offseason.

you know what pat. i declare myself the winner of this argument then if you refuse to answer to my opinions and facts.

That's fine. I kept trying to type a response, but I couldn't get through it without breaking down laughing at the fact that you listed Michael Vick as a reason the Falcons were elite. Twice.

206 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the reason why the falcons were bad at tthe linebacker position is because their star MLB got injured.

thats like saying, the eagles had a horrible qb position last year, and they didnt address it through the offseason.

second, michael vick is getting better and better and qb skills, and hes beginning to be able to throw to roddy white well. alge crumpler is better than l.j. smith.

and the falcons defense has substantially improved over the off season, john abraham, jimmy williams, chris crocker.

oh and chris, MCNABB IS NOT A POCKET QB. HE IS A SCRAMBLER, MICHAEL VICK IS A BETTER SCRAMBLING QB THAN HE EVER WILL BE.

drew bledsoe has weapons to throw to now. mark brunell has more weapons to throw to now.
eli manning has more weapons to throw to now.
donovan mcnabb lost weapons to throw to now.

207 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the reason why the falcons were bad at tthe linebacker position is because their star MLB got injured.

Which usually implies that you need more depth at linebacker.

thats like saying, the eagles had a horrible qb position last year, and they didnt address it through the offseason.

Actually, they did. That's why they got Garcia.

MCNABB IS NOT A POCKET QB. HE IS A SCRAMBLER, MICHAEL VICK IS A BETTER SCRAMBLING QB THAN HE EVER WILL BE.

Screaming doesn't make something true: in 2004, McNabb's rushing DVOA was significantly higher than Vick's.

208 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

As an Eagles fan I was tempted to enter this argument/discussion many times, but I thought no why waste any time, Pat will explain everything to Yang. Well it has become obvious that logic and well formed arguments have no effect, so let me try this...

TEH COWBYS WILL SOOO SUCK THIS YEAR, ALOONG WITH TEH REST OF THE NFFC EAST EXCEPT DA EAGLES!!!!

HERE IS WHY!!!

TEH COWGIRLSS
1. DREW BLEEDSOW IS OLD AND PRACTICALY A CRIPPLE, CAN HE EVEN WALK? PROBABLY NOT. NO ATHLETICISM. MCNABB CAN RUN!!!!
2. TO WILL DESTROY THE TEAM? CAN HE EVEN PLAY? NO. SO THEY WILL LOSE!!!!
2. THEY BROUGHTIN TONS OF NINER PLAYERS WHO SUCK! BRANDONATHON LOYD CANT CATCH A BALL COVERED IN GLUE!
3. ANTWON RANDLEMAN EL IS OVERRATED!!! HE ONLY AN 81 IN MADDEN!!!

I sincerely apologize to all other FO readers who have read the all-caps portion of this post.

209 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Ah damnit apparently dollar signs and other random character make the message board eat your post. Well I'm not typing out the rest of that nonsense again. It originally had Yang-esque reasons for all NFC EAST teams losing to Eagles.

210 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat will explain everything to Yang.

I gave up when he started screaming about Michael Vick. I actually think Vick is improving, and he might actually be an average passing quarterback this year, but to expect Vick to go from below average to elite in one year is a little insane.

211 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

In 2002, Vick had a DPAR of 60, so it's not unreasonable to think he could at some point again be a top 10 QB. Did I just defend a Yangian position? I feel so unclean.

212 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

In 2002, Vick had a DPAR of 60, so it’s not unreasonable to think he could at some point again be a top 10 QB.

Oh, I agree - but I think the main problem was the offensive switch the Falcons made. I don't think it's now as easy as just switching back to the offense they used in 2002, because I do think Vick made progress last year. I just think that given the rate of improvement he's now shown, you'd expect it'd take at least 2 years for him to be a top 10 QB again.

The offense switch is the only thing I can think of that would take Vick from "very good" to "mind numbingly awful" in such a short time.

213 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I think Yang just became a fully fledged verb.
Electric Mayhem is "yanging"- that is "to put forward an arguement based purely on Cap locks whilst providing as evidence the fact you are always right and all else are always wrong".

Being "yanged" is to be so annoyed by the poor quality of the arguement that you automatically take the opposite view, even if the "Yanger" was arguing for example, that Peyton Manning is a better QB than Ryan Leaf. So AFC East post 158 for that thread!

As Electric Mayhem is doing it sarcastically- maybe we can call that "yin-yanging"?

214 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

For some reason Yang reminds me of Merill Hodge from ESPN. You can hate on the Eagles all you want, at the end of the season they will either be on top of the division or a wild card team.

I'm not very impressed with the Redskins additions, they over paid for a #3 receiver and Archuleta is suspect in pass coverage. Their D is good overall, but the additions the other teams in the east made to their offenses will show the Skins weaknesses underneath to TEs and RBs.

The Giants got a speedy rookie to compliment Burress, that might improve Eli's completion %. But Tiki could be in for a down year with his age. The addition of Arrington to the D is great on paper and in Madden, but the man gets lost in defensive schemes. If the Giants let him just freelance like he did in Wash they will be in for a long year. Sam Madison is a slight upgrade at corner but not much.

Dallas got a huge upgrade with the addition of T.O. to their offense giving Bledsoe another target. Bledsoe is a great Qb if given enough time to throw the ball. I just don't think the additions to their line will help keep him upright. I like their D a lot. They have speed everywhere. Their corners aren't all that great but their front seven forces the opponents Qbs into mistakes.

The Eagles added by subtracting T.O. He was a cancer in the locker room and on the field. They can go back to what they were doing on offense before Owens came to town. That's spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, runningbacks and tightends. They might not have the "big names" aside from Mcnabb and Westbrook. Their offense is predicated on the short underneath stuff to open up the occasional shot down field. That is also their running game, those little 3-5 yard passes to Westbrook and Smith. Their D is very impressive, they added another pass rush threat with Howard. That was the biggest problem with the D last year, they never got a consistant pass rush, which gave the other teams all the time in the world to throw the ball. Lito Sheppard and Mcdougle come back from injury. All in all I think they will be one of the best in the league on D again. Their special teams will be very good once again. And they have the most depth in the division on both sides of the ball, the only thing they don't have is an over priced, marque receiver.

As far as all the teams other than the Eagles having weapons to throw to now, aside from T.O., they aren't as impressive as you think.

As far as Mcnabb being a "scrambler" I beg to differ. He can run when he wants to, usually he moves around the pocket trying to buy time for receivers to get open. If you read what I wrote, I said Vick was by far a better running Qb, however his actual qb skills leave a lot to be desired. The problem I have with Vick is the fact that if his first option isn't open he takes off, and he can't read a Defense. He may get better at it, but I wont put money on it.

215 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

now this chris person, i like. he does not hate on me, and instead of finding one flaw in my several points and just wasting space talking about me, he answers all of my points in a respectable way.

216 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re 147 "We just don’t know yet. We won’t know until they put the pads on and play some games. Look, you could be completely right about their OL and DL. But until I actually see some EVIDENCE ON THE FIELD DURING THE SEASON, all you’re doing is speculating."

None of us can say with certainty what will happen until the season starts. This is the time of the year for fans to pump their chests and dream. But I tell you what, your doing as much speculating as any post I've read. You Eagles haters make me laugh. All I know is that I'll take the 4 NFC Title games we had from 2001 through 2004. Beats the heck out of the being a Giants, Skins, or Cowboys fan in the 21st Century.

217 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

215: We're not hating on you, we're just ridiculing your ludicrious opinions. Now if you could form a well-reasoned opinion as to why Team X is better than Team Y, I'm sure people would respond positively.

218 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

instead of finding one flaw in my several points

I only started listing the biggest one because I've got other things to do. It wasn't because there was only one.

219 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The Giants got a speedy rookie to compliment Burress, that might improve Eli’s completion %.

Does anyone really believe this? I mean, I know Stephen Yang's been shouting Sinorice Moss for weeks now, but c'mon - the kid's a rookie. Rookie receivers virtually never make an impact their first year, and this class of receivers was considered nowhere near as good as previous years.

The only rookie WRs which consistently made a positive impact in the past 6 years were those drafted in the middle first round (i.e. great players on decent teams). The only middle-second round WRs to make a positive impact in the past 6 years were Josh Reed with the Buffalo Bills, Chris Chambers with the Dolphins, and Boldin with the Cardinals. The other 12 players didn't have great rookie years.

That's not to say Sinorice Moss won't turn out great, but based upon when he got drafted, I'd doubt that he'd make a serious impact next year.

220 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Well, the Giants arn't asking Sinorice Moss to be the #1 WR. All they need from him is somebody stretch the field and prevent teams from doubling take Plaxico. This won't do anything to help Eli's completion percentage, though. The Giants have bigger problems in Tiki, though. He's nearly ancient in RB years, and he carried the ball 350+ times last year.

221 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

For some reason Yang reminds me of Merill Hodge from ESPN. You can hate on the Eagles all you want, at the end of the season they will either be on top of the division or a wild card team.

Intersting comparison, but I give Yang credit for not finding the Steelers to be flawless.

That being said, Stephen, as B said, no one wants to hate on you and I don;t think anyone is trying. But when you make nonsensical statements like this:
michael vick is getting better and better and qb skills, and hes beginning to be able to throw to roddy white well.
it is hard to take your commetns seriously. Especially with the CAPS on.

if you had some evidence to back up some of your statements, it would goa long way towards a positive rebuttle to them or even acceptance. Without anything to back up these statements, it sounds like someone just trying to rile up the other commentators by spewing the crap that ESPN spits out. I for one, gave up on Vick awhile ago. He is all hype, a re-incarnation of Randall Cunningham. And coming from an Eagles fan, I know how painful it is to rely on someone with potential that can run, occasionally make something out of an broken play, but at the same time can't read a defense or play QB.

222 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Well, the Giants arn’t asking Sinorice Moss to be the #1 WR. All they need from him is somebody stretch the field and prevent teams from doubling take Plaxico.

Sure, but the thing here is that unless they're planning on using Moss as the #2 WR instead of Toomer, does anyone really think the #3 WR (and Moss will likely be a mediocre #3 WR his first year) will make that much of a difference? Based on other WRs at about that spot in the draft, he might be a minor improvement over Tim Carter.

And if they're planning on using Moss as the #2 WR, it's really unlikely that Moss, as the #2 WR, will do better than Amani Toomer did last year.

223 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I can't believe it's come to this point... Despite being a lifelong Giants fan, I might have been Yanged into rooting for the Eagles this year. It's like watching Parcells coach the Cowboys - my head feels like it's going to explode.

I feel so dirty.

224 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

#214. The Tiki-age argument is old, disproven, and silly. Tiki isn't the average 31 year-old RB. Most RBs at his age have been carrying the ball 200-300+ times since they stepped into the NFL. The fewest carries some current RBs have averaged per game/season are... Portis(17), Dillon (14), L.T. (19), Fred Taylor (16), Edge (20), Shaun Alexander (18), Curtis Martin (16). Tiki Barber averaged 11(!) carries the ENTIRE first 5 seasons of his career. He's much fresher than most big-time backs are at the age of 31.

Recently, I've read plenty of people saying Arrington is overrated and he doesn't do this or that. My question is whether LaVar Arrington is an upgrade over Reggie Torbor? If so, is he a significant upgrade? Sam Madison is a slight upgrade? He's replacing Will Allen! I liked Will Allen, but he didn't do anything for the team. It shouldn't be hard for Madison to be an upgrade over nothing.

225 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

yeah, the #3 wideout does nothing.

wait didnt darrell jackson and bobby engram both get injured last year and joe jurivicius got 10 tds?

yeah THAT never happened.

whats that? brandon stokley got 10 tds in peyton's record setting year?

the third wideout does a lot. the third wideout isnt considered a starter, and yet he does much more than all other backups.

next moss will be number 3, but now eli manning has shockey, toomer, moss, burress, and tiki.

and tiki will do good this year. i dont understand this age thing. he was 30 last year and ranked first in total yards. hes 31 this year, and hes supposed to fail? i dont get it.

you people can say im wrong all you want, but when the eagles miss the playoffs, everyone will think

STEPHEN YANG WAS RIGHT, IF YOU ARE READING THIS THEN YOU KNOW THAT IF THE EAGLES MISS THE PLAYOFFS, YOU WILL REGRET MOCKING STEPHEN YANG.

226 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

wait didnt darrell jackson and bobby engram both get injured last year and joe jurivicius got 10 tds?

Well, then, he wasn't a #3 WR, was he? And he definitely wasn't a rookie. He was a #1 WR due to injuries. #1/#2/#3 WRs here are in order of number of receptions. And while you're picking out good #3 WRs, rookie #3 WRs are not good.

Go ahead. Try to find an impressive rookie #3 WR season that wasn't from the middle of the first round or that I haven't mentioned.

Rookie #3 WRs typically are underwhelming. I can give you the exact statistics if you want, but rookie #3 WRs picked in the middle 2nd round typically run -15 to -20% DVOA. The "best" would be a season like Darius Watts had last year. Like I said, he might be an upgrade over Tim Carter. Might.

This isn't me saying anything bad about Moss: Reggie Wayne had a mediocre season his first year, and has shined ever since. Chris Chambers had a great season his first year, and um, hasn't been impressive since then.

I'm definitely not saying it was a bad draft pick. I'm just saying it goes against history to think that Moss is going to make an impact his first year. He's not a first-round WR, therefore, it's really not likely to happen.

227 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The “best� would be a season like Darius Watts had last year.

2004, not last year.

228 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

chris chambers had a great season last season, that wasnt his first season.

plus he had frerotte throwing to him, but we'll get to that later.

i think sinorice moss will do okay this year, but in a few years. WATCH OUT

229 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Doesn't a WR need to catch at least half the passes thrown his way to qualify as a great year? Although being thrown to by Gus Ferrotte will hurt anybody's catch percentage.

230 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

chris chambers had a great season last season, that wasnt his first season.

plus he had frerotte throwing to him, but we’ll get to that later.

Chambers was mediocre last year. He was very good his first year. He basically had the best rookie year for a WR in the past 6 years.

Who was throwing to him doesn't matter for what I was saying. Hell, Reggie Wayne had Manning throwing to him his first year, and he still stunk. A receiver's first year doesn't seem to have much to do with his ultimate success, especially for those outside of the first round.

i think sinorice moss will do okay this year, but in a few years. WATCH OUT

Sure, whatever.

But if he's only going to do "okay"... why are you touting him as a reason the Giants will be good next year? I don't think it was a wasted draft pick, but I do think that Moss isn't going to improve the Giants this year.

231 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Wait, I get it. When Yang says "team X will be good this year." He means that team will be good at some indeterminate time in the near future. So when he says the Eagles won't win the NFC East this year, he means that they won't win the division at some point in the next five years.

233 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

next moss will be number 3, but now eli manning has shockey, toomer, moss, burress, and tiki.

Besides being a rookie and the number 3 (Pat has laid out those concerns), you hit the nail on the head in that he is not near the top of the pecking order. It will probably look like this: Burress, then Shockey, then Barber and if they are all covered and he still needing a receiver, then Moss. Notice that Tim Carter or any other WR for teh Giants last year didn't havea great season, Eli isn't getting to taht point in his reads.

and tiki will do good this year. i dont understand this age thing. he was 30 last year and ranked first in total yards. hes 31 this year, and hes supposed to fail? i dont get it.
tiki may do well, yes. heck, look at Curtis Martin. But there has been statistical analysis done not only on the age of RB's, but the number of carriers in their previous season and throughout their career. What helps Barber is that he hasn't been carrying the rock 350 times except that past couple of years. However, if he does break down, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise (barring a freak injury).
Sorry, I can't seem to find the article (it was a FO article), so if anyone else can find it, please post it.

234 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Notice that Tim Carter or any other WR for teh Giants last year didn’t havea great season, Eli isn’t getting to taht point in his reads.

Hell, Burress didn't have a good season last year - 7.4 DPAR, -8.1% DVOA. Amani Toomer actually had a better year: 11.2 DPAR, 0.6% DVOA.

Though I have to admit I'm a little surprised that Burress measured out so badly given that he had over 1200 yards, but catching only 46% of his passes will do that to you. But certainly he should've gotten a fair amount more yardage than that with that many touches.

235 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

"the age thing" is actually pretty simple. RBs over the age of 28 tend to decline each year. RBs who carry the ball 350+ times in a season tend to do worse the next season. RBs over 30 who carried the ball 350+ times do much worse the next year. We have a couple RBs trying to buck this trend next year, Tiki being one, and Shaun Alexander being another.

236 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I'm a Redskins fan, just lemme get that out there. People don't seem to be focusing on the fatc that despite Brunells dropoff he was playing pro-bowl caliber ball early on last year. Much of the pressure from last year should be coming off of him and Portis, so look for averagenss in his game if not significant improvement.

I remember a point being made VERY early on about Gibbs not using 3 WR sets. News flash, Gibbs isn't running the offense anymore. He'll oversee it and have the "final say" in all decisions, but he's pretty much handed it over to Saunders, who I'd like to point out has been known to use 4 and 5 WR sets. Portis won't have to get pounded anymore with and offense like that, he'll use finesse a lot more which is how he rolls in the first place. Our offense will be much more spread out this year.

Someone said something about Randle-El being an 81 in Madden. I win Madden with Jason Campbell as my starter, he's "terrible" by the numbers. That game is soo easy and the numbers don't reflect anything. Randle-El is a versatile guy who you HAVE to pay attention to if you're a defense because you never know what you're gonna get. True Lloyd kind of has butterfingers every now and then, but have you seen his highlight reel? When he catches a ball he REALLY catches a ball. Then we got Cooley and Moss who I hope I don't need to make a case for. I'd maintain that Betts could start on at least a quarter if not half the team in the league, and our 3rd running back Rock Cartwright, had a 100 yd gasme last year on 9 carries. Albeit against StL a 100 yd game is impressive.

I'm not going to assume that Gregg Williams won't put together a top 10 defense until he doesn't, no matter who his personnel are. We do need depth at O-line, I'll admit that and admit that I'm praying no one gets hurt. Hopefully someone steps up and fills the gap, we don't need spectacular play, just do what we need to be done.

My prediction is
Redskins, 11-5
Cowboys, 10-6
Giants, 10-6
Eagles, 8-8

Playoffs are
1.Carolina
2.Washington
3.Chicago
4.Seattle
5.Dallas
6.Minnesota

#6 could be anything from Minnesota to Atlant to Tampa Bay, possibly even Arizona.

237 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I'll just mention this about Carolina. The solution to their problem isn't Keyshawn. Watch the GoTW of the NFC Championship. The Seahawks sacked Delhomme rushing 3 dropping 8. They got killed by a lack of a running game. A lot of that was injuries. But if your QB is eating turf off a 3 man pass rush, a lot of that isn't. It's not like Rickey Prohle can't catch, or Colbert can't run. And they weren't the one's making Jake throw into insane coverage. At somepoint the Carolina O-line and QB have to step up to their share of the blame.

Re Redskins to keep this somewhat less divergent. It's pretty clear Springs is near the end of his career. Look for the Skins to draft a corner with their single 2007 pick.

238 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

there is no way that minnesota is getting into the playoffs.

i think its going to be tampa bay.

and i also think the cowboys are going to be the ones 11-5 with the redskins in the wildcard. other than that your prediction is pretty good.

239 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Chris,

Re 147...None of us can say with certainty what will happen until the season starts. This is the time of the year for fans to pump their chests and dream. But I tell you what, your doing as much speculating as any post I’ve read.

Really? So I'm an Eagles hater now? You don't know me, and you have no idea what you are talking about. All I pointed out was that the Eagles imploded at the end of last year, and it wasn't all due to injuries.

All I said was that they have to prove that they have gotten over the management issues which suddenly manifested themselves, because one could very easily conclude that T.O. simply brought to the surface issues that already existed (issues like team-wide resentment of McNabb's status and contract, or the Eagles' over-reliance on the draft, or McNabb's ability to come through in the clutch, or...the list goes on and on). When your QB says something like "You're either with me or against me", that's a sign that more than one person has issues with him and there are some deep wounds in the locker room that need healing.

If the Eagles had finished last season as strong as they started it, you wouldn't hear so much "hating" from me, as you call it. If they'd finished strong instead of collapsing, I also wouldn't have much to say. But they didn't. They finished horribly, and ended up in the celar of the division. I wouldn't call 'waiting to see if they got over last year's collapse' speculation. I believe in intangibles and chemistry. The Eagles had a lot of that during their run, and they lacked it completely last year. Now's their chance to prove they got their mojo working again. That's not speculation -- that's a fact. Whether you like it or not, they have more off=the-field issues than any other team in the division (until T.O. sabotages the Cowboys).

You Eagles haters make me laugh. All I know is that I’ll take the 4 NFC Title games we had from 2001 through 2004. Beats the heck out of the being a Giants, Skins, or Cowboys fan in the 21st Century.

Yoyu can take whatever you want. as long as we're living in the past, I'll take the Giants, Cowboys or Redskins Super Bowl runs of the late 20th century over ANYTHING the Eagles have EVER accomplished. Not that that's relevant to the conversation or anything -- I just mentioned it to join your silly little club.

240 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Sorry - that last post was directed at Rick, not Chris.

241 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

THIS post is directed at Chris:

"’m not very impressed with the Redskins additions, they over paid for a #3 receiver and Archuleta is suspect in pass coverage. Their D is good overall, but the additions the other teams in the east made to their offenses will show the Skins weaknesses underneath to TEs and RBs."

Right...because everyone knows that all FAs perform exactly the same way when they go to another system -- particularly Gregg Williams' system. If you're saying this stuff about Archuleta, what do you think people were saying about former starting safety Ryan Clark? On paper, he was half the safety Archuleta is. That's what a system does for you.

I think Williams' defense has earned the benefit of the doubt at this point.

As for 'overpaying for a #3 WR', I don't think it matters how much they paid as long as the team can afford it. Overpaying is only overpaying if the move doesn't work, and that remains to be seen. Randle El's potential ceiling is a lot higher for the Redskins thatn it ever was going to be for the Steelers, so we now have to wait if he reaches his potential.

I also think Al Saunders has earned the benefit of the doubt. For years, he ran an offense that ESPN described as "an updated version of Gibbs' offense, founded on the principles of Don Coryell." The Redskins will need some time to adjust to the new offense, but probably not as much time as some people think. Their real problm is depth and the unknown Jason Campbell factor. Can those backup QBs really play if called upon, and will losing a couple of linement derail them like it did against the Bucs and Seahawks in the playoffs last season?

The Giants got a speedy rookie to compliment Burress, that might improve Eli’s completion %. But Tiki could be in for a down year with his age. The addition of Arrington to the D is great on paper and in Madden, but the man gets lost in defensive schemes. If the Giants let him just freelance like he did in Wash they will be in for a long year. Sam Madison is a slight upgrade at corner but not much.

As others have said, I fail to se ehow adding Lavar to a defense will make any team worse. He may not have been right for the Redskins, but he did make the Pro Bowl regardless -- and he might thrive in a different system. He was a liability at times, but most opponents agreed that he brought a lot more to the table than he subtracted.

I actually agree with you about Dallas, so I'll skip that section. It will be interesting to see how T.O. handles himself.

The Eagles blah blah blah...

See my many other posts about the Eagles. On paper, they are better. In practice, I want to see those recent draft picks -- you know, the ones chosen this year (or in recent years that either haven't seen the field much due to injury) perform before we declare their defense to be one of the best in the NFL again. I certainly think it's possible that it will be among the best again. It's easier (though still a challenge) to speculate about FAs that have already proven they belong in the NFL as opposed to players who have yet to see any action in a real NFL game. That's why I want to see them in action.

And if the Eagles' offense goes back to what it used to be, I think that's great news for the rest of the division -- which has never had such solid personnel across the board to combat such an offense before. As usual, everything on offense rests on McNabb's shoudlers.

242 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

To me, Tiki's age will only be an issue when his performance actually dips. Until I see that happen, there is no reason to think this will be the year. As others have mentioned, he's taken a lot less punishment than most backs his age. However, he did see a ton of work last season. I think their young backup will spell Tiki a bit more often this year.

I know this is FootballOutsiders, but stats aren't everything.

243 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

If they’d finished strong instead of collapsing, I also wouldn’t have much to say. But they didn’t. They finished horribly, and ended up in the celar of the division.

Actually, the Cowboys ended up a worse team than Philly by the end of the season according to weighted DVOA.

But honestly, how would a team that's composed of less than half of the original starting offense finish strong?

Heck, I consider it impressive that they nearly beat the Redskins in the last game. That's 'finishing strong' to me. Just looking at win-loss records doesn't tell you much about a team: the Rams in 2004 ended up 8-8, but they were an awful team.

All I said was that they have to prove that they have gotten over the management issues which suddenly manifested themselves, because one could very easily conclude that T.O. simply brought to the surface issues that already existed (issues like team-wide resentment of McNabb’s status and contract, or the Eagles’ over-reliance on the draft, or McNabb’s ability to come through in the clutch, or…the list goes on and on).

Did you actually read the arbitrator's report which said what Owens was actually doing? It was way more than the media was reporting, and it was very bad, including actively trying to disrupt meetings.

Anyway, why do you actually think the team resents McNabb's contract? Why would they? His contract isn't that much larger than anyone elses's, and it's certainly smaller than other QBs. It's only about 10-20% more than Jevon Kearse's, for instance - and in 2009, Kearse actually makes more money than McNabb.

The only person who ever said anything about resenting McNabb's contract was Owens, because Owens's contract was relatively small (because the team wanted him to prove he wasn't a cancer - surprise, he was).

244 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat, I'm basing my statements on a couple of things: one, the fact that Owens so successfully and easily divided the locker room; and two, a few articles by insiders on sites like ESPN. Heck, the behavior of some of the players alone (showing up to Owens' birthday party while Owens was destroying team chemistry, etc.) is enough evidence for me.

Enough with the DVOA crap, okay? Like I've said about a hundred times already, it isn't how they finished statistically -- it's how the finished, period. With all the wheels coming off. It's impossible to quantify statements like "You're either with me or against me" by comapring the Eagles DVOA against the Cowboys' DVOA.

Did they almost defeat the Redskins in the final game? Sure. They also almost beat the Seahawks, and I'll give them credit for rising up and not rolling over in those games. But the Redskins traditionally play pretty poorly in Philly, and divisional rivalries can do weird things to a team.

A house divided against itslef cannot stand -- while a united team, like the 2005 Patriots, can overcome massive amounts of injuries and still make the playoffs. They had over half their starters on offesne injured through the course of last season also.

I don't know about the arbitrator's report, but I'm sure each side made the other side look as bad as possible. As for McNabb's contract, well...maybe not his contract, which has since become outdated. But certainly his overall status on the team (the endorsements, the perception (though true) that he is the heart and soul of the team, etc).

Clearly, Owens exposed some serious resentment and divisions on that team. I'm waiting to see if removing him will automatically clear those issues up. You want to pretend their problems stemmed entirely from one guy and lots of injuries -- even though the team called last season a disaster on every level? Fine. I'm not such a true believer.

245 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat, I’m basing my statements on a couple of things: one, the fact that Owens so successfully and easily divided the locker room;

Like I said: I'm guessing you haven't actually read the arbitrator's decision, have you? It's not like Owens actually divided the locker room into "us" versus "them". He was actively making practices and meetings less effective. Literally, the offense was getting less done in practice with him there. Significantly. That's the main reason they suspended him.

and two, a few articles by insiders on sites like ESPN.

Link them. I didn't see any that showed that a number of players on the team gave a crap about McNabb's contract. Why would they? It's really small compared to what he could get elsewhere, as Drew Brees, McNair, etc. showed this year.

Some of them showed support for Owens's claim - that he was underpaid - and that I can understand, considering Owens was being underpaid. But he was being underpaid for a reason - a reason that bore itself out. There are very few players on the Eagles that are actually being underpaid, and the few that I can think of are in the last year of their contract.

Heck, the behavior of some of the players alone (showing up to Owens’ birthday party while Owens was destroying team chemistry, etc.) is enough evidence for me.

Huh? That doesn't say anything. Most of the guys on the team didn't care about the feud going on. Why would they? It didn't affect them. You think they went to Owens's party, and didn't go to any of McNabb's gatherings?

I don’t know about the arbitrator’s report, but I’m sure each side made the other side look as bad as possible.

Um, Philly actually had documentation for all of the claims they were making. They had to. It was a quasi-legal proceeding.

it’s how the finished, period. With all the wheels coming off.

Yeah. And my point is that the Cowboys finished in exactly the same way. DVOA shows that. So do about a half-dozen other metrics. Just look at the number of sacks they gave up in the second half as opposed to the first. If that's not "the wheels coming off", I don't know what is.

246 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Wow Pat, I'm glad you chopped and pasted the key points I made to take them out of context and shoot them down. I notice you didn't dispute what I said about the Eagles players saying that last season was a nightmare in every respect, or how McNabb's saying "You're either with me or against me" suggests issues running much deeper than one man's actions. Or how a team like the Patriots overcame a similar degree of injury issues. Whatever, it's your call.

Instead, you take what you think you can easily refute and argue against it, while ignoring everything else. I now realize that it's pointless posting anything that suggests your beloved Eagles have any issues to resolve that cannot be explained away with stats, new draft picks and personnel moves. The only negative you seem willing to acknowledge is that the team is a bit thin at WR.

Link them. I didn’t see any that showed that a number of players on the team gave a crap about McNabb’s contract. Why would they?...

Based on what I said in my last post, everything you wrote after "Link them" was a pointless waste of time - so I'm not going to bother to respond to it. Am I taking a page from your book? Maybe. It doesn't matter anymore.

Exvcept for this:

Um, Philly actually had documentation for all of the claims they were making. They had to. It was a quasi-legal proceeding.

And naturally, Owens had no documentation for anything. I'm sure he went in completely unprepared. Just because he lost didn't mean he had no argument. And considering the union forced the NFL to change the rules to prevent teams from doing to players what the Eagles did to T.O. last year, it seems to me that enough people decided that the Eagles weren't exactly angels in that particular case.

Have you ever played a team sport for a significant period of time? Apparently, the notion that off-the-field issues can affect on-the-field performances in unpredictable ways is beyond your comprehension. That's fine. I'm not going to bother trying to convince you anymore. Knock yourself out.

The Eagles may be great again this year. But if they aren't -- and if their season is marred by more infighting and communications problems -- you and the other stats-heads will be busy crunching numbers trying to figure out how it might have happened. The rest of us won't have to.

Anyway, just to make you happy, I'll say it: The Eagles have nothing to prove. They addressed all their problems in the offseason, and they will be a well-oiled machine both on and off the field. The infallible Andy Reid is a flawless coach running a perfect system with perfect players and a coaching staff that no one else can hope to compete with. Brian Westbrook poops butterflies, and angels sing his praises from the heavens. Their wide receivers may not be the best, but that issue will be handled with aplomb. Book those playoff tickets and Super Bowl tickets right now.

247 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

By the way, I'm not going to "link them." ESPN has this nasty habit of making all their old columns Insider content (clearly, I'm not talking about news articles). Which means that even if I had the free time/motivation to link you to the right articles, I have no way of scanning the articles to find the content you are seeking. If you're an Insider, feel free to look them up yourself.

248 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

re 246
As Pat pointed out many times the Eagles were just crushed by injuties last year.
As I pointed out, the Eagles threw the ball way too often. Its very hard to win throwing the ball 70 percent of the time.
I have never been completely sold on the idea that owens destroyed the team.

249 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

There are two explanations for what happened to the Eagles last year, I'll let you decide which is more plausable.
First: The Eagles, despite having made four straight NFC championships, were beset by internal issues that neglected to manifest themselves in any way untill Owens came along. Then, after TO was kicked off the team, a bunch of highly payed, professional athletes decided it would better suit them to bicker and argue with eachother then to try and win football games.
Second explanation: They were beset by a large number of injuries and bad luck, including losing thier QB and the best kicker in the league. (Two places the Patriots were blessedly without injury last year).

250 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

B,

Right, because that's exactly the argument I was making. It was either one or the other; it couldn't possibly havebeen a combination of several issues, both measurable and not -- even though in previous posts I discussed all the injury issues and performance issues in detail with people who follow the Eagles more closely and knew more about those on-field happenings than I do.

Oh wait, no it wasn't. Try again - this time, without the oversimplifications.

251 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

thad,

Perhaps you never read the back-and-forth between Pat and I regarding the Eagles player losses and injuries, particularly when I mentioned their losses along the defensive line.

I agree with you that the Eagles do throw the ball way too often, and I think last year it came back to bite them (this time, earlier than in the playoffs/Super Bowl).

Never once did I suggest that Owens' poisonous influence was the ONLY reason for the Eagles' underperformance last season. That would be ridiculous. I'm not unreasonable. Neither is what I said.

It's not absurd to suggest that the last-place team in a division has more to prove than the other teams that finished above them do.

I've said many times that if enough goes well for them, Philadelphia could end up in the NFC Championship game again. And if they do, some of you might say "Ha! Told you!" And all I'll say is "Yep -- you were right...but I knew things could just as easily work out for this team as not."

252 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the eagles arent making the playoffs.

they are in too tough of a division to make the playoffs. the cowboys are going to win this division, with the wildcard spot going to the redskins/giants. as soon as january comes along, the eagles will not be in the playoffs, they might go 8-8 or even 9-7, but they wont be in the playoffs.

if anyone wants to join the fantasy football league we are making, please say so on the afc east thread, we are organizing there.

253 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

re 251
no I didnt. I will go back and check it out.

re 252
I am not sold on the Cowboys o-line yet.
Perhaps they will improve a lot, perhaps just a bit. If they don't improve a lot, well they will have a tough time.
The redskins terrify me. With their new and improved wr package their offense will be a force. I just don't see them not scoring a lot of points.
As for the Eagles, Reid and co. have an excellent track record.

254 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Wow Pat, I’m glad you chopped and pasted the key points I made to take them out of context and shoot them down.

Jeez. That's not what I'm doing. I'm taking basically the last sentences that you've got so that the responses can be placed in proper context. Just imagine a "..." before every quote that I use that has context before it.

I notice you didn’t dispute what I said about the Eagles players saying that last season was a nightmare in every respect, or how McNabb’s saying “You’re either with me or against me� suggests issues running much deeper than one man’s actions. Or how a team like the Patriots overcame a similar degree of injury issues. Whatever, it’s your call.

I didn't respond to them because I didn't think they were significantly important. They certainly weren't as important as the portions I did respond to (and most of what I responded to applies to those other comments as well). Of course the players are going to say the previous season was a nightmare - a 6-10 season following a 13-3 season, and half of the players getting injured? Yeah. That's a nightmare. And random comments from McNabb taken out of context from the questions that they're responding to don't convince me either. I've read and seen full transcripts from the players at media conferences - they didn't care about the random issues last year. Some of those problems made it hard to work, but none of the things that made it hard to work were endemic in any way.

And if you want "evidence" that things weren't bad beforehand? Ed Jasper, a DE formerly of the Raiders (and formerly of the Eagles), signed with the Eagles because discussions between him and Derrick Burgess convinced him that the situation and dynamic there was great. Lito Sheppard, who's a relative of Jabar Gaffney, convinced him to sign with Philly as well.

And naturally, Owens had no documentation for anything. I’m sure he went in completely unprepared. Just because he lost didn’t mean he had no argument.

He didn't argue that any of those things didn't happen (that would be hard to do, given the evidence). Their argument was that the CBA didn't allow for the disciplinary actions they undertook. That's it.

It’s not absurd to suggest that the last-place team in a division has more to prove than the other teams that finished above them do.

You finish in last place due to win-loss records, and a sample size of 16 games is just too small. Which is why I keep bringing back the "DVOA crap", which I can't figure out why you dismiss, given the fact that it's historically been very accurate. Not perfect, of course, but very accurate.

One of the standard things is that teams that underperform relative to their "Estimated Wins" tend to do better than you expect the next year, and Philly was one of those teams - 6 wins, 7.7 estimated wins. They played better than a 6-10 team. They played more like an 8-8 team.

Would anyone be surprised if an 8-8ish team with injuries tweaks a few things and ends up winning the Super Bowl the next year? I wouldn't be.

Have you ever played a team sport for a significant period of time?

Have you ever played a professional sport for a period of time? I definitely haven't. I've played a team sport for quite a long time, but I've never gotten paid for it. When off-the-field issues screwed up team dynamics for me it was typically the "why am I bothering doing this if it's not fun?" mentality. For these guys, their income depends on it, and the answer to that question is simple.

It's not beyond my comprehension that it could screw things up. I've just never seen clear evidence of it at the professional level. You think I'd still be saying "it was the injuries, dangit" if they hadn't had injuries/losses at the positions statistically shown to have the highest effect on lowering win percentage?

And incidentally - yes, the Patriots had overcome similar injuries, but the most similar year would be 2001, where they were one of the luckiest teams in history. You can't expect every team to have Tom Brady sitting on the bench. That's just complete and unpredictable luck.

255 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The redskins terrify me. With their new and improved wr package their offense will be a force. I just don’t see them not scoring a lot of points.

Yeah, I have to say the Cowboy love just baffles me. In my mind the Redskins really will be the team to beat next year, provided they stay healthy. Now, given age, that might be difficult, but if they stay healthy, I can't see the Redskins going lower than 10-6.

Skins and Cowboys both have questions in similar areas (quarterback age), and even if the Cowboys offensive line improves, the Redskins defense is far more proven. And I don't actually consider TO significantly better than Santana Moss, so really, I can't see any one strength of the Cowboys that the Redskins don't equal or beat.

Not that the Cowboys couldn't win the division, mind you - if the offensive line improves, and everyone stays healthy, and the Redskins have a few injuries, sure. But if you assume "best case scenario" for everyone, I can't see how the Cowboys finish over the Redskins.

256 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Getting off the fact that some posters believe more in the Eagles than others, I want to bring it back to the 'Skins for a sec. They brought in more talent in FA and Al Saunders (arguably the best OC). Down here outside of DC, popular talk is the Gibbs is going to give Saunders control over the offense, but I wonder how much? Granted, Saunders runs a similar system to Gibbs but I wonder if Gibbs is going to find it hard to let go of the reins?

personally, I think that Gibbs is grooming Saunders to be his replacement in the next year or so as head coach, leaving Williams as DC.

257 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re 255,
I can't say I'm in for all the Cowboy love. Even with the expectation of a little regression for Tiki, the NFC E is the Giants until someone takes it away. But I think the best case everyone assumes for the Skins is perhaps less practical than the best case for the Cowboys.

Just on defense, Shawn Springs isn't the corner he used to be. I think the Redskins end up getting a pass for stuff like that. Really, last year the Redskins realized most of their offensive and defensive potential. They might be a little better this year. And better earlier in the year which should add wins, making FO's fortune telling somewhat less dramatic. But if the Cowboys realize the full potential of their offense, that's a pretty dramatic change. Will they? Will their 2 TE offense be confounding ala Kirwin's article? Particularly in light of Witten being the best TE in football by some measures last year. Well DVOA might know, but I don't.

258 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the redskins finished second in the division last year, while the cowboys finished third. so obviously the redskins schedule will be tougher. plus i think the cowboys are going to win this division because of t.o

the redskins are a good team, i think they will be 11-5 or 10-6 but they have issues at QB and defense, idk if anyone noticed but they lost lavar arrington over the off season, and didnt get much help in the draft.

i think the giants are the team to beat, but they have a tough schedule so they will probably miss the playoffs, but i expect their defense to be in the top 5 because of the draft, and the offseason, lavar arrington, sam madison? thats killer!

the eagles are going to be some team struggling to get a winning or even record. i dont see the eagles doing better than 8-8, however.

259 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

ummmmm
what issues do the redskins have on defense?
As far as I can tell they have been quite good for the past two years.

Sam Madison has had a good career, but he is 32 and this will be his 10th year.
I don't know who the top 10 or 20 cornerbacks are, but Madison ain't one of them.
And Lavar, what to say about Lavar.
At times he has been fantastic, going to the pro bowl and totally deserving of it.
Last year he was benched for 5 games.
Sometimes he is just an undiciplined player and the skins coaches never really liked him. In 2004 he only played in 4 games due to an injury, the skins defense was great without him.
No, I don't think Gibbs and Williams will miss him that much.
You know who has a great secondary?
The Eagles.

260 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Stephen,
not to be harsh, but I think you place too much emphasis on the big names.
I don't think they decide games as much as you seem to think.

261 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The issue the Redskins have on defense is age. They've been great since Williams arrived, but thier starters are old. How much of an effect this will be is a question, but it's unreasonable to think that they'll be able to plug in replacements and keep the defense at a high level indefinately.

262 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

The difference between the Redskins and Cowboys schedule strenght is two games (four if you count the two where they play eachother). I don't think that will be much of a factor. As for the effect TO has on the team, it's unlikely that he'll have a positive impact on the field. A receiver is only as good as the guy throwing to him, and Bledsoe will be spending too much time on his back.

263 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Plus, it's not like the Redskins don't have a version of Owens already on the team. Moss has been fantastic every year he's been in the NFL, and the last time Owens was better than Moss was in terms of DPAR last year was 2000. Five years ago.

so obviously the redskins schedule will be tougher.

Uh, have you even looked at those differences? Detroit and Arizona vs. St. Louis and Minnesota? I'll give you Minnesota over Detroit, but they're both pretty much gravy wins, but Arizona and St. Louis? St. Louis will be the easier win.

Plus, if everything goes right for both teams, I can't see how the Redskins aren't better than the Cowboys, which means that the head to head matchup is worse for the Cowboys.

Schedule strength differences between conference rivals is pretty much pointless, though. It's only two games.

but it’s unreasonable to think that they’ll be able to plug in replacements and keep the defense at a high level indefinately.

Dead on. I don't know how anyone can objectively look at the Redskins' defensive line and not be worried about their depth - the backups for the tackles are castoffs and undrafted free agents, and have barely started any games in the NFL.

They could get lucky - all of the starters could stay healthy, and in that case, I'd say they're fine, and probably easily the best team in the division. But if I were a Redskins fan, I'd be crossing my fingers each week.

And for those who are confused trying to reconcile "Redskins = top team in division", if none of the teams melts down, I'd guess that the division would go Washington, Philly, New York, Dallas. But I think in terms of meltdown risk, Washington's pretty high, and Philly's one of the lowest.

264 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re 259,
As B says above. Shawn Springs' is at the point of his career where old age and trechery are relied upon in the wake of youth's athleticism. And it looks that way when you watch him play. Cournelius did his paper crane impression for Steve Hutchison. Then Sean Taylor's legal troubles and the spitting. Let's pretend that last one doesn't point to something more fundemental, cause hey, maybe he's just an assclown.

The Redskins didn't leave a lot of what ifs on the field last year. They played their hand well and it showed. But the games they get back due to a regression of ill fortunes, they give back to improving opponants. Should the Cowboys realize more of their potential, the Eagles bounce back, or Eli having that magical 3rd season where things "click." That with their tempting of father time, if not fate doesn't bode well for the Skins in my opinion. It's not that they're a bad team by any stretch. They had a playoff win, and there's a lot of fans who might kill to be able to say that about their team. It's just that their window looks to be closing. Will their draft (which did address some of the need on defense) open a new window shortly? Quite possibly. But I'm doubtful for this year.

265 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

the cowboys are going to win this division.

and that thing someone said about a receiver is only as good as his QB, does that mean that jake delhomme is better than peyton manning? because steve smith got more yards than marvin harrison.

next, the giants have a pretty good defense, and they had a pretty good draft. terrell owens will lead the cowboys to the playoffs, i doubt the cowboys will reach the superbowl, i think the nfc superbowl contended will be either the seahawks, or the panthers.

i think the redskins playoff chances all depend on mark brunell. if he does good, then the redskins are getting into the playoffs. if he doesnt do taht good. they'll be lucky to get a wildcard spot.

266 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

RE: 241
I unfortunately work in the D.C. area so I have seen what the Redskins free agent additions have done in the past few years. Before you have a brain hemorrhage, most of those additions were before Gibbs and co. took over. I'm not stupid enough or naive enough to argue over what their coaching staff can do with these new guys. I personally think they have the best coaching staff in the league. I want to see what this Campbell kid can do, he wasn't as highly regarded coming out of the draft as the 2 qbs selected before him, but I think he has better weapons around him than Smith and Rodgers. As far as their D goes, Archuletta could be much better than he was with the Rams. Different system and better personnel around him will more than likely make him better. I think their Linebackers and D-line depth is suspect. I said that last year and they proved me wrong, who knows. The coaches had them playing really well at the end of last year. I didn't think they were as good as the record showed, that's what a good coach will do. Look at the Patriots.

As far as the giants go, Lavar is one of the most talented outside linebackers in the league period. My problem with him is his head. He gets lost in the defense and like you said, is a liability at times. He does make a hell of a lot of plays though, one of those guys that can just change a game. For good or bad.

Last year was a disaster for the Eagles from the end of the Super Bowl all the way until the Draft this year. T.O., McDougal getting shot right before training camp, Westbrook's miny hold out and missing the last few games, Simon wanting to be among the highest paid D-tackles without being one and getting released, their kicker and punter getting hurt and missing significant time during the season, Mcnabb getting hurt the first game of the year and missing the last seven, Pinkston missing the whole season, Lito Shepard missing the last few games, 2 starters and 1 backup on the O-Line missing several games due to various injuries. I'm sure I'm missing some other issues the team faced last year, but I can't remember a team ever going through anything like what this team went through. It could actually make them better for it this year due to a lot of young guys saw more playing time than they would have if not for all the injuries. They could be in for another disaster year, then again so could any other team in the league.

This is what I love about the off-season, every fan thinks their team is the best and has a legit shot at winning the S.B. (maybe not Jets and 49ers fans). All of it is speculation, we won’t know until late September to early October who are playoff contenders. Even then it's up in the air until mid to late December. Any team in the NFC East is capable of winning the Division. ANY TEAM YANG.

267 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Pat said,
I’ve read and seen full transcripts from the players at media conferences...none of the things that made it hard to work were endemic in any way.

He also said, And random comments from McNabb taken out of context from the questions that they’re responding to don’t convince me either.

Normally I wouldn't believe that anyone would take the time to do something like that, but I'm older now and I know better. There are some fans whose obsession really does run that deep, and you might be one of them. Well, you have your interpretation of what you read, and I have mine.

You could be right, but you speak with the authority of someone who is absolutely right. Frankly, I don't think anything would convince you, because you seem to think you know everything there is to know on the subject. That's impossible, of course, without actually being on the team and in the locker room...which is why either of us could be correct.

Frankly, you just might know everything a fan could know, but fans as hardcore as you sometimes (often?) have somewhat colored interpretations of what they see, hear and read. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

And if you want “evidence� that things weren’t bad beforehand?

Actually, I don't. Not because such "evidence" would poke holes in my argument; rather, it's because both my evidence and yours is completely up to subjective interpretation. Which is why I fail to understand why you think my notions are so absurd.

Besides, it's not that simple. One conversation between two players does not prove that these issues don't exist, any more than my comments prove the do exist. Furthermore, many teams hav similar issues between players that never manifest themselves at all. My point is, for such issues to come to the surface there often is a catalyst.

Granted, the issues I referenced are mostly rumors. But they are rumors based upon things journalists have heard from people close to the team. I'm not basing my speculation on that one comment by McNabb and nothing else. It just seemed like a good example of what I was talking about.

Nowhere do I say that I am totally right; I just said that there is some evidence to suggest that these issues MIGHT exist, and I want to wait and see if the Eagles prove the rumors wrong.

They played better than a 6-10 team. They played more like an 8-8 team.

Would anyone be surprised if an 8-8ish team with injuries tweaks a few things and ends up winning the Super Bowl the next year? I wouldn’t be.

Neither would I - and I've stated this repeatedly. I completely agree that the Eagles played better than 6-10. They had a few bad breaks that decided games, but they also got some lucky ones earlier in the season (the San Diego game, for instance).

However, there's no way they are winning the Super Bowl, or even making it past the title game, UNLESS they somehow get better performances out of the teams' traditional weakest points (or unless they get extremely lucky with matchups).

In other words, this Eagles team would have to prove it was better than the teams of 2001-2004, because those teams didn't get the job done either. Making things even harder for Philly, they may not even be the best team in the division...even if their talent and coaching is at the level of, say, the 2003 Eagles.

It’s not beyond my comprehension that it could screw things up. I’ve just never seen clear evidence of it at the professional level.

Never? Really? While my football examples are hazy (let's face it, the T.O. situation was almost unprecedented), there are many examples of this in pro basketball. Sometimes, getting rid of the antagonists actually improves the team. But certainly not always - just ask the Indiana Pacers or the Minnesota Timberwolves if their team chemistry and won-loss records improved after they got rid of their malcontents.

Strong convictions and deeply held beliefs are usually admirable qualities. I admire your conviction and the depth of your knowledge about your favorite team. But flexibility is also admirable. The numbers you quote so readily are a manifestation of several factors. Some are easily quantifiable, and some aren't.

268 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re 261, 263

I would have agreed with you a couple of years ago, but this seems to be the way Gregg Williams' defense works. As long as there are a certain number of talented defensive players, he can slot in no-names at other spots without too much of a dropoff.

There are some linchpins from what I've seen, though. Without Griffin, the d-line becomes average. Without Springs, the secondary becomes a bit more shaky. But I suppose that's natural. Plus, they brought in new players at those positions this year.

Each year it seems as if the Redskins quietly let some of their defensive backups go, quietly re-sign others to short-term deals, and use a signifcant number of their few draft picks on defense. If these guys weren't seen as good enough by the coaching staff, I'm guessing Williams would have gone to Gibbs and Snyder and bought replacements.

I think that team's biggest weakness is o-line depth and backup QB. I haven't seen the offense be able to pull off the same ability to replace people as the defense, but perhaps Al Saunders might be able to change that.

269 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re 256

I saw a report at the beginning of this offseason's coaching carousel suggesting Gregg Williams is the heir apparent in D.C. He signed a new contract that stipulates a multi-million-dollar payout if Snyder hires someone other than Williams to replace Gibbs. Since you aren't allowed to guarantee someone a coaching vacancy that doesn't exist yet, it was Snyder's way of retaining Williams without breaking the rules.

270 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Normally I wouldn’t believe that anyone would take the time to do something like that, but I’m older now and I know better.

What? It takes like 5 minutes a day. One of the really nice things about the Philly website is that the press conference transcripts are available online all in one place, so it's easy.

And part of the reason that I'm speaking so strongly is that the picture of the 2005 Eagles locker room is the one that was most commonly shoved out in the press, but it simply didn't agree with the actual interviews that were being taken, and a lot of the comments used were after just constant amounts of badgering.

It's a lot like the Ray Lewis story earlier in the year, where the press painted a picture that Lewis didn't approve of Brian Billick. The guy said "no comment." and he said "no comment" near the end of a long interview. It's just silly, but it makes a pretty storyline, so... off it goes.

Never? Really? While my football examples are hazy (let’s face it, the T.O. situation was almost unprecedented), there are many examples of this in pro basketball.

I doubt the TO situation is really unprecedented. It's just that the media coverage of it is what's new. It was clear that Peyton Manning hated Mike Vanderjagt, for instance, and that's definitely not the only other example. That's why I don't put a lot of stock into stuff like that.

As for the basketball examples, I don't know. It is a different sport with fewer players on a team, though.

Each year it seems as if the Redskins quietly let some of their defensive backups go, quietly re-sign others to short-term deals, and use a signifcant number of their few draft picks on defense. If these guys weren’t seen as good enough by the coaching staff, I’m guessing Williams would have gone to Gibbs and Snyder and bought replacements.

But you can't just replace some of the guys with better people. You need to find replacements who are better at the same cost. Those players have the huge advantage that they're dirt cheap.

The backups have been able to manage for only the handful of games that Wynn/Griffin/Salave'a have ever missed, but managing for one game and managing for 16 are totally different things. One of the big benefits of being a backup over a starter is that other teams don't have enough film to scout you.

271 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

RE 269

I could see Snyder doing that, but I would have to question his motives, considering the disaster that was Gregg Williams as a HC in Buffalo. Maybe it is just his way of keeping Williams around longer than he would stay otherwise. For what it's worth, I would think that if Saunders comes in and is buddy-buddy with Gibbs and runs a version of Gibbs system and it works with the personnel, he would want to keep Saunders more in charge. I can't imagine that Saunders would want to stay as OC if Williams became HC, especially if a good HC position opened elsewhere. Saunders would be a better long term fit for the Skins, in my opinion, and I would hope that Snyder would see that too.

Of course, as an Eagles fan, it might not be a bad idea for Williams to take over :)

272 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I think now is probably the best time to place bets on how long it takes TO to become a disruption in the Cowboys camp.

From reading a lot of the posts, there are a lot of people questioning the Cowboys offensive line. An offensive line thats got to protect Bledsoe (not the easiest qb to keep safe). And a qb thats gotta keep TO happy. The first McNabb/Owens season they had was fantastic (until the superbowl) after which TO constantly critised him, regardless of the great season they just had. 1 game was enough! (ok it was the superbowl, but i just don't see bledsoe giving him the service McNabb did over the season)

I just cant see Owens getting free in the middle, to find his qb on his back week in week out and him not saying anything. He won't be able to help it. The Cowboys o-line has a big job to do this season...

He may last until november, but if I was a betting man, my money would be on 8 oct, if they loose to the Eagles (and yang, it might happen) Owens is gonna have to tell the world how the loss was nothing to do with him. In the best was Owens knows how, and thats by pointing the finger. Remember, it only took him 1 bad game fot the Eagles!

Anyone else wanna give a date?

273 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

I'm an Eagles fan, but the 2006 draft will have little to no effect on the 2006 season.

The problem with the entire off-season (including the draft), is that the Eagles did not address the gaping holes that existed in the 2005 season.

When they lost Carlos Emmons, the Eagles advertized castoff Dhani Jones as his better, younger replacement. In fact, the Giants signed Emmons to replace Jones.

This off-season, the Eagles, knowing full well that neither Jones nor Adams were capable of playing the position, signed no veteran starters and drafted none. Sean Barber is an aging backup who hasn't played in a year and a half. I sincerely hope that what happened to Barber doesn't happen to Trot.

Last year, the Eagles waited until the last minute to signing castoff Lamar Gordon, who, along with Brian Westbrook, was incapable of filling the need for a true running back.

This year, the Eagles mistakenly capitulated to Westbrook's out-of-line demand for a big paycheck, thus closing the door, in the minds of the Eagles Front Office, to any possibility of signing the likes of Mike Anderson or drafting Lendale White.

Sure enough, this year, the Eagles signed no veteran running back and drafted none.

Finally, after experiencing in 2004, the positive effect of real #1 wide receiver, the Eagles apparently preferred to remember the glory days of Stinkston and Trash. That's why they failed to land Moulds or Walker or draft a replacement.

The Eagles may have done well in the draft on paper, but it won't mean a thing to their performance in 2006. I'll watch every game on TV because I'm a fan, but I won't be surprised when they again finish last in the NFC East with a record of 3-13.

274 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

Re #273 -

Now THAT'S the Philly fan that I know and love!

275 Re: Four Downs: NFC East

This off-season, the Eagles, knowing full well that neither Jones nor Adams were capable of playing the position,

What, exactly, is wrong with Jones? The fact that he didn't have any sacks last year? Except for the fact that the SAM linebacker under Johnson never gets any sacks?

What's a SAM linebacker's primary job, usually? Covering the tight end. PHI pass defense vs TE, 2005: -15.0%, ranked 6th. Or getting to the running back if he's in open space. PHI pass defense vs RB, 2005: -25.8%, ranked 4th.

Jones wasn't the problem.

signed no veteran starters and drafted none.

They drafted McCoy last year. No one expected him to break the starting lineup last year - takes too long for linebackers to learn the defense, since they have to make sure that the safety valves for the QBs stay bottled up. A bad linebacker for Philly's defense means a tight end or running back open in space, and off to the races. Neither of which happened last year.

DVOA gives a great explanation as to what happened to Philly's pass defense: #1 WRs killed them. And that's due to the missig pass rush.

Finally, after experiencing in 2004, the positive effect of real #1 wide receiver, the Eagles apparently preferred to remember the glory days of Stinkston and Trash.

I think equating Brown to James Thrash is a little insane. Brown was definitely a first-year receiver, but he showed enough promise that I think he warrants a shot. By the end of the season he was pretty regularly putting up 70-80 yard games, and with McMahon and Detmer throwing to him.

Brown actually put up more yardage in his first year than Thrash did his last year with Philly. Like I said, I think he deserves a shot.