NFL Analysis: Eagles Making Strange Decisions

| by Off The Record

“It’s a good, aggressive plan,” Reid told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “When they say go, we’re ready to go.”

That was what Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid said on May 18th. He, along with other front office peeps, told the fans and the media that the Eagles had this aggressive plan for the offseason. That got people’s minds going. ‘Nnamdi Asomugha? Yeah, we’ll sign him, then trade for Haynesworth! Think of that defense then! And we’ll trade Kolb and get…..blah blah.’

The reality is that the imagination of the Philly fan so rarely dovetails with the actual machinations of the Eagles.

Nnamdi Asoumgha is linked heavily to the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers. Notice what team’s name isn’t listed there? Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph is expected to make a decision soon, but he’s supposed to pick the Bengals, Browns, Lions or Texans. Notice what team’s name isn’t listed there?

Now, the Eagles are still rumored to be sending Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick. DRC is not one of the two aforementioned corners. He had a down year last year and there are rumors that the Cardinals coaches are tired of his lousy work ethic.

The Eagles did sign Jason Babin to a five-year deal that guarantees him $7 million, which is about $6.5 million too much. Some people are excited to add a guy who had 12.5 sacks last season. Don’t count me among them. The Eagles already had this guy two years ago, what weren’t they seeing then? He didn’t play a ton and was just a guy. Yeah, I know, Jim Washburn. Go ahead with the Jim Washburn stuff. Washburn is the new defensive line coach in Philly and he was the d-line coach in Tennessee that got 12.5 sacks out of Babin. If you want to make that connection and assume greatness for Babin here too…go ahead.

Look, Babin was a first-round pick in 2004. Other than one year, he’s been a complete bust whose previous high sack total for a season was five. He’s been bounced around the league for a reason. He’s not that good.

And what does this signing say about second-year DE Brandon Graham? The guy you traded halfway up into round one to snag in the draft in 2010? If Babin really is this big, great signing….what about the first-round pick? There is a mistake somewhere. Either Graham isn’t your guy (he’s still recovering from microfracture surgery after all), he’s really hurt, or your doubling down with the draft and free agency at one position. None of those things are good. Not to mention it’s a position that, other than getting lucking with a fifth-round pick in 2005 in Trent Cole, they’ve done a lousy job filling.

Let’s look at that last point for a second. This coaching regime inherited a stud in Hugh Douglas. Then what? Jevon Kearse was an overpaid player for the Eagles who showed flashes here and there, but was not worth the money they gave him. At all. How is former second-round pick Victor Abiamiri working out? Still waiting on 2008 third-round pick Bryan Smith from McNeese St. to pan out. I don’t even think he ever got onto the field. Woefully undersized and from an irrelevant school? Third-round pick it is! Darryl Tapp is just okay and a role player at best. This front office group led by Andy Reid (we think. We have no idea what the real deal is right now, but let’s hope Howie Roseman has minimal input, but I don’t think that’s the case), has not been able to bring in a legit DE who can rush the passer. And Derrick Burgess doesn’t count because he did squat here until the end of the 2004 season, and then left for a huge deal in Oakland.

This front office continues to draft undersized, “fastballs” that get mauled at the point of attack and get no pass rush. Or they trade for some bum on someone else’s roster and try to convince us that they are smarter than us, and that this dude is going to be great in Philly.

So, what the hell are the Eagles doing?

I don’t believe the Washington Redskins would have played ball with the Eagles for Albert Haynesworth. And it’s a moot point now anyway because he was traded to the New England Patriots. But, boy, the Eagles could have used him. The Eagles defensive tackles have gotten a free pass for years and simply aren’t that good. When was the last time Mike Patterson was in the backfield being disruptive? I can’t remember either. Brodrick Bunkley has fallen off so badly that he’s becoming a joke. Antonio Dixon is their best tackle. What are they doing to address this?

Let’s not even talk about linebackers. Casey Matthews is the far-less talented brother that Philly teams love to get and try to sell the fans that he’ll be just as good. After all…they’re related! Maybe they’ll bring in another Ernie Sims and tell us how he’s their shark in the water. Except that he sucks at football. He’s a shark in the water alright, but it’s floating upside down in the Schuylkill River.

And let’s get back to Jim Washburn for a second. By all accounts, he’s an excellent coach, but let’s look at the Albert Haynesworth situation. Everyone talks about how the Eagles need to get Haynesworth reunited with Washburn because he got so much out of Fat Albert in Tennessee. Did he? Haynesworth was an absolutel monster in 2007 and 2008. Washburn was with him the entire time since his rookie year in 2002. So why didn’t he do anything with him until then? Oh! Because it had nothing to do with Washburn! They were contract years for Albert. He’s motivated by money, not coaches. So let’s find some other reasons to praise Washburn, which I will absolutely do when I see his work with this mess of a defensive line that the Eagles have cobbled together.

I should say that free agency isn’t over. There are still moves to be made (Kevin Kolb) and deals to be struck. So, I should mitigate my anger by that very fact. But still, I can’t help but see a very disturbing pattern here. And it’s not about the Eagles being cheap, because I don’t believe they are. However, they do like to get bums and undersized guys, move them around to all different positions, and then tell me they have a championship-caliber team. Unless you’re counting on some of these rookies to come in and dominate (which I’m not), then I haven’t seen any major upgrades to this roster…yet again.

Oh, and last year’s offensive line coach is this year’s defensive coordinator. So yeah….what the hell are the Eagles doing?