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Moving on Up

Big news for the few, the proud, the loyal Southern Philly readers: I’m at Bleeding Green Nation now. Huge thanks to BGN Editor in Chief Brandon Lee Gowton and also his partners in crime, Mike Kaye and the on-haitus Dan Klausner for their support, along with James Keane.

My first step into the spotlight, Anti-Heroes Are Hard to Find is up:

The NFL, we like to say, is “a copycat league.” Someone has a great idea that works and they are lauded as a genius, in invention this is called “the hero theory,” that individuals are considered singularly responsible for extending man’s reach, and labeled as a genius, or hero. Football is not much different, one person’s idea rises above the rest and they are hailed a genius, then coaches around the league assimilate it and everyone moves on to the next big thing.

There is a counterpart to this theory: “multiple discovery,” that ideas spring up completely independently and simultaneously by multiple people. This is an usual occurrence in the NFL where at any given time a third of the coaches and GMs are on the hot seat. The league may be on the verge of another blueprint to copy. Should the Seahawks win, their approach will be lauded as the New New Thing that other teams would be wise to do until something deemed to be better comes along. What they will not realize is that some teams are already independently operating in a similar fashion.

 A front office making shrewd roster moves turning over every stone they can to build a deep and balanced roster, coupled with an ultra competitive coach with a trademark philosophy getting the most out of the castoffs and rejects given to him. That is not an easy combination to find, but it is not unique to Seattle. It sounds a lot like the Eagles.

As for this blog, I aim to have non-Eagles content here. Can’t promise anything.

BBQ, Elephants and Pandas, Oh My

So it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged. The Eagles were quite the enthusiasm killer. But one of my half-assed New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more, more diversly and better, and well this is a step in the former two’s direction. So the plan is some more blogging about life, not just sports. It helps to have a new partner on the journey. The other day I took in a couple of local treats here in Atlanta: delicious food and PANDAS…

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Eagles Free Agent Debate: Offense

We took a look at the defensive side of the ball yesterday, which is most likely going to be the Eagles primary focus.  However, there are a few intriguing names that could add fuel to one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL:

REGGIE BUSH (RB, New Orleans)

Why should they sign him:
Bush is the only the second most disgraced running back in USC history.  However, he fits the Eagles’ West Coast offensive scheme quite well.  Bush is an excellent pass catching RB, and a quick, agile runner.  He could also be used as a primary punt returner, giving DeSean Jackson a little bit of a breather (except against the Giants for psychological reasons).

Why shouldn’t they sign him:
There is simply not enough room on the roster as it currently stands.  Shady McCoy is entrenched as the starter, and is a much better running back.  With Leonard Weaver and Dion Lewis slated to back up McCoy, where exactly would Bush fit in?  Also, recently signed undrafted free agent Noel Devine is a very similar style of player, and that decreases the chances the Eagles make a run at Reggie.

Will they sign him:
Unless the Eagles can justify having a gaggle of RBs on their roster – which seems unlikely – Bush won’t be an Eagle.

PLAXICO BURRESS (WR, New York Giants/Oneida Correctional Facility)

Why should they sign him:
While the Eagles current corps of WRs are productive and explosive, they are small in stature.   Burress would give them an instant upgrade in terms of size.   He would provide a tall target in the red zone, a place that Eagles offenses have struggled in for years now.  His situation almost mirrors Vick and his decision to sign in Philly:  recently released from prison, trying to latch on to an organization where there will not be a lot of pressure to be a major contributor right away.  Put Burress on your depth chart as the 4th or 5th WR, use him almost exclusively in goal line situations to start the season, and go from there as he works his way into playing shape.

Why shouldn’t they sign him:
He’s 33 years old, and has been away from the game for two years.  Vick also missed two years, but he was younger and could afford to lose some athleticism.  Also, Burress has been talking to the Giants about a possible return.

Will they sign him:
For the Eagles, wide receiver is not anywhere near the top of their needs list.  It seems more likely that Burress will land somewhere else.

VINCE YOUNG (QB, Tennessee)

Why should they sign him:
Young would instantly be a top NFL backup – a mobile lefty to back up another mobile lefty.  Despite his personal issues, he can still be a good player, and had a pretty good season last year until the wheels fell off.   Andy Reid has shown a willingness to rehab a guy’s demons, and he’s resurrected both Vick and Jeff Garcia’s careers.

Why shouldn’t they sign him:
His aforementioned personal problems?  Lack of work ethic and immaturity.  If Haynesworth is in play, having the both of them would be quite a handful.  Young is likely not looking to be riding the bench, and will more than likely be seeking a starting gig.

Will they sign him:
He makes sense on a lot of levels if Kevin Kolb is in fact headed elsewhere.  If Young is unable to find a starting job on another team, the Eagles might take a chance on him.  However, count on Young landing somewhere else where he can compete for a starting job in the preseason.

Shopping List: Chicken Un-tendered

By all appearances, free agency will revert to pre-2010 rules, where 5th and 6th year players are eligible, flooding a thin and old market.  Brian McIntyre has complied a list of previously tendered players who will now become free agents.  While there’s a ton of players I’d love to see the Eagles sign that are on this list, it’s just not realistic that guys like DeAngelo Williams, Paul Posluszny, Sidney Rice or Eric Weddle will be an Eagle next year.  You have to look at this list realistically.  Most of these players will be re-signed by their teams, and the ones that aren’t will either be too high priced or will be gap fillers.  It’s the latter that interest me.  Next week I’ll look at players who were going to be free agents regardless of what rules may apply.  Today, I’ll look at a few players who might fill some roles the Eagles have.

Back up QB: Tyler Thigpen
Assuming that Kevin Kolb is in fact traded, are you okay with Mike Kafka as the #2?  I’m not, and I don’t think the Eagles will be either.  After being drafted but then cut by Andy Reid’s old protege Brad Childress, Tyler Thigpen played well for an awful Chiefs team in 2008, with a respectable-for-a-backup line of 54.8 completion percentage, 18 TD and 12 INT.  His only real target that year was Tony Gonzalez.  Ignore the 1-10 record, Kansas City’s defense was horrible, 2nd worst in yards and 4th worst in points, sinking a ship with a mediocre offense.  He then moved to Miami when they had a rash of injuries at QB and saw limited duty.  Thigpen’s got the skill set to succeed as a back up in Andy Reid’s system.  And with Michael Vick’s eternal fragility, he’ll see playing time.  If you’re going to be a backup QB, the Eagles are a pretty attractive team: you’ll almost certainly get playing time, when you do you’ll have a bevy of weapons at your disposal and you’ll be in a system that you will do well in.

Backup TE: David Thomas, Jeff King, Dante Rosario.
Brent Celek could use a better backup.  Clay Harbor and his 9 completed catches and 1 dropped TD do nothing for me.  And is it me or did Andy Reid shown more creativity to his play designs last year?  A second, respectable tight end would enable him to go with some 2 TE sets.  Dave Thomas might be an option if he’s available.  Considering they released Jeremy Shockey, I think New Orleans would like to have Thomas back.  But if he’s available on the free agent market, the Eagles should at least kick the tires. King and Rosario are both scheduled to be free agents from Carolina, and likely both will be after the Panthers signed Shockey.  Either one would be a depth fine addition as rotation guys who catch 20-30 passes a year, which is exactly the role they played in Carolina.

#2 CB: Eric Wright
Obviously Nnamdi Asomugha is the #1 target.  But with seemingly every team after him, chances are he doesn’t land at the Linc.  The Eagles are still going to need a plan B.  Wright could be that guy.  I’d rather have Jonathan Joseph or Antonio Cromartie, but I don’t see the Eagles willing to pay that kind of money for either of them.  Star player no, but Wright’s a good corner lost on a bad team.  At 5-11 he’d be the tallest CB on the Eagles (along with Dimitri Patterson), giving the secondary a slight height boost.  Wright’s not a ball hawk, but he’s a physical CB with good athleticism.  One of the big allures of having the excellent man-press Asomugha opposite zone ball hawking Asante Samuel is that it gives an offense two totally different CBs to worry about.  Wright plays a similar style, physical at the line of scrimmage, which would enable the Eagles to have a more diverse toolbox to scheme with.  If the bigger names can’t be had, I’d be perfectly fine with him in the Eagles secondary.

A reason to root for the Bruins. The only one.

I’m watching the Bruins and Lightning in game 2 and it occurred to me that if the Lightning beat Boston, and if they win the Cup, then that might be the worst thing for Paul Holmgren.  Why?  Because then it’ll be two non-elite goalies in a row that have won the Cup.  One year is a fluke, two years is a trend.  Or that’s what they say.  So, sorry Dwayne Roloson.  Sorry Antti Niemi.  But Roberto Luongo or Tim Thomas winning the Stanley Cup is probably better for the short term future of my team.