May 1, 2012 |
THIS EAGLES offseason has largely been about giving Juan Castillo the tools to succeed. If the Birds' 2012 defense blows fourth-quarter leads, can't tackle and frequently looks confused, it won't be because of personnel that doesn't match the scheme, or offseason work lost to a lockout, or a lack of size and talent up the gut. There will be only one person to blame. Well, two, actually - if the defense falters, Castillo probably will lose his job the same day Andy Reid bids farewell, since it was Reid who made the former offensive line coach the defensive coordinator, and Reid who kept him in place after last season's wobbles and stumbles.
April 28, 2012
Who says the Eagles don't care about linebacker? For the second time this offseason the Eagles made a major move to improve their linebacker corps, a perennial weak spot that has been as much a part of the Andy Reid experience as screen passes, fastball linemen, and "time's yours. " After landing DeMeco Ryans in a stunning trade, investing in a veteran middle linebacker with a significant contract to fill a significant need, the Eagles on Friday used their second pick in the draft, number 46 overall, to bring in Mychal Kendricks, a 5-foot-11 speedster from Cal. It's the earliest the team has drafted a linebacker since Reid's first draft, when he took Barry Gardner with his second-ever Eagles pick, 35th overall.
April 26, 2012
IT'S A LITTLE too early to say we know exactly what the Eagles have reaped from the two drafts they've conducted since Howie Roseman took over from Tom Heckert as general manager, when Heckert left for Cleveland. But as the Birds prepare for Roseman's third draft, starting tonight at 8, there is one trend we know the team would like to reverse. In 2010 and 2011, for whatever reason, the guys the Eagles took near the end of the draft were more ready to contribute than the guys at the top. Of the 24 players the Birds chose in those drafts, how many started every game last season?
April 25, 2012 |
IT IS NFL draft week and this is an Eagles story that plops Jerry Robinson's name into the first sentence. If you don't know where we're headed, please turn to the features section. You don't belong here. In Philadelphia, some names or phrases serve as shorthand for sore subjects, no explanation required. Joe Carter. Leon Stickle. Chico Ruiz stole home. Moses Malone traded to the Bullets. Von "5 for 1" Hayes. Every NFL draft week, "Jerry Robinson" invariably goes at the end of the sentence that starts, "The Eagles haven't taken a linebacker in the first round since 1979, when they chose . . . " Everyone knows this, bemoans this, laments this.
April 22, 2012 |
When the Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans, the feeling of relief and excitement among fans was palpable. The team had picked up a name linebacker. Finally. But the big move doesn't necessarily mean the Eagles solved the linebacker problems that were so plain and painful to see last season. Ryans is a two-time Pro Bowler and renowned leader, but after an Achilles tear in 2010 he wasn't the same player in 2011. The Eagles are optimistic about his health and returning him to the 4-3 system in which he excelled, but even if he returns to form, the team might need insurance and definitely needs an upgrade at outside linebacker.
April 21, 2012 |
Linebacker wasn't always an annual question mark. In 1982 the Eagles sent two homegrown 'backers to the Pro Bowl: Frank LeMaster, a 1974 fourth-rounder, and Jerry Robinson, a first-round pick in 1979, the last linebacker the team has taken in the NFL's opening round. It was the only Pro Bowl appearance for either, and the next year the team began a drought at linebacker that would seem familiar to fans today. After '82 the Eagles went nine years without a linebacker in the NFL's all-star game, but they eventually broke the streak with Seth Joyner, an eighth-round pick in 1986 who would grow into one of the central pieces of Buddy Ryan's defenses.
April 20, 2012 |
Howie Roseman can look at the last two NFL drafts - his two drafts as general manager of the Eagles - and see the same things as everyone else. Among the 24 players taken in 2010 and 2011, there were a few nice hits, some spectacular misses, and a general sense that the Eagles got players who were good enough for now, but perhaps not great enough for the long-term. Perhaps down the line, as Roseman suggested during a predraft press briefing on Thursday, defensive end Brandon Graham, the first-round pick in 2010, will rebound and become a star player, and guard Danny Watkins, the 2011 first-round pick, will do more than just fill space on the offensive line until someone better comes along.
March 28, 2012 |
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Eagles have room to add another defensive tackle, with free agents Derek Landri and Trevor Laws still unsigned. Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Antonio Dixon, and Cedric Thornton are under contract, but the Eagles carried five defensive tackles last season. Thornton, an undrafted rookie, could be expendable. The Eagles could be targeting one of a number of attractive defensive tackles in the first round of next month's draft. General manager Howie Roseman agreed that it is a position of strength in the draft.
March 22, 2012
NOW THAT the Eagles have found their 2012 starting middle linebacker, what impact will the acquisition of DeMeco Ryans have on whom they might take in the first round of the draft next month? Before Tuesday's trade, most mock drafts had the Eagles selecting Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly with their first-round pick, the 15th overall. Because of his impressive showing at the scouting combine in Indianapolis last month, Kuechly probably wouldn't have made it to 15, but the thinking was the middle-linebacker-needy Eagles would target him and find a way to move up and get him. Now?