Report: Eagles Look Into Andre Smith, Vollmer

Finding a new right tackle could be on the Eagles’ short list of priorities.

Yesterday, there were reports that the Birds were interested in Jake Long. And today, they’re at least looking into Cincinnati’s Andre Smith and New England’s Sebastian Vollmer, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.

Smith (6-4, 335) was the No. 6 overall pick in 2009 and has become one of the better right tackles in the league. On the surface, Smith doesn’t seem like a natural fit for what we THINK Chip Kelly’s going to run. Then again, he played at a high level last year and is only 26.

Vollmer (6-8, 320) was taken in the second round of the 2009 draft. He’s started 44 games in four seasons and is 28. Injuries are also a concern for Vollmer. He’s dealt with back issues and an ankle injury, missing 11 games in the past two years. Vollmer is a right tackle, although he did play the left side as a rookie.

In terms of interest, the Bengals were still very much interested in bringing Smith back as of yesterday, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. He has not been linked to other teams.

The situation for Vollmer is similar. The Patriots could still be looking to bring him back if the price is right. He has not been linked to any other teams either just yet.

The latest on Long is that he’s taking a physical with the Rams and could sign with them, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network. The situation appears to still be fluid though.

Eric Winston is also still on the market.

As for the Eagles, assuming the interest in right tackles is genuine, they seem to be in favor of moving Todd Herremans back inside to guard. As I said this morning, that’s a key idea to keep in mine not only during free agency, but during the draft.

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  • JofreyRice

    See, I’d say that on the surface, I think Andre Smith is a better fit for what I guess Kelly wants to run. He’s got a lower CG, and is a better run-mauler than Vollmer. Particularly, with guys as tall as Vollmer, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they’re going to be brilliant run-blockers on the move–and their height can actually be a disadvantage. You don’t generally see really tall ZBS tackles. Duane Brown in Houston is 6’4. Trent Williams is 6’5. Russell Okung is 6’5. Joe Staley isn’t exactly a ZBS tackle, since what SF does is so unique, but he is a great move blocker, and is 6’5.

    Vollmer’s the better all-around player though. Much better in pass blocking. Anyone else remember how Brandon Graham beat Andre Smith like a drum in the Cincy game? Like I’ve mentioned before, the fact that Vollmer is only 28 and has played at a high level at both tackle spots makes signing him a pretty unique opportunity. If the Patriots didn’t have a lot invested in Solder on the Left side, in terms of draft capital and money, and didn’t have to spend LT money to franchise Vollmer to play the right, I don’t think they’d let him go, even though they supposedly like Marcus Cannon.

    • Septhinox

      Oh, you know what Kelly wants to run?

      • JofreyRice

        “for what I guess Kelly wants to run.”

      • MAC

        Do you realise at this time of year we have to speculate? Also looking at the signings and many experts reports you can make a well informed educated guess!!

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        Great contribution to the conversation.

        • Septhinox

          I guess logic precludes you too. Ok. :)

          • MAC

            Your pretty popular on here man. LOL

          • Septhinox

            If only I cared then it would mean something…haha

          • FMWarner

            I think you meant “eludes”. But no need for anyone to be a pedant about wording, right?

          • Septhinox

            Nope, I used the correct word. ;)

      • theycallmerob

        you must have missed the very first sentence, where he says “I think”. though I realize that may be novel

        • Septhinox

          See..there’s this thing called edit. He used that.

          • JofreyRice

            haha, oh baloney.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Andre Smith has weight issues and work ethic questions. He played a great year last year but was in a contract year. Do you really wanna hand over a big cheque to a dude with weight and character issues? And I disagree that he fits with what Kelly wants. For lack of better terms he’s a fatty, not athletic. No thanks.

      Vollmer is a slam dunk. Can play RT and is insurance at LT if theres any complications with Peters. Heck, I’d over pay for him if I had to. Athletic, cerebral lineman whose played in a fast paced offense in NE. Bring him on.

      • JofreyRice

        You might be right. Conventional wisdom seems to favor your POV more than mine. My take is that Andre Smith has been a pretty good tackle since his foot healed, and really just made the leap from “very good” to “one of the the best” RT’s in the league last year. I’m not sure he’s got weight issues; he might just be a great big fat person that can play football really well, like Vince Wilfork.

        At any rate, I do agree that Vollmer is a slam dunk. A more complete overall player, and does have some experience in the uptempo thing–though I think because of the pass-heavy attack of the Pats offense there would be some adjustment if Kelly runs a ZBS with IZ/OZ as the base plays.

        I’d be happy with either of these guys. I wonder if this focus on tackles is indicative of what they’ll do in the draft if they can’t get something done in free agency.

  • peteike

    seems like the Pats lost 5 o linemen in one day? yet Tom Brady will still stay upright somehow as they avg 35 a gm. All about the coaching, always is. Hope Chip is a savvy as the reports claim. Thanks for info Jofrey, was going to ask about these guys. After watching King here, I agree sometimes that height can be a disadvantage although he was a bit stiff also. Guys get underneath for leverage, then they get called for hands to the face penalties or they simply get pushed back, lose balance and are vulnerable.

    • http://twitter.com/poopdollar1 BJ Poops

      and by coaching you mean cheat codes.

    • JofreyRice

      The one semi-persuasive argument I’ve read against Smith has to do with his conditioning, and suitability for the CK offense. I think that horrible combine photo of Smith running a 40 yard dash without a shirt on has a lot to do with that; that picture was pretty awful, WTF was he thinking? I talked to the dude that runs the Cincy Jungle Bengals page, and he kind of blew off the conditioning stuff as bunk. He says that after Smith’s foot healed, he’s really never had any noticeable conditioning problems, FWIW.

  • jabostick

    I don’t know what to think about Smith. All his combine/rookie holdout nonsense still sticks in my head but he’s obviously put in the work the last couple of years so it’s probably unfair to criticize him for that – more likely chalk it up to immaturity than any inherent work ethic.

    The potential for a (healthy) Peters/Smith bookend is pretty damn enticing.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      the game is usually won because of the effort to dominate the line of scrimmage. The Eagles best Quarterbacking came behind bookends who could dominate an opponent or keep a fierce defender occupied.

  • LeagleEagle

    Does anyone else think that the whole idea of getting a new right tackle stems not from concerns with Herremans but instead come from the conclusion that the Danny Watkins debacle must end?

    • JofreyRice

      Totally. It’s a direct indictment of Watkins’ play.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        .. Herreman’s is the weak link. Herreman’s gave up 3 or 4 sacks and any number of Hits on the Quarterback and hurries. To beat the Eagles line up the best pass rusher on Herreman.

        Shady went from rushing for 17 touchdowns, to 5 in a season minus Peters. Even during that 17 touchdown, break out year, a majority of the yardage and scores came behind Peters. Now Herreman and Watkins on the same side is just a disaster.

        • JofreyRice

          Herremans may be better as a guard, but between him and Watkins, it’s not even close–don’t forget that Watkins has been benched multiple times for poor play, and that they signed a guy that was able to outperform him virtually from jumping off the couch. Watkins’ play would need a rocketship to get to the level of “average”.

          I think it’s a little unfair to compare Herremans to Peters–Peters was the best LT in football in 2011, and the combo of his athleticism with Mathis’ on the left side with those sprint draws played perfectly into Shady’s running style. Herremans did OK for a guy moved out to tackle as plan D, after the Eagles FO crossed their fingers all offseason and hoped Winston Justice could somehow come back and not be the utter garbage he was during 2010 (another move I guess Howie had nothing to do with /rolls eyes).

    • CJ

      I don’t think anyone is concerned with Herramans. I think it’s that Herramans is average to slightly above average RT, as opposed to just short of an all-world RG. Watkins isn’t getting cut this year, but he’s not going to start either.

      • Token

        Vollmer makes a lot of sense. Good player thats used to the up tempo offense. Smith makes no sense to me on the surface. Assuming thats just a name that got thrown out by someone.

        Herremans belongs back at guard. You would have a hell of a set of guards with him and Mathis. Ive not yet been sold on Kelce as the long term answer at center. Im curious to see how he will do this season. Sandwiching him in between two very good guards would help.

        • Johnny Domino

          Watkins would be a better fit at tackle in that scenario as well.

          • Token

            Watkins would fit better not on the team. He just cant play. And he doesnt care that he cant play. Hes perfectly fine going back to fighting fires. He got enough money to buy his own firetruck, which he actually did by the way, thats all he wants.

          • Johnny Domino

            He isn’t bad, he was just drafted that way. Besides somebody has to fill the King Dunlap role.

    • Bite Mee

      Herremans sucked at right tackle

  • Mikeq

    A little off-topic but did anyone else get a laugh when the SD Chargers bolted out of the free agency gate to sign…….King Dunlap. Had to make sure they locked him up at 4:01PM!

    • knighn

      How bad is the Chargers’ O-line situation when King Dunlap is actually considered an upgrade? Is Dunlap going there as a backup? That’s the only thing that makes sense.

      • Mikeq

        Definitely could just be a backup- 2 years 6 million, not crazy money by any means. Still, seemed he’s a guy you sign in June for the veteran minimum instead of being your first signing on opening day of free agency.

        • theycallmerob

          I thought that would be Andy’s EXACT plan. Sign his prodigal son as the steal-of-the-summer

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            I would not want to rely on King Dunlap to give you the best minutes at Tackle, but he has been a serviceable Tackle in a pinch his career there with the Eagles.

            King was miles better than the bum the Eagles signed before the season to relieve Peters. For some reason, King can’t give you a starter’s consistency over an entire season. He’s capable of stringing together a couple games during the season.

  • ICDogg