Offseason Outlook: Inside Linebackers

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backswide receiverstight endsoffensive line, defensive line and outside linebackers. Now let’s tackle inside linebackers.

PRESSING QUESTION: What does the future hold for DeMeco Ryans?

Kapadia: We know the coaches love Ryans, and so do his teammates. The 29-year-old sets the tone in the locker room, gets everyone lined up correctly before the snap and is an effective player against the run.


We also know that Ryans is due $6.8M for the upcoming season. The problem is he's not great against the pass - either in coverage or as a blitzer. And he was on the field for more snaps than any front-seven player in the league last year.

The guess here is that the Eagles will look to restructure Ryans' deal and keep him around. What we don't know right now is how the Howie Roseman/Chip Kelly regime feels about making sure the guys who are locker-room leaders stay happy. Clearly, they've tried to separate themselves from the Joe Banner mentality as much as possible.

How they handle the Ryans situation this offseason should provide some answers on their larger philosophy in dealing with veteran players.

McManus: I wouldn't mess around with Ryans. If the Eagles were strapped for cash and in need of relief in order to make the team better in free agency, I get it. But they have some $20 million in cap space so it would be viewed as a move in the name of finances, not football.

Ryans is arguably the No. 1 leader on this team right now. He was the glue to a defense that overachieved big time. He led the Eagles with 177 tackles and added four sacks and two interceptions. What kind of argument could management try and sell that would convince Ryans -- and his loyal peers -- that he deserves to have his pay cut?

The veteran linebacker is scheduled to make $6.8 million this year and next, then will be a free agent after the 2015 season. If his production slips, maybe you approach him next offseason. But for now he's at the center of your locker room and your defense, so you leave it alone.

PRIORITY SCALE: FROM 1 TO 5

* 1 indicates there is no need at all to address the position in free agency or the draft. 5 means it’s of the highest priority that the Eagles focus on the position in the coming months.

Kapadia: I'll take a three on this one. The Eagles could very well go into next year with Ryans and Mychal Kendricks as their starting inside linebackers. In fact, I'd say that's likely. At the backup spots, guys like Najee Goode and Jake Knott (in the preseason) showed some flashes.

But if you take a look at the snap counts from the Super Bowl, you'll notice that the Seahawks had 18 different defensive players play at least 14 snaps. I think inside linebacker is another area where the Eagles could really benefit from more of a rotation. For example, in third-and-long situations, ideally they'd have an excellent cover linebacker on the field instead of Ryans.

For that reason, I think Roseman and company have to at least look at adding some guys with different skill sets at inside linebacker this offseason.

McManus: Put me down for a two. I agree that the Eagles could use some depth here, and I'm sure they'll be on the lookout, but there are too many pressing needs elsewhere to make it a high priority.

Kendricks can be a star in this league. I really believe that. He's only 23. If he can add some consistency to his game, look out. Ryans isn't the long-term solution at the other ILB spot but for now, the pairing works. Emmanuel Acho, Goode, Casey Matthews, Knott and Jason Phillips will presumably be among those competing for a reserve role this summer. Other names will probably be added to the mix.

To your point,  Sheil, I don't see the third-and-long replacement for Ryans in the current group.  It would be a nice luxury for Billy Davis to have.

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  • jabostick

    It’s a weird negotiating point with Ryans because one on hand, he seems deficient in a pretty major aspect of the game (rushing passer/covering catchers), yet he never came off the field. Unless they first find someone to replace him, the Eagles aren’t negotiating from a position of strength on this one.

    • JofreyRice

      It’s not my money, but he’s not a 7 million dollar a year player, at this stage. I don’t think he’d get that anywhere on the open market. I think they have some ability to re-negotiate–and hopefully they’d be doing that to free up money to sign a vet NT (Soliai) and Byrd. Add Barr or Dee Ford in the draft, and I think you’ve improved the D significantly.

      • jabostick

        I agree that the money could be better spent. But my point is that, despite his inadequacies, he was literally indispensable because they couldn’t take him off the field. I don’t know how they ask him to take a pay cut unless it is strictly him being a good soldier.

        • JofreyRice

          I wouldn’t agree that he’s literally indispensable. I think you have to have another player trained in getting guys lined up, anyway. And he’s decent against the run, but we’re not talking about Mike Singletary and the ’85 Bears D here. We’re talking about a group that posted their best stretch against QBs playing poorly–Eli, Scott Tolzein, Pryor, Stafford in the snow.

          I wouldn’t be too afraid to mess with the formula, in the hopes of putting out a better product on the field. For me, the main leverage point is that he absolutely will not get 7 million dollars to play MLB anywhere. Will not happen. If we’re looking for analogies to the Steelers defense, Kendricks is the important player–the Lawrence Timmons. DeMeco is essentially Larry Foote/James Farrior.

          • NickS1

            Both players were difficult for them to lose because of the lack of leadership at the position on top of them being very good LBs. They were the QBs of the D, and it wasn’t an easy transition to have someone else lining guys up, which I believe Timmons started doing.
            Problem with messing with the formula is, who’s playing instead of him? Maybe we can move to more of a rotational style this year, but he’s still your 1st and 2nd down ILB who’s still the QB of the D. A rookie isn’t doing it and a FA pickup would have a lot to learn to come in and QB the D. A lot of this talk is just senseless, to me. Talking about saving 2mil for a team that has 20mil going into FA, and will likely roll over another 8-12 into next year’s cap. And while he might not get 7mil on the open market now, his contract says he’s getting 7mil here. Terrible precedent to set by even asking him to come into the office to talk about his contract in a year where we literally have no reason to ask anyone to take a paycut.

          • anon

            FO obviously felt really secure at the position. We had a chance to get Kiko last year and didn’t.

          • NickS1

            Yeah. A move that would have been awesome, too. I’d love to be talking about Kiko and Mychal terrorizing opponents.

          • anon

            Funny how the Oregon D guys seem to be pretty good in the pros. The offensive guys…

          • JofreyRice

            Well, the way I see it, the precedent has already been set, by the NFL. It’s not as cut and dried as signing a contract, and playing it out. And they didn’t negotiate the contract DeMeco’s playing under, they just assumed it.

            Right now, Spotrac has DeMeco as playing as the third highest salaried LB in the league, behind James Lauriniatis and Paul Posluzny. Odds are that both of those guys will be restructured/cut, making Meco the #1. The main reason he was available from Houston was because they wanted a better mover on the field for their pass packages, and thought his salary was too much; which is essentially what we’ve saying here. So I’m not going to kill the Eagles for the same mindset that the Texans had with him.

            And then there is the practical matter of how the Eagles do business. They’re not going to put themselves in a financial situation where they are anywhere near being up against the cap. So practically, if we are hoping for any kind of big name signing, they need to be way under, and in good shape for the future. Really, a restructure would be the most likely scenario to keep DeMeco on the team for the next few years, because they are just not going to pay him as the top salaried ILB in football for multiple seasons.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Right now, Spotrac has DeMeco as playing as the third highest salaried LB in the league, behind James Lauriniatis and Paul Posluzny.

            hmm, that can’t be right; Bowman and Willis are both making more. Using Overthecap, I saw him at about 8 or 9 in the league.

            The texans also had plenty of other LB depth, especially at the younger/cheaper/faster areas you mention. Their situation is not at all like ours. I’d be singing a different tune if Cushing and Brooks Reed were young and looking for playing time in green.

          • JofreyRice

            http://www.spotrac.com/rankings/nfl/linebacker/

            Bowman & Willis’ numbers factor in more guaranteed. Most of DeMeco’s guarantees are up. The highest salaried numbers represent guys that have signed contracts a few years ago, where evaluating their cost is about what you expect to get in production–because it’s a pay to play situation.

            Yeah, the Texans situation was different. They didn’t go to a nickel look in passing downs, they just had Cushing in Dime as the only LB, so paying DeMeco that much as a base LB didn’t make sense. Here, we’re saying that DeMeco shouldn’t be on the field on third and long as a second linebacker, in Nickel looks. Depending on the opponent, they might be in nickel looks for 60-70% of the contest some weeks.

          • NickS1

            If they are restructured cut, what’s the reasoning? Do those teams have 20mil in cap space? If so, and they cut/restructure, they’re doing it just to do it (which is bad business), or because they’re planning on paying the ish out of some FAs (which is still bad business if they already have 20mil in space). The precedent is set by the NFL, sure, but there’s usually good reasons to do it, not just because we want to make that 20mil become 22mil… Different situation with Texans, as noted below…. And we can sign whoever we want and not restructure Ryans and be just fine. There’s TWENTY MILLION IN CAP SPACE. Dude just had a career year, and may be better next year with the general improvement of the D, guys getting bigger/better, sports science/offseason conditioning. I don’t care where he ranks in pay for LBs, those things are almost never where they should be.

          • JofreyRice

            See, I didn’t think he had a career year. The numbers don’t tell the whole story, IMO. Even his advocates are saying he is/was a liability against the pass. That’s more than half the game in today’s NFL!

            The reasoning would be that he’s an aging player that’s not playing at a level commensurate with his salary. Happens all the time.

            I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree here. He’s got a lot of good qualities, but I don’t see Ryans as some irreplaceable piece in the base defense. If they move on, I won’t be heartbroken.

          • NickS1

            Numbers-wise, career highs. Caveat, that includes snaps. I’m not trying to talk him up to be a great LB, I hope you know that, but he’s above average and better than what’s going to replace him if we release him today, which is part of why you just eat his salary this year. Other part, as stated, is it’s bad business to shave 2mil off of very productive vet’s salary when you already have 20mil in space, regardless of pay being or not being commensurate with play… For this defense and this team right now, he’s irreplaceable, IMO. The QB of the D, the intangibles, and his general above average play are the reasons why. I think there’s less than a very minute chance of replacing him and getting the same production as well as intangibles from whoever were to do that. It’s not like we’re talking about Avant, here, who, is going to have to take a reduced salary if he wants to stay…. After ’14, he’s either gone, or extended for a much lower number.

        • anon

          better spent on what? What white whale do you expect us to get at ILB? We won’t pay for the best in FA, AND we gotta hit on a STUD that’s ready to go after 2 years?

          He’s not nate allen, where you can just get anyone off the street to compete.

          • jabostick

            Yeah I didnt say that clearly. I agree that money saved on a renegotiated contract could be better spent on other parts of the D.
            However, I don’t think the Eagles have leverage to make that request and, for reasons Rob points out, it mightn’t be worth it anyway.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        I have to agree with Sheil regarding the $$$. The eagles aren’t strapped for cash, and 6.8 mil is not outlandish. I think it sets a bad precedent, especially this year, when there’s simply not a lot of depth or FA options. This can be looked at next year, especially if they re-sign Ryans for 2 or 3 more years. Still only 29, but a reduced role moving forward would not be the worst thing in the world. Draft his replacement, and groom them for a year or 2 (and maybe even a 2nd ILB, depending on Kendricks’ progress) while giving them some rotational snaps.
        If they’re renegotiating, it’s only for $2 or $3mil. I just don’t think that’s worth it for the ’14 season.

        • NickS1

          ^ this. Wrote a reply to Token stating very similar sentiments.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            yea, well, he’s usually content kicking most guys to the curb unless they’re making < $4mil or playing at pro bowl level.

            For what we got Demeco for, plus him seeing the defense through the disaster that was '12, and converting to a 34 (which he couldn't play) this year to lead the league in snaps and the team in tackles…..that's a whole lot of value. Plus all the intangible, on field and off.
            $6.8mil is pretty reasonable

          • NickS1

            Yeah, there’s that, and there’s the fact that when I hear “he wouldn’t get 7 on the open market” the simple counter is “well there’s this piece of paper that we both signed that says you’re going to pay me 6.8mil, so I couldn’t give a damn what the open market would pay me”. At which point he’s thinking, “What are they going to do, release me? HA! And play who?” ….. cut 2-3 mil when we have 20mil in cap space. What a joke.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            half the players currently under contract in the NFL (rookie contracts aside) would not be seeing the money they’re getting now, if released tomorrow. That’s a pretty stupid argument.

          • NickS1

            Exactly.

          • OldDocRoss

            I’d add that, despite his age, there’s actually a few reasons to believe he’ll look better next year.

            Second year in the system, playing alongside LBs who are more comfortable in the role, hopefully better support at the next level if/when we upgrade at safety. Heck maybe we’ll eveb find a guy who can come in to give him a breather once every eleventy billion plays or so.

            We don’t need the cap space and Lurie doesn’t need the $$$s so just pay the dude I say.

          • GEAGLE

            I can assure you he will be better next year assuming good health

        • JofreyRice

          Over the Cap has him at 7.8 mil–for a player most of us think shouldn’t be playing all three downs. I’d say it’s a little out of whack.

          Like I said to Nick, the precedent has been set, across the league. It’s the nature of NFL contracts. Nothing like the MLB or NBA. I’m not going to kill the Eagles for operating in the environment as it exists.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Yes, it happens elsewhere, but there’s no need for it to happen here. Teams don’t just restructure for the sake of it, they usually have no choice.
            I’m not arguing the logic of it. Just the necessity of doing it here, and now.

          • JofreyRice

            I’m really just addressing the argument that they shouldn’t set a precedent. It happens all the time. Hell, the Eagles renegotiated Cullen Jenkins in ’12 after he started 16 games, put up 6 sacks and delivered that wonderful slobberknocker hit on the Giants running back up in the meadowlands. It’s kind of the nature of the business, and like I said, practically, I think the Eagles need a lot of space under the cap to make any kind of big $$$ move.

            If the delta between signing a Patrick Chung type at 4 mil and Jarius Byrd at 8-9 mil is somehow justified by negotiating Ryans’ number south a bit, I am with it. I don’t want them to renegotiate just for the sake of it, and then take a swim in their vault like Scrooge McDuck.

          • Maggie

            Just curious. How many times have you mentioned the name Byrd in the last couple of weeks? I was hassled on this site for naming a FA wide receiver twice. Not by you I should specify.

          • JofreyRice

            Jeez, I dunno. A lot. He’s the solid gold porterhouse of free agency, at a position we desperately need. I’m obsessed, what can I say?

          • Maggie

            With so many teams desperate to sign him, I can’t see taking 2 million from Ryans to give $12 million or more to Byrd. And yes, there are many comments suggesting front-loading these contracts so that there is very little dead money or guaranteed after the first 2 years or so, but if anybody here was the player, would YOU want a huge chunk of your contract dollars coming in 1 or 2 years? How much do you suppose the IRS gets from, say, $7 million in one year compared to how much the IRS gets from $7 million income spread over 4 years? It’s certainly something a player or agent or money manager is taking into consideration.

          • NickS1

            What’s the difference in tax bracket between 1.75mil and 7mil? And do you really think a lot of these guys have money managers? If they did, you wouldn’t hear stories like Chris McCallister who is bankrupt. I want my guaranteed money as soon as I can get it. Time value of money. The 1.75mil in years 2-4 of your example is worth less than just taking the 7mil up front. Tax the crap out of it like they’re going to do anyway, I’ll take my chances on earning a return to make up the tax bracket differences. That’s what a real money manager would tell them. Players, they want their money faster so they can spend it accordingly.

          • Maggie

            Of course there are young men who are foolish with their money, but there are many more who trust financial managers to invest in franchises or restaurants or bonds or the stock market. Some also have their advisors create charitable trusts. All tax shelters to be sure, but these careful players do not do these things all by themselves. So, on top of taxes they are also paying accountants, lawyers and agents. To manage their money. Personally, I would rather pay my advisors’ fees over a period of years than throw a great gob of money at the US government to waste on married Senators’ mistresses or to fund another CIA secret camp.

      • Anthony Fryckberg

        Here’s the difference, from a sports-econ point of view. Ryans is a very good, solid player, the leader of our locker room, and the unquestioned leader of the defense. The remainder of his contract is 2 years/$13.6MM with NO GUARANTEES. Looking at the opportunity cost of releasing Ryans or restructuring his deal, where are you finding a player to replace him for equal of less money? If he blows out a knee, they can cut him after the season with no repercussion. That will be untrue of any player put in his place, including draftees. Draft an ILB with the skillset you’re looking for this year (3rd down coverage guy), assess Ryans after next seasons, draft/FA his replacement if the need is there. He’s the 13th highest paid ILB in the NFL. He played like it and beyond last year.

        • JofreyRice

          He’s the third highest salaried inside linebacker in the NFL. That point stands. Further, he’ could end up as the #1 salaried ILB in football in the very likely scenario Laurinaitis and Poz get restructured/cut. The fact that he has no guarantees is exactly why he makes Spotrac’s list of possible cap casualties–the guys making more than him per annum are doing so by way of combined salary and bonuses. They are playing in the lower salaried/higher guaranteed portions of their contracts, because they’ve signed them recently. DeMeco’s contract–completely boilerplate–was loaded with that kind of structure up front, with a ballooning annual salary at the back end, when the club get the most leverage to cut or renegotiate.

          • Anthony Fryckberg

            He’s actually THIRTEENTH among ILBs, not 3rd. The $7.9MM that overthecap has for him as annual salary includes a bonus that the Eagles never had to pay out. The guys above him are Willis (making $6.45MM in real money in 2014), Timmons (PIT–$6.75MM real money in 2014), Bowman ($4.75MM), Harris (NYJ)–$5MM this year after $11MM last year), Cushing $2.5MM but married to the Texans through at least 2015), Laurinatis ($3.625MM), Washington (ARZ–$3.1MM), Jackson (CLE–$8.5MM), Posluszny (JAX–$7.5MM), Ellerbe (MIA–$6MM), and Sean Lee ($5.5MM). Right below him are guys like Derrick Johnson, Stephen Tulloch, and London Fletcher. Then you get the dropoff into guys like AJ Hawk, Beason, Dansby, etc.
            I’m not arguing that he makes a good bit of money, but if you cut him (because restructuring that deal is NOT a good idea–longer term, guaranteed money, dead space against cap), you have to replace his productivity. I don’t see the guy out there that can do that.
            Even the “ballooned” salary, which you were spot on in saying was boilerplate, is reasonable for what Ryans brings to the team. You’re not replacing him with a more club friendly contract on a player who is anywhere near that caliber.

          • JofreyRice

            I’m talking about base salary.

            He’s #3 in base salary, figuring to be #1, when Laurinaitis & Poz restructure. I hate to repeat myself, but I’m not sure I’m being clear enough.

            http://www.spotrac.com/rankings/nfl/linebacker/

            So he’s at the point in his career where his base salary has ballooned. In most cases, those guys are re-structured and extended, or cut. Even before his base salary shot up, the cap relief Houston could get for him was incentive enough to trade him for relative peanuts.

            As far as what he’s being paid, versus what he’s bringing to the team, I don’t know. That’s highly subjective. Pro Football Focus rated him out as the second worst ILB in the league. I don’t think it’s that bad, but they are well-respected and referenced here quite often.

            Like I said in another post, I’m not sure we all share the same opinion of DeMeco or the defense, in general. The defense, as a whole, is not good, in my opinion. It’s OK, at best. They gave up 48 points to Matt Cassel & The Vikings. They couldn’t get off the field in short yardage against NO. They had trouble with the good QB’s they faced. I don’t think this is some perfectly aligned machine that can’t be improved upon.

          • Token

            Its simple to me. Ryans is not as good as people wish he was. Peoples wishes cloud their perspective. Im sure he made a few bigs plays, but I cant remember them. Like a big stop on short yardage. When I think of Ryans I usually remember a guy thats 3 steps behind in coverage and chasing down tackles rather than stepping up and filling a gap.

            Hes not worth what he makes. Even if hes the best leader and QB of the defense ever to live, it doesnt matter. He wont be here when we are really competing for a title so that all makes no difference. Clear him out now so we can get the next guy in there is my stance. If they keep him one more year while drafting a replacement this year, i guess im fine with that too. But it would be at a reduced number.

            I think the leader stuff can be really really overblown. If you arent making a impact what does it matter? Even Ray Lewis at the end was stepping up and popping some guys even tho he wasnt what he once was.

            I think peoples opinion of Ryans and really the D overall has been inflated. Since the D outperformed what most of us thought they would. But that doesnt mean they are good. We expected ridiculously bad and just got bad. Or maybe below average you could say. That streak of holding teams under 21 was nice and a surprise. But the schedule and how things fell helped us this year.

            Theres a lot of work to do there still IMO. And thats just to get to the top 10-15 unit im looking for. Its amazing they were able to win so many games while being so bad at rushing the QB.

    • Token

      You are looking at him from a leadership standpoint mainly. Because even tho hes said to be good against the run, I dunno. Hes gonna get tackles for sure. But I would like to see a stopper in the middle, especially if they view Kendricks as a permanent fixture. A guy that can just step up in the middle and stand up a RB coming through the lane. I dont view Ryans as that guy. I dont view him as a physical presence in the middle. I think we have two guys who arent that in the middle right now.

      • jabostick

        *I* am not saying that he is indispensable, I’m saying his snap count and the Eagles use of him imply that he is indispensable. Therefore, the Eagles aren’t in much of a position to ask him for a paycut

        • Token

          That simply speaks to depth. Even if they think Ryans is the best ILB to ever play football, they dont want him playing that many snaps.

          • Richard Colton

            if Chung forced an occasional turnover – Ryans wouldn’t have to play so many snaps.

          • Token

            Why is Chung not cut yet?

          • Maggie

            Maybe FO has someone on the hook for a trade, to at least get a little something for him? Maybe package him in with 2 or 3 others (I’ll let you suggest some names) or a 3-way of some kind? Or maybe they are still paying his medical bills?

          • GEAGLE

            Really?

          • jabostick

            So the Eagles should say “Hey DeMeco, you are BY FAR the best player we currently have at that position, give back some money please”. They should get deeper and more complementary at the position but, until they do, why would he restructure (unless, as said before, he’s just a good soldier)

          • Token

            Well they certainly could do it. Ryans no matter what happens wont be here after next season. So who cares? Hes not part of the future. If lowering his cap number helps get a guy like Byrd who will be part of that future, sure do it.

          • anon

            You think we get an ILB that’s better than him this offseason or next? Please. Our guys from 12 are barely capable starters after 2 years. You think his drop off at 31 will be so bad that he can’t play on this roster? Or just that we won’t keep anyone older than 30?

          • GEAGLE

            Apparently you took your rational pills today. good for you Anon. proud of you bud. where i come from! we call this PROGRESS! Up vote for you!

          • NickS1

            There’s 20mil in cap space. Why are you worried about having enough to sign Byrd? Ryans isn’t going to get restructured this year. After 2014, who knows? If he stays, he’s taking half the salary to do it, and likely part of the LB rotation. I think the only way he’s not in Philly after 2014 is if there’s a starting job waiting for him somewhere else. Otherwise, why not stay and take an Avant-ish role while the team’s on the up and he can possibly get a ring before retiring?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Ryans no matter what happens wont be here after next season.
            probably not at 6.8mil again in ’15, but otherwise there’s no reason behind that statement.

          • Token

            If Ryans is still starting in 2015 it means the Eagles didnt draft very well the next two years.

          • GEAGLE

            You will prove to be SOOOO WRONG about this one bud. GEAGLE CERTIFIED BANK IT!!! Just stop,delete every thing you wrote, because I promise it will prove ridiculously innacurate. PROMISE!!!!

      • RIP illa

        Agree w/ both of you throught you discussion. If Ryans was younger and more athletic, he’d be an indispensable beast. But sadly he is what he is. Which is a very smart and very solid leader. We gotta find and start grooming his successor ASAP (IMO). There are times when Ryans absolutely snaps and shows the beast that we wish we had on every snap, but Father Time has won this one. Not a lot of leverage, outside of what JR said, but we should attempt to renegotiate or at the least, restructure.

    • Dr Rick

      Agreed. DeMeco is clearly not a weak point in the overall D and played well enough to play all those snaps. I think we will try to keep him as part of a solid core and then draft and do the FA thing and replace weak points ( think safety).

  • Richard Colton

    I’m with Sheil on this one – solid three. We were fortunate to have Kendricks & Meco healthy for the whole season. I think there’s a significant drop off should we ever have to go to Knott or Goode for an extended time.

    If we can upgrade with a young guy early in the draft – I’d say do it. We talked about Van Noy as a guy who could spell Ryans on 3rd down (and eventually take over for him or Barwin) and I’ve seen a lot of Christian Jones love lately. Anyone know anything about him?

    • RIP illa

      Tall, fast, athletic, powerful, Beast. These are the words I would use to describe Jones. A little more in depth…kid does it all at MLB. A true sideline to sideline LB. Just flys around the field. He has shown the strength needed to take in blocks and shed them on a regular basis. His one on ones in the senior bowl practices were great, but his block shedding shows up on film. Love him at the point if attack when engage a ball carrier. Some LBs look to thump a guy, and some look to just bring a guy down by any means… seen many times when Jones seems like he’s looking to run through a guy!!! Brings physicality when tackling that we only get to see from Ryans sparingly. 6’3-6’4. Did I mention he was fast??? He can blitz from inside or outside, so he’s versitale. But the best part is…Dude can cover his ass off. Hips like a DB can run and cover any TE, WR, RB w/ athleticism and technique. So this would help us to send Kendricks on more blitzes and knowing we’re not gonna be screwed in coverage, as we are w/ Ryans. Really his only negatives, are that he’s not instinctive enough and can get fooled by misdirection and play action. Also can sometimes not locate the ball as well as one would hope. All of that can come w/ coaching and experience and from playing behind a guy like Ryans for a year or 2.

      • Richard Colton

        Damn. OK – I’ll watch some cut ups, but that paragraph alone sold me.

        • RIP illa

          His cut ups are weird, sorta. FSU lined him up all over. He’s similar to Shazier, in the fact that he’s a hybrid OLB/MLB. But during the BCS championship and senior bowl he was in the middle more than anything. I like him as an MLB that you can line up at OLB from time to time. Less weight needed to add on and to have an MLB w/ that size and athletic ability would be ridiculous.

      • Tom W

        sign me up …

    • Giorgos Kassakos

      Jones or Smallwood would be nice to add.

    • anon

      I thought good actually played pretty well. Surprised we really had no rotation at the LB position.

      • Richard Colton

        Knott Goode enough

  • David

    ZUMWALT!!! GET THIS BULLY ON OUR TEAM ASAP!!!

  • David

    Last time we let our leader of the defense wapk for a few deficiencies (mainly had lost a step in pass coverage)?? We lost the heart of the defense and have spent money on FAs busts and draft picks trying to replace him…. LETS NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE!!!

    • Richard Colton

      You’re comparing Demeco Ryans to Brian Dawkins?

      • pjcostello

        He’s comparing their ROLES on their respective teams to each other, it’s a valid analogy. Regardless of their positions on the field, they are considered to be leaders on the defense, guys whom other players look up to — and that’s hard to replace.

        • Richard Colton

          Yea, I get his point. I just think it’s wrong. Dawk was a once in a generation leader. Ryans is the leader on this defense, not because he’s George Patton, because he plays every snap and is the old man on D. Most of us think the former won’t continue due to talent. The latter doesn’t speak to his playing more. And you cant lead from the bench.
          I like Meco a lot. I’m 90% convinced he’ll be at ILB week one. The tangibles (and intangibles) are replaceable.

          • GEAGLE

            Ok, well the last time we screwed with Trotters money, we paid for it, and it was one of the biggest mistakes this organization made during years we were legit SB contenders, and why the F did we lose trotter? We were under the cap every stinking year…Losing trotter was probably banners biggest mistake! it’s even worse then Dawk because Trotter hadn’t even declined yet….talking Meco from a young team that made the playoffs it’s first year together just to save Lurie money would be absurd

          • Richard Colton

            for the record – I’m OK with keeping Meco. The Trotter thing might be a better comparison than Dawk. Eagles did a hatchet job on Trot when he left too – all part of the spin. I’m surprised He came back. Twice as surprised he didn’t punch Eskin and Spadero in the face on the way back in.

  • Dr Rick

    Interesting comment about the Seahawks having 18 different defensive players playing at least 14 snaps. I don’t have the Denver snap count but they played up tempo as much as they could. With the way the ‘Hawks were always around the ball and HITTING they seemed full throttle all the time. Reminds me of hockey and platooning lines to always have fresh legs in the game. Will one of the changes in the overall tempo of the offensive game result in changes in defensive substitution patterns long term?
    We have already seen how staying uptempo and limiting offensive substitutions results in mismatched defensive personnel and tired defensive legs.
    Our D really needs help. Will we pick up a good OLB if available and pass up a less good S, or will we draft for position?

    • knighn

      I was watching Denver snap counts for much of the game. Even when they were far behind I thought that they were taking way too long to snap the damn ball… not for a conventional offense, mind you – in a conventional offense I’m sure it’s fine to snap the ball with fewer than 5 seconds left on the clock over and over and over and over again – but when you should be playing hurry-up, or when your offense is supposed to be an up-tempo offense, play up-tempo, damnit!
      This was one of the most disappointing aspects of the game for me. I thought that Peyton Manning and that Denver Offense would do a little better job at trying to keep the ‘Hawks D off-guard, and prevent them from making substitutions, but instead it looked like Peyton fell victim to “paralysis by analysis”.

  • mtn_green

    Honestly Meco stays and he gets paid. My thought is that Meco does everything asked of him, but doesn’t have those extra skills. He can cover TE but generally allows the catch and tackles after.

    Probably get better depth in FA and draft another ILB to coach up for his replacement if BPA is an ILB at some point during draft.

    I really like demeco it always seems like just when you are thinking he is not making an impact in a game he makes a huge 3rd down stop.

    • anon

      He was responsible for a LOT of tackles this year.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      May not be the best in coverage, but sure does a good job laying a lick on receivers within 5 yds. Threw off many routes this year; just as we tout Berwin for batted passes in lieu of sacks, doesn’t this count for something for Ryans?

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah it’s ridiculous how people are talking about him in coverage. he does a lot of nice things in coverage. It’s not even close to a case of being some coverage liability that you don’t want on the field on pass plays, it’s a case of wanting sub package and stylistic alternatives in coverage. We can get an amazing cover guy, but I can assure that we would still be seeing Meco in plenty of pass situations, but there will also be packages were he is on the bench..Next year will be his best year yet, but it benefits no one to have him play an ungodly amount of snaps…Meco doesn’t have the coverage ability of Mykal to where you absolutely have to have him on the field but he does bring some nice things to our coverage. Add to it with some athletic youth and we should be really strong in terms of ILB production. The more defensive depth the more we can play to our defenders strengths, without exposing them to their weakness..you need to add young players who can thrive where Meco will be weak these next two years, so it’s probably Not time to draft that big Physical downhill Thumper, I’d like for Telvin smith, Shazlier type of athletes who can fly around in coverage, and add a Thumper next year when it’s a reasonable time to start talking about moving away from Meco

  • anon

    CSN Philly does not expect the Eagles to sign free agent safeties Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward.

    Byrd and Ward are clearly the two top options
    available at safety, a spot the cap-rich Eagles desperately need help
    at. They haven’t won a playoff game since letting Brian Dawkins walk
    following the 2008 season. However, GM Howie Roseman hinted that he
    doesn’t intend to break the bank to plug the hole. CSN Philly considers
    Chris Clemons, Mike Mitchell and Antoine Bethea more likely targets.

    • Token

      Darn, I thought for sure Howie would let everyone know the teams intentions……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      • anon

        What difference would it make? There’s going to be a market for them regardless.

      • Tom W

        Good point — listen to what he said the other day … repeats himself again (learn our lesson from 2011/dont go all in in free agency) but he then explains that further and says we CANT overpay above market bc it really makes it difficult to renegotiate w our young guys a year early and ask them to take market value let alone team friendly (foles, cox, kendricks, boykin, etc). this all makes sense to me. but doesnt mean byrd or ward is out of the question. I know byrd shot down 8 mil a year from buffalo but its stinking buffalo. Maybe he just wants the hell out. his market is 8-9 mil for 5 years and 20 mil guaranteed. Maybe he takes 5 for 40 for 27 mil guaranteed — more guarantted money than any other safety but doable salary to help us w the cap. Same w Ward. Maybe the Oregon connection and a winning program (versus buffalo or cleveland) gets us there. Chip recruited these cats — believed in them both once before. maybe loyalty gets us reasonable deals like Nnamdi got (who got market not over market). I dont know but would be nice.

        Or maybe we go Clemons at 4.5 mil a year which I would be fine w as well.

        • bri

          Chip didn’t recruit both of them

    • NickS1

      I read something similar. Let’s hope it’s all smoke.

      EDIT: Wouldn’t be mad about Clemons.

    • RIP illa

      Ugh!!! Why the hell didn’t they just pick up Clemons last year??? Seriously, MIA signed him for a cheap one year deal towards the end of FA. We should have signed him and already had him acclimated to the system by now. If they sign him this year then I’m going to just as pissed as I am happy. It would make no sense in the world if they sign him, not saying that they won’t, it’d just be really difficult to understand. There’s no way in hell that they could seriously have had Chung and Phillips rated higher than him. If so, then we’re still in trouble in w/ our scouting dept.

      • anon

        Yeah i’m not sure what’s going on with this team with DBs.

      • Maggie

        I believe I saw an article a few months ago which stated that several scouts had been replaced after Gamble arrived.

  • Giorgos Kassakos

    Ryans gets the job done and he is consistent. He is not a Top-5 guy but for a team that struggled for years to find a legit ILB, he is more than enough. Add the fact that he is the QB of the defense and you can’t ask for much more from a 29-year old guy that you got for a 4th and a swap of 3rds.

    Ryans, Kendricks and Goode will come back.

    • anon

      They treat the meat and potatoes players on the D like they aren’t s**t just b/c they’re around 30. These are the guys doing much of the work on D, really annoying.

      The other half is that if we don’t pay for some players we better have amazing coaching i don’t see our homegrown guys beating out those other dudes. I mean when’s the last pro-bowler we drafted on D? Kendricks could be great. Hopefully Cox my former favorite D player doesn’t get lost b/c of the scheme.

      Last point — versatility. CK wasn’t versatility on D, guys that can play all over the line, multiple positions. The problem is that if you’re a jack of all trades you’re probably a mast of none.

      • NickS1

        Your last sentence is my biggest issue with the versatility piece. I think it’s great when a couple guys are versatile and can step in in a pinch, but I want about 8-9 “specialists” on D with a 2-3 jack of all trades types.

        • anon

          The alternate philosophy is the I’m going to do x and you can’t stop me.

      • pjcostello

        In fairness, consider that this is a new regime — we don’t know about any over-30 bias they might or might not have just yet. What you said would’ve been true two years ago, but not necessarily today.

  • TNA

    Does Kendricks have the drop back ability to be a safety? With his straight away closing speed, he’d be a good strong safety if he’s able to backpedal and flip his hips quickly enough. He’d be a matchup nightmare as a blitzing safety and receivers would likely shy away from his missile hits across the middle and on the sidelines. I’d like to see him play there as an experiment if the best player available draft approach lands the Eagles a linebacker.

    If his ability to cover is better than the second best safety in camp and the marginal drop in his replacement at ILB doesn’t outweigh the team benefits of him playing safety, I’d definitely like to see him play there as an experiment.

    Would he better at safety than Chung? Wouldn’t the team be better off with Kendricks playing safety and Goode or Knott starting at ILB? I wonder.

    • anon

      He can’t cover. He got exposed against good TEs i don’t think he’s got the length or play-in-space ability to play safety (though i understand it’s a transition that some make). Best as a pass rushing ILB.

    • Token

      Theres literally nothing worse then when people think other positions can just switch over to safety.

      • NickS1

        How do you really feel about it, Token?

      • TNA

        Literally nothing worse? Literally or figuratively?

        However, as it pertains to Kendricks, this topic is DOA if Kendricks can’t cover better than the second best safety in camp.

      • peteike

        yes, I dont get that fascination even as a hypothetical because the examples of it ever working dont exist or are extremely rare

  • anon

    Anyone know if there are options in the CFL? Anyone think we give those guys a look?

    • NickS1

      I’d hope so. All 32 teams let a Cameron Wake type slip through their draft boards.

      • anon

        Found him — name works, description is ok too.

        18. Chip Cox – Linebacker, Montreal Alouettes

        With 114 tackles this season, Cox was the CFL’s tackle leader. But more than that, he’s a huge playmaker on a defence that’s built on sending pressure to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. You can expect to see this defensive MOP candidate all over the field any time the Als defence is out there.

        EDIT: He’s 5’9 185 and 30, oh well.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          downvote for the canadian spelling of defense (I know it’s cut and paste, but still)

          • Maggie

            Technically it’s not Canadian. It’s originally British, but it is true that ‘defense’ or ‘defence’ can be spelled either way. Like ‘license’ or ‘licence’. They could have slightly different meanings as well. Sorry to get pedantic, I majored in English once upon a time, but try to use American spelling on these boards. Btw, fans at football and basketball games hold up DE- and a little fence from time to time. ;~)

        • NickS1

          Wow really? 5’9 185 and killin’ that league? Where’s Andy? Sounds like the kind of undersized, high-motor, fastballs he couldn’t wait to sign.

        • Maggie

          Agree on the name.

    • Maggie

      There are always options in the CFL. eg. Mark Trestman, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Joe Kapp. Going back a bit, I know, but I used to love Kapp at QB running over linebackers first with the BC Lions, then with the Vikings. Could email or tweet Carl Hairston, coaching BC Lions’ Defensive Line, and ask him. Or Mark Washington, former Cowboy (yuk), coaching D backs.

  • NickS1

    Decent read from B/R. Especially #9. Maybe Chip should change the slogan from “A chin strap away” to “A ligament snap away”. Kinda scary.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1945454-ten-point-stance-mike-freemans-nfl-notebook-post-super-bowl-xlviii#articles/1945454-ten-point-stance-mike-freemans-nfl-notebook-post-super-bowl-xlviii

  • Tom W

    3 — We will pay Demeco his salary this year — sets a bad precedent in the lockerroom not too. and we have the money.

    His intangibles are off the charts, and ability to lead the defense on first and second is strong. against run he is above average. His recognition/blitz/coverage on third down and/or in our nickel is a liability.

    Draft his replacement this year and groom his as a nickel lb/rotational guy for a year so he can learn from Demeco, become accustomed to the defensive calls, and add some meat and potatoes w Huls and the boyz next offseason.

    Van Noy in the 2d, Christian Jones! in the second maybe third, barrow in the fourth.

    after 2015, weigh where Demeco is. If the kid is ready, then move on. If he needs another year, keep meco around and ask him to take a cut because he can’t be 4th highest paid player.

    We can utilize this same strategy at OLB (ford or atta-boy or Marcus Smith) and Corner (nebraska – liberty – lindenworld – mcgill tall corners in 4th) and Guard (4th or 5th round) IF we go out and get a vet safety (Byrd/Ward/Clemons).

    We can groom the edge guy w Cole for a year, groom the ilb w Demeco for a year, and groom the corner for either Cary or Fletch’s spot. Same w Todd. Works nicely. And maybe Tobin is getting groomed to be right tackle if Peters leaves after 2014.

    Will suggested about a month ago that eagles may look at Michael Johnson at the olb spot on a one yr deal. guy is 6 7 270 … can he play olb? even if we signed him to a barwin like deal like Geagle suggested and signed Clemons — thats much closer to the pu pu platter free agent strategy then just tapping Byrd for big bucks.

    Can Michael Johnson play olb? attitude? good guy? injuries? I realize cincy is letting him walk bc they signed atkins and dunlap.

    Would we try to trade Cole if we signed Johnson? that’s a lot of dead money to eat. Or just cut graham after June 1st (or trade him) and rotate Cole and Johnson like the seahawks do

    If we signed Clemons and Michael Johnson it allows us to go into draft and take bpa at every position … S/WR/OLB/ILB/DL/OT/G whomever each round. That really intrigues ————— wanna take benjamin okay; sheed okay; pryor okay; ealy or ford why not? because at that point you have no immediate needs … then do the same in rd 2-5 (adding atleast one wr, one lb, one secondary, one oline, and extra)

    • Tom W

      Did some Michael Johnson digging … GT grad .. from Alabama. Coming out of college slid to 3d round after being projected to go in first round bc of so so motor. Was being looked at by alot of teams as a 3-4 olb. Played d end in college but had a ridiculous athletic combine that convinced many teams he could play 3-4 olb.

      I’m worried he only showed up one year — 2012 — his contract year w 12 sacks. And after Atkins was hurt this year, his sack total really sank to 3 sacks. Maybe Atkins is the beast ie. reggie and clyde.

      Great Article describing his ability to play 3-4 olb from Mike Zimmer — was moved back to d end though bc of Antwan Odom’s suspension.

      Falcons rumored to be looking at him … but they are broke. Could we get him on a one year prove it deal OR a fake long term deal that we can get out of in 2 years??? Do we want a guy who may be a dog? doesn’t sound like a bad guy … numerous references about being a great teammate and doing alot of work in community

      Entering 2011, Mike Zimmer put him at olb in the offseason. From article

      “Then we heard the news that he
      was moving to outside linebacker and everybody got excited. Especially
      defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who said:

      “I really, really like him just as a football player. He’s improved
      tremendously. He’s doing some terrific things. I’m expecting him to have
      a dang good year,” Zimmer said.

      After working Johnson with the linebackers all spring, Zimmer calls Johnson’s
      pass coverage “excellent,” and doesn’t stop at playing him at SAM on
      first down or rush end on third down. He believes Johnson could play end
      on first down as well as play the other two backer spots.

      That allows the Bengals to disrupt pass protections by alignment.

      “Itputs five linemen on the field and the offense has to decide if they’re
      going to block him with a back or a tackle,” Zimmer said. “That’s
      five-on-five. And that opens it up for people beyond that.”

      Unfortunately,a combination of injuries and suspensions moved Johnson back to defensive end, where he started the final 10 games of the season, this time racking up 34 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and knocked 275(actually it was 4) passes down at the line of scrimmage.. because of
      his pterodactyl wings.”

      Attached also is an article comparing him to Dion Jordan but bigger w ability to set the edge

      http://www.kcchiefsdraft.com/2013/01/dion-jordan-the-ideal-enigma/

      • NickS1

        Was reading about him a little earlier today, he’s definitely an intriguing piece. And with the love of versatility, the guy screams it. Line him up wherever you want to in the front 7 and he’s confusing O-lines.

        • TOm W

          Yea if he isn’t a dog would be the type of “incremental improvement in free agency” that Howie has described as what the eagles would be willing to … I mean graham is getting closer to 4 mil and Johnson fits much better at what we want to do (big tall athletic long).
          Dunno what it takes to get him .. he is young as hell (25) coming off a bad year after he had a very good but not great year … certainly less than Orapko.
          Sign him and Clemons and we can roll into draft and go BPA at every pick …. heck even trade down and secure an extra third.

          • NickS1

            See my post above. F the defense. Go get Graham. If people want to talk nonsense about restructuring everyone’s deal in some ideal fantasy GM’ing world, then do it, and go get us Jimmy F’n Graham, Clemons, and Johnson, trade out of the 1st so we’re not paying rookies too much, and go BPA rest of way out with two 2nds, two 3rds, 4th, two 5ths and 7th. Like 4mil between them all. I mean, hell, after all the restructures we’ll have like 35mil in cap space and still roll over 12mil haha.

          • TOm W

            They gonna franchise him. End of subject. I didn’t talk about restructuing anyone in 2014 maybe next year for demeco maybe but move on from Todd at that point and potentially celek.
            Rookie structure for a first rounder isn’t alot anymore … 22 won’t cost us that much.
            Yea all this restructuring talk is fantasy world. really sets a bad precedent in the lockeroom and pisses guys off. Its not like we can cut demeco, Todd, celek, avant in 2014. Maybe avant but the other 3 we need and are still playing fine.

          • NickS1

            I know they are. All asinine talk, crap that won’t happen, to go along with the whole thread about restructuring our QB of the D when we already have 20mil cap space. It’s ridiculous. However, NO may franchise him, but they have decisions to make/restructuring to do of their own since they’re over cap.

          • GEAGLE

            Don’t know why we just don’t give him his money up front. Fitzgerald just got 11 of next years 12mil upfront, freeing 9mil in cap o’s pace, now his salary only counts for 1 mil..
            ..
            You can pay Meco upfront without worrying about him taking the money! and becoming lazy

        • Maggie

          See Richard Colton’s line about “Forced Confusions”.

      • cliff henny

        good stuff as always Tom.
        .
        could sell me on this strategy, instead of spending 80% of the money on 1 guy, spend same amount on 2 guys, get the 25-26 yr olds on company friendly contracts 2 or 3 yr contracts, and draft replacements next or following year draft. that’s assuming coaches can create pro bowl/all-pro’s out of picks-off to a pretty good start here. it’s a very cost effective way to increase talent level of a position, over course of 2 or 3 yrs have a pretty good roster. pick up casey, draft ertz. pick up sop draft logan. pick up chung draft wolff. could say picked up vick drafted barkley. pick up Barwin draft KVN, pick up johnson draft c jones, pick up clemmons draft buchanon. certainly keeps cap flexibility and creates instant depth. just talk myself out of byrd/ward and i’ve been grinding that stone for months. though i still think you could sign either and pick up johnson or worilds.
        .
        think my point of contention with Howie’s stance is ‘mid-level’ part. makes it sound like Eagles are only taking stop-gap FAs, which they arent. other talking point he’s getting away with is allowing for failure rate (which is just bs…no company brings someone in with notion they could fail, it’s stupid)

        • Tom W

          Totally and the incremental part of it (“incrementally improving” the talent level in free agency) replacing harbor w casey, replacing our crap olbs w barwin, replacing crap w chung/philips, replacing nnamdi and drc w cary and fletch, replacing dixon w geathers, replacing shit guard w barbre.
          This year upgrade allen or chung w clemons, upgrade graham or cole w Johnson, upgrade square/geathers w mt cody, etc and upgrade them w players w chips measurables who fit the offensive and defensive systems better than andy’s prior offensive and defensive schemes … all are young HWS guys who “fit” on paper better — and may still have room to improve and become good starters but certainly improvements

    • Maggie

      Some of the most intelligent and well thought out comments I’ve read for days. Bringing in replacements while not destroying your current employees works in almost every field of business, including sports.

      • Tom W

        And more importantly it promotes healthy competition and sometimes reinvigorates that older member of the team as well i.e. Celek

  • anon

    Asante Samuel cut. Can he play special teams? Bring him back!

    • NickS1

      Don’t know that we’re employing softies anymore.

    • Dominik

      I don’t know how much he fell, but I’d be fine with him as our #1 or #2 back-up behind Fletcher, Williams and Boykin.

      Lacks ideal size for Chip, but he’d sure love the ballhawking skills (he at least once had).

  • NickS1

    I’m hitting the point now where I’m ready to say f the defense and just go get us some Jimmy Graham. Pay the man some hybrid TE/WR numbers at like 9mil/yr and let Chip have fun. Sign a Clemons or someone like that, and go all D in the draft after nabbing Evans/Benjamin/Robinson in round 1. Hell, who needs a D when we’re scoring 40ppg?

    • cliff henny

      RIGHT! i’ll be annoyed at mid 30′s, chippah better start hanging half a hunge bi-weekly or i’ll have Rob write him some notes

      • NickS1

        Half a hundo bi-weekly? F that, I wanna see a FULL hundo bi-weekly! Anything less than 85 every two weeks is unacceptable. D-Jax, Mac, Ertz, Graham, and KB/Evans with Shady outta the backfield? I’m just stopping now…

  • GEAGLE

    Meco goes no where…PERIOD. Plus,this coverage liability talk is overblown. He does some things well in the pass game, like collect INTs lol, Jam WRs, so this really isnt a case of us NEVER wanting Meco in coverage, it’s a case of wanting sub package alternatives. Meco can’t keep playing an ungodly amount of snaps, and we have to have cover backs who can breathe him without it being a drastic drop off to where you then are afraid to take Meco off the field. you add to Meco and Kendricks, not replace it. A few depth additions who can play and we will be set.

    BTW, this won’t be Meco’s last year here. He will still be our leader during the 2015 SB run, it’s just we will have young players stealing some snaps..after 2015, we will have to see what effects the sports science has on his body. But he will be on the field in some capacity the next two years..

    Next years LBs look something like:
    Barwin/KVN..Mykal/Goode..Meco/Lamin barrow..Cole/Micheal Johnson

    If I’m wrong, and we don’t sign MJ(I already know we won’t get Worlids), Then instead of KVN, we would draft one of the 3: Dee Ford, Attaboy, Marcus smith

    I feel like Billy D wants to maximize disguise so the OLB we draft will have to be able to drop, but if they see a 4-3DE prospect as a disruptive Bezerker like Kony, I could see Billy saying the hell with Coverage, and go with someone like Kony. I doubt he is on the board at 22,’but if he is, I think you have to think about, assuming his combine is in Aldon smiths ball park. Thinking the only pass rushers we consider at 22′would be Mack(not gonna happen), Barr(LONGSHOT but not ready to rule it out) or Kony(depending his combine)….but if we don’t nab one of those guys at 22, and we didn’t sign a FA like MJ, you can almost BANK IT that they will spend their 2nd round pick on:
    Attaboy
    Dee Ford
    The kid from Louisville..
    possibly they love KVN too much to pass even if they don’t have that pure OLB pass rusher yet

    Now if two of those kids have insane combines and shoot into round 1, or early 2, we have big problems…and even landing one of those kids comes with the opportunity cost of a Deonne Buchanon, big time WRS prospect possibly even KB

    • Richard Colton

      You think Ryans will still be here in two years? At that number?

      • GEAGLE

        Dont know about numbers, but if we didn’t want him the CONTENDER YEAR(2015), we would be pulling the plug NOW. He will be an Eagle for two more season, with snaps decreasing each year, at what price? Don’t really care. I have never seen this team strapped for cash, not having flexibility. Demeco Ryan isn’t the modern day Selfish Mercenary. If it were up to him, he would still be building with the Texans, That dude will be loyal to us! he will work with us to stay here, if we need the money, so you don’t disrespect him and screw with his money until you need to. You can treat him with respect and restructure his deal to free up money if you need to. You can pay him upfront if need be. And I DESPISE talking about a guy potentially declining before he shows ANY sign of it. He was a pretty good player for us this year, and will be even better next year, so why would I just assume he will drastically decline the next year? Need to see signs of decline before I Write him off. And if you are drafting new ILBs the next two year, it’s a benefit to them and our team to be around Meco for a year or two….The more we can ease young guys into the lineup, and not just draft 5th round picks and assume they can start for us day one(Casey Mathews) the better off we will be.

        We haven’t even seen his best year yet, I don’t get this rush to kick him to the damn curb, especially such a class act, high Charecter dude, who will probably work with us to remain part of this team. It’s disrespectful, foolish, and that’s why I waited to the end of day to even comment on this. NEWS FLASH, paying Meco isn’t stopping us from extending our young guys, so I don’t get this fan obsession with saving Lurie a buck…Spend 95% of your Cap one friggin time..

        I don’t get it.,I mean we have the tenth most cap space in the NFL, yet people tell me that we have to be frugal,joe banner bargain shoppers in FA and I can’t have 1 single BIg Money signing because having the 10th most cap space isn’t enough to apparently re sign the young players everyone fought with me all summer trying to tell me they sucked…Not Only can’t We sign one stinking player we can count on starting at a high level and not having to replace, but we have to start talking about losing our team captain when he is about to give us his best year as an Eagle? Like are fans getting a percentage of the money Lurie saves? THe extensions players sign will count towards 2015, we allegedly aren’t going to be players in FA, so excuse me, but I would rather see Meco happy and compensated for everything he is giving us! instead of LUrie pocketing 20million AGAIN!! I’d give Meco his 6.8 million upfront tomorrow, show good faith, treat our captain with respect before asking him to return the favor next offseason so we can keep the young kids he has been helping to groom since he got here

        • GEAGLE

          The Friggin Dallas Cowboys have to consider cutting a Demeco Ryan…The Philadelphia Eagles are a better run organization the that…and talking about losing him right now us disrespectful, no one has a single sign of slowing down, no one knows how long this new sports science can keep him at this level, and I could care less if Lurie has to spend 6million dollars this year, because I bet anything we will still be more then 7million under the cap NEXT YEAR, so why would I rather Lurie keep that, then giving it to Meco to ball out for us?. I don’t care if we add 5 new stud defenders, if we are more then 7mil under the cap when we are done making all these big grand moves lol, then I still want that 6.8 in Meco’s ba account instea of Laurie’s..

          • GEAGLE

            Show me that you are spending money to upgrade this team, instead of saving money on average stop gaps and praying we can hide their weakness long enough to draft and groom our real starter, and then maybe I can understand having these types of discussions…but as long as I’m seeing us sign Chung’s, Kenny Phillips, Soap types instead of paying for some damn solutions, then I don’t even want to entertain losing what we have, especially since I know we are about to Get hit his mans best year as an eagle..I have no doubts. Dude played an ungodly amount of snaps and never even slowed down…but until the only reason to screw with Meco remains being to save Lurie money then I think this convo is absurd

        • anon

          Hard to say decline when the guy played EVERY snap running all over the field. Spell him a bit i’m sure he’d get some explosiveness back.

    • JofreyRice

      Token and I discussed Michael Johnson a couple days after the season ended. I think the conclusion we came to was that we didn’t think the Eagles would pony up the big money he’d demand, and then have him convert; we saw that it’s a process. Now, Johnson’s a better athlete than Cole or Graham, and certainly fits the “measurables” category, but even in Zimmer’s fire zone 4-3, he hasn’t done much dropping, at all. We’ll see what the Eagles think, but he’s not going to be cheap, and it would be a considerable risk to bank on him playing at a high level as an OLB. Who knows what the Eagles think, though? He’s definitely got some impressive dimensions.

      • Tom W

        See my Zimmer comments below on his move to olb in 2011 and what he was looked at coming out of draft. Zimmer said he was excellent in coverage and improving every day. But yes still a bit of a process.

        Wonder what type of money he gets after such a poor year ..only 3 sacks. really only had one good year. look at mike bennett … he didn’t get squat except a one year deal from seattle.

        Maybe teams are wary of MJ and put money elsewhere and we swoop in w a desean like or barwin like deal (basically 2 yr deal) or a one year 8 mil deal.

        Maybe we think he sucks — who knows …. but he may be more of what we hoped from Dion Jordan last year … already a proven edge rusher and can set edge … if he can cover holy hell watch out —- im sure at the least he can drop in the short flat and play zone .. maybe not cover a te but down the road??? kid is only 25 ….

        My biggest worry is he may be a dog …. we probably dont want that type of player. maybe he is red flagged already.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I have little concerns about his OLB transition..I actually think he should have been playing OLB all along. Not everyone with his frame can be Jason Taylor, some are better suited as 3-4OLB. MJ, Dion Jordan IMO fit that bill

          I’m not talking about MJ because I would want him!I talk about him because I think he will be a real target of ours

          • Tom W

            Totally trying to think like eagles and be rational … And I could live w it …

          • GEAGLE

            The fan in me would want to pony up for Orakpo or hardy???the FO view of things would make me happy with getting him on a Barwin deal.. Would give us more room to take advantage of this great WR draft..
            ..
            You add a guy like MJ, and you don’t have to worry about that impact pass rusher, and you can set your sights on the versatile KVN,Chris Jones types, and then you start to have a deep and versatile LB corp

          • GEAGLE

            Hoping now that Bennett will cash in on a Longterm deal that MJ won’t go to Seattle to replace him on a one year deal. I don’t want him on a one year deal at all, because I believe in his ability in the hands our coaches. But if we can lock him up to Barwin money, Id feel like we got a steal..

      • GEAGLE

        Disagree on the price. The only reason I view him as worth talking about is because he is coming off a down 3sack season on a team that won’t retain him. IMO, he could sign a Barwin type deal were it could be lucrative! but has plenty of out clauses! or he will go the Micheal Bennett,DRC,Talib route, gamble on himself having a big year and sign a 1yr deal to get his value up..

        There is NO SHOT in HELL that his 3sacks are getting him a BIGTIME contract in a market with dudes coming off much better years Greg hardy!Orakpo,Bennett even Worlids would all command better deals in this years market. The best he can hope to get is a Barwin deal, and then work his ass off to make sure he sees that money, and I’m familia enough with his game to think he would be worth the Barwin deal..

        The ONLY complication is, I don’t know how anyone feels about coming to a team where they know Cole will be getting some of their snaps. Then again it Helps that Micheal Bennett was able to get his value up in a similar time share situation. Seahawks show that having 16-17 defenders you actually want to put on the field is a good problem to have.

        I would 100% offer him the Barwin deal and feel like we made out like a fat rat. the Barwin deal could be enough security for him to overlook having to deal with one year if a time share with Cole, but MJ would still get the majority of the pass rushing opportunity….

        If we have to go the “Chung,Soap,Phillips stop gap route for a year or two, then I hope it’s Lammar Woodley. expect him to be cut and the steelers commit to Worlids. eagles fans need to forget Worlids name, he won’t EVER SIGN on with Cole here. he is sick of sharing snaps in Pitt! he damn sure won’t sign on to time share here, but I expect him locked up longterms..

        I understand the devils advocate sign to not going after the best safety in the market..but I think it’s a mistake to not take advantage of a young athlete like MJ coming off a down year where hardy!Orakpo!Worlids,Bennett all have to get paid before him.

        I don’t care what we sign him to! I would be confident he is our Longterm answer! and if he dissapoints we still have those year 3 out clauses so we can easily have someone to replace him drafted and developed by then. I really think he will be a REAL,LEGIT target for us

        • anon

          He’s trying to go to ATL, they are also in the market for pass rushers

          • GEAGLE

            ATL is getting Jadeveon CLowney, so MJ better have a plan b lol

          • Tom W

            Clowney. And atl is broke

    • TOm W

      Say Mack goes to Buffalo and Barr to the Giants … Evans to Baltimore. Lee gone to Jets. Pryor to Bears and Ealy to cowboys. Watkins gone. 5 otackles gone. 3 qbs gone. clowney, etc.

      We got byrd ward clemons or whitner in free agency. No edge rusher though.

      BPA? who you taking? At this time realizing all sorts of things change after combine and its fantasy land now …. think I’m leaning towards Benjamin or Ford or sheed … atta-boy if he is lights out at combine maybe. Tuitt would need to be considered.

      • GEAGLE

        Ok I get the hypothetical, but I don’t get what the Giants would do with Barr! but ok I’ll play along…
        ..
        Either devante Adams,KB or preferably trade back to like 30 and get Dee Ford, Marcus Smith or Attaboy while aquire extra picks. Unless they go bonkers at the combine, I suspect 22 will be a tad bit too high for them, but if we can trade back to say 1st pick in round 2, I think it be acceptable to take one of those 3 players at that point without calling it an over reach…basically, I would draft the best interview and Charecter of the 3

        • GEAGLE

          People downplay what the kid in Louisville did, because it was his one big season, but the kid never played a lick of defense til he got to college. he was a QB in high school who didn’t move to OLB til he got to College and with good coaching I think he will be just as good as Attachou or Ford. Chip will love his fluid athleticism dropping and he will definitely love his 81inch wingspan…Kid can play…

  • GEAGLE

    It’s nice to be able to read about eagles defense and not have everyone talk about how we have no talent. What a difference a year makes. Still don’t understand how Kendricks future BALLER status isn’t clear to some people, but they can learn the hard way. We haven’t even seen Meco or Kendricks best year, just watch this year how they turn it up a notch. Meco, a former probowler who so many fools said couldn’t make the transition to a 3-4 just had career years in sack and INTs, and he will only be better this year being in a 3-4 for his second year and being sorrounded by a bunch of kids who will be a year older, stronger, sharper mentally..
    ….
    But we can’t have this defense where we only play two ILBs, that just can’t happen again. Even if you believe in Meco, having no one that you ever want on the field instead of him is no good for anyone. we have to find Talent at that position to where it becomes harder and harder to justify keeping that kid on the bench. ideally a draft pick ATleast by Midseason will be able to sub Meco out in certain packages. 2015 is the Super Bowl Hunt year, so Meco will still be our leader and play, but by the end of 2015, it needs to start to become difficult to justify keeping that kid on the bench, starting to take 40-50% of Meco’s snaps, and in 2016, ideally that kid can replace Meco as the full time starter. Badly run organizations with No Cap money, have to cut starters and throw a rookie into the lineup..we are fortunate to where we don’t have to do that, but it’s imperative that we start getting young at a certain positions so we can groom them in HOUSE, the New Eagle way, and when they become the starter, they are already experienced, well versed in the scheme and gelled with his team mates. You want to avoid having to Lose a starter and replace him immediately with someone new to the organization, new to his team mates, the scheme and the coaches and that goes for every position. The less we have to do that, the better we will be, because it also eliminates the gamble…we are losing Nate! and we can think whatever we want about who we sign, but it’s still going to be a gamble on some level. but when you lose a guy like Nate and replace him with a kid you drafted two years before, it eliminates a lot of the gamble, and makes it easier to not skip a beat incorporating a new starter…

  • NickS1

    Did anyone else’s layout change where notifications aren’t displayed now?

  • GEAGLE

    Nice seeing my GEAGLE EYE put to good productive work. Nice discussion men

    • cliff henny

      feel dirty…actively rooting for celtics. orlando’s getting healthy. cavs in tailspin, maybe they need themselves some TY

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah you already know I’m cheering for the Celtics right now..hopefully Vucevic starts horsing for Orlando, ATleast he can help us land a worse record which would be the most we got so far out of trading him smh…Hinkie will pull a trade deadline trump Card. Right now he is setting the precedent of not negotiating With terrorists but at the deadline he will pull a power move…I can feel it

        • cliff henny

          sucks rooting against them, outside of evan re-turner to sender, it’s a fun team

          • GEAGLE

            Lol that’s a good one…Re Turner to sender!!! Touche

  • https://twitter.com/DeadPrep Loralie

    Why’s it called a line backer?! Surely we could of came up with something better.

    • George

      He backs up the dline…

  • Tom W

    Wow just listened to Howie interview from a month ago …. He says I will tell you a little secret spuds, they workout the practice squad and deactivate guys in game like conditions 3 hours before every game to see how they are developing etc … So no scout team but real reps ….. He also spoke highly of bamiro’s development and didn’t mention anyone else

    • cliff henny

      Bam was 4th rd talent if he was draft eligible. sure, take those drafts w/ a grain of salt, but he’s not a typical udfa.

      • Tom W

        Totally kid got screwed and we lucked out w the tra Thomas connection. Hoping Travis long is atleast a steady backup too. I would be happy w one hit in that group

  • GEAGLE

    This Demeco convo is DUMB!! cardinals just restructured Fitzgerald converting 11 of his 12 million into signing bonus, freeing up 9million in cap space. Fitgerald is getting 11mil up front and his salary counts as 1mil per year…there is no reason why we can’t do this with Meco, so unless you are getting a cut of the he money Lurie pockets, fans talking about losing Meco sound Dumb!