Eagles Wake-Up Call: Buzz Picks Up On Goldson

The slow trickle of news that marked the early portion of the three-day “legal tampering period” has turned into more of a steady stream. By Monday night — Free Agency Eve — it was flowing real nice, including where the Eagles are concerned.

Adam Schefter got things rolling with some news regarding fan favorite Dashon Goldson.

(Schefter even threw in a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie nugget in for good measure.)

Reuben Frank reports that the Eagles are showing interest in both Goldson and fellow safety LaRon Landry.

The bottom line when it comes to many of these free agents — and Goldson in particular —  is this: A lot of it comes down to the money. The Eagles are in need of a serious upgrade at safety and would be foolish not to see value in Goldson, who is coming off back-t0-back Pro Bowl years in San Francisco. New VP of Personnel Tom Gamble (formerly with the Niners) has seen his impact up close. But the financials have to make sense, as Howie Roseman explained to Birds 24/7 recently.

“If they are of value, they can still play at a high level, we’re going to look at them, we’re going to grade them, and we’re going to see if that matches what our salary structure is and if that’s what we’re looking for,” said the Eagles’ general manager.

There will be a level of discipline heading into this free agency period given the circumstances. Roseman noted that in 2011, when the team splurged ineffectively on big-name free agents, the team was coming off a playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers. They wanted to push all their chips in.  This time around, they are coming off a 4-12 campaign and have a new head coach at the helm. It is a different time. The Eagles are less pressed, and they hope a bit wiser when it comes to the process. Just because they have north of $30 million in cap space does not mean they will pluck a ton of big names off the board.

“We’re always going to try to be smart and be aggressive,” said Roseman. “By the same token, [you have to] learn from [2011] and how important it is to build a team and to build the right environment.”

Will Goldson fit the bill? He checks a lot of the boxes, but it will have to be at the right price.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil arms you with a list of 25 free agents the Eagles could pursue.

 Michael Vick cancels three upcoming appearances amid threats of violence.

The Eagles are reportedly showing interest in defensive lineman Desmond Bryant.

The team took care of two of their own, signing Jon Dorenbos and Colt Anderson to deals.

The Eagles’ brass, including Jeffrey Lurie, went to Morgantown to work out QB Geno Smith.

It is to be determined if the Eagles are interested in LB James Harrison. But we learned that Harrison, per his agent, is interested in the Eagles. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dan Granziano did free agency primers for each of the NFC East teams. Here are his thoughts on the Eagles going in:

Strategy: The Eagles’ management figures that whoever remains in place from two summers ago knows all about how badly the last big experiment with free agency went, so don’t expect to see a frenzy like the one it created on the market in 2011. But the Eagles have many needs — cornerback, safety, linebacker, nose tackle, a right guard or tackle, maybe a big wide receiver. They will be active because they must. As for strategy, though, I’d expect them to target younger free agents who can help them build the roster long term, not just help them contend in 2013. The moves the team has made since firing longtime coach Andy Reid and hiring Kelly indicate that Kelly plans to be in Philadelphia for a long time and is thinking about what can make his team competitive for years to come, not just right away.

Peter King had a couple free agency nuggets in his MMQB column that could be of interest to Eagles fans.

Three under-the-radar guys generating more interest than you’ve heard: Steelers corner Keenan Lewis, Jets defensive end/tackle Mike DeVito, Chargers guard Louis Vasquez.

Tennessee, with an estimated $19 million available to spend, is targeting Buffalo guard and all-purpose lineman Andy Levitre. One source told me Tennessee would go out hard for Levitre in the opening hours of the market, which echoes what beat man Jim Wyatt wrote in the Tennessean last week.

COMING UP

Free agency starts at 4 p.m. We’ll bring you the latest throughout the day.

Twitter Mailbag: On Winston, Cook And Milliner

 Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Mike Lederer: Could you see the Eagles going after multiple high priced offensive players such as Eric Winston & Jared Cook in free agency?

In case you missed it, Les Bowen reported Thursday that the Eagles have inquired about Winston, who was just released by Andy Reid and the Chiefs. The 29-year-old right tackle played in 15 games last season and yielded three sacks, six quarterback hits and 25 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He graded out just a little bit better than Todd Herremans.

The 6-7, 302-pounder was scheduled to make $5 million this season in Kansas City. Maybe Reid is poised to take a tackle first overall and found Winston, who is coming off a difficult year, expendable. But if he was that good would he be available? I don’t know that Winston is any sure solution at tackle, so it would have to be for the right price.

Cook I can definitely see the Eagles having interest in.  It’s easy to picture the 25-year-old tight end as a cog in Chip Kelly‘s spread attack. The problem is, a lot of teams will be targeting the 6-5, 250-pounder. He is the right age and has the right skill set to draw heavy interest and therefor big money. I believe that the Eagles will be players so long as the bidding does not get out of control.

From @bmcg822: Who are the top 3 FA’s you think the Eagles will target? My guess: Cook,a safety, and a CB.

I think I am with you. As I wrote Wednesday, the Eagles pretty much have to walk away from this offseason with at least one  new starting safety in tow. There is always a chance that you don’t get your man (or men) in the draft, so free agency is the only way to ensure that you address the need.

There is plenty of buzz about Dashon Goldson and I think he would be an ideal addition to the secondary, but it’s entirely possible that his asking price gets out of hand. Then you start looking at guys like Louis Delmas, William Moore, Kenny Phillips and Glover Quin (assuming they don’t re-up with their current teams).

And they’ll have to address corner, seeing as both of their starters from last season may very well be gone.  Sean Smith of Miami (25 years old, 6-3, 218 pounds) has been mentioned as a possible target, and I believe that makes sense.

From @birdsalltheway: what is the likelihood that we will select Dee Milliner 4th overall? I think it’s solid. What are the eagles saying?

My best guess right now, I could see the Eagles going either Milliner or offensive line with the No. 4 overall pick. If the grades are close between, say, Milliner and tackle Eric Fisher, then the Eagles’ free agency work would presumably factor into the equation. If they land a tackle on the open market, you would think they would feel better about going in another direction.

Predicting the draft is difficult before the start of free agency, but there seems to be little to dislike about the Alabama corner.

Twitter Mailbag: On Revis, Foles And the No. 4 Pick

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @turkdaddydollar: if foles is the guy why bring back Vick n have him fight for his job? Whose call was that to bring Vick back?

There are a couple important things to keep in mind here. For one, we don’t know that Nick Foles is the guy. Chip Kelly doesn’t know if he is the guy. The most we can say is that the Eagles seem partial to keeping Foles around until they have a better feel for just how good he can be.

Why bring Michael Vick back? Think about it from Chip Kelly‘s perspective: What does he have if Vick is cut loose? Foles, who is still an unknown. Dennis Dixon, a reserve/ practice squad player. The free-agent market is bare, the draft is not ripe with sure-fire QB studs (and even if you think you’ve identified one, there is no guarantee that you land him) and the trade market is both unpredictable and costly (see the Alex Smith trade).

There is no perfect solution this year. So you pay Vick roughly $7 million for one year. Add that plus Foles’ $500,000 salary together, and you’re spending less for a pair of quarterbacks than Andy Reid is for one. Committing $7.5 million to the quarterback position really isn’t all that much.

Kelly doesn’t have the answers yet. He’s just giving himself options.

From @xplrer99: how serious a look will the #eagles give Brandon Boykin at a starting corner job? If he were to start how does it effect draft?

The sense I get is that Kelly prefers big corners, so ideally he wouldn’t have the 5-9 Boykin on the outside. But, like the quarterback position, sometimes you have to do the best with what you’ve got in the short term. It seems very conceivable at this point that both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be elsewhere next season, leaving both starting corner spots vacant. Resources will almost certainly be spent both in free agency and the draft to try and build this key position back up.

Talking with Boykin at the end of last season, he made it clear that his goal is to become a starter on the outside. He did it at Georgia, and believes he can do it on the professional level as well. I would imagine the preference is to keep him in the slot, where he was generally effective as a rookie, but there is opportunity amid all this uncertainty.

The 22-year-old did play a bit on the outside last season and seemed to hold his own.

From@ChefGriot: which player in the draft appears to be a perfect fit for 3-4 defense at 4th pick.

You can make a case for Utah DT Star Lotulelei, assuming everything checks out with him medically. Florida D-lineman Sharrif Floyd is intriguing as well, though some believe he is better suited for a 4-3 scheme rather than a 3-4.

Right now I would say Dion Jordan. Mike Mayock  compared Jordan to Aldon Smith and believes in two years, “He’s going to be one of the major disruptive forces in the NFL.”

Even if that’s a little over the moon, it’s hard not to be intrigued by his size (6-6, 248), speed (4.60 40) and potential. The former Oregon standout has obvious ties to Kelly, and could be a nice solution for one of the outside linebacker roles.

From @BillyDavis1247: what are the chances the eagles try to trade for revis?

No harm in placing a phone call or two, right? If one of the game’s best players is on the market, you at least check into it. And it’s definitely at a need position. Here’s the thing, though: Darrelle Revis is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him a very doable $6 million in 2013. Then he’s a free agent. (There is apparently a clause in his current contract that does not allow the use of the franchise tag on him.) Does it make sense for the Eagles to cough up a bunch of draft picks to get a rental for what is largely considered a rebuilding year? If you really think it will give you an inside track into negotiating a new deal (or if an extension is part of the trade agreement) then I get it. Otherwise, I don’t think it makes a ton of sense.

There are other concerns: The 27-year-old tore his ACL in September, and is expecting to be paid very well for his services beyond 2013. You do your due diligence, but all things considered I don’t expect Revis to end up here.

Twitter Mailbag: Could the Eagles Land S Jairus Byrd?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From@NateCalvanese: What are the chances that Tom Gamble sticks around for a little while? I know he interviewed for a bunch of GM jobs this year.

Hard to say for sure, but there is reason to believe he could be with the Eagles for a while. For one, he’s from this area. Howie Roseman mentioned Wednesday that Gamble did not come aboard last year in part because he wanted to make sure the timing was right when it came to his family (he has a wife and three boys). Not sure he’s going to want to uproot again right away.

Asked why Gamble made what on the surface looks like a lateral move, Roseman pointed to his love for Philly.

“I think it speaks to his passion for this city and this fan base,” said Roseman. “He is about Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles. Obviously that’s important to him. He wants to be part of building something, and building it with the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Also, Roseman mentioned the desire to bring in pieces that are in it for the long haul. I’m not sure they pull the trigger if Gamble wasn’t committed.

“In the last three years we haven’t had a lot of continuity and we want that,” he said, “we want guys who are going to be here for a while and get our system in place and get everyone on the same page.”

From@hotcakes_33: Roster overhaul coming. Is draft deep enough @positions of need that trading back for more 2’s/3’s worth it or need playmakers?

The way I see it, you don’t get to pick this low in the draft very often, so why trade out? Even if this class isn’t as loaded as last year’s, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a difference-maker. Think about it this way: with all the talent from all the schools across the country, only three players will have come off the board before the Eagles pick. There is a stud to be had . Maybe it’s not your franchise quarterback, but if it’s a tackle that anchors the line for the next decade or a corner that can lock down one side of the field for the foreseeable future, then it’s all good.

The Eagles are building this team back up and therefor won’t be as tempted to reach for immediate need. They can truly take the best player available at No. 4.

@LorenJCook: Chances we get Safety Jairus Byrd from Buffalo, ties with CK through Oregon?

Don’t think the chances are great. The franchise figure for safeties is expected to be south of $7 million — not a terrible price to pay for a 26-year-old with two Pro Bowl nods in four NFL seasons.  Byrd would apparently like to test the market, but it is hard to imagine the Bills allowing him to walk.

Here is what former Eagles scout-turned-NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah had to say about Byrd.

“I think he might be the best free safety in all of football,” Jeremiah said. “He gives you interceptions, gives you forced fumbles, plays the run, plays the pass. I don’t envision Buffalo allowing him to get out of town.”

We put out a list of available safeties on Wednesday. There are some pretty big names on their, including Byrd and Ed Reed. Because of the relatively low franchise tag number, expect this pool to shrink by the time free agency hits.

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Twitter Mailbag: On Foles, Vick And Billy Davis

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @mike_e_kaye: You reported Wednesday that Nick [Foles] and Chip haven’t met in person since he took the job, why is that? Any speculation from org?

Yeah, from what I was told there has been no face-to-face meeting between Kelly and Foles yet, only a “positive” phone conversation. Michael Vick and Kelly have met multiple times, according to someone close to Vick.

There are a couple things to consider: For one, Foles is out west, where Vick owns a home in New Jersey. Much easier to have a sit-down when you live right over the bridge. Second, Kelly’s priority has to be making a decision on Vick. The 32-year-old is due $15.5 million this season. Foles will make $500,000.  In order to chart a proper course, Kelly has to do a thorough evaluation of Vick first. If he wants to keep him, they have to figure out the finances. If they don’t see eye-to-eye on money, then they have to try and move him. It is a bit involved.

Foles’ situation is less complicated. Kelly knows Foles’ game from playing against him on the collegiate level, and has spoken highly of him. Foles is under contract, and would probably play the part of the good soldier regardless of what his coach decides. Kelly will  have to determine how to move forward with Foles, but it is simply not as pressing of an issue at the moment.

Is it at all telling that Kelly, now three weeks in, has yet to sit down with one of the supposed candidates for starting quarterback? You can make the argument, though I am choosing to not read much into it for now.

From WHowald20: why would Chip keep Vick he’s injury turnover prone makes bad decisions in game has limited mobility and is owed big money.

Definitely don’t agree with the limited mobility claim, but I get the overall point.

Here’s why I am keeping the possibility of Vick returning on the table: Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg really pushed the envelope when it came to trying to develop Vick. I believe they saw all that natural ability — much of it left untapped by his previous coaches — and felt like they could harness and massage it to create the ultimate weapon. But they likely stretched it too far. By 2012, Vick looked like a QB who was overloaded with information and less in touch with his instincts. (Not a good combination, seeing as his offensive line was a total wreck.) Also, as you may have noticed, Reid likes to throw the hell out of the ball. No balance often equals trouble for the quarterback (again, especially with no O-line).

Kelly leaned heavily on the run at Oregon, and will probably try to do so here. He is not a big proponent of elaborate schemes and ultra-thick playbooks. Define your identity, do what you do, and do it well. How would Vick look in a run-heavy, play-action offense with a little read-option sprinkled in?

He is owed big money, but might be willing to play for less. The poor decision-making won’t be as easy to take care of. But maybe Kelly sees a formula that he thinks can work.

From @patrickcausey: Huh?! Wait… They hired… Who!? Why did it take so long? Underwhelming staff by Kelly #Eagles

Patrick’s reaction to the hiring of Billy Davis is a pretty common one. Between Davis and Pat Shurmur, there are too many former Browns in prominent positions for some people’s liking. And Davis’ track record as a defensive coordinator doesn’t inspire much confidence. To this point, he hasn’t demonstrated much “shutoutability,” to steal Kelly’s term.

So why did Kelly hire him? We’ll find out for sure soon, but my guess is Davis’ scheme preference and philosophy match what the new head coach is looking for. Davis also brings a wealth of NFL experience, which is key given that Kelly and some of his staff are lacking in that department.

This is what Kelly had to say at his introductory press conference when asked about the defense:

“In terms of what we want to be, we’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game,” he said. “What that spacing is in terms of is it a 4-3 spacing or 3-4 spacing, I think it’s, again, looking at our roster and understanding who I have the opportunity to bring here. I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”

Davis’ defenses have not stood out to date but there are other factors to consider, such as talent level at his previous stops. As has been pointed out, Jim Johnson‘s resume as a DC wasn’t tremendous before coming to Philly. It has to be the right fit, and perhaps this is it for Davis. We’ll see.

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Twitter Mailbag: On Alex Smith, Dixon And the 3-4

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Colaianni: should the eagles get Alex Smith and draft a QB in the 2014 draft since its a better QB class and let him learn from veteran? I am on board with that. There seems to be a good amount of anti-Smith sentiment out there, but I don’t see a ton of downside. He is slated to make $8.5 million this season (his contract runs through 2014). That’s a good chunk of change, but if you’re swapping out Michael Vick‘s $16 million, then you’re talking about a decent savings.

We know that Nick Foles is not a read-option quarterback. Why not give Chip Kelly someone who has experience in that style of offense?  Smith was completing 70 percent of his throws and had a 104.1 quarterback rating before he suffered a concussion and lost his job to Colin Kaepernick. Including playoffs, he has thrown 35 touchdowns to 10 interceptions over the past two seasons. I view him as the best available option at the moment, so long as the 49ers are reasonable in their trade demands.

From @BonoHitMyCar:  Is there really any chance of Dennis Dixon (if the rumors are true about acquiring him) being our starter next year? Maybe I am just having Steve Spurrier flashbacks, but I would be a little nervous if Dixon went from Baltimore’s practice squad to Eagles’ starter under Kelly. I think it is logical to bring the former Duck in and give him a chance to make the team, but starter? Dixon has been in the NFL since 2008 and has started three games, going 2-1 with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The idea that he will spring to life once reunited with Kelly sounds far-fetched to me, and could be a sign that the coach is putting a little too much faith in his system. But I guess you never know.

From @justin_TPM: With Chip’s love for TEs, does Brent become a centerpiece or does he become a #2 to a yet to be added piece? I have been clamoring  for the Eagles to invest more in the tight end position. I think high-end TE’s (although not easy to come by) can be very valuable in the modern NFL. Clay Harbor just hasn’t cut it. Brent Celek brings something to the table for sure, but it is past time for a complement/eventual replacement to be brought in.

I had heard that the Eagles came away from the Senior Bowl  impressed with Rice tight end Vance McDonald. Whether it is McDonald, Jason Kelce’s brother, Travis, or someone else, I would expect the Eagles to address the position this offseason.

From @tomlindlar: Would a switch to a 3-4 front depend on who we draft? IE, go 3-4 if we draft an OLB or NT, stay with 4-3 if we get an OT or CB? I believe the Eagles will switch to some form of a 3-4 eventually under Kelly, but agree with the premise that personnel will influence whether the transition is immediate or over time. Not necessarily based on who they draft this year, as you laid out. But as the roster takes shape, I think they will evaluate the parts in place and determine whether it is in their best interest to use a 3-4 for the 2013 season. Interestingly enough, it seems like several of the reported defensive coordinator candidates have experience in both schemes.

Casey Matthews described Oregon’s defense as a “hybrid 3-4.” Especially during the transition period, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw elements of both the 4-3 and 3-4.

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Twitter Mailbag: Why Hold the Title Game Against Kelly?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @CTel92: Do you get the sense that the Eagles have a preference for a proven commodity (Lovie) or a guy with upside ( Bradley, McCoy)?

The fervent pursuit of college coaches leads me to believe the answer lies somewhere in between — someone who has proven themselves on a big stage but is still considered part of the new wave.

I question whether Smith fits the bill. I think he is a sound leader and a hell of a defensive coach. But he never really found a way to get his offense humming in Chicago, and that has to be concerning. The Eagles have a quarterback to develop.

Jeffrey Lurie has emphasized the importance of landing someone who has an understanding of where the game is headed and will lead the way. I’m not sure Smith is that guy. Maybe Bradley and McCoy aren’t either, but as up-and-comers they hold a certain amount of promise that is hard to generate when you are more of a known entity.

From @SHOOD1970: why for the love of all that is holy are we not talking to Jon Gruden?? 

Not the only question I got about Gruden as you might suspect.

There are working theories out there: Gruden and Lurie don’t have the best relationship; Gruden doesn’t want to step on his baby brother’s toes; Gruden already made it known through back channels that he didn’t want the job. Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that the love affair between Philadelphia and Chucky is much stronger than the one between Chucky and the Eagles.

Someone close to Gruden suggested a couple weeks back that he was on the team’s early list of candidates. But there have been no indications since to suggest that a courtship has ensued. Unless the Eagles are throwing up some major smokescreens, it’s best not to have your heart set on him.

From @brookman_doug: What is the point of interviewing a guy in Brian Kelly, who got rocked vs Saban, and couldnt even speak @ HT interview on ESPN?

I have heard this argument a lot since word came down that the Eagles interviewed Kelly on Tuesday. And for the life of me I don’t understand it. My reaction was the complete opposite: I kept looking at the bottom of the screen during Alabama’s absolute beat down of the Irish, and thought, How is this team ranked No. 1 in the country? You can tell me it’s the shoddy college system or Notre Dame’s schedule or whatever, but you have to admit that it took a tremendous coaching job out of Kelly to get that team into that title fight against that juggernaut.

The BCS championship game was not Kelly’s finest moment and I have no idea whether he would be a good pro coach, but I don’t make my decision off one game against a superior opponent. The Irish were more physically outmatched than they were outsmarted.

From @JesusZoidberg: Do you believe that the Eagles place more of a value on the interview process compared to other teams?

Sure seems that way. At this pace, Kapadia will be interviewing sometime early next week for the post.

“Jeffrey has been very adamant with us that the key is getting the right guy,” said Howie Roseman. “The key isn’t getting the right guy as quickly as possible. So that’s what we’re going to do.”

They are thorough and I can’t hold that against them (even though my wife does). If you feel like you are under the gun than you might skip over important parts of the vetting process.

The coach has to fit with the owner, the general manager, the president, the players, the staff, the city. It takes some time to figure out if you have the right guy (and even longer if a coach you targeted decides to stay in college). I do feel they are approaching it the right way.

Be sure to check out our coaching tracker for all the latest.

 

Twitter Mailbag: Does Vick Really Have Eyes For Kelly?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael VickEvery Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

@Mark_Robo: would you agree with keeping Vick if Chip Kelly becomes head coach? He would be perfect for his offense.

Makes sense to me, yes. In case you missed it, this is what Ron Jaworski said about the whole Kelly/Vick/Nick Foles dynamic:

“Nick Foles will not run a Chip Kelly offense if he decided to come here, rest assured of that,” Jaws said on 97.5 The Fanatic. “If a coach like Chip Kelly…that runs this up-tempo, spread, speed-style option, these guys come here, there might be a future for Michael Vick. I know he’s [32], I know he’s been beat up, but I’ll tell you, some of the things I’m seeing, Michael Vick can do the same things these guys are doing in the spread option.”

So there you go. As Sheil and I discussed on the radio Wednesday, Kelly is only appealing from our viewpoint if he is flexible in his genius.  In other words, if he is willing and able to adapt based on personnel, rather than stubbornly force-feeding people into his system. That’s a big key here.

One last point on Vick and Kelly: There was a report that said Vick  has envisioned playing in Kelly’s spread offense and would be keeping an eye on where the Oregon coach lands. I asked Vick about Kelly a few days after that report surfaced and he said, “Who’s that, the Notre Dame coach?” He went on to say that he was familiar with Oregon’s quarterback but didn’t know a whole lot about Kelly. So don’t buy into the idea that playing for Kelly is some burning desire that Vick has.

From @JCentifonti: What are your thoughts on a Mike McCoy hire & if Romeo Crennel is let go in KC bring him in as DC & leave him alone. #Eagles

Last week I rolled out my top three choices for head coach, and McCoy was number one (based off resume and research; it’s not as if I’ve spent tons of time with the man.) I would have no problem with Crennel.

Sheil has  more on McCoy here. One thing that we like about him (besides his obvious ability to maximize his quarterbacks’ abilities) is his willingness to adapt to the men on his roster. It goes back to the Kelly point: Players come and go, they get hurt, circumstances arise. As a coach, you have to be able to adapt to the situation, especially in a transition period like the Eagles are about to go through.

McCoy seems to have that part down. With Kelly, it’s a question mark.

From @JoshMcNutt24: Do you believe the Eagles have the personnel in place to effectively transition to a 3-4? If the incoming HC implemented it.

Good question. Fletcher Cox could easily swing out to defensive end in a 3-4, and on Wednesday DeMeco Ryans explained why the notion that he can’t play in that scheme is off-base (though I still say the 4-3 is a more ideal fit for him). They would need to import a space-eating nose tackle and would have to make some personnel tweaks to make it work.

Count Brandon Graham among those willing to make the plunge.

“That would be the best thing right there for me,” said Graham. “I always wanted to go back because it’s all instincts at linebacker. On the D-line it’s cool, I love it, but being out in space…I don’t know, I just feel like I would do a good job there, too…I would be hyped to be able to go and do that.”

It’s  a pretty significant change, but now would be the time to do it.

From @Cheesesteak29: any chance of p rivers, t Romo, or m Flynn being in an eagles uniform next year?

Can’t see the first two but Flynn seems possible to me. Russell Wilson has nailed down the starting job in Seattle, making Flynn’s upcoming salary of $5.25 million a bit heavy. If the Eagles decide to part ways with Vick and trade for Flynn, meanwhile, you’re talking about a $10 million savings in all. It makes sense to me that they would bring a veteran in to compete with Foles, and may the  best man win. Alex Smith is reportedly due $7.5 million plus a $1 million roster bonus in 2013, by comparison.

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Twitter Mailbag: My Top Three For Head Coach

 Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @greg_busa: in order give me your top 3 choices for coach.

OK, let’s do it. I’m entitled to change my opinion as I gather more intel, but here are my three choices should the Eagles move on from Andy Reid as expected:

1) Mike McCoy (offensive coordinator, Broncos, age 40)

McCoy has shown the ability to get the most out of his quarterbacks, and a willingness to tailor his offensive design to fit personnel.

A former QB himself, McCoy helped Jake Delhomme reach the Pro Bowl; got a pair of 3,500-yard passing seasons out of Kyle Orton; and revamped the Broncos offense to give Tim Tebow a fighting chance. Now, he’s blessed with Peyton Manning.

With the Eagles in transition and Nick Foles in the developmental stage, McCoy’s strengths seem to match up well with the team’s needs.

2) Greg Roman (offensive coordinator, 49ers, age 39)

Similarly, Roman has helped give the 49ers’ offense an identity despite a less-than-ideal quarterback situation. Alex Smith turned into a serviceable quarterback last season under Jim Harbaugh and Roman, and the offense finished in the top 10 in points per game while tying an NFL mark for fewest turnovers in a season (10). Colin Kaepernick has found success as well since taking over the starting role.

Roman, a Ventnor, New Jersey native,  has 15 years of NFL coaching experience and was with Harbaugh at Stanford. The Niners play some of the toughest and most disciplined football around — a brand that would be beloved in Philly.

3) Chip Kelly (head coach, Oregon, age 49)

Kelly will be perhaps the most sought-after head coach in the coming weeks and it would not surprise me at all if Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie make a run at him. Heading into this season, the Ducks’ offense was averaging 43 points and almost 500 yards per game in three seasons under Kelly.

Will his style of play translate to the NFL? Is he willing to adjust his approach as necessary? Will his lack of experience on the NFL level hurt him? These are a few unknowns that make him a bit of a risk. But the upside is tough to ignore.

From @OHH_BEE: As Birds clean house this offseason, what specific decisions will help us tell how long it will take to get back to relevancy?

Football is pretty basic in this respect: if you get the head coach and quarterback part of it right, you’re golden. Simple concept, very difficult to accomplish. Quick turnarounds happen all the time in the NFL, and this team is far from barren in the talent department. They can be relevant next season. To get beyond relevant and into contender status, they have to get the right quarterback and the right coach. Mess that up, and the picture gets significantly bleaker.

From @johnhanf: What kind of reception does Andy get from the fans at the end of Sunday’s game?

I have been mulling this over, and I just can’t picture any chill-worthy moments happening at the Linc Sunday. Maybe the Eagles pull off the upset, helping the fans to get in the right frame of mind for an ovation at the end. But odds are the team will walk off the field in defeat, dropping the Eagles to 4-11.

Given that the organization has not said anything about Reid’s job status, the fans need to make a small leap of faith to firmly conclude that Reid is gone, and then be inspired to show appreciation in the midst of their current disappointment. I believe there will be a smattering of applause, an effort by some to generate a moment, but I think the circumstances are such that the moment will fall flat.

Maybe it will feel different come Sunday. I’m anxious to see how it unfolds.

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Twitter Mailbag: The Patterson PR Hit

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Lemur421:  What is $150k to the Eagles? Doesn’t seem worth it to upset Patterson over it. A sign they def don’t plan on bringing him back?

And from emailer Victor:

Jim Harbaugh’s players would run through a brick wall for him.  If an Eagles player did that and got hurt, Roseman would say it’s a non-football related injury and cut him.  What kind of signal does cutting [the pay of] Mike Patterson send to the locker room?  If the team needs a roster spot, fine, but pay the guy his $150,000.

The decision to cut Patterson’s pay after placing him on the non-football injury/illness list is a clear misstep from management, and it comes at a poor time. I know that one of the team’s biggest priorities as they transition into a new era is that they re-establish a solid connection with the fan base and distance themselves from any labels that paint them as cheap or cold or detached. This move hurts those efforts.

Placing a player on NFI and cutting his pay is a common practice in the league and makes business sense. But this is a special circumstance. Patterson put off brain surgery so he could play for the Eagles last season, and was a consistent presence around the team during his recovery. He is a sympathetic figure, and it is no surprise that the move to slash his pay because he came down with pneumonia has not played well, especially since it is cloudy to begin with whether this is in fact a “non-football illness.”

It is a bad PR move, plain and simple, and was not thought through well enough.

From @derfdy: What does Foles need to show the eagles during the last few games to be named the definite starter going into next season?

That is the big question. So many variables in play here. How much say does the incoming coach have, and what does he value? Can Foles do anything to convince a Chip Kelly, for instance, that he is a fit for his system? Is it possible to determine based off  a handful of starts how good a young quarterback will be?

Sheil and I discussed this on our show Monday, and Kapadia is of the opinion that offseason decisions shouldn’t necessarily be influenced by what Foles does down the stretch. I believe that if he continues to show improvement that a leap of faith may be warranted.

It is impossible to answer that question now because so much is up in the air when it comes to the direction of this organization. The only thing Foles can do is keep playing well, and try to make the decision easier on the powers that be.

From @phillycwood: With a new coaching change & QB happening, would trading McCoy for a cpl of 1st rounders be an option?

No way you can get multiple first-rounders for a running back. The Colts only got a second and fifth-round pick from the Rams for Marshall Faulk for crying out loud.

I don’t see any good reason to trade LeSean McCoy, who will be 25 next season. Getting rid of your best player is almost never good business. If the team goes with Foles, it can only be a positive for the young QB to have two quality backs to lean on. Bryce Brown doesn’t seem to be the type that needs to be the feature back, which works to the Eagles’ benefit.

“I think it’s great. The more talented guys we have in our corner, the better chance we have to win,” said Brown.

Seems like sound logic to me.

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