Babin: Eagles Leaked False Stories About Washburn

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason BabinJason Babin unloaded on the Eagles organization today during a conference call with reporters who cover his old team, the Tennessee Titans.

Now with the Jaguars, the defensive end was asked if he was concerned being waived by the Eagles might mean the end of his football career.

“That was probably their approach because they don’t have amicable splits with people,” Babin said, per Adam Caplan. “You saw how dirty they did [Jim] Washburn with leaking out the false stories and the way they talked about him on the way out. It’s kind of a big socialistic system that they have. I didn’t really care. I’m only going to worry about what I can control, and that’s practicing hard, working hard and playing hard on Sunday.”

It’s no secret that Babin and Washburn are tight. Babin had 12.5 sacks for Washburn in Tennessee and followed that up with an 18.5-sack season last year.

He was asked if the Eagles should have known what they were getting with Washburn when they hired him.

“Yeah, and that’s the surprising part,” Babin said. “You find out the fact that they had a D-line consultant [Tommy Brasher] the whole time they had him. Well, if you don’t trust the guy… it’s kind of like one of those things where they say they trust you, and they want you to do certain things a certain way, but then behind the scenes, they’re monitoring it and second-guessing it. It’s unfortunate because as you guys know, Washburn gives his heart and soul every practice and gets the most out of all of his players.”

Babin has 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in four games with the Jaguars.

Click here for more of his comments.

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Five Leftovers From Eagles-Bengals

Here are five leftovers from the locker room after the Eagles lost to the Bengals last night, 34-13.

1. As we’ve discussed on multiple occasions, this team has some major decisions to make in the secondary this offseason. Nnamdi Asomugha, who would be owed $4M if released, was asked if he thinks some of the players (presumably on defense) have shown in the past two weeks that they deserve to be back.

“Here’s the thing that I know. Everybody wants to be back,” Asomugha said. “We don’t know how it’s going to shake out, but I can tell you everybody believes in this team and knows the direction that we’re going. We think it’s up. So I know everybody wants to be back.”

I understand what Asomugha was saying. He’s pointing out that the defense has improved the past two weeks. And I know the players in the locker room have to try to stay confident. But to say the direction is pointing up after the ninth loss in 10 games just seems a little off to me.

2. The other starting corner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, is a free agent after the season. He shadowed A.J. Green all game and won his share of battles. Green finished with six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. After the game, Rodgers-Cromartie was asked about playing for a contract.

“I ain’t playing for money. That’s going to come. I’m not worried about that. My main thing is I’m just trying to go out and finish strong,” he said.

“I know what I have in me. I know what kind of player I am. If nobody can see it, then that’s just them.”

Evaluating Rodgers-Cromartie is going to be one of the most difficult things this front office has to do. He’s got talent, he plays well in stretches and by all accounts is a good teammate. He holds himself accountable and is only 26. There’s no question that Rodgers-Cromartie has a (multiple) Pro Bowl ceiling.

But there’s a reason why he could be on his third different team before he turns 27. He’s incredibly inconsistent, often shies away from contact and is a terrible tackler. That’s why whoever’s coaching this team in 2013 has to be the one who decides whether or not Rodgers-Cromartie is worth keeping around.

3. And then there’s the guy coaching Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie: Todd Bowles. If there’s one person who has a lot to gain from the final two games, it’s him. Remember, this is someone who was considered to be on a path towards being an NFL head coach before the season. In six weeks with Bowles as defensive coordinator and Jim Washburn as defensive line coach, the Eagles allowed opponents to complete 76.3 percent of their passes. In the past two weeks, without Washburn, that number is 44.3 percent.

With a strong finish, it’ll be pretty easy to sell the Washburn was the problem narrative. Of course, there’s no telling where he’ll be coaching next. Bowles’ name has been mentioned in connection with the Temple head coaching job.

“It was good. It’s my alma mater.,” Bowles said of his conversation with the Owls. “We had a good talk. We had a good conversation. … We’ll see how it goes.”

4. I still need to re-watch the game, but Andy Reid and Nick Foles seemed to offer different explanations for the third-quarter interception.

“He’s got a real strong arm,” Reid said. “You can put his arm up against anybody in this league. You just have to make sure that he’s taking time to look people off, and you have to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing that. You have to make sure you get your feet around and that you have enough momentum to get your body and legs into the throw.”

Reid’s explanation makes sense. He also indicated the issue was one of mechanics. Foles had an issue of staring down receivers in his first couple of starts. We pointed out last week how he did a better job of looking safeties off against Tampa.

But Foles seemed to just think he threw a bad ball.

“I just made a horrible throw,” he said. “The ball came out bad and it had a little bit of wobble to it. You really have to cut it and I didn’t do that. I just have to spin it and it started fluttering towards the end. I underthrew Jeremy and the guy came back and made a play. So it’s a bad throw. It’s one that I can’t have. But it happened, and I just have to, next time it happens, just really throw it out there.”

According to STATS, Inc., Foles is just 3-for-16 on balls that have traveled more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. That’s certainly one area for improvement.

5. As for some of the other mistakes, Reid said Marvin McNutt was where he was supposed to be on the punt block. Ryan Rau was supposed to be in, but Clay Harbor made a heads-up play and filled in for him. That had nothing to do with the block though. McNutt just got manhandled.

Cedric Thornton took responsibility for the fumbled kickoff return. It’s funny. I remember at training camp watching some of the offensive linemen and defensive linemen fielding kicks and wondering: Why are they wasting their time with this? Now, I understand.

“Definitely should have been a fair catch,” Thornton said. “That was my fault. I was running, looking to make a big play and should have fair caught it. That was my fault. Next time I will be more focused and I will call a fair catch.”

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Washburn’s Dismissal Connected To Defense’s Improvement?

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent ColeSome of the Eagles defensive players were hesitant to admit it in the locker room after the game.

But at some point, you just can’t argue with the numbers.

Through six games with Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator and Jim Washburn as defensive line coach, the Eagles were allowing quarterbacks to complete 76.3 percent of their passes – a historically bad number.

But in the last two games, since Andy Reid fired Washburn and added Tommy Brasher, the Eagles’ defense appears to be much-improved, limiting Josh Freeman and Andy Dalton to just 44.3 percent completions. Against the Bengals, they did not allow a single completion of more than 19 yards.

To point the finger squarely at Washburn would be unfair. And to simply blame the Wide-9 would not be accurate. Eagles defensive ends still line up way out there on occasion. But there’s no arguing that the change up front to a read-and-react system has taken stress off of the back end and helped the defense as a whole.

“You probably have to talk to Todd. I think he’s been able to do a few more things. He’s been calling some creative things in the back end that we kind of hadn’t had before,” said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. “The D-Line is playing a little differently, so the safeties aren’t as focused on the run as much as they’ve been in the past, so they’re able to stay back a little bit more. It helps us to get our hands on footballs, which we’ve done the last two weeks, and the D-Line’s playing great too.”

Eagles defensive linemen accounted for 20 sacks through the first 13 games. In one game against the Bengals, they had six. Brandon Graham had 2.5; Fletcher Cox had 1.5; Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins added one apiece.

“I think it’s helped a lot, doing the reading and react stuff,” Cole said. “I think it’s helped a lot. It’s tough. When you’re losing games, you’ve got to have everybody. It takes a team to win a game. You can’t go out there and try to win with the turnovers, the mistakes, you just can’t win with them.”

The box score will show that the Eagles allowed 34 points, suggesting a disastrous defensive performance. But that was not the case. All five of the Bengals’ scoring drives started in Eagles’ territory: at the 44, the 11, the 40, the 13 and on the 33. The Bengals’ other touchdown came on defense – the result of a fumble between Nick Foles and Bryce Brown.

The improvement on defense is nice, but with the Eagles at 4-10, it’s obviously too little, too late. The truth is many of the players currently on the field aren’t going to be here next year. And the same can almost certainly be said for the coaches. With two games left, the defense will continue to try and build towards something.

“We saw progress in certain areas,” Bowles said. “But not enough to win the ballgame, so we’ve got to keep working.”

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All-22: What the ‘D’ Looked Like Without Washburn

From Mychal Kendricks to Fletcher Cox to Colt Anderson, here’s an All-22 look at what the Eagles’ defense looked like Sunday against the Bucs.

Play 1: Here’s what Jamar Chaney told Tim yesterday about the changes on the defensive line.

“It’s better for the linebackers. If you ask any linebacker what scheme or how they would want to do it, they would want the linemen to hold up the blocks and they go make the plays.”

And here, we see why Chaney said that. First, let’s take a look at the pre-snap alignment.


The Wide-9 lines the defensive end up outside the tight end. Here, you can see that’s not the case with Brandon Graham. Take a look at a photo of Jason Babin from a game earlier this season against the Giants to see the difference.


To be fair, the Eagles had not been lining up in the Wide-9 on every play, even with Jim Washburn still here. And it doesn’t appear to be completely dead, as you’ll see below.

On this play, you can see Chaney has no offensive linemen to deal with as he makes his way towards Doug Martin. Same for DeMeco Ryans.


Chaney does a good job finishing, as he and Nnamdi Asomugha tackle Martin after a 1-yard gain.


It should be noted that the Eagles were not getting gashed against the run this year. They were 13th in the league, allowing 4.1 yards per carry, going into this game. Martin ran for 128 yards in this game, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, although I thought the run defense held up pretty well.

The effect goes beyond the numbers though. The Eagles had been horrible in coverage the previous six games. Blown assignments, safeties with run responsibilities biting on play-action, etc. We’ll see if the change up front improves the pass defense in the final few games.

Play 2: Nice job here by the Eagles’ two second-round picks. Mychal Kendricks was moved to the WILL spot, and Vinny Curry got reps at right defensive end.


Kendricks blows up the play and helps force Martin back inside, while Curry hustles from the back side.


Curry finishes, dropping Martin for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1.


Play 3: A couple things to note on this third-down play in the second. One, the Wide-9 is not completely dead. Look at where Trent Cole is lined up.


And two, there’s been a lot of discussion about what the Eagles’ secondary is going to look like in 2013. One question that needs to be answered: Can Brandon Boykin play outside? The rookie’s been mostly used inside this season. But against Tampa, the Eagles kept Asomugha (and Curtis Marsh when Asomugha was injured) on Vincent Jackson when Jackson moved to the slot.


Boykin fared well on this play (and in this game). A lot of teams are moving their No. 1 receivers inside at times to gain an advantage. We saw it with Calvin Johnson earlier this season. In the offseason, the Eagles have to decide whether Boykin is an every-down player who can play outside, or just a nickel corner.

Overall, the Eagles were much better in coverage, limiting Josh Freeman to 41.2 completions. In the previous six games, opposing quarterbacks were completing 76.3 percent of their passes against the Birds.

Play 4: Fletcher Cox can thank Marsh, Kendricks and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for his second-quarter sack. Cox and Cole ran a stunt up front.


It didn’t result in immediate pressure on Freeman. Here you can see he’s got a pretty nice pocket actually.

But the Eagles’ coverage on the back end was outstanding.


And Cox did away with left tackle Donald Penn.

Play 5: Many of you have asked about Colt Anderson. In coverage, the Eagles parked him deep on many passing plays and didn’t ask him to do too much. Against the run, when he avoided blockers, he showed could make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. But if an offensive player gets a hand on him, he has to prove he can still be effective.

For example, in the fourth, Anderson made a nice read on a Martin run.


Cullen Jenkins did a nice job disrupting the play, and you’ll notice Graham is not caught upfield. Anderson flies in and stops Martin for no gain.


But later in the game, on Martin’s touchdown run, Jackson gets to Anderson and provides a key block for the score.


Kurt Coleman is unlikely to play Thursday night so Anderson should get another shot.

Other notes:

* Kendricks really played well. He was active throughout, totaling seven tackles (according to team stats) and playing well in coverage too.

* Rodgers-Cromartie played one of his best games in a long time.

* Credit to Asomugha for fighting through the injury, but he gave up too many plays in coverage.

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Linebackers Not Mourning Death Of the Wide-9

 Mychal Kendricks was asked how the change up front from Jim Washburn‘s Wide-9 to Tommy Brasher‘s more traditional scheme impacted what he was doing on Sunday.

The rookie linebacker paused a beat, gave a quick laugh, then turned to Jamar Chaney and said, “Should I answer that?”

He already had.

The linebackers (minus DeMeco Ryans, who always has his poker face on) couldn’t hide their relief. Their jobs had just gotten a good deal easier.

“It’s better for the linebackers,” Chaney admitted. “If you ask any linebacker what scheme or how they would want to do it, they would want the linemen to hold up the blocks and they go make the plays.”

Chaney explained that the defensive linemen are now maintaining their position in their gaps — thereby occupying offensive linemen longer — and reading the play before reacting. In Washburn’s design?

“There is no read. With this right now, they read the blocks. It’s probably harder for the d-line but it’s easier for the linebackers. It’s harder for them because they have been playing the Wide-9 and they have to make the adjustment, but it’s probably easier for the linebackers because everything will get more clear. Not saying that linemen aren’t going to get up on us, but they probably aren’t going to get up on us as fast. It just clears out everything.”

Members of the defensive front did not seem to be too put off by the switch, though it will certainly take some getting used to after having the old methods drilled into their heads day after day for months.

“Firing off every single play like it’s a passing down, Coach Tommy really doesn’t like that,” said rookie defensive end Vinny Curry. “So we just had to change a little bit here and tweak things a little bit there.”

Meanwhile, the positive effects seem to have extended into the secondary.

Colt Anderson, subbing at safety for the injured Kurt Coleman, said that the safeties benefit much in the same way as the linebackers when it comes to defensing the run, and that there is “a little less stress” when it comes to defending the pass.

One of the keys to the Eagles’ win Sunday was their ability to limit the big play. As you know, this defense has been suffering major breakdowns on a regular basis that have resulted in momentum-changing sequences . Against the Bucs they allowed three plays of 20 or more yards (all at the hands of Vincent Jackson), none of which went for touchdowns. The first Tampa TD came after a muffed punt that set them up at the five. The other two scoring drives took a combined 20 plays and almost 10 minutes of game clock to execute.

Things were tighter, and the change up front could be part of the reason why.

“Yeah, it helps,” said Chaney. “You know exactly where the D-lineman are going to be at all times, put it like that.”

Or, as Kendricks put it: “I didn’t have as many linemen in my face, so that’s always good.”

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Eagles DL Production: Success Without Washburn?

Sunday’s game against the Bucs was the Eagles’ first in two years without defensive line coach Jim Washburn and the wide-nine.

Tommy Brasher was hired on Monday and had three days of practice to switch up the Birds’ scheme up front. The Eagles struggled to get to Josh Freeman for much of the day, although the defense as a whole played better. Below is the player-by-player breakdown of sacks, hurries (tracked by the team’s coaches), opportunities (Pro Football Focus) and pressure percentage (frequency with with which each player notched a sack or hurry).

In the next couple of days, we’ll try to take a look at how the linemen were aligned up front with the All-22.

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole31000%
Cullen Jenkins31116.5%
Fletcher Cox30116.7%
Brandon Graham29000%
Derek Landri10000%
Cedric Thornton100110.0%
Vinny Curry6000%
Darryl Tapp5000%
Phillip Hunt5000%

As you can see, a lot of zeroes on the board. The Eagles’ five defensive ends were shut out completely. Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt combined for zero sacks and zero hurries.

The defensive tackles had some success. Both Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins notched sacks. No defensive lineman had more than one hurry.

Having said that, the defense shut out the Bucs in the first half and got what turned out to be a big stop at the end of the game. Coming in, the Eagles had allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 76.3 percent of their passes in the previous six games. But Freeman (who is generally not a high-percentage passer) completed just 41.2 percent of his attempts.

Below is the player-by-player breakdown after having re-watched the game.

Trent Cole – He finished with just one tackle, no sacks and no hurries. But I think the coaches were a little harsh in their grading. Cole wasn’t as bad as the numbers indicate. He and Derek Landri brought Doug Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Cole later pressured Freeman, hitting his arm and causing the ball to pop in the air for a near-interception. Cox got credit for the sack in the second, but Cole got good pressure inside on the stunt. He pressured Freeman and helped force an incompletion in the red zone in the fourth. Martin’s fourth-quarter touchdown run went right between Cole and Cox. Great hustle by Cole to bring down Martin after a 2-yard run on the final drive.

Brandon Graham – Relatively quiet game for Graham, although he had a few good moments. Two tackles, no sacks and no hurries. He hustled to bring Martin down after a 4-yard gain on a screen. And Graham drew a holding penalty on a screen in the second. Good pressure on Freeman in the second, leading to a Jenkins sack.

Cullen Jenkins – Two tackles, a sack and a hurry. Jenkins hit Freeman on a deep ball in the first quarter that was intended for Vincent Jackson. He picked up a sack on Freeman late in the first half and dropped Martin after a 3-yard run in the fourth.

Fletcher Cox – Ups and downs, but Cox was active. Great read and great job finishing the play, dropping Martin for a 6-yard loss on a screen in the second. Cox ran a stunt with Cole, looped outside and sacked Freeman. Martin ran right through the hole between Cox and Cole for his touchdown in the fourth. He stuffed Martin for no gain on 3rd-and-8 on the final drive, forcing the Bucs to punt.

Vinny Curry – Only had six opportunities to rush the passer and had no sacks or hurries. Ups and downs against the run. Great hustle from the backside, dropping Martin for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 in the second. But he got caught inside on a toss to Martin that picked up 11 yard in the second half.

Darryl Tapp – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. I know I sound like a broken record, but not sure why Tapp’s taking snaps away from Curry at this point in the season.

Phillip Hunt – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. Hunt got pressure off the edge and forced Freeman to step up and take a hit by Cedric Thornton.

Derek Landri – One tackle, no sacks and no hurries. Landri made some nice plays against the run. He and Cole brought Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Landri clogged the initial hole on Martin’s 3-yard run in the first. And did so again in the third when Martin bounced it outside for a 9-yard gain.

Cedric Thornton – Two tackles, no sacks and a hurry. Thornton got a hit on Freeman in the third as he was nearly picked off by Mychal Kendricks. He violently brought Martin down after a 5-yard run in the red zone in the fourth.

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DL Production: Graham Getting It Done?

Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham.The Eagles’ pass-rush had some good moments early against the Cowboys, but was non-existent in the second half when Tony Romo completed all 10 of his pass attempts.

After the game, Andy Reid announced that the team was parting ways with Jim Washburn, although he admitted that the game’s results had little to do with his decision.

Meanwhile, Brandon Graham got the start for Jason Babin, and Vinny Curry was active for the second time this season, as the Eagles went with a 10-man rotation.

Here’s the weekly look at production. Hurries (and tackles) come directly from the Eagles’ coaching staff. Pass-rushing opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And the last column is from me – a measure of how often each defensive lineman notched either a sack or a hurry.

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole220.519.1%
Brandon Graham201.5430.0%
Mike Patterson18015.6%
Cullen Jenkins17000%
Cedric Thornton12000%
Fletcher Cox10000%
Derek Landri10000%
Vinny Curry9000%
Darryl Tapp6000%
Phillip Hunt4000%

Too many zeroes in that chart. Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton combined for no sacks and no quarterback hurries. That’s hard to believe.

To be fair, some of them didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but that’s a brutal lack of production. I don’t see why Tapp should get any snaps ahead of Curry the rest of the way. Also, it should be noted that Cox was playing with a bruised tailbone.

Cole had half-a-sack, a hurry and three tackles, but for the most part, Tyron Smith handled him once again.

The bright spot, of course, was Graham, who had 1.5 sacks, four hurries and eight tackles, which is the most by any Eagles defensive end all season.

Graham got around Doug Free and sacked Tony Romo in the first. He went around Free and hit Romo on an incompletion in the second. Graham hustled to bring down Kevin Ogletree upfield after a couple other defenders missed tackles. And he hustled to bring DeMarco Murray down on the other side of the field for no gain (All-22 of that play here). Active game for Graham, who should see increased opportunities the rest of the way.

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Bowles: Washburn Was Never a Problem For Me

Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Jim WashburnAmid reports that Jim Washburn had become a disruptive, divisive presence on the Eagles’ coaching staff, Todd Bowles said today he never had an issue with the defensive line coach.

“Me and Wash had a good relationship,” Bowles said. “Wash is a good man, and he’s a good coach. He was never a problem for me.”

Did Bowles have any input into Andy Reid’s decision to let Washburn go?

“No, I found out when everybody else found out,” he said. “I didn’t have any input.”

Bowles also refuted the idea that Washburn’s dismissal now gives him full authority over the defense, saying he’s had that authority since he was named defensive coordinator.

Even though the move came with just four games left, Bowles said he’s not surprised by anything in the league anymore.

“You take a coaching job in this league, you learn not to get surprised by anything,” Bowles said. “But things happen during the course of the year. Players get hurt, coaches get let go, that’s called body blows that you have to take and just move forward.

“Everybody’s responsible, the way we’ve been playing. Wash wasn’t let go, made out to be a scapegoat or anything like that, but moving forward, we’re all responsible to do our jobs as coaches and players.”

As for the players, Eagles defensive linemen continue to stick up for Washburn. We’ve previously heard from Brandon Graham and Cullen Jenkins. And today, Fletcher Cox, who has had an outstanding rookie season under Washburn, praised his old defensive line coach.

“I was a little surprised when I heard it happened,” Cox said. “And I got a little sad or whatever, but I also realize that this is a business and you see players in and out. Same thing for coaches. Coach Wash, he was a great coach. Everything he knew, he laid out on the table for us. He lost his job, and Coach Reid brought somebody new in. We’ve just got to learn what Coach Tommy [Brasher] likes to do.

Cox didn’t get a chance to see Washburn before he was dismissed, but has gotten in touch with him since.

“I texted him, sent him a message, let him know that I’ll stay in touch with him,” Cox said. “No matter what happened, I’ll stay in touch with him.”

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Cullen Jenkins Not Going Along With Washburn Narrative

Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins.Cullen Jenkins painted a different picture of Jim Washburn than the one that has been circulating this week. Rather than an out-of-control, divisive figure, Jenkins sees his former defensive line coach as a  misunderstood motivator with the best of intentions.

“Wash was a good coach. He just wanted the best for us,” said Jenkins. “People may not agree with his ways or saw what his goals were for us — I’m talking about people from the outside looking in — but Wash was a good coach. He had us motivated and playing hard.”

Washburn was fired following the loss to Dallas Sunday. His replacement, Tommy Brasher, got to work with the team for the first time on Wednesday. It is a tough situation for both Brasher and the players, who have seen more than their share of changes in recent weeks.

“I’m not sure what went on upstairs or what the communication between the different coaches was. You know, that stuff happens,” said Jenkins. “It happened with Juan [Castillo] earlier this year, [Jason] Babin and then Washburn. Whatever the reasons are it’s just something that happens, especially when you’re not winning things like this happen a lot.”

Stories began to surface upon his termination that Washburn was disrespectful to Castillo and was not working in sync with the rest of the coaching staff. Jenkins said he didn’t really see that.

“Wash with his personality, he’s just a fiery person. If you really know him you know he’s a good-hearted person, he speaks highly of all the coaches when he talked to us, so we never sensed anything like there was anything personal or anything like that,” he said.

But clearly something prompted Andy Reid to make a move with just four games remaining.

A couple of the defensive linemen Wednesday talked about the difficulty of switching up styles and scheme this late into the year. It is just the latest curveball in a season full of them.

“Tommy had an opportunity to meet with all of them, sit down and talk with them over the last couple days,” said Reid. “It’s a good group, and so they are on board and they are going to work hard; that’s their nature. I’m not worried about that.”

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

From Jim Washburn to Andy Reid to the NFL draft, here’s the weekly roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

The Birds are 30th in ESPN.com’s power rankings. Writes Dan Graziano:

Can’t fall much farther, so even an eighth straight loss doesn’t push them down into the bottom two. Sando did it, though rating the Eagles as the absolute worst team in the league through 13 weeks. Ashley has them at 31, ahead of only the Jaguars. It’s pure personal opinion when you get to the bottom of the ballot, and I have the Eagles 27th, but how can you argue right now if someone wants to tell you there’s no one in the league worse? They haven’t won in more than two months.

Russ Lande of the National Football Post has a mock draft out. He’s got the Eagles going with Alabama guard Chance Warmack:

Peters back at left tackle, so they add Warmack who can bring stability and a physical presence to their interior offensive line.

I can only imagine the reaction in this city if the Eagles spent another first-round pick on a guard.

SI.com’s Peter King offers his take on the firing of Jim Washburn:

Andy Reid hired journeyman defensive line coach Tommy Brasher, and I wonder what he said to ol’ Tommy. Maybe, “Tommy, you’ve got four weeks, and your players have their bags packed for the offseason already. Good luck.” Washburn didn’t like the firing of Jason Babin last week and said so internally. But this doesn’t matter much. The whole staff will be gone unless owner Jeffrey Lurie has a stunning change of heart — which the Eagles’ fans will not let him have — after the season, a season with a losing streak that reached eight last night in Dallas.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 29th:

Does 29th seem harsh? Would the Philadelphia Eagles complain? Probably not. This group does enough to hang around, stay tied, get a small lead … before seemingly always having a breakdown in coverage at the worst possible time or a turnover that changes the course of a contest. What can Brown do for you? Sunday night, Bryce Brown fumbled — again. Down four, with plenty of time to go, the Eagles were moving on the Dallas defense again before Brown delivered … for the other team. Just like the previous Monday night.

Mark Kriegel of NFL.com argues that Reid naming Nick Foles the starter is an attempt to save his job:

I kept hearing that Andy Reid would put Michael Vick back in the lineup just as soon as he was ready. Well, I’m still waiting. Reid likes Vick. But Reid loves his job.

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com has the Eagles 30th:

The last time the Eagles lost eight consecutive games in a single season was in 1968. Nick Foles will get the rest of the year to prove he can be a starting quarterback in this league.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 29th:

Andy Reid has taken to firing coaches and releasing veterans. It’s nice of him to get this team ready for next year — for another coach.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 29th:

At some point, Andy Reid’s final year in Philly will make it impossible for another owner to sell him to a fan base as a viable coaching option.

Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders has Foles’ Week 13 performance ranked 15th among NFL quarterbacks:

Foles’ numbers in the middle of the field demonstrate why completion percentage isn’t always an accurate indicator of a quarterback’s effectiveness. Foles went 6-of-7 between the 40s for 50 yards, but only gained one first down. He also had a midfield sack-fumble.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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