Eagles Cut Mike Patterson

And another one.

The Eagles parted with Cullen Jenkins earlier Monday, then later announced that they cut ties with fellow veteran tackle Mike Patterson as well.

“Mike Patterson is one of the toughest players I have ever been around in the National Football League,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the utmost respect for him because of it. Coach Kelly and I each had great conversations with him today. He is a class act. He gave this organization eight great seasons of hard work and dedication and we wish him all the best as he continues his career in this league.”

Patterson was slated to make a base salary of $2.9 million this season, and carried a cap number around $4 million.

The former first-round pick was the team’s longest-tenured player (That distinction now belongs to Trent Cole and Todd Herremans). The 29-year-old appeared in 115 games (99 starts) at defensive tackle for the Eagles and racked up 551 tackles, 16.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.

The past couple season have been defined by health issues and his ability to fight through them. During training camp in 2011, Patterson suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a brain AVM. Patterson played the entire year and had brain surgery in the offseason.

He returned to the field in Week 9 of this past season against the Saints, only to be hospitalized with viral pneumonia in December. The Eagles caught some flak for placing Patterson on the non-football injury/illness list, a move that could have cost the defensive tackle $150,000 in pay. Eventually the Eagles decided to pay him the full amount owed.

Patterson released the following statement upon his release:

“I want to thank the fans for all of their support over eight years in Philadelphia. It is never easy to say goodbye to a fan base that supported me no matter what. My goal was to come to work every day to try and make the Philadelphia Eagles the best organization we could be. The Eagles organization has treated me and my family with nothing but respect since the day I was drafted and I wish Mr. Lurie, Howie, the new coaches and all of my teammates all the best going forward. I will miss them all and I will always have a place in my heart for the Eagles and for the city of Philadelphia.”

 

Eagles Change Course, Will Pay Patterson

The Eagles had a change of heart today and have come to an agreement with Mike Patterson, agent J.R Rickert told Tim McManus.

“I’m pleased that the Eagles and Howie Roseman in particular were able to work on this with us and come to a resolution,” Rickert said. “I attribute the long-standing relationship we have had over the years as the reason we were able to do it.”

A league source tells McManus that Patterson will receive the full $150,000.

Just yesterday, the Eagles placed Patterson on the non-football injury/illness list. Patterson was hospitalized last week with viral pneumonia and will not play again this season. His agents went public and criticized the Eagles for docking his pay.

“This is not the way an organization should treat a player who has been a solid citizen and a leader on the team and somebody who does nothing but contribute to your club on and off the field,” Rickert said yesterday.

“This is not the message you want to send of how you deal with people. …This is a guy who had a serious health condition and  fought his way back because he wants to contribute to the team.”

The team felt the need to do some damage control yesterday, releasing a statement that simply said, “Our number one priority is to get Mike Patterson well enough to get back on the football field. He has worked hard this year to get back and has our full support as an organization.”

During training camp in 2011, Patterson suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a brain AVM. Patterson played the entire year and had brain surgery in the offseason. He returned to the field in Week 9 against the Saints.

Patterson, 29, has appeared in 115 games with the Eagles in eight NFL seasons. He’s under contract through 2016.

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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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Patterson’s Agent: ‘This Is Not the Message You Want To Send’

Mike Patterson‘s representation is prepared to file a grievance against the Eagles for their decision to place the defensive tackle on the non-football injury/illness list and cut his pay.

Patterson was hospitalized last week with viral pneumonia and missed Sunday’s game against the Bucs. The Eagles have since placed Patterson on NFI and called up Emil Igwenagu, who will give the Eagles another option at tight end with  Brent Celek out with a concussion.

Agent J.R. Rickert contends that Patterson got pneumonia as a direct result of football-related activities, and that it is on the organization to prove otherwise.

“We tried to make that point to the Eagles and they disagreed,” said Rickert. “They  said, ‘An illness is an illness.’

“He is entitled to the remaining 150 thousand of his contract and we’re going to take every step we can to ensure that he gets what he’s entitled to under his contract.”

Rickert added that he is willing to work with the Eagles before filing a grievance.

The team released the following statement: “Our number one priority is to get Mike Patterson well enough to get back on the football field. He has worked hard this year to get back and has our full support as an organization.”

Patterson started the season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list as he recovered from surgery to correct a brain AVM. His condition was discovered after the eight-year veteran suffered a seizure at training camp before the 2011 season. He opted to put off surgery until the offseason and played in 15 games for the Eagles last year.

“This is not the way an organization should treat a player who has been a solid citizen and a leader on the team and somebody who does nothing but contribute to your club on and off the field,” said Rickert.

“This is not the message you want to send of how you deal with people…This is a guy who had a serious health condition and  fought his way back because he wants to contribute to the team.”

Eagles head trainer Rick Burkholder said that the recent illness is not related to his prior condition.

“He looks like he is going to be alright,”  said Burkholder of Patterson Tuesday. “After you have something like that it is hard to get your energy levels back up and make sure you can play and all that kind of stuff.”

Burkholder added that the staff was concerned about the possible spread of the illness, but as of Tuesday there were no indications that any other players had caught pneumonia.

Igwenagu has spent the season on the Eagles’ practice squad after signing as a rookie free agent out of Massachusetts. He totaled 75 receptions for 821 yards and four touchdowns at UMass while playing  fullback, tight end and running back for the Minutemen.

The team also signed defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron to the practice squad.

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Injury Update: McCoy, Vick Not Ruled Out Yet

LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick are in Phase 5 of the rehab process from concussions suffered last month and returned to practice in a limited capacity today.

“We’re not listing them as out,” said head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder. “They’re still very much alive for things. We’ll see how they do today and take it day by day. Of course, they have to get through this fifth phase, they have to get to the independent [neurologist], which could be tomorrow, and they have to see [team doctor] Dr. [Gary] Dorshimer and get his clearance as well.”

Meanwhile, tight end Brent Celek has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Bengals. Celek suffered his concussion on the first play of the game against the Bucs. He was unconscious for a couple seconds, Burkholder said, but has already passed his ImPACT Test and should move on to Phase 2 tomorrow.

Nnamdi Asomugha (neck stinger/quad contusion) will practice today, Andy Reid said. Kurt Coleman has a sternal contusion. He’ll be limited today and likely won’t play Thursday night.  Colt Anderson figures to start in his place. Jeremy Maclin has a groin strain and will be limited in practice, but should play. Mike Patterson is home from the hospital after battling pneumonia, but he won’t play.

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Bucs: Kurt Coleman, LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, Mike Patterson, Greg Salas, Chris Polk and Matt Kopa.

Coleman suffered a chest injury last week against Dallas. Colt Anderson will get the start in his place alongside Nate Allen.

McCoy continues to recover from a concussion he sustained Nov. 18 against the Redskins, and Vick is still recovering from a concussion sustained the week before (Nov. 11). Patterson was hospitalized during the week for pneumonia and will not play. Polk has been sidelined with a toe injury.

Salas was signed a few weeks ago, but has yet to dress on gameday. Kopa was signed earlier this week.

Bryce Brown will once again carry the load for McCoy. The rookie has averaged 8.1 yards per carry on 43 attempts the past two weeks.

The Eagles’ defensive tackle rotation will be reduced to four: Fletcher Cox, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri and Cedric Thornton.

Rookie wide receiver Marvin McNutt will be active for the first time. And linebacker Ryan Rau, who was just promoted from the practice squad yesterday, will dress also.

The Eagles’ backup offensive linemen are Danny Watkins, Matt Tennant and Demetress Bell.

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Cheat Sheet: Eagles’ Defense Vs. Bucs’ Offense

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans.Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with the Bucs’ offense.

1. As always, we start with what’s important: draft positioning. If the season ended today, the Eagles would have the fourth overall pick. The teams ahead of them are the Raiders, Jaguars and Chiefs. Oakland already lost Thursday night and is 3-10 going into the final three. Kansas City is at Cleveland, and Jacksonville hosts the Jets. Those are the two early games to keep an eye on (as you chat with us during Eagles-Bucs, of course). According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles have an 8.6 percent chance at getting the top pick and a 48 percent chance of landing a top-three selection.

2. The Bucs enter Sunday’s game fourth in the NFL, averaging 27.8 points per game. Football Outsiders has them 10th in overall offense – 11th in passing and eighth in rushing. Tampa is coming off back-to-back losses to the Falcons and Broncos. The Eagles, meanwhile, have lost eight in a row and are coming off a 38-33 loss to the Cowboys. They are 26th in scoring defense, allowing 26.7 points per game. Football Outsiders has the Eagles ranked 25th defensively – 31st against the pass and eighth against the run. According to their numbers, only the Raiders have been worse against the pass this season.

3. Tampa’s offense starts with rookie running back Doug Martin, who is third in the NFL with 1,106 yards. Only Adrian Peterson (17) and C.J. Spiller (11) have more runs of 20+ yards than Martin (9). According to Pro Football Focus, Martin has broken 47 tackles, tied with Peterson for most in the league. Only Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch have carried the ball more than him (236 attempts). Martin’s coming off a pair of sub-par outings against the Falcons and Broncos, where he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry on 39 attempts. Opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry (13th) against the Eagles.

4. Most of Martin’s runs (67.4 percent) have come out of two-back sets, according to STATS, Inc. He’s averaged 5.6 yards per carry on those attempts. That means the Eagles will be in their base personnel for much of the game. DeMeco Ryans has shown up every week, but he didn’t play particularly well against the Cowboys. Akeem Jordan played poorly. And Mychal Kendricks was up-and-down. The Eagles will be without Mike Patterson (illness). Asked if the defense will still rotate defensive linemen, coordinator Todd Bowles said, “They’ll rotate. You still have to let Coach [Tommy] Brasher get comfortable with the guys and then we kind of react and go from there as he gets more comfortable with them at the end of the week, seeing what they can and can’t do from his own eyes. I’d like to give him a fresh perspective on that.”

5. Josh Freeman ranks 31st in the NFL, completing just 55.9 percent of his passes. But he’s in luck because opponents are completing 76.3 percent of their passes against the Eagles since Bowles took over. Freeman’s averaging 7.74 yards per attempt (sixth). He’s tossed 23 touchdowns (sixth) and just eight interceptions. In the last six games, the Eagles have given up 16 touchdown passes and come up with no interceptions. On the season, opponents are completing 62.2 percent of their passes against the Eagles (17th) and averaging 7.8 yards per attempt (26th). Only four defenses have allowed more touchdown passes than the Birds (23).

6. Vincent Jackson is one of the league’s premier vertical threats. He’s got 50 catches for 1,014 yards in his first season with Tampa and is averaging 20.3 yards per reception, which is tops in the NFL. Only Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Reggie Wayne have more catches of 20+ yards than Jackson (19). While the Bucs like to run the ball, they’ll take plenty of shots downfield. According to Pro Football Focus, 15.9 percent of Freeman’s attempts have traveled 20 yards or more downfield. That is third in the league, behind only Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck. Eagles safeties Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have played poorly all season. Coleman’s out with a chest injury, and Colt Anderson will get the start. The Eagles will try to avoid complete breakdowns in the secondary for the first time in weeks.

7. Third-year receiver Mike Williams has also been productive with 43 catches for 718 yards (16.7 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. As for the Eagles, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie seems to be getting worse every week.

“As I look at film just from a personal standpoint, in my head I have a whole lot of wows,” he told Tim last week. “Like, ‘Wow, what are you doing?’ At some point, I think as the season keeps going bad, bad, you try to fight so hard and don’t want to do wrong until you end up just doing wrong and you don’t allow yourself to just go out and be [yourself].”

Not only is Rodgers-Cromartie giving up too many big plays, but he continues to consistently shy away from contact. And according to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers-Cromartie leads all cornerbacks with 11 penalties.

8. Up front, left tackle Donald Penn has started every game for Tampa since the start of the 2008 season, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2010. He’ll go up against Trent Cole, who was not a factor last week against the Cowboys and has just two sacks on the season. Vinny Curry played just 19 snaps last week. That number needs to increase. Tampa is without All-Pro guard Carl Nicks. The Eagles’ pass-rush was non-existent in the second half of last week’s loss to the Cowboys. Fletcher Cox, Curry, Phillip Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton combined for no sacks and no hurries. Brandon Graham had 1.5 sacks, four hurries and eight tackles – the most by any Eagles defensive end in a single game all season. Freeman has been sacked just 17 times all season.

9. The Eagles have just 10 takeaways through 12 games. That’s the second-fewest total in the league, ahead of only the Colts. The Bucs, meanwhile, have just 12 giveaways. In the NFC, only the Redskins have fewer.  Overall, the Eagles are minus-18 in turnover differential. Only the Chiefs (-21) are worse.

10. Leftovers: According to Football Outsiders, opponents are starting drives at the 30.28 yard line against the Eagles, the second-worst mark in the league. …The Eagles are sixth in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score touchdowns 45 percent of the time. The Bucs are the second-best red-zone offense in the league, scoring touchdowns 66.7 percent of the time. …Tampa is converting on 34 percent of its third-down chances (26th). The Eagles are 21st in third-down defense, allowing conversions 39.7 percent of the time.

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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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Eagles Snap Counts: DL Rotation Without Babin

Here’s a look at snap counts for the Eagles during their Week 12 loss to the Panthers. We’ll go position-by-position.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Bryce Brown4182%
Stanley Havili1224%
Dion Lewis816%

Even though he hadn’t had 15+ carries since high school, Bryce Brown carried the load in his first career start. He played the same number of snaps LeSean McCoy normally plays and had 23 touches, including 19 carries, for an Eagles rookie record 178 yards. There were of course the two costly fumbles in the second half, but Brown was one of the few players fans could get excited about.

Dion Lewis had five carries for 24 yards, but played just eight snaps. Stanley Havili had one catch and played 12 snaps.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Jeremy Maclin4998%
Damaris Johnson4080%
Riley Cooper3672%
DeSean Jackson1224%
Brent Celek4386%
Clay Harbor918%

DeSean Jackson left the game in the first quarter, and Jason Avant was inactive because of a hamstring injury. That left the Eagles with just three healthy receivers (newcomer Greg Salas didn’t dress). Behind Jeremy Maclin, Damaris Johnson saw the most action with 40 snaps. Johnson and Riley Cooper combined for just three catches and 20 yards.

I guess we’re seeing what this coaching staff thinks of Clay Harbor. Even though the Eagles only had three healthy receivers, Harbor played just nine snaps and was not targeted.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Trent Cole4669%
Mike Patterson4466%
Jason Babin4060%
Cullen Jenkins3958%
Brandon Graham3045%
Cedric Thornton2639%
Derek Landri2334%
Vinny Curry2131%
Fletcher Cox57%
Darryl Tapp11%

With Jason Babin out, Brandon Graham figures to take over with the first team at left defensive end. Vinny Curry dressed for the first time all season and had five tackles on 21 snaps yesterday. He played right defensive end, but could also get a shot on the left side with Graham. Darryl Tapp was the odd man out yesterday, and Phillip Hunt was inactive. Tapp won’t be here next year. Graham and Curry figure to see a bump in playing time. And Hunt could get back in the mix too.

Mike Patterson is one of the few good stories on this team. Not only is he back on the field, but with Cox going down with an injury, Patterson played starter’s snaps and had a sack.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans67100%
Mychal Kendricks6597%
Akeem Jordan2842%
Casey Matthews11%

Nothing really to say about the linebackers. The Eagles were in their base defense with Akeem Jordan on 42 percent of the snaps.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Nnamdi Asomugha6699%
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie6699%
Brandon Boykin3451%
Curtis Marsh23%
Nate Allen67100%
Kurt Coleman6699%

Issues continue in the secondary as Kurt Coleman and Brandon Boykin appeared to be responsible for the two early touchdowns. At some point, perhaps the unknowns like Curtis Marsh and David Sims will get an opportunity.

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DL Production: Cole Gets Shut Out

Here’s our weekly look at the Eagles’ defensive line production.

The Eagles had quite a few “close but no sack” moments against Robert Griffin III. In fairness to Jim Washburn’s unit, Griffin makes defensive linemen look silly on a weekly basis.

Here are the numbers. Sacks, hurries (a stat kept by the coaches) and pressure percentage (frequency with with each player notches a sack or hurry, given the opportunities).

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole16000%
Jason Babin151113.3%
Fletcher Cox13107.7%
Cullen Jenkins12000%
Mike Patterson120216.7%
Brandon Graham80112.5%
Derek Landri70228.6%
Darryl Tapp70114.3%
Cedric Thornton2000%

We know the Eagles are not looking forward to facing Griffin for years to come. I’m guessing they’re not going to enjoy going up against left tackle Trent Williams either. Williams held Trent Cole to no sacks and no hurries. Cole has a total of seven hurries in the last four games. He doesn’t have a sack since Week 3 against the Cardinals.

Jason Babin was actually very active. He had one sack and was really responsible for the other one. Babin’s pressure forced Griffin to step up, and Fletcher Cox was the first person to touch him. Babin also had four tackles.

My upcoming All-22 post is going to focus a lot on Cox. He is coming on strong. The rookie had 10 tackles. He’s had two double-digit tackle games in the last month. No other Eagles defensive lineman has one all season. Cox was all over the place against the Redskins, even though it might not show up in the numbers here.

Brandon Graham only had eight opportunities, but he hasn’t done much in the last two games (one tackle, two hurries). This was the most active Mike Patterson’s been since returning (two hurries, three tackles). Derek Landri had two hurries in his previous five games, but notched a couple in this one. Darryl Tapp had five tackles.

Going forward, it looks like Vinny Curry is going to get a shot against the Panthers, per a CSNPhilly.com report by Geoff Mosher. So who does he bump? The Eagles could go with five defensive ends and sit Cedric Thornton, who’s being phased out anyway. Or they could have Curry take Tapp’s place behind Cole.

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