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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Twitter Mailbag: On Roseman, Geno And Vick

 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 @riggitty: would the eagles take a chance on Geno Smith if he’s available?

A lot depends on what they think of Nick Foles by the end of the season. If they believe Foles can develop into an above-average quarterback, then I doubt it. If they come to the conclusion that his ceiling is not very high, all options come onto the table.

I don’t pretend to know whether Geno Smith will be a good NFL quarterback. Same for Matt Barkley. But I am also hesitant to sway with the ever-changing winds of public sentiment. Barkley was a sure-fire stud. Now he’s not. After the combine, maybe his stock rebounds. Who knows.

Bottom line, elite quarterbacks are the rarest commodity on the planet. If you think you have found one, snatch him up — even if Mel Kiper  and 89 percent of the sane world disagrees.

From @TomMcKennaNJ: Any chance Howie Roseman loses his job or at least personnel responsibilities?

There is always the possibility that this collapse has shaken Jeffrey Lurie to his core and he changes direction, but the plan heading in was to keep Roseman around and I believe he sticks to that.

One thing we don’t have a full understanding of is how much of what went wrong over the past two seasons falls on Roseman’s lap. Take, for instance, the 2010 and 2011 drafts. The draft is Roseman’s baby and he owns some of the responsibility. But how much? Remember at the time he had both Andy Reid and Joe Banner above him. Who wanted Danny Watkins? Jaiquawn Jarrett? On what picks was he overruled?

Is the 2012 draft evidence of what he can do when he has more control?

Few people know these answers, but Lurie is one of them.

From @BDAWG_30: Sucks #Birds are one year too late with this collapse; could be rolling w/ RG3 & Bryce Brown combo out of the Pistol #RG3MVP

Way to depress Eagles Nation, B-Dawg!

Remember when news of the Eagles’ pursuit of RGIII and Peyton Manning created a stir? There was even some debate whether it was the right thing to do. Just think if the Eagles were able to pull either one of those deals off now. Manning might be helping Reid make one final charge; RGIII would have the city drunk with excitement about the next decade of Eagles football.

The Redskins were questioned for giving up a king’s ransom to move up and select RGIII. What team wouldn’t do that deal now?

From @derfdy: What’s the order of operations regarding the QB situation with the Eagles now? Do they hire a coach first? Release Vick? Draft?

One of my favorite questions to ponder. The way I understand it, the Eagles have to cut Vick before February 6 to avoid paying the quarterback $3 million. There is a decent chance they have a head coach in place by then. If that’s the case, all the powers that be can weigh their options and then decide on how to proceed at QB.

What if the search drags on and there is still no coach by the deadline? Would they take the financial hit in order to allow the eventual head coach to have a say, or make their own judgment?

I am of the opinion that the head coach should absolutely be not just a voice but the voice when it comes to an on-field decision as critically important as how to move forward at quarterback. If he doesn’t get that opportunity, it will tell us much.

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Twitter Mailbag: Who Will Be the Next 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 @DaPinoyboy: I think that they will be more cuts coming. Agree or disagree?# 64kquestion

I will disagree. Some think Nnamdi Asomugha will be cut before the season is out, but there is a big difference between his situation and Babin’s: money. The Eagles cut Babin and it didn’t cost them a dime. Asomugha has $4 million guaranteed next year. Maybe he is eventually released this offseason, but it makes sense that they try and restructure his contract before going down that road.

I did find the Babin move interesting, though, because of what it tells us. It is a fairly significant decision to cut someone  who has 23.5 sacks over his last 27 games. It makes sense to part ways, but it’s a pretty big decision nonetheless. To make a personnel call like this before the next head coach is in place makes you think about what the power structure will be like moving forward. And will they wait until the next head coach is here before ruling on the quarterback situation?

From @ssteiner13:  If Bryce Brown has a strong rest of the season and fixes the fumbling, would you consider trading Shady? (I would.)

Pump the breaks, steiner. McCoy is 24 and one of the best backs in the league. Plus, think of the possibilities.

Let’s daydream for a second and run with the notion that the next head coach of the Eagles is a far bigger fan of the run game than Andy Reid. And what if the offense was built around a pair of marquee backs, running behind an improved line thanks to the return of Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans, and the addition of a high draft pick. The quarterback, whoever that might be, would be more of a game manager, living off play-action.

Sounds pretty good, right? If Brown continues to show what he did Monday night, I don’t know why that can’t be the Eagles’ reality.

From @AdamHunke: My position needs list (in order) QB, S, CB, WR. Yours?

I’ll flop safety ahead of quarterback for the simple fact that the Eagles probably need to upgrade both safety positions. At least there is a modicum of hope that the solution at quarterback is in-house. Sheil addresses the potential overhaul at the corner and safety positions here. I agree with you on receiver.

I’ll add tight end to the equation as well. Brent Celek plays through a lot of pain and it’s going to catch up with him (maybe it already has?). And Clay Harbor hasn’t shown enough. Offensive line depth is a need as well.

OK, everywhere. They need help everywhere.

 From @yogirlchoseme24: who will be our next coach?

Like the handle, by the way.

One thing I keep going back to is Joe Banner‘s comments to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about what he looks for in a head coach.

When we hired Andy Reid in Philadelphia we did a study on every coach who had led a team to two Super Bowls (appearances) to find the common denominator. We went in looking for things like offensive philosophy, did they come from defense, did they come from college? Had they been a coordinator? We found nothing. Then we accidentally realized they were all exactly the same when we took football out of the equation — they were all incredibly strong leaders, they all had hired great staffs, they managed them well and were all very detail-oriented.

Jeffrey Lurie was part of that search and Howie Roseman studied under Banner, so expect them to use a similar method of thinking.

Finding someone who can win games and help run an organization is obviously priority number one, but they will also be looking  for someone that the city can identify with. The Eagles are aware of the divide that a lot of the fan base feels when it comes to their team, and are determined to rekindle the love affair. Nothing is more important in that effort than finding a (winning) head coach whose philosophies on the field and temperament off it mesh with the spirit of the city.

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Twitter Mailbag: Can Foles Attract A Big-Name 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 @riggitty: Will Nick Foles intrigue any head coaching prospects if he performs well in a few starts this season?

Very good question. As Eagles fans get their head coaching wish lists ready, complete with the Bill Cowhers and Jon Grudens of the world, few pause to think if the interest would be mutual. Nothing is more important than having a quality quarterback in this league (something Sheil lays out well here). If the Eagles don’t have an attractive option at QB, why would a coach-in-demand choose the Eagles?

For that reason, I think it is critically important that Foles acquits himself well if the Eagles are going for the big name. The less desirable the quarterback situation looks, the better chance the Eagles will have to mine for a diamond assistant in the rough. But to be honest, I think that’s the direction they go in regardless.

From @JCentifonti: Could Roseman be bumped to President & they go after a new GM?

No, they promoted Don Smolenski to President back in June, around the same time Howie Roseman reportedly received his contract extension.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the Lurie-Smolenski-Roseman triumvirate will be in place to oversee the transition from the Reid Era to the new era. Lurie will need men that he trusts to guide the franchise where he wants it to go.

I am fascinated with how the Michael Vick situation will be handled. If Vick is still on the roster three days after the Super Bowl, $3 million of his salary becomes guaranteed. Chances are, the Eagles won’t have a head coach in place by then. Would Roseman and Lurie make the call to release Vick without first consulting with their head coach to be?

The answer will tell us a lot.

From @BrandonSlagle27: I was looking at the nyg and dal sched. Do you think it’s possible to win the NFC east with a 9-7 record or even possibly 8-8?

Here’s what each NFC East team is facing the rest of the way:

Giants (6-4): Packers, @Redskins, Saints, @Falcons, @Ravens, Eagles
Cowboys (4-5): Browns, Redskins, Eagles, @Bengals, Steelers, Saints, @Redskins
Eagles (3-6): @Redskins, Panthers, @Cowboys, @Bucs, Bengals, Redskins, @Giants
Redskins (3-6):  Eagles, @Cowboys, Giants, Ravens, @Browns, @Eagles, Cowboys

A couple things that stand out: The Giants face a pretty tough slate starting next week against Green Bay. The Cowboys have maybe the easiest schedule, especially considering that they have just two road games the rest of the way. The Eagles have just two games remaining against teams with winning records (Giants, Bucs).

The second half of the season is backloaded with division games. Yeah, I can see 9-7 winning the NFC East. Definitely possible.

From @phillytokorea: who is the Eagle player that has the most upside? A potential Pro Bowler?

I think Fletcher Cox is your guy. The eye is not naturally drawn to the middle of the line so Cox does not get a ton of recognition, but he has shown some real nice flashes in the first half of his rookie season. It took no time at all before Cox was Jim Washburn‘s most-used defensive tackle.

He is a bright spot in a down season, and one reason to be optimistic if you’re an Eagles fan.

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Twitter Mailbag: Does Reid Have An Out?

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.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 @Gaphillyfan: Do the mounting injuries give Reid a possible card to play at his ‘trial’?

We actually got Jeffrey Lurie on record regarding this issue back in August, when he made it known that another 8-8 season would not be enough to save Reid’s job. Lurie was asked if there were any qualifiers to that statement, particularly when it comes to injury.

“Yeah, I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing [then] there are always exceptions,” is the way the Eagles owner responded.

The Jason Peters‘ injury had already occurred by that point, though clearly the offensive line has been completely decimated over the last several weeks. Evan Mathis is the last man standing from the original starting five.

“It’s a little weird. It’s like a Final Destination kind of thing. Hopefully I don’t get hit by a bus or anything,” Mathis joked.

Otherwise, this team has not had too many injuries to deal with. Michael Vick has played every snap and the defense has enjoyed relative good health. Jeremy Maclin and Nate Allen have missed some time, but nothing too serious. Offensive line is where they’ve been hit, and man have they been hit hard. But overall, Reid can’t make a case that Lurie will fall for. The owner knows he wouldn’t be able to sell it to the fans.

From @chiefmisnomer: what are the details of Nnamdi’s remaining contract? Will the Eagles be able to opt out after this season/for how much?

Asomugha  is due $15 million in 2013. My understanding is that only $4 million of that is guaranteed. So it looks like they can walk away from the remaining three years of the deal without too much damage. Is $4 million too much dead money to swallow if you’re the Eagles? Depends in part on the options to fill the void at right corner, I would imagine. Seeing as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not under contract for next year currently, the Eagles have a couple big question marks at the position. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

From @IrishTim74: does Danny Watkins act as a revolving door at any local hotels or is it just at Lincoln Financial Field?

See, that’s just not right.

From @chambersd12: Are we stuck w/ Howie as GM since his apparent contract extension? Do you actually trust him to make the coaching decision?

I thought Phil Sheridan did a nice job of putting Roseman’s contract extension in perspective.

Eating Roseman’s contract would make an imperceptible dent in Lurie’s fortune. It would cost less than some of the mistakes the franchise has made with player signing bonuses in the last few years.

And if you think Lurie would keep Roseman on just to avoid paying him for nothing, consider that Roseman is just 37 years old. He would want to continue his career in the NFL, which means he would vigorously pursue another job. If he lands one – and there is a guy in Cleveland who might be willing to take him on – Lurie is off the hook, anyway.

At the time of the extension, Lurie knew he was moving on from Joe Banner. Andy Reid’ future was up in the air. The intention was to move on with Roseman whether Reid survived the 2012 season or not. Otherwise, why give him a deal? It is possible that this season has changed Lurie’s view of Roseman or that a new head coaching hire could force the young GM out. But for right now, I’m operating under the assumption that Roseman is sticking around for the overhaul.

Will he do well in such a position of power? Impossible to know.

From @rock9449:  have the players stopped believing in Andy Reid?

Here’s how one player responded when I asked if the players still listen to Reid:

“Of course. Great coach. But when you are Commander in Chief you take the heat.”

I honestly have not heard anything contrary to that. If they have tuned him out, it’s subconsciously. Certain members of this team have not been shy about pointing the finger this year, but I have yet to see anyone point it at Reid.

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Twitter Mailbag: On Fans, Bowles And the Costanza Wallet

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.

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 @riggitty: Why did Todd Bowles have such a rough first game at dc with so much time to prepare?

His promotion may have happened during the bye week, but I definitely don’t look at it as him having a lot of time to prepare. Just take Juan Castillo, for example. OK, so he was coming from the offensive side of the ball, but it took an entire season for the defense to get comfortable with his scheme. The beginning of last season was total chaos on defense.

The learning curve won’t be nearly as steep for Bowles, especially since he worked closely with Castillo and this unit up through the first six games. There was some obvious confusion early in that Atlanta game, though. Players were scrambling pre-snap trying to figure out exactly where they should be. They were caught out of position and were not sure-footed. It looked a lot like 2011, to be perfectly honest.

It should not come as a surprise that a change that big threw the ‘D’ off-kilter a bit. New voice, modified approach, new wrinkles. Maybe the defense will ultimately be better under Bowles, but it has to happen fast.

From @a_rizzo23: with most of the eagles starters under contract nxt yr, how can a new coach bring in his “own guys”?

A few things on this:

One, just because a player is under contract does not mean you have to keep him. The Eagles can part with Michael Vick after this season with minimal financial repercussions, for example. Seems likely they would cut ties with Jason Babin as well. You’re obviously not going to purge your entire roster. But just think about how different of a feel this team would have with those two moves alone.

A new coach would likely change most of  the staff as well. That probably means no Jim Washburn and no Wide 9. New coordinators. New approach.

Then there’s the philosophy shift. Every head coach has a style all their own, and will try and identify players that will best fit with that style. That doesn’t happen overnight, granted. There will be some weeding out and some building via the draft. But there are certainly ways to change the identity in fairly short order.

 

It’s true. Costanza’s got nothing on this bad boy:

Mike Missanelli did a bit on this once. During a commercial he asked to borrow a dime for the vending machine and I pulled this puppy out, started digging through it, and fished out the coin. He went back on the air and talked not only about the monstrosity above, but the fact that he cannot trust a man who carries change in his wallet.

And yes, it does throw my equilibrium off.

From @EClarke1: Why do Eagles players every year turn against the fans? are we too hard, or are they too soft?

Loaded question. My favorite.

In case you missed it, Jason Babin spoke Thursday about a faction of the fan base that was chanting “vile” things at the players and coaches during the Falcons game. Also this week, DeSean Jackson talked about how it feels like the fans are sometimes against them.

I look at it on a case-by-case basis. There are times when fans cross the line, like a few apparently did Sunday. No excuse for it, and it makes everyone else look bad.

It is rarely a good idea for a player to challenge the fans publicly, however. Telling a paying customer how to behave, particularly when the product is poor, is ill-advised. It never comes across right, even if well-intentioned.

The type of player that thrives in Philly is one that not only understands but appreciates how the fan base is wired. They are crazy and demanding, but only in the name of passion and frustration and caring. If you dig that, then you will look at these fans in the proper light. And you will know that calling them out only wounds them unnecessarily.

Twitter Mailbag: On Peters, Asante And Safety Depth

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 @JoshCahan: What do you put the chance of Peters being back sometime in late Nov/early Dec?

Just as a quick refresher: The Eagles have until November 6 to put Peters on the practice-eligible list. They have three weeks from placing Peters on the list to activate him to the 53-man roster. That means November 27 is the last day they can activate him. There is a good chance they will use every bit of that time to allow the big lineman to recover from a pair of ruptured Achilles.

Even if they opt to put him on the 53-man, it doesn’t mean they have to play him right away. It sounds like Peters’ rehab is going well — he’s running and also doing some agility drills — and Terrell Suggs‘ rapid recovery from a similar injury is fueling optimism regarding a potential Peters’ return.

My gut says we’ll be a couple weeks into December before Andy Reid decides to give Peters the green light, if he gives it to him at all.

From @static71: Do you think the Eagles will put in some plays to isolate Asante in space and make him tackle?

Samuel does have six missed tackles on the year, according to Pro Football Focus. Running right at him and forcing him to make stops is never a bad way to go.

I also think you might be able to get Samuel on a double move or two in this game. You know he will be hyped and is dying to make the Eagles look bad for their decision to get rid of him. He is a gambler by nature, and may be even more willing to risk getting burnt in the name of an interception. Seems the Eagles would be wise to take advantage of his aggressiveness.

From@mstry001:  Bowles coaching from box or field during game?!

Undecided, according to Bowles. Said they will make a decision Friday.

From @Lemur421: A healthy Colt Anderson wasn’t good enough to be backup safety last year but coming of ACL surgery this year he is?

Couldn’t agree with you more. Safety depth was one of the major concerns exiting training camp. That kind of went on the back-burner for a while because Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman started out relatively strong and were healthy. Losing Allen to a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter against the Lions was a crusher. Anderson is a very good special teams player but, as you pointed out, he is not  a viable option at safety — especially coming off a major injury.

You can’t be deep everywhere, granted, but this was a vulnerability heading into the season and everyone knew it. Howie Roseman and Reid have to own that.

Twitter Mailbag: Does Kolb Have the Inside Scoop On Eagles?

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.

 
Jason Kelce (6-3, 295) is a little lighter than Dallas Reynolds (6-4, 320), though both are athletic and of a similar body-type. Kelce  is exceptional at getting upfield in the run game. Reynolds will be hard-pressed to match his effectiveness at the second level.

My greater concern is how he handles his first start on the road. Kelce and Michael Vick were having their share of communication issues in Cleveland on a day where the quarterback took an absolute beating. Reynolds will be sharing pre-snap duties at the line like Kelce was, and you would think there will be a learning curve. Consider also that the Eagles will be working with a different left tackle in Demetress Bell. Evan Mathis will have a new teammate on either side of him. He was asked if it changes his approach at all.

“A little bit,” said Mathis. “I’ll focus a little more on communication to make sure we’re on the same page.”

Mathis added that the offensive line will  not alter what it does in the absence of Kelce and King Dunlap. They will try and do the same things. The University of Phoenix Stadium  roof will be closed, and it will be loud.  This Cardinals defense is proving to be formidable. Communication along the Eagles offensive front has to be the main concern going into Sunday.

That’s debatable. For a refresher, here’s what Kevin Kolb said after the Cards beat the Eagles 21-17 last November.

“During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty,” Kolb said.  “Mike’s sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, ‘Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.’”

And here was Marty Mornhinweg‘s response: ”That’s a story you can always anticipate, an ex-player that’s on another ballclub and who’s injured and wants so badly to be a part of a win. In the two-minute (offense) we only called two plays on the line. Completed the third down and then dropped a big one.

“I did check and it had absolutely no effect.”

I tend to side with Mornhinweg here. Kolb was likely burning to be a part of the win over his old club, but had minimal impact on the outcome. I would say Vick’s broken ribs and DeSean Jackson‘s absence may have had a little more to do with it.

You can count on this: the Eagles will make sure, following Kolb’s assertions, that  the signals are not identifiable to their former QB anymore, just in case.

Exactly right.

The early evidence suggests the former.

Brandon Weeden had a 5.1 quarterback rating against the Eagles and rookie Trent Richardson was limited to 2.1 yards per carry. Against the Bengals last week, the Browns racked up 439 total yards, Weeden threw for 322 yards with a pair of touchdowns (114.9 QB rating) and Richardson rushed for 109 yards (5.7 average) with a TD.

Similarly, a Ravens offense that hung 37 points and 430 yards on Cincinnati in Week 1  looked far more pedestrian against Juan Castillo‘s unit. Now, maybe the Bengals’ defense is just that bad. But both the stats and the eye test suggests that the Eagles’ “D” is pretty darn good.

Twitter Mailbag: DeSean, Shifting Ends And Play-Calling

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 AGold_89: what is the advantage of shifting DT’s like Cox and Jenkins to the DE spot?

We saw Jenkins outside a ton during the preseason. The veteran tackle said after the third game against Cleveland that he won’t necessarily be a regular on the edge once the regular season hits, but the coaches wanted to get him a lot of reps so the shift is natural to him when the time comes.

“He did some of that in Green Bay and he was effective with it,” said Andy Reid. “Last year, we were just trying to get him in and going at tackle and we figured we would evolve into that by the second year. He’s very comfortable there and he plays well there.”

The advantage really comes in run situations. One of the good things about a Jim Washburn defensive line is that even the big men are athletic; that’s certainly the case when it comes to Jenkins and Cox. That gives the Eagles flexibility. In short yardage situations, it benefits the defense to have bigger bodies banging along the front line rather than using someone like Jason Babin, who is better equipped to play against the pass.

From @Slap_Bet: could you talk about play selection? how might it be different?

A good point was brought up at Marty Mornhinweg‘s press conference Thursday about how the Jason Peters injury might have a direct effect on the play-calling. Losing Peters is losing an absolute freak of an athlete, a 6-4, 340-pounder who can crush you and then sprint upfield to find his next victim. Does his absence limit what the offense can call?

King [Dunlap] is very good at almost everything that we do, generally, offensively,” said Mornhinweg. “But we did special things…with [Peters] than we would with a normal player.”

In other words, certain elements may be taken out.

Otherwise, I would expect LeSean McCoy to be a little more active in the passing game, and I anticipate that DeSean Jackson will be used underneath a little bit more to counter the safeties playing him so deep. Speaking of which…

From @DanGeringer: Will DeSean Jackson fulfill his early promise or has familiarity/film killed the cat?

This season will say it all about Jackson, as far as I’m concerned. Mornhinweg said that Jackson comes in with a little more weight to his frame, and we know that his mind is more clear. He’s 25, he’s paid, he’s in his prime. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have a monster year.

Has familiarity/film killed the cat? No, just boxed it in. Versatility is necessary for star players in the NFL. If you consistently beat the opponent in a particular way (in this case, with fly patterns) they will adjust. In order to stay great, you have to then find another way to burn them. That is Jackson’s objective this season.

We know that he will never be a possession receiver — the most catches he’s ever had in a season is 62 — but he can be a more consistent presence for this team.

From @phillysniper:  Can the TE in this offense continue to be a red zone threat without the “prototype 6’4 WR” wideout?

As we wrote about in the wide receiver preview, Jeremy Maclin is 6-foot yet  has been the team’s best red-zone receiver the past two seasons, racking up 19 catches and 11 touchdowns inside the 20 over that time. It’s more about Michael Vick working better in constricted areas, and receivers being precise in their route-running.

Having some big tight-end targets down there doesn’t hurt either. Brent Celek had 10 catches for 68 yards and four touchdowns in the red zone last season. Clay Harbor had just one catch inside the 20, though it went for 16 yards and a score. The anticipation is that Harbor will take a step forward this season, which should help the Eagles cause.

Twitter Mailbag: Top Receiving Tandem, ’04 Or Today?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinEvery 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 @mikelom88: Hypothetical, Michael Vick gets hurt twice for 4 games total & Nick Foles plays excellent, what’s the chance Foles is the starter next year?

Brian Westbrook made a bold statement the other day, suggesting that if Vick goes down for a few games and Foles steps in and performs, that the Eagles should ride with the rookie even when Vick returns. That is not a decision that can be made lightly. If you choose to keep Vick on the bench, then you are essentially tying your future to Foles. If you pull Foles in and out of the lineup as a rookie, it’s no big deal. He doesn’t have any grand expectations and has the mindset that Vick is the guy. If you keep a healthy Vick out, however, you have a problem on your hands. He will be upset, some veterans in the locker room will be upset, and you would have to think a trade request/demand would be right around the corner. If you make that move, you better be damn sure Foles is legit.

As far as next year, logic suggests Vick is gone if Foles proves his worth in spot play.

From @SlyTango: what is the deal with Fletcher Cox? Nobody is talking about this guy at all. Should we worry about another 1st round flop?

He is probably the least of my concerns, to be honest. He is a starter already, and is going to be hard to handle inside. Maybe really hard to handle. Would you have liked to see him get more than three tackles this preseason? Yes. But you saw signs that he will be disruptive as advertised, which is what you’re looking for. If he is a bust I will be completely shocked.

From @Eazy56: Can u find out how many total receiving yds & TD’s T.O & Pinkston had in 2004 vs. D. Jac & Mac together?

Terrell Owens had 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games for the Eagles in 2004. Todd Pinkston had 36 grabs for 676 yards and a touchdown that season. That’s a combined 113 catches for 1,876 yards and 15 scores.

Maclin and Jackson’s best combined season looks to be 2010. Maclin had 70 catches for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Jackson posted 47 catches for 1,056 yards and six TDs in 14 games. That’s 117 catches for 2,020 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

Maclin and Jackson come out ahead in every category as a tandem.

The Daily News compared the ’04 team overall to the current group.

From @PhillyFollower: Who’s the next Eagle to officially retire as one?

I bounced this question off a few people, and I have to think the answer is Donovan McNabb.

Jon Runyan is a possibility, I suppose, especially since Tra Thomas just had his ceremony. His playing days might be too far gone now, though. Same for Jeremiah Trotter.

I don’t really see guys like Sheldon Brown or Lito Sheppard getting the honor, and no shot that T.O. is getting back inside the NovaCare walls. Once McNabb decides to finally hang them up, I can see  him being honored in fairly short order. David Akers also has an outside shot.

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