DeMaurice Smith and the rest of the NFLPA’s legal team have been busy preparing a response to the NFL’s appeal to the 8th Circuit Court, requesting a stay. In the letter, they will most likely argue that the over 900 players who are currently unemployed or free agents are being hurt by the stay, and should be given the right to negotiate with teams.
While they are absolutely right about the disadvantage free agent players are at, another group of players they should also be concerned about are 2nd year players as well as incoming rookies. The damage being done to them by not being able to meet with and practice with their coaches could end up being a lot worse than the damage done to a player who will just sign his deal a few months later than normal.
Les Bowen of the Daily News talked about this topic this morning on Philly.com, and he was dead on when he said that a majority of the Eagles players are going to be coming into this season behind the eight ball because of not being able to meet with and practice with the coaches.
Think about it- of the 13 players the Eagles drafted last season, 12 saw action on the field. Players like Nate Allen, Brandon Graham, Riley Cooper, and Kurt Coleman ended up playing significant roles. Trevard Lindley, Jamar Chaney and Clay Harbour saw their time increase as the season went on.
In this year’s draft, the Eagles are hoping that Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Alex Henery, and possibly Casey Matthews come in and start right away. Dion Lewis should see significant time, and as a running back in the Eagles offensive system, he has a big adjustment ahead of him.
Add up the 2nd year players along with the incoming rookies, and the Eagles are hoping that 9 players- Graham, Cooper, Allen, Coleman, Chaney, Watkins, Jarett, Henery, and Matthews- can come in from week 1 and be a starting player on what many expect to be a Super Bowl caliber team. That’s a significant portion of the team.
If you’re an Eagles fan, it’s scary enough to think what will happen to those players during this off-season as they are not able to grow with their coaches, but what should be more frightening is the Eagles might not have any choice but to play them.
Graham will most likely miss the first part of the season due to his ACL injury last year, and a player who’s game is predicated on speed is going to take a while to become the same player after such an injury. Add in the fact that Graham is unable to meet with coaches, and you could argue before the season even starts that Graham’s upcoming season could be a waste.
But regardless of what kind of shape Graham is in when he comes back, he is going to be counted on to play a major role. Trent Cole should be starting to wear down right around when Graham comes back, and Juqua Parker is a solid player, but not one you can count on to be a full-time player the whole season. Graham is the next best option the Eagles have.
Danny Watkins was drafted because he was seen by many as the surest thing in the draft. Andy Reid is expecting him to start from Day 1. Watkins has a playbook, but without Reid and Mudd in his ear breaking it down, those plays are nothing but X’s and O’s. Imagine a scenario where there is only one-week of training camp before the first game. The Eagles would be taking a major risk by sending Watkins out there to start, but they may have no choice.
The safety position is filled with players that could take a step back by not being able to meet with the coaches. With Quintin Mikell’s locker cleared out and his fate all but sealed, the Eagles safeties currently do not have a player with more than one-year experience that is expected to see playing time next season.
Allen’s health is still up in the air, but he is expected to be back by training camp. He started last season strong, but started to slip late in the campaign, as he was caught out of position many times, biting on pump fakes. Those mistakes are not going to be fixed in the weight room, but in the coach’s office looking at tape.
Coleman was a pleasant surprise, as the 7th round pick. He came in and started after Allen’s injury. The former Buckeye is a hard hitter, but his coverage skills still need work.
The same could be said for Jarrett, who coming out of Temple and playing teams in the MAC, is not known for his coverage skills. His game is built on big hits and knowing where to be on the field. The Temple product is said to be a quick learner, and told us at his press conference that he knows the importance of studying the playbook, but that’s going to be hard to do if Juan Castillo’s door has a lock on it.
With all that being said, keep this in mind right now, Jarrett and Coleman are penciled in as the current starters, with Allen’s health still up in the air.
The list goes on and on for the Eagles. Chaney is going to start, but all the weights in the world are not going to help him understand Castillo’s new defensive system. Henery could end up stepping into David Akers shoes with only a few practices under his belt. Lindley is highly regarded at the Nova Care, but his playing time was hurt by not understanding the defense last year. Imagine what shape he will be in after not being able to meet with the secondary coaches at all during this off season.
The fact is, whether games or missed or not, the Eagles are being hurt by this lockout perhaps more than any other team. Their squad is built on youth, and that youth is suffering by this lock out. Throw in the fact that Kevin Kolb was unable to be traded at the draft, and this team’s chances at a Super Bowl are taking a major hit this off season.
I agree Elliot,
A lot of 2nd year players have to almost re-start all over again and I expect
both Graham and Allen to begin the Season on the PUP list and not eligible to be activated to the 5th/6th week of the Season which isn’ ta bad thing, but this allows for less time now of getting other younger players up to speed as you mentioned… Every team in the NFL is up against the same thing and there were 7-8 teams who made Head Coaching Changes and some have completely new systems and schemes to change and install and will really be behind the 8-BAll.. It’s going to be and interesting and exciting SUmmer Camp when it arrives but Teams that have steady,consistent,veteran Defenses squads will most likely have the upper hand in the beginning of the Season
I do not agree that the Eagles are being hurt more than any other team, The teams that have new coaches are the ones being hurt more than anybody else, as far as the rookies and 2nd year players? That goes for EVERY team! as a matter of fact we might be far more ahead considering alot of out 2nd year players saw alot of playing time,
One thing Reid has demonstrated, that no matter how much (or how little) talent he accumulates, a grade “B” to ” B minus” season will result. Don’t waste your time fretting, what will never result with him is a championship.
Good point Andrew
Most of the 13 1st Year players last year saw action and some of them a lot of playing time
Graham,Allen,Coleman,Cooper,Chaney,Harbor, Lindley,Colt Anderson,Clayton,C Hall and Teo..and even 1st Year Eagle Players like J Harrison, O Schmitt, D Tapp
Andrew, the eagles have new coaches almost across the whole board. The defensive philosophy better be completely different. They will have to start as many young players and inexperienced players as teams finishing with 3 wins, and expected to win 10. I think the lockout may not be hurting the eagles the most, but they are definately up there.
stopgoat, I agree 100%, Im not saying its not gonna hurt the Eagles im saying i dont believe their gonna be hurt the most, and Paulman, I didnt realize it was that many players, looks like last years draft wasnt as bad as people were trying to make it.
Then again, just because so many Eagle 1st year players saw a lot of action
and mostly on Eagles Defense gives a pretty good indication of how much rebuilding and lack of depth the Eagles Defense and especially at LB/Secondary levels had last year on top of the injuries they sustained
who would be surprisedif the Eagles do absolutely nothing to upgrade the corner?
Who would be surprise if they use the lockout and circumstances as an excuse to why they chose to wait another year as if the whole league didn’t have a lockout?
I hope they target CB Carlos Rogers who would be a nice fit for the Eagles Defense, HE’s big,physical and at his best in mam-to-man coverage and especially in the Red-Zone..SIgne to a 2-3 Year deal without breaking to bank and would bea great mentor to young CB Lindley and Marsh os what it takes to be a Professional NFL Player.. The other plus is that since he’s played for the Redsksins thhe last 6 seasons, he knows the NFC East opponents,players and schemes very well as well as with other teams in the NFC.. I would rather the Eagles sign ROgers and still have the $$$ to go get a DE and then take care of cik,D-Jax adn McCoy with long term deals.. If the break the bank for CB Asmo, they may not be able to address the DE or take care of D-Jax/McCoy which could lead to other issues down the road
Probelm is songs – we have to deal with your ever changing definition of absolutley nothing – as I see it – the Eagles did draft an excellent, tall, fast athletic CB from Utah State who did an outstanding job against one of the best big play WRs in college football from Boise State – so by definition of ‘absolutely nothing’ the Eagles have already done something –
Shouldn’t Lindley also be more of a factor this year –
I get the feeling the only possible solution in your small, narrow, simplistic mind is the Eagles have to go out and chase someone if and when Free Agency open up.
For general poster consumption – did anyone notice I think it was Philly. com analysis of CBs and how most teams (inluding all those stud defense running game teams sngs loves soooooo much) do not carry two big name CBs – typically its a stud CB and an average CB – I think it was out yesturday.
Let’s look at the top 10 scoring defenses from the 2010-11 regular season. Here were the starting corner tandems:
1. Steelers: Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden
2. Packers: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams
3. Ravens: Chris Carr, Josh Wilson/Fabian Washington
4. Bears: Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman
5. Falcons: Dunta Robinson, Brent Grimes
6. Jets: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie
7. Saints: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter
8. Patriots: Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington
9. Buccaneers: Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber
10. Chargers: Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason
Only one team – the Packers – had two big-time corners. Some of them (Bears, Ravens, Steelers) had virtual no-names manning both spots (yes, the Ravens just drafted there, but they managed to do well in 2010 anyway). Others (Jets, Falcons, Bucs) have one great corner, and one pretty good one. The point is, they’ve been able to be strong without two stars.
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Surprise player on the Eagles D for 2011
CB – Marlin “Billie Jean” Jackson will be the Starting RCB on Opening Day
T Lindley will be the back-up and Hanson will continue to be the Slot CB in 3 WR Packages and Marsh and one of the others (probably Hughes) will be back-ups
If Marlin is healthy and good to go then D Patterson is not resigned,
If Marlin is not good to go health wise, Then Eagles re-sign D Paterson and Marlin is released and goes back to “Off the Wall”
Another bad deal about the Lockout is that it’s really impossible for a Coaching Staff to know who is good to go and who isn’t and especially from a player coming off injury and obviosuly a rookie who has to learn a ton of new things in a very short period of time.