Height no excuse for Stacy Andrews

Stacy Andrews and his agent had plenty to say as his tenure with the Eagles came to an end yesterday. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer )

On their way out the door this weekend, Stacy Andrews and his agent, Rich Moran, managed to come up with a number of convenient excuses for why he stunk up the place during his short, but very profitable stay in Philadelphia.

There was the this-wasn’t-the-job-I-signed-on-for excuse, in which Andrews says the Eagles pulled the old switcheroo on him, shifting him to right guard after he came to town expecting to be the team’s starting right tackle.

He says they told him they did it because they wanted to protect his brother Shawn’s injured back. Doesn’t mention at all that maybe it had more than a little to do with the fact that he was coming off an ACL injury and would’ve gotten his butt handed to him if they had lined him up on the outside last season.

There was the they-were-mad-at-my-brother-and-took-it-out-on-me excuse, in which both Andrews and Moran claim Shawn’s problems affected the way the media portrayed Stacy, and also potentially affected the way the Eagles dealt with him. In other words, the Eagles didn’t bench me and make me take a pay cut and trade me because I couldn’t block anybody. They did it because they were mad at my brother.

My favorite of all, though, might be the I’m-too-tall-to-play-guard excuse.

On Friday, the day before the Eagles shipped Andrews to Seattle for a seventh-round pick, Moran, in an interview with my esteemed colleague and Eagletarian co-author, Les Bowen, questioned whether there is another 6-7 guard in the entire league, or at least one that can walk and chew gum at the same time.

A couple of things. First, Andrews isn’t really 6-7. Because I don’t have a life, I have been collecting the vital statistics (height, weight, 40-yard dash time, et al) of draft prospects from the scouting combine and/or their pre-draft workouts for the better part of the last 15 years. When Stacy came out of Ole Miss in 2004, he was measured at 6-6 1/8. Unless he’s had a growth spurt over the last 6 years, he’s still 6-6 1/8.

Second, again because I have no life, while you were attending barbeques, I went through the projected season-opening starting lineups of each and every NFL team over the weekend, and found that 22 of the 64 projected starting guards in the league are 6-5 or taller, including 5 who stand at least 6-6.

By my count, there are 3 other starting guards in the league taller than Andrews, including his own now former teammate Todd Herremans, who was measured at 6-6 3/8 at his Pro Day in ‘05. Herremans seems to be dealing with his height abnormality pretty well, unless you want to blame his ’09 foot fracture on being too tall. The other 2 guys bigger than Andrews are Raiders left guard Robert Gallery, who started his career as a tackle (6-7) and Bengals left guard Eric Steinbach (6-6 1/4).

Some of the other successful 6-5-plus guards in the league: the Vikings’ Steve Hutchinson (7 Pro Bowls), the Redskins’ Derrick Dockery (109 career starts), the Cowboys’ Leonard Davis (139 career starts) and the Saints’ Carl Nicks (Pro Bowl starter last year).

``(Being Andrews’ size) is only a disadvantage inside if they can’t bend,’’ said one NFL scout. ``If they have flexibility and can bend their knees and their ankles, they can do fine. If they can’t, then it makes it tough. If you’re 6-6 and can’t bend, it’s not a great place to be.’’

The thing is, Andrews can bend very well. The guy is as athletic as any guard in the league. He was a former state-champion thrower at Fairview High School in Camden, Ark., and went to Ole Miss on a track scholarship, where he is the school recordholder in the discus and hammer throw.

When I talked to his football coach at Ole Miss, David Cutliffe, last year for a feature I did on Stacy after the Eagles signed him to a six-year, $39.8 million contract, the guy gushed about his athleticism. Talked about his diving exploits off a 3-meter springboard at a team barbeque.

``That’s when I really realized Stacy’s athleticism,’’ Cutliffe said. ``It was unbelievable to see this huge guy come off that board and look like Mark Spitz. Twisting and turning in the air, he didn’t make a ripple when he entered the water. What an unbelievable athlete.’’

So I don’t want to hear that the guy isn’t flexible enough to get down against shorter defensive linemen.

``Look at Leonard Davis,’’ said the scout. ``He’s a slammer. There are a lot of tall guys who are very good guards. I think the reason so many 6-3 guys end up inside isn’t because they’re better suited for the position, but because they don’t have the height and range to play outside.’’

Said another scout: ``There are obvious leverage issues when you’re playing guard at 6-6 or 6-7 and you’re blocking a 6-1 or 6-2 d-tackle, because no matter how much you knee-bend, your natural movement is up and you give a bigger target for a guy coming out of his stance and engaging you.

``With that said, there still are plenty of guys in this league as tall or almost as tall as Stacy who are playing guard and playing it at a high level. I think that’s more of an excuse for performance rather than a legitimate reason. I think this guy just wants to be a right tackle and they wanted to play him at guard and he doesn’t want to play guard."

Moran did not respond to an email or phone message requesting comment.

To read our reports from today at NovaCare, click here.