Here are five Eagles-related thoughts (or ramblings) that have been floating around in my head:
1. I'll admit to being intrigued by the Albert Haynesworth talk. On the one hand, he's been unprofessional with the Redskins. And that's putting it lightly. More accurately, he's been a complete disaster. On the surface, it looks like he got paid and then quit caring.
On the other hand, Mike Shanahan hasn't exactly shown great people skills in his first year with the 'Skins, and I still think Haynesworth's capable of being a dominant player - when he wants to.
Haynesworth played in only eight games in 2010, totaling 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks. One of those games was the Redskins' Week 8 win against the Eagles. And Haynesworth gave the Birds all kinds of problems in that game. At various times, he pushed around or beat Mike McGlynn, Todd Herremans and Jason Peters.
Sidenote: Since there was confusion in the comments, I'm referring to the first Eagles-Redskins game, not the second one where the Birds dropped 59 points on Washington, and Haynesworth infamously laid on the ground during one play.
The thought of putting him on the same defensive line as Trent Cole has to be intriguing to Andy Reid and company. The Birds could certainly use a dominant defensive tackle that can play the run and also get after the quarterback. A guy who requires more than one lineman to block him. It really could change the whole look of this defense.
But again, that's assuming he's the Haynesworth of a few years ago (14.5 sacks in 2007 and 2008 combined). Don't forget, the Birds reportedly had a chance to acquire him in the Donovan McNabb trade. Is it possible the Eagles' opinion of him has changed since then? Maybe. Specifically if they believe Jim Washburn can get the most out of him.
And the other factor is: What will it take to get Haynesworth? As of now, we don't know if the Redskins plan on trading him, cutting him or keeping him. Haynesworth is reportedly due a guaranteed salary of $5.4M in 2011. He's due $7.2M in non-guaranteed money in 2012 (including an offseason workout bonus). There are several other bonuses in 2013 and beyond.
In the past decade, the Eagles have shown that they'll surprise us. They did so when they acquired Terrell Owens. And they did so again when they signed Michael Vick. Of course, nothing can get done until there's a new CBA, but that won't stop the fans and media from discussing a potential Haynesworth move all offseason.
2. I've gotten many questions from e-mailers and via Tweeters about the Eagles switching to a 3-4. A team source told Les Bowen over at Eagletarian that the Eagles are not contemplating making that switch. This news will send some fans into a frenzy, but this issue is a little more complex than it first appears. I've heard the following argument quite a bit since the Eagles fired Sean McDermott: The Packers run a 3-4. They have a great defense. The Steelers run a 3-4. They have a great defense. Why can't the Eagles run a 3-4?
And my answer is this: If the Packers or Steelers had the Eagles' personnel, their 3-4 would have holes. Those teams have great players, and their talents are maximized by the scheme. The Eagles just don't match up in terms of talent with either of those squads. In other words, switching to a 3-4 would not magically turn this unit into an elite defense.
Also, consider that there might not be much practice time this offseason with the projected lockout, and it really doesn't make sense to implement a brand new scheme. Unless the Eagles really are focused on thinking long-term.
3. Speaking of scheme, it's tough to know what to make of this defensive coordinator search. You would have to think that the Eagles had some names in mind when they fired McDermott. But it won't be Jim Mora, and the latest name to surface is Saints assistant Dennis Allen - a defensive backs coach in his mid-30s who has never before been a coordinator, but has a good reputation as an up-and-comer.
Sound familiar? Count me among those who think that pretty much fits McDermott's profile. I'd be surprised if Allen were the choice, although it's tough to really know what the decision-makers are thinking right now. As for Dick Jauron, if he were the guy they wanted, wouldn't they have hired him already? Look at how aggressively they went after Jim Washburn, a guy they clearly thought could help them. I have a hunch (and it's just that, a hunch) that the guy who ends up getting the job might not even be on our radar yet.
4. I don't know if there's going to be a training camp, but if there is, I'm excited to see Washburn in action after reading all the great things his former players have said about him. John Thornton, who played for Washburn from 1999-2002, had this to say on Twitter:
Wash is the best. Makes players compete at all times. Spells sacks- $ack$. Use next contract,family, peers to motivate guys.
Now that it appears Juan Castillo will return as offensive line coach, the guys up front should have some heated battles up at Lehigh.
5. And finally, it's never too early to look at mock drafts. It may seem ridiculous to guess at players when the first-round order isn't even finalized, but that's not going to stop me from linking to new ones that I find.
ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the offseason, and he's got the Birds taking Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi:
The Eagles are loaded at the skill positions and did a nice job of hitting defense early in last year's draft, so they should address the offensive line at a place where the value meets the need. In Carimi they get a guy who loves to run-block and will sustain his blocks into the parking lot. He plays with an edge but needs continued development as a pass-blocker. His film against some big-time prospects this year shows a guy ready to contribute.
It will be interesting to see if the Eagles make a move at right tackle. Winston Justice was inconsistent, but don't forget that he signed a five-year deal in 2009. Also don't forget that Clay Matthews has made a lot of offensive linemen look bad. Justice will be judged on his body of work and what the Eagles think they can get out of him going forward, not just that one game.
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