Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retaining DeSean Jackson not a slamdunk

The biggest decision facing the Eagles is what to do with wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

DJax might be getting introduced elsewhere in 2012.
In the coming weeks the Eagles must determine if they want to apply the franchise tag to Jackson, sign him to a new contract or let him walk when free agency begins March 13th. The franchise tag could cost the Eagles $9.5 million – the estimated salaries of the league’s top five salaries at the position. The Eagles also could use the tag and trade Jackson.

The way head coach Andy Reid was talking Tuesday, the decision appears to be in the hands of team president Joe Banner.

“We’re going through all of that right now, so we’re looking at everything right now,” Reid said. “We haven’t come to any conclusions on anything. Again, you saw progress there, you saw a different attitude the last five or six games there. You’ve got to make sure you look at that part, too.”

Jackson is unhappy the Eagles spent freely on free agents and signed Michael Vick to a $100 million pact but didn’t come through with a contract extension for him this past season.

Jackson felt he’d been told he was a priority.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Patterson 'upbeat' after brain surgery

Mike Patterson (right) watches Jason Babin celebrate
Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson is OK after undergoing a lengthy and delicate brain operation this past Friday.

Patterson needed the surgery to repair an AVM – a tangle of blood vessels near the brain - that resulted in his collapse during a practice at training camp.

“I talked to him yesterday and he’s doing very well,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said Tuesday. “Early on they had him sedated pretty well. He’s doing well; very upbeat and positive. It was a very long surgery. They had to dig in there to get to the spot and they felt like it was successful.”

Reid says doctors are optimistic Patterson should be back for training camp barring a setback.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Long-awaited Andy Reid presser is Tuesday

Andy Reid ... one D-coordinator ago.
The Eagles upgraded their coaching staff Monday.

Veteran assistant Todd Bowles is the new secondary coach.

More importantly,  Juan Catillo returns for his second season in the role of defensive coordinator.

Head coach Andy Reid will be asked Tuesday why the coach with the most defensive coordinator experience (Bowles) is backing up to the guy with one year on the job (Castillo).

The addition of Bowles was Reid's hire. It  also likely met the approval  of team president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Bowles was a standout NFL player with a fruitful stop in Washington. He's also a longtime NFL assistant with experience as a defensive coordinator.

This past season the 48-year-old product of Temple University also was interim head coach of Miami. Bowles took on the job the week after the Eagles defeated the Dolphins, triggering the firing of head coach Tony Sparano.

With Lurie calling the Eagles' recent 8-8 season "unacceptable," Reid could be on a short leash in 2012. If it doesn't work out, the Eagles won't have to look far to transition.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eagles add 'other' Mueller to front office

The Eagles hired Rick Mueller as player personnel executive.

Anthony Patch, 33, was promoted to  director of college scouting.

“Anthony has been one of our top talent evaluators during his tenure as a college scout, has great relationships throughout football and is an extremely hard worker," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in a statement. "Rick brings a wealth of NFL experience while giving us a new and fresh set of eyes to evaluate incoming talent. They will both play a role in helping us prepare for this offseason of free agency and the draft.”

Mueller's brother Randy was the general manager who guided New Orleans to a Super Bowl title and works as a senior executive with San Diego.

Rick Mueller, 44, ascended to the role of  player personnel executive with New Orleans in a 15-year NFL career. Most recently he worked two seasons in the United Football League - as G.M. of Omaha in 2010 and as V.P. and G.M. for all four teams in their inaugural season.

Follow Bob Grotz at Twitter.com/bobgrotz

(Below, still waiting on that Andy Reid news conference)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Andy Reid flexes his muscles

The relationship between the Eagles' front office and head coach Andy Reid has hit another ugly low.
Steve Spagnuolo's decision to accept the  defensive coordinator job with the New Orleans Saints is the latest smoking gun.
Spagnuolo and Reid are represented by super agent Bob LaMonte. If Spags sees more opportunity in the French Quarter it's because Reid told him exactly how difficult it is working at One  NovaCare Way these days. If the Eagles didn't pitch the job to Spags, whoever said no should be summarily fired.
Who Reid has on his staff is his prerogative. Unless the Eagles over-achieve in 2012 his loyalty to first-year  defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who struggled last season, will cost him his job.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made it clear just days after the season ended without a playoff berth that Reid's coaching and the performance of the team were  unacceptable.
At a bizarre news conference Lurie reamed Reid out on a level that made you believe he was going to ax Big Red. Moments later the owner did a (180) and said he would keep Reid for 2012.
Sounding detached, Lurie openly questioned Reid's decision to switch Castillo from the offensive line to defensive coordinator. Lurie indicated Castillo may not have been in a position to succeed.
It was embarrassing for all.
Meanwhile the Eagles put Reid's end of season news conference on hold until the coaching situation was squared away. Oh, and Johnnie Lynn was axed as defensive backs coach to open the door to bring in a defensive authority like Spagnuolo, who, knowing Reid and having the same agent  obviously wasn't interested.
Did we mention that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is bailing? He's interviewing for a head coaching position in Oakland.
What's clear is the Eagles are at odds  internally, Reid is a lame duck and the 2012 campaign only is delaying the inevitable - the end of the most successful era in the modern history of the franchise.
Follow Bob Grotz at Twitter.com/bobgrotz.
(Below, like Andy Reid,  Mike Vick's days with Eagles also may be numbered.)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birds workout QB Trent Edwards

An NFL source confirmed the Eagles worked out veteran quarterback Trent Edwards, who sat out the 2011 season.

Another '5'?
Veteran Vince Young, who guided the Eagles to a 1-2 mark in three starts this past season, is a free agent. He indicated multiple teams were interested in making him a starter.

Edwards (6-4, 231) spent three seasons with the Bills and a year with the Jaguars, throwing 26 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Bulging disk repair for Chaney

The Eagles reported linebacker Jamar Chaney underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a herniated disk in his neck.

The work was done by Dr. Craig Brigham in Charlotte, N.C.

Chaney was injured in the season finale.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eagles last big win, with Merrill, Mike

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Castillo still on Eagles staff

Embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo remains a part of the Eagles' staff, per a source.

That's the only hard news the Eagles have right now about their coaching staff.

Considering how secondary coach Johnnie Lynn was let go before head coach Andy Reid went on vacation, it's an indicatation Castillo will be a part of the staff when the Big Guy returns to work.

The NFL Network reported that Steve Spagnuolo, fired recently after a 10-38 tour as head coach of the Rams, "is expected to be back in Philadelphia by the end of the week."

Spagnuolo would be back, if you will, to speak with Reid about a coaching job. Spagnuolo was an assistant with the Eagles until the 2007 season, when he exited to be defensive coordinator of the Giants. The Giants won the Super Bowl in his first year on the job, defeating the unbeaten Patriots.

The Eagles couldn't confirm if Spagnuolo would get together with Reid later this week, much less speculate on what role he might fill.

That said, reports of Spagnuolo's iminent hiring are premature.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eagles exec could interview with Colts

Among the candidates for the Colts' general manager job is Ryan Grigson, player personnel director for the Eagles.

Also the Eagles cut ties with veteran  defensive backs coach Johnnie Lynn.

NFL.com also reported owner Jim Irsay  was considering Jim Popp, GM of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes,  Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski and  David Caldwell, Falcons director of college scouting.

The Colts fired Bill Polian, widely considered one of the best general managers in the league after a 2-14 season. The Colts are looking at a major overhaul.

Follow Bob Grotz at Twitter.com/bobgrotz

(Below, whoever takes on Colts job will be working late, and in need of caffeine).

Friday, January 6, 2012

McCoy, Peters All-Pro

LeSean McCoy and Jason Peters were voted first-team, All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.

Jason Babin was named to the 2nd team.

McCoy led the league with 20 touchdowns and ranked fourth with 1,309 rushing yards.

Peters anchored the offensive line that helped set franchise records with 6,386 total yards and 356 first downs.

Babin finished third in the league with 18 sacks.

Also, Nnamdi Asomugha is a finalist for the 2012 Bart Starr Award, the NFL player that exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.

Jason Witten (Cowboys) and London Fletcher (Rams) are the other finalists.

(Below left, McCoy, Asante Samuel)

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lurie, Reid, their dysfunctional relationship

Fans express themselves at season finale.
At some point you realize that no matter how much work you put into it the relationship isn't working.

Then the pain intensifies.

This is why Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Andy Reid are giving it one more try.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lurie would "welcome back" DeSean Jackson

Unable to beat DeSean Jackson at his game, the Eagles are praising him.

Chairman Jeffrey Lurie plugged the diva receiver Tuesday.

 Welcome back ... on the right terms.
“I think his attitude and his whole approach in the final month of the season was terrific,” Lurie said. “I think he started to realize and get it. So I would welcome him back. I think if the right terms develop he would be welcomed back. We have the leverage of obviously we can do what we choose to do and control his situation.”
Head coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and special teams coach Bobby April all got the same memo, if you will. They’ve said basically the same things about Jackson, although not nearly as smoothly.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lurie blames Castillo struggles on Reid

Jeffrey Lurie thinks the world of Juan Castillo.

But Lurie awkwardly danced around the painful issue of whether he supported Andy Reid's decision to turn the offensive line coach into a defensive coordinator this season.
Castillo was in tough spot.

“What Andy did is he made – and I can’t speak for him - but I know in our discussions that he made a list of all of the top people that he was looking at to replace Sean McDermott as defensive coordinator," Lurie said Tuesday. "And things happen, circumstances happen and if changes don’t happen on other teams than certain coaches aren’t available. And he became very, very interested in Juan because he knew what he could accomplish. Whether he could accomplish it fast enough is an interesting question and he didn’t, the whole team didn’t, in terms of early in the season. 

"So I think when you analyze any decision of who’s going to coach that there’s a lot of hidden background in terms of where did that decision come from, the reason for it, what was the search process, who was truly available, and then move forward. And look, with Juan Castillo I will just say anyone who’s known this man for 17, 18 years as we all have. Incredibly impressive man, incredible family, incredible coach. And was he put into a situation where he couldn’t succeed early in the season?"

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

No press release; just Jeff Lurie today

We're looking at just a news conference with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Repeat, just a presser.

I'm told there won't be a pre-news conference release. Typically such releases precede items like contract extensions. Or changes the Eagles are happy to report.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Remembering Jeff Offord

Longtime sports reporter Jeffrey Offord (Burlington County Times) passed away during the season.

It's just not the same without the  snappy leads that pulled you into his stories.

The Eagles football media relations staff  stepped up during the holiday season with a $1,000 donation to a scholarship fund on honor of Offord. Well done, guys. Well done.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Kelce gets word on surgery Tuesday

Definition of tough.
The Eagles' season over, center Jason Kelce gutted out the walk to the training room where his foot was to be examined Sunday.

Give the rookie the red badge of courage for playing on it near the end of the Eagles' victory over the Redskins.

Right now Kelce has a sprain that could heal with rest. Depending on what the doctors find after another test, he could be looking at surgery and a lengthy rehab.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Young hopeful of starting somewhere

Hand-off or communications issue?
Vince Young could have had a full-time starting job in 2010.

Just not with the Eagles, where Mike Vick is the guy.

In spite of a 1-2 record, four touchdown passes and eight interceptions in three starts with the Eagles, there is interest again according to Young.

Would anyone be surprised if the Redskins went after him? The guy arrested in the Landover, Md. area for impersonating Young couldn't have done much worse than Rex Grossman.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lurie reveals Reid's fate Tuesday

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is ready to talk.

Reveals coach's future Tuesday.
The Chairman is slated to take questions Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Presumably Lurie will confirm what players assume - Andy Reid will be back as head coach in 2012. 

Additionally the fate of embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo could be revealed.

Preliminarily it appears defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who has two years left on his contract, might be on his way out. Internally Washburn's wide nine defensive alignment came under scrutiny as the defense was vulnerable to the run.

If he's still on the job Reid likely will get it on with the media Wednesday. He’s beaten down all questions about his future, even with two years left on his contract.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Not your usual postseason surgery

Patterson (right) with Jason Babin.
Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson cannot put his impending surgery off much longer.

After Patterson gets evaluated by another neurologist he expects to undergo brain surgery he hopes will make him good to go for the 2012 season and beyond.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Eagles sensitive to booing at Linc

Doesn't like Eagles fans booing.
First it was Jason Avant.

Now it's DeSean Jackson.

Eagles wide receivers really, really would prefer their fans find a way other than booing to express themselves. 


 There were boos, for example, when the Eagles had the ball and called timeout just 51 seconds into their win over the Redskins Sunday at the Linc.

Jackson clearly is sensitive to the criticism.

“It’s a young team,” Jackson said. “I think the energy here is very exciting. Hopefully we can just get our home fans to not boo us. That’s hard when our home fans are booing us. Like, come on, man. This is our home stadium. Besides that, I mean everything else is good. Go Eagles!"

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

If Mudd is back, so is Reid

Offensive line coach told Eagles players he was coming back to coach them got the 2012 season.

Mudd wouldn’t do that for just anyone as  Andy Reid lured him out of retirement.

Reid has two years left on his contract. To save his job he might have to fire or reassign defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. There is preliminary evidence his staff will change.

Adding to the intrigue is Reid won’t confirm he's back or have his usual Monday press conference. It will be  held later this week per an Eagles spokesman.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie also will address the media later this week.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Eagles 2012 schedule

Eagles lost here in 2009 in NFC title game.
The Eagles 2012 schedule is finalized.

In addition to their NFC East slate these are the home and away opponents:

Home: Atlanta, Carolina, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit.

Away: New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona.

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

McCoy injury could have been end of Reid

Jeremy Maclin on cover of program.
The Eagles deactivated LeSean McCoy, Asante Samuel, Cedric Thornton, Julian Vandervelde, Ron Johnson, Greg Lloyd and Mike Patterson.

Cooler heads obviously prevailed with McCoy, nursing an ankle injury. An Eagles spokesman said the ankle was the issue.

To subject a less than 100 percent McCoy to serious injury could have been the final straw for Andy Reid.

Thankfully someone conveyed that to  Reid.

Patterson was scratched due to illness. He's nursing flu symptoms per the Eagles. 

Follow Bob Grotz on Twitter.

Labels: ,