Whisker Wednesday

February 9, 2011

Welcome to another Whisker Wednesday, Fire The Walrus Nation! Football season is officially over – and the pending labor battle is just getting underway (man I can’t wait to watch Billionaires argue with Billionaires!) – but it isn’t snowing in the Delaware Valley… so at least we got that.

  • As you’ve probably heard, the Eagles filled out the rest of their coaching staff over the past two days, with few surprises. Former Eagles players Mike Caldwell, Mike Zordich, Duce Staley and Doug Peterson were all promoted (Linebackers, Safeties, Special Teams Quality Control and Quarterbacks, respectively). Longtime Wide Receivers Coach Dave Culley had Senior Offensive Assistant added to his title and James Urban, who has been with the team in various roles since 2004, was elevated to Assistant Offensive Coordinator. The Eagles even threw in a little nepotism, hiring Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April’s son, Bobby April, Jr., as Defensive Quality Control Coach.

    The one interesting hire was Johnnie Lynn, as Cornerbacks Coach. Lynn has previously worked as Defensive Coordinator of the Giants, and Secondary Coach of the Ravens, Buccaneers and 49ers – leading some pretty decent units. Aside from his experience, Lynn – like Mudd and Washburn – brings a much-needed outside perspective, and isn’t a typical “Andy Reid guy.

    Adding Assistant Coaches and Quality Coaches is not huge news, and none of us can really sit here and say that these moves were good or bad. We’ll just have to wait and see. Thankfully Zordich was the type of hard-hitting, tough-as-nails defender that the current Defense lacks, and maybe can transfer some of that intensity, and Caldwell was a Linebacker who could actually cover Tight Ends (imagine that!). We all remember Pederson – the sacrificial lamb of the 1999 season, prior to McNabb taking the Offensive reigns. He helped mentor McNabb (unimpressive) and, for a short time, Aaron Rogers (impressive), so at least he’s got that going for him.

    The only thing that jumps out is that Andy Reid stocked his staff with “his guys.” Nothing surprising, why wouldn’t he?  There is a prevailing line of thinking in the NFL ether (courtesy of ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio and NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi) that Reid is putting “his guys” in position to gain as much experience as possible before the whole thing is blown after this year and they’re forced to find new jobs. We can only hope.

  • Speaking of Sal Pal… He appeared on his weekly, Tuesday at 5:15 spot with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic (listen here) and noted something very interesting that Ron Rivera – former Reid assistant and new Panthers’s Head Coach/Sean McDermutt’s new boss – was quoted as saying. According to Rivera (via Paolantonio), Reid said the following regarding McDermutt’s exit from the Eagles: “Ron, Sean’s in a tough, tough position, he’s following the late Jim Johnson. We got to make people understand that it was not as much because Sean did a bad job, or anything, it was just going be as much as always going to be tough and unfair for him. We’ve got to create a ‘situation’.” That’s an actual quote. So essentially, Reid and the Eagles created a story (Reid saying McDermutt was staying, waiting a week, then firing him) giving the appearance that the firing came from over Andy’s head. It wasn’t. Instead it was calculated and manipulated by the team.
  • One more note from the Paolantonio interview… The notion that the Eagles could simply fire Reid after next season and transition to a Juan Castillo – same basic philosophy and schemes, plus an extension of the plan already in place, just with a new captain of the ship (ala Jim Caldwell taking over for Dungy in Indianapolis). That would certainly garner a similar reaction to what happened last week, when Castillo was moved to Coordinator, but probably with even more vitriol. And, it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

    We think we have it bad, Eagles fans? After 16 long-suffering years of Jeff Fisher, the Tennessee Titans promoted their long-time Offensive Line Coach, Mike Munchak, to Head Coach!?! Take that Juan Castillo! The Titans just one-upped the Birds in terms of majorly leapfrogging a guy. At least we’re not Titans fans.

  • As the rumor mill turns… The whole Andy Reid-Jon Gruden “thing” is still out in the air and remains a hot topic. Phil Sheridan, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a great piece yesterday delving into what the rumors reveal about the Eagles current regime.

Make sure you stop back later today to take the Whisker Wednesday Poll!

Whisker Wednesday

January 19, 2011

  • Mike Missanelli hosted an Eagles Wrap-up Roundtable yesterday on 97.5 The Fanatic(*), featuring former-Eagles/current-Philadelphia media personality Vai Sikahema, ESPN Senior NFL Reporter (and South Philly native) Sal Paolantonio and Tim McManus, Eagles beat reporter for The Fanatic and phillysportsdaily.com (which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already).(*)And will broadcast live with Mike Vick today at 3:30 p.m.

    The general consensus of the discussion leaned towards two conclusions: With the offseason in limbo, the Eagles will likely stick with the 4-3 defense, meaning Dick Jauron is the easy answer to the question “Who’s the next DC?”; and, it’s time for Andy Reid to go.

    To further that point, Sal Pal – who is well-known to be a lifelong Eagles fan and has been favorable of Reid in the past – openly ripped the Eagles management, even saying (to my delight) that The Billionaire Lurie and The Devil Banner are more concerned with counting their money than winning championships! Hmmmm… where have we heard that before?
    Missanelli also mentioned a comment made by Mark Schlereth, ESPN NFL analyst and three-time Super Bowl Champion. Per Schlereth, Andy Reid’s style of football will never win a championship. A member of the back-to-back champion-Denver Broncos, he points to controlling the game by effectively running the ball and playing a brand of smashmouth defense. Shit, maybe the Birds should just hire Schlereth.

  • As the Coordinator Position Turns… Yes, the Eagles Defensive Coordinator position is still wide open – which I view as a good thing, because there are some great defensive minds who’s team are still currently playing – but some new names were thrown into the mix yesterday. NY Jets’ DC Mike Pettine, Jr.’s name was being floated around, but just as I had suspected when researching potential hires, he is not looking to leave Rex Ryan’s side anytime soon. It was also pointed out yesterday (by I believe Sal Pal) that Pettine has never called plays – an integral role for the Eagles Defensive Coordinator, as Reid’s defensive knowledge is on par with his dieting habits… nonexistent.Mike Trgovac, Green Bay’s Defensive Line Coach, is another name that gained some momentum in the last 24-hours. You may remember Trgovac as the Eagles’ D-Line Coach under Ray Rhodes. He also manned the Carolina Panthers’ Defense from 2003 to 2008 and was rather successful.

    Sources also claim that the Eagles’ are in talks to bring in long-tenured Tennessee Titans Defensive Line Coach, Jim Washburn… as D-Line Coach. You might think that’s a move that puts the cart before the horse – securing a Line Coach before a DC – but Washburn is one of the best in the business and has passed up numerous chances to be a coordinator. For him, it would be a lateral move. For us, he’d be the best defensive assistant since Ron Rivera was on the staff.

  • John (Gonzo) Gonzalez, Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist, wrote a brilliantly scathing article about The Walrus, his propensity for lying and his brand of comedy. Lying to the media is something that has never bothered me about Reid – he’s a football coach, that’s what they do – particularly about the status of players and coaches. Reid simply won’t throw people under the bus, and that’s admirable.Not to keep plugging Sal Paolantonio, but during that Fanatic Roundtable, he suggested that the move to fire McDermutt came from the very top, over Andy’s head. It would make sense, considering The Billionaire and The Devil needed a fall guy, and they clearly aren’t going to answer our prayers by firing The Walrus anytime soon.
  • You know how the Eagles are currently lacking in playmaking Linebackers? Yeah, that’s nothing new. Reuben Frank, Eagles Beat Writer for CSN Philly and Burlington Courier Times, dredges up the depressing history of the Linebacker position under the Andy Reid-regime.God, I miss the days of Willie T…

    Look for a new Whisker Wednesday Poll coming later today!