March, 2012:

The Cowboys watched 7 games of film before signing Nate Livings for 5 years, $19 million

Here’s audio of Bryan Broaddus’ show on 103.3 FM ESPN radio in Dallas.  Skip to the 1:50 mark and listen to Broaddus say that the Cowboys told him that they only watched 7 games of film on Nate Livings last season:

I’m not an NFL scout and I’m not going to pretend to know what their typical day on the job is.  Maybe there’s a logical reason I’m missing as to why you would only watch 7 of the guy’s games, but personally, if I’m going to pay a player $19 million over 5 years to be a starter for my $2 billion franchise, I might think about watching more than just 7.  In fact, I know this is kind of a wacky concept, but I might just consider evaluating… you know… all of them?

This is just mind-blowing to me.

My immediate thoughts on the Jason Peters rapture… er, rupture

– It’s further confirmation that God hates me, and all Eagles fans everywhere.

– Todd Herremans is one of the more underrated players in the NFL.  Last year, he had to fill in LT for Peters against the Redskins and he completely shut down Brian Orakpo, although it’s 100% unrealistic to expect that same level of play over a 16-game schedule.  I have full confidence that he can move over from RT to LT, face the best pass rushers in game, and play well.  But “playing well” is a lot different than being truly elite, which is what Jason Peters is.  Peters was probably the best LT in the NFL last year, and the transition from Peters to Herremans is most definitely a significant downgrade.  But it doesn’t end there.  The Eagles signed King Dunlap this morning, and while he’s a really nice reserve swing tackle, the downgrade from Herremans to Dunlap is also very significant.  The Eagles could certainly go in another direction at RT, whether that be through the draft or the remaining junk in free agency, but either way, this injury weakens two positions, not one.

– Danny Watkins played OT in college, and Evan Mathis worked out a bit at RT in camp last year, but those aren’t viable options.  If you slide Herremans over from RT to LT, kick one of your guards out to RT, and fill in that hole at guard from the outside, now you’re weakening three positions, and just pissing away any and all continuity.

– There’s some debate as to which side of the line is more important to protect with Michael Vick, a lefty, as the QB.  For me, it’s a no-brainer.  It’s the left side.  Here’s a sampling of the pass rushers the Eagles’ LT will face this year:

  • DeMarcus Ware twice: 66 sacks and 15 FF the last 4 seasons.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora twice: JPP was, in my opinion, the best defensive player in the NFCE last year. Umenyiora is a strip sack master, with 12 of them the last 2 years.
  • Brian Orakpo twice: 28.5 sacks in his first 3 seasons as a pro.
  • John Abraham: 22.5 sacks the last 2 seasons.
  • Terrell Suggs: 25 sacks, 9 FF last 2 seasons.
  • Carlos Dunlap: 14 sacks in his first 2 seasons as a pro.
  • Will Smith: Beginning to slow down. 12 sacks the last two seasons.
  • James Harrison -2008 Defensive Player of the Year. 9 sacks, 2 FF in a down year in 2011.
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch: Jim Washburn’s all time favorite defensive lineman. 8 sacks, 4 FF last year.
  • Adrian Clayborn: 7.5 sacks and 3 FF as a rookie
  • Sam Acho: 7 sacks, 4 FF as a rookie.


Eagles lose arguably their best player with a ruptured Achilles

To be determined how long he’ll be out, but this is devastating news to the Eagles.  Expect Todd Herremans to move over to LT and King Dunlap to fill in at RT until he can return, whenever that may be.

Redskins offseason team needs, updated

Here’s what the Redskins’ team needs looked like a few weeks ago…


and what they look like now:

The ONLY priority for the Skins this offseason is to fix the QB position, whether that means trading a bundle of picks to move up and select Robert Griffin III out of Baylor, or signing… uh… you know.  Or the other guy.  Or the combination of the other guy and using a later draft pick on one of the other guys.  I think all the scenarios have pretty much all been talked out by now.  Whatever route they go, they better be right.  Mike Shanahan is entering Year 3 of his tenure, and so far, he only has 11 wins to show for his efforts.  If he doesn’t start winning… now… or at least show some serious strides with a promising rookie QB in 2012, he may not be around for years 4 and 5.  The Skins have to find a way to get a legitimate QB.  Everything else is secondary.



A look ahead at the NFC East 2013 free agents

There’s still work to be done in 2012 free agency.  London Fletcher has yet to resign, Asante Samuel will be traded, etc., but we probably won’t be seeing any more fireworks.  And so, I thought we’d take a quick peek at what NFC East players are set to become free agents in 2013:

Jake Ballard, TE Bruce Johnson, S
Ramses Barden, WR Mathias Kiwanuka, LB
William Beatty, OT Craig Marshall, DT
Travis Beckum, TE Ryan Perrilloux, QB
Martellus Bennett, TE Kenny Phillips, S
Brandon Bing, CB Ryan Purvis, TE
Kevin Boothe, OG Clint Sintim, LB
Andre Brown, RB Isaiah Stanback, WR
Selvish Capers, OT Adrian Tracy, LB
Victor Cruz, WR Justin Trattou, DT
Dwayne Hendricks, DT Lawrence Tynes, K
Domenik Hixon, WR Osi Umenyiora, DE
Christian Hopkins, TE Chris White, C
Chris Horton, S

The four big names here are Osi Umenyiora, Kenny Phillips, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Victor Cruz. Ignore Cruz – he’s restricted, and won’t be going anywhere.  However, perhaps the most interesting player on this list is William Beatty.  Last year was Beatty’s first as a starter, and he’s somewhat of a forgotten man in the Giants’ Super Bowl run, since he was lost after Week 11 with an eye injury.  Before he left though, he was probably the Giants’ best offensive lineman in 2011.  The Giants obviously want him to play well in 2012, but if he does, he’s going to cost a lot of money.  I think a comparable situation to Beatty’s could be that of Doug Free.  Free saw some action when Marc Colombo got hurt in 2009, and became the starting LT in 2010, his contract year.  He put together a nice season, and was able to bankroll that into a 4 year, $32 million deal.  If the Giants believe in Beatty’s ability, they would be smart to start talking extension with him before it gets to that point.


Jacobs a Niner, Mike Jenkins wants a raise, and some other thoughts around the NFC East

– Brandon Jacobs signed with the Niners.  I would have never guessed San Francisco as a landing spot.  By my count he’ll be the 3 there, at best, behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.  Can’t wait to see what kind of money he got there.

– The average number of free agents signed so far league wide is 3.6.  Despite losing a combined $46 million in cap space over the next two years, the Cowboys and Redskins have combined for 11 free agent signings.  Here’s how many free agents each team has signed so far:

Team # of FA signed Team # of FA signed
Patriots 13 Redskins 4
Cowboys 7 49ers 4
Broncos 7 Jets 3
Chargers 6 Jaguars 3
Bengals 5 Ravens 2
Colts 5 Bills 2
Rams 5 Browns 2
Buccaneers 5 Lions 2
Panthers 4 Packers 2
Bears 4 Giants 2
Chiefs 4 Eagles 2
Dolphins 4 Titans 2
Vikings 4 Cardinals 1
Saints 4 Falcons 0
Raiders 4 Texans 0
Seahawks 4 Steelers 0

– I’m surprised that the Eagles appear to keeping Darryl Tapp.  Tapp is on the hook for $2.575 million this season.  He’ll be a free agent in 2013.  With plenty of cap space at their disposal, it would appear the Eagles want to keep their vast depth in place at DE, but if they draft a DE on Days 1 or 2 of the draft, expect Tapp to be traded for a low round pick, or a 2013 pick.

Continued after the jump…


Is playing on Thursday (cough… or Wednesday) in Week 1 an advantage in Week 2?

This year, the Giants and Cowboys will be playing in the NFL’s feature opening Thursday night game, which is actually being played on Wednesday this year.  I’ve always thought that to be an advantage for both teams, since they’d have a few extra days to prepare for their next opponent the following week. 

The NFL has played an opening night Thursday game since 2002, so I figured I’d go back and confirm my thinking by showing that teams that played on Thursday Week 1 had stellar records in Week 2.  Ehhh… Not so much.  Apparently, teams that play Week 1 on Thursday night have a combined record of 8-12 in Week 2.  To me, that’s extra surprising, since the teams that get to play in the Thursday opener are generally good… or in the Cowboys case this season… popular.

Year Teams playing on Thurs Week 1 Result the next week
2011 Packers W
2011 Saints W
2010 Saints W
2010 Vikings L
2009 Steelers L
2009 Titans L
2008 Giants W
2008 Redskins W
2007 Colts W
2007 Saints L
2006 Steelers L
2006 Dolphins L
2005 Patriots L
2005 Raiders L
2004 Patriots L
2004 Colts L
2003 Redskins W
2003 Jets L
2002 Giants W
2002 49ers L

A quick reminder that Asante Samuel is still a great CB

Last offseason, CBS’ Pete Prisco put out his most overrated/underrated list, and to my surprise, he thought Asante Samuel was the Eagles’ most overrated player.  I figured his argument (a valid one) would be that he either can’t, or has no interest in tackling.  Nope.

Overrated: CB Asante Samuel. I say it every year here: Good player, not great. Big-time gambler. He makes plays, but he also gives up a bunch.

I tried to think of one occasion in which Samuel had been burnt that season, and came up completely empty.  I couldn’t think of a single instance.  In fact, I even put it to the test at the great Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation.  A commenter did come up with one.  In the playoff game against Green Bay, at the end of the first half, James Jones had Samuel beaten deep, but dropped the pass.  That was it.

And yet, I don’t think Prisco is alone in his perception that Samuel is prone to getting toasted.  But that perception is dead wrong.

According to Football Outsiders, Samuel was only thrown at 36 times the entire 2010 season.  He had a “success rate” of 78%, which was by far and away the best in the NFL.  For quick reference, FO defines “success rate” as “the percentage of passes that don’t manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down.”  That was the best in the NFL.  Second best?  A name you might know… Darrelle Revis, at 70%.

As far as yards per pass attempt, Samuel gave up a paltry 3.2 yards per pass, which again, was the best in the NFL.  Second best? Another name you probably recognize… Antoine Winfield, with 4.2 yards per attempt.  To put 3.2 yards per attempt in perspective.  Aaron Rodgers averaged a ridiculous 9.25 yards per attempt this past year.  That was the best in the league.  The bottom 4 QB’s in the NFL were Curtis Painter (6.34), Sam Bradford (6.06), Colt McCoy (5.90), and Blaine Gabbert (5.36).

But the most amazing part of Samuel’s 2010 season was that despite only being thrown at 36 times, he somehow intercepted 7 passes.  That’s incredible.

Football Outsiders has yet to put out their 2011 CB charting stats, but they did give a sneak peek through Week 13 of the 2011 season.  Despite a new defensive scheme that didn’t quite cater to Samuel’s skill set, the numbers were more of the same.  He was 5th in “success rate” at 67%, and his yards per pass attempt were again extremely low at 4.5 yards per attempt (3rd in the NFL).  Those stats don’t include Samuel’s final two games of the season against the Jets and Dolphins, games in which the opposing QB’s and WR’s had miserable Sunday afternoons.

With a logjam of talented CB’s the Eagles are pretty openly trying to trade Asante Samuel.  If you’re in need of a corner, you’d be taking on a player that’s 31 years old who is going to make almost $10 million in 2012.  That seems to be the focus of pretty much every article you’re going to read about Asante Samuel.  I was even guilty of that back in October.

Just don’t forget that the guy is still really freaking good.

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Grading our compensatory pick projections

Today, the NFL awarded compensatory picks for teams losing players in free agency the previous season.  Here’s the list of picks:

  • Raiders – 3, 4, 5
  • Vikings – 4, 4
  • Ravens – 4, 5
  • Giants – 4
  • Packers – 4, 4, 7, 7
  • Cowboys – 4
  • Colts, 5, 6, 7
  • Jets – 6, 6, 7, 7
  • Browns – 6, 6, 7, 7
  • Panthers – 6
  • Steelers – 7, 7, 7
  • Falcons – 7
  • Chargers – 7
  • Bills – 7
  • Rams – 7

We predicted (or rather our compensatory pick expert ct17 predicted) the compensatory picks this year, and he did great.  Our success rate after the jump:


Mock Draft! …by a complete sellout

I often make fun of mock drafts.  More often than not, they’re nothing more than the following line repeated 32 times: “Team A has needs at Position X, Y and Z. I think Joey Jo Jo Junior Shabadoo (the best available player at positions X, Y, or Z) would be a great fit for them here.”  Plus, I’m a fervent believer that it’s very, very difficult to really know all 32 teams inside and out.  I can’t even estimate how many times I’ve looked at a mock draft, went right to the Eagles’ pick, read the summary and immediately identified the author as a fraud.

I didn’t think I’d ever do a mock draft, or at least publish one, largely because I think they’re a waste of time.  Then yesterday morning, hung over after a wedding the night before, I started screwing around with a mock draft just for fun (not one that I thought I’d actually publish).  About 10 or so hours and over 5,000 words later, I had written my first full mock draft.

Before we get started a few disclaimers that nobody else makes:

  • I have next to zero inside information on who these teams are thinking about taking.
  • I know the NFC East inside out and upside down, and while I’m knowledgeable about the other 27 teams, I probably know less about them than their most hardcore fans.  So if you’re a fan of the other 27 teams and you think my pick for your team is dumb, you’re probably right.
  • Also, while I’m knowledgeable about the prospects in the upcoming draft, I’ll never try to pass myself off as someone that has watched a ton of tape on each player.  My scouting is limited to what I saw at the Senior Bowl practices, and various YouTube scouting reports.  So again, I’m admittedly a fraud.

With those important disclaimers in place, I, Jimmy Kempski, a complete sellout, present my first ever mock draft (for entertainment purposes only)…


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