Eagles Droppings 4/21: ESPN's Paolantonio On Eagles Draft, Falcons Mad About Vick, Mikell Lashing Out
By Lance Epstein
Sal Pal Says Eagles Will Be Agressive:
According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, the Eagles and new general manager Howie Roseman are going to be aggressive in the 2010 NFL Draft. Since they have seven picks in the first 121 selections of the draft and those seven picks are more than any other team. With that type of ammunition, the Eagles have the luxury of controlling the draft.
Paolantonio reported that his source told him that Roseman's has been frantically calling other teams. According to his source, two of the teams that the Eagles have been in discussions with are the Denver Broncos at No. 11 and the Dolphins at No. 12.
As everyone knows, Roseman is trying to collect enough data to see what it would cost the Eagles to move up in the draft to get a premiere safety, cornerback or even a blue-chip defensive end Derrick Morgan who hails from Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
However, Paolantonio revealed an interesting fact, which was that the Eagles allowed 15-touchdown passes off of the blitz last season, which was far and away the most of any team in the league.
This could mean one of two things. First, the Eagles do not want to go into the season counting on blitzing on every play. One reason is that teams might have caught up to the Eagles scheme.
Another is that they need to get a more consistent pass rush from their front four. This could mean that the Eagles are not targeting safeties Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, but using them as a smoke screen. This would make a ton of sense if the Eagles truly covet Morgan. It would surprise no one if the Eagles make a jump to get Morgan, considering in 2003 they traded up to get Miami defensive end Jerome McDougle.
Additionally, in SI's Peter King's mock draft, he has the Eagles trading the 24th and 37th (acquired in trade with Washington) for the Dolphins first rounder to select Morgan (Just last week he said they were after Berry or Thomas).
However, the second thing this could mean is that the Eagles need to upgrade their secondary. This way, they can afford to blitz and not get burned down the field. Ultimately, this could mean that the Eagles want a safety that can play in coverage and be a playmaker. At 11 or 12, the Eagles probably have no shot at Berry, but Thomas should still be available.
Certainly, Eagles fans yearn for Berry, but Thomas is a very nice consolation prize. Although a report from WarPaintIllustrated.com says the Chiefs and Eagles have been in discussions about exchanging the 24th overall for the fifth overall pick.
Falcons Upset at Reid:
On ESPN.com, NFC South beat writer Pat Yasinskas broke down the Atlanta Falcons schedule yesterday after the NFL official released it. The interesting part of the breakdown was Yasinskas comment about the Falcons seeking revenge against the Birds, which he was referring to the Philadelphia Eagles.
When the Eagles came to Atlanta last year, the Falcons were banged up with injuries and Philadelphia made it a point to showcase Michael Vick against his former team. The Atlanta brass was too classy to publicly complain about it. But there were plenty of people within the organization who were furious with Philadelphia coach Andy Reid. They’ll get a chance to pay him back Oct. 17 when they go to Philadelphia.
This matchup becomes extremely interesting for the Eagles because it is a game many thought the Eagles would have a great chance to win, but now the ante raise.
Still, the Falcons should not be upset at Reid and the Eagles. If they did not want to be embarrassed by their former player then they should not have released Vick or put together a defense capable of stopping a team.
Yes, the Falcons had injuries, but so does every team in the NFL. No one should make an excuse about injuries leading to a blown out and then complain about it, regardless of whether it was behind close doors.
Also what should the Eagles have done? Let Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb play and have a chance to get injured due to a frustrated Falcons player? If the Falcons want to use this as extra motivation heading into the game against Philly then they can, but this is the NFL not Pop-Warner football.
Mikell Blasts Teammates About Selfishness:
Just a week ago, former Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown went on WIP radio in Philadelphia and stated that there was a chemistry problem in the Eagles locker room. This week, Eagles defensive leader and safety Quintin Mikell decided to chime in on the dysfunctional locker room with Phillyburbs's Frank Reuben.
Mikell said for the first time in his career with Philadelphia that the team had a 'me-first' attitude and it affected the team down the stretch. Additionally, players began to play the blame game.
"There were some things I had never seen before since I'd been here," Mikell said. "There were guys who were more concerned with their own individual accomplishments than going out and playing as a unit.
"When we lost, instead of looking at themselves and asking what they could have done better, there were some guys who were questioning the coaches and the game plan. But you can't bring that negativity to the team, especially when you have a young locker room like we have. Because then the young guys hear it and it spreads, and you can't have that and be successful."
Of course, Mikell did not mention specific players who were at fault, but did say he was even part of the problem as well.
"There was just a lot of negativity," Mikell said. "A lot of people weren't putting the team first. Everybody's guilty of it at some point - I've been guilty of it here and there. But when it's all the time, then it's a problem. We've never had that before, since I've been here. We've never been a selfish team, where guys were more worried about what they did individually than how we did as a team.
"But we had guys who were more concerned about how the game plan affected them. It was, 'How am I going to get my sacks if we're doing this,' instead of, 'Hey, let's go out and do whatever it takes to win the game.' "
Furthermore, Mikell reiterated that he feels the Eagles have ridded themselves of certain players (maybe Chris Gocong, Sheldon Brown and Sean Jones who are the likely candidates to have other agendas) that made the Eagles turn for the worse.
You can't let your personal situation affect the team," Mikell said. "We've always been a no-name defense. We've been Dawk - and he's been our superstar - and then a bunch of guys nobody's really heard of. It's never been about individual accomplishments around here. Guys go out and smash heads and do whatever it takes to win.
"Now, it was, 'Well, we had to keep going out there (because the offense wasn't getting first downs),' or, 'They had great field position,' or whatever. I don't care if we have to go out there 20 million times, let's go out there 20 million times and stop the other team."
Still, Mikell feels that the overhaul of the defense was definitely need for the Eagles to get themselves back to the Super Bowl and the level they are accustomed too. Last year the team finished 19th in points allowed ( second worst over the last decade) and over the last five games of the season, opponents were averaging 27 points per game.
"It's an opportunity for the young guys to show what they can do," Mikell said. "They just have to understand that it's not enough to just say you're good enough, you have to make the commitment to be good enough. Not just now during (offseason) workouts but coming in early during the season and watching film with me, staying late and watching film. Don't just talk about it, do it."
A lot of fans question whether Brown was calling out Asante Samuel last week, but maybe the guy that was the worst in the locker room was Brown. As a fan favorite, Eagles enthusiasts do not want to hear this about their guy.
However, Brown wanted more money and made a stink about it to the media. It is hard to believe that he would not be saying anything behind the scenes or playing for himself and to cash-in down the line. Not saying Brown did that, but it very reasonable to think he might have.
Instead of the questioning the moves this offseason, maybe coach Reid and Roseman recognized the dysfunction in the locker room and got rid of particular players for a reason.
It might not be completely accurate, but it makes ton of sense to rebuild a defense and get rid of the cancer before it injects itself into the youth.