Eagles Droppings 4/29: USF Teammate On Allen, McDermott on D, McNabb's New Targets and Andrews A Bear
By Lance Epstein
USF Teammate Carlton Mitchell Talks Allen:
As part of Philly.com's Draft Diary series, Sheil Kapadia talked with former South Florida wide receiver about his teammate, safety Nate Allen, who was selected with the No. 37 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Mitchell discussed that Allen is as competitive as they come along with being a playmaker, which is a perfect match for the Eagles.
"He’s a competitor, a beast," Mitchell said. "Nate was one of our biggest playmakers. Whenever we needed him to step up, he did. The Eagles are perfect for him. He's going to make things happen."
He also added that Allen is a very quiet guy and leads by example, so fans do not expect him to be another Brian Dawkins type of leader. Still Mitchell gives the fans something to look forward too by stating Allen is a lot faster than scouts give him credit for on tape. He managed to stay stride for stride with him sometimes and he runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.
"Sometimes I'd be in full stride and Nate’s right there," Mitchell said. "He’s faster than everyone gives him credit for."
However, Eagles fans have been worried about Allen’s tackling or lack thereof. He debunked the myth of Allen not being a great tackler like analysts knocked him for.
"I feel he is a great tackler," he said. "He's a very smart DB - watches film, plays fast, never takes a play off."
In the draft recap, Allen was the player that was chosen to make the biggest impact as a rookie. He has the best opportunity to do so since the free safety position was a revolving broken door last year.
His ability to make plays in coverage and instincts should help out strong safety Quintin Mikell. Also it will make the defense much more dangerous. His presence along with getting Stewart Bradley back form his torn ACL, might be the two biggest factors if the defense being vastly improved next season.
McDermott on Eagles Defense:
Earlier this week, McDermott discussed a variety of topics pertaining to the Eagles defense. Here are some of his quotes on certain areas, problems and additions to the defense.
On last year's defense and wearing down:
"I was proud of the way the players battled. Facing the adversity that we did, the players stayed together and battled week in and week out. At the end of the day, we just ran out of steam."
"But if you look at the defense as a whole, we were a top-10 defense most of the year. [We were] seventh or eighth going into that last week of the season there until the Dallas game knocked us out. But I thought what we were able to do defensively up to that point was fairly impressive, in terms of getting the ball back to the offense with respect to takeaways and third-down defense."
On Sheldon Brown and Quintin Mikell's comments about player's the Me-first attitude and certain players not listening to him:
"I don't know that was necessarily the case. What I'm focused on right now is what we did well last year as a defense. We've got a number of players in this locker room who have been busting their tails to continue building the foundation we started to build last year. Right now, I'm focused on the 2010 season. We've got a bunch of new faces and new energy and a fresh feel."
On improving the front four with Brandon Graham, Dayyl Tapp and the other acquisitions so the team will not have to blitz as much:
"It would be nice if we're able to get pressure from just rushing four and not [have to] rely on the blitz as we had to last year to some extent. When you can get pressure from your front four, that alleviates a lot of your problems."
On the Eagles blitz packages struggling last year (He called 257 blitzes last season; only 13 more times than in 2008 under Johnson. The defense allowed a league-high 15 touchdown passes against the blitz, but in 2008 only had 10. In addition quarterbacks had a 79.7 passer rating against the Eagles' blitz in '09. In 2008 they had a 62.1 rating):
"We had our highs and lows with our blitz package last year. Part of the blitz package is the coverage that goes along with it. It's important that we stay sharp in what we're doing in the back end as well as the front end."
On if the improved pass rush will stop him from blitzing:
"I come from an aggressive upbringing football-wise being around coach Johnson. That focus and that philosophy is not going to change. But, at the same time, if you look back to the year we went to the Super Bowl, we had [Derrick] Burgess on one side and Jevon [Kearse] on the other. Not that that was our best defense over the years. But it's nice when you can get pressure from your front. It takes a lot of pressure off the back end and also the playcaller as well."
On being better equipped to stop opposing team's tight ends (gave up 102 receptions for 1,079 yards and 10 TDs in 2009):
"The league's become a passing league. If you could have one or the other [speed or size], I think you'd agree you'd rather have speed in the league right now. [Covering the tight end] has been an area of concern in prior years, and last year was no different. It's an area we've worked hard scheme-wise to make sure we're better at this season. Also personnel-wise. I feel good about where we stand with the overall speed of the defense. Covering tight ends should be an area we should be better at just from the speed standpoint alone."
On Stewart Bradley's return to the team and what it means:
"We're talking about a young man that has incredible tangibles and leadership qualities. He was getting ready to step into a big-time leadership role last year. Just off the field, it was a big loss. We're happy to have him back. He's worked his tail off to get back and be in a position where he can contribute again and play."
McNabb Gets New Targets:
A couple of weeks ago, a report came out starting that new Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb asked the Washington front office to bring in a wide receiver. The name was supposed to be Terrell Owens.
Well that did not happen, but the Redskins have acquired him some new toys. Today, Washington agreed to terms with wide receivers Joey Galloway and Bobby Wade. The 38-year old Galloway has not played much in the last two seasons due to injury. During that time he has only recorded 20 receptions for 205 yards. However, many still believe he has the deep speed to be a nice No. 2 option for any team in the NFL.
As for Wade, 29, the University of Arizona alum is entering his seventh season in the league and will be playing for his fifth team during that span. Last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Wade played in 12 games and started six. As mainly a No. 3 receiver, he registered 36 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns.
However, Wade is still young enough to be a good pick up to a weak Redskins corp. If he can rekindle his 2007-08 form where he caught 50 balls for 640 yards with the Minnesota Vikings, he will be a welcomed addition.
Of course, the Redskins currently have 11 wide outs on the roster, so both will have to be ultra impressive to make the squad. Three of the wide receivers in Santana Moss, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are guaranteed locks to make the roster. This probably leaves two more spots open.
Even if these two manage to find a spot on the roster, they are not elite wide receivers that will elevate McNabb's game. If the Skins wanted to make a big splash and impact, they would go after Terrell Owens who made pretty good music with McNabb.
Shawn Andrews To the Bears:
According to the Chicago Bears, they did not flirted with the idea of signing Cardinals guard Alan Faneca. However, even if they did that planned obviously failed as he signed with the Cardinals earlier this week.
Today, league sources have confirmed that the Bears have indeed contacted representatives for former Eagles guard Shawn Andrews about his 2010 status.
Andrews, 27, is recovering from two back surgeries and has just begun the part of rehab where he is incorporating running into his workouts. Also according to league sources, he will not be ready to participate in full workouts until June at the earliest.
The three-time Pro Bowl player was released earlier this offseason by the Eagles because he has played in just two games over the past two years due to back problems and his battle with depression.
The Bears could use the upgrade on the offensive line since they did not have a first or second round pick to upgrade that area. In addition, Andrews asking price will be relatively low since he has not played in nearly two years and carries a large risk factor.
Still the question that begs to be answered whether his back will hold up or if he can play through the pain. Hopefully for his sake he can, but that seems like a large obstacle.