Friday, March 20, 2009

Eagles Land FB Weaver

Eagles fans can now relax: the Eagles have a fullback. 

The Philadelphia Eagles signed fullback Leonard Weaver today, inking him to a 1 year deal worth up to 2.5 million dollars. Weaver finished with 130 yards on only 30 carries last season with the Seahawks, for a 4.3 average per carry. Weaver is also a threat in the passing game, catching 20 balls for 222 yards, an 11 yard average. 

The signing will help the Eagles in a lot of ways. Third and one was the teams Achilles heel last season, but now with the addition of Weaver, they will improve in that area. Weaver is 6'0, 242 lbs, and is the answer to Eagles fans hope for a big, bruising back. Where Kyle Eckel, Correll Buckhalter and Dan Klecko failed, Weaver will be able to pick up the tough yardage at the end of games. 

Weaver, as stated before, is also a threat in the passing game, which we all know will make him a factor in Andy Reid's offense. With Weaver in the game with Westbrook, the Eagles will be able to keep one of them in the backfield with McNabb and send one in the flat. Both Weaver and Westbrook will be able to win the 1 on 1 match ups with the linebacker, and sending them into the flat will open up the middle of the field for players like Brent Celek, Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis to make plays. 

The timing of this move is a curious one- the Eagles have been rumored to be talking to Weaver for a couple weeks, and it was rumored that they were at one point out of the chase. Is it a coincidence that now that both Beanie Wells and Knowson Moreno are done there pro-day work out, and mere days after Moreno finished his, the Eagle sign Weaver? Could this mean the Eagles decided to sign Weaver, use him as a change of pace back, and go another route with their first round pick? 

That is just speculation, but the real story is that today, for really the first time all off season, the Eagles made a move that the fans could be excited about. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bargain Receiver For Eagles?

With the draft coming up, the Eagles are (hopefully) looking for ways to improve their team, especially their wide receivers position.

Take a look at the breakdown at these two receivers over the last 3 seasons, and decide which one you would rather have:

Receiver 1 Receiver 2

Catches 81 83
Touchdowns 8 6.5
Yards Per Catch 16 12.6
Yards 1,031 1,057

On paper, those two wide outs are almost identical.

However, in real life, the perception of these two could not be farther apart.

Receiver 1 is Anquan Boldin, probaly the man that most of the people in Philadelphia would take a pay cut to get in an Eagles uniform. Boldin is reportedly on the block, and the asking price is being set by the New York Giants, who are rumored to have offered 2 first round draft picks and a 3rd round draft pick. While that is just a rumor, it is a more then generous offer, one that the Eagles would probaly not match.

Receiver 2 is Torry Holt. Holt was released today by the St Louis Rams, and is a free agent. he is 3 years older then Boldin, but has not taken the physical beating that Boldin has. Last season was a down year for him (63 catchs, 3 TD's) , but who on St Louis had a good year in general? Holt has spent years being the number 1 option on the Rams, a role Boldin never had. He has had under 90 catches only once in the last seven years.

But most importantly, Holt will cost you only a contract. Sign Holt, and you get to keep your two first round draft choices. If the Giants sign Boldin, they will be favored to win the NFC. With Plaxico not returning (most likely), Boldin would fill that hole for them. Boldin also would be a better fit for the Eagles, as he is an under neath, strong, over the middle the receiver, a perfect compliment to DeSean Jackson.

Holt is not Boldin, but he is more then just a consolation prize. If the Eagles sign Holt, and keep their two first round draft choices, they could also add a running back like Knowson Moreno through the draft, as well as a tackle that could fill the huge hole on the left side of the line.

Would I match the Giants trade for a 1rst this year, 1rst next year and a 3rs round draft pick for Boldin? Yes I would, mostly to block him from going to New York, and because if the Eagles get Boldin, that first round pick next year will probaly be in the high 20's.

Would I try to out do the Giants and give up BOTH first round picks this year? No, at that point I would sign Holt, keep the draft picks, draft a running back and tackle, and hope Boldin is a flop in New York. Holt is still an offensive weapon, and down field threat.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eagles Can Still Save Off Season

Much like last season for the Eagles, the off season has not gotten off to the best start for them.

Its been 2 months since the Cardinals ended the Eagles latest run to the Super Bowl, and for Eagles fans, its been 2 months of watching the Joe Banner and Andy Reid trying to make the team better. 

Trying being the key word.

So far, the Eagles has added Stacy Andrews, Sean Jones and Rashad Baker. Needless to say, those names do not make the fans hearts skip at beat. The Eagles have passed on players such as T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Derrick Ward, players that could have helped them this season. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles have let every single free agent of theirs walk except Joselio Hanson. That list includes one of the corner stone of their franchise, Brian Dawkins. It includes the heart of their offensive line, Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. And it includes the best tight end in the NFL, L.J. Smith (ok, maybe not). 

But as mad as the fans are at the Eagles, take a step back, and look at where the Eagles stand right now.  

They have spent virtually none of their almost 40 million dollars in cap space. Through trades, they have 12 picks going into the NFL draft.  

The Eagles have the ammunition to turn this around. 

Some will get on them for not putting out the money for Houshmanzadeh, but was he really worth the money the Seahawks paid him? has reported that the Cardinals are now shopping Anquan Boldin. Do you think the Eagles would have tried to trade for him if they had already signed TJ? Now, the Eagles have to be considered the favorite to land him, and many websites link him to the Eagles. 

As far as letting Dawkins walk, it was not a good move. There is no denying that he was the heart and sole of this team. But the replacement they have signed, Sean Jones, is better then people think. Over the last 3 years, Jones is 3rd in the NFL in interceptions as far as the saftey position goes. Jones has averaged more tackles and more pass deflections then Dawkins. You could look at that and blame that on the fact that the Browns defense sucks, and he had more tackle oppurtunies, but you could also credit the fact that Dawkins has more sacks and forced fumbles then Jones on the fact that Dawkins plays in a blitz happy defense, and towards the end of last season, played up on the line a lot. 

While Dawkins will be missed in the locker room, on the field, the Eagles defense is just as good, if not better, then it was when the season ends. 

When I wrote my Eagles Off Season Preview article, I said I hoped the Eagles let Correll Buckhalter walk. Not because I didn't like Buck, but because I knew if they resigned him, they would not draft a half back in the draft. Now? Their is a good chance that when the Eagles are on the clock for the draft, they will be debating between Beanie Wells, Donald Brown or Knowshon Moreno as their running back of the future. 

Their have also been reports that the Eagles are talking to Seattle full back Leonard Weaver, a 6 foot, 242 pound pass catching, tough running player. The addition of him to the Eagles offense would be big, because it would solve their 3rd and 1 problems, and would open up holes for Westbrook that were not their for him last season. 

So while many people feel down about the Eagles, look at what they have the potential to due based on their inactivity in the first 2 weeks of free agency: trade for Boldin, sign Weaver, and draft top running back.

If the Eagles take the field week 1 with Boldin, Weaver, and Moreno on their offense, would you call the off season a failure?  I would say that roster makes them the favorite to make the Super Bowl. All of these moves are very possible. 

So even though so far the Eagles have let Dawkins walk, passed on players, and even fired a disabled man, the off season is not over. They have used virtually none of their resources, and due to public backlash, are feeling the pressure to do so. 

Much like last season, the Eagles can turn this around, and I think they will.