Filed under: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp | Tagged: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp, Football, Matt Lombardo, NFL, Sports | Leave a comment »
Taking It to the House’s Matt Lombardo was at Philadelphia Eagles training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA for the introduction of former NFL Rookie of Year and Pro Bowl QB Vince Young –new backup to starter Michael Vick — to the “Gang Green” Nation. Checkout Vince’s first press conference as a Philadelphia Eagle
Former Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl QB Vince Young is the latest addition to the Philadelphia Eagles’ growing and impressive nest of talent
Back when the NFL season was in doubt and even a truncated off-season hung in the balance, the Eagles continuously floated the idea that they were going to ‘push the chips all in’ and make a dramatic push for the Lombardi trophy in 2011. Now, less than one week into the free agency period the groundwork for such a plan is being laid by the front office. The initial moves have lacked the luster of what the Patriots, Dolphins and some other teams have already executed, but the Eagles roster is transforming before our eyes.
Matt Lombardo is a reporter and host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL
Filed under: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Eagles, Vince Young | Tagged: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp, Andy Reid, Football, Jason Babin, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports, Vince Young | Leave a comment »
Both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith were both all smiles on Monday July 25th. After 135 Days, the NFL Lockout is finally over and America’s Most Popular Game can leave the courtroom and return to the field
Today, NFL player representatives and the league’s owners signed a collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) to end a lockout that had started in March shortly after the Packers’ Super Bowl victory and threatened to harm part of — if not all of the — 2011 season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looked relieved while saying, “Football’s back!”. Goodell added “(The new 10-year deal) is extraordinarily great for our game.” Of course, fans had heard Goodell say similar words after the owners agreed (31-0) on Friday, but everything wasn’t done until the players had their say. Finally an 11 AM conference call where the new deal was agreed to by the league’s players really did bring back football to a starving public, who wouldn’t know what to do without “America’s Passion”.
Terms were not immediately specified, however NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith — still need to re-certify the organization, but that is topic for another day — also seemed to beaming just as much as Goodell. Smith said of the new deal, which included a legacy fund for retiree, safety issues, and much more. “We managed to talk about things that make football better and safer.”
According to the NFL, some of the highlights in the agreement included:
- New rookie compensation system with a salary cap of $142.4 million per club in 2011
- Additional retirement benefits
- The limiting of practice times and full-contact practices.
- Clubs receiving actual stadium investment and up to 1.5% of revenue each year.
- Medical plan for life for players, under the owners’ plan.
- Enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player’s salary for the year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury.
Colts’ center and player representative Jeff Saturday, who was at the forefront of the negotiations said, “The lockout has been a roller coaster for the fans. With dialogue, things began to happen and …now instead of these meeting rooms, I get to be in football meeting rooms (at training camp).”
Now, the attention of everyone in NFL Universe from the players to team GM’s to the media to Fantasy Football players will now return to the league’s quickened calendar. Training Camps will shortly open (probably Wednesday) and Free Agency will also begin at a furious pace.
So now everyone can put away all the legal talk and focus on getting ready for September 8th in Green Bay, Wisconsin when the season offically kicks off with the Super Bowl Champion Packers taking on the New Orleans Saints.
There has been a lot of “Favre to Philly Talk ” around, but Taking It to the House isn’t buying it
The next four days figure to be the busiest in NFL history as nearly 1,600 moves are expected to be made across the league in less time than it takes to wait between regular season games. Simultaneously, training camps across the country will be opening and players reporting as rosters are finalized by sure to be sleep deprived general managers.
Assuming the Eagles deal Kevin Kolb toArizonaor elsewhere, which they are expected to do in short order once the league year begins. All signs point to Kolb landing inArizonain exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and possibly a draft pick. With that in mind, many wonder what Andy Reid and company will do to address the backup quarterback position.
On Saturday night Howard Eskin reported on NBC10 in Philadelphiathat the Eagles have interest in former Viking, Jet and Packer Brett Favre. The report was given some credence on Sunday when Michael Vick tweeted “I would be honored to have Brett Farve as a backup. That will be amazing Learning how to toy with defenses the way he did his whole career.” However, Vick conspicuously deleted the Tweet hours later.
Not to discredit Eskin and his story, but this move isn’t one that works for either side, and after speaking with several sources looks to be the longest of long shots.
There’s no doubt that The Eagles are in the market for a quarterback given that Vick hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2006. However, Favre may be the least logical solution of any available signal caller. The thought of the 42 year old veteran winding up inmidnightgreen is predicated on him being content in a backup role for the first time in his career.
Let’s just say that’s highly unlikely.
Some point to Favre joining the Eagles to mentor Vick, which is a ridiculous notion in and of itself. Vick has been a starter at a high level in the NFL for eight years, well past the point in his career when he would benefit from the tutelage of a player who plays the quarterback position as differently as one can imagine from him. Besides, lets not forget that this is the same Favre who had no interest in mentoring Aaron Rodgers when the Packers used a first round draft choice on the eventual Super Bowl MVP in 2005.
Eagles beat writer Les Bowen used his Eagletarian blog Sunday to bring some logic to the situation saying “why would Favre want to hold a clipboard in Philly? The money, under the tighter new cap, wouldn’t be lavish. His ego is as legendary as his arm,” Bowen said. “The only way he comes out of retirement for this job is if he thinks he somehow ends up at the helm of a Super Bowl contender, and even that scenario assumes Favre has some interest in trying to play again. Vick doesn’t need this. The Eagles don’t need this.”
While it isn’t a stretch to foresee Favre holding the NFL hostage once more and un-retire again, the situation in Philadelphiais far from an ideal one for him to rewrite is farewell story.
However, The Eagles have options they’ll likely pursue in the free agent frenzy to fill their need for a backup quarterback. Vince Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger and Tarvaris Jackson are all available in one form or another if Philadelphia chooses not to entrust Mike Kafka as Vick’s top understudy. Given Vick’s reckless abandon under center, and the ‘win now’ mentality permeating fromOne NovaCare Way, undoubtedly the birds will at least kick the tires on some or all of these options as an insurance policy.
Young has been an enigma in recent years, going so far as leaving the team in 2008 and disappearing after being booed by his home fans in a loss to the Jaguars. Then Titans coach Jeff Fisher ultimately coaxed Young back to the team. Last season in 11 games Young threw for 1,255 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions for the Titans. Tennessee is expected to release Young shortly after the league reopens for business and he would be an attractive option for the Eagles once he becomes available.
Andy Reid has developed a reputation for both developing outstanding play from the quarterback position and also as a mastermind at overseeing reclamation projects at that position. Both of which would certainly benefit Young, who despite the questions surrounding his motivation, still has the raw talent to succeed in the right situation.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if [The Eagles] acquired Vince Young after the Titans cut him.” Said a source close to the team.
Meanwhile, Bulger will likely draw interest from teams such as the Dolphins, Seahawks, Browns, Redskins and others as a starter and probably would not settle for a backup position. Yet his familiarity with the West Coast Offense and the allure of playing for a contender could put the Eagles in play if the former Ram who spent last season backing up Joe Flacco inBaltimorefails to land a starting gig. Bulger hasn’t been a full time starter since 2008 when he completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,720 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the Rams.
Should the Cardinals fail to deliver the kind of bounty the Eagles are seeking for Kolb, the Seahawks could make a push to acquire him. The Seahawks brass could also turn the keys to the franchise over to Charlie Whitehurst who is currently the only quarterback on their roster. One thing is certain though, Hasselbeck will not take another snap inSeattle.
Like Bulger, Hasselbeck is attractive to teams in need of a starter. The 35 year old spent his entire career in the West Coast Offense and has ties to Reid. The Eagles could certainly do worse than Hasselbeck’s 3,000 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago, stepping in should Vick fall to injury.
Finally there’s Jackson who would likely make the easiest transition to the Eagles offense since he played under former birds offensive coordinator Brad Childress inMinnesota.Jacksonhas been a part time player in recent years but at 28 and being the most mobile of the available quarterbacks, he’s an intriguing option especially given his familiarity with the Eagles system.
Clearly the Eagles have plenty of options available to back up Vick once the league reopens and the free agent shuffle kicks into high gear. One thing is almost certain though, Favre is not a fit and there is certainly a higher upside to any of the other signal callers on the market.
Matt Lombardo is a reporter and host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL
Taking It to the House is predicting that the NFL Lockouot will be ending within the next week. And the biggest commodity after the deal is completed will be Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb
Kevin Kolb’s days in Philadelphia are numbered.
That much is certain if the recent surge of optimism towards the NFL lockout being lifted in the next seven to ten days is to be believed. By now it’s no secret that the Eagles will be active in the NFL shuffle once the league year begins, and Kolb’s name is already front and center on the wish list of several teams in need of a starting quarterback, whose need was left unsatiated by what appears to be a mediocre quarterback draft class. With Michael Vick entrenched as the starter and confidence growing within the Eagles organization in second year backup Mike Kafka, along with Kolb’s impending free agency, the fourth year quarterback out of Houston has become an expendable commodity that the Eagles are set to sell to the highest bidder.
Several teams have surfaced as possible landing spots for Kolb who figures to be one of the most pursued players and quickest moved once the league opens for business. The Cardinals, Dolphins, Browns, 49ers and Seahawks have all been rumored to have expressed interest in Kolb who completed nearly 61 percent of his passes in four years for 2,082 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 19 career games.
“Kevin Kolb will be dealt to Arizona, San Francisco, Cleveland, or Seattle, it’s a matter of when, not if.” Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Daily Times said. “The only question is who backs up Vick.
The Eagles brass is in a very lucrative position of having three teams in the woefully mediocre NFC West all vying for Kolb’s services to be their starting signal caller in the post-lockout world. Howie Roseman and Joe Banner, ever the poker players, would be wise to play the offers against each other to garner the largest bounty for their 2007 second round pick and one time quarterback of the future.
Each of the teams interested in Kolb offer the chance for the Birds to fill gaping holes in their roster both now and looking ahead to the future. However, as a settlement to the lockout appears to be nearing by the day, the team most likely to land Kolb looks to be the Cardinals. Arizona has been interested since it became clear that Kolb was on the market, and theSunDevilStateis a natural fit as their quarterback situation has been in flux since Kurt Warner’s retirement in 2010.
The Cardinals are the ideal dance partner for the Eagles, offering corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the centerpiece in a Kolb deal. Rodgers-Cromartie is an ideal compliment to cornerback Asante Samuel in a secondary that was anemic against the pass in 2010. The 6’1, 182 pound Rodgers-Cromartie made his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and finished last season with 44 tackles, three interceptions and he returned two for touchdowns. Needless to say, Rodgers-Cromartie is a dynamic playmaker who would allow the ballhawking Samuel to flourish on the other side of the field.
While other teams certainly have expressed interest; Seattle reportedly offering a first and third round choice for Kolb, the obvious Eagles connection in Cleveland and the Niners who recently walked away from the failed Alex Smith experiment among them, the Cardinals and Eagles share a common thread of a shared sense of urgency to make a deal and make one quickly once the league allows. After all, receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been openly pining for the Cardinals front office to bring Kolb west.
Adding fuel to the Kolb to Arizona speculation, Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic appeared on the Weisman Trophy Radio Show on July 11th and reiterated the Cards interest in the current Eagles backup.
“I think [The Cardinals’] first call, the first thing they’ll do when the lockout is lifted, is to talk to the Eagles and see if they can acquire Kolb.” Somers said. “They’re very interested in trading for him. They’re wary, however, the Eagles are going to command a ransom for him. They’re not going to be willing to give that up, but they do like him an awful lot. They like almost everything about him and they think he could be a quarterback really for the next 10 years. So, it makes a possible teal intriguing. What do you give up for that guy? Especially for Kolb when he hasn’t proven himself.”
There is strong sentiment growing throughout the league that the lockout could be lifted and the league reopened for business by July 21 with a truncated free agency period which makes for frantic player movement in a short period of time before training camps open and pre-season games begin.
All signs point to Kolb finding a new address before the first footballs fly in formal workouts across the league.
Matt Lombardo is a reporter for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL
Filed under: Kevin Kolb, NFL Lockout, Philadelphia Eagles | Tagged: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Football, Kevin Kolb, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFL Trades, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports | 1 Comment »