All rookies and veterans reported to training camp at Lehigh this year. That makes it only the third time in the last decade that the Eagles have had everyone show up.
A brief rundown of your holdouts and no-shows:
2011: DeSean Jackson
2010: Brandon Graham
2009: Jeremy Maclin
2008: Shawn Andrews
2006: Broderick Bunkley
2005: Brian Westbrook*
2003: Jerome McDougle
*Terrell Owens actually reported on time. But it was worse than if he hadn’t.
Les Bowen at his best:
Trot was a leader in the locker room, and the unquestioned leader of the forces trying to get Owens restored to the active roster. He didn’t defend the things T.O. had done, but he seemed to think McNabb ought to just ignore the persistent undermining of his authority and leadership, because, hey, T.O. was a dominant player — probably THE most dominant player physically I’ve ever covered, in any sport — and the Eagles needed him to get back to the Super Bowl.
Football is a team game, though, the Daily News has learned, and you really don’t win the Super Bowl with a superstar wideout trying to tear down your quarterback. Reid later told me one of his biggest regrets was that he let that situation fester too long, tolerated too much. I eventually concluded McNabb was never viewed quite the same way again by his teammates.
Today, I think maybe Trot finally understands what the big deal was, why you don’t clasp a viper to your bosom, or whatever that passage in the bible says.
The whole post is definitely worth reading.
The Eagles have spent the last three years stocking the ranks with lots of young, respectable team players. They’ve drafted captains and All-Americans, guys who can represent the team proudly. They’ve also jettisoned a number of me-first malcontents and with questionable work ethics, like Chris Clemons, Quentin Demps, and Shawn Andrews.
Yet, after praising this change, now fans everywhere are clamoring for the Eagles to grab one of the most notoriously selfish players in the NFL: Albert Haynesworth. Here’s a guy who signed one of the richest contracts ever, and then refused to go earn it on the field. He’s undeniably one of the most talented defensive linemen in the game, but has spent most of the last two years loafing it with the Redskins. Not to mention that even when he was productive in Tennessee, Big Al was still causing trouble.
I can see the allure of a player like Haynesworth. His disruptive abilities from the defensive tackle spot are perhaps unparalleled in today’s NFL. And in theory DL Coach Jim Washburn knows how to get the most out of him. But doesn’t he represent exactly the qualities that the Eagles have purposely avoided recently? If the team trades for or signs Haynesworth, they effectively wipe away the high standards they’ve set on personnel decisions.
In many ways, getting Haynesworth would remind me a lot of 2004, when the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens. TO was another player who was unhappy with his current team and wanted out. The Eagles scooped him up and his talent propelled the team to a Super Bowl appearance. He was the quintessential difference-maker, and I’d expect the same from Haynesworth. Pairing Big Al with Trent Cole might be the defensive equivalent of Owens and Brian Westbrook.
But at what cost? TO was happy for a year, then the sit-ups began and he helped torpedo the Super Bowl hopes of a team that he cared nothing about. I wonder how long Haynesworth would remain a happy Philly citizen, especially if they sign him relatively cheaply. I wonder how long he could stay out of trouble with the law and with the league office, given his long history.
In hindsight, TO wasn’t a gamble. He was a sure thing — sure to be ticking time bomb. Is Big Al any different?
Photo by Getty.
Friday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals is only the Eagles’ second preseason game, but it figures to tell us a lot more about the team. After steamrolling Jacksonville’s first team in limited action last week, this time the Eagles starters will play most or all of the first half, as they work toward opening day less than a month from now. The biggest question mark for this scrimmage:
How will the starting defense do against stronger competition?
On Monday we looked at the changing nature of the Eagles’ passing game over the last six years, determining that — both because the backs are worse and the receivers are better — fewer passes are going to running backs.
But of the passes intended for wide receivers, where are they going? That is the focus of today’s post.