Tuesday, August 04, 2009

We Need More People To Tackle

Leaks from the Philadelphia Eagles were brutal yesterday- with all signs pointing to the fact that MLB Stewart Bradley is out for the season with a torn ACL.

The Eagles’ turnaround last year in the final third of the season from disheartening .500 mob to in the mix NFL contender was fueled largely by the elevation of the defense from kinda good to great (at least until the NFC Championship Game). And that elevation was fueled by the introduction of Bradley and Jordan into the mix, full time, at line backer. Subtracting out the slow Omar Gaither- introducing two fresh athletic players- elevated the ‘backers from bad to good in one fell swoop. Subsequently, the defense fell into place.

In particular, Bradley quietly became one of the Eagles most important starters. Certainly, the ability gap between him and his on paper "replacement" has to be among the largest on the team. As a consequence, the ‘backers are back to being a problem. Omar Gaither seems the likely replacement- but in an act of hope over experience, last year’s sixth round pick- Joe Mays- apparently is the new secret dream of the regime. Or, if not “dream”, best case scenario. I think that experiment is not founded so much in Mays’ readiness or capacity- but more the obvious realization that Omar simply isn’t very good. Frankly, in a perfect Eagles’ world, I’m not sure Omar would make the team.

The Eagles refuse to spend money or consistent first day picks on linebackers- so they have a real Washington Redskin style depth situation there. Their only real plan to stumble on a very good linebacker is to sort of get lucky, draft one late and enjoy superior play on the subsequent bargain contract. They had their dream scenario in Bradley- a third round pick. Now, they’re stuck with the uninspiring cast of characters left at that position.

Consequently, the defense has to be graded down. Other than the cornerbacks, I can’t think of a guy it hurts more to lose on defense. Along the defensive line they have ample reinforcements- at ‘backer, they have none.

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