Category Archives: Jason Babin

Defensive Line Shines in Season Debut

All of the talk this offseason has been about the Eagles improved secondary, and the embarrassment of riches they have at the cornerback position. But if the defensive line can play like they did last night on a consistent basis, it may not matter who is lining up at cornerback for the Eagles.

The Eagles defensive line looked absolutely dominant against the Baltimore Ravens in the first preseason game of the season last night, 13-6 win for the Eagles. Right from the start, it was clear that the upgrade from Rory Seagrest to Jim Washburn might prove to be the best addition the team made.

On the Ravens first possession, the Eagles front four were in the Ravens back field on every play. After letting up a big play on a blown assignment in the secondary, the Eagles defensive line pushed the offense back behind big plays from Trent Cole and Jason Babin. On one play, Babin beat his man and got to Flacco, forcing him to Coles side- who finished the play off with a sack.

While the sack went down as Coles, the Pro-Bowl defensive end said it really belongs to the whole team.

“It was a lot of effort put in by a lot of guys on the d-line. There was a lot of guys that got back there with me.  A lot of guys pressured that guy to move like that,” said Cole. “That’s what we want, a lot of pressure back there. Whoever makes the play, makes the play. It’s a team effort. The d-line did a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback, getting him to take off up the field. The secondary did a heck of job covering, linebackers as well too. We couldn’t get that sack without a team effort.”

The Eagles got more pressure from the edges last night then it seems like they did all last season, as even the second team was able to get after the quarterback. Darryl Tapp, sporting #55, looked as fast as a linebacker out their, and finished the night with 2 sacks.

In the third quarter, Jarrad Page was the beneficiary of more pressure from the defensive line. Keenan Clayton rushed past the Ravens offensive line like they weren’t even their, causing Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor to throw the ball right into Page’s lap in the corner of the end zone.

The Eagles still have a long way to go until the regular season, but it is clear that top to bottom, this line is significantly better then the line last season.

Advertisements

Training Camp Winners and Losers

Enjoying their now weekly day off, the Philadelphia Eagles are only two days away from taking the field for their first preseason game.

A lot has changed since they reported to Lehigh University for training camp 11 days ago. Their is still a lot of camp left, and time for players to step up and win a job.

But on the day of, let’s take a look at who has shined and who has been a disappointment so far at training camp.

Shined:

1) Curtis Marsh: Thought of by many as a project when he was initially drafted out of Utah State, Curtis Marsh has played better then even the Eagles thought he would early on. Marsh is tall and fast with long arms, which has allowed him to blanket anyone he has covered so far in camp. An excellent athlete, Marsh has been compared to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in terms of body type. While he may not be as fast as DRC, Marsh has been able to stay with receivers down the field. One on play, he looked like a vet as he turned his head around to make a play on the ball. Rookies will generally not do that, and will draw a penalty for it. Marsh should seem some playing time this year off his his camp performance so far.

2) LeSean McCoy: I wrote about it yesterday, but LeSean McCoy appears ready to take the next step to an elite player in this league. McCoy looks 3-4 steps faster then anyone out on the field. If he is able to get enough touches- and a decent amount of rest with Ronnie Brown in the fold- McCoy could put up big numbers this season.

McCoy and Vick will lead a high powered offense this season

3) Jason Avant: In his time with the Eagles, Avant has been anything but flashy- he has been consistent, dependable and a staple on third down in this offense. But with DeSean Jackson missing the first 11 days of camp and Jeremy Maclin sidelined with a mysterious illness, Avant has been the number one receiver on this team in practices. Avant has responded by catching everything thrown his way, no matter the level of difficulty it takes. Avant will real in a 50 yard touchdown catch, but he could catch 7-8 balls a game to start this year.

4) Michael Vick- Not much to say other then this: If he stays healthy, he will be the NFL MVP. Etch it is stone.

5) Chas Henry- The rookie punter from Florida has blasted some beautiful punts through the Lehigh skies. He gets great hang time under his punts, and has kicked some what seems like 70 yards. If he is able to avoid hitting a rookie wall, he should be able to have a solid year for the Eagles.

Disappointment: 

1) Daniel Teo’Neisham- The biggest bust of last years draft class, Teo’Neisham has been getting berated by new defensive line coach Jim Washburn on a daily basis at camp. While Washburn has done his fair share of getting on almost all the players on his defensive line, he has been especially hard on Teo’Neisham, who is in serious danger of not making this team. Washburn has publicly gotten on his 2nd year player about his technique and hustle in practice. The only reason he has a chance of landing on the active roster is that he was a high draft pick a year ago. But if Teo’Neisham does not have good pre-season games, he will not make this team.

2) Brent Celek- Celek, who seemed to get nicked up the first day of camp, has struggled through most of camp. He looks heavier then last year, something he admitted to during the offseason. It is all muscle, but he doesn’t look like the same player both physically and production wise so far. Celek has had trouble hanging onto the football in 11 on 11 drills. It looks like he will spend a fair amount of time this year blocking again, which is good due to his new playing weight. Either way, his play so far would not lead one to believe he was going to have a big year.

Jason Babin has not gotten to the QB much this camp

3) Jason Babin- The most noise Babin has made during camp is in the fights he has gotten into. Babin has not done a good job of getting to the quarterback so far, and was shut down yesterday by new RT Ryan Harris. In live hitting drills, Babin has not made many plays. The fact he is 2nd on the depth chart right now behind Juqua Parker is more then likely due to Parkers veteran status then the amount of playing time each will get. But anytime you invest big money in a position of need and see that player behind the one you wanted to replace, that is never a good thing.

4) Jaiquawn Jarrett- The former Temple Owl’s camp can be best described by one word- quite. Both on and off the field, Jarrett has been quite and hard to find. The 2nd round pick was able to make plays in college because he knew the opposing offense from studying tape, something he has not been able to do in practice. Jarrett lacks elite speed, so anticipating the play is the only way he will be able to create turnovers. A big hitter, Jarrett might show improvement in preseason games, but it looks like it might take longer then expected for Jarrett to be the playmaker this team wants him to be.

Eagles sign Jason Babin

The first big move of the Eagles offseason has finally done, as the team has signed Pro-Bowl defensive end Jason Babin to a 5 year deal, according to Jay Glazer of FOX.

Babin to the Eagles is something that has been speculated for some time. Babin admitted yesterday that the two sides were in discussion. The deal is reportedly with $28 million dollars, with only $5-6 million of it guaranteed.

When Babin will report to camp, are not yet known.

Babin two seasons ago

From the day the Eagles brought Jim Washburn over to be the defensive line coach, it was assumed that Babin may end up here. After playing on the Eagles two years ago, Babin went to Tennessee and excelled up Washburn, making his first Pro-Bowl. Babin finished with 44 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 16 games. The 12.5 sacks marked a little less then half of the 30 career sacks he has compiled in his 8 year career.

During his time with the Eagles in 2009, Babin played in only 12 games after having an excellent preseason. Babin said during an interview this offseason that his lack of play was frustrating, and insinuated that it put a strain on his relationship with Andy Reid. Babin finished that season with only 11 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Here is Babin’s reaction to signing with the Eagles via Twitter.

Will Babin continue his success here? The Eagles better hope so, as he will most likely be their only big free agent signing. While Washburn has shown he can get the best out of Babin, anytime a player who has not done it on a consistent basis is signed to fix a major need, it has to be considered a risk. Babin’s age- 31- could also be a red flag.

More details to come.

Eagles on Babin’s short list

An area of need for the Eagles is without question the defensive end position. With Brandon Graham likely out for the first few weeks of the season, the team is in search of an end to pair with Trent Cole.

Jason Babin, speaking to ProFootballTalk.com, sounds open to being that player.

Babin admits him and the Eagles have had "discussions"

“The Eagles are definitely one of the top three teams that were discussing situations with. Obviously Jim Washburn being the reason. And honestly, their an organization that likes to win.”

While it is not news that Babin would like to reunite with Washburn, it is noteworthy that Babin mentioned him and the Eagles were in discussions. Minnesota’s Ray Edwards and Babin are the only two big name defensive ends still available, so the Eagles may want to act fast if they hope to land either of the two.

It does not sound like Tennessee will be in the bidding for Babin, as the former Eagle nid not sound enthusiastic about returning to the Titans, and said that the statements the team have made their defensive style “concerning”.

Eagles To-Do List

For the first time since the draft, the Eagles are now able to finish their off-season plans to improve their team. GM Howie Roseman has been very vocal about his plan to be aggressive when the lockout ended, and emphasized the feeling that the time to win is now.

But how do the Eagles finally get over the top and host the Lombardi trophey?

Rumors have run wild this off-season on what the Eagles might do. With the lockout over, lets sort through the rumors and figure out what the Eagles should do before training camp begins.

Moving Kolb is a risk, but one the Eagles have to take

1. Address the Kevin Kolb situation

The face of the lockout may finally get the chance to be the face of a new team. Whether or not trading Kolb is a good idea was discussed in depth here, but more then likely Kolb will be moved.  Teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks most likely called the NovaCare Complex as soon as the lockout ended, looking to workout a deal for the career back up. If the Eagles are going to move Kolb, they need to do it before they get into camp. Once camp hits, weird injuries happen. The last thing Reid needs is his most valuable asset on the injured reserve. While the Eagles could roll the dice and hope a better offer comes due to an injury on another team, it is to much of a risk. Unless they are offered a top of the line cornerback (Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie?), the Eagles need to move Kolb for the highest pick they can get. GM’s around the league are going to be doing deals at a rapid pace now, and won’t have the luxury to play the waiting game as their competition makes moves. Take the first round pick for Kolb, and start scoreboard watching.

2. Address the backup quarterback situation

With Kolb most likely out of the picture, the Eagles will be in the market for a veteran back up. Names such as Vince Young will be thrown around, and while he is talented, putting a project behind Michal Vick may be to risky. Vick’s dangerous playing style has been written about at depth, and for good reason. The Eagles need someone who could step in, know the system, and hold ship. Who will be available that fits that description? Mac Bulger is out there. But another name that might make sense for the Eagles would be Jim Sorgi, who spent last season backing up Eli Manning with the New York Giants. Why Sorgi? The career backup spent most of his career backing up Eli’s brother, Peyton, in Indianapolis. Sorgi learned the complicated, quarterback driven offensive line schemes of Howard Mudd- the Eagles new offensive line coach. Sorgi could be a big help to Vick in terms of teaching him the ins and outs of the system. Of course, Sorgi on the field may not be very much help. Other then Sorgi, look for names like Young, Trent Edwards, Kyle Boller and maybe even Brett Favre to surface.

3. Bring in a cornerback 

Perhaps the only other name talked about more in regard to the Eagles then Kevin Kolb was Nnamdi Asomugha, and he’s not even a member of the team. Making a move for Asomugha would certainly fit the bill as aggressive. Rumor has it the Eagles perfered Asomugha to Asante Samuel a few years back, but Asomugha is 30 now- the magical cut off line for Eagles free agents. Other then the age, Asomugha’s big contract request could turn the Eagles off. Asomugha is expected to ask for around 18 million dollars a year, and it is unlike the Eagles to invest a lot of money in one position. It is rumored the Eagles have close to $20 million in cap space, so don’t expect them to make a move for Asomugha. The former Oakland Raider also is used to playing a press style of coverage, something the Eagles did not play last year, and are not expected to play this year.

Where does that leave the Eagles? With Samuel on the other side, another top flight corner is not needed. The Eagles need to look for a solid tackler with height. Ike Taylor of Pittsburgh fits that description. Johnathon Joseph of Cincinnati should both be available, but by all reports had a down year last year. Both are a few tiers below Asomugha, but will also come a lot cheaper. If the Eagles are unable to land a corner through a Kolb deal, look for them to go for a cheaper cornerback on the open market.

Mikell brings experience to an otherwise young Eagles secondary

4. Sign Quintin Mikell, David Akers, Stewart Bradley

The writing is on the wall for Mikell. I spoke to him a few months back at Powertrain Fitness in New Jersey, and he talked like a man who knew his fate. The fact is, the chances of the Eagles resigning Mikell are slim to none, but that doesn’t make it the right call. The Eagles are extremely young at saftey, with Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Kurt Coleman all expected to play a major role next season. While each is talented and has potential, the Eagles are a win now team. They cannot afford to be beat for long plays all season long due to rookie-style mistakes. Mikell may not be a big playmaker, but he is solid and a good locker room guy.

Although Stewart Bradley is injury prone, he is still a young talented linebacker- and their are not many of those on the free agent market. Bradley also represents veteran leadership on a young defense at a position the Eagles traditionally have not been strong at. Bradley will be needed to make the calls on the field in Juan Castillo’s new defense.

The reasoning for bringing back David Akers is simple- this is a win now team. Can the team trust a rookie kicker to come through when they need him to? The Eagles will be in tight games, where every point will matter. And as Andy Reid put it: we can all count.

5. Acquire Albert Haynesworth

One player that stood out on the Eagles line last season was Antonio Dixon, a 322 pound defensive tackle that was able to collapse the pocket on opposing quarterbacks. Andy Reid will sing it till the cows come home- the game is won on the offensive and defensive line, and in todays game, the line has to be big. Dixon showed Eagles fans that.

Haynesworth is a monster when he is motivated- which he will be for Washburn

When the Eagles brought over Jim Washburn, one thought came to fans mind, and it was a good one: Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth is the biggest, baddest defensive tackle in the NFL when he is at  the top of his game- and just bad when he is not. His off the field antics are well documented, and last season in Washington is not something Haynesworth should be proud of. But given the circus that Washington was last season, and the fact that Mike Shanahan even got into it with the consummate professional Donovan  McNabb, should count for something. It is rumored that the Redskins will do whatever it takes to keep Haynesworth off of the Eagles, but at the end of the day they will not pay him another big paycheck to disrupt the team. If Haynesworth can come in and play for his old defensive line coach Washburn, the Eagles will have one of the best defensive players in the league. Their are very few game changers in the league on defense- Haynesworth is one of them.

6. Look for bargain prices on Babin, Bush

Whenever the possibility of signing a free agent is discussed, it needs to come with this disclaimer: unless the price is right. Any player can be a good signing for the right price. Andre Iguodala for 6 years, 80 million? Bad signing. Iguodala at 5 years, 40 million? Good signing.

Would the addition of Jason Babin and Reggie Bush improve the Eagles? Yes. But it is very clear that in both cases, money will be the deciding factor. Babin has made no secret that he would like to come back to the Eagles- for the right price. He even joked to the media that Andy Reid can make up for the mistake of letting him go last year with a “nice contract.” Babin had an outstanding year last year, but investing a lot of money in a one year wonder is not usually the Eagles style, and nor should it be. If signing Babin costs enough that it turns into the Eagles big off-season signing, then it will be a mistake.

Reggie Bush would be very dangerous in the Eagles offensive system, but will want a lot of touches wherever he goes. If he wants to take a bargain deal to come here, return punts, spilt out wide and scare opposing defenses, then the Eagles should jump. But giving him big money, then splitting touches with LeSean McCoy is not what this already dynamic offense needs.

7. Bring in Plaxico

The decision to bring in Plaxico is a tough one. There are many unknowns at this point. Has he matured? How will he be in the locker room? Can he still play? All are very valid questions, and all could very well be no. Burress could come in with a bad attitude, tick off DeSean Jackson by taking away touches, and create a bad dynamic in an otherwise tight locker room.

Burress may be older and slower, but he is definitely not one thing- shorter

Burress will look for money as he has lost a lot due to his time in jail. He might not come as cheap as the Eagles want him to, but this team is in desperate need of height at the wide receiver position. Burress may have lost a step, but he didn’t loose an inch. His 6’5 frame would instantly be a red zone threat. Vick has shown he can put touch on the ball, and Vick lofting it up to Burress would be a major problem for opposing defenses. Riley Cooper was drafted to be that player, and very well could be. But letting Riley sit for a year and learn behind Burress is not a bad thing. Add Burress in with the Eagles other offensive weapons, and you have an offense thats close to unstoppable.

If Burress is not what the Eagles want, they can cut him at any time. The team has enough weapons to survive without him. But being deep at a position does not mean it cannot be improved. Ask Reuben Amaro Jr. about adding talent to a deep position. If Burress can be even 70% of what he was in New York, the Eagles will have something they have been trying to find for a long time- a tall wide receiver that can play. Burress wants to be here. He is motivated to redo his image. Bring him in, and continue to reap the benefits of bringing in Michal Vick two years ago.

8. Get to work

The lockout is finally over. The Eagles did little in terms of offseason work outs, and the players that gathered in New Jersey did little more then an organized catch. If the Eagles make the right off season moved, they will be one of the favorites going into the season and rightfully so. It is time for Vick to hit the film room with his coaches, learn the offensive line schemes, and take this team to the next level.

Babin is open to return with Eagles

When Jim Washburn came over to coach the Eagles defensive line, all fans immediately hoped that Albert Hanyesworth would be following him.

But another defensive lineman, who had a more productive season then Hanyesworth, could also be on the way due to Washburn.

Could Jason Babin be making a return to an Eagles uniform?

Jason Babin, who finished last season with 12.5 sacks under Washburn’s coaching, is a free agent and free to sign with any team once the lockout ends. Babin, speaking to ProFootball Focus, said that any bad blood between him and the Eagles due to their breakup two seasons ago will not get in the way of a potential reunion.

“I think any and all feelings could be waived by a healthy contract” said Babin.

Babin has been very vocal about the role Washburn played in him making the Pro-Bowl last season, and even brought Washburn and his family to Hawaii with him. Babin credits Washburns ability to adjust to his players as a reason for his success.

“Those guys did an amazing job of saying, “these are the tools we have and weapons we have … what’s the best way we can use them.” They don’t have a cookie cutter scheme. They looked at what guys did well and let them excel at it,” explained Babin.

It’s interesting that Babin would point that out, as one of the main knocks on now former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was his players inability to adjust to his defense. Babin had only 2.5 sacks in his brief stint with the Eagles.

It’s hard to imagine that Washburn will not be vocal about bringing in Babin (especially after Babin took him to Hawaii.) Washburn knows what a big role Babin played in his defenses success, and will try to get Babin the big contract he’s looking for.

While both Babin and Hanyesworth could end up in Philadelphia, it will be interesting to see if the Eagles have to choose one, which one they would pick. Babin would cost more money, and really has only had one productive season in the NFL. He also, by all accounts, is a good locker room guy. Hanyesworth’s reputation, on the other hand,  speaks for itself and will end up costing him millions. On the other hand, he has been a productive player for most of his career, besides last, and has a bigger upside.

Either way, it is looking and more like Washburn will be brining at least one of his former defensive plays from Tennessee with him.