Our resident admiral (and chaplain) Palmy used the term “toolbox” to describe the pool of personnel talent a head coach has at his disposal going into a new season. It certainly appears Doug Pederson has been given a bigger toolbox this year with a wider array of potential impact players. Now the onus seems to be more on the head mechanic (rather than the lack of tools) to come up with a high performance machine that consistently works to its full potential.
Even Leo Pizzini (one of the original “Four Horsemen” of the Bored here going back to old PE.com origins) says Howie Roseman has given Doug Pederson a solid chance to win now:
“I am not a Howie Roseman fan… but… he has put a team together that has a chance… I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a trade for a veteran corner and/or linebacker… the credit I give him is that he never stops looking for opportunities…”
And Leo says the toolbox is a lot better with LeGarrette Blount in the picture now, but that Blount is not the main reason he thinks the Eagles have a legit shot at a winning season:
“Signing Blount is awesome for this 2017 season… but… he’s 30… on a one-year deal… I’m not gonna revise my prior criticism of Rosebud [just based on the Blount signing]…Yes, I know, guys like Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen had great seasons at age 30, but the full scope of the situation in Philadelphia makes Blount more of a patch and short-term solution compared to scoring a franchise running back via the draft… and to be fair, Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen are a couple of the greatest RBs in NFL history… Blount, who I like a lot, isn’t really on that level.”
“The point is, Pederson theoretically now has everything he needs to run a great offense… I think its gonna be interesting to see exactly how he schemes things-up because the pieces are not really utilitarian… he’s got specialty pieces… How much power / play action football will they play? How much spread zone RPO football will they play? … Will the team be markedly better in one scheme or the other? How well will the new pieces build chemistry together? —particularly the O-line… but also Wentz building rapport with his new receivers?… it’s going to be a telling season as to the effectiveness of Coach Doug as…well, as a head coach.”
That’s the curse of higher expectations, too, as raised by the perception in the media that the Eagles are now one of the league’s best teams on paper. Man, that’s a phrase I don’t really want to hear, especially when we’re still more than two months away from Training Camp.
Let’s just say as Mike Clay of ESPN says—“the offense is much improved following the additions of Blount, Pumphrey, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to a unit that also includes Sproles, Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Carson Wentz, meanwhile, is entering his second year after a promising rookie campaign, and will be protected by one of the league’s best and deepest offensive lines.”
Now it’s up to coach Pederson to maximize the old tools and blend in the new ones well enough to produce an offense that keeps his defense off the field for as long as possible. I would take my chances with that kind of improvement— for example, a ten percent increase in number of offensive plays run on average each game accompanied by a ten percent decrease in number of defensive snaps played. It’s just an intuitive metric, but I think it would be the kind of thing I would be looking for as a byproduct of Doug’s ability to manage his new toolbox.
Contract update on LeGarrette Blount:
As promised, and in case you haven’t heard yet, here are the numbers on the Blount deal:
A source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the one-year deal is worth up to $2.8 million, with a base value of $1.25 million and incentives worth upward of $1.55 million.
The Patriots had issued an unrestricted free-agent tender potentially worth $2.1 million to Blount before the May 9 deadline that ensured the running back will count toward the 2018 compensatory pick formula. Blount was the only player in the NFL to receive the UFA tender this year.
It is still unclear whether the Eagles structured Blount’s deal in such a way as to avoid it counting toward the 2018 compensatory pick formula.