Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans Saints’

Coaching, Parenting, and Lessons from the Saints’ Collapse

Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

MW

Nothing in sports is second-guessed and dissected more than coaching. Few other things in the lager society are second-guessed and dissected more than parenting. Without question, coaching is hugely influential on the development of a player. Likewise, parents are even more so in the development of their children. Another common thing between coaching and parenting is the degree to which both are prematurely judged by people who are not privy to all the factors that go into coaching or parenting. The last play of the Saints vs. Vikings playoff game made me think of this.

As you all likely know by now, the Vikings were down 24-23 with less than a minute remaining and in desperation mode. Vikings’ QB Case Keenum lofted a pass up for receiver Stephon Diggs, who leaped to catch the pass and then ran another 40 yards or so for a game winning TD. He was able to do this due to one of the worst defensive non-plays I have seen in my life, on any level of football. Saints DB Marcus Williams lowered his head and blindly missed him, completely allowing Diggs to run for history.

 

I was, as I imagine most of you were, speechless.

 

Then I noticed a few comments on social media questioning how he was coached? Still others theorized that he was afraid to get a penalty. I thought to myself, “What the hell are these people talking about?”. Youth football players are taught at 6 years old to see what they hit.

 

Sometimes a rock is just a rock.

 

This had absolutely nothing to do with inept coaching. The young man simply messed up. He has had a very solid rookie season with 4 interceptions and if he survives this mentally, he seems to have a bright NFL future. But there is no need to overanalyze this. It’s not throwing the ball into traffic on the goal line in the Super Bowl when you have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Now that was boneheaded coaching and we didn’t need to know any other factors to conclude that when the Patriots beat Seattle in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.

 

These two examples are extremes. Sunday with the Saints, coaching was clearly not the issue. With Seattle, coaching clearly was the issue. But most coaching decisions, like most parenting decisions, have a great deal more nuance and gray factors to consider, and only those involved or very close to the situation are privy to these factors.

 

One of the best examples was how the late former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan handled the substance abuse problem of a young talented receiver named Chris Carter. When the team cut Carter, everyone familiar with his talent wondered why take such a young dynamic weapon away from QB Randall Cunningham? To that Ryan would only say, “All he does is catch touchdown passes”. For years, Ryan took ridicule for that comment and the decision to let Carter go. The receiver would go on to resurrect his life and career in Minnesota, which eventually led to his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Carter would set the record straight years later, acknowledging that his release was all about how unreliable he had become, due to his substance abuse problem, and had nothing to do with his on-field performance. Had that come out, Ryan was afraid that Carter would be blackballed from the league. So, Ryan took the hits for years, never revealing the real reason until Carter was ready. He was actually trying to protect his player.

 

Go to any town hall meeting, hair salon, or barber shop, and listen closely for that inevitable moment when the discussion turns to today’s youth. That will start the clock toward the “it all starts in the home” declaration. The issue is not if the statement is largely true. It is! The issue is that it is often a simplistic cookie-cutter, broad-brush explanation for the behavior of youth by people who have little interaction with the very youth they castigate. Regardless of parenting, there will always be youth who decide to drink and drive with disastrous results. It does not mean parent modeling or condoning of such behavior was the root cause. Likewise, players will sometimes fail well below their professional standard. It doesn’t mean bad coaching is the root cause.

 

Whether it’s coaching or parenting, I don’t know why so many are so hell bent on making such conclusive public critiques while being so poorly informed about the individual situation. I do believe it often says more about the critic than it does about those being critiqued.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Sign TE Evan Moore

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Evan Moore

The Philadelphia Eagles filled the roster spot left vacant by Clay Harbor’s trip to IR by signing tight end Evan Moore on Thursday.

 

Moore (6-6, 250) was with the Seattle Seahawks for most of the 2012 season, playing in 14 games before being released on December 19 after an unimpressive season – Moore had just 1 catch for 6 yards this year.

 

Prior to that, Moore spent 4 years with the Cleveland Browns (2009-2011), where he set career highs in catches (34), yards (324) and touchdowns (4) with the Browns in 2011.  In total over his career in the NFL, he has played in 47 games and has made nine starts, recording 63 receptions for 810 yards and five touchdowns.

 

In coming to Philadelphia, Moore reunites with one of his Stanford University teammates, quarterback Trent Edwards.

 

Moore entered the NFL in 2008 as a rookie free agent signed to the New Orleans Saints.  He spent training camp and preseason with the Green Bay Packers before suffering a knee injury that forced him to miss his entire rookie year.  Moore was released by the Packers as part of their final roster cuts in 2009 and signed to the Browns practice squad midway through the season before being promoted to the active roster on December 5 of that year.

 

Moore will wear number 86 with the Birds.

 

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

 

Tough Questions Face the Philadelphia Eagles After MNF Loss to New Orleans Saints

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

LeSean McCoy ran for 119 yards in Monday night’s game but his efforts weren’t enough to help his team overcome defeat.
(Photo via the Philadelphia Eagles)

Nothing like a Monday Night Football embarrassment.  The Philadelphia Eagles could only assemble 13 points against the worst defense in the league.  The Birds notched 447 yards of offense and yet only came out of the game with 13 points.

Where do you go from here?

The Philadelphia Eagles have now fallen to 3-5  in the 28-13 loss  to the New Orleans Saints with absolutely no signs of improvement in sight.  The fourth straight lost for the Birds.

Mike Tirico called it, “The night of the red zone nightmare.”  And that about sums it up.  The turnover issues returned, and in the red zone, no less.

The offense was 0-5 in the red zone.  Mike Vick was sacked 7 times.  The offensive line got even worse when Todd Herremans left the game early with an ankle injury and Demetress Bell put in an absolutely atrocious performance at right tackle.

On defense, Eagles fans may be wondering if Juan Castillo is available to return as coordinator as things on that side of the ball were a mess once again.  Getting pressure on Brees was absolutely essential this game, so of course the D did as little of that as possible, though Jason Babin and Brandon Graham had a sack a piece.  The secondary, the unit that now-defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was brought in to the team to coach, was as it has been for much of the season – a problem.

Andy Reid said that Mike Vick would be the quarterback next week against Dallas, and why not?  Nick Foles would get killed behind that line.  Heck, it’s a miracle that Vick has lasted this long.

So what now?

The last game the Eagles won was on September 30 against the New York Giants.  More than a month without a win.  It’s astounding.

Andy Reid’s postgame presser showed a man who no longer believes his words but is desperately trying to put on a brave face.  Mike Vick seemed shell-shocked.  Brandon Graham expressed utter frustration at wanting to save his coach’s job and play a good season to honor Garrett Reid but having no idea what’s going wrong.

The Eagles’ loss rounds out a complete week of suckitude around the NFC East, with each and every team in the division suffering defeat.  That at least means that the Giants haven’t been able to increase their lead over the Eagles.  Up next for Philadelphia are the Cowboys at home, an always-intense battle.  If the Birds suffer an embarrassing loss to Dallas at the Linc, the boos heard against Atlanta in Week 8 will seem soft as lullabies.

It’s clear that no one knows how to fix the problems with the Eagles because if they did, the issues wouldn’t keep reappearing.  They would be fixed by now.  Maybe there won’t be the dramatic wave of changes this week as many have predicted if the Eagles lost in New Orleans.  Perhaps the team is resigned to the reality of their woeful and habitual under-performance.  And maybe we all have to face the fact there are no more excuses – this is just not a good football team.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Mike Vick’s Brother Wants the QB Traded from the Philadelphia Eagles

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

Twitter was created for moments like this.

The Philadelphia Eagles, while embroiled in a battle for their season against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, did not need any more drama directed their way.  Enter Marcus Vick, brother of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick.  Marcus doesn’t like how the Birds’ o-line has been playing and he doesn’t care who knows it.

He deleted the tweet that started the national furor, but here is a screencap from what I retweeted during the game.

Why that singular tweet was removed and the rest of his rant against the Eagles is a mystery.  Read from the bottom up.

Oh but wait.  MV the non-NFL player had more to say.

Great going, man.  Exactly what your brother needs right now – more drama.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

 

 

 

 

Inside the Players-Only Meeting: Will it Save the Philadelphia Eagles?

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

On three!
(Image via sportsphotographymashup.com)

With each loss, the issues grew more pressing for the Philadelphia Eagles: where was the leadership?

In the first loss following a bye week in the Andy Reid era, the team accomplished the appalling feat of getting worse instead of better.

Where was the leadership?  Players hung their heads in shame and vacated the locker room quickly.  But there was a strange detachment to the third consecutive loss on the part of Eagles players, it seemed.

LeSean McCoy came out and said what every fan and casual observer alike was thinking.

“How we played, how the game ended, I didn’t see any pride.  I didn’t see any heart.  This is the whole team, myself included.  We didn’t get it done today.”

Three straight losses and no fire.  A new defensive coordinator and no improvement.  An embattled head coach and yet they continued to show little fight.  What could save this Eagles team?

For the first time this season, a players-only meeting was held on Wednesday.  According to Yahoo! Sports,

“meeting was productive even though it was not always pleasant.  Players implored each other to talk amongst themselves, man-to-man, rather than go straight to the media.”

Which, of course, meant that an unknown player on the defensive ran to the media to give his perspective on the meeting and the team’s situation.

“Mike ain’t the problem.  Look, we all know he’s struggling.  That ain’t some secret.  But we’re not helping him and that’s the problem.  The defense isn’t helping him, the offensive line isn’t helping him.  None of us.  We all gotta help each other and that’s what we talked about.”

The unnamed player continued,

“This ain’t time to be throwing people to the street.  We already had that with [Castillo’s firing] and that didn’t work,” the defensive player said, referring to a 30-17 home loss to Atlanta in the first game after Castillo’s dismissal.  “We gotta hang together.”

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t hide behind anonymity.  Typically a quiet presence in the locker room, he felt that the meeting was an important opportunity to speak up.

“Yeah, because I don’t really say much.  I’m not into the talking game.  I just believe in going out and playing ball, regardless of what goes on.  Not a lot to be said.”

DRC knows that times are serious and that his teammates needed to hear his voice.

“It was a team thing.  I’m part of a team.  So I felt like if I speak, guys would listen.  I didn’t speak on much; I just said, ‘Let’s just play ball and see where that gets us.’”

Other players who reportedly spoke up in the meeting were Vick, Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin, Cullen Jenkins, DeMeco Ryans and Jason Avant.

Will the meeting and the man-to-man discussions make a difference on Monday Night Football in New Orleans?  For a Philadelphia team all out of answers, it must.  With the level of dysfunction on this team, if the record falls to 3-5 things will be torn apart at the NovaCare – including a change at the quarterback position – and the chances for victory will diminish even further.  Half the season will remain, but the outlook is bleak if the Birds don’t even up their record at the Superdome.

Perhaps now isn’t the time to throw people on the street, to paraphrase the unknown player, but with a loss in New Orleans it will happen again.  The Philadelphia Eagles are playing to save their season, their quarterback and their coach.  Is the burden too much to bear?  We’ll find out on Monday night.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

 

Report: Mike Vick, Philadelphia Eagles Assistant Coaches at Odds

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Pointing to the increasing levels of drama and dysfunction on the Philadelphia Eagles team, there have been more meetings than usual at the NovaCare these days.  This week saw the first players-only meeting of the season as well as an unusually long meeting between Andy Reid and Mike Vick a few days following the quarterback’s comments acknowledging the possibility of being benched.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that

“Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and coach Andy Reid had a particularly long one-on-one meeting this week to help clear the air about a number of issues, two team sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The sources indicated that the meeting, which occurred a few days after Vick publicly suggested he might be benched, was extremely productive.  Ultimately, Reid came to the conclusion that he might have lost his players psychologically had he benched Vick.”

Cole also revealed a nugget that provides some insight into what led to Vick’s surprising comments on Sunday.

“One of the internal issues was tension between Vick and the coaching staff, with the quarterback believing some of the assistant coaches were pushing to have him benched, according to a source familiar with the situation.  After the loss to Atlanta, Vick said he thought he could be benched in favor of rookie Nick Foles.”

A team divided cannot succeed.  This, in so many ways, is the battle the Eagles are desperately fighting.  Beating opponents on the field each week is essential, but so too is understanding and overcoming the obstacles that are leading this team to defeating itself week after week.

A lack of discipline.  No leadership.  In-fighting and back-biting.  It certainly isn’t a recipe for success.

At the halfway point of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles have a lot to prove.  Once again the Birds have not delivered on lofty expectations for the team.  Monday Night in New Orleans the Eagles must prove that they can put together a win.  This team has many doubters, and at this point they need to prove to themselves more than anyone else that they have the fire to reclaim their season.  Because if this team stops believing in itself, there’s no coming back.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Andy Reid Says Benching Mike Vick Was Never an Option

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Andy Reid continues to stand alongside quarterback Mike Vick.
(Image via Lehigh Valley Live)

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid addressed the media on Thursday following the unconventional move on Wednesday of issuing a statement in support of quarterback Mike Vick.

Reid tried to clear the air about his initial comments about Vick following Sunday’s failure against the Falcons, which were widely construed as a wavering support for Vick.

“I know a lot’s been said in regards to [QB] Michael [Vick].  I learned a long time ago from you guys that there’s a time and a place when you’re upset and I was upset after the game.  Not at Michael Vick; I was upset, starting with myself and not getting my team ready to play and then working from there.  But I’ve learned to step back and evaluate, so that was my point to you.  My point wasn’t that I was going to bench Michael Vick; it was that I needed to step back and evaluate before I came to you with something.”

In fact, Reid went on to say that he felt Sunday was one of the quarterback’s “better games” this season.  The coach typically addresses the media on Monday but was unable to do so this week because of the threat posed to the region by Hurricane Sandy.  But like the superstorm, he saw the winds of  gossip about Vick swirling out of control and wanted to end the fury.

Regardless of what he says, Reid’s remarks will continue to be dissected and second guessed because, frankly, soft support by the coach one day quite frequently turns into job loss down the line under his regime.  Just ask Kevin Kolb or Juan Castillo.

When asked pointedly if Reid considered making a change at the quarterback position, his response was simple and to the point.

“That wasn’t my intent.  No, not at all.”

Would Reid commit to saying that Vick would be the team’s starter for the remainder of the season?

“Michael’s the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.”

The rumors have been put to rest – for now.  It’s really more like they’ve gone below the surface and will hover, waiting to re-emerge should Monday Night’s game against the Saints go sour.

Vick’s own comments on the controversy were intriguing, with the quarterback admitting that his confidence was impacted by the rumors and that he has to get his “swag” back.  Vick also revealed that the team finally had a closed door,  player’s only meeting on Thursday to try to pull itself together.  It’s a small but needed step.

Who knows, perhaps it can help to stop – or at least slow – the steady unraveling of this Eagles team.  Not much else has worked and with Reid’s inability to motivate his team, it’s time for players to be accountable for themselves and to each other both on and off the field.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Andy Reid Confirms: Mike Vick to Remain Eagles’ Starting Quarterback

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

Mike Vick will remain the starter over rookie Nick Foles.

Andy Reid quieted the unending speculation surrounding Mike Vick’s fate despite an off-day for the team and confirmed that Vick would start for the team on Monday versus the New Orleans Saints.

The questions began swirling shortly after the team fell 30-17 at the Linc on Sunday and Vick responded to a question about his possible benching as follows:

“Obviously, he’s thinking about making a change at the quarterback position.  The thing I do know is that I’m giving us every opportunity to win.  I’m trying my hardest.  Some things don’t go right when I want them to.  Some things do.  So if that’s the decision that (Reid) wants to make, then I support it.”

Now with a 3-4 record, Sunday’s loss was alarming for many reasons for Philadelphia.  Chief among them is the fact that former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s firing and the bye week seemed to do nothing to ignite the team.

The fact that Vick will start on Monday should shock no one.  Starting untested rookie Nick Foles in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL would be incredibly unwise.  Whether Vick will finish the game, however, is another matter depending on his performance.

The sputtering Eagles offense, unable to score much more than 17 points a game, is going to have come up with a whole lot more power to match wits–and points–with Drew Brees and the Saints offense.  While New Orleans’ defense is the worst in the league, who among us thinks that that equals certain victory for this Philadelphia team?

Reid will address the media on Thursday.  The bye week didn’t do a thing to help the Birds improve, but perhaps this extra day off will bring some introspection, accountability, and a call to action for Eagles players individually and the team as a whole.  Because if not, I fear this team is all out of answers.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles All Out of Answers as Atlanta Falcons Extend Record to 7-0

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

 

This is what the Linc looked like in the second half.
(Image via streetsdept.com)

Like the weather conditions outside in the Philadelphia region, that game was a mess.

The Falcons would not be handed their first defeat of the season by the Eagles as Philadelphia fell to Atlanta at the Linc 30-17.

A disgusted home crowd did not wait around to watch the full extent of the damage, with the stadium less than halfway full for much of the second half of the game.

Todd Bowles era got off to a rough start with the Falcons scoring on each of their first six drives of the game.  Finally, with about 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Eagles defense stopped an Atlanta drive without the team putting points on the board.

Too little far too late.

The offense was unimpressive.  The defense looked a mess.  The positives we can take from this game are:

1) No turnovers!

2) Philadelphia’s defense finally got some sacks!

Sadly, these facts did little to help the Eagles this day.

The spotlight now sits squarely on Andy Reid as it seems there are no answers for the issues that ail this team.  The firing of Castillo did little to light any urgency under this Eagles team and you have to wonder what, if anything, will.

Next up: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.  Awesome.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Shifts Along the O-line for the Philadelphia Eagles with King Dunlap Back at Starting LT

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell

 

 

 

Since the firing of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last week, we’ve been waiting for the corresponding shoe to drop on offense.

After head coach Andy Reid’s pronouncement that Mike Vick would remain his starting quarterback and that Marty Mornhinweg would continue to call plays on offense, we knew that no sizable changes were coming on that side of the ball for the Birds.

No, there will be no major, seismic-shift-type changes.  But lo and behold, the week after Philadelphia’s bye has produced some shifts, specifically on the offensive line.

The never-ending rotation at left tackle continues with King Dunlap now back to being the starter.  Yes, that means that Demetress Bell has been demoted from the position yet again, rightly so after an awful outing against Detroit.  CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank initially reported the change.  Many other factors are obviously involved, but the Birds are 2-0 with Dunlap starting at LT and 1-3 with Bell in that role.

The offensive line has been a constant area of struggle for the Eagles this season, starting with the injury to Jason Peters’ Achilles in the offseason.  Dunlap’s promotion, which comes after Bell replaced him on the line due to a hip injury, shows that the team is still struggling to get it right.

Philadelphia also made a move on Tuesday to better address depth on the line, which has also been a problem this season.  The team announced that backup center Steve Vallos had been released and Matt Tennant was signed.

Tennant (6-4, 300) played with the New Orleans Saints for 28 games in the 2010 and 2011 seasons before heading to New England for 2012.  He was released by the Patriots on October 20.  Tennant was a 5th-round draft selection of the Saints in 2010 out of Boston College.

To summarize, Tennant will now be the backup to backup Dallas Reynolds, who was the backup for Jason Kelce but became the starter after Kelce suffered an ACL injury.  Kelce, by the way, had surgery to repair the tear earlier this week.  Hope he gets well soon — he has been sorely missed on the field.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and onFacebook.

 

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports