So, I am perusing the Philly Sports equivalent of the Monkey Cage at the Zoo, where one can commonly find shit being thrown around all day long and I came across this gem
from Marcus Hayes, who has apparently decided that now with Conlin gone, he is going to play the role of out-dated, curmudgeonly reporter who has fallen out of touch with what is really happening and why.
He starts off with this statement:
Which is why the Eagles head into their first regular-season practice Wednesday without a run-stopping defensive tackle or a proven nickel cornerback.
As the major reason why the Eagles are taking a risk on Defense that may cost them a win, or two. Really?
Jump it to see why I have taken issue with this kind of thinking.
We will start with the release of Dixon. From MH:
They cut Dixon in favor of sleeker Cedric Thornton, an inch taller and 20 pounds lighter.
No, they cut Dixon because he was exponentially slower getting out of his stance then every other DT on the roster. He had zero burst this year. I don't know if he was hurt, out of shape or just plain not good enough, what I do know is that he was without a doubt the least productive DT on the roster. Also, DFL was an absolute menace in defending the run this PS. His penetration was quick, deep and consistently effective (obligatory reaction
First-round rookie Fletcher Cox, who will start at tackle alongside Cullen Jenkins, might be the second coming of Jerome Brown. But Cox has not seen a full-speed, bowed-up, for-the-cash NFL double team, which Jerome Brown ate for lunch. Certainly, Cox has not seen a grown-man double-team on four straight plays.
First, I'm pretty sure DFL is starting. Secondly, I am pretty sure that Cox has seen double teams during TC and PS games, not to mention seeing them when he was @ GA and playing in the SEC. The OL in the SEC aren't pushovers Marcus, a few of them actually turn into the grown man OL that you seem to think will be a new scary encounter for our prized rookie (OT- Cox will be DROY). Lastly, he won't be seeing double teams for 4 plays in a row because he probably won't be on the field for 4 plays in a row. Wash rotates his DL often, which is why we have 21 of them on the roster (ok 9, but you get my point).
In the absence of veteran Mike Patterson, lost perhaps for the season as he recovers from brain surgery, Dixon at least would have been a known entity.
Yes, we would know that he gets out of his stance about as fast as an old man slides into a warm bath. I still don't see how that would help the team with defending the run. And I will stop beating that dead horse now.
The weight of covering hot-read slot receivers falls to Brandon Boykin, a fourth-round pick out of Georgia. There, like virtually anyone drafted by an NFL team, Boykin did not play the nickel. Playing nickel is like pitching the eighth inning; you get all the pressure of closing but none of the money or recognition. And you never get that job until someone else fails.
Actually, Boykin played slot CB @ GA when they needed it, which is one of the reasons that he was targeted by Howie (I tried to find a link that backs this up, but could not, so I am working off of memory here, which is somewhat risky to my credibility, but oh well if I am wrong, or if I mis-remembered, or if I Paul Ryan'd this part of my FP). The fact is, Hanson had already showed signs of decline over the last year or two and was abused by the better slot receivers. We aren't losing anything by putting Boykin in there. If anything, he is gaining much needed experience NOW rather than later and that will only help him develop quicker, which is the ultimate goal anyway. I mean, we did draft him to replace Hanson, right Marcus?
Keeping Boykin was an easy decision. He is a valuable special-teams player; Hanson was not. Boykin is agile and compact, like Hanson; the pair share nearly identical dimensions, but Boykin is, perhaps, a few pounds heavier, with room to grow. Boykin also is about $450,000 cheaper.
Ummm, okay. I was going to use all of these factors in trying to explain why we kept Boykin, but since you already provided the logic and reasoning behind it, I see no reason in re-inventing the wheel here. Thanks for your insight, which is helping me prove you wrong.
The facts are that the 3 guys we kept puts this team in a better position to win, now and down the road. It's not a new practice in the NFL to choose the young guy with potential and a cheaper contract if the on the field product is virtually identical, and in this case I would argue that all 3 players that were kept (Cox, Thornton and Boykin) are better on the field players than the 2 guys who weren't (Hanson and Dixon).
I find it lazy and somewhat ignorant on Marcus' behalf to imply that losing Dixon and Hanson are going to cost the Eagles a win or two.
Thanks for Skip Bayless-ing today's article Marcus.