Remember 2 years ago when the Eagles offered Sheppard, Brown, and Lewis long term deals? Two guys took them, one didn't because he assumed he could get more. Then last year the Eagles again approached Lewis with a new deal, but he seemed sure that he could get more on the open market...
Now the question is, exactly how many millions has Lewis lost and will he get anything more than an invite to someone's camp? Mike Lewis has taken as far a step back than I've ever seen a former pro bowl and still young player do. The guy who twice turned down big long term deals in hopes getting paid like a top 3 safety is now facing a benching in his contract year.
The media has smelled blood and they are on Lewis like a pack of dogs...
Safety Precaution: Bench Lewis
Paul Domowitch | Lewis not providing safety net
Narducci - Safety finds strength in numbers
Errors bedevil Eagles vs. Saints
Excerpts are after the jump...
"Sean is a good player and a good safety," Johnson said. "He's done a good job in practice. Mike was just frustrated, and we wanted to settle him down."
Johnson at first said Considine would start Sunday, but then said Considine would get a chance to earn a starting spot. Eagles head coach Andy Reid said "We'll see" when asked about a lineup change, which means that the Eagles will at least be looking very hard at this.
But no one was able to bail out the struggling strong safety
yesterday when he set fire to what should have been the Eagles' fifth win of the season.
For the second straight week, he got suckered on a double move, this time by Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, who used an out-and-up move to blow by Lewis and catch a game-tying, 48-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees.
Lewis' strength as a strong safety always has been playing the run, which is the case with most players at his position.
But he struggled in coverage last year, when the Eagles gave up 24 touchdown passes, and now is becoming a liability the secondary just can't afford.
When Johnson kept him on the sideline and replaced him with Considine, Lewis didn't argue.
"He needed somebody to make a play," Lewis said somberly. "You can't give up [big] plays. That's rule No. 1. To let them come back the way we did and let them score a touchdown and get momentum back, that's disappointing."
After being beaten on a 48-yard touchdown pass to Joe Horn with 12 minutes, 52 seconds remaining that tied the score at 24, Lewis was pulled on the next defensive series for Sean Considine.
Quite possibly, it was the way Lewis was dismissed on the touchdown that caused his removal. Horn was wide open after faking Lewis into turning around with a move around the 25-yard line. Lewis fell, and Horn caught the Drew Brees pass for his second touchdown of the game, after not having scored in the Saints' previous five games.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said it was difficult taking Lewis out of the game.
"It was hard, but he was frustrated and we decided to go with Sean," Johnson said. "We felt at the time we wanted to settle him down. He was frustrated."
Lewis won't deny the frustration part. A Pro Bowl performer during the 2004 season, Lewis has started 58 consecutive regular-season games for the Eagles. He also did his diplomatic best to explain his views on being benched.
"I'm very frustrated," he said. "I'm a competitive guy. If something like that happens, I want to stay in there and right the wrong, but I respect the coach's decision and he felt like he had to make the call at the time and we roll with it."
Whether it was an uncharacteristically slow start by the NFL's top-ranked offense, Ryan Moats allowing himself to drift too close to punt returner Dexter Wynn during a muffed first-half punt that led to a New Orleans touchdown, a costly flag for 12 men on the field in the fourth quarter or safety Michael Lewis allowing Joe Horn to get an unconscionable amount of separation for a game-tying, 48-yard score after the Eagles grabbed the momentum back with touchdowns on three consecutive series, they ended up stumbling just enough to allow this one get away.