Each week Dave and Patrick discuss the week that was and will be. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!
Patrick: Quiet week, huh? First, Carson Wentz deprives us of meaningful preseason quarterback play by selfishly getting injured. Then the Eagles make a trade for Dorial Green-Beckham that is somehow both a no-brainer and extremely controversial. Then the team hired Brian Dawkins as goodwill ambassador--I mean--outreach executive or something. Then they played a game and picked off a randomly generated Madden quarterback four times. Whew!
Let's start with the biggest news. The Eagles jettisoned perennial sixth o-lineman Dennis Kelly for Green-Beckham, who was at one time considered by some to be the next Randy Moss. Howie Roseman indicated that they see him as more of a Plaxico Burress, which makes more sense. Either way, the Eagles now have a big-bodied receiver with a little bit of speed.
Oh, and a fair amount of baggage.
The days of #culture are long gone, this much is true. And when your team brings in a talented player who allegedly pushes people down stairs and then intimidates them... it gets tricky. As with a lot of things in 2016, we know just enough to know that we don't know everything. Experience tells us that where there is smoke, there is usually fire. And we also know the Titans - possibly the worst team in the NFL again this year - gave up on their former second round pick after one season. That's not a ringing endorsement, even if the previous regime drafted him.
What do you think, Dave? Worth the risk?
Dave: Depends on how you view risk. Worth trading Dennis Kelly? Absolutely. Even if he doesn't progress, DGB will get more playing time than Kelly would have. That's a good trade. If DGB can clean up his act and develop any, he should be at the very least a useful role player, making it a great trade.
But it's the "if" that is the problem. Forget for a minute the domestic violence part of it (bear with me here). In Tennessee, DGB was criticized for being lazy and basically uncoachable. It's really hard to feel any kind of excitement about a player like that, no matter what his skill set is. Add in his off the field history, and you have a player that makes me uncomfortable rooting for.
However I wouldn't read too much into the Titans being willing to part with him so quickly. They have a new GM in Jon Robinson who didn't draft him and so far looks like he has no idea what he is doing. He traded up for Jack Conklin while Laremy Tunsil was on the board, trading for DeMarco Murray then drafted Derrick Henry, and they start a guy who allegedly threatened a rape victim in Taylor Lewan, so if character is suddenly a big thing for them they have some work to do. And he hired Mike Mularkey, who is terrible. By their nature poorly run teams make bad decisions. This doesn't mean moving on from DGB was a bad decision for them, it probably was the right one. But the "(insert name of poorly run team) didn't want him" argument doesn't sway me. It's one people made about Malcolm Jenkins when the Saints let him go and signed Jairus Byrd.
That said, DGB has a lot to prove, and so does this coaching staff, though it seems well suited to help him. Greg Lewis stuck around in the NFL for years because he did all the little things DGB didn't do in Tennessee. We don't know if he's going to be a good coach, but he knows what it takes at the position. They're not his position coach but John DiFilippo's time in the chaos of Cleveland and Duce Staley's presence are not to be over looked, and of course Brian Dawkins's new new role (at the rate of his promotions I assume by season's end he'll own the team). DGB is going to get his opportunities to improve, it's on him to do so.
Unfortunately Carson Wentz is not going to get an opportunity for a few weeks. As we saw on Thursday, that makes this offense really painful to watch. I feel like this somewhat unfairly raises our expectations for Wentz. The more games where Bradford and Daniel do nothing of note, the more we're going to clamor for Wentz. Lower my expectations Patrick.
Patrick: Nope. I won't do it.
Look, the preseason won't change my expectations for this season. The Eagles' season is going to be determined in large part by how much the offense can chip in to the defense's work. There's a chance they'll run the ball well, and maybe the passing game doesn't look as lifeless as it has so far in the summer. But for this team to go anywhere, a quarterback is going to have to elevate the play of the offense. There's no one else on that side of the ball who can do it. And unless you're our good buddy John Barchard, you probably don't think the quarterback to do it is Sam Bradford.
Heck, Wentz might not be that quarterback, at least not this season. Maybe it's me, but my expectations for Wentz don't really change here. The worst part of this is missing the live game reps, which are invaluable to a rookie who isn't expected to see the field much, if at all, this season. But he went second overall because he's supposed to be a transcendent talent eventually, so I continue to expect Wentz to overtake the other two guys at some point in the year. Whether that's by talent during practice, injury or organizational pressure, I don't care. But that day will come, and until it comes, this team's not going anywhere. As Tom Petty said, waiting is the hardest part.
But I liked what you said about the coaching staff. Kudos to the entire organization for giving a rookie head coach all the support at his disposal. It's like drafting a rookie quarterback and surrounding him with top-flight talent... ah hell, now I'm bummed again.
Speaking of Dawkins, I had a thought and wanted to get your take on it. There's been a lot of talk about returning to the Andy Reid era inside the NovaCare Complex. Hiring Dawkins as a sort of player liaison seems like an interesting choice, since he helped shape those teams' locker room culture in a huge way. Do you think that was intentional?
Dave: The timing sure is weird. Three weeks ago he was hired as a scout, now he's in a totally different department. Maybe they hired Dawkins to find the next him and he went "you already have him he wears 27" and they realized they didn't have anything for him to do.
On paper I like the role, it seems to be kind of a catch-all position where he can assist without stepping on anyone's toes. After lacking "emotional intelligence" and kicking stars to the curb the past few years, this is a big swing in the other direction. There's no downside to having an iconic and highly respected player having a role in your organization. It's nice to have Dawkins back in the fold. Maybe he can teach Bradford something about pre-game speech locations.
Before we go though...
Na Brown Award Watch
Jalen Mills looked like he had this award locked up. Then the games were played. Mills did not look good last week against the Buccaneers, and this week he wasn't able to play. Can't win the award in the infirmary ward. Meanwhile Paul Turner has been making waves with his performance in both games, garnering multiple writers projecting him to make the 53 man roster. Mills can still claim this award but now he's got a clear challenger.