Praise for the Eagles

I realize most fans are still livid at what happened or didn’t happen over the weekend. The wound of Dawkins leaving is still fresh, as is the frustration that the Eagles have done very little to improve their roster. I’m not here to tell you how to feel, but I would like to offer a different perspective.

While many of the pundits at ESPN and the NFL Network are crucifying the Birds for their miserly ways and lack of activity, there are some respected football writers who seem to think they know what they’re doing.

Pete Prisco from was very complementary when handing out his weekend grades:

Thumbs up: To the Philadelphia Eagles. They added a power right tackle in Stacy Andrews, traded away disgruntled corner Lito Sheppard for a fifth-round pick next year and a conditional 2010 pick, then stood tall as Brian Dawkins, one of their aging leaders, signed with Denver. This is an organization that gets it.”

Here’s his take on the Dawkins signing:

Head-scratcher: To the Denver Broncos for signing Dawkins to essentially a two-year, $9 million deal. The money is fine. It’s just that Dawkins isn’t the same player he was a few years ago. He wasn’t the best safety on the Eagles roster last season. That was Quintin Mikell. Dawkins is a great guy in the locker room, but he lacks coverage skills. In a division with a San Diego team that features Philip Rivers throwing it and Kansas City with Todd Haley and now Cassel throwing it, the safeties need to have cover skills.”

He added this regarding the Redskins:

“Head-scratcher: As much as I like Haynesworth as a player, does he really make the Redskins that much better? Does the $100 million deal put the Redskins in the Super Bowl? The way I see it, they’re still the fourth team in a four-team division.”

In addition, Pat Kirwan at expressed his dismay over the salaries handed out to cornerbacks:

“The guaranteed money that free-agent cornerbacks have received so far seems out of whack: Nnamdi Asomugha ($28.5 million from the Oakland Raiders), Kelvin Hayden ($22.5 million from the Indianapolis Colts), DeAngelo Hall ($22.5 million from the Washington Redskins) and Domonique Foxworth ($16.5 million from the Baltimore Ravens). Not too long ago, Foxworth and Hall were shown the door by teams. I can only wonder what McFadden — and even Greer and Bodden — expect to get in the coming days.”

Who made the best deal?

“The best deal signed so far has to be the Eagles’ contract with Joselio Hanson. Here’s an up-and-coming player who only received $6.4 million of guaranteed money in a five-year deal to be Philadelphia’s nickel cornerback.”

Again, I’m sure many of you think these guys are off their rockers. That’s cool, but sometimes it’s good to get an outside viewpoint on the Eagles. These guys don’t live and breathe Eagles football like the local writers or the fans. They can be objective, not emotional.

Listen, I went on record as saying I’d be pissed if Dawkins wasn’t brought back for one more season. One season. Not two, not five. Have you seen the kind of cash Denver is throwing around? It’s insane. Buck, JJ Arrington, Renaldo Hill, Andre Goodman, Jabar Gaffney aren’t exactly superstars, are they? Not to mention they considered trading Jay Cutler. Do they really have a plan in place? My feeling is Josh McDaniels is in over his head. Just because he worked for Bill Belichick, doesn’t mean he’s the second-coming. Add Brandon Marshall‘s arrest the other night and I’d say things in the Rocky Mountains are out of control. Dawk may end up regretting his decision sooner than later.

Is that what you want? A Front Office that overpays overrated players? Haven’t teams like the ‘Skins and Cowboys and Raiders proven this strategy doesn’t work? I’d rather have the Birds’ 11 draft picks. If they can walk away from the draft with a quality tight end, running back and left tackle, I’ll be more than pleased.

It’s easy to trash management. We do it every off-season, don’t we? I recall a lot of dissent when they traded out of the first round last year and then selected a “punt returner” named DeSean Jackson. You can hate them if you want to, or you can trust the guys responsible for building a team that’s been to the playoffs seven times in ten years and five NFC title games.

I love what Dawk brought to this team, but how many championships did the Birds win with him? Wasn’t he part of the defense that got shredded by Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald? Wasn’t he the guy that a lot of people wanted to run out of town before the 2008 season? “He can’t cover, he’s too old.” Now he’s irreplaceable? Please. Apparently, we have short memories.

The great Reggie White left during his prime. He could still dominate in every phase of the game when he became a Packer. You can’t say the same about Dawkins. He’s still good, but his days of greatness on the field are over. We bitched and moaned when Trotter, Douglas and Vincent were shown the door. “How will we survive?” “What will we do without their leadership?” Blah. Blah. Blah. Get over it.

If you want to shed your loyalty to the Eagles, go ahead. You have every right to do so. Seems a little melodramatic if you ask me. Brian Dawkins was a great Philadelphia Eagle. One of the best. He will be missed. That being said, the Eagles will be fine without him.

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Tags: Brian Dawkins Eagles Free Agent Grades Pat Kirwan Pete Prisco

  • RunTheBuffet

    I’ve been looking for a place to relay my thoughts about this whole Dawkins thing and how it really relates to our real life situations today, and this is the perfect avenue.  Recently, my company had the unfortunate task of laying off 15 people because of the economy.  At first, everyone thought “how are you going to replace so-and-so? They’re such a leader, they’ve been here forever…etc”.  It’s been 2 weeks, and though I don’t consider my co-workers particularly harsh people, we’re not exactly pining over the 15 employees who had to leave.  The truth is, you’re looking out for yourself and your interests.
    In a team sport, that’s the team you’re on, not where your best friend is playing, or what’s happening to an old coach.  In my company, very unexpected people have stepped up to become better leaders than those 15 ever were…
    I’m not saying someone is going to become “the next Dawkins” on that defense, but his absence will make someone else shine brighter and the team will be just fine.  Seriously.
    I love and admire the guy’s play, and was definitely annoyed to see him in orange, but just like at my company, we’ll move on, find another presence in the locker room, and improve from here.
    I think what makes it ok is that the players (like my co-workers) can’t blame the F.O. for doing what they did… that much money for Dawkins wasn’t right… same as at my company.

  • Scott

    It sucks to be someone laid off, but the cruel reality is companies (or teams) find ways to survive. The days of staying at one job for 30 years are long over.

  • Chris Iafolla

    Nice post Scott.  Philadelphia fans do have short memories don’t they?  I like Brian Dawkins a lot as a player and as a person.  I wanted him to be a part of this team next year.  But the fact is, his skills have diminished and will continue to erode.  What I can’t quite grasp as why fans are so quick to point the fan at management.  I am not an Eagles front office apologist–far from it.  But Dawkins was the one that chose to put pen to paper when he had an offer from the Eagles.  He certainly should be held accountable as well.  I realize it is not that simple, but you get my point!

  • Scott

    You know what Chris, it is that simple. Fans don’t want to hear it but free agency is a two-way street. Dawk got an offer from the Birds, but he chose to go elsewhere. I love it when these guys say it “isn’t about the money” then they turn around and take the cash. I’m not criticizing Dawk for doing it because he realized this will be the last payday of his career. But for once, I’d like to see a player leave the money on the table and show his loyalty to the team and fans. It’s always the organization that isn’t loyal. It’s not like the Eagles didn’t offer him a contract at all. That would have been a slap in the face. That would have been displaying zero loyalty or respect. Brian did what every player does. He took the money and ran. I wish him luck. He’ll need it in Denver.

  • Tony

    Well said, guys. Like I mentioned in my earlier post about Dawk, the Eagles will be fine. I think too many people were bent out of shape when Dawk signed elsewhere, and they said some pretty ridiculous things. I guess it was the original shock of the whole thing…