Last season, you could have compared former Eagles defensive end Jason Babin to a thoroughbred–a natural pass rusher with an elite motor who could disrupt the comfort and rhythm of opposing quarterbacks. As it turns out, Babin was less of a thoroughbred and more of a one-trick pony, a player that could only prosper in a divisive and flawed defensive line scheme.
As such, the Eagles scrapped the system and Babin, leaving the 2011 Pro Bowler to waste away in Jacksonville. Maybe he’s bitter, maybe his feelings are just hurt, but that hasn’t stopped Babin from taking jabs at his former employer–the one who erroneously signed him not once, but twice. Whatever the deal, Babin had some interesting to say about the Eagles on Wednesday.
Predictably, Babin defended former defensive line coach Jim Washburn, the architect of the gimmick wide-nine scheme, and the only defensive line coach in the league that could make Babin remotely relevant. Perhaps even more predictably, Babin had some unflattering things to say about the rest of the organization as he unleashed this puzzling and hard-to-follow diatribe.
From Adam Caplan:
“That was probably their approach because they don’t have amicable splits with people. You saw how dirty they did (Jim) Washburn with leaking out the false stories and the way they talked about him on the way out. It’s kind of a big socialistic system that they have. I didn’t really care. I’m only going to worry about what I can control, and that’s practicing hard, working hard and playing hard on Sunday.”
It’s not to say the Eagles didn’t paint Washburn in a bad light and it’s clear that the team’s problems went far, far beyond the defensive line coach. But there are several accounts, both from inside the locker room and from local media members that suggest these unflattering Washburn stories were far from false.
Early in the Andy Reid era, the coach was criticized for placing too much emphasis on character who were willing to grind and toe the company line–after years of failure and listening to selfish and irrelevant players pop off–I long for the days from the turn of the century.