QUOTE: “I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul's desire.” -- St. Patrick
More trades...busy day in Philadelphia
The Eagles got busy Tuesday, signing Saints running back Mike Bell and trading for defensive end Darryl Tapp of the Seahawks. The Saints have the right to match the offer to Bell as he was the first, but surely not the last, restricted free agent to be signed this offseason.
Will the Saints match? My sense is they won’t because they have to re-sign Pierre Thomas and have $8 million tied up in Reggie Bush. Bell is a straight-line back who runs with power and is very tough. He’s not always the smartest back, but he knows how to pass protect and will not back down from a physical confrontation. He will not run to daylight, but he will run hard north and south and will never, ever go around a would-be tackler – he’ll go through him.
I think the sound bite of Saints head coach Sean Payton from the Super Bowl sums up Bell perfectly. When Bell came off the field after slipping and failing to get a touchdown, Payton -- after lecturing the team all week on wearing the right shoes -- asked Bell what kind of spikes he was wearing. He looked at Bell’s shoes and just said, “It figures.” Bell is a hard runner and can be hard-headed at times. What makes him good on the field makes him tough to deal with off the field.
Bell gives the Eagles a tough runner with some ability to enhance their passing game. He is not the kind of back that wears down an opponent, needing more reps to be effective. In fact, less of Bell is might mean a more productive back. He’s a good piece that fits into the Eagles offense and gives them a versatile third runner.
The other move the Birds made was to acquire defensive end Tapp from Seattle. Tapp has never been a consistent rusher or pressure player coming from the edge. He has good quickness, but he lacks overall size to win against the bigger tackles. When he can win with his quickness, he’s effective, but when he does not win right away, he struggles to have a counter move.
Tapp has 18 career sacks and needs to be matched up against the right player to be effective. Watching Tapp play, I always felt he was an “in-between” player, which means his quickness was best inside against guards, but he played outside at end. His style of play fits the Eagles’ on-the-move style of defense, and I’m sure the Eagles feel he can be as effective as Juqua Parker has been for them.
Less of JaMarcus
I tend not to get overly excited about which players are in offseason programs and which players choose to skip them. I care more about the right players being in the offseason and the right players working hard to prove to their teammates they’re committed.
JaMarcus Russell of the Raiders reported a day late, but he finally showed up looking trimmer. Russell must win back his teammates, and the first step is proving to them he’s committed to working hard -- and more important that he’s committed to being committed. As Bill Parcells once reminded his team, “Don’t confuse routine with commitment.” Russell must commit, not just routinely show up.
Today is the pro timing day at the University of Florida, which means it’s a huge day for quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow will display his new throwing motion and work out for the many coaches and scouts who have come to Gainesville, Fla. The real key will be which coaches and scouts come back for a private individual workout with Tebow. That’s the list to monitor. Not all teams are for Tebow, but he’s appealing to some teams. So we need to know when Carolina, Buffalo, Tampa, Denver or Jacksonville return.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
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