NFP Team Pages » Philadelphia Eagles | "Where your voice is heard"

RSS

NFP Sunday Blitz

A closer look at the Browns' big draft trade, impact assistant coaches and all the latest scuttlebutt. Dan Pompei

Print This May 15, 2011, 06:00 AM EST
23 Comments

New Browns coach Pat Shurmur, perhaps trying to get a group of Browns backers a little jacked up, called it “probably one of the greatest trades in draft history.”

The respected Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer questioned whether the Browns passed on a star to take a handful of ordinary Joes. Many Browns fans appeared to share his sentiment.

Both perspectives are interesting.

When you make a deal like the Browns did, moving down 21 spots and passing up a potential start like Julio Jones, you unquestionably leave yourself open to criticism. A couple of weeks ago, I examined why the Falcons felt compelled to make the deal. Now, I’d like to take you through the thought process on the other end of the telephone line.

Julio JonesJulio Jones wouldn't look bad in Browns colors, but the Browns like the players and picks they received in return for the sixth pick of the draft.

First, understand the trade down was not about the Browns not liking Jones. If no deal had been offered, it’s very likely Jones would be house-hunting in the Cleveland area now. Browns general manager Tom Heckert told me he probably would have done the deal no matter who was left at 6, though my guess is if Marcel Dareus had been on the board, it would have given the Browns pause.

“I do think Julio Jones, or whoever we would have taken at 6, is going to be a really, really good player,” Heckert said. “We were more focused on getting more players. We knew we were more than just a couple guys away. The more picks we could get, the better off we could be.”

The Falcons thought one player could make a difference on their team. The Browns don’t have that feeling. They need numbers, and this gave them a chance to add numbers with the five draft picks (Phil Taylor after moving up, Greg Little, Owen Marecic and 2012 picks in the first and fourth rounds) they received for one.

Heckert was where the Falcons are now when he worked for the Eagles. Twice, he made draft trades from the other perspective in Philadelphia, moving up 12 spots for Shawn Andrews in 2004 and two spots for Jeremy Maclin in 2009. But this is different.

The chances of getting a star, as Grossi points out, are better the higher you pick. But there are a lot of disappointments at the top of the draft too. “You hope you get on a difference maker no matter where you are picking, but realistically, that’s probably not the way it’s going to be,” Heckert said. “We said let’s try to get to the point where Atlanta is so we could go out and get the one big time difference maker. We’re not there yet, and we thought that outweighed everything else. With more picks, you have more chances to get a difference maker, and if you get a bunch of good players, then you’re good.”

The Browns had numerous holes. Defensively, they were getting old. And they also are changing schemes, going from Eric Mangini’s 3-4 to Dick Jauron’s 4-3. They thought about sticking with a three man front just because of the personnel difficulties changing schemes can cause. This trade empowered them to make the switch because it resulted in the Browns getting two players who should be starters quickly in defensive tackle Taylor and defensive end in Jabaal Sheard.

“Defensive line was a big issue for us,” Heckert said. “We knew we were going to have to get them either through the draft or free agency or a combination, and that still could be the case. We still need a couple more guys.”

Part of the problem with making a deal like this is it doesn’t always go over well. Within an organization, there often are factions that are hoping for a star addition. And outside the organization, a move like this can be perceived as disheartening. Heckert said inside the building, everyone was on board. He knows the only way to win over Browns fans is to make sure the extra players they acquired develop into above average starters.

If the trade is all the Browns hope it could be, it will build the foundation of a contending team. Say this for the deal—given where the Browns are, the risk was worth the potential reward, and it followed sound logic.

“We’re in a rebuilding deal—the Falcons are not,” Heckert said. “I think it was a good move for both teams, I really do.”

Things I Didn’t Used To Know

Kyle OrtonICONKyle Orton might be wearing a different uniform in 2011.

*Kyle Orton still could be playing for a team other than the Broncos next season. Some people around the league think the reason the Broncos are talking up Brady Quinn is they have hopes of dealing Orton. But the longer the lockout goes, the less likely a deal becomes because the veteran Orton is the quarterback who is most prepared to play this season. Orton should be a fairly hot commodity on the trade market, and the Broncos could get as much as a second round draft pick in return. After Kevin Kolb, Orton likely will be the most sought after quarterback.

*It is believed a number of teams already have handshake agreements in place with undrafted free agents, and the big whigs on Park Avenue are not happy about it. In fact, the league is investigating the situation by questioning undrafted players. Fines could be forthcoming. The NFL expressly told teams they were not even allowed to contact players during the draft and tell them they would like to sign them as free agents.

*Colts first round pick Anthony Castonzo wears size 18 dress shoes. But he wears size 17 cleats. His left foot measures a size 18, and his right measures a 17. He likes the tighter fit for football. “Sometimes I stub my big toe and it gets black and blue,” he told me. “But it’s not that big a deal.”

*Mike Martz usually evaluates quarterbacks a little differently than a lot of other people. And his track record suggests he knows what he’s doing. The player he really liked in the first tier of QBs this year was Andy Dalton. Martz measures quarterbacks mostly based on accuracy, intelligence and toughness, and he tells me he thought the new Bengals signal caller had all three in spades. He was very impressed with the new Bengal’s grasp of the game. In the second tier of quarterbacks, Martz liked the player he’s going to be coaching, Nathan Enderle.

*Some people around the league are anticipating some interesting game planning and scheming early in the season, more so than normally is the case. Why? Coaches have more time on their hands this offseason than usual without players to coach. Bill Belichick, for instance, tells me he has been spending some of his extra time studying opponents.

*The Cardinals might have gotten a sixth round steal in linebacker Quan Sturdivant. A number of teams thought the North Carolina product had second or third round talent, but a poor workout saw Sturdivant’s stock plummet. It also did not help him that many 4-3 teams thought he was not a scheme fit for them.

My Sunday Best: Impact Assistants

Here, in alphabetical order, are the new assistant coaches who could have the best impacts on the 2011 season.

Tom Cable, Seahawks offensive line. You can’t underestimate the value of a solid offensive line coach who gets his players to use proper technique, brings the best out of individuals and then gets them to work in unison. Cable could have the same kind of effect on the Seahawks that Mike Tice had on the Bears last year.

Juan Castillo, Eagles defensive coordinator. The former offensive line coach will be the most scrutinized assistant in the NFL. The possibility of him failing spectacularly is there, but those who know Castillo think there is a much greater possibility of Castillo succeeding spectacularly. Worth noting: Andy Reid has an excellent track record with assistant coaches.

Jay GrudenJay Gruden will try to bring some of the family magic to Cincy.

Jay Gruden, Bengals offensive coordinator. If he’s Jon Gruden light, little bro Jay might have a lot of defensive coordinators staying up all night. Gruden’s ability to confuse opponents might be limited by inexperienced players, however, especially if Carson Palmer doesn’t come back.

Ray Horton, Cardinals defensive coordinator. He isn’t making wholesale changes in the Cardinals’ scheme, but he is bringing the Steelers’ aggressive mentality. Look for more blitzing and risk taking.

Dick Jauron, Browns defensive coordinator. This proven defensive signal caller is converting the Browns to a four man front. The players will like playing for him, and Jauron could have quick success.

Sean McDermott, Panthers defensive coordinator. Free from the shadow of Jim Johnson, McDermott may cut loose in Carolina. Too bad he doesn’t have more to work with.

Chuck Pagano, Ravens defensive coordinator. The former secondary coach of the Ravens is well liked in the locker room and in the front office. He can take a very good defense and make it better.

Wade Phillips, Texans defensive coordinator. As I wrote about last week, he’s making some radical changes that could backfire, going from a 4-3 to a 3-4. But if Phillips is flexible enough, he could have some success because he has quite a bit of talent to work with.

Rob Ryan, Cowboys defensive coordinator. A little of the Ryan temperament is likely to go over well in Big D. He’s got some horses to ride and he’ll ride them.

Dave Wannstedt, Bills assistant head coach. His experience as a head coach at the NFL and college levels should make Wannstedt a valuable resource for head coach Chan Gailey.

Scout Talk: Draft before free agency

I took a survey of front office men last week to ask if they liked having the draft before free agency, and the overwhelming response was they did. Only one man said it didn’t matter to him because it didn’t change his team’s philosophy of drafting the best available player.

But six others said they like it this way, even though there is little hope of it remaining like this. A sampling of comments:

“Since we were able to address some needs in the draft, it will help us not to have to overpay for a guy who may not be all we want. Free agency always is a little scary.”

“Having the draft first allows you to focus more on the best available player. You know you don’t have to reach as much because you can always fill needs in free agency.”

“Draft first allows teams to spend money more wisely. You can manage your budget better. With free agency first, you don’t know what will be available to you in the draft so you take what you can get.”

“I liked it, but it’s nice to get the free agency stuff done and get those guys here for the offseason program. This way, we won’t have those guys for conditioning and OTAs.”

One Man Yelp: 1964 The Tribute

When I purchased tickets to see a Beatles tribute band, I did it with the understanding the show could have been a cheesy one. But 1964 The Tribute exceeded my expectations.

I was intrigued by the show because Rolling Stone Magazine called it “the best Beatles tribute on earth.” This was no garage band playing the county pumpkin festival. That was pretty evident when they came onstage with eight guitars to choose from. I later learned this band has been together 27 years (the members must be nearly as old as the real Beatles), plays more than 100 shows a year and has appeared at Carnegie Hall 11 times.

They captured the sound of the early Beatles quite remarkably. If you closed your eyes and let yourself get caught up in the moment, you could forget you were listening to impersonators. The star of the show was John, who’s husky, throaty voice was perfect. He even held his guitar high, with his arm wrapped around instrument the way John Lennon did it.

The band appeared with Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band that nearly stole the show. From his vocals to his spastic dancing, Mick was a bullseye.

The best part about the experience? My 16-year-old son, my 14-year-old daughter and her friend enjoyed it as much as my wife and I.

Hot Reads

*Bernard Hopkins should wear a mouthguard at all times, even when he gives interviews.

*The Cardinals will benefit from the late start to free agency because they just found out last week that they have a hole in their starting lineup. Alan Faneca’s late announcement normally would have left his team in a bad spot. Now they have a chance to buy a replacement part.

*Dolphins owner Stephen Ross won’t be making this list with moves like this. He might be making some other lists, though.

*The Packers should not only retire Brett Favre’s number, but they also should erect a statue of him outside Lambeau Field. They just have to wait until the memory of him wearing a purple jersey wears off.

*Unless Favre plans on telling Cam Newton, “don’t do anything the way I did it,” I’m not sure this is such a great idea.

*Regardless of what you think of the Seahawks’ picks, believe me when I tell you those Seahawks execs were only listening to reggae music during the draft--not doing some of the other things that are most closely associated with the Rasta culture.

Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com. Follow him at twitter@danpompei

Comments

Add a Comment
Jerry Jones Jr.
May 15, 2011
07:08 AM

Da Ryan Bowl 1st game Sunday Nite Getcha Popcorn Ready!!!!!

Lance
May 15, 2011
08:06 AM

Favre shat on the Packers franchise. He had some bizarre desire to napalm bridges in Green Bay just to get back at Ted Thompson and it backfired on him in the worst way. The patron saint of backbreaking interceptions also ruined his image with some unimpressive cell phone usage.

Let Favre grovel if he wants back at GB but until he does then maybe he can mentor Cam Newton, just like he did the last Super Bowl MVP. Just because the press loved how he was always speaking to them, it doesn't mean the people should ignore the last pitiful part of his career.

Mitch
May 15, 2011
08:24 AM

Funny but that list has plenty of people on it that cut salaries like Ross just did.
For some reason, this guy gets blasted and a team like the steelers don't.

Kathleen
May 15, 2011
09:13 AM

*The Packers should not only retire Brett Favre’s number, but they also should erect a statue of him outside Lambeau Field. They just have to wait until the memory of him wearing a purple jersey wears off."

Thanks for the biggest belly laugh of the week! A statue? Is that stuff you're smoking legal?

FYI...Reggie White had more to do with that team; success than Favre. One freaking Super Bowl win in 16+ years does not a legend make. Statue! LOLOLOLOLOL *snort*

Tim
May 15, 2011
10:00 AM

Kathleen, were you a dedicated Packer fan for the last 20 years? I have been a Favre basher with the rest of them, but he is one of the top players in NFL history. He will be in the ring of honor and have a statue. I wish he had more Super Bowl wins, but he brought the Packers back from nothingness in the 90s. Plus, he may have been one of the most entertaining players of all time.

sleepy042
May 15, 2011
10:40 AM

"respected tony grossi" = oxymoron. Grossi is actually the least respected of the beat writers that cover the browns in cleveland. Mary Cabot & Terry Pluto are much better than Grossi and quite a few people are still trying to figure out how Grossi became the Hall of Fame rep for the Browns.

kathleen
May 15, 2011
10:52 AM

TIM:

Been a Packer fan for much longer than 20 years.

Yes - they can and should retire his number. Maybe even put his name on the Ring of Honor. But a statue????? Favre was a part of a team that had a dominating, crushing defense. I would submit that the whole defensive corp is just as much, if not more, responsible for that Super Bowl win. Once it was ravaged by trades, retirements and FA, the Packers tried to rely on Mr. Turnover machine and got nowhere.

I can think of 10 all-time Packers more worthy of that particular honor. Currently only Lombardi & Lambeau occupy the space outside the atrium. If any other statues are added, it should be Starr.....a better QB, a finer person, and a true Packer.

Mr.Murder
May 15, 2011
11:17 AM

The Browns traded a lot of value to move back up. Got a great player who belonged in the first half of the draft, but if it went according to their plan that would not have to happen that way. Except from the perspective of a three team trade, which is what it became in essence, but they also went up a bit on board value for the pick moving back up.

Guess you can do it with extra future picks. Sheard was probably the best pass rusher to get anyways, all he needed was a power compliment inside to limit where teams can run at you. The two picks in combination could pair them with the ability to stop the run all game and rush the passer at the same time.

Some thought of Taylor as a two down player, thus the slide. Your defense will be really good those two downs, and leave teams staring at third and long more than their share.

Daniel Snyder Jr.
May 15, 2011
11:45 AM

Giants @ Skins best game Sunday Nite Getcha Popcorn Ready!!!!!

Mark
May 15, 2011
12:40 PM

Dan Pompei,

You usually are a pretty sharp guy. But clearly you aren't thinking straight.

A statue of Brett Favre?

Stop smoking so much dope when you take your offspring to cover bands.

PS Taking children to see Rolling Stone and Beatle cover bands is unwise for a man trying to raise their chldren "right".

MachoMenos
May 15, 2011
12:48 PM

How you did not include Greg Manusky, the new Charger Defensive Coordinator, is beyond me. Before the Chargers signed him he was one of the most sought after coordinators in the league. I expect him to have even more of an impact on the Boltz defense than Ryan in Dallas'.

Brut11
May 15, 2011
01:18 PM

We all saw what BrINT did in his second Super Bowl with the ball in his hands an the game on the line. I also recall a special teams player being the MVP of his first Super Bowl. Not only should his number not be retired for being the total "me , me, me" jackass that he is, it should be given t0 a 3rd string punter.

anna pompei
May 15, 2011
02:34 PM

great article dad!!

Jason
May 15, 2011
05:54 PM

"FYI...Reggie White had more to do with that team; success than Favre"

White has even said that having Favre as the QB was one of the reasons he went to GB. Without Favre at QB there is no way White signs with them. Other than Ron Wolf, Favre was the biggest reason for GB's return to relevance.

joeblow
May 15, 2011
06:12 PM

The men enshrined in the Lambeau Field ring of honor have more in common than being great football players for the Packers. They also have the distinction of being great Packers. It's a shame to ignore the ill will Brett wished upon the organization after all they did for him.

Green Bay doesn't owe Favre anything. Favre owes Green Bay a huge apology because of the way he handled his "retirement". If it wasn't for Green Bay he'd have been an out of work alcoholic by 1994; Jerry Glanville hated Favre.

joeblow
May 15, 2011
06:29 PM

The men enshrined in the Lambeau Field ring of honor have more in common than being great football players for the Packers. They also have the distinction of being great Packers. It's a shame to ignore the ill will Brett wished upon the organization after all they did for him.

Green Bay doesn't owe Favre anything. Favre owes Green Bay a huge apology because of the way he handled his "retirement". If it wasn't for Green Bay he'd have been an out of work alcoholic by 1994; Jerry Glanville hated Favre.

daddy j
May 16, 2011
12:53 AM

"This trade empowered them to make the switch because it resulted in the Browns getting two players who should be starters quickly in defensive tackle Taylor and defensive end in Jabaal Sheard."

WRONG. The Browns drafted Sheard with their own 2nd round pick. This is revisionist logic.

Enforcer
May 16, 2011
01:54 AM

"Green Bay doesn't owe Favre anything. Favre owes Green Bay a huge apology because of the way he handled his "retirement". If it wasn't for Green Bay he'd have been an out of work alcoholic by 1994; Jerry Glanville hated Favre."

Please joeblow that is just an incredibly moronic statement. Green Bay pushed him out and besides GB does owes Farve everything. Farve arrives in 1992

In the 24 seasons from 1968 to 1991, the Packers had only five seasons with a winning record.

You GB fans need to get off the horse your on. Aaron Rodgers would be Alex Smith if not for Farve.

subdude
May 16, 2011
10:58 AM

Dan,

I agree completely on CLE's trade. Holmgren is doing what he did in GB and SEA and it's a smart move. In early rebuilding years, he gets extra picks and signs several B level FAs to fill holes in the line up. Then in years 3+ he upgrades those players through the draft and selected FAs and by year 4 or 5 has a competitive team. In CLE's case, that is the right thing to do. CLE has a much poorer roster than either GB or SEA, so it may take longer. The average fan can't wait and expects the star, but CLE is taking the right approach.

On the Favre issue, I see the retired # and ring of honor, the statue is a stretch right now, but maybe in time. Favre acted attrociously toward the GB fans and doesn't deserve a statue in my opinion. But people's attitudes will soften over the years and perhaps a statue will result. Just hope it is ground level so the local dogs have access.

sub

Les
May 16, 2011
11:00 AM

Dan,
"Big whigs?" Did you major in American politics and get a little confused? It's "bigwigs." C'mon, man. You're better than that.

Kane
May 16, 2011
12:32 PM

A 2nd for Orton? You'd have to be pretty desperate to offer a 4th.

PackFanForLife
May 16, 2011
03:14 PM

The Packers can retire Brett Favre's number and put his name in the Ring of Honor when Brett apologizes to Packers' fans for all the years of waffling and holding us hostage in the offseason. I want to hear one thing from Brett Favre: I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I let my vindictiveness tarnish my image in the Green and Gold. I'm sorry that I turned Brother against Brother when I forced my way out of Green Bay. I'm sorry that I put the Packers through hell that summer. I'm sorry I treated Aaron Rodgers without class.

Please, Brett will have his day, but he'll never be regarded the way the other Packer greats are now. Aaron Rodgers has already given us as many Super Bowl wins as Brett, and quite frankly I like our chances of getting more with Aaron than I ever did with Brett. Aaron has a lot more class, to boot!

CheesyBurrito
May 16, 2011
04:12 PM

Former players should NOT have statues erected outside Lambeau. This is the Packers we're talking about, not some second-rate team that's only had one transcendent superstar in its history. Putting a statue of Favre outside Lambeau would be akin to putting a statue of Roger Clemens outside Yankee Stadium.

If statues ever DO come for players, they should only be erected after the player has reached old age, thus assuring they've done nothing to tarnish their legacy, and after history has borne-out a Mt. Rushmore-type standing with fans. (Recall that Lambeau and Lombardi statues were both erected posthumously.)

Finally, IF statues ever come for players, Favre should only be honored after statues for Hutson (the greatest Packer ever, and the man the NFL voted the best player of the league's first 50 years) and Starr are erected. Heck, I might even put Reggie White and Paul Hornung ahead of Favre.

Next 1 - 23 of 23 Prev COMMENTS

Add a Comment

* Required - Keep track of your comments Login or Register with NFP
(will not be published)