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Eagles 4, Redskins 1 But Who Wins?


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The Eagles have signed 4 former Redskins as free agents: Kalu, Mitchell, Thrash and now Barber.

The Redskins have signed Trotter away from Philly. Damon Moore MAY be the second but it is too soon to tell.

My question is, does the Trotter signing trump the Eagles' signing of those four other players?

On the surface it would appear so. Trotter, a two-time pro bowl selection at 25, is just entering his prime in the NFL. He is arguably the best or second best MLB in the NFC.

Meanwhile the Eagles have grabbed mid-level players from the Skins. Kalu has not been an impact player for the Eagles the second time around. He wasn't in Washington either after a lot of hype.

Mitchell has been a solid return man and had a very good 2000 season for the club, perhaps his best year in several.

Last season he seemed to slow down and I think Reid saw that and hence the one-year deal at age 33 for 2002.

Thrash is a good #2 receiver in this league. It is difficult to evaluate his performance fully because McNabb buys enough time with his feet that even covered receivers are able to continue working to get to open space with the extra few seconds he buys. Still the catches have been there. The question is whether he has an upside from where he is now. Never the most fluid receiver, Thrash does not have the softest hands nor does he run the best routes. What he is is a 100% effort player on every down that doesn't give up on the play. :)

Barber to me is a one-year rent a player for the Eagles while they find out if Barry Gardner is cut out to play in the middle or whether he will go back outside in 2003 and the team will have to sign or draft an inside player.

Barber is strong against the pass being a former college safety (already a strength of the back seven in the Eagles defense) and weak in run support (the achilles heel of the defense).

So, an argument can be made that Shawn does not shore up the team's primary weakness on that side of the ball from the WLB position.

I thought the Eagles would be better served signing a bigger outside linebacker on the weakside or keeping Gardner at that spot and signing a guy like Robert Jones to play in the middle.

So, there are the players.

For my money, the Redskins made the best of all the moves with Trotter because they addressed an area of their team that has traditionally not been a real strength, run defense up the middle.

Of course the Redskins paid market value for Trotter, he wasn't a bargain.

The Eagles on the other hand, with few other free agent moves, seemed to have acquired players to help fill holes for a transition period until better players became available.

I don't know what the thinking on Barber is but at 229 he does present a tempting target for teams to run at, especially with the undersized front four the Eagles start.

Thrash to me is the best of the lot and has played at the highest level. The question is at 28 whether James is going to maintain his spot in the lineup or whether the younger draft picks in Mitchell and Pinkston are going to pass him by at some point. That seems to be the hope of management in Philly.

Once again, it is strange that for the few free agent moves the Eagles have made that so many of them were for former Skins.

Perhaps that is Reid's way of trying to weaken a division rival.

I see these former Skins as productive but replaceable parts.

Meanwhile I look at Trotter as a player that could make the difference here on defense in 2002. :)

The trick under the cap is to keep yourself out of the bind of having to let a premier player go, especially one you have developed and who is now entering his prime.

The Redskins may face this situation with Davis after 2002. :(

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In at least 2 games against us last season Trotter proved to NOT be effective against the run. SD and Ki-Jana tore off about 250 yards against the Iggles in those games with about 15 rushing 1st downs. Since Davis and Ki-Jana took a lot of their carries at the line it tells me that Trotter is at the very least AVERAGE at stopping runs up the middle. Are our tackles really that much better than Philly's?

I think we still got the most in terms of net talent by signing Trotter as opposed to Philly signing Thrash, Kalu, and Mitchell. But I have a concern that the D-line is going to be ignored due to some false belief that Trotter is anything more than average in the pursuit and tackling of RBs as he showed in at least 2 games last season (and the Iggle defense as a whole only ranked 2 places ahead of us last season in terms of run defense)

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I would disagree with you. The Eagles' front seven APART from Trotter is undersized across the board. If you go back and look at his tackles/assists the past two seasons you will see a player that DOES in fact make a lot of plays close to the line of scrimmage.

I watched a NUMBER of Eagles games last year and to take the first Redskins game out of context where Dave Szott and Ben Coleman pile drived Paul Grasmanis and Corey Simon, is a mistake.

Trotter was outstanding in a number of games last year. Against Dallas, against the Giants, against the Rams.

If we were to take the running totals and performance of the offensive line of Dallas in the two Redskins games and project them out you would think Dallas finished 12-4 last year instead of 5-11. :)

The problem with matchups between two teams is that rarely tells the story of what a certain player is worth to a team overall.

He may have particularly good matchups against all but one or two opponents over a 16 game schedule and thus it is unfair to judge him solely by those performance which may be outliers and not indicative of his or the team's regular standard of play.

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Out of interest, I was talking to a friend over the weekend who's an Eagles fan, and he was mentioning that they are thinking of lining up Kalu in the SLB slot. He'd still be pass rushing, but back.

Interesting. We'll see how well that works.

And yes, the Mitchell thing was bad, not only because he's still around to hurt us, but because the skins actually needed him that year after all.

I put his departure in the same camp as Marvcus Patton's (who's also still playing fairly efffectively)... they were loudmouths who undermined what little authority Norv has in the dressing room.

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Most of what I've seen of Trotter is in contrast of your point that he is anything more than average at run-defense up the middle. You've suggested that I simply missed out on his best run-defense performances and that my selective view unfairly represents his abilities.

So I'll qualify the rest of this post by stating "according to what I've seen":

Against power running teams like us (in both games) and Oakland (even without Wheatley) he came up small in run defense. Oakland controlled the ball almost 40 minutes of that game and ran right up Philthy's *** with a committee of backs. Marshall Faulk ran up the middle 5 or 6 straight times in the biggest game of Trotter's career for some first downs, he had only 4 tackles in week 1 against the same team (although they did not have many rush attempts). I saw both of his games against the Giants and indeed those were 2 great games for him (3 or 4 Tiki/Dayne tackles behind the line and stripping Collins in the backfield). My only problem with that is, of the two, I think only Dayne is used primarily between the tackles. Dayne is just not a very good back period and he still knocked off 60 yards in less than 10 carries including a late TD run up the middle of their defense in the 2nd game.

I saw Trotter make many great plays in those very few games but I can't recall any that involved stuffing a runner up the middle when his team needed it most or even at a frequency that would have most definitely improved his team's dreadful statistics against these types of backs.

Now if you contend that our D-line will be more adept than the undersized Iggles at keeping blocks off of Trotter then I would agree that someone of his strength and atheleticism would be a sharp improvement over Mitchell. But it is clear to me that in the cross-section of Philly games that I've seen he's not been exceptional at stopping the run up the middle.

Which brings me back to my major concern that our D-line is not being addressed sufficiently to the point where our defense of the run will improve significantly.

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There is a reason for the Iggles mad blitzing and its because their strength in the front seven is speed when strong rushing tea continue rnning at hem you can wear them down and eventually over power him.

Would Urlacher or Ray Lewis be more effective behind the Iggles DTs?


Would Trotter still get recognition behind the Ravens line of Y2k and 2k1?

Yes with out question.

Behind two sizeable Tackles here Trotter should really excel which is scary considering his present skillz.

As well as his partners named Lavar, Jessie and the youngin Antonio Pierce

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Grasmanis and Simon are both under 295. That makes for a small pairing inside. Simon takes chances to get to the quarterback and leaves his lanes. You are going to see the larger more physical lines that concentrate on the run come through the Eagles defense and make contact with the linebackers. That is the achilles heel of Johnson's system.

As Dave mentioned the Eagles' D is all about speed and pursuit. It is difficult to use that speed to effect when you are taking on 320 pound blockers straight on who have a head of steam.

Even a fine middle linebacker can be undone at times by a suspect interior line.

Ray Lewis excels and makes plays because Adams and Goose kept the linemen off of him and allowed him to get to ballcarriers

free and clear.

I would submit that this season without Trotter the Eagles are going to have to shift their defense.

Barry Gardner is not going to put up the kinds of numbers that Trotter did inside. He doesn't have the toughness.

Middle linebacker is about attitude AND ability. Trotter has both.

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