Jan 052011
Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg

January 5:

Philadelphia Eagles news and stories from around the web…

Reports: Browns plan to interview Mornhinweg

January 5 Philadelphia Daily News:

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is too busy plotting strategy for the NFC wild-card game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to pay attention to reports putting him on the list to become the next coach of the Cleveland Browns.

According to the News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio, the Browns eventually plan to interview Mornhinweg as they search to replace Eric Mangini, who was fired Monday.

Browns president Mike Holmgren knows Mornhinweg well, having coached him in high school in San Jose, Calif., in 1978. Mornhinweg was also on Holmgren’s coaching staff in Green Bay in 1995 and ’96. Mornhinweg is a former Detroit Lions head coach.

Looking to replace defensive-minded Mangini, the Browns plan to interview Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and St. Louis offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Mularkey confirmed he will speak with the Browns and Denver Broncos “later this week” about their coaching vacancies. The Broncos announced on their Twitter account they will interview Mularkey on Friday in Atlanta. The Rams said they’ve granted the Browns permission to speak with Shurmur.”

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Packers’ blitz-savvy Rodgers will be a challenge for Eagles

January 5 Philadelphia Daily News:

“ROCK, MEET hard place. Sean McDermott, meet Aaron Rodgers.

Actually, the Eagles‘ defensive coordinator already is very familiar with Rodgers. McDermott saw the Packers quarterback up close and personal in Week 1 and has seen him in his nightmares the last few days since learning the identity of the Eagles‘ first-round playoff opponent.

I mean, where are Stephen McGee, Alex Smith and Shaun Hill when you really need them?

McDermott’s unit actually did a very good job against Rodgers in Week 1, holding him to some pretty pedestrian numbers in a 27-20 Eagles loss.

His 73.1 passer rating was his second lowest of the season, if you don’t include his early exit against Detroit last month with a concussion. It was one of only three games in which he threw multiple interceptions. Had his third-lowest yards-per-attempt average (6.06) and fourth-lowest completion percentage (.613).

But that was Week 1, when McDermott had a deep, fresh supply of defensive linemen and a healthy secondary and linebacking corps with which to attack Rodgers.

Now, nearly 4 months later, he has neither. The Eagles have a puny 15 sacks in their last eight games. A defensive line that registered 19 sacks and 53 quarterback hurries in the first eight games has only 12 and 29 in the last eight. The go-to sacker, right end Trent Cole, has been shut out in five of his last seven starts. Right end Juqua Parker is playing way too many snaps and has only two sacks and one hurry in his last seven starts.

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Reid unlikely to change pass-heavy strategy

January 5 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“If Andy Reid were a tiger, passing before running would be his stripes.

There is no changing the Eagles coach’s pass-happy philosophy. It’s gotten him to this point – heading to the playoffs for the ninth time in 12 seasons – and for the most part it’s hard to argue with his success.

But Reid’s resume lacks a Super Bowl championship, and until he wins one he will be hounded by his run-pass-ratio critics. There was enough evidence this season to support his detractors.

When the Eagles lost, they passed much more than they ran. When they won, the ratio wasn’t as extreme. If there is a game that begs – pleads – for a more balanced attack, it is Sunday’s first-round game against the Packers.

The Eagles have come to rely on quarterback Michael Vick too often to bail them out, dropping him back to pass or scramble and make a play, and by the end of the season the workload had obviously taken its toll.

The argument goes: Why expose your quarterback to further harm – especially against a Green Bay defense that is susceptible to the run – when you have a Pro Bowl-caliber running back in LeSean McCoy and a competent complement in Jerome Harrison?

“Well, I think that’s a threat for defenses,” Reid said Monday when asked about Vick’s running prowess. “That’s one more thing they have to think about, and he sure has made some big plays that way, so I don’t think that part will change. But again, McCoy’s also a good runner and you saw Harrison [Sunday against Dallas] is a good runner. So we have other guys that can tag-team that with him.”

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When it comes to Birds’ QBs, assume nothing

January 5 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford:

“If nothing else, what has transpired with the Eagles‘ quarterbacks since the end of the 2009 season has taught us that little should be taken for granted about Andy Reid and his suddenly mercurial approach to that position.

In succession, Reid said that Donovan McNabb, then Kevin Kolb and then Michael Vick would be the starter for the 2010 season. After a decade in which there was a stubborn lack of movement regarding the quarterback, the upheaval was not only unprecedented but unforeseeable.

Now we arrive at the closing acts of another season and the assumptions about the future are beginning to stack up once again. It is assumed that Vick will return as the starter in 2011, barring a work stoppage, and that he will probably be given a one-year franchise tag contract.

The second assumption is that Kolb, whose three-year apprenticeship behind McNabb earned him the starting job for 22 plays, will return as the backup. It is difficult to tell how the organization actually regards Kolb now, but outwardly he is cast as a steady insurance policy that will pay predictable, if unspectacular, dividends.

Both are good guesses, assuming that Vick exits the postseason in reasonable health and that Kolb does nothing to significantly help or hurt his status. There is another possibility, of course; that Kolb’s desperation pass at the end of Sunday’s rainy, wretched debacle against Dallas marked his last moments on the field as an Eagle.

If the Eagles don’t advance deeply into the postseason, and particularly if they were to lose Sunday in the first round to the Packers, this would have to be regarded as another wasted season in the team’s development of Kolb. September has spun into January and, realistically, the organization still doesn’t seem to know much more about his true potential than it did during training camp.

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