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What can the Packers Learn From the Eagles?

The dust has settled.  The season is over and the Philadelphia Eagles are World Champions.  So what, then, can the Packers take from Eagles and incorporate into their program?

This concept is a double edged sword.  Only the Patriots have proven that winning at the Super Bowl level is sustainable, and they have the greatest Coach of the modern era and a Hall of Fame QB.  The Packers, Seahawks, Broncos Ravens and Giants have all had very short lived runs at the top.  Those teams have dealt with varying levels of success.  Green Bay's always pretty good, but everyone else is pretty mediocre outside of Seattle, and even their armor is starting to show weaknesses.

The same could come for the Eagles.  They have a franchise QB in Wentz and a very interesting "redshirt" propect in CB Sidney Jones who is basically like having a free first round pick this year, but they are currently projected by spotrac to have negative salary cap space going into 2018.  Not only that, but they have a Brandon Graham holdout/extension discussion that needs to come to to a head.  LeGarrette Blount needs a new deal, Darren Sproles is a free agent, Trey Burton is a free agent, Nigel Bradham is a free agent (whassup, BG?), Patrick Robinson is a free agent and Beau Allen is a free agent.  There's a very good chance Philly will release Torrey Smith and replace him with 2017 draftee Mack Hollins to clear cap space.

1.  Free Agency is not to be avoided-  There are a number of caveats here.  First of all, Green Bay was more aggressive in free agency last year.  Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, Ricky Jean-Francois and Davon House and Quinton Dial very well could have been the additions that put the Packers over the top, but a rash of injuries, including to the quarterback derailed the season.  Also, as you've seen above the Eagles were, if not irresonsible, at the very least aggressive in putting this team together.  They don't have a second or third round pick and they have to cut players to realistically field a team next year.  With that said, they won a Super Bowl.  That's the goal.  Their signings of Blount, Smith, Jeffrey, Chris Long and Patrick Robinson all have to be considered shrewd.  The right types of deals, like Jeffrey's one-year prove it contract are the ones to shoot for.  

2.  You have to have a viable backup QB- I actually do believe in this.  Tom Moore, the old Indianapolis offensive coordinator used to say "if 18 (Manning) goes down we're f*cked, and we don't practice f*cked" in refernce to giving Manning's backups limited reps in meaningful game and practice situations.  I long agreed with this, and never really believed the upside of an NFL team with a backup QB was really "Super Bowl Champions".  It's not like the Eagles defense (which was fantastic all season long) was the reason they won the Super Bowl.  They were terrible.  Foles, Reich and Pedersen were the reason that the Eagles won that game, even if the defense was the reason they got there.

3.   Pass rush and cornerbacks make the world go round- The Eagles were able to do this on the cheap, too.  They got a Pro Bowl year out of Patrick Robinson, a castoff, but they also invested heavily in Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones as high draft picks.  Ronald Darby came in a trade.  Chris Long was an excellent signing and Derek Barnett a prudent draft choice.  Add those to players to the interior rush of Fletcher Cox and one of the most underrated players in all of football in Graham and you have the keys to a successful pass defense.  This isn't new and the Packers have invested the same way with unfortunately a different level of success.  They'll need to keep trying because this is a concept that never grows old.

4.  College concepts on offense- Philly's offense is predicated on a lot of run-pass option stuff from college.  Reich did a fantastic job.  They were able to run a ton of passing concepts out of these plays that gave the threat of Wentz/Foles running the football when they very rarely did.  Rodgers is a great athlete, but coming off of a broken collarbone and playing into his 30s it's not a great idea to have him running the football all over the place.  It doesn't mean that the same concepts wouldn't work with Rodgers.  I'm fascinated to see what Philbin and Rodgers do with the 2018 version of the Packers.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (72) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

What I learned is defense doesn't win championships. A coach and OC with a game plan were the MVP's in my book. Philly also has 2 QB's that hardly affect the cap.

NitschkeFan's picture

I think that was the most interesting or instructive thing about the game. Both defenses were shredded! I think there may have been only 1 sack (the strip sack of Brady) .

Also I don't think I've seen a game in years with so few penalties called.

Coldworld's picture

Not this Super Bowl at least. Had NE not scraped through their prior game, we might have had a clearer picture.

Put simply, there really wasn’t a really good defense out there. What there was were two really good offenses that shredded two defenses that were good enough to get them there.

For me, while I like the let them play approach to officiating, I think we also saw that the rules now hinder the defense too much. Let’s give the secondaries a chance particularly. It just seems to be less fun now than it used to be when secondaries could contest.

lou's picture

The Super Bowl was a terrific game, the officials "let them play" the entire game, not one ticky tack penalty was called and that was refreshing. other observations;

1. Both teams play "to win" rather than playing "not to lose".

2. Both teams offensive keys are the tight ends and backs out of the backfield.

3. Both teams have solid backup QB's, one being the game MVP and on the Patriots side, Jimmy G. to start the season and then acquiring Hoyer later because of understanding the reality of losing Brady.

How do 1-3 differ from McCarthy's Green Bay Packers ?

Duginske's picture

It actually goes along with your "they did it on the cheap"argument, but Jalen Mills was a 7th round draft pick, not a high draft pick.

stockholder's picture

That Lawrence Guy should never have been Cut.

Coldworld's picture

Are you saying TT was impatient? He was a very slow learner.

lucky953's picture

Never was and never will be a “ difference maker,” which is what GB needs on defense. He’s just a Guy.

GBPDAN1's picture

Quality Pass rush and DB play is what the Packers need to improve on with regard to the defense.
TE, Rt side of the O-line and a deep threat will square away the offense (and of course, a healthy Rodgers).

Seems like a lot, but, some good draft picks and the right FAs will have the Packers back in the hunt this year.

Razer's picture

...Quality Pass rush and DB play is what the Packers need to improve on with regard to the defense. TE, Rt side of the O-line and a deep threat will square away the offense (and of course, a healthy Rodgers)...

I like the simplicity of this assessment. A good draft and one impactful FA signing gets us close. I am also expecting the coaching and schemes to improve from year's past.

lucky953's picture

You nailed it. It’s as simple as that (barring catastrophic injuries).

Qoojo's picture

I learned that the rules are so offensively skewed that the NFL is now the NBA. Defense?! What's that? ****'n joke. But hey, more points means a better game.

I also learned that Collinsworth doesn't understand what is a catch. Probably the worst commentary in a super bowl in a very long time. The constant Brady/Belicheat jock sniffing got old. They kept reminding us what a great game it was because neither team played defense.

Chuck Farley's picture

Funny because the Vikes had the best d this year but when they came up against an offensive system of RPO with the eagles they folded. In other words the offense changed and the D's have not caught up.
The Pats looked clueless yesterday and so did the Vikes, even though the Vikes offense is similar to the Eagles.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Of course the Vikings choked. They're the Vikings. If they hadn't then we might of wound up seeing a 6th ring on Brady.

OrganLeroy's picture

The Vikings also don't play well on the road and on grass.

Coldworld's picture

The Eagles are really good offensively at the moment with few injuries (QB excepted but he had an MVP outing). With today’s rules that is a huge advantage.

In this year’s AFC I think the Pats showed they didn’t need the best D, but were lucky to get through the playoffs from perhaps the weakest conference seen in a quarter century. I don’t think an NFC team with a poor defense has a great chance to make the Super Bowl at present unless they are really good on offense: 2011 Packers good, stay healthy and have a little luck. The Eagles are good and stayed healthy and the luck was the Vikings choking both in terms of game planning and play.

flackcatcher's picture

I agree, the rule changes has really effected the pro game, and not in a good way. Unlike the college game, where the NCAA has worked for clarity. The NFL micro management of rules and the officials on the field has tilted the game in favor of the offense. Makes the pro game look cheap. Still, glad to see darth hoodie taken down a peg. That in it's self is good for the game.

Bearmeat's picture

The Eagles showed me that we are a pass rush and another solid CB away from having a team good enough to win it. And that MM needs to be more aggressive.

Doable in 1 off-season

Coldworld's picture

Really? I saw a lot of offensive shortfalls too. We need a receiver overhaul (WR & TE) and more imaginative use of players before I think a good CB and rush will be enough.

I would also propose a viable back up QB. How would our season and that of the Vikings have turned out had we had Foles waiting in the wings not Hundley?

Overall, I am glad that in 2017 we did not because it forced Mr Murphy to apparently realize what we were all seeing: that overall roster quality had been declining and that change is as necessary. Now we have it, let’s not make that mistake again.

Tundraboy's picture

Yup.

fthisJack's picture

i think the changes in the OC and DC will make a huge difference in this team. many of last years problems can be attributed to predictable play calling on offense and a defensive scheme that seemed too complicated for the players to grasp.
i loved Philbin when he was here. he had the offense absolutely humming. don't know much about Pettine but i like his attitude and think he will field a very good defense.

ricky's picture

Follthow the Eagles lead, and you'll be able to realisitically win one or maybe two SB's, and then become mediocre at best for years. Or, follow the Patriots lead. Turn over the roster on a regular basis. Make every player feel as if they are constantly on the bubble. Find a system that works, then get the players that fit that scheme. Coach them to believe in the system. But having a franchise QB who constantly allows himself to be underpaid. Good luck with that one.

cheesehead1's picture

Liked the way the refs just let them play the game, wish they would do the same for the regular season. I know there were many points scored, but IMO you still need a top D. You don’t get that far without one.

Chuck Farley's picture

I've been on one mind that always beleived you must have balance to win the SB. The idea of MM and Capers, that with Rogers you just score more points than your opponent means the D only has to be fair, not great.
I'm a Pats fan as far as the AFC is concerned and I had them losing yesterday because the D was only so so.
They played MM mindset that hey we have brady and a wow factor offense so our D doesnt have to be great. No not until the super bowl.
Last, looking at the teams that made the playoffs they all had one thing in common, they dipped into the free agent market and selected guys who still have something in the tank, not a Martellis Bennet fraud who wanted one more pay check is all.
The Pack need a lot to compete with the Ealges of the world, Rogers or no Rogers.

Coldworld's picture

Poor Marty gets no ring. Ah, reasons to be cheerful ...

Point Packer's picture

Doug Pederson played that game to win. Too often Mike McCarthy plays not too lose. Speaking of Doug, take him in a second over Mike McCarthy.

CAG123's picture

Why? Because he won the SB? That’s the only reason you would make a comment like that, Doug Peterson had a great year and did great things but let’s see if he can sustain that success before we make ridiculous quick trigger comments like that.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The why could be because MM isn't a very good head coach. Pretty good offensive coordinator though, but a terrible supervisor of defense and STs.

Tundraboy's picture

Thought that the whole game through. My biggest doubt is our coaching. Hoping for an 11th? year jump from MM.

Point Packer's picture

Exactly. The game has passed Mike by. He has never shown an ability to evolve. Pederson is the quintessential modern day NFL coach. Innovative with an ability to make the best decision quickly. Mike McCarthy, neither innovative or quick witted. Stale and boring.

fthisJack's picture

maybe Philbin can make MM look a lot better by managing the offense.

kevgk's picture

I don't see the need for a backup qb right now. The packers have needs all over the field and cannot afford to have a qb that can win a superbowl aside from rodgers. I can't justify paying that kind of money or dedicating a high draft pick for someone you don't want to see on the field at all for several years.

lou's picture

They need an experienced backup QB and with the extra choices this year in the draft can afford to take a shot in the mid rounds for a potential backup to groom, look where Prescott and Brady were taken. I don't think many fans with your logic, packer execS, or packer players want to be involved in anymore home SHUT OUTS or LOPSIDED LOSSES.

dobber's picture

I agree: in a very deep QB class this year, there are good prospects who will go mid rounds and later. Supposedly the Packers have had interest in Barrett from OSU.

OrganLeroy's picture

Just a conversation at the Shrine Game, don't read too much into Barrett & GB at this point, there are MUCH BETTER options in the 5th, 6th rounds coming up.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think Lou moved the goalposts. Kevg talked about paying an experienced QB. That will take money! Foles got $5.5M. Is anyone seriously proposing that we pay $5.5M for an experienced back-up QB?

"They need an experienced backup QB and with the extra choices this year in the draft...." Lou.

I am on board with taking a shot at a DEVELOPMENTAL QB in the draft, but don't move the goalposts on the experienced QB that was the topic.

lou's picture

$5.5M for an experienced QB could easily be achieved by redoing the contracts of Nelson, Cobb, and Mathews and put the team at ease if Rodgers goes down again. A $5.5M "insurance policy" to avoid what we saw last year looks like a slam dunk return on investment.

dobber's picture

Case Keenum's contract was a one-year deal for $2MM.
Matt Moore just finished a 2 yr, $3.5M deal.
Chad Henne's cap hit for 2017 on a one-year deal was $3.5MM.

Don Sieger's picture

Maybe they should pick up Case Keenum or whoever is left over after the Vikings decide which quarterback they are going to keep, Brett Huntley is not gonna get it next year and while I am on the subject of quarterbacks, how about the Packers getting some NFL linemen to protect AR from running for his life every game.

dobber's picture

I think all three of those QBs (Bradford, Bridgewater, Keenum) are going to be looking for a place where they can either start or compete for a starting spot. GB isn't going to be it.

dobber's picture

Too true...I'm just pointing out that they're already talking.

stockholder's picture

It all depends. Do they want to pay A-Rod 30 mil. plus.? Brady was a 5th, and I remember Joe Montana a 3rd. Even joe montana played for KC in his last couple years. If were in a rebuild it makes perfect sense. The scouting is better. But so are the players. The development for a player is 4 years. Get what they can for A-Rod and bank the 30 mil.? Could we get a Brady or Montana? Highly unlikely! Those are the Questions. Even A-Rod said he may have to play somewhere else. Loyalty only goes as far as the pay -check. We should not be in Denial. The # 14 pick may end up being a QB.

OrganLeroy's picture

No it won't!

stockholder's picture

MM threw out the playbook. Philbin is here. A-Rod's contract and no back-up. No pass Rushers at #14. The rebuild is DEPTH! Philbin was a coach and knows more now than when he left. A QB at #14 makes more sense now than ever. It's a laser arm first in anyone's playbook.

holmesmd's picture

I predict Davenport will fall to us at R1 #14 if GB wants him. He appears to be the real deal.

stockholder's picture

Thats a good prediction; but I think the packers would trade back first. He's over -hyped small school. Bull Rush! If you judged him by his senior bowl it would be a mistake. They double teamed him when they didn't have too. Nobody has said All-pro yet in the making. And I think thats what the packers should look at first. Who are your guys that will be All-Pros. Especially that high. If their doubts! Try trading up for them or take the need first, after they trade down.

holmesmd's picture

I’m not sure I would characterize Davenport as you describe? He looks pretty damn good as a pass rusher and very disruptive in the backfield on tape. I don’t think being from a small school is a tangible reason not to believe your eyes. Anyone who Mayock describes as “unblockable” sounds intriguing at least. I agree we could trade up for Chubb but we would have to find a willing dance partner and even if we have to move up 5-7 spots, that won’t be cheap!

stockholder's picture

Your still sold on De. Why? Davenport lists 6-6 259 4.77 pre combine. It's small school Tape. He did not dominate in the 1 on1s (SB) several scouts have written. And the bull rush is his only attack. Chubb 6'3" 275 4.84. Arron Donald is faster. A True DT playing DE. But is Chubb - Donald. Not enough speed for me. So If the packers draft Davenport where do you put him? The 3-4-4 DL avg. weight is 290. Do you want a 259 pound DE in Green Bay? Davenport is slower than a natural OLB. Mathews is a true OLB. Perry Elephant, and Davenport would be an elephant. If you want slow OLbs you take him. With Datone Jones being a bust. I prefer a true OLB. over a Tweener.

Coldworld's picture

If it is a QB I would trade back and then back into the round. Rookie QB is not going to help if Rogers has injuries in ‘18. Too few years to continue that gamble.

stockholder's picture

Huh- Dak prescott and Carson Wentz were pretty darn good. And what about Ryan,Luck, and manning to name a few. Not everyone is A-Rod and can learn from a Hall of Famer. We need to get Hundley out of here!

John Kirk's picture

One thing that should be made clear with our use of FA last year... We let 7, I believe, players go that would normally be overpays to keep if not for the volume. FA was only used because we opted not to overpay our own and we saved millions but who was the big net gain?

That's what FA needs to be for us, a net gain. Not net neutral or minus. If you let Richard Rodgers go and replace him with Travis Kelce that's a huge net gain. If you replace Richard Rodgers with a guy like Lance Kendricks, you're using FA but not creating net gains. Alshon Jeffery was a huge net gain for their WR corps, Blount was a decent gain and Ajayi was a big gain via trade.

Packers swapped for little to no gain on any move they made. In some cases lost. The overall effect of using FA last year wasn't a net gain for our roster. It was in Philly and the last two times we won the SB.

Trades are important ...Favre and Al Harris and even Ryan Grant should ring some bells. Shoot, Clay Matthews, too. We truly need EVERY AVENUE to win not lip service. I just can't get over how myopic Ted's approach was. So much left on the table.

Philly also used trades in other ways as in Bradford to Minnesota to get high picks. Just a smart total approach to win.

I'd like to believe we got smarter this offseason with Pettine, Philbin and Gutekunst but with Mark Muphy interjecting himself into football operations as a total unknown and Mike McCarthy still here it's hard to get a sense if we lost as much as we gained.

Jonathan Spader's picture

What your loss vs gain equation leaves out is a little thing called comp picks. Check your math lol. We have extra draft picks and cap space we wouldn't have if we'd kept the players we cut.

We still don't know if it was worth it. It depends on what we do with the cap space we saved and who the draft picks turn into as players. Here's hoping Gute makes the most of his opportunity.

John Kirk's picture

You think a comp pick would equal a net gain over a FA like Jeffery?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

GB was more aggressive in FA, I suppose. But not really. Not on net. Contracts of FAs leaving GB:

$9.50M - Lang
$6.00M - Hyde
$5.58M - Tretter
$5.30M - Cook
$4.25M - Lacy
$3.50M - Peppers
$3.50M - Datone
Total: $37.63M.

And we signed Bennett ($7.0M), Brooks ($3.5M), House ($3.3M) Kendricks ($2.8M), Evans ($2.4M), RJF ($2M) and Dial ($775K). Total: $21.775M.

That's a net outflow of $15.855M. It is strictly speaking true that TT signed more FAs for more money than usual, but I don't know how one can keep a straight face when we would have earned no less than 5 (Five!) comp picks, and still will get four since that is the maximum allowed.

Ustabeayooper's picture

Smart teams use their players natural ability to win games. A TE who was a QB throws a TD to a QB on 4th down. Reverses to WR for 1st downs. Going for it on 4th down at midfield with 5 minutes to go. Peterson showed what it takes to win. Our team doesn't use the talent it has. Cobb is a former QB, yet hasn't thrown a pass in recent memory. We have shown very little creativity on offense over the years.Thus we are way too predictable.

Coldworld's picture

All too true. Take your players and build around them. We look for perfection and, when we don’t have it, force lesser players to try to play contrary to their skill sets. I hope Philbin brings that back into town. Other teams scene to players strengths.

Tundraboy's picture

Watching both teams run reverses and the QB plays, all once Packer staples, made me ill.

Packer Fan's picture

Time to stop yackiing. Ball needs to restructure Nelson, Cobb and Matthews to free up cap space. They need to keep as many of these veterans as possible. This allows room to get some much needed defense help.

And Gutekuntz needs to hit better on the draft. I am afraid TT will influence BG too much.

And McCarthy, work with Philbin to create a more creative offense. I believe if BG can get Pettine some more talent, the defense will be better. Can't get much worse.

marpag1's picture

OK so this isn't the kind of takeawy that people had in mind, but...

I think it's kind of humorous how Tony Romo calls a game or two, and all of a sudden everyone is gaga over "RPOs." As if this were a new thing. As if teams haven't been doing this for eons.

I can just hear the voices in the production meeting, "Hey Collinsworth... the latest polling data show that everyone is pumped for run/pass options. So be sure you use the term "RPO" at least 10 times."

Funny.

Could be worse I guess. Better that Romo's RPO catch on rather than Gruden's "Turkey Hole."

gr7070's picture

"They were able to run a ton of passing concepts out of these plays that gave the threat of Wentz/Foles running the football when they very rarely did. Rodgers is a great athlete, but coming off of a broken collarbone and playing into his 30s it's not a great idea to have him running the football all over the place."

This author doesn't appear to understand that an RPO is *not* about the QB running.

The QB decides whether to *hand off* or pass in a RPO.

Sure the QB couple run, but that's not what an RPO is really about.

marpag1's picture

Thank you. We should also note that RPOs are not "from college."

As if we were talking about Navy running the triple option flexbone...

JDK52's picture

It feels strange to say my favorite part of the SB was the officiating. Seriously, it was great and Steratore deserved a standing ovation! Collinsworth, however, deserved a demotion for that performance. What on Earth was he trying to do in repeatedly calling the touchdowns into question? Gross.

Also, the Packers need a legit backup QB. Maybe not Foles' level(he proved he should start somewhere next year), but man what a difference a competent no. 2 can make.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Foles hasn't proved he deserves to start even though he might get an opportunity. He had a great postseason run in an incredibky well organized offense. He looked like a stud in Philly before leaving and getting exposed for the limitted talent he has. Matt Flynn is the ceiling for Foles. Flynn also torched the Patriots.

Coldworld's picture

I disagree. Foles is a player whom you have to adapt the scene to fit as a opposed to a generational talent like Rogers or Favre. That was why he failed. Pederson was smart enough to know that and to use him in a way that unleashed his potential rather than obscuring it.

CAG123's picture

I mean we saw the great turnaround that Jared Goff made after the king of 7-9 seasons left town Nick Foles could have easily been one of his victims. Put him with even a slightly above average HC and I believe you get something similar to the numbers he put up in 2013 with Chip Kelly.

DD's picture

Packers problem? Answer MM. You'll see. Mark it loyal fans.

swampthing69's picture

Biggest thing I saw was a team with no real weak links. Roster looked very competent top to bottom.

Green Bay has to stop relying so heavily on 7th rounders and UDFA’s to contribute- in any capacity. They belong on a practice squad, not as an expected contributor. Getting plays from players like that is a bonus, depending on it is not a winning strategy.

fthisJack's picture

500+ yards by Brady looked more like the GB defense to me. they were lucky enough to outscore the Pats.

dobber's picture

It depends on what you call an 'expected contributor'. If you're calling starters expected contributors, then you want those guys to earn their jobs based on quality play. Looking at where the Packers started 2017 (which would be based on 'planning'), there's only 1 UDFA in the group (Lane Taylor) and he's a solid--at least average--starter. If you're saying that there should be no UDFAs on the two-deep, then you're not living in the modern NFL.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Jalen Mills was a 7th rounder. Starting CB for Philly. He is good.

Rodney McLeod was a UDFA. Starting S for Philly. Has started 62 games for Philly over the last 4 seasons. He is pretty good.

One of my issues with TT is how poorly he has done in the 6th and 7th rounds in the sense that he has taken almost no really good players in those rounds. Jolly in the 6th. No one comes to mind in the 7th. Checked: Brad Jones in the 7th would be the best. He does get some guys who can contribute in some capacity.

mrtundra's picture

IMO, The Packers should take the best player on the board, no matter what position he plays, for their 1st Round pick. I'd also like to see them trade away a couple of those 12ish draft picks to grab another difference maker in the first round or early in the second round and not give up their original picks in either round.

ricky38's picture

Aren't the Eagles like 5 million over the salary cap for next year?

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