Let Me Tell You About the Birds & the Knees

Let Me Tell You About the Birds & the Knees
April 1, 2010, 10:59 am
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Our man Rev is icing a sore knee. These are his words.

While
the entire football following world, and for that matter non-football
following world (thanks for checking in TMZ), races to provide us with
breaking no news updates on where Donovan McNabb will play next season,
the Eagles continue to tweak their roster and prepare for the upcoming
draft. Predicting what they will do in free agency and the draft has
not been easy. During the Lurie/Banner/Reid era the team has continually

played things close to the vest. There are not a whole lot of leaks
coming out of One Novacare Way. No one knew ahead of time about the
Michael Vick signing. Choosing Kevin Kolb in the second round was a
surprise for which no one was prepared. Removing Jeremiah Trotter’s
franchise tag in 2002, thus making him a free agent was a shocking move.

They have shown a propensity for making unpredictable moves, and keeping

those moves under wraps.

However,
not everything the organization does is unpredictable. For years they’ve

drafted and stocked up on young linemen with perceived upside (John
Welbourn, Scott Peters, Jamaal Greene, Trey Darilek, Scott Young, Calvin

Armstrong, LaJuan Ramsey, King Dunlap, etc.). They’ve also shown a
willingness to draft players from small schools who have not played
against the stiffest of competition throughout their college years
(Bryan
Smith, Andrew Studebaker, Chris Gocong, and Todd Herremans). Some of
these moves have worked out (Welbourn, Herremans, and Gocong), while
others have not. These moves show that they occasionally do fall into
trends with their thinking and philosophy.

Recently
they’ve shown a bizarre and repeated willingness to spend draft picks
and free agent dollars on guys with major knee issues. It’s getting
to the point where they cannot help themselves when given the
opportunity
to acquire someone coming off a catastrophic knee injury. Perhaps
Trotter
is to blame for all of this. He somehow carved out a Pro Bowl career
without the benefit of knees. He jokes that his knees are so bad there’s

no shot he would pass a team physical.  How the guy played middle
linebacker in the NFL without knees is beyond me.

Here
is the roll call of guys they’ve drafted or signed over the last two
years who’ve had knee problems:

  • Jack Ikegwuonu (invested
    a 4th round pick in 2008, despite suffering from a torn
    ACL)
  • Cornelius Ingram (invested
    a 5th round pick in 2009, despite suffering from a torn
    ACL)
  • Stacy Andrews (as a free
    agent in 2009
    , and coming off ACL surgery he signed for 6 years $38.9
    million)
  • Marlin Jackson (as a free
    agent in 2010
    , and coming off ACL surgeries in each of the last two
    years, signed for 2 years $6 million)

Now,
I can somewhat understand the Ikegwuonu and Ingram picks. Essentially
they could bring them along slowly, let them rehab, get acclimated to
professional football, and ostensibly give them what amounts to a
redshirt
year with that hope that the investment will pay off down the road.
That I understand. I do not understand the Andrews and Jackson signings
though. These are guys who play positions of need. Their entire
offensive
line was thrown into flux due to, among other things, Stacy Andrews
not being healthy. They have a glaring need at safety, so what do they
do? They go out and sign a guy who has had his last two seasons cut
short thanks to knee injuries. They continue to put a large number of
their eggs in the same injury riddled basket. I don’t get it.

You
know how when teams have a ridiculous trade proposal which seemingly
no one will accept they pick up the phone and call Al Davis and the
Raiders? Yeah, that’s the way agents must feel when they have a client
coming off a knee injury. Hmmm, my client has no cartilage or ligaments
in his knees? Which organization would possibly draft/sign my guy? 
I know, I’ll holla at the Eagles…they love guys with leg issues.
It’s a no brainer. It’s so bad that I am convinced that if they
were available, and the least bit athletic, the Birds would seriously
consider offering contracts to Spider from Goodfellas after being shot
in the foot by Tommy, James Caan’s character with the shattered legs
from Misery, and Lieutenant Dan. Must. Sign. Guy. With. Damaged. Legs.

Obviously
I am at total loss to explain why they’ve made the organizational
decision to acquire players with such significant injuries. They do
not strike me as the kind of team which makes rash decisions and
formulates
an action plan without first doing their homework. You’d like to assume
they’re employing some sort of sound methodology.  So, how do
you explain these decisions? FYI, during the draft keep an eye out for
Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond III. The Birds have a (k)need (see
how I did that?) in the secondary and he’s coming off ACL surgery.
They’re bound to take him.

Photo by Jonathan
Daniel / Getty Images

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