2013-14 Philadelphia Eagles: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow

With the off-season already in tow and Chip Kelly as now the Philadelphia Eagles head coach, here’s my blueprint for the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Quarterback Michael Vick. With San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson rising, it would seem that Michael Vick would be a logical choice to remain a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  But Vick is actually quite outdated compared to either of those. Vick is comparable to a old-school Corvette versus a modern Saleen S7 in Kaepernick and Wilson. As sleek as Vick may be, his engine would burn out long before he reached the finish line. Vick is outmatched and outdated in this new era of quarterbacks.
  • Quarterback Nick Foles. Nick Foles is no Jeff Garcia nor will he ever be.  Nick Foles has slight potential, but he lacks an upside. Foles is far too predictable.  I would gladly barter both Michael Vick and Nick Foles for San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith, even as a backup.  Smith is an intellectual quarterback, but he lacks mobility.  Still though, he would be a good option for the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Return to 4-3 and Contain Defenses. The Eagles used to be the best at containing the quarterbacks under Jim Johnson, and the Eagles should return to the 4-3.  What the Eagles had in talent in 2012-13 they lacked in mentality and preparation. With Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins in their division, the Eagles defense must adjust properly.
  • Running Back LeSean McCoy. He’s one the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  Talent and skill-wise, he’s been better than Brian Westbrook.  He should be kept.
  • Tight End Brent Celek. He’s another of the few bright spots of the Eagles organization.  He should be kept.
  • Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson. His free lunch with Andy Reid is officially over — and should have been over a while back.  If Coach Kelly wants him to play as kick returner, he plays kick returner.  If he wants him to play cornerback or safety, he plays cornerback or safety.  Otherwise, he gets traded and exchanged for someone more than willing to play, like soon-to-be free agent Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings.
  • CEO Jeff Lurie. Well, he should keep his reins on Chip Kelly.  At least for now.
  • Head Coach Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly must instill discipline of the Eagles team from the start.  However, he seems like a pushover which does not seem to bode well.  Kelly could play favorites like Reid did, and the house of cards will again crumble.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick: 2011 Reality Check and 2012 Fantasy Football Outlook

2011 Reality Check

2011 was the year in which Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick fell to earth.  I commented on this earlier in the year, decidedly saying that he would fall into solid QB2 or low-end QB1.   In either case, he produced as expected in most of the regular season games. producing such solid QB2 or low-end QB1 numbers.  Aside from him contending with injuries and the DeSean Jackson debacle, 2011 was not one of his better seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

This regular season, he produced 3,303 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an above-average 84.9 quarterback rating.  On top of that, he had 3 turnovers.  Compared to his 2010 regular season, he produced 3,018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 6 fumbles and a 100.2 quarterback rating.  Obviously, Michael Vick had a heavy dose of reality, but he still did better than his 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.  However, this is not saying much as Vick has reached his peak, more or less, in my honest opinion.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was inconsistent much of this past season.  He started fairly strong against his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, with 242 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, an interception and a 103.6 quarterback rating.   His best game was against the Dallas Cowboys in which they were trounced 34-7.  Vick had 279 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and a 129.9 quarterback rating.  To keep things in perspective, he was facing the Cowboys 23rd-ranked passing defense during the regular season.  During the 2011 regular season, he had his worst game against the Arizona Cardinals.  Ironically, the Cardinals defense was almost as comparable to the Dallas Cowboys defense.  The Cardinals defense was ranked 18th in overall defense and 17th in passing defense during the regular season.  Yet Michael Vick only threw for 128 yards, had 2 interceptions and a dismal 32.5 quarterback rating.

2012 Fantasy Football Outlook

For the 2012 regular season, I would place Michael Vick again as a solid QB2, and he should be capped at a high-end QB2 at best.  Vick is prone to injury, fumbles and inconsistency as he has demonstrated the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He should be handcuffed — if not with Vince Young, then some other quarterback when drafted.  He has reached his peak or thereabouts, I believe. He’s essentially the Eagles’ Brett Favre minus the drama.  However, line coach Howard Mudd will help the offensive line, but it won’t change the fact that Michael Vick is above-average at best.  Comparatively, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has an upside due to his youth and athleticism.

Philadelphia Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie: A View on His Pressing Conference

The Philadelphia Eagles fans have been calling for head coach Andy Reid‘s head over this past season like the past seasons, but this time, it was justified as the Eagles ended at .500 with an 8-8 record.  They demolished the hapless Washington Redskins in their last regular season game with a 34-10 win, but it was all for nought.  The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets the previous week with a score of 29-14 and sealed the NFC East title with their 31-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys.  The Jets win saved Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s job and winning the NFC East title gave them an opportunity to enter the Super Bowl.

On the topic of head coaches, Andy Reid was on the hot seat this season as his team could not gel together until midway through the regular season.  The “Dream Team” could not power offensively through teams like in past seasons, and it hurt them.  Quarterback Michael Vick’s above-average performance this season with 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an above-average quarterback rating of 84.9.  It was only slightly better than his 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.  Vince Young did only worse with 4 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a depressing 60.8 quarterback rating.  Neither of them were salvaging Andy Reid’s head nor their offense.  Andy Reid is the NFL’s winningest head coach earning 136 total career victories through the 2011 season.  Reid may be a bit overdrawn at his coaches in important personnel positions — like Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator.  However, he does find gems in the rough on the field.  Running back LeSean McCoy is one of his hidden gems that came to fruition this season.

Concerning wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Lurie commented that he is a “terrific player,” and that he is.  But Jackson has also been toxic in the locker room.  Vince Young could relate as his problem with the Tennessee Titans former head coach Jeff Fisher.  There is no doubt the Eagles will attempt to keep DeSean Jackson.  How much money the front office is willing to separate to keep him is the question here.

One last note is that the front office will not be changed in any way.  At least, the   Philadelphia Eagles aren’t quite as desperate as the Jacksonville Jaguars nor as brain-dead as the Oakland Raiders.

Jeff Lurie didn’t say anything that wasn’t expected, given the failure of the Eagles this season.  He knows there is another season, but if Andy Reid ends up at .500 or less, Reid better prepare to pack up.  Lurie won’t have the patience, the money or the blindfold of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Steve Smith: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

With the recent acquisition of Steve Smith from the New York Giants, he certainly adds a wrinkle to the receiving corps of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Jason Avant.  He’s no Plaxico Burress that’s for certain as Steve Smith’s record as a wideout for the New York Giants has been spotty at best and negligible at worst.  For the New York Giants, he was quickly replaced by Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham.  Compared to either of them during the 2010 regular season, with both nearly having 1,000 yards receiving yards and at least 9 touchdowns for both of them, he was left with 529 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.  He was a shadow of what he was in 2009.

In his 2009 regular season, Steve Smith had his best performance as wideout for the New York Giants.  In that season, he had 1,220 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.  With his 1,220 total receiving yards for that season, he was ranked 8th among wide receivers.  And, with his 7 touchdowns, he was tied for 20th in the company of Indianapolis Colts Austin Collie, Baltimore Ravens Derrick Mason and Dallas Cowboys Roy Williams.  Compared to his other seasons with the Giants in 2007, 2008 and 2010, he has been a dismal failure of a wideout, barely receiving any production whatsoever.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

On the roster chart currently, he is one of the backup wideouts to Jeremy Maclin.  What his role in the new scheme of the Philadelphia Eagles has yet to be seen, as he is gradually recovering and is expected to practice by week 1 of the regular season.  That is hopeful news but it should be tempered.  With Eli Manning, he was a reliable third-down wide receiver, but he was also placed behind Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer in the depth chart of the New York Giants.  And now, he’s in the same situation yet again with the Philadelphia Eagles.

If and when he recovers completely during the 2011 regular season, he will make an splash with the Philadelphia Eagles, but it might be small at best.  He certainly lacks the speed of DeSean Jackson nor the persistence of Jeremy Maclin.  For now, he remains a viable goal-line target at best due to his physical stature, and that is perhaps his best role on this team.  However, with that in mind, he’s also competing for catches with potentially Eagles tight end Brent Celek.  Perhaps the only thing going for him is Jeremy Maclin’s unknown illness.  Who will recover first and fastest?  It appears that currently Steve Smith has the lead.

2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospect

Steve Smith is an interesting gamble at best, but is he worth it?  Some gambled on Sidney Rice of the Minnesota Vikings last season, but it didn’t come through as expected.  For this season, Steve Smith is a bit like Sidney Rice of the previous fantasy football season minus the upside — really.  True, he’s on an explosive pass-happy offense.  Unfortunately, he’s got competition in his rear view mirror, lots of it.  Jason Avant and Riley Cooper are two of the most notable.  He’s worth a gander in the later rounds of the fantasy football draft, but it will take a person with a lot of moxie to gamble on this one.  I would leave him as waiver wire fodder for now.  If he becomes a starter over Jeremy Maclin, which I sincerely doubt, he’s worth a solid to high-end WR2 optimistically with a dash of upside.  Again, Steve Smith remains a gamble and a large one at that.

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was fairly efficient and productive during the 2010 regular season despite the quarterback situation.  In 2010, he had a total of 1,047 yards on 47 receptions and 6 touchdowns for the season.  He was ranked 12th among wide receivers in total yardage, and tied for 29th in touchdowns among wideouts.  However, his prime achievement was that he led the league in average yardage per catch with 22.5.

During the regular season, Jackson had erratic production at times, but his production improved as quarterback Michael Vick took the helm.  Earlier on, however, in the game against the Detroit Lions with quarterback Kevin Kolb at the helm, he had 135 yards, a touchdown and a stunning 33.8 average yards per catch.  In the following game, he also had a great game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with 153 total receiving yards, a touchdown and 30.6 average yards per catch.  The following three games were downers for him as Eagles running back LeSean McCoy took over as the primary offensive weapon.  Against the Indianapolis Colts, DeSean Jackson blossomed again with 109 receiving yards, a touchdown and 15.6 average receiving yards per catch and was one of the top performers of the game.  In the decimation of the Washington Redskins 59-28, he had 98 yards and a touchdown on two receptions and a stunning 49.0 average receiving yards per catch.  Again, he was one of the top performers of the game, and Jackson essentially set the tone for the rest of the game after his 88-yard catch in the opening of the first quarter.  Then the tides began to turn as defenses began to adjust to Michael Vick, and Jackson’s production went down tremendously until the Dallas Cowboys game.  Jackson rose to the occasion with 210 receiving yards and a touchdown and another stunning 52.5 average receiving yard per reception.  As quarterback Michael Vick began breaking down physically during the close of the season and other personal factors discussed next, DeSean Jackson’s production fell down as well.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Compared to his 2009 season, DeSean Jackson was admirably comparable.  He was ranked 12th in total receiving yards during the 2009 regular season.  Additionally, he was tied for 10th was 9 total touchdowns and ranked second in average receiving yards with 18.6.  He did show remarkable improvement in average yardage per catch, but he fell somewhat in the number of touchdowns.

With the 2011 season perhaps coming, as the collective bargaining agreement is coming into its final development, DeSean Jackson’s contract has expired.  With the tantrum thrown after the Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Chicago Bears and his unwillingness to mesh with coach Andy Reid, whether DeSean Jackson will have contract extension after the lockout ends remains to be seen.  Potentially, the Eagles should, but they might not have enough to cover Michael Vick’s contract. Should Jackson be traded, the Philadelphia Eagles will lose a valuable cog in their potent offense.  Unfortunately, DeSean Jackson does have Drew Rosenhaus as an agent, and Jackson may become another Terrell Owens, loaded with talent but blinded by money.

2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospect

During the 2011 fantasy football season, wide receiver DeSean Jackson should be ranked a high-end WR2 to a solid WR1 if Jackson intends on staying with the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, the limitation is by his teammate Jeremy Maclin who may have become the primary wideout in the Eagles offensive scheme.  Perhaps a more severe limitation will be the second half of the Philadelphia Eagles schedule where the opponents become much more physical and potentially cause serious injury to Eagles star quarterback of the 2010 season, Michael Vick.  Finally, the final limitation may be another team.  Which team is an interesting question, but I imagine a pass-happy team like the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers or another can definitely benefit from a wide receiver like him.  Depending on the team, however, his production could fall into solid to high-end WR2 status which could hurt fantasy football players intending on drafting a solid wideout early.

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Philadelphia Eagles Jeremy Maclin played second string to DeSean Jackson in 2009 during the tenure of Donovan McNabb.  He’s been more than an adequate wideout for the Eagles offensive machine but had a breakout season during the 2010 regular season, excelling past his teammate DeSean Jackson in terms of touchdowns and receptions.  Maclin absolutely dominated the Atlanta Falcons during the early part of the season with 159 yards on 7 receptions and 2 touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a victory of 31-17.  On top of that, he had 22.7 yards per carry of which his longest was an 83-yard reception.  In that complete obliteration of the Washington Redskins of the score of 59-28, Maclin contributed 90 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.  The following game against the New York Giants, he dominated with 120 receiving.  Then began his fall as the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans kept him under 75 yards a game and 11.2 yards per catch. On the bright side, he did manage to score three touchdowns in those four games. However, not all this was Maclin’s doing.  At that point, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was battered as defenses caught on to his tendencies.  Vick withdrew into his former shell as a rushing quarterback as defenses blitzed consistently.  Maclin did improve somewhat when the team faced the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card game.  He had 73 receiving yards on 3 receptions and 24.3 average yards per catch.  Unfortunately, he was kept out of the endzone when the Philadelphia Eagles lost 21-16.  In 2009, he was  a low WR2 at best, but in 2010, he improved to a solid to high-end WR2/low-end WR1.  In fact, his 10 touchdowns ranked seventh among wideouts, and his 964 accumulated total receiving yards during the regular season ranked him 19th among wideouts.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Compared to his 2009 rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles organization, Maclin had six more touchdowns and 191 more receiving yards. He improved his ranking as 54th among wideouts in touchdowns to seventh which is a great improvement.  His 773 yards during his rookie ranked him 43rd.  However, his receiving yards led him in the company of potent San Diego Chargers wideout Malcolm Floyd and Indianapolis Colts invaluable wideout Pierre Garcon during his rookie season. During his 2010 season, Maclin was in the company of breakout Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Williams. Maclin has begun maturing as a wideout, but his athleticism and speed won’t break his teammate DeSean Jackson.

Jeremy Maclin still has about three years on his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, he should still have productive seasons with Michael Vick at the helm as they have some sort of chemistry.  Jeremy Maclin’s productivity will have direct impact on others, most notably tight end Brent Celek and his teammate DeSean Jackson.  Maclin is the preferred target of Vick over Celek and Jackson during the 2010 regular season.  I expect the trend to continue into the 2011 season minimally as long as Michael Vick stays around.  Maclin will remain productive and effective wideout on the fantasy football roster.

2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospect

Jeremy Maclin has shown that he has become an effective cog in the Philadelphia Eagles offensive machine, but his productivity heavily remains on the health of Michael Vick, as do the other Eagles wideouts.  I wouldn’t draft a wideout too early during the 2011 fantasy football season however.  He should remain a solid WR2 to low-end WR1 throughout the 2011 season, but there may be surprise fantasy football wideouts that you can pick off the waiver wire that might more than adequately be as productive and serve as a substitute.  Remember Denver Broncos Brandon Lloyd, Buffalo Bills Steve Johnson and Kansas City Chiefs Dwayne Bowe among others.  Most of these wideouts were not chosen first and immediately on draft day.  This has been the trend for the past three or four seasons as free agency has leveled the playing field. The 2011 fantasy football draft should be no different.

Philadelphia Eagles Want to Sign Plaxico Burress: An Indulgence, Not a Necessity

At this point, without much talk about the Philadelphia Eagles and their mini-camps, there has been talk about the Philadelphia Eagles wanting to sign Plaxico Burress once free agency is open.  Burress will be released on in another week on June 6, and he already has teams intending on signing him.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be reinstated and can play this season whenever the work stoppage is resolved.  I have to disagree with head coach Andy Reid‘s decision, as Plaxico Burress is more of an indulgence than a necessity into this upcoming season (if it starts).  Statistically, the Philadelphia Eagles already have potent wideouts, and adding another, even as reserve, can be best filled with another player on defense or the offensive line.

The Philadelphia Eagles were ranked 9th overall in yards passing during the 2010 season.  DeSean Jackson, Eagles primary wideout, was ranked 15th overall in terms of total receiving yardage, and Jeremy Maclin was ranked 19th in terms of total receiving yardage.  DeSean Jackson did lead in one stunning statistic during the 2010 regular season.  He led the league with an average of 22.5 yards per reception.  According to Football Outsiders, the Philadelphia Eagles were ranked 14th overall in touchdowns per red zone appearance in the 2010 season and had an 18.5 percent touchdown conversion percentage.

This may not entirely be the wideouts’ responsibilities however.  Several pertinent issues hung on the Philadelphia Eagles offense during the regular season.  First, although Michael Vick improved compared to his tenure as an Atlanta Falcon, his quarterback ability declined from week 13 against the Houston Texans with a 1o3.4 quarterback rating on 2 touchdowns, an interception and 302 passing yards.  It could be debated that his decline started earlier after the dominance of the Washington Redskins in week 10 with a 150.7 quarterback rating on 4 touchdowns and 333 passing yards. He ultimately collapsed significantly with a 79.9 quarterback rating when the Philadelphia Eagles fell the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card game.  Partially it was from defenses catching onto Michael Vick, partially it was from Michael Vick carrying the entire team himself when there was no need, and partially it was from Michael Vick’s tendency to rush in the latter part of the season. Second, the Eagles became one-dimensional as Michael Vick often rushed as often if not more than running back LeSean McCoy.  With Michael Vick as the helm, if the teams covered the wideouts in a Cover 2 shell, the defenses forced Michael Vick to throw into traffic or rush out of a collapsing pocket.  Vick often chose the latter since he did not often lean on his running back or his tight end Brent Celek too often.  Overall, the Eagles offense could have been considered a one-trick pony, and a one-trick pony doesn’t usually win Super Bowls.

Adding Plaxico Burress, he has been out of football since 2008, and he will require adaptation to the strenuous training and physicality involved. Discounting his 2008 season with the New York Giants, he had an above-average 2006 and 2007 seasons.  In his 2006 season, he had 988 receiving yards (which was ranked 20th overall), 10 touchdowns and averaged 15.7 yards per reception. Compared to his 2006 season, he had a slightly better 2007.  In 2007, he had a 1,027 receiving yards (which was ranked 21st overall), 12 touchdowns and 14.6 yards per reception.  Granted Plaxico Burress had Eli Manning as his quarterback and under the run-heavy offense of New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, even with the change in scenery with the Philadelphia Eagles, he might show small signs of improvement, but his talent pales in comparison to either DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin even in his prime.

However, this may be Andy Reid’s test of Plaxico Burress’ worth in free agency more than anything else. However delusional the “personnel” may be towards Plaxico Burress, Burress’ talents would be better spent on another team, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Seattle Seahawks for sake of argument.  Or quite possibly Burress is another gamble for Andy Reid, like he did with Michael Vick.  If this is Reid dipping again into the redemption pot, lightning might not strike twice.  And it may hurt the Philadelphia Eagles team than benefit them.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+62, or The Age of Television

With a week of legal clockwork grinding in the background, there hasn’t been significant progress of the NFL-NFLPA lockout.  The NFL said that U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ignored the potential harm to the league and to the contract discussions by lifting the injunction in a briefing sent to the 8th District Court of Appeals in St. Louis.  The 8th District Court, in light of this, has put on temporary hold on the order, meaning that the NFL and the NFL players trade association are currently in a state of limbo.  That means no more contract negotiations during free agency or participate in sanctioned workouts.  However, many players have taken their own initiative to hold workouts, including Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo and New Orleans Saints Drew Brees.

Splitting attention with the NFL’s appeal, U.S. District Judge David Doty held a two-hour hearing on the splitting of the $4 billion in television revenues, which the NFL players want $707 million in damages due to renegotiated television contracts by the NFL that would permit the league to still get paid despite the lockout. Doty ruled in favor of the NFL players on March 1 declaring that the renegotiated contracts failed to “maximize revenues” for the players.

As these legal proceedings has gone on, the NFL players have made significant moves on their own.  Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre had declared that he has officially retired and “done with football.”  We have heard this same song and dance twice before, and I wouldn’t hold my breath quite yet.  Even despite his lackluster performance in 2010, with 2,509 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and a below-average 69.9 quarterback rating, he might still make a comeback again.  Not entirely out of the picture since the NFL has yet to formally declare this upcoming season open.  However, the disastrous sagas of Jenn Sterger and the other women last season would certainly hinder him.

One intriguing note came from the Seattle Seahawks as Matt Hasselbeck and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held discussions about his return to the team once the work stoppage ends. With him potentially returning, the flip-flop duo of Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst of last season’s Cinderella team would return on the roster.  This veteran didn’t have his best season last year until honestly the final game of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints and their NFC title game against the Chicago Bears.  In their last game, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler exploded with 4 touchdowns and a 111.3 quarterback rating.  However, Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck himself did pretty well, too.  He had 3 touchdowns and a 94.3 quarterback rating against one of the tougher defenses in the league last season.

There were some other player news locally.  Boxer Bernard Hopkins ripped into former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb saying that McNabb was essentially born pampered and made some off-handed racial remarks as well.  But this is nothing more than what some boxers do best, stir the pot to cause some commotion.  Other boxers have done the same in the past, similar to Muhammad Ali had done to his competitors Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

After all this legal limbo this week, the NFL and the NFL players trade association are still in quite a legal stalemate.  These courts have to wait until the final decision has been made by the National Labor Relations Board as the Board’s mandate will directly impact their own.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+55, or the NFL Players Workouts and Their Briefs

Although brief and short last Friday, the some of the NFL players did get an opportunity to work out at their facilities, but the NFL team owners filed a brief in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis as a countermeasure against U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson‘s order to lift the lockout.  They argued that Nelson’s injunction was federal interference when the Norris-LaGuardia Act stated that federal courts should not impose themselves in labor negotiations.  As expected, the players “trade association” said that the NFL team owners have caused irreparable damage from the work stoppage.  However, the appellate court has granted a temporary stay, reinforcing Nelson’s original injunction to lift the lockout. The appellate court in St. Louis consists of judges Steven Colloton, Kermit Bye and Duane Benton, and they will be deciding whether the stay will be permanent.  There is hearing scheduled June 3 with David Boies representing the league and Thoedore Olsen representing the players.  This is expected to take another six to eight weeks, should it be decided that these three judges will rule on the entire appeal.  By that time, it should give U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson and the National Labor Relations Board sufficient time to make their decisions on their respective cases.

In the meantime, the NFL players have begun their training although not sanctioned by the teams.  New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees led nearly 40 players to a training camp of sorts at the Tulane facilities. New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is leading his training camp in California.  Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins has led workouts in the Denver area. Young Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy held his workouts in Austin, Texas.  Lastly, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is hosting his in an undisclosed location with 40 players in attendance.

In light of this, Judge Nelson does not remain optimistic that the 2011 season will open on time.  However, the NFL schedule currently has taken that into effect.  On the bright side, these private workouts scheduled by the leaders of the respective NFL teams will hinder some from causing legal trouble during their free time.  And for some of the fans, including myself, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel, but it looks like we have to remain patient while the courts and attorneys sort themselves out.  These briefs won’t be short as their name implies…

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+48, or the Nelson Imposition

With all these legalities going on, the NFL Draft has officially begun for each of the respective teams as they wheel-and-deal to get the best upcoming rookies on their rosters.  Despite these festivities, these legal cases will still go on as Nelson expects an immediate appeal at the 8th District of Appeals in St. Louis. However, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson has imposed the lift on the lockout on the NFL team owners.  These owners, of course, are appealing the ruling, but it does give hope to the players and their fans that the season may start on time — maybe.  The Draft will proceed although not with confusion.  The state of the use of the team facilities has been put on hold as the team owners seek clarification.  Additionally, the free agency contracts tendered in March before the work stoppage will be enforced using 2010 rules.  Lastly,  NFL’s free agency, should the lockout proceed after the appeal, could fall into a mess as players will be falling under two different contract litigations. Until the Appellate Court resolves Nelson’s ruling, the NFL is in a state of legal mire although the Nelson’s ruling has given players and fans early success.  This success may be short-lived and may cause irreparable damage in the long-term.

For now, the first day of the NFL Draft has proceeded with little hitch.  The rookies from the NCAA has at least determined which team they will potentially join.  This will give the coaches minimally ideas for gameplans as they will know where the new players will potentially fit.  For the Philadelphia Eagles, they should fill in the offensive line first and holes in their defense.  The offense, although highly potent and explosive, can take care of itself this potential upcoming season.  DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy are all fairly young in their respective positions, and wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are maturing nicely.

Until then, football fans will have to wait until May 16th until any significant progress will happen, unless there’s another round of mediation.