RECENTLY Comcast Sportsnet put out a story saying that OT Lane Johnson, WR Jordan Matthews, TE Zach Ertz, DE Fletcher Cox, CB Eric Rowe and LB Jordan Hicks were among half a dozen building blocks that the next coach could base his program on.
This is wrong. Dead wrong.
Not knowing who the coach is means we have no idea what their philosophy may be, what system they may run, or whether or not the new coach will see any of the aforementioned players as the sort of leadership that the new regime demands.
Let me explain.
Every Eagles fan knows that Lane Johnson was drafted with an eye to moving him from RT to LT when Jason Peters moves on. However the new coach may see that very differently, and opt to draft a LT during the 2017 offseason, especially if Peters returns to LT for the 2016 season.
Jordan Matthews wouldn’t be a slot receiver for practically any other coach besides the guy who drafted him. That means now he likely moves outside where he hasn’t established himself as a go-to WR yet (though I think he would). Until he proves himself to be “That Guy” he’ll continue to be just “a guy”, and so not a bona fide building block.
Zach Ertz has never quite lived up to the hype of his potential. While he might be a tempting toy to have, head coaches who waste too much energy trying to mine potential from a guy or two, have a high tendency to get fired. Likely the new coach won’t come in and marry himself to Ertz the way that fans have.
Fletcher Cox is a building block. Even coming off his best year playing as a 3-4 DE, I still wonder if he’s being wasted based on his performance as a rookie playing as a 4-3 DT. He was dominant inside, even though he was a just a pup, and his DC was an Offensive Line coach the year before. Makes me wonder…
Let’s be honest. In 2015 Eric Rowe never sees the field if CB Nolan Carroll stays healthy. Carroll got hurt so Rowe started the last 5 games of the season. He was part of a Secondary that gave up 11 TD’s to just 3 picks over that span. For Rowe’s part he made just one play vs the ball (a deflection) compared to 18 tackles. Rowe is a better Safety than Corner, but until someone sees that, he can’t legitimately be referred to as a building block.
We all love Jordan Hicks, but if this system changes does he have a natural position here? He’s not a prototypical thumper MLB, and he REALLY doesn’t seem to have the speed or change of direction skills needed to be a game-changing OLB at this level. That’s not to say he can’t play MLB, it’s just yet to be seen if he can. With that in question, legitimately calling him a building block is murky.
In all truth, we have no idea what we have on the roster until we know who’s calling the shots. Right now everyone on the roster is a question mark. The sad fact is, they will remain so as long as the Eagles coaching search includes candidates from every direction and indicates no clear vision for how 2016 will be different from 2015.