One week ago, the cornerback position was a major weakness for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, it is a major strength and many fans and pundits are waiting for the Eagles to deplete their depth by trading Asante Samuel. Unless they receive a significant return on Samuel, I think the Eagles should stand pat with three shut down corners; here’s two reasons why:
First, security against an injury. Defensive players are consistently missing games and plays due to minor injuries, tweaks, etc. How many times do you see a deep ball to the opponents top receiver and wonder why the third string corner is covering him? Other teams see the substitutions and attack the weakness. With three top corners, the Eagles will not have this issue.
Second, the NFL is a pass first league, period. Look at the projected top teams in the NFL: Green Bay, Atlanta, and New England. Each of these teams feature predominately receiver heavy sets and in the playoffs, the Eagles will consistently need their three corners in the same defensive set. Pundits are saying that the Eagles should use more nickel packages because of their glut of talent at corner. While their conclusion is right, their reasoning is wrong. The Eagles will be forced to use more nickel packages by their opponents, especially in the playoffs.
With the MLB trade deadline approaching and the NFL off-season condensed into one week, there are some interesting trade rumors flying around in Philly.
For the Eagles, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) would turn a weakness into a strength for sure and he would help the Eagles win now. The Eagles need to think about winning this year, because Mike Vick will not be the same next year or the year after. Full NFL seasons are going to start to take a toll on Vick and the Eagles will soon be on the look-out for a new QB. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Eagles backup will start at least 3 games this year. I’d like to see the Eagles trade Kolb for DRC, but also go after a guy like Brian Hoyer the #2 for the Patriots. With their pickup of Ryan Mallet, they have a solid backup for the future, so Hoyer, a good backup himself would be expendable. In any case, the Eagles need to have a backup plan at QB once Kolb is out of the picture.
Over at CItizens Bank Park, the Phillies rumors surround a bat. Renting Carlos Beltran has a nice ring to it, but I don’t think he is the answer. On the other hand, Hunter Pence would fill the gaping offensive hole left by Jayson Werth’s departure. Pence is in the last year of his contract, but if the Phillies were confident that they could re-sign him (they have Ibanez, Lidge and Oswalt’s contracts coming off the books… 33 million), so they can afford an expensive addition. Plus with Pence signed, the Phillies would have more leverage in negotiations with Jimmy Rollins this winter; his offense could be considered expendable.
The debate about acquiring Pence surrounds trading Dominic Brown. Over the past few years, prospects have become extremely over valued. I heard Brown compared to Darryl Strawberry recently. I think a better peak projection would be exactly what Hunter Pence is right now: .300 average, 25 home runs, and 15-20 stolen bases. Pence has a proven track record of success, while Brown only has question marks. Some trades work well for both teams (see Red Sox/Marlins deal featuring Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez, et al.). I think a deal of Pence for Brown gives both teams what the desperately need, as long as Pence is not a 3 month player (yes, I am counting October…).