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RIch Hofmann chat transcript

Live Eagles chat, Dec. 10, 2007

Walt: Rich, The Eagles wide receivers have to be the worst in the NFL, do you believe they will actually address that need this year, or will they like the Phillies picking a pitcher get another 3rd class wide receiver? Also, why is the Eagles seem to be the most undisciplined team in the NFL with all of their ridiculous penalties.

Chuck: Hi Rich, Have the Eagles players stopped believing in the system rather than the coach? It seems from what I read the players question the system more than anything.

jason: ahh the sounds of the window slamming shut

John: If Andy Reid keeps saying he's got to fix the problem, why doesn't he ?

Chris: Would you say Donovan McNabb is a product of Andy Reid's offense or is Reid's offense a product of McNabb?

Nate: Rich, I don't think it's the receivers as the problem as much as it is withthe QB and the offensive scheme

Rich Hofmann: Hello, everybody. Down here at the NovaCare Complex, Andy Reid told us within the last hour that not only do the 5-8 Eagles still have a great opportunity here, but that Donovan McNabb will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. Great news! Now, on to the questions...

Nate: What do you think Andy is trying to prove keeping Donovan as starting QB for the next three weeks?

jason: yeah they have got a great oppertunity to finnish 5-11

Rich Hofmann: Walt, I don't think the receivers are that bad. For whatever reason, McNabb has just been very conservative with his throws this year. AJ Feeley was reckless, granted, but he moved the team and scored touchdowns against two good teams when he was in there. McNabb has struggled, especially against good teams.

Rich Hofmann: Chuck, I don't think it's a matter of believing. I think it's a matter of being short on playmakers, especially on defense.

Rich Hofmann: jason, watch your fingers.

Rich Hofmann: John, Andy doesn't know what else to say, and it seems the truth is just too painful.

joe: Rich -- the offense has been in the position to win the last three games. Special teams lost one on their own against Green Bay. I'm not entirely sure the defense is the problem this year.

Joey: Where are you on the issue of playing Kevin Kolb down the stretch?

Rich Hofmann: Chris, I think there is a mismatch between Reid's offense (as designed) and McNabb's skill set. When he could run and escape, he could make the offense work. Now, though, even as his knee is clearly better than it was, he refuses to throw the ball downfield or get rid of it quickly.

Nate: The play calling is abysmal at best

jason: ill continue to work that

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I really think it's the quarterback. He has won games and thrown for a lot of yards with worse receivers in the past. Jeff Garcia and Feeley both moved the team. It seems clear to me that, while you cannot blame everything on McNabb -- that's naive, I think -- he is a big part of this.

Nate: So what is your opinion then on the QB? Is the McNabb era over in your opinion?

jason: if kolb isn't the starter next year do you think he should at least be the backup, instead of feely?

carla: Rich-What is McNabb's problem?

Rich Hofmann: Nate, after team president Joe Banner said he couldn't envision a scenario where McNabb wouldn't be the quarterback next season, logic had to tell you that McNabb would keep going. Also, the 15th game is at New Orleans, and even if the Eagles are eliminated, I think Reid will try hard in that one in order to help his old pal (and the Saints' wildcard rival), Brad Childress in Minnesota. So, McNabb,

Rich Hofmann: joe, the defense isn't the biggest problem -- but its lack of takeaways is absurd (last in the league going into the Giants game). That is a big problem.

Nate: That's sad! When will the ownership wake up and do something?

Kjuggs: I need Bill Conlin's autograph...

Rich Hofmann: Joey, more on Kolb: if they really don't plan to start him next season, there really is no hurry to get him in now.

Kjuggs: I actually bought "Batting Cleanup,"

carla: Rich-Maybe we should go for Derek Anderson in free agency.

Nate: Isn't it disgusting that the EAGLES could have had Jason Witten insted of L.J. Smith, Stalworth, gGaffney and Owens instead of their receiving core. If we didn't have snsitve Mcnabb as QB!

Rich Hofmann: carla/Nate: McNabb's problems began in the middle of last season. They got so bad, by Game 8, that Reid fired himself as the playcaller and gave the job to Marty Mornhinweg. But the problems remain. It has nothing to do with the knee, in my opinion. He just seems reluctant to throw the ball.

Nate: Why do you think he is reluctant?

Pablo: Rich: Clearly the team has different personalities with McNabb and without (be it Garcia or Feely). McNabb keeps the plays within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The other guys took chances downfield. I think that not only translated into points, but the daring seemed to instill both sides of the ball with a spirit that is missing with #5 in there. I don't know (nor do I care) whether its McNabb's "fault", but I think it "just is". Do you agree?

Rich Hofmann: Kjuggs, I'm sure Conlin would sign it for you. Just email him and make the arrangements.

Rich Hofmann: Pablo, I think you state it well. And it isn't going to change, I don't think.

jason: rich do you think mcnabbs biggest problem is mentally? he seems to carry critiscim around with him and wont let it go, which is maybe why he is relutant to make some throws and take chances out a fear of makin a mistake and being questioned about it?

Nate: Rich, why do you think McKnabb is reluctant to go down field?

Pablo: I went to the Titans game yesterday - they blew a 14 point 4th quarter lead - so I felt like I was at an Eagles game!

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I understand your frustration about personnel. I will say that it really is an imperfect science. As for why he won't throw it downfield, I don't know. He's always had a low interception ratio, which is a great, great thing. But he used to take more shots downfield, throw more 50-50 balls to receivers, even guys like Charles Johnson and Torrance Small. But he won't do it now.

Rich Hofmann: jason, I can't read the guy's mind. But, watching him, he seems less confident taking chances. Whether it is a residual thing from the knee or not, I don't know.

Nate: I see. So what you are saying is that with McNAbb, we get what we have and without him there could be some hope?

Steve: Rich, How much of the problem is McNabb's fault ? Is it really his inability to play, or the receivers lack of talent?

Bill: What do you make of McNabb's seeming reluctance to fall on his sword and take some of the blame for this? Seems like he used to sound like Andy with the "responsbility starts with me" business.

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I think it's time to turn the page. I think it would help him, too -- and I really respect his career and what he has accomplished.

Rich Hofmann: Steve, see my previous answers. (I think it's McNabb.)

D.J. Smith Jr.: Hi Rich, came in late, do don't know what u covered, but it's sure certain donovan doesn't have what it takes this yr. his last horrah will be against the boys i'm sure

Joey: What do you think the Eagles will do to get a better rush next season? Cole looks good, but you need another end, it seems

Paul: Rich, Thanks for taking the questions. I think the Eagles lack of a "power" run game was again evident at the goal line area again yesterday. But alluding to your comment that McNabb will start the rest of the season, WHEN, not if, the Eagles are eliminated from playoff contention, it seems to make no sense to not play Kolb to find out what you have (whether he was to be the starter next year or not!). I find the decision making of the Eagles organization completely insane sometimes!

Rich Hofmann: Bill, there has been a subtle difference. I don't think it's a big deal, but I do think he is feeling a bit threatened these days by all of the criticism.

Nate: Rich, I totally agree with you. He was good because he made plays when he scrambled. Now he really can't do that so he is an ordinary QB. Defenses had always said kepp Donovan in the pocket and let him beat us. It never happened till this day.

Pablo: Is it time (past time?) to call Andy Reid on the carpet for his draft picks? Other than the McNabb pick, he hasn't exactly wowed with his high picks. Is talent evaluation a problem, in the draft and in terms of which FAs they go after and which they don't?

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith: to repeat from the opening, Reid says that McNabb will be the staring quarterback from here on out.

Rich Hofmann: Joey, I think they need another end. It's that simple.

Nate: Paul, why did they draft Tony Hunt?

Paul: Nate, I wonder that myself since I've seen him maybe 5 times in all the games.

Rich Hofmann: Pablo, they've been hit and miss -- there is no denying it. But I haven't really had time to compare them to other teams. My guess is that their drafts have been average to slightly below.

D.J. Smith Jr.: Rich, what kind of fire does kalb have, is he stoic like Donovan or does he have a fire like Garcia

Rich Hofmann: Nate, as for Tony Hunt, his invisibility isn't that much of a mystery -- because rookies almost never get on the field for this team, especially on offense. Why is another question -- but it isn't just Hunt.

Nate: So true. Sounds like and old "Joe Pa" coaching system.

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith, Kolb seems like a nice kid and he's confident enough to tell a story on himself and acknowledge that he still has a bunch to learn. As for fire, I don't know yet.

D.J. Smith Jr.: Let's hope he has some spunk, A.J. has it, tis too bad he seems color blind at times!

joe: Should we expect to see more of Buckhalter and Hunt in the coming games as the birds shut Westbrook down for the season?

Nate: Rich, what do you think happened to Sheldon Brown yesterday?

Rich Hofmann: joe, I'm not sure we're going to see much more of Buckhalter. Reid said he suffered a concussion on Sunday, and it is a serious one. As for Hunt, he might get a bit of a shot here, I guess, if Buck can't play.

D.J. Smith Jr.: Westbrook: if there was ever someone who needs to be cloned tis him!

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I think Sheldon has been one of their few competent defenders. Lito Sheppard is a much bigger problem here -- he's hurt and people are picking on him.

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith, I know they're a 5-8 team, but how bad might they be without him?

Nate: Rich, he didn't look too good yeterday. I think Lito is hurting the team by playing, but they don't have anyone competent to play instead of him

Eagles Joe: Rich: How do you fix the inept coaching and time management exhibited by Reid on an almost weekly basis? Thanks

Rich Hofmann: Nate, you're right about that. After defensive end, I really think they need a third corner, ideally somebody with some size.

D.J. Smith Jr.: It seems obvious that teams don't have a very big problem figuring out our schemes on both sides of the ball, what do you think Rich?

Rich Hofmann: Eagles Joe, I don't think he's inept. I just think he doesn't have many playmakers right now.

Nate: And a TE, safety

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith, not to beat a dead horse, but I think better quarterback play would solve a lot of this. On defense, they're really lacking another playmaker to go with Cole.

Jim in Havertown: Rich, can you explain HOW the Eagles looked SO good against Detroit, then inept for the rest of the season. Detroit isn't THAT bad. How does that happen?

D.J. Smith Jr.: For sure Rich, but what do we do with the 2 high priced washouts we have now

Rich Hofmann: Nate, you're right. DE, CB, TE, S -- in that order, in my opinion. But I can see other arguments. Of course, they QB has to be addressed or fixed, somehow. That's first.

Nate: Rich, do you think that the Ried/Morningway play calling is predictable?

Kyle: The Eagles need to trade Jevon Kearse and a 4th rounder to the Bengals for Chad Johnson. Then go spend Nate Clements money to get Asante Samuel.

Eagles Joe: Rich; Thanks for the response. I'm not sure I completely agree with you since even Feeley demonstrated that with the current talent they can put over 25 points per game on the board. As soon as McNabb goes back in they reduce that point total to less than 17. Thanks again

Rich Hofmann: Jim in Havertown: it was the uniforms.

Jim in Havertown: Rich, seriously. I DON't think the games are fixed but HOW DOES a pro team play THAT well in 1 game then consistently badly thereafter?

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith: Kearse and Howard figure to be gone after this season. And, no, Kyle, not for Chad Johnson. Not even in Reid's dreams could they pull that one off.

Rich Hofmann: Jim in Havertown, seriously, I don't know and neither do they. The game just seemed to snowball.

Ryan: We seriously need help on offense as far a recievers..I believe Randy Moss's contract is up this year..we need to be aggressive in terms of finding a weapon..look what that did in 04 when we got T.O...McNabb was on a whole higher level

Kyle: Doesn't Chad want out? Wouldn't that help both teams? What would keep it from happening?

Jim in Havertown: After all, if McNabb's rehab is the problem, his knee was worse at the time of the Detroit game than now

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I don't think the playcalling is predictable. They run flea flickers and end-arounds and that stuff. Yesterday, they ran it a bunch in the fourth quarter. They've tried different things, but they haven't worked.

Rich Hofmann: Kyle, Kearse can't play.

jason: and besides they arent gonna pay that kind of money to get chad johnson.they'll get a wes welker and ask him to go from a slot reciever to a #1 wide out

D.J. Smith Jr.: Reggie Wayne would look good in midnight green also fellas!

Nate: Thanks. It seems the whole offensive isues come back around to the QB.

Rich Hofmann: Ryan, for whatever it's worth, I'd rather have a playmaker on defense and fix the QB somehow.

Kyle: Do you think his career is done?

Rich Hofmann: Jim in Havertown, I agree. It isn't the knee anymore.

Jim in Havertown: By the way, the N.E. game showed that the Eagles coaching staff CAN coach a good game plan BUT the players come up short, at QB or on defense.

Nate: Rich, Do you think that Donovan has "shut down" and gone on vacation since he thinks he won't be here next year?

Rich Hofmann: Kyle, after major surgery, the player is often better after the second season (in Kearse's case, next year). But his sack totals have decreased steadily over the years. The Eagles cannot possibly bring him back.

Ryan: Yea thats another good point..i think our defense is more balanced than our offense though..we have dawkins,cole,spikes..

Kyle: You are right Jason, but we need a top WR. I have faith that Brown and Curtis are good enough to make a great 3 WR set, but we need big #1.

joe: People point to the results Feely managed with the current receiving corp, but is it really just a matter of separation? AJ will make the throws McNabb won't, but also throw up 3-4 INTs during the process.

Ryan: Hey Rich do you know of any good recievers who will be free agents next year?

Kyle: So could Jevon be part of a deal or will nobody take that contract of his?

Rich Hofmann: joe, you're right. But there has to be a happy medium, a willingness to take some risks downfield without being completely reckless. McNabb cannot find that spot right now.

jason: we'd have one if they weren't cheap!!!!!!! our loss is the cowboys gain....

Kyle: The Eagles have money - spend it on Asante Samuel and Lance Briggs.

Rich Hofmann: Ryan, I'm worried that Dawkins is about done.

Ryan: A steve smith would sounds good right about now

Rich Hofmann: Kyle, nobody will take the contract.

Rich Hofmann: Ryan, I haven't done my free-agent homework yet. Sorry.

D.J. Smith Jr.: c'mon jason, there's no way T.O. could have continued here!

Ryan: Yeah dawkins is getting to his last stretch i think..but Q. mikell has proved himself a viable replacement

Kyle: I was hoping you wouldn't say that. I just get the feeling he will do well next year.

Kyle: T.O. had to go.

Rich Hofmann: Ryan, for whatever it's worth, I think Mikell's emergence this season has been one of the bright spots.

jason: maybe they should have gotten rid of mcnabb!!!!! instead, after all everyone wanted T.O. back well maybe not everyone, but there were more people askin him to stay then askin him to leave....

Sue: I don't understand the reason that everyone things Reid is so loyal to McNabb. I don't think that's the case at all. Reid wants Kolb, doesnt inform the current franchise quarterback about the draft pick (if he's so loyal, wouldn't he?). Reid has all but thrown McNabb under the bus by what he hasnt said. And that's because they are shopping McNabb around. Reid and the FO knew this was a rebuilding year. They didn't get anyone in the draft to help out for this year. They already know they are rebuilding. Reid plays the media well. Don't say anything against your quarterback but dont say anything to protect him either. Then the focus remains on the quarterback play rather than the rest of the deficiencies on the rest of team

Nate: Rich, Do you think that Donovan has "shut down" and gone on vacation since he thinks he won't be here next year?

Ryan: Well i have full confidence this organization will turn things around next year..look at brett favres career

Kyle: McNabb is not finished at Philly. Philly owes it to the fans and McNabb to see if he can reproduce the old days with a knee that is 100%. Kolb can wait.

D.J. Smith Jr.: Sue, r u a reporter? :)

Sue: psychologisr

Rich Hofmann: Sue, you said a mouthful. But I will agree here: they didn't draft Kolb just for fun. They saw a need and tried to fill it. The only question was the timing -- 2008 or 2009.

Kyle: She makes some good points, but she points out the biggest flaw in McNabb's game - The Philly Media

D.J. Smith Jr.: If there is interest in McNabb I imagine it's up in Mennesota, what do u think Rich?

Nate: ?

Rich Hofmann: Nate, I can't read the guy's mind but I don't believe he's "shut down."

carla: Rich-So what are they going to do with McNabb? I do believe that McNabb has shut down.

Paul: Rich What salary does a sports writer for Phiilynewspapers earn per year?

Rich Hofmann: Kyle, here's my question: if McNabb comes back next year and the offense is no better, then what? I'm not sure the fans will be all that happy about life, and, at that point, the heat really starts to be pointed at Reid. Do they really want that?

Sue: and bring in a new qb and reid gets a pass for a losing record

Ernest: This is not nor will it be the season of the Eagles. I do belive Eagles will have a come back season next year and look forward to it. Also if we lose DM next year it will come back to haunt us. but after next year I think it's time for K Kolb.

Rich Hofmann: DJ Smith: Minn, Chi, Balt, maybe more.

jason: thats what i was sayin, he cant mentally handle the pressure, it was fine before when they were goin to nfc championships, but since the superbowl, he seems extremely fragile mentally..... even if you believ mcnabb has something left iots not gonna show up here, my guess he gets a change of scenery, and plays a little better somewhere else.

Kyle: If the Eagles get rid of McNabb and he is even partly successful elsewhere and Kolb struggles, then what has Philly accomplished? If McNabb flops next year, a change can be made during the season. I don't like getting rid of a QB that is not 100% healthy right now.

Rich Hofmann: Paul, the salary is extravagant.

Paul: Thanks Rich.

D.J. Smith Jr.: personally I'd like to see AJ play next week, even with the picks he gets the chains moved fairly well! what do you all think?

Kyle: Philly needs to go out and spend money on new players after they drop Kearse and Howard. New players bring new enthusiasm and confidence. McNabb will not be the biggest focus unless he struggles. If he stuggles, then go to Kolb who has nothing to lose. If we start Kolb in 2008, it could be a world of hurt.

Dave: do you think the Eagles may go after a Stallworth or Chad Johnson in free agency?

Rich Hofmann: Let me try to combine a few answers here: Kolb is the future, be it next year or in 2009. Reid's future with the team, after that, will be tied to Kolb's success or failure. All of that is a given. The only question is the timing.

Ernest: DM needs some receivers next year , I do think we have some good ones. We need more than good to go along with them

Kyle: Rich - I agree 100%. I just think that time should be middle of 2008 or his own team in September of 2009.

Jay Jones: if I got the Eaglets and 14 from a Cowboy fan... what should I do?

Rich Hofmann: Ernest/Dave: the receiver question comes up every year with this team. I don't know what they're thinking -- but they do figure to have a ton of money.

D.J. Smith Jr.: personally I'd like to see AJ play next week, even with the picks he gets the chains moved fairly well! what do you all think?

Rich Hofmann: Jay Jones, I'd take the Cowboys at this point.

admin: OK, folks, it's almost 2:00... thanks for chatting and get those last questions in.

Rich Hofmann: Jay, I take that back. Hold out for 10.

D.J. Smith Jr.: Don't know about Rich but betting on the Iggles isn't a good thing at this point in time!

Kyle: Thank you Rich for your time.

Rich Hofmann: Jay, I take that back again. 14 is fine (I had it backwards in my head).

D.J. Smith Jr.: T.Y. Rich, and everyone have a good one!

jason: bettin money on the eagles is about as smart as running backwards through a cornfield....

Rich Hofmann: Folks, I'm going to bail out. Thanks, and I'll talk to you soon.

Ernest: Oh, And I am loving number 80. With him and a TO type receiver, (Physical) We will do better. And one chat said to get rid of Howard. Kearse not Howard. I think Howard will show up again also

Ernest: Eagles and bet...

Ernest: later Rich

Kyle: Add Chad Johnson, Lance Briggs and Asante Samuel.

Kyle: We are an old team so let's put all our cards on the table.

admin: All right, that's 2:00. Thanks for chatting everybody, and check back next week, assuming the Eagles are going to go ahead and play the next few games...