Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Paul Domowitch: Bell needs to stay healthy to help Eagles

Four years ago, Demetress Bell was invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. A former basketball player at Northwestern (La.) State, he did fine in most of the running and jumping drills, but didn't do so fine when he had to go into the weight room and bench-press 225 pounds.

The Eagles signed left tackle Demetress Bell in the wake of Jason Peters' torn Achilles. (David Duprey/AP file photo)
The Eagles signed left tackle Demetress Bell in the wake of Jason Peters' torn Achilles. (David Duprey/AP file photo)Read more

Four years ago, Demetress Bell was invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. A former basketball player at Northwestern (La.) State, he did fine in most of the running and jumping drills, but didn't do so fine when he had to go into the weight room and bench-press 225 pounds.

Bell did only nine reps, which were the fewest of any offensive line invitee at the '08 combine. That number went a long way in explaining why he still was on the board when the Bills claimed him in the seventh round with the 219th overall pick.

"I remember calling him after we drafted him and he said, 'I just want to let you know that I've really improved my bench press [since the combine]," said Tom Modrak, the Bills' former director of player personnel. "It was on his mind and he was determined to get better. And he did."

Modrak, the Eagles' former vice president of football operations, applauded his former team's signing of Bell to replace injured All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters.

"He'll suffer by comparison just because Jason probably was the best tackle in the league," he said. "But if Demetress can stay healthy, he can play left tackle for them and play it well. He's a talented guy. Losing Jason was a big blow. But [Bell] has the ability to do a nice job for them.

"You're not going to find a lot of left tackles out there who can step right in and start for you. Aside from [Matt] Kalil, there's none in this draft. He signed a 5-year deal with the Eagles, but it sounds like a lot of the money was upfront. So they can decide after a year when Jason comes back what they want to do."

The key, as Modrak pointed out, is if he can stay healthy. Bell was a 3-year starter at left tackle for the Bills, but played more than eight games in only one of those three seasons (2010). He missed eight games in '09 with a torn ACL, and missed nine more last year with a shoulder injury.

"He's had the misfortune of going down a couple of times," Modrak said. "Sometimes that corrects itself, sometimes it doesn't. This is a guy who could bloom. He's at a point in his career where he could be real good. He just needs to stay healthy."

Modrak doesn't think Bell will have any problems adapting to offensive line coach Howard Mudd's blocking techniques.

"He's a very athletic guy. That's been his long suit. He'll never be criticized for that. Strength has always been a little bit of an issue, but you can get away with it a little [easier] on the left side than the right. But even there, he's improved."


The Eagles sent quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson and one of their scouts to College Station, Texas, Monday for a private workout with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the Birds to trade up to No. 3 or No. 4 to grab Tannehill. My guess is they were just doing their due diligence in the event Tannehill slides a little closer to where they're picking at 15. The Eagles' visit to College Station, coupled with coach Andy Reid's longtime relationship with Browns president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert leads me to think they know the Browns won't take Tannehill with the fourth pick.

While I don't think the Eagles will wind up with Tannehill, I think they will take a quarterback in this draft. Which one, I don't know. If I had to pick two who I think would appeal to Reid, I'd say Kirk Cousins, of Michigan State, and Russell Wilson, of Wisconsin, even if Wilson is only 5-10 1/2.

The Eagles have worked out Wilson and Ryan Lindley, of San Diego State, in addition to Tannehill. They also were scheduled to bring Cousins in for a visit.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock handicapped some of the draft's second-tier QBs for the Daily News:

* Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (6-4, 221): "With Weeden, there are two negatives. One obviously is his age [28]. The other is he has struggled when he has had to reset in the pocket. He's got to quicken up the whole process in the pocket. Arm, decision-making, everything. The question teams have to ask is when is he going to be our starting quarterback. If the answer is immediately, then somebody might take him late one [first round). But I think it's more likely he'll go in the top half of the second."

* Cousins (6-2, 214): "Because of the success of Andy Dalton last year as a second-round pick, everybody's looking for the next Andy Dalton. I think a lot of people are looking at Cousins as potentially that guy. It's pushing him up a little higher than he needs to be really. On tape, he's a third- or fourth-round guy, probably third. But he's a compelling kid. He did something at his Pro Day that I've never seen a high-level quarterback do at a Pro Day. He basically took control of his Pro Day. Scripted his own 60 throws. Integrated four, five tight ends, wide receivers and running backs into the script and he ran it. Trust me, a lot of NFL guys took note of that. He's a leader. He's a smart kid."

* Wilson (5-10 1/2, 204): "I like him a lot. He doesn't look great in a pair of gym shorts at a Pro Day. But what I think he is, is a gamer. He's instinctual with a lot of athletic ability, and very effective. I think he'll go somewhere around the fourth round. He's an interesting backup initially because he can be a change-of-pace guy for an offense. He can get in there and get outside the pocket and fastbreak some things and make some things happen while you're trying to teach him how to play inside the pocket."

* Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (6-6, 238): "To me, he's about a fourth-round pick. Was a 1-year starter. He's a big, strong kid. He's a developmental quarterback with some upside. But in the history of the NFL, there hasn't been an effective 6-8 quarterback. He's athletic. He played hoops. But he's raw."


This week's signing of Demetress Bell should have little effect on the Eagles' ability to get a deal done sooner rather than later with running back LeSean McCoy.

According to sources familiar with the Bell contract, his 5-year deal will count approximately $3.5 million against the Eagles cap in 2012. They had a little more than $15 miillion in cap room before signing Bell.

That means the Eagles still have about $12 million in cap space. They will need somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.5 million to sign their draft picks. But they also will be freeing up $10 million in cap space when they get eventually trade cornerback Asante Samuel.

Bottom line: signing Bell will have no impact on the Eagles' ability to re-sign McCoy.


* Sean Payton used to be a nice guy. I first met him 15 years ago when then-Eagles coach Ray Rhodes gave him his first NFL job coaching the team's quarterbacks. Payton didn't yet think of himself as God's gift to coaching back then. Didn't talk to you as if he was up here and you were down there. Didn't have an out-of-control ego. Wasn't yet obsessed with power and all of the perks that come with it. Didn't feel the rules applied to everybody but him yet. But success can change a man. It changed Payton. Or maybe it just brought out the person he always was but nobody could see.

* Every day's a holiday in the NFL. Nike, which has replaced Reebok as the league's new on-field apparel supplier, held a fashion show in New York to unveil the new uniforms. The event received almost as much media attention as a Kardashian wedding or divorce. You'll be happy to know the new Nike jerseys are supposed to be 29 percent lighter than the previous ones. At least they don't have those ugly stick-figure numbers on them Nike uses on many of its college jerseys.


From the lip:

* "I would not like that pick. I would definitely not be happy with that pick." - Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount on the possibility of his team's selecting Alabama RB Trent Richardson with the fifth pick in the draft

* "You always want to play with Peyton, but you don't want to have your future decided by somebody else. You want to control your destiny and your future and hold your future in your hands instead of somebody else's hands." - Redskins WR Pierre Garcon on why he didn't wait to see where former Colts teammate Peyton Manning would end up before deciding on a team to sign with

* From what I see, we're gonna be running around with helmets and flags on in about 7 years. It's getting out of hand. This is not powderpuff football. This is not flag football. This is a violent sport. We wear helmets and shoulder pads. That means you're supposed to go knock somebody around. If you've never played the game, you can't tell me what it's like. You can't tell me what to do." - Ravens S Bernard Pollard on the league crackdown on hitting defenseless players

* "When I was a young coach, there were people like Chuck Noll, Chuck Knox and Tom Landry who were there for me. I think to honor those guys who helped me, you turn around and pass that legacy on to someone else, and Sean's an example of that. If he needs me, and the owner and GM feel the same way, then I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't consider it." - Bill Parcells on his discussions with Sean Payton about filling in for him as Saints head coach during his suspension


* Michael Vick had the lowest passer rating in the NFC East against the blitz last season. Vick had a 65.5 rating when teams sent extra rushers, completing only 56.7 percent of his passes and throwing 11 of his 14 interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus. The Giants' Eli Manning had a division-best 98.4 passer rating against the blitz (20 TDs, 9 INTs). The Cowboys' Tony Romo had an 85.1 rating (7 TDs, 3 INTs), and the Redskins' Rex Grossman 74.5 (7 TDs, 8 INTs).

* In the Eagles' season-ending four-game win streak, defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole combined for 11 sacks, seven quarterback hits and 23 quarterback pressures.

* Babin led all Eagles d-linemen last season in snaps played. He was on the field for 720 of 982 snaps, according to PFF. Tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson had 652 each. Trent Cole played 640 snaps. Others: Derek Landri 355, Trevor Laws 351, Daryl Tapp 306, Juqua Parker 262, Phillip Hunt 180, Antonio Dixon 86 and Brandon Graham 56.


THUMBS UP: To the Carolina Panthers for honoring their late linebacker and coach, Sam Mills, who died of cancer in 2005. Mills, a 5-9 All-USFL linebacker with the Philadelphia Stars before becoming a five-time Pro Bowl player in the NFL, had a saying he often used during his courageous battle with cancer: keep pounding. His determined attitude helped him live a lot longer than the doctors told him he would. The Panthers have stitched those two words into the interior trim of the neck area of their new jerseys.

THUMBS DOWN: To filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who decided that grabbing his 15 minutes of fame was much more important than helping former Saints player and ALS patient Steve Gleason make a video for his young son to remember him by. Whether you think Gregg Williams' kill-the-head-and-the-body-will-follow speech to the Saints' defensive players before their playoff game with 49ers in January was a hanging offense or another day at the NFL office, no useful purpose was served by Pamphilon's leaking the audio of it. We already knew Williams was an out-of-control nut job. Unlike Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt, he didn't appeal his suspension. He will never again coach in the NFL. Never. All that the despicable Pamphilon managed to do was get himself a few days of talk-show pub and spoil a dying man's gift to his son. Shame on you.