When the surprising news of the deadline-day swap between the Eagles and Rams hit, my thoughts ran a quick spin cycle:
- 0:01 – “Wow, Witherspon, really?”
- 0:05 – “Smart, creative trade to get something of value now from a declining player. No surprise really, given what we know about Devaney.”
- 0:10 – “Who the hell is Brandon Gibson?”
Thankfully, our Fanball correspondent at the Eagles have Landed, Joe Burt, has the answers. I sent him my observations on Witherspoon, and inquired about our newest golden-horned receiver. Here is Joe’s in-depth scouting report:
St. Louis Fans should not expect a surefire starting receiver, but the potential is certainly there. With the young Eagles Maclin and Jackson already signed long-term, Gibson became somewhat expendable. But the Eagles coaching staff liked him so much that they decided against sending him to the practice squad, where he would have been exposed to other teams. [emphasis mine.] Now, his potential (and a fifth round pick) have landed the Eagles a quality starting linebacker.
With Witherspoon signed for $5 million next season, the Rams could have been doing a bit of salary dumping. They are clearly building for the future and they just got a promising receiver and an extra draft pick. Gibson’s new offensive coordinator is Pat Shurmur, who has been a long-time Eagles quarterback coach and fan of the WCO. He should have no problem picking up the offense, and it seems that the Rams could use a quick study.
Good luck with Gibson, he is a fan favorite who will work and play hard for the Rams.
Firstly, I have to agree that the salary concern for Witherspoon seems very likely to have made him a target. And it would make Spoon the second of Ken Flajole’s former pupils from the Panthers to be shuttled from the Rams for essentially “bang for the buck” reasons. Obviously, Flajole is not a very sentimental guy, or one who plays favorites. However, this trade would not have gotten done if Spoon hadn’t been elevating his play this year. The Eagles are a contender, and contenders don’t trade for the likes of Alex Barron or some of the other names being bandied about.
Secondly, the Eagles have shown a very discerning eye in their WR draft picks recently, after being plagued in the post-TO years with too many alligator-armed pass catchers. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin make a pretty imposing twosome, so the fact that Gibson couldn’t crack that regular rotation shouldn’t be held against him. Philly is an example of the west coast offense done right — high percentage pass plays mixed with regular chances for big plays down field. I have no problem raiding their offensive system.
Thirdly, the tools that Joe describes — particularly the hands and fearlessness — immediately vault him into the Laurent Robinson realm of potential. In other words, the kind of player who can catch the quick-developing routes that were Marc Bulger’s bread and butter in the Greatest Show years: the quick slant and the skinny post. Bulger and Robinson seemed to click almost immediately in practices, and it showed in the limited game play that we saw. It might be asking too much to ask Gibson to just step into that role, but hell… somebody has to. And we’d much rather it was nearly anyone other than 87-year-old Tim Carter getting critical third down targets in the fourth quarter.
Now, what do you say, o wrathful football gods? Can we keep Gibson healthy enough to make that kind of impact? Please?