The Philadelphia Eagles announced that they have severed ties with Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin on Tuesday afternoon. Head Coach Andy Reid commented on the move saying this was more about giving the young guys an opportunity to showcase their talent(s). Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are the front runners for the starting job.
“We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team over the last couple of years,” Reid said. “We wish him all the best as he continues his career. By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of younger guys in the defensive line rotation.”
Babin started his reign of terror on opposing quarterbacks in the NFL in 2010 when he signed with the Tennessee Titans and Jim Washburn’s wide-9 formation. In his first year in Washburn’s system Babin recorded 12.5 quarterback sacks earning his Pro Bowl berth. Babin returned to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2011 after the Eagles signed the highly regarded Jim Washburn. In just his second season in Washburn’s system Babin took the league by storm by recording 18 sacks, and his second Pro Bowl appearance.
However, 2012 hasn’t been kind to the man known as the “QB Killa”. Babin has just 5.5 sacks on the season with the Eagles organization. Still, he has more sacks than any other defensive lineman including veteran Trent Cole.
So what is this move all about? Why cut Babin at this stage in the season rather than waiting until the season is over?
There are a couple of possible explanations.
First, there are a lot of media members who are saying Babin had a poor attitude during recent interviews with them. Now, there are a few out there that believe Babin’s personality wasn’t sitting well in the locker room or that Babin might not have been seeing eye to eye with the coaching staff. I’ve held numerous interviews with Babin and have nothing bad to say about any of them. Jason always answered my questions honestly and never once displayed any kind of irritation of any sort.
While the theory of Babin not getting along or seeing eye-to-eye with anyone in the coaching staff, I believe this is just the first move away from the wide-9 technique. As mentioned, last year was a success under Jim Washburn’s defensive strategy which has failed miserably in 2012. Is it possible that Washburn himself will be the next man out the door? Remember, Jeffrey Lurie stated that unless the team made significant improvements this season changes would be made.
He never once singled Andy Reid out.
So the possibility that Lurie was referring to everyone but Reid is very real. Marty Mornhinweg could be gone, Jim Washburn will likely be gone at the end of the season and I sincerely doubt Howard Mudd will be returning in 2013 to head the offensive line. Todd Bowles could go either way. If the Eagles can bring in a more proven defensive coordinator than Bowles will be gone. If they can’t they might be able to justify keeping by saying he had a limited amount of time to work with the defense.
Andy Reid has enjoyed a ton of success in Philadelphia and Lurie has gone as far to say that as long as he is the owner, Reid will be the head coach. Therefore, I truly believe Big Red will return in 2013. And if that is the case, and Howard Mudd does indeed get fired or retires, could we see a return of Juan Castillo as the offensive line coach, his strong point in the NFL?
Anything is possible.
Lastly, I would like to thank Jason Babin for all he’s done in Philadelphia over the past couple of years as well as providing myself and my colleagues here at Philly Sports Nut numerous interviews. We all wish him the best of luck wherever he end up.
REPORT: It hasn’t taken long for Babin to start lining up interviews. He is on his way to Atlanta to interview with the Falcons and will proceed to the New Orleans Saints following his interview with Atlanta. From there Jason will head to Denver on Wednesday night to talk shop with the Broncos. Another team that could be interested in his services are the Detroit Lions who also run the wide-9.