Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Rams' perspective on the Witherspoon trade
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I don't think you'll find anyone in St. Louis who will speak poorly of new Eagles linebacker Will Witherspoon, but the folks who cover the Rams for a living seem generally pleased with Tuesday's trade for wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a fifth-round pick in 2010.
Longtime columnist Bryan Burwell took Tuesday's trade as a sign the Rams weren't giving up on the '09 season despite their 0-6 record. He thinks it will weaken the defense in the short term, but he absolutely thinks that Gibson can help a struggling receiving corps that features the talented Donnie Avery and a bunch of other guys who can't get any separation. Gibson couldn't get on the field for the Eagles because of their depth at the position, but he was quite impressive during training camp. In fact, he was better than first-rounder Jeremy Maclin throughout much of training camp. Of course, that had a lot to do with Maclin's holdout. Here's what Reid told reporters in Philly about Gibson on Tuesday:
"Listen, I normally don't keep that many wide receivers," Reid said, referring to the fact that he kept seven wideouts entering the season. "But I kept him here. So that I think speaks for itself. I think he's going to have a great career in the National Football League, and that doesn't make it an easy situation."
If Gibson goes on to become a nice player in the league, I'm sure Reid will be second-guessed, but it's hard to blame them for going after a pretty solid linebacker in Witherspoon. Here's what St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer Jim Thomas had to say about the Eagles' new linebacker:
"He was a popular, high-character player," writes Thomas. "But his play declined last season, and he had a quiet season despite a switch back to his natural weak-side position. He had no interceptions, no sacks, no forced fumbles (or recoveries), no pass breakups and one quarterback pressure."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement -- but it probably beats what the Eagles have been going with. Regarding Gibson, I hate to see the guy go. He was one of the biggest surprises during training camp and I was curious to see if he can turn into something for the Eagles. But it's not like it was going to happen this season. Barring an injury or two (sorry), Gibson wasn't going to see the field much -- if at all.
Sounds like a win-win to me. The good folks (Jimmy Shapiro) at sportsradiointerviews.com provided a link to the interview Witherspoon did with 101 ESPN in St. Louis.