Friday, February 04, 2011

Player Profile: John Phillips

John Phillips
Position: Tight End
Size: 6'6, 251
Age: 23, 6/11/87
College: Virginia
Drafted: Round 6, #208 - 2009
Experience: 2 Seasons

Salary History and Contract Status According to Rotoworld:7/24/2009: Signed a four-year, $1.828 million contract. The deal included a $78,250 signing bonus. 2011: $405,000, 2012: $565,000, 2013: Free Agent

2009 Draft Profile From OurLads: (7th ranked TE) John Phillips - Virginia - 6'5/251, 4.78 - Two-Year Starter. Has the advantage of playing in a pro style offense. Long arms and big hands. Was the featured Tight End in 2008 after splitting time in 2007. Dependable receiver that covers teh ball up and holds onto the ball when tackled. Catches the ball in traffic. Good concentration. Natural hands catcher that will reach and extend for the ball. A big target that needs more upper and lower body strength as in inline blocker. Effective on a combo block. A willing blocker that keeps a good base and works to finish his blocks. Stays square with the ability to shadow the pass rusher. Lacks the ability to turn a short catch into a long gain. Limited run after catch ability. Can read coverages and has good football intelligence. Has the frame to add more muscle weight. Effective short and medium zone receiver. Better athlete than advertised. Team captain. Caught 48 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns. Fourth/Fifth Round.

Pre-2010: Played 239 snaps as a rookie and was a blocker on 180 of them. As the season went on, the Cowboys started to look for more places to put him, and found his versatility in the offensive backfield was quite intriguing. He would be lined up all over the field and with his ability to know a number of positions and a willingness and ability to be a lead blocker on a run play, he was able to find snaps as a 3rd TE. There were a number of packages where he actually started eating into Martellus Bennett's snaps, and that set the stage for what many expected in 2010 as a great positional battle for the 2nd TE job.

2010:Unfortunately, all of the promise and upside of John Phillips quickly faded away when he blew out his ACL in his right knee during the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, back in August. There was plenty of belief that he had a chance to do some significant things in 2010, and even some whispers that his rising might signal an opportunity for the Cowboys to shop Bennett on the trade market. When the injury happened, all of that was put on hold. Instead, Phillips is still working his way back from his injury. The Cowboys meanwhile spent plenty of hours looking for a proper replacement and with Chris Gronkowski (FB), Martin Tucker (TE), and Scott Chandler (TE) all taking turns, they never really found anything they were comfortable with it didn't appear.

2011 Analysis: Honestly, the question of what to expect from John Phillips in 2011 is closely linked to the future of Martellus Bennett. First, assuming you have a full training camp (which is not a safe assumption) the Cowboys need to feel that Phillips - a man who has now ripped up both of his knees - is back physically. If he is, you should have a wonderful competition to find out who is going to get the bulk of the work as the 2nd Tight End. The Cowboys ran over 500 plays of 2 TE formations in 2010 (nearly 45% of their offense), so that is a significant role on the team. In fact, last year, 2nd TE played almost as many snaps as Felix Jones and way more than Dez Bryant. It is an important job, but what also might make Phillips interesting to Jason Garrett is his ability to push Chris Gronkowski as the FB. The versatility in Phillips' skill set is his greatest attribute. He can catch the ball, block in-line, or block as the lead from the backfield and pick up a blitz. Jack of all trades. Let's see if he can get his knee back for 2011.

Previous Profiles:
Doug Free
Marc Colombo
Sam Young
Alex Barron
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Victor Butler
Brandon Williams
Jason Witten
Martellus Bennett

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