All-22: Snag, Tempo And the Eagles

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During the early part of every Eagles practice, the robotic voice that emanates from the speakers at the NovaCare Complex announces a period called RVA, or routes versus air.

Five quarterbacks in red jerseys stand side by side in the middle of the field. Wide receivers, tight ends and running backs set up in one of five lines – three to one side, two to the other. The balls are snapped simultaneously, the receivers run their routes, and the passes are delivered without any defenders.

During one of the reps, the No. 1 receiver (closest to the sideline) takes off on a slant, but turns around at about 5 yards and faces the quarterback. The No. 2 receiver runs a corner route – upfield and then angling towards the sideline. And the No. 3 man (closest to the formation) shuffles towards the sideline near the line of scrimmage, keeping his eyes on the QB the entire time.

It’s a common passing concept called the snag – one that is utilized by teams across the league on a weekly basis.

To break down how the Eagles use it, when it works and when it doesn’t, we called on our old friend Coach Flinn, who explains this stuff as well as anyone out there. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Numbers That Matter

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

I used part of yesterday’s off day to flip through the Eagles chapter of the Football Outsiders Almanac.

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, the Almanac is always chock full of good information, and it’s a great resource to get ready for the season.

Keeping that in mind, here are three Eagles numbers that matter, courtesy of their findings.

62 – The percentage of run plays for the Eagles when they were leading in the second half of games last year. That ranked No. 1 in the NFL. The previous year under Andy Reid, that number was 37 percent, which ranked dead last. Granted, the Eagles only won four games and didn’t have a lot of leads in 2012, but you get the point. Read more »

On Cooper And the DeSean Theory

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

One common theory regarding Riley Cooper is that much of his success in 2013 was made possible because of the attention DeSean Jackson received on the other side. Some are skeptical whether Cooper will be able to post similar numbers this season now that Jackson resides in D.C.

Jeremy Maclin, for one, isn’t buying it.

“I think his production came because he went out there and made plays,” said Maclin, who maintains that the only receiver in this league that draws double teams is Calvin Johnson — and that’s only on the goal line. “Obviously you have a guy on the other side who is pretty good as well but teams aren’t going to get beat by focusing on one person the whole game. That’s not how it works in this league. When people say that it baffles me.”

What can’t be denied is that Cooper — who ended with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns last year — found himself in a whole bunch of one-on-one situations, which certainly helped his cause. According to second-year tight end Zach Ertz, that’s unlikely to change this year even without Jackson on the team. That’s because the man truly responsible for the single coverage is still on the roster. Read more »

Notes: A Chippy Start To Camp

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Another day, another dust-up here at Eagles training camp.

Today it was Jeremy Maclin and the normally mild-mannered Bradley Fletcher squaring off. The two were going head-to-head during team drills and started having words after the whistle. Next thing you know, punches were being  thrown and a big crowd gathered to separate the two.

Practice ended a short time later. Maclin exited the field without speaking to reporters. Fletcher didn’t offer much.

“We’re just playing ball,” he said. “Emotions got going and one thing led to another.”

Cary Williams, meanwhile, had plenty to say on the subject. He held court out on Lincoln Financial Field and was still speaking long after the rest of his teammates had gone into the locker room. He has a soft spot for this particular topic of conversation.

“I’m glad, to be honest with you,” said Williams of the fights at training camp this year. Read more »

Photos: Eagles Training Camp, 7/28



McNabb On Foles: Be Ready For the Boos

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Donovan McNabb thinks the Eagles will repeat as NFC East champs, but he believes expectations for Nick Foles might be a tad high going into 2014.

“I’m just a little worried if he can do it for a full season,” McNabb said during a roundtable discussion on Fox Sports 1. “I’m just worried about that aspect, not so much of his health, but can you be consistent like what we saw last year? We’ve seen so many quarterbacks give us one  year of greatness, and then all of a sudden they can’t live up to the expectations. I’m not saying he can’t do that in that offense, but I think expectations are a little bit too high for Nick Foles. Read more »

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