Mailbag: Too Many Ducks On the Pond?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Stanford
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Tim_McManus.

Reasons for optimism, Andrew. 

Part of what you’re banking on is that some of the young core players (Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Boykin, etc.) take another step forward in their development this year. The group overall will be more familiar with Billy Davis‘ system, which certainly can’t hurt. And I think they have upgraded at a couple positions. The safety group is not perfect but should be better with a less green Earl Wolff and Malcolm Jenkins added to the mix. The Eagles had very little depth at cornerback last season and it bit them on a few occasions. The position appears to be healthier this year with the additions of  Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins.


Pass rush is a big question mark, and that bring us to the second part of your tweet. Best I can say is that Smith seems to have traits that suggest he will be a good scheme fit, but that's about as far as we can take it for now. No idea what to expect from Smith in his rookie season. He's the wild card. 

I'm interested in seeing how running backs David Fluellen (5-11, 224, Toledo) and Henry Josey  (5-8, 194, Missouri) do this summer. It's hard not to be captivated particularly by Josey's story, which Sheil did a great job of bringing to life here. I don't look at the running back position behind LeSean McCoy as totally settled, especially after the Bryce Brown trade. Darren Sproles is typically more involved in the pass game than the ground game. Chris Polk can spell McCoy, but he has a bit of an injury history and is coming off shoulder surgery. The Eagles seem to like Matthew Tucker, but that doesn't mean he's a lock. Let's see if either of these guys can make a push.

I believe there's opportunity for the offensive linemen (Kevin Graf, Donald Hawkins, Karim Barton, Josh Andrews) especially considering that the Eagles did not take an O-lineman in the draft.

Not sure how good of a kicker Carey Spear is, but he's got a shot because he only has to beat out one other competitor (for now) to win the gig.

The great Bounty Bowl and Mike Meech checking in.

After using two of their seven draft picks on Oregon players, the number of Ducks on the roster now stands at eight. (Cincinnati has the second most representatives with five.) I get it. Chip Kelly wants players that are cut from a specific cloth and fit well in his system. Who better than guys who have already played under him, proved to be a match and are accustomed to how the whole operation-- from up-tempo to sports science --  is run? The head coach says he stays out of the evaluation process when it comes to his former pupils, and that may be true. But he also tells the scouting staff exactly what he's looking for in a player, so it's no surprise that they come back with some of his own.

There is logic in pulling from the Oregon program, which Kelly helped stock with a whole bunch of talent. It becomes an issue only when  superior players are being overlooked in favor of the familiar. After selecting Taylor Hart, Kelly supposedly told the defensive lineman, “We’re putting the family back together.” Which is fine, I guess, as long as the family can ball.

Les Bowen wrote a good piece on Johnson for today.

"I know I have the talent to one day be a Pro Bowl player," Johnson said. "That's my goal. I have a lot more confidence this year."

Other than rest, Johnson felt he needed to come out of the offseason with more upper-body strength.

"I wanted to come back more developed," he said. He said he gained about 10 pounds over his 6-6 frame, now weighs "close to 320."

I don't have any real concerns about Johnson. I thought he had a very strong rookie campaign all things considered, and believe he can develop into an elite tackle. The line has a chance to be very good. Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce are farther removed from their respective injuries, Evan Mathis is as steady as it gets and Johnson should take a step forward. Mathis, Peters and Herremans are all north of 30, so there are some long-term questions and concerns regarding the unit. But this group has the potential to be one of the league's best this year.

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  • Will

    Hope our expectation of a much improved Defensive Unit is fulfilled…

    • JAMIN67

      I think we’ll see it. For all the flak that Billy D took when he was hired, he proved to be the right man for the job. With the learning curve of the starters over, and some new pieces in place to shore up our weak spots, I think we see marked improvement.

    • MediaMike

      Much…………..maybe not.
      Better on tackling and 3rd down…………sure.

      • anon

        that was awful last year

  • cliff henny

    Lane is monster’d up! 320 and shredded

    • Richard Colton

      Who’s the guy that looks like Burt? Is the Maragos?

      • cliff henny

        yup, kinne’s the Howie look-alike. Boykin 22 is easy, assume that’s Graham 55. doesnt look like a fair fight, a pulling Lane taking on someone BG’s size.

        • Eagles1018

          That’s B Logan

          • cliff henny

            there better be a whole lot of him the camera isnt picking up

          • NevadaEagle

            Bennie is reportedly at 317lbs right now – bulked up from 309.

            Link: http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2014/5/19/5731686/bennie-logan-lane-johnson-weight-gain-eagles

          • cliff henny

            bulked up 8 lbs, when you’re 3 bills plus, that’s just a matter getting weighed b4 morning constitutional.

          • OldDocRoss

            I know pictures can be deceiving and all, but I’m not seeing any way Lane is only 3lb heavier than the gentleman to his left.

            Bennie must be packing a lot of weight in them arms.

          • JofreyRice

            right?

          • OldDocRoss

            As we look at it, but it’s Lane’s left, no?

          • JofreyRice

            ha, no I mean, “right” as in “correct”. Sorry, poor choice of words on my part!

          • OldDocRoss

            Ah, got you!

            And yeah seriously, I’m not buying Bennie Logan weighing in at 317 unless he had a keg under each arm when he stepped on the scales.

          • Harpy Eagle

            Can’t see what he has packed in the trunk though

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            All those pre draft stories about Logan pushing 320 sound pretty flimsy after seeing this pic. Bulking up 8lbs on a 300+ frame is nothing. Guys that size can lose that much in sweat during one hot day at TC.

          • JofreyRice

            He’s pretty small for a 2 gap NT. “Officially” weighed more, but I think he played around 295 last season. Hopefully he’s added some functional strength. Sean Payton was treating Chip Kelly like a little brother by spotting that weakness and exploiting it in the playoff game. Don’t want to see that again.

          • cliff henny

            yeah,might have to apologize to Will. this is what i want my NT to look like.

          • JofreyRice

            Wilfork’s a poptart away from 375. I don’t need him to be quite that big, but I’m pretty skeptical of Logan being ~320. The strength and conditioning is more important than the weight, but you don’t want Logan to be too svelte.

          • cliff henny

            BL doesnt look like 320 to me either. rather have a guy who looks like he needs heart surgeon all suited up for angioplasty or stint on the sidelines than what Logan looks like.

          • MediaMike

            You mean a 24lb diet away from 375. Wilfolk is a tic tac away from 400.

          • NCBiRDMann22

            Would love to know what his calorie intake in a day is…Chippa would have to cook up a 5 gallon Gatorade jug worth of smoothies to suppress this behemoths appetite! I want that kind of NT in front of Kendricks and Meco…

          • Weapon Y

            Logan did struggle in that game, but Cox and Thornton did too. I’d argue Cox had the worst game of the three followed by Logan and then Thornton. Theyre all young guys who can bulk up and have shown a pattern of effective play in the past. Just one bad game.

        • Maggie

          While position is not precisely the same, both on D Line.
          Bennie Logan – 6’2″, 309, drafted by Eagles in 2013
          John Randle – 6’1″, 287, UDFA, HOF.
          Seems like sometimes the amount of heart evens up the height and weight. ;~)

          • Will

            John Randle wasn’t a 3-4 NT, he was a 4-3 DT. 300 ponds is right around 3-4 DE size

          • MediaMike

            Correct Will! 3-4 isn’t 4-3.

          • Maggie

            Neither did you.

          • Guest

            Yes they did. The distinctions between those positions are non-trivial. The mere fact that both positions are located on the d-line, without more, doesn’t logically require that someone with sufficient attributes to play one has sufficient attributes to play the other.

          • jesse

            She doesn’t understand football

          • Maggie

            “She” understands just fine. “She” has run into silly males who are afraid of women before as well.

          • jesse

            Yup

          • Maggie

            No they did not read or at least understand. And neither did you. The point wasn’t 3/4 or 4/3 or Tampa 2 or zone coverage or blitzing or dirty hands or even size. The point was in the last sentence.

          • Maggie

            You apparently didn’t bother to read what I wrote.

        • Chris

          G.J. Roseman

        • anon

          HA werent you just laughing at people that didnt know player’s names?

          • cliff henny

            no. i only know 10 or so by site. plus, never laugh at, i’ll joke along.

        • Amar

          Was it you or Geagle who went off on me for saying Bennie logan is not the ideal NT ?

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          yes, but long arms! that’s his hand on maragos’ shoulder

    • EagleDuck

      Sheesh, whatever sports science he’s involved with, I hope he doesn’t get caught…

      • cliff henny

        it’s fair. think of what 320lb Oline guys looked like 10 yrs ago. in 20 yrs, Johnson size guys will be running 4.4 40′s and playing TE and LB.

    • paul from nc

      Is the little dude Murderleg?

      • john-a

        Which little dude?

    • dnabrice

      Vinnie Curry is the one in the back.

  • cliff henny

    ha, Romo claims he’s playing 5 more years.

    • evanphilly

      With how terribly thin the QB position is around the NFL, he could be a backup for most of those years. Mark Brunell comes to mind.

      • cliff henny

        yeah, but he meant starter, making 25m. i’m good with it. got the first 10 bucks for his wheelchair fund.

    • OldDocRoss

      Did he specify what sport?

    • devCal

      he’ll be playing the cowboys…

    • MediaMike

      PAYING not PLAYING…………… you didn’t hear him properly.

    • MonsterDon

      Jerrah has to play Romo at least 4 more years just so they don’t lose cap money to cut him. And that’s before they have to resign Dez Bryant

      Long Live Jerrah

  • OldDocRoss

    The Oregon thing is so overblown by some fans that it’s ridiculous. At least half the guys are likely just camp bodies whose names we need not ever commit to memory.

    • Maggie

      Also, if the media didn’t keep bringing it up, the average fan wouldn’t know the difference.

      • OldDocRoss

        Anyone who brings it up as a negative should be asked to name the eight players, what they cost us and who we could/should have got instead.

        But these people’s knowledge pretty much extends to “I red on an intertube the Eagles haz lots of Dux!” so I doubt they’d even clear the first hurdle without resorting to Google.

        • cliff henny

          shoot, i could only come up w/5. and still have no idea who Blair is

          • OldDocRoss

            I can do six, but only if you give me a point for “Wayne/Wade Kelee…kli……..KellyKelly?”.

          • cliff henny

            sure, i’ll allow it! guy looks a little better. Hawaiian/Somoan (Keliikipi, gotta work on 1st name, wade) sounding name, real tribal tats, just needs some crazy hair.

        • MediaMike

          Warm body > Casey Matthews

          1

  • Scott J

    I think a few years from now we’ll be really happy Miami moved up and drafted Jordan.

    • kleptolia

      Being from Oregon, I would never have drafted Dion Jordan into a 4-3 defense. He’s a guy who isn’t suited to DE in that context. People think he’s Jason Taylor, but he doesn’t have the same leverage technique Taylor did. He needs to be in a 3-4 scheme, where he can move around and drop into coverage at times, to really excel. Miami was stupid to pick him. You’re right: in a few years, Jordan will be labeled a bust and Miami will cut him without ever realizing that they have only themselves to blame.

  • myeaglescantwin

    Who cares what school they are from.

    As long as we keep getting DL that are bigger than 6’1, 295,,,, i’m cool with it.

  • peteike

    If the Texans start asking Clowney to cover guys as OLB and not as a specific hand in the dirt DE, he might look like a huge bust. Not that it matters to us, but it may seem like Smith isnt a reach at all since hes at least done more than just rush the passer.

    • anon

      Are you serious? Did you watch his pro day?

      • peteike

        so, was he out covering TEs at SC? No idea if Texans have him do that or stick to DE but its much more than just a cone drill.

        • anon

          Texans will make him drop back at least a little they run a scheme similar to ours (more like pats than us). However he was better in agility drills than most OLBs, he’s faster than most WRs.

          • peteike

            right, athletic as hell, Im just saying it could mess with his head if they start having him do all kinds of assignments. He could look lost first half of season until he catches on.

          • JofreyRice

            I’m not sure what kind of scheme they’ll run. Crennel has typically run a 2 gap 3-4. Something tells me he’s going to have a real short tenure in Houston if he makes JJ Watt a 2 gap DE. They’ll find a way to get Watt & Clowney at the QB, it would be monumentally stupid not to.

            If any scheme were on the table, I think 4-3 would be pretty scary. Watt as a Reggie White Left End, and Clowney as the prototype RE.

          • anon

            yeah that’s why i thought the pick was awkward a little, i’m sure they’ll make clowney a joker. watt can eat block and clowney can rush, vice versa, stunts, etc. could be ugly.

    • MediaMike

      Clowney = Willie McGinest. Romeo will use him in that exact manner, don’t worry about Clowney trailing guys in pass coverage all over the place.

      • peteike

        thats right, Wade is out I didnt bother to research. Just saw this tweet from Wade on Jan 15th “Disappointed not even an interview after 7 straight full seasons of top 10 D with 3 different teams. Last 5 times as D C= playoffs1st yr” and nobody picked him up, surprising.

        • MediaMike

          yeah. If they were still running Wade’s D, Clowney would be in a bad spot.

  • MediaMike

    I’m going to enjoy watching the continued evolution of Lane Johnson into a perinnial all-pro while Eli is getting dumped on his head weekly due to the poor blocking of lame football players like Justine Puke.

    • Stacy Metzger

      He’s got the right mindset- constant improvement.

  • peteike

    because Im bored and this is classic…Seeing as its baseball season and all.

    “And finally the objectives of the two games are totally different. In Football, the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general. To be on target with his aerial assault riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing his aerial assault with a sustained ground attack, which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemies’ defensive line. (applause) In Baseball, the object is to go home, and to be safe. I hope I’ll be safe at home, safe at home.

    Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
    Baseball has the sacrifice.

    Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog…
    In baseball, if it rains, we don’t go out to play.

    Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
    Football has the two minute warning.

    Baseball has no time limit: we don’t know when it’s gonna end – might have extra innings.
    Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we’ve got to go to sudden death.”

    • Maggie

      Yet baseball is still called America’s national game/sport? Odd.

      • peteike

        Id say in the last 5 plus years most have been saying NFL has taken over.

        • dnabrice

          I would debate my HS history teacher that it had already taken over. That was 15/20 years ago. At this point, no doubt.

    • Warhound

      Baseball is the sport of an agrarian economy. You do chores till they’re all done. Much more individualistic.
      Football is a sport for the industrial age. You work a shift of predetermined length. Very team oriented.

    • Eagles1018

      Love Carlin

    • paul from nc

      I miss George. he had some of the best material and that dead pan face

    • Beavis

      I would replace the line about the sac with this instead:
      “Baseball has the walk.” It fits the metaphor better.

  • Eagles1018

    Character. I love it. Being smart. Showing you know how to make wise decisions. I appreciate that the Eagles value this. Now, how many of us pleaded for this guy? Hindsight is 20/20…..

    http://www.milehighreport.com/2014/5/22/5743072/report-denver-police-issue-arrest-warrant-for-new-broncos-safety-t-j

    • Hanibal Luis

      Don’t know his previous history, but Chip would know if he’s a high character guy or not. Either way, sigh of relief.

    • Jeff Asay

      Appears to be overblown, slow news day report. Lest we forget, Barkley, Charles was known to get into a few dust ups time to time. His career worked out ok, yes? Let’s not lump this guy in with the criminals and rationalize our way to feeling better about the decision.

  • Stacy Metzger

    Why is anyone complaining about the Eagles adding Oregon Ducks to the roster? There’s literally tons of talented player there. You’d know that if you have been watching football on Saturdays and Jan 1 for the past few years. Find something relevant to whine about.

  • Stacy Metzger

    I don’t think the Eagles defense is ever going to be a top defense as long as Kelly is running that offense. At least not by stats, anyway.The defense just spends too much time on the field. It’s just the way it is.

    • kleptolia

      Kelly has been slowing the offense down in the NFL. The Eagles D will play more snaps than the average NFL team, but they will probably not play the highest number of snaps.
      I would look for this year’s defensive stats to be better than last year’s.