Weekend Reading: Matthews, ’11’ Personnel And Graduating

Jordan Matthews

Some links to pass along this weekend…

After the Eagles drafted Jordan Matthews, Chip Kelly said immediately that the team planned on using him in the slot to replace Jason Avant. There’s been talk in recent weeks about the possibility of no Eagles rookies starting in 2014. But considering how much the Eagles use ’11’ personnel, whoever plays the slot should be considered a starter. From Football Outsiders:

The team most devoted to 11 personnel? Why, that would be Baltimore, believe it or not. So much for Vonta Leach as the best blocking fullback in the NFL. The Ravens used 11 personnel on 75 percent of all their offensive plays. That’s a big shift from the year before, when Baltimore used 11 personnel on 43 percent of plays, slightly less than the NFL average. Two other teams used 11 personnel over 70 percent of the time in 2013, Philadelphia and Denver.

Before the 2013 season, some predicted Kelly would go to more of a 2-TE offense. But considering what a good blocker Avant was, the 3-WR package was the personnel grouping of choice. If Zach Ertz improves as a blocker in Year 2, we could see more 2-TE sets. If Matthews proves to be a capable blocker, though, chances are it’ll be a lot of ’11’ personnel once again.


Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journalwrote about how Kelly and the Eagles prefer to draft college graduates. Chase Stuart of Football Perspective conducted a study about age related to draft picks. Here’s what he found:

The key part is at the end of the formula: for every year of age, a player’s expected AV in his first five seasons …. decreases. In other words, to the extent age serves as a proxy for college graduates, Kelly’s hypothesis isn’t just not true, it’s counterproductive. Youth appears to be undervalued in the NFL draft.

It should also be noted that some players graduate early and get drafted at younger ages, while others stay four years or more and never get a degree.

The WSJ article also mentioned a Kelly quote referencing how Tony Dungy once talked to Oregon players and pointed out that the Patriots and Colts had the most college graduates on their rosters. I’m all for guys graduating and teams drafting smart players, but I would point out there’s also a pretty good correlation between winning and having Hall of Fame quarterbacks (in this case Tom Brady and Peyton Manning).


Ashley Fox of ESPN.com wrote an in-depth feature on Eagles defensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva:

Under heavy fire, Villanueva pulled the wounded Dietrich down an alley and into a second mosque, where a medic took over. Villanueva returned to fight, but when he came back to check on the injured soldiers, the medic told him they needed to move the wounded to a safer location. Carrying Piggott on his shoulders, Villanueva took the three to a nearby school, where they waited for a helicopter that would transport the wounded to the city of Kandahar.

“Help me, sir,” Dietrich cried to Villanueva.

“He was pretty scared,” Villanueva said. “He kept asking for help.”

By the time Villanueva lifted Dietrich onto the helicopter, his eyes were purple. He died a short time later.

The entire article is definitely worth a read.

Around The Web

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  • Scott J

    Kelly never mentioned age as a factor for drafting graduates. He said graduates tend to show commitment by setting goals and then following through with them.

    • Eagles1018

      Indeed he did. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

      • George

        as long as there is a method to the madness, and the method works. which it seemed to year 1

  • Will

    Wow what a story well worth the read Villanueva’s path to the NFL…Thank you for your service…

    • Jeff Asay

      Second that. One of the best stories written by a sportswriter in recent memory. Kudos to former Philly writer Ashley Fox.

      She takes a lot of negative crap because of her gender instead of her writing, while much lesser male writers get criticism that stays closer to the content when there’s disagreement.

      • Clamdigger

        Nonsense. Ashley Fox takes a lot of negative crap because she has been a terrible sports writer.

        • Jeff Asay

          Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. When she gets criticized, justified or not, people bring her gender into the criticism. That’s what I have a problem with. You want to claim she’s poor at her craft, have at it. Just treat her like any male sportswriter. Guys trash male writers and broadcasters all the time but I rarely see them say to a white writer they stink covering a basketball story because they’re white.

          We may not see it here as much, but check out comments on ESPN about her stories and you will regularly see the gender bashing.

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            Very accurate good sir.

          • Maggie


          • ICDogg

            My wife doesn’t post on these boards that often but she does occasionally, using a male alias, just for that reason.

          • Bert’s Bells

            The only thing worse than racism or sexism on Philly board is homophobia. Don’t worry, brother, we have you and the “wife’s” backs.

          • ICDogg

            And I remember bringing her up and criticizing her once over something she wrote, and all the replies I got were rude like that. She writes some stuff I think reflects a lack of knowledge in what she is writing about, but then again, just about all of the national writers do when covering the Eagles. There is no way anyone can really keep up with every team the way any particular team’s fans do.

          • YazmineWiltshireoan321

            my classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the
            computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was
            $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

          • MollyMackopo321

            my classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the
            computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was
            $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

          • PeaceOff

            Wow way to bring race and sexism into this. I have seen numerous Ashley Fox sucks rants and none of them have anything to do with her being female, she is just a terrible journalist. The fact you need to point it out like some holier than though D-Bag when no one in the thread was touching on it is despicable. Whatever you need to tell yourself to reassure your a good guy, maybe that comment will wipe your slate clean!

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            Please do as your name says.

          • Andy124

            Did you miss the part where he said

            We may not see it here as much,


            And do you really doubt that it’s brought up to an absolutely obnoxious degree over at ESPN?

          • PeaceOff

            Did you see a part where I wrote

            “I have seen numerous Ashley Fox rants on Birds 24/7”

            No you didn’t, and no I do not think it’s brought up as much as you like to point out on ESPN. Sure there will be some folks out there, but were talking 3/10 people are gonna be D-bags about it. At least they’re being themselves online, albeit ignorant fools.

            What sets me off is this persona people put on like they can do no wrong and they feel the need to point out that you should do no wrong either. The internet is full of it, then you get off your PC and drive your 3 miles per gallon SUV and chuck your litter out the window, then gawk at women like your doing them a favor by paying attention to them, ignore the homeless man asking for change and proceed through your self entitled d-bag life.. All this just to come online and say “Guy’s we shouldn’t bring gender into this”

            No even said anything about gender, but he had to be that guy. If you’re gonna be that guy, I’m gonna call you out on it.

          • Andy124

            LMAO. I didn’t see it because you didn’t write it. You didn’t say “on Birds 24/7” and since we’ve never seen you before, there’s no reason to assume you meant here.

            And if 3/10 people are being d-bags and there’s 100 people commenting on an article, that’s a lot of doucebaggery.

            Seriously, with this degree of overreaction I may as well be talking to my wife.

          • PeaceOff

            74% of the comments are of her terrible writing, not her gender. While roughly 26% are d-bag comments about her gender. If you can’t filter that out and all that’s catching your eye is this small percentage of comments then I suspect its as if you are looking for them.

            But you’re right, 26% is a comment thread flooded with d-bags /s

            Damn you ESPN, clean up your threads!

          • Andy124

            But Jeff’s comments make less than 4% of this thread and apparently you couldn’t filter that out and decided to start throwing around d-bags. So what is it you’re looking for? :)

          • PeaceOff

            As I said, I’ll call it out. No need for Jeff to even bring gender into this. No one else did, but he had to be that guy to bring it up as if he does no wrong

          • PeaceOff

            Seriously, with this degree of overreaction I may as well be talking to my wife.

            It’s over reaction because if we continue to dwell on this and continue to bring it up, we will never evolve and move past it. The same is with racism, we continue to touch on it, be over sensitive on it, etc. If we just move on from it we can abolish it. I’m not saying forgetting a crucial piece of history, I’m saying move on or these kinda of “ism” words will never leave us.

          • Andy124

            Pretty big topic to tackle on a football blog. Good luck with that.

          • PeaceOff

            Well you indicate gender is a big topic on a football blog, but you had no issues contributing to the conversation when it was brought up

          • Andy124

            check out comments on ESPN

            Gentlemen, I believe we have identified the problem. :)

        • morgan c

          She has gotten better. It’s tough to admit, but it is true, if you read her latest articles objectively. Def was terrible for the past couple years though.

        • GoBirds1

          Her constant citing of erroneous facts just shows she is a lazy POS. HAVING NOTHING TO
          DO WITH GENDER.

      • Maggie

        I know that feeling.

        • Brandon Boykin, LOL

          Ha that’s why I’m glad Geagle is gone. I used to hate the way he came after you.

          • Clamdigger

            That dude was just pathetic in general.

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            He knew his stuff though. Can’t take that away from him.

          • GoBirbds1

            No he didn’t. He was a foolish blowhard. Remember him
            Pounding the table for the Eagles to draft Manti Teo. Maybe how used Geagle’s analysis JJ WHEN WAS drafted in the second round.

  • dislikedisqus

    Enjoyed all those. Many thanks and enjoy the weekend.

  • PaoliBulldog

    I’m sure Kelly would have no qualms about drafting an underclassman who has excellent academic credentials but hasn’t graduated yet.

    • ICDogg

      Yep… these aren’t hard and fast qualifications. They’re just things that make them feel more solid about a player’s potential, that he has a record of accomplishment.

  • robo40

    It’s possible that by “start him in the slot” Kelly meant “the first position we’ll try him at is in the slot”, not “he will be the starter in the slot”. The latter doesn’t seem to mesh well with the whole competition in camp mentality.

    • Javi Echie

      I agree with you on that I really hope Chip mixes it up because I’m really curious to see Josh Huff work the slot, he can do damage with the ball in his hands

      • GoBirds1

        Check out Huffs highlight reel of him blocking. He kills DBs. I can’t wait to see him put NFL prima Donna CBS on roller skates and then finish them off by driving them into the ground. Huff is a football player.

    • PhillySean

      I can’t imagine the mad scientist/measurables guy that is Chip Kelly is suddenly going to start guaranteeing roles based on seniority or refrain from moving his best players all over the field like it’s a chess board just because he once told some reporters that he was going to start by using any player a certain way.

      Does that sound anything like Chip Kelly?

      If anything the slot comment might have been to keep the torch and pitchfork brigade from wasting a lot of hot air and blogosphere space on talk about how the eagles failed because they didn’t draft a clear cut, 1st day of the season, #1 wide receiver. Chip seems charitable like that.

  • FluxCapacitor

    Normally I don’t waste my time reading Ashley Fox articles, but that was an excellent, excellent story. Well worth the time to read.

  • NickS1

    An Ashley Fox article that’s worth the read. Pulling for this guy now. I know it’s unlikely, but if he could, that’d be awesome.

  • D-von

    Marcus smith just turned 22 in March, and jordan matthews and jaylen watkins will turn 22 in July and October, respectively. All three will be under 22.8 when the season starts

    • knighn

      THANK YOU! I was just looking at this. The Eagles didn’t draft any 28 year-olds this draft.

      • ICDogg

        Even that Villanueva guy from the Army is only 25.

  • MediaMike

    I like us in “11” next year if we’re talking Shady – Ertz – Matthews – Huff – Cooper……………. because “unnamed source” Maclin and Celek have moved on.

  • knighn

    Chase Stuart seems most concerned with the age of the draft picks on September 1.

    Age of all 2014 Eagles draft picks on September 1 (Check My Numbers / rounded):
    Marcus Smith (03/31/1992): 22.4
    Jordan Matthews (07/16/1992): 22.1
    Josh Huff (10/14/1991): 22.9
    Jaylen Watkins (11/27/1992): 21.8
    Taylor Hart (2/22/1991): 23.5
    Ed Reynolds (10/18/1991): 22.9
    Beau Allen (11/14/1991): 22.8

    The only player off of Chase Stuart’s graph is Taylor Hart… and how much do we really expect from a 5th round 3-4 DE??

    The rest of the players are on the far, far left side of the graph or younger than Chase’s age of concern altogether. The average age of the 2014 Eagles draft picks on September 1? 22.6 years old. All of this suggests that Chip Kelly and company look closely at the Age of the player… in addition to the Cap and Gown. Is anyone surprised?

    In other words: Thanks for the article, Chase. Moving on…

    • mtn_green

      Young overachievers. Can’t graduate by 23 you’re a loser!!

    • dnabrice

      Graduating early shows even more mental aptitude.

  • DoctorRick

    I feel smarter for reading this post. thanks, Sheil.
    First, I am reminded of how an 11 formation is a lot like a 12 formation if you have a slot receiver who can block.
    Second, I was reminded of Villanueva’s story in more detail than I knew before. Man, I hope the young man has the football skills to go with his character and leadership.
    It was a nice piece of work by Ashley Fox. I hope we see more quality work by her. I won’t scroll past her next article next time, as I usually do.

  • Clamdigger

    Chip said he considers graduating a plus, but he did not say that it was a requirement or that it was more important than any other criteria. I’m sure everything has a weighted value. Height, weight, speed, graduate/non-graduate, age, football intelligence, work ethic, production, etc…

    I’m thinking the graduate status probably doesn’t work against him as much if the guy is a 21 year old OLB that’s 6’6 260 lbs. and runs a 4.4.

  • Mark Saltveit

    Good point about the quarterback. Then again, Nick Foles IS a Hall of Fame quarterback, on exhibit for his 7 TD game against Oakland last year. Maybe also for his 3rd best-ever passer rating.

    • Andy124

      I don’t know if he has something in the HoF for his rating, but his Pro-Bowl jersey is in the Hall of Fame.

      • NickS1

        Well, he should haha

    • Clamdigger

      Um… No.

      • Guest


        • Clamdigger

          If you think having a jersey in the HoF is the same as being a future HoFer, then you’re clueless. While I love the way he plays, Foles has a long way to go on that road.

          • Jeff Asay

            I think it was posted with a smile and a wink.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Hmm, maybe it’s my inner OCD, but why is Manning’s jersey on a larger mannequin as if it overshadows Foles’? Last I checked, Foles has an inch and 13lbs on Peyton.

  • Eagles1018

    Good article about a guy that made the 90 man roster this season. Best of luck to him


  • PaoliBulldog

    I thought Huff projected as more of a slot receiver….

    • EaglesFanInPhx

      Huff played both outside and slot but primarily in the slot. Matthews played more outside but Chip has stated that he is going to start in the slot

      • cliff henny

        think calling JM2 a slot makes life easier for Eagles brass, sort of links him to Avant, or 3rd WR to the masses. we have to realize Kelly/Howie arent talking to 24/7 readers, who know all WRs need to know x,y and z, calling him slot really means nothing. if kelly/howie had to explain every answer to satisfy 24/7 average knowledge poster to the masses, pressers would take 3 weeks.

    • IAteLunchToday

      A convocation of them and one will pay off… See what I did? 😀

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I think you’ll see both Huff & Matthews move around inside & out.

  • Kelz

    Wow, this guy is a real hero. When the going he gets tough, you need a guy like this on your team, field, and locker room. I hope he’s as good on the field as he’s off the field. On memorial day weekend, the Bird Gang thanks you for putting your life on the line, so that people like me can peacefully enjoy their life. Thanks Big Homie!