Every coach steals. It’s the nature of the business.
Some, like Chip Kelly, come right out and admit it. Others use gentler terms like borrow or integrate or influence.
But the bottom line is: When you see someone else in your industry doing something that works, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least look into it.
Which brings us to the topic of today’s post: stealing from the Eagles. Greg A. Bedard of The MMQB wrote on the topic in a recent column:
There was a lot of talk earlier this year about college football cracking down on no-huddle offenses because of a perceived fatigue injury risk (it was later withdrawn). In the NFL, don’t be surprised if many teams start trying to copy what former Oregon coach Chip Kelly has been doing with the Eagles, if they haven’t already. Despite running the league’s fastest offense last season with one play every 23.38 seconds (the quickest pace in the league since at least 1997, which is as far back as the data goes), the Eagles were the fourth-healthiest team in the NFL last season (29 games by starters lost, with 16 coming from receiver Jeremy Maclin), according to Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. One season is an absurdly small sample size, but you can bet other teams are keeping an eye on the Eagles’ fanaticism with sports science.
The sports science methods make a lot of sense. But as Bedard points out, attempting to draw any conclusions about their effectiveness with just one year of evidence would be foolish.
“I don’t know if it’ll help other teams because it’s a culture that you create, it’s an environment around this entire building,” said DeMeco Ryans. “So I don’t know if it will change other teams. But as far as players, I know it benefits every player that comes through these doors. …And if it doesn’t help another team, it’ll help that player take care of himself a lot better.”
One point to note is that there is still plenty of secrecy surrounding the Eagles’ methods. Sports science coordinator Shaun Huls has not done a single media interview since being hired. Players will talk about sleep monitors, nutritional changes, etc. But the sense is they probably don’t know everything the organization is doing.
And that very well could be by design. Michael Vick is with the Jets. DeSean Jackson with the Redskins. Others like Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson and Jason Avant have departed as well. As Ryans suggested, they can take some of the individual methods with them. But if asked to provide a breakdown of the organizational philosophies and practices, I’m not sure they’d have all the answers.
For now, the Eagles will continue to do what they’re doing. If other teams adopt their methods, they’ll look for another edge.
“It helps a lot,” Ryans said. “Being an older guy, when the coaches understand how to take care of the players, from that standpoint, it just helps us as older guys to be able to come out here day after day and really play hard, practice hard because we know that we’re taking care of ourselves with the recovery aspect.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Our weekly NFC East roundup catches up with the Cowboys, Redskins and Giants.
Weekend reading: Malcolm Jenkins says the Eagles are working harder than other teams.
Cary Williams says the defense has a nasty taste in its mouth and is hungry going into 2014.
Scroll through 30-plus photos from Eagles practices so far this spring.
The Eagles are not tempering their expectations for Jeremy Maclin.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Speaking of “sharing” ideas, Dolphins WR Mike Wallace is excited about how new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is going to use him. From The Palm Beach Post:
Last year former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman used Wallace almost exclusively on the right side.
“Nobody can ever key on me,” Wallace said. “Last year, you kind of knew where I was every single play.”
Coach Joe Philbin said moving Wallace around “creates mismatches.” He didn’t say why the team didn’t move around Wallace last year. So how will Wallace do under Lazor this year?
“A lot better,” Wallace said. “So much better.”
Lane Johnson created a bit of a stir over the weekend when he Tweeted out a bill of more than $17,000 from the Eagles’ rookie dinner. He added this afterwards:
For those of you so concerned with MY business, I am grateful to be able to treat my O-line to such a great evening VOLUNTARILY!
— Lane Johnson (@Lanejohnson65) June 8, 2014
We’ve got a practice to cover.