Wake-Up Call: Jaws On Challenges Ahead

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Ron Jaworski admitted that he was a cynic when it came to Chip Kelly initially, and that the newcomer  proved the old guard wrong.

“I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. I wasn’t a big believer in guys coming from the college ranks, leaving that rah-rah college style and bringing a new style to the NFL. Kelly made it happen. He won me over,” said Jaworski during his show on 97.5 the Fanatic this week.

Jaws did a thorough study of each offense across the league for his 2014 quarterback rankings, which will be released shortly. He walked away even more impressed with Kelly’s scheme.

“Chip Kelly did a great job of getting people wide open. I went through all these quarterback throws [across the league], I don’t think anybody did a better job at getting receivers open than Chip Kelly.  When you look at 400-500 throws of each quarterback and I see guys that are making these stick throws into double coverage and all these things, and I plug in Eagles tape and I’m seeing guys running open.”

Jaworski is on board, clearly. But he also sees challenges ahead.

For one, the quarterback and the scheme will not sneak up on anyone this year.

“I will guarantee you this: every pass that he threw last year was studied and watched by 30 personnel guys with the three teams in this division.They studied Nick Foles to every possible nuance: Where is his foot when he is coming out from under center? Does his heel come up a split second before the snap? Does he flick his hand to get into position before the ball is snapped? They will study every nuance of his game on coaches tape, on television to hear his voice inflection, to see where he turns. Is the ball snapped when his head is looking downfield rather than left to right? All these things, they will have broken his game down. Nick has to make that adjustment. Now that teams have adjusted to him, does he adjust to what they do?

“It’s the same thing with the system: the familiarity with the system for the Eagles is great but now all the teams are studying that system. What does Chip do? Does he take this offense to the next level?

Jaws believes Kelly only utilized about half of his playbook last year, and can use more now that the players and assistants are better versed in the scheme.

Second, Foles will be navigating his way through these obstacles without his top target from 2013, DeSean Jackson. 

“I think it’s a big loss. I’m not buying into the, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.’ I saw this offense. I studied this offense. I know what DeSean Jackson did for everybody else — what he did to clear zones and open up Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and that plethora of tight ends that they have.”

With the burner off the roster, the former Eagles signal-caller believes that the style of attack will be altered.

“It was a vertical passing game. It was an explosive offense, big plays down the field…I think what [Kelly’s]  going to do instead of the vertical passing game, which was so effective last year, I think he tweaks it a little bit. I think it’s going to be more of a horizontal game, sideline to sideline. Spread it that 160 feet on sideline to the other. Work in between the linebackers, maybe a safety will roll down, there’s space in there. The offense might not be as explosive but it can be more efficient with that style of offense.”

To hear all of Jaworski’s thoughts, click here. 

WHAT YOU MISSED

Which running backs and receivers will make the team? Will another kicker be brought in to challenge Alex Henery? My latest Twitter mailbag.

LeSean McCoy is the fifth-best player in the NFL, according to the players’ vote.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Sam Donnellon of the Daily News thinks Nick Foles is more valuable to the Eagles than McCoy:

Foles can survive without Shady. It wouldn’t be easy, or as productive, but the Eagles signed Darren Sproles in the offseason and Chris Polk has shown some promise and there are cases of NFL teams surviving and advancing with running backs who slip your mind.

Not sure who Tom Brady will be handing off to next season. Or Drew Brees. Not saying Foles is either player (although he went toe-to-toe with Brees in last year’s playoff game), but he might have more weapons at his disposal this season than either player even without Shady.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz takes a look at why Foles was so good in the red zone last season:

Foles also doesn’t need players to be open. He is willing to throw the ball to a covered receiver. Too often Donovan McNabb and Vick needed someone to be wide open. That doesn’t happen on a regular basis in the Red Zone. There are a lot of contested passes there because of the congestion. The key here is that Foles isn’t forcing the ball to a covered player. He sees someone that is covered, but where there is an angle to work with. Foles will then put the ball into a safe spot and give his receiver a chance to make the play. This is especially important when throwing to big WRs and TEs. You want to take advantage of their size. Give them a chance to make plays for you.

COMING UP

Two weeks. Two weeks until camp. Almost time for Kapadia to get off his bender.

Josh Paunil contributed to this post.

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