Mailbag: On Matthews And Boykin’s Role

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

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I see where you’re coming from but I view those situations differently. 




Jordan Matthews is a rookie that the Eagles are hoping will contribute early and often this season. They believe he is best suited for the slot (at least for now) and are grooming him accordingly. Not sure you want to overload a first-year wideout and have him play multiple positions right out of the gate when you need him to be good at a specific position immediately.

  "With Jordan, we really feel like he does such a good job inside that we just continue to improve there," said Pat Shurmur

Matthews will get an occasional look outside but having him concentrate mainly on one spot to start makes sense to me. 

To your point, they had a similar philosophy when it came to Boykin last year: Billy Davis didn't want to put too much on Boykin's plate, and had him focus on the nickel rather than constantly swinging him from outside to inside corner and back again. Boykin thrived in that role, so you can't totally knock the game plan. 

Boykin is now in his third year. He proved he could not only handle what Davis asked of him, but emerged as the defense's top playmaker while seeing just half the snaps. It's time to at least experiment with expanding his role. Put measurables aside in the name of getting your best 11 out there. This is a defense that has lacked difference-makers. They have found one in Boykin. Why not try to maximize that asset?

Ifeanyi Momah would have to have a really strong preseason to make the squad in my opinion. He looks much better, no doubt. He is using his size more and has shown well during one-on-one drills. For me, he doesn't shine quite in the same way during 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s.

My guess is he's fighting for the last receiver spot (assuming they keep six) with Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn primarily. Nobody has separated from the pack, so Momah in theory has an outside shot. But he needs to really perform in a game setting to make it happen.

Don't think so. It's never really felt like a competition, more like they brought Murderleg in to try and push Alex Henery. Has Spear's presence motivated him?

"No," he said. "I think if you're here by yourself or with someone else there is always someone out there that could take your job. It's more I'm worried about myself than what is going on around me.

"I don't put myself in a competition. What he does, he does. I'm more worried about how I perform day-to-day rather than how we're performing against each other."

It would have made more sense to me to bring in a veteran that had a good chance to win the job. In this set-up it felt like it was Henery's all along, and I'm not sure what that really accomplishes.  

In the spring, I would have said maybe. After watching Barkley this summer, I'm thinking no. The second-year QB looks more in command of this offense. He is more decisive and the ball is coming off his hand with more authority. Not sure how his career will turn out, but I think holding onto him is the right move at this point.

It sounds like Nolan Carroll will start off as the dime corner, though it's absolutely possible that he works his way into a starting gig eventually. If Bradley Fletcher is playing better than Cary Williams and the coaching staff decides Carroll needs a starting spot, then I guess Williams would be the odd man out. I will say that Williams brings an edge to this secondary (and the defense overall) that I think is good for them. He is extremely competitive and is totally invested whether he's in the middle of the action or cheering on the third stringers from the sideline at practice. Level of play is the most important thing, obviously. Assuming that is close or equal to his competitors, I believe Williams holds onto a starting spot.

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  • Chuck Dougherty

    “It’s pretty hard to miss from where the
    extra point is,” Eagles kicker Alex Henery said. “It’s just a little bit
    farther. As long as it’s not windy, it should be pretty makeable.”

    that comment has made me more nervous about our kicking game…hope they keep on looking in the scrap heap…

    • TNA

      What’s scary is that the proposed new extra point distance is on the outer edge of Henery’s range. After a touchdown, can teams no-huddle and go right into a two-pt try?

      Also would like to see the rules changed for injuries. There were a hilarious number of cardiothoracic injuries (lack of heart and lung conditioning) on defenses facing the Eagles. In those cases, instead of taking away a timeout, they should just give an extra one to the other team. Viewers not DVR-ing the game would lose, but TV in general would win, opposing defenses will have less incentive to just lay on the ground to get a breather, and we get to see CK use his numerous timeouts in creative ways to disrupt opposing offenses.

      • PsychoPathetic1

        All TD’s are reviewed so the you can’t go no huddle for a quick 2 pt try

      • Kev_H

        I don’t think you can do anything about faking injuries or a fat guy trying to catch his breath. It’s safety first in the NFL.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          You could keep that guy off for that series instead of just one play. Then you’re putting safety first in giving time to properly evaluate any possible injury. That seems like the best case scenario to deter faking injury.

          • aub32

            Yea, but that would also eliminate a CB who has dirt in his eye or lost a cleat. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you about what happened when Carmichael had to come in for one play. Ugh.

          • Kev_H

            I like the idea, but still, now you are giving players incentive to play hurt when they should be taking a knee, putting them in more danger from a league/union perspective.

            I’d like it if a guy goes down to where they have to stop the game, make him sit out a straight 15 minutes of clock time before he could return. Of course, if you asked ME, it should be 15 minutes of clock time with his team short handed, because I think chaos makes sports better.

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        Definitely on board with doing something regarding the fake injuries.

      • Ron Swanson

        33 yards is not on the outer edge of Henery’s range. I’m hoping you’re joking and don’t really believe that.

        • anon

          i don’t think he can hit anything longer than 45 reliably.

          • RIP illa

            As long as there’s not the slightest amount of pressure on him…smh.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            like the palpable anxiety of 65k in the stands? minus that 1 guy who posts here every once in awhile who loves him if you are going to have his strength leg, have to be money inside 45. see who gets cuts. when’s 1st trimdown, it’s 60 now? sure there’ll be about 15-20 quality kickers on street

          • RIP illa

            Yup. I’m checking for Kickers, back up MLBs, and Safeties..In that order. The 1st 2, we definitely need. Although I’m not opposed to an Acho (if he shows in preseason again) Goode combo. Also checking for OLB and DE, but just like with the Safety position…I think Chip, Billy, and Howie are pretty set with what we have.

          • paul from nc

            I think backup O linemen are the highest priority

        • TNA

          For what it’s worth, CK inferred last year that Henery’s range on a good day with no weather involved extends to about 51-53 yards (with the ball spotted at the 33-35).

      • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

        I’d love to see them do something about the whole injury thing. I mean most of the time it’s blatantly obvious when it’s a player feigning vs. the real deal. I guess I’m just not sure what they’re supposed to do about it.

        Maybe you can take the player off of the field for the rest of the possession (or a predetermined amount of time) if he’s injured to deter faking, but that’s useless if the player waits until the Eagles march down to the 7 yard line and he’s a rotational D-Tackle anyway; Momentum stopped, guy subbed as usual. Also, there are times when valuable players actually do need to go down for a problem, but might be okay to go in a play or two like getting poked in the eye or a quick cramp. I’d had to see a team’s stud LB have to come off the field on the final drive of a SB while the other team has the ball on their own 25 because on the first play of the series he got a cramp or the wind knocked out of him.

        It’s a subjective rule and it would cause a lot of crap.

    • Ron Swanson

      What’s scary about a kicker saying that a 33 yard field goal is pretty easy?

      • aub32

        I think the “As long as it’s not windy”, part is what scares him. That kind of implies, “There’s a chance I’d miss a 33 yard game winning FG if it’s windy outside”. I can see how that would scare fans since we play in Philly where it’s so windy that our stadium uses windmills to generate power.

        • Chuck Dougherty

          ” as long as it’s not too windy” is still echoing in my head… that really concerns me and I hope Chip get his hands on this article.. a Kicker should be able to make a 30-40 yard kick easily.. wind or no wind…for this guy to already blaming the wind before the first kickoff is scary indeed

  • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

    I want to see Boykin get a shot to go with the 1’s on the outside during preseason. Why not do it against the Bears tomorrow night and see how he does against the twin towers of Chi-town?

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      Could not agree with this more.

    • just sayin

      im a boykins fan, but man hes gonna get exposed by anyone over 6 foot 1. let alone towers.

      • anon

        honestly they should let him play outside in pre-season, its not like cary or fletch really need those reps, put boykin and carroll out there and see what happens.

      • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

        I was about say what anon said, but he stole my thunder.

        If he get’s exposed then everyone on these boards will shut up and maybe he’ll tone down his rhetoric about playing outside as well. If he plays well then I guess the question is answered and Kelly can get a bit of egg on his face. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of coach who shies away from being wrong and learning from it.

      • SoCalEaglesFan

        Darrell Green played pretty well against Harold Carmichael. 5-8 vs 6-7. Doesn’t get more of a mismatch than that. Not in the red zone, but between the 20’s, athleticism can trump height. In the case of green/Carmichael it did. Harold won his share, but Green won his too.

  • Birds24/7

    Williams is adequate and I love his tenacity. Maybe he improves in year two with a better safety group behind him.

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      Can only hope.

  • B-West

    On Matthews… My thought is that the specialization speaks to their expectations for the player. They expect him to be a legit contributor to this offense right out of the gate, and his role will be in the slot with Maclin and Cooper on the field.

    Also, I think the reverse applies to Huff. I think the expectations are lower for him. They expect backup level and special teams production. Because of that, they are moving him around more and letting him take in the entire playbook to set his rookie growing pains in motion.

    • Malcolm Jones

      Huff Knows Kelly’s Offense whereas Matthews doesn’t (Huff was helping Matthews during OTAs)…. Matthews played in the slot in college, so placing Matthews in a similar role allows us to get the most out of him right now. Meanwhile, Because Huff knows more of the base system he is being acclimated as such and given more roles to learn (STs,Outside, inside). This leads me to believe Huff will play the DeAnthony Thomas Role. This is the only reason I can see it being hard for someone to grasp all this knowledge when they have played all of these roles before in a similar offense.

      The way I see it is Huff is a RB playing WR. So he can do what sproles does and do what Desean Jackson did last year. He is not as fast as Sproles and Jackson but the physical aspect should make up for the lack of speed in open space. It would also explain why it is tough for Huff to get in there, Chip is hiding his hand.

      • B-West

        Huff’s struggles have confused me as well, although the company line is that the offense if much different. More interesting to me is how the team has handled Huff’s development. At every turn, the policy has been to reduce scope and increase precision. Kelly seems to be all about doing a few things excellent rather than a lot of things decent.

        We saw it with Boykin. We saw it with the entire defense last year, everything being pretty vanilla. Some of that personnel, but I think some of it was keeping things simple. We’re seeing it this season with Matthews and Smith.

        Huff seems to be an outlier to this line of thinking. Your theory about a multidimensional, DAT style role aligns with that, but it doesn’t align with this regime’s typical approach. It probably speaks to Kelly’s trust in Huff.

        • Malcolm Jones

          It does seem weird because it doesn’t fit with what the agenda shows… but I think of Huff more as Sproles back up and an emergency outside wr.

          I do wonder whether that simplicity last year was a result of trying to incorporate the speed factor in the offense as quickly as possible. I tend to think that, contrast to what Kelly says, the whole offense was not installed.

          • B-West

            I do like how you’re tying DAT, Sproles and Huff all together. I hadn’t thought of Sproles in the DAT roll, I was more thinking of everything I had seem him do in the past in NO. And the idea of Huff developing into that type of wild card is awful tantalizing.

          • Kleptolia

            Kelly seems to be specializing players to make up for Jackson’s departure. Jackson moved around a lot last year. This year, Matthews will primarily play slot. He may be moved outside some by year’s end.
            Huff, on the other hand, might – I stress the word might – be asked to fill the other spots Jackson filled. He may be asked to line up in the backfield, motion outside, motion to the slot, even line up where the tight end normally would set.
            This is a role that Kelly showed at times in Oregon. There is a write up on fishduck.com about the “Tiny TE” formation. Oregon used it for only one game, against Cal. It put a wideout at the spot a TE would normally play. It was very interesting and gave certain matchup advantages.
            It is becoming my belief that Huff may play a larger role in his rookie year than I had thought, but I can’t say that definitively. We’ll have to wait and see.
            If Kelly does pull out some of those odd formations, though, it will be fun to watch, whether they work or not.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            I don’t think even half of the offense was installed.

  • 370HSSV 0773H

    Theres no point in cutting Barkley because nobody will sign Kinne, who can be signed to our practice squad. But, another team would probably sign Barkley if we cut him.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    “I will say that Williams brings an edge to this secondary (and the defense overall) that I think it good for them.”

    If I can’t beat you, I’m going to beat you up. That’s what CW brings & is quite often the case. Listen, we all love the tough guy image. But our tough guy is in the mold of Rocky. An underdog, that had the heart of a lion to will himself to win. Rocky wouldn’t fold on 3rd & 5 and he certainly wouldn’t go looking to pick a fight. CW is no Rocky. CW is Clubber Lang.

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      Didn’t give 8yd cushions either.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I said it before and I’ll say it again. CW wants to be a bully, he needs to put on 20lbs & move to SS. He’s a goon & they only see the ice/field to set a tone or send a message.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

          he’s our Tie Domi

          • MagatBrackendale

            That’s not a hockey stick he’s carrying.

          • MagatBrackendale

            Sorry Disqus won’t let me edit.

          • MagatBrackendale

            Domi doesn’t always carry a hockey stick.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

            dont care

          • Jerry Pomroy

            CW wants to impress me, he’ll pull a Deon vs Rison when we go up against WASH and DJax.

      • RIP illa

        Did you see how much of a cushion Fletch gave last year??? Both are on the same tier of CB…IMO. Just that Fletch is a little better, but not by leaps and bounds. So not really trying to argue on a who’s wrong and right type deal, but you’re not giving up, nor gaining, a lot by starting one over the other. At least based off of last year’s play.

        • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

          They both did, seemed like CW did it more. In fairness, some of it was the scheme Davis had to play to cover for the terrible safeties. While there is a marginal difference, I’d still rather play the better, and to me it was apparent that Fletch was slightly better.

        • paul from nc

          That’s the bend, don’t break. I wish they would get away from that, and get off the field on 3rd down.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I think the difference was that Fletcher could close on the cushion and break up the pass.

          I pick on CW mainly because he talks tough, yet gets roasted. If he played as good as, or even remotely close to, how tough he talks I wouldn’t have issue with him.

    • anon

      cw gave up a lot of 1st downs but not a lot of tds, he didnt let guys get behind him he didn’t have a ton of PI calls and he did a decent job on dez two time last year.

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        He had some moments last year, I’ll give him that. I don’t think he’s an awful corner, but he’s the 3rd best of the over 6ft corners on the roster, 4th overall, IMO.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Amen.

  • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

    At least I kind of got an answer on the whole Carroll of Fletcher instead of Willliams deal, even if I don’t think it’s the right move.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I still don’t agree with it. He can bring that edge & cheer on his teammates as the Dime CB. I want the best duo/trio of CBs in there. The best at minimizing receptions and shutting down the opposition in clutch situations. That’s just not Cary “1st Down” Williams (as he’s nicknamed in BALT area).

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        Exactly. Tim said it, play on the field is most important. I guess if the Kelly decided that Carroll for Fletcher was the move, he think that the difference in talent is that small and Cary’s edge is somehow not replaceable. Which, I also can’t subscribe to.

        • JosephR2225

          When your defense is playing well, everybody’s got an edge. When you can’t get off the field on third and 12, nobody does.

          • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

            Exactly. These guys are professionals.

          • paul from nc

            The Eagles haven’t had an edge for years. At least he talks tough and maybe it can translate to the better players.

    • Token

      Yea, I just dont agree with it. That whole “tough” act doesnt go very far. When you are out there getting abused in coverage your teammates could care less about the bravado.

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        Yeah, I’m with ya there. I don’t think he’s an awful corner, but he to my eyes, he did not outperform Fletcher last year, and by all accounts, Carroll is better than both. I don’t care that he’s not scared of anyone and is a vocal leader. He can be a vocal leader from the sidelines. Seems to have a loud enough mouth.

        • anon

          as long as roc carmicheal never gets on the field again.

          • aub32

            Unless he’s starting for Dallas. Then I hope he stays healthy and has the longest career of any CB ever

          • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

            How about never gets on the team again?

  • cliff h-MOAR white goons

    think Matthews is looking off into the woods, seeing a baby bird about to fly for the first time.

    • Max Lightfoot

      Or feeling the angst of a reporter with nothing but silly training camp questions.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        ha, true. i can picture Eskin asking one of his long winded so he can hear himself talk questions, totally loaded and leading, as usual…and Matthews saying ‘that’s a great question’…and meaning it.

        • Max Lightfoot

          Oh sure – but now that they’ve lulled us to sleep, just watch El Popé Bombasticus & Nickfolian D cut a filthy, sexist rap video. =)

  • MagatBrackendale

    Just one question. Who IS that wrinkled, heavily-sweating, terribly worried old man in the photo?

    • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

      Pope Jordan the 81st had facial reconstruction surgery half-way through training camp so the vets that he’s going to beat out for a job didn’t feel like they lost out to a rookie.

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      Could be Reuben Frank.

  • Rick H

    It “appears” the Eagles are drafting well the last couple of years plus some left over outstanding talented players from Andy’s era. If the Eagles keep this drafting success going plus a couple of key mid tier free agents signings during the next off season then I would then put them right there with the BEST teams in the NFL without question.
    Here is hoping for a healthy & lucky 2014 season. GO EAGLES!!! No one knows for sure but anything is possible..

  • PaoliBulldog

    Barkley made his NFL debut eleven months after sustaining a severe (grade 3 – all ligaments torn) shoulder separation, which he chose to rehab rather than repair surgically. He wasn’t exactly Dan Marino pre-injury, but I’m sure part of his 2013 sucklitude is attributable to that injury. He seems to be throwing the ball much better now. Here’s hoping he can at least move past Sanchez on the depth chart and morph into a tradeable asset.

  • Kamoteng Baging

    Letting players do what their do best. What a novel concept.

    I miss the days of drafting DE and converting them to LB and vice versa.