Eagles Wake-Up Call: What We’re Watching

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles take on the Steelers tonight at 7:30 at the Linc. Here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on:

WR situation – Riley Cooper is scheduled to see his first preseason action. The Eagles will likely ease him in, but we’ll get a sense of how Cooper’s holding up after suffering a foot injury earlier in training camp. Jeremy Maclins (hamstring) status for tonight is unknown.




And then there's Jordan Matthews. He had nine catches vs. the Patriots, but only one came against New England's starters. With Brad Smith likely sidelined, Matthews should get a chance to go with the first team. We've said all along that he'll be the first-team slot receiver once the real games begin. He can solidify that standing with a good showing vs. Pittsburgh.

Finally, there are still roster spots to be decided. Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn are all looking to make their cases as the sixth receiver on the 53-man roster. Momah has played better offensively than the other two. But Maehl and Benn have the edge on special teams.

Flags - Chip Kelly sounded off on his players after penalties hurt them against New England. His message was simple: These are the rules. Learn to play by them. Or you'll be standing next to me on the sideline.

Illegal contact and illegal hands to the face are being emphasized. The Eagles have had four days of practice to get on the right track. Tonight, we see if they can produce different results.

Marcus Smith II - His development has become one of the most fascinating story lines of the summer for the Eagles. The coaches were disappointed with what they saw out of Smith against New England.

Expect a lot of reps for him once again. The only way he's going to get better is by playing and learning from his mistakes. The thing about Smith is the Eagles could desperately use someone with his measurables, athleticism and versatility in the front seven.

But if Smith doesn't show progress over the next couple of weeks, he could have trouble getting on the field once the season starts.

Offensive line - And more specifically, Allen Barbre.

"I think Allen's done a nice job," said Kelly this week. "He could stick to blocks a little better. He's got a good feel and sense of what we're doing. He's a physical player at the tackle spot. So he doesn't get over-matched by anybody in there."

Barbre got beaten around the edge for a sack vs. New England and gave up pressure in the first game vs. the Bears. The Eagles will be looking for a solid performance out of him tonight. Most likely, the next time he takes the field will be Week 1 vs. the Jaguars.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles acquired kicker Cody Parkey from the Colts. T-Mac has details.

"We try to live in the truth." More on the Marcus Smith project.

"This city has given me everything I have." Brent Celek still taking hits, getting back up and setting the tone for the Eagles.

With the Kenjon Barner addition, Chris Polk is feeling the heat.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Les Bowen of the Daily News talked to Jerry Azzinaro about the defensive line and Fletcher Cox:

"Big, strong, athletic guy that can play in any system God invented," Azzinaro said.

"I know how to sack the quarterback. If sacks were our only goal, I think I could get that done," Azzinaro said. "But that might increase our x-play total." (X-plays are gains of 20 yards or more.)

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz on the Eagles' inside linebacker depth:

After Goode, things are wide open. Jake Knott is the player the team hoped would have the #4 spot. Things are very complicated with him. Knott is suspended for the first 4 games of the year. Just as bad, he’s been hurt part of the summer. Knott hasn’t played yet in the preseason. The team would really love to get a feel for where he is. They need him to play in a game.

Emmanuel Acho looked like a combination of Byron Evans, Jeremiah Trotter and Chuck Bednarik last summer. He made a ton of plays in the preseaon. This year he’s been okay, but hasn’t stood out at all. He could be the #4 ILB for now, but that’s hardly written in stone.

COMING UP

We've got a game tonight and plenty of content leading up to it.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Johnny Domino

    Is it just me or did it take an “Eternity” to get on here today?

    • ohitsdom

      I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t come to Birds 24/7 to watch models make out.

      • Johnny Domino

        Yeah, I can do that at home.

  • Dominik

    Finally, there are still roster spots to be decided. Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn are all looking to make their cases as the sixth receiver on the 53-man roster. Momah has played better offensively than the other two. But Maehl and Benn have the edge on special teams.

    That’s only true if Huffs optimism turns out to be true and he’s not out for a significant amount of time. Otherwise, there will either be 5 spots or there will be 2 out of Momah, Maehl and Benn. As long as Maehl will be cut, I could life with it – altough I like Huff and Smith as the #4 and #5 guys. Momah or Benn – not great, at least.

  • JofreyRice

    Wow, fascinating quote from Azzinaro, there. They’re really philosophically committed to having the DL just control the LOS, and have the linebackers do all the playmaking, despite the fact that 3 out of the 4 linebackers are just solid, versatile types–Kendricks being the exception as having legit playmaking “star” potential, IMO. It seems they’re well aware that Fletcher Cox has the ability to go kill QBs, but just don’t want him doing that.

    I really hope they make a leap this season. Azzinaro may talk about limiting the big plays, but that secondary was extremely porous; I didn’t realize they were dead last in passing yards allowed per game. Despite saying that time of possession is meaningless I can’t imagine they want to see another season of good QBs dinking and dunking their way down the field and controlling the clock. Having your defenders out there for all that time fatigues them, and one would think it increases the chance of a mistake or blown coverage, resulting in a big play.

    In comparing the D to that awful 2011 Castillo/Washburn/Casey Matthews/Brian Rolle/Nnamdi/DRC joint who lead the league in sacks–and 4th quarter collapses–I was shocked to see our line controlling 2 gap actually gave up 1 more rushing TD than that group, and around 1300 more yards through the air. Talk about x plays!

    • JosephR2225

      That was a good article by Bowen about Azz and his philosophy with the guys up front, and some good discussion of Fletcher Cox’s role. Worth a read.

      • JofreyRice

        cool, I’ll check it out. I know Bowen’s been critical of Cox in the past, saying he looks like a 3rd rounder.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        good article by Bowen … you sure? that just doesnt sound right

        • JosephR2225

          Even a senile squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

    • Token

      They play defense scared. With the DL play, with the 15 yard cushions. They try and play to limit the big play. But that doesnt work. Id much rather go out there and be really aggressive. If you are gonna get burnt either way, ill take my chances being aggressive. At least your more likely to get TOs and make things happen. The Eagles D lets things happen to them. They dont dictate anything.

      • JosephR2225

        Well… they were tied for third in the NFL in takeaways with 31 and were 14th in the NFL in plays of 25+ yards allowed with 74, so there’s something to be said for letting guys like Romo, Stafford, Cutler, Eli, etc. play themselves into mistakes. But that style breaks down against the better QBs like that they would need to beat to get through the playoffs.

        • Token

          Ask yourself what kind of defenses often win titles and what kind dont.

          • JosephR2225

            I asked myself. I answered that it’s not quite as easy to pigeonhole as you want it to be. Seattle was obviously a dominant defense, but the Ravens certainly were not. They were 15th in sacks, 14th in takeaways and 19th in defensive efficiency. The Giants in 2011 were 3rd in sacks and 5th in takeaways but 19th in defensive efficiency. The Packers in 2010 were a very good defense that year, but the Saints in 2009 were not a shut down defense, they just did a great job of generating turnovers.

            At any rate, the point is they don’t have the personnel to be a shut down defense or even really a primarily attacking defense, but there are more ways to generate turnovers and keep points off the board than that.

          • Token

            Did you know only 5 teams have won a SB while allowing more then 20 points on average in the regular season? It can happen. But I dont like building a team based on outliers.

            Do we have the personnel to be a sit back and hope defense? It didnt seem like we did. How many Turnovers did we have minus Brandon Boykin? Do you expect another huge INT year from him? Many of his plays were just off athletic talent. Not the scheme putting him in good position.

            I think you try and dictate what happening. Offense and defense. If you are being dictated to you prolly arent gonna be a great team. So after seeing the train wreck of a D last year, and seeing that it looks possibly worse this year…. im all about being more aggressive. Im not sure what they have to lose. All that can happen is they get burnt in a few plays less time and the offense gets back on the field.

          • JosephR2225

            That’s not making a point at all. Obviously the Eagles want to give up fewer points per game. Who doesn’t? I disagree with the notion that the best way to do that is to trust Vinny Curry and Trent Cole to get after the QB and trust Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher not to get beat on the back end. You must have a short memory if you can’t reach all the way back to 2012 to remember what happens when you focus on “attacking” but can’t cover the backs of the guys up front getting upfield.

            This notion of “dictating” or “being dictated to” is great in principle, but if the Eagles tried that they would be bringing a knife to a gun fight. They don’t have the guys for it. Instead, what they are trying to do is make the offense earn their points with longer drives, which gives you a greater chance that a drive-killing play like a penalty or a turnover or a sack might happen along the way. Is that ideal? Of course not. Is that their best option right now? I think so.

          • Token

            Cary and Fletch get beat regardless of what you do. I at least want a chance to get to the QB first.

            This D will likely never be a top unit. Its gonna be a offensive team. I get it. But I think to have a chance to really do anything they need a more aggressive defense. Sitting back and letting yourself get picked apart makes little sense to me. If you dont have the guys to be aggressive then you dont have the guys to be passive. Its just as hard to sit back and hope to stop a NFL offense in that manner. Thats college level crap. Many QBs in this league LOVE playing the Eagles style of defense.

          • JosephR2225

            Well like I said it works against a lot of QBs. People called me crazy last year but I said Romo going down for Week 17 was bad luck for the Eagles, because they matchup better against that type of QB who isn’t willing to take what the defense is willing to give. It works against most guys and you saw that last year, when they were able to perform well against Romo, Eli, Cutler, Stafford (albeit, snow) and Palmer but got carved up by Matt Cassell, because Cassell will take a 7 yard out if you give it to him while those other guys are looking for a bigger play.

            But also, like I said, it breaks down against many of the types of QBs you need to get through to have postseason success. Brees, Brady, Peyton, Rodgers, Luck, Wilson… they’ll take what you give them and when you try to shut that down they can also beat you with a big play, that’s why they’re the best.

          • JofreyRice

            Ah, not having the guys for it is also partially about the choices they’ve made. Like I said, they KNOW Cox can get after the QB. They KNOW Curry can do it. They sat out on the safeties, they sat out on the available CBs. They drafted a guy in the first round they knew would be a project, that they never even planned to have rush the passer as a primary responsibility. I mean, the excuse of inheriting Andy Reid’s lousy roster is a little less shiny in year 2, with 2 drafts and 2 free agency periods in the books and husky cap space.

            The problem I see with the philosophy of letting the offense play their way down the field into a mistake is that it’s sort of set up to fail you when you need it most, against the really good QBs you end up facing in January and February that are less mistake-prone.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            How many defenses qualify for the adjective, “train wreck” in any given year?

          • aub32

            They would if they were truly “putting players in a position to succeed”. Chip said DeSean didn’t fit his offense, but found a way to get him his best statistical year. Why do the exact opposite on the defensive side of the ball?

          • anon

            defense is predicated on creating turnovers. But think chip is learning that you can’t do that against good QBs unless your pass rush is on point. That’s not true in college. I think next year they’ll pay someone if Smith doesn’t do what he’s supposed to.

        • JofreyRice

          The turnover differential really helped them. I’m curious to see if that was scheme based, or if it was just sort of lucky. I mean, you figure that a lot of times interceptions are “forced” by pressure on the QB, which doesn’t seem to be the main priority.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            Oregon was always high up there in TO diff. know colleg v pros, but about all we have to go on.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, you’re right. I think they’ve really gotta do that again to be a serious contender.

      • JofreyRice

        I mean, all I can say is sort pro football reference by the most sacks last year and you get a list of nasty defenses. Carolina, Rams, Saints, Chiefs, Bills, Cardinals, Patriots, Bengals, all in the top 10. Defenses good enough to get their coordinators hired to head up franchises, in some cases.

        If you read the Bowen article, you can see Davis & Azzinaro are remarkably consistent. Stop the run to win games. Don’t push to make plays. Play your role, especially on the DL.

        I know Washburn is a four letter word here, and he certainly was a terrible jerk on a personal level, but he was regarded as one of the best at his craft, and had several cases of making stars out of guys. I really wonder, if the situation had been managed better, if things could have worked out. Putting Juan Castillo in charge of the defense, with a firebrand guy like Washburn given autonomy with the DL was perhaps the absolute worst thing Reid could have done to hamstring Castillo even further. I’m just spitballing, but imagine a defense that had competent secondary play behind that ferocious pass rush, with a guy like Washburn reigned in under an established D Coordinator?

        • Token

          Stopping the run to win games in 2014 seems sort of odd to say. They give up passing yards at will. They literally give free yards in the passing games because of how they set up.

          Hearing that they are fine with taking a guy like Cox and making him basically be a fat human concrete slab just meant to keep lineman busy is disheartening. I could maybe see if they had a group of stud OLBs and ILBs to make plays. But they dont. They dont at all. And instead of trying to be creative trying to skin the cat a different way, they seem content to keep plugging away with the same plan and hoping for different outcomes. Thats seems so counter to the “Kelly Way”. I dont get it.

          • bill

            I agree with you about Cox – I think he is being underutilized in the scheme. And I scratched my head just as much when I heard the “stopping the run is priority #1″ stuff. The only rationale about that that makes sense is that, in today’s NFL, you CAN’T stop the pass against a good team consistently (without bending the rules like Seattle has, leading to the new enforcement emphasis). You can stop the run consistently, even against good running teams. You can make teams one dimensional this way. And the hope is, with the 2 gap 3-4, you can confuse the QB enough when passing to create interceptions, given that they’ll make more throws than their average if you’re completely shutting down their run game.
            Surely there must be more to it than that, but that must be at least the foundation of the philosophy, because it’s the only rationale that makes even a lick of sense in the modern NFL. And I do believe that Chip has a reason for every choice. May not be a reason you or I agree with, and may be wrong, but I do believe he’s thought all this stuff through thoroughly and has some empirical support for his decisions.

          • Breakerdog

            One thing to keep in mind when thinking about the overall design of the defense is the cap as well. To play a hyper aggressive, get to the passer / man cover scheme you need great pass rushers and great cover CBs.
            These guys cost $$ and are hard to come by. I think that Chip and Howie are trying to implement a defense that can win without having to pay big stars so that they can afford bigger ticket talent players on the offensive side of the ball.

          • aub32

            Really? We manufactured 50 sacks under Washburn, and that was without Cox and Curry. SEA money is tied up in their secondary, not their DL, but the pass rush is definitely present. Hell, I think we would have a better pass rush if we just switched schemes to a 4-3 under look. So I don’t think money really plays into it.

          • Token

            We have 100 million under the cap every year.

          • MagatBrackendale

            Weren’t you the one who said, a couple of days ago, that the cap space is already gone for the next umpteen years?

          • Token

            no. cap space will never be a issue with the Eagles

          • southy

            I’m just going to leave this here:

            “The plans of the deity notwithstanding, Washburn and his wide-nine setup are long gone. Cox, who notched 5 1/2 sacks as a rookie, managed only three last season – but his “hurries” increased from 14 to 39, which Pro Football Focus said ranked him second in the NFL among 3-4 defensive ends.”

          • MagatBrackendale

            Right on, southy. Unfortunately too many folks can’t see past sack numbers or smashing receivers downfield. The reality is that the League will NOT allow that kind of play at the moment. Like Chip says, “You know the rules now learn to play within them”. So it doesn’t matter how many sacks some team got last year, or how many pass rushers there are. The rules have changed, plain and simple.

        • Dominik

          I mean, all I can say is sort pro football reference by the most sacks last year and you get a list of nasty defenses. Carolina, Rams, Saints, Chiefs, Bills, Cardinals, Patriots, Bengals, all in the top 10. Defenses good enough to get their coordinators hired to head up franchises, in some cases.

          Well, well, I’m looking at the sacks stats and see the 49ers D only two places above our beloved Eagles at #18. Do the 49ers have a bad D? I mean, they were in the CCG and not because of their Offense, I’d say.

          The 49ers have the same philosophy that we have. Take away the run and get the opponent in 3rd and 5 or more situations.

          I’m not saying you have to like that philosophy, but let’s not overreact to it. It’s not like you can’t have success with it in todays NFL. If you combine this philosophy with TO (and o m g are we screwed if we don’t get those – but that has something to do with the overall talent level on D), it can be alright. Not Top 8 ranked, but we wouldn’t be #8 with any scheme.

          • RIP illa

            The 9ers also have an exceptional LB corp, adept at making plays. And have had a ferousious secondary behind them. We don’t have that, so that kinda plays into it. If you wanna just control the line instead of getting after the QB then we better start getting some difference makers on the 2nd and 3rd levels of our D.

          • Dominik

            “The 9ers also have an exceptional LB corp, adept at making plays.” They do, but they didn’t have many sacks.

            “And have had a ferousious secondary behind them.” Their secondary isn’t as good as you may want to believe since they are a great D. It’s their weakness.

          • RIP illa

            Having sacks isn’t the end all be all, it’s more of when you’re getting the sacks. Also they were getting off the field on 3rd downs, whether that was through coverage, run stopping, or pass rush. That’s what the LB corp brought. And Aldon Smith, alone, makes opposing O’s take notice and adjust for him.

            I never said that their secondary was great or good. I said ferocious…agreesive, violent, predatory. Something we don’t have or play like! That makes a world of difference also. So when Token’s, or anyone else, is talking bout how much of a cushion we give…they’re pretty much hinting or outright saying how soft our secondary plays and how you can’t play like that while controlling the LOS, unless you wanna stay on the field all game long.

            It’s cool that we wanna model ourselves after that type of D, sorta. I prefer a more man based, gap shooting, aggressive D, but all I’m saying is that if we are gonna play the style we’ve been playing, then we better have the imposing talent playing behind the D-line, to really be effective, rather than what we are now.

          • Dominik

            “I never said that their secondary was great or good. I said
            ferocious…agreesive, violent, predatory. Something we don’t have or play like! That makes a world of difference also. So when Token’s, or anyone else, is talking bout how much of a cushion we give…they’re pretty much hinting or outright saying how soft our secondary plays and how you can’t play like that while controlling the LOS, unless you wanna stay on the field all game long.”

            You can say many things about Williams, but he’s violent. And yeah, we played with a cushion, but that’s because Patrick Chung was running around and tackling Eagles.

            Some people don’t like Jenkins, but he has to be an upgrade over Chung. Better Safety play should lead to more aggressive CB play (altough the league is working against it with this rule changes…) and that should help us overall.

          • JofreyRice

            Yes, I do see that. They seemed to have a hard time replacing Aldon Smith’s production, but even with Smith they were only 11th. They do seem to be a truly brutal defense that does it without racking up sack #s, but I do think the level of talent has to do with the D’s overall tenor. I mean, in a vacuum, they have 2 of the best 5 ILBs in the NFL playing next to each other to work those 3rd and 5s. With Aldon Smith in the fold, they also have one of the top passrushing OLBs in the league to lean on–he surely isn’t some dynamo in coverage, he gets after the QB first and foremost.

            Again, I do find this fascinating because as Token said above (or below) we’re sort of modeling the defense on outliers, as opposed to going with the conventional wisdom. Not shocking, considering everything else associated with the staff, but the early returns really have not been very promising, you’d have to admit.

          • Dominik

            Like I said, they have a very, very talented D. No doubt. If healthy, every single one of their LB would be a significant upgrade for us.

            But the 49ers showed nonetheless that you can be effective on D with stopping the run and not a huge number of sacks. That’s our formula.

            And Re: “but the early returns really have not been very promising, you’d have to admit.”

            Yes and no. Remember this streak with 8 games under 21 points? That was promising, imho. This D needs playmakers and especially LB (OLB), they need a better talent level overall. No doubt. But I wouldn’t say that the scheme is wrong per se.

          • JofreyRice

            Ok, yeah, I think you’re a little more optimistic about those performances than I am. Terrelle Pryor, Scott Tolzein, They almost lost a trap game to Kyle Orton. RGreconstructedknee. Stafford in the snow. I hope it was real, but I don’t think it was. I will say that the fared better against Brees than I thought they would, but I’d still place myself in the “pessimistic” category for their 2014 outlook.

          • Dominik

            And that’s ok. I get that point. They only replaced one starter. But I believe that playing in the same scheme will actually help these guys.

            Big knock is OLBs. Cole is nothing special (anymore), Barwin is a fine player, but no Pass Rushing weapon at the position. Smith is a rookie. Graham is a joke in this scheme. Long is young and Braman is for ST.

            If I think about our OLBs, I tend to be not too optimistic. But overall, with improved D-Line play (and depth) and better Secondary play, I hope we’ll be alright.

            Altough this Defense will never be #5 (in the meaningful categories, Yards is irrelevant to us since our D has to play more snaps and therefore give up more Yards with our 3 and out or 3 and in Offense) without a true difference maker at OLB.

          • 76mustang

            What early returns?? The Eagles haven’t played a regular season game yet. The coaches are still in evaluation mode and not utilizing any of the 3-4 disguise features that make the defense go. All these aspersions against our defensive philosophy and personnel – when the coaches and players in the system say they are miles ahead of where they were at this time last year – the Eagles are pure vanilla right now, what value is there in putting anything on film this preseason for the opposition?

            Certainly it would help the doubters if they could see every practice snap and sit in on every position meeting to better understand the progress – Chip wants a base 3-4 Defense, this is the start of year 2, the Eagles have drafted 10 defensive players to 5 offensive players the past 2 drafts. The Eagles have brought in mostly defensive FAs to bolster the roster. I don’t think the Eagles are finished acquiring talent for the defense – the Eagles are much deeper on D than last year, and the return players have a year in the system. This entire rant about switching to 4-3 base so BG and VC can be better utilized is a wasted exercise.

            The Eagles are a 2 gap 3-4 base defense team – live with it.

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

            All under the working premise we’ll be a consistent top 3 or top 5 offense. Plays big factor in their defensive scheming IMO

          • Dominik

            Yes it does. If Chip keeps this offense going, we’ll be a sure contender if we have a top 10 D (again, measuring it is tough because of our Offense). It’s simple math. The Super Bowl teams usually aren’t Top 8 in both. They are 1-4 in one and capable in the other one. I’d think a Top 12 D could be enough with a great #1 Offense (and we’re basically waiting for Peyton to retire to be the #1 – as long as Shady is around). But Top 10 would be “safe”.

          • anon

            yeah if offense regresses at all it’s over. I mean i think you’ve seend this play out in Denver and NOLA and NE – best passing offenses in the league can’t make it b/c defense was lacking. Look at all of the resources that DEN and NE are plugging into defense.

            DEN has 1 QB, 1 pro bowl WR, 1 pro bowl TE, — they don’t even have an RB to speak of. On defense they have 2 bro bowl DEs, pro bowl CB, pro bowl safety, etc. Look at all the resources they’ve put into getting after the passer.

            I think chhip is a little delusional if he thinks he can just outscore everyone. DE had the highest scoring offense EVER with the best QB/WR/TE tandem we’ve probably seen in a while. But they couldn’t stop an average QB with average weapons.

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

            Eh, Den didn’t have a Tremendous TE, but 3 great WRs and incredible QB. And then NFL goes and takes away SEA advantage with flags this year.

            Don’t think Chip is ignoring or downplaying; still a defense in transition with limited talent. Can only do so.much in short time. But he and Howie clearly stated rather be excellent on 1 side than ok on both

          • shady25

            Aldon Smith was suspended and in rehab last year. So that would explain the lack of sacks.

          • Dominik

            It does. But they were a very good D without him – and without that many sacks. That’s my point, actually.

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

          Correct me if wrong but hasn’t that played out at other Washburn stops? And he hasn’t exactly led terrific defense? I cant do much research at moment but DET didn’t seem great with him. And I think TEN before?

          • JofreyRice

            Tennessee is really where he made his mark, IMO. Jevon Kearse, Albert Haynesworth, Van den Bosh, Kevin Carter, Jason Jones, Babin, Antwan Odom. They fielded some pretty good defenses, and some pretty bad ones. #2 overall in 2000 & 2007, 29th and 31st in 2006. A bunch in between. So much goes into how they’re going to shake out overall, but they were consistently in the upper half of the league in sacks during that time. Considering Washburn is a positional coach advertising a specialty in generating pressure, I think he fulfills that part of the job requirement. Scheming behind it to compensate is not his thing, and shouldn’t have been left to an offensive line coach…but I digress on that point.

            Detroit’s situation reminds me a bit of the Eagles. Talent, but lack of discipline and a lot of characters without much guidance. Totally wrong situation for Washburn. As I said, I think he gets a little undue criticism because he was such and ahole. Primarily, the mismanagement of that situation was on Reid. Giving Washburn that much autonomy and then having crappy safeties and horrible LBs run the OL coach’s coverage scheme was all on Andy.

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

            Fair and true; forgot about some of the talent on those TEN teams.

            But I feel plenty of other DL coaches can get pressure without such an absurd scheme putting undue burden on back 7 to do so much. I never thought Wash was all that

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, I dunno about any of this, really. I see a defense without any stars headed up by a guy that’s never really produced an elite unit, on a team with a decidedly offensive identity. Does that mean it’s guaranteed to fail? Not even close. Oregon had a good defense in Kelly’s last year. I’m just going with my gut–which truthfully, has been wrong plenty of times.

          • anon

            or course wide 9 will get sacks it’s literally the whole point of the offense to the detriment of the DBs thats why the DBs always look terrible in those systems they are responsible for EVERYTHING, run gaps, passing, etc.

      • aub32

        Do you think they are still coaching defense from a college mentality? College QBs aren’t nearly as good as QBs in the pros. Limiting big plays and forcing them to go on 15-20 play drives means there are more chances for them to make mistakes. QBs in this league won’t make those mistakes when given time and cushion. Maybe thy are hoping that players other than the QB makes a mistake, such as the Pats’ TE running the wrong route and resulting in a pick 6.

        • Token

          Possibly. Im trying to think of times where our TOs came because of scheme. I know a number of Boykins plays were just raw talent making a play. Remember the Dallas INT? He got beat off the line, caught up to pick off the throw behind Austin. If Boykin doesnt make that play we lose. There was no other defender around. The scheme failed right there and Boykin erased the mistake. If you go back and look, im guessing there were multiple plays like that last season.

          • JosephR2225

            That is just flat out untrue. Sorry, but it is. They bracketed Witten on that play, who was the primary receiver and forced Orton to go to his Number 2. Because they bracketed Witten, the safety was allowed to play over top of Austin and not get forced to choose between two guys. That allowed Boykin to undercut the route. Normal man coverage you have to stay over top of that route because if you undercut it and get beat, it could go all the way. Chip and Baldy break down that play right here. I recommend you take a look at it. And if you want another example, off the top of my head, in another video they break down Boykin’s game-sealing INT against the Redskins, which was also a product of scheme.

            http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/videos/videos/Kelly-strator-Wild-Card-Week/d2f747f7-f4b4-438f-9a17-f2f3f8c56e29

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            And BOOM goes the dynamite. Well done, sir.

          • Token

            You Dont think Austin scores if that ball is thrown in front of him? I think he has a decent chance to with Allen? back there with a bad angle. At very least it keeps the drive going. But you have a right to be a fan of the defense. I just disagree that its going to work out.

          • JofreyRice

            It was amazing he made that play. Austin is like 4 inches taller!

          • MagatBrackendale

            And I’ll bet there were multiple plays like that every season. For years. By every team.

        • Kleptolia

          The interesting thing about the NFL and college football is that they are both football.
          And in football, as in life, there is more than one way to dam a river.

          • aub32

            That’s true, but keep in mind there are infinitely more ways to not dam a river.

          • Kleptolia

            Of course, this is all ignoring the bigger issue: if there’s a river in your football field, you’ve made an error! Find a different place to play, man!

          • MagatBrackendale

            Very deep philosophy. ;~)

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

          Tough to say; PLENTY of NFL qbs make bad plays. In fact I’d say the majority. Including our division-mates. Especially if all goes well for Chip and they’re in a constant shootout.

          Also with regard to your point and JR’s point above, curious if their DL tactics change a bit now that the refs at impacting how Chip/Davis wanted the DBs to play

        • MagatBrackendale

          Davis is not a “college” coach.

      • Jernst

        I agree I hate our defensive scheme

    • Engwrite

      Exactly. Their philosophy should be to go for more three and outs even at the cost of more X-plays. Kelly’s offensive tempo, given more chances, should wear out the other teams D, particularly if their D has less time to rest.

    • Eagles1018…Please no more du

      Seems like our plan on d isn’t working then…I’m already not looking fwd to our d this season. Still salty that they won’t give Boykin a legit shot at the outside. He’s our best DB but a good margin…

      • anon

        He played outside last week. Wasn’t a great game for him.

    • Kleptolia

      If you think about it, what is Chips offensive plan for winning games?

      Run the football.

      What is Chip’s defensive plan for winning games?

      Stop the run.

      This makes sense. A handoff is a very high percentage play. Very rarely does something go wrong with it.
      If you can force the opposing offense to stop handing off and start throwing, the percentages go down. The possibility of a failed play or a turnover goes up.

      Of course, it will be interesting to see what effect the new no touching rules have on pass completion percentage.

      As I’ve said many times, though, there are plenty of ways to pressure the QB oh of this style of defense. It’s the best way to matchup on the offensive numbers.

      • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

        Did you read Bowen’s piece? It was along the same line as your first paragraph. Kind of an interesting dichotomy between Reid’s Defense (Offense passes like crazy, defense built to stop it) and Chippah’s version of the two.

        Regarding the sacks and pressure plays, I think we can all agree that we didn’t see any of the exotic things that Billy D wants to do last season. He has been extremely transparent about the fact that his players were taking baby steps last season and this year are starting to make strides. I think you will see him do things to create pressure and confusion here in year two. If he doesn’t then (insert your deity here) help us.

        • Kleptolia

          I didn’t read Bowen’s piece.
          Davis absolutely has packages we haven’t seen yet. The reason he wants to get Smith developed is that he wants that mirrored front. It hides where the pressure is coming from.
          If Davis can get the scheme he wants, I am looking forward to seeing the defense almost as much as the offense.
          There is always the possibility of failure, but there is also a chance for spectacular.
          It is funny to me that so many people here are upset about guys passed up in the draft because of their potential, their “upside.” Meanwhile, nobody seems to have any interest in the upside of this defensive scheme.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            Bowen’s piece (choking down disbelief here) was actually good. I’d recommend it.

            I agree with your points wholeheartedly. I think Davis has a good scheme in mind, but it’s complex and the players need to be able to execute it. I’m excited to see it come together.

          • Kleptolia

            I haven’t been following football in Philly for a long time, but one of the first things I learned after Chip moved there was to disregard Les Bowen bits.
            That said, I just read the article, and it was good. It reminded me of everything I enjoyed about Coach Azz.
            The guy looks like a mafia thug but talks football like a Rhodes scholar.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            Yea Bowen gets hammered a lot around here, deservedly so, but that was a good write up. It was probably only good because it was basically all Azz quotes. Credit where it’s due though.

            Welcome to your relationship with Philly. It’s a roller-coaster!

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            The Oregon fans following Chip to Eagles fandom have by and large been a really nice addition to the fan base. Excepting you, of course.

          • Kleptolia

            Awwwww. Mark Sanchez.

      • peteike

        thats all fine and well if they could learn how to get off the field on 3rd down

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          That’s where the exotic stuff comes into play. It’s the stuff we didn’t see last year because we lacked any sort of competent safety play and the scheme familiarity was basically at zero and trending upward.

          I remember Jim Johnson’s defense very well so let’s take our rose colored glasses off for a second. His defense was always a “bend but don’t break” crew. They gave up yards and limited damage in the compact redzone. Giving up big plays usually leads to scores from outside of the redzone. JJ also usually created pressure with the blitz. Billy Davis has clearly stated that he didn’t roll out much of his blitz packages last year for various reasons. He darned sure hasn’t rolled them out in this preseason either.

          Let’s wait and see when the reg season rolls around. I have a feeling 3rd and 7 will look different this year when we bring pressure instead of sit back and worry about Chung getting toasted.

          • peteike

            yup Ive been defending the D at times saying the scheme is supposed to make up for the lack of playmakers. We shall see and safety play is a big part of helping the corners. Nothing worse than that huge cushion and an easy 3rd down completion. Drives you nuts as a fan

    • Cheesesteak

      lol…
      “Having your defenders out there for all that time fatigues them, and one would think it increases the chance of a mistake or blown coverage, resulting in a big play.”

      Also doesn’t help that the offense also scores at a record pace. No wonder Chip preaches being in top physical shape

  • cliff h-MOAR white goons

    want to see the 1st team offense, w/ both Coop and Mac, move the ball. been thru 14 yrs of rusty Reid teams giving away a game or 2 in beginning of season. that Jax game is 100% must win.

    • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

      Couldn’t agree more. Get out there tonight and go at full speed. No need to open the play book too much, but let’s get humming. We ran the same two or three formations for damn near the first half of the season last year. Stick with one of those and get some good pace work in. Then rest up and come out to blow Jax’s doors off come week 1.

      • anon

        It’ll be interesting to see how we play against Pitt considering we have similar defensive systems except for the fact that their 1st round pick is a BEAST — hopefully Smith can have a big game.

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          I’m just excited to see the offense get some extended action. Last week felt like a rip off because The Pat’s had the ball for basically the entire first quarter. Combine a vanilla defense playing against an all-time great QB with a pick 6 after 6 minutes of driving and you have a crappy first quarter to watch haha.

          • anon

            Yeah but Foles looked good and sanchez looked great — it was just delayed gratification. Defense was terrible the whole game — even the C. Will series.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            Yea, the defense looked horrible. It’s about what I’d expect if you rush 4 against Tom Brady 100% of the time. My belief is that BD kept the playbook closed because it’s preseason.

          • Will, Always Shady in CA

            True, but don’t forget they were doing a lot of mixing and all game. Had 2nd and 3rd stringers running with the 1s

    • peteike

      Will Henne and Co tear up that secondary. Ha, cant believe I just typed that. Marquis Lee looked good from what I saw.

  • eaglespur

    Sorry I didn’t have time to read all the good comments here so maybe this has been covered.
    It seems like rule changes are usually instituted to create points, and if that’s true then it gets more and more difficult for defense to prevail, and offenses are going to be “better” than defenses.
    So what’s a head coach to do? Score like crazy, turn the game into a race, design your defense for fooling the quarterback and bend but don’t break. We Philly fans miss the days of dominating defense, but those days may belong to a bye-gone age. Seahawks had a killer defense = new rules this year to limit touching receivers.

  • MagatBrackendale

    One note regarding the photo of Cooper above. Why does he appear to have a hand reaching up from his “lower body”?

    • Warhound KnowsHstryWarts&All

      Gloves are tucked into his pants.