Twitter Mailbag: On Vick, DeSean And the Secondary

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @perdeep007: how does the eagles secondary seem like and how has been mike Vicks demeanor? Any body language changes or dissatisfaction?

Chip Kelly talked yesterday about the difficulty of evaluating the corners in this environment.

“With our defensive backs we really can’t make any judgment until we are out of this part of the [collective bargaining agreement] because you can’t play man coverage, can’t do one-on-ones, can’t play press man, so for us to make an evaluation on where our guys actually fit right now it would be unfair to them,” he said.  ”They have been forced and handcuffed by whatever the rules are, we just can’t play [press man], everything has got to be off, so it’s really tough to say where a guy fits and where a guy doesn’t fit.”

The question was specifically about Brandon Boykin, who would like a shot on the outside, but you get the idea. Kelly needs to see these guys in a more realistic football atmosphere before he can formulate any concrete opinions. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher will probably head into training camp as the favorites to start outside, and we’ll see how it unfolds from there.

Safeties Nate Allen and Patrick Chung have been running with the first team the most. Kenny Phillips has been taking it slow because of his past knee issues. Again, it’s tough to judge players in shorts, but I will say that I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen out of Allen so far. He’s been around the ball a lot.

As for Michael Vick, I haven’t seen anything in his body language or demeanor that suggests he’s upset about the quarterback competition. At some point, though, you wonder if some frustration will build in him. He playfully called all the questions about the starting job “very annoying” the other day, and you can see how it may become a serious  irritant as we march closer towards the season. Right now everybody is fairly loose and focused on learning the system. I’m curious to see how Vick responds if the competition is still open deep into training camp.

From @Jonzee72: Now that all mini-camps are over until TC, what am I gonna spend my spare time reading about?

Thank God for Dom Brown.

From @tomlindlar: Which 6-7th round picks/UDFAs do you think has the best chance of making the team?

I think Jordan Poyer has a good shot of making it, and I’d imagine they would try and hold onto Joe Kruger as well.

The list of undrafted free-agents I am interested in watching includes Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square, Tulsa running back Matt Tucker, LSU punter Brad Wing and LSU wide receiver Russell Sheppard.

As Sheil has pointed out a couple times during practice, Matt Barkley seems to target Sheppard quite a bit when they are teamed up. Kapadia develops a training camp crush every year. All signs point to Sheppard being his guy this season.

From @penseur76: Do you think all the DeSean Jackson media attention will be a distraction moving forward?

To me, it’s less about the media attention and more about whether Jackson and Kelly are a fit. The two appear to be in sync after Jackson went into Kelly’s office for a talk. You can choose to be 1) concerned that such a conversation was already needed or 2) encouraged that the receiver reached out to his coach to figure out how to get on the same page.

Regardless, there are tests still to come. Kelly wants his players to go about their business in a certain way, and Jackson will have to stay on board with his coach’s way of doing things, even during the inevitable rocky times ahead. It’s in both of their interests to make it work, and I think they both understand that.

 

 

Twitter Mailbag: What If You Could Choose Just One?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @MarkDawson_: What do you think is Chip Kelly’s current biggest area of concern with his team?

Honestly, I think his biggest obstacle/concern is time. He’s overhauling the entire operation, and will still be asked to field a competitive football team come September. Tuesday gave us a feel for how difficult a task that will be. The first time we got a chance to watch practice there were some miscues, but everything went pretty smoothly considering the crazy-fast pace and newness of it all. The next time out was a bit more rough around the edges. And Tuesday was pretty sloppy. That had less to do with the rain coming down and more to do with the fact that Kelly is ramping up the installations, giving the players a lot more to think about.

“We’re really starting to pile on now,” said Kelly. “And especially for some of the these young guys that piling on process…I think you can hit a wall a little bit, but they’ve got to fight their way through it.”

There is just so much to teach and learn; entirely new schemes being  implemented on both sides of the ball. And the clock ticks toward Opening Day…

From @penseur76: Do you think Kenny Phillips will even make the roster? Seems like Steve Smith 2.0.

Both are ex-Giants, both have had microfracture knee surgery, so I understand where the thought comes from. Phillips bounced back from the surgery better than Smith, who just retired after six seasons because he couldn’t get right. Phillips played 31 of a possible 32 games the two seasons following the operation on his left knee.  He started having issues with his opposite knee last year, and appeared in just seven games for New York in 2012.

I can’t say I’m encouraged at this point. The fact that the Eagles were able to sign him to a one-year deal with no guaranteed money was the first clue that the league had concerns about his health. Now he’s missing time for an injury that Kelly says he’s had “for a couple of years.”

It’s important to remember that it is May, and there is every reason to take it easy on a player with an injury history. Maybe he pans out. But I definitely have my doubts.

From @TAF_Podcast:  if you could have 1 current Eagle for the rest of their career, who would you pick?

Good one.

I think you could make some kind of reasonable case for LeSean McCoy (24), Nick Foles (24), Lane Johnson (23), Zach Ertz (22), Fletcher Cox (22), Matt Barkley (22) and maybe Mychal Kendricks (22). (Am I missing anyone?)

For me, it would come down to Cox and Barkley. (I wouldn’t take McCoy simply because a running back’s shelf life is so short.) If you want to play it safe you go Cox, because there is a good chance that he will be an impact player for a lot of years, and he has Pro Bowl potential. But I would probably go Barkley simply because of the value of his position. Maybe you end up with nothing more than a backup or an average starter, but you risk it on the possibility that he becomes a franchise-changer.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: What Made Jaws Change His Tune?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @dwr8810: So why do you think Jaws changed his opinion about Chips O working in the NFL?

Sounds like, after further tape review, Jaws came to the conclusion that Kelly’s offense was short on “NFL passing concepts” and might be too basic for this level.

“The NFL is a different league with fast players that have all week to prepare for you,” he told 97.5 The Fanatic. “At the collegiate level, you have 20 hours to prepare for that Oregon offense. Take out three hours of game time. You’ve got 17 hours in the course of a week to practice and prepare for that style of offense. It kills you in college. But in the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week – 17 hours a day getting ready, so there’s no secrets.”

The assumption in this argument is that Kelly will run the same offense that he did at Oregon. If he does, then I’m with Jaws — opposing defensive coordinators will crack the code before long.

But here’s the thing: Kelly knew that his collegiate opponents only had so much time to prepare for his assault. Yes, he chose to keep it fairly simple…and it worked brilliantly. Every quarterback he plugged in was able to keep the machine humming. The leap of faith you take with Kelly is that he was running what worked for his team in that environment, and that he’ll adjust accordingly now that he’s in the show.

From @HeyLaBamba: Why waste a year of possible development for another QB on Vick?

It’s an important philosophical question that the Eagles face. I think a couple things go into the team’s thinking on this one:

The first thing to remember is that Kelly’s opinions of his signal-callers are not fully formed. They were even less formed when he decided to bring Michael Vick back. Matt Barkley wasn’t even on the team then.  He does not know whether Nick Foles is  the future or not. Same for Barkley. It’s probably best to have some options until you have a better understanding of your personnel. If one of these young bucks flashes, then they have a decision to make.

Also, I don’t know if it’s best to throw away a season in the name of developing a quarterback. Remember, Kelly is coming in with all these new ideas, and is asking veterans to buy into his unique methods, even if they run counter to what they’ve  been taught. Right now, everyone appears to be on board. But what if it’s a total disaster in Year One? And furthermore, what if the players believe it’s a disaster because their rookie head coach made the decision to get rid of the team’s best quarterback?

Kelly has to establish himself and establish a culture. His cause will be aided greatly if he can find some success early on. He may determine that Vick gives him the best chance at getting off on the right foot.

If it’s determined that Foles or Barkley is the better option, then it’s the coach’s responsibility to play him. And I think he will. Right now it’s all about competition and seeing who rises to the top. There is logic in that approach.

From @Phlfan819: I’ve heard nothing good about Lane Johnson. From what you’ve seen/heard how bad is he?

This is a good time to remind ourselves that it is May. The team is practicing in shorts and there is no hitting. That makes it tough to fairly assess a lineman (or just about any other player). I understand that some are concerned because Johnson is running with the second team. It will get my attention only if it continues through training camp.

For now, the rookie is being brought along at a comfortable pace. Nothing to worry about yet.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: What Does A Chip Kelly Defense Look Like?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @russman30: Any idea if they will sign Felix Jones? I guess they do need a vet behind McCoy. Last yr McCoy was injured.

The Eagles believe Felix Jones is a solid player, and were doing due diligence by bringing him in. Nothing imminent as of last night, but I think they would consider adding him if the price is right.  Jones is visiting with New England today.

It looks like Chip Kelly wants to build some competition at the running back position. The Eagles signed a pair of undrafted free-agent backs in Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet and TCU’s Matt Tucker, then took a look at Jones. That’s not to say that he is unhappy with the LeSean McCoy-Bryce Brown-Chris Polk triumvirate. But this is an offense that will lean on the ground game. Oregon ran the ball an average of 53 times per game last season under Kelly. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 attempts. De’Anthony Thomas carried the ball 92 times; Byron Marshall 87. It’s not enough to have a premiere back in this system. You need multiple reliable options.

From @jkh_76: will this new offense help mike vick play an entire season at 2010 level?

I recently wrote about the challenges that face Vick in a Chip Kelly offense. I’m not only curious about whether he can play an entire season at the 2010 level (a lofty goal, no doubt), but whether he can play an entire season, period. He has appeared in no more than 13 games in a season since joining the Eagles, and has played in all 16 games just once in his career (2006).

With all the read-option talk, you wonder if Vick’s 33-year-old body can absorb all the blows. But according to the quarterback, Kelly’s system will not open him up to much punishment at all.

“You’ll understand why when you see us practice or when you see us play,” he said. “You don’t have to take a hit.”

There is an argument to be made that Vick will actually end up on his back less under Kelly than he did Andy Reid. Where Reid designed plays that often took time to develop, Kelly seems intent on getting the ball out quickly. But can he really avoid taking hits in read-option situations? I’m anxious to see how it all works.

From @MacStewie: Does Dixon have a realistic chance at getting the starting job?

No sir, I do not believe he does.

From @PHLFour: We’ve heard a lot about Kelly’s offense, but what is his defensive philosophy? Score the most points? Leave it to the D Cord?

Kelly prefers the 3-4. More specifically, a hybrid 3-4. That’s what he used at Oregon, and that’s what you can expect come September. He explained his defensive philosophy at his introductory press conference.

“In terms of what we want to be, we’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game,” he said. “I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”

Kelly has a scheme and style preference, but that’s about where he leaves it. He is not into micromanagement, and will let Billy Davis steer the ‘D’.

“When I was an offensive coordinator, I was fortunate that the two head coaches that I coached for allowed me to work,” said Kelly. “We’ll have discussions during the week about where we’re going with things, but on game day, those guys have to be able to not worry about who is second guessing them and who is over their shoulder. If I do have to second guess them and I do have to look over their shoulder, then I hired the wrong person.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

Twitter Mailbag: On Vick, Foles And the Secondary

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @ZainSaleh24: how do you feel the eagles did in the draft? Any picks you would change?

Overall, feel pretty good about it. So much rests on that Lane Johnson pick. The words “raw” and “upside” were some of the first out of Chip Kelly‘s mouth when officially announcing the selection. You would prefer a more sure-fire prospect at No. 4. But there were no players on the board that fit that description. Ziggy Ansah has only been playing football since 2010. Star Lotulelei had the heart-condition scare. Tavon Austin is only 5-8, etc. Everyone had some kind of question mark attached.

I like Zach Ertz‘s chances of thriving in this system.  He is the type of chess piece that Kelly can use to create all sorts of matchup problems.

Then there is Matt Barkley. Fourth-round picks can definitely help your team. Brandon Boykin and Alex Henery were both recently found in Round 4. Jason Avant and Todd Herremans before them. Howie Roseman used a fourth-rounder to net DeMeco Ryans. Another was sent in a package to Buffalo for Jason Peters. It’s not like they can be treated as throw-a-ways. That said, there is no guarantee that you will land an impact player. Think Trey Darilek or Jamaal Green. Your odds decrease the further you get into the draft.

Could be that Barkley never pans out. There is also chance, however remote, that he can be a franchise-changer. Even if it’s a longshot, it’s worth the bet that late in the draft.

From @DJ_Hardy009:  your gut feeling, week 1 the eagles starting qb will be _____________.

Michael Vick.

Talk to some of the people around the signal-caller, and you’ll walk away with the impression that the 32-year-old is dialed in. He is aware that the end is near, and is motivated by the challenges that both Kelly and Father Time are presenting to him. The best Michael Vick is the one who needs to prove himself. The early word is that he looks very good on the practice field.

Kelly may not need his quarterback to be mobile, but he sure would prefer it. All things considered I think Vick does enough to win the starting job. Whether he can hold onto it is an entirely different conversation.

From @TheFortycent: no trade of Foles yet, any chance they’re holding him as trade bait during the season when a starter gets hurt to up his value?

No, if he was going to be traded I think it would have been done by now. Kelly has publicly stated that he likes Nick Foles and wants a chance to work with him. I was told Howie Roseman personally called Foles amid all the trade speculation to express that the team wanted to keep him. From what I gather the Eagles were approached by at least one team regarding a potential trade, and weren’t all that interested in engaging in talks.

Vick is only a short-term option and Barkley hasn’t played a snap. I believe Kelly when he says that he wants to see what he has in Foles.

From @PerfectionistPA: who will start in the secondary?

Good question. Right now I would pencil in the free-agent acquisitions as the starters: Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung at safety, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams at corner. I am anxious to get a look at Phillips in action to see if he is still dealing with knee issues. The fact that the Eagles got him for so cheap raises some concerns.

I’m curious to see if fifth-round draft choice Earl Wolff can get in the mix for playing time. Also, it’s worth noting that seventh-rounder Jordan Poyer played inside a bunch at Oregon State. Could he put the heat on Boykin?

“I think he had six picks this year as a nickel,” said Kelly. “He has a lot of experience playing inside and covering slot receivers. He’s a tough, physical, hard-nosed player.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: On Geno, Manti Te’o And the Honey Badger

A day late on the Twitter Mailbag this week. A little busy yesterday. But that turned out to be a good thing because there is a ton of intrigue and several big names tied to rounds two and three. Much to chomp on, so let’s get to it.

From @TomWelke: Will Geno not coming back to the green room cause mental makeup questions and cause him to drop more?

I would hope that the Eagles — or any team in the NFL — would rely on the information they have been gathering over time, and wouldn’t be swayed by something like that. If that moves you off your position, then you didn’t have much conviction regarding Geno Smith to begin with.

If I am honest, some of what I have seen/read in the run-up to the draft has given me pause when it comes to Smith. I know Philadelphia, I know the scrutiny that the quarterback position receives, and I know that Nolan Nawrocki’s evaluation will seem like a four-star review compared to what Smith is going to hear in this town (or elsewhere) after a couple down Sundays.

We take those 140 character bites, or watch his body language through the television, and draw sweeping conclusions. But the truth is, it is unfair to judge a man’s character based off such limited evidence. He could very well have an iron will, and may turn a few moments of adversity into years of fuel to the benefit of the franchise that drafts him.

The Eagles have met with him, analyzed his game, talked to people around him. They should have a sound understanding by now of who Geno Smith is, and likely don’t care whether or not he shows up to Radio City Music Hall tonight.

[The latest report suggests he will be in attendance.]

From @penseur76: Will the Eagles select Jonathan Cyprien? Geno Smith? “Tank” Carradine? or surprise pick with Te’o? in 2nd.

I would imagine Smith is in play assuming he’s still on the board at 35. They made an organizational decision to pass on him at 4 and probably thought he would land elsewhere. But at this point, it might just be considered a good value pick. Would you doubt that the Eagles have a first-round grade on him? And how many other of the remaining players could you say that about?

I’m not ruling  Manti Te’o out, either. This guy was recently regarded as one of the top players in the country. Then came the championship game and the stories about his personal life, and that stock plunged big time. Two questions: Is he a fit for Chip Kelly‘s defensive scheme, and does he have thick enough skin to endure all the attention/ribbing he’ll receive in a major market? If the answer is yes on both fronts, then you might be getting a steal.

Outside of those two marquee names, I could see the Eagles going with Stanford tight end  Zach Ertz, Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien, Florida State DL/OLB Tank Carradine, Texas A&M DE/OLB Damontre Moore,  or Mississippi State corner Johnthan Banks.

From @Jfr1978Josh: Any chance we select the Honey Badger?

The Eagles believe Tyrann Mathieu is a draftable player, but you really have to do your homework on this guy and figure out where you would be willing to pull the trigger. This is a first-round talent with red flags coming out of his pockets. Is he on the straight and narrow? If so, what are the chances he stays there? Big questions that I am sure every team has looked into. The answers mean everything when it comes to this prospect.

There is a point where he probably becomes too enticing to pass up. But I’m not sure that point comes on Day 2.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

 

Twitter Mailbag: Tackles, Trades And Dion Jordan

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @ChefOrnicador_: Is Miami a true candidate to trade up if Eric Fisher is still there at #4?? They have two second round picks.

I can see the Dolphins trying to trade up, definitely. They hold the 12th overall pick and will likely have to move into the top seven to grab one of the three coveted tackles (Luke Joeckel, Fisher and Lane Johnson). But honestly? I’m starting to have my doubts that Fisher will still be there at 4. In a first round full of question marks, one thing that teams seem to agree on is that the tackles are quality options. Maybe Jacksonville or Oakland takes Fisher. Maybe a team leaps into the No. 2 or three hole and snatches him (the Raiders apparently wouldn’t mind trading out),  but it’s quite plausible that two of the tackles are off the board by the time Philly is on the clock.

From @Ryeboat: with talk of the top 3 OT going possibly in the top 8 picks, what are the chances the Eagles trade down for more picks?

If the tackles are as hot as insiders seem to think they are, then you probably stay put at 4 if you want one. If Fisher and Joeckel are both taken with the first three picks, it won’t be long before Johnson (and maybe D.J. Fluker?) are picked off.  I can see the Eagles moving back if Joeckel and Fisher are gone and they aren’t as high on Johnson, or if tackle isn’t the target in Round 1. I don’t anticipate them trading out of the top-10, whatever the case may be.

Howie Roseman seems to think that there are quality tackles sprinkled through the latter rounds. He also seems to think (as others do) that pass-rushers will be harder to find outside of the first round. Maybe that influences their decision if they are choosing between two players with similar grades.

From @aerelorn: What do you make of Dion Jordan’s career stats: 0 interceptions and only 2 pass breakups. Is his coverage ability overrated?

Jordan is one of those pass rushers that could be available at 4. I have concerns about him being overrated, period. He had a total of 14.5 sacks at Oregon. (Jarvis Jones, by comparison, had 14.5 last season alone). Yes, Jordan was dealing with a shoulder injury for much of last year and had to transition from the offensive side of the ball to defense early on, but you would prefer that your top-5 pick had better numbers overall. With Jordan, you have to project. But as Chip Kelly points out, that is true to a degree for all draft picks.

“It’s easy to go hindsight and say we knew this draft was this.  But you really don’t know,” said Kelly. “It’s the same process that we went through in college.  If you look at what are the top 5 or six players in the draft, they weren’t the top 5 or six high school players five years ago.  Dion Jordan is one of the top players out there, and we were smart enough at Oregon to recruit him as a wide receiver.  Now he’s going to play outside linebacker, defensive end in the NFL.  You look at Lane Johnson, who was a high school quarterback, and now he’s an offensive tackle who is a top pick, the list goes on and on.  And Ziggy Ansah was playing basketball and went to BYU to play basketball, and now he may be a Top 10 pick.”

The key is trying to figure out which players have the best chance of developing, and eventually thriving at this level. Kelly will surely have an opinion or two on Jordan in that respect, having coached him at Oregon.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: Pondering A Tavon Austin Pick

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @heemy224:  each year the Linc has that huge photo of a player on the stadium symbolizing the face of the team.Who is the face of the Eagles now?

Funny you should mention that. I was driving past the stadium with my wife recently and we noticed that there is only one of those long, vertical images attached to the outside of the Linc at the moment. I believe the jersey number was 25 but it didn’t have a real likeness to LeSean McCoy. From what I gather those are designed to be generic and not represent any specific player, but didn’t one just recently closely resemble DeSean Jackson? Am I crazy?

Anyway, I think the answer is that no player is the face of the franchise right now. And the Eagles aren’t trying to force one, either. They’re focused on selling the name on the front, not the back, at least until a clear-cut leader emerges (likely in the form of a franchise quarterback).

Consider their three top-selling jerseys from 2012:

1) McCoy
2) Jackson
3) Michael Vick

McCoy is coming off that ugly Twitter exchange with the mother of his child, Jackson is a risky bet, and Vick has not been guaranteed the starting job (plus he has one year left on his deal). There is no reason to try and heavily market any of those players right now.

What I also found interesting is that Brian Dawkins‘ jersey was very competitive this past season in terms of percentage sold. Yes, he had his number retired, but it also speaks to the connection fans continue to feel with No. 20, and maybe the lack of connection they had to last year’s team as well.

With no player standing above the rest, the face of the team has to be Chip Kelly. There is a freshness and an excitement surrounding the new head coach, and I fully expect the Eagles to embrace that.

From @aerelorn: I’ve seen more than one person mock Tavon Austin to the Eagles at 4 or after trading down. How likely do you think that is?

So Kelly has gone through the game tape of all these potential picks by now, you would imagine. Picture him in a dark office. The projector comes on. Up flashes cut-ups of Austin. Darting through traffic. Cutting, stopping, starting. Embarrassing Division I athletes. Lining up in the backfield. Returning punts. Returning kicks. Scoring touchdowns.

It’s enough to give an offensive junkie the shakes, right?

I am sure the powers-that-be have talked about him, and I’m sure I am not the only one that wonders if he can be Kelly’s NFL version of De’Anthony Thomas.

The Eagles have been adamant that they plan on taking the best available player. It is not inconceivable that they have a very high grade on Austin. If they stay true to the plan, maybe they would take a skill position player over, say an offensive lineman,  if they truly felt he was best available. (Would anyone be shocked if Austin won Rookie Of the Year, by the way?) It all depends on that top-secret draft board of theirs.

While this draft in particular is difficult to project, it seems likely that the Eagles could trade back a bit and still snare the West Virginia receiver if that’s their target. I am not predicting it happens, but I can’t say I would be shocked.

From @Barltrop19: if a team offers the Eagles enough for them to trade down to mid 1st, who do they take? Hope OT Johnson or DT Star falls?

Even if Austin is not their man it is certainly possible they trade out. (Sheil has a good breakdown of what they could potentially get in return.)

The most likely scenario to me would be if Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are both off the board by the time they are on the clock. They might be able to move back a few spots at that point and grab OT Lane Johnson or a player with a similar grade. Star wouldn’t be a bad bet, either.

My sense is that teams feel there is a drop-off after the first 11 or 12 picks, so I don’t anticipate the Eagles moving too far back if they decide to give up the No. 4 spot.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: With the Fourth Pick, the Eagles Select…

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @tomlindlar: Can you see Cole or Curry succeeding as a 3-4 end? Do you believe that their speed would negate the fact they’d be undersized?

The recent buzz suggests Chip Kelly will try Curry at defensive end rather than linebacker. I am curious to see how that experiment goes. On the plus side he worked under defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro for a year at Marshall, so there is some familiarity there. And Curry has added some bulk and definition to his frame this offseason, though the plan was to come in at the same playing weight as last year — around 270.

Curry seems a little light to be a traditional end in a 3-4 base defense. But teams aren’t in their base as often as you might think, and Billy Davis will likely use multiple fronts to keep the opposing offense guessing. Curry could be a good option in passing situations.

“Whether my hand is in the dirt or I’m standing up, I promise you I will be prepared for both,” Curry said.

There has been plenty of debate surrounding Cole. Some argue that the team is stuck with a piece that doesn’t fit because he has an unmovable contract. The sense I get is the Eagles legitimately want him to be part of the equation, and will find a way to make it work. It makes the most sense to have him play outside linebacker on the open side, where he can serve primarily as a pass rusher. I wouldn’t count Cole out quite yet.

From @Fightinz: What is Jason Peters’ status? Will he ever be sprinting downfield for a third block in one play again?

All the news has been positive regarding Peters’ recovery from a double Achilles rupture, and Kelly anticipates that his left tackle will be ready to participate in the upcoming offseason workouts.

“What I was told was that they think he should be pretty good when he gets here April 1,” said Kelly. “Everybody when they get in there needs to be checked out.”

In other words, the Eagles are hearing good things but still haven’t gotten their eyes on him.

Peters is a freak athlete, so it is plausible that he regains his Pro Bowl form. But he is 31, and the Eagles would be wise to invest in the future sooner rather than later. Which leads us to…

From @ZainSaleh24: Star, Jordan, Milliner, and Fisher are there at four, what do YOU do? Pick one of them? Trade back?

Out of this group, I would take Fisher (I would consider Sharrif Floyd if he were available as well). I keep going back to Kelly’s quote from his days at Oregon, when he said “The five offensive linemen are the key to your football team.”

The tackle position is thin on this roster. Peters is 31, Todd Herremans is 30, and they are both coming off major injuries. Even if you are confident these two will play the entire year and play well, big picture the position is screaming for attention. Fisher could conceivably play right tackle to start (pushing Herremans inside, where he is at his best) and eventually take over at left tackle when Peters hits his decline.

It is a position of need, and you can argue that Fisher is the best available player regardless.

From @Jonzee72: What sort of record next year do you think is expected all things considered? 4 wins? 6? More? Less? Or just playing better?

We asked Jeffrey Lurie what his expectations are for Year One of the Chip Kelly era.

“I don’t think you can institute a complete culture change and implement everything Chip wants to accomplish just by having one training camp and one offseason,” the owner said, “but we’re just awfully excited about what he brings to it and his obsession with it. His manner of analysis and thinking is refreshing and very bright. And we hope that is reflected as time goes by.”

You can tell just by that quote alone that the Eagles are in this for the long haul, and realize there could be some growing pains as the Kelly way is implemented.

That said, I believe Kelly to be a smart and resourceful coach, and I expect this team to be competitive. No idea how that will translate in terms of win total. We are still a ways out from the regular season.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: On Geno, Cason And Safety Strategy

 Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @JohnBarchard: If the Eagles take Geno Smith at 4, how many boos will we hear on draft day? Does that send a more ‘we can win now’ message?

It would be a hotly-debated selection for sure. I think the only message it would send is that the Eagles believe Geno Smith can be a franchise quarterback. You don’t burn a pick that high if you are not thoroughly convinced of this.

It all comes down to what Chip Kelly thinks of him. It doesn’t matter whether pundits believe the West Virginia product deserves to be selected at No. 4. If Kelly thinks he will shore up the most important position in football, then he makes the move. You don’t pick this  high in the draft very often. If you can get your hands on a franchise QB, you do it.

There will be boos and there will be disagreement if the Eagles select Smith. But then, there were boos back in ’99 as well. You do what you think is right for the organization.

From @estberg_jamie: What are the Eagles plans for safety and cornerbacks because they seem pretty weak in free agency?

My best guess is that they will wait for the draft to net another safety. Howie Roseman told us that there are more safeties with draftable grades in the upcoming NFL Draft than there have been in recent years. They added Patrick Chung to the safety mix already to go with the likes of Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. Add a safety on the first day of the draft, and the position looks a little brighter.

I’m still thinking that the Eagles grab another corner off the free-agent market. Antoine Cason  (6-1/195/26) is one name to at least keep half-an-eye on. He is visiting Arizona today. If he gets out of the desert, Philly could be in play if the price is right.

From@BilHughes10: If the Eagles fail to get another CB during free agency, does that solidify Milliner as our pick in the 1st round of the draft?

This is part of the reason I believe the Eagles will add another corner before we get to the draft. Right now you have Brandon Boykin, Bradley Fletcher, Chris Hawkins, Brandon Hughes, Trevard Lindley, Curtis Marsh and Eddie Whitley under contract. If you go into the draft with this group, there’s a risk that the Eagles will reach for need.

And even if Milliner is the man you want regardless, it’s no sure thing that he is there at No. 4. It is too important of a position for the Eagles to leave to chance.

We end with an exchange between Sheil and a less-than-optimistic Eagles fan, for comedy purposes.

There is nothing not to love about this exchange. The Philly fan’s sense of impending doom; the even-keeled Kapadia being driven to CAPS. Classic. The passion (and the pessimism) runs deep, even in March.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »