What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s our weekly roundup of what the media are saying about the Eagles.

What kind of impact will Chip Kelly’s blazing-fast tempo have on the offensive linemen over a 16-game season? John Clayton offers his thoughts.

Any offensive lineman coming out of an up-tempo system in college will tell you how tough it is. The difference in college is there are more players on the roster who can be used if guys get tired. Does that mean Kelly might have to have nine offensive linemen on the active roster rather than the seven or eight most teams use? Possibly. The weight of each lineman won’t drop that far down, but it will be tough for 330-pound road-graders to survive in this offense. You also wonder if the linemen will be completely worn out by the end of the season. Conditioning is going to be a key.

Clayton also assesses the NFC East.

The guess here is that the winner of the NFC East will be a nine- or 10-win team and will not secure a first-round playoff bye. Because the top teams in the NFC East are so close in talent, it’s likely that the winner of the division will be no better than 4-2 in divisional games and very likely 3-3.

Reuben Frank thinks there could be some rough waters ahead for this defense.

Maybe the new coaches will help. Maybe the new coordinator will help. Maybe the new scheme will help. Maybe the new additions will help. Still, I don’t see where the Eagles have really dramatically improved themselves on defense. The subtraction of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a few others will help, but I still don’t see any playmakers. Fletcher Cox is very good, Mychal Kendricks has a chance to be a player, and Bennie Logan could become a stud. But the sacks, the interceptions, the forced fumbles, the big game-changing hits –- all the stuff that was missing last year and, really, the last couple years -– where’s all that coming from? The way the Eagles are going to play offense is going to put tremendous pressure on the defense. A three-and-out might take 45 seconds, and then it’s back out there for the defense. That’s going to be very tough for this group.

DRC recently told a reporter that he was big on signing in Denver because they weren’t afraid to point out his flaws. “Nobody had done that, and that impressed me,” he said. These comments didn’t sit so well with Tommy Lawlor.

Since entering the NFL in 2008, DRC has been supervised by the following people:

ARZ head coach Ken Whisenhunt

ARZ Def Co. Clancy Pendergrast

ARZ Def Co. Bill Davis

ARZ DBs coach Teryl Austin

ARZ DBs coach Donnie Henderson

PHI head coach Andy Reid

PHI Def Co. Juan Castillo

PHI Def Co. Todd Bowles (also 2012 DBs coach)

PHI DBs coach Johnnie Lynn

DRC would have us believe that none of these men in 5 years pointed out his flaws. Okay. And I”m going to cure cancer by sniffing Megan Fox’s hair while we chug PBRs and watch Lone Wolf McQuade together.

TO Tommy’s point, DRC credited Castillo just last season for pointing out his weaknesses and helping him work on them.

If you’re in the mood to feel really old read this piece on Jon Runyan’s son, who is getting ready to play college ball at Michigan.

 The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder pledged to the Wolverines earlier this week. Jon Runyan Sr., who played nine of his 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, was a standout offensive tackle at Michigan from 1992 to 1995. “Because of my dad, I’ve grown up watching Michigan play,” Jon Runyan Jr. said. “I guess you could say that helped with making the decision.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Weekend Reading: On Bryce Brown, Cary Williams

A couple links to pass on this weekend.

First, Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com has a good write-up on Bryce Brown. Silva watched all of Brown’s touches from Week 11 on last season. He came to the conclusion that the second-year back needs to avoid bouncing so many runs to the outside:

I also thought Brown demonstrated some nifty footwork — particularly on upfield cutbacks — but there was limited wiggle to his game. He doesn’t try to make defenders miss with lateral jukes or shake and bake. If Chip Kelly’s Eagles get Brown to perform more professionally — running within offensive design and becoming ball secure — he will be an ideal complement to shifty, elusive starter LeSean McCoy. And I think Brown could be an every-down sustainer if McCoy went down again.

I agree with Silva. Given Brown’s lack of experience at the college level, he should really benefit from more coaching in the NFL. He flashed great potential as a rookie and figures to play an important role in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Meanwhile, Alen Dumonjic of The Score looked at the tape and came to the conclusion that Cary Williams will be a nice fit for the Eagles:

Williams will add a level of physicality that the team has lacked since it lost stud safety Brian Dawkins and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter in 2009.

He’ll also bring aggressiveness downhill that turns into quality ball-skills when he’s able to play off-man coverage on wide receivers. He is better in off-man coverage than press-man because he’s a high-cut athlete, suffering from a lengthy frame that makes it difficult for him to get in and out of his cuts quickly. It’s why when he’s able to play off the opposition and watch the route unfold in front of his eyes instead of breaking abruptly, and he can make moves quickly while tracking the football.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s our weekly roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

ESPN.com’s Matt Williamson projects the league’s top running backs in 2016. He’s got LeSean McCoy second behind only Cleveland’d Trent Richardson:

McCoy will turn only 25 in July, but he already has four excellent NFL seasons under his belt. He has been a great all-around player for Andy Reid in Philadelphia, but I expect Chip Kelly’s up-tempo system to bring out even more from McCoy. He is perfect for what Kelly wants to do, and I expect this coaching staff to relieve McCoy quite a bit with Bryce Brown, which should further enhance McCoy’s chances of remaining a high-octane player in 2016.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com offers thoughts on Chip Kelly and the Oregon sanctions:

But this is an 18-month penalty whose effects could last longer than its term. What it does to Kelly is label him as a cheater, and whether it’s 12 months, 24 months or five years from now, if Kelly ends up wanting to get back into college coaching, you’d better believe this will stick to him and make a school or two think twice about whether they want him to run their program. Oh, he’s a good coach, and smart, and he’d be able to get a job. But there probably would be jobs he’d want and couldn’t get as a result of this, and that’s fair. If you cheat, there should be consequences.

So yeah, I know you probably don’t care if you’re an Eagles fan. And if Kelly hits it big in the NFL, no one will have reason to remember this. But don’t come at me insisting he didn’t have embarrassing personal reasons to leave Oregon, because he obviously did. And if you’re making grand, optimistic assumptions about his level of commitment to his new job and whether you can trust what he says, that’s your right, but consider yourself warned.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 23rd in his power rankings:

All anyone wants to talk about is quarterback. What about that defense? Let’s see, there’s a new coordinator (Billy Davis), a new scheme (3-4), a new nose tackle ( Isaac Sopoaga), a new OLB/pass rusher ( Connor Barwin) and a whole new secondary (Cary Williams, Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips and Bradley Fletcher). And we’re not even counting Bradley Cooper. Just saw Silver Linings Playbook. That’s easily better than either of the last two Hangover movies, and I didn’t even bother seeing Hangover III.

Herm Edwards names five “rising star” coaches, including Kelly:

Only 49 years old, Kelly knows his offense. And while it probably will take him a year or so to process how the NFL game is played, he understands offensive football and how to exploit matchups. Coming from Oregon, he’s in touch with the new mold of NFL player and has a good relationship with them. He’s confident enough to think he’ll succeed in the NFL, but he also understands that the QB of the future in Philadelphia may not even be on that roster yet.

Kelly will have a system in place, but he’s figured out that he needs the players to fit the system and not vice-versa. He’ll go through some growing pains transitioning to a 3-4 D this season, but I expect him to have a bright future in Philadelphia.

Mike Clay of Rotoworld.com says Bryce Brown has the fourth-most fantasy value of any backup running back:

The Eagles are going to run the ball a ton with Chip Kelly calling the shots. We saw in 2012 that Brown has big-time ability. If LeSean McCoy misses time, Brown would lead the Eagles’ backfield, with Felix Jones providing only minimal pressure for snaps.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here are some Eagles-related links for your enjoyment this weekend.

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com takes a look at the Eagles’ secondary:

One carryover is Brandon Boykin, who played well as a rookie and should be the ideal nickel cornerback going forward. The starters at corner, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, have plenty of questions around them. I don’t see either player as close to being a true No. 1 cornerback, but if they can show some consistency it will be an improvement for Philadelphia at the position.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld offers some thoughts on the Eagles’ offense:

One of the more compelling Eagles stats I found was 685:373. That was Kelly’s astonishingly lopsided run-to-pass ratio with the 2012 Oregon Ducks. While his NFL offense is unlikely to be identical, it’s more confirmation Kelly is a believer in the run game as his foundation. The number bodes well for LeSean McCoy and projected No. 2 back Bryce Brown. Last season, Kelly gave Ducks starting runner Kenjon Barner 23 touches a game, and “backup” De’Anthony Thomas 10.5.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com identifies the most-improved position groups around the league:

The Eagles topped our list of the teams benefiting from the return of injured players, largely because left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and right guard Todd Herremans are all expected back at full strength after missing at least half of the 2012 season. Throw in No. 4 overall pick Lane Johnson at right tackle, and this offensive line might be the most athletic in the league.

New coach Chip Kelly clearly has designs on featuring the tight end in his offense, signing the versatile James Casey and drafting tight end Zach Ertz in the second round to complement Brent Celek.

Football Outsiders recently released its play-action data from the 2012 season. The Eagles used play-action on 26 percent of their pass plays, seventh-most in the NFL. But they didn’t have a lot of success, managing a DVOA of -0.9, which ranked 25th.

Overall, the best play-action team in the league was the Washington Redskins. Football Outsiders has not posted the defensive play-action rankings yet, but you can bet the Eagles will rank near the bottom. This offseason, safeties have talked about how defending play-action was difficult because of their run responsibilities. We’ll find out in Week 1 against the Redskins what kind of difference the new scheme makes.

Finally, Pat Shurmur talked to PhiladelphiaEagles.com about the offense, and Bleeding Green Nation transcribed some of his comments:

“A lot of the concepts that you see in everybody’s passing game are similar. What’s in vogue is that we want to say this offense is this or that offense is that. What we want to do is put together an offense that is successful in the NFL and the inspiration for a lot of is coach Kelly and what he’s done. ”

“But we’ve got a lot of coaches that are working together for the first time. We’ve got varied experiences and so we want to put together an offense that will work in this league. “

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what they’re saying about the Eagles this week.

Pro Football Focus recently profiled Brandon Graham.

Despite rushing the passer only just more than 200 times (t-83rd most among edge rushers) Graham’s 45 total pressures tied him for 33rd-most among edge rushers and in terms of outside pressure his 20 total pressures put him in the Top 30. Simply put, no edge rusher generated more pressure from such precious few opportunities as Graham managed.

His solid conversion rate had him inside the league’s Top 30 and his five sacks to the outside of opposing pass rushers was Top 15. Whichever way you slice it Graham was a simply terrifying prospect for tackles to block when he was looking to beat you to the edge and he was doing his work almost exclusively against tackles as well. Of his total pressures 10 were uncharged but of the remaining 35 that were assigned to an offensive player, 32 were charged to tackles. This wasn’t a situational pass rusher profiting from favorable matchups, this was a situational pass rusher just demolishing everybody he faced.

It’s official: everyone on the planet has now weighed in on the Eagles’ quarterback competition. Snoop Dogg (I refuse to call him Snoop Lion — when the hell did that happen anyway?) and DeSean Jackson were together for Snoop’s “Family Fun Minicamp” recently. The NFL Network asked Jackson who the Eagles’ starter would be Week 1. Snoop jumped in front of the camera.

“Vick. Vick. Vick. It better be Vick!”

Jackson didn’t get caught up in the moment.

“Having a new coach Chip Kelly coming in, he’s kind of kept everything open,” said Jackson. “I was with the twos, I was with the threes, so it’s hard to really tell. He’s coming from college and he doesn’t care who you are, he wants you to work hard, so you’ve just got to understand that. Honestly during minicamp it was real even — Nick Foles and Mike Vick taking snaps with the ones — so really man I don’t know. I still haven’t heard who the quarterback is.”

Mike Freeman of CBS Sports reviews the DeSean Jackson documentary.

I’ve been critical of Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the past. I’ve called him one of the 50 biggest jerks in sports. He preens too much. He’s lost the football due to premature celebration en route to scoring a touchdown. Twice. He has, at times, been a clown on the field.

Yet there has always been this other side of Jackson–dedicated and big-brained. The word dedicated is what applies most to Jackson and that is word many would not use to describe him. Until now.

Derrick Gunn weighs in as well.

Seeing DeSean grow up right before your eyes gives you better insight into who he is today. You learn how he became a gifted speed merchant and why he plays with a chip on his shoulder. Whether you’re a fan of him or not, you will appreciate this human interest voyage.

 NFL Mocks predicts Jeremy Maclin will be reunited with Andy Reid next season.

There is no shortage of teams that would love to have him, including the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions.  However, one location that makes more sense than any other is the Kansas City Chiefs. Their head coach Andy Reid was the one who drafted Maclin back in 2009.  He knows what the young receiver can do for his team and for quarterback Alex Smith. Kansas City already has a go-to guy in Dwayne Bowe but the fight for the second spot is anything but a clear picture with Jonathan Baldwin, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster.  If Jeremy Maclin finds he doesn’t fit the Kelly offense in Philadelphia, Reid should welcome him with open arms to Arrowhead Stadium and the new Chiefs.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Report: Eagles Offered Coaching Job To Kevin Sumlin

When Chip Kelly initially turned down Jeffrey Lurie’s offer and decided to go back to Oregon, the Eagles had to shift their attention to other candidates.

You remember many of the names: Gus BradleyBill O’Brien, Brian Kelly and others.

At the time, there were rumors that the team had shown interest in Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. And according to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, it was more than just a passing interest. While he wouldn’t name the team, Sumlin admitted that he’s had the chance to become an NFL head coach.

While Sumlin didn’t name names concerning who pursued him in the offseason, TexAgs.com co-owner and A&M insider Billy Liucci has said the Philadelphia Eagles and Auburn offered Sumlin head-coaching gigs after A&M’s stunning showing last season, including a 29-24 road upset of national champion Alabama.

Obviously, it’s a moot point now. Kelly took some extra time to think about the opportunity and ultimately decided to make the leap to the NFL. He was the first coach the Eagles’ brass targeted, and he ended up being the guy they landed.

But according to the report, Sumlin had a chance to come to Philadelphia. Instead, he chose to stay put with the Aggies and received a $1.1 million raise.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘Everything’s Open’ For Earl Wolff

When mini-camp was wrapping up last week, Eagles assistant coaches John Lovett and Todd Lyght had a message for the team’s safeties.

“Everything’s open,” said rookie Earl Wolff. “Things are not going to be solidified until we put the pads on and everybody really shows what they can do.”

A fifth-round pick in April’s draft, that was just what Wolff wanted to hear. Nate Allen and Patrick Chung saw the most action with the first team this spring, but Wolff began to mix in with the starters last week.

Chip Kelly’s practices slow down for no one. As soon as he stepped onto the field at the NovaCare Complex, Wolff was facing an up-tempo offense and had to react to players constantly shifting and motioning. That took some getting used to.

“When you’re first learning, you like to lock in: Ok, I’m down [in the box] right now,” Wolff explained. “Then you see a motion or shift, you’re like, ‘Oh man.’ At first, it was tricky. But now I kind of know what to adjust to in certain situations. As fast as we do it, all it’s going to do is help me. It’s going to help me in the games because our offense is fast and does a lot of motions and shifts. I feel like in the game, it’s going to come easy.”

Wolff said the scheme isn’t all that different from the one he played in at N.C. State, but there are always new wrinkles. As a senior, Wolff played in the box a lot, but the Eagles’ safeties are currently lining up left/right, not strong/free. That means both guys will be expected to perform a variety of tasks like covering tight ends, defending the run and playing center field.

Of the seven safeties currently on the roster, Wolff is the only one who has never started an NFL game. Four – Allen, Chung, Kurt Coleman and Kenny Phillips – have at least 25 starts under their belts. So when Wolff has questions, he has plenty of places to find answers.

He remembers Phillips specifically offering a tip about how to play as a force defender, the player responsible for funneling the runner back inside.

“He said, ‘Earl, what will make you a better player is if you know your alignments,'” Wolff recalled. “He said coaches set those alignments to allow you to make better plays. For example, if you’re inside and you have force, then that’s going to be a problem. If you have force, you’re supposed to be outside. He said your alignment means a lot, and it can help you make plays, but it can also mess you up. So that’s what we’re working on now, making sure I know the alignment.”

Safety is probably the most wide-open position on the defense. Wolff is hoping to soak up all the advice, make an impression at training camp and earn some playing time as a rookie.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Here’s my depth chart projection for the Eagles’ offense.

T-Mac offers perspective on Michael Vick and explains why a QB controversy is inevitable.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

DeSean Jackson talked to NFL Network about the Eagles’ QB situation:

“[Michael] Vick and [Nick] Foles have been switching off [with] first team [and] second team. So it is the same thing with them. I have been hearing some things about Vick saying that he wants to know. At the same time, the team wants to know too. We need to go into training camp prepared and know who is going to be our starting quarterback. Whether it is Foles or Vick, I think they would both do a great job and we will be ready for the season.”

Les Bowen of the Daily News offers his thoughts on whether Eagles players are buying in:

How do they feel, deep down, about the individual smoothies and the brusque, frantic practice pace and the request that they get 10 hours of sleep a night? We don’t know. Maybe three years from now, somebody will be telling funny smoothie stories at a banquet.

But one thing that really is clear is that Kelly has the hammer. Anybody that seriously chafes at his methods right now is writing his own ticket out of town, and unless there is a contract dispute, that is something players very rarely wish to do. Generally they prefer the known to the unknown. Their wives and girlfriends don’t like moving (and some players would tell you it’s really hard to move both of ‘em!)

COMING UP

We’ll take a look at what we learned about the Eagles’ offense this spring.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com says Chip Kelly better be careful:

Now, there will be fans who love this. They will absolutely adore Kelly. They love the notion of a coach smacking around a bunch of whiny millionaire athletes — their beliefs, not mine.

But there is a danger here. Kelly had better be careful because coaches better than him have tried this, and coaches better than him have failed. Kelly is putting himself inside a tight box. If he doesn’t win quickly, the doubts will arrive fast, coming from inside the locker room that won’t forget how he demoted players in OTAs.

SI.com’s Don Banks stopped by practice this week and noted the differences between Chip Kelly and Andy Reid:

For starters, rather than tiptoeing past Reid’s office as they did in the past, several players told me Kelly’s open-door policy is quite refreshing. The new coach wants to hear their questions and concerns about his new methods, because he knows information is his ally in this case. If the players get the why behind his ways, they’re more likely to get onboard. At least until the regular season begins and the games start providing a weekly referendum on the Kelly regime. If a coach wins in the NFL, he could be a mass murderer and the players would follow him anywhere.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com doesn’t think Kelly is facing a full rebuild:

The Eagles are more unsettled than the rest of the NFC East. The secondary is totally new and could be a complete disaster. But this is not a rebuilding team. Kelly probably believes he can contend in a watered down division right away, and he’s right. There’s more than enough talent here to compete.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland suggests a documentary about the Eagles-Patriots combined practices in August:

Oh, it’s just the best coach of the past 15 years having two days of practices with the guy who might very well become the best coach of the next 15 years. And sure, these might just be “practices,” but these are awfully competitive coaches; throw in some of our Kickstarter money as a motivator, and I’m pretty sure the ensuing seven-on-seven no-huddle drill will revolutionize the game of football and possibly make both the scoreboard and Chris Brown’s head explode. Getting cameras on this is basically guaranteeing yourself a 60 for 60 movie down the line.

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com gives the Eagle an “A” for their offseason moves:

I also expect Kelly to rotate a lot of bodies in at the skill positions to constantly have fresh personnel on the field, which could make Benn’s role more substantial. The Eagles appear to be overloaded with quality tight ends, but Kelly has a plan and guys like Casey and Zach Ertz can align all over the formation and create mismatches in the passing game. This staff did re-sign Michael Vick, but Matt Barkley was just too good to pass up in Round 4. He isn’t a great runner, but Barkley is a very quick decision-maker who has the football intelligence to operate this offense.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com has an alternative view of the Cary Williams saga:

These guys aren’t just characters who appear on a weekly TV show on Sundays in the fall. They’re human beings. The job they do is brutally tough, exhausting, even crippling, and they do it for our enjoyment. They subject their bodies to pain and exhaustion and breakage from late July through December. And while yes, they are well compensated for that effort, they are putting it forth under an agreement that specifically allows them to live their lives the way they want to live them away from the football field in May and June. They should be allowed to do so without their bosses or their fans making them feel as though they’re not living up to their end of the bargain.

Charley Casserly of NFL.com says the Eagles’ QB battle is more intriguing than the Jets':

You have so many different elements. Not only is there a new coach, but questions abound in terms of what type of system he might run. Chip Kelly comes from the college ranks, completely lacking in pro experience — how will that factor in? How much read-option will Philly run? Can Michael Vick stay healthy? How will Vick do in the West Coast-style passing game of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur? If Nick Foles is the QB, how much read-option do we see then? If he runs it, will he be successful when he keeps the ball? Foles is entering his second year, but he is learning a new offense — will this slow down his development? Then you have the rookie, Matt Barkley. He could have been a first-round pick a year ago, but the Eagles took him in the fourth round in April, despite the fact that they already had two QBs who started games for them last year. Is Barkley’s arm strong enough? What kind of offense do you run with him? He is not a threat as a runner — how does that play into the read-option offense?

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com says take the over on 7 wins for the Birds:

I’m probably too high on Chip Kelly’s offense. Or am I …? This isn’t going to be some funky read-option based offense, it’s going to be, I think, a high-tempo offense that maximizes snaps and utilizes the trio of Michael Vick/DeSean Jackson/Jeremy Maclin to take shot plays down the field. With Jason Peters back and Lane Johnson in the fold the offensive line should be much better and I thought additions like Bradley Fletcher, Connor Barwin, Kenny Phillips and Cary Williams were smart, under-the-radar moves on defense. Maybe I’m too high on the Eagles, but I expect impressive things from Kelly’s first season, particularly if they come out firing against a stacked early-season schedule.

Chris Burke of SI.com writes that it doesn’t really matter how Chip Kelly is splitting up practice reps with his QBs right now:

Vick remains the favorite to claim the job for the start of the season, his athleticism giving him a leg up over either Foles or Barkley in Kelly’s system. (And that’s with the understanding that Kelly will adjust his offensive game plan both for the NFL and for his QB.) He has 96 more career starts under his belt than Foles, too.

Though Vick’s injury-plagued 2012 season helped the Eagles’ shocking collapse, the silver lining in it may turn out to be the playing time Foles received. The third-round pick started six games during his rookie season, sporadically showing glimmers of brilliance.

Field Yates of ESPN.com says Bryce Brown is one of 10 players (league-wide) who will benefit from a scheme change:

Make no mistake about it, LeSean McCoy is the lead back in Philadelphia, but the tempo of Chip Kelly’s offense turns into more snaps than one running back can handle. Brown showed signs of stardom in relief duty in 2012, and he should have an opportunity to be a more consistent second backfield threat (assuming he can hang on to the ball). Kelly’s offenses at Oregon overwhelmed with their speed in the running game; the Eagles will look to do the same.

Donovan McNabb chimes in on Robert Griffin III criticism, via CBSSports.com:

“It’s sad to say, but he is an easy target,” McNabb said. “It’s easy for people to go in on him with the way he carries himself and the way he talks. Unfortunately, it is similar in that way to me. We both grew up with good parents, military families, that taught us how to carry ourselves, and speak well. We got our education. He’s an educated brother who can play this game called football and people come at him sideways and talk so much about his athletic ability and speed. How about we talk about how smart he is? How about we talk about the kind of kid he seems to be?”

Based on his four-pronged system (quarterbacks, pass-rushers, corners and left tackles), Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles tied for 29th in the league. Prisco has Michael Vick ranked 21st, Connor Barwin 28th, Cary Williams 25th and Jason Peters 19th in their respective categories.

Randall Cunningham’s son, Randall Cunningham II (or RC2, as Baylor coaches are calling him) is generating a lot of recruiting buzz, writes Dave Miller of the National Football Post:

And to say RC2 is athletic is an understatement.

He has been clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recorded a mark of 7 feet, 2 inches in the high jump. He will likely participate in track and football at the next level and has dreams of competing in the Olympics.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com writes about the new contraptions Kelly is using to simulate a pass rush:

Makes sense. As often as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been criticized for his inability to throw over the line because of his height, the fact is there’s no quarterback tall enough to see or throw over the tallest of linemen when they have their hands up, so everyone has to throw through lanes. Why not practice it whenever possible?

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s this week’s national media roundup of what they’re saying about the Eagles:

The Eagles’ over-under for wins is 6.5 or 7, depending on the sportsbook. Dave Tuley of ESPN Insider likes the under:

We’re just two years removed from the Eagles being referred to as the “Dream Team.” But after two disappointing seasons, head coach Andy Reid is gone and replaced by Oregon’s Chip Kelly and his wide-open spread offense. There’s reason for optimism, but I’m not sure the team will fully adapt to the new system in his first season.

Ben Muth of Football Outsiders thinks Lane Johnson will be a good NFL tackle, but he has serious questions about his pass-blocking right now:

Johnson is a pretty horrific fundamental pass blocker who probably wouldn’t have gone in the top five in any other draft. Well, maybe the 2000 NBA Draft. Nothing he does can’t be fixed, but if you’re taking someone that early, you would probably like a few less loose nails. Let’s start with the fact that he leads with his head all the time. …

If Johnson doesn’t learn to use his hands and keep his distance, guys are going to be grabbing the back of his pads and pulling themselves right through to the quarterback.

It’s worth noting that Muth is a former college offensive lineman. He played at Stanford from 2004 to 2008.

Chris Burke of SI.com looks at position battles to watch this summer, including the Eagles’ competition at outside linebacker:

Two of these three guys should start outside in the Eagles’ 3-4 defense. But who’s going to be the odd man out? Cole started 16 games for the Eagles last year, while Graham stepped in and delivered 5.5 sacks after inheriting a starting role late. Despite those numbers, Philadelphia still went out and handed $36 million to Barwin in free agency, a hint that the front office did not want to rely on the Cole-Graham combo.

Burke also says the secondary is the Eagles’ biggest question mark:

Chip Kelly wasted no time trying to reform the Eagles’ defense. Two new cornerbacks, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, and two new safeties, Pat Chung and Kenny Phillips, could take the field to start Week 1. That group doesn’t carry the big-name potential of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but the Eagles need a more cohesive secondary this season than those former stars provided.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Chip Kelly is doing things differently, but time will tell if it can work. We know the Eagles will play faster, but who is the triggerman?

Prisco offers his thoughts on the QB situation too:

I bet for now Vick is the guy. He would seem to be a good fit with what Chip Kelly wants to do. But what if Kelly likes Barkley and sees him as his quarterback of the future? Does he go to him early? The early word is that it’s an open competition. I bet Vick starts on opening day.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com looks at the Eagles’ QB battle:

Michael Vick last week called his critics a pack of ignorants who “know nothing about football,” but here’s what we do know: The 32-year-old quarterback was a goner in Philly before Chip Kelly replaced Andy Reid. Now Vick looms as the logical starter heading into camp. Vick admits that Kelly recently “taught” him how to properly hold the football while running with it. For real. It’s pretty clear Kelly is digging in. Foles, meanwhile, showed growth last season, and Barkley — a seemingly odd fit for the Eagles — has an outside chance for snaps. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelly use all three. Advantage: Vick.

Gary Horton of ESPN Insider looks at how Chip Kelly’s scheme will translate to the NFL, and he likes how Matt Barkley fits:

He is accurate in the short-to-intermediate passing game, with not a lot of vertical passes required; he is good on the play-fake; and he has underrated pocket mobility.

However, his most desired quality in this offense may be his command in the huddle. This guy has been in a lot of big games, he can get his offense into a play quickly and he should be comfortable with the pace of the offense — and there is nothing that Barkley hasn’t already seen. He could be ready to step in and run this offense with success after one season behind Vick.

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano weighs in on the importance of a healthy Jason Peters:

The Eagles need Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce back on the offensive line, and they need first-round pick Lane Johnson to play well at right tackle. But the most important offensive line recovery is that of Peters, who brings something to the equation no one else brings. He needs not only to be healthy, but to play like his old, spry self.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »