Part of my contribution for this year’s Eagles Almanac (pre-order here!) focuses on the defense, and specifically Connor Barwin.
So I’ve been looking at quite a bit of All-22 over the past few days and have been surprised by some of the skills that Barwin brings to the table.
Barwin had 11.5 sacks during the 2011 regular season. Is he ever going to reach that mark again? If I had to bet my life savings (about 27 dollars, as of this afternoon), I’d say no. He only has 7.5 sacks in his other 37 career games (playoffs included).
But because of Barwin’s versatility, it’s easy to see why Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and Billy Davis felt he could be a fit in this defense.
Brandon Graham looked comfortable on the first snap.
He stood up on the right side next to Trent Cole, who was at defensive end, and rushed the passer off the edge.
The next play, however, required something different. Graham found himself matched up against Jason Avant on the left side. Seconds after the ball was snapped, the converted outside linebacker was chasing the veteran slot receiver from behind. Nick Foles’ pass landed in Avant’s hands for a 40-yard touchdown.
On the third snap, Graham was back again on the right side. But this time, instead of rushing the passer, he matched up in coverage against the running back, and the ball wasn’t thrown his way.
In addition to learning their responsibilities in the base defense, Graham and Connor Barwin are also adjusting to a variety of tasks in the Eagles’ 3-3-5 nickel package.
Another practice session open to the media today. Here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on down at the NovaCare Complex.
Chip Kelly has warned repeatedly not to draw any depth chart conclusions in May.
And he has a point.
Practice is about getting players acclimated to the offensive and defensive schemes. Reps, reps and more reps.
Having said that, there were a few surprises on Monday, the first time practice was open to the media.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the positions of note.
“I was known as a guy in college that you don’t really screw around with,” said Kelce. “I’m not trying to toot my own horn at all, but a lot of guys on the defensive side kind of feared that. They didn’t want to get into a scuffle with me. But I can remember vividly one play with Connor where I got into him and I started jawing off at him. I can’t repeat what he said, but it got to the point where he was like, ‘You don’t want to screw with me, Kelce! I’m crazy, too!’
“He is that kind of guy where he ain’t afraid of nothing.”
Most Popular at Phillymag.com