Inside Zone: The Foundation Of the Eagles’ Offense

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Before the drill begins, Jeff Stoutland shouts out a two-digit number, signaling the call to his offensive linemen.

He sets up a couple yards behind the line of scrimmage as Jason Kelce prepares to snap the ball, flanked by guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. With 16 offensive linemen in camp, Stoutland is in charge of the largest positional group on the roster. But that can be a good thing on days like this. Before it’s their turn for reps, a couple backups hold orange blocking pads and set up as down defensive linemen. Two more stand behind them imitating linebackers.

It’s an 81-degree day in early June, and the Eagles are on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex working on the blocking scheme for a familiar call: the inside zone. It’s a play Stoutland ran frequently at his previous stop, Alabama. And it was Chip Kelly’s go-to-work play during his time at Oregon.

When Kelly made the jump to the NFL last year, the inside zone served as the foundation for an offense that set franchise records in yards and points. So there’s a good reason why Stoutland yells the same number for the same call over and over again during practice. The pre-snap communication has to be mastered. The footwork has to be flawless. The combination blocks have to be executed. And the second-level linebackers have to be driven down the field with authority.

“It’s something we work on every day,” said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. “It’s always gonna be our bread and butter.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: RB Training Camp Preview

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacks and outside linebackers. Now it’s on to the running backs.

The pressing question: Will Chip Kelly lighten LeSean McCoy’s workload?

On his way to setting the franchise record for rushing yards, McCoy led the NFL in carries (314) and touches (366). Only Chicago’s Matt Forte played more snaps. The Eagles added Darren Sproles in the offseason. Does that mean they want to give McCoy more of a breather in 2014? Read more »

All-22: Double Posts In the Red Zone

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Chip Kelly doesn’t understand the typically accepted definition of the red zone.

“It’s always kind of been humorous to me where the line, the 20, became the official red zone,” he said during a PhiladelphiaEagles.com video last year. “It starts at the 20. And if you’re at the 21, it’s not a red zone.

“The red zone for us is the scoring zone. So what’s the yard to gain for us? And if we don’t score, can we put our field goal team out on the field and kick a field goal? Usually if it’s a good day, no weather involved, it’s somewhere between the 33- and 35-yard line. And that’s where the red zone starts for us offensively. For our defense, it’s the same thing.”

Regardless, one concept Kelly went to when the Eagles reached that scoring zone was double posts – a common red-zone call around the NFL. Read more »

Braman’s Long, Hard Road to Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Bryan Braman was born to be a professional athlete. His maternal grandfather, Ivan Cecil Braman, stood at 7-4 and weighed 365 pounds. His mother, Tina Braman-Fields, was an elite sprinter in high school in which she was part of a four-girl state champion track team and held the 100 meters school record.

That’s why it’s no surprise Braman is a 6-5, 241-pound “athletic freak” as described by many of his teammates. When he was in high school, his track and field coaches expected him to be an Olympian before he chose to pursue football. On the gridiron, he routinely ran around offensive linemen untouched to tackle ball-carriers in the backfield. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: The Latest On Lane

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Happy Fourth of July to our football family.

We are approaching the two-year mark here at Birds 24/7 (Our first post was on July 23, 2012). The site has been blessed with a smart and loyal and passionate readership since Day 1. We are very proud of the community that has been created and are looking forward to sharing in this upcoming season with you. For now, enjoy the holiday. We have a couple posts scheduled for the weekend in case you need to scratch that itch. Knowing you, you will. That’s why we get along so well.

Now onto the mailbag: Read more »

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