Beau Allen and Jim Schwartz. (Jeff Fusco)
If you’re curious why Jim Schwartz believes his aggressive 4-3 is better than the typical two-gap system, consider kickoff coverage. Teams no longer preach the “stay in your lane” adage, Schwartz says, because if one person leaves his lane, the returner picks up a lot of yards. Instead, coverage units now attack in levels, and that’s precisely what the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator has built his system around.
“You have guys that are disruptors, guys that attack the blocks and other guys that play leverage off of them,” Schwartz said. “If we are going to play attack up front — and we are, because we want to put those guys in position to be able to rush the passer and play the run on the way to the quarterback — the linebackers have to be tied and the safeties have to be tied in.
“It’s a lot different than two-gap because when you’re playing two-gap … you’re generally building a wall along the front and guys are sort of falling back and linebackers are generally shuffling laterally more because your defensive linemen are going laterally. When you play an attack front up front, your linebackers have to come downhill. They have to plug those holes.” Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.
We started the series off by looking at the linebacking corps. Let’s move onto the defensive front: Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
Connor Barwin and Fletcher Cox issued separate statements Friday evening amid reports that they were in attendance at Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club with Nelson Agholor Thursday afternoon.
“As a result of my name being mentioned in conjunction with this alleged incident, I would like to clarify that I was only present at the establishment for a very short period of time and have no knowledge about anything that happened after I left the establishment,” said Barwin. I stopped by there for about a half hour to meet my teammates and left around 2:30 p.m.”
Agholor has been accused of sexual assault. A 27-year-old dancer told police that she was raped inside the club about 3 p.m. on Thursday, Philadelphia magazine’s David Gambacorta reports. You can read the full story here.
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
Mychal Kendricks‘ “Welcome To Philadelphia” moment came in the aftermath of a home loss a couple seasons back. He heard his name being howled from above the tunnel and against his better judgment, looked up as he was heading off the field.
“Some dude got my attention and he’s like, ‘Kendricks!’ — he was crying — ‘Kendricks! You ruined my liiiife!’ I mean bawling. He was drunk. ‘You ruined my life!’ I’m like, ‘Sh*t, I’m the sad one. We just lost a game.’ That was fairly intense.”
For Najee Goode, it was an attention-grabber of an entirely different variety.
“Man, going up to an autograph signing in 2013 and seeing a chick with body paint on her top half — Eagles body paint. I’m like, ‘These motherf*&%ers crazy,'” he said with a laugh. “I liked it though, but I was like, ‘Damn.'”
Dennis Kelly‘s came in the form of advice via the always civil world of social media.
“Somebody told me to jump off the Ben Franklin onto a bed of spikes through Twitter after a game,” he said. “That was a nice little [piece] of critical feedback.”
None of the dozen or so Eagles players polled by Birds 24/7 have had a similar experience to the one Ryan Howard went through at Citizens Bank Park last weekend when the slumping slugger had a beer bottle thrown at him on his way back to the dugout (though there are members of this coaching staff who would tell you that J.D. Drew isn’t the only one to have Duracells flung in his direction). Such incidents, though, can trigger an examination of the relationship between professional athletes in Philadelphia and the fans. Read more »
Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)
Some Eagles reading to take in as the second OTA open to the media kicks off later this morning. Read more »
Vinny Curry. (USA Today Sports)
It’s early and it was just a single glimpse but it’s at least worth noting that on the first day of Eagles’ practice this spring, Jim Schwartz chose Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin as his front-line defensive ends. Read more »
Jordan Matthews and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)
Sounds like Sam Bradford‘s silent treatment is reserved for coaches and management only.
Two Eagles players recently told independent media outlets that they have spoken with Bradford while he’s been away from the NovaCare.
“A couple of us have been able to [talk to him],” Jordan Matthews told CSN Philly, “but at the same time, we understand that Sam is Sam. The way everybody else deals with certain things may not be the way that he does. Sam is a very private person. He’s going to do things on his time, and certain people do certain things on other people’s time, it’s just the way it is. You’ve got to understand that he’s not you, and he’s going to figure out what he wants to do. None of us can pull his arm and make him do something…You’ve just got to respect that. At the end of the day, we know we want him here so we just continue to reach out and whenever that time comes we can get it rolling.” Read more »
Sam Bradford and Ryan Mathews. (Jeff Fusco)
To submit your mailbag question, fill out the form at the bottom of this post or email us.
Looking at the Eagles’ 2017 salary cap, they are last in the league with only $5 million available. Is this fallout from the Kelly era, or are these Roseman contracts? What should we expect to see next year, cuts (Peters, Barwin, etc) or restructures (Bradford, etc)? — Shawn
This is why I think the phrase “contract year” is funny.
You often hear it when a player is on the last year of his contract and he’s set to be a free agent, but the reality of the NFL is many players are in “contract years,” even if they have multiple seasons left on their deal. That’s because they can be cut to save money if they don’t appear to be worth their future cap commitment, which is why I think Shawn’s question is intriguing to consider. Even though many Eagles still have multiple years left on their contracts, several of them could be playing for their futures in Philadelphia this year as they try to avoid being cap casualties in 2017. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco
There were two key differences between 2014 and 2015 from a pass-rushing perspective, says Connor Barwin.
In ’14, the Eagles played with the lead more — particularly over the first 12 games when they shot out to a 9-3 mark and Barwin racked up 12.5 of his career-high 14.5 sacks. Last season, there were fewer opportunities to just pin the ears back.
The other was depth. The Eagles enjoyed a nice rotation at outside linebacker two seasons ago with Brandon Graham successfully rotating in with Barwin and Trent Cole. This past year, not so much. Where Graham played 499 snaps (43 percent) in the next-man-in role in ’14, Marcus Smith was in for 127 (10.5 percent) largely unproductive snaps, per Football Outsiders.
“If anything, the last year, we just didn’t have a great guy to rotate with me and Brandon Graham,” Barwin told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio. “And that was a problem. Hopefully this year, moving to a 4-3, we’ll have that with Vinny [Curry] — because Vinny can play first and second down at defensive end.” Read more »
Connor Barwin with what could be your future tree, Bud. | Photo via Instagram
You know what’s even better than getting a free yard tree from TreePhilly? Getting a free tree from TreePhilly and having Connor Barwin — you know, from the Eagles — plant it in your backyard for you. And surprisingly, this isn’t totally beyond of the realm of possibility!
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