Eagles Wake-Up Call: Trying To Buck QB Trend

Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

To put the Eagles’ accomplishments through 12 games in perspective, Sal Paolantonio rolled out this fact during his weekly appearance on the Mike Missanelli show.

If the season ended today, the playoff teams would be:

From the AFC: Denver, New England, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis.

From the NFC: Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Carolina.

What do they all have in common?

“One very important thing,” said Paolantonio. “All 12 have had one starting quarterback all season long. And the Philadelphia Eagles have survived and flourished despite instability at the quarterback position…When you have instability at the quarterback position, it’s very hard — almost impossible — t0 qualify for the playoff tournament.

“This team is not in the playoffs yet but they’re right knocking on heaven’s door here, and they have a shot to do what few teams do, which is to change quarterbacks mid-course and still make the playoffs.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: A New Emphasis On Linebacker

Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans on field hyping crowdThe 2012 offseason marked a shift in thinking within the Eagles organization when it came to linebackers.

There was a formula in place during the Joe Banner/Andy Reid reign that helped decide where resources were allocated, and that formula served them well in many respects. The team invested heavily in linemen (both offensive and defensive), cornerbacks and of course the quarterback position. Occasionally they would pony up for a receiver. They prioritized a few positions, went light in other areas and put themselves in a situation where they had the most critical spots (in their view) covered but still enjoyed financial flexibility overall because of their selectivity.

Linebacker, judging by the team’s actions, ranked low on that priority list. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Celek And the Sports Science Factor

Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The media hit the sports science angle pretty hard on Tuesday before players  took off to enjoy their bye week. With a grueling 11 weeks in the books and the stretch run fast approaching,  there is a natural curiosity about whether Chip Kelly‘s methods have led to fresher bodies, and if the Eagles will hold some kind of advantage over the competition in December because of their meticulous training, conditioning and recovery program.

Opinions vary. Some players and coaches insist it’s been a big difference-maker. Billy Davis said he’s “amazed at the energy and the lack of soft-tissue injuries.”

Cary Williams, meanwhile, said he feels no different at this point in the year than he has in the past. That there are players all across the league that are doing the necessary things to take care of their bodies — it just doesn’t get the attention like it does here in Philly under Kelly.

Pat Shurmur looks at one player in particular to gauge whether the approach is a success. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Foles’ Toughness Getting Tested

Whenever a question about Nick Foles‘ toughness comes up, Chip Kelly points to a play back in 2011, when Kelly and the Oregon Ducks faced Foles and the Arizona Wildcats.

“I mean, we knocked the tar out of him when we played them. We knocked the snot out of him when we played him,” said Kelly. “Watch the tape when he completed a 13-yard pass against us left-handed. We chinned him. He was going down. Switches the ball to his left hand and he still throws it for a completion, then gets up and makes another play against us. I’ve admired him.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kiper Talks Quarterbacks

USATSI_7542610_168380503_lowresMel Kiper, Jr. held his first conference call to discuss the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday. He touched on several topics that may be of interest to Eagles fans.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks:

Kiper thinks that there could be as many as six QBs taken in the first round (assuming the listed underclassmen come out). And they are: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariota  (Oregon), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Derek Carr (Fresno State) and Zach Mettenberger (LSU). Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Logan And the Azzinaro Effect

Eagles DT Bennie Logan on fieldBennie Logan was checking his Twitter feed and kept getting messages that read something to the effect of: “Now is your time.” That’s when he knew something was going on.

Veteran nose guard Isaac Sopoaga had been shipped to New England at the trade deadline, thrusting the third-round pick out of LSU into a starting role.

“It caught me by surprise,” said Logan. “I looked up to Isaac. He was a great influence on me, a great leader. But the next day, once I came here [to the NovaCare facility], I was like, ‘It’s time for me to step up and go forward. Can’t look back. He’s not here anymore. It’s just all on me now.’ ” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Chip, the Businessman And Warren Buffett

USATSI_7530796_168380503_lowresGREEN BAY, Wisc — Part of Chip Kelly‘s pregame routine is to run the stadium steps. He comes out a couple hours before kickoff, makes his way into the stands and stares out over the field before beginning his climb.

A historian of the game, there’s little doubt Sunday’s run held some significance for the first-year head coach, as did the events that followed.

“This place is awesome,” he said as he looked around Lambeau Field, per an eyewitness.

“It’s a special place. I think it’s just one of the iconic places in the league or even in football when you talk about playing a game in Lambeau Field,” he added after the game. “I thought the fans were really, really good. Most of the time when we come in on a bus we don’t usually have people clapping for us, and I think that says something about the fans of Green Bay that they are just big fans of the game. And there is so much history. That’s the same field that Vince Lombardi coached on, and I think that’s pretty neat, and I think it’s a lot neater when you win.”

In the bowels of Lambeau Field resides the Packers Hall of Fame, which is filled with an embarrassment of riches in the form of legends and trophies and history. The biggest luminary of them all is Lombardi. As you read his quotes that are painted across those walls, you can’t help but think that some of Kelly’s core philosophies have been at least partially shaped by him. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Kendricks ‘Humble And Hungry’

USATSI_7482059_168380503_lowresTen tackles per game.

That’s the number Mychal Kendricks guns for. His brother (also a football player) preached that if you reach that mark regularly, you’re set. And so that became the standard.

Earlier this season, the chase for 10 got him in trouble. He kept count in his head during the game. If he had only four, say, deep into the third quarter, Kendricks would start pressing. Would ask DeMeco Ryans how many he had. Ryans never had an answer because he knew better than to keep track. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Foles And Hearts And Minds

photo (49)Every young quarterback has to go through the process of trying to win over the locker room.

In Pittsburgh back in 2004, starter Tommy Maddox went down with an elbow injury early in the season, forcing Ben Roethlisberger into action. Veteran lineman Alan Faneca was asked at the time  if he was excited to see what the rookie could do.

“Exciting?” Faneca said. “No, it’s not exciting. Do you want to go work with some little young kid who’s just out of college?”

Roethlisberger went 13-0 as a starter that year and led the Steelers to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game. He was the 11th overall pick and wasn’t exactly replacing a legend, but there was resistance.

This is a brutally tough league and the window for every player is always threatening to slam shut. There is little patience for a project.

Nobody has given Nick Foles a stiff arm like Faneca did Roethlisberger. As the Michael Vick-Foles joint press conference illustrated, this is a pretty unique situation. Vick has put team in front of self-interest, and that has really set the tone. There is support for whoever is under center.

That’s not to say that Foles hasn’t been climbing uphill in some way. This preseason he was charged with not only winning the quarterback competition but also winning the hearts and minds of his teammates — some of whom once  idolized Vick. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Riley Cooper, 3 Months Later

Eagles WR Riley Cooper in endzone against ChargersReactions still vary from player-to-player when  Riley Cooper is brought up.

Nick Foles, as an example. stood in the corridor following his press conference and sang the praises of the receiver during a phone interview with Peter King.

“I love Riley to death,” said Foles. “He had that [incident]. He has really grown as a person. I’ve always thought the world of him.”

Meanwhile, in the back corner of the Eagles’ locker room, Cary Williams struck a different tone.

“I mean he’s playing OK, I guess,” said Williams of Cooper, who had just put together a five-catch, 139-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Raiders. Williams followed with a compliment. ”Whenever we’ve needed him he’s come through…That’s one thing he’s been doing, he’s been working and when his name is called he’s been able to make plays whenever the ball is thrown to him.” Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »