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 »

Evan Mathis Pranks Media with Fake $64,055.76 Del Frisco’s Receipt

As one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL, Eagles guard Evan Mathis pushes people around for a living. And he’s also one of the wittier players in the game, at least if you define wit as “the ability to be a wiseass on Twitter” (which I obviously do). And, last night, Mathis pulled off a thorough Twitter prank.

It all starts with a $17,747.86 dinner bill from Del Frisco’s second-year-player Lane Johnson tweeted out last week. In light of last year’s Miami Dolphins hazing scandal, Johnson took some criticism for the tweet. That included a Sporting News piece that originally identified Mathis and teammate Todd Herremans, both 10 year veterans, as rookies — a piece Mathis joked about on Twitter.

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Eagles Exit Draft Without O-Line Help

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Dagger. Dagger in the heart. 

Those were the words of Howie Roseman when, moments after the 2014 NFL Draft concluded, a reporter brought up the fact that the Eagles came away with no offensive linemen.

“I firmly believe in building on the line of scrimmage.  That’s kind of how I was raised in the National Football League,” the general manager said. “I thought we’d have some opportunities to get some o‑linemen, but there was a run in the third round that was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was like ‑‑ I don’t know, if someone gave me the numbers, it was like player after player after player, and it was like ‑‑ all of a sudden we looked back up and our board was depleted, and we weren’t going to reach.  That hurt because we went in thinking that we’d get some guys.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Mathis Will Be Part Of Workouts

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[Updated]

Evan Mathis is at the NovaCare Complex and will participate in the team’s voluntary workouts, according to multiple sources.

A report said Mathis was expected to be a “no-show” at the start of the Eagles’ offseason training program, which opens today, but he’s there.

Word surfaced at the owners meetings back in March that the 32-year-old was in search of a new contract and that the Eagles, in turn, were open to dealing him. Mathis signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract in the 2012 offseason. He has three years remaining on that deal, and is scheduled to make a base salary of $5 million this season.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: What We Learned In Orlando

NFL: Annual Meetings

We spent the first part of this week at the owners’ meetings in Orlando, Fla. discussing various football-related topics with Chip Kelly, Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie, among others.

Now that we’re back in Philadelphia and have had some time to reflect on what went down, here are some takeaways. Read more »

Mathis Eyeing New Deal

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
ORLANDO, Fla. — Evan Mathis
would like a new contract and the Eagles are open to moving him. Sound familiar?

Right before the hour-long sit-down with Chip Kelly at the owners meeting this morning, with the DeSean Jackson trade talk on top of everyone’s mind, Ian Rapoport reported that Mathis wants a raise and that the Eagles, in turn, have made it known that the guard is available via trade. A league source confirmed the report. Read more »

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