Cosell On Receiver Fits For Chip

Odell Beckham

Whether DeSean Jackson is on the roster or not, chances are the Eagles will be tempted to pull the trigger on a number of quality wideouts throughout the draft.

“I think we’re going to be sitting there in every round and there’s going to be a receiver we  like,” said Howie Roseman at the combine. “It’s just going to happen that way…Guys will be pushed back because of the quality and the depth of the class.”

Add NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell to the long list of analysts and executives that are calling this the best receiver crop in recent memory. Out of this group, which are the best fits for Chip Kelly and the Eagles offense? We asked Cosell for his take, and he offered four names to consider.
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Cosell: Foles Outing Was ‘the Perfect Storm’

foles2_400_110313Nick Foles played very well against the Raiders. That was plain to see.

But out of all the quarterbacks that have caught fire in the history of the league, Foles is one of only seven to finish the day with seven touchdowns. How did this happen? How is it that he went from the worst performance of his career to one of the best statistical performances in league history? And how should we feel about the QB after nine professional starts?

For answers, we turned to NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cosell On Barkley, Wolff

Greg Cosell of NFL Films recently joined Doug Farrar’s Shutdown Corner podcast to review the drafts of all four NFC East teams.

Click here to listen to the podcast on iTunes. Eagles talk starts around the 35:25 mark.

Cosell talked about several of the Eagles’ rookies, including fourth-round pick Matt Barkley. During the pre-draft process, he questioned Barkley’s arm strength, but Cosell identified another issue with the Eagles’ rookie.

“A bigger concern I had with Barkley when I watched him on film… I did not think he had really quick feet,” Cosell said. “And that bothered me almost as much, if not more, than the fact that he doesn’t have a great arm. Everybody knows that. But I didn’t think he had really quick feet. And I think that that’s a hindrance because I think in this league, especially if you don’t have a big arm, you need to have explosive lower body movement, and I didn’t see that with Matt Barkley.”

Farrar also asked Cosell what his friend Ron Jaworski thought of Barkley.

“He didn’t think that highly of him,” Cosell said. “It’s the arm strength issue.”

Chip Kelly has said he’s not asking his quarterbacks to knock over milk cartons at the county fair. But Cosell pointed out arm strength isn’t as important in college as it is in the NFL, suggesting that’s something Kelly might have to learn on the job.

On the other side of the ball, Cosell said he really liked fifth-round pick Earl Wolff.

“I think this kid is a really intriguing player,” he said. “They used him near the line of scrimmage, they used him deep. I thought that he showed very good build-up speed in pursuit. I thought that he was a smart, aware player. I really, really liked this kid.

“I think this kid is a classic case of someone who by his second year will be an NFL starter, will be a good player, and he’ll play for years as a starter in the NFL as a safety.”

If Cosell is right with his assessment, Wolff might have a chance to earn serious playing time as a rookie.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Matt Barkley thinks he’s very much in the mix to be the starter.

Nick Foles too. “I’m not here to be a backup,” said the second-year quarterback.

General manager Howie Roseman explained that Michael Vick has known all along there would be a QB competition.

My 90-man, five-tiered analysis of the Eagles’ roster going into camp.

T-Mac has all your training camp details.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

In case you missed it over the weekend, great column by the Daily News’ Rich Hofmann on how Eagles training camp has evolved over the years:

The summer highlight was a trip to suburban Detroit, where the Eagles scrimmaged with the Lions for a few days before the first exhibition game. To say that Ryan was a boorish guest was to insult boors. He complained about the accommodations, and the towels, and his players started brawls with the Lions in practice. For his final act, Ryan never showed the Lions his 46 defense in practice, but then unfurled it in the game, along with a bunch of blitzes that just wrecked what was supposed to be a gentlemanly, vanilla preseason opener.

Derrick Gunn of Comcast SportsNet thinks Vick will end up winning the job:

I believe Vick will open the season under center, but because of either poor play or injury, he will be replaced with Foles by the halfway point of the season. And Foles could be on a short leash with Barkley in his shadow.

COMING UP

Rookies and select veterans practice this afternoon at 2:25. We’ll hear from Vick and Kelly.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Greg Cosell: Four Picks That Fit With Chip Kelly

Greg Cosell has studied Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense extensively. And we know that he pores over hours and hours of college tape in order to be well-educated when it comes to NFL Draft prospects. For the purposes of this article we asked him to marry that knowledge – to provide us with a handful of players from this current crop that would fit well with Kelly, based off the tendencies he showed and system he deployed while in Eugene.

It should be noted that this is an imperfect exercise. We don’t know how much of what Kelly did at Oregon will be transferred to the pros. But since he hasn’t coached yet on this level, we are using the information currently at our disposal.

QB EJ Manuel

“The Oregon offense, to work to its maximum effectiveness based on what I saw on film, requires the quarterback to be a viable running threat,” said Cosell. “There were significant elements of the read option, and that only works if the quarterback is a running threat because it forces defenses to do certain things.

“I would not call Geno Smith a runner but I can see Chip Kelly thinking he can do that; clearly EJ Manuel can do that; and I think Matt Scott can do it.”

Cosell did not seem to think Ryan Nassib would be a particularly good fit as a read-option quarterback.

While he listed all three signal-callers as potential fits, he gave the nod to Manuel over Scott in particular because of sheer size. Manuel is listed at 6-5, 240; Scott at 6-3, 197; and Smith at 6-3, 208.

“At the end of the day, if he’s going to run,” said Cosell, “he is going to get hit.”

TE Jordan Reed

Cosell sees some Aaron Hernandez in Reed’s game.

The 6-3, 243-pound first-team All-SEC selection had 45 catches for 559 yards and three touchdowns for the Florida Gators last season.

“I think offensively, using Oregon as the basis, [Kelly] runs a lot of spread, and wants skill position players that can threaten the defense from wherever they line up,” said Cosell. “I think he wants athletic movement players. You want receiving tight ends because they give defenses matchup issues.

“Reed is an athletic mover with wide receiver traits.”

CBS Sports has Reed being taken in the third or fourth round.  Cosell also mentioned Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, but Eifert is a projected first-round pick, and the Eagles aren’t likely to take him No. 4 overall.

OT Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher

“At the end of the day I don’t think [Kelly is] going to want road graders, he is going to want quicker athletes,” said Cosell. “They could pick an offensive lineman at No. 4. More than likely Fisher or Joeckel will be there. Either one of those guys fits.

“I wouldn’t say either one is an elite athlete. The strength of both guys is repetitive execution, they are always on balance. This is my opinion, but I don’t think you need a great offensive line in college to run that offense. In college, I think the scheme takes care of quite a lot. I don’t think it’s the same way in the NFL. This team needs a good offensive line.

“Personally I think it would be a really good pick. Those guys are ready-made starters. Joeckel and Fisher are starters Day 1 wherever they go. Both should be really stable NFL players.”

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Cosell on Foles: ‘Not Blown Away By Anything’

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Now that Nick Foles has made his final start of the 2012 season, the Eagles will have to evaluate what they’ve seen from the rookie and figure out what direction they want to go in at quarterback in the coming months.

As I’ve written in the past, I think the plan should be to develop Foles, while also looking for other options in the draft, via free agency, trades, etc.

Greg Cosell of NFL Films (whose opinion holds much more weight than mine) seems to agree. He spent some time talking about Foles during this week’s podcast with Adam Caplan.

“I’ve watched every game of Foles really closely,” Cosell said. “I think there’s been some steady improvement, some incremental improvement, but I must admit, I’m not blown away by anything. I don’t think there’s a lot of pop in his arm, and I think when you watch him throw live… you probably say his arm is pretty strong. But I don’t think he plays that way, and that concerns me.”

While Cosell is not just talking about the deep ball, it’s worth noting that Foles completed just 6 of 27 pass attempts that traveled more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage.

“I don’t think the ball jumps off his hand,” Cosell said. “Every once in awhile, it does, but I think overall, he’s not one of those guys you look at and say wow, that ball really jumps. I just don’t think he throws like that, and that’s a concern for me.

“I also think he’s not real comfortable in the pocket at this point. I think he has a tendency to move a little too much. I think he has a tendency to play a little randomly. All this is not a surprise to me, given his college career.”

Meanwhile, Cosell had some interesting things to say about Michael Vick. While it seems unlikely that Vick has a future in Philadelphia, the coach will have the final say. The Eagles owe Vick a $3 million bonus on Feb. 6, so they don’t have a lot of time to spend on the quarterback decision.

“This may seem crazy to people… but I would not rule out Michael Vick, depending on who the coach is,” Cosell said. “With the proliferation of all this option stuff and pistol and shotgun, Michael Vick is still a pretty talented guy.”

“I think he’ll be in high demand because I think there will be a coach who will think, ‘I can take Michael Vick, I can run the read option, do all these option principles, and I can make him RGIII or Russell Wilson.'”

While many snickered when Vick said publicly that he believes he’s a starter in the league, Cosell is not the only one who thinks there will be a market for the veteran quarterback.

“Sunday’s game against the New York Giants might be Michael Vick’s last with the Philadelphia Eagles, but it won’t be his last as an NFL quarterback,” wrote NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi recently. “I hear that several teams will actively pursue Vick’s talents once the Eagles have finished making all their changes.”

Meanwhile, if you want to get a look at some of the top QB prospects available in the draft, be sure to check out the Pinstripe Bowl between West Virginia and Syracuse this afternoon at 3:15. The Mountaineers’ Geno Smith could be the top QB taken in April’s draft. Ryan Nassib, a Malvern Prep product, could be a Day 2 pick and has drawn comparisons to Andy Dalton. ESPN will carry the game.

And click here to listen to the full podcast with Caplan and Cosell.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Cosell On the Foles Effect

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. A little more from my recent conversation with Greg Cosell of NFL Films.

Cosell not only analyzed the play of Nick Foles in the here and now, but put in perspective just how critical the evaluation process over the next four games will be for the Eagles.

“This is the biggest decision this organization has to make,” said Cosell. “Let’s assume there is somewhat of a progression [in Foles' play],  then this organization has to decide, ‘Do I go into the offseason looking for a quarterback or do I essentially name Nick Foles the starter?'”

And if they decide to go with Foles, what kind of quarterback do they believe he is? That, Cosell says, will influence their upcoming coaching search. If you think Foles is a quarterback capable of making all the throws and running a sophisticated passing offense, then there are no limitations as to the type of coach you can bring in. But if he is more of a game-manager type?

“They would have to hire a coach more in the Gary Kubiak mold where the offense starts in the run game and the pass game works off that,” said Cosell.

It is an interesting point, and it goes deeper. Cosell believes the decision to go with a run-first system could significantly impact the running back situation.

“I do not believe [LeSean] McCoy can be a featured back in a run-first offense…because I don’t think McCoy runs between the tackles in base runs; it is not his game,” said Cosell. “I don’t think you can run power as your foundation with McCoy.”

Cosell believes McCoy is best suited for a pass-first offense because he thrives off of “space runs.”

That is something to keep in mind when trying to piece this whole puzzle together.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Cosell shares his thoughts on Foles after thorough film review.

A look at the defensive line’s performance last week shows that Brandon Graham was getting it done, but he was basically the only one.

Sheil’s All-22 work shines a spotlight on the continuing breakdowns in the Eagles’ secondary.

Marty Mornhinweg admits that he changed the offensive game plan to protect Foles.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

 Ashley Fox talked to one NFL general manager who believes there will be a market for Michael Vick if the Eagles decide to part ways.

“I definitely believe there will be opportunities for him,” the general manager said. “There are people out there that are just clamoring and struggling and trying to find any semblance of a quarterback. Although Michael hasn’t performed, there are a lot of reasons for that. I still think he’s an incredibly talented athlete. He can move the ball around the field. If used properly, he can win games and win playoff games.

“If I were a GM just starting and wasn’t going to have a shot at a quarterback, or [a GM] on the tail end trying to keep my ass alive, Michael Vick would be on my team and taking starting snaps. In this league, you have to eke out wins. You can eke out wins with him, even if you had to put him in spots where he had to run and do things. There are too many people who recognize his ability, his athleticism and what he can do.”

Peter King predicts a 30-20 Bucs win over the Eagles. He keeps his analysis simple this week.

Nick Foles good. Josh Freeman better.

COMING UP

Eagles hop on a big-ol’ jet plane to Tampa. We’ll be right behind them.

Cosell Breaks Down Nick Foles

Greg Cosell was kind enough to give us his in-depth thoughts on  the play of Nick Foles through three starts.

“I think there has been a little bit of progression,” said Cosell. “Early on, like a lot of young quarterbacks, he was a primary read guy. He was making predetermined throws, what I like to call, ‘I am going to throw that ball out of the huddle’ where the defense almost becomes irrelevant.

“I thought this week [against Dallas] Foles had much better pocket command and was much more decisive with his reads and throws and I think the game plan helped.”

Foles dropped back 35 times and handed it off 26 times for a 57 percent/43 percent split. But there is more to it than run/pass ratio, as Cosell explains.

“The Eagles transitioned to an offense where they run the ball out of running formations,” he said. “It helped Foles because it dictates defensive fronts and coverages and they become a little more predictable. Most sophisticated blitzes come from sub-packages. If you are throwing out of base personnel, defenses will be in base personnel, and the large majority of NFL defenses do much less in terms of pressures and blitzing from base personnel than they do from their sub packages.”

Marty Mornhinweg conceded on Thursday that he changed things up to protect the rookie quarterback. It stands to reason that Michael Vick would have benefited from a similar approach.

Foles is credited with two rushing attempts over four games and has fumbled on both of them. Running is not his game, but Cosell does see some “functional mobility” out of the 6-5 Arizona product.

“You are moving within the area the size of boxing ring, looking to find a quieter place to throw the football, that’s what pocket mobility is,” said Cosell. “I think there have been plays where you can say he has that kind of functional pocket mobility.”

Not everything Cosell sees has been positive.

“He still needs to speed up his drop and delivery. He is still a little deliberate in everything he does,” Cosell said. “My guess is that’s left over from the offense he ran in college where he would take the snap,  take one step and throw the ball. He didn’t really drop back in college, he almost exclusively worked out of the shotgun in college. He needs to develop that rhythm, and that’s an offseason thing.”

Cosell added that Foles needs to improve his arm speed, noting that he has a good arm “but doesn’t always show it.”

Overall, Cosell has seen some improvement and believes that his last outing was encouraging.

“If he continues to play as he did against Dallas, then that’s a real positive because one thing you can say watching him against Dallas is that he looked like an NFL quarterback, which he didn’t the previous two games,” said Cosell. “He was calmer and knew where to go with the ball. If he continues to play like that I would imagine they would probably feel pretty good with him.”

Cosell also gave some real interesting thoughts on how the team’s evaluation of Foles will impact the head-coaching search  We will have that for you on Saturday.

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