Wake-Up Call: Coaches Remain High On Watkins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Much of the attention paid to Jaylen Watkins faded as the draft gave way to OTAs and minicamp.

The more that was learned about the Florida product after he was selected in the fourth round by the Eagles, the more expectations grew. A team captain who ran a 4.41 40 on a bad wheel that can play safety and corner? Some wondered if he could make a push for playing time from the jump.

Like many of  his fellow rookies, though, the Florida product found himself working with the third team for most of the spring. Any thoughts of him skyrocketing up the depth chart were put on hold as he began negotiating the steep NFL learning curve.

While he may not have captured the headlines or flashed as much as, say, fellow corner Nolan Carroll this spring, the coaching staff remains optimistic that Watkins can have an impact in 2014 — though there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more »

This Time Around, Momah Has A Shot

 

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

James Brady was around for the first Ifeanyi Momah transformation.

The two have been friends since they were teenagers. They went to different high schools in Long Island but the quarterback and receiver regularly trained together. As kids with little cash and big goals, they used to jump from gym to gym around the neighborhood, taking advantage of the free introductory memberships until it was time to find the next deal.

When they weren’t playing on the same night Brady would go and check out Momah’s games, and remembers the gigantic jump he took once he injected some swagger into that large frame.

Read more »

On the Allen/Jenkins Dynamic

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly cracked wise as a reporter began asking whether Nate Allen and Malcolm Jenkins play a physical enough brand of ball to be an effective safety duo.

“They’ve been knocking the [stuffing] out of people in OTAs, so be ready for that,” Kelly quipped.

Joking aside, the two safeties currently atop the depth chart aren’t exactly known for laying the lumber. Philosophically, how important is it to have an enforcer in the back end in the head coach’s view? Read more »

Even With Foles, Zone Read Here To Stay

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
Funny to think how significantly the dynamics of the quarterback situation have shifted over the course of a year.

This time last offseason Michael Vick was splitting first-team reps with Nick Foles. And given the little that we knew about Chip Kelly‘s offense, you couldn’t help but think Vick had the leg up. Day after day we saw the Eagles practice the zone read, over and over. The QB would cross paths with the running back and, depending on how the defense responded, would either complete the handoff or keep it and head for the edge. This didn’t seem to be a particularly good sign for Foles, who once said: “If I can adapt I want to, but I’m not a zone read quarterback. Some people are gifted with different things, that’s just not one of my skill sets.”

Kelly phrased it this way at the beginning of training camp last season: “To be honest with you, if I called 20 read options with Nick Foles in the game, you should fire me.  We’re talking about practice right now.  I think we’ve got to figure out who our quarterback is before we understand the direction of where our offense is going.”

It took some time to get the QB position settled, but it eventually blossomed in the hands of Foles. And while Foles never kept it 20 times in a game (the most rushes he had in a single outing was nine), the zone read didn’t go away. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Eagles ran the zone read 304 times during the regular season — 135 times more than the next highest team. About 60 percent of those came when Vick was out of the lineup. Read more »

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