Wake-Up Call: Three Eagles Leftovers
From the design of Chip Kelly’s offense to Darren Sproles’ workload to Billy Davis’ A-gap pressures, here are three Eagles leftovers from this week.
1. Based on how his Oregon teams operated, Kelly was asked if there’s something about the design of his offense that lends itself to running backs and tight ends playing bigger roles than wide receivers in the passing game.
“We are equal opportunity distributors,” Kelly said. “How do you want to defend us? Doesn’t matter. If there’s a matchup we can exploit, we’ll exploit it. But… we don’t have a set number that this needs to go here, this needs to go here. A lot of times, it’s different guys, different games. And one game it’s one guy, another game, it’s another guy.
“So it’s not by design, to answer your question, that we are trying to go one way or another way.”
After a back-and-forth with the reporter, Kelly apparently wanted to get something off his chest.
“Here is what happened at Oregon,” he said. “We were up 50 points in a lot of games, so we threw the ball less than ever. And I had that question last year a thousand times that you really emphasize the run. Well, when the score is 50‑3 at halftime, we are not coming out in the second half and jacking the ball around. So we had some running backs that were seventh string that were our scout squad guys that got more touches than an All-Pac-12 receiver in a game, and that’s because the game itself dictated that.
“I think whenever you have a chance to be a really… you show me any football team in football that’s a great four‑minute offense, then they are a really good football team because that means they are up all the time. I hope our running backs carry the ball more than we throw the ball this year in every single game, because if they do, that means we are winning every single game.”
2. Darren Sproles has had 26 touches on offense in two games. Kelly was asked whether he believes the veteran running back can manage that workload for an entire season.
“When you look at Darren, he’s really, really put together, and he’s probably the most fit guy on our team,” Kelly said. “There’s a special quality to him from that standpoint, and I don’t know that we knew that when we got him. When we first looked at him, obviously the dynamic ability as a returner jumps out at you, his ability to catch the ball coming out of the backfield, and as I said after a couple days dealing with him, really impressed with him as a running back. That wasn’t something that was a preconceived notion but after me watching him the first couple days, I’m like, ‘This kid has pretty good ability as a running back.’ And when you see his size, he’s a little different than your prototypical small guy.”
Kelly said he believes Sproles can maintain this workload for 16 games.
3. Billy Davis has had success with A-gap pressures through the first two games. That’s when he blitzes in between the center and the guard. I asked Davis why those have been more effective than last year.
“I think we’re moving it around depending on what protections they give us,” he said. “The last couple weeks the A‑gap seems to be an opening for us, so we took it. If they close it down, we have other pressures that we’ll come with. It’s a chess match going back and forth where the protections are presenting, what structures are we giving them. The first two weeks has been inside pressure has been kind of what they’ve allowed us to take.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“I just felt that it was disrespectful.” Darren Sproles found out he was traded via Twitter. Plus, why Brandon Graham may miss out on $2.5 million. Inside Voices from T-Mac.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mark Eckel of NJ.com on the Eagles’ decision to draft Nick Foles ahead of Kirk Cousins:
According to the person who was in the room that day, the majority of the Eagles scouting staff, along with general manager Howie Roseman, had the 6-3, 214-pound Cousins rated slightly ahead of the 6-6, 240-pound Foles.
Reid, however, did not.
The head coach, along with his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, liked Foles better. Mornhinweg apparently liked Foles a lot better.
Trent Dilfer of ESPN had some high praise for Kelly. Via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com:
“I’m completely, 100 percent all in on Chip Kelly,” Dilfer told ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike In The Morning. “In my time in football and I’ve been around some really good coaches.
Tony Dungy, Brian Billick for a stretch when he had his fastball, Mike Holmgren, obviously, Norv Turner, who is one of the best offensive minds in many years. Of all those people, I think this is the finest football coach I’ve ever studied.”
We’ll have predictions, a scouting report, All-22 and more.