Weekend Reading: Praise For Abdullah

Bruce Thorson / USA Today

Bruce Thorson / USA Today

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice is quite impressed with Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah:

During his Combine interview with the media, some reporter asked him a random question about Patriots RB Shane Vereen. Abdullah was armed with a great answer. “I watch a lot of his film to help myself out with route running,” said Abdullah. “He runs the best option route in the NFL right now. He does a good job of stemming the linebackers, snapping them off, and using his head (demonstrated a head juke) to get separation, (and he has) outstanding hands.”

Vereen had a mere 838 yards from scrimmage and 2014, and Abdullah was able to give a thorough and accurate scouting report on him. Last offseason, Eagles WR Jordan Matthews requested game film of the corners he was going to face in advance of the Senior Bowl, and he did homework on the Eagles’ offensive scheme in advance of meeting with Philly. #Culture.

Rueben Frank of CSNPhilly.com reports on Ohio State WR Devin Smith and his adoration for Jeremy Maclin:

“He’s one of my favorite receivers,” Smith said. “The thing about him is that when he runs, it looks so natural and he runs so smooth that it really looks easy to him.”

The admiration is mutual.

“That was very cool to hear,” Maclin said of Smith’s comments. “I think he’s going to be a really good receiver.”

Smith had at least one 40-yard catch in nine of 15 games and at least one 30-yarder in 13 of 15.

More than half his catches — 18 of 33 — went for 25 yards or more.

Think the Eagles could use him?

“[He] can track the deep ball, and a lot of guys can’t, and when it comes over the opposite shoulder, [he has] the ability to track it and move with it,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.

“He’s got kind of that centerfielder skill to track the ball in the air, and that’s rare, and when you combine it with his speed, that’s a big weapon.”

Smith said his ability to track deep balls comes in part — ironically — from his track background.

“Really it’s just pure concentration,” he said. “A lot of it had to do when I high jumped throughout my whole career, at Ohio State and high school, the small details of making sure that your steps were always right and it kind of carried over to the football field.

“Just pure concentration — make sure your eyes follow the ball.”

For a team like the Eagles, that released deep threat DeSean Jackson after the 2013 season and got minimal production this past season from Riley Cooper, Smith could be a perfect fit.

Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld ranked Chip Kelly as the sixth-best coach in the NFL:

For Chip Kelly’s detractors — of which there are legion — 2014 was another brick in the wall of his ongoing exposure. “Forget a national title at Oregon — the guy who’s ‘revolutionizing football’ can’t even win the NFC East?” It’s simplistic pablum, the kind Billy Beane has stared down for years in baseball. You don’t have to dig deep to find Kelly’s impact. Let’s just ignore all the things happening outside of public view, like the way Kelly is changing everything from how the league practices to how it sleeps. Let’s focus on something really basic. In two years as an NFL head coach, Kelly has amassed 20 wins and a .625 winning percentage. He’s done so with Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez making 81 percent of the starts at quarterback. That would be lead-footed Nick Foles and 56.3 percent career passer Mark Sanchez. The two most important physical traits for a Kelly quarterback are repetitive accuracy and fleet feet. Foles and Sanchez have neither, and yet here Kelly is, 2-for-2 in 10-win seasons. No, they don’t hang banners for 10-win campaigns, but two years in, Kelly’s plan remains right on schedule. Maybe Kelly will never win a title, but he’s already changed the game.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz warns that Marcus Mariota would not guarantee a Lombardi Trophy:

I was re-reading part of Bill Walsh’s Finding the Winning Edge book recently. The QB that he wanted in 1979 was Phil Simms. But he knew Simms would go early. Walsh finally decided that Joe Montana was his guy. The question was where he would go. Some thought Montana might be a 5th round pick. Apparently he was an inconsistent player at Notre Dame, lacked a strong arm and had a slight build. Walsh liked his athleticism and potential. The rest is history.

I don’t think we need to go over the Tom Brady story from 2000, but he lasted to pick 199 overall.

A 3rd rounder and a 6th rounder combined for 8 Super Bowl titles. There have been a slew of QBs taken #1 overall in the last 25 years. The only title winners? Peyton Manning (1) and Eli (2).

Getting the big name QB doesn’t guarantee anything.

Walsh made the point that you need the right guy. That sounds simple, even obvious, but too often we overlook that and focus on the big shiny object. Guys like Michael Vick, Carson Palmer and Matt Stafford are #1 picks with more physical gifts than Brady, but none of them have ever played in a Super Bowl, let alone won 4.

It would be great to see the Eagles get Marcus Mariota because he seems like such a good player, good person and good fit, but let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that getting him guarantees anything or missing on him means disaster.