Eagles Wake-Up Call: Monster In the Middle
Before the Colts’ first run play of the preseason opener, Bennie Logan shaded to the center’s right. He fired off the ball, got underneath Khaled Holmes, shed the block and tackled Zurlon Tipton before the ball-carrier could get past the line of scrimmage.
He did it all without missing a beat.
“My first couple of years was just growth and development and now I’m real comfortable in this two-gap scheme,” Logan said. “I understand the ins-and-outs about the defense; not just my position, but the end position also. It allows us to play on the go.”
That’s why Logan appears poised to raise his level of play in his third season: speed. Although he focuses on reading and reacting, he emphasizes the latter more than the former.
“It’s really simple,” he said. “In my first year I was worried about playing and waiting and waiting and waiting. Now, it’s just … see ball, get ball. There ain’t no reason for me to just sit there the whole time to see what’s going to happen.”
Logan’s mentality shift was evident in the Eagles’ win over the Colts Sunday. He quickly shot into the backfield several times, including the play below where he immediately caused disruption in the backfield. (Both vines courtesy of Fran Duffy.)
Logan explained after practice Tuesday how the key to the play wasn’t his athleticism, but his mindset. He’s no longer afraid of making mistakes.
“It allows you to play a lot faster compared to rookie year when you’re so nervous about making mistakes,” he said. “Now you’re just playing. Just make [mistakes] full speed and your speed will make up for it. If I make mistakes, guys really cover for me, which allows me to do what I do.”
Along with moving quicker, Logan’s mind is now diagnosing plays much faster too, as shown in the play below.
“It was a little twist game inside but again [he] recognized the blocking scheme immediately and then came off of it,” Chip Kelly said. “His knowledge and understanding of blocking schemes now, going into year three for him, really sharp. Not only were they physical, tough plays but he knew what plays they were running based upon what was happening.”
On a different play, Logan anticipated the snap and moved out of his stance before the ball left the ground. By immediately penetrating the backfield, he pushed the left guard away from his blocking responsibility and the Colts netted zero yards.
He did all of this while playing just nine snaps.
“He definitely improved,” Cedric Thornton said. “If Bennie continues to do what he’s done, we’re definitely going to be leaps ahead of last year.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Practice observations: Who returned to the field, an inside look at one coach’s teaching style and a blue raspberry review.
“He should be good to go by the end of the week.” Chip Kelly provided injury updates yesterday.
Breaking down the tape to understand how the key plays in the preseason opener unfolded.
Who will make the 53-man roster? T-Mac pulls out his crystal ball.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Eagles are looking forward to practicing against the Ravens, writes Martin Frank.
For the Eagles, the practices break up the monotony of going against themselves every day for two weeks straight. And it also helps the Eagles by showing them different schemes and techniques to go against both on offense and defense.
“I just think it’s different competition,” Kelly said. “I think any time you get a chance to compete against another team, when you have players like Steve Smith out there at receiver and Joe Flacco, who’s one of the best in the league, that’s always the great thing.
“When we got a chance to go against the Patriots, you got to play against Tom Brady. We get a chance to play against Flacco.”
Jeff Zrebiec says many in Baltimore are also looking forward to the next few days, though one Raven sees a downside.
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., though, sees a downside in such arrangements, and pointed to the recent brawls that broke out during the Houston Texans-Washington Redskins joint practices this month.
“I think there’s a lot of testosterone that’s going to be on that field,” Smith Sr. said. “There are going to be a lot of guys trying to prove things. You saw what happened with Houston and Washington. I think you have to have a good mindset. Guys have to understand what’s going on.
“As wide receivers, we’re going to respect them and they’re going to respect us. Anything in between, if it’s taken the wrong way, we’re just going to have to fix it and we’re going to have to fix it quick. And words will not be minced.”
The Eagles have their first joint practice with the Ravens at 11:55. Pat Shurmur will speak to the media at 11:30.