What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Here’s what they’re saying about the Eagles this week:

How will Connor Barwin fit into Jim Schwartz‘s defense? Dave Spadaro caught up with Barwin to get his thoughts.

One of the players potentially impacted by the addition of Schwartz is linebacker Connor Barwin, who came off the edge mostly as a pass rusher in the team’s 3-4 front. Should the Eagles use more of a four-man front with three linebackers, where would Barwin fit in? Would he put his hand in the dirt and come hard off the edge? Would he use his long arms and frame as a strongside linebacker and cover tight ends at times? Johnson enjoyed some of his greatest success with Carlos Emmons at the SAM position from 2000-03.

“I’m very excited about Jim Schwartz. I remember meeting with him coming out of the (NFL Scouting) Combine. I’ve had plenty of friends who have played for him and obviously I’ve seen the success he’s had in this league, especially the success he’s had as a coordinator,” Barwin said. “I don’t think it will be as different as people think. We ran a 3-4 with (Bill Davis as defensive coordinator) but we were in a 4-3 over 40 percent of the snaps, if not more. I’ll probably be playing defensive end and if I do play linebacker it will probably be up on the line, like I was on first down here.”

Bob Ford of the Inquirer offers his impressions of Schwartz.

Schwartz is a different kind of cat. In fact, he would have been an interesting choice for the big job. An academic all-American at Georgetown, with an economics degree and a distinguished economics graduate award, Schwartz would be equipped to debate salary cap implications with the front office any time.

Bill Belichick, who gave Schwartz his first NFL job as a coaching intern with the Browns, said he is among the smartest coaches he’s ever known. Schwartz also has a wicked sense of humor, a voracious love of reading, and an abiding passion for head-banging rock-and-roll. When he checked into a Detroit hotel before being announced as the Lions head coach in 2009, the assumed name he chose was Jack White, front man of the White Stripes.

Being a head coach again might be a goal for Schwartz somewhere down the road, but that wasn’t going to happen here. Not this time. He likes the job he got because the head coach is from the offensive side of the ball, which means Schwartz will get to fully run his own show.

Adam Schefter recaps how the coaching searches played out for the seven teams this offseason:

New York Giants: New York seriously entertained the idea of hiring former Falcons head coach Mike Smith and keeping Ben McAdoo as its offensive coordinator. But when the Eagles expressed interest in McAdoo, the Giants knew they could not risk losing him and elevated him to the head-coaching job. McAdoo might have needed more seasoning, but he’ll get on-the-job training.

Philadelphia Eagles: Because the Eagles didn’t get to know Chip Kelly as well as they should have during their last hiring cycle, they were determined to be more patient during this one. Yet while they got to know their candidates, Gase accepted the Miami job and McAdoo accepted the Giants job. The Eagles were completely comfortable turning to Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, who had an ordinary initial interview in Kansas City, but who played and coached in Philadelphia and knows what it takes to succeed there.

Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News gives his takeaways from Chip Kelly‘s introductory press conference:

He was feisty. He flexed his considerable intelligence. He mixed in a few jokes but was as brash as he wasn’t forthcoming.

He praised but didn’t commit to Colin Kaepernick. He brushed off the widely discussed reasons behind his firing from the Philadelphia Eagles. He demeaned concerns about the ramifications of his offense. And he did it all while making it clear this is his show.

Kelly sized up a local media contingent that has rightfully criticized his new franchise and declared he was ready to brawl, responding to questions with a self-assurance that demands respect while belittling the skepticism…

His take on the viability of the read-option offense?

“Just so we can get going football-wise, the read-option has never been run in here,” Kelly said. “It’s a zone-read, first off.”

Whoa. OK, coach. We got it. This is your world. We’re just squirrels.

Pro Football Focus takes a detailed look at Sam Bradford, who finished as their 11th-rated quarterback in 2015, and lists potential suitors.


Short accuracy

Bradford’s greatest strength is his accuracy. He only finished the season completing 65 percent of his passes, the 11th best mark in the league, but had an accuracy percentage of 78.1 percent, which was fourth. The main reason for the discrepancy is drops; Bradford suffered 42 drops in 2015 on a league-high 7.9 percent of his passes. It was the same story for the former Rams QB in 2013, where he had the seventh-highest accuracy percentage (74.7) but completed only 60.7 percent of his passes because his receivers once again let him down (8.0 percent drop rate). There are few better QBs at consistently moving the chains than Bradford, as illustrated by his completion percentage of 83.0 on short passes (10 yards or less).

Passing under pressure

Another one of Bradford’s greatest strengths is his ability as a passer when disrupted in the pocket. He was particularly excellent in 2015; Bradford finished the season as our most accurate passer under pressure, putting his passes on the money on 74.6 percent of plays, well ahead of his nearest competitor (Carson Palmer, 71.8 percent). Bradford also finished with more touchdown throw (eight) than interceptions (seven). Over the course of his career, he’s thrown 21 touchdowns compared to 17 picks with a muddy pocket. Bradford’s pocket presence, including his ability to evade the rush and keep his eyes downfield, improved as the season went along, as he became more confident in his knee. He was clearly tentative in his early-season outings, which resulted in some poor performances.

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level writes that Jeffrey Lurie is cultivating a circus-like atmosphere at the NovaCare Complex.

Two men attempting to share one podium. The new coach admitting he wasn’t the first choice, only for his boss to correct him. A reporter going rogue and demanding answers about front office structure. The executive vice president of football operations scurrying away as soon as it was all over, only to be tracked down and surrounded in a hallway.

The degree of nonsense was staggering, and only years removed from the steady exodus of high-ranking officials under embattled circumstances, from Chip Kelly to Andy Reid to Tom Gamble to Joe Banner. Lurie spoke so much of leadership over the past few weeks, having himself removed so much of it, and these days he can’t even get a typical media appearance right.

It was simultaneously puzzling, humorous and, at times, flat out bizarre.