Weekend Reading: Previewing the Eagles’ Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

We’ve got a good collection of weekend reads for Eagles fans. Carve out some time and check them out for yourself.

The king of X’s and O’s, Fran Duffy, explores the nitty gritty of what fans can expect from the Eagles’ offense under Doug Pederson and Frank Reich this season.

One of my favorite comments from Pederson’s opening press conference was by describing his offense as “West Coast-ish.” Back in the 80s and 90s, and even into the early 2000s, teams employed a certain offensive scheme with, typically, very little variety or wiggle room. You were a “West Coast” offense, or a “Run and Shoot” team or maybe you ran the “Air Coryell” system, but every offense had an identity, and they stuck to it. Those days, for the most part, are long gone.

Now, college football and the NFL are a melting pot of schemes and terminology on both sides of the ball. Coaches work year-round to find plays that will help their teams win football games, and as coaches travel from place to place and team to team, they pick up certain concepts along the way that they really like and save them for future use. Pair that with the growth in coaching clinics as well as the ease of which coaches can now share and watch film of other successful coaches, the “copy-cat league” term has never been more true.

That’s what makes Pederson’s arrival in Philadelphia as both a head coach and as a playcaller so exciting for me. It will be his first opportunity to deploy plays that he has seen throughout his career as both a player and a coach and put them into practice with his overall vision. So when he says that his offense is “West Coast-ish,” what he means is that, sure, there are some West Coast offense concepts and quick-game route combinations in there, but there’s a hodge podge of screen plays, shot calls and even read-option elements in there as well. Let me show you what I mean.

Bob Grotz of the Delco Times goes long on new quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and his journey to this point.

So here was DeFilippo, this skinny sophomore whose older sister Christine was the bigger star at the time, her scoring touch in basketball a sight to behold.

And here were Virgilio and offensive coordinator George Hopson, willing to try almost anything to snap the nasty streak including having DeFilippo make his first varsity start at home against Penncrest High.

Four quarters and a bit of good fortune later the streak was dead, the Raiders having ridden the late heroics of DeFilippo and his cohorts to a 16-14 triumph that set off a noisy celebration.

The Raiders got both of their touchdowns in the last seven minutes, the winning score and the two-point conversion coming with 30 seconds left.

Good details from contract expert Joel Corry on Vinny Curry‘s five-year deal, likely brokered on the Eagles’ end by Howie Roseman.

Per Brandon Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, ESPN graded the 2015 offseason with perspective, and gave the Eagles’ moves a failing grade.

Offseason grade: B

The moves Chip Kelly made in his lone season with full control over personnel are threatening to set the organization back for some time, especially because he’s no longer around to advocate for the players he added last offseason. DeMarco Murray, Sam Bradford and Byron Maxwell fell short of collective expectations to a degree that seemed almost unimaginable. First-round pick Nelson Agholor didn’t contribute much, while linebacker Kiko Alonso was hampered by injuries again after Kelly suggested there would be no heightened risk. Meanwhile, receiver Jeremy Maclin left the roster and quickly became a highly valued producer for Kansas City.

Re-grade: F

NJ.com’s Mark Eckel writes that if the Eagles don’t start acting like the Sixers, they’ll quickly become as futile as the recent Phillies teams.

The last thing this city needs is another team in rebuilding mode.

Unfortunately it’s exactly what it has, even if the Eagles won’t use the R word in describing their future. A team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and has missed the playoffs four of the past five years is not on the cusp of contention, not even in the NFL’s worst division, the NFC East.

I don’t care if quarterback Sam Bradford comes back, or not, who the Eagles draft, or who they sign in free agency, they are not winning Super Bowl 51, or LI, if the league goes back to Roman Numerals. If they want to contend for, say, Super Bowl LIII, then the rebuilding process needs to start yesterday.