The game that jumps out…Thanksgiving at Dallas. I don’t know what to make of that game. My family aren’t very big football fans. Normally we eat a lot and goof off. I get them to watch a few minutes of football, but not much. This year is going to be very different. It will be kinda fun to play on Thanksgiving. There is something cool about playing on that day.
There are 4 primetime games:
Week 2 – at IND – MNF
Week 6 – NYG – SNF
Week 10 – CAR – MNF
Week 15 – DAL – SNF
It is interesting that 3 of them are at home. I’m not sure if that is good or bad.
I can’t say opening the season with JAX is compelling, but that should be a favorable matchup for the Eagles.
My biggest complaint is playing Dallas twice in the span of 3 weeks. That’s too good a rivalry to treat it like that.
The Eagles close out the season with 3 straight division games. Based on recent years, that could very well decide the division title. The NFC East race tends to be pretty close.
DL coach Jerry Azzinaro has been at several Pro Days this spring. Let’s take a look at who he has been looking at.
Jay Bromley from Syracuse. DT who would be DE/NT for the Eagles.
Kareem Martin from UNC. DE who would need to bulk up 10 pounds to play DE for the Eagles. Could also possibly switch to LB, but the fact the Eagles sent Azz to work him out shows more interest as a DE.
Shamar Stephen from UConn. DT who would be DE/NT for the Eagles. Caught my eye at the Senior Bowl.
We don’t know for a fact that Azz was the guy who worked out Kyrhi Thornton, but he probably was. He is a good DE candidate so that’s a guy you send the DL coach to check out, not just an area scout.
Coach Azz might have been at more spots. We’re learning more every day. You can see the Eagles are not focusing on big NT types, but rather tweeners that could play DE or NT. Martin is the one exception. He is a DE/OLB player. No NT in his future.
The Eagles did bring DE Taylor Hart to Philly. He had a foot issue so I’m sure that visit was more medical than anything else. Here is Hart vs Tennessee. And remember that Jeff Stoutland went to the UT Pro Day to work out their 4 OL prospects.
We’ve talked quite a bit about how Chip Kelly prefers big players. This has led a few of you to wonder if he focuses too much on size and it that could hurt the Eagles in their search for players.
I do think it is fair to wonder if Kelly is too pro-size. I don’t think it has been a problem to this point, but it is a question worth considering.
Here is why I don’t think it has been a problem so far…Kelly has focused more on performance than size. The size can get you a chance to show what you can do, but you have to play well. Last spring we were all fascinated with WR Ifeanyi Momah. He was humongous and the idea of a WR with his kind of rare size had us all excited to see what he could do.
Nothing. Momah did nothing.
The Eagles cut him. He didn’t get a spot on the practice squad. Kelly saw that Momah was a failed project and let him go. The team added him this January, which is fine with me. Momah had been out of football a while last year. To say he was a little rusty would be like calling the sun kinda warm. Momah now knows what an NFL training camp is like. The rust will be gone or Momah will be gone. He is a glorified camp body at this point. I have no problem with Chip using a roster spot like that on a guy with rare size.
Think about Clifton Geathers. The Eagles were excited to see what he could do. Geathers was huge for a DE. Geathers earned a roster spot, but never played at a consistent level during the season. He had some good moments, but failed to show enough. He left the team as a free agent this offseason. Geathers didn’t get big money. The Eagles could have easily kept him if they wanted.
Kelly wanted Momah and Geathers because of their size, but never let that mean more than the game tape.
The upcoming draft will give us another chance to see how Kelly factors size into his decisions. I don’t think he has made any bad picks or signings due to size so far. That could change. If he passes on Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham or Brandin Cooks for Kelvin Benjamin, I’ll go nuts. If Kelly passes on Jeremiah Attaochu or Marcus Smith for Trent Murphy, I’ll personally lead the attack on the NovaCare Complex. Pitchforks, pudding and PBR!!!
One thing that is hard to factor in is scheme fit vs personal preference. Aaron Donald is the best DT in this class, but he is a pure 4-3 player. He’ll be long gone by 22, but he’s the kind of guy the Eagles would pass on because of scheme. Not every small player that gets passed over will be due to Kelly’s preference. We’ll have to see what happens and then figure out why players were picked or passed on.
So far I think Kelly has been reasonable with his desire for bigger players. We’ll see if that continues or if it does become an issue.
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The schedule will be announced Wednesday night at 8pm. That’s kinda cool, but not something I go nuts over. You can’t judge teams until right before you play them. Do you think anyone was looking forward to a game vs the Texans last April? They sure were by November.
Many of you love numbers. Chase Stuart over at Football Perspective is one of the best people at using numbers to evaluate teams and players in a historical perspective. He just put out an interesting piece called “The Least/Most Lucky Teams When It Comes To Rings“. This one is going to hurt, both ways.
The top row indicates that the Eagles had a 6% chance of no titles since 1950 and a 12% chance of no titles since 1970. Philadelphia has 2.4 expected titles since 1950, 1.93 of which come since 1970. In reality, the Eagles have won 1.4 fewer titles than expected over the last 64 years, and 1.93 fewer than expected since the merger.
Most Unlikely Loser since the Merger: Philadelphia Eagles Despite leading the league in DVOA or estimated DVOA four times (1980, 1981, 2001, and 2008), and racking up 1.93 hypothetical Super Bowl wins, the Eagles have nothing to show for it. Philadelphia’s lead in this category is large in part because the Vikings’ 1969 season doesn’t qualify. Even if we include the entire Super Bowl era, however, the Eagles have the highest expected number of Lombardi trophies without actually owning any silverware. They have just a 12% chance of being without a Super Bowl title as of 2014.
Ugh. And then…
Most Unlikely Winner since the Merger: New York Giants This one is kind of amazing. The Giants have just 0.95 expected Super Bowl wins, but have 4 actual ones. When looking at New York’s DVOA ratings and playoff seedings, there was a 35% chance of no rings for Big Blue. The Giants led the league in DVOA just once since the merger (1990) and only one more time (1959) overall. New York is held out of the top spot overall by their five championship game losses between 1950 and 1966. Despite all those losses, the Giants’ recent good fortune makes them #3 in titles above expectation going back to 1950.
This will change someday.
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The Eagles had OL coach Jeff Stoutland at Clemson’s Pro Day to work out T/G Brandon Thomas and G Tyler Shatley. Unfortunately, Thomas later tore his ACL while working out on another occasion for the Saints. He was probably going to be a 3rd to 4th round pick. The Eagles could now get Thomas at the bottom of the draft, if interested, and redshirt him for 2014.
Stoutland spent a lot of time covering stunts and blitzes with the players. He wasn’t just checking out movement skills, but rather how they followed instructions and if they were quick learners. A lot of coaches do generic movement drills in the workout sessions, focusing on just athletic ability.
Tyler Shatley, G: Shatley (6-3 1/4, 300 pounds) has 31 3/4-inch arms and is a very strong player, putting up 40 reps in the bench press. He ran the 40 in 5.17 and 5.21 seconds and had a 30 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump. He ran the short shuttle in 4.66 and the 3-cone drill in 7.95 seconds. He’s probably a third-day pick or a priority free agent.
Brandon Thomas, OT: Thomas (6-3 5/8, 318 pounds) impressed a lot of people with a good workout. He had an 8-foot, 3-inch broad jump, a 4.75 short shuttle and a 7.83 3-cone drill. He has very long arms, at 34 1/2 inches. I think he’ll be a third-day draft pick.
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Check out CB Phillip Gaines of Rice. This kid had a great workout at the Combine and his Pro Day. From Brandt…
Phillip Gaines, CB (6-foot-0 1/8, 191 pounds) — Gaines, who has 31 1/8-inch arms, ran really good at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis (he had the second-fastest 40-yard dash time among cornerbacks at 4.38 seconds). On a windy day in Houston for Rice’s pro day and on a new turf surface, Gaines only ran the 60-yard long shuttle (11.24 seconds). Gaines surprised everybody with his speed and quality of his overall pro-day workout; performing beyond expectations, due to his speed, ability to cover and backpedaling ability. Gaines is everything teams look for in a defensive back, and he will likely be a mid-second- to mid-third-round draft choice.
Put on the game tape and you see a CB that likes to press and has very good athletic ability. Some guys test well, but it doesn’t show up on the field. Gaines does both.
Gaines broke up 18 passes in 2012. He only broke up 9 in 2013, but picked off 4 passes and added 6 TFLs. He is a productive player as well as talented. Really interesting prospect. Not sure if the Eagles are interested, but sure seems they should be.
Another day, another WR visit. We found out tonight that Alabama WR Kevin Norwood had visited the Eagles. Norwood is 6-2, 199. That’s not huge for a WR, but is good size and he fits the trend of the Eagles looking for bigger guys. Norwood will probably be a 3rd or 4th round pick. You could think of Norwood as a faster version of Jason Avant (Norwood ran 4.48 at the Combine).
I hooked up with AJ McCarron for workouts with the Browns and the Bengals. I went to visit the Redskins, the Colts and the Eagles. All those northern teams seem to like me. That’d be different. It’d be great, though. I’ve always wanted to play in snow. All I’d have to do is keep my hands warm and catch the ball.
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Good news on the Evan Mathis front.
Got punked by @evanmathis69. Sent me a map pin last night claiming to be in Turks & Caicos. He wasn't. Will be at NovaCare today.
I guess that’s why Mathis is one of my favorite Eagles. He loves to have fun and knows how desperate media and the fans are for any good story, even a made up one.
Well played, Mr. Mathis. Well played.
Let’s hope this means all is okay between him and the Eagles and we can enjoy another season of him kicking the butts of DTs, DEs and LBs.
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Good news for those of you who have been wanting a new H2H show. Jimmy and I talked about the draft tonight for 1:20. I’ll post a link as soon as the show is ready and posted.
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Terrelle Pryor was traded to Seattle today. Good move for them. Seattle runs a ball-control offense that is more conservative than what the Eagles do. Pryor has a chance to succeed in that set-up. He would have been lost in trying to run Chip Kelly’s no-huddle attack.
What’s up with the greatest Eagle of them all? Former NFL lineman Nate Menkin joining Ottawa RedBlacks: Offensive lineman to sign two-year contract http://t.co/4rY3FjAcsF — NationalFootballPost (@FootballPost) April 16, 2014 Good luck, Nate.
Rolando McClain was once a Top 10 pick. He has terrific ability, but off field issues slowed his career and then he abruptly retired. He talked to the Ravens about coming back so they had him workout for them. Things … Continue reading →
Kurt Coleman talked to several teams, but finally ended up signing with the Vikings. Minnesota fans are happy to have him and showed their appreciation with some Photoshop work. “@VikingsRepor: @k4coleman We think you need some purple for your twitter. … Continue reading →
The Eagles brought in Oregon DE Taylor Hart for a visit. Hart is keeping a draft diary for The Oregonian, but unfortunately hasn’t updated that since coming to Philly. Here’s what he had to say a few weeks back. “It … Continue reading →
Check out this pic. Eagles and rams need to be front row RT @Vol_Football: All 32 @nfl teams are represented at Vols Pro Day in Knoxville pic.twitter.com/wWAK9gxbf9 — Bradley Dean (@BradD_Parker) April 2, 2014 That is personnel executive Rick Mueller … Continue reading →
Here is Chip Kelly hanging out with Mike Tomlin and new PSU coach James Franklin at the Nittany Lions Pro Day. Penn State Pro Day attendees. #DominatingtheState with the @Eagles & @steelers coaches. pic.twitter.com/v7VqzBYUdB — Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) April … Continue reading →