Q & A

Posted: September 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 16 Comments »

Not only is that an underrated movie starring Armand Assante, it is a great way to answer the many questions spawned by the DGR.  So, here we go:

So what’s the deal with Brent Celek?   The guy who was such a dynamic receiver in 2009 has disappeared.  There isn’t just one reason.  He had the wrist issue which did affect him in 2010.  That led to some drops, which isn’t normally a problem for him.  Celek also was a victim of circumstance.  He was forced to block more than ever because of the mediocre OL last year.

Brent spent a fair amount of time blocking on Sunday.  I think that will change as the OL gets better.  It also will be different when we face teams that don’t blitz as much.  STL is a blitz-happy group.

There also is the Vick factor.  For some reason, Vick and Celek don’t show great chemistry.  I don’t know why.  Vick fed the ball to Alge Crumpler all the time in Atlanta.  Those two were really good.  Celek is still a quality receiver.  Obviously Vick is a very gifted QB.  I just don’t see them clicking the way that Vick does with his WRs.  Maybe I’m reading into the numbers too much and this is just my mind playing tricks on me.  I don’t think that’s the case, but can’t totally rule it out.

Were the time management issues greatly affected by playing in a dome?  That’s an astute observation.  Playing in a really loud environment doesn’t just affect the QB making calls at the line.  It can affect all the communication on the sideline as well.  Getting plays called quickly and correctly, as well as getting the right personnel in, can be quite a challenge in that setting.  We’ll see on Sunday night how the Eagles have adjusted/improved.  Something tells me the Georgia Dome will be pretty loud.

Should we worry about teams using the Ace formation against us?  Not necessarily.  The DTs and all 3 LBs are packed in the middle of the formation.  That’s 5 defenders against 5 OL.  Generally there will be a double team on one DT.  That leaves 5 defenders against 4 OL.  The TEs and DEs cancel each other out.  You can leave a backside DE unaccounted for, but guys like Babin and Cole are fast enough to chase plays down from the backside.

Honestly, it all comes down to winning/losing individual battles.  There is always a weakness in every scheme.  Heck, the Death Star was the greatest weapon the universe has ever known and it was destroyed by a lone X-wing fighter flown by Red 5 (aka Luke Skywalker).  You can burn the 4-3 or 3-4.  You can shred the 46 or the Tampa 2.  Really boils down to personnel and execution.  I think the Eagles have the right personnel (LB is still a mystery).  Now the guys have to execute well.  The DTs have to be disruptive.  The LBs have to get to the ball and tackle well.  The Safeties need to clean up whatever tackles are missed by the LBs.

The Wide-9 is built to rush the passer, but can be a good run defense when properly executed.  There is no doubt that teams will try to run on us.  The defense has to answer the challenge.  The offense can help matters by scoring points.

As I wrote this spring, part of the Eagles thinking was to build a team that could play with the lead.  That was a major weakness last year.  Teams came back on us in a lot of games.  Can’t have that in 2011.  Must be able to protect a lead.

Is Vick calling out protections?  Yes.  This is new.  Not sure if the change has to do with Howard Mudd or it was something done to force Vick to be more active before the snap.

In the past our C pointed out things before the snap.  He made line calls and shifts.  The QB could change plays, but not protections.  We changed this year.  Now Vick has the job of identifying the MLB on each play.  That sets the protection for that play.  Vick calls out whatever blitzes he sees and can make whatever changes he feels are needed.  This puts a lot of pressure on Vick, but also ensures that he knows exactly what is happening in every facet of the offense.

Can Brian Rolle challenge Casey Matthews for the MLB spot?  Real good question.  I am a big Rolle fan and part of me would love to see him get the job.  At the same time, the Eagles have invested a lot of time in Casey Matthews.  I’d like to give him a month at least to show what he can do.

I know people are down on Matthews right now.  He’s an easy target.  Casey has shown potential.  He’s not a finished product right now.  Judging him as a finished product doesn’t make sense.  There are no guarantees Rolle would be a better player.  I like Brian more, but that’s heavily influenced by how much I enjoyed watching him at Ohio State.

When we’ve got 4 games in the books, we can take a better look at where Casey is and whether the MLB job should be up for grabs.

Why so much space for Rams receivers on some plays?  This is a very good question and something I need to research.  I need to re-watch the game and really check out the plays where there were guys running wide open.  I’ll check on that tonight and report back.

Did Joselio Hanson play?  The Rams didn’t put out many 3 or 4 WR sets.  Our Nickel D wasn’t on the field much.  Our Dime even less.  That limited our chance to check out DRC, Hanson, and Rolle. Atlanta should be a better test with Douglas, Jones, and Jenkins.

Back to Rolle for a second.  We do need to see him really light it up in the Nickel D in order to consider giving him a shot at MLB.  It would be dumb to replace one rookie who’s spent the summer learning the scheme and getting ready with another rookie who hasn’t played MLB much since getting here.  You only want to make a change if you feel it’s an upgrade.  I think Rolle will play well, but he wasn’t tested a whole lot on Sunday.

16 Comments on “Q & A”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 10:25 PM on September 13th, 2011:

    Glad to see they went back to the normal huddle, too!

  2. 2 ike said at 12:01 AM on September 14th, 2011:


    Re: the question about why Brent Celek has not been as productive with Vick compared to Algae Crumpler when Vick was a Falcon.

    I think the answer has three parts. First, the Eagles scheme since D-Jax and Maclin — two great receivers — have been the wideouts has been to stretch the field. A lot.

    Second, when Vick was a Falcon, the WRs were incredibly mediocre . . . at best. Much like the pre-’04 Eagles receivers.

    In ’02, the Falcons’ top WRs were: Eagles’ cast-off Brian Finneran, Chargers’ cast-off Trevor Gaylor, and former Charger/Patriot Shawn Jefferson.

    In ’03, they had: Finneran, Peerless Price, and Quinton McCord.

    In ’04, the Falcons had had former Chi-Bear Dez White, Finneran, and Price.

    In ’05, it was rookies Roddy White and Michael Jenkins with Finneran.

    And in ’06 — Vick’s last year in ATL (where I’ve lived since ’01) — the Falcons had the still very raw 2nd year players Roddy White and Jenkins, plus disappointing Denver former 1st-round discard Ashlie Lelie

    In those seasons, the best years a WR had was Finneran in ’02 with 56 catches and Price in ’03 with 64 catches. Roddy White was still trying to figure out how to be a pro WR. And Jenkins topped out at 39 catches w/ Vick — and is now gone.

    In those seasons, Vick was working with WRs who’d have fit in perfectly with the ’99-’03 Eagles, when Coach Reid seemed to value scheme more than talent at the WR slot.

    Vick’s best receiver — at any position — was Algae Crumpler.

    It reminds me of how Randall Cunningham used K-Jax and K-Byars as his top receivers after Mike Quick was injured in ’88 and never came back to his pre-injury form. Randall never had a Pro Bowl dominant wideout w/ the Eagles. (Consider how Randall did in MN when he had Moss, Carter and Jake Reed — who were far and away light years better than [and I loved them] Fred Barnett, Cal Williams and Kenny Jackson. What a difference two HOF-quality WRs will do for a QB.)

    Finally, Vick never worked particularly hard while in ATL. By his own admission.

    In this regard, consider what McNabb did with the WRs he had before T.O. and D-Jax vs. what Vick did with the WRs he had in ATL.

    Maybe it was the coaching, the game plans, and the schemes. But I don’t think Vick — with the work ethic (or lack of) he had in ATL — would have had nearly the success D-Mac had w/ the likes of Charles Johnson, Torrence Small, Thrash, Pinkston, and Mitchell.

    Anyway, just some food for thought.

  3. 3 Niket Soni said at 12:20 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    Excellent points. I think there are just way too many other options for Celek to count. I would like to see a few more targets his way. He’s a beast once he has the ball in his hands. But with Maclin and DJax on the outside needing targets and Avant running free from the slot, I think Celek is at best a 4th read in the progression.

  4. 4 Anirudh Jangalapalli said at 12:28 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    Agreed – TEs are safety blankets except in the case of freak athletes like Gates (or rather, except in the case of THE freak athlete Gates). Vick doesn’t need a TE as much anymore.

    But a more insidious guess – has he fallen in love with the big play? Does he look downfield for the big play in a lot of cases where the TE is really the best and most efficient read? I think so – at least a little bit.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 3:56 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    Excellent thoughts. I think there is a lot of truth in your point about the lack of good WRs in Vick’s days as a Falcon. Thanks for sharing such a detailed answer.

  6. 6 Ben Hert said at 5:10 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    I think Celek will come in handy if we start to have the red zone problems we did last year. We didn’t get much of a chance to see our red zone offense besides the beautiful Vick-DJax hook-up, but if we have those problems then Celek could be a huge asset to Vick in the endzone.

    Like you said our WRs spread the field so much and Celek is needed for blocking that there is very little need right now.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 12:49 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    Love the Q&A’s. We as fans and followers of Tommy are able to get immediate feedback from him and other posters on our questions from the week. Its a very community-based learning experience, I love it.

    @Anirudh Jangalapalli(yes, I copy and pasted that): I think you bring up a valid point, and a potentially disconcerting one. The offense at times under Vick has lived and died with the “home run” play(you’ll note that even extends to Shady; it seems like 70% of his yardage each week comes from 2 or 3 plays. Not that I’m complaining.). I’d like to see our offense have their backs against the wall a few times, and need to incrementally move the chains to complete one of those 12-14 play, 90 drives. I’m not sure that Vick has the patience, and that was an issue that reared its head in the playoff loss to the Packers last year. We were within an arms length of the Packers all night, but Vick was still constantly looking to make the HUGE play instead of, perhaps, the RIGHT play.

  8. 8 ike said at 1:08 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    Watch the 19-yard spin-move scramble against a blind-side corner blitz that Vick had this past Sunday. [The video’s on BGN.]

    Vick’s locked into the left side of the field — where Maclin and D-Jax are lined up.

    That’s by design, I assume. At least until the snap.

    Celek breaks open immediately about 8 yards over the middle because of the CB blitz from his side, while the LB who lined up over his his head (or just about) — and showed blitz — just hugs the LOS.

    Herremans reads the blitz, ignores the LB who showed rush but didn’t, and reaches for the blitzing CB, getting a nice push on him . . . giving Vick enough time do make a quick pass to Celek.

    But Vick was still tracking D-Jax and Maclin — right until he sensed the CB about to drill him. Then Vick pulls off one of his trademark 19 yard scrambles.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 2:07 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    First, I love that Luke Skywalker gets underlined in the article as a link. Strangely, it leads me back to this article. I sensing some sort of disturbance.

    Second, with the time management issue, do we know if it can be attributed at all to changing verbiage to keep Mikell from knowing what we were doing? Speaking of which, I am glad he did not stay in the NFC East.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 3:58 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    Good point about Q. Hopefully we’ll have a much “cleaner” game vs ATL and this will become a non-issue.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 6:44 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    Tommy, I have mentioned this before but last year #51 had only just obtained that jersey and as I remember you thought he was a prime candidate for the PS at cut down. He was playing real slow. We had injuries early and yet he still didn’t see the field. I don’t think he even played STs.

    Of course that all changed and when a gruesome elbow dislocation gave him a chance he became our best LB on the run in.

    So did that development time help Chaney? Would he have got there earlier had he have been inserted as a starter from day one? It seems to me that at this point Matthews is ahead of where Chaney was this time last year, I just want to know what you think is better: playing and struggling is better than sitting and learning.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 9:01 AM on September 14th, 2011:

    That’s true, from a fans perspective Chaney did nothing all summer and was headed to cutsville. I remember being surprised when he made the roster and he most definitely flew under the radar until he started tackling everyone in sight.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 3:24 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    I think the point he was making is that handing jobs out to rookies without competition and hoping they improve on the fly is like Fat, Drunk and stupid… no way to go through life.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 3:45 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    And I think that you are projecting your own views onto TSOP’s post, which read as a legitimate question rather than a point disguised as one.

    As a discussion point, who is the last rookie the Eagles installed as a starter and then regretted doing so?

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 3:55 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    I think each player responds differently. Chaney had the physical tools. He simply needed coaching. That’s a perfect situation for practice.

    I think Casey is much more instinctive. He doesn’t have the physical tools. Keeping him on the sideline isn’t going to make those physical tools he does have any better. I’m fine with playing him early.

    Good question. And yes, I was surprised Chaney made the team last summer.

  16. 16 Mark Sitko said at 12:24 PM on September 14th, 2011:

    On Celek – do the birds now line up with Celek on Vick’s left most often? That would truly be flipping the offense and making his left the strong side…right?

    When I watch I am not paying attention to this in particular but it seems to me that I see Celek on Vick’s right a lot. This could be because Peters needs less help blocking than any RT in the rotation…or that they don’t truly flip the entire offense for Vick – but either way I think that also lowers Celek’s chance of being a pass target – especially if he is not the primary read, which clearly he rarely is, or should be.

    Usually TEs are pressure valves or seam rippers, right? I think both of those “routes” would be harder to see if they were over the QBs
    shoulder. Is that true? This is where my Madden playing starts to influence how I see the game…hehe