Who’s Ready For (Some Rookie Camp) Football?

Posted: May 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 18 Comments »

Okay, so this isn’t like Training Camp or the season opener or even a preseason game.  Still, it is good to see the new guys in Eagles gear and hitting the field.  After all, the Eagles have either 4 or 5 Hall of Fame type players in this draft class.  How could we not be excited?

In past years the post-draft mini-camp was a team event.  Due to the rules of the new CBA this is for rookies and select “vets” only.  This is for guys with little actual playing experience.  Draftees, UDFAs, Practice Squad guys, and tryout players will take the field.

The point of this is for the coaches to get a first look at the players and for the players to get an introduction to the NFL.  When you hear about NFL practices the buzz word is “tempo”.  Things move quickly.  There are specific times for everything.  You move between drills quickly and make good use of the time in each segment.  Some colleges run pro style practices, but an awful lot of these young guys will be in for a big surprise.  The NFL is a very different world.

There will be a lot of teaching going on.  Players will be learning some basic playbook elements as well as getting some technique primers.  Howard Mudd will talk to guys about how he wants them to use their feet.  Jim Washburn will have his guys focusing on using their hands.  Ted Williams will be teaching his young runners about footwork on runs, fakes, and even pass blocks.  Each coach will be laying down a foundation with the young guys.

There isn’t enough practice time to move slowly, but the coaches also want to make sure not to over-burden the players.  Better to have them understand a few ideas than be exposed to many and not know what is g0ing on.

The coaches want to see how the players learn.  How do they adapt to NFL schemes and techniques?  Who seems ready to handle the world of pro football?

The coaches will also be sizing them up physically.  You can’t know anything for sure until the pads go on and the hitting is live, but these coaches have been around the game long enough to know who looks good and who they should be worried about.

Here is a list of all the players on the field this weekend.

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The Eagles are giving tryouts to several college guys.  Some guys of interest:

S Drew Astorino – Penn State … There were times when he was really good at PSU.  Just couldn’t ever put all the pieces together.

LB Ryan Rau – Portland State … Had a real good showing at his Pro Day.  I’m always open to athletic LBs.

CB Kee-ayre Griffin – Temple … Played RB early on and them moved to CB.  I’m always fascinated by players who were able to handle multiple spots for a major program.

* * * * *

Someone asked Dave Spadaro on Twitter if Brandon Boykin was all clear and ready to practice.  Dave made it sound like Boykin is ready to go.  That’s good news if accurate.  Boykin could be an impact rookie for us.

* * * * *

I got some interesting questions after yesterday’s Wide-9 post.  Rather than address individual DL scenarios, know that Jim Washburn will try a lot of different things.  He has a ton of good pieces to work with.  Just as important, they are versatile guys.

Cox can play DT, DE.
Jenkins has started at both DT, DE.
Curry can play DE, DT.
Graham has played DE, DT.
Tapp has played DE, DT.

Dixon, Patterson, Landri, Thornton pretty much pure DTs.

Cole, Babin, and Hunt pretty much pure DEs. They can be upright rushers and move around as needed.

You can be Washburn will work to find his favorite lineups and scenarios.  I love the thought of Babin and Cole at DE with Jenkins at NT and Cox at UT.  That would be 4 really impressive guys.  You could line up Graham and Curry as the DTs in a 3rd/very long.  Dare the offense to run a draw.

If the guys all stay healthy, there should be some interesting combos this year.

* * * * *

Someone asked about LB duties in different defenses.  That is a really tough question.  You have different kinds of 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.  Heck, there are different kinds of Tampa 2 defenses.  Think about Chicago, Indy, and Tampa.  They used different size players.  The Bears blitzed more than the Bucs.  The Colts did some different things.  Everyone tweaks a scheme to fit their situation.

Trying to explain LB roles in a bunch of defenses would be a lengthy project.

DeMeco Ryans can play in the 3-4.  He’s good enough to play in any scheme.  Houston had Brian Cushing at one spot.  That made Ryans a luxury.  He was older and expensive.  Why not replace him with a younger, cheaper player?  If Ryans was a great 3-4 ILB I’m sure the Texans would have kept him.  He was solid, but not so good that he was worth the cost, under the circumstances.

I think we’re going to enjoy the fact Houston decided to let him go.

18 Comments on “Who’s Ready For (Some Rookie Camp) Football?”

  1. 1 damccomas said at 3:55 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Tommy, any thoughts on QB Harris?

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 4:55 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Has NFL ability, but is wildly inconsistent. Threw way too many picks at Miami.

    I also don’t know if he’s got the attitude/personality for the NFL. This a man’s world. He’s always come across as a nice kid with a quirky sense of humor. That is fine in HS and to a lesser extent at Miami, but won’t work for a second in the NFL. You must command the huddle and run the offense.

  3. 3 Little said at 3:59 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    I thought the way they used Graham his rookie season really hurt him. I didn’t like putting him inside. I understand that’s different now that he has more experience and it’s a much different scheme, but you still see him as the inside guy?

  4. 4 TheRogerPodacter said at 4:38 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    i think part of the reasoning is that if the guy is good, you get him on the field in any way you can. the more playing time, the better.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 4:56 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Graham was very good at DT. People forget. He forced an Aaron Rodgers INT in the opener with inside pressure. Did that in another game as well. Disruptive player. Great leverage.

  6. 6 Sam Lynch said at 4:04 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Ryan Rau’s brother was a lousy pitcher in the Red Sox system for a couple of years. /trivia

  7. 7 austinfan said at 4:11 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    I doubt Cox will beat out Patterson. Patterson played much better his last 10 games, much like he did in his first couple seasons, and he’ll have a whole off season to get into shape and focus on playing in Washburn’s system after playing two gap for four seasons.

    Washburn will rotate two lines again:
    Babin – Patterson – Jenkins – Cole
    Graham/Curry – Landri – Cox – Hunt

    I think Hunt’s going to surprise people, I don’t buy Spads “he’s added 20 lbs of muscle” shtick, but if he’s up to 255 lbs or so without losing quickness, he’s going to be very productive off the bench, he had some nice games at the end of the season where he showed he was a legitimate NFL pass rusher.

    Graham will beat out Curry if he’s healthy, there’s a reason the Eagles traded up for Graham and down for Curry, they liked Curry, they loved Graham.

    I don’t know what to think about Dixon and Thorton, I think they like them, I think they’d like to keep both as insurance, and would love them to beat out Landri (which is why they wouldn’t pay big money and risked losing him), but they’re at the point of their careers where potential starts becoming a dirty word.

    Tapp is looking like the odd man out unless Graham’s knee is a chronic, career ending situation. Curry is bigger, stronger and younger, Hunt is quicker. What’s Tapp’s role? He should garner a 6th rd pick or so if they trade him in camp. Until then, he’s an insurance policy.

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 4:58 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Patterson will be the starting NT. I think Cox will play over him in some passing situations.

    Thornton is just in year 2. He’s not close to being in the same boat as Dixon. Ced could spend another year on the PS (assuming he wasn’t claimed). I do agree that Antonio needs to show he can play in the new system.

  9. 9 austinfan said at 5:53 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    It seemed to me that Washburn preferred to rotate his lines as units, rather than use guys situationally, other than short yardage and goal line.

    I think his attitude is you’re attacking every play, so if you can’t get penetration, you shouldn’t be on the roster, and if you can, why substitute on passing downs?

    This is borne out by Kapedia’s numbers last year that showed the DTs (and DEs between them) had pretty much had the same rate of pressure per play, Jenkins, Babin and Cole just did a better job of finishing plays and turning hurries and hits into sacks.

  10. 10 Cliff said at 10:49 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    It’d be cool to find out both units like to compete with each other, too.

  11. 11 Arby1 said at 9:33 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Agreed on Hunt’s quickness. I’m really curious to see what strides he makes this year.

  12. 12 GeorgeFleep said at 4:41 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    with a full off season i hope Castillo tweaks the wide nine to Juan Nine. He would put the best players he can as a LB position as a joker. Which player would be the better rushers when DEs stand up and rush and which DL man would be bst suited to be the ones that pulls he tackle inside so the stand up DE can get around the outside with ease. Im think Cox and Jenkins are the down lineman and Graham and Babin are the standup DE. This was so effective because the OL who was going to block which stand up DE as well as the OL was unsure where they were going to attack. It was similar to a delayed LB blitz if i remember correctly.

    Last year jenkins and patterson were the down lineman while cole and babin were standing up. My favorite one was against the Jets and it got the OL to jump. The OLman actually tried to grab him. When cole was mic’d up washburn asked him if he liked standing up he was all fired up. Obviously this is good to change stuff up and best during 3rd down passing downs. It seems like it does wonders


    at the 1:35 mark right after Washburn says if he jumps you come inside him. That is what he does.

  13. 13 Alex Karklins said at 7:04 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    That was cool. Thanks!

  14. 14 Arby1 said at 9:38 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Yeah! Loved that.

  15. 15 GeorgeFleep said at 11:24 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Arby and Alex i appreciate it. It got a little wordy cause i was in a hurry. Good thing it was understandable. I just cant wait to see this stuff again. Interesting to hear that graham was a NT against season the packers and applied enough pressure up the middle to help create an interception. For anybody who thinks that Curry will outplay Graham. First i think you are foolish. Second Graham would start eating you instead of the cheese steaks if he heard you say that so better not him hear you say it.

  16. 16 nopain23 said at 6:10 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Does anyone remember an in coming rookie class that was this promising?think about it.When was the last time the FO drafted players the fans actually coveted?when luke was taken by Carolina..I thought to myself…here we go again..someone’s gonna draft Cox and we’re gonna reach for coples or poe..etc.Boy!!!…was I wrong.7 rds later..Cox,Curry,Kendricks and Boykin are Eagles…guys I actually wanted on the team.Hopefully, this is a good omen and these guys produce on the field.
    Go iggles

  17. 17 sa_eagles said at 7:23 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    I never played football, but I enjoy learning about schemes and strategy. What are some good resources(online or offline) for learning this stuff? I’ve spent some time on Google, but had mixed results and couldn’t find anything that was very comprehensive for either side of the ball.

  18. 18 Yuri said at 10:50 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Here’s a good guide to defense.