Wednesday Camp Talk

Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 26 Comments »

Sorry for the late post.  Crazy day.

P Matt McBriar is an Eagle.  The team signed him on Wednesday morning.  McBriar is here to challenge for the starting Punter job.  McBriar has a great track record.  The reason he was still available…health.  He’s only at about 90 percent right now.  If he gets healthy, I’d expect him to beat out Chas Henry.  I just don’t know if McBriar will get back to 100 percent.

This is a smart move no matter what happens.  McBriar has a really good history and is worth the risk.  Henry is talented, but needs someone to push him.  To make the argument as simple as possible…Chas Henry must show that he can get the job done.  Matt McBriar must show that he can still get the job done.  May the best man win.

* * * * *

I want to start with Jim Washburn.  Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love him?  Maybe you don’t love the Wide-9, but can anyone say they don’t like him as a person?

Washburn has had good/interesting things to say about many of his players.  The comments that really stood out to me concerned Antonio Dixon.  Apparently he reported to Lehigh last year at about 360 pounds.  PE.com lists him at 6-3, 322.  This year he’s down in the 320-330 range, which is fine for a guy with his frame.  He’ll work off 5 to 10 pounds in TC.

Wash said he wasn’t sure what to make of Dixon last year.  Every night Andy Reid would have a staff meeting and ask the positional coaches to talk about their players.  Wash would say over and over “I don’t know what to tell you” in regard to Dixon.  It was clear that he had talent, but was out of shape and slow in adjusting to the new system.

This year should be significantly different.  Dixon is in much better shape.  While he only played in 3 1/2 games last year, that was enough for Dixon to get a feel for the new 1-gap attack.  He now knows the scheme and the coaches.  He understands what is being asked of him and how to do it.

Dixon was going to have a chance to ease his way back in, but with Mike Patterson out, the pressure is squarely on the big guy.  He will be the starting NT in Training Camp.  Can he keep the job?  Is he ready to play up to his potential?

You guys know I love Derek Landri.  He will do everything in his power to win the starting gig.  Fletcher Cox isn’t a natural NT, but if he’s a good enough player, the coaches may try to push him on the field anyway.  Dixon will not get the job handed to him.  He’s in the top spot for now, but must earn it.  Jim Washburn wants him to succeed, but he won’t be Dixon’s biggest advocate unless there is something to like.  Dixon must play well.  He must produce.

Dixon did show big time potential in October of 2010.  He has yet to show he can be a top player for an extended period or whole season.  That’s the challenge for him now.

* * * * *

Washburn on…

the play of the DL early in 2011 – “No excuses, but they didn’t know my name when we met up here last year,” Washburn said Tuesday. “Golly, I look at the first couple games, all the plays that we screwed up last year on the run, especially the run. Golly, I looked at Atlanta and St. Louis and it’s painful to watch our technique … No excuse, it’s just life. The other teams were in the same situation … We ought to be so much better. There’s no way – we’ve got to be a lot better.”

Vinny Curry – “He’s a little bit farther behind playing where he played,’ Washburn said of Curry. ‘But he’ll be fine.  Tough.  He’s got some piss in his blood.”

Brandon Graham – “He doesn’t need Vinny Curry to motivate him,” Washburn said, referring to the fact that the Eagles spent a second-round pick on another defensive end. “He’s got everything to motivate him. He’s been beat down. That’s the way it goes, right? You’re a first-round draft choice. You don’t produce great the first year. The guy up north [Jason Pierre-Paul] playing his ass off. People throw that in his face all the time. Somebody said, ‘You gonna pimp him to death?’ I said uh-uh. I don’t have to. I don’t need to.”

Cedric Thornton – “Nobody ever talks about him,” said Washburn, who clearly wanted to remedy that. “He’s big, strong, tough, just raw, doesn’t know he doesn’t know. Wants to be a football player . . . He’s another great kid. That room’s just full of great kids.”

You can tell that Wash really loves his guys.  He should.  They are a very talented bunch.  Dixon and Graham were out of shape last year, but I really thing the lockout is to blame for that.  Both guys worked well with Barry Rubin in 2010 and didn’t have any issues with weight or conditioning.  Overall, the DL is loaded with talent and pretty hard working guys.  Should be fun to see how good they can be.

Yankees 3B Graig Nettles said the world broke down into 2 groups:  those that need a kick in the butt and those that need a pat on the butt.  Seems like Wash understands how to treat each guy appropriately and get the best from his players.

* * * * *

The star of Lehigh so far is CB Cliff Harris.  When he is voted into Canton, I’m sure Cliff will look back fondly to the summer of 2012 when we first saw his dominance/greatness/mega-awesomeness.

Harris has a long way to go before he even makes the team, but he’s doing the right things.  Harris isn’t big.  He isn’t fast.  He’s a playmaker.  Right now he is making plays and that is exactly what the coaches need to see from him.

What role would Harris be pushing for?  I’m not sure.  If we truly do want to press this year, Harris isn’t a natural fit for that.  He’s better playing off, so that he can attack the ball.  Maybe the Eagles will look at him as a Dime CB, someone who could play in the slot opposite of the Nickel CB.  Maybe the Eagles just like his talent and will figure out a way to use him.

The challenge for Harris starting on Friday is to show that he can run with DeSean Jackson and that he can tackle Riley Cooper/Jason Avant.

* * * * *

SLB Mychal Kendricks is looking good.  The team is being creative with him so far.  Kendricks is showing blitz ability and making coverage plays.  This is just rookie competition, but it is nice to see a rookie LB doing what he’s supposed to.  Kendricks looks like a gifted athlete and that’s something we’ve needed at LB for a while.

* * * * *

Juan Castillo said that Keenan Clayton is up to 236 pounds.  Good news.  Clayton is a long shot to make the team, but that’s the kind of size he needs.  Clayton has the athleticism.  He has the STs ability.  He must show the potential to be a starting LB.  He doesn’t have to play well enough to win a starting job, but must show enough ability that the coaches would be comfortable with him as a starter should that situation arise.  In the past, Clayton has been such a poor run defender that he was limited to being a role player.  He is a good role player, but the team’s upgrading at LB has put the pressure on Clayton to do even more if he wants to make the roster.

* * * * *

As for Castillo…you cannot make too much of him as a speaker.  Juan just doesn’t communicate well.  He is a good football coach.  He’s comfortable in his environment.  When he has to step out of that and deal with the media…yikes.  Not pretty.

Last year this bugged me.  What about now?  If the defense plays well, I’ll gladly deal with press conferences that are a form of medieval torture.  If/when the defense struggles, the PCs are a whole new level on Dante’s chart.

* * * * *

Practice notes from Jimmy Bama.

_


  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    RE: Curry – “He’s a little bit farther behind playing where he played”

    I feel stupid asking this, but what does this mean?

    • PK_NZ

      He’s taken a step back…maybe? Quite confusing.

      • ian_no_2

        he may be commenting on the Marshall Thundering Herd collegiate program

        • Arby1

          Yeah, that’s how I read it too.

        • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

          So his point is that a rookie Conference USA player may not be completely NFL ready before training camp starts?

          • ian_no_2

            I suppose

    • TommyLawlor

      I meant to address that. I think Wash is talking about the fact he’s adjusting from Marshall to the NFL and also didn’t have a full set of mini-camps due to his ankle injury.

      Of course, Wash says some strange things and guessing at what all of them mean can be tough.

      • dislikedisqus

        It always struck me how coaches say things like “where he played” instead of “Marshall” or “the guy up north” instead of “Pierre-Paul”. I can’t figure out if it’s because they can’t remember specifics very well or because they have learned that if you use vague references it is harder for the media to blow things up.

    • iceberg584

      I think it is a reference to the fact that he played college ball for Marshall, which is a Division 1A program.

      • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

        They used to be 1-AA. They have been Division 1 for a long time now.

    • Mac

      You have to keep in mind, we’re talking about a kid who “has piss in his blood” clearly this important phrase can mean either… he is suffering from a grotesque physical ailment which has reduced his playing ability, or that he comes from the dregs of the college ranks and is pissed off and ready to kill someone but needs to hone his craft to become a deadlier weapon.

  • ian_no_2

    The paper edited out “Graham doesn’t need Vinny Curry to motivate him. He’s got to show up that *#@%!%!! Morton.”

    Alex Henery can punt if McBriar gets injured midgame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

    Juan’s press conferences, right up there with circle with Brutus and Judas

  • Flyin

    Tommy,

    Did you hear Washburn’s comments about using the terms Alpha/Bravo rather than 1st/2nd team… and that he realized he maybe shouldn’t have said that since he may be giving away secrets? And the riddle he gave Cox? He cheated and Washburn said something like… my mantra is, better to cheat than repeat.

    He’s a trip!

    • TommyLawlor

      I wanted to know what the riddle was. Has anybody heard?

      • Flyin

        What the hell is jimmyKbama doing up at Lehigh? Damn it! We need Widdles… not just Muggets.

    • Arby1

      I’ve wondered if the pre-draft moment with the press and Dontari Poe where Wash introduced him as Fletcher Cox was a set-up or a bit of a gaff, i.e., he didn’t expect to run into the press and just decided to ad lib. Now that I hear this, maybe it was a gaff. It is refreshing to get these juicy quotes – I wonder if Andy will let them talk throughout the year. The Eagles do seem more media friendly these days.

    • brza

      Back in college our D-Line coach’s mantra was “If you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin.”

  • austinfan

    Washburn is the guru, sit quietly at his feet and absorb his profane wisdom.
    Mudd is also a guru, so we have two linemen cults being formed.

    It’s too early to tell, but this group has the chance to be the best DL we’ve seen since 1991, and while obviously they can’t match White and Brown, this could be a much deeper group. Washburn is on of the few DL coaches who really believes in rotating his guys, not just bringing in the back on a situational basis or to give a starter a breather, but actually playing 8 guys on a regular basis. When you look at the talent of the 8 guys he’s gonna throw out there, be afraid, be very afraid.

    Still some questions to be answered, is Graham really 100% or is he gonna go Chas Utley on us, can Hunt carry 10 more lbs and still explode off the edge, how fast will it talke Curry to get up to speed, are Dixon and Thorton for real, how fast can Cox pick up the pro game and is his body pro ready as a rookie. But those are questions about the 7th and 8th linemen, who have to beat out two proven veterans in Tapp and Landri to move up the pecking order. That’s a big difference from hoping the rookie DE or DT can start this year.

    If Clayton is 236 lbs without slowing down, and finally has developed a set of cojones, I’d give him a look at SLB, because he has the height, speed and cover skills to shut down the receiving TEs around the league. That would give you an option whe Kendricks is overmatched by a top TE other than switch Aso inside.

    • TommyLawlor

      Clayton is still being talked about as a WLB, but we’ll see if that changes. You’re right that his build would work for SAM if he’s truly up to 236.

      • T_S_O_P

        WLB, SLB, does it really matter when in reality he will be STer and special package backer? He has to excel here first surely before it goes elsewhere. I liked that he seemed to recognise from the few quotes I have read.

  • ian_no_2

    OT: I’m thinking that Polk is really the best change of pace back to compliment Shady, tho Brown and Lewis are ‘Andy-style backs’ with high ceilings.

    * He’s probably the best blocking back they have in camp, including the fullbacks;
    * He’s a good receiver;
    * He had 292 touches last year and only one fumble;
    * Ball control and the fact that he runs over people makes him perfect for eating the clock up when winning by 9+ points, when you want to bubble wrap Shady as much as possible.

    I also think he can play fullback, and be used the same way they used Weaver before his injury. This way you can carry him, Shady, Brown and Lewis on the roster and PS Havili another year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Polk really struggled with blocking at the Senior Bowl. Brown is a complete mystery. He said he’s never done it. Dion is small, but tough and fearless. Curious to see how far he’s come since last year.

  • laeagle

    Wash asking riddles is my favorite thing to happen to the Eagles in a long time.

    • Mac

      Bring me the sea, full of foam, surrounded by silver.

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    The Eagles could have a top 5 defense and Juan STILL would not get credit. Washburn, Bowles and Roseman will be appreciated for either being good positional coaches or bringing in great talent.