Some RB, LB Talk

Posted: September 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

Based on some comments from Eagles coaches, it sounds like Bryce Brown is now going to be the backup RB this week vs Cleveland.  Part of this is due to Dion Lewis being less than 100 percent, but it is a very interesting development.

I have no problem with using Brown as the backup.  He had a good spring and very good summer.  He got better and better and better.  Blocking is still an issue.  If the coaches trust his blocking, that’s good enough for me.  The key here is that Brown just blew everyone away.  He was sensational at times.  The Eagles haven’t had a RB with his kind of natural gifts (size, speed, moves, hands, vision, etc) since Ricky Watters.  LeSean McCoy is a great RB, but Brown is 15 to 20 pounds heavier and he’s faster.  Might also have better hands.

The challenge for Brown is to now show that he can be trusted to not make mistakes.  Blown assignments, missed blocks, dropped passes, and/or fumbles can lose games.  Coaches don’t expect perfection, but mistakes will not be taken lightly.  Players must show they are learning after a screw-up.  They also better not repeat it.

Brown is a great complement to Shady.  Brown is more N-S.  Shady is more E-W.  Brown is fast.  Shady is quick.  And so on.  Defenses will have to adjust when Brown is in the game.

Don’t think Dion Lewis is completely out of the picture.  The Eagles still like him quite a bit.

* * * * *

The coaches announced that all 6 LBs will play.  The starters will be Kendricks-Ryans-Jordan.  After that, we have to wait and see how things play out.

Jamar Chaney played in the Nickel with Kendricks some this week.  Will Ryans play in the Nickel at all?   Who is the Dime LB?

Late last year the coaches put Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle in the Nickel.  On some plays Keenan Clayton was in the Nickel.  The goal was simply to get everyone on the field and take advantage of what they did well.  The playing time was also a reward for doing well on special teams.  Clayton and Matthews had really stood out while covering kicks and the coaches didn’t want to ignore that.

I don’t have strong feelings about the LB situation.  I think you play Kendricks as much as you can without overwhelming him.  Matthews had a ton of pressure last year and didn’t handle it well.  Kendricks earned playing time this summer.  He seems ready to go so I’m fine with playing him on the sub-packages as well as starting.  We need Ryans to be a good run defender, first and foremost.  I don’t care how much or little they play him vs the pass.

I like getting snaps for Chaney, Rolle, and Matthews is possible.  Those are 3 young LBs.  They will be needed at some point.  Get them reps and let them develop as players.  That said, they better show up on STs.  If someone isn’t getting the job done there, take away his role on defense.

I understand where some people are nervous because of this.  They see the changes and think “Here we go again…LB shuffle.  Players can’t play and the coaches don’t know what to do.”  I feel like this is different.  Kendricks is the SAM.  Ryans is the MLB.  Those guys have earned their jobs.  Jordan earned the starting gig at WLB.  Now you’ve got the coaches mixing up how they use the backups.  That is far different than what happened in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

After we see the opener we can critique exactly how Juan Castillo uses his LBs.  Juan mis-managed them last September, but figured things out in December.  Let’s hope he still knows what he’s doing.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did an NFC East preview for today’s podcast.  Pretty good show until I get caught thinking about pancakes an hour in. I know many Eagles fans are worried about the OL.  Listen to this and you’ll learn that the Eagles might actually have the best OL in the division.

* * * * *

Everyone starting to get excited for the Browns game?  I know I am.  Can’t wait to see the defense do their thing.

_


  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    I think McCoy’s great. Very productive. Loss of Peters/addition of Dunlap will be interesting. Fits the WCO that Reid likes.

    That said, I think Bryce Brown and Chris Polk bring the kind of N-S power running that could push Reid — and MM — back toward the kind of play calling, and balance, we saw in the early ’00s. (If they just don’t fumble and pick up the A-gap blitzes that Tony Hunt seemed to whiff on after play-action, this could work.)

    I think getting one or both into some sort of rotation with McCoy would relieve some of the pressure on Vick. Yes, Vick’s very talented. Great long-ball arm.

    But Vick does not have McNabb’s ball-security instincts. That’s huge (and was huge in the D-Mac era) when the coach is calling 35 passes per game.
    __________________

    Not a fan of the LB merry-go-round. It won’t be a problem against Cleveland because, with a rookie in his 1st NFL game, I don’t expect to see any no-huddle offense. Maybe, but that’s a lot to lay on this guy — especially if Babin shows he’s healthy.

    Down the line though, against Eli and Romo four times, Big Ben, Flacco, Brees, Matt Ryan (no ice, please) — half the schedule — building a defense that is built around LBs running on and off the field based on down and distance could make the team very susceptible to “no huddle” attacks by these QBs by keeping the LBs the Eagles want on the field off the field.

    I expect MK to be a fixture out there. Maybe he’s the guy who plays the dime.

    But for nickle, this kind of rotation is exactly the kind of stuff that Reid loves to do — and ends up cost time outs because of lack of preparation.

    Just a thought.
    ______________

    Reminder: Activate Polk and Brown, and have the Eagles run the ball 40 times with Vick throwing long off play action about 20-25 . . . so we grind the Browns into mincemeat.

    Throw-back Eagles football, clearly. But there’s nothing more fun to watch than a 17-point lead and the Eagles running the ball play after play.

    They can get it done. They can get it done. What’s more, they gotta get it done.

    • Anders

      Teams already go no huddle against teams there change alot along the DL and DBs or trying to get mismatches against LBs.

      • ACViking

        Anders —

        Agreed. Just seems like a risky play.

        By the way, I always look for your comments. Incisive as hell.

        • Anders

          Thx alot :) I always love your extreme knowledge about the Eagles. Great for a “new” (Since 99) fan like me

          • GermanEagle

            Rookie. ;)

    • deg0ey

      “building a defense that is built around LBs running on and off the field based on down and distance could make the team very susceptible to “no huddle” attacks by these QBs by keeping the LBs the Eagles want on the field off the field.”

      I guess this depends whether they’re making the changes based on down/distance, or personnel groupings. If they want a particular group for when the opposition go 2 TE, or with an empty backfield or whatever then the no-huddle thing wouldn’t be a problem because the offense can’t change personnel either.

      I’d say my suggestion here is probably quite unlikely to be the way it works, but you never know…

      • P_P_K

        I think this current version of the lb shuffle is the same mistake of Andy and Juan playing chess instead of football. There’s probably some engineering law that says the more moving parts, the more likely a breakdown.

  • ian_no_2

    Brown has had a summer that reminds people of why he was a top HS recruit. I like the idea of drawing up plays for him, rushing, screens, etc that give him a chance right off the bat and don’t get in the way of what he can do.. this could be a breakthrough year for him. At the very least he’ll have his moments. I’m talking about with the ball, I don’t know about blocking.

    Polk I like as a guy who holds on to the ball and slams into tired defenders with a lead. He’s the perfect guy for that important job.

    • TommyLawlor

      The HS analysts who had Bryce ranked #1…pretty darn smart, huh?

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    A bit off topic (but concerns 2012 — not the 1960′s) . . .

    YOU ARE THE COACH . . .

    Vick had an abbreviated number of pre-season snaps.

    Let’s assume (hope?) the Eagles jump out to a big lead by the start of the 4th Q. The defense is playing great.

    Do you insert Nick Foles with 10 minutes or so left in the game to get his feet wet? If so, do you let him throw the ball around?

    Or do you leave Vick in the game to get more reps? And what role does preventing an unnecessary injury play? (“Unnecessary” defined to mean any injury that would not have happened if Nick Foles had been playing.)

    Same with McCoy . . . do you put in Brownie and whomever else at RB is activated to rock the clock?

    • TommyLawlor

      I pull the guys inside of 8 minutes. Until that point, they stay…unless it is a huge beatdown (38-3 or something like that).

  • mheil125

    richardson vs.brown; it will be interesting to see who has the better rookie year and career; any thoughts

    • Anders

      Richardson should have the better rookie year, but Brown have the potential for the better career

      • GermanEagle

        Are we hyping Brownie not a bit too much?

        • Anders

          Consider Brown was the better HS RB than Richardson and while Richardson had a better first season in college, he also played for ALOT stronger team than Brown.

          • GermanEagle

            Richardson is considered the best RB prospect since AP….

          • Anders

            I just dont get why people are saying that when you look at there college careers. Richardson reminds me alot more about Steven Jackson than AP, but Jackson is also the most underrated RB in the NFL

          • GermanEagle

            I was not comparing Trent’s style with AP’s, but his overall talent is considered rare in today’s NFL.

          • Anders

            Bryce Brown have elite talent aswell. Remember its not for lack of talent Brown first got drafted in 7th but because of character concerns

  • GermanEagle

    I’m just watching LSU and shockingly found out that the honey badger has been dismissed! Which led me to reading Tommy’s safety preview on scoutsnotebook.com.

    It would be nice to have this on permanent watch as S could be the Eagles’ top pick next year..

    And how cool would ‘Rambo’ look on an Eagles jersey?!

    • teltschikfakeout88

      I think he is going to sit out the entire year, meaning both school and football. Doubt he enters the draft and looks to re- enroll at LSU after completion of his rehab.

      • Anders

        He is already back at school, but just as normal student

  • iskar36

    My concern with all the Brown hype is that while he is an excellent runner, the coaches have always demanded that the backup rb know how to block well. Brown seems further behind in that area than previous backups (he didn’t do it all in college since he barely played, so he definitely will improve as he learns, but I am talking about right now). I just see the coaches using that as an excuse to not get Brown any significant amount of touches.

  • bridgecoach

    Great LB points all around. I do expect that they will be tested today – both with no huddle and play fakes. Our midfield is our known weak spot – and until we show the league that they can hold their own, they will continue to be the focus of every offensive coordinator’s game plan.

    The biggest contribution Demeco Ryans can make is leadership. We need a guy who will be the standard bearer to inspire the players to hold. I’m interested to see if Mychal Kendricks focuses more on making plays or being disciplined. I’m hoping for the latter – we need our guys to prioritize smothering the advance.

    I agree that using the backups according to their strengths – linebacker by committee – is smart and completely a different thing from what we saw last year. We’ll see what Juan can do with Franklinbacker.

  • phillychuck

    Breaking news. DBell among the inactives for game 1.