Thursdays are when the coordinators speak. Normally I don’t make too much of this, but coming off the bye and with Todd Bowles being new, I figured this was worth addressing.
The word on Bowles earlier in the week was “unpredictable”. Naturally members of the media asked about that. Bowles resisted the word several times. What gives? My guess is that Bowles wanted to be careful with expectations by fans and the media. The defense will remain largely the same. Bowles will mix things up situationally, but not in any major way. The defense will be less predictable, but as Bowles pointed out today…all defenses are predictable to a certain extent. You must have a base scheme. If you try to mix it up constantly, you’ll have confused players that make a lot of mistakes.
I was impressed by Bowles. He did a good job of explaining things in a reasonable way. He answered when he could but other times didn’t give good answers because he doesn’t want to announce his plans to the Falcons.
Bowles said he has not made up his mind on whether to be on the sideline or in the pressbox. There is no hard and fast rule. The only concern with him being up in the pressbox is that he needs someone on the sideline to act as the primary liaison with the players. Forget Jim Washburn. He’d be lost talking to DBs. I think you’d have to go with Mike Caldwell or Mike Zordich. Both were leaders as players so I’d be comfortable with either doing the job, but there are no guarantees they would do a great job of it. The only way to find out is throw ’em in the water and see who can swim.
I do trust Todd running the defense. I always had questions with Juan because he never gave the impression of being “the man”. He talked about concepts that showed some depth of knowledge, but did so in a way where it felt like he was less than an expert. Todd seems natural, both as the speaker and the guy running the defense. Can’t wait to see how things go on Sunday.
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Marty was less interesting. He really focused on the need to eliminate turnovers. You almost got the feeling that he believes if the turnovers go away, things will be okay. There is some truth in that, but I hope he realizes that the playcalling has had a hand in some of the turnovers. That’s not all on Vick and the skill players. They need help from the coaches.
Marty and Andy have both talked about the 1st half problems. They haven’t given clues as to what they think is wrong (aside from turnovers). It will be interesting to see what changes are made on Sunday. Do they run more early? Do they throw short to get Vick in a rhythm? Do they go no-huddle?
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Bobby April was pretty funny. He was asked at one point about whether he was worried about getting fired after Castillo was let go. Bobby responded by quoting Godfather, Par II…”It’s like Hyman Roth told Michael Corleone, this is the business we’ve chosen”. Great answer. Coaches can’t worry about getting fired. It is just part of the life of being a coach. They’re all hired to be fired.
April said that the lack of good returns is due to a couple of things. First, bad blocking. He said that the Eagles just aren’t winning enough 1-on-1 battles. He stressed that it is technique and fundamentals, not effort or talent. This certainly is true, but also discouraging. If a proven STs coach like Bobby April isn’t getting through to players by October…that is not a good sign.
He also mentioned that they need to pressure Punters more to speed them up and eliminate some of the hang time. Too often our PR has several guys near him when he catches the punt. Can’t do anything in that situation. You need some space.
April’s son, Bobby III, is part of the Eagles staff. Bobby was asked to talk about him but begged off. He admitted that his opinion would be highly biased, “I think he’s better than Lombardi”. And Bobby was laughing as he said that.
I’ve been a big Bobby April fan for a long time. Really bugs me that he’s struggled so much here. He’s got 10 weeks to show serious progress or he will be polishing up the resume.
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One interesting development came out of practice. RG Danny Watkins missed time because he’s dealing with an ankle injury. Rookie Dennis Kelly took his place. Watkins is not a lock to start on Sunday.
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I’m still doing research on the Falcons. Does sound like weather will be an issue on Sunday with the storm headed for the East coast. All the more reason to run and throw shorter passes. Andy…Marty…please be smart.