We’re going to have the full coaching staff introduced today so I don’t want to write a long post this morning. I’m hoping we get some good nuggets from Chip and the assistants today and that gives us plenty to discuss later on.
The breaking news item today is that Michael Vick has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Eagles. I’ve seen a few people saying the deal could be worth as much as $10M. Clearly that would involve a lot of bonus money.
Vick is not guaranteed to be the starter…or even on the final roster. Basically sounds like Kelly is giving him a chance to win the job. I prefer cutting him outright, but can live with this situation. Nick Foles is no sure thing. There aren’t great QB prospects in the draft. It is unlikely you’ll find a top QB in free agency or via trade.
If Vick plays lights out, he gets the job and the offense could thrive. If he struggles, you go with Foles as the starter. There is no point in going an older, more expensive QB unless he is clearly the better player. Would be interesting to know the details of the contract. Could Vick be kept around as a backup?
I’m guessing Vick and his agent looked around the league and saw that there wasn’t going to be a big market for him. Why not stay put and see if you can make it work? I’m still highly curious to see how Kelly and Vick deal with each other. Chip Kelly is a very demanding coach. This isn’t going to be like life under Andy Reid. If Vick has some thick skin and really listens, maybe he’s got a chance.
I still have serious doubts. Kelly wants someone who makes quick, smart decisions. That is not Vick’s specialty. Can Kelly change him or will this be like the old joke…Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It frustrates the pig and wastes your time. Will be interesting to find out.
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We’ve talked a lot about defense recently. I think one of the huge issues in the last couple of years is that you had very little cohesiveness on the staff…schematically. Juan Castillo took JJ’s playbook and combined that with some other stuff he liked and set it behind the Wide-9 front. He then asked Johnny Lynn (2011) and Todd Bowles (2012) to plan coverages behind that.
No one was on the same page. Heck, it often seemed they were operating from different books.
So the way to fix this is to change the scheme to a complex 4-3/3-4 hybrid? Sounds crazy, but there is good news. Bill Davis will run the scheme. He ran it in Arizona. That means he has experience teaching it. Castillo’s creation was difficult to teach since it was just that…a creation.
Rick Minter, the ILBs coach, has also run a 3-4/4-3 hybrid defense. Sam Lynch found this nugget from an interview:
“I think it’s a hybrid 3-4, 4-3 defense, whichever term you want to adopt. It always depends on the style of offense we’re facing. With different groupings on the field, maybe we need to get bigger because you’re a little limited in who you have on the field in a hybrid 4-3, because you’re really a 3-4 team but you don’t live and die in the 3-4 because you still play 4-3 schemes within your package.
One of those outside backers and of course, in our case the rush backer, is a little bit more the fourth down player, he’s the hybrid down player. The other outside backer is a little bit more hybrid safety. You can create a 4-3, you can create a 3-4 and you can create a 4-2-5 spacing because Winston has the ability as a Sam backer to be a nickel back type guy with his skills and his background.
So this particular version of the Kentucky defense, it’s not too far off exactly what you’d like to have it even though we just got here in the first year. That is, the Sam backer needs to be more safety-like and the rush backer needs to be more defensive end-like. When we can’t find or have those guys, we have to find ways to adjust, whether it’s to put a DB on the field to play a true nickel or whether it’s to put a big guy on the field to truly play a 4-3. We have adaptations of about everything you can do.”
And then this…
“As far as what we do today, it’s probably more Rex-influenced, more Jet-like. I really believe in life you’re nothing but a culmination of your past experiences and associations. My foundation of coaching on defense really got formed by Monte Kiffin and Pete Carroll because that’s when they came along in my life. I was young at the time, 24, 25, 26, 27. Forming my philosophy on how to coach was formed by Monte Kiffin and Pete Carroll.
By the time I was 30, I was on my own as a coordinator. Then, more and more developed my own packages as I went through time, partly based in more 4-3 than 3-4. Then becoming a head coach, I ran the defense part of the time at Cincinnati as my own package was there. A lot of times, like when Rex was there, we ran the Rex Ryan defense. I looked, listened, learned as any coach would do: what we did, how it worked.”
Interesting to note the mention of Pete Carroll and Monte Kiffin. Those guys run the 4-3 Under defense. Kiffin’s version is true 4-3. Carroll’s has morphed into a hybrid over time. But Minter was highly influenced by the basic set-up.
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DL Coach Jerry Azzinaro has experience with the hybrid defense in his time at Oregon. They did a lot of different things.
OLBs coach Bill McGovern mostly worked out of a basic 4-3 look at Boston College, but I have read that they mixed in 3-man fronts when he took over as Defensive Coordinator. I cannot confirm that yet. I cannot find any information so far on the scheme UMass ran when McGovern was the DC there. He did work with some guy named…Azzinaro. And those coaches were influential on a player named Mike Dawson, who is now the Eagles quality control coach on defense.
DBs coach John Lovett was a DC at multiple stops. He mostly ran the 4-3, but switched to a 3-4 while at Clemson because it fit his personnel better.
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I love the fact that all of these coaches have worked with the 4-3 and 3-4, and that several of them have worked with a hybrid defense. That will really help them get on the same page and be able to teach the scheme better.
I also love the connections. Davis is the head guy. He’s never worked with the positional assistants, but several of them know each other.
Azzinaro coached with McGovern at UMass and at BC. Azzinaro coached with Minter at Marshall. John Lovett is an outsider, but has a background very similar to Azzinaro in that he’s from New York, played football at a small college, and then began coaching at small northeastern schools. I would think these guys will get along well.
A cohesive coaching staff is a good coaching staff.
Here is a picture of Azzinaro and McGovern from their UMass days. Tom Selleck wishes he had Coach Azz’s ‘stache. That thing probably was the best recruiting tool UMass had.
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There are a lot of interesting connections with the staff. I’m working on a full post on that. Just fun to see the backgrounds of these guys and where they crossed in the past.
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In case any of you missed it, this weekend I posted some pics of different fronts the Cardinals ran in 2009 under Bill Davis.
We’re still trying to figure out who is going where.