Reading the Tea Leaves

Posted: March 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 47 Comments »

Kevin Kolb signed with the Bills.  The Raiders traded for Matt Flynn.  The Browns signed Jason Campbell.  All this happened in the last few days. Is this a coincidence?

The Bills have pick #8.  The Raiders have pick #3.  Cleveland has pick #6.  Is there something that would affect all 3 teams and make them go for veteran QBs?

One of the guys I follow on Twitter is Eric Stoner.  He is a draftnik and does some of the great videos for DraftBreakdown.com.  Eric has offered up a theory in recent days that the QB moves are a sign that people around the league must anticipate QB Geno Smith getting drafted by Jacksonville at #2.

There is good logic to this theory.  The new GM is David Caldwell.  He came over from Atlanta.  He saw the Falcons have  great run after hiring a defensive coach (Mike Smith) and then drafting the top Senior QB with a high pick (Matt Ryan).  The Jags hired a defensive coach in Gus Bradley.  Could they also turn around and take the top Senior QB with a high pick?

Eric is a Geno Smith fan so he may be seeing the conclusion he wants, but there is sound thinking in this theory.  And Eric knows the NFL and the draft well.  He’s a very knowledgeable guy.  This isn’t just some random speculation from a casual fan.

Others have speculated that these moves are a sign that Geno won’t be taken high by anyone.  Teams are hedging their bets and acquiring veteran QBs so that if they wait to the 2nd or 3rd round to find a QB, they won’t get burned if the right guy isn’t there.  This theory also makes sense.  It really depends on what you think of Geno Smith.

Jeff McLane today posted an article saying that the Eagles aren’t likely to take Smith.  He doesn’t offer any hard proof, but gives some reasons for his conclusion.  Geno Smith fans will be disappointed.  Those who aren’t sold on Smith will buy in.

One thing needs to be made clear here.  This isn’t about bashing Geno Smith.  The guy is the top Senior QB.  He has the potential to be a solid starting NFL QB.  He’s got a good track record from college and is a gifted passer.  There are no major character concerns.  There are lots of reasons to like him.  The main argument against Geno is value.  I feel, and it seems many others agree, he simply isn’t worth a high pick.  All QBs are risks.  If I’m investing a high pick, I want to feel there is a good chance he can…can…become a star QB.  Obviously there are no guarantees.  I don’t feel confident that Geno is going to be an NFL star.  Some of you disagree with that and that’s fine.  This is all opinion.  There are no conclusions in a guessing game.  I admit up front that I could be wrong.

If the Jags do take Geno at #2, that could help the Eagles.  It will push down another player for the team to choose from.  If the Jags don’t take Geno, that could be mixed.  The Eagles could lose out on a player they had targeted.  Or…what if the Jags go for an OT and the Chiefs take an OT?  Anyone wanting the #3 top OT (whether Fisher or Johnson) might be willing to deal up for him.  That would be pretty cool.

If Geno does start to slide, I have no idea how far he will fall.  Would some team see him as value in the middle of the round and take a flier?  Could the Steelers go for him?  The Vikings have a pair of 1st rounders. Are they truly sold on Christian Ponder?  What about the Texans taking him as Matt Schaub’s replacement?  At a certain point, a team would move up from the 2nd round for Smith.  This could be any of the QB needy teams.

I don’t think the Eagles will go for Geno, but I don’t know who the team will go for.  Because I don’t know exactly what Chip Kelly’s offensive vision is for the NFL, it is hard to say who he should go for.  Matt Scott reminds me the most of his Oregon QBs, but those guys aren’t in the NFL.  Zac Dysert fascinates me.  He is a passer with underrated mobility and athleticism.  I go back and forth on Ryan Nassib every time I see him play.  That’s never a good sign.

Honestly, I’d be fine if Kelly didn’t take a QB until later on in the draft.  I don’t truly believe in any of these players.  Why force the pick?  Could be that a guy of interest will slide down to the 5th round.  Soon enough, we’ll find out what Chip thinks and that is the key.  He’s trying to find a QB he can coach, develop, and have as his starter.  Chip has my full trust.

Until his first mistake.

_


  • tball_man

    Love the blind optimism. Go Geno go… before pick number foles!

  • T_S_O_P

    So much unpredictability. The Eagles have traded five out of the last six first round picks. Andy Reid therefore has also been involved in first round trades an equal number of times. Everything is new down in Jacksonville. There is no Al Davis around to snatch Tavon Austin at pick 3. Good luck with those tea leaves.

    • GGeagle21

      yeah it’s so crazy trying to read this years “Tea Leaves”. New Regimes, not knowing our scheme or how our HC views our current players…Fun Times. me personally, If Dion and Sharriff are off the board when we pick, I would try to trade back to the dolphins who have two 2nd’s and two 3rd’s. Hope that Star falls to us at 12, if not take Sheldon. Kyle Long in the 2nd. then you take our second round2 pick and flip it to a team like KC that doesn’t have a 2nd round pick(who think they will be much improved this year) and get a 2014 1st round pick in return. trade back like 7 spots with our 1st 3rd round pick to get an extra 4th rounder(from a team like the Bucs) and come away from the 3rd round with Brandon Williams and Barrett Jones. 4th round maybe Cb Brandon McGee and OT Brennan Williams. 5th round TE Nick Kasa…
      This would give us:
      offense: T/G/C/TE
      Defense: DE/NT/CB and you can grab a safety like Rontez Miles in the 7th
      We would also have two 2014 1st round picks to do whatever we want. if Foles doesn’t prove to be the guy, we can go get our QB..or Jadeveon Clowney.
      can’t wait to see Howie work this draft

  • T_S_O_P

    Where does Eric Stoner think that Fletcher Cox plays? His mock has us taking Flyod because his is a better 3 tech than Star! He seems to be looking at the wrong area of the DL to me.

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      I think the article you are referring to was actually written by Andrew Parsons.

      The explanation assumes, as others have written, Cox could thrive in either 3-tech or 5-tech roles, while Floyd would be best utilized in a 3-tech role.

      When deciding between the Cox/Floyd or Star/Cox pairing. Chip’s “attacking defense” would the better pass rushing combo gets the nod (Cox/Floyd). I’d be OK with either pick, but I think the question should be which pairing greater compliments Cox in Bill Davis’ eyes (Assuming they actually do take a DT at #4).

      That was a complete cop out of an answer as Chip and Bill are on lockdown about their plans. Maybe they are telling the truth and waiting until mini-camp in April to finalize their board. April 25th cannot get here fast enough.

      • T_S_O_P

        I like the answer and fully agree with your last sentence of the 2nd paragraph.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      If the BPA is a 3-T, you do it. A lot of the attraction with Fletcher Cox last year was scheme versatility as either a 3-T or a 5-T. So this would be a chance to cash in on that. Obviously Cox was going to play inside in Washburn’s wide 9. But one year in that scheme need not pigeon-hole Cox.

      You can see that the Bulldogs used Cox as a DE in both 3 and 4-man fronts and he was effective on the edge:

      youtu.be/dyd8kpQVz0w

      Cox and Floyd (for example) both have a lot of DE and DT experience on their résumé. While Floyd’s body type might be more suited to the 3-T, it would be a shame if a coach couldn’t use that tandem effectively.

      • deg0ey

        In the PE.com film room segment about DTs, Cosell said he thinks Floyd is the best player in the draft. If the FO agree with him and he’s still on the board at #4 then I think you have to take him.

        • GGeagle21

          Yeah…I saw that, and actually thought Cosell was on point for the most part. He also said this was probably the most athletic DT class in a long time….tHought his analysis of Sylvester and Kawaan we spot on

    • TommyLawlor

      Cox can be the 5-tech DE. He’s got good enough height and long enough arms to be good at that spot. Still athletic enough to rush off the edge. Did some of that in college.

  • GGeagle21

    I don’t have much faith in Geno at all. I hate his lack of poise..every time his pocket gets a little dirty, he gets frantic and Loses his mind. he played with the number 1 clutch RECIEVER in college last year(Steadman), and the number 1 “take it to the house on every play” guy in Tavon….In my oppinion Geno is no where near the 4th best player in this draft class. I don’t have much faith in him or EJ…IF we have to take a QB, I hope it’s Dysert, no earlier than the 4th round…I do however trust in Chip, until proven otherwise..so If Geno is going to be our first round pick, I will applaud it…..but I think Dion Jordan’s is a special Talent, and will be heartbroken if he doesn’t land in Philly

  • GvilleEagleFan

    I’d love to hear a podcast or read a post comparing Chip’s starting position with Shanahan’s in Washington three years ago. I think it’d be an informative discussion, simply from the perspective of how to set our expectations. I think we have more talent than Shanny walked into, but consequently I think there’s more pressure on Chip to immediately produce. Also, with a more talented supporting cast will Chip view QB as essential a position to have a difference-maker as Shanahan did? Do you see us trying to build up the roster with as much quality talent as possible and then mortgage future drafts for a trade up as the Redskins did? Or do we take stock of what we have this year and then do whatever it takes to get the guy Chip really loves in year 2 and trust him to make up for the lack of 1st round talent? Be interested in your thoughts Tommy.

    • EaglesHero87

      I think Chip’s first year is going to be real interesting to determine next season’s draft prospects and the ranking of our picks. Let’s say the Eagles put on a surprising solid record at, say, 8-8 or even 9-7. Depending on whether we make it to the playoffs and how far we go, would that then determine Chip will go all-in for a QB next season? Or would he continue to stock up more talent in other positions?

      • Neil

        This totally depends on if Foles emerges and plays well. I think he can surprise some people, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Imagine if Foles comes out and puts together such an efficient season that it’s clear that the Eagles went 8-8 because of the team around him, not him.

        • Guest

          if Foles starts

          • GGeagle21

            cant be that hard to beat out a fragile, speed deteriorating veteran with the QB intelligence of a rock lol….never forget the play last year when Vick ran all the way to the goal line, closed his eyes, laid on the ground and fumbled. I don’t think I will ever forget it…it’s up there with Ronnie Brown throwing the ball on the one inch line lol

        • GGeagle21

          16 games and wins 8 of them, I would think we would decide to build around him…No? if for some reason we don’t end up needing a QB next year, we can always target Jake Mathews, Clowney(if we are capable of moving up to get him) or the next Gronk, Austin Sefrian Jenkins

          • Neil

            It’s not as simple as how many games he wins. It’s more important how he plays in those games. Last year, no matter how bad the overall team played, Foles wasn’t the reason why they were losing. He didn’t play perfect, and he wasn’t good enough to come close to carrying the team on his back, but the worst things got was that first start against the Redskins, which was still much better than Weeden’s. It’s not out of the question for him to improve enough to be the reason we win. He did it against Tampa Bay. Now he has to begin doing it more consistently.

  • GGeagle21

    can I ask people a question that’s been bothering me? everyone tells me Foles can’t play for Chip because he isn’t Mobile…I ask, what does it matter if he is mobile, they tell me to go watch Oregon. Am I crazy, or is the only thing that Chip did with Mobile QBs at Oregon, basically inside and outside zone reads? is there really any chance that chip Kelly is going to ask fragile Mike Vick, or any other NFl QB(your most important investment), to zone read and NFL DE? how is that even possible? the first time a QB is going to try some college crap, of letting the DE run free, and run towards the DE, that DE is going to murder him, and try his best to knock him out of the game. It’s going to look a lot like when Trotter Debacled that Giants punter…so if you can’t zone read an NFL DE, exactly what use does oregons offense have for a mobile QB?

    I have a much easier time thinking that Chip is here to run something similar to the Patriots..sub packages, moving versatile players all over the formation, reading the defense, finding the blatant mismatch, pick them apart, speed up the pace so the DC can’t substitute, and start pulling the DC’s strings like a puppet Master. How in the world could Vick, who has the Qb intelligence of a rock, play that game better than Nick Foles?

    I don’t understand?

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      If stopping the zone read is as simple as the read defender running at the QB, it wouldn’t be a growing trend for a decade. It works because the DE can’t be two places at once. If he’s running at the QB, the DE has given up containment.

      • GGeagle21

        Yeah, but the DE can sacrifice one play, and Viciously Tee Off on your QB. Who won’t take a 15yarder to knock a QB out of the game in the first quarter?

        • deg0ey
          • GGeagle21

            I’m not talking about the zone reads where the QB keeps the ball…Vick can execute that just fine. I’m talking about the times Vick will actually hand the ball of then pretend he still has the ball(decoy) running towards the DE…what’s to stop the DE from trying to knock him out the game?

            SORRY if these are dumb questions, just trying to understand.

          • deg0ey

            Well I’d say the primary thing is that he doesn’t really pretend to keep the ball and any DE that tried to ‘knock him out of the game’ after he’s handed it off would be suspended for a loooong time.

          • GGeagle21

            not if the QB is running at him as a decoy….isn’t the point of the zone read that both the RB and QB pretend to have the ball as running backs?

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            No. There’s no “pretending.” It’s not a fake or a play-action. It’s a read.

          • cliff henny

            thats also why the qb is in pistol, not under center for read. it’s designed to get DE to take false step, not attract like an option, where qb gets killed.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            I’m not sure if Kelly has ever used the pistol before. His zone reads were out of shotgun (which is the traditional way). But yes, that point still holds. It’s not a traditional option.

            Speaking of which, EJ Manuel took some huge hits to make plays out of the option for FSU last year.

          • deg0ey

            Not really. The point is that if the play could be designed such that either of them could run the ball, the DE doesn’t know which one will get the ball then he pretty much has to choose one of them to defend and leave the other alone. The one that he leaves takes the ball, the DE is fully aware that the guy he’s chasing doesn’t have the ball and will, usually, turn to chase the guy that actually has the ball (whilst being too far away to actually make the play) instead of flattening the guy in front of him that has quite clearly just handed the ball off.

          • GGeagle21

            ok thanks Degs for clearing some stuff up…Gonna go back and watch some more Oregon

          • deg0ey

            Always a fun way to spend an evening :-)

          • GGeagle21

            Yes sir

          • Ark87

            Seems like the counter is all in the unblocked man, he need’s to play passive until he identifies who has the ball to either, A) make the play or B) force someone to block him. Don’t lose contain, don’t need a tackle for loss on every play.

            Maybe just have the unblocked man always attack the QB, if he’s fast enough he might get a legal hit on the QB while forcing the RB to run up the gut? Or maybe if the DE is the unblocked man, attack whichever one is attacking the edge in general.

            I can’t wait to see what the defensive minds come up with this year. I’m sure they all knew a good theory last year, It’s all a matter of teaching it and training it in your personnel.

    • holeplug

      “.. or is the only thing that Chip did with Mobile QBs at Oregon, basically inside and outside zone reads?”

      No

  • Neil

    I watched Geno versus I believe Oklahoma. I don’t have much experience, so I wanted to decide on one thing to watch for. I watched where his face was pointing every single play. On all but about two plays, he immediately looked one direction, looked, looked and threw. If he was making a second read, he didn’t have to move his head to make it at all. And he always threw where he had been looking. The most common play where this didn’t happen was when he was flushed from the pocket. Then he took his eyes away from downfield. The two plays I remember he swivelled his head once, I believe both times to a running back in the flat, and threw to that check down.

    It reminds me of a play I love to talk about with Nick Foles. Can’t remember which game. Either regular season versus the Bucs or preseason versus the Pats. He had all day to throw, and I counted his head changing direction 6 times.

    Am I reading into this correctly? If I am, Geno seems pretty scary.

    • GGeagle21

      I see him the exact same way as you

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Most of that is an Air Raid thing. Art Briles runs a more vertical Air Raid variant, but if you watch RGIII’s helmet it’s half-field reads galore:

      youtu.be/txEtv2cJS90

      Aaron Rodgers was criticized coming out of Cal as a Tedford QB who only read half the field too. Of course it’s nice if you have a QB prospect who is being asked to do very complicated reads (Luck), but it’s just not very common. It’s part of the learning curve with the position. I forget the exact number, but I saw a blurb recently that rookie QBs are asked to make only 1 or 2 reads on a significant majority of their throws.

      • Neil

        I see what you mean watching that video. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Speaking of scary…

      Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, after watching game film of Smith: “In the NFL, pro quarterbacks can throw you open. What’s scary with Geno is he can do that with his third read.”

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

    Every coach does something that drives fans nuts. I’m curious to see what Chip Kelly’s version of “RUN THE F*$&#*@ BALL!” will be.

    • ShadyCrockett

      I’m hoping his Super Bowl victory speeches suck.

    • Ark87

      It’s a good thing the past 2 years the offense has been pretty underwhelming otherwise I don’t know how a balanced attack would…how to explain this…The norm for the past few years has been pass heavy. I wonder if a balanced attack will look overly conservative to my eyes when the offense is having trouble? Will I be frustrated by run for 2, run for 1, dink a pass for 5 and punt in the span of 2 minutes real time?

      The key is who he is in defeat and how he earned that defeat. Everyone is a beloved hero when they bring home the W. If we see a pattern in defeat, whether it’s something on the field or something in the post game conference, that is where we will develop pet peeves with Chip.

      • EaglesHero87

        I totally know what you mean once we first start to watch how the Eagles run by Chip. Our initial reaction could be in disbelief if we start earning minimal gains in yardages only ’cause we’re so used to watching Reid’s offense be pass-happy. It was either a big play or no play at all, or worse, a turnover. I think we’ll need to temper our expectations as to how the Eagles’ offense will become this upcoming season. Either way, I’m probably more excited to see Chip’s creativity come into play and watch the vast array of offensive formations on the field.

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

          Kelly’s offenses in Oregon had plays that frequently lost yardage, but were designed to set up opposing defenses for eventual big gains. Will we be patient enough to see that develop, or start booing as soon as we see Shady get dropped for two 4-yard losses in a row?

  • shah8

    I’m pretty indifferent. It’s a bad way to feel about the draft, but this really was a terrible year to be high. There just isn’t revelationary talent at any position at the top. Just good depth. Assuming Geno Smith is gone, then I want either Star or one of Warmack, Eric Fisher. I’m not interested in Dion Jordan. I think about just how much work Seattle has to do with Bruce Irvin just to get decent productivity and…, well, no.

    I do not think Jacksonville has much choice about Geno. QB last year was a portable toilet fire. As many positions that needs filling on that team, gotta go with QB as the first repair. Am I excited with Geno? No. However, I’m fan that watches football out of the pure sport and athleticism of the game. I’m not into sideshow social drama that fake sports like pro-wrestling has to concoct. Thus, my perspective tend to be someone like Tarvaris Jackson is a mediocre to bad quarterback, while people like Christian Ponder and his backup Matt Cassel are merely pretty boys and not a QB at all. Tebow is merely the worst of that phenomenon. The reality is that actual quarterbacks who are bad pretty much start at around rank 15 or so, with a few names to it, before we hit the so-called QBs who aren’t really fully capable of doing the job.

    Serviceable quarterbacking is too rare to allow perfect to be the enemy of the good. Geno Smith is very likely to be at least serviceable, with some more upside. The team might wish for someone who can sell more deodorant on TV, but the best marketing for sport teams tend to be about wins and winning traditions.

    • ICDogg

      “this really was a terrible year to be high”

      I enjoyed being high all year.

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      I guess I’m confused by your logic (honestly not trolling). If serviceable quarterbacking is rare and perfection is the enemy of the good, what are you left with? If serviceable QBs are rare, what is the rarity of elite QBs?

      Are you trying to say Elite QB play is rare and that some organizations over spend resources attempting to turn lead into gold (serviceable into elite) instead of game planning around their QBs strengths/weaknesses? If so I agree.

      I think the problem with the fan’s logic is that we assume that Coaches and GMs are making decisions based on the clubs best interest IN THE LONG TERM. GMs/Coaches are no different than CEOs in the public arena. I’d expound, but the diatribe is long enough, so I will end with:

      It was something you wife said while we were in bed together. She
      said we had the same build. From the waist up I imagine.