Day 2 of the Eagles pre-draft mini-camp is in the books. We got some interesting info from Vinny Curry. He told the media that he’s up to 278 pounds and is definitely playing DE. Curry also mentioned that it is a 2-gap technique. That tells us the Eagles are leaning more to a pure 3-4 scheme.
Chip mentioned yesterday that when you run a 3-4 you need guys that have enough size and strength to play a 2-gap technique. This is when the DL engages the OL, stops, reads the play, and then can go right or left, depending on where the ball is. Isaac Sopoaga is a 2-gap NT. Fletcher Cox can be a 2-gap DE. Ced Thornton can be a 2-gap DE.
So why go 3-4 vs the 4-3 Under? Maybe this is just a transitional move. Go to the 3-4 for now and evolve into more of a hybrid defense over time. The 3-4 may have more defined roles. The RDE is the RDE. There is no adjusting with under and over shifts and things like that. Or maybe the coaches feel a pure 3-4 is better for this group of players.
How will this affect drafting? That’s hard to say. We’d need to know if going 3-4 is part of the long term plan or is just the focus for now. You can make the argument that this makes Star Lotulelei a key target or less of one. I do think this means Shariff Floyd is not a target. He did play some DE in college, but 6-3, 297 with short arms isn’t a guy you ideally want at DE in a 3-4 scheme. Plus, he’s more of a 1-gap player.
The 3-4 scheme doesn’t affect the OLBs significantly. They’ll still primarily rush, but will need to be able to drop back in coverage. I still see Dion Jordan as the primary target at pick #4.
As to some current players, Curry is light for now, but getting bigger and stronger. He did play in the 3-4 early on in his career at Marshall. His DC was Rick Minter and DL coach was Jerry Azzinaro. Sound familiar? Azzinaro is the DL coach here and Minter is on the staff as ILBs coach. You have to think Azzinaro thinks Curry can play in this scheme.
Trent Cole said that he’s working his way down to 260 to be a better fit at OLB. Cole talked about having surgery on his hand, an injury that went back to 2011, but got significantly worse last year. Don’t worry. Cole wasn’t looking for excuses. He admitted that he had a bad year in 2012. Tim McManus has all the details and direct quotes here.
One thing to keep in mind in regard to the 3-4…that would be the base defense. The Nickel and Dime would still be even fronts (4-2-5, 2-4-5, 4-1-6). Short yardage and goal line defenses would have lots of guys up front. It is also possible that there could be some 4-3 looks. Curry’s comments and Kelly’s from yesterday to make me think we’ll be using the 3-4 more than any hybrid stuff. The sub-packages are dictated by offenses. When they go 3 and 4 with WRs, you go Nickel and Dime.
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Michael Vick met with the media. He had a few interesting things to say. Vick was very happy with his performance today. Sounded like things were probably rusty/awkward on Monday. Once you get the feel of a new offense and new way of doing things, your comfort zone will go up a bit each day. That should help you play faster and better.
Vick said he and Foles once again split reps. Vick mentioned they did run plenty of read-option. When asked about Foles doing read-option Vick joked that Nick could do it “he’s got 2 legs”. That wasn’t delivered as a shot at Nick. I think Vick’s point is that anyone can run the read-option. Obviously some will do it a lot better than others.
Many of the reporters on the scene remarked that Vick looked bigger and stronger in his upper body. That didn’t jump out at me as I watched the PC on video. You have to think Vick is trying to get physically prepared to run the ball on a regular basis, if that becomes part of the offense. Some fans think the read-option talk means that Foles is a major longshot. Don’t read too much into that. Kelly is trying to install some basic plays and get a feel for how guys run them. He needs to see how the OL, RBs, TEs, and WRs do on the play. Kelly will also study Foles to get a feel for how effective (or lost) Foles would be running the read-option. Just because Kelly is putting it into the playbook does not mean it will be a foundation of the offense and that Foles must run it well to have any hope of a job. If Foles throws the ball well enough and plays smart, he can still be the starter. Because he’s less of a runner, Foles must thrive as a passer.
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Danny Watkins is the RG for now. That is written with the most erasable pencil in history. Watkins is saying all the right things. He is clearly happy that there is a new staff. Howard Mudd was a tough OL coach. He rode his players hard. That worked wonders with Jason Peters and Evan Mathis, but not so much with Watkins. Danny is getting a clean slate with Kelly and Jeff Stoutland. Danny needs to look really good every chance he gets in order to impress the coaches and improve his chances of starting in 2013.
He did clear one thing up for me. There was a story recently about him getting married and then leaving the honeymoon early to get back to Philly for the mini-camp. He drove. From Texas. I wondered why the heck he would do that. Danny explained that he drove back because he had the wedding presents and stuff like that. Too much to fly so he had to drive.
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One sign of how different things are now…players had individualized cups with smoothies (or protein shakes or something) waiting for them after practice. Jimmy Bama has the story here.
Kelly failed to leave my PBR and Funyuns on the table. Apparently those items aren’t considered healthy. I’m starting to now question whether we made the right hire or not. I’ll have some pudding and think about it.