Day 1 of OTAs is in the Books

Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

Monday was the first day for the full Eagles squad to practice together. The media was able to watch and share some good info on what went on.

As always, things must be put in the proper context. Chip Kelly likes to point out this is May 13th and the season starts in September. A lot can and will change between now and then. The coaches are in the process of teaching the systems and trying to get the players indoctrinated in the Chip Kelly way of doing things. Do not make too much of anything that did or didn’t happen today.

OL depth chart for now:

LT Jason Peters – LG Danny Watkins – C Dallas Reynolds – RG Todd Herremans – RT Dennis Kelly

LT Ed Wang – LG Allen Barbre – C Matt Tennant – RG Matt Kopa – RT Lane Johnson

Why Kelly over Johnson? I think this is just a matter of Kelly being more advanced. Johnson will be the RT before too long. Since Kelly wants things to move at a brisk pace, it is easier to go with veteran players over rookies for now. As each practice goes along and the players become more comfortable with things, being a veteran will mean less.  This could be days from now or a couple of weeks.

I do think it is interesting to see Wang at LT. Coming out of college, I thought he projected to RT or OG. I see him as a longshot to make the team, but it will be interesting to see how he plays now that he’s been around the league for a few years.

Jason Kelce was at practice and participated in some limited sets. He’s still on the mend from a torn ACL.

There weren’t any major surprises with the pass catchers. Ifeanyi Momah, Derek Carrier, and BJ Cunningham didn’t practice since they had run so many routes in the last 3 days. Dave Spadaro mentioned that Arrelious Benn was on the field with the starters quite a bit. Dave also mentioned that James Casey looked great and Clay Harbor was impressive.  I was happy to hear that there were blocking drills for the WRs. Kelly is going to emphasize blocking this year. The WRs need to know that up front.

There isn’t too much to say about the QBs. Reports indicated that Dennis Dixon looked the most comfortable with running the offense (due to his experience with Kelly). Mike Vick got most of the snaps with the starters, but Nick Foles got plenty as well. Several people said Matt Barkley’s arm strength was not an issue. Adam Caplan mentioned that he saw a couple of throws that lacked ideal zip.

There was plenty of zone-read being mixed in. Some people are making too much of this. You have to teach it now so you can run it during the season. The fact you are teaching it doesn’t mean that it will be a major part of the offense, though. Chip Kelly is going to mix it in, no matter who the QB is. If Foles or Barkley get the job, there will be much less of it. Still, you must teach the offense how to run this. Remember that this isn’t a play the offense is familiar with. The QBs know how to throw every pass. Zone-read is something new. You must work on new concepts.

Now for the defense.

Here is what we heard for the DL and LBs in terms of depth chart.

DL #1 – LDE Cedric Thornton – NT Isaac Sopoaga – RDE Fletcher Cox

DL #2 – LDE Clifton Geathers – NT Antonio Dixon – RDE Vinny Curry

LB #1 – SAM Connor Barwin – ILB DeMeco Ryans – WILB Mychal Kendricks – Predator Trent Cole

LB # 2 – OLB Brandon Graham – ILB Jason Phillips – WILB Jamar Chaney – OLB Phillip Hunt

I’m unsure about who was SAM/Predator with the backups. Dave did mention that he thought UDFA Jake Knott got a lot of reps at ILB. I’m guessing he would be at WILB. Knott was a playmaker in college and that’s more of a playmaking role.

I’m guessing Bennie Logan was the #3 NT, but don’t know that for sure.

There were quite a few different packages. There was one with 4 DL where Thornton played LDE with Sopoaga, Cox, and Cole as the other 3 guys. Seattle runs the 4-3 Under with 4 down linemen and uses DT Red Bryant as the LDE so using Thornton in that role isn’t a new idea.

Trent Cole got a few snaps at DE in 3-man looks. There were some 4-man sets with Cole and Graham at DE.

The starting Safeties were Nate Allen and Patrick Chung. The backups were Kenny Phillips and Kurt Coleman.

CB Cary Williams got married on Sunday so he is on his honeymoon and missed practice. Curtis Marsh replaced him with the starters. I think this is more of a chance to see him in action rather than a sign the coaches are high on  him. Marsh did say that they played a lot of press and that he is comfortable with that. Bradley Fletcher was the other CB. The backups were Brandon Hughes and Brandon Boykin.

Special Teams is an area where the Eagles must get better this year. Jimmy Bama noted on Twitter that STs was mixed in throughout practice rather than being done at the end, which is how Reid did things. Donnie Jones reportedly showed a stronger leg than Brad Wing. DeSean Jackson was back on punt returns. Other guys who got a look there were Jeremy Maclin, Damaris Johnson, and Nick Miller.

* * * * *

The practices were very up-tempo. Many of those watching were very impressed at how briskly things moved. Adam Caplan said on Eagles Live that he’s seen at least 10 other NFL teams practices over the years and he’s never seen anything like this.

Much was made of the fact that music blared through much of practice. Writers tweeted out each song and seemed very caught up in that angle. I hope this is a one time thing. The music is here for the long haul. I’m more interested in what’s going on on the field rather than what’s blaring out of the speakers.

* * * * *

The Eagles cut OL Matt Reynolds and signed OL Nic Purcell, who tried out for the team this weekend. Purcell is a very interesting prospect. He might have LT potential.

The Carolina Panthers cut OLB Thomas Keiser. He played LB and DE for them. Keiser had 4 sacks in 2011 and impressed. He had elbow injuries that hurt him in 2012. Keiser (6-4, 265) play OLB for Stanford’s 3-4 defense in college and is a more natural fit for the 3-4 in the NFL. He could be someone the Eagles take a look at. Kelly will know a bit about him from the Oregon/Stanford days.

_


  • Anders

    No comments from twitter on how many times the word “MORE VIOLENCE” was yelled? Im disappointed in the media

    • TommyLawlor

      Someone did write that Azzinaro was the most vocal coach out there.

    • A_T_G

      No, but I heard he threw a Brute garbage can about 15 yards when they played “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

  • Anders

    Also just saw a few videos from PE.com. God dam Glifton Geathers is huge.

    • austinfan

      He’s not only big, he’s incredibly athletic for a guy his size, but something is seriously missing. This is a guy with a 36″ VT and a 9’4″ LJ at 299 lbs, 6’7 with 37″ arms. Problem was he cam out a year early after only one year starting in college. Not sure if he lacks the fire or just isn’t a defensive athlete – surprised given his size and length that no one has tried to turn him into an OT.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    I noticed reporters tweeting songs too. At first it was interesting, then it got old really fast.

  • EaglesJRL

    My entire twitter feed was filled with beat writers relaying every single song that played while giving the bare minimum as to what they were actually seeing aside from “fast tempo.” Rather astonishing how useless many of them are. We need you at these practices Tommy! They are supposed to be our eyes, but we got next to zero insight from most of them today.

  • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

    RIP Vinny Curry =( I knew picking a system player like him would come and bite us in the butt.

    • TommyLawlor

      Huh? Vinny could play in any 4-3 system. And he just might show that he can be a good 3-4 player as well.

      • GvilleEagleFan

        I don’t know why I never thought of him as Cox’s backup, but it actually makes a good bit of sense. If he could function as Tuck does in the Giant’s NASCAR package, why not have him as the 3-tech? I know he lacks the size (right now) to hold up against the run, but that’s why he’d be a backup/role player instead of our first round pick.

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

          Even if he’s backing up Cox, Curry should still see a lot of reps and have the chance to make an impact.

          • GvilleEagleFan

            I meant that we all kind of assumed that his role in the base defense would be at 5-tech, but that spot seems crowded with Ced, Geathers, and possibly Logan. We all knew his talent as an inside pass rusher was probably going to be his most useful contribution, and with that in mind having him at 3-tech in the base defense would make a ton of sense.

          • GEagle

            Cox is going to be moved all round the line, it’s already happening during practice..so there will be plenty of opportunity for the backup 3tec….people need to have some patience with Vinny..Graham was a COLLOSAL bust to Philly fans..yet last year he saw limited snaps, and still managed the highest pressure percentage while drawing the most penalties out of all defensive lineman…Took Graham 3 years to get there. even if he haven’t been injured, it could have still taken him a year or two til he really arrived…this isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, but I see too many people already writing off Vinny Curry.. I like the kid, OLb or DE, he has a chance to grow into a valuable player, just needs some time

      • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

        I was under the impression that Curry’s was best suited for the Wide-9 and was more of a system guy, but going back and reading your Scouts Notebook write-up, you mentioned him as best being fit as a 3-4 OLB, so apologies on that. I do really hope he succeeds as a RDE, but from what your write-up, it sucks we have such a log jam at OLB that we might not get the chance to see that this year.

    • Ark87

      When we got Vinny I was slightly disappointed in that he didn’t have the elite speed or explosion that you look for to excel in our wide-9 system (at the time). He’s one of those guys who can be good at a lot of stuff but you wonder if he would ever be great at anything. Well now the Wide-9 is gone, Vinny is putting on some pounds and frankly, I think he can do it. Definitely not going to eulogize him. He would be ideal as a DT in the nickle package next to Fletch once he gets his body all set.

      • GEagle

        Totally agree. If we are just looking for instant gratification, Curry is not your guy..but give him a year or two and he could turn into a contributor to a good defense

  • http://twitter.com/2lbTurtle Gold Diggin’ Mutha

    Derrick Gunn may be the most useless of them all, as far as ‘on the beat’ is concerned. What difference does it make tho that they were tweeting song choices rather than imparting eyewitness ‘football’ accounts? Most of them have zero football acumen. I’d rather wait til TLaw and other astute minds like those that comment on this blog watch the limited video options and take me to school far more advanced than the likes of Bowen, McLane , Berman, Frank et.al….

    • GEagle

      Anyone know if Cossel was there?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

        I didn’t see him on the steps.

  • Adam

    Tommy, I was reading somewhere that Chip Kelly eliminated “Taco Tuesday” and “Fast Food Friday”.

    ………

    Please tell me this is some messed up joke and that there never really was a Fast Food Friday…. please…

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

      I was thinking the same thing. Yikes.

    • TommyLawlor

      FFF sounds bad, but what if that is simply hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, and chicken tenders? It is easy to hear FFF and think of the worst possible items, but there is some decent fast food.

      I’ve never heard of this stuff before that I recall. I’ll check into it.

      • Adam

        Even those items.. man I know after I eat some of those things I feel like garbage, sluggish etc. I mean, I can see the fact that those things would have protein and a lot of carbs/calories if you’re bulking but surely there are better ways to get those.

        How was our defense so damn small if we were eating like that?!

        • Ark87

          It is funny, but most of these guys are likely at a metabolic rate to easily burn through a burger and fries without skipping a beat. Also these guys are young, give a 24 year old a burger, fries, onion rings, some buffalo wings, with a large milkshake to wash it down, he’ll keep trucking along with few regrets.

          That being said, I like the wholistic approach that chip is taking.

          • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

            I read a Bruce Bowen interview (famously tenacious NBA defender), and the first question was if he had a special diet. Just then, the plate of Super Nachos Grandes that Bruce had previously ordered arrived. Question answered!

          • Ark87

            awesome, haha

        • RC5000

          some people are that way. Some people are the opposite(me). Red meat has to be a part of my diet or I can’t function (not every meal I don’t have more than one portion a day). I even eliminated all red meat and sugars, went on a very very strict diet (protein measured, etc. ) for 3 months and I never felt worse in my life.
          But the theory is I have a very high metabolic rate and I’m probably freaky that way, I was really thin for a long time until I drank a lot of beer in college and then I got my weight to a more nourished level.
          A beef and a beer a day…you know the saying.

    • TommyLawlor

      From Twitter:

      “Evan Mathis ‏@EvanMathis69

      It was Taco Thursday and Fat Boy Friday. #RIP”

      • Flyin

        I would get rid of that too, they played like turds on the field (not the pleasant ones).

        • GEagle

          in fairness, we don’t really know what type of tacos they were eating..a grilled chicken Taco, with some beans, lettuce and cheese, isn’t the end of the world….now if you start dumping Globs of cheese whiz and sour cream on it…that’s a different story

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i remember watching some special with Chad Johnson back in the day (it was before Ochocinco so you know it was a while back lol)

      anyway, they were showing his workout routines and stuff like that. he went on to say that he loves to eat fast food after his workouts and he eats TONS of the stuff.
      not the “good” fast food, either. the crappy stuff like BK and McD’s…

      • brza

        Yeah, Johnson’s twitter feed is about 50% “just got back from a great workout”, 25% “just got back from BK/McD’s/TacoBell”, 25% other nonsense. Don’t know why I followed for so long but someone told me it was pretty funny.

    • brza

      I remember that it was brought up alot during the Reid era by guys new to the team, especially lineman, when talking about how great it was to be here.

      I can’t find any past articles about it but it was definitely common knowledge that they had fast food or fat boy fridays. I don’t think they had a feast on the level of Talladegha Nights with KFC, Dominoes, Sonic, Burger King, Funyuns and the like being delivered. But they did say there were cheesesteaks, hoagies, burgers, fries and even ice cream on fridays.

  • RC5000

    Knott getting a lot of reps…how much compared to Chaney since you are saying Chaney is the backup at WILB. Any feel there? Thanks for the great info.

    • TommyLawlor

      Can’t answer that, unfortunately. Spadaro made the observation on Knott. Jeff McLane noted on Twitter that Knott could be a sleeper to make the team. He must be hearing good things as well.

      • austinfan

        Chaney’s a 4.5 guy who’s better running to the ball than reading, reacting and fighting through blocks, he may well blossom at WLB.

        Knott is 6-2 243, 4.77 40 but good instincts, and makes plays, I think his future could be as the eventual replacement for Ryans. Bulk up a little, and his short area anticipation and coverage skills could keep him on the field for all but obvious passing downs.

        • RC5000

          I will say Knott could be a little faster than that time since he may not have been in optimal shape coming off of rehab. He seemed to think he could have done better because of that. He really didn’t take on blocks much but he’s got the skills you guys say I agree. I agree he could be Ryans eventual replacement , emphasis on could.
          Knott is also a leader type. We’ll see what happens.

        • GEagle

          242lbs? Wasn’t Knott an undersized 230lb??..He is going to have to seriously BULK up to backup the Thumper…Demeco could use 10extra LBs to play the role, but he is Savy,Crafty, a d Physical enough to handle it…
          …I don’t like Chaney Nd Mathews at all. The faster I never see them again, the better

  • Davesbeard

    What do you think of the report that many of the zone-read plays involved a choice of either handing off to the back or rolling out in the other direction for a pass? Seems like a good way to overcome Foles’ and Barkley’s lack of speed.

    • TommyLawlor

      That is a play that developed in college football a few years back. Puts tremendous pressure on the defense. You have to read the run (QB or RB) and also be able to react to the quick pass. I don’t think we’ve seen it in the NFL.

      • Anders
      • GEagle

        I actually watched Greenbay vs. The niners playoff game last night, and I think the first two drives(up until the point KAp ran in the first touchdown) is a lot of what it will look like in Philly(It was all ZR, without KAp running with the Ball up until that point..Basically, Niners started off with Gore, Delanie and Vernon Davis all in the backfield, and would pound the ball with an IZR to Gore…then they started lining up Delanie and Vernon on the Line, yet Kap would audible them All back into the backfield and continuously pound the IZR with Gore for 3 plays in a row..on the 4th play, they lined up the same way, but Faked the hand off to gore, and KAp rolled to the left, throwing an INT for a TD(I chalked it up to first playoff game jitters)…Tough not to get excited about the thought of the Eagles lining up with Ertz,Casey and Shady in the backfield and starting a game in a similar fashion, minus the pick 6 of course….
        ……
        Even without having a blazing QB, so much good can come from Zone reads..They can be used as double play action passes…People think of it in terms of an offense, but in reality it will just be a package, a concept, like a trap or counter used to take advantage of aggressive edge penetration…Too many people think that a QB needs to rush for 150 yards to make a ZR work. many people think its just a fad like the wildcat..I strongly disagree. the ZR is here to stay. not only can it be used out of a balanced set, but it has the consistent passing threat that the Wildcat often lacked

  • Guest

    Hey Tommy, no mention of Casey Mathews? I figured he’d at least make the team as a backup ILB since that’s what he played at Oregon

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m curious about Casey as well. Obviously the coaches think he’s got an uphill battle to make the team.

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

    Your (Un)Official Eagles practice playlist on Spotify (you’re welcome/I’m sorry): http://open.spotify.com/user/alexkarklins/playlist/7kd4ReGGVTkbIS7i0lGr5K

    • laeagle

      I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened. Thank you/curse you.

  • Ark87

    Is it just me or has Shady gotten really good at charming the media? It’s hilarious how well he handles the race with Vick. Frankly stating that no body will race Desean. Then the “Mark Barkley” thing. The guy is primed to be a national star.

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/McCoy_Getting_Used_To_Practice_Pace/dab7d985-f6e8-48ed-8f03-28f6d7ce1cda

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000169179/article/lesean-mccoy-is-getting-to-know-mark-barkley

    • Davesbeard

      He’ll be appearing in costume a la Clinton Portis soon.

  • Ark87

    Interesting to see Nate ahead of Kenny Phillips at this (very early) point. When Kenny is right, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s better than anything Nate has shown to date. I’d prefer to have Nate in the chase position. I think he has the potential to be as good, but he has some ground to make up imo.

    • Flyin

      I think Chip Kelly is giving respect to guys that deserve it, by letting them go more with the “ones” at this point. Why step on toes, when this is just the start of the evaluation process? It seems everything Chip does, has a logical reason to build for the season.

      • Calderone

        Nasty Nate deserves respect? He was AWFUL last year and I would have zero problems stepping on his toes. Hopefully Phillips or Wolff will overtake Allen in the not-so-distant future.

        • Flyin

          Who wasn’t awful in the secondary? He’s an Eagles vet. Has shown some potential. Kelly likes him and his character. It’s about respect and team chemistry. He could be second string tomorrow. Let it play out. Injuries are a big factor, Kelly is looking at reps at this point, rather than who will start in September.

  • xlGmanlx

    I just don’t see a position on whatever D you are running that Graham isn’t ahead of Cole? If he isn’t going up against Cox or Logan, he is probably the better talent. It is just May, but I’m hoping they are going to unlock Graham and coach the crap out of him, but as a centerpiece or foundation, not a rotational player.

    • GEagle

      Why disrespect one of our main veterans, tRent Cole, while learning an offense on May 13th?

  • Iskar36

    From Jeff McLane:

    “– It certainly took some adjusting watching Cole and Brandon Graham
    not play with their hands in the ground. They were asked to stand in a
    two-point stance for the most part. They did a significant amount of
    dropping, especially Graham and Barwin, who were playing on the left
    side.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/207259941.html

    Seems to suggest that Graham may have been playing the SAM role according to Jeff. That would be a significant surprise. It’s still extremely early on, so maybe they are just trying to see how athletic Graham can be, and if he doesn’t work out at SAM, they’ll put him at the predator spot.

    • T_S_O_P

      In the 4-3, am I right in thinking that Graham most always lined up on that side too? Equally, Cole has most always lined up at RDE. Maybe, Graham’s coverage skills mean that he’d be better suited on the right, but otherwise he’s more effective on the left.

      Tommy, from your ’10 DGRs, was there any mention of Graham and how he did dropping into coverage under McD?

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    you post that momah highlight tape yet?? lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

      Some of his stuff is on this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOGqFTl8E5s

      • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

        nah ive seen that, theres like 1 or 2 plays of momah and none are big plays lol but good look tho

        • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

          yea, I’ve seen some of the highlights with a couple of his catches, one of which he pretty much just was able to stand around at the 2 yard line and wait for it to be tossed to him.

  • austinfan

    Interesting comments by Kelce on the OL scheme (Philly.com):

    “[Alabama] would do some inside-zone stuff, but they didn’t do too much
    outside-zone,” Kelce said. “It was mostly a man scheme on the outside
    perimeter plays.

    “This is a different style offensive line than he had at Alabama. He
    understands that. I think he knew that coming in that it was going to be
    a little bit different.

    “The good thing about Stout is that he allows his offensive linemen to
    use what works for them. Even though he tries to teach his technique and
    things, if you’re doing something that’s working, and he likes the way
    it works mechanically, he’ll let you do it.”

    Sounds like they’re keeping the zone techniques they used last year without the weird pass blocking techniques taught by Mudd. This makes sense, you don’t use the #4 pick on the perfect zone blocking OT to have him play like Fluker. What will get interesting is what they might do with the most athletic OL in the league.

  • GEagle

    Only the Philly media would make an issue about what Songs were being played…Gus Bradley is doing the same thing, and I don’t see them making much of a big deal about it…practice with loud sounds starting in May to get accustomed to the loud chaos of road games…what a crazy concept lol..

    maybe I’m crazy, but I’m much more interested in hearing how Benn looked, and Fletcher/Kenny where moving around on their knees…how much speed do they have left?..instead of hearing about how they were playing Van Halen…Anyone hear any reports about how JP was moving around?
    ….
    it’s really crazy to see how different things are. media members who were there were blown away about how it’s nothing like they had ever see..It’s such a drastic change from last year, yet all the changes are based on simple common sense and make sooo much sense…whenever something new comes along, drastically different from what you are used to, there is always some level of skepticism….It’s really weird to see such change, yet it’s change that is very tough to argue with….very weird

  • GEagle

    Donnie had the stronger leg? I remember reading tweets of someone really impressed with how Wing was “Booming Punts”

  • BreakinAnklez

    Mr Kapadia has a great write up, as usual