OTAs and Other Stuff

Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

I wasn’t at practice today. I’m basing my comments off what I saw on Eagles Live and what I read from the beat writers who shared some thoughts on Twitter. And I’ll make the obligatory warning that this was just guys running around in shorts. Okay, that stuff is out there so now let’s talk about the day.

We’ll start with the offense. Nick Foles was the first QB on the field for team activities and got more snaps with the 1′s than Mike Vick did. Vick had that role last week. I think this is a case of Chip Kelly mixing things up and putting guys in different situations. I don’t think this was a promotion for Foles. Matt Barkley got most of the #3 reps.

PEcom wasn’t able to show much of the QBs. They can show the players getting loose in the individual period, but not doing team stuff. You just can’t judge much off a couple of throws. Some said the QBs looked good. Some said they looked sloppy. It doesn’t sound like anyone stood out.

MISC

* New TE Will Shaw looks athletic. He cuts well and is a fluid athlete.  I can see why the Eagles were interested.

* One player that I’m very curious about is WR Damaris Johnson. He’s got the potential to be a very good fit as a slot receiver for Kelly. You could see just how quick and fluid he looked on one catch today.

* Ed Wang was the starting LT today, since Jason Peters missed a flight due to weather issues. In the regular season either Todd Herremans or Lane Johnson would man that spot.

* Johnson was the backup RT. This doesn’t concern me a bit. If we’re in the second week of Training Camp and Johnson is with the 2′s, that’s when I’ll get nervous.

* Nic Purcell remains the OL I’m most fascinated by. I’d love to know if they think he has LT potential. Or RT or OG or what. I don’t mean as a starter right away, but as a developmental project.

* LeSean McCoy left practice after tweaking his knee. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Any sentence with McCoy and knee does make you a bit nervous.

* * * * *

Now for the defense. Once again the starting LBs were Connor Barwin (LOLB) and Trent Cole (ROLB). The backups were Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt. Graham had one memorable coverage play. He tried to cover Jason Avant on a downfield pass play. Avant caught a 40-yard TD pass. The good news…Avant showed deep speed. The bad news…it was against a 265-pound LB. Joking aside, no pass rushing LB is expected to really cover WRs 40 yards downfield.

Fletcher Cox was absent due to flight problems. Clifton Geathers started at DE. I think he was at LDE with Ced Thornton at RDE. Geathers is a massive player that has some potential. It was odd how easily the Colts gave up on him, despite the fact he just played his best football for them. Will be fun to see if Geathers can play or not.

MISC

* SS Patrick Chung also had flight issues and was absent. Kurt Coleman started in his place.

* Antonio Dixon does look to be in better shape than last year or 2011. Good sign. You want him big and bulky as a NT, but last year he was too big and that hurt his play. Not getting NFL paychecks will get your attention.

* The ILB I’m most curious about is Jake Knott, the UDFA from Iowa State. There is no tackling, but I’d love to know if he’s showing good instincts or looks like a typical rookie and is highly erratic. Didn’t hear about or see Knott in action today.

* * * * *

Sheil Kapadia did a great job with his practice write-up.  One interesting blurb:

“A new look on defense, which we’ll write more about later this week: a 3-3-5. Geathers plays nose tackle, with Thornton and Cole on either side as defensive ends. DeMeco Ryans and Kendricks are the inside linebackers. Barwin and Brandon Graham rotate as outside linebackers, but are not on the field at the same time.”

Jim Johnson’s Okie package was a 3-3-5. The MLB was the Joker position. Bill Davis version will be different. With JJ, it was all about having a dynamic pass rusher at MLB to move around the field and blitz from anywhere. Sounds like Davis has his best rusher at OLB. I’m sure Davis will move that OLB around, but he’ll still be more likely to rush off the edge, or at least start from that point.

* * * * *

Michael Vick did an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic a few days ago.  Sheil Kapadia (doesn’t that McManus guy ever do anything?) wrote up a post on it.

Vick didn’t like people being so critical of him, especially in regard to reading defenses and holding onto the ball.

“I’m really tempted right now to just say no comment to that because like I said a second ago, you don’t last 12 years in the NFL not being able to read the defense,” Vick said. “Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football. Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”

Vick is both right and wrong, as is so often the case with players. Fans do tend to go to extremes. If the guy couldn’t read defenses, coaches would have given up on him a long time ago. That said, it isn’t something he does consistently well. Part of this is due to ingrained habits. Vick has always been a playmaking QB. That often meant holding the ball and waiting for plays to develop. Going from that to getting the ball out quickly and accurately is a major change. Vick has shown progress, but it still isn’t a strength for him and likely will never be.

I’m sure the Vick detractors will want to rip the guy, but do remember that both Eli Manning (2011) and Joe Flacco (2012) did offseason interviews where they came off as defensive in regard to how good they were. Their critics ripped them. Then those guys went out and won the Super Bowl. I’m not holding my breath on Vick winning the SB this year, but the point is that we just get too extreme with QBs. Vick isn’t nearly as good as his fans think and he’s not nearly as bad as his critics think either.

My advice to Vick would be simple. Throw TDs. Win games. Don’t throw INTs, take sacks, or fumble the ball. Fans will ease up on criticisms.

Speaking of fumbles…one thing that does give me some hope for Vick is that he seems to be listening to Chip Kelly. Vick has a bad habit of running with the ball in a very loose manner. It has led to some fumbles. Kelly got on him the other day and showed Vick how he wanted the ball carried. If Vick embraces Kelly and his ideas, it will help his cause. If Vick is reluctant to make changes, that will help Nick Foles bid to win the QB job.

_


  • zbone95

    What do you think of Jason Avant’s chances of making the roster? And do you know how much of the WR option routes will be incorporated into the offense? I like the idea but that can lead to a lot of ints and incompletions.

    • TommyLawlor

      If all the WRs stay healthy, I think Avant could have a tough time making the team. I just don’t see him as a good fit for Chip Kelly’s style of offense. We’ll see. Maybe I’m missing something.

      Option routes will be a major part of the offense. Whether they’re part of 30 percent, 50 percent, or 80 percent of pass plays…no idea. They won’t be something that happens a couple of times a game. They will be a regular part of the scheme.

      • DanJ3645

        would emphasizing option routes help Avant’s fight to earn a roster spot?

        It would seem that crisp route running and reading the defence correctly would be areas where Avant would show well.

        • GEagle

          Oooh. That’s a very nice point. Avant seems like a smart player, who you can count on to put in the work, necessary to consistently read the defense correctly, being on the same page with the QB which is absolutely crucial when using the high risk/high reward option routes…

          TOM, you brought up last week that Vick has no experience in using Oroutes, but that Foles has been asked to use them in college(to a degree)…How much of a role can option routes play in our QB battle?

      • EaglesHero87

        How much does Chip Kelly value Avant’s presence as both a team and locker room leader, despite his on-field limitations?

        • Neil

          It’s too early to tell. We’ll know for sure when final cuts come in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      I see a new coach who needs people to buy in. He drafted high character guys, and wants Avant on his team.

  • Iskar36

    I’d love to believe that Kelly is able to teach Vick how to better hold onto the ball but it seems to me, that is a very unlikely scenario. As frustrated as we got with AR by the end of his tenure, he was a fantastic coach and I just don’t know that I am willing to believe that AR (as well as all the previous coaches Vick has had) did not try to teach Vick the proper way to hold onto the ball. It’s one thing to get it in practice while you are thinking about it, it’s completely another to do it in a game while you are playing. To me, this is very much the same as the learning how to slide talk from previous years. I just don’t believe it is something that will significantly change.

    There is no question that CK should try to work with Vick on those techniques, and I don’t mind Vick believing he can do those things better. I just don’t believe it until he shows me he can hold on to the ball properly in a real game.

    • TommyLawlor

      Part of the point here is that Vick might be willing to listen to Kelly since Vick is just here on a 1-year deal. There is a sense of desperation that might not have been here in the past.

      When Vick and Reid were first together in 2009, Reid had to focus on making him a passer. Worrying about carrying the ball was on the back burner. That or Reid didn’t hold Vick accountable, which is possible.

      • Iskar36

        I’m certainly not saying it is beyond the realm of possibilities, but I think going into last season with AR clearly on the hot seat and Vick already being talked about like he is on the verge of getting cut if he doesn’t play well, Vick was already playing on what a lot of people assumed could be effectively a 1 year deal. On top of that, turnovers were a big part of the focus going into last season as well, so it isn’t like this is surprising to Vick. I’m sure AR tried to work with Vick on limiting the turnovers and holding on to the ball better.

        Ck may have new ideas and new ways of teaching Vick how to hold on to the ball, but until he proves it on the field, in a game, there is no chance I believe him with any sort of confidence. I’d love for Vick to prove me wrong, but I think chances are more likely that he will not be significantly improved in his ball carrying than that he will be.

        • EaglesHero87

          I agree, man. Like you, I can only hope that CK’s teaching style stays in Vick’s brain in terms of learning how to better hold/secure the football. Until game day, I’ll give Vick the benefit of the doubt that he so rightfully claims to have better held onto the football.

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      Yeah, I agree. And to me, those comments make Vick sound like a guy who wants very, very much for people, Chip especially I suppose, to think he is coachable and still malleable as player. Almost. . .desperate, if you will. Like when you hang out with a girl and she repeatedly says how much fun you’re both having and isn’t this just great? Of course, he’s smart enough to know that he’s closer to the end than the beginning so in a way he really is desperate. Or at least should be. I’d just rather see it in his play than hear it in his statements.

      I’m not going to say Vick can’t learn new techniques and whatnot because, objectively speaking, of course he can (There is a joke in there about old dogs and new tricks and Vick’s past but I’m going to take the high road and not make it. Although pointing it out is essentially like making the joke anyways. But it’s late and I’m feeling lazy so. . .whatever.). I’d just guess that after 10 years it is pretty unlikely that one 30 second interaction with Chip is suddenly going to flip a switch that Mike’s been unable to flip until now.

      • GEagle

        I hope to see a young player surprise us, take that next step in his development and wipe the floor with Vick during the TC QB Battle, because having a young QB emerge is what’s best for this franchise going forward. with that said, If Vick wins the job, I will root for him, and support him like a madman, just like I would for anyone wearing the midnight green!…
        But, It’s very tough to listen to Vick talk. he is a walking contradiction:
        1) You get pissed off that people think you struggle reading defenses, but just 3 years ago you admitted to never putting in the work in the film room, which is very important for learning to read coverages fast and accurately, so that you can act on it fast enough to make a play.

        2) You say you love Andy, he was a great coach and that you don’t want to throw anyone under the bus…but then you tell the world that you finally found a coach, after 12 years that has taught you the correct way to hold the friggin ball? Really? Lol…Look, I’m all for every single eagle improving his game as much as possible…but if something so basic and simple is actually true, please keep it to yourself lol.

        3)Does he not realize that every single year he talks like this, and goes on to do boneheaded shit comparable to joe Webb’s disaster, first every playoff game for the Vikings? last Offseason, after 11 years, he finally learned the complicated concepts with learning how to slide(allegedly), yet he never slid in a game, continued to just take senseless hits..Now he tells us that he finally, after all this time knows how to hold the ball, and gets mad if we aren’t just thrilled to hear it?..

        I want to root for Vick, I want to believe that this year he might actually achieve, the ever so elusive lol, QBR of 80( for his season average)…it’s scary when you are only hoping for an 80 QBR average out of your veteran leader with over a decade of starting NFL experience, especially when he has the element of surprise on his side this year in that NO opponent will just shout out the plays we are running all game long..I think it’s insane to look at the firepower of this offense, yet find myself desperately hoping for a petty QBR of 80…Here’s hoping that Vick either proves me wrong or that a young QB emerges and grabs a stranglehold on the franchise QB position

        • atb124

          Maybe it’s just me, but when I see ‘QBR’ in all caps, I think of espn’s ‘Total QBR’ stat they came out with a fiew years ago. You’re clearly referring to the qb rating, which of course has the same initials. There’s got to be a good way, besides relying on context, to differentiate. I typically just spell out qb rating when that’s what I’m talking about, and QBR when that’s what I’m talking about.

          • GEagle

            sorry for the confusion. Will be clearer next time

      • HipDaDip

        I think this picture supposedly from Vick’s twitter perfectly supports your first point. Vick really wants us to know how much fun they’re both having. Isn’t it just great?! http://imgur.com/tBQHFMo

  • GEagle

    I had a great convo with Baldi the other day, actually it was rather one sided because I kind of stumped him into basically just repeating what I said…

    this is what I said to him(would love to get some feedback from smarter people then me, since Baldi couldn’t bring it!):

    I know Foles and Barkley probably cant run IZR/OZR out of single back formation..But could you create that split second of doubt in a player that you are zone reading(with a immobile QB), just by going with a 2back set? not knowing If Bryce has it, or if it’s going to shady, provides the same split second of doubt that the traditional ZRs are designed to create…
    ….
    Baldi responded by saying “Yes, in theory what you are saying is true, but going with the two back set would invite 8 defenders in the both”..
    ….
    And I said, THAT’S THE POINT!! The Genius of chip Kelly is not ZR offense. It getting the DC to completely sell it, and try to stop what you are doing. CHIP wants to create numbers advantage. I think Chip would love to force 8defenders in the box to stop a 2back ZR set(or a 3back pistol type). As soon as that DC sells out and puts 8men in the box, that’s when cHip dials up a double play action pass, and take a shot at that big play, his offense is designed to eventually create…

    At that point Baldi had no answer lol…..

    Would love to get feedback on this….

    • atb124

      It’s not so much about forcing 8 men in to the box as it is about taking advantage of all 11 players on offense. With the single back ZR, the backside DE has to stay home to account for the QB. So basically, you’ve got a running back with the ball, and 10 guys on offense blocking.
      With a 2-back ZR, the DE is still staying home backside to account for the 2nd back, but now your QB is doing nothing. The defense has one less player to account for, the offense has one less player to block with.

      • GEagle

        Thanks man…I suggest for fans interested in this sort of debate, to go back and watch the Niners thrashing of Greenbay in the playoffs. watch the first two drives, up until the point where Kapernick ran in the first touch down to tie the game at 7(threw a pick 6 the previous drive to start the game)…It shows what I think you can do, without a threat of a mobile QB because A) GB got molested that game because they chose to not account for Kapernicks running B) They were running plays up until that point that weren’t built around the threat for KAp to run….and it’s the perfect game to watch because GB didn’t account for the mobile QB for the most part. So when KAp didn’t run the ball, you get to see how ZR’s and pistol formations look without a mobile QB(since the defense chose to ignore it anyway)

    • holeplug

      Oregon ran zone stuff with 2 RBs in the backfield. I remember thomas had like an 80 TD run in the rose bowl a couple years back off of a 2 back look.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj7fY5fjluU

    • Telmert

      I don’t know that those guys can’t run IZR/OZR – they definitely can’t run it as well as Vick or Dixon, but they can run it. If the DE sells out and they keep the ball, they’re essentially on a rollout with run or pass options, and both are good throwers on the run. They’re also both athletic enough to run for 5 yards (obviously neither is going to break one off for a 40 yard run). Both Ryan Day and Ricky Santos have talked about running the zone read for Chip while not being very mobile. Santos told Donnellon that he ran about a 4.80 40 at NH. I think Barkley’s in that same neighborhood.

      I would love to see film of New Hampshire with Santos – that would really show us what the offense will look like if Foles or Barkley is running it.

      I’m guessing that Foles wins the job, at least at the outset. If that happens, Vick gets cut or traded. Barkley becomes the #2 and Dixon is #3. I actually think Kinne gets a spot on the PS – I think Chip will want a 4th guy.

      • GEagle

        Yes, I agree.. not trying to say those guys cant runthe ZR’s…they just arent the ideal ZR QBs…I also see Foles winning this job…Vick IS NOT GOOD! If QBs are going to make mistakes, it better come from a young player and not a decade long veteran…I also think we keep Kinne around…You make a great point, ZR QBs dont have to run for 40yards like we saw at Oregon…but like you said, if the DE doesnt honor it, the QB will have to pick up 5 yards whicg is something every QB on our roster is capable of…
        Thanks foe the Vid holeplug…obvioulsy in a perfect world chip would like a QB that can move, even in a 2back set….But I do think we can accompliush what we need to accomplish with a 2back set and an immobile QB, to make our offense work…few months and we all find out!

  • bdbd20

    “My advice to Vick would be simple. Throw TDs. Win games. Don’t throw INTs, take sacks, or fumble the ball”

    Ahh, the Mr Burns school of coaching. Excellent.

  • SleepingDuck

    Off Topic

    I think we now know why Poyer dropped to the 7th round (via Tony Pauline) “So why did he fall into the last frame? I was told immediately after the draft “off the field” issues dropped Poyer’s stock two full rounds.”

    • RC5000

      Sorry man, that is not new.

      • SleepingDuck

        I think it is. The only reported off the field incident was him refusing to leave a bar. I think this shows that there were more off the field issues besides the bar one.

        • TommyLawlor

          Interesting.

  • EaglesHero87

    At this point, we all know DeSean and Maclin are the starting WR1 and WR2. As Tommy and many other sources have noted, we also know that Chip Kelly wants players to earn their spot in the depth chart. But since we’re so stacked at the TE position, are we going to expect more plays with 2- or even 3-TE sets?

    If Chip plans on making the run game a focal part of the offense, we know he absolutely wants his WRs and even his TEs to block. Even if both DeSean and Maclin put in their efforts to block, but cannot block effectively, could there be a slight possibility that Chip Kelly could substitute those WRs with the more athletic TEs like Ertz or even the bigger WRs like Benn at the wideout position?

    I really, really hope the injury’s nothing serious for Shady. He’s arguably our only offensive playmaker.

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

    Random: Just had dinner with my family at C-Fu Gourmet, our favorite Chinese restaurant in Phoenix, AZ . I have been going there over 10 years. The last time I was there, I was wearing my Eagles sweatshirt, and the owner pointed to it and said, “You like those Eagles, huh? I messed up my back pretty bad playing for those guys!” or something like that. Today we briefly chatted and said that he was in camp with Papale. His name is Ron Lou. According to Pro-Footbal Reference, he was a center. If you want to take a look, he has an entry on the C-Fu Facebook page, but you have to scroll down quite a bit. https://www.facebook.com/CfuGourmet

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