DE Looking Good?

Posted: June 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 61 Comments »

The Eagles tried to sign Ricky Jean-Francois to a free agent deal back in March. He and the team weren’t close in terms of money so RJF headed off to Indy and they did give him a big deal. As it turns out, the Eagles might be just fine without him.

Cedric Thornton is the projected starter at the 5-tech DE spot (usually LDE). Thornton is up to 310 pounds. He was down at about 285 back in the summer of 2011, but the Eagles have been bulking him up ever since. Thornton has an excellent frame and the Eagles knew he would need more bulk/strength to play the run, no matter what the scheme.

Vinny Curry, based on what we’ve heard, has spent most of his time as a 5-tech DE. He is 6-3, 280. He lacks the bulk to be an ideal 2-gap DE, but has better athleticism and pass rush ability than the other 5-techs.

The flavor of the week is Clifton Geathers, the massive 6-8, 340 DL that the Eagles acquired in a trade for Stanley Havili. Geathers can’t show off his strength in the non-contact practices, but his size is impossible to miss. There is a scouting phrase that the player “looks the part”. Boy, Geathers is tailor made for 5-tech DE on a Chip Kelly team. It is so ironic that he could be the #3 LDE this year when Phillip Hunt (6-0, 260) had that spot last year. In the Andy Reid world, Geathers would not have been part of the D-line, he would have been the whole D-line.

As much as I want to rave about Geathers and his potential…know this. Hunt has been a better NFL player so far. The average Eagles fan would tell you Hunt is a nobody. Yet, he’s totally outplayed Geathers. Sometimes the love of size can be fool’s gold. Geathers has to prove that he can play. At this point…I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but can’t say with any sense of confidence that the big guy will pan out for us.

Chip Kelly did say good things about him yesterday, but let’s be careful here. Chip was asked about Geathers and then gave a positive answer. It wasn’t like Chip ran to the media to shout out the greatness of Clifton Geathers. And Chip isn’t the type of guy (based on what we know so far) to rip his players publicly. He’s going to put a positive spin on things.

I could see where a Giants/Cowboys/Skins fan would look at the trio of Thornton, Curry and Geathers and say “How the heck are you guys confident in that bunch as your 5-tech DEs?” Right now, we’re optimistic based on potential, not production. That potential is real. We have to wait and see if it comes to fruition.

I do think it is good that we have 3 players competing for a spot. Thornton is the favorite to win the job, but the other guys can make a push. Curry has the most raw ability of the group. Geathers’ size is tempting. The primary job of the 5-tech in the 4-3 Under is to set the edge and force the run inside. That sounds like something Geathers could do very well. In 3-4 looks, the DE has to control 2 gaps. Curry has the most 2-gap experience of the trio. All 3 are tough guys that will play the run and mix it up. The other possibility here is that DL coach Jerry Azzinaro will platoon them and turn them into one good player by using them situationally and trying to keep them as fresh as possible.

DE could remain a question mark, but there is a real possibility that it could be a strength.

For more on Geathers and Thornton, check out Les Bowen’s article from this morning. Good stuff.

Here is a piece that Zach Berman did last week on Vinny Curry. I do love Curry’s attitude.

* * * * *

We recently talked about Chip Kelly and his love of science. Grantland recently ran a piece, touching on the subject.  The article is titled “How Australian Sports Science is Changing America”.

(James) Hanisch knows a thing or two about excellent facilities. He left the AFL team after Chip Kelly recruited him to help with the football program at the University of Oregon. Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles, but Hanisch stayed and now runs the school’s sports science program. He is one of the first wave of Aussies to move to the U.S. to work in the discipline, and he believes more will follow as their services are increasingly in demand.

We all know how international Eagles fans are so naturally an Australian Eagles fan wrote a piece for BGN, offering his two cents on the subject. Give this a read.

We don’t know how many of those ideas Chip specifically uses. It is interesting that Australia is the bastion of athletic performance science. I never would have guessed. That nation is known more for pubs and saltwater crocs than anything else.

This goes to show that when Chip does talk about science, I do believe he’s got real research to back up his ideas. The research may be cutting edge and still not universally accepted, but there is something there. And the other key point to me is that Chip isn’t trying to come up with his own ideas. He is stealing from others. The ideas are just new to football, so we look at Chip with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism.

I can’t wait til the season is over and we can look back at the results and try to figure out how much some of the ideas worked.

My idea for 2014…PBR smoothies.


61 Comments on “DE Looking Good?”

  1. 1 GEagle said at 3:00 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    If our 5tec ends up being a strength, we could potentially have a Nasty front 7 on our hands

    Thursdays practice tweet Recap:
    G. Cobb just tweeted:
    1) Foles running the option and pitching the ball to Damaris Johnson who came across in backfield on a motion.
    2) Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for 60 yd TD(which I hear involved very few YAC) with Spanish jam on in the background . DJax beat Brad Fletcher
    3) Damaris Johnson is catching alot of passes
    Les Bowen:
    1) I try not to draw conclusions from spring work, but Nick Foles has been strong today. Vick’s been pretty good. Barkley fightin it a little.
    2) Vick just tried to throw thru “flyswatter” again. Still the only QB who’s done that. And the shortest of the 5

    Geoff Mosher:
    1) (Regarding Wolff getting reps with the 1’s in both the base defense and Nickle) Chip can say what he wants about reading into reps, and I get it. But I don’t see Colt Anderson or Dave Sims getting occasional 1st D reps.
    2) Trent Cole now getting some d-end reps with Geathers at nose and Cox at the other end. Nothing new, though. All guys are moving around.
    Jeff McLane:
    1) Jason Peters and Trent Cole with a little extra pushing after the whistle. Quickly broken up.
    2) Nick Foles has been the most accurate of the QBs during the open spring practices that I’ve attended.

    Derrick Gunn:
    1) Foles threw picks on back to back passes. Boykins and Williams drop them. Then he throws Td to Celek
    Hopefully today will be the day that our Sport science coordinator is finally made available to the media

  2. 2 GEagle said at 5:08 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Im trying to keep Tally of who the media members thought had a sharper offseason thus far(I will update as I get new info)
    Camp Foles:

    Camp Vick:

  3. 3 Iskar36 said at 5:41 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Add Jordan Ranaan as someone who believes Foles outperformed Vick thus far:

    Jordan Raanan

    Nick Foles shines in final offseason practice. And in my estimation, outplayed Michael Vick this offseason.

    Of course, it is very important to keep in mind during all of this that it is still extremely early and they are not dealing with a true pass rush just yet, so there is little point in making to much of any of this so far. The one thing I will say though, I have been very happy to read a few people point out Foles connecting on some deep balls. Sounds like at the very least it is something he has worked on improving.

  4. 4 Anders said at 5:43 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    The funny thing with Raanan’s report is that right after he noted that Foles threw two should have been interceptions, that he was impressed that Foles hadnt thrown any interceptions while he have been watching.


  5. 5 Iskar36 said at 5:49 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Yea, that part of the article was very poorly written. And I think I remember reading others saying Foles had thrown an INT or two at some other points throughout the mini-camp/OTAs, so like I said, I’m not ready to put Foles ahead of Vick by any means yet. I just think it is interesting to see what people are thinking in terms of Vick vs. Foles who actually are watching them play rather than the national media who talks in generalities with seemingly little understanding of the Eagles’ offense and who Foles is.

  6. 6 Anders said at 5:53 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    My problem with a quite few of the Eagles writers is that it is clear that they got a bias towards Foles, so anything positive he does is magnified while everything bad Vick does is magnified. I do think Foles is in front in the QB race bc it sounds like Vick is still too slow in his decision making.

  7. 7 GEagle said at 5:58 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Foles Bias? 99% of the idiot media had him traded away in febuary to the point where people were emphatically stating that there is no way Foles could ever play for chip kelly..then again, if a pendelum can swing that drastically in so little time, it would be in Philly…I never got an impression of a Foles Bias, I actually thought the media had been selling him short and was in for a surprise. curious to see what other posters say about it there impressions of media bias

  8. 8 Anders said at 6:12 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    quite alot of people thought Vick should have been cut and hate the fact that he is still here.

  9. 9 GEagle said at 6:17 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    agreed, but then I feel like when vick got re-signed, thats when it was the ” See,told you so, Chip needs to have a mobile QB”.. and thats when I got the impression that Vick Bias creeped in..Ultimately what we, and the media think has no bearing on the QB battle, its just interesting to pay attention to how this team is covered

  10. 10 jshort said at 7:02 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    At least he’s not getting his balls snached up by the butterfly wings.

  11. 11 GEagle said at 5:49 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    thanks guys…let me know whenever you come across something, and I will add it

  12. 12 Ark87 said at 5:50 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Regarding the front 7:

    The potential is there, but there are still so many players who haven’t done what we are asking them to do in an NFL game, going to be interesting. Hoping most will pleasantly surprise, but I’m sure some will fall flat.

    I’m actually liking Curry in this system as depth/ role player. He looks like he could be a solid back-up at the 5-tech, but for my money I think he’d be better suited for the 3 tech. I think he offers the versatility that coaches like in a back-up. These types dress on game day. He will also be quite valuable in the 4-man front nickle package, as a pass rushing DT.

    While it might be disappointing for a 2nd round player to project as a role player for the foreseeable future, I think Curry could be quite valuable to this team this year, and his stock should rise over time. (I say this in sharp contrast to my great concern earlier in the off-season).

  13. 13 jshort said at 6:53 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    About half way through the Clifton Geathers article, I noticed a link to another article – Sperm: the latest super food. On a day with the talk about the Aussie sport science, that scientific story, and the thought of what could be in the specially formulated smoothies, has me GOL (the G is for gagging). I don’t know if anyone noticed that, but I’m actually queasy linking all that in my mind. I really do not want to think about sport science for the present. My hope is they are using PBR.

  14. 14 TommyLawlor said at 7:06 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    That is very weird. Was the link here or on

  15. 15 jshort said at 7:08 PM on June 6th, 2013: half way down the Geathers article…on the right

  16. 16 GEagle said at 7:21 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I saw it,…Sperm is apparently the new superfood. Stick with pudding n PBR

  17. 17 jshort said at 7:39 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Anyone notice any mustangs around the Novacare complex 🙂

  18. 18 Flyin said at 9:00 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    You have given me the idea for my smoothie concoction… for the cheerleaders.

  19. 19 GEagle said at 9:26 PM on June 6th, 2013:


  20. 20 awful waffle said at 3:15 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I don’t think I’ve heard Joe Kruger’s name once since OTA’s started. He’s another guy with tons of potential.

  21. 21 Geagle said at 3:25 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Krugs Batted a pass down yesterday.
    Tom, the only thing that Chip said yesterday about Clifton that opened my eyes a little was talking about his positional versatility, having the ability to fill in at a few spots on the line. Lets hope the kid consistently doesnt allow Olinemen to get underneath his pads, getting leverage on him, and that his Violence level is as close to Criminal as possible

    Even just pushing an Olineman back a step or two, anchore down, and get that wingspan up in the sky would be valuable to us. Men THAT size, with that type of wingspan, typically dont play on the Defense. What an addition this would be if he can play the game to atleast make an impact as a rotation guy.

    Whoa! PBR smoothies? could be a game changer!!!

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 3:36 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Geathers will definitely help his cause if he can play some NT. We need to see if his size works in there.

  23. 23 Geagle said at 3:49 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Yes Indeed..
    Any idea why Kendricks will be making the playcalls instead of Demeco? Seems very odd to me

  24. 24 Flyin said at 4:06 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I was surprised to hear Kendricks say that, however, his answer to his responsibilities and what it takes was impressive.

    Overall, I think it is a great move. Kendricks is young, will learn to know the defense inside and out, as well as develop as a leader for years to come.

    This will give the Eagles two guys that can run the D.

  25. 25 Geagle said at 4:11 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I friggin Love that kid

  26. 26 Flyin said at 4:40 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Trade Vick for Dumpster…now! Oh wait, how would Garbage Can feel about splitting reps with Dumpster?

  27. 27 D3FB said at 4:46 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Dumpster is definitely more sturdy than Garbage Can. I don’t know how either one will do with the up tempo pace considering all the garbage they are filled with. They need to drink more smoothies.

  28. 28 GEagle said at 5:03 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Dumpster was acting Kind of Trashy recently. Have some Damn Class, if you want to represent the Philadelphia Eagles for crying out loud

  29. 29 Flyin said at 5:07 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Dumpster could be faster than some people think, he could really have some wheels.

  30. 30 A_T_G said at 6:08 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Dumpster wouldn’t be direct competition for Can, their skills are complementary. Can is better at being in the right spot and funneling things to Dumpster. Dumpster can really clean up with a few good Cans to send things his way. They almost seem designed to be paired up. Let us hope the FO gets this done.

  31. 31 TommyLawlor said at 3:30 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Kruger has lots of potential, but haven’t read much about him.

  32. 32 T_S_O_P said at 3:46 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I remember the Aussies getting serious about Sport. You wanna know who was the first nation to beat the USA swimming team in the men’s 4×100 for like a gazillion years? In cricket, they went from sitting in a pub with the opposition betting against themselves from an unlosable position thanks mainly to Ian Botham for both getting them drunk and then single handedly beating them, to the best team on the planet my a country mile. Even their soap actors went global, though I don’t know if sports science help Russell Crowe.

    Here in Blighty we have been doing our damnedest to catch up, and not doing too bad at it either. Our success in cycling (as has been mentioned in here before) has had the French questioned whether our wheels were rounder than everyone elses! Nothing so bizarre or strange, our success is grounded in great coaching and sports science.

  33. 33 TommyLawlor said at 4:31 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Answer the question…are your wheels rounder???

  34. 34 T_S_O_P said at 4:38 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    No, we just made the French wheels squarer!

  35. 35 Sifter said at 6:12 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    As an Aussie sports lover, I will confirm we are very serious about sport…eg. Not finishing in the top 5 at the last Olympics was seen as a pretty major failure for us, and particularly the swimming team got hammered for their lack of production ie. only 10 medals in swimming? rubbish! apparently we needed 15-20 to feel good about ourselves… Australia spends more on their Olympic athletes, per capita, than any other nation, so it’s no surprise that a lot of sciency type stuff is coming out. Because I guess the other option is buying PEDs for them all…

  36. 36 Daz said at 7:31 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I’m an Aussie PE teacher and am a bit shocked that this ‘sciencey stuff’ is only just catching on over there! I’ve just finished a unit with some of my senior students (17 years old) on sports science – nutrition, adaptions to exercise, training principles/programs and biomechanics… and the kids knew a lot of it (from our sports media) before I had a chance to teach it to them!

    Since the creation of the AIS (Aus Institute of Sport) after our Munich Olympics shame, sports science has become a pretty mainstream thing over here. I was under the impression that this approach is how we’d been able to do so (relative to our population size) well at the last few Olympics – and I thought with how rubbish we went at the London Olympics that the rest of the world had caught up to us a bit?? (that or we were too doped up on stilnox and red-bull – oh the shame)

    It’s great that Chip is embracing these concepts – they’ve worked exceptionally well in our professional leagues here!

  37. 37 PK_NZ said at 9:15 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Russell Crowe is from New Zealand by the way… bloody Aussies trying to claim him though…

  38. 38 Flyin said at 4:14 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    It’s good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read these two lines…otherwise, I’d be using a wet/dry vac, trying to resuscitate my computer.

    “In the Andy Reid world, Geathers would not have been part of the D-line, he would have been the whole D-line.”

    “My idea for 2014…PBR smoothies.”

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 4:32 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    I do what I can to entertain.

  40. 40 Flyin said at 4:34 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    You do a damn good job of it!

  41. 41 Dan said at 4:28 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    PBR smoothies … now that’s science

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 4:32 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    And I’m just the man to make them.

  43. 43 Alex Karklins said at 4:55 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    Aren’t PBRs already smooth enough? You’re playing with fire, Lawlor.

  44. 44 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:07 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    i can see it now….

    * huge explosion *
    Tommy: WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE?!??!!?!?!

  45. 45 Flyin said at 5:52 PM on June 6th, 2013:

  46. 46 TommyLawlor said at 7:07 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    My heroes!!!

  47. 47 micksick said at 9:08 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    kangaroos and sport science… goes hand and foot together

  48. 48 Flyin said at 9:15 PM on June 6th, 2013:

    the carpals tarsals connection.

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  50. 50 Mike Flick said at 7:20 AM on June 7th, 2013:

    So we switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Our D-line goes from 4 guys to 3. But the weight of Clifton – Sopaga – Dixon is about the same amount of mass as the 4 d-linemen from last year.

    Clifton – Sopaga – Dixon weigh in at 995 lbs
    Last year in our deep rotation, we could have had:
    Cole – Landri – Curry – Graham which weigh in at 1071.

    There definitely is a lot more size on this team..

  51. 51 Finlay Jones said at 7:24 AM on June 7th, 2013:

    Australia are traditionally fierce sporting competitors Tommy, I guess just not in sports popular in America. They have a reputation to be Indefatigable, ruthless, fiery and determined.
    It’s warm all the time- outdoor sport a huge part of Ozzy culture, childhood and education

  52. 52 Miami_Adam said at 8:44 AM on June 7th, 2013:

    Tommy… I know you’re just a meager football guy, but how do you go from one post saying how you can’t make a living in Philly then in the next throw out a million dollar idea like PBR smoothies? Set up a cart at 9th/Passyunk.

  53. 53 ojdiddoit said at 5:03 PM on June 7th, 2013:

    Hunt outplaying Geathers so far?so what..neither are much to write home about..check back in two or three years when 2/3rds of this roster is gone and Chip Kelly has his own kind of players on it,until then expect mistake filled games,interspersed with some high scoring entertainment

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