Eagles fans haven’t been happy with the team’s run defense for a long time. Even going back to the Jim Johnson era, fans didn’t like the small players the Eagles had and some of the struggles the team had in shutting down the run consistently.
One thing I didn’t touch on was the play of the CBs. There is no question that Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams will be better run defenders than DRC and Nnamdi Asomugha. That said, CBs are rarely true difference makers in the run game unless you have someone like Antoine Winfield. The new CBs will certainly help, but the run D will be better more because of the new scheme and emphasis on bigger front seven players.
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Bucky Brooks put out a good piece for NFL.com on the Eagles QB situation. He chose to write about how the offense would look if Mike Vick, Nick Foles, or Matt Barkley won the job.
I think Brooks made pretty good evaluations of the players and how they would fit in, but he did miss on some points.
In regard to Vick, Brooks focused on accuracy as an issue. That certainly is true. I think there are two other key points to focus on: mechanics and decision-making. One of the reasons that Vick isn’t consistently accurate is that me is erratic mechanically. Whether we talk about a pitcher, golfer or QB, consistent mechanics are going to lead to consistent results. Vick should have solved this issue years ago, but he wasn’t a student of the game as a Falcon and bad habits are hard to get rid of in your 30’s. He did make a lot of progress under Andy Reid. We’ll see what kind of effect Chip Kelly, Pat Shurmur and Bill Lazor have on him.
Decision-making is the biggest problem for Vick. Part of this is that he tends to be a reactionary QB. Vick wants to see an open guy, then throw it to the receiver. Good QBs anticipate. They know the routes on a play and throw it to a spot rather than waiting to see the receiver come open. This does lead to some mistakes, but also prevents the defense from reacting. How can they react to something that hasn’t happened yet? Compare that to plays where a receiver has come open. The defense sees Vick lock in on the player with his eyes. The defense then attacks the ball/receiver.
Think of this in basketball terms. How often did Magic Johnson or Jason Kidd throw a pass where you went “How did he see that guy?” Great court vision. Unbelievable anticipation. They were a step ahead. They saw what was going to happen, not just what was happening. You want a QB to have that same type of ability. He needs to read the defense and throw the ball to the right spot, often before the receiver has made his break or is clearly wide open. Field vision. Anticipation.
Brooks was a bit generous with Foles.
Foles’ superior arm strength, velocity and zip are a byproduct not of pure arm talent but of his solid mechanics.
I like Nick, but I’m not sure Bucky Brooks and I were watching the same player. I think Foles has a solid arm, but I sure would not describe it as “superior”. There wasn’t one throw last year where I said “Whoa…is that Favre out there or Nick Foles?”
I do think he’ll throw the ball better in the future. I think Foles will be more confident and will have improved mechanics. Also, his body will physically mature and he’ll have great strength training in the NFL. I just don’t ever see him having a “superior” arm.
Barkley gets minimal discussion since so little is known about him. This is all projection with him. I do think Brooks was a bit flippant with this sentence.
Barkley enters the NFL fully prepared to direct an offense from the line of scrimmage.
No college QB is fully prepared for the NFL. I’m sure Brooks is just saying that Barkley is as prepared as possible, due to the fact he was a 4-year starter and played in a pro style system. There is no question that Matt is more advanced than any rookie QB the Eagles have ever had. I think you could say he is one of the more advanced rookie QBs to ever enter the NFL.
Still, the Pac-12 isn’t the NFL. Barkley has a lot of learning left to do. He’s barely scratched the surface of what he’ll know about QB play when his career is all said and done.
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Thanks for all the great birthday wishes. You guys are the best.