Camp Kelly Starts

Posted: July 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 51 Comments »

There won’t be hitting, but Training Camp gets going today with 89 players.

Yes, that means that RB Matthew Tucker and P Brad Wing passed their conditioning tests.  The Eagles didn’t move any veteran players to the NFI list so I think it is safe to assume all the veterans did pass the test.

The Eagles did make one move. They cut RB William Powell, saying that he failed his physical. I wonder if he truly failed or if they simply said that since Tucker passed his test and there was no longer a need for an extra RB. It isn’t a huge deal either way. Powell is out and the Eagles have an open roster spot to fill. Isn’t Terrell Owens still on the market?

* * * * *

Speaking of WRs, this is a big year for DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Mac is in the final year of his rookie deal and DJax has a contract that the Eagles can get out of after this season. Both players are playing for new deals. Can both guys stay in Philly? Will Kelly’s offense allow for a pair of star WRs?

Honestly, we don’t know the answer to that. Kelly didn’t have star WRs in college. However, he might need them in the NFL. In college Kelly could open up things for the run game by taking advantage of the wider hashmarks and by having his QB be a regular running threat. In the NFL, Kelly has a balanced field and won’t run the QB as much, whether it is Vick, Foles or Barkley. You don’t expose an NFL QB more than you have to.

Having speedy, talented receivers is a way to keep the defense worried and stretched out, both horizontally and vertically. That can create seams and holes for the run game to attack. Andy Reid didn’t do this often enough. Chip Kelly will.

I’m genuinely curious about Mac and DJax. These guys can thrive in this offense if they will fully buy in. That means blocking and working the middle of the field, things they haven’t always done. If the two of them fail to embrace blocking and try to take every catch to the sideline, they may not even be the starting WRs by the end of the year. Kelly is a running coach. He must have WRs who will positively affect the run game. It is up to Mac and DJax to show they’ll do that.

Zach Berman wrote a piece on Maclin and how he compares to Mike Williams, the Bucs WR who just got a new deal.

Jeff McLane wrote about Mac and DJax and how they’ll handle the 2013 season.

* * * * *

Speaking of the offense…TEs coach Ted Williams said yesterday that it will look a lot like what Oregon did.

I think the focus here is on the fact that the offense will operate from the shotgun, with a spread look. There will be lots of TEs involved and the offense will be based on the run game.

The big differences in the NFL will be the passing game and either the use or non-use of the read-option. Here is what Sheil Kapadia got Williams to say on that.

And what about the zone read? Will that be a part of the offense even if the quarterback is Nick Foles?

“We haven’t decided that particular part of it,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t say we haven’t run it, but we haven’t decided it. But it’ll look like Oregon to a degree based on what we do and how we want to do it and based on game-planning. How much of what we do depends on who we’re playing.”

The Eagles have taught the read-option in practice. It is part of the scheme. They will only use it if it is effective. The OL has to block well and then the QB/RB have to execute their part of it for the play to work. This isn’t simply a matter of QB mobility. The QB has to read the play, decided what to do (hand-off or keep the ball) and then execute that smoothly in about 1.5 seconds.

* * * * *

CB Cary Williams showed up at camp early. He took a pounding from fans and the media for picking out sconces this spring instead of being at the OTAs, but camp is serious business and it sounds like Williams is ready to go. He will be an important player for the Eagles this year. That secondary is going to need a leader. Patrick Chung could be one. Williams could be another.

* * * * *

PE.com won’t be streaming live coverage as they did last year. We’ll have to settle for a show at 3pm that wraps up what happened that day.

Stay tuned to Twitter for lots of details.

_


  • ztom6

    Maclin is a “star WR”? I’d say he falls more between “quietly productive” and “just a guy”.

    • Tom33

      I think that’s a bit harsh, although I wouldn’t call him a “star” either. His career #’s are as good as anybody from his class when you go through the list. However he doesn’t dictate coverage like Wallace, Nicks or even Britt. When you go through the WR’s taken in 2009, it’s amazing how almost all of them from that year have had a ton of health (or in the case of Britt, other) problems.

      • ztom6

        Evaluating players in the NFL isn’t really that much about numbers. As you said, Maclin doesn’t dictate coverage, rather he benefits from Jackson being there to attract deep safeties over to his side. Teams have been happy to let the Eagles try to beat them with Maclin and that’s just not something you’d say about a “star” WR.

        • Ark87

          Maclin see’s the the Jackson dynamic a little differently. Reid was very stubborn about going deep with Jackson. Basically Maclin wasn’t often the first read on pass plays.

          Before our offense completely went to crap last year. When Jackson is off the table (redzone) you see Maclin’s numbers go up.

          Or look at the game that Jackson got crushed by Dunta Robinson, Maclin had a career game.

          Definitely not a star, but i do think the backlash on Maclin being a first round pick has people under rating him.

          Also people pile it on a little high when it comes to his blocking, not only does that anger spill over into people’s opinions of his receiving skills, but it is a bit exaggerated. Nick Foles’ Sun Dial touchdown run doesn’t happen if Maclin doesn’t put his guy on the ground.

        • shah8

          This recalls the Peerless Price move Altanta made way back when. He had a great season opposite Erick Moulds in Buffalo, but when he came to Atlanta and had to be a real number one or two, with no other good receivers and a young QB, he totally stunk it up. Mac is probably not Peerless, but I do think he strongly benefits from “just a guy” coverage attention, even when djax was out.

  • John Gurney

    Not to split hairs but with Powell gone wouldn’t that mean there is an open spot… 89 players…

    • Gary

      Was thinking the same thing. Must be a move coming.

    • TommyLawlor

      How dare you make me look bad!

      You are correct. 89 guys in.

      • TommyLawlor

        Fixed it. Thanks for the catch, John.

  • JettMartinez

    I see this a lot, but it’s never fully explained. How do the wider hashmarks in college open things up for the offense? I assume there’s some rule I’m not aware of that dictates formation relative to the marks?

    • Anders

      Because the football is most of the time snapped at the hashmarks, Having wider hashmarks leave one side with much wider room.

      This means if you stack your WRs on the short side, the wide side is totally open with almost zero defenders.

      • JettMartinez

        Thanks! Tells you a lot about my powers of observation that I in 30 years of watching football, it never occurred to me to they were snapping from the hashes all the time.

        • Anders

          The hashmark they snap from depends on where the ball ended. They will snap from the middle of the field if you run up the gut (you see this when setting up a FG)

        • A Roy

          Back in the 60s the hash marks were the same for both college and pro. They narrowed the pro to not only balance the field, but make field goals straighter…although, come to think of it, I seem to recall them narrowing the goal posts, too.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    I keep thinking about Jackson’s speed. Under Reid, teams lined their safetys up so far allowing for that, they wouldn’t be much of a factor in the run game. If Kelly shows he still wants Jackson going deep, this means Jackson will take his DB and at least 1 safety out of any running play, leaving 8 blockers and the QB to block 9 players. If at lease one defender has to account for the QB, this leaves 8 blockers on 8 defenders, hypothetically leaving the RB free.
    Simple.but brilliant has been what I’ve seen from Kelly so far. I imagine his gameplans will be similar. And I imagine Jackson’s speed will be a big part of that.

    • T_S_O_P

      DJax has rare talent and has shown it. Was it ’09 where he equaled the NFL record for 60 yard + TD is a season, and the first to do it in the modern era?

      • Anders

        It was 50+ yards and no he wasnt the first to do it in the modern era as Hester tied it the year before but he mainly did it on PR and KR, where Jackson did it all, PR, run and pass.

  • T_S_O_P

    Football, like AR always said, is won in the trenches. I’m salivating over the OL play more than the WR play.

    I have a little less saliva for the DL, but I am interested to see how Cox goes this year and the rotational looks.

    • Iskar36

      That second paragraph is just inappropriate…

      • Tom33

        I can’t think of anything to say that rises to the intellectual level of PBR and Funyons, so I’ll just sit here and chuckle to myself.

      • JulzPE

        Sensational.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        lol i was thinking the same thing.

      • McNabbulousness

        what are we here, deadspin, lets show a little class. also +1, that was fucking hilarious

  • CampDracula

    I just read somewhere that only three teams- Seahawks, 49ers, & Redskins- ran more than they passed in 2013. Those three teams had nice seasons. Could it be that teams have targeted the pass so much that the run D has been neglected? Could the pendulum be swinging back the other way?

    • Ark87

      Wilson, Kaepernick& RG3. How far back the pendulum swings depends on how well the defenses adjusts to the read option this season.

      This is definitely an interesting trend to speculate on. You wonder if it’s easier to find a “good” passer with wheels than say, a Manning, Brees, Rodgers or Brady (the type of elite passers that power those 60/40 attacks to superbowls).

      I think the economics of finding a QB may dictate that the read option is here to stay.

      • CampDracula

        You’re right. There could be other reasons for that. I just have this funny feeling. After watching the Eagles these past few years and thinking about the way the league’s rules made it so tempting to pass, it’s like every team has focused on pass defense, not just the Eagles. Seems like a perfect time to run right at teams. Given the success of the Skins, Seahawks, and 49ers, maybe there’s something to that.

        • Ark87

          With the O-line we have, the stable of RB’s we’ve got, and the uncertainty at QB, oh yeah, if there ever was a year for the Eagles to be a run first offense, it’s this year. Agree 100% there.

          I love running the ball, but I do have some long term concerns with being a run-heavy team. In the last decade there were plenty of examples physical run-heavy teams that put up very nice regular season records every year and quickly got eliminated in the playoffs. Elite, intimidating teams. The exception being the Steelers in their Bettis/Parker days.

          Ofcourse those teams ran the ball because they were conservative on offense. Tommy believes that Chip is a more creative/aggressive type of runner, and that’s good enough for me. So maybe those trends won’t apply to us.

          • CampDracula

            Agreed. I’m not thinking a run-only, intimidating, 3 yards and a cloud of dust team. I’m just thinking a team that runs slightly more than it passes, taking advantage of the extreme overemphasis on passing that the league is moving in.

            Sounds like we’re on the same page. I’m super excited because there are some legitimate signs that this might actually work. Not saying it will. But it could.

  • T_S_O_P

    In other news, and as I have already bought up his name, Reid does not look good in red. Not his color. Guy needs the black or white alternate sporting apparel.

    • TommyLawlor

      Totally agree.

  • barneygoogle

    Wonder who will fill that last roster spot. Can Merrill Reese return punts? Is Reno Mahe available?

  • Dominik

    RE: Mike Freeman is a Jackass – Updated

    How long can the employer look at one employee and think: yeah, we got the right guy?

    • TommyLawlor

      You really do wonder.

      • Dominik

        I mean I get that emotions sometimes can lead to stupid statements, but you have to control yourself when you are a public figure.

      • Andy124

        When I saw the tweet I absolutely thought it was sarcasm and was laughing. After he claimed it was sarcasm, I still think it was sarcasm.
        But I don’t know anything about the guy, so if he has a history of saying incredibly stupid stuff like that, it would certainly color the interpretation.

        • Anders

          He got a long history of saying stupid stuff.

        • TheRogerPodacter

          this is why when you say something with intended sarcasm via text, and you want to make sure you don’t come across as an idiot when others don’t see your sarcasm, you should end your post with something to indicate that.
          commonly used is a “/s” at the end.

  • John Gurney

    I’m really going to miss the live coverage on pe.com, I hope they are just skipping it today and not for the whole camp.

    • TommyLawlor

      Nah, Kelly not as open as Big Red. Too bad.

      • Ark87

        Well….My late summer production at work is going to go WAY up from last year atleast :-D

        Dave’s always trying to get me fired

        • John Gurney

          I was thinking that too lol

      • Media Mike

        That isn’t a very fan friendly move at all Tommy. I think Kelly needs to be taken to task a bit for cutting down on the up close fan access to the team. No real camp, no live video; what next?

        • Anders

          Actually more people than ever has a chance to experience TC live so in one way they are improving the fan experience

          • Media Mike

            That in-stadium is far more controlled than the Widner / West Chester / Lehigh manner of viewing the team that many fans have grown accustomed to over the years. Folks simply cannot get as close to the action with the players in the Linc relative to what could be done on a college campus.

        • John Gurney

          I’ll give him a year or two before I get mad about it, I’m definitely disappointed but if it translates into wins then I couldn’t care less

          • Media Mike

            I don’t see it as a wins and losses issue. At 0-16 or 19-20, the fans are entitled to a certain level of access to their team. That level of access is what helps a lot of kids grow up as Eagles fans.

  • Anders

    Sounds like Jackson is really buying in to Kelly. This could be very big year for him.

    • Ark87

      I think/hope so too. He and the run game complement each other so perfectly. You simply can’t stop both if they live up to their potential.

  • Flyin

    Chip Kelly’s PC from today…

    Sal asks, “Have you figured out what they (the QBs) do well yet, Chip?”

    Chip responds…”Not really to be honest with you Sal. We’ve been out here in shorts and T-shirts, we haven’t had pads on, we haven’t done much. They don’t get hit. Tell me who is going to stand in the pocket against a full rush, I haven’t seen that yet.”

  • Ark87

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:9512281

    Sal…did you really watch the whole practice? Or are you trolling? Does his “Eureka” enthusiasm seem like the mask of a bitter/jilted maniac to anybody?

    • Flyin

      I am going to start a custom porcelain bowl painting business, featuring Sal Paolantonio’s face.