Many of you are worried about the Wall Street Journal article involving Chip Kelly and how quickly NFL officials will let him run plays. I don’t see this as a big deal. Chip knows the NFL is not the Pac-12. He is smart enough to know he’ll have to adjust to the logistics of NFL officiating.
My good buddy Jimmy Bama wrote about this. He used the 2012 Patriots as an example of how the Eagles can run an up-tempo offense in the NFL and get the ball snapped pretty quickly. Jimmy also has the link to the WSJ piece for those who haven’t read it.
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Derek put up a new post at Iggles Blog. He shows some zone read plays from last year and compares them to Oregon plays. Great stuff, as you’d expect from Derek (the Eagles own version of JD Salinger).
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Now we come to the Jordan Raanan section of the show. Here are the QB stats that he’s tallied so far.
Cumulative totals from 4 practices: Vick 135 snaps, 74 1st team, 66-of-88, 2 TD, INT; Foles 134 snaps, 74 1st team, 69-of-87, 2 TD #Eagles
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) July 30, 2013
Pretty even battle, huh? The preseason games will be a huge part of figuring out who the starting QB should be.
Jordan also wrote a good piece on Matt Barkley. He followed him around for an entire practice and took all kinds of notes.
1:04 pm - Barkley starts strong. He hits Jason Avant on a perfectly-timed out pattern for about 10 yards. He then looks off the wideout and nails tight end Will Shaw down the middle for a big play. Both passes hit the receivers in the hands.
1:06 pm – Second time up. Barkley slips a pass between two defenders to Clay Harbor. He then hits LeSean McCoy in stride in the flat.
1:08 pm - Third and final time up in this drill. Running Chris Polk is well covered. So Barkley puts the ball low and away in a perfect spot. Polk makes the catch on the ground. It was the only spot where the ball could be completed. On his last play of the drill, Barkley hits Emil Igwenagu down the middle. The Eagles were keeping a cumulative offense vs. defense score on the drill. Barkley earned points for the offense on all six of his reps.
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The Eagles put Jeremy Maclin on IR and re-signed WR Nick Miller. Nick knows the offense and will serve as a good camp body.
Losing Mac hurts, but it is encouraging that Russell Shepard, Damaris Johnson and Greg Salas are all having good camps. Johnson is fighting for playing time. The other two are fighting for roster spots.
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One national writer noted that the most physical camp he’s been to so far is KC’s. Andy likes it rough in the summer.
The trend across the NFL over the last 5 years has been to make camp less physical. Coaches are scared to have their players beating on each other for several weeks. I don’t see this as a big deal. If the NFL becomes a finesse league, I’ll complain. There is still plenty of physical play in the game. The fact coaches don’t their guys beating on each other…I can see where they are coming from.
Has this affected hitting, blocking and tackling? Rules have changed hitting. Blocking is fine, overall. Bad tackling has been an NFL problem for more than a decade. It pre-dates the less physical camps. Young players all want to make highlight hits. That leads to poor form. The other factor is that the faster players get (both offense and defense), the harder it is to get into good tackling position.
The winningest college coach of all time, D3 legend John Gagliardi, never had his team practice tackling. He focused on scheme. He didn’t want injuries and thought the combination of his players being good athletes and knowing the scheme would lead to them being good tacklers. If they were executing the scheme correctly, that would allow them to play more aggressively. One of the keys to tackling is going forward. Be on your toes, not your heels. Be able to see your target clearly and attack it.
You don’t have to tackle day after day to get good at it. You must practice the fundamental parts of it. Getting to the ball and making the initial wrap cleanly can be enough to teach players what you’re looking for.
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RE: Vinny Curry
I mentioned earlier today that we hadn’t heard anything about him. Some mentioned a couple of notes that had been posted. That’s not what I’m talking about. My point is that we don’t know how he’s looked as a 280-pound DE in terms of rushing the passer. We don’t know how he’s done at playing 2-gap and being a run defender. This is the kind of stuff that will dictate how good of a season he has.
No one should expect Vinny to be a starter this year. Fletcher Cox will be one of the starting DEs. Cedric Thornton should be the other. He’s bigger at 6-3, 310. He’s more physical and a better run stuffer. Curry needs time to adjust to the scheme. He can be a good backup this year. And we’ll see if anything more than that happens.
RE: Brandon Boykin
It is possible that Boykin could steal a starting job. The coaches could then pair him with either Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher in the base defense. When the team went to the Nickel, Boykin would slide inside. The Rams did this last year, by having a starting corner move to the slot and then putting Fletcher in his place outside.
RE: Backup SAM
Right now Brandon Graham is the backup SAM. If Chris McCoy continues to play well, he could become the backup SAM. Graham could then shift over behind Cole and those two could compete for that role.