The big news of the day is Jeremy Maclin’s torn ACL. I already covered that here. I do have a couple of follow-up thoughts.
I agree with this point.
As I said on Total Access: It's early, but the expectation is the #Eagles will fill Maclin's void from within. They like their skill guys
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 27, 2013
Losing Maclin definitely hurts, but Chip Kelly’s offense wasn’t going to be built around the WRs. I think the Eagles are smart to look in-house to and hope that a young player steps up. This isn’t like randomly hoping either. There are good candidates.
Riley Cooper – Outstanding blocker. Inconsistent pass catcher over the last couple of years, but I’ve always thought that was affected by how he was used. Cooper would have 3 passes come his way in a game and then go a couple of games with no looks. Receivers need to be used consistently so that they develop. Cooper can make highlight catches. He has solid speed. Limited RAC ability, but runs hard and won’t go down on initial contact.
Arrelious Benn – Can he stay healthy? Not so far. Benn already has a minor knee injury. Big time skills, but for whatever reason has not panned out as expected. Has the size and physical style of game that Kelly loves. Also does have good RAC skills.
Damaris Johnson – I really do think he’s a key player this year. Johnson is ideal for Kelly. He can catch bubble screens and then make something happen. Excellent RAC ability. Has limited speed, but is very quick. Showed good potential last year. Needed to refine his game since he was going from the spread to the WCO. Now he’s in a combination spread/WCO. That should bring out the best in him.
Ifenanyi Momah / Russell Shepard – Do not put big expectations on these guys. If one of them turns out to be a great find, so be it. Just isn’t likely. Both guys are talented projects. Maclin’s injury does improve their chances of making the roster.
BJ Cunningham – I was a huge fan of his at Michigan State. Spent last year on the practice squad. Has the size, physicality and RAC skills to play for Kelly. He’s banged up right now, but has some potential.
If none of these players stands out, the team can make a move in late August. There will be some veterans available. For now, let’s see what these guys can do. Huge chance for them.
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The Eagles did sign WR David Ball. He is 29-years old and played for Kelly at New Hampshire. This move was done before Mac got hurt so don’t think of them as connected.
Ball has bounced around the NFL and other leagues. Why sign a guy like that? He knows Chip Kelly. Ball can step in right away and fit in. He won’t know the playbook exactly, but will have an idea of what Kelly wants to do. Ball also will come in with a sense of desperation and will go all-out on every rep. There is value in that.
For now, think of Ball as a good practice player.
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Jimmy Bama posted his practice notes. Here’s some info on WRs and QBs.
• One of Maclin’s potential replacements, Riley Cooper, had a good day today. He went up high for two long passes down the sideline. One of them was from Dennis Dixon. After the play, Dixon put both of his hands in the air, pointing at Cooper, and left them there for about 20 seconds until Cooper saw him acknowledging the nice catch.
• Highly thrown passes down the sideline seem to be a theme so far through two days here. Many of them have looked like designed back shoulder throws. Back shoulder throws are very difficult to master, but when teams get good at executing them, they are extremely difficult for a CB to stop. Plus, high passes down the sideline are relatively risk/reward friendly, particularly with bigger targets such as the 6’3 Cooper, and 6’7 Ifeanyi Momah.
• Nick Foles threw two gorgeous deep balls today to DeSean Jackson and Greg Salas. Perfect placement, roughly 50 yards down the field on both. Strong day for Foles.
Good stuff, as always.
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Geoff Mosher posted some practice notes of his own. Mosher focused on the secondary and the fact that the coaches mixed things up.
One player who seemed to benefit the most was safety David Sims, who lined up alongside safety Kenny Phillips against the first offense. Phillips and Kurt Coleman had been second-team safeties on Friday. This time, Coleman instead ran with the third team alongside Colt Anderson.
“It’s cool,” Sims said. “They’ve got to evaluate all of us. I felt comfortable. I felt real good with the ones, I’m not gonna lie.
“I’m just trying to make my impact, be a leader, be vocal and make sure everyone is on the same page. I think a lot of guys with the front seven [had] seen that I was talking and communicating. That really does lift your confidence.”
It is interesting that Sims is ahead of Kurt Coleman. Sims has just one NFL start. Coleman has started for parts of his 3 years in the league. Before you rip me for praising Coleman…the point is that Sims hasn’t even been good enough to crack the starting lineup.
Sims did spend some time in Cleveland with Bill Davis. They didn’t work together. Davis only coached the LBs. But Davis may have been impressed by what he saw of Sims in practice and the preseason games.
The Eagles are mixing in different groups of DBs. It seems like they are both evaluating players and encouraging competition. That’s fine with me. There are no players so good that you have complete faith in them. I have high hopes for Patrick Chung, but I’m also willing to acknowledge that he’s got some warts.
I hope Sims and the other players embrace the situation and try to steal a job.
As for Kenny Phillips, so far, so good. Someone brought up a great point. Shaun Huls, the sports science coordinator, might be able to help Phillips stay healthy with some new idea or cutting edge technology. Phillips can be a good starter. Just needs to stay healthy.
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For anyone who is new to Iggles Blitz…feel free to ask questions if I say something that seems strange to you. Could be an odd joke that you’re not aware of. Or I might just have an oddball opinion. I’ll be glad to explain my rationale. At that point you can decide if I’m an idiot or there actually is some hint of logic to what I’m saying.