Let’s Talk Offense

Posted: August 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 161 Comments »

Let’s forget about the specific players for a minute and just talk about some basic offensive concepts.

We’ve now seen a couple of games from Chip Kelly. The marriage between his college system and the NFL tweaks to it have worked very well so far. The Eagles are 3rd in the league in yards per game. They are 2nd in the league in plays per game. They have the shortest time between snaps of any team in the league.

This isn’t all fast break football. Against the Panthers, there were 2 corner routes to TEs on the same drive. This is a WCO play that Andy Reid loved. We saw Chad Lewis, LJ Smith, Brent Celek and Clay Harbor catch these passes over the years. We saw Derek Carrier and Zach Ertz do it last week. I don’t know how frequently Chip Kelly used this play at Oregon, but I have to think the presence of Pat Shurmur is one reason it’s in the playbook.

One of the other big keys for the NFL passing game is timing. Go back and watch Marcus Mariota from last year. Focus on his footwork and the rhythm of the plays.

Now compare that to Matt Barkley, just a rookie.

The footwork and timing is so much cleaner in the NFL vs the Oregon offense. While Kelly understands the concept, Shurmur and Bill Lazor are guys that have taught it at the NFL level. That does make a difference. Getting a QB and receivers on the same page at a precision level isn’t easy.

Thanks to EaglesJake for the video.

* * * * *

Now for a few scouting thoughts on some backups from the Panthers game.

Clay Harbor was interesting at WR. On one play a CB tried to jam him. Harbor just slung the guy to the ground like a rag doll. That was pretty cool. And Harbor is going to block just about any CB in the league. Him playing some WR could turn out to be a good thing.

Derek Carrier had a good game. He blocked better than I expected. He ran well on his routes. He got a good release from the line. He could make things tough on Chip and Howie with a strong couple of games. Unique athlete.

Russell Shepard is a really good STer.

I’m really confused by some of the backup OL. Matt Tennant just doesn’t impress me. He’s an okay athlete, but not special in any way. He’s not as strong and physical as I’d like. Dallas Reynolds is strong. He anchors really well in pass pro. It’s tough for DTs to move him. He gets some push in the run game. However, Reynolds is a limited athlete. He also needs to do a better job of extending his arms into the rusher to he can control the guy quicker. Julian Vandervelde played well, but I’m suspicious. The Panther DL didn’t look very good. Did Vandy play that much better or did he face some DTs that had a quiet night? I’ll feel a lot better about him with a good game this week. Vandy did a good job of getting his hands on defenders and locking out with his arms. He then moved laterally with the defender so as to sustain the block as long as possible. Good footwork.

Damaris Johnson might be small, but he will block and he can take a hit. I think Eagles fans will grow to love him.

* * * * *

Sheil Kapadia is quickly turning from hack/pretzel mangler/Tim McManus’s intern into Philly’s own X’s and O’s guru. He wrote a fantastic piece on Kelly (Chip, not Dennis) and his use of the bubble screen as an option on run plays. I’m now expecting Sheil to wake up one morning with a horse head in his bed with a note from Greg Cosell “I would appreciate it if you would cease with the X’s and O’s pieces…or the next time that won’t be a horse’s head. It will be your laptop.” Cosell means business.

One of the key concepts there is decision-making. The QB has to read the defense and have a good idea of what they’re doing. This is something QBs do on just about every passing play. Chris Brown (SmartFootball.com) wrote a fantastic piece on QBs and how they learn to read defenses and know where to go with the ball. This ties in nicely with Sheil’s piece.

Mike Tanier wrote a piece on the Eagles 4-TE double-stack play and how this really sums up so much of what Kelly is trying to do philosophically.

* * * * *

One key point has to be made. None of Kelly’s ideas work without the right OL. If you lose up front, all the smoothies, quick passes and no-huddle plays in the world mean nothing. Kelly knows this. He focuses on the OL and also tries to call a game that puts those guys in favorable situations.

I can’t wait to see Jason Peters on Saturday. And Allen Barbre becomes a darn good backup LT at that point.

* * * * *

Sam Farmer of the LA Times wrote a good piece about Chip Kelly. He got some terrific quotes from former WR David Ball about Kelly from his UNH days.

“We didn’t even notice [defensive players] until we were in the end zone — to us, they were simply something in our way,” said Ball, who caught 58 touchdown passes, shattering the NCAA Division I-AA career record of 50 held by future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Ball was briefly with the Eagles this summer, helping fill out the depth chart at receiver afterJeremy Maclin‘s season-ending knee injury.

“We didn’t know their names, we didn’t know their number,” Ball continued. “The only thing we cared about was what the play was, what our signal was, and executing it. . . . They were just a facade, bags to run away from. That speaks to [Kelly's] core philosophy that we’re going to worry about us and perfect us. Because I believe in us. We’re not going to tailor us every week to somebody new because we’re fearing what they do. We are going to make people fear what we do.”

Obviously things will change in the NFL. Scouting is a crucial component. Still, I love Kelly’s attitude that “if we execute our offense correctly, it doesn’t matter what the defense does”. That’s not a direct quote, but is the vibe he gave off back then and some of that has carried over to today. He builds in enough options (see above) so that the offense should have a counter to just about anything the defense does.

Simple. Brilliant.

One of the focuses of the piece is the pace of Kelly’s offense. At his PC today, Kelly talked about plays vs time of possession. He doesn’t care a thing about TOP and had some hilarious comments. Jimmy Bama has the story on that.

Do yourself a favor and watch the Kelly PC. Great stuff.

_


  • theycallmerob

    I love Kelly’s attitude more than any other philly coaching personality I can recall. My best friend is from NH, and there’s just something in those folks…..good, honest, frank, smart, witty, patient, creative, etc. Kelly may as well be my buddy’s neighbor or dad.

    Live Free or Die. damn right.

    • GEagle

      I put him up there with Laviolette and JJ in terms of best recent coaching personalities….but all time, it’s tough to beat Buddy

      • ACViking

        Now Buddy was honest and frank with the exception of his pre-draft description of Keith Byars in ’86.

        Otherwise, there’s not a coach in NFL history who more colorfully described the guys he didn’t like and the guys he did.

        RB Earnest Jackson: “I’ll trade him for 6-pack, and it doesn’t even have to be cold.”

        OT Kevin Allen: “He’s a great player . . . if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass.”

        • GEagle

          Hahahahah that’s awesome man!!
          ..
          Wasn’t necessarily talking about the honesty, more so the overall coaching personalities that I like…I’m not even that big of a Flyers guy but love Laviolettes intensity. he gets me jacked up everytime he speaks…and JJ was just a grumpy, mean old bastard which is exactly how I like my DC’s to be…Basically the type of coaching styles that I used to react well to, playing any sport…..When I had Charlie Manuel type of Headcoaches, I was fortunate to always have a mean SOB assistant to push my buttons and get the best out of me…So that’s the style I like to see out of Philly coaches, even tho I know that it’s not the best approach to every player.

      • xeynon

        I honestly loathed Buddy’s public persona… I thought he came across as an arrogant, obnoxious, low class blowhard. To each his own, I guess.

        • GEagle

          I was young…only remember the highlights

          • xeynon

            He did have some good one liners and take a few well-deserved public shots at Norman Braman. But the cockiness wore really thin when he kept getting outcoached in the playoffs by Joe Gibbs, Mike Ditka etc. year after year. And his failure to hire a proper offensive coaching staff to tutor Randall Cunningham is an absolutely unforgivable blunder. That guy could have been one of the all-time greats with proper coaching from his first year in the league, and it was Buddy’s ineptitude that was largely responsible for preventing him from reaching his potential.

    • ACViking

      Don’t kid yourself.

      Kellly’s no more honest or frank than Bellickick.

      Kelly’s just more witty at this point. That could change, too.

    • xeynon

      Let’s see how Kelly responds when the team goes on a three game losing streak and the media start taking subtle shots at him, second-guessing every move and play call he makes, and asking him loaded questions at his pressers. We’re still in the honeymoon phase and Kelly’s line that quarterbacks are like tea bags – you don’t know what you’ve got until you put them in hot water – applies equally well to coaches.

  • phillychuck

    Kelly was showing a little more irritability with the media in that PC. Interesting, but I don’t want the media to hack him off or we won’t get anything even reasonably insightful out of him.

    The guy asking about signs was pretty dense…

    • Flyin

      I can’t wait for the KC game. Reid’s going to be focusing on the cheesesteak sign. They will probably throw in a cheeseburger one for that game as well, to keep him focused on his hunger rather than the game.

      • ICDogg

        If they could pump in the smell of a good Kansas City BBQ they would have it made.

        • Andy124

          If they do, I’ll be crying about my lack of smell-o-vision.

        • Flyin

          Marinating his headset in BBQ sauce would be a nice touch too.

          • Andy124

            Marinate the mic on the headset. That thing will be gone before kickoff.

      • Flyin

        For those that didn’t get the cheeseburger reference… check out this video…
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om_nMT3wgFc

      • xeynon

        I think the Chiefs are actually going to be pretty good this year, and should be favored to beat the Eagles. That team has a ton of talent, their biggest problems last year were an inept coach in Romeo Crennel and an inept quarterback in Brady Quinn and they have replaced both with competent or better replacements. Not sure what the over/under on them is but I’d bet the over in a second – I think they’re going 10-6 or 11-5.

    • SteveH

      Love how he comes back around to it 6 minutes later. Just couldn’t let it go.

      I like that Chip can be funny.

    • GEagle

      Who was the persistent dope that was stuck on the signs? I couldn’t recognize the voice

  • awful waffle

    Tommy, curious what you think about how many OL we keep. We have 5 starters, Barbre as backup LT/LG, Vandervelde/Reynolds as backup C. Can we live with Watkins as our other backup OL? Herremans gets hurt, Watkins is RG. Johnson gets hurt, Herremans moves to RT and Watkins plays RG.

    Just something to throw out there. We know the importance of having capable backup OL, but I wonder if we could live with 8 OL as opposed to 9. It’s a shame Kelly missed the preseason with his back injury.

    • TommyLawlor

      We know:

      5 starters
      Allen Barbre
      backup C

      Beyond that, things are open. The candidates are:

      Danny Watkins
      Dennis Kelly
      Michael Bamiro
      Matt Tobin

      Obviously health is the issue with Kelly.

      We must have 8 OL on the roster. I’d prefer 9, but you only keep that many if you have guys that earn it. If we go light on the roster, then we may have 3 OL on the P-squad.

      The next 2 games will help clear this situation up.

      • GEagle

        You don’t see Dennis Kelly’s spot as a lock?

        • TommyLawlor

          He’s coming off back surgery and won’t have played in any PS game. Could be IR. Could be cut. Could be kept. I don’t know what the new staff thinks of him.

          • GEagle

            Would be shocked to see them cut ties with Kelly at this point without him having a chance to flop in preseason play…but your approach is certainly rational

          • ICDogg

            I think he’ll be retained, if he checks out medically.

  • Phils Goodman

    The footwork and timing is so much cleaner in the NFL vs the Oregon offense

    Of course the standards are going to be higher in the pro game, but keep in mind that you’re looking at a teenaged QB with limited practice time for Oregon.

    • TommyLawlor

      Neither Darron Thomas nor Jeremiah Masoli had good footwork either, from what I recall. Wasn’t sure they’d have videos on YT so I went with Masoli since I knew he did.

      Most college QBs don’t have good footwork. Foles didn’t at Arizona.

  • P_P_K

    Hey Tommy, thanks for the links to the other guys who are writing some good stuff about Eagles football.

    • TommyLawlor

      We’re just lucky to have so many great stories on the team out there.

  • Cafone

    I don’t like the sound of the “if we execute our offense correctly, it doesn’t matter what the defense does” thing. That’s Andy Reid talk there.

    I thought one of Kelly’s biggest selling points was his ability and willingness to adjust his offense based on the competition? I’m sure I read that several times.

    • shah8

      Big and brilliant tend to work. The problem always tend to be that defenses refuse to let you execute your offenses, and all defenses flow to the weakest point on your offense.

      Which is why people have started to draft interior linemen higher. 2012 was the year of interior pressure for many teams, and everyone’s trying to isolate physically less talented guards and centers now.

    • TommyLawlor

      First, the quote was from Kelly’s days at UNH. I’m sure he would offer revised thoughts for the NFL.

      I still do think the quote would be something Chip would preach to his players. The point isn’t that he’s called the perfect play, but rather that the play has built in options so that it can adjust to the defense…on the fly.

      Andy was bound and determined to burn the defense based on what he saw on Monday or Tuesday. Chip sets his offense up so the QB is looking to burn the defense based on what they’re doing during the actual play.

      • SteveH

        “Andy was bound and determined to burn the defense based on what he saw on Monday or Tuesday.”

        And oh how we loved him for it too…

  • shah8

    Okay, reading this Chris Brown article, and understanding what Chip Kelly is doing…it seems like for the short zone, in particular, Kelly is inverting what the QB is supposed to be doing, and much of what he’s doing in terms of formation is explicitly about forcing the defense to give the QB a key or two to read. I think it’s going to be awkward for the QB to mesh this sort of thing with a deep passing attack.

    The Chis Brown article is also helping me understand what’s going on with Marty Mornigwheg’s offense, particularly in terms of it’s unflexibility. More than that, the failure of MM’s scheme does have a lot to do with how defenses attempt to disrupt 5 and 7 step drops, and has plenty to do with more shotgun looks from today’s NFL offenses. A full fledged passing attack like MM’s has a stall speed in terms decision-making, and option routes are much harder to put in there effectively. Mike Martz expected Warner to be blink of an eye fast and let dynamic WRs with balls in hand do the rest. MM expected Vick to be able to buy time for fast receivers to stretch defenses for easy big yardage. I’m still not quite sure why he was so reluctant to run after teams started sitting on long developing plays. I think his biggest mistake was committing the RBs and TEs to chipping and otherwise helping with pass blocking on a regular basis. He had to break down his offense and try and cobble together something partial with more runs and quick passes that don’t look too different from his usual style. Or maybe during the NFL season, an OC doesn’t really have time to do that. Then again, Cauldwell did a really good job taking over for Cameron in Baltimore…

    • Ben Hert

      Lets be honest, the real genius behind Baltimore’s playoff run was the best OL coach turned DC in Eagles history.

      But I agree with your thoughts on the 5-7 step drops. I feel like those kinds of offenses dominated the last decade of NFL offenses, and led to the rise of the 4-3 pass rush being so important. It’ll be interesting to see, if the up-tempo/read-option style starts to take hold in the NFL, if more defenses switch to a 3-4 to have speedier players out there to account for the quick drops and passes. Sending 4 linemen against a shotgun up-tempo offense seems to me a misuse of personnel.

  • GermanEagle

    I think the Eagles could be a serious playoff contender if their offense puts up 28+ points on the board every game while the defense comes up with a key stop or turnover in those shootout games. When looking at the Super Bowl winners over the last 10 games it’s not really imperative to have a top 10 (or 5) defense to make a deep playoff run:
    2012: Ravens (Offense: #16 / Defense: #17)
    2011: Giants (Offense: #8 / Defense: #27)
    2010: Packers (Offense: #9 / Defense: #5)
    2009: Saints (Offense: #1 / Defense: #25)
    2008: Steelers (Offense: #22 / Defense: #1)
    2007: Giants (Offense: #16 / Defense: #7)
    2006: Colts (Offense: #3 / Defense: #21)
    2005: Steelers (Offense: #15 / Defense: #4)
    2004: Patriots (Offense: #7 / Defense: #9)
    2003: Patriots (Offense: #17 / Defense: #7)

    • ACViking

      GermanEagle . . .

      Go to EaglesRewind — among T-Law’s listed cites on the side — where Brent Cohen broke down exactly this question using some great statistical analysis in, I’d say, June or July 2013.

      I think his bottom line was that you’d rather have a good defense than a great offense.

      • ICDogg

        Of the two units I’d rather have a Grade A offense or defense and the other unit be a Grade C, than to have both a Grade B offense and a Grade B defense.

        It is more important in my view to have *something* that is superior to create mismatches to exploit.

        • Andy124

          Makes sense. Baltimore last year was more of a B and B team. I think the O vs. D balance of championship teams will remain pretty random.

      • GermanEagle

        Thanks, buddy!

    • xeynon

      I think neither of those things are likely to happen. This offense is going to be decent but not one of the best in the league – neither the quarterback nor the receivers are good enough to expect that kind of output. As for the defense, it’s likely to be bottom 10.

      I’ll be happy with a rebuilding year in which the team makes some observable progress. A run at the playoffs would make me ecstatic. “Serious playoff contender” I think is out of reach.

  • GermanEagle

    OMG, did you see this:
    “Appearing on Thursday Night Countdown, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the Bills have had “dialogue” with other teams about trading FS Jairus Byrd.
    Mort didn’t suggest a deal was likely to happen, but did say the door will remain open until the trade deadline. He added that it would have to be a “player-for-player” swap since teams don’t trade first- or second-round picks for safeties, even ones as good as Byrd. Byrd wouldn’t be able to sign a long-term deal with any team until next offseason, in the event he does get traded.”
    Please Howie, make it happen! I’d absolutely cream myself seeing Byrd in Eagles green!

    • GEagle

      They are desperate for a guard….I’d try to flip them to fireman and Nate nd see if they bite

      • GermanEagle

        Lol, wishful thinking. ;)

        • GEagle

          Any Byrd on the Eagles scenario is wishful thinking. But with Howie “splash” Roseman, there is always a chance..

          Hopefully Herremans doesn’t play Saturday, Danny boy starts and looks like Andy Levitre’s DoppleGanger…How’s that for wishful thinking? Rick Astly would be proud lol…Can’t wait to get called out for a Rick Astley reference, because if you know who that is, then you are just as screwed up as me lol

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            “Can’t wait to get called out for a Rick Astley reference, because if you know who that is, then you are just as screwed up as me lol”

            No. It just means you’re telling your age.

            lol

    • ICDogg

      “teams don’t trade first- or second-round picks for safeties, even ones as good as Byrd”

      I kind of doubt that they’d have that hard a time getting a 2nd rounder for Byrd.

      • GermanEagle

        Teams might hesitate to part with a 2nd rounder since they cannot sign Byrd to a long-term contract this year. However – if I was Howie – given our lack of playmakers at Safety and actually on the whole defense, I would give them our 2nd round pick in a heartbeat.

        • ICDogg

          Not sure I would do that, but if we were a legit contender this season that needed a safety I would consider it.

          • Anders

            I dont understand this line of thought. Why not just upgrade our defense? Byrd is 27 this year, elite safeties can normally play until around the age of 33-35, that would mean we get 6-8 years of an elite safety for just a 2nd rounder.

            Its not just about this year, but also the future.

          • ICDogg

            Because he would be a FA at the end of the season unless we franchised him for a 2nd year in a row, and you can’t extend his contract this year per NFL rules because he signed the franchise tender.

          • Anders

            If you trade a 2nd round pick for him it means you want him and is ready to pay his demands when he becomes a FA.

          • ICDogg

            but someone else may be willing to pay him more and we would have no control over that.

          • Anders

            Could just tag him, that way he wont know what other teams are willing to offer, so he will most likely just sign for his demand.

          • ICDogg

            Could, though a 2nd year franchise tag is a very expensive tag. 120% of his current franchise tag amount at minimum.

        • GermanEagle

          Apparently someone disagrees with giving away a 2nd rounder for Byrd. Lol…

          • ICDogg

            It’s a risky move. He will be a FA after this season. If we are unable to sign him once that happens (since we can’t extend him before) we will have given up a 2nd for a year of his services while we are rebuilding.

          • GEagle

            Everyone knows what Byrd wants. You don’t trade anything for him unless you are willing to meet his demands..and a Happy Byrd, is a valuable Bird…so if you are willing to pay him, I’d make that trade…why not? 75% of us will be begging them to use a 2nd round pick on a safety anyway. Might as well eliminate the guess work, and add a game ready, impact, stud….assuming we would be willing to pay the man..

            when the Eagles see someone as a real stud addition they have shown that they will pony up the money. Sure they haven’t been willing to spend on the safety position in the past, but in the past the position wasn’t as important as it is today.

          • ICDogg

            Well, if they do it, I’ll be pumped. I still think it’s a risky move, but maybe one worth taking.

          • GEagle

            we have a lot of cap room, but we have players that will need to be extended soon, so I’m not exactly sure how thrilled they are about making a guy one of the very highest paid players at his position, but few aquireable additions would make the type of impact that he could make on our defense…
            ..
            I can’t even fathom how happy I would be after all the years of post Dawkins suffering, to see Chunger and Byrd flying around the field actually making plays, instead of just talking about making plays….

            PTDS: Post Traumatic Dawkins Syndrome…and BYRD-Man is the cure!!!

          • OregonDucker

            Byrd will make some concessions to play on a Chip Kelly team. He wants to play for a winner, and teammates who share the same desire for greatness.

          • GEagle

            My fingers are crossed for those exact reasons my friend

          • GermanEagle

            Fair enough. However Howie could just make the 2nd rounder a conditional pick, e.g. that becomes a late rounder should the Eagles be not able to sign him to a long-term contract before next year’s draft. I am sure there are ways to get a deal done. ;)

          • LostInChiTown

            Actually, I think it’s possible to write that into the trade agreement. We’d have an “agreement in principle” with the Bills that hinges on Bird agreeing to an extension of his contract. If that contract can’t get worked out by a certain date, then Byrd remains on the Bills and we keep our 2nd rounder.

            Incidentally, my opinion is to get this done if it’s a possibility. Good safety’s are hard to find and are becoming more and more important with the new NFL offenses (no huddle, spread, zone). Byrd is a pro bowler in the prime of his career.

          • GEagle

            Yeah that type of trade never even gets worked out until we come to agreement in principle with Byrds agent

  • Media Mike

    The TE situation is interesting. Could we:
    - keep all 5?
    - truly list Harbor at WR?
    - keep 4 (Casey Ertz, Harbor, Carrier) and trade Celek to Miami or New England?

    • GermanEagle

      It’s a shame the Bills don’t need a starting TE. Otherwise we could trade Celek + 4th rounder for Jairus Byrd..

    • eagleyankfan

      Just wondering — how can you put in 4 te sets and not keep 5 te’s? If you keep 4 and 1 gets hurt. Then it’s a 3 te 1 wr set? I wonder if those TE sets can be run with anyone. 5 te’s some like a lot.

      • ICDogg

        You could set up something similar with 4WR and then it would be a 4WR set. The play does not specifically require 4 tight ends.

    • Anders

      We are not trading our best blocking TE.

  • GEagle

    really like Riley Cooper and Damaris in this offense. harbor is interesting for sure, but I wonder if Bellicek will come calling for Harbor soon since Sudfield had a tough night…I wouldn’t mind keeping him tho, I like our Stack sets when we use 4TE, and Harbor can be both the blocker or the screen pass recipient. I also think Chip can use Harbor much more than Andy did….Celek always gets injured, although he does play though most of his injuries, but if he were to go down, harbor is the only TE we have that can replace Brents blocking…
    ..
    Did anyone see Kuechly last night? Holy Hell that kid can play! he was Everywhere last night. Takes a special MLB to own the game the way Luke did last night…I knew he was good but I didn’t know he would be that good, that fast…Panthers are starting to build a nice little defense. Star and Kawaan short as the DTs with Luke behind them is a nice little anchore to a good eventual defense…After seeing Kuechly last night, it really makes what Shady was able to do to that defense incredible

    • eagleyankfan

      I did watch some of that — good stuff.

    • ICDogg

      I saw that TFL/fumble he caused.

      • GEagle

        he then tipped a ball that was intercepted…after that he got his own interception and returned it like 25yards, had like 3 or 4 PBU’s…Kid was literally all or the place. Dominant MLB performance

    • Anders

      and did you see Shady McCoy juke his ass like anybody else? or Nick Foles out running him to the corner on his TD run? :P

      • GEagle

        I think, even the pope saw Kuechly reaching for an imaginary ghost that just wasn’t there…almost like a figment of his imagination.

    • fran35

      I watched him, the guy made more impact plays in 2 quarters than most LBs make in a year. He was impressive. I also was impressed watching that defense last night. It made me feel upbeat about our offense.

  • eagleyankfan

    I will not grow to like DJ 2. I’m already there :). I like his attitude and quickness. I can’t wait to see him in game action. I think he’s quicker than most defenders by surprise. He’ll take a short pass and turn it into something grand. I think he’ll be a secret weapon of sorts.

    • Ben Hert

      I feel like we haven’t seen a lot of him yet in the PS. I’m not worried, per se, but I would like to see them getting him the ball a bit more.

  • T_S_O_P

    Russell Shepard is a really good STer.

    Could this threaten Colt as much as it threatens Greg Salas?

    • ICDogg

      JMO, but I think that ultimately, to secure a roster spot, Shepard is going to have to play better as a receiver.

    • TommyLawlor

      Anderson is a great STer. Whether that difference is enough…interesting question that I hadn’t considered.

      • GEagle

        How did Colt play last year as a Safety compared to Coleman? By the time Colt took over, I had already gotten too disgusted with the season to be watching replays of games multiple times

        • Anders

          From what I saw, Colt was clearly physical overmatched and had no chance to tackle a guy unless he went low and therefor missed quite abit

          • GEagle

            How is that any different from Coleman?

          • Anders

            Coleman is faster and more physical than Colt and is clearly the better safety.

          • fran35

            Not sure that I agree. In my opinion, Colt did not seem to make mistakes. Not overpowering physically or a gifted athlete, but he did not seem to be a liability. While Coleman may be a marginally better athlete and bigger than Colt, I felt his instincts were not any better. Throw in the ST play, I think I would much rather have Colt as my 4 string safety.

    • GermanEagle

      This is actually a very good question. Ad hoc I would say it threatens Greg Salas more, however since Coleman is a good special teamer too it might actually threaten Colt Anderson the most, as the latter is probably #6 on the safeties depth chart…

      • ICDogg

        And we have no idea about Kelly’s philosophy about keeping players around (other than the usual 3 specialists) primarily for the purpose of special teams

        • Ben Hert

          He is all about his versatility.

  • JoeD

    Eric Fisher looks AWFUL and I har Joeckl is struggling as well(didnt watch any jags though). looks like we’re going to get supremely lucky with Johnson(hopefully)

    • GEagle

      Surprise surprise…who would have ever thought Lane would be the best of the group of good OTs? Lol ;)

    • ICDogg

      I hear Fisher is battling some hand and shoulder injuries. And Joeckel has an injured hip and might not play Saturday.

    • Lukekelly65

      I was just thinking the same thing, I haven’t watched the other two play like I’ve watched Lane but it really seems like we made a great choice Johnson seems to be a great fit for chip and his offense and I really think he can be dominant hopefully tomorrow we see Barwin or Cole run over Joeckle and Lane Johnson pancake babin all night

      • GEagle

        THe thing with Lane, is I Genuinly expected him to grow into a better player then both, but I would be a damn liar if I said I expected him to look like this so soon. I thought it would be a case of Joekel and Fish being better for the first couple years and then Lane eventually surpassing them, but this kid has hit the floor running and I don’t think you can even use the raw term when discussing him anymore…

        He has quickly exceeded the expectations of fans and teammates. I think we didn’t realize just how much his experience viewing defenses from the eyes of a QB and TE would help, but he has also proven the ability to anchor much sooner than many of us expected…I love this kids attitude, personality…he seems like one of those down to earth, quiet humble guys with a hidden fire to be great….at the Time, drafting Lane was swinging for the fences, and it’s just awesome to see how Lane has handled everything..You don’t even realize he is a rookie. not just his play, but how he carries himself…Gave some great interviews on PE this week that got me all sorts of jacked ups,,,The thing with him, is I trust him…and that’s crazy rare to be able to say so soon about any prospect, let alone a prospect with so little experience playing such an important position

        • Lukekelly65

          Yeah I agree completely let’s just hope he continues to progress as quickly as he is now and that he stays healthy I really think he could be a stud…. Another side note I was as big of a dion Jordan fan as anyone but there saying he might not even play in the season opener I know that’s not the end of his career or anything but its just another reason Lane Johnson was a great choice

          • GEagle

            yeah, that also made me feel better. I was all about Dion, and I will still drool over his game until he signs his 2nd NFL contract…My wish list was: Dion, Lane, trade back for Jonathon Cooper.

            But from the very moment that Lane was drafted, He has really made the loss of Dion Easy for me. I liked the kids head and his potential back when I thought he was a raw project, so I’m just blown away to see the beginning of his career. Good Health for the young man!!!

  • Brandon Gleklen

    Tommy,

    You said in after the NE game that you thought Carrier looked slow coming of the line. How big was his improvement this past game?

    • TommyLawlor

      Could have been nerves in the NE game. Carrier wasn’t exploding off the ball, but looked quicker and more natural. When an athletic guy does something unathletic, usually it is his brain that’s at fault. Carrier played a lot better. Maybe he was simply more relaxed.

  • knighn

    1. Do the respective performances of the Panthers or Patriots last night tell us anything about the Eagles? Or no: since it is just the pre-season?
    2. Perspective from a former NFL O-lineman (Adam Goldberg) on the potential strength of Chip Kelly’s no huddle. “Take a Deep Breath, Big Boys”
    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Take-a-deep-breath-big-boys.html

    • ACViking

      I remember the Eagles beat the Dolphins once in the regular season . . . .

      The Dolphins made the playoffs at 10-4.

      The Eagles finished 3-10-1.

      I don’t think too much can be read into one game, especially preseason.

      • GermanEagle

        What about the shootout victory on Thursday night when Westy was running wild against the Dolphins a couple of years ago?!

      • xeynon

        I don’t think too much can be read into one game, especially preseason.

        This, this, a thousand times this. Preseason results don’t mean much, but every year people are suckered into thinking otherwise. If I were inclined, I could go back and dig up the archives from last year’s preseason and find quotes of people talking about talented and deep this team looked, how Philip Hunt was going to put up 8+ sacks as a part-time pass rusher, how Damaris Johnson and Brandon Boykin were going to be dynamic kick and punt returners who made the Eagles’ special teams top notch again, how Vick was going to return to his 2010 form and go to the Pro Bowl, etc. None of these predictions came to pass and the team was 4-12 completely on merit.

        There are few bigger fool’s errands than trying to predict the NFL regular season based on the results of preseason games.

      • knighn

        And of course the Lions went 4-0 in the pre-season the same year then went 0-16 in the regular season. Yeah.

        Just weird to watch the Pats get rocked like that after pretty well rocking the Eagles… and the Panthers and Ravens? Also weird. I know, I know, it’s jut the pre-season but it still strikes me as odd.

        • ACViking

          I don’t think the Lions went 4-0 in 1970 preseason.

          Back then, teams played 6 games — not 4.

          And the Lions went 9-5 in the regular season and made the playoffs — not 0-16.

          So I don’t know what you’re driving at with your example.

          • knighn

            I was trying to agree with your “especially preseason” by referencing the 2008 Lions:
            http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/schedule/_/name/det/year/2008
            (who went 4-0 preseason only to go 0-16 in regular season).

            I was trying to say, “I know the games don’t mean anything but some of the results still strike me as odd.”

            I understand the confusion now. You were talking about a game back in 1970 as an example that one game doesn’t matter. I was saying, “I agree and I know preseason doesn’t mean anything either” and I pointed out the 2008 Lions. However I failed to include the year so you thought I was still talking about 1970. My apologies for the confusion. My bad.

  • Andy124

    I keep hearing how going fast means a defense can’t blitz. Why not? Seems like it’s just a matter of time before the DCs adapt and get that pressure turned back up.

    • Anders

      They can blitz, but DC’s love to have a lot of different sub packages that account for every down, distance and personnel, if you go uptempo, the D cant change and that way you eliminate that.

      • ICDogg

        Yep. The difficulty in making substitutions limits what they can do, though Andy has a point in that the DCs will come up with new strategies to adapt in time.

        • Anders

          They need more LB/safety tweeners or freaks like Dion Jordan that can both cover a TE down the seam and also rush the passer.

          • ICDogg

            I could see Kendricks as a LB/safety tweener suitable for such a role.

          • Andy124

            Yup. I think they were playing around with Chung in a tweener role as well. My guess is that putting him in the slot in the nickle was intended to keep the run-D strong in nickle defense.

          • GEagle

            I never saw that angle before, but I like it!…Think about it, a safety as your Nickle would be one of the better ways to try defend what Chip tries to do..lbut he better be a well rounded safety…

            As long as we don’t have to go against the Seahawks defense, we will be fine

          • xeynon

            Chung will get burned to toast if you ask him to play slot corner. He’s not a particularly good coverage guy by strong safety standards. What makes you think he can cover a slot receiver one on one?

          • Andy124

            I don’t recall stating that thought.

          • xeynon

            My guess is that putting him in the slot in the nickle was intended to keep the run-D strong in nickle defense.

            What else did you mean, then?

          • Andy124

            I’m still not sure where you’re coming from.

            It has been widely reported that the Eagles were lining Chung up in the slot in the nickle at times. Maybe the disconnect is that you thought this was a suggestion I was making instead of a report I was referring to.

            The flow of the conversation was about guys playing tweener roles. This sounded exactly like using a safety in a tweener role… defending the run better than a CB that’s normally in the nickle, and defending the pass better than the LB that the CB usually replaces in the nickle. I guessed the intent is to play a style of nickle that is stronger against the run than a traditional nickle.

            I didn’t offer any opinions about how Chung would handle the coverage responsibilities in that position. But presumably, if the intent is to play a version of the nickle that is stronger against the run than the traditional, the trade-off is that it would be weaker against the pass. You would think it’s more of a counter to multiple TE sets vice 3+ WR sets. Or it could have been just an experiment to toss out the window. Who knows? (Billy Davis probably does.)

          • Ben Hert

            And CB’s that can tackle and fight off blocks.

          • GEagle

            Don’t get me started on the Dolphins lol…4-3 team stealing Dion away. I hope he sucks in a 4-3, I hope they end up hating him and come beg us to trade them Brandon Graham lol…another Rick Astley moment lol

      • Ben Hert

        I think this foreshadows the teams that will give us the biggest problems on offense this year. Defenses with players the excel at multiple facets of their position (i.e. CB’s that can tackle, LB’s that can cover, S that can play the run well) are going to be able to adjust to our mismatches. Looking forward to see how Chip handles these games. Hopefully we can see how well he does against those when we face SF in the NFC title game.

        • Anders

          I think the Seahawks with Sherman, Bowner, Chancellor in the secondary and Wagner, Irvin and Clemons at LB is a bigger problem.

          • GEagle

            By far, the Seahawks defense is best equipped to shut us down

      • xeynon

        The no huddle offense has been around for a long time. Jim Kelly and the Bills were running a no huddle as their base offense in the early 90s. Manning’s Colts also frequently employed it. Those teams succeeded primarily because they had great quarterbacks who could make the most of the advantages the no huddle provides and minimize its disadvantages (and it does have disadvantages) – not because it’s an inherently superior way of running an offense. This offense will be only as good as the players running it. It’s not going to be a revolutionary unstoppable juggernaut based purely on the fact that it snaps the ball every twenty seconds.

        • Anders

          and who is saying its going to be revolutionary unstoppable juggernaut?

          Also Kelly’s no huddle offense have an advantage the Bills and Colts didnt have, the packaged plays. Those are the biggest part together with the no huddle and the spread formations.

          • xeynon

            I’m exaggerating. But a lot of people here seem convinced this offense is going to be good based purely on the system. A good system beats a bad system any day, but a good system with mediocre players at key positions is not going to work as well as a good system with good players at key positions. Right now this team still has too many mediocre players at key positions.

            As for the packaged plays, they’re not as new as people think either. Silent audibles and other plays that allow a run/pass option have been around since long before Chip Kelly as well. With the right personnel being able to execute them is a big advantage, but they’re not going to make up for not having the right personnel. This team doesn’t have an elite decision maker at QB (both Vick and Foles are lacking in this area) so the team is not going to be able to get the most out of this wrinkle. A smart defense is going to pick up on tendencies and game plan around them and will be able to take advantage of poor decision making by Eagles QBs against this look.

          • Anders

            I think the only spot on offense where we might have an average play is at QB, at the rest of the positions we have some very good player.

            Also an audible is not the same as a packaged play. An audible is before the snap, where a packaged play is after the snap based on what a single core defender does.

    • Flyin

      My basic understanding is that defenses can blitz, but they won’t have time to disguise them as well, meaning they will have to show their hand or they will get caught out of position.

      • GEagle

        yes that’s half of it, but very helpful to a guy like Vick who strength don’t include personal diagnosing of exotic and despised blitzes…but it also helps eliminate a defenses ability to get the right personel in on important 3rd downs which will limit how sophisticated their blitz can be. If Vick has a clean pocket, and he knows what the defense is doing, he can be a dangerous guy…that just hasn’t always been the case

    • GEagle

      The video section of PE.com, check out the latest Kelce interview. He addresses your exact question

      • Andy124

        Videos are not an option for me, but feel free to summarize.

        • GEagle

          “If they are gonna blitz us it’s going to be tougher to disguise, and roll things late because bottom line is if they aren’t set up for the play to be run, if they are too busy worrying about disguising and we get the play off then guys will be out of position and that’s hopefully for us when we make big plays. this offense is designed for when guys are really out of position to take advantage of that, so for defenses they don’t wanna give up big plays so it’s going to be very tough for them to be out of position and then roll into it(in enough time before we get the ball snapped)”-Kelce Doggy Dogg

    • ACViking

      As happy as Lane Johnson is making everyone so far . . .

      I still think Kelly would have preferred Dion Jordan — because he’s so versatile that he could cover WRs in the slot, blitz as an OLB, line up with his hand on the ground.

      In other words, eliminate the need for two or three subpackages — thereby helping to frustrate anyone trying to out-Chip Kelly.
      _________________

      I don’t know what Miami’s plan is for Jordan, especially with the shoulder problem, but I’d like to believe Kelly’s defensive coordinator would have used Jordan in more exotic ways.

      • GEagle

        Note to Miami….”Can’t Franchise Him forever”-GEagle. Lol Yes iM cool enough to quote myself
        ..
        keep pissing him off and running a 4-3, but make sure you develope him properly for us lol

  • GEagle

    EAGLES TRADE IS OFFICIAL! No not Byrd, sorry!!..
    ..
    We traded Felix Jones to the steelers for temple LB adrien Robinson

    • ICDogg

      yay

      • GEagle

        I don’t know anything about the kid, but if the steelers are trading away a LB. how excited can we really be? Lol

        • Andy124

          Yeah, but it’s good to be rid of that hint of cowboy stench.

          • GEagle

            I’m surprised we got anything at all for that Cowbum

          • GermanEagle

            So am I. Which leads me to believe that Robinson is a bum too though…

        • ICDogg

          He was a DE at Temple

          • GEagle

            Ok. So he is an OLB…makes sense, chip just hinted at wanting another OLB yesterday

          • ICDogg

            I remember him a little from playing against us in preseason last year. He was killing us firing out of a four point stance.

          • ICDogg

            note: it was in the 4th quarter against RT Thomas Welch

          • GEagle

            Bio says 6’1 250lbs…recovered a TD in the ENDZONE last year against the Giants….Interesting that we thought enough about him to not care about the Height requirement that we are traditionally looking for out of our OLBs in the future….of course there is a good chance this is one of those cases where he is welcomed to Philly on Friday, and Cut from Philly on Sunday..
            ..
            just read that Tomlin once called him a 1 trick pony who can only rush the passer…If you are only going to be good at 1 thing, there are worse things than the ability to get to the QB..Felix was worth nothing to us. he wasnt making this team, so taking a close look at any young player makes it a good trade

          • ICDogg

            I think he’s more of a wide 9 end, ideally.

    • GermanEagle

      F======= you! I almost got a heartattack!!!

  • LostInChiTown

    Tommy – great piece as usual. I noticed something in the Barkley video, and I’d love your insight on it. It makes me a little worried about how our offense will do once defenses start game planning.

    Watch the play starting at the 32 second mark. At the snap, there are 7 defenders in the box – so the run is out and it’s going to be pass or QB keep. The defense knows this. The obvious play is the screen Barkley throws – it’s 3 receivers on 2 defenders. The defense knows this too. The safety disguises his coverage well and crashes down on the screen immediately. Barkley gets his throw off in almost exactly a second and the receiver still gets jacked up by the safety!

    Maybe this is a bad read by Barkley or some other miscommunication, but it worries me that Kelly’s offense won’t work in the pros due to the speed of NFL defensive players. An NFL safety who starts deep or in the box can get to that receiver in 2 seconds. And the safety or DB in coverage can get to the box just as fast. If you take what the defense gives you in numbers they can trap you into a bad decision because of how fast they play. They wanted us to throw the screen and made sure we would by their numbers in the box and out wide at the snap.

    Maybe that safety doesn’t crash if DeSean is out wide because he’s scared of the deep ball, BUT we don’t block the DE on that play. No way our QB has time to get a deep pass off. If Barkley holds that ball for 2 seconds instead of 1, it’s a sack.

    Sorry for the long post. Thoughts?

    • GEagle

      Sure you can find safeties good enough start away from the play, but get to the WR in time to blow up the screen, but as soon as Kelly sees that, that’s when he will dial up a fake screen, pump fake, send Desean deep…we have a master manipulator who lives to take advantage of over aggressive defensive play….

      • Ben Hert

        i think that’s a good point. Its all about winning the war, not the battle. There are so many options to do on each play, and so many wrinkles and variations to each formation that its going to keep the defense on their heels.

        • GEagle

          Yup…even if we lose a battle(a play), it could end up being fools gold for the defense that sets them up for a big counter punch

          • LostInChiTown

            I hope so. I have a lot of confidence in Kelly, but I don’t think this is something that was nearly as big a concern in college as it will be in the pros. My biggest worry might be the QB making the right read. It’s easy for Vick or Foles to see the numbers on the outside and throw that screen. Can they recognize the crashing safety and adjust out to the proper read? Can they do it fast enough? Can they do it against an even more complex defense? Vick improved dramatically vs the blitz last year, but this is a different type of read than finding the hot route. Part of the early success we’ve seen is the easy, fast read by the QB. In two weeks it gets way more complicated and way faster.

            We need to be ready that things might be rough at first. But we know Kelly will study the tape. I’m sure he’s already looking at that play trying to come up with counters. This is going to be a fun ride.

    • ACViking

      That blown-up screen by Barkley to DemJohn was because (I believe) someone missed a block. In other words, didn’t read the defense the way Barkley did.

      Love to hear others’ views.

  • GEagle

    I can’t wait to see us go Pistol. I know that wasn’t Chips thing at Oregon, but I know it’s coming!! it’s just too perfect for our personel….We have yet to see Bryce and Shady in the same backfield…we have yet to see Shady, with Casey and Harbor in the backfield…It’s all coming!!!! Tomorrow will just be another tease, another temporary “fix” to feed our habit, I’m dying for kickoff in washington to get here

    • ACViking

      How will using the Pistol formation materially change what Kelly’s scheme does now — other than allowing the HB to line up in an I-formation?

      • GEagle

        I love 2back ZR’s for our personel….Shady running right, Bryce running left, DE’s brain overloading, fumes shooting out of his ears figuring out which back is getting the hand off, or is Vick off for the races? God I wish Osi was still in our division lol..

        I also like it as a power run game package if you will…Get 2 of our TEs throwing lead blocks for shady, then you throw the defense off balance by sending those TEs out as pass catchers out of the backfield(love it in the goaline). Just a lot of different Variations to throw at a defense over the course of a game. Eventually something will confuse them, someone will miss an assignment and that’s when we are off to the races..
        ..
        A great example of it: Check out the first couple 49ers drives that started the Super Bowl. They worked it to perfection especially the first few drives when they were practically marching all over the Ravens out of the 3back formation

        • ACViking

          will do

      • BlindChow

        I read somewhere that HB’s love the head start speed boost the I-formation provides, which was one of the disadvantages of the standard shotgun…

  • GEagle

    im happy that we don’t play any more home games until the regular season. haven’t heard any complaints yet about our use of the loud music at home games, so without home games teams won’t have another chance to complain about until the regular season starts….and since the entire premise of it is to use it as a hurdle to the defenses communication, if it were to be an advantage it would probably be early in the season while teams are still geling and aren’t at that point yet where they can basically communicate by just looking at each other…

    The Jaguars also practiced with loud music so I’m curious to see if they Rip us off tomorrow and try it against us

  • fran35

    Great videos. Thanks to Eagle Jake.
    If you go to the website and watch the videos for Foles, Vick and Barkley, there are a few things I noticed.
    1) Barkley does not seem nearly as accurate as Foles or Vick. He missed on alot of throws. That is not a huge deal when you have a cannon for an arm, but when you have a marginal arm and you are drafted for your accurancy…something to keep you eye on.
    2) Vick is going to put up awesome stats until he gets killed. There is no way he stays healthy in this offense, getting popped on ZR plays. Also, factor in that we will be running significantly more offensive plays this year and I think it becomes apparent that this will only increase the probability for injury.
    3) Foles surprised me with his athleticism. Now, do not get me wrong, he will never be a “scrambler”, but the word on him was that he was statue. Not what I saw at all. I actually was impressed with his running, which was actually functional. However, if he were to be starter, he would last only slightly longer than Vick running the ZR. The ZR is a QB killer. No way these guys can take that beating consistently.

    • xeynon

      I think this is ultimately going to prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the read option offense in the NFL. We’ve already seen one of the young read option QBs (Griffin) suffer a serious injury as a result of the hits he takes running this offense. If there were one thing that would prevent me from buying 49ers or Seahawks Super Bowl stock, it would be the concern that Kaepernick and Wilson might take too much punishment to last for the entire season. This is an offensive approach that has only succeeded for part of one season in the NFL, and given the amount of physical punishment to which it subjects the QB, I’m skeptical that it is sustainable over the long haul. Over the years there have been plenty of “unstoppable” offensive gimmicks that came into the NFL that proved completely stoppable once defenses figured out their weak points (Wildcat, run and shoot, etc.). I see no reason to conclude right now that the read option is going to be different.

      • GEagle

        ZR is not a gimick, unless counters and draws are gimmicks