There Will Be Math

Posted: August 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 47 Comments »

5, 6 or 7? That is the question.

As in…how many defenders are in the box? If the number is 5, run the ball you must (as Yoda would say). Chip Kelly’s offense is really based on simple principles. Create a situation where the offense has a favorable situation and get the ball there.

Sheil Kapadia wrote a great piece on the offense and how this principle worked on Friday, when the Eagles scored 2 TDs using the same play. One TD was a run, the other a pass. This is must read material.

We talked about this formation during the spring. If you have 2 guys out far to the left and right, the defense has no choice but to go light in the box or go 1-on-1 on the outside (actually 2-on-2, but you get the point…a single defender for each receiver). On Friday, we saw the Eagles exploit the box for the Bryce Brown TD and then exploit the outside on the Greg Salas TD.

* * * * *

Here is a great article from Chris Brown (of SmartFootball.com) that was posted at Grantland.

Chris wrote about the overall offense that he saw on Friday. He talked about tempo, formations and plays. Chris discussed the passing game and how it looked compared to what he saw at Oregon. While the stats are Oregon were good, the passing game wasn’t impressive. QBs did not run a crisp, smooth passing attack. Ron Jaworski said this summer that he had concerns about Kelly and his passing game translating to the NFL. Chris was more confident in Chip, but knew the passing game would need to look better than it did at Oregon.

In this context, however, Kelly’s seemingly odd hires of Shurmur, quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, and wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, who each have years of NFL experience coaching the passing game, make a lot more sense — Kelly was hiring to his weaknesses. His staff’s influence and an improvement in Kelly’s passing game were evident against New England.

Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t see the Eagles run any passing plays that Kelly didn’t also use at Oregon — each Philly quarterback threw snag with backside double slants, for example — but it’s clear the Eagles staff has been drilling the quarterbacks and receivers on footwork, timing, and the other little details necessary to complete just about any pass in the NFL. Philadelphia’s passing game actually looked better than its running game against New England.

That said, it’s still far too early to level any judgment on how good the Eagles passing offense will be. The number and variety of coverages and blitzes will jump from preseason to the real games, and the Eagles’ emphasis on giving receivers the flexibility to adjust their routes on the fly means that it will take weeks of study for any outsider — including Philly’s opponents — to get an accurate handle on what they are being asked to do and how well they are doing it. I’m not ready to declare the Eagles passing game a success (let them at least pick a quarterback first), but it’s clear Kelly is trying to address my biggest concern, namely the basic fundamentals of throwing and catching the football.

I was encouraged by what we saw offensively on Friday. Both Vick and Foles threw the ball well. Barkley had issues, but they were affected by his OL play and the fact he didn’t have great skill players with him. It will be interesting to see how much better the QBs look this week…or do they take a step back?

* * * * *

I didn’t link to practice stuff the last couple of days. Let’s see what we missed.

Jimmy Bama had good stuff on Monday.

• Temporary starting LT Allen Barbre did a good job on Trent Cole today during 11-on-11’s. Cole didn’t sniff the QB. I’d have to think Barbre is looking like a lock to make the team at this point. Jason Peters got some work in today in a few drills, although he did not participate in 11-on-11’s.

• There seemed to be a really good energy from the defense today. They were chippy. Bradley Fletcher threw Riley Cooper to the ground on one play. Patrick Chung got into it a little bit with Brent Celek. Brandon Boykin looked angry at times today. It was good to see a little fire.

You must go to the piece to see Jimmy’s artwork. His picture of Chip Kelly is simply great.

Tuesday was more of a walk-through so Jimmy just listed 10 Eagles observations.  Here are a few.

5) Vinny Curry played a great game last Friday. He is definitely a player to watch this Thursday against the Panthers.

6) The NFC is loaded with talented, mobile QBs like RG3, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, etc. If the Eagles are going to contend in the NFC in the near future they’re going to have to deal with those kinds of QBs on defense. Thursday will be their first test against that kind of QB in Cam Newton.

7) Connor Barwin may be one of the most important players on the team. If the lose him at any point, they don’t have a proven OLB who can drop into coverage. Barwin has had a great camp, but there are concerns about his drop in production from 2011 to 2012, although that was mostly in regard to sack totals. If Barwin stays healthy and has a good season, the Eagles defense may not be as bad as some people think they’ll be. If he either gets hurt or doesn’t play well, they’re in deep trouble.

There is more artwork to check out. Also, the worms of Philly speak up and Jimmy is there to listen.

* * * * *

And now to Sheil Kapadia. Here are Monday’s notes.

1:28 – One-on-one blocking drills. For the first time all summer, the tight ends are getting the best of the outside linebackers. James Casey handles Chris McCoy. Zach Ertz, who did not look good as a blocker on Friday, does a good job on Connor Barwin. And Emil Igwenagu owns Brandon Graham on the last rep of the drill.

Next up is special teams. As usual, Kelly spends time with the returners. DeSean Jackson holds two tennis balls in his hands and catches the punt. Then LeSean McCoy strolls over. McCoy is one of the few players who has nothing to do during special-teams periods. His fellow running backs are participating on return and coverage teams. So McCoy needs to find some way to occupy himself. He jumps in and starts fielding punts – or at least trying. All the fundamental aspects of fielding punts that Kelly has been drilling into the heads of Jackson and Damaris Johnson? McCoy basically does the opposite.

Kelly seems to be getting a kick out of McCoy’s exploits. Asked yesterday about his relationship with the running back, Kelly said: “He’s a little bit more Chuckles the Clown than I am.”

1:42 – During 7-on-7 drills, Brent Celek, who has not had a very good camp, makes a nice grab on a low throw from Michael Vick. Vick then throws a dart to Jackson on an out pattern.

Nick Foles holds the ball too long on his first rep. But he then throws a beauty to Johnson in between three defenders. The Eagles continue to experiment with a three-safety look. This time, it’s Kurt Coleman, Wolff and Chung.

Vick’s back up. He just barely overthrows Celek down the middle. Celek got past Mychal Kendricks on the play. Vick then rifles one to Jackson, just ahead of Wolff and Brandon Boykin. A good example of why arm strength matters. If that pass had just a little less velocity, it’s a pick-six for Wolff.

The blocking stuff is heaven/hell. You love hearing that the TEs were finally able to block the LBs…except that your LBs were blocked by TEs. Are the TEs getting better? Are the LBs getting worse? This is the curse of Training Camp. Every good Eagles play is also a bad Eagles play.

Both Sheil and Jimmy have noted over and over how active Kelly is with STs. That paid off on Friday night. Let’s hope that is a sign of things to come and STs once again becomes a point of strength.

For Tuesday, Sheil had some leftover practice notes.

2. Kelly talked about the defensive line and confirmed that the Eagles plan on using a rotation up front.

“A lot of times with the D-Line, because of how this game is played, we’re gonna be playing all six if we keep six on the active roster,” Kelly said. “So it’s not like he’s the starter and he’s gonna play and the only time the backup gets in the game is when somebody gets hurt. I think in that position particularly you’ll see that a lot more in the NFL. People are starting to rotate some defensive linemen to keep them fresh just because it’s such a tough position to play.”

Against the Patriots, Bennie Logan and Damion Square impressed the coaches. Vinny Curryalso played really well.

“I think everybody knows that when Vinny got drafted here, is that he’s a very, very good pass-rusher,” Kelly said. “So it’s a matter of now seeing him do the other things. We know Vinny can pass-rush. I think he showed that the other night. And that’s part of the evaluation. But you also have to be able to, for all those guys, what are they like in the run game? What are they like in all situations?”

Kelly was asked about Fletcher Cox as well. The 2012 first-round pick was outstanding in the Eagles’ 4-3 front as a rookie. In his first preseason action playing in a 3-4, Cox did not play well. Of course, he was only on the field for 16 snaps.

“We don’t cater our defense to one guy because there’s 10 other guys you have to worry about,” Kelly said, when asked if Cox is better suited for a one-gap scheme. “There’s a lot of different things when you go through everything, we’re gonna try to play to the overall team strength, what are we best at?”

Oregon rotated DL a lot. And the DL could be a strength so I’m all for rotating guys there.

The comments about Cox are good and bad. You don’t want to design your defense for one player, but if he’s your best player and is young, it sure as heck would make sense to make him a key part of your plans. If the Eagles had perfect 3-4 personnel outside of Cox, then building the defense around him would be dumb. That’s just not the case.

Kelly is a smart man. He does things for specific reasons. I trust him and the fact he’s got a plan that will make sense in the long run.

* * * * *

PE.com had some practice notes for Monday as well.

* * * * *

One of the hot topics is Safety Earl Wolff. He got reps with the 1’s on Monday. Bill Davis explained this wasn’t a demotion for Nate Allen, but part of a regular rotation they’ve had. We’ve seen a regular rotation with DBs so I believe Davis when he says that.

Still, Dave Spadaro mentioned on Twitter that Wolff could start on Thursday. I don’t think that would be due to the rotation. That would be more of a “let’s see what the kid can do” type of situation. I don’t know if this was Dave simply speculating or if he was offering us a hint based on what he’s heard.

As someone pointed out, we have to be cautious in regard to Wolff. If he does start, this is partially due to him having a solid summer, but it really is more about the guys around him failing to step up and play good football. Both QBs are pushing each other. The Safeties seem to be enjoying each other’s mediocrity. Aside from Chung, that is. He’s playing well. Wolff looks like a promising rookie, but he’s hardly been the talk of camp.

We’ll see if he does start and if so, how he fares against starters. Keep your fingers crossed.

* * * * *

There was some talk about 1-gap vs 2-gap and what all that means. I’ll try to cover that tonight.

_


  • Tom33

    The logic behind the offensive scheme seems so simple you wonder why nobody has thought of it before. When you see the WR’s split out with one behind the other, you can understand the preference for bigger guys that can block. Opens up a lot.

    Am I the only one worried about Trent Cole? I get that he is learning to play OLB, but when I read that he was manhandled by Allen Barbre and on top of last year’s lack of production — yikes. I keep telling myself that vets usually pace themselves so they are ready for the grind of the regular season (like Ryans seemed to do last year), but man, I’d like to see him be unblockable for a play or two just to know he still has it.

    • John Gurney

      Trent Cole has me really worried this season.

      • GEagle

        Why? We have Brandon Graham….

        ThOlèeeeeole DE to OLB conversion isn’t this unique foreign concept that’s impossible to master. So many teams go through it.lHeck look at the saints, they are dealing with it right now with 4-3 veteran DEs like Will Smith who never played OLB before this summer. Not everyone will fail, not everyone will succeed…Confident we can get something out of Graham, even if you have to make him a predator, to where Cole not working out isn’t that catastrophic…
        ..
        Heck before OTAs started, many of us had completely written Cole off, and we we prepared to go into this season without him, or with him buried on our bench because he’s too expensive to get rid of….I’m far more concerned with what Graham does this year than Trent. If Graham can build off of last year than Trent becomes expendable anyway

        • Media Mike

          Cole is also VERY tricky from a salary standpoint. Tommy pointed this out earlier when I was trying to trade Mr. Cole to a 4-3 team in need of DE help.

          http://www.eaglescap.com/Players/TrentCole.html

        • fran35

          I actually think that Cole has looked better in coverage than Graham. Graham looks really stiff, not sure he is going to work out. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see him traded.

          • GEagle

            I haven’t watched enough of Graham on Trent dropping back to agree or disagree with you..but unless they can pull off a separate trade to AQUIRE Jaabal Sheard(since the browns are starting to rave about Mingo), Im not sure they would trade Graham, and leave themselves with only Cole….

            keep in mind that just because they aren’t playing 4-3DE, doesn’t mean they have to drop back. It may not be ideal for what the coaches are trying to do, but they can easily run a defensive scheme that only keeps Graham rushing the passer….I also think that whichever of the two is better in coverage, probably isn’t going to be much better than the other. Have ATleast heard that Graham is making some strides…reports the other day at practice that he dropped back nicely against Ertz and got the PBU. Dumb Luck? Maybe….Doubt we will ever hear that Trent was able to run with Ertz…He followed that PBU with a sack of Foles…and I in Fridays game I saw more promising signs from Graham than Cole, but that’s not enough intel…I don’t have enough intel to make a judgment from this offseason, but what I do know is Cole was horrible last year, and everytime Graham got a snap, he almost always made something happen with it. he is finally getting some continuity, not suffering any setbacks with the Knee…if you put a gun to my head and make me bet my life on who improves more as the year unfolds, there is no way I would say the Veteran over the kid….but we really will need to see more. What I do think I know is neither should be playing anything besides a predator role this year….so when Chip said we won’t tailor our D, for one guy(Cox), I don’t know Wtf he was talking about

    • A Roy

      The play’s been around a long time. Penn State ran it for a touchdown against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl over 25 years ago. And I doubt Joe was the first to use it.

  • GEagle

    I believe for sure that Wolff will start on Thursday. Monday when wolf started Kelly tried to play that off as part of the rotation and warned he wouldn’t start the next day…that held true, but the next day even when he was with the 2nd string, he was paired with Chung who will no doubt start Thursday…Watch who paired with Chung, that will tell who is winning the battle. Great job by our local reporters sniffing out cHip trying to be sneaky sneaky.
    ..
    Connor is an X factor for sue. The hope is that Chris McCoy develops into a guy we can trust to drop by midseason, in case of an injury, or feign up the Brama Bull Barwin to go after QBs on occasion

    There is always a role for a guy that can get to a QB, how Vinny develops against the run will dictate the extent of his role on this team. Good o get some relief from hearing how he won’t fit on this team.
    ..
    Chip dished out serious high praise for Lane,Benny,Square and Knott…Hopefully the can continue to build off last weeks performance…Antonio Dixon is going to have to show something if our young bucks are going to keep showing up.
    ..
    Kelly said he is trying to have the starters play the first half tomorrow, and that’s exciting. Gonna be important to see how Wolff and Benny perform against NFL 1’s. Hoping Cary’s hamstring doesn’t act up so I can see him play tomorrow.
    ..
    had the defense been embarrassed about Friday, and the coaches ripping into them then I would expect them to have showed up Sunday for a fierce day of practice…But the big day for the defense didn’t come til the day Cary Williams challenged the….Is Cary some Brilliant, Idiot Savant leader lol? sort of like the Eli Manning of defenders if you will? Lol

    • Jernst

      I had no problem w what Cary said. I’ve been yelling it at my TV for the last 4 years. Our defense is the softest I’ve seen in the nfl over that span.

      The only thing that bothered me about it was that it was Cary that said it. If you blow off all (albeit non mandatory) practices, while all your teammates are working their tails off, to go pick out sconces and have work on your teeth and go to dance recitals and then spend all of training camp in the hot tub due to a hamstring strain (a conditioning injury) then shut up and get on the field and do something before you open your mouth. I just wish it was Trent cole or Ryan’s, or one of the young guys like curry, graham that said it.

      Also, the fact that he said it as a defense of fighting after the whistle. I knew we got a knucklehead after I saw him push that ref. he’s a liability w that type of behavior. Back up your toughness on the field not w punches after the whistle. That’s weak. And don’t bring dawk into this. I never once saw him fist fight after a play. He’d blow you up between the whistles like a man.

      • GEagle

        Don’t disagree at all. I would have prefered every scenario you listed…But First and Foremost, one of our defenders needed to feel this way, step up and say it!…Cary wouldn’t have been my first, second, or 3rd choice but I’m glad someone stepped up and did say it….and the day after the defense went out and had one of its best practices…let’s see how it carries(no pun intended) over to tomorrows game

        • Jernst

          Agreed…overall very happy he said it. I just feel like he’s still an idiot. So to answer the question above. He’s being a leader by accident.

          • GEagle

            lol Definitely an idiot…la broken clock is right twice a day…He must of inhaled some Ray Lewis or developed some leadership by Osmosis…

            it’s been too long since we had anyone on Defense step up, and not accept weak play from his peers…It’s been so pathetic, that I will take toughness any way I can get it, even from a dumb ass…oUtside of the media trying to create drama out of it, I see no ill effects of What Cary said, so even if it doesn’t help, it hasn’t hurt…so I’LL Take it!!

            PE.com has a great interview up(video) of D to the second power(Damien Square(d)s)…anyone who hasn’t heard this kid talk yet, I recommend doing so….He got me!! it was love at first site lol

  • eagleyankfan

    Mediocrity???? You’re being kind. THEY STINK. They STUNK last year. I have yet to read “getting better” when describing the safeties. I would have thought the media would be catching on to this by now …

    • GEagle

      Apparently you haven’t heard of Kurt “the self proclaimed playmaker” Coleman lol…couldn’t even type that with a straight face…

      I haven’t seen so much pointing before last season since Ludacris “Get Back” video…lol.

      • eagleyankfan

        LOL. I don’t think he took geometry in college. He doesn’t know angles…

        • Media Mike

          3 words:
          Ohio State “University”

  • GEagle

    I’m salivating over what other interesting “packaged” plays chip has up his sleeve. if he flashed that play so often and scored two touchdowns on it, it’s safe to say that’s a very basic play in our war book..

    I almost wonder since in the preseason, no one wants o show anyone anything and there is NO NFL book on Chip Kelly at this moment..I can’t help to wonder if it was a diversion to shop basically just the Oregon offense on Thursday night. if he shows Oregons offense, then he isn’t putting on tape anything that isn’t out there already….While I’m sure there is going to be a lot of Oregon in our offense, I would bet on Thursday we showed its mostasicform of what we will see iSeptember…

    • eagleyankfan

      I’m with you. If we’re being teased, imagine what’s to come.. Can’t wait.

    • OregonDucker

      Agreed. Chip will not show his hand until the regular season. Then, fasten your seatbelt, he will surprise.

  • mrparabolic

    Tommy,

    On your practice squad page, you have Dennis Dixon listed as eligible for the practice squad, but he told Mike Missanelli on 97.5 that he was no longer eligible. Who is right?

    (Sorry about the off topic, but there is no comments section on the practice squad page.)

  • Jack Waggoner

    I was told there would be no math.

    • Andy124

      I don’t think it counts as math if you don’t have to take off your socks to do the counting.

      • Ben Hert

        What about on the goal line and victory formation!?

    • TommyLawlor

      Who do you think you are, Chip Kelly?

  • Media Mike

    And now a word from Jimmy Buffett

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5iaZf21R8w

  • A_T_G

    The Eagles should consider taking an approach to our safeties borrowed from the airline industry: if safety cannot be improved, at least provide us with the locations of the exits, puke bags, and room to duck and cover behind our seats.

    • Media Mike

      I already puked when Chung failed to do his job vs. Eli on that rainbow pass to Manningham.

    • TommyLawlor

      ATG, if only our Safeties were as good as you are funny.

  • aerochrome2

    All:

    I am renewing the IgglesBlitz fantasy league we did for the past two years.

    The new invite link is http://y.ahoo.it/TAgTjhWt

    Currently set up for 10 teams, but we can go to 12 if there is sufficient interest.

    It was a great time last year, so I figured we would do it again.

    • GEagle

      If you guys need a man, let me know, Im always down!

      • aerochrome2

        Sure, feel free to jump in and signup!

        • GEagle

          Thanks…can my team name be: Riley Coopers Baby Mama Drama?…or is that too much? Lol Jk

          • aerochrome2

            We can always push back until next Monday, its more of a placeholder until people let me know what they want to do.

          • GEagle

            I actually don’t mind…I have other drafts after next week…As long as the draft is after 4pm, you have my vote for whatever day/time you chose…I responded to the expansion…I’m fine with 12, actually I like it better….tell the left over people to try and get enough for a B league…and we can use the extra week of the season, after our championship ends to do an A champ vs. B Champ…just something to keep in mind if 24 people end up wanting to play

          • aerochrome2

            League has been expanded to 12 teams, 2 slots left! http://y.ahoo.it/TAgTjhWt

          • GEagle

            When do we find out the draft order?
            ..
            Who is Stanley super team?

          • Stanimal

            I’ve been a fan and reader of the site for quite awhile I just haven’t commented before but the FFL seemed like a good way ti break into the brotherhood of posters for this page.

    • Jack Waggoner

      My team is the Sconce Patrol.

    • Mac

      Every good league needs a guy who has no idea what’s going on… so I’ll play again this year!

    • aerochrome2

      All: League filled up quicker than I expected to 10. I am discussing with the current teams whether we want to expand to 12 teams. If so, I will post back here.

      As always Tommy, thanks and sorry to hijack the comments section!

      • aerochrome2

        League has been expanded to 12 teams, 2 slots left! Invite link is http://y.ahoo.it/TAgTjhWt

        • Stanimal

          I just joined the league so it is now full. Thanks for setting this up for everybody.

          • GEagle

            Yeah much appreciated mate

          • aerochrome2

            Draft order is randomly assigned a few minutes before the draft on Yahoo.

  • Mac

    I know how to count all de way to schfifty five. Does that help?

  • Flyin

    This is way off topic, I’m just catching up on today’s news and this is in regards to McNabb’s latest comments about RGIII. Is there a big enough cork to shut him up?

    “I honestly think that over there in Washington, he’s getting brainwashed,” McNabb said on his NBC Sports Radio show Tuesday.

    “I hope the best for the young man, but the direction he’s going in is
    really a direction he does not want to do,” McNabb said. “He does not
    want to go there with me, especially when I got the last word. I’m just
    trying to help him.”

    Sorry RGIII, but you are wrong. McNabb really is an idiot! You are smart and he is dumb!

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9567486/donovan-mcnabb-robert-griffin-iii-brainwashed-washington-redskins