Paul Domowitch and Jeff McLane wrote great pieces on Friday.
McLane started off by talking about the similarities between the Oregon defense and the Eagles defense. He had some great info here. McLane talked to DL Brandon Bair. He’s on the Eagles practice squad now, but was a star at Oregon. He knows both defenses.
Schematically, there is little difference between Oregon and the Eagles’ base defense, according to Davis. Both are modeled after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ two-gap 3-4 front. Davis’ influence could be seen most dramatically in the coverages, blitz packages and nickel front which often looks like a 4-3.
But the base defense is similar to most 3-4 schemes, including the one used at Oregon.
“A lot of it is really similar, really similar,” Bair said. “There’s hardly anything different. It’s the same movement, same motions. But the biggest thing is that it’s just called differently.”
You might think Kelly and Azzinaro are the guys who didn’t want the 4-3 Under and instead pushed for the team to go 3-4 right away. Coach Azz has a long history with the under defense so I think he’d be comfortable with that or the 3-4.
It will be interesting to find out what happened to the 4-3 Under. It will probably take a couple of years for that story to leak out.
McLane found out who the Eagles emergency QB is.
Kelly revealed earlier this week that third-string tight end James Casey was his emergency quarterback on game days.
If Foles went down after Vick’s injury against the Giants, Casey would have been called on to lead the offense. Jason Avant had been former Eagles coach Andy Reid’s emergency quarterback in recent seasons.
“You want to have a guy that has enough time to look over some things just in case,” Casey said.
Casey said that he spends a little time during the week in preparation – like taking snaps – should he be called on. He had the same role with the Texans before he signed with the Eagles this offseason.
In college, Casey played some Wildcat and threw three jump-pass touchdowns. He was a full-time quarterback in high school and spent three years in the Chicago White Sox minor league system as a pitcher.
Casey, who has played only 20 snaps on offense this season, said that he was willing to take on any job that increased his chances of playing.
Makes a lot of sense, but I hadn’t even thought of Casey.
Finally, here are a couple of great nuggets on Lane Johnson and Riley Cooper.
After three games in which he allowed 10 quarterback hurries and four sacks, per Pro Football Focus, Lane Johnson pitched a near shutout against the Giants. The rookie right tackle said he tinkered with his pass protection technique and was more aggressive off the snap. “Coach Stoutland likes the vertical step,” Johnson said, “but I think this way suits me more.”
Riley Cooper is the most unproductive NFL wide receiver in terms of catches (eight) and receiving yards (93) among those that have played more than 60 percent of their team’s offensive snaps. He has played 329 of 369 snaps (90 percent). T.J. Graham of the Bills has six catches for 66 yards, but has played only 260 of 389 snaps (67 pct.).
I do wonder if Cooper could benefit a lot from Foles playing QB. Vick likes his receivers to be wide open most of the time. Foles will throw to a covered player. Cooper isn’t going to get significant separation on a regular basis. That’s just not his game.
Foles did work well with Cooper last year. 2 of Cooper’s 3 TDs came from Foles and his best couple of games came with Nick at QB. The two failed to connect for a TD last week, but that was when Coop was wide open and Foles made a bad throw. We’ll see how they do on Sunday.
Go read McLane’s whole article. There are still several things I didn’t mention. Ton’s of good info.
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SOON, VERY, very soon, Zach Ertz is going to become a major player in Chip Kelly’s offense.
Ertz has played only 114 offensive snaps in the Eagles’ first five games and has only seven receptions. But the star potential of the 6-5, 250-pound rookie tight end jumps off the film at you every time you watch him.
He has made the most of those seven catches, converting every one of them into first downs. Only DeSean Jackson (24) and Jason Avant (nine) have more receiving first downs, and they’ve played considerably more snaps than Ertz. He is averaging an impressive 21.4 yards per catch, with four catches of 24 yards or more.
“I’m getting more and more comfortable every week,” Ertz said. “Getting a grasp for how this league is played. The first couple of games were hard. I had a shoulder injury at the beginning of [training] camp. Ever since then, each week, I’ve progressed, which was kind of my goal.”
Ertz has flashed big time potential. His snaps are increasing so his production should as well. The Bucs have good coverage LBs so Sunday will be a tough test for him.
Domo next wrote about the Eagles Red Zone offense.
Michael Vick has completed only five of 19 passes in the red zone this season. Since becoming the Eagles’ starter in 2010, Vick has a 49.5 red-zone completion percentage and has averaged a touchdown pass every 15.1 attempts and an interception every 28.0 attempts inside the 20. In the eight games that Nick Foles has played, he has a 36.4 red-zone completion percentage (12-for-33) and has averaged a touchdown every 5.5 attempts. He hasn’t thrown an interception in the red zone yet.
Go read the article to see the numbers of other NFL QBs and how Vick stacks up in the Red Zone. I’ll give you a hint…it isn’t good. Part of that is on Vick, part on circumstances.
Vick hasn’t had big, physical WRs to help him out. It makes a difference when you have that big-bodied guy to throw the ball to. He can out-fight the DB and make the play. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg didn’t always run the ball well in the RZ, which hurt play-action passes. Vick also had some bad luck. Celek dropped a couple of TDs last year. There was a questionable penalty on Celek that wiped out a TD last year.
The flip side is that Vick didn’t help matters. He’s had some INTs and fumbles in the RZ. He doesn’t anticipate players coming open. He needs to see them open. That is tough in such a tight, congested area of the field. There are times when he just fails to see receivers. There were players open on a couple of GL plays last year against the Cards, but Vick didn’t see them. He was then sacked and the ball run back for a TD.
No matter who you blame, the results speak for themselves. The Red Zone production hasn’t been good. We’ll see if this happens with Foles or not.
Domo has a bunch of good stats nuggets in the piece as well. He also has an interesting bit on Hard Knocks. I didn’t know this, but apparently the NFL said if a team doesn’t volunteer, one will be chosen. Go see what Jim Harbaugh thought of that.
Love it when guys write long pieces with all kinds of stats and info. Great job.
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I’m now writing some weekly pieces for BGN. They had too many young guys there and needed a crazy old man’s perspective. For my first piece, I wrote about Earl Wolff and where he is 5 games into his rookie season.
I’ll post the game preview here this evening.