Some Great Eagles Reading

Posted: October 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 42 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

Domo opened his piece with some encouraging thoughts on TE Zach Ertz.

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.

* * * * *

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.


42 Comments on “Some Great Eagles Reading”

  1. 1 TommyLawlor said at 5:24 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Interesting update on Vick. This is from Reuben Frank.

    At the Eagles’ hotel in Tampa, Michael Vick told senior producer @nslotkinCSN : “It’s going to be a long road” back.

  2. 2 bentheimmigrant said at 5:27 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Is that about his injury, or did Vick just realise how far it is to Philly?

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 5:54 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Yes to both.

  4. 4 Andy124 said at 9:51 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    A wise man once said that players are the worst source of information…

  5. 5 Insomniac said at 5:29 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Are they paying you? Was it Jimmy that blackmailed you?!

    As for Cooper, well I guess the statistics prove that he’s pretty much just in there to block? The trade deadline is in a few weeks. If Cooper continues to struggle as a receiver (even with Foles), is it finally time to pull the trigger on a trade? Britt is unhappy in Tennessee but is he worth the trouble? Gordon isn’t going to be traded unless someone gives Gollum an offer he can’t refuse. Uhh who else is worth trading for at this point?

  6. 6 ICDogg said at 5:54 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    If it comes to that I’d rather try Ertz as the Y receiver

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 5:55 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    My agent doesn’t let me disclose financial info, but I can tell you the pay is well into the eleventy-billion range.

  8. 8 A_T_G said at 9:07 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Wow. On a per-word basis, that’s James Casey-type money.

  9. 9 BlindChow said at 5:57 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    From ESPN:

    Britt has pulled in just six of 21 passes thrown his direction. That 28.6 percent catch rate is 333rd of 340 players in the league who’ve been thrown a pass.”

  10. 10 bentheimmigrant said at 5:57 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Off topic, but… Slackin’ for Hackenberg 2016?

  11. 11 ICDogg said at 5:59 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    lol… Randall Cunningham II should be coming out around then

  12. 12 bentheimmigrant said at 6:02 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    But does he have a catchy slogan?

  13. 13 ICDogg said at 6:05 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    He might need one. Here’s a highlight reel. He’s still a high school junior, I think.

  14. 14 Anders said at 7:39 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    He is a high school senior and had several offers before this season even tho he didnt start before this year.

    Two of the schools are Oregon and Baylor who both uses the spread uptempo offense that would be perfect for a guy like him (and his father)

  15. 15 ICDogg said at 7:41 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Can’t help but think he’ll be something special.

  16. 16 Anders said at 7:42 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    It is tough to say. He got the background, build and ability to be a good QB, now he just needs to put it together over the 4 years.

  17. 17 A_T_G said at 9:03 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    All aboard the losers’ tram for Cunningham?

    Shitty span for Cunningham?

    Or… OR! How about “Playing you for Randall II,” a marketing campaign where a fan wins a chance to play a series at the position of their choice each home game for the season. That should get us a good pick.

  18. 18 BlindChow said at 6:01 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Vick likes his receivers to be wide open most of the time. … [Foles and Cooper] failed to connect for a TD last week, but that was when Coop was wide open and Foles made a bad throw.

    Proof that Cooper can actually get open any time he wants but only decides to do it when the white guy is at quarterback.

  19. 19 A_T_G said at 8:55 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Wow, well played. Edgy, but worth it.

  20. 20 shah8 said at 9:23 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    That catch for Kevin Kolb against the Titans. I still remember it. The only time. God, Cooper is shit.

  21. 21 Finlay Jones said at 6:15 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    We’re averaging 27 ppg, with abysmal red zone offence and overall not that efficient play from vick. Imagine if/when we get a good qb!

  22. 22 Gary said at 7:08 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Ah, I see: You’re willing to write for BGN now that enough time has passed since Jimmy was associated with it. Smart move on your part.

  23. 23 mksp said at 7:11 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    There is no way we’re going to be in position to draft Mariota. If the Giants end up getting him I’m going to punch a kitten.

  24. 24 Anders said at 7:24 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I do not see the Giants drafting a QB. While Eli hasnt been perfect by any stretch, he isnt the reason his OL blows, he got no RB or TE and the whole D is worse than shit

  25. 25 mksp said at 7:30 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if JAX takes him over Bridgewater.

  26. 26 Anders said at 7:35 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I love Mariota, but I still think Bridgewater is the “safer” pick.

    Mariota is not a drop back passer like Bridgewater.

    It will most likely be Luck vs RG3 all over again (if they both comes out)

  27. 27 mksp said at 7:55 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Yeah. Mariota has his size and athletic ability going for him. I think he probably has a stronger arm as well.

    Bridgewater plays in a “pro” style offense and is absurdly accurate. His big flaw is weak competition. Aside from Florida last year, haven’t really seen him play against a quality opponent. At least I haven’t.

  28. 28 Anders said at 7:59 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Rutgers was a good defense.

    Also Mariota hadnt played against a good opponent before this Huskies game. He will of course face Stanford and UCLA, so he will get plenty good games.

  29. 29 mksp said at 8:04 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Stanford, USC, UCLA, K-State last year though. Louisville’s schedule wasn’t so hot. And they lost to UConn. Another big difference is that Oregon has *much* more talent around Mariota than Bridgewater has.

  30. 30 shah8 said at 9:38 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Let’s put the arm strength thing aside, for a sec…

    Bridewater is substantially more accurate than Mariota, and far more experienced at canvassing his options after the snap. Some of Mariota’s productivity, you’ll have to look askance at, just as you would the Air Raid QB–look straight to the quality of his throws, and I guess, check the moxie.

    I don’t really think there is all that much difference between Mariota and Bridgewater athletically outside of Bridgewater being a bit too light. Bridgewater is not in an offense that shows off his wheels much.

    For the most part, right now, when I think Mariota, Hundley, Boyd, what I really think is “why would you want any of these guys more than signing Tyrod Taylor?”

  31. 31 Mr. Magee said at 7:49 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    “…Punch a kitten,” LOL!

  32. 32 mksp said at 7:54 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Has anyone else adopted Oregon as their college team? I’ve never really been a fan of a specific team, and have liked their style for a while. The Chip connection kinda sealed it for me.

    Also, this:

  33. 33 Mr. Magee said at 7:46 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I wonder if ultimately the real benefit of having played Foles for at least part of this season is that we (and Chip) find out just how productive the Kelly offense can be in the NFL, even if Foles is not the long-term answer.

    Just sayin’….

  34. 34 Anders said at 7:47 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    We have already seen how effective it can be even with a struggling passing game.

  35. 35 Mr. Magee said at 8:21 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    True. But I haven’t seen enough to be all in.
    I think Foles brings enough of what Kelly is looking for such that we (and Chip) can get some better feedback on the viability of the system itself at the NFL level.

    I love Vick, but Kelly, like many of his predecessors, had to see for himself that Vick is a WAY better athlete than he is QB.

  36. 36 BlindChow said at 7:57 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I figured out what’s wrong with Eli this season: new helmet.

  37. 37 A_T_G said at 8:51 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I must be understanding this wrong:
    (a) Vick scores a TD once every 15 attempts,
    (b) but completes about half of his passes.

    How is he completing 7 red zone passes before scoring? It is only 20 yards.

    Also, Manning throws a pick once every 99.5 attempts, but a TD once every 2.8 attempts. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

  38. 38 Andy124 said at 9:49 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    You have to divide that 7 completions per td by the number of drives per td since many of them would occur on drives that did not result in td’s.

  39. 39 A_T_G said at 10:35 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Yeah, but still, throw the friggin’ ball into the end zone.

  40. 40 BobSmith77 said at 10:11 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    Hope Ertz is unleashed because this team desperately needs a reliable red zone receiving threat and someone who might help take some of the constant double teams Jackson is getting.

    Cooper plays soft and isn’t a smart player. Yeah people will point to the TD catch he had this year where he made a nice physical play against the Chargers but he seems to really struggle with press coverage even against guys who are giving up 4-5 inches on him and 20-30 pounds. Doesn’t help I don’t think he makes the best use of his skills either in terms of running good routes and recognizing space in zone coverage/find openings when plays break down.

    Avant is a just a better overall player but at this point just doesn’t have the physical ability to create much space. Painful obviously how slow Avant is when he does make a catch and even a lot of LBs can close on him quickly to make a play.

  41. 41 eagleyankfan said at 10:35 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    “Go read the article to see the numbers of other NFL QBs and how Vick stacks up in the Red Zone.” I’m not sure we have to read the article. We already know… 🙂

  42. 42 Flyin said at 10:42 PM on October 12th, 2013:

    I think you meant… 🙁