More than a few of you were bothered by some of my comments in the previous post. Let’s get into a few of the topics.
* Arm Strength – Many of you are quick to assume that a QB with a strong arm is defined only by that strong arm. Joe Flacco and Matt Stafford are gifted passers. They have the 2 best arms in the NFL, but that’s not all they do. Those guys can throw touch passes. They can make incredibly accurate throws. There are times when they look great.
I think pure arm strength is absolutely overrated. But let’s not come up with a double standard and hold it against QBs. Nick Foles has a good enough arm. He’ll never be in the Top 10 arms in the NFL, but that’s fine. He knows how to play without having a great arm. Accuracy and decision-making are more critical to being a good QB than an explosive arm.
A QB with an explosive arm has an advantage. He can make throws that another QB can’t. Go watch the Stafford pass to Kris Durham late in the Dallas game. Nick Foles couldn’t make that throw if you gave him 50 chances. Stafford did it perfectly and it helped them to steal a game. The ball wasn’t just thrown hard. It was accurate and catchable. That was a special throw. Colin Kaepernick made an incredible throw on Sunday for a long TD.
Foles is fine as is, but I think it is silly to act as though him having a stronger arm would be a bad thing.
* Mike Vick in Kelly’s offense – After my thought about what it would be like to see a really gifted QB in Kelly’s offense, some of you responded that we already saw that with Vick. Yes and no. Vick is incredibly gifted. No one disputes that. But he’s not a polished QB.
I was thinking about a QB who had physical gifts and polished pocket passer skills. My #1 choice would be Aaron Rodgers. I think he could do amazing things in this offense.
* The Kelly Factor – LeSean McCoy is having his best season. DeSean Jackson is having his best season. Foles is playing brilliantly. Riley Cooper is having a breakout season. And so on. When we speculate about other players in this offense, we have to imagine that playing for Chip Kelly would have a serious effect on them.
Kelly has the offense doing some historically good things. That’s not an accident. The man is a great offensive coach. And when you factor in the sports science stuff, there is no doubt in my mind he would bring out the best in most QBs. Vick had his highest rated consecutive games in Weeks 1 & 2 this year.
This isn’t to say that Nick Foles is the product of a system. Foles is playing really well. Kelly and his systems (on/off the field) are bringing out the best in Foles.
I don’t think nearly enough people realize the importance of circumstances to the success of players. Few guys step from the draft into the NFL and shine regardless of where they play and who they play for. Most guys need the right situation. Joe Montana became a great QB because he was coached by Bill Walsh. He might have had a good NFL career elsewhere, but going to SF brought out the best in him. He was perfect for the WCO. And he was the right guy to be the centerpiece of Walsh’s team.
Just look at John Elway. He was a very good player for Dan Reeves. He managed to put 3 teams on his back and get them to the Super Bowl. But he played his best football under Mike Shanahan, starting in 1995. Shanny was able to develop a consistent running game and that meant Elway no longer had to carry the team on his back. How often can you look at a player’s final 4 seasons and say they were the best of his career? That’s crazy. That’s also the impact of the right coach/system on a player.
Look no farther than Brian Dawkins. He was headed for a good career under Ray Rhodes. It was Andy Reid and Jim Johnson that turned him into a player that has a shot to get into the Hall of Fame.
Foles was a great player in high school. He was a very good QB at Arizona. He had success under Reid last year. He’s not just a product of Kelly’s system. Foles is playing great partly due to the system. It brings out the best in him.
My point that got all of this going was to wonder what Kelly’s system might to for another QB who happens to have even better physical gifts than Foles. Obviously the player would only thrive if he also made good decisions and was an accurate passer.
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Safety Keelan Johnson was added to the roster today. Both Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson are banged up. Johnson offers depth and the chance to help on STs. He’s been here for quite a while so he should be fairly familiar with the scheme.
I’m interested to see how Johnson does. Anderson is such a good STer that he’s a near lock to be back. Coleman is solid, but not a special player. He’s likely gone. Johnson could take his spot next year.
Someone asked me about Roc Carmichael today. Let’s talk about all the DBs for a second. Brandon Boykin is a good Nickel CB and STer. Nate Allen is worth bringing back if the price is right. Earl Wolff should be a starter or competing for a starting role next year.
Beyond them, everyone is expendable. You keep who you want, but none of them have looked so good you don’t at least try to upgrade on them. There could be another massive change in the secondary this offseason. The Eagles need at least one top talent in the back end, be it a CB or S. Offenses need at least one player to be concerned about.