How the Eagle Was Landed

Posted: December 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 115 Comments »

We all love Nick Foles now. He’s the greatest QB ever. He’s Nickfoleon Dynamite.

But where did he come from? My guess was that a secret government lab combined the DNA of Ben Franklin, Brian Dawkins and Dr. J and created Nick from that. Jeff McLane seems to think he simply was drafted from the University of Arizona. That just sounds way too simple to land the greatest player in NFL history. But we’ll go with his version for now.

Great article here by Jeff McLane on how the Eagles got Nick Foles. Jeff talked to several people on how the scouting and drafting of Foles went down.

One day during the 2012 offseason, Marty Mornhinweg turned on the college tape of Nick Foles and liked what he saw. So he walked down the second floor corridor at the NovaCare Complex and into Andy Reid’s office.

“I said, ‘Have you seen this Foles kid?'” Mornhinweg said recently to The Inquirer. “So he watches him, likes what he’s watching and says, ‘Where’s Doug?'”

Doug Pederson, the Eagles quarterback coach, was on the road. He was working out other quarterbacks and by coincidence was scheduled next to be in Phoenix to visit Brock Osweiler, the 6-foot-7 Arizona State quarterback.

“We’re like, shoot, let’s get him over to work out Foles instead,” Mornhinweg recalled. “So we had our people redirect Doug to Tuscon.”

Who knew Marty Mornhinweg was so wise?

I fully admit that I wasn’t on the Foles bandwagon when he was drafted. I thought he was off target too often and that WR Juron Criner made circus catches on a regular basis that made Foles look better than he was. I didn’t see a very good athlete. And I’m not a huge fan of QBs that are 6-5, 240. I prefer guys that are 6-3, 225 and have mobility.

I was also nervous about some of Foles bad moments. He struggled as a Senior, although that largely due to a terrible OL. There was a bowl game in his Soph year when he was destroyed by Nebraska. Foles went 9-29-48. To be fair, Ndamukong Suh was literally unblockable that day. It was like watching a high school kid play football against 5th graders.

Foles got my attention in the 2012 preseason. He played when Vick went down and looked good. He was comfortable on the field and that was the first thing that I liked. Some rookies look overwhelmed. Foles acted like he belonged. He also played like it and that’s when Folesmania started.

I only think it is fair that Foles send Mornhinweg one of his Super Bowl rings.

* * * * *

Let’s talk more about Brad Smith playing QB. In a previous comments section, AC Viking posted his argument against it. Why take Foles out of the game and put in a gimmick player? Would you do this with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? This is a reasonable question and a good argument.

But I still disagree.

The Red Zone is a condensed space. Defenses are packed tightly and they play aggressively. If you can figure out a reasonable way to trick them, there is nothing wrong with that.

Is it bad to line up in the I-formation and then give the ball to the FB up the middle when you’ve got a star RB behind him? Is it wrong to run a reverse or end around and give the ball to a WR? What about faking to the RB and throwing to an OL or the #3 TE? These are all tricks.

Smith is a player that can run and pass. When you put him at QB, you have the option to run or throw the ball. His very presence on the field can affect the defense. That could make a simple hand-off to Shady McCoy effective. If the DE freezes for half a second because he thinks Smith might run, that could be enough of a delay for Shady to get up the field. If Smith keeps the ball, he’s athletic enough to make a 5-yard run without needing the defense to be completely fooled. Foles needs a ton of room. Smith doesn’t.

Using a player like Smith in certain situations is fine. That’s taking advantage of your resources. If you take Foles out as the QB on a regular basis, I’ve got a problem with that. If you simply use Smith from time to time, that’s fine. It gives the defense one other issue to deal with.

* * * * *

How much of Foles 2nd half issues can be attributed to his youth?

Tough question. There is no doubt that things get different in a game where one team is trailing. They play more aggressively. They take chances they didn’t in the 1st half. Does he adjust well to the defensive adjustments?

The problem with figuring this out is that we don’t see him throw enough to really know. Foles doesn’t look lost out there, but he does seem different. Maybe that’s just perception. We know the offense changes, as there is more of an emphasis on working the clock.

Foles still has a ton to learn and he’s nowhere close to maximizing his talent. QBs need time to develop and perfect playing that position. Hopefully experience will help his play in the 4th quarter of games.

* * * * *

I watched the HOU/JAX game the other night. Wow, Case Keenum and Chad Henne were both bad. Henne has started 47 NFL games, but still made some plays that would make you think he’s a rookie.

Keenum is young, but made some awful throws. His INT, where Andre Johnson was wide open, was dreadful. Keenum needed to put the ball over the DB. Instead, he threw the ball softly and right to the DB.

Each of those guys flashed potential at times. But the more they played, the more you could see warts. Defenses adjusted to them and those QBs didn’t have the right answer.

Foles is in Year 2. He’s started 6 games this year. Teams know who he is and what he can do. But they aren’t stopping him. That’s a very good sign. Seeing that crapfest the other night made me really appreciate Foles.

  • ICDogg

    The Lions may have Megatron, but our secret weapon is Mega-Ertz!

    • GEAGLE

      He really is coming into his own..he absolutely abused Daryl Washington. he abused yeremiah bell and Matheiu..awesome to hear ERTZY talk about how the game has slowed down for him. I expect BIGTIME things from the did his combine numbers match up with Gronk n Graham? In my mind, there was NO WAY Ertz would fall to round 2, so I thought it was a waste of time to pay him much attention last Febuary. To land Zack Ertz after already drafting a special RT was just a flat out coup!

  • Andy124

    Is it bad to line up in the I-formation and then give the ball to the FB up the middle when you’ve got a star RB behind him? Is it wrong to run a reverse or end around and give the ball to a WR? What about faking to the RB and throwing to an OL or the #3 TE? These are all tricks.
    I would counter that using additional running backs and receivers is not at all the same as using additional players at the quarterback position.

    Smith is a player that can run and pass. When you put him at QB, you have the option to run or throw the ball. His very presence on the field can affect the defense.
    Vick presents those same threats. It seems to make sense in theory that this would help out the offense. Real life has shown, very conclusively, that it doesn’t work out that way.

    We can view the trick play as a risk reward calculation, with the reward being measured as improved odds of a touchdown due to trickeration. When the quarterback is something like 10-14 in legit redzone opportunities, there is no room for the odds to improve, therefore no measurable reward. You’re taking on risk with no improved odds of scoring.

    This is backed by the fact that the Eagles were 2-2 in redzone opportunities that very game in drives that didn’t end in kneel downs and weren’t crippled by taking the ball out of Foles’ hands.

    • TommyLawlor

      Michael Vick’s presence used to make a difference in the Red Zone. In 2010, he ran for 9 TDs. In 2011, he only ran for 1. But Shady ran for 17. I guarantee you Vick had an impact on the 17.

      Smith dropped the snap. That ruined the play. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Try it again and let’s see how it goes. Remember that we’re talking about a play. Not a whole drive. Not a whole RZ series. A single play.

      • GEAGLE

        Yes sir…we need to give it more of a chance before we can just assume it’s a bad idea..Chipper knows what he is doing, give the man room to use that brilliant offensive football mind…if I dealt with 14 years of Shovel passes that stopped working after the 5th year, I can give Chip some room to get creative before I rule it out…..although I prefer FOles NOT lining up as a WR. take him out the game when Brad comes in

      • shah8

        Vick is a liability as a RZ passer because height *really* matters in the red zone, in order to maximize throwing area over the middle. No different than Brees, and you see some of the point of NO’s rushing attack.

  • BlindChow

    Why take Foles out of the game and put in a gimmick player? Would you do this with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?

    Apparently, yes:

    ● In Brady’s first two years as a starter, RB Kevin Faulk attempted 2 passes, while WR David Patten attempted 3.

    ● In Manning’s first year, WR Torrance Small attempted a pass.

    And that’s only the passes. There were several plays (particularly with Faulk) where a non-QB took a direct snap and ran with it.

    • ICDogg

      I don’t know why I thought of it now, but Keith Byars threw a TD pass in the Body Bag game. But that was out of a regular formation.

      • planetx1971

        I remember that 🙂 Cool trip down memory lane! I thought Bystander was awesome. My dad was a big fan as well. Dude had great hands & feet.

        • ICDogg

          That was a game I managed to see live because my company’s execs didn’t want to use the tickets because it was very cold that night, so a bunch of us grunts got to use them. They missed a legendary game.

          • planetx1971

            Oh man. I’m Kelly green with envy. I moved out of Lancaster when I was a teenager up here to the nether reaches of new England so I’ve never gotten to see the birds. Went to a half dozen phillies games at the vet but it’s not the same. I’m going to try really hard to get down there this year. If I never get to see them I’ll die a broken man! I imagine you’ve been alot. I’m curious, is that the best game you’ve been to? if not what is? I’ll have to experience it vicariously for now. ( laughs & sighs)

          • ICDogg

            That was about as memorable a game as I’ve been to, the other big one for me was a game I saw in the Meadowlands against the Jets in 1993.

            You can read about that one here.


    • GEAGLE

      Yeah I got no issue with it. I wonder of going forward that package stays with Brad, or goes to Vick? I assume it wouldn’t go to Vick unless Barkley dresses…

      Instead of RZ, ii would rather have Brad come in for a play here and there late in games when we are killing the clock and everyone knows we are running..A defense gets used to FOles, and then Brad comes in as a change of pass ZR runner on obvious, clock killing run downs, sporadically of course

    • ACViking

      Was Torrence Small’s pass attempt in the ’98 season — long before the Wildcat formation had been re-discovered at the U-ARK — run out the QB position? I’d wager Manning was at regular his QB spot.

      And here’s Kevin Faulk’s pass attempt in 2001. He’s aligned next to Brady in the backfield, with Brady in his regular QB position.

      David Patten’s pass? It’s a traditional WR option-pass from Brady, who takes the snap, passes laterally to Patten near the left sideline, and he then throws downfield.

      Patten’s pass is at the 4:00 minute mark.

      Neither of the Patriots plays was in the RZ. I’d bet the same about Torrence Small’s pass.

      These are gimmick plays. But not RZ gimmick plays.

      • BlindChow

        So your objection isn’t that they took the ball out of Foles’ hands, it’s that they took Foles out of his designated spot…?

        Or is it okay as long as it’s not in the red zone?

        • ACViking

          Here’s what I think.

          Kelly prefers mobile QBs if they can execute his offense. Next in line, he prefers immobile QBs if they can execute his offense. He doesn’t like QBs who can’t execute his offense — mobile, immobile, or the size of King Kong.

          And right now, Kelly’s not ready to commit to Foles unconditionally.

          Hope that helps.

          • Maggie

            I agree. Of course Kelly is not ready to publicly commit based on so few games. However, bandwagon jumpers are always eager to sprain their ankles.

          • BlindChow

            I’m asking about your objection to the play. I’m not trying to trick you.

            My question had nothing to do with what Kelly thought of mobile QB’s. Besides, your statements about Kelly apply to EVERY coach in football (NFL, college, high school).

          • ACViking


            I’m not sure where we’re going here. But below is what I wrote in the comment section of T-Lawlor’s DGR regarding the “Smith Play”:


            First, here’s why I still don’t like the decision to put in Smith.

            * Foles had taken the Eagles — who’d just given up the 43 yard TD to Fitz — from their own 20 to the Cards’ 6 yard line in 5 plays. This was the Eagles’ 2nd RZ trip of the day.

            * Foles converted on the Eagles first RZ trip, with a 6-yard TD pass to Ertz.

            * Foles has been very consistent in the past few games as a decision maker.

            * If McCoy’s not going to run the Eagles in from the 6, neither is Brad Smith.

            * If Smith going to throw the ball, why would you put him in instead of Foles — who’s actually the QB.

            * If the play was a “package call,” then, again, it’s a long shot Smith runs it in off a fake and why not just let Foles make that pass

            * In a bit of hindsight, on the Eagles’ third RZ trip, Foles converted for a TD on his 1-yard pass to Celek.

            * And, just outside the RZ, Foles hits Ertz for a 24 yard TD.

            Bottom line, if you don’t think the Eagles can run it in from 6 yards out, then putting Brad Smith in is strictly a gimmick . . . . If Smith keeps and runs for 3 yards, McCoy could have done it. If Smith throws — in the clogged RZ — then I’d rather have Foles do it.

            I’m sorry if this isn’t responsive to your question. It’s the best I can do.

            I like Foles. I like the roll he’s on. Right now, and I wrote during the game last Sunday, I thought putting Smith in was tossing a down away. Let Foles be the QB and make a play.
            If Mark Sanchez was the Eagles’ QB playing as he had in 2010 and 2011, I suppose I’d not voice the same opinion. Facts being what they are.

            At bottom, I like the idea of having a QB lined up at QB. Especially Foles right now. Especially in the RZ where execution is at a premium.

            If, from that formation (QB under center or in SG/Pistol), the coach wants to run a something from the back of the playbook, great . . . because if, at the LOS, some different opportunity presents itself, the team’s in an optimal position to exploit it.

            As an aside, I know — with the Jets — Smith did some fine work lining up at QB in the RZ. Particularly power runs to the right.

            I understand that. I understand Smith’s potentially effective in spots.

            But last week against the Cards, I wanted to see Foles in there executing the Eagles offense. Because I thought he gave Eagles their best chance for success.

            I believed that then. And I believe that now.


            Obviously, I’m no Chip Kelly.

            I just try very hard to see the other side of my own arguments and those of others, too. And sometimes to argue the other side of my beliefs. No monopoly here.

            BC . . .

            On this subject, I regret I’m at a loss to see the intersection of question and answer.

            But keep asking and I’ll keep trying to answer.

          • BlindChow

            Thanks, AC, you’ve answered my question.

            When I cited instances of coaches taking the ball out of Manning’s and Brady’s hands, you made it seem like those instances were different, or less objectionable, because of where the QB was standing at the time. And that was what I was asking about.

  • Mitchell

    That Sheck guy from ESPN has us losing 49-44….. Is there anyway Detroit could put up 49 points? I really dnt think so. Especially since we’ve given up 21 or less for how many weeks?

    • GEAGLE

      Absolutely NOT!

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t see how we give up more than 45.


    Carson is a game time decision tomorrow..nice to know we put a beating on his throwing elbow. Serves them right for Bruce not so almighty crying like a bitch..

    I wish we could get those games back against the Chargers and KC..not that I’m a sore loser, I just wish I could see what would happen if they faced the team we are today

  • ACViking


    Your counter on Smith is typically thoughtful and persuasive. Thank you for responding.

    By the way, your argument reminded me of a play run by the 1973 Eagles. They had a had a rookie 1st Rd TE from USC named Charlie Young (5th overall). Imagine Jimmy Graham but a much better blocker. Roman Gabriel was the Birds’ first-year QB after being acquired in a monstrous (as in terrible) trade with the Rams: 3 1st Rd picks, plus perennial all pro WR Harold Jackson, plus FB Tony “Touchdown Tony” Baker. [Gabriel wore No. 5 his first year as an Eagle because of the 5 current/future players traded for him — plus WR Ben Hawkins wore No. 18, Gabe’s number with the Rams, at the time.]

    Anyway, in a game against the Vikings, Gabriel called a “Y Reverse Left” to Young. Gabe faked a 26 power to HB Tom Sullivan, following FB Norm Bulaich, to the right side where Young was lined up. Young wheeled around, as the offside guard [Wade Key] came in front of Sullivan and Bulaich sealed the edge vacated by Young . . . and took the handoff from Gabriel. Young then ran a sweep to the left — the biggest and fastest Eagles player. He carried the ball — and several Vikings — 17 yards for the TD.

    So I now better understand your point about personnel use, indecision, and opportunity.

    • TommyLawlor

      Mike Martz once ran a TE Reverse for a TD in the Red Zone. Had a real fast, athletic TE. Had the guy loop backward at the snap and got the ball from either Warner or Green and run for a 5-yd TD.

      Just looked it up. Ernie Conwell had 2 rushing TDs for the Rams. Crazy.

      • ACViking

        I love that play.

        I wish more teams ran it — but you need a really athletic TE.

        GREAT JOB!

        • bdbd20

          If we had Vernon Davis, I’d run it as much as possible.

          • ACViking

            Great call.

            I’m surprised Harbaugh’s not called it.

            But I have to believe it’s in the playbook.

  • P_P_K

    “He’s Nickfoleon Dynamite.”
    The best nickname of 2013!

    • GEAGLE

      It’s THE RAINMAKER!!!

    • Eric Carranza

      Fletcher the penetrator cox is a better nickname lol

      • Maggie

        Appreciate the “penetrator” reference, but do you know what fletcher means? A fletcher is the guy with a large knife skinning a whale to get at the blubber. Apply how you wish.


    we ARE NOT losing THIS GAME!! It’s just not going to happen!
    When two teams play and one doesn’t have a significant talent advantage over the other, the difference is usually coaching,” see you at the US open, ADVANTAGE Chippah”..For two months we have consistently seen all the signs of a well coached team. I can’t fathom Schwartz out foxing Chip Dogg.
    We are the more Discaplined team. Especially on these road, the lions will make mistakes and shoot themselves in the foot. Stafford is overconfident in his arm and that will cause him to throw up ATleast 3 balls that we can make a play on, if we come down with two of those balls, we won’t lose.

    on Offense, I think Chip is licking his lips. he is a MASTER at taking advantage of agressive fronts. if we can move the chains, and rev up the tempo! this Undiscaplined group will get sloppy, commit penalties, screw up their gap responsibility and give shady space to shred high at defense. lions run defense has the high ranking that the cardinals had, but they don’t have that type of Discapline…when a sloppy, Undisciplined team faces the best BIG PLAY offense in the game, DANGER DANGER DANGER!!
    last week Chip faced a defense I have so much respect for. That defense only had a few chinks in his armor for us to attack, and Chip exposed them like they were glaring weaknesses…this lions defense has way more sweet spots for Chip to attack. Detroits starting CBs are TRASH..yet they are both injured, Desean and Riley are licking their chops!! as great as Megatron is, I think our WR have a major advantage this game and will produce big numbers. skeptics think this will be the week Folesy throws his INT..NOT GONNA HAPPEN! Who is gonna intercept him besides Quinn? Lol..FOles and Kelce’s brain, masterfully handles Arizona creative blitz pressure packages…Detroit doesn’t blitz, doesn’t do anything exotic, it’s going to be much easier for FOles too read and then attack this secondary especially after the tough test they faced last week…

    We have a QB who moves the chains, has the most big plays in the league while spreading the ball around to all our weapons, without turning it over. our defense forces turnovers and gives us a short field. FOles doesn’t give opponents a short field to work with, and Donnie THE WEAPON Jones is booming kicks, and Boykin is getting down there and downing them inside the 5…that’s when a stout run defense takes over. Because of FOles,Donnie and Boykin opponents constantly have to go 85-90 yards to score. We give up some yards, but are one of these best defenses at keeping teams out of the ENDZONE……That is a WINNING RECIPE you can win some games with…

    • OregonDucker

      While I agree with your post GEagle, I do have concerns about Suh and Fairley. They are dirty players that play aggressively. Nick needs time to kill the secondary with bombs and this is the issue. I hope we see more innovative screens and QB moving pocket rollouts to counter the pass rush. I hope Nick makes the Lions pay for their aggression.

      • GEAGLE

        They are great players, we should worry about them, but a few great players on a defense with glaring weakness isn’t enough to scare me…I don’t fear their ability to stop us! I fear their dirty tactics injuring us…

        Arizona had a great front just like the Lions, but the lions don’t have the stout secondary! They have too many weakness to attack, Chip should have a field day…We will always take shots down field, but i think quick hitting plays will be a big part of our gameplan…If Shady put up 115 against Zona, he is getting 150 against a much weaker defense..
        Come on Ducker…NO FEAR!!!

        • Maggie

          Gee, after the Arizona game, I almost thought that only the Eagles have dirty players!

          • Philip Soloninka

            Just Chung head hunting his own guys

    • Philip Soloninka

      Let’s be honest, offense, defense, special teams, bye week, off season…. Chippah is still licking his lips.
      That guy has a Chapstick endorement deal if he ever wants it, just saying.


    can’t wait to see the outside Zone plays Chip dials up to get us on the edge and attack a suspect defense

    • ACViking

      Si sono sul fuoco

      • GEAGLE

        Daje Zio!!!

    • sprawl

      It was kind of fun watching the texans run the ball wide right past Jacksonville’s wide DE in the TNF game this week.

      There’s a good chance that Lesean McCoy causes the whole DET secondary to come down with post-wide9-stress-disorder on Sunday like we had with Washburn.

      • GEAGLE

        VInny Curry will force a fumble this week and it’s gonna be PAINFUL for Stafford!!

        Vinny will look to detroits sideline! see that dirty OL bastard Washburn, who wouldn’t even let him wear a game day jersey! and he will start to foam from the mouth! have a Bobby bOuche moment! and take it out on Stafford!
        this will be Currys biggest game as an eagle. Barwin is from Detroit! Graham had his first sack against the lions being from MIchigan….Stafford is in for a rougher day than Palmer

      • BlindChow

        Detroit held McCoy to 1.6 yards/carry last year, despite being in the wide-9.

        • sprawl

          That was Andy Reid on the field wearing #25 as far as I’m concerned! Detroit has really shutdown the run game on teams the past 6 weeks but in the beginning of the season, even though they weren’t getting gashed routinely, they did give up huge chunks due to things like a safety falling down and missing their assignment.

          I’m counting on Chip to get us into some advantageous situations here.

    • Anders

      I hope they have worked blocking it because they have been terrible blocking it all year

  • Neil

    Henne (and frankly most QBs who get a shot in the NFL) is the counterargument to anyone who just says we can draft an athletic guy and he will learn to do what Foles is already doing.

    • ACViking

      To paraphrase a great philosopher . . . 75% of playing QB is 80% mental. Or something like that.

      • shah8

        Henne probably looks bad because he’s expected to run a full fledge passing offense. Have not watched Henne in a couple of years now, but Henne had two serious problems–he was very slow of foot and also could not handle being behind center. Second, his ball placement sucked on those rifled balls. Not too much unlike a poor man’s Brandon Weeden body, with a rich man’s Brandon Weeden brain. Reading the Dawgs by Nature site’s A22 review of their loss to Jax, by Pokorny, there was a comment about how Henne was getting those TD passes. He was lofting them instead of his usual rifle. Anyways, the little I saw of him in relief of Gabbert last year was rather putrid and scattershot, with CSIII and Blackmon bailing him out. Winning some, losing some, high passing totals, but terrible efficiency.

        • ACViking

          A “poor man’s Brandon Weeden” . . . now that’s damning with faint praise!

    • Anders

      most guys even non athletic guys cant do what Foles is doing.

      • Neil


  • philip

    Why Brad smith? Why not vick who has a better arm, more accurate and still fairly quick. I’d like to see smith on a reverse or taking the ball on a read option as a back, but not qb.

    • GEAGLE

      If you wanna do it with Vick, you probably have to dress barkley

      • ICDogg


        • BlindChow

          The refs find the nudity distracting.

        • GEAGLE

          When you only dress two QBs, I’m not sure you want to put your backup at risk

    • deg0ey

      That was my initial thought, Vick is clearly better at any aspect of what you might ask Smith to do on that play.

      Then someone pointed out that Smith was already on the field having been in at WR on the previous play. If you change personnel on offense (i.e. bring Vick into the game) then the defense has to be given the chance to substitute and they might bring in players better suited to defending Vick.

      The same opportunity of substitution does not have to be afforded if the offense doesn’t make any changes. Switching Smith and Foles at WR and QB can be done up-tempo and no-huddle, limiting the chances for the other team to figure out what’s going on.

    • Maggie

      One reason, if the defense sees Vick going in, with Foles still on the field, they would immediately suspect something was up. Smith trickles onto the field, they didn’t even notice.


    Hindsight time..

    If you knew we would be entrenched in a playoff hunt with the rainmaker killing it from the pocket! would you have given up that second round pick for Josh Gordon? If it went for the suspension issue, it would be a no BRAINER for me..imagine FOles throwing to Gordon,Cooper,Desean and Ertz? Yikes

  • JJ_Cake

    Thanks for the insight on Foles Tommy. I’m pleasantly surprised to seeing you buying into Foles. I’m hoping he turns out to be a Joe Montana / Tom Brady combo (the best of both guys). It almost seems too good to be true that we’d get a QB of that caliber… and a 4th round pick at that!

    I’m a dreamer, but still look up in the sky to see if that Anvil is falling. We’ve had too many of those “Lucy pulling the ball out from Charlie” moments in Eagle history.

    • GEAGLE

      If FOles becomes special(his girlfriend who works for Nike thinks so lol), he will have some Peyton in him because I’m so damn impressed with young FOles and Kelce barely experienced in this offense reading defenses so well and making the right checks so we can pick up Arizonas exotic blitzes and make them pay

      • ACViking

        All Foles needs is more experience — especially mentally digitizing the 2nd-half adjustments made by the NFL defenses he’ll face . . . hopefully without interruption for the next decade-plus.

        I wonder how Foles would have done as the starter from opening day?

        [As we’ve kicked around before, you know I’ve been a opponent of the “TC Competition” theory.]

        • GEAGLE

          When he was on the bench I used to hate that he was missing out valuable game experience. Right now, he could be 4 games more experienced heading into this December battle, and he should have about 50% more offseason reps under his belt and That HAS to mean he would have even a better command of This offense right now….

          Remember ALL the past excuses we heard for our QBs? EVERYONE would say, Vick needs to be in his second year In this offense(Andy’s) and have an offseason as the man before he could really show you what he can do…..I’m expecting SCARY IMPROVEMENT from when this season ends and next September….There is NO WAY this kid should be playing at this level, this soon after how we jerked around his development…I used to hate seeing potential in the kid and the majority of people never even giving him a chance. It bothered me that we treated him like crap and never gave him any support….but thinking back on what a weakness it was for Donovan NOT to have thick skin, I’m kind of starting to like that we treated him like crap! I kind of like that he had to pick himself out of the gutter after Dallas now that I KNOW. He has the toughness to handle it!!! This kid will be something….I. KNOW IT!, and people can scroll any archive the hey want, they won’t find me saying that.about Kolb!!

          • ACViking

            Your point regarding Vick — and I’m sure with QBs on other teams — needing to No. 1 from the first OTA through TC is a great one.

            I’m not sure it made any difference for Vick — he’d been in AR’s offense for 2 seasons already, though not as the starter. And he’d had 8 years of NFL experience anyway.

            But I’d like to believe that having Foles running the 1’s from next May to August to December to February ** [SB day”] will make a difference. Less so over time, though.

          • GEAGLE

            I definitely agree with less so over time. But initially it’s important especially with a young QB..
            What I like is that FOles is developing as a pro style pocket QB. He isn’t running around with a chicken like his head cut off, looking at his first n 2nd read and then taking off. QBs who have early success with their legs ALL REGRESS the following year when their coaches put more on their plate in terms of developing the pocket passer part of his game. Atheticism hasn’t bailed out FOles or stunted his pro style growth..he had to develop pocket passer pro style skills or he had nothing else to rely on…this kid should be so much better 365 days from now

      • ACViking

        Almeno una volta durante una partita, voglio scrivere, che cazzo

  • Baloophi

    Trick plays in the red zone don’t bother me… Unless it results in a turnover (paging Ronnie Brown). I think it helps keep defenses honest so that they don’t come to expect the crossing pick for Celek or Ertz each time (speaking of which, a simple tweak of that would be to have Cooper or whomever the picker is to stop and pivot back out… The equivalent to a basketball “back door” cut to counteract the overplay).

    That being said, I don’t support running trick plays with Martzian frequency at the expense of our regular plays.

    Last thought: What do people think about trick plays for desperation, “last chance” scenarios in the red zone? End of game, 4th and goal from the 5, or a 2 point conversion to tie? Each time we run Lane Johnson out to the slot for the WR screen I can’t help but think somewhere in Kelly’s brain he’s tinkering with the notion of having him run a three yard slant. God help us all if it’s called and Foles throws to him, but I’d have to think the DB’s and LB’s would be selling out for the screen… (Check out the 4th and 2 we converted with 40 seconds left in the 2nd against Arizona… All three guys raced toward Jackson fearing the bubble as McCoy ran through the middle).

    • ACViking

      On those plays where Johnson’s wide, he’s not an eligible receiver — since a WR’s outside him on the LOS.

      Now if Johnson’s announced as eligible in your scenario — and the defense has no time outs remaining — then I’m liking your plan.

      Hell, even if he’s not eligible run him on a OT-around . . . a new version of the Bummerooski.

      • Baloophi

        Forgot to mention that he’d have to declare eligibility… Which, even doing that might induce a timeout or other confusion from the defense.

        Again, on that 4th and 2, there was such panic about Jackson that I think the blocking WR’s might have had a chance simply streaking down the field. This is where the repetitive formations really help.

        • Baloophi

          Also, what is the downside (if any) to Johnson declaring eligible on that formation every time? Would that slow down the offense because the ref would have to hop on the horn?

          I think Jimmy did an analysis of the swinging gate (back when it failed) and then surveyed players in the league, most of them had no clue who was eligible. Obviously in the bubble screen formation you do have to declare, but that also means Kelly knows he has formations where you don’t.

          EDIT: here’s the article…

          • ACViking


            If Johnson declares eligible, would that mean the Eagles would have to give up the eligibility of one of their regular receivers?

            Regardless, I love the idea of Johnson running roughshod through the defense — especially over a couple DBs.

            Love it.

          • GEAGLE

            Bully ball!!!

          • Baloophi

            Let’s enroll him in the Bryce Brown Fumble Camp, first. Special guest speaker? Leon Lett.

            But, I bet you can generate a more accurate analog to a cautionary tale of an OFFENSIVE lineman running with the ball, AC…

          • ACViking

            You’ve posed a great question . . . I’m sorting the data.

          • Crus57

            Big guys beat up little guys.

          • Alex Karklins

            I think it would be fine to do this, since the other team would instinctively assume that the ineligible WR was still a threat to catch the ball and would defend him accordingly.

          • deg0ey

            I may be mistaken, but my understanding is that you don’t mark a regular receiver as ineligible, you replace him with a designated ineligible player (i.e. somebody wearing a number in the ineligible range; 50-79 and 90-99).

            We wouldn’t be able to say, for example, that Johnson is going to be an eligible receiver and DeSean is gonna just stand out there and be ineligible. If Johnson is declared eligible, then Barbre would presumably come in as the replacement ineligible player – a circumstance that allows the defense to substitute in response.

            What I’m not clear on, however, is if you’re allowed to run with 6 OL on a standard play where none of them are eligible. If so, I’d be an advocate for putting Barbre in as an extra tackle and showing a few power looks and then, on the next play, declare Johnson eligible without making any substitutions and maintaining the misdirection.

          • ACViking

            Actually, I believe all the Eagles need to do is declare Johnson eligible and put him outside of an Eagles WR.

            By “covering up” an eligible receiver, that receiver becomes by rule ineligible. The only question then is whether the person out side of him (Johnson) has been declared eligible or wears an eligible number.

            Bottom line, if the Eagles run it once and have success, the NFL will outlaw the play as non-NFL quality “trickery”.

          • deg0ey

            Worth noting that eligibility on the play the Eagles ran is different than as Jimmy drew it up. Against KC, the formation and personnel was slightly different (see here

            Dorenbos is ineligible (because he’s covered up by Barbre) and Barbre and Vandervelde (on either end of the formation) are ineligible unless declared otherwise, although you can’t declare both eligible at the same time and the broadcast didn’t show any being declared.

            With that in mind, that play was actually run with only 3 eligible receivers.

          • Baloophi

            Gotcha… Just thought that would be interesting to look at it for discussion of eligibility, which – I’ve found – is both difficult to type and I keep wanting there to be two l’s after the first “e.”

          • deg0ey

            Fair point – just noticed that my picture didn’t load too, so the ‘see here’ part is kinda silly.

  • OregonDucker

    I expect to see more Brad Smith plays in this game. Not trick plays but plays that use his talents to slash an aggressive defense. I have no clue what we will see but Chip is high on Brad and will use him.

  • ACViking

    Re: Counter Plays and Counter Moves

    The 2010 Auburn – Oregon (mythical) National Championship game is instructive on the impact a disruptive DT can have on Kelly’s zone plays. Running laterally, even on the inside zone plays, invites difficulty, generally, with great DTs who can get across the line.

    SO . . . run counter plays. They have to be in the Kelly playbook. Have the guard opposite Suh or Fairly (not both, though) block down, let the unblocked DT fly upfield, and bring the off-side guard around to seal the trap. McCoy then runs back inside the space vacated by the unblocked DT.

    The Chiefs, back in the AFL days, called it 65 Toss Power Trap.

    Also, with the Detroit pass rushers, I wonder if we’ll see more of Bryce Brown
    — who seems to be the designated pass blocker. Not that Brown’s great, but he seems to get more of those assignments than McCoy.

    Back in 1991, when the Eagles had Jerome Brown at DT, the Cowboys — the best NFL running team since the early-’60s GB Packers — could NOT run the ball against the Eagles. Emmitt Smith was an afterthought because Brown constantly penetrated and eliminated the space that Smith used to change his target hole. [Like a goalie coming out to cut off a shooter’s angle.]

    The Cowboys realigned their O-line to challenge the Eagles’ D-line. Jimmy Johnson moved ROT Nate Newton to LOG to play opposite JB; LOG John Gesek moved to ROG to face the Pitts/Golic combo. And the huge, powerful but quick OT Erik Williams — from Philadelphia’s own John Bartrum HS and Central State Univ, home of Hugh Douglass — was moved to ROT to face Reggie White. That change made all the difference when the ‘Boys played Eagles, trying to hang on for their playoff lives in Week 15 of the 1991 season. The Cowboys didn’t gain a lot of yards, but they ate up the clock with 29 running plays, compared to only 14 in the teams’ first meeting [the “Sack of Troy” game].

    • GEAGLE

      I’d like to think Chip learned a lot from the Auburn game..

    • Anders

      I think that game just showed what a player like Fairly can do against non NFL type guards and centers in the college. Auburn won that season with just 2 guys and nothing else.

      • ACViking

        You’re right. Oregon’s guards sucked.

        But Detroit has Fairly and Suh. Together, I think the problem they present is comparable to what Fairly did against that weak, pathetic, Div-III Oregon O-line . . . which nearly dominated every other team it played oddly enough.

        • Anders

          Well Mathis is a top 5 guard in the NFL, Kelce is very good and Herremans is still a very good run blocking guard

          • ACViking

            I love the match up and the challenge.

            3 healthy OGs/C verus the (allegedly) best tandem of DTs — playing in an attacking scheme.

            That’s what Sunday’s should be about . . . as opposed to catching a break that the Matt Stafford’s been hurt again and won’t play.

          • Cafone

            Kelce is sometimes good, situationally. I’m kind of worried about him against these guys.

  • Weapon Y

    I’m disappointed that Chip hasn’t used the swinging gate again. I remember that when he used it against KC, Lane Johnson blocked the wrong guy and that’s what caused the play to fail. I’m still a big fan of going for 2 after the first touchdown. Upside is that you make things more difficult for the other team if you get it. Even if you miss, Chips offense is likely to get another touchdown and then another chance at going for 2. I hope he isn’t trying to conform to what the rest of NFL coaches are doing. I’d love to see him use it again.

    • Baloophi

      Very unfortunate to whiff on the first attempt. Prompted a lot of “college boy” comments…

      • Neil

        I doubt he’s shelved it because he’s worried what anyone thinks.

        • iceberg584

          Yeah. It’ll be back.

  • mksp

    Mike Floria strikes again. What did Howie do to this guy?

    “Fine. So why did they nearly trade for Kaepernick? And why did they covet Wilson? And why did someone (possibly with the Eagles) leak that in September?

    The competing, albeit chronologically separate, quarterback narratives hint at a certain amount of insecurity in the organization, especially as it relates to the selection of players before the arrival of coach Chip Kelly. While the Eagles successfully concealed for months the post-Andy Reid power structure, word eventually emerged that Kelly negotiated final say over personnel as part of his deal.

    As a result, Roseman sets the table for Kelly. And Roseman needs Kelly to regard Roseman as a competent table setter. Otherwise, Kelly eventually could have the power to hire his own guy to set the table.”

    • Anders

      Florio has been like that before Roseman was GM.

  • shah8

    /my eyes narrows…

    None of the things Tommy didn’t like about Foles in College stopped when he is in the pros now. What Foles has shown in the pros is the fact that he isn’t stupid at NFL game speed, and he makes the plays he should make most of the time.

    And the warts are very much visible to other professionals in the league. Just like P Manning and his elderly arm, the trick is reaching and exploiting those warts. It’s always harder to do that when a guy is surrounded by talent, and with a coach that consistently keeps defenses on their heels.

    For example, with that video I liked yesterday, one sees, evaluating memory of previous games, just how much short range stuff Foles doesn’t exploit. Exceptions being more explicit pick plays like one of Celek’s TDs at Oak, or one of DJax’s catches (I think Green Bay) when he goes a very long ways across the middle of the field. The Brad Smith play, as a Chip Kelly artifact, I am inclined to think of as evidence that Kelly trying to get wide open TD looks, and spending plays at a high rate to get them. This could be philosophy, but I also think that it’s evidence of an awareness that Foles cannot fit balls within the windows of an active and effective defense. So pick plays, PA, fades, roll outs and wait for defensive breakdowns… I remember Dennis Dixon being like this as well at Pittsburgh, when it came to end zone throws. However, Dixon wasn’t nearly as protected a passer as Foles, ’10 VYoung, etc, past his first game at the Ravens.

    One thing to look for with the Lions is that the Wide9 should be rather effective against PA and rollouts. It was not very effective against Minn last year, think mostly because Harvin killed them the first game and AD killed them the second game. So I think Kelly will have Foles throwing a variety of quick short passes to the outside, screens, RB/TE leak plays, a variety of tactics designed to exploit the serious run responsibilities of the LB corps. Keep in mind though, everybody else knows that, and one of the Lions LBs has a ton of INTs as a result. This should be a fun game, and I think the major angle is definitely going to be Det O vs Phi D. If Stafford’s unit can score points, we lose. If they can’t, we win.

    • fran35

      “Foles cannot fit balls in a window against an active and effective defense”

      I remain confused with your definition of an active and effective defense. Somehow he keeps making the throws, week after week. Each week you give caveats to his performance. Get over it. You are and were wrong. Foles is a legit NFL qb, and will have along career as an NFL qb. Now, as for Joe Webb….


    Wait a minute.. I thought Brad Smith was already on the field when they ran that play in the RZ.. Foles wasnt taken out.. It stopped Cards from subbing,, Yes no???

    • Anders

      I know Foles wasnt taken out and he was actually covered by Patrick Peterson. I take it 10 out of 10 times if you can take the best defensive player and “block” him with your QB


        Umm ok?? lol

  • bentheimmigrant

    The red zone trick play i want to see:
    When Celek and Cooper go for that high five, they lock arms and do a half turn like they’re line dancing. The stunned secondary watches as they gather speed and fling each other off to finish their routes.

  • Anders

    I think guys should watch Kony Early tonight. He just had a TFL and a strip sack and he is 6-5 275 and should be athletic enough to play OLB

    • Anthony Hart

      I really like a few of the Mizzou defenders. Gains and Sam are also both studs.

  • bentheimmigrant

    Actually, while we’re talking trick plays… I’m sure many of you remember that play a few years back where the ball was snapped straight through Romo’s legs, but was considered a dead ball because there was a really dumb rule about it, which they changed because it was a really dumb rule…

    Anyhoo, I’ve been thinking since then that there should be a play with the QB under center, single back, where it’s a direct snap to the RB, through the QB’s legs. Maybe fake a QB sneak or something. Point is, the D line probably wouldn’t really be able to see it, and would assume the QB has the ball. You just have to design it so the QB doesn’t get killed. Thoughts?

    • ACViking

      The NFL has also outlawed the Bummerooski — maybe the best-designed running play ever.

      All the NFL wants is pass, pass, pass.

      It’s not called the “No Fun League” for nothing.

      • bentheimmigrant

        Would such a play qualify under those rules, though? If the qb doesn’t touch the ball I don’t see how it’s illegal.

        I do have some sympathy for banning trick plays. It can be fun, but the game is supposed to be about athletic prowess more than trickery. But it is delving into dangerous territory making the kind of specific rules you’d need, which serve no apparent purpose if you don’t know the play they’re designed to stop.

        • ACViking

          I think a special “No Bummerooski” rule was passed by the NFL’s Competition Committee and adopted by the owners — irrespective of other rules and changes.

          That’s my recollection at least.

          • Anders

            Well snap between the QBs legs was a false start until the Eagles recovered a Romo fumble where it went through his legs and was called false start instead.

          • bentheimmigrant

            That’s what I’m thinking… The bumerooski rule stops a handoff through the legs, as far as i understand. So e.g. the qb and center can’t do a quick handoff… But if the QB doesn’t touch it then I don’t think it breaks any rules. Though I’m sure it would become illegal the next offseason.

  • Anders

    Malzahn's patented shotgun buck sweep. Great stuff. He diagrams it here:— Smart Football (@smartfootball) 7. december 2013

    This is great. I hope we run a similar play just with a TE instead of a FB.

  • Anders

    Just found this website. If you want to learn about any offense or defensive scheme it is here.

  • ICDogg

  • SteveH