More on the Size Issue

Posted: January 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Chip Kelly is a smart coach. While he wants bigger players, he’s not going to obsess on size to the point that he makes some really dumb decisions. Kelly wants talented players. His preference is big, talented players.

I do wonder how flexible Kelly will be. Take a look at Seattle to get a feel for a team that is really made up of individuals and not cookie cutter types.

DE Red Bryant – 6-4, 330 … huge player

DT Clinton McDonald – 6-2, 290 … only a backup, but small DT

SS Kam Chancellor – 6-2, 230 … probably the biggest Safety in the league

LB Bruce Irvin – 6-3, 245 … drafted to be a small DE, now playing as a good-sized LB

LB Malcolm Smith – 6-0, 226 … only a backup, but a small LB

DE Benson Mayowa – 6-3, 236 … only a backup, but barely bigger than S Kam Chancellor

QB Russell Wilson – 5-11, 206 … proving that QBs under 6-feet tall can win big

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built a team that is truly made of individuals. At some spots, they have the smallest player in the league. At others, they have the biggest. Carroll does a great job of turning these individuals into a team. This isn’t a collection of players that is just thrown together. Each guy can do his job. His size is good enough for the specific role he’s been given. The players complement each other with their skill sets.

I have no problem withe Kelly preferring big players as long as he is willing to mix in some smaller players that are special playmakers. Deone Bucannon (6-1, 216) looks infinitely better than Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190) when you just see the guys walking around. Put on the tape and it’s not even close. Joyner is unquestionably the better player.

Would you rather have Aaron Donald (6-1, 288) or Daniel McCullers (6-7, 348)? I guarantee you 32 of 32 teams would take Donald.

I’m really curious to see if Kelly does in fact add any small players with unique abilities. That would give us some insight into how and where Kelly is willing to bend his rules.

* * *

A few of you have asked me about DE/OLB Marcus Smith from Louisville. I’ve mentioned him a time or two. I like Smith quite a bit. The first thing you notice is that he’s a natural pass rusher. He had 15 sacks as a Senior (25 for his career). Smith is 6-4, 258, which is ideal size for a 3-4 OLB.

Smith played DE and LB in college. He’s spent time in the 4-3 and 3-4. He can set the edge on run plays. He can get after QBs. Smith is also able to drop back into coverage and do an effective job. Nobody will ever mistake him for Derrick Brooks, but he’s functional and that is good enough. Any team taking Smith will see his primary job as being a pass rusher.

I don’t have a good feel for his value yet.

Some of you have asked about Jeremiah Attaochu. I do think he could end up being in the mix for pick 22.

The good news is that the Eagles don’t have to force a pick on a LB. There will be targets in the 2nd and possibly 3rd rounds that could come in and help. No matter who the Eagles pick, the player might sit behind Trent Cole in 2014. The Eagles won’t give that job to a rookie. He’ll have to earn it.

_


  • D3FB

    Tommy, I’m lad to hear you like Marcus Smith. Now I don’t have to go off with Jimmy Bama and come up with lots of nasty rumors to spread about you cough(getting removed from the team’s board for drinking pbr during interviews)cough. Besides the production, the thing that really stands out to me with Smith is where he lined up. One play he would be out pressing a slot receiver. Then he would be lined up in a two point stance over the right tackle. Then a three point stance over the left tackle. Then in nickle he would kick down to DT and rush from there.

    I would agree that trying to put a value on him is hard. He tends to win with athleticism and an intuitive understanding on how to beat blockers rather than super crisp technique. However it is there but it only needs to be brought out. I would take him at 22. I like him that much. When I first stumbled on him a month ago he was considered a 5-6 kind of guy. Now people have started to catch up with his tape and he’s slowly making his way up to day 2 in alot of projections. I think if he blows up the combine you will see him shoot up to the back end of the first round.

    • Anders

      I doubt Smith goes in the first.

      I still see Clowney, Mack, Barr, Ealy, Ford and Attaochu better than Smith and there is not going to be drafted 7 pass rushers in the first round this year.

      • D3FB

        Fair enough, but for me that list goes Clowney, Barr, Mack, Ealy, Smth, KVN, Attaochu, Ford.

  • planetx1971

    I’m hopeful that the big people beat up little people philosophy comes with an “all things being equal” caveat. It seems to me that talent & a healthy dose of Napoleon complex has carried some stature challenged players through some pretty great careers.

    • Baloophi

      I’m hopeful, too. I believe (as you astutely point out) that “all things being equal” he would prefer bigger players… perhaps even give a slightly lesser player the edge if he has exceptional size.

      But I also think Kelly is a realist. As we know, the original quote came after being asked if the free agent signings were indicative of wanting longer, taller players: “We want taller, longer people because bigger people beat up little people.”

      But I think Kelly would agree that there are plenty of bigger people who don’t beat up little people, and plenty of little people who beat up bigger people.

      • Anders

        Remember one of the safeties we signed was Patrick Chung who is a small safety and no where near Kelly’s preferred size

        • anon

          Always wondered if that was just b/c there was no one else left. I actually liked the signing after pre-season, but i was wrong.

      • Michael Winter Cho

        One thing I wonder is how size matters in the playoffs, where things seem to get a little sloppy and grabby and sometimes the finer points of skill might be obliterated in the general scrum. A tendency to be a little bigger rather than a little quicker might be an advantage there.

    • A_T_G

      This was exactly my thought in reading Tommy’s post. And I think from the few roster moves we have to go on, there are hints that this is true. Damarius Johnson over Momah? QED.

      • Dominik

        Altough: does Johnson really have more talent? ;)

        • A_T_G

          You know Tommy’s motto: Hindsight is 20/20, at least until you have in-home LASIK, then all bets are off.

  • Baloophi

    OFF TOPIC! WARNING: HOCKEY!

    A friend of mine had a unique opportunity to play hockey in Dodger Stadium this week and write about it. Thought some of you might enjoy the read…

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/how-i-met-your-mother-673531

    • planetx1971

      Good stuff.

    • TommyLawlor

      Funny guy. And I went to YouTube for the Alan Thicke clip. “2 Beavers are better than 1.” Oh my…

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    i can see us using the draft to rebuild the WR corps… with both mac and coop not coming back.

    • Media Mike

      I’m not $ure about that. It really depends on what those guys are offered money wise. In either case, I wouldn’t mind an upgrade at WR2 w/ Robinson from Penn State.

  • Media Mike

    Tent Cole, based on dead money alone, is going to be the starting ROLB in 2014.

    • Anders

      He will be on the roster but might not start if a rookie beats him out

      • Media Mike

        Outside of Clowney, or possible Barr, I don’t think one could reasonably expect a rookie ROLB to come in here and take over that starting job.

        • Anders

          my point was more that his dead money has no part in him starting or not.

  • Media Mike

    Outside of Kruger coming in with the additional weight, strength, etc. and adding to the DE rotation, I wonder if there are any 2nd year players who are going to take a big step up in their contributions for 2014. Kruger isn’t going be JJ Watt, but I’m hopeful we get a Brett Keisel type out of the deal. Not a pro bowler, but a solid starter at 3-4 DE who has the size to set the edge by hooking the tackle and letting the OLB terrorize the QB from that side.

  • Dominik

    “Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built a team that is truly made of
    individuals. At some spots, they have the smallest player in the league.
    At others, they have the biggest. Carroll does a great job of turning
    these individuals into a team”

    I agree. Altough Carroll seems to have his perceptions as well. He generally likes small (speedy) pass rushers and big secondary players. There are exceptions from that perception, of course.

    I read an article about the Seahawks in which the author wrote that Carroll and Schneider focus on the strenghts of the players and not on their weaknesses. They are not saying: “yeah, he’s great at X, but we don’t pick/sign him because he’s bad at Y.” They say: “he’s great at X, let’s try to find a way to use that ability.”

    That’s simplistic, of course. But an interesting attitude, at least.

    • Media Mike

      That makes a lot of sense. Unless you’re getting Reggie White, what player is really that good at every single task asked of him at that position on the field?

      • Dominik

        You could argue that it is better to have a player who can do all the tasks solid and has no weaknesses than to have a player with great strenghts and great weaknesses. It’s better from a flexibility and disguise standpoint.

        I don’t have that position, but you could make that argument.

        • Media Mike

          11 Larry Footes on the roster!

          • Dominik

            Or 11 Nate Allens? ;)

          • Media Mike

            Nice.

          • Baloophi

            11 Larry Feet?

    • A_T_G

      Hmmm, I might need to send them a resumé. Sure, by NFL standards I am jaw-droppingly slow, weak, old, and unfit.

      BUT, if Carroll and company are willing to overlook those shortcomings, I love the game, I take coaching well, and I don’t say dumb stuff on twitter.

      I think the difference there is more how the talent evaluation is framed than any substantive difference. All teams are drawn to the positives and all teams weigh them against the negatives.

      • Dominik

        “I love the game, I take coaching well, and I don’t say dumb stuff on twitter.”

        I don’t think you can scheme a Defense around those attributes. ;)

        The broader point, imho, is to use great pass rusher in pass rushing situations and great run stopper in run stopping situations. You give up disguise, but if you have enough playmakers, you can do that.

        • A_T_G

          Well, that wasn’t my full list of attributes. At 6033, I am solidly average for the NFL and my 20/20,000 eyesight, thanks to in-home LASIK, means I won’t be fooled by play-fakes, I just attack blobs of the right color.

          • TommyLawlor

            “I just attack blobs of the right color.”

            Quit making me cry.

          • A_T_G

            I wish I was still able to cry…

    • xeynon

      Of course, offensive coaches get paid to scheme up ways to put defenders in positions where they have to do things they’re not good at. You do need to do some schematic things to protect your players, it’s not as simple as “this guy struggles in coverage but is good against the run, let’s just plug him into a position where he doesn’t have to cover anybody”.

      • Dominik

        That’s why I wrote “That’s simplistic, of course” in my first post. I know that it isn’t that easy. But it seems like an interesting mentality. And if you look at the last two or three drafts from the Seahawks – they are doing something right down there.

  • austinfan

    It’s not so much size as role, Donald is limited in how you can use him because of his size, right now he’s a one gap DT pass rush specialist, maybe he could bulk up to be a Kelly Gregg one gap NT, but he might lose his explosiveness – so size does matter.

    DL – they want long DEs who can handle OTs, block passes at the line, athletic enough to pass rush, strong enough to anchor. Could Justin Smith play for them, sure, but Curry is athletic but struggled against the run. NT is more complex, they dumped 330 lb Sopoaga, kept mini-me Square, and drafted Logan at 6’2 and a generous 309. I think they’d like a bigger NT, but only one that was mobile, Ellis might be a good target. On the bench, there would be a role for a Donald as a pass rush specialist, but they won’t use a 1st rd pick for that role.

    OLB – again, length matters because as Barwin shows, you can make plays when you don’t get to the QB. I don’t see them drafting a 6’1 WOLB to start. Now where you may see guys who don’t fit the mold is on the bench, Van Noy would be a perfect starter, then you can go “Seattle” and use mid-round picks for one dimensional speed balls.

    ILB – size is less important in terms of height, but arm length, bulk and explosiveness – we’ve seen Kendricks struggle to get off blocks because of his lack of length. They want guys to bring the trifecta, handle the run, blitz and cover.

    CB – they like big CBs on the outside, similar to Seattle (where everyone is 6’0+), but they love Boykin at the nickel. A shorter CB must be compact with longer arms and great vertical to handle tall, deep threats.

    S – they like interchangeable 6’0+ 210 lbs with good speed, guys who can play in the box or drop in cover 1. However, I think again there’s a role for smaller guys in subpackages, they might not want to start Ward, but he’d probably find his way on the field for 50% of the snaps.

    The bench guys will be late round/UDFA types who contribute on STs, because they don’t use a lot of resources, I can see them going against type for the back of the roster, but not the guys they’re grooming as future starters.

    • Media Mike

      If you get Nix @ #22 to play NT, that solves that problem from day 1.

      • Baloophi

        Plus, there’s a good possibility that after stuffing DeMarco Murray for a loss, he can wag his finger at the Dallas sideline and say, “ix-nay on the un-ray.”

        • ACViking

          maybe your bets comment ever. and you’ve had so many.

          shades of Moe and Curly Howard, and Larry Fine, dancing in my head. “Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard . . . “

        • Media Mike

          That would be epic!

      • D3FB

        That is as long as his knees check out at the combine.

  • Jason

    The size issue comes immediately to mind with Tyrann Mathieu. For two years, Tommy was beating the drum for him as an impact player in the NFL. Only when his personal situation seemingly unravelled did Tommy back off a little — as did the league when he slipped to the 3rd round and still was controversial.

    Small guy, but just as impactful as Tommy projected a year or two ago. Co defensive rookie of the year (with Sheldon Richardson) IMO.

  • ACViking

    Re: Where do Big Guys Really Beat Up Little Guys?

    In the defensive backfield. And because the NFL is a passing league, that seems to be the place where going big matters most.

    No team is bigger in D-backfield than Seattle. (Thomas is 5’10″ but is a great down-hill player and big-time hitter.)

    Is Seattle really that big in the front-7? Besides Bryant? I thought the ‘Hawks play principally a 1-gap attacking 4-3 under or 3-4 over (whatever you want to call it). So they don’t need huge DEs or a huge NT.

    What Seattle does is make the other teams’ receivers pay. And nobody hates getting hit more than receivers do.

    The ‘Hawks D-backfield reminds of the Steelers of the 70s. Big and big hitters.

    Steelers: CBs HOF Mel Blount – 6’3 205lb, J.T. Thomas – 6’2″ 200lb; Safeties Mike Wagner – 6’1″ 210lb, Donnie Shell 5’11″ 190lbs.

    Back in the ’70s, those guys were VERY big. And very physical.

    • RobNE

      it’s interesting that you clearly can’t hit WR’s like you used to, but the PI calls are so erratic. I don’t know where PI calls are headed.

      Is this a result of bigger WR’s and much more athletic TE’s too?

      • ACViking

        The whole PI issue’s a problem. Week to week, you expect different standards from different crews. The problem is when the same crew is inconsistent.

        But I think the bigger WRs get, the more acceptable hitting over the middle will become again.

        Back in the “Old Days” — really old days of the ’60s and ’70s — WRs were routinely 6’1 200+. Same for CBs.
        We’re cycling back to that now.

        • Baloophi

          You could even say the league has a magnum PI issue…

          • ACViking

            you’re red hot. red, red hot.

          • A_T_G

            Celek would love this comment.

          • Maggie

            Ouch!

    • Dominik

      I agree with you. Wrote a smiliar comment in this thread. Speedy pass rushers, big secondary, that’s Carrolls vision for his Defense. He makes exceptions (Thomas, Bryant), but that’s what good coaches do if they like the skill set of a player.

      • ACViking

        D-

        Sorry for the repetition. Just jumped to the bottom.

        I think you’re right on. Passing league. In Reid’s early years, with JJ coaching a pair of BIG corners in Vincent and Taylor, a crazy good safety in Dawkins and young Damon Moore (6’0 215lb), what Reid wanted was pass rushers. Still makes sense.

        • Dominik

          “Sorry for the repetition. Just jumped to the bottom of the comments and fired.”

          AC, you can repeat whatever you want, if you write something similar that I wrote before I just have a better feeling that it is right because the grand seigneur on this board thinks the same thing I do. ;)

          Good take with the Secondary Reid/JJ had here. Looks pretty familiar to what we’re seeing in Seattle. ;)

    • Neil

      Seattle has a couple chunksters on the line (I believe NT and the big DE who’s over a tackle) who 2 gap, while the rest do play 1 gap according to Chris Brown’s post on this. Very reminiscent of the defense that made Belichick famous.

    • A_T_G

      I don’t know that Chip’s comment was limited to defense, though. I think TEs, OLmen, and RBs could fit his statement as well.

    • Maggie

      Takes me back. And just watched some NFL films stuff on NFL Network with my Steelers, (back then).

  • Baloophi

    Consumer Alert: This being the first weekend since September with no meaningful football, expect your local home improvement centers to loosely resemble the Fall of Saigon.

    • Maggie

      Trying to clear the snow out of the parking lots? :~}