Nick Foles spoke to the media today. There was no breaking news, beyond the fact he got married this offseason. He got peppered with questions about DeSean Jackson and what his absence would mean to the offense. Foles did a good job of saying positive things about Jackson, but also standing up for his current receivers and teammates. PE.com has the video.
The biggest takeaway for me is that Foles gets it. He said all the right things. He didn’t get defensive when the media talked about the Eagles possibly drafting a QB. Foles didn’t get defensive when questioned about holding the ball too long. He answered questions as best he could and I thought he did a good job of being tactful and honest.
Foles tried to say the right thing as he answered the questions, but I get the feeling those answers are genuine. Part of that may be him being a genuinely good guy. There may also be some youthful optimism mixed in. Foles talked about not worrying about his contract. That might change when he’s got a couple of kids and he sees the end of his career in sight. When he’s at the beginning, it is easy to talk about how money doesn’t matter. Right now he’s hungry for success, not money. That could change with time. It does for many players.
For those people who still aren’t big Foles fans, I hope you at least appreciate the fact he sure seems like the kind of guy you want to be the leader of your team and face of your organization.
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Evan Silva of Rotoworld rated the pre-draft rosters. I was hoping he would have the Eagles in the Top 10. He had them at #8.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
QB: Nick Foles
RB: LeSean McCoy
WR: Jeremy Maclin
WR: Riley Cooper
TE: Brent Celek
TE: Zach Ertz
LT: Jason Peters
LG: Evan Mathis
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Todd Herremans
RT: Lane Johnson
Offensive Overview: Chip Kelly fielded the NFL’s most efficient 2013 offense, leading the league in both yards per pass (8.7) and yards per rush (5.1). Only three teams scored more points. Philly’s lone significant offseason loss was DeSean Jackson, whom the coaching staff seems to believe will be easily replaced. With Maclin back healthy and second-year breakout candidate Ertz ascending, the Eagles can continue to run a big-play passing attack with multiplicity, excelling out of various personnel groupings. The unsung heroes of Kelly’s offense play up front. 5-of-5 starters return from an offensive line that Pro Football Focus graded as the league’s best run-blocking group by a wide margin. The foundation of Kelly’s offense will remain the McCoy-led run game.
RE: Fletcher Cox
LE: Cedric Thornton
NT: Bennie Logan
ILB: Mychal Kendricks
ILB: DeMeco Ryans
OLB: Trent Cole
OLB: Connor Barwin
LCB: Bradley Fletcher
RCB: Cary Williams
FS: Malcolm Jenkins*
SS: Nate Allen
Defensive Overview: Billy Davis deserves credit for coordinating a defense that stayed competitive throughout 2013 despite a below-average assembly of players, particularly excelling versus the run. The unit still needs upgrades at all three levels. Cole is no longer a franchise pass rusher going on age 32, while Barwin is a better cover guy and edge setter than threat to enemy quarterbacks. The secondary played well as a unit last year, but lacks a high-end starter. The Eagles could use a bulkier nose tackle to take snaps off undersized Logan’s plate. I think this defense remains a work in progress, and I expect Philly’s draft approach to confirm they agree.
This doesn’t mean anything, obviously, but it is always interesting to see where a national analyst rates the Eagles.
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Brian Solomon didn’t fully agree with my post from the morning, when I talked about how better coaching led to the Eagles being better tacklers. He talked about changes in scheme and personnel.
And he’s right.
But that ties into the coaching. I didn’t have the time to write a really long piece so I focused on the fact that the coaching staff really made it a point to focus on fundamentals and proper technique.
Obviously the best technique in the world does you no good if you don’t have players that are willing to tackle or they aren’t in good position to make tackles.
I did quickly cover the personnel issue.
“Chip focused on bringing in tough, physical players. If you do that, you don’t have to work on their toughness. They just are.“
Smart coaches know that they need the right players and the right scheme for their coaching to work. Kelly and his staff got players that were tough and coachable. They brought in a scheme that gave the players more realistic roles. This allowed the players to execute as they were taught.
One of the big issues I had with Andy in his final couple of years is that there was no rhyme or reason to some things. I think I used this line from Apocalypse Now a time or two.
There was no method.
With Kelly there is a method. Personnel + scheme + technique = successful execution. Kelly has a reason for everything he does. In order for his coaching to work, he made the right decisions ahead of time.
Another reader commented that the Eagles shouldn’t have to coach tackling and that the players should already be trained in this. Every coach on Planet Earth agrees with that, but it just isn’t reality. ESPN destroyed tackling in modern football. Big hits get on TV, not form tackles. Kids go for big hits from an early age and tackling is awful at every level of football.
It is an absolute necessity for NFL coaches to teach tackling these days.
It shouldn’t be, but it absolutely is.