Is the Size Issue an Issue?

Posted: April 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

We’ve talked quite a bit about how Chip Kelly prefers big players. This has led a few of you to wonder if he focuses too much on size and it that could hurt the Eagles in their search for players.

I do think it is fair to wonder if Kelly is too pro-size. I don’t think it has been a problem to this point, but it is a question worth considering.

Here is why I don’t think it has been a problem so far…Kelly has focused more on performance than size. The size can get you a chance to show what you can do, but you have to play well. Last spring we were all fascinated with WR Ifeanyi Momah. He was humongous and the idea of a WR with his kind of rare size had us all excited to see what he could do.

Nothing. Momah did nothing.

The Eagles cut him. He didn’t get a spot on the practice squad. Kelly saw that Momah was a failed project and let him go. The team added him this January,  which is fine with me. Momah had been out of football a while last year. To say he was a little rusty would be like calling the sun kinda warm. Momah now knows what an NFL training camp is like. The rust will be gone or Momah will be gone. He is a glorified camp body at this point. I have no problem with Chip using a roster spot like that on a guy with rare size.

Think about Clifton Geathers. The Eagles were excited to see what he could do. Geathers was huge for a DE. Geathers earned a roster spot, but never played at a consistent level during the season. He had some good moments, but failed to show enough. He left the team as a free agent this offseason. Geathers didn’t get big money. The Eagles could have easily kept him if they wanted.

Kelly wanted Momah and Geathers because of their size, but never let that mean more than the game tape.

The upcoming draft will give us another chance to see how Kelly factors size into his decisions. I don’t think he has made any bad picks or signings due to size so far. That could change. If he passes on Marqise Lee, Odell Beckham or Brandin Cooks for Kelvin Benjamin, I’ll go nuts. If Kelly passes on Jeremiah Attaochu or Marcus Smith for Trent Murphy, I’ll personally lead the attack on the NovaCare Complex. Pitchforks, pudding and PBR!!!

One thing that is hard to factor in is scheme fit vs personal preference. Aaron Donald is the best DT in this class, but he is a pure 4-3 player. He’ll be long gone by 22, but he’s the kind of guy the Eagles would pass on because of scheme. Not every small player that gets passed over will be due to Kelly’s preference. We’ll have to see what happens and then figure out why players were picked or passed on.

So far I think Kelly has been reasonable with his desire for bigger players. We’ll see if that continues or if it does become an issue.

* * * * *

The schedule will be announced Wednesday night at 8pm. That’s kinda cool, but not something I go nuts over. You can’t judge teams until right before you play them. Do you think anyone was looking forward to a game vs the Texans last April? They sure were by November.

* * * * *

Here is the link to the new H2H show. That is 1 hour and 20 minutes of me and Jimmy Bama discussing the Eagles, the draft and my Sesame Street blanket. Fun for the whole family.

_


  • Flyin

    I personally believe that Chip Kelly prefers size, yet has the smarts to understand he can’t have his specific criteria at all positions. It is almost impossible to assemble that in the NFL.

    Have no fear Tommy, Chip will get players that fit the team and scheme rather than over reach based on strictly size attributes.

    I would love to see the All Chip Team. Maybe he will take over the EA Sports Madden franchise in the future.

    • Neil

      The all chip team would be the seahawks from that breaking madden super bowl.

  • Sconces

    I think it’s the fans who are obsessed with size, while Chip made the mistake of fueling the fire with his “bigger people beat up little people” quote.

    • TommyLawlor

      Nah. The Eagles are making a concerted effort to get bigger.

      • Sconces

        I’m not doubting you but I’d really like to see evidence of this. I must have ignored the signs/reports. Figured all teams like signing a ginormous, but untalented, athlete from time to time.

      • suthrneagle

        The “bigger people beat up little people” quote was a good marketing sound-bite for the Philly fans. Just like he said “we`re from Philly, we fight“. There is probably some truth to the(1st) statement, but he`s searching for the most talented players, and definately in the brutal sport of football, size and strength generally wins,however there`s more to it than that.

        • suthrneagle

          HaHaHa…really gotta read your articles before responding to the comments section.

  • SteveH

    Ahhh I can finally sleep now that I have Jimmy’s dulcet tones to listen to. That’s not weird, is it?

  • Cafone

    The Eagles added size with their first three picks last year and so far it’s worked out.

    • Finlay Jones

      Logan is undersized for an NT.

      • TommyLawlor

        The expectation is that he’ll end up about 320, which would be okay size for a NT.

        • GEAGLE

          Tom…I beg you, do to an article on how rookie NTs performed…I can’t take many more of the “not sold on Bennie talk” when we are talking about one of the hardest positions for a rookie to play….
          ….
          Rookie Poe couldn’t hold rookie Bennies jock strap.

          Logan had a very encouraging year as far as rookie NTs are concerned

          • Alistair Middlemiss

            Problem is that everyone has that last drive against the saints etched in their minds and feels we need a new 350lb NT because that is what you need to stop it.

            The fact that the saints did not run at him and mainly off tackle is not taken into account with him. Bennie still needs to step up a little, but i expect him to do so year 2 and i dont feel we need to address it early in the draft at all. find a 7th round guy you think could be his back up and a bit of rotation 15 snaps a game

        • Finlay Jones

          I like Logan, all I meant was its not a good example of Kelly targeting size. In fact he probably fits in the other camp

          • Ark87

            It’s more about length than size. Bennie has extremely long arms to augment his solid height.

  • Insomniac

    Just add this year to the already small sample size. If there’s anything that we know, we’ll think that it’ll be a ratio of 60/40 or 50/50 big/average-sized guys drafted.

    On another note, Boykin’s twitter beef with Thurmond made my day. Even Chung weighed in lol.

    • Media Mike

      Thurmond got OWNED by Boykin. The Giants suck.

  • Baloophi

    Size doesn’t matter that much… Right?! Right?!

    I don’t want to have to start taking those mail-order supplements…

  • Baloophi

    In a way it’s a shame Lamarcus Joyner didn’t run a little faster because he would be a good test case for the size debate.

    It’s unlikely we will ever know who was off the board and for what reasons but I’d be curious to see if his playmaking ability trumped his lack of size. Again, not a controlled experiment in that with Boykin in the secondary, Kelly could feel that making two “exceptions” makes the team too small there…

    • GEAGLE

      Or a dime CB is just not worth prioritizing in early rounds

  • Baloophi

    “Pitchforks, Pudding, and PBR!!!”

    Rumor has it BlindChow is working up a graphic with that slogan for the official 2014 Iggles Blitz Draft Party T-shirt…

    • laeagle

      I’ll be printing up my copy for this year’s West Coast draft party. And by “printing up”, I mean finding a ratty old Hanes and a magic marker.

  • Insomniac

    After listening to H2H..there’s no shame in having a good old blanket. I had my blanky since I was 6 and till I was 19 and I enjoyed every moment I’ve had it. If Zack Martin can give me that then hell yea draft him at 22.

    Bennie hasn’t shown me enough that he can be more than just decent at NT. I’ve watched Terrance Knighton in the playoffs and oh man..that’s the NT I want. If Nix’s knee is fully healthy, that’ll be a fine pick at 22.

    Joyner > Pryor. I have Pryor off my board until the 3rd round. His ceiling came crashing down when the world was shown that he wasn’t big or that fast. You know what I don’t get? People knock Ward for being short but he’s the same height as Pryor. Give me either of the two over Pryor any day.

    • GEAGLE

      Lol go back and watch your boy Pot roast play as a rookie, and then tell me how you aren’t sold on Bennie

    • Loki

      Knighton had 1 good year. Thats a NT you want? Well.. ok thenb

  • T_S_O_P

    Pitchforks, pudding and PBR!!!
    Would that make you a TolPudding Martyr?

    • TommyLawlor

      Now that was a tough reference. Kudos sir.

  • Vick or Nick

    Chip wants players who are BOTH talented and have size.

    Above everything he values guys who are match up nightmares on both offense and defense. A guy who is hard to block (size + talent) or a guy who is hard to tackle (size + talent).

    You don’t simply go for size, and if people think Chip is all about size then they are mistaken.

    Chip wants football players, he just prefers them to be bigger. Nothing wrong with that.

    You don’t want to get run over, offensively or defensively.

    Size is a requirement for Kelly in that he wants to set bare minimums for different positions. I’m sure there are exceptions. But for the most part he won’t deter from that scale.

    • GEAGLE

      Same people crying about emphasis on size must forget all the undersized fastballs that didn’t amount to squat that the previous regime would draft

      Quality talents come in every shape and size..out of the quality talents, why wouldn’t we want our coach choosing the biggest, strongest and most athletic? Chip ain’t drafting any Casey Mathews talents…

      • Ark87

        Probably would have passed on Dawkins too, though. As long as there are no hard rules, just guidelines and preferences: tie breakers if you will.

        • GEAGLE

          I think as long as a guy “checks most of our boxes” he will be in play….for example we will go with a guy who lacks ideal height, if he makes up for it with good arm length

      • Dominik

        “Chip ain’t drafting any Casey Mathews talents…”

        Where’s the talent?

        • GEAGLE

          Eh-zackly!!!

  • Media Mike

    I’m looking for RESPECT from the schedule.

    – more of our prime time games need to be at home instead of on the road
    – we had only be playing one team coming off of their bye week as we’re only able to play one team coming off of ours
    – I would like 5 prime time games total. Redskins, Seattle, Carolina here. Green Bay and Indy on the road.

    In any case I’m looking forward to seeing the schedule. Too early for a serious run at w/l projections, but we play a few QBs I absolutely HATE and think are overrated……………so I know what weeks will really need extra venom!

    • oreofestar

      Andrew Luck is freaking overrated as hell

      • GEAGLE

        He is good, but he is no FOles :)

    • GEAGLE

      Hate primetime…I’d be thrilled with 16 1pm games

      • oreofestar

        yeah…I like the 4pm, loathe MNF with a passion primetime is annoying because well I usually have to sit up late to watch it I mean I’ll take a Thanksgiving game with the Boys maybe but that end of the season strecth nah…still it is a litle nice to see your team in the spotlight likely we end up with 3

      • eagleyankfan

        I’m with you here. I hate waiting all day Sunday for a Sunday night game. Or worse, MNF. I’m just not interested in football if the Eagles aren’t playing. Unless — Giants/Wash/Dal are getting spanked, than I tune in.

      • A_T_G

        Having two kids that play soccer in the fall, prime time games assure me a quiet, uninterrupted viewing.

        • bill

          Are you my wife?

        • GEAGLE

          I can see how it may have it’s appeal…but for me, nothing like waking up on a Sunday when the birds are playing at 1pm…it’s glorious

  • baxter322

    Pudding, pitchforks and PBR? Tommy is becoming more hipster every day.

    More size is not always optimal at every position, for example, 6’7″ NT can’t get leverage and a 6’4″ nickel back might lack the COD to stay with slot receivers. You want length on the edge, but too much weight cost the quickness to get around athletic tackles. Scheme is obviously critically important- we might prefer tall, physical Seattle type CBs who can press receivers, but we wouldn’t want a Kam Chancellor SS in our two deep safety look. Maybe Earl Thomas can cover the entire deep sideline to sideline, enabling them to play 1 shallow 1 deep, but virtually no other safety can reliably do the same.

    I actually think Jimmie Ward would fit our scheme better than Clinton-Dix or Pryor because of his versatility to play man to man, which seemed to be the rationale behind Jenkins’s good fit. Deonte Buchanon’s speed might enable him to do the same, especially against TEs where his height would help. I also think Marqueston Huff’s versatility as a S/CB hybrid, along with his production, speed and physical style makes him a good fit for DB depth later on in the draft. Ahmad Dixon’s surprising athleticism might also make him an option at safety.

    I know you love Joyner but why wouldn’t we just use Boykin as a S/NB hybrid instead? Boykin is more athletic, a little bigger and a reliable, physical tackler…not to mention he’s great in coverage and makes huge plays every week. My point being, we already have what is probably a better version of Joyner in Boykin and don’t want two guys their size on the field together, especially on the defensive side. I get why you like Joyner but remember you liking Boykin(and Honey Badger) for similar reasons. Good players all but what’s your post about again? Yeah that.

  • GermanEagle

    While the size issue hasn’t been an issue so far, it very well could become one should the Eagles spend high picks on bigger guys (eg Kelvin Benjamin) who might turn into even bigger busts.

    Momah and Geathers weren’t really ‘big’ investments as far as I can remember, but the Eagles better spend their precious (draft) resources wisely.

    That being said I would take Cooks over Benjamin any day of the week.

    • Anders

      Is picking Kelvin Benjamin at 22 and he turns into a bust any different than taking Graham and he turns into a bust?

      • GermanEagle

        Yes, one is a WR and the other is a LB.

        Joking aside I wanted to make the case for not being too enamoured with someone’s size when making your draft choices.

  • oreofestar

    To me this year we have so many options and so many players I like there should not be problem making a guy like me happy draft weekend whereas last year if we did not get Dion, Star, Lane, or Fisher or traded down for Vaccaro I would have flipped, this year I love so many guys

  • Anders

    Tommy, what are your thoughts on Terrence Brooks, the other safety from FSU?

    He is 5-11 and 196 pounds. Got great coverage skills as he started his career at FSU at CB. He is a solid tackler, but as most college safety prone to wanting the big hit leading to missed tackles but when he wraps, he is a very good tackler and his biggest problem is bad hands.

    He also have the versatility to be able to play CB

  • Ark87

    It seems like length is definitely a focus over pounds. Got to have either great height or long arms (and at least average height). It also seems like more of a defensive focus so far.

    The other thing that is implied but goes unmentioned: I think the real fear isn’t that Chip will pick up a bunch of big dudes that suck at football, the real question for me is, does Chip have a cut-off height? If so what is it. The only concern is wondering if he would pass up a special player because they failed one of these: http://www.letstalkdatingonline.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ride.png

  • eagleyankfan

    Size matters. Period. Whoever tells you different is trying not to hurt your feelings.
    I do think the Eagles are going trying to get bigger. I seriously doubt Chip would pass on a 6’1 who grades extremely well for a 6’4″ guy who grades “ok”. All I’ve read is how smart Chip Kelly is and how he has one of the greatest football minds. If that’s to be true, how can nit pick and say he’s obsessed with height?

  • bill

    My guess is that it’s more scientific than it’s being made out to be so far. For example, the thing with Logan and arm length is directly tied to the techniques they’re asking the DL to play. The techniques simply work better with longer arms. I can’t claim to know more than anyone else, but I really don’t think it’s quite as simple as “bigger is better,” it’s based off the techniques that they teach, plays they plan to base their offense on, etc. And, just to make it more difficult to evaluate from the outside, for many, if not all, positions there probably are alternative techniques/plays that they can switch to if a player has certain measurables but is lacking in the primary one(s). Finally, the measurables probably gain more importance as the draft progresses, as you’re generally looking at projects that you have to “coach up” in the later rounds, and the measurables are the best way to predict whether you can improve a player significantly.

  • Dave

    At least with receivers, I would argue a defense can game plan against speed by bringing a safety over the top, but you really can’t game plan against size. It seems apparent that Foles is not afraid to throw the ball if a receiver is covered one-on-one; in this case, size would trump speed when the QB does not have to drop the ball into a perfect window for a speedster to gain separation and come down with the ball. He can merely put the ball high up in the vicinity and let the receiver make the play. I have the feeling we’ll be seeing that with Ertz this year, especially in the red zone.

    This is probably the main reason I will not be upset if Benjamin is the 1st round pick. Does anyone remember Dawk trying to cover Plax one-on-one in the end zone in 2008? Dawk may be a sure-fire HOF, but he just didn’t have the height to be effective against somebody 6’5″ in the red zone.

  • mksp

    A lot of this focus on size & measurables is due to Chip’s interest in analytics.

    Eagles basically have a guy in the FO that acts as a cross-checker and says, I know you guys really like Player X, but based on his measurables (height, weight, arm length, had size, combine numbers) and his position, he has a low likelihood of becoming a successful NFL player.

    The probability is derived from running years of regression analysis on similar players, figuring out which measurables are most impactful, trying to understand how they are correlated, etc.

    In other words, a 6’1″ 270lb OLB w/ 31″ arms that runs a 4.65 40 has historically had a below average career (however that’s defined in house), so if we’re going to draft a guy with those measurables, we have to do it with the understanding that we’re taking that risk that his football instincts, intangibles, etc. will overcome his physical limitations. Or, most likely, not take him at all.

    • austinfan

      Exactly, and that’s why people misinterpret Chip’s focus on measurables – it’s not “bigger is better”, rather, big enough for the role – i.e., developing a set of minimum measurables to discipline you.

      So I’ll be surprised if they draft Cooks, his measurables don’t fit Chip’s idea of a starting WR who can play all three spots, though he’d be perfect for the slot, those are 3rd day guys.

      On the other hand, Lee probably hits the minimum, similar in size to Maclin, who they tried to extend, I figure for WR it’s 6’0 190 lbs or so with 31″ arms or longer. Why? Because the most important attribute for a WR is to make a contested catch in 2.5 seconds, that is, get off the LOS, make your cut and catch the ball as a CB tries to recover. And provide a big enough target when you do so.

      So I don’t think Benjamin is a target, he doesn’t have the measureables when it comes to tests of agility or shows it on the field.

      Some guesses from the current roster:
      QB: 6’2, 10″ hands
      RB: either big and powerful or fast and elusive.
      WR: 6’0 190 for a starter, slot guys can be smaller and quicker but don’t have a lot of resources expended on them, speed, 4.55 or so, faster is less important than other skills
      TE: 6’4, though Casey is 6’3, he’s more of a H-back
      OL: OT/OG 6’4 with long arms, Peters and Barbre, all the OGs are 6’5 or 6’6, centers can be shorter, Molk is only 6’1.
      DE: 6’3, though 6’2 with 34″ arms will work (length more than height)
      NT: 6’1 but at least 33″ arms
      OLB: Ideally 6’3, Cole and Graham were legacies, but everyone brought in was 6’3 or taller (Barwin, Kaddu, Long)
      ILB: 6’0, 240 lbs (Goode, Phillips, Acho)
      CB: 6’0, maybe 5’11 with long arms, nickel can be smaller
      S: Maragos is 5’10 but primarily STs, Wolff 5’11, Jenkins is 200 lbs, so 5’11 200 lbs.

      Point is these are minimums, idea is simply by sticking to your minimums and avoiding rationalizing exceptions, for example you avoid a team with 4 short DBs, you could justify Joyner, and Boykin moving outside, and Pryor, and . . . and you’d have a talented but midget secondary.

      So it’s not take the big guy over the small guy, it’s take the best guy with minimum measurables.

      • Ark87

        It’s a nice policy in theory, but there is a limited supply of quality football players, period. It would be Ideal to pick just the quality ones who meet your minimum measurements, but big, talented and athletic player comes at a premium.

    • Tumtum

      That is an interesting nugget about the cross check guy (for some reason I am envisioning Tommy wearing thick rimmed glasses with medical tape around the nose piece, running around frantically with a calculator talking about thin wrists).

      Did you hear that some where or are you just posturing?

  • CrackSammich

    Are they focused on getting bigger, or are they just getting back to normal size after the years of drafting small under Reid?

  • A_T_G

    Let me start by saying I watch very little college football and my opinion of prospects comes mostly from what I read here and elsewhere. Listening to the podcast (woohoo!) and reading your and many respected opinions, Benjamin is a disappointment waiting to be drafted. His agility and hands make many afraid that his size will make us overlook these deficiencies and the deficiencies will make him unsuccessful as a WR.

    If Benjamin was a TE, would opinions be different? Would he be viewed as an incredibly fast TE with big play potential, questionable blocking ability, and a weapon for offensive minds? I ask because Kelly seems enamored with TEs, because NE showed the potency of two dangerous TEs, and because I wonder if that is how we are viewing him.

  • Ben Hert

    “The size can get you a chance to show what you can do, but you have to play well. ”

    I think that’s a great point, but I think it can only go so far. That applies nicely to guys like Momah and Geathers, who were FA signings that we could “field test” without any noticeable expense. The issue arises when you start talking about guys like Kelvin Benjamin, who are going to get drafted because of their size, but you’re not going to know how well they are going to perform in the NFL until you spend that first round draft pick on them. Then it becomes an issue. Hard to say anything definitively on whether or not it will be an issue until the draft and TC, but its something to keep in mind.

    • anon

      What’s the opportunity of overlooking guys without proper size? Do we skip cooks for Benjamin? Clearly Boykin plays inside instead of out because of size. Is there a tradeoff between size and talent where we’re willing to take undersized guys who are more “talented”? Sproles comes to mind but he might be special situation.

  • Tumtum

    It’s only a matter of time, if it hasn’t already begun, before people use the term “big people beat up little people” as a means to rile themselves into hateful frothing morons. It is and has been, since the day it was first uttered, the new “fastballs”.

    People began automatically hating players that Andy called fastballs just because he used the word. THAT got me automatically hating a bunch of idiots.
    /rant
    Man I couldn’t stand that.

    • Poppi

      Can Big Red beat up Chippa?