It’s Complicated

Posted: October 8th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on It’s Complicated

Genard Avery had his best game as an Eagle on Sunday night. He combined power and athleticism. He looked explosive. Avery made an impact on multiple key plays. All of that begs the question, why hasn’t he been on the field more for the rest of the year?

Avery was a good enough prospect to warrant a fifth round choice in the 2018 draft. He started five games for the Browns as a rookie and had 4.5 sacks. He showed a lot of talent and a lot of promise.

Things weren’t so good in 2019. Avery only played in two games before being dealt to the Eagles. We don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the coaching change in Cleveland. Maybe Avery didn’t stay focused. Something happened. You don’t give up on young, cheap pass rushers without some reason.

Avery didn’t do much with the Eagles in 2019, appearing in eight games and posting half a sack. The trade looked pretty darn bad at that point. Howie Roseman said the trade was always about 2020 and that Avery would be different with a full offseason with the team and time to learn the scheme.

This year didn’t start so great. Avery didn’t really come alive until the SF game, when he had a sack and five QB hits. He was an impact player, even off the bench.

Jim Schwartz talked about how it was good to finally see Avery play at this level. Some have pointed out that it is hard to be productive if you aren’t on the field. This is where player evaluation is so complicated.

It is overly simplistic to say “Avery would have done this with more snaps all year”. Football rarely works that way. Players that don’t play usually aren’t doing something the coaching staff wants to see. This might be practice related. It could be not studying the playbook enough. It could be a lack of effort in the weight room.

Coaches generally aren’t dumb. They want good players on the field. That said, they tend to play the guys they trust. If a player isn’t doing something the coaches expect during the week, he’s not going to play much.

Football more than any other sport is a process sport. Coaches design very specific schemes. They teach players to do things a very specific way. They expect the players to adjust their bodies according to what the scheme requires. Coaches expect the players to know the playbook through and through. You build from the offseason to Training Camp to the preseason to the regular season. There is a process.

More than a few players struggle with that. Some don’t have the patience. They struggle in practice. It isn’t the same as a game and they can’t push themselves to perform at the expected level. Others are what some call “athletically arrogant”, meaning they think their athletic ability is good enough for them to succeed without worrying about the little things.

Michael Vick and Brett Favre were both rookie QBs in Atlanta. They both partied more than they studied. That got Favre traded to Green Bay. Both players had tremendous success in their careers, but think what they could have done if they were more dedicated. Vick was one of the most talented players to ever step on a football field. If he had focused on football, the sky was the limit. Instead we are left with some amazing highlight moments and a lot of What If questions.

I don’t know Avery’s situation, but it sure feels like something was going on between the way the Browns dumped him and Schwartz’s comments. The Eagles have been waiting for this level of play.

Schwartz did mention that Avery quit trying to do too much and simplified his pass rush moves. He listened to his coaches, kept things simpler and went out and had a great game.

Let’s hope the light has gone on for him.

The test for players is showing they can do something consistently. Doug Pederson talks about “stacking”, meaning putting together consecutive good practices or games and keeping that going. It will be really interesting to see how Avery handles success. He certainly got everyone’s attention with how he played on Sunday.


Avery won’t be the only player we’ll be watching closely.

Travis Fulgham is coming off the best game of his young career. He’ll likely have a chance to play again this week. If he wants to stay on the field, he’ll need to continue to produce.

Jordan Mailata played well in his first start. The bad news is that the other 31 teams now have tape to study. They know what he does in certain situations. Pass rushers will attack him with a specific plan to test his weaknesses. Mailata has to show he can adjust and still get the job done.


I’m glad to hear James is back at practice. The Eagles need depth at CB. And they can always use a good STer.

I’m not so happy about the Curry move. The DEs right now are Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett and Genard Avery. That group helped the Eagles pile up 13 sacks in the last two games. They are playing really well.

Are you bringing Curry back to force him into the lineup? I would hope not. Maybe he’s practicing to be ready in case anyone gets hurt.

Maybe the Eagles would get him ready and try to trade him. That may sound crazy to some, but you never know if a contender will be desperate and throw you a seventh rounder. Buffalo is 4-0, but their defense is just middle of the pack and their pass rush is struggling. They have 10 sacks this year, but only six by DL. No player on their team has more than 4 QB hits. The Eagles have four players with 5 or more QB hits.

I hope the coaches don’t put Curry back on the field if the current group stays healthy. I love Vinny, but you have to stick with the young guys, especially when they are playing well.

Toth could develop into a good swing OT. He’s athletic and a good run blocker. He still needs a lot of work, but has legit potential. The Eagles seem determined to find young OL talent this year. And so far, the guys have played pretty well.


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