Offseason MVP – Jay Glazer?

Posted: July 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Go back and read a book about the NFL from the 1960s or 1970s. You’ll find out that even star players had offseason jobs. They might work in insurance or do some sales. A couple were actually lawyers. No one has time for that these days. The NFL is a year-round business.

Former Eagles DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy get a lot of notoriety for their partying, but even those guys put in plenty of work to stay in good shape. Some current Eagles are taking things to the next level in their pursuit of greatness.

Robert Klemko wrote a terrific piece for MMQB on Jay Glazer and the offseason training he does with NFL players, including Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, DeMarco Murray and John Moffit.

A typical day at Unbreakable consists of an unorthodox hip-focused stretching session with David Honorel (inspired, he says, by the movements of bears, crocodiles, frogs and gorillas), speed training with Liggin, weight training with an emphasis on safety, MMA work including boxing, wrestling and hand fighting with Glazer, Evans, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner John Lewis and former UFC stars Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. Glazer co-owns the gym with Brian Urlacher and Lindsey Berg, an Olympic volleyball player who now plays professionally overseas. Their faces are painted on a gym wall with the word “Unbreakable”, but it’s Glazer who runs the show, transforming fighting drills into football drills.

And

John Moffitt, the former Denver Broncos guard and now potential Eagles starter, came to Glazer after a nearly two-year hiatus from the sport during which he admits to letting his body go to a degree. He weighed 283 pounds, down from his playing weight of 320, and had the biggest gut of his life. The initial sessions were exhausting. Today he’s back above 300 pounds and slimmer than he was at 283.

“You keep hearing him say, ‘neutral face’ or ‘get your hands off your hips,’ ” Moffitt says of Glazer. “It’s very annoying when you first start that, but after a while it makes you stronger. It makes you used to being tired and used to being in pain and you don’t fight it anymore so it makes you more resilient. It just stacks on itself, on itself, on itself, to where you become a stronger individual.”

Glazer’s training can have a major impact on the Eagles.

Lane Johnson has proven to be a good RT. But he wants to be special. Glazer has gotten Johnson into the best shape of his life and has toughened him up. Johnson is a gifted athlete for his size and now should be able to combine that with improved physicality and strength. He could become an outstanding RT this year.

Ertz is a gifted receiver, but he has struggled as a blocker in his first two years. You would have to think the MMA training would be a big help to Ertz’s blocking ability. He will be stronger. He will be more physical. Ertz will have a better understanding of balance and the importance of a good power base.

Brent Celek has been a terrific TE for the Eagles for a while, but Ertz is more talented. You want Ertz on the field more than Celek, but that can’t happen until Ertz shows he can be a reliable run blocker. Ertz made a terrific decision to train with Glazer. That is the best thing he can do (outside of contact football) to improve the big hole in his game. The sky is the limit for Ertz, if he can prove to be an every-down TE.

I don’t know that there is a specific hole in Murray’s game, but it is very encouraging that a player coming off his best season and after getting a mega-deal just paid his own way to go work his butt off to try and improve. That’s the mentality Chip Kelly is desperate to find.

As for Moffitt, he is the most intriguing player of all. He has 15 career starts, the same number as Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner combined. Moffitt is in the best shape of his life and he is hungry to get back on the field. He’s not going to turn into a Pro Bowler, but if he could become a reliable starter, that would be huge.

BGN compiled some terrific Tweets from Glazer on Moffit.

“I have never been so proud of a guy I’ve trained than I am of John Moffitt. Retired two years ago bc he knew he had drug issues, took time to go to rehab, clean up his life, beat his demons and he has taken his life back! Guy inspires us every day. He came to me 3 months ago @unbreakable to train to take his career back. He’s become the favorite of every player in our gym. He officially un-retired today. Free agent starting guard. So proud of him to get here.”

“Amazing how this guy took his life back. He’s taught us in the gym a bunch about beating your demons.”

“In these past months Moffitt has been training with us we’ve also had guys like Steve Hutchinson, Shaun O’Hara & Jackie Slater come work with him.”

“Re: Moffitt, anyone who COMMITS to improving & righting his wrongs should be applauded. Life is about overcoming & improving. So proud of him.”

“Getting a little misty. Today we sent John Moffitt off to Philly. Three months of complete dedication. He showed us bad decisions CAN be overcome by better ones.”

Man, Glazer really feels strongly about Moffitt. That doesn’t mean Moffitt will pan out. It would be a great story and a lot of people will be pulling for Moffit, but the NFL is all about results. Pro football can be a cruel mistress. NFL history is full of feel-good stories that ended on the waiver wire.

If Glazer can get Lane Johnson to take the next step in his career and John Moffitt to become an effective starter, Jeff Stoutland just might be sending a Christmas card his way.

* * * * *

As far as Shady and his party…ugh. Dumb. Usually women flock to football players. Why on earth would you throw a party like this, knowing the negative attention it can bring your way?

There is nothing illegal about this or anything like that, but it just seems like a poor decision.

Unless Jimmy Bama gets invited. Then I’m all for this.

That poor cat…

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Huff on the Rise

Posted: July 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 159 Comments »

The biggest jump for most players is from Year 1 to Year 2. Rookies have to adjust to a whole new life, on and off the field. In the second year, the player has some security off the field, knows the playbook and has a feel for pro football. He can then concentrate on honing his craft.

Jordan Matthews exploded onto the scene as a rookie. Josh Huff had much more of a typical rookie season. He flashed ability, but also made mistakes and looked…like a rookie.

Matthews might be the key to the Eagles passing game heading into 2015. Huff is hoping to earn a starting role or at least become a productive part of the offense.

There isn’t just blind optimism in regard to Huff. He is actually trying to do something about the situation. Tim McManus wrote about Huff and his efforts to be a more polished receiver. We won’t know if Huff is truly better until the season, but there is some reason for hope.

Huff had some good moments in minicamp and Chip Kelly had plenty of good things to say.

“I think he’s just more mature in terms of – he’s more comfortable; I shouldn’t say ‘mature’. I think he’s a mature young man to begin with.  I think he’s just more comfortable in terms of all the things going on around him,” said Kelly.

“You see him helping out Nelson [Agholor] and some of the undrafted guys we brought in here.  I think he’s done a real good job from that standpoint. I think he’s carrying himself in a different manner now just because I think he’s a year older.”

“I think he’s made great progress,” said Kelly. “The biggest thing with Josh is just consistency.  I think it is for most guys. When you come in as a first year player, he was obviously set back a little bit because of his injury, and then missing the first portion of the season, but then just flashed at times.  Has a kickoff return for a touchdown, which was a heck of a return.  Just a more consistent basis in terms of his performance out there.  I think he’s really been a lot more consistent, and that’s what we’ve been trying to work on with him.”

You can see a bit of Huff in action here.

Huff needs to step up to help the Eagles replace Jeremy Maclin. Give Huff an A for effort so far, but the NFL is all about results. He’ll need to start producing when Training Camp gets underway here in a couple of weeks.

* * * * *

Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson have both come out and said that DeMarco Murray left yards on the field last year. ESPN’s Ed Werder made a great point about that.

Those guys are picking on a player who just did better in one season than they ever did. How funny is that?

And I think plenty of Eagles fans would tell you that LeSean McCoy left yards on the field as well. All RBs do. Part of playing the position.

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The Running Men

Posted: July 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 46 Comments »

When I became an Eagles fan back in the Buddy Ryan era, the team’s best RB was actually QB Randall Cunningham. After him, it was FB Keith Byars. The Eagles just didn’t  have a truly good RB. That was ironic for a couple of reasons. First, Buddy Ryan was desperate to run the ball. He wanted to run so he could control the flow of the game and help his beloved defense.

The other reason the lack of a good RB was ironic is that Eagles history is loaded with good, and even some great, RBs. I wrote about the Eagles long tradition of RB excellence for PE.com.

Aside from the all-time greats, the Eagles have had some good short term RBs. The top of that list would be Leonard Weaver. He was a RB/FB tweener that came over from Seattle. He was supposed to be the lead blocker for Westy and Shady in 2009, but Westy missed half the season. That meant Weaver got used in plenty of 1-back sets. He ran for 323 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Andy Reid should have gotten him the ball even more (what’s new?).

Expectations were sky high for 2010, but Weaver suffered a devastating injury in the season opener and never played again. It really is a shame. He had the potential to be a really interesting player.

Dorsey Levens played with the Eagles in 2002 and 2004. Both years he was signed to replace Correll Buckhalter after injuries ended his season. Levens was a great backup. In the 2 combined seasons, he ran for 821 yards and 5 TDs, while averaging 5 yards per carry. Levens was big and strong, but still had a bit of wiggle. I really enjoyed watching him, especially in 2002.

Heath Sherman played for the Eagles for 5 years, but only one of those seasons stands out. Sherman got used a lot down the stretch in 1992. He finished with 583 yards on the ground and averaged 5.2 ypc. He also averaged more than 12 yards per reception. He ran for 105 yards in the wild card win over the Saints that year. Sherman just wore down because of his physical running style and injuries cut short his career.

Earnest Jackson ran for 1,028 yards in 1985, but Buddy Ryan arrived after the season and got rid of him. Jackson was no superstar, but he was better than the RBs Buddy ended up putting on the field.

Remember when Bryce Brown was the new Bo Jackson? That didn’t last long but it was fun. His combination of size and speed was special. He just struggled with the little things that it takes to be a consistently good player.

Eagles fans have seen some really great RBs over the years.

I can’t wait to see what the guys do this year.

* * * * *

Thank god this finally happened.

* * * * *

Do you want to read this?

Jimmy laid out the reasons that each of the NFCE teams could stink this year. In order to show his journalistic integrity (insert joke here) he even did the Eagles.

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Bradford Update

Posted: July 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 184 Comments »

Sam Bradford’s name came up on Twitter a couple of times today and the topics seemed worth discussing.

Bradford is smart to play out his deal. He made plenty of money on his rookie contract so he’s not in the same situation as someone like Russell Wilson, a player who is dying to get paid big bucks. Bradford could sign a safe deal now, but he’s smart to let this season play out. If he believes in himself, the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s offense, this is a no-brainer. QBs fill the stat sheet in this offense.

Obviously Bradford’s health is the X-factor, but he’s never played behind such a good O-line and that should help him. “Should” being the key word. The line will have a pair of new starters and all it takes is one missed block for a QB to take a big hit.

The Eagles hope the problem next February or March is trying to figure out Bradford’s value after a great year. That would be a good problem to have. If Bradford only has a so-so season, both sides will have to figure out what to do. That would be the worst possible outcome. If Bradford just stinks or he gets hurt, you just acknowledge the mistake and move on.

* * * * *

This is somewhat of a bogus argument.

Does anyone fear Nick Foles? I sure don’t. And yet Nick Foles had one of the greatest statistical seasons in NFL history. Why? He played in the right offense at the right time.

Bradford isn’t here as the franchise savior. He’s not here to carry the team on his back. He is here to be a piece of the puzzle. Bradford has very good pieces around him and a great offensive coach. Bradford can thrive in that role. That doesn’t mean he will, but he can.

If the Jaguars dealt for Bradford and expected him to magically lead them to the playoffs, that would be foolish.

No one should fear Bradford right now. Let’s see what the guy does in this system. He might be Drew Brees 2006 or Kurt Warner 1999. Or he might turn out to be just another high pick who played his best football in college.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama is still insane.

And right.

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Classic Big Red

Posted: July 19th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Andy Reid never won a Super Bowl. Andy Reid didn’t run the ball enough. He was too soft on players at times. And so on.

But he’ll always hold a special place in my heart. This story from Brett Favre is classic Big Red.

Great.

* * * * *

Only if there is an injury or any of the young guys just looks awful. Other than that, let’s see what the young guys can do.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama has more on Fletcher Cox and giving him a big deal.

Jimmy also touched on a comment from a Dallas writer that Chip Kelly has the hottest seat of any coach in the NFC East. I don’t get that.

The guy’s point is that Kelly made some risky moves and what happens if they don’t pan out. He is right that Kelly did make some risky moves, but I don’t think Jeff Lurie just gave Chip all that power and would immediately fire him the minute something didn’t work. Lurie sees Chip as a special coach. You give that guy extra time to fix the franchise.

If Kelly has 2 years worth of bad moves…then we have a different discussion. But for now…Kelly isn’t getting fired unless something insanely bizzarre goes down.

A much more interesting question to me is what would Jerry Jones do if Dallas fell right back to 8-8. Would he keep Jason Garrett and go add a stud RB or would he view Garrett’s 2014 success as strictly a product of the players and possibly fire him?

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