Eagles Interest

Posted: January 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 107 Comments »

I have Senior Bowl notes to post, but while I’m working on them, you might enjoy this info.

After practice, an Eagles scout talked to ILB Nick Kwiatkoski from West Va and DE Carl Nassib from Penn State. I spoke to Nassib to ask if they mentioned anything about the scheme to him. He said they didn’t. I’m still thinking it will be a 4-3. And the scout had a lengthy discussion with Kwiatkoski. He played SAM and WIL in college, but is working as an ILB here in Mobile.

Will this finally be the year the Eagles draft an OL? Sure feels that way.

A scout talked to Stanford LG Josh Garnett on Monday.

A scout spoke to OL Joe Dahl on Monday as well. Dahl now has a second meeting with the Eagles. He thinks it is with the offensive staff. Dahl played LT at Washington State this year. He played OG in the past. I asked him if moving was an issue. He said he’s glad to play wherever an NFL team wants him. I watched Dahl prior to coming to Mobile. The thing that stood out to me was how he battled on every snap. He isn’t a gifted athlete, but he is a tough guy and he makes the most of his ability. Real interesting mid-round OG prospect.

What about Cody Whitehair, who some think could be a target at pick 13? The Eagles have a meeting set up with him on Wednesday. He mentioned coaches, but wasn’t sure of who exactly. Whitehair played LT at Kansas State in 2015, but is slated by most to move inside at the next level. Whitehair actually thinks he can play LT or OG. He’s confident, but not cocky. I enjoyed speaking with him.

The Eagles are showing a lot of interest in OG prospects. This isn’t one guy. This isn’t one type of guy. Garnett is a 317-pound mauler type. Dahl is a scrapper. Whitehair is an OT/OG tweener and a technician.

I’m willing to go out on a limb and guarantee that the Eagles do draft an OL this year.

*****

I stood next to Doug Pederson for a while at practice today. I didn’t get any scoopage. He was watching mediocre QB play (insert Eagles joke here) and didn’t offer any hints as to what he was focusing on or thinking.

Also, Mobile is a giant get-together for the NFL world. Pederson had 655, 321 people come up and congratulate him on the new gig. Howie Roseman had a few people come up and talk to him as well.

Jim Schwartz had a ton of visitors. He coached in the Senior Bowl a few years back and a lot of his visitors had Senior Bowl ties. Still, interesting to see.

******

Day 1 practice notes

_


Senior Bowl Talk

Posted: January 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 559 Comments »

I’m down in Mobile, AL for the Senior Bowl. I’m here to scout some football players and stalk Alex Flanagan. She’s normally here, but the NFL Network has reduced their coverage so I hope she’s here. ESPNU will cover practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

Due to the change in coaches, I don’t yet have a great feel of what exactly I’m looking for. I will be focusing in on QB, OL and WR. I’ll check out LB and S as well.

Only one QB here could be worth pick 13 and that is Carson Wentz from ND State. He is a good athlete. He has terrific size. I want to see how he does going up against top flight competition. I’m also curious to see how he does throwing the ball downfield. He has a good arm. I didn’t see much of a vertical game from him this year.

The other QB I’ve become fascinated by is Kevin Hogan. He’s awkward, at times reminding me of Philip Rivers. But he has some athletic ability and played the last 4 years (seemed more like 10) in a pro style offense. He understands throwing the ball to the TE or the FB, as well as WRs. I think he might be a good fit in what I expect Pederson’s offense to be.

I’m excited to see OL Cody Whitehair. He played LT for Kansas State, but easily could slide into LG and thrive. Love watching him play. So smart and technically sound. And nasty. He could be in play when the Eagles pick at 13.

The LT I like the most right now is Kyle Murphy. He is long, tall and athletic. Good run blocker with pass blocking skills. Just needs to get stronger.

Willie Beavers played LT for Western Michigan, but projects at OG in the NFL. He was an adequate pass blocker in college. He just doesn’t have the foot quickness to handle explosive edge rushers at the next level. He is a tough, physical blocker and could be good on the inside. It will be interesting to see how he does this week.

Connor McGovern and Vadal Alexander are two more G/T tweeners. Alexander is a really impressive run blocker. He played RT for LSU.

This isn’t the greatest group of WRs. The guy I think everyone is most excited about is Braxton Miller. He played QB for Ohio State in the past, but moved to WR this year and played well. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Leontee Caroo from Rutgers intrigues me. He’s not huge, but has okay size. He has good hands and plays the ball aggressively in the air. Too many WRs let the ball come to them. He goes and gets it.

There are two big Safeties I’ll be watching. Miles Killebrew lists at 230 pounds and was a star for Southern Utah. He can hit like a ton of bricks. But can he cover?

Jeremy Cash from Duke is a guy that I think would be outstanding playing in Jim Schwartz’s scheme. He is 210 pounds and is a major playmaker near the LOS. Cash had 18 TFLs as a Senior. That’s unheard of for a SS. He can blitz, stuff the run and pound on receivers. He isn’t great in coverage. Can he be good enough? Roman Harper has played in the NFL for a decade with mediocre cover skills. Cash is a terrific student and team leader. He’s the kind of guy you want on your side.

If the weather holds, should be a fun week.

*****

Who wants an extension? Everyone apparently.

Zach Ertz signed an extension yesterday, which is great news. Lock up the young stars.

BGN has the details of some other contracts that are being worked on. Keep your fingers crossed for Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry.

_


More on the Defense

Posted: January 25th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 431 Comments »

I rushed through the Jim Schwartz video post because I wanted you to be able to watch those videos without having to also deal with a bunch of my comments. Now that you’ve hopefully seen them, let’s talk about Schwartz and what he has to say.

First, that talk should give you a feel for just how much thought and work went into developing the Wide-9 front and package. It takes a lot of knowledge to come up with something like that and then to teach it the right way.

I love the fact that Schwartz developed that package to deal with a division rival. That’s the NFL way. When you have to play someone twice a year and they are the best team in your division, you should make plans for them. The first step in trying to make the playoffs is winning your division. That’s a tangible goal that you control.

Schwartz knew how to scheme around the weaknesses of his personnel. He also knew how to scheme to take advantage of his personnel. In that case, it was dealing with teams that ran away from Albert Haynesworth. By taking away outside runs, Haynesworth could make plays from the backside or clog the middle.

Schwartz told the Philly media that he wasn’t married to the Wide-9. He did a lot with under fronts in Buffalo. He mixed things up in Detroit. The Wide-9 was part of those defenses, but it wasn’t everything. Schwartz is smart enough to know you have to adjust to your personnel, but also to what your opponents do as well. Just running something because that’s what you want…not so wise.

*****

Will the Eagles run the 4-3?

I think so. Notice that they only hired one LBs coach. With the 3-4 you generally have 2 LBs coaches or one coach and one assistant. KC had Gary Gibbs as LBs coach and a young guy as assistant LBs coach. 3-4 teams generally carry 8 to 10 guys and they do multiple things. That usually requires multiple coaches.

I don’t know why the Eagles are so hesitant to talk scheme. Coaches can be weird and overly protective at times.

*****

Assuming the Eagles do go to a 4-3, there are a lot of tweeners.

Connor Barwin said he thinks he’ll move to DE. He could play SAM if they wanted him there.

Marcus Smith could drop to 250 and play SAM or stay in the 260 range and play DE. Playing DE in a 1-gap scheme simplifies a lot. You attack. Playing LB meant setting the edge or rushing or dropping into coverage. I hope the new staff has more success with Smith. He is talented. The fact he has shown so little in 2 years means I won’t be holding my breath.

Does Travis Long fit the 4-3? Could be DE or SAM. Better fit for the 3-4.

Taylor Hart might be able to play the 3-tech spot. Or they may like his length at LDE. Schwartz has had some big DEs in the past. Hart may be another guy that is better for the 3-4 and gets dealt.

Is Najee Goode a MLB or WLB?

*****

When Andy Reid came here from Green Bay, he brought his QB with him. Other Packers players followed. Will Doug Pederson want to bring some Chiefs to Philly?

The KC Star took a look at pending Chiefs free agents. Two players jumped out at me.

G Jeff Allen: Allen, 26, brought experience and nastiness to the offensive line. It’s not a coincidence the Chiefs went 11-1 once he returned to the starting lineup after a preseason knee injury. The Chiefs’ regime has shown a tendency to let offensive linemen walk — guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz both left via free-agency in 2014 — but Corry isn’t sure history will repeat itself. “I don’t think they can afford to make the same mistake they did a couple of years ago when they let both guards leave,” said Corry, who could see Allen commanding a multiyear deal worth $4 million per year.

QB Chase Daniel: Daniel, 29, wants to be a starter in this league. Corry could see him gunning for a one-year deal worth a little more than $4 million a year.

If the Eagles want a veteran to plug in at LG, Allen would make sense. He’s in the prime of his career, won’t cost a fortune and knows Pederson.

I’m sure Daniel wants a chance to start. The Eagles could give him that chance, if Sam Bradford ends up elsewhere. Daniel would be a band-aid type of starter. Someone to keep the seat warm until a young QB is ready to take over.

The biggest name is Eric Berry, but I can’t see them letting him go.

*****

I wrote about Doug Pederson and the coaching staff he’s put together for PE.com. I explained why the hires make sense and how they fit together. Compelling reading for the whole family.

_


I Love Jim Schwartz

Posted: January 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 416 Comments »

Instead of my yapping, let’s all go get smarter by listening to Professor Jim Schwartz.

2 great videos on the Wide-9 and his thoughts on defense

Great stuff.

I’ll discuss some of it later. Just go watch them for now.

*****

I posted some draft notes from the Shrine Game over at ScoutsNotebook.

It is very possible I wrote about a guy named Vern(on).

_


Draft Talk Begins

Posted: January 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 239 Comments »

We know the coaching staff. That means it is time to turn our attention to the team.

We don’t exactly know what the team needs are for now since we haven’t seen the Eagles make cuts and free agent moves. I think it would be fair to say that QB, OL and WR are key areas. And with the Eagles moving to the 4-3, there will be a need for DL depth.

All star games are getting underway today. The Shrine Game is at 4pm on the NFL Network. I wrote about the Shrine Game and some interesting players here. That was a generic piece and not Eagles-centric.

The NFLPA Game is on ESPN2 at 6pm. Here are the rosters for that.

The Shrine Game is a mixture of a few mid-rounders, some late rounders and plenty of UDFAs. The NFLPA game is a few late rounders, mostly UDFAs and some guys who will be playing the final football game of their lives. To put things in Eagles terms, Earl Wolff was at the Shrine Game and Matt Tobin was at the NFLPA game.

As much as you want to focus on positions, in games like these, focus on the best players.

*****

The Senior Bowl practices start on Tuesday. That’s the big game and the one where you can look for talent and positions. I’ll be heading down on Monday.  I will write about some players to watch in the next day or two. ESPN will televise the practices and the NFL Network will have nightly practice recaps.

*****

I posted some random draft notes the other day. I can’t recall if I linked to them so here they are.

*****

One thing I am excited about is now finding 1-gap defenders for the Eagles.

Penn State star Carl Nassib could be an excellent fit at DE in Schwartz’s 4-3. He loves high-motor guys with great length. That’s Nassib.

Someone like DT Sheldon Day of Notre Dame (6-2, 285) could make sense. He would have been a tweener for the 3-4, too light for NT, too short for DE. Now, Day could be an excellent fit for a DL that needs some depth.

In recent years, there just weren’t as many DL who fit what the Eagles wanted to do. Now that is completely different. Every guy who can shoot a gap and blow up a play in the backfield becomes a potential target.

That excites me.

*****

All kinds of oddball rumors going around Twitter today. Be careful who you trust at this time of the year. And make sure you aren’t getting fooled by a fake Twitter account.

The best piece of advice…if the news doesn’t pass the smell test, it probably isn’t true.

_