More On Day

Posted: January 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 441 Comments »

Ryan Day is the new QBs coach for the Eagles. Most of us didn’t know him prior to Thursday, but now there are lots of opinions. I can’t tell you if this is a good or bad move. I trust Chip when it comes to just about anything involving his offense. That’s his baby. Not everyone is on board, though.

It is absolutely fair to be skeptical of this hire. BC isn’t known for great QB play.

But Chip is too smart to make a move without there being good logic behind it. I’ll offer up some thoughts on what he might be thinking.

First, Chip does have a relationship with Day and it must be a good one. Chip coached him and then worked with Day for a year at New Hampshire. This isn’t about friendship. Chip spent 5 years coaching/working closely with him and obviously thinks highly of Day. He knows what kind of a person Day is and how committed he can be to doing what it takes to being successful. Plus, who better to teach Chip’s QBs than a man who was taught by Chip?

Chip has kept his eye on Day for quite a while. Check out this quote from when Day was hired to be Boston College’s OC.

Addazio called Day “one of the bright young minds in college football. He knows Boston College and he is thrilled to be back.”

That sentiment was echoed by Oregon’s Chip Kelly, who coached Day at UNH and then worked with the Manchester, N.H., native on the Wildcats’ staff under Sean McDonnell.

“I think that he is one of the best young coaches in the country and it was just a matter of time before he was running the show, offensively, somewhere,” said Kelly after practice Thursday.


The two men do have a good friendship, as you can tell from this interview from when Day talked about Kelly taking over as head coach of the Eagles.

“He’ll take the best things the Eagles can do and he’ll use them. One of his greatest strengths as a coach is he’s a great thinker on his feet—that’s accurate. His players love playing for him. I played for him 10, 12 years ago and he’s one of my closest friends in college coaching. I can thank him for everything in football that I’ve had. He leaves an impact on people’s lives.”

I think Chip may have wanted to go with a young guy for another reason as well…continuity. Lazor and Musgrave were veteran NFL assistants that were hired away after a year. Other teams wanted to know about the Chip Kelly Magic so they took his QB coach. Day isn’t as likely to be plucked away quickly. No one is going to make him their OC in 2016. And he can’t change teams for just a lateral move.

Chip can take a chance on a young coach because he and Pat Shurmur are there to help with the QBs. If this were Rex Ryan or some other defensive guru, this move would be a total head-scratcher.

There may also be some offensive reasons to hire Day.

Chip might want to get Day’s help in other areas. You can never have enough smart minds on a coaching staff.

* * * * *

Want to know about Ryan Day the college QB? Read this.

There is no doubt. The UNH football team has four captains — Day, center Jason Ball, defensive end Jon Oosterhuis and strong safety Bryce Scottron. But ask any player, including the other captains, and they say the same thing: Ryan Day is the leader of this team.

“Ryan’s just a natural leader,” said senior wideout Brian Mallette, who will miss the next 3-6 weeks with a separated shoulder. “He just knows how to go up there and make things happen. He may not be the fastest guy or have the strongest arm, but he’s so competitive and so determined.

“He wants to get things done, and he does it. It means a lot to us. Everybody leads off him. They see how he goes out there and how competitive he is.”

Coaches need to be good leaders and teachers. Sure sounds like Day has the leadership part down pat.

* * * * *

Day was a tough player, fighting his way through injuries. He had that same mindset as an assistant coach.

Boston College wide receivers coach Ryan Day climbed out of bed Wednesday morning, took one step and fell to his knees in excruciating pain.

By 11 p.m., Day was undergoing emergency surgery to remove his appendix at a Boston hospital. The following morning, after taking a heavy dose of pain killers, he turned on the TV in his hospital room and saw one too many promos for the No. 2 Eagles’ ACC showdown at No. 8 Virginia Tech on Thursday night.

So Day did what any maniacal college football coach would do. He picked up the telephone and checked available airline flights to southwest Virginia. Day found a flight — he had to fly from Boston’s Logan Airport to New York’s LaGuardia and then to Roanoke, Va. — and didn’t have much time to get there. He climbed out of bed and left his room wearing electrodes and the same clothes he’d arrived at the hospital in the day before.

“The doctor told me, ‘Officially, I can’t clear you for this flight,'” Day said. “If it wasn’t Virginia Tech and wasn’t Thursday night, I wouldn’t have done it. My wife didn’t want me to go, God bless her. But she gave me her blessing at the end. I told her all week that I just had a feeling something special was going to happen.”

And, boy, did something special happen to the Eagles at Lane Stadium on Thursday night. After being exposed as yet another team not worthy of the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings for nearly the entire game, Boston College rallied from a 10-0 deficit with two touchdowns in the final 2:11 to stun the Hokies 14-10 in front of a rain-soaked, sold-out crowd of 66,233.

That’s pretty insane. He was really committed to the cause.


Coaching Staff Update

Posted: January 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 362 Comments »

Chip Kelly has added someone else to the staff.

That name won’t mean much to you, but Chip knows him. Day was a QB at the University of New Hampshire from 1998-2001. Kelly hadn’t fully configured his offense back then since he was the OL coach in 1998 and just took over as Offensive Coordinator in 1999. UNH was a zone running team back then and Kelly was just mixing in different ideas of how to attack in creative ways.

I can’t really judge this move since I don’t know much about Day. Kelly obviously feels some young blood needed to be added to the mix. Kelly and Pat Shurmur are still veteran coaches who will impact the QBs a lot.

Bill Lazor was a good QB coach. Bill Musgrave didn’t seem to have as much of an impact. Losing him isn’t a big deal. Day lacks NFL experience, but he is used to working with young QBs. The Eagles will likely have 2 of 3 young QBs, and possibly all 3. There is something to be said for finding someone who can connect with young players.

Day’s bio from BC

* * * * *

Chip was at the North practice this morning. I got to the stadium at 920am (very empty for some reason) and Chip was down in his usual spot in the far end zone. He stood there and talked to John Dorsey for more  than 2 hours. Dorsey is the Chiefs GM.

The Eagles had some interest in Chris Ballard, who works for Dorsey. Nothing happened with that. I don’t know if Chip was trying to get that situation back open or if he was just picking Dorsey’s brain on other potential candidates. Dorsey used to work for Green Bay so he knows Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith, who both could be of interest.

It is possible Kelly was just picking his brain in general and wasn’t talking specific people. Dorsey is a veteran personnel guy who knows how to run a team. There is a lot to be learned from talking to someone like that.

There is a connection between Kelly and Dorsey. Kelly played at UNH from 1981-84. John Dorsey played at UConn, then a small school, from 1980-83. They could have just been reminiscing about the old days.

But that’s boring. Let’s hope Kelly was picking his brain.


Some DB Talk

Posted: January 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 150 Comments »

One of the questions I’ve been throwing at various people in Mobile is whether Cary Williams will take a pay cut or not. He’s due $8.1M this year and clearly isn’t worth that. While it might be nice to let him go entirely, there is an argument to bringing him back for one more year at a reduced rate.

No one I’ve talked to has a good feel for Williams and what he’ll do. He is a very proud guy so you can see him rejecting a pay cut and telling the Eagles to just cut him. But Williams is also a smart guy (off the field). He may realize that the offer from the Eagles will be about as good as what he might get on the open market. Plus, he wouldn’t have to move, change teams and learn new systems. If his family is happy in Philly, Williams just might be willing to stay and play for less.

* * * * *

A couple of you have asked where Jimmy Bama is writing these days. He is now the lead Eagles writer for a new site called PhillyVoice. Over on the right hand side of this site there is a link to his writing at PV.

Jimmy spoke to someone who covers the Seahawks to ask about CB Byron Maxwell, who we expect to be a key free agent target for the Eagles. The guy Jimmy talked to is Danny Kelly, who knows football and isn’t just a typical writer. His opinion means something.

Kelly said good things about Maxwell. This part stood out for obvious reasons.

The main tenet for Pete Carroll’s system is to not get beat over the top, and Maxwell is fundamentally sound in that area. In fact, the only time off the top of my head that I can remember him getting beat deep was in last year’s Arizona matchup in Week 16, where Michael Floyd made a miraculous catch in the back corner of the end zone even after Maxwell had gotten a hand on the pass and deflected it. So, he does his job well, and that’s evidenced by Seattle’s second straight season giving up the fewest passing yards in the NFL.

I’m guessing Pete Carroll won’t be going after Nate Allen or Bradley Fletcher this offseason.

Make sure you read the whole piece. Good job by Mr. Bama.

* * * * *

Here are my notes on the South’s practice from Wednesday.

It wasn’t a great day for DBs. S Clayton Geathers was the centerfielder a few times and had trouble locating some deep balls. Part of that may be due to the fact the passes were off target and his back was to the ball. The receivers were able to adjust and then Geathers had to react to them.

I need to study Cody Prewitt and AJ Jefferson a lot more. Both guys have looked solid in Mobile.

* * * * *

The best barbecue in Mobile is at a place called The Brick Pit. It is almost a 25 minute drive from the stadium but it is worth it. I got there and the place was full of locals and Giants scouts. I got my food to go and then ate in the car. I had pulled pork, potato salad and beans. Fantastic. 5-stars. Like heaven in your mouth. Make sure you go to The Brick Pit if  you ever come to town.

And now for your daily Alex Flanagan update…we stood near each other on the field. I think she was trying to hit on me as she interviewed several players. That’s her version of playing hard to get, right?


Dumb Rumor Day

Posted: January 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 203 Comments »

We all love a good rumor, but sometimes these things get silly. Some guy today had the rumor that the Eagles are trying to trade Nick Foles. Uh, okay. I could see that. Let’s have Matt Barkley and GJ Kinne atop the QB depth chart. You could argue that moving Foles would involve a move up in the draft, but there are no guarantees the right guy would be available. This kind of rumor just seems crazy.

Could Foles be on the market at some point in the next few months? Sure, anything is possible. But it only makes sense if there are other moves that happen. Until they do, Nick Foles isn’t going anywhere.

We also have the reports about Chip Kelly moving up for Marcus Mariota. This is pure fantasy material. I cannot imagine anyway that guy gets out of the Top 10. Do you really think the Rams would pass on him to go with Sam Bradford, Austin Davis and Shaun Hill? Jeff Fisher is in desperate need of a QB. Mariota is big and athletic, which is exactly what Fisher loves.

You can argue that Mariota would fall to pick 7 or 8 or 9 and the Eagles could then move up for him. But the Rams can move up as well, and the trading team would still be able to have a Top 10 pick. And there are teams other than the Rams who could be interested in moving up for him.

And I still think the Bucs will go for a QB. Winston or Mariota? I tend to think Mariota, but never say never.

* * * * *

Jeff Stoutland gave a big hug to QB Blake Sims today. Stout was at Bama when Sims was the backup QB there. Sims seemed genuinely excited to talk to his old coach.

Stoutland also chased down an O-lineman when the players were leaving practice. There was a crowd of people between me and Stoutland, but it looked like he was talking to Max Garcia from Florida. I don’t know if they’re old acquaintances (college recruiting possibly) our Stout was trying to set up an interview.

Stoutland also has some ties to WR Phillip Dorsett. Eliot Shorr-Parks has that story.

* * * * *

Of the Safeties, I thought Kurtis Drummond had the best day. He looked good in press coverage. Drummond is very physical and able to stick with receivers. He also had a big hit on a TE today.

Clayton Geathers was up and down. I spoke to him after practice and Geathers said he did meet with the Eagles last night. He’s a nice enough kid, but I don’t think he wowed anyone in an interview. Geathers is still a solid prospect, but he won’t be at the top of the list.

Here are my notes on the North’s practice from Wednesday.

I’ll post my notes on the South later tonight or early Thursday.

* * * * *

There is one player I need to mention here. QB Bryan Bennett was added to the South roster. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal, but this is different. Bennett played for Oregon from 2010-2012. When Bennett lost the battle for the starting job to a kid named Marcus Mariota, he transferred.

Bennett ended up at SE Louisiana. He had a terrific career there in 2013 and 2014. He threw for 39 TDs and ran for 31, and also led the school to a pair of FCS playoff berths.

Beyond the Oregon connection, Bennett is newsworthy because he was the best QB on the field for the South today. Bennett has a good arm and smooth motion. He threw the ball well short, intermediate and deep. His timing wasn’t there with the receivers so it was hard to judge his accuracy.

New rumor…my sources tell me the Eagles are prepared to do whatever it takes to get Bennett. Expect them to trade Foles, McCoy, Peters, Cox, Kendricks and half a dozen future 1st round picks.

Bryan Bennett isn’t getting away from Chip Kelly this time!!!


Senior Bowl Day 1

Posted: January 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 238 Comments »

Tuesday was an adventure. We started with the weigh-in, which is always the most uncomfortable part of Senior Bowl week. Then we watched 2 practices at 2 stadiums and finished the day with Media Night, where we had a couple of hours to interview the players in a somewhat informal setting.

Nothing really Eagles-centric happened at the weigh-in so I’ll skip that.

Chip Kelly and Bill Davis watched most of the North practice together. Kelly likes to stand in the far end zone and watch. Most coaches are up in the stands. The problem with that is a lot of socializing goes on. I think Kelly prefers to just take in the action.

The Eagles had a camera in the stands recording the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 stuff. I have never seen any other team do this specifically. The practices are taped by the league and everyone gets a copy. Maybe the Eagles wanted a different camera angle for some reason.

I wrote notes on the North practice here.

The South practice at Fairhope is very different. No one is in the stands. Everyone lines the field and watches up close. I stood with a GM and some pro scouts and watched the action. At one point a random person came near me and yelled to someone else “Billy Davis is down there.” I went down that way to see what Davis was doing. I had been focused on DBs and receivers. He was in the LB/DL area. As soon as I got behind Davis he said to a friend “I’ve got to go watch the DBs.” I wasn’t able to stand near him in that area so I couldn’t pick up any info.

Here are my notes on the South practice.

One final note from the South, that is where Alabama coach Nick Saban makes his annual appearance. He comes to support the Bama players and also to schmooze with NFL types as well as fans. He is bigger than the Pope to his fans. Anyway, OL coach Jeff Stoutland, who worked for Saban, walked down the field with him and was telling one heck of a story. Saban was locked in and had a huge smile on his face, as did Stoutland. You never know when an assistant coach leaves a program if he’ll stay in good standing with the head coach, but Stout and Saban seemed like buddies. That’s good when it comes to getting the inside scoop on Bama players.

Overall, there were several players the Eagles should have come away interested in. Safeties Kurtis Drummond, Clayton Geathers, Jaquiski Tartt and Clayton Prewitt all impressed. The Eagles were scheduled to interview 3 of them last night. They were also set to interview CB/S Eric Rowe and CB Quentin Rollins. Both guys had a solid first day.

Oddball note of the day…the ride to Fairhope was interesting. I was in a car that was behind Rex Ryan and his DL coach. Rex was driving and the man was all over the road. He couldn’t stay straight to save his life. Must have been texting with Mark Sanchez about coming to Buffalo.

Media Night was interesting. The hard part of writing about players is that most of the guys are genuinely nice people you want to succeed. Jimmy and I sat down and ate dinner with Shane Carden, a QB from East Carolina. He did not play well. He’s got a poor arm and just didn’t look like an NFL QB. Great in the spread in college, but not NFL material. I struck up an informal conversation with him and he was fun to talk to. Real nice kid. I hope I’m dead wrong and he plays for a decade, but I bet his future is in coaching.

Jimmy and I talked to Michigan State star Tony Lippett. He is a good WR prospect, but also started 3 games at CB this year due to injuries. I made the point to him that every draft is loaded with WRs, but every team is desperate for corner help. Why not move to CB to help your odds? He wants to be a WR. He did say that he’ll do what he has to in order to stay in the league, but he wants to be a WR. The Eagles haven’t talked to him yet. Something tells me Kelly will like a WR that is 6-3, 190 and can also play CB if needed.

The best interview of the night was with CB Quentin Rollins. That is one sharp dude. He’s smart and seems to have a good sense of reality. Some of these guys are a bit delusional. Rollins told us good stories about the past year, his first playing college football. Prior to that he was a star basketball player for Miami OH. Jimmy and I asked him about the Eagles. Rollins said he was interviewing with them Tuesday night. We then asked what he knew about the team. He went back in time and talked about McNabb, Dawk and Reid at first. He then talked about the current team and said “I think they need corner help.” Jimmy and I both said “They definitely need corner help.” As long as he doesn’t become a Dallas Cowboy, I’ll be pulling for Rollins wherever he goes.

The highlight of the night was the interview that Jimmy and I had with Bryce Petty. Eliot Shorr-Parks and Jimmy were lobbing softballs at Petty. He was giving good answers, but there was no real exchange of real information. That’s when I opened up.

I asked Petty if he felt pressure to play well. He said no. Then I talked about the fact he was so good at the short, quick throws that he’d done over and over at Baylor, but NFL teams wanted to see more. I talked to him about the fact that like so many college QBs, he was either throwing short passes or deep passes. The NFL wants to see intermediate throws. They wanna see the dig route. They want to see you hit the TE over the middle. The Senior Bowl is a chance to show that. I told Petty that while he looked great on the short stuff, he was “awkward” with the intermediate throws.

Honestly. he looked bad. I thought awkward was the nicest word I could use that would still convey some sense of negativity. I’m not going to lie to him and tell him he lit it up. Petty kinda laughed and said something to the effect that “I’ll have to work on my awkwardness.”

I then explained what a great opportunity the Senior Bowl was. I told him the story of Donovan McNabb coming to Mobile in 1999 with questions about whether he could be an NFL QB. He was coached by Jon Gruden, who was tough on him. McNabb had a great week and the Eagles took him #2 overall. Petty liked that angle and left happy with the thought that playing well could boost his stock.

Jimmy and ESP were a bit in shock at my candor, but I thought I was reasonable.

Petty was very nice the whole night. He’s got a good personality and definitely comes across as a QB. I hope he does throw the ball better on Wednesday and Thursday. I’d love for him to emerge as a target for the Eagles. One point about that…he would not be someone to play right away. You would need to develop him. Petty would ideally be a mid-round pick that sat for a year or two as he adjusted to the NFL.

That hasn’t worked with Matt Barkley so far, but that hardly means you give up on drafting and developing QBs.

* * * * *

A couple of misc notes…

It doesn’t sound like Ed Marynowitz will get promoted. Kelly continues the search for outside help. No scoops on who he’s talking to now. I’m sure Kelly is looking for people while here in Mobile with all the best personnel guys in the world.

Tom Gamble is here. I assume he’s looking for a job.