Finally…4-3 Confirmed

Posted: January 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 88 Comments »

We knew the Eagles were going to run an attacking 4-3 under Jim Schwartz, but for some reason, the Eagles did not want to commit to that publicly.

Until now.

Schwartz went on 94.1 and talked about the defense. Jimmy Bama has the details.

Angelo Cataldi: You will change the scheme, Jim. Everybody assumes you’ll go more to a 4-3. Is that safe to say?

Jim Schwartz: Um, yeah, for sure. We’re not gonna be a two-gap 3-4. I want those defensive lineman to be attacking. I want those guys to be creating and wreaking some havoc and putting pressure on the quarterback. They’re not gonna be playing at the line of scrimmage and grabbing guys and trying to keep the linebackers clean. I think we have some good guys up front. We can take the handcuffs off of them a little bit and get some more production out of them.

It is finally good to have a coach state this publicly.

I am excited to have the 4-3 back in Philly.

No more reading. No more reacting. Just attacking.

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The Eagles signed OT Lane Johnson to a new deal that will keep him an Eagle until the sun expands and destroys the Earth.

It is good to have Johnson locked up for the long haul. He is the RT now, but will take over at LT when Jason Peters is finally done. Johnson has not yet become a dominant blocker, but he has developed into an above average starter and still has potential to get better. It will be interesting to see if the new offense brings out the best in him.

The Eagles have now done new deals with Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Johnson. And they aren’t done yet.

Yes, please.

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I need to do some research before commenting on the update in regard to the personnel job.

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Now for Senior Bowl stuff. Notes from Day 3.

NORTH

SOUTH

I’ll write up a summation of the Senior Bowl week over the weekend.

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While we were down in Mobile, Jimmy Bama caught up with Georgia LB Jordan Jenkins to ask him about new Eagles DL coach Chris Wilson.

“He’s one of the craziest coaches I know,” said OLB Jordan Jenkins, whose face lit up when Wilson’s name was mentioned during an interview with PhillyVoice at the Senior Bowl. “He just gets after it. His coaching style is that if you’re not playing up to par he’s going to let you know. He enjoys the game of football and loves pass rushing. He’s crazy.”

Sounds like a lot of DL coaches. Those guys love getting to the QB.

Wilson sounds like a really good hire, based on his successful track record. The only real concern I’ve got is the fact he switched jobs so often. He won’t be making those kind of moves at the NFL level. He’s under contract and can’t leave for another NFL job unless it involves a promotion. He could go back to college, but that wouldn’t make sense unless someone paid him a boatload of money. And colleges rarely pay as well as the pros. Wilson will likely be here as long as he keeps producing good D-linemen.

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Settling In

Posted: January 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 554 Comments »

There is no question that Doug Pederson’s opening press conference was a bit shaky. One thing the NFL doesn’t do very well is train assistants to deal with the media. That’s especially true when going from KC to a city like Philly. Nick Foles looked at the media in St. Louis in his first PC out there and something to the effect that “This is it?”.

Standing at a podium in front of a full hoard of media and talking about getting your dream job isn’t easy. You have a ton of thoughts going on in your head. You want to say a few things, but then you will turn control over to the media so they can ask their questions. The circus begins.

Pederson met with a small group of media in Mobile on Wednesday. He was much more comfortable and natural. He’s been on the job for a bit now so he’s getting used to talking. The setting was different. He was near a chain link fence at football practice. Coaches are going to be more natural there than when wearing a suit and standing in an auditorium.

Pederson took the questions from reporters and answered them as honestly as he could. The media actually ran out of things to ask. I think they were genuinely surprised at how the meeting went. Pederson gave them enough nuggets for multiple articles. Unlike Chip, he wasn’t dodging questions and playing the semantics game (“I’m not the GM”).

I came away feeling good about Pederson.

I mentioned yesterday that he might have made a mistake when addressing the issue of Sam Bradford and saying “I look forward to coaching him.” I doubt reporters in KC looked at every nuance of every word he said. As head coach of the Eagles, you better choose your words very carefully when addressing key topics like that.

Maybe Pederson was telling us that they really do want Bradford back.

Maybe he was simply trying to be positive. If so, a better quote would have been something like “Every offensive coach would like to have a talented, veteran QB to work with.” Compliment Bradford, but don’t feed his agent any comments that will boost his value.

That’s the whole trouble with the Bradford situation. I’m sure they would love to have him back, but only at the right price. Anything you say that is overly positive about Sam just feeds ammo to his agent.

It feels like Pederson is settling in to his new job and he’s getting in a comfort zone. That’s good. This is going to be the biggest challenge of his life.

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Bradberry is a physical CB. Looks like a good athlete. I haven’t focused on DBs that much this week so I don’t have much in the way of notes on him. Could be a mid-round target.

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The Eagles spoke with Sean Davis on Wednesday. He can play CB or S. I actually prefer him at S because he’s smart, can cover, is a good tackler and plays with excellent awareness. I’ll try to talk to him to find out if the Eagles mentioned liking him at one spot or the other.

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Here are my Senior Bowl notes from Wednesday.

SOUTH

NORTH

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Maybe.

Joe is on Twitter and if you follow him, which you should, he says some really wild stuff at times. I don’t think he has yet acknowledged ever making a mistake in Philly or Cleveland. He gets very defensive when questioned about anything.

It is possible the Cards mentioned the #5 pick in negotiations, but the fact is that the situation never got to the point where they could actually do the deal so we don’t know if they would have actually gone through with it.

I have serious doubts.

If it is true, and that is possible, this is just another reason to hate that stupid lockout.

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Pederson Talks in Mobile

Posted: January 27th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 67 Comments »

Doug Pederson met with the press down here in Mobile.

The first thing he announced is that the Eagles hired a DL coach. They tabbed Chris Wilson from the college ranks to come in and work with the D-linemen. Wilson has been all over the place and has had success with multiple teams/players.

2015 USC
2014 USC
2013 Georgia
2012 Miss State (Def Coordinator)
2011 Miss State (Def Coordinator)
2010 Miss State

From 2005-2009, Wilson was the DEs coach for Oklahoma.

This seems like a very good hire. Wilson knows how to teach young players. He has DC experience, which means he understands the big picture and how the DL fits into the overall defense.

Pederson has a lot of NFL guys on his staff so I think it is good to add someone from college. You want a mixture of backgrounds.

Pederson didn’t say anything too definitive in his talk today. Here are some quick hits:

  • When asked about Sports Science, Pederson gave a very honest answer and said he didn’t know much about it and would have to learn more about that.
  • He still didn’t want to publicly commit to the 4-3, but everything says that will be the base look.
  • Pederson said he wasn’t sure if the Eagles would have a FB on the roster.
  • He said he wanted Jason Peters back on the team and thinks JP can be a good LT for several more years.
  • Pederson said Jordan Matthews could play in the slot as well as outside.

And what about Sam Bradford?

Pederson said he had talked to Sam Bradford. He said he “looked forward to coaching him.” Since Pederson is new to meeting with the media under this kind of scrutiny, we don’t know if that was a verbal misstep or a huge hint. The way it came out, you felt Pederson was saying he wanted and expected Bradford back. But Pederson isn’t used to talks like this. He simply may have been trying to say the right thing without making any type of strong commitment.

Someone asked about Carson Wentz. Pederson said he was impressed with what he saw and that he was looking forward to meeting with Wentz.

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Jeffrey Lurie is in town. He’s supposedly here to take a look at some players and to take the whole coaching staff out to dinner.

You wonder about a couple of other angles. First, could he be here to interview some candidates for the personnel job? There are a lot of people in Mobile looking for a job. Howie Roseman, Pederson and Lurie are all here. Would make some sense.

No rumors for now, but let’s see what happens.

You also wonder if Lurie is here to meet Carson Wentz, the QB prospect. The Eagles have a key decision to make in regard to Sam Bradford. It would be easier to let him walk if you felt strongly that Wentz was a serious target at pick 13. Normally you have draft prospects come to Philly, but the decision on Bradford will have to be made by late February, way before prospects visit teams.

I’m just guessing with Lurie and Wentz. That’s not based on a scoop or any type of rumor. Simply some speculation.

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Speaking of meetings…

Wentz and Whitehair are arguably the two best offensive prospects in Mobile. Both were terrific on the field today. I don’t know if the Eagles will pick either player or have strong interest in either, but they are checking them out closely and should be impressed with what they see.

I’ll write more on them when I do my Senior Bowl notes.

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One Eagles scout talked to DE Shawn Oakman.

Another scout talked to DB Sean Davis.

Oakman is a huge, talented player from Baylor. In the summer of 2014, he was thought to be an All-American and likely Top 10 pick. He is 6-8, 267 with huge hands and long arms. Oakman is a good athlete with pass rush ability. Now for the bad news. He’s an underachiever that is very frustrating. If you got him in the mid-rounds, he’s worth the risk. The Eagles have talked to him and Carl Nassib, a pair of tall, long DEs. Jim Schwartz has had success with long pass rushers.

Davis is 6-1, 201. He played CB and S for Maryland. I don’t know enough about him and the new staff to have a strong feel for where they would project him.

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My notes on Day 2 – South practice.

I’ll post the North notes on Thursday morning.

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Celek Stays

Posted: January 27th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 229 Comments »

Yesterday Jimmy Bama and I were enjoying a nutritious lunch at Danny’s Fried Chicken over in Fairhope when the Eagles announced Brent Celek signed an extension.

I didn’t get a chance to comment on this yesterday.

Interesting move. I wondered if it might be time to move on from Celek. He is a good guy and remains a solid player, but he is getting older. With Zach Ertz needing more playing time, cutting Celek seemed like a real possibility.

I’m glad Celek and the Eagles were able to work something out so he could stick around. He is a good teammate and has to be given some of the credit for the development of Ertz. With a new coaching staff coming in, you want as many good locker room guys as you can get. They help the transition from the old coach to the new one.

With the new staff coming in, we don’t know how they will use personnel. I looked at the last few games of 2015 to see if the Chiefs were starting with 2 TE, 3 WR or I-formation. They started a FB for one game, but were mainly 3 WR in the games I checked.

Trey Burton might be the man to take the FB/H-back role. Or he could stay at TE and the Eagles could go find a FB. Keeping Celek means he is more likely to move if you want to get him on the field. We’ll have to wait and see what the new staff thinks of Mr. Burton.

I do hope this means Celek will be able to retire an Eagle.

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I mentioned yesterday that the Eagles talked to ILB Nick Kwiatkoski after practice. Assuming the Eagles move to  4-3, they need a backup MLB. I can’t see DeMeco Ryans sticking around. He is a great leader, but you can’t lead if you don’t play and there is no way he’s on the field ahead of Jordan Hicks.

Najee Goode could be the backup MLB, but he might fit better at WLB. He’s not the most physical guy.

Kwiatkoski is 6-2, 241 and he will take on blockers, both FBs and OL. He’s not the world’s greatest athlete, but could be a good backup at MLB. He also has experience at both outside spots. Just as important, he could be very good on STs due to his toughness and how hard he plays.

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Some people have said to somewhat ignore who the team talks to. In recent years, things have changed and the Senior Bowl now sets it up so that every team has a chance to have a sit-down with each prospect. This is done at night and is the NFL version of speed-dating.

Still, you can’t ignore other meetings and visits. The scout yesterday had the whole North team on the practice field. He specifically chose to go speak to Kwiatkoski and Carl Nassib. I think that is worth making a note of.

A few years back Jimmy and I noted that one Eagles rep went and talked to DEs every day. One day he talked to this kid named Vinny Curry. Three months later, the Eagles drafted Curry. The way that guy specifically went around and talked to DEs told us they wanted to draft someone, probably early, at that spot.

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You want the strange side of things in Mobile?

Check out this Pulitzer Prize candidate from Jimmy Bama.

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Howie Roseman spoke to the media yesterday. He didn’t say anything you didn’t already know.

Here is Les Bowen’s take.

Here is Jeff McLane’s take.

I actually like Tim McManus’ piece the best.

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Time to go get wet and watch some football practice.

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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.

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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.

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Day 1 practice notes

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